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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2019 - 2020

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The purpose of this module is to locate and examine the age of Protestant ascendancy in Ireland in context. It will explore and analyse the exercise of Protestant power between the military triumph of 1689-91 and the challenge it was posed by emergence in the early nineteenth century of a politically and demographically energised Catholic population led by Daniel O'Connell. The course also engages closely with the economic and social history of the period.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the main issues, key episodes, formative trends and major personalities of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Irish History
2. Recognise how different ideological vantage points shape historical interpretation, and possess an awareness of the contingency of historical interpretation
3. Identify and distinguish between minor and major causative factors and possess an awareness of the consequences of the main events and trends in this historical period
4. Engage in appropriately critical manner with historical texts and historical documentation
5. Present appropriately researched historical arguments that are evidentially based and historiographically informed

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Attendance and participation
Assignment Completion40Study Journal: Reflection on assigned and others readings
Assignment Completion40Reading, preparation and writing of assignment
Independent Study21Reading, note taking etc.
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Indicative Content
This course provides students with an opportunity to explore a crucial era in Irish history. Set against the backdrop of the defeat of the Irish Jacobites between 1689 and 1691, its focus is the exercise of Protestant ascendancy in Ireland between then and the emergence between 1823 and 1847 of a politicised Irish (Catholic) population guided by Daniel O’Connell. Based on a close engagement with the large volume of research completed on this era in the last quarter century that has fundamentally recast how this ear is interpreted and understood, this course provides, firstly, a comprehensive overview of the politics of ‘Protestant Ireland’ through an exploration of the creation of a ‘Protestant constitution’ in the 1690s and its subsequent evolution, of the role of management in parliament in the manner in which political power was exercised, and the Protestant elite was permitted to shape and influence the administration of the kingdom of Ireland in tandem with the Crown appointed executive based at Dublin Castle. This also involves exploring the nature of the Anglo-Irish nexus and the politics of patriotism, the myth and reality of Grattan’s parliament, the challenge of radicalism in the 1790s, and the rational for and implementation of an Anglo-Irish Union. Its second focus is the survival, negotiation and emergence of Catholics as a political interest though an examination of the nature, impact and repeal of the ‘Penal Laws’, and the transformative impact, both positive and negative, of Daniel O’Connell. Particular attention is accorded the historiographical revolution that sustains the radical re-interpretation that this period permits. As well as the politics of the era, the course will engage with the nature of the Irish ancien regime, economic growth, and formative social and economic changes such as population growth, the language shift, and agrarian violence. But it was the susceptibility of the society to subsistence crisis and famine that provides the context for an analysis of the background to and impact of the Great Famine – which was the single greatest and, arguably, the most formative episode of the era with which the course engages.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • David Dickson: 2000, Ireland: new foundations, 1660-1800, Irish Academic Press, Dublin,
  • S.J. Connolly: 2008, Divided kingdom: Ireland 1630-1800, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Ian McBride: 2009, Eighteenth-century Ireland: the isle of slaves, Gill and Macmillan, Dublin,
  • Donal McCartney: 2007, The dawning of democracy, 1800-1870, Helicon, Dublin,
  • Jane Ohlmeyer (ed): 2018, The Cambridge History of Ireland, volume 2, 1550-1730, Cambridge,
  • James Kelly (ed.): 2018, The Cambridge History of Ireland, volume 3, 1730-1880, Cambridge,
Other Resources

0, In Class/Online, 0, A detailed listing of supporting readings will be provided to students on commencement of the course.,
Programme or List of Programmes