From Parnell to Paisley

From Parnell to Paisley: Constitutional and Revolutionary Politics in Ireland, 1879 – 2008

Institute of Irish Studies, 63 University Road, Queen’s University Belfast

 5 - 6 September 2008


Unionist and nationalist political traditions in Ireland have been defined by their use of both constitutional and revolutionary methods. From the battles over the land question and Home Rule in the 1880s to contemporary Northern Ireland’s troubles and the ensuing peace process, Irish political life has witnessed periods of constitutional and revolutionary struggle – and, at times, a significant blurring of the two. Among the themes examined in this conference are political funding of Parnellism; the memory of the Irish Revolution; the creation of Ian Paisley’s heartland in Antrim; and Catholic politics and the Civil Rights movement. Professor David Fitzpatrick of Trinity College Dublin will deliver a keynote address on ‘Pen and Sword in Irish Politics since 1795’.


This conference will bring together new research in a number of disciplines to explore constitutional and revolutionary politics in Ireland from Parnell to Paisley.  Of particular interest is the interplay between these two impulses in both the nationalist and unionist political traditions: What were the dynamics pushing revolutionary and constitutional politics together at any given time?  What forces pulled them apart at key junctures in Irish history?  How do constitutional parties remember and commemorate their revolutionary pasts?   

For more information contact Colin Reid ( or Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid (

Information on getting to the university is available here, information on accommodation is available here, a flyer for the conference can be downloaded here and the programme is available here.