HIS31900 Roads to Heaven & Hell

Academic Year 2023/2024

In 1500, everyone who lived on the island of Ireland was a member of a single Christian church in communion with Rome. Belief in God and in the afterlife was universal and affected many aspects of daily life. By 1650 Ireland had been riven by sectarian violence and war carried out in the name of various religious denominations. People were prepared to shed blood in the name of a version of God that they believed to be the correct one. Variety in religion also opened up the frightening prospect of making the wrong choice – taking the wrong path into the afterlife. This course looks at a series of events that fractured and marked Irish society and which became tangled up in a century and a half of war and persecution. The emergence of Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland and Presbyterian identities would create a fusion of ethnic and religious thinking that would go on to dominate the island for more than three centuries. It is a story which takes students into the most intimate lives of the past inhabitants of Ireland.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this module students will have:
Knowledge of the evolution of Irish society with respect to religious belief and practice 1500-1650
An understanding of how the inhabitants of Ireland handled the process of Reformation and Counter Reformation
Knowledge of the major primary sources
Familiarity with the relevant major historical debates
An appreciation of the cultural dynamics of religious belief.

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, seminar-based module. The weekly lecture provides an overview of the week’s topic, focusing upon key historical trends, debates and events. The weekly seminar is focused upon individual active / task-based learning by means of class debates and discussion. Advanced research, writing and citation skills are developed through student participation and assignments. Autonomous learning is advanced through student-led debate and discussion in seminars each week.

Due to the public health emergency, this module will be delivered online. 
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: Mid-term assignment Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: End of semester 4,000 word research project Week 12 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Student participation in seminars. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat Within Two Trimesters
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 assignments will be given in writing via e-mail or equivalent. Feedback on the end-of-semester Research Project Assignment will be given by appointment in one-to-one virtual meetings.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Thurs 09:00 - 10:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Wed 15:00 - 15:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Thurs 09:00 - 10:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 15:00 - 15:50