Questions of Ulster, 1885 to the present module (HY32010)

On this page


Module code


  • Level 3
  • Semester 2
  • History - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%


Why was there a civil war in the United Kingdom during the past thirty-five years? This is just one of many questions we will be addressing in a regional study of a divided society.

The module looks at the development of Ulster society in various contexts (Regional, Irish, Scottish, British, Imperial, and North Atlantic) from the end of the nineteenth century to the present.

You will study contemporary society, maintaining a diary of events and cultures through which you explore the impact and importance of myth and history in everyday life. Issues such as parades, policing, reconciliation, the state and its use of violence are examined in broad historical context in your presentations/seminars. We will be examining a society not a problem in historical contexts.

  • Is Ulster British? Irish? Scottish?
  • Did industrialization divide Ulster from the rest of Ireland?
  • Why did Unionists militarize politics in 1912?
  • Why did partition separate six not nine counties?
  • How much discrimination was there in Northern Ireland?
  • Why did the peace process begin?
  • How is it doing today?


Dr John Regan


The module consists of ten three hour seminar sessions:

  • 1 hour seminar on Ulster Diary (historiographical discussion)
  • 1-2 hours formal seminar dealing with a weekly set question, prescribed reading and set piece of written work
  • 1 hour student presentations (from week 3) 

Seminars will be led by the lecturer, establishing the main themes and issues of the Module.


The assessment components of this module are:

  • Journal (35%)
  • Group Presentation (15%)
  • Extended Essay (50%)


Introductory reading:

The introductory text is Stewart’s The Narrow Ground first published in 1976. Writing in Belfast Stewart tries to make historical sense of the violence which has visited Ulster society. Does he succeed?

  • Stewart, A.T.Q., The Narrow Ground (London, 1976)
  • Foster, R.F., Modern Ireland (London, 1989)
  • Bardon, J., Ulster: a history (Belfast, 1992)
  • Hennessey, T., A History of Northern Ireland (Dublin, 2000)

Access the online reading list system


This module is available on following courses: