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This chapter focusses on the efforts of Protestant advanced nationalists to bring about political change using extra-parliamentary methods. It demonstrates how Protestants who emerged from cultural activism remained within recognisable circles defined by religion. The first section describes the creation of the Irish Volunteers as a nationalist counterpoint to the Ulster Volunteers, and how this body came to be armed by a committee primarily composed of Protestants. The over-optimistic hopes of figures such as Roger Casement that the Irish Volunteers and the unionist Ulster Volunteers could be brought together on a common anti-British government platform is examined. The second section discusses labour and the Irish Citizen Army, whose leadership, at least initially, included several Protestants. The extent to which socialist leaders sought to fashion a nationalism that would appeal to working-class Protestants is discussed. Ultimately, this chapter argues that the strong link between Catholicism and advanced nationalism dated not from the 1916 Rising but from the formation of the Irish Volunteers in the years before.
This chapter focusses on the largely separate development of a network of Protestant nationalists in Ulster. It shows how an older generation of activists, notably Alice Milligan and Francis Joseph Bigger, sought to inculcate nationalist sentiment in younger Protestants. It traces the development of a mostly Belfast-based network, from their beginnings in various cultural nationalist groups, including the Ulster Literary Theatre, towards their adoption of a nationalist ideology, largely under the influence of the young Quaker nationalist Bulmer Hobson. This chapter also discusses the unusual development of the Independent Orange Order, whose leadership adopted a home rule ideology, and some of whom later defected to republicanism. It also assesses the efforts of Hobson and Denis McCullough to revive the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Ulster; and Hobson’s efforts, by means of the Dungannon Clubs, to promote republicanism among northern Protestants. The chapter closes with a discussion of the manner in which pressure from unionist co-religionists resulted in the breaking up of the Belfast group of Protestant nationalists, and their dispersal throughout Britain and southern Ireland.
The creation of the Irish Free State, with its largely Catholic ethos, destroyed the Protestant nationalist hope for an all-Ireland, secular republic. The Conclusion opens with a discussion of how a number of prominent Protestant nationalists adapted to life in the Free State. It discusses figures, such as Douglas Hyde, Ernest Blythe, and David Lubbock Robinson, who found success in the new state, and those such as George Russell and George Irvine, who came to react against it. It ends by stressing the extent to which Protestant nationalists formed identifiable denomination-based networks, and spent vast amounts of time seeking to inculcate nationalist sentiment in their fellow Protestants. It argues for the importance of associational culture as a category of historical research. Finally, it stresses both the diversity of Irish Protestant society during the period 1900–1923, and highlights the sense of loss engendered among some Catholic nationalists with the decline of a substantial Protestant nationalist activist tradition.
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.
The Introduction establishes the subject of this book, Irish Protestant nationalists, and argues that they constituted an important counterculture in the period. It links the historiography of Protestant nationalists with the competing ‘modernist’ and ‘perennialist’ perspectives on the origins of nationalism, and will argue that Ireland constitutes an important outlier, where both classically modernist and perennialist features co-existed, by reference to Irish history since the Tudor conquest. It argues that although parallels with the central European experience can be discerned, it is difficult to meaningfully place Protestant nationalists within frameworks put forward by scholars of continental Europe. The literature on Protestant nationalists is reviewed, and it is suggested that the way forward for historiography is to follow up the implications of the circles that have been reconstructed by biographers, and produce a collective biography that seeks to reconstruct the entire Protestant nationalist experience. The sources used in this book are discussed, and prosopography, the primary methodology which will be employed, is described and justified. The Introduction closes with a brief statistical summary of the Irish Protestant community in 1901.
This chapter describes the influence of the Gaelic Revival on the creation of a Protestant nationalist counterculture during the first decade of the twentieth century. It discusses the manner in which cultural activism, by means of literature, the theatre, and learning the Irish language, tended to radicalise Protestants, and led them to convert to nationalism. It charts the development of a largely Dublin-based network of Protestant activists, whose development towards nationalism was largely actuated by means of immersion in the Abbey Theatre, the Gaelic League and various literary societies. Irish nationalist opposition to the Second Boer War, which radicalised some Protestant Gaelic Leaguers, is discussed. This chapter describes the attitude of two prominent Catholic newspaper editors, Arthur Griffith and D. P. Moran, towards Protestant nationalists, with Griffith seeking to incorporate Protestants into the nationalist movement, and Moran seeking their exclusion. The final section analyses Protestant Gaelic Leaguers’ attempts to form their own associational culture, which led to tensions within the movement. Ultimately, this chapter shows how Protestant involvement in the Gaelic League sometimes led to conversion to nationalism, but could cause unease among other Protestants, who sought an apolitical organisation.
This chapter discusses the neglected experience of Protestants who supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the Irish Free State that it brought about. The first section examines Protestant nationalists, such as Ernest Blythe, W. B. Yeats, and Alice Stopford Green, who welcomed the cessation of hostilities and compromise with England. The second section discusses Protestant servicemen in the Free State, or National Army during the Irish Civil War. It analyses the social, economic, geographical, and confessional background of these soldiers. It describes how this minority, serving in what was described as ‘the Army of the most Catholic nation in the world’, retained a separate identity, largely by means of the appointment of Protestant chaplains to the forces.
This chapter assesses the political behaviour of Protestant republicans during the revolutionary period, as well as the attitude of the wider Irish advanced nationalist movement towards Protestants. It describes the various means by which some Irish Protestants sought to demonstrate loyalty to the idea of an Irish republic, at a time when the republicanism was adopting a more Catholic nature. It discusses the conscription crisis, which prompted the creation of a specifically Protestant anti-conscription organisation. It analyses the Irish Guild of the Church, the bulk of whose membership had by 1918 come to sympathise with the rebels, and the Irish Guild of Witness, a splinter group, whose members remained loyal to the Crown. The next section deals with the Ulster problem, which forced Protestant republicans to reorient their message in an effort to detach the Protestant working class from unionism, and so avert partition. Finally, it discusses the Protestant Friends of Ireland, an American-based nationalist body, and examines some of the rhetoric Éamon de Valera used about Irish Protestants during his American tour, 1919–1920. Ultimately, this chapter shows that, facing a republican movement that was becoming more Catholic, Protestants were forced to form their own, explicitly Protestant organisations.
This chapter largely focusses on the behaviour of Protestants from unionist backgrounds who adopted nationalist politics. The first section assesses the ideology of pre-1916 Sinn Féin, whose efforts to encourage Protestant participation led certain intellectuals to believe it posed a threat to unionist hegemony, but whose failure to develop a secular programme ultimately impeded its efforts. The next section discusses ‘synthetic Gaels’, those Protestant converts to nationalism whose extravagant attempts to fit in could raise smiles or prompt hostility. In the next section, Protestant advanced nationalist women are assessed as a group, by means of a denominational, socioeconomic, and geographical examination. Their writings are used to assess their motivation for converting to an advanced nationalist position. The final section deals with conversion to Catholicism, and argues that religious conversion was rare, being mostly confined to advanced nationalist women.
This chapter discusses the Easter Rising of 1916 and its aftermath. The rebellion had a largely Catholic cast, which has produced a belief that Catholicism and republicanism are connected. This chapter traces the experiences of those Protestants, members of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army, who rebelled in 1916. It also discusses those Protestant nationalists who did not take part but who observed the rebellion. This chapter discusses religious conversion and the Rising, and shows that the majority of Protestant rebels did not convert to Catholicism. Many Protestant rebels first realised the increasingly Catholic nature of their movement while held in internment camps in Britain. The final section assesses the occasionally negative reactions of Protestant republicans to this realisation.
This chapter describes Protestant active rebels in the War of Independence and on the republican side in the Irish Civil War. It discusses the formative influences of Protestant IRA men, their activities during the conflict, and their tendency to support the anti-Treaty side during the succeeding Civil War. It also discusses the Protestant women of Cumann na mBan, and highlights the treatment of women who rejected the Treaty. Changing attitudes towards ‘outsiders’ or ‘synthetic Gaels’ are treated. The extent to which Irish Protestants were victims of a campaign of sectarian-based harassment and intimidation during this era has been controversial. The final section traces the reaction of some Protestant nationalists to events such as those of Dunmanway in late April 1922, when thirteen Protestant men were killed.