This module spans the course of twentieth-century Ireland. It begins by looking at economy and society in Ireland in the opening years of the 20th century. It then looks at the period of violence surrounding the final years of the Union, leading to the partition of the island with the establishment of Northern Ireland and the setting up of a devolved administration in Belfast, and the creation of the Irish Free State. The separate development of these two regimes is then traced across the interwar period, though the Second World War and on to the outbreak of renewed communal violence in Northern Ireland in 1969-70. The rocky road to economic independence in the Republic of Ireland is also charted, culminating in the phenomenon of the Celtic Tiger. The final lectures analyse the course of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, ending with a discussion of the Good Friday Agreement.
The course aims at providing an overview of the principal developments in Irish political history, while also taking into account economic and social change. In addition it aims at giving students the opportunity, through essays, seminar discussion and private reading, to engage more closely with selected topics. In a wider sense it attempts to develop skills in identifying, collecting and assimilating information, in the organisation and assessment of evidence, and in the effective oral and written presentation of arguments and conclusions.