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Ireland in the 20th Century, 1912-Present

4. The Modernisation of Ireland, 1966-97

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About this Lecture


In this module, Brian discusses the continued modernisation of Ireland in the period following the retirement of Sean Lemass. Highlights of this period include Ireland's continued attempts to enter the EEC - which they achieved in 1973 - and the positive social and economic changes that followed. It was in this period in particular that the Irish economy - after a period of stagnation in the 1970s - developed into what was known as the Celtic tiger. It was in this period that Ireland liberalised on key social issues, too - including contraception, divorce, and abortion. However, the period also saw renewed violence in Northern Ireland ('The Troubles'), with hostilities continuing some thirty years before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1997.


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 Modernisation of Ireland, 1966-97 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Girvin, B. "Ireland in the 20th Century, 1912-Present – The Modernisation of Ireland, 1966-97." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,