Revolution in Ireland 1912-1923

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Module code


  • Level 4
  • Semester 2
  • 24 places
  • History - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 60% Examination 40%


Was there a revolution in twentieth-century Ireland? Many historians now argue there was. Was it followed by a counter-revolution?

This Special Study module gives you the opportunity to explore the concept of revolution as a historical problem and to come up with your own verdicts. Have the historians got it wrong? What is a revolution? Has the concept any historical validity in Ireland or elsewhere? Why have Irish historians increasingly applied the term since 1980?

This module will address the following:

  • What is a revolution?
  • What factors define a situation as revolutionary?
  • What is the importance of social change?
  • Is violence essential to revolutionary process?
  • When does the Irish revolution begin and end?
  • What are nationalist responses to revolution?
  • How do we periodise the Irish revolution and its settlement?
  • Should we use Irish nationalist, British nationalist or other terms when describing the period?

This module is being taught in the context of contentious debate among Irish historians. It offers you a chance to analysis and comment on this exchange and also to explore a concept central to the conceptualisation of modern history 'revolution'.


Dr John Regan


Students have three teaching contact hours per week consisting of weekly seminars including workshops/presentations/practical exercises. The students will complete around 15 to 20 hours of independent study each week in addition to class teaching so to attain a high level of knowledge and understanding commensurate with SCQF Level 10 benchmarking.


This module is assessed by the following components:

  • 4,000 word extended essay - paper 1 (45%)
  • seminar presentations (15%)
  • 2 hour degree examination (40%)


For a sample of this debate you may wish to consult:

  • Peter Hart., ‘A new revolutionary history’ in The IRA at War 1916-23.  (Oxford, 2003).
  • Joost Augusteijn., The Irish Revolution.  (Basingstoke, 2002).
  • David Fitzpatrick., (ed.)  Revolution?: Ireland 1917-1923.  (Dublin, 1990).
  • David Fitzpatrick., The two Irelands, 1912-1939.  (Oxford, 1998).
  • Michael Laffan., The Resurrection of Ireland.  (Cambridge, 1999).
  • John M. Regan., The Irish counter-revolution 1921-36.  (Dublin, 1999).

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