GEOG30020 Historical Geography of Ireland

Academic Year 2023/2024

Historical geography focuses on the relationship between space and time and studies the people and events that have shaped the cultural landscape. This module charts the evolution of modern Ireland from the height of colonial expansion in the 17th Century, through the era of the landed ascendancy to the Act of Union, and through the Great Famine to the revolutionary period of the War of Independence and the creation of the Irish Free State. It examines the historical geography of Ireland through the prisms of colonialism and decolonialism and challenges the notion of Ireland as a 19th Century colony raising questions about this island's position within the British Empire. The module will focus on both urban and rural areas and discuss the importance of historical geography in understanding the contemporary Irish landscape. All students must attend a compulsory one day fieldtrip (the exact date will be confirmed in lectures at the start of trimester).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this module, students should be able to:
a) identify key agents that have shaped the Irish cultural landscape;
b) critically assess the influence of important historical events in shaping Irish geographies;
c) situate Irish historical geographies in broader theoretical contexts i.e colonialism / decolonialism
d) conduct critical research-led analysis using a range of historical geography source material

Through these tasks students should also have further developed:
e) enhanced critical thinking, information synthesis and writing skills;
f) historical fieldwork and collaborative / teamwork skills through field based activities.

Indicative Module Content:

Wk 1: Introduction & Sources
Wk 2: Post-Plantation Ireland
Wk 3: 18th C Landscape & Economy
Wk 4: Incorporating Ireland into the United Kingdom in the 19th C
Wk 5: Institutional Landscapes & Fieldtrip (Fri / Sat of Week 5)
Wk 6: Landlord Landscapes & Rural Ireland
Wk 7: The Great Famine - Geographies
Wk 8: The Great Famine - Consequences
Wk 9: Land for the People
Wk 10: Power to the People
Wk 11: Early 20th Century Political and Cultural Landscapes
Wk 12: Independence & Civil War

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning




Field Trip/External Visits




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Teaching and learning on this module will include:
- Lectures
- Active / task-based learning through peer and group work during fieldwork and in 'discussion sections' during lectures
- Inquiry and case-based learning through a one day fieldtrip and research-based assignment 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: 2500 word research essay charting landscape change in local areas through the 19th and early 20th centuries using maps, archival collections and secondary reading. Details will be provided in class. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Assignment: 1500 word assignment. Using primary and secondary source materials you will assess the impacts of key 17th C events. Full details will be provided in-class. Week 4 n/a Graded No


Fieldwork: Completion of a learning journal and field-based exercises during our one day fieldtrip. Week 5 n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

- Group feedback on common issues arising from the written assignment will be provided during lectures. - Timely individualised feedback will be provided on research essays. - Students are welcome to meet with the module coordinator during office hours if more detailed feedback / further clarification is required.

The following items will provide a general introduction to the Historical Geography of Ireland. More focussed readings will be suggested and/or uploaded to Blackboard as appropriate. You are also expected to read widely in relevant journals (see below).

General Readings:
• Aalen, F.H.A, Whelan, K., Stout, M., eds. (2010) Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape. Cork: Cork University Press
• Andrews, J. (2002) A Paper Landscape: the Ordnance Survey in nineteenth century Ireland. Dublin: Four Courts Press
• Barry, T., ed. (2000) A History of Settlement in Ireland. London: Routledge
• Bartlett, T., ed. (2018) The Cambridge History of Ireland, Vol IV, 1880 to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
• Brady, J & Simms A., eds (2001) Dublin Through Space and Time (c. 900 - 1900). Dublin: Four Courts Press
• Breathnach, C. (2005) The Congested Districts Board of Ireland, 1891 – 1923: poverty and development in the West of Ireland. Dublin: Four Courts Press
• Clarke, H., Prunty, J., Hennessy, M., eds. (2004) Surveying Ireland’s past: multidisciplinary essays in honour of Anngret Simms. Dublin: Geography Publications
• Crawford, E.M. (2003) Counting the People, A Survey of the Irish Censuses, 1813 – 1911. Dublin: Four Courts Press
• Crowley, J., Ó Drisceoil, D., Murphy, M., Borgonovo, J., eds. (2017) Atlas of the Irish Revolution. Cork: Cork University Press.
• Crowley, J., Smyth, W.J., Murphy, M., eds. (2012) Atlas of the Great Irish Famine. Cork: Cork University Press
• Crossman, V. (1996) Politics, Law and Order in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan
• Dooley, T. (2007) The Big Houses and Landed Estates of Ireland: A Research Guide. Dublin: Four Courts Press
• Duffy, P.J. (2007) Exploring the History and Heritage of the Irish Landscape. Dublin: Four Courts Press
• Freeman, T.W. (1969) Ireland: A general and regional geography. London: Metheun
• Graham, B.J. and Proudfoot, L.J. eds. (1993) An Historical Geography of Ireland. London: Academic Press
• Guinnane, T.W. (1997) The Vanishing Irish: Households, Migration and the Rural Economy in Ireland, 1850 – 1914. New Jersey: Princeton
• Jones-Hughes, T. (2010) Landholding, Society and Settlement in Nineteenth-Century Ireland: A Historical Geographer’s Perspective. Dublin: Geography Publications
• Kelly, J., ed. (2018) The Cambridge History of Ireland, Vol III, 1730 – 1880. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
• Kennedy, L., Eu, Paul S., Crawford, E.M. and Clarkson, L.A. (1999) Mapping the Great Irish Famine, A survey of the Famine Decades. Dublin: Four Courts Press
• Kinealy, C. (2006) This great calamity: the Irish Famine, 1845 – 1852. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan
• Nolan, W. (various) County History and Society Series. Dublin: Geography Publications
• Prunty, J. (2000) Dublin Slums, 1800 - 1925: A Study in Urban Geography. Dublin: Irish Academic Press.
• Smyth, W.J. and Whelan, K., eds. (1988) Common ground: essays on the historical geography of Ireland: presented to T. Jones Hughes. Cork: Cork University Press
• Stephens, N. and Glassock, R.E., eds. (1970) Irish Geographical Studies in honour of E. Estyn Evans. Belfast: Queen’s University
• Stout, M. (2005) ‘Historical Geography’. In: Geary, L. and Kelleher, M. eds. Nineteenth-century Ireland: a guide to recent research. Dublin: University College Dublin Press
• Vaughan, W.E., ed. (1989) A New History of Ireland, Vol. V, Ireland under the Union, 1801 – 70. Oxford: Oxford University Press
• Vaughan, W.E., ed. (1996) A New History of Ireland, Vol. VI, Ireland under the Union, 1870 – 1921. Oxford: Oxford University Press

• Annals of the Association of American Geographers
• Historical Geography
• Irish Geography
• Irish Historical Studies
• Journal of Historical Geography
• Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland (available from
• Past and Present
• Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy: Section C
• Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

• Ask About Ireland:
• 1901 and 1911 Census Online:
• Century Ireland Project:
• Griffith Valuation:
• Historic Population:
• House of Commons Parliamentary Papers: E-Database available via UCD Library
• Irish Newspaper Archive: E-Database available via UCD Library
• Irish Times: E-Database available via UCD Library
• National Photographic Archive:
• Ordnance Survey of Ireland:,517849,958936,1,10
Name Role
Dr Arlene Crampsie Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr Dominic Robinson Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Thurs 14:00 - 14:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 14:00 - 14:50