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Ireland in 1800

In 1800 Ireland became part of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland through the Act of Union. When Ireland was in the U.K. it had no Parliament of its own. The 105 Irish M.P.s went to London to take part in Westminster.

Unionists and Nationalists

Unionists → Irish people who supported the Union with Britain. They

wanted Ireland to stay in the U.K. Why?

  1. Felt British

  2. Afraid as Protestants they would become a minority.

  3. Ulster was a wealthy region.

Nationalists → Wanted Ireland to be independent.

Extreme Nationalists → will go to any means to be free.

Moderate Nationalists → peaceful means only.

Origin: Many Irish people believed that the answer of Ireland’s problem lay in the setting up of a Parliament in Dublin which would control Irish domestic affairs.

Definition: “Home Rule did not mean a total separation from Britain, but a Parliament in Dublin which would look after Ireland’s internal affairs.”

Start of the Home Rule Party

1. Issac Butt → started Home Rule in 1870, Protestant from Donegal. He set it up because he felt Britain was

A. Not taking care of Irish problems.

B. Revolutions wouldn’t take place if we had a Parliament.

2. Parnell → A. Born Avondale, Wicklow 1846.

B. Protestant landowner.

C. He made the Home Rule Party strong and united. Set up Party Pledge → All Home Rule politicians must vote together or resign.

3. The Land League: During this time Michael Davatt set up the Land League to help poor farmers and tenants to buy back their land from landlords. Parnell supported them and in return farmers supported the Home Rule Party. Home Rule became very popular and Parnell was named the “uncrowned King of Ireland”.

4. How did Parnell get the British to give Home Rule?

The Liberal Party leader was Gladstone. In 1885 General Election the Home Rule Party held the balance of power. If the Liberals wanted to get in they had to support Home Rule.

5. First Home Rule Bill 1886 → It did not pass.

6. The Fall of Parnell

A. In 1890 Capt. O’Shea divorced wife Catherine for affair with Parnell.

B. Big scandal. Turned against Parnell.

1. Liberal Party

2. Home Rule Party

3. Irish Bishops

4. Irish people

C. Parnell refused to resign, it broke up the party.

D. Died in 1891 only aged 45.

7. 2nd Home Rule Bill → This Bill was passed in the House of Commons but rejected by the House of Lords. Thus the Liberals lost power and the Conservatives got in.

8. Killing Home Rule with kindness

The Conservatives did not want Home Rule, they decided to help Irish farmers to buy back their lands. 3 land acts: 1. Ashbourne, 2. Balfour, 3. Wyndham. This is called killing Home Rule with kindness → it didn’t work.

9. 3rd Home Rule Bill

1911 Parliament Act: This said that the House of Lords could only delay a bill for 2 years. This was very good for Home Rule as the House of Lords could no longer stop it.

10. 3rd Home Rule Bill 1912 → passed the House of Commons but stopped by the Lords but would become law in 1914. But World War 1 broke out in 1914.
Unionist Reaction

  1. Didn’t want Home Rule for religious, economic and political reasons.

  2. Carson and Craig organised demonstrations → ½ million signed the Solemn League and Covenant.

  3. U.V.F. → Weapons → Larne → 1914.

  4. Irish response? Set up Irish Volunteers → Weapons → Howth.


A number of new organisations grew up in Ireland which were more concerned with Irish Culture and Sports than with Irish Independence.

The Decline of Irish Culture

Throughout the 18th century, Irish people became more like the English.

  1. They spoke English.

  2. They read English newspapers.

  3. Played English games e.g. rugby, cricket.

  4. Enjoyed English music and plays.

  1. The G.A.A.

    1. Set up in 1884.

    2. Michael Cusack.

    3. Promoted Gaelic football / hurling / handball.

    4. Every Parish had its own club.

    5. The ban on RIC (Police) and those who played English games.

  2. The Gaelic League

Background: By 1890 the Irish language was disappearing fast. Only 14% could speak it → due to famine and emigration.

Gaelic League

  1. 1893

  2. Douglas Hyde and Eoin MacNeill.

  3. Aims

      • Encourage to speak Irish

      • Print books in Irish

      • Set up clubs to speak Irish

  4. What it did

        1. Set up Irish Classes

        2. Had a newspaper “An Claidheamh Soluis”

        3. Organized Céilis

        4. Timíri → travelling teachers

  1. The Anglo-Irish Literary Movement

This was when writers wrote in English about Irish Life and Legends, Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats.

    1. 1904 set up the Abbey Theatre to put on Irish plays.

    2. J.M. Synge the most famous playwright. Wrote “The Playboys of the Western World” it led to riots outside the Abbey.


  1. In the last century conditions were very bad for industrial workers

    1. Long hours

    2. Poor pay

    3. Poor working conditions

  2. Some people wanted to improve the workers rights.

Socialists James Larkin

James Connolly.

  1. Larkin set up the I.T.G.W.U.

  2. Employers wanted to destroy the Union, August 1913 they locked their workers out (if they didn’t leave the Union) e.g. William Martin Murphy.

  3. 100 thousand without work

      1. Soup kitchens set up by e.g. CountessMarkieviez

      2. British Trade Unions helped.

  4. Spring 1914, strike a failure but employers couldn’t afford another.

  5. Larkin went to America. Connolly set up Citizen’s Army helped workers. This army then joins in for 1916 Rising.


  1. When World War 1 started Home Rule was postponed. Both the Ulster Volunteers were asked to join the war. About 60 thousand Irish men went during World War 1.

The Irish Volunteers split into 2

    • Those who went to war

    • Those who would not go led by Eoin MacNeill.

  1. The Revival of Extreme Nationalism:

The IRB planned a rebellion → Clarke, Pearse. They grew bigger by infiltrating the GAA and Gaelic League.

  1. Sinn Féin: The IRB also supported this new party set up in 1905 by Arthur Griffith. His idea was to get politicians elected and set up their own government in Dublin not Westminster.

  2. Planning the Rising → The military council of the IRB planned the Rising for Easter Sunday 1916. “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity.” James Connolly was also planning a rising so he was invited to join them so →

    1. IRB → Plan it.

    2. Army

  • Volunteers

  • And Citizen Army.


Wednesday April 19th: MacNeill does not want a Rising. The IRB show him the Castle Document → says the British are going to arrest the Volunteers. MacNeill → encourages Volunteers.

Saturday April 22nd: German ship the Aud captured and casement arrested.

MacNeill discovers the Castle Document is a forgery and cancels the rising in the Independent.

Sunday April 23rd: The IRB decides to go ahead on the Monday.

Monday April 24th: Rising starts →

          1. Pearse reads the Proclamation from the G.P.O.

          2. Four Courts, Bolands Mill (De Val.), College of Surgeons seized by rebels.

At first Irish do well.

Tuesday April 25th: British gunboat the Helga shells the G.P.O. and O’Connell Street. G.P.O. on fire.

Thursday April 27th: Connolly badly injured.

Friday April 28th: Rebels leave G.P.O. Very upset to see ordinary people killed in crossfire (esp. Pearse).

Saturday April 29th: They surrender.


  1. About 500 dead.

  2. Irish public angry at first but quickly changed at the rapid execution of 15 leaders Pearse, Ceannt, McDonagh.

  3. Short term failure but long term success as it changes Irish opinion.


Sinn Féin did very well as it got the blame / credit for the 1916 Rising.






Home Rule



Sinn Féin



This shows that people are not happy with Home Rule anymore → wanted full independence.


Sinn Féin refused to go to Westminster and set up the first Dáil 21 January 1919 President = DeValera

Vice President = Griffith

Minister for Finance = Collins

Volunteers now change name to the I.R.A.


  1. Michael Collins was the Volunteers / IRA Director of Intelligence. He had a network of spies around the country which included people in Dublin Castle. He trained a small group of spies and assassinators known as the Squad.

  2. The Start of War

In 1919 some IRA men began a search for guns → the best source was the RIC police stations. On the day of the first Dáil 21 Jan 1919 the war starts in Soloheadbeg, Co. Tipperary when 2 policemen were killed.

  1. Guerrilla War

→ hit and run. The Irish learned from the mistake of 1916. The only way to defeat a large well-armed army was by → ambushes

→ and assassinations.

  1. Irish Side → IRA breaks into groups Flying Columns e.g. Tom Barry, Dan Breen, Séan Treacy. They were protected in safe houses. Attacks RIC stations.

  2. English Side 1919 → Police RIC can’t deal with the situation so Black and Tans and Auxiliaries (ex-British soldiers) were brought in.

  3. Major events:

1920 1. Thomas MacCurtain, Lord Mayor of Cork dead.

2. Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, hunger strike.

3. Kevin Barry 18 years old IRA hanged.

4. Bloody Sunday Nov 21st

A. Squad kills 11 British spies

B. Croke Park, Black and Tans kill 14

C. Dublin Castle 3 killed

7. Truce July 1921

Irish running out of men and weapons. British expensive and bad public press.

While the war was going on the British Lloyd George passed this act dividing Ireland into 2

    1. 26 counties

    2. 6 counties

The Government of Ireland Act set up North Ireland with James Craig as the first Prime Minister of North Ireland. However the Irish would not accept this Home Rule for Ireland and continued fighting until 1921.

5 Irish delegates including Collins and Griffith.

Lloyd George and Churchill on the English side.

Treaty Terms

  1. 26 counties called the Irish Free State and would stay part of the Commonwealth.

  2. All politicians must swear an Oath of Allegiance to the British Crown.

  3. A Boundary Commission set up.

  4. Britain kept 3 parts Cobh


Lough Swilly


1. Pro Treaty Anti Treaty

It gives us freedom 1.Still part of the Empire

Achieve more freedom 2.Against the Oath of Allegiance

Stepping stone

It gives peace

2. On 7th January 1922 Dáil voted 64 TD’s Yes

57 TD’s No

Anti-Treaty e.g. DeValera walked out.

3. Election June 1922 people voted to accept the Treaty.

4. The Civil War: When the majority of people accepted the Treaty, Collins attacked the Four Courts to get the Anti-Treaty side to give up.

Then DeValera joined the Irregulars → Anti-Treaty Guerilla war that tore families apart.

5. Arthur Griffith 12th August 1922 dead.

Michael Collins 22nd August 1922 shot at Béal na Bláth.

6. W.T. Cosgrave became Head of Government.

7. May 1923 Pro Treaty side won the Civil War.


1. 1923 – 1932 - Cumann na nGaedhael

2. 1932 – 1948 - Fianna Fáil

3. 1948 – 1951 - The First Inter-Party Government (Fine Gael, Labour, Clann na Poblachta, Clann na Talamh)

4. 1951 – 1954 - Fianna Fáil

5. 1954 – 1957 - 2nd Inter Party Government

6. 1957 → + - Fianna Fáil

Sinn Fein
1922 – 1932 1922 - 1926

Cumann na nGaedhael Sinn Fein Sinn Fein

1933 Fine Gael 1926 Fianna Fail

  1. 1922 – 1932: W.T. Cosgrave Taoiseach, Kevin O’Higgins Minister for Justice.

  2. Setting up the country and law and order

    1. Constitution set up.

    2. Set up

      • civil sevices

      • reduced the army → Army Mutiny 1924.

      • Guards → Unarmed police force.

      • Court system

      • Irish coins and notes

    1. Brought in Public Safety Acts e.g. 1927 after Kevin O’Higgins was assassinated.

  1. The Economy

Agricultural based economy; encouraged farmers to increase their produce.

    1. ACC for cheap loans.

    2. Carlow Sugar Beet Factory.

    3. The Shannon Scheme

They made very unpopular decisions e.g. cutting the old age pension.

  1. The Boundary Commission: 3 man committee set up to determine the border. It broke down and the border remained unchanged.

  2. Statute of Westminster: gave Commonwealth countries like Ireland the power to make their own laws.


DeValera’s Sinn Fein won 44 seats in 1923. Its TD’s would not take the oath of allegiance so did not seat in government. Getting nowhere DeValera leaves and sets up Fianna Fail in 1926.

1927 K. O’Higgins murdered. Government Electoral Amendment Act says if you’re elected you must take your seat. Fianna Fail enters government in 1927 and then goes to win the 1932 election.

FIANNA FAIL 1932 – 1948

Fianna Fail won the election in 1932. Fortunately the handing over of power was done peacefully.


IRA Blueshirts

The Blueshirts

Ex pro Treaty soldiers set up the Army Comrades Association ACA after Cumann na nGaedhael lost the election. In 1933 Eoin O’Duffy became leader. Fascist in nature → blue uniform. DeValera banned them. The Blueshirts joined with Cumann na nGaedhael to form a new party Fine Gael. O’Duffy was fired and went to the Spanish Civil War.


Some of the IRA were released when DeValera came to power. Some murdered and were imprisoned in the Curragh prison. ‘The Offences against the State Act’ was passed in 1939. During World War II many IRA members were imprisoned.


Sean Lemass was Minister for Industry and Commerce

  1. Put Tariffs (taxes) on imports.

  2. DeValera stopped paying land annuities £5m

  3. Britain reacted by putting taxes on Irish cattle and butter

  4. Lemass then put a tax on British coal entering Ireland

This cooling period between Ireland and England is the Economic War 1932 – 1938.

  1. It damaged Irish farming.

  2. Irish Industry was encouraged e.g. cutlery, shoes.

How did it end?

The Anglo Irish Trade Agreement 1938

  1. Once off payment £10m for Land Annuities.

  2. Reduced Taxes.

  3. Ireland got the 3 Treaty ports back.


  1. When DeValera was elected in 1932 he set about dismantling the Treaty. He got the Dail to remove the Oath of Allegiance and in 1936 he removed the King as Head of State and got rid of the Governor General.

  2. Bunreacht na hEireann

In 1937 DeValera brought in a Constitution.

In it:

        1. Ireland became known as Eire.

        2. Article 2 and 3 claimed control over the 32 counties.

        3. President as head (Douglas Hyde 1st President). Dail Head = Taoiseach.

        4. Catholic Church given special position.


  1. World War II broke out in 1939. At once DeValera declared neutrality. The government declared that wartime was an ‘emergency’ and gave themselves special powers to deal with it.

    1. Power to censor all newspapers and letters.

    2. Power to order farmers to grow more (self – sufficient) food.

    3. Power to imprison people e.g. IRA.

  2. Sean Lemass as Minister of Supplies brought in RATIONING. Lemass set up Irish shipping to import goods. The weekly ration per person was ½ an ounce of tea, ¾ of a pound of sugar.

Priests and Doctors could only drive a car, as there was no fuel. The Glimmer Man went around the country checking people only used a little electricity and gas. Turf was used for everything.

  1. North Strand May 1941 bombed 34 killed.

  2. Army → recruited 1940 → 37 thousand and ¼ m in Local Defence Force.

  3. Pro – British Policy. DeValera allowed

    1. Irish people to work in Britain and join the army.

    2. Passed on information to the British.

    3. Kept German prisoner but sent back English.

Officially DeValera remained neutral.

  1. During World War II over 40 million died. It was a great achievement that Ireland stayed neutral.


  1. People blamed DeValera and Fianna Fail for the hardship during the war. In the 1948 election a coalition government was formed => when 2 or more political parties join together.

1. Fine Gael

2. Labour and

3. Clan na Poblachta

With John A. Costello as Taoiseach.

  1. What did the first Inter – Party Government do?

    1. In 1949, they finally cut off all links with Britain and declared Ireland a Republic.

    2. When the Cold War began they refused to join NATO.

    3. Minister for Health, Dr Noel Browne built new hospitals and used new drugs to try to wipe out T.B., a disease which killed 3000 young people. He also tried to set up the Mother and Child Scheme. This failed however because doctors and Catholic bishops opposed him. He then resigned in 1951.

1951 – 1954 FIANNA FAIL


In the 1950s living standards were low in Ireland. Unemployment was very high and emigration reached an all time high.


  1. In 1959 DeValera retired and Lemass became Taoiseach.

  2. The Economy: T.K. Whitaker drew up ‘The First Programme for Economic Expansion’: it encouraged industry into Ireland through grants and tax – free. 1st industrial estate = Shannon.

  3. Results

    1. Jobs created, emigration down and population started to increase for the first time since the Famine.

    2. Education → Donagh O’Malley → Free school transport and free secondary school education.

    3. Social change → TV 1961 and more travel opportunities.

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