Coimrithe - Abstracts

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Traumatic Marriage: How Philip II of Spain became Philip I of Portugal

Nuno Silva (Ulster University)
This essay intends to explore the variety of ways employed by Philip II of Spain in seeking recognition of his right to the Portuguese throne in the dynastic crisis of 1578-1581. In doing so, this paper, seeks to distance itself from the usual nationalistic arguments that present Philip II as a foreign aggressor as opposed to the national alternatives of Anthony, Prior of Crato and Duchess Catherine of Braganza the other two main claimants to the Portuguese throne and Philip’s cousins. It should be recognized that the different layers of late 16th Century Portuguese society were not united in their choice of successor to the elderly Cardinal-King Henry, the last male legitimate member of the House of Avis, which had ruled Portugal since the 1380s. Also explored in this text is the importance and significance of the meetings of the Cortes of Tomar in April 1581 where Philip was finally recognized as King of Portugal after agreeing to a set of commitments confirming how Portugal would be ruled in the aftermath of the dynastic union with Spain. Yet another important aspect looked at is the impact this had on Portuguese Foreign Policy and its Empire.

‘Insula Sanctorum’: Irish Protestant Identity and the Past

James Greaney (Trinity College Dublin)
Sir John Temple’s account of the 1641 Rebellion opens with a historical preface, explaining the context of the rebellion going back to the Christianisation of Ireland. He describes Ireland as having been an ‘Insula Sanctorum’ which lapsed and came in need of salvation at the hands of Henry II, with the blessing of Pope Adrian. This brief passage seemingly poses a contradiction for early modern Protestants in Ireland, for whom the papal justification for the medieval conquest might be expected to be problematic. How did Protestants like Temple reconcile their continuity with an older, avowedly Catholic, church in Ireland and the possible break presented by the Anglican Reformation? Much of this relies on making the distinction, as seen earlier in John Foxe’s so-called Book of Martyrs, between the actual institution of the established church and the supposed existence of a parallel practice of true faith. By looking to other Protestant writers, particularly the archbishop James Ussher, we can see that there was an attempt to engage with this. While there is an acknowledgment of the invocation of papal authority it is dismissed as an ultimately unnecessary justification. For Irish Protestants, medieval Ireland was immanently in need of salvation. The right of the English crown in Ireland was established in both right of conquest and in the institutional restoration of the faith of St Patrick which was seen to be presented by the established Church of Ireland.

Transition or Transformation? Linguistic Shifts in the Early Modern Scottish Lowlands

Ryan Dempsey (Queen’s University Belfast)
This paper involves an examination of the process by which Scotland became a so-called "English-speaking country", with particular focus on the Scottish Lowlands and the transition from the Scots language to English during the 16th and 17th centuries. Through a thorough analysis of the linguistic features of the language of the Scottish Lowlands, drawing on the upon works of poetry and prose penned by the elites of Scottish society as well as the writings of the common people, the goal of this paper is to show that the early 17th century represented a watershed moment in Scottish linguistic history, where the shift from Scots to English came about much more abruptly than is often assumed. In doing so, this research highlights the importance of considering the intricate details when examining the history of language, as well as demonstrating the historical aesthetics of the language which modern Scots reconstructionists can often neglect.

Public History and the Academic Study: A case study on public reactions to the Report of the Committee on the Criminal Law Amendment Acts (1880-85) and how this continues to influence the study of the crucial years 1922-37

Caitlin White (Trinity College Dublin)
Why does history need public history? Can one truly exist without the other, and can public history shape or influence academic studies? In 2000, Finola Kennedy published her article entitled “The Suppression of the Carrigan Report: A Historical Perspective on Child Abuse” in An Irish Quarterly Review. She discussed the government’s failure to act on the findings of the Report of the Committee on the Criminal Law Amendment Acts (1880-85), also known as the Carrigan Report. This Report had been shrouded in secrecy since the 1930s and, it was felt, had contributed to the facilitation of child sexual abuse in Ireland throughout the twentieth century. The timing of this article influenced the public perception of not only the Report, but those who compiled it. Subsequent academic studies of the Report rely heavily on Kennedy’s initial observations and, as a result, this report is viewed through a very narrow and unrelenting lens. In 2017 when the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theatre, presented a production of ‘Jimmy’s Hall’ and used extracts from the report. In this paper I propose to use this case study to examine how public perception can influence academic study, and in return how different mediums such as the theatre influence public perception. Historians often struggle to see the need or importance of the study of public history, which is something I believe should be addressed in future studies of the discipline.


The Teaching of Irish History in Northern Ireland, 1920-72
Colm Mac Gearailt (Trinity College Dublin)
A widespread argument exists that it is possible to gain an insight into the image that a society wishes to project of itself by analysing what is set for study in a history programme. The image that we have of ourselves, and the image which we create for others, is associated with the history learned in school. This image can demonstrate awareness to the knowledge, ideologies, and measures of change within a society, and demonstrates the function of history in altering this. This paper examines the teaching of Irish history in Northern Ireland between 1920 and 1972. Operating as a separate educational jurisdiction the Free State/Republic, the Northern context is important as within the one State two separate educational systems were in operation internally, divided by religion and state funding, and representing the two major social groups within the newly defined country. That a sizeable proportion of this population identified with the remainder of the island, while those in power actively rejected this association means that a study of the history that was selected for study is not only interesting, but important in terms of its ramifications for identity politics.
This paper offers a brief analysis of the Northern Assembly’s Education Board and its treatment of Irish history as part of its wider investigation. It contextualises the teaching of history by discussing the major education acts and initiatives which framed secondary education during this period, before offering an in-depth analysis of what history was taught, and why. Its overall purpose is to outline the development of history teaching in Northern Ireland, with an explicit focus on the teaching of Irish history within that jurisdiction.


‘May the Lord save us from our universities and protect us from our professors’ - Student Publications, Professors and the Spanish Civil War
Will Burton (Ulster University)
Student activism in Ireland on the Spanish Civil War was rare. There were no mass demonstrations in Dublin, Belfast, Cork or Galway. Student publications rarely reported the conflict. The student publications were cognisant of the war in Spain but rarely mentioned it. The conflict in Spain was reported in student newspapers across Ireland but was not reported extensively with debates and issues surrounding the conflict appearing infrequently in the publications. What literature that does exist has mainly focused on the student campaigns of the second half of the twentieth century including protests against the apartheid system in South Africa and the establishment of Dublin Simon Community by Trinity and UCD students. There are few secondary sources available on student publications from this period, specifically focused on Ireland, and ones that exist offer only a cursory glance and do not reference any events associated with the Spanish Civil War. This paper will argue and question why Irish students, unlike their continental partners in Europe and their US counterparts, did not protest or become involved in the conflict for either of the belligerents.


Breastfeeding in nineteenth-century Ireland
Judy Bolger (Trinity College Dublin)
This paper will draw on my recently completed M.Phil. dissertation. My dissertation was an historical evaluation of Irish breastfeeding during the nineteenth century. Considering breastfeeding is a biological commonality amongst all recently delivered mothers, the scope of this research seeks to determine if upper- and lower-class women had similar or different breastfeeding experiences. This work will analysis the class-related concerns regarding wet-nursing to offer a wider analysis on nineteenth-century attitudes towards maternal responsibilities. A qualitative analysis of contemporary medical literature was employed to determine the extent of knowledge and relevance such material may have had in women’s infant feeding choices. With the use of case-studies and institutional records, various experiences of breastfeeding and wet-nursing are contrasted and analysed to highlight contemporary social concerns regarding motherhood. It will be argued that upper-class Irish women were afforded flexibility in their mothering abilities as their decision to breastfeed were often based on personal choices. However, lower-class, or poor Irish women’s ‘innate’ ability to mother was often capitalised through the employment of wet-nursing. As such, lower-class women’s decision to breastfeed was often for financial reasons, rather than maternal responsibility.


“A work which surely should appeal to the heart of an Irishwoman”, The Ladies’ Auxiliary and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, 1908-18

Daniel McCurdy (Ulster University)
The story of Irishwomen abroad and at home has picked up pace in the two decades since Margaret MacCurtain first wrote about the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) and its lack of sympathy for the Suffragette movement. But even as the IPP denied female enfranchisement, another party affiliate, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, conceded ground to Irishwomen everywhere. The Ladies Auxiliary was another piece in the way of the increasingly pragmatic constitutional nationalist mosaic. Outside the Suffragette movement, the role of women in Irish politics has been a little discussed topic. Only Diane Urquhart has covered the Ladies Auxiliary to any extent. Others make no mention of the society. Perhaps this is, as in the case of Beth McKillen or Margaret Ward’s work, because the body’s members do not fit the profile, being neither ‘unmanageable’, ‘revolutionary’ or ‘separatist’, but rather, controllable and/or moderate/nominal constitutional nationalists. Urquhart’s treatment while welcome, is similarly concerned with boxing the ladies in. With her emphasis on enfranchisement in 1918 and the resultant broadening of the female political role, she overlooks the earlier, arguably more significant decade of LA activity, 1908-1918. It was during this period that the members established themselves as an emigrant-fuelled and wide-ranging, if ethnically and gender specific movement. Indeed, the Ladies Auxiliary did not just develop in Ulster and Ireland but in England and Scotland as well.

Assessing the impact of the women’s pages in the national Irish newspapers, 1967-75

Anna Devlin (Trinity College Dublin)
From the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, a women’s section or page was carried by the three main Irish national newspapers; ‘Women First’ in The Irish Times, ‘Women’s Press’ in The Irish Press and ‘Independent Woman’ in The Irish Independent. The pages were written and edited, in the main, by a new vanguard of women journalists who were involved in or were sympathetic to Irish Women’s Liberation Movement. The women’s pages set out to challenge Irish society and change attitudes with respect to the role and aspirations of women. It is contended that the women’s pages in the Irish national newspapers in the late 1960s and early 1970s occupied an exceptional position. For a short period, they lay at the intersection of feminist media, women’s magazines and mainstream media. The critical features of the women’s pages and how these conform to the characteristics and historiography of the three genres; feminist media, women’s magazines and mainstream media, are examined. Selected weeks of the women’s pages in three newspapers across the period are used to chart their emergence, evolution and significance. Being active simultaneously in all three genres gave the pages a unique dynamic at a critical juncture in the campaign for women’s rights in Ireland. As a result, the raising of awareness and politicising of women’s issues in Ireland developed more rapidly and effectively in this period.

Catholic clergy, Exorcism and the Supernatural in pre-famine Wexford

Jodie Shevlin (Ulster University)
This paper provides insight into the often-hidden supernatural mentalities of both clergy and ordinary Irish people at a time of reform and revival within the Catholic Church. During the summer months of 1824 in Wexford, a priest named John Carroll performed an exorcism on a child resulting in her death. Although Catholic priests were often regarded by rural communities as having supernatural healing abilities, cases like this in Irish court records are rare between the last recorded witch trial at Islandmagee, Co Antrim in 1711 and the repeal of the Irish Witchcraft Statute in 1821. Details of the tragedy were heavily reported on by the press, generating a lengthy debate on the extent of the social control exerted by the Catholic Church and its clergy. This debate is revealing both of popular Catholic beliefs and customs regarding the demonic and the wider supernatural, as well as wider elite attitudes towards them. The paper also explores the extent to which an exorcism gone wrong in nineteenth century Wexford sheds light on the role of the supernatural in the everyday and inner lives of the Catholic Irish in a period of intense social, religious and political instability, particularly when witchcraft and associated beliefs were no longer a crime.

Representations of Republicanism and Race in the journalism of John Mitchel in the United Irishman newspaper of 1848

David Collopy (Mary Immaculate College Limerick)
This paper will argue that a combination of the influences of the republican ideals of the United Irishmen of 1798 along with Mitchel’s prominent role in the Young Ireland movement provides a basis for the development of John Mitchel’s concept of race. Mitchel had begun to formulate his concept of a distinct Irish Race which was at the apex of a hierarchical racial structure while the negro slave was at the bottom. The United Irishman newspaper founded by Mitchel was first published on February 12th 1848 with a circulation of 5000 copies selling out. The newspaper ran weekly for just under four months producing sixteen editions prior to suppression by the authorities. A close reading of this newspaper will locate and contextualise the origins of Mitchel’s controversial racial ideology. The focus of this paper will be on the Irish branch of Mitchel’s journalistic career and will argue the seminal importance of this aspect of his writing as the basis for his racial formation. Following his escape from Van Diemen’s land and subsequent arrival in America in 1853 Mitchel’s racial views attracted much controversy. This paper will assert that his racial ideology was formed on the Irish side of the Atlantic Ocean and crossed with him to the new world.

‘A sense of public duty compels me’: Rev Edward Glacken and the struggle for Tenant-Right in Donegal, 1848-1853

Katelyn Hanna (NUI Maynooth)
While extensive research has been carried out on the agrarian agitation that shaped the Land War of the 1870s, little, in comparison, has been done on what preceded it: the ‘tenant-right’ movement of the late 1840s and 1850s, particularly regarding the county of Donegal. Whilst the Tenant-Right of Ulster already existed in this county, there is evidence to suggest that it existed merely in name only. It was a movement which for the most part was led by the political activism of the local clergy and witnessed the union of different denominations in their common fight for tenant rights. This paper will examine that struggle for tenant-right in Donegal with a focus on the efforts of the Rev. Edward Glacken. His zealous enthusiasm for the movement meant he was well-known throughout the county. As a member of the committee in the county he moved in the same circles as the likes of Charles Gavan Duffy, but a public enquiry brought him to national and even international attention, when, in 1853, it was believed he had been the target of government assassins sent out from Dublin to shoot the advocates of tenant-right. The paper will in essence, introduce the overlooked Glacken into the historiography of tenant-right and explore the movement for ‘the Ulster custom’ in Donegal.


‘Toasting the memory of Thomas Paine in nineteenth-century British popular radicalism’

Manon Nouvian (Trinity College Dublin)
One of the most famous political thinkers of the late 18th century in Great Britain, Thomas Paine died a lonely man on 8th June 1809 in the United States and was buried in a corner of his farm at New Rochelle in the greatest indifference, largely unnoticed by a world he had once contributed to shape by his works. Burnt in effigy by the loyalist crowds in the early 1790s, his name had become anathema and synonymous with treason and blasphemy by the time of his death. His legacy and the influence of his thought on the popular radical movement that emerged in the post-Napoleonic war period, however, made him hard to forget. As a radical reformer, Thomas Paine remained a hero of political reform well into the nineteenth century, while the Rights of Man figured predominantly in the ‘canon’ of British popular radicalism. This paper will analyse the ways in which Thomas Paine was commemorated in British radical circles throughout the nineteenth century. Through the study of toasts given on the occasion of radical dinners, balls and tea parties, it will show how the radical memory of Paine, and the meaning ascribed to it, evolved as each group appropriating it emphasised a different aspect of the posterity of their hero.


The self-representation of municipal authorities in medieval chartered towns of Ireland, Prussia and Livonia
Anna Maleszka (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland)
The regions under discussion are commonly referred to as medieval frontier areas. Among various features that distinguished them from the “centre” of the Europe, one of particular importance here is the similarity of the process of medieval urbanisation: in Ireland, Prussia and Livonia this process was linked with the conquest, inflow of foreigners (the English in Ireland, Germans and Scandinavians in Prussia and Livonia) and the extensive use of charters, defining the new role and new features of towns and their communities. In the paper I would like to focus on the issue of authorities of such chartered towns; in particular on the way they presented themselves in documents, acts, correspondence and by-laws. Commonly the municipal authorities in the three regions, responsible for production of municipal normative acts and documents – especially councils and clerks – extensively referred to the ideas of common good and common decision-making of all citizens. Although such ideas indeed determined the essence of the model of municipal community that was developed in medieval Europe, the real functioning of municipal authorities considerably differed from the ideal. One of the reasons for the ongoing attractiveness of these ideas in such geographically remote regions was the need for legitimisation of power taken over by municipal councils. Hence, I would like to present the means of self-representation of town authorities as observed in normative sources and correspondence of Irish, Prussian and Livonian towns, as well as to point attention to mechanisms and features found in all three regions.


The expansion of “Nordic race” in Ireland and Poland in H.F.K. Günther’s works

Mateusz Maleszka (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland)
Hans Friedrich Karl Günther (1891-1968) was the most influential Nazi anthropologist. Having completed his studies also abroad (in France, Austria and Sweden), he became acquainted with a number of methods of anthropological classification of human races and developed his own which became the most popular in Nazi Germany. After he distinguished six racial types within the Caucasian race, he assigned a leading role to the Nordic and Phalic people. Other races were rated as less developed. According to his concepts, it was the round-headed Alpine race, to which most of ancient Celtic and Slavic people belonged, that was the worst. However, this did not mean that all Celts and Slavs belonged to this low-grade racial type. Many of them, despite their life among representatives of the Alpine race, belonged to the highest rated races. The aim of the paper is to indicate how racial relations developed at the eastern and western frontiers of Europe, inhabited by Celtic and Slavic populations, according to this German anthropologist. Among the raised issues there will be the chronology of influx of successive waves of Nordic people to the areas under study (prehistoric era, Migration Period and the Viking era). I would also like to compare Günther’s ideas with findings of other German scholars of the past, historians and archaeologists who also studied this subject, such as Gustaf Kossinna (1858-1931) or Houston S. Chamberlain (1855-1927).

The effects of the Moldovan language laws on Transnistria's russified population

Keith Harrington (NUI Maynooth) Moldovan's and Minorities
In the late 1980s, Moldovan nationalists began calling for their language to be recognised as the sole official language of the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic. As the titular nationality of the Republic mobilised itself behind these calls, local government came under increasing pressure. Eventually, feeling that they had little option, the Moldovan Supreme Soviet passed the ‘Law on Languages’ on the 31 August 1989. These laws decreed that the state language of the Republic was to be Moldovan/Romanian, which was to be written only in the Latin script. These laws effectively alienated almost forty-percent of the population, who could not speak Romanian. This set Moldova on what would be a bloody road to independence. Reacting to what they saw as discriminatory laws, ethnic Russians and Ukrainians, who lived on the left bank of the River Dniester, now known as Transnistria, began to mobilise themselves into armed units in defence of their language and culture. Scholars have largely failed to provide any substantial study into how Moldova’s language laws affected the Slavic population of Transnistria. Instead, they argue that Transnistria’s quest for independence was spearheaded by political and social elites. While this may be the case, recent material uncovered in the Tiraspol City Archive and Moldovan National Library suggests there were genuine fears among the Slavic population. This paper will provide a fresh look at the history of conflict between Moldova and Transnistria, asking the question ‘How did Moldova’s language laws affect the Russian speaking minority of Transnistria at this time?’

Fashionable sin and the difficult commandment’: Examining Irish religious sexual advice pamphlets

Cian Ó Néill (Independent Scholar)
This paper examines the discourse within Catholic sexual advice pamphlets between c. 1945 and 1960. The study of sexuality is one which is largely neglected within the existing Irish social historiography, and the existing studies tend to focus upon what went wrong, through sexual abuse, prostitution and venereal disease. This paper shifts the focus towards a study of the normative experience of Irish sexuality through examining the discourse present within Catholic advice pamphlets. I offer a discussion of the way in which Catholic values were presented, and examine the language used regarding the importance of preserving ‘Irish purity’ in the face of a changing and modernising society. I also discuss the difficulties faced separating the sinful connotations of sex within married sexuality, and the tentative steps towards liberalisation which occurred later. This paper also examines the theme of control, and the different expressions of how to deal with male and female sexuality. This discussion contrasts the denial of female sexual desire which fed a dominant belief that female sexual passivity was the perfect way to counter seemingly unbridled male sexual urges. This section also engages with the work of sexual philosophers and sociologists such as Michel Foucault and Tom Inglis. Finally, as a counterpoint, I discuss the treatment of sexuality within the Protestant Church. This is revealing of similarities between the concerns regarding a modernising society and the effect this would have on young people’s ideas of purity and self-control.

Towards a Geertzian Historical-Interpretive Science of Male Homosexuality on Ireland, c.1885-1925

Matthew Molloy (NUIG Maynooth)
This paper explores various dimensions to and dynamics of male homosexuality on Ireland in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth century, drawing exclusively on the General Prison Board files of men incarcerated in Irish prisons for same-sex-related crimes between c.1885 and 1925. Further, this paper challenges some recent approaches to the study of male homosexuality on the British Isles and Ireland, especially those various methodologies and the brand of postmodernist hermeneutics demonstrated in the works of historian acolytes of the New British Queer History school. Beyond such a critique, this paper proposes an outline, or a partial outline, of an alternative framework for the study of historical (homo-) sexuality on Ireland, revisiting the writings of two seminal theorists thinking through the postmodernist or hermeneutical “turn” of the 1960s and 70s, the American cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz and French philosopher and historian Michel Foucault.


Physical Culture and the Absent Body in Historical Writing

Connor Heffernan (Trinity College Dublin)
In a fascinating insight into Victorian biography, Kathryn Hughes recently lamented the absence of the physical body within biographies as a genre. The body, she astutely notes, tends to be an afterthought, overshadowed by the wider events of the time. When the body does appear, it is in times of illness, usually the period preceding the subject’s death. Given the rather banal observation that we experience the world through our physical body, the tendency to neglect the body within a subject’s lived experience is worrisome. While historians have turned in greater attention to corporeal matters since Roy Porter’s famous call to arms in the early 1990s, the results have been rather one sided. Influenced one suspects, by the post-modern turn within history, the body became a site for systems of power rather than an embodied ‘self’ acting within the world. The body became a symbol for wider societal movements rather than a living breathing entity. Though the history of medicine has largely sought to counteract this emphasis through its focus on illness, the healthy, vibrant body within historical writing is largely taken for granted. Alluding to Drew Leder’s influential work, one can find an ‘absent body’ within the wider historical canon. Stemming from these issues, the current presentation seeks to examine how a subject’s individual relationship with their body can be understood through physical culture. Understood as purposeful exercise systems in which the development of the body is the key aim (i.e. gymnastics, callisthenics, ‘keep-fit’ and bodybuilding amongst other practices), the presentation uses physical culture in Ireland from 1893 to 1939 as a means of positioning the lived, malleable and healthy body at the forefront of historical enquiry. Such work adds a lived reality to broader historical fields of gender, sport and society more generally.

Limerick and the insane: The emergence of Irish psychiatry and its practice concerning Limerick City and County, 1800 – 1840

Triona Waters (Mary Immaculate College Limerick)
The emergence of Irish psychiatry as a medical phenomenon, legislative advancement, and as a profession can be traced back to the final decades of the 1700s. However, evidence of madness has been acknowledged by Brendan Kelly in Irish folklore derived from 600A.D. Therefore, madness and the interpretation of, has been constantly evolving within both the public and private sphere as far back as evidence shows and continues to be a matter of urgency within current discourse today. Ireland was the first country in the Western World to play host to an official district lunatic asylum system, and Limerick City, in turn, hosted the second institution in the series of these public asylums. This presentation will delineate the emergence and legislative progression of psychiatry within Ireland for the poor insane and how such occurrences affected those medically branded as ‘insane’ in Limerick City during the first half of the nineteenth century, concerning its newly erected district asylum.


‘The Irish-born private patients of the Royal Edinburgh Asylum, 1868-1898
Michael Kinsella (Ulster University)
Through an examination of the case books, patient registers and annual reports of the Royal Edinburgh Asylum, this paper uncovers a pattern of migration whereby middle and higher-class Irish people, predominantly from Ulster, travelled to Edinburgh for the purpose of entering the REA as private patients. In addition, a number of wealthy, and in some cases prominent, Irish people also journeyed to the REA in search of care and treatment. The history of Irish psychiatry focusses primarily on pauper lunatics with relatively little attention given to the experiences of the middle and upper-classes. This paper seeks to make a small contribution to addressing this lacuna. The paper argues that the experiences of middle and higher-class Irish people at the REA were shaped primarily by their social class. Gender was also an important factor in determining both the treatment outcomes, diagnosis and quality of care encountered by the Irish-born patients of this study. This paper contends that there is a lack of evidence to sustain an argument that either ethnicity or religion were major influences on the way in which middle-class Irish-born patients experienced life at the REA. It is also argued that the middle and higher-class Irish-born patients experienced differential advantages over Irish pauper patients in other British lunatic asylums and consequently were more likely to recover and less likely to find themselves incarcerated for more than five years.

  part from the World: St Joseph’s Asylum for Aged and Virtuous Women, 1836- 1922

Olivia Frehill (Trinity College Dublin)

St Joseph’s Asylum for Aged and Virtuous Women, Portland Row was the only Irish institution specifically catering for Catholic, aged, single females and operated from 1836- 1993. This presentation shall focus on the period from 1836- 1922. This institution provides a window into broader themes such as the intersectionality of old age and singleness, the operation of miniature welfare systems, and the role of religion in old age. The marginalization of the single woman increased with age. Illness, lack of savings, unemployment and lack of connections emerge as important determinants in an individual’s decision to enter St Joseph’s with inmates spanning the servant class through to the middle class. The many inmates who entered under the age of 60 are reflective of the stunted female labour market, pre- eminence of functional old age and stigmatisation of this group. Entering ‘old age prematurely’ was normalised for this group. The primacy of religion within the institution highlights how religion, death and ageing became inter- linked. The inmates of St Joseph’s were largely a group apart from the world- in the world but not of it. Earthly considerations were renounced. Achieving eternity became the focus of their lives with religion acting as a vital tool for attaining this. In the absence of state support, management were compelled to devise a complex and creative web of funding sources, cultivate influential connections and develop strong business acumen in order to survive with the 1908 pension heralding the first trickle of state support into St Joseph’s.


Poitín making, secret societies and the murder of Norton Butler in Inishowen, 1816
Kelvin Gates (Ulster University)
This piece will argue that the death of Norton Butler in Inishowen in 1816 was as a result of the coalescence of rural ‘secret societies’ and the illicit whiskey or poitín industry, and the power and influence these held on the peninsula.
Paul McGinley (Queen’s University Belfast): The City by night: an analysis of the perceptions of darkness and its association with crime in Ireland, 1870-1920
The aim of my MA thesis is to highlight the emotional experience of the urban night and how it changed during the gradual electrification of the city nightscape in Ireland, between 1870 and 1920. In my MA thesis it is my intention to compare the regional similarities and differences between Dublin and Belfast, two peripheral, colonial cities which experienced at similar times the introduction of electric street lighting. Due to the relative gap in historiography surrounding city street lighting in Irish cities, I will be applying some of the analysis from transnational research onto these case studies, in order to highlight the wider significance of emotion and how it changes with the urban environment. In this contentious period of agrarian agitation, political strife and the growth of paramilitary organisation, urban night life in the Irish city remains an under explored aspect of Irish history. By looking closely at some of the experiences and representations of urban night crime during the late 19th - early 20th century in Ireland, this paper will aim to highlight how perceptions changed in reaction to the new electric street lighting, if they changed at all. By analysing the change over time and space of the urban landscape, we can effectively see how material changes in the city affected the emotional experience of the city at night.

Politics and domesticity: The letters of Pamela Fitzgerald and Lucy Fitzgerald between 1796 and 1798

Laura Mather (Mary Immaculate College Limerick)
The main theme of this paper will be to focus on the political and domestic themes of the letters between Pamela Fitzgerald and Lucy Fitzgerald between 1796 and 1798. Pamela, the wife of Irish leader of the United Irishmen Edward Fitzgerald and Lucy Fitzgerald, younger sister of Edward Fitzgerald were both significantly involved in the political circles of the United Irishmen. The letters exchanged between the sisters-in-law revealed an aspect of the female role in the political realm of Irish revolutionary politics. Pamela’s letters came to embody both the political and domestic role that women in the late eighteenth century came to play. Prior to the research conducted on Pamela’s letters her potential role in the Irish Rebellion of 1798 was downplayed significantly in comparison to her husbands. The letters written between Pamela and Lucy, who was also significantly politicized, reveals the more active role of women in politics than previously perceived.

Anglo-Irish Identity and the Dillon family of Galway: The Clonbrock Photographic Collection

Úna Kavanagh (NUI Galway)
This paper is part of a larger research project which examines the Clonbrock Photographic Collection of the Dillon family, Clonbrock, Ahascragh, Co. Galway. It explores a rural Anglo-Irish cultural identity and its representation through the medium of photography. The Clonbrock Photographic Collection extends over three generations of the Dillon family and dates from 1860 to 1930. This paper will focus on two particular decades: 1863-1873, which observes the emergence of photography in Ireland, and 1900-1910, the first decade of the twentieth century. Through critically selected images, from 1863 to 1873, family life at the Big House is interrogated. The first decade of the new century sees a wider representation of Anglo-Irish culture beyond the Big House. How the dual identity of the Dillon family is evidenced through flags present in certain photographs will be explored. Lady Augusta Dillon is a central figure in the Clonbrock Photographic Collection and a key character in both periods.


Na Gearaltaigh agus Traidisiún Lámhscríofa na hÉireann (The Geraldines and the Irish Manuscript Tradition)
Dónal Ó Catháin (Independent Scholar)
Tuigeann staraithe go maith go raibh na Gearaltaigh, go háirithe Iarlaí Dheasmhumhan, ar na samplaí is deise de phátrúin ar aos léinn na hÉireann sna meánaoiseanna déanacha. Ní féidir an tionchar ollmhór a bhí acu ar thraidisiúin léinn na hÉireann a shéanadh. Sa pháipéar seo, déanfar iarracht a dtábhacht agus an ról riachtanach a d’imríodar a thaispeáint maidir le caomhnú thraidisiúin scríofa agus léinn na nGael trí shúil a chaitheamh ar an bhfianaise a mhaireann dá bpátrúnacht shaibhir - na lámhscríbhinní. Pléifear ann freisin an tslí ar chuireadar féin le corpas na lámhscríbhinní atá tagtha anuas chugainn ó na meánaoiseanna déanacha. Ar deireadh, léireofar an ról uathúil agus lárnach a bhí acu i múnlú thraidisiún lámhscríofa na hÉireann óna dteacht go Cúige Mumhan go dtí an Nua-Aois Luath.
(The Geraldines, particularly the Earls of Desmond, are well known to historians as one of the finest examples of late medieval patrons of the learned classes in Ireland. Their massive influence on the Irish learned tradition cannot be doubted. This paper seeks to outline their importance and the vital role they played in the continuation of the Irish scribal and learned traditions by examining the evidence for their widespread patronage - the manuscripts. It will also discuss how they contributed to the corpus of surviving manuscript material from the late medieval period. Finally, it will show the pivotal and unique role they played in the shaping of the Irish manuscript tradition from their arrival in Munster until the early modern period.)

An caidreamh idir an tOrd Oráisteach agus an Rialtas sa Tuaisceart ó 1921 go 1968 (Relations between the Orange Order and the Northern Government from 1921 to 1968)

Ciarán Ó Meachair (Queen’s University Belfast)
Tá tugtha faoi deara ag an bPobal Aontachtach gur sampla é an tOrd Oráisteach den chuid is fearr d’oidhreacht agus de chultúr na bProtastúnach. Bíonn imeachtaí cosúil leis an ‘Tweltth’ an-tábhachtach chun an oidhreacht agus cultúr seo a cheiliúradh. Is mar seo go dtig linn a rá go gcloíonn siad le sainchuid de chultúr an phobail Phrotastúnaigh. Úsáideann an tOrd tuiscint stairiúil chun a chruthú cultúrtha agus polaitiúil a dhlisteanú. Tá an tuairim ann gur bunaíodh an stát sa Tuaisceart faoi smacht an phobail Aontachtaigh amháin, agus chomh maith leis sin go raibh an Rialtas Aontachtach faoi thionchar an Oird Oráistigh. Bunaíodh an Páirtí Aontachtach in 1905 agus bhí baill den Ord Oráisteach i measc na mbunaitheoirí. Bhí airí agus polaiteoirí eile i rialtais éagsúla ar baill den Ord Oráisteach iad freisin agus bhíodh polasaithe seicteacha ina rannóga. Nuair a chuir Terence O’Neil tús le caidreamh nua leis an mionlach Caitliceach a fhorbairt, thit sé faoi lámh láidir na heiliminte antoiscí sa Phobal Aontachtach, an tOrd Oráisteach ina measc. Is é atá mar sprioc ag an bpáipéar seo ná míniú a thabhairt ar an mborradh a tháinig ar thacaíocht don Ord Oráisteach, an bhaint a bhí ag an Ord Oráisteach leis an Rialtas Aontachtach a dheimhniú agus iarmhairtí an chaidrimh seo a léiriú.
(The Unionist population has noticed that the Orange Order is an example of the best parts of Protestant heritage and culture. Events such as the ‘Twelfth’ are very important to celebrate this heritage and culture. Because of this, we can say that they cleave to an integral part of the Protestant community’s culture. The Order uses historical insight to legitimise cultural and political establishment. The idea is maintained that the Northern Irish state was founded under the rule of the Unionist community alone and also, that the Unionist government was under the influence of the Orange Order. The Unionist Party was founded in 1905 and members of the Orange Order were amongst the founders. Orange Order members were both ministers and politicians in various governments and sectarian policies were found in their departments. When Terence O’Neil started developing relations with the Catholic minority, he came into contact with extremist elements of the Unionist community, including the Orange Order. The aim of this paper is to explain the growth of the Orange Order’s support, determine the extent of the connection between the Orange Order and the Unionist Government and show the consequences of that relationship.)


Co. Leitrim: Politics and War, 1912-1923

Pat McGarty (Dublin City University)
The paper explores the ‘Irish Revolution’ through a systematic analysis of events at a regional level in Co. Leitrim between the years 1912 and 1923. Both political behaviour and military activity are examined from the introduction of the Home Rule Bill to the end of the Irish civil war, a period of extraordinary upheaval and unrest at a national level. The contested historiography of the period is outlined, and its application to Leitrim is examined. Aside from the 1919-1923 period of intense conflict across the country, the eleven-year period between 1912 and 1923 witnessed a massive political transformation with the collapse of the Irish Party and the rise of Sinn Fein. The study examines the party machines of constitutional and advanced nationalism at local level and ascertains whether the political motivations and operations of both factions were based on narrow parochial and personal interests, rather than social class or ideology. The motivations and social status of participants, the interconnections of political factions, and what influenced the decline of these groupings constitute a major element of the study. The effect of the First World War on the county is examined in detail. Recruitment patterns, casualties, motivation for enlisting, voluntary war work, and reaction to the war are outlined. The effect of the war on the social and economic fabric of society is also explored. A detailed examination of Leitrim’s experience of political violence in the 1919-1923 period is undertaken as part of the study. Military strategy, structures, and operations are examined in both the War of Independence and Civil War period. In summary, the paper charts the impact on local politics and society of the linked national and international conflicts of the period, examining whether the consequences for a rural community in the north west of Ireland were transformative, or quite limited in nature.

'Masters of Our Own House': Post-coloniality and the Shaping of Treatyite Politics, 1922-24

Seán Donnelly (Teeside University)
Drawing from my current doctoral research at Teesside University, I propose to deliver a paper highlighting the value of postcolonial theory in attempting to understand the range of intellectual forces that shaped Treatyite politics during the Irish Civil War. By highlighting the acute image-consciousness of the Provisional Government, and by emphasising the manner in which this sensitivity to external perception was heightened as a consequence of the island’s history of colonisation, I hope to show that theories developed by scholars such as Frantz Fanon and Homi Bhabha can be productively applied to the study of modern Irish history.
In 2007, the editors of a special edition of the Éire-Ireland journal declared that ‘Ireland and empire is now one of the most vibrant fields of inquiry in Irish Studies’; however, historians have proven very reluctant to expand the scope of such investigations to encompass the period after the institutionalisation of the Free State. They have, too, been wary of engaging with postcolonial theory in the manner that scholars involved with Irish Cultural Studies have done so productively since the 1980s. I would hope to make some contribution towards redressing this imbalance by examining the many varied and complex ways in which the colonial dynamics the Anglo-Irish relationship continued to shape Irish national identity in the turbulent months that followed the ratification of the Treaty on 7 January 1922.

Echoes of Civil War: The 1930s Blueshirt Crisis

Dan Haverty (University College Cork)
The Irish Civil War (1922-3) left a lasting and bitter legacy on Irish politics for generations. It consolidated the 1922 Sinn Fein split, spawning the two political parties—Fianna Fail and Fine Gael—that would dominate Irish politics into the present day. Despite the war’s relatively quick conclusion, hostility, mistrust, and paramilitarism did not subside. Fianna Fail’s assumption of power in 1932 precipitated a major crisis that reopened Civil War wounds and very nearly tipped the country into a second civil war. This paper will examine the origins and motivations of the National Guard—whose members were more commonly called ‘Blueshirts’—and its open clashes with the IRA. It will address Fianna Fail’s open association with the IRA and Cumann na nGaedheal/Fine Gael’s consequent alliance with the National Guard. It will give special attention to the Blueshirts’ proposed August 1933 march on Dublin, which is a relatively overlooked event but which this writer presents as the pivotal moment of the crisis. More generally, this paper will argue that the 1930s Blueshirt crisis was a transformational moment in independent Ireland’s early political development. It drove both major parties to disassociate themselves from their violent pasts and progress to a more mature stage in their political development, allowing (southern) Ireland to escape the political violence that was a consistent feature in its politics in the 1910s, 1920s, and early 1930s.


Mentalities, Motivations and Priorities of the Derry Crowd during the Riots of August 1969
Josie Richardson (Queen’s University Belfast)
In their monograph on the start of the conflict in Belfast and Derry, Simon Prince and Geoffrey Warner have stated that, ‘the ‘crowd’ is a concise, convenient way of referring to a collection of individuals each of whom felt varying degrees of solidarity within the group.’ The objective of this paper is twofold. First, it endeavours to unpick this umbrella and all-encompassing term by analysing the mentalities, motivations and priorities of ‘ordinary’ people who took to streets of Derry in 1969. In addition, it seeks to give a more comprehensive analysis to the riots that erupted in Northern Ireland at the start of the conflict. This paper will be episodic, focusing on seminal events in 1969, the Battle of the Bogside in particular. However, a consideration of street protests and riots prior to August, especially in January and April, will offer useful context in order to explain the mentalities of the crowd in August. It will allude to the multiple factors that siphoned feeling amongst the Catholic crowd in Derry and motivated them to take to the street. The factors and themes that will be addressed are as follows: role of the media, responses to provocative behaviour of the police and loyalist mobs, power of rumour, thrill and excitement of rioting, rioting as a defence mechanism, communalism, mob psychology, and divergences between the crowd and its leadership.

The Northern Ireland Troubles and Musgrave Park Hospital

Ruth Coon (Ulster University)
During the Troubles in Northern Ireland over 40,000 people were injured, and as a result, the healthcare services played a major role during this time. During the conflict world leading surgical specialties were developed. This paper will discuss the role the Troubles had in the development of the medical infrastructure and services, as well as the advancement of medical knowledge at Musgrave Park Hospital (Belfast). This hospital played an important role during the period, as the main facility for orthopaedics and rehabilitation, as well as being home to the British Army’s military hospital. The conflict created many challenges for the health services including the threat of attack and the cost of security for hospitals, as well as the additional needs of those injured. Yet, this paper argues that during this difficult period in Northern Ireland, Musgrave Park developed into a world-leading centre for orthopaedics and rehabilitation. As well as playing a positive role in the advancement of military medicine, which had beneficial applications for future international conflicts. This was all made possible through the increased funding, improved facilities and by staff using their experiences during the Troubles to develop new techniques and practices. The paper considers the larger issue of whether medicine benefits from war and the idea of positive developments from conflict.

‘No Country is an Island’

Elisa Cofini (University of Trento, Italy)
Taking a cue on the Latin motto “Quis separabit?”, a slogan which is often used in relation to Irish situation, this paper takes a glance at the topos of unity in Irish political discourse. The reasoning focuses on Irish historical geography in order to demonstrate the failure of the insularity paradigm on a wider scale. Starting with some general considerations concerning the ethnology of Ireland, this paper aims to show: on the one hand, how geomorphology conditioned the growth of the national units of the Island and, on the other hand, how the appreciation of the Irish geographical position has contributed to the political debate, which escalated in a civil war that changed the course of history in that region.
For this reason, after introducing the notion of "Insularity", this paper shows how this paradigm influenced the discussion on two main topics: boundaries and sovereignty. In this regard, this work seeks to prove how the arguments based on historical geography should now, in the case of Northern Ireland, be overcome by the needs and values of its new-born original community. Consequently, in the final part of this work, the analysis takes into consideration the possible reasons to claim a change in the current attitude about national borders. Indeed, frontiers seem to be still grounded on the same geographical and historical argument, whereas they appear today to be overshadowed by the definition of an emerging original community, distinguishable both from the British and Irish ones.

The early twentieth-century Irish landed class: a military caste?

George Evans (King’s College London)
Corelli Barnett described the ‘Anglo-Irish gentry’ as the nearest equivalent to a Prussian Junker caste in the British Isles. Military historians have also noted the presence of the Irish – almost always landed Irish – at the pinnacle of the British army. Between 1850 and 1958, twenty Field Marshals came from Ireland or had significant Irish connections. This figure includes successive Commander-in-Chiefs of the Forces at the start of the previous century. Yet in the historiography of contemporaneous Ireland, the militarisation of the landed class, or formerly landed class, has rarely been foregrounded. In the first part of the paper, a quantitative analysis of genealogies of the Irish peerage and gentry, correlated to various military sources, will be presented, focused on the years at the turn of the twentieth-century. It will be shown that the level of military involvement was markedly high even in this relatively peaceable period. Around 40% of the heads of Irish gentry families in 1899, for example, were forces or ex-forces, findings which imply a military commitment unusual in comparison to landed elites elsewhere in the British Isles. Next, the potential salience of the concept of a military caste will be discussed. It will be suggested that Barnett’s ‘Junker’ designation, properly qualified, enjoys some relevance for understanding the militarised Irish gentry of the early twentieth-century.

Army without bugles: the boys of B Company, 4th Battalion, Dublin Brigade in the War of Independence

Thomas Tormey (Trinity College Dublin)
The Decade of Centenaries has seen the release of large tranches of source material relating to the history of the Irish revolution. Much of the subject matter of these files relates to the individual service records of separatist veterans. Using the files from the Military Service Pensions Archive, including pension and medal applications, this paper will offer a treatment of the Irish War of Independence from the point of view of the volunteers of a particular IRA company. That is, B Company of the 4th Battalion of the Dublin Brigade; a local unit in the south-eastern quarter of the capital’s inner core. In its examination of service records, this presentation will also discuss the utility of these newly available sources themselves. By combining the approaches of source-criticism, prosopography and military-unit history, this granular analysis will provide deep insights into the nature Republican militant activism in Dublin in the revolutionary period and the course of the Anglo-Irish War.

Aspects of Charles Haughey`s Involvement in the 1970 Arms Crisis

Michael Heney (University College Dublin)
The 1970 Arms Crisis was one of the most celebrated events in twentieth century Irish history, and one of the most contentious. This paper argues that findings from new research indicates it could be time for a fundamental re-assessment of the historical significance of those events.
The crisis arose when Jack Lynch as Taoiseach sacked two of his most senior Ministers, Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney, after they were associated with a failed arms importation attempt devised in the aftermath of the civil disturbances in Northern Ireland in August 1969. It has never been clear whether the two sacked Ministers were plotting against Lynch to re-arm the IRA or were scapegoated as part of an internal Fianna Fáil power struggle. A large body of official documentation released to Irish and British National Archives in January 2001 has transformed research opportunities, but it is only now, after 16 years, that this is being systematically evaluated academically. The new findings, as yet unpublished, are based both on the State Papers and on original research; they challenge the widely held belief that Charles Haughey, before May 1970, was running an alternative administration to Lynch, otherwise described as ‘a Government within a Government’. The broadly-based research queries Haughey`s role as a scheming plotter against Lynch, a central part of most perspectives on the Arms Crisis; it has significant implications for research on Lynch and Gibbons, but even in isolation, points to a need for a fresh historical approach to the 1970 crisis.


‘The jezebel who sought to destroy Israel in a day’: Thatcher’s impact on the Northern Ireland peace process, 1984-1987
Fiona McKelvey (Ulster University)
The death of Margaret Thatcher in 2013 caused a tidal wave of comment within the United Kingdom. In Northern Ireland, Thatcher left a divided legacy. Unionists continued to admire her for her no-nonsense approach, particularly in relation to the PIRA. Yet they also felt that the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA), which gave Dublin a consultative role in the affairs of Northern Ireland, was a treacherous sell-out. Meanwhile, nationalists had little sympathy. In an article published in The Guardian, Gerry Adams wrote that her Northern Ireland policies had caused the Irish people ‘great hurt’, and that while he could forgive her for her attempts at diplomacy he could never forget how she handled the hunger strikes of 1980 and 1981. Yet Thatcher’s tentative negotiations with Charles Haughey and Garret FitzGerald are widely acknowledged as the first steps towards the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. This presentation will examine Thatcher’s Northern Ireland policy from 1984, in the run up to the AIA. Taking advantage of newly released PREM files from London, NIO files from Belfast and Department of the Taoiseach files from Dublin, this presentation will examine how Thatcher negotiated with FitzGerald towards the ground-breaking AIA. The presentation will also examine the aftermath of the agreement, taking into account PREM files which were released in 2017, to assess Thatcher’s influence over the early stages of the Northern Ireland peace process. Did Thatcher’s interest in Northern Ireland wane after signing the agreement she later admitted to regretting? How did she work with Haughey after their previous fall-outs over press statements and the Falkland’s War? This discussion will go some way to understanding the ambivalent commentary in Northern Ireland following her death and her overall impact on the province she deemed was “as British as Finchley”.