HIS31510 Religion & Society in Independent Ireland, 1922-1968

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module explores the nature of Irish Catholicism in the twentieth century and its influence on the political, social and cultural development of the independent state. It examines church-state relations and the religious context of policy making in terms of public morality, justice, foreign policy, education, health and social welfare. It pays particular attention to analysing the interaction between religious ideology and party and interest group politics. Among the questions raised will be: was independent Ireland a 'Catholic state'? Why was the control of sexuality prioritised by both church and state? How is Ireland positioned in the international history of twentieth-century Catholicism?

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should have: Developed an understanding of the social and cultural forces shaping Irish Catholicism in the twentieth century. Assessed the influence of religious ideology on the development of the independent state. Evaluated the historiographical and critical debates surrounding religion, society and culture in this period.Critically analysed key primary and secondary sources. Engaged in group discussion of these sources. Developed their skills in written analysis.

Indicative Module Content:

This module will cover the following main areas: Cumann na nGaedheal, Fianna Fáil and the politics of religion; Cumann na nGaedheal, Fianna Fáil and sexual morality; the impact of Catholic social theory; religion and foreign policy; censorship; education; voluntarism and welfarism; institutions and institutional abuse; the impact of Vatican II and Humanae Vitae.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is a small group module taught through a one-hour weekly lecture and a two-hour weekly seminar. The weekly lecture provides an overview of the week's topic, focusing on key historical events, trends and debates. The weekly seminar is focused on individual active/task-based learning through student presentations and class discussion and debate. Advanced research, writing and citation skills are developed through a semester-long 4,000 word research project. Autonomous learning is advanced through student-led debate and discussion of set primary and secondary sources and/or student presentations each week. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
HIS30280 - Religion and Society in Indepe

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Presentation: A combined 10-15 minute presentation and 1,500 word written essay Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Project: 4,000 word research paper Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Seminar participation Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


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

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on the presentation/essay will given individually and via Brightspace. Written and oral feedback will be provided on an ongoing basis on preparatory plans and bibliographies for the end-of-semester research project. Feedback on the end-of-semester research project will be given individually.

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) - Autumn: All Weeks Mon 11:00 - 11:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Tues 09:00 - 10:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 6 Tues 09:00 - 10:50