Dr Patrick Murphy will deliver a 6-part online course in Irish History and Literature, beginnning on Tuesday 13 October 2020, 7-9pm.
Irish Freedom: From Home Rule to Free State. Six online lectures to mark the centenary of Ireland’s independence
Host: University of Liverpool Continuing Education
Ireland is marking the 100th anniversary of Irish independence by a ‘Decade of Centenaries’ from 1913 to 1923. At the beginning of this decade there was overwhelming support for Home Rule – Irish self-government within the United Kingdom – but very little for a republic. Yet within a few years there was a complete transformation which led to Ireland’s break with the UK. These six lectures and discussions will explain why this happened and why it has had such profound consequences, not only for Ireland but also for the United Kingdom.
- Tuesday 13 October 2020 7 -9pm
The Undoing of Irish Constitutional Nationalism: The Home Rule Crisis and the Great War – 1914-1916.
In 1914 Irish nationalism found itself in its most advantageous position since the heyday of Parnell. The Irish Parliamentary Party held the balance of power and forced the Liberal government to introduce a Home Rule bill, and the Parliament Act of 1911 removed the House of Lords’ veto which had derailed previous attempts to implement Irish Home Rule. But the nationalists gravely misjudged the forces ranged against them and the Home Rule bill and the outbreak of war marked the beginning of the end of John Redmond and constitutional nationalism.
2) Tuesday 3 November 2020 7-9pm
‘All changed, changed utterly’: The Easter Rising and the Triumph of Defeat
Before the Easter Rising of 1916 the majority of Irish people supported John Redmond’s Home Rule movement. Sinn Fein was almost defunct as a political party and the organisations that took part in the rebellion, the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Republican Brotherhood had little public support. The Rising never had a chance of military success but the nature of a rebellion against the most powerful nation on earth and the sacrifice of the rebels was a far more powerful symbolic victory.
3) Tuesday 1 December 7-9pm
‘The Banner that Flies Nearest the Sky’: The Irish Republic and the Death of Home Rule – 1916-1918.
The Irish Home Rule Act, passed by the British parliament in 1914 promised Ireland self-government within the United Kingdom. Home Rule was to come into effect at the end of the war and was widely supported by the majority of nationalists. However, after the Easter Rising in Dublin, the Home Rule movement, led by John Redmond, was eclipsed by the rise of Sinn Fein and the Irish Volunteers. Nationalist aspirations turned away from Home Rule to an Irish Republic, independent of British Rule. In James Fintan Lawlor’s resonant phrase, the vision of the republic was now ‘The banner that flies nearest the sky’.
4) Tuesday 2 February 2021 7-9 pm
‘The Freedom to Achieve Freedom’: The War of Independence and the Anglo-Irish Treaty – 1919—1921
Sinn Fein won an overwhelming victory in the general election of 1918 and immediately established the first independent Irish Parliament, the Dáil, which the British government refused to recognise. A bitter conflict erupted between republicans and British forces including the infamous Black and Tans. The guerrilla campaign led by Michael Collins was very different to 1916 and forced the British to the negotiating table in 1921 and led to the Anglo-Irish Treaty which, Collins argued, offered ‘The Freedom to Achieve Freedom’.
5) Tuesday 2 March 2021 7-9pm
The Unfinished Revolution: Civil War, the Eclipse of Social Radicalism and the Irish Free State – 1922-1924
For many nationalists Irish independence was the chance to build a new, free and more equal society – an Irish republic. As the Irish writer Dorothy MacArdle noted, for every individual in the movement ‘the Republic seemed the Ireland of his desire’. However, the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which led to the formation of the Irish Free State and partitioned the country, fell far short of this ideal and, for many, it seemed like the victory of a narrow conservative nationalism. Although the Treaty and the Free State was supported by a majority of the Irish people, a sizeable minority of republicans refused to accept this and took arms against their former comrades. The bitter civil war that followed deeply divided the country and shaped Irish political life for generations.
6) Tuesday 23 March 2021 7-9pm
‘A Temporary Exclusion’: Partition, Sectarianism and the Northern Ireland State.
The inclusion of partition and a Northern Ireland state in the Home Rule Act of 1914 was, it was claimed, ‘a temporary exclusion’ but was made permanent by the creation of the Northern Ireland state in 1921. This was seen as a betrayal by many nationalists, but Ulster unionists saw it as their only protection against the loss of their identity and traditions in a Catholic nationalist state. The Northern Ireland state was designed to give unionists a majority and, in the words of the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Lord Craigavon, it created ‘A Protestant government for a Protestant people’. The failure of successive British and Irish governments to deal with the state’s inherent instability and the discrimination that nationalists suffered has had far-reaching consequences with which we are still living.
These lectures can be booked individually at:
Fee: £11 per session.