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Irish Protestant Histories since 1795


  • Date Published: November 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107080935

$ 112.00

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About the Authors
  • This book examines Protestant loss of power and self-confidence in Ireland since 1795. David Fitzpatrick charts the declining power and influence of the Protestant community in Ireland and the strategies adopted in the face of this decline, presenting rich personal testimony that illustrates how individuals experienced and perceived 'descendancy'. Focusing on the attitudes and strategies adopted by the eventual losers rather than victors, he addresses contentious issues in Irish history through an analysis of the appeal of the Orange Order, the Ulster Covenant of 1912, and 'ethnic cleansing' in the Irish Revolution. Avoiding both apologetics and sentimentality when probing the psychology of those undergoing 'descendancy', the book examines the social and political ramifications of religious affiliation and belief as practised in fraternities, church congregations and isolated sub-communities.

    • A major new study of the complex psychology and experience of Irish Protestants by one of Ireland's leading historians
    • Challenges widely held views by exploring non-sectarian aspects of Orangeism and sectarian aspects of republicanism
    • Covers a broad range of Protestant denominations and sheds new light on the contrasts between Protestantism in Ulster and southern Ireland
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Historians sometimes explain the governance of eighteenth-century Ireland using the term Protestant Ascendancy. This compelling and accessible new book by David Fitzpatrick charts the decline in Protestant power afterwards, beginning in 1795 when the Orange Order formed. This was no uniform plunge into powerlessness. By exploring different facets of Protestantism, Fitzpatrick expertly reveals the dimensions of descent.' Allan Blackstock, University of Ulster

    'David Fitzpatrick brings his hallmark qualities of rigour, lucidity and imagination to these essays, brilliantly illuminating a neglected theme through important new evidence and careful exegesis. This collection will confirm his standing as one of the most gifted, original and influential historians of modern Ireland.' Alvin Jackson, University of Edinburgh

    'The brilliantly titled Descendancy is a necessary book. Irish Protestantism has been more often stereotyped than understood. David Fitzpatrick teases out the complex, fraying strands of Protestant denominational and communal life in a way that clarifies the sectarian dimension of Irish politics from 1800 to today. His work combines meticulous micro-history, analytical sweep, a cold eye, and an edge of controversy.' Edna Longley, Queen's University Belfast

    'A crisp, original discussion of a set of topics rarely dealt with by Irish historians. Fitzpatrick's work has the great virtue of providing thought-provoking suggestions that encourage balanced discussion rather than old-school name-calling.' Donald H. Akenson, Queen's University, Ontario

    'Fitzpatrick's analysis of the available evidence is an important contribution to scholarship, and to historic understanding of a highly contested series of events which still stir emotions and raise ethical issues.' Dr Maurice Hayes, Irish Independent

    'This important book examines the roots of sectarianism in the context of the declining Protestant population, who formed a 'non-ascendancy' quite separate from the landed Anglican elite … Fitzpatrick combines the sophisticated analysis of qualitative sources with an elegant handling of quantitative data. He dissects complex and ambiguous evidence with thoroughness, clarity and empathy.' Eugenio Biagini, Irish Times

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107080935
    • length: 282 pages
    • dimensions: 231 x 150 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 21 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Prologue: Protestant descendancy in Ireland
    Part I. Orangeism:
    2. Orangeism and Irish military history
    3. The Orange Order and the border
    4. The gardener and the stable boy: Yeats, MacNeice, and the problem of Orangeism
    5. Methodism and the Orange Order
    Part II. Covenant:
    6. Ulster's covenanters
    7. Ulster's non-covenanters
    Part III. Exodus?:
    8. Protestant depopulation and the Irish revolution
    9. The spectre of 'ethnic cleansing' in revolutionary Ireland
    Statistical appendix

  • Author

    David Fitzpatrick, Trinity College Dublin
    David Fitzpatrick is Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy. He graduated from the universities of Melbourne and Cambridge, which he revisited in 2013 as Parnell Fellow in Irish Studies at Magdalene College. He is an acknowledged pioneer in diverse aspects of modern Irish history, including the Irish revolutionary experience as revealed in local sources, the transformative impact of the Great War, the underlying affinities between Ireland's Protestant and Catholic communities, the analysis of personal testimony to illuminate migration, the enduring appeal and influence of the Orange Order, and the use of historical evidence to reinterpret the work of Irish writers such as Yeats, Synge, and MacNeice. His works include Politics and Irish Life: Provincial Experience of War and Revolution (1977), Irish Emigration, 1801–1921 (1984), Oceans of Consolation: Personal Accounts of Irish Migration to Colonial Australia (1994), The Two Irelands, 1912–1939 (1998), Harry Boland's Irish Revolution (2003) and 'Solitary and Wild': Frederick MacNeice and the Salvation of Ireland (2012). His most recent edited volume is Terror in Ireland, 1916–1923 (2012), produced by the Trinity History Workshop, which he founded in 1986.

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