Detailed Information

Republicanism and Irish Life 1922-2005 (Day)

This course contextualises the military, political, ideological and organisational development of Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army (in its successive organisational manifestations) within the broader framework of the social, cultural and political norms of life on the island of Ireland after partition. The aspirations, methods, aims, relevance and success of Irish republicanism are considered from the civil war (1922-23) to the Provisional IRA's formal and final cessation of their armed campaign in July 2005. The IRA, in common with almost all of the main political and military organisations in independent Ireland (Sinn Fein, Irish Army, Blueshirts, Cumann na nGael, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil), claimed to be the legitimate representatives and successors of the separatist nationalist revolutionaries who fought for independence (1916-1921). In Northern Ireland, the Nationalist Party, republican paramilitaries, Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic Labour Party had very different attitudes to constitutional politics and political violence, but all were in favour of a 32-county united Ireland. The first part of the course examines the IRA’s armed campaigns up to 1969 as well as its various splits and re-groupings, its relationship with Sinn Fein, its forays into radical politics and conservative returns.  The second part deals with the Northern 'Troubles', concentrating primarily on PIRA, the Officials and Sinn Fein, with some consideration of smaller splinter groupings.

The weekly lecture addresses wider themes, major historical and historiographical issues, and introduces participants to selected British and Irish contemporary documents, newspapers, memoirs and personal testimonies. The second half of each session is devoted to debate and discussion, covering various relevant political, ethical, historical and ideological issues. Participants are encouraged take an active part.

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Rogelio Alonso, The IRA and Armed Struggle (London, 2007).

J. Bowyer Bell,  The Secret Army-The IRA (Dublin, 1998).

English, R., Armed Struggle-a History of the IRA (London, 2003).

Brian Hanley, The IRA: A Documentary History 1916-2005 (Dublin, 2010).

Brian Hanley, & Scott Millar, The Lost Revolution: the Story of the Official IRA and the Workers Party (Dublin, 2009)

Michael Hopkinson, Green against green: the Irish civil war (Dublin, 1988)


Eithne McDermott, Clann an Poblachta (Cork, 1998)

Susan McKay, Bear in mind these dead (London, 2008)

Susan McKay, Northern Protestants: an Unsettled People? (Belfast, 2000).

D. McKittrick, S. Kelters,  B.Feeney,  & C.Thornton, Lost Lives- the Stories of the Men, Women and Children who Died as a Result of the Northern Ireland Troubles (Edinburgh, 1999).

Paul McMahon, British Spies & Irish Rebels: British Intelligence and Ireland 1916-1945 (Woodbridge, 2008).

Ed Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA (Dublin, 2002).

Eunan O’Halpin, Defending Ireland: the Irish state and its enemies since 1922 (Oxford, 1999)

Henry Patterson, The Politics of Illusion: a Political History of the IRA (ebook, 2015).

Matt Treacy, The IRA 1956-69 (Manchester, 2014)

  • Outline … The political, strategic, tactical and organisational development of the IRA 1922-2005​
  • Explain …. The various military campaigns and political activities engaged in by the IRA 1922-1968
  • Discuss … The main events of the war in Northern Ireland 1969-2005, and the part played by the IRA.

Dr Eve Morrison read history at Trinity College, Dublin, receiving her BA in 2003.  She continued her studies in modern Irish History as an Irish Research Council of the Humanities and Social Sciences (now IRC) postgraduate scholar at TCD and was awarded her PhD in 2011. Legacy interviews with veterans of the Irish independence struggle and civil war are her area of expertise. The Bureau of Military History (BMH) was the subject of her doctorate, and she held an IRC postdoctoral fellowship at University College, Dublin from 2013-2015, researching the Ernie O'Malley notebooks interviews. She is currently writing a book about the BMH for Liverpool University Press, and continuing to work on the O'Malley interviews.