Ireland Rising to Republic 1916-1948

The Easter Rising in 1916 sought to separate Ireland from Britain, while the ‘Ulster will be right’ campaign separated North from South. The Anglo-Irish War and the Treaty of 1921 divided Ireland geographically into a Free State and Northern Ireland. Free State protagonists plunged into civil war as the Dail set up the machinery of an Irish Free State. A succession of constitutional arrangements leads to a full Irish Republic by 1948.

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.


  • The Easter Rising 1916 and its background: The Irish Republican Brotherhood staged its republican uprising at Easter 1916 on the back of a generation of political disappointments. The Home Rule movement and demands for special treatment for Ulster challenge the very existence of the United Kingdom.
  • Aftermath of the Easter Rising 1916 - 1919: The suppression of the Easter rebellion turns the tide of public opinion and leads to the formation of a Republican Government in 1919.
  • The Treaty and the Civil War 1921 - 1923: The ‘Ulster will be right’ campaign partitioned Ireland geographically. Northern Ireland got under way as the republicans negotiated a Treaty with Britain that created the Irish Free State. Its supporters and opponents plunged into a civil war to decide who would govern the new Free State, and how.
  • Free State to Eire 1923 - 1937: The Free State struggled to institute regular government, boycotted by the anti-treaty party until 1926. De Valera’s return to the Irish Parliament saw him soon in government and reconstructing the Irish State as Eire.
  • ‘The Province’ - Northern Ireland 1920 - 1945: Partition ensured that Northern Ireland set its own course from 1920. Sectarian violence and discrimination became a norm in Northern Ireland.
  • Ireland and the Emergency 1937 - 1945: Economic ‘war’ with Britain and then the World War tested the resolve of all parties, Eire, Britain and the North. Eire remained neutral in the ‘Emergency’ while Northern Ireland was blitzed. War’s end found Britain and Ireland at loggerheads.
  • The Republic and ‘the North’ 1945 - 1948: Uneasy days north and south saw economic and social reforms to build viable nation-states on both sides of the border and return a degree of normality to both communities. Eire became a Republic by mutual agreement on all sides.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Trace the outcomes of the Easter Rising
  2. Examine the origins and development of two modern states on the Irish island
  3. Evaluate the dominant forms of nationalism in Ireland in the early twentieth century.

This course has no current classes. Please join the waiting list by clicking .