Course overview

This six week online course will look at the history of the Ireland as it gradually established itself as an independent nation state. Beginning with the Act of Union, which brought the country into the United Kingdom for the first time, we’ll examine the history through the tragedy of the Famine and resultant growth in republicanism, the attempts to introduce Home Rule to give Ireland autonomy within the Union, and then outbreak of violence with the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War, whose repercussions are still being felt today.

Course description

The Act of Union passed in Westminster in January 1801 was intended to solve "the Irish question" once and for all but failed, largely because of a failure to keep promises of Catholic emancipation. We'll see how Catholic emancipation was delayed by powerful Protestants in England, and how this delay had important consequences for the future. Irish republicanism grew in the 19th century and became more radical, particularly because of the British response to the Famine. We’ll also look at the alternative proposal for Irish autonomy, Home Rule, which was derailed by a number of issues, including finally the outbreak of the First World War. We’ll cover the Easter Rising in 1916 and the British response to that, the War of Independence that followed the First World War, and then the creation of the Irish Free State in accordance with a Treaty agreed in London by Sinn Féin representatives and the British government. This essentially brought an end to British rule but also signalled the outbreak of the Civil War, a conflict between those for and those against the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The legacy of this war is still felt today. We'll see how Eamonn de Valera, one of the main opponents of the Treaty, eventually came to dominate Irish politics and oversaw the adoption of a new constitution in 1937, effectively creating an Irish republic.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

Share this page:

Lady giving a thumbs up to her tablet as she watches a WEA member lecture
Image overlay triangle

Become a WEA member today

For just £15 per year, you can access many great benefits, including our award-winning weekly member lectures.

Need more information?

Need help? Complete our form and our friendly Support Services team will be back in touch.

Course contact
I am most interested in (tick all that apply)

How do we use the information we gather from you?
Please see our privacy policy.