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  • Cited by 3
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2019
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Book description

From the turn of the twentieth century until the end of the Irish Civil War, Protestant nationalists forged a distinct counterculture within an increasingly Catholic nationalist movement. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources, Conor Morrissey charts the development of nationalism within Protestantism, and describes the ultimate failure of this tradition. The book traces the re-emergence of Protestant nationalist activism in the literary and language movements of the 1890s, before reconstructing their distinctive forms of organisation in the following decades. Morrissey shows how Protestants, mindful of their minority status, formed interlinked networks of activists, and developed a vibrant associational culture. He describes how the increasingly Catholic nature of nationalism - particularly following the Easter Rising - prompted Protestants to adopt a variety of strategies to ensure their voices were still heard. Ultimately, this ambitious and wide-ranging book explores the relationship between religious denomination and political allegiance, casting fresh light on an often-misunderstood period.


'This splendidly researched study of a minority counterculture is a major contribution to the scholarly debate on Irish nationalism and democracy. Starting from a perceptive account of social and political diversity within the Protestant community, Morrissey unpacks the latter's complex and multi-layered engagement with the Irish revolution of 1912–23.'

Eugenio F. Biagini - University of Cambridge

'It was rarely comfortable to be a Protestant nationalist in Ireland, but Morrissey shows that it was invigorating and attractive to a surprising number of earnest and talented people who aspired to challenge the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic character of Irish nationalism in the revolutionary decades of the twentieth century.'

D. George Boyce - University of Swansea

‘… this is an important book in an under-researched field.’

Oliver P. Rafferty S.J. Source: Journal of Ecclesiastical History

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