Ireland's Independence, 1880-1923

Ireland's Independence, 1880-1923

Ireland's Independence, 1880-1923

Ireland's Independence, 1880-1923

Synopsis

The road to Ireland's independence is one of the most fascinating yet complicated periods in Irish history. This timely introduction presents a clear, balanced account of the momentous events from 1880 leading up to the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922. Ireland's Independence examines the political, social and cultural factors, which gave rise to the Free State and the state of Northern Ireland. Beginning with the Gaelic Revival from 1880-1910, Walsh guides the reader through the events of the Easter Rising in 1916, the Anglo-Irish War, the Treaty in 1922 and the subsequent Civil War.

Excerpt

Culture, land and politics, 1880-1900

It has been said that whenever the English came close to solving the so-called Irish question, the Irish changed the question. This is not quite true, but what is clear throughout the 1880s is that each element in the Anglo-Irish relationship sought a different objective, and interpreted political change in very different ways. The late nineteenth century saw the emergence of clear, and often antagonistic, political groups in Ireland which enjoyed varying levels of support within Westminster. In addition, there were many other organisations whose brief was to encourage a sense of Irish pride through a revival of language, culture and sport, but which shaded into more explicitly political movements, often against their will. The determining element in this period was Home Rule and the varied re-actions to it, but the most dramatic development of the period was the rise of the Irish Parliamentary Party, and the emergence of Charles Stewart Parnell as its leader.

Home Rule—a measure of independent government for Ireland—suggested very different possibilities to different groups. Although it had been part of Anglo-Irish debates for many years, it did not take concrete form until the late 1860s and early 1870s. In 1870 the Home Government Association was founded, and in 1873 the Home Rule League was created, largely taking over from the earlier organisation. Although committed to reform within Westminster, the Home Rule Party, as the parliamentary representatives were known, displayed an increasing willingness to use tactics of obstruction in order to force consideration of the Irish cause. Central to this strategy was Charles Stewart Parnell, a Protestant landowner from Wicklow, elected for County Meath in 1875. Parnell was an ambitious and intelligent leader, one of the first to attempt to unite the

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