Global Irish Research Network (GIRN) Seminar - David Fitzpatrick

When:5 Nov 2013, 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Venue:Room 310, Morven Brown Building, Kensington Campus, UNSW Sydney
Who:Professor David Fitzpatrick, Trinity College, Dublin

'The Spectre of ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ in Revolutionary Ireland'

Abstract: The spectacular depopulation of Protestants in southern Ireland (1911–26) has led some historians to claim that sectarian elements in the IRA were responsible for forced emigration amounting to ‘ethnic cleansing’. Such theses are difficult to test in the absence of detailed returns of migration giving religious affiliation. This paper presents new evidence from Methodist records to document the trajectories of families who left West Cork between 1920 and 1923, indicating that excess emigration accounted for only a small part of net depopulation. It also records the reactions of Methodist clergy and leaders to the threats posed by revolutionary conflict, confirming the impressive resilience of the community despite murders and intimidation. The Methodist case is tentatively presented as a microcosm of the broader Protestant experience during the revolutionary years.

David Fitzpatrick is Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin. A Melburnian by birth, he has taught in Dublin since 1979. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh, and was the Parnell Fellow in Irish Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge, for 2012–13. His most recent books, both published by the Lilliput Press in 2012, are ‘Solitary and Wild’: Frederick MacNeice and the Salvation of Ireland and (as editor) Terror in Ireland, 1916–1923. His collection of essays, Descendancy: Protestant Ireland since 1795, will be published by the Cambridge University Press next year

Contact and RSVP : Dr Gemma Clark | Tel: 9385 7399 | Email:

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