‘Degrees of Coloniality’: Postcolonial theory and modern Irish history

NEE- HIP: North East of England- Historians of Ireland, Postgraduate network

Sean Donnelly (PhD candidate at Teesside) is currently researching how post-colonial theory can be applied to the Irish Free state in the first decade after independence. Here, he discusses the issues around applying post-colonial theory to Irish history as a whole.

Reflecting on the growing demand for Irish Home Rule in the autumn of 1883, the veteran Conservative and Unionist Party M.P., Lord Salisbury predicted that the granting of a Dublin parliament would function simply to embolden nationalist demands in the eastern colonies thereby precipitating the “disintegration” of the British Empire. [1.] Four decades later, the same ‘domino-theory’ was commonly invoked to protest the Anglo-Irish Treaty, a settlement providing for the establishment of a dominion Home Rule government in the twenty-six county territory of Southern Ireland as delineated under the terms of the 1920 Government of Ireland Act. Henry Percy, the ninth Duke of Northumberland, for instance, prophesied that the…

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