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Ireland in the 20th Century, 1912-Present

1. The Birth of a Nation, 1912-32

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This module explores the 20-year period which sees the creation and consolidation of the Irish Free State. The first half of the period (1912-23) was characterised by considerable political and sectarian violence, with the Easter Rising (1916), the War of Independence (1919-21), and the Irish Civil War (1922-23) taking place in quick succession. It is only in the second half of this period, from 1923, that the newly-created Irish Free State can begin to restore social and economic order, and to build a nation based on nationalist and Catholic principles.


This course explores the making of modern Ireland, beginning in 1912 and ending in the modern day, and is split into five modules. The first module ('Birth of a Nation, 1912-32') looks at the violent period in Irish history between 1912-23 and attempts to stabilise the political and economic situation from 1923-32. The second module ('De Valera's Achievements, 1932-48') looks at the rise of Fianna Fail and their achievements over the next sixteen years - including their neutrality during the Second World War. The third module ('Crisis and Transformation, 1948-66'), explores the social and economic problems of the 1950s, up to the election of Sean Lemass in 1966. The fourth module ('The Modernisation of Ireland, 1966-97') looks at the various social, economic, and constitutional changes during Lemass' premiership and beyond. Finally, the fifth module provides a survey of how much Ireland has changed in the period, as well as outlining the issues that are still concerning Ireland in the 21st century.


Brian Girvin is a Professor of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow. He has published widely on twentieth-century Ireland, including most recently a chapter on 'Sean Lemass and the Making of Contemporary Ireland' in the Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish History (2014).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Girvin, B. (2018, August 15). Ireland in the 20th Century, 1912-Present - The Birth of a Nation, 1912-32 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Girvin, B. "Ireland in the 20th Century, 1912-Present – The Birth of a Nation, 1912-32." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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