PREFACE

This book is mainly about Irishmen thinking aloud about their politics: a disagreeable habit, but one which they share with other nations. The material consists largely of ‘public’ sources: newspapers, pamphlets, poems, popular literature and speeches and declarations of various sorts.

In an age when historical research has developed in two divergent directions—the statistical analysis of party machines and electoral politics on the one hand, and the patient reconstruction of episodes in ‘high politics’ on the other—such an approach needs accounting for. Irish politics cannot be explained without reference to beliefs 1 as well as machinery; nor are they containable within the ‘charmed circle’ of the high political world. 2 For example: the rise of labour in Britain has been described in terms of pressure groups and vested interests, with ideology set aside; 3 but in 1918 the recently established Irish Labour party was obliged to issue a carefully worded manifesto supporting self-determination for all peoples, but declining to say whether or not the party favoured Irish independence: the distinction between Labour’s claim that it would win ‘for Ireland freedom’, rather than ‘freedom for Ireland’ was a subtle but significant one. 4 And while its shade of meaning might escape English observers, it did not escape observers in Ireland. The necessity to choose words carefully in the context of Irish politics has been succinctly put by the Ulster poet, Seamus Heaney: ‘whatever you say, say nothing. ’ 5

This is perhaps for Irishmen a wise piece of advice, but one that the national character seems to render them incapable of following. I am here concerned with them when they are in their more customary mood of saying something, and saying something about their nationality, and their nationalism. I have not analysed their sayings philosophically: even if they were susceptible to such a method—and most of the material is far from philosophical in content—I am not competent to undertake a systematic analysis of this kind. Nor have I adopted the statistical approach to Irish nationalism; here again my material and my academic shortcomings happily coincide. I have, however, tried to trace the relationship between nationalism and social and economic change in Ireland, and thus to explain why Irish nationalist ideology has failed to realise one of its most persistent goals: the creation of a comprehensive

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Nationalism in Ireland
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Contents 5
  • Preface to the Third Edition 6
  • Preface to the Second Edition 8
  • Preface 9
  • Introduction: Nationalism and Ireland 15
  • 1 - Colony and Nation 25
  • 2 - Intimations of Nationalism in Tudor Ireland 46
  • 3 - For God, King and Country 68
  • Notes 91
  • 4 - From English Colony to Irish Nation: the Protestant Experience 94
  • 5 - The Irish, Properly So Called 123
  • 6 - Patterns of Nationalism, 1842-1870 154
  • Notes 187
  • 7 - The Making of Parnellism and Its Undoing 192
  • 8 - The Battle of Three Civilizations 228
  • 9 - What Home Rule Stood For, 1891-1918 259
  • 10 - Nationalism, Socialism and the Irish Revolution 295
  • 11 - State and Nation in Modern Ireland 339
  • Notes 370
  • Conclusion: Ireland and Nationalism 375
  • Epilogue: History, Politics and Nationalism 391
  • Appendix: the Downing Street Declaration , 15 December 1993 433
  • Maps 438
  • Bibliography 443
  • Supplementary Bibliography 477
  • Index 488
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