The Princeton History of Modern Ireland

Edited by Richard Bourke and Ian McBride
Princeton University Press, 2016, 552 pp.

Book cover

This book brings together some of today’s most exciting scholars of Irish history to chart the pivotal events in the history of modern Ireland while providing fresh perspectives on topics ranging from colonialism and nationalism to political violence, famine, emigration, and feminism. Contributors describe how the experiences of empire and diaspora have determined Ireland’s position in the wider world and analyze them alongside domestic changes ranging from the Irish language to the economy. They trace the literary and intellectual history of Ireland from Jonathan Swift to Seamus Heaney and look at important shifts in ideology and belief, delving into subjects such as religion, gender, and Fenianism.

Presenting the latest cutting-edge scholarship by a new generation of historians of Ireland, The Princeton History of Modern Ireland features narrative chapters on Irish history followed by thematic chapters on key topics. The book highlights the global reach of the Irish experience as well as commonalities shared across Europe, and brings vividly to life an Irish past shaped by conquest, plantation, assimilation, revolution, and partition.

This book can be purchased directly from the publishers.


'Introduction', Richard Bourke
1. 'Conquest, Civilization, Colonization: Ireland, 1540-1660', Jane Ohlmeyer
2. 'Ascendancy Ireland, 1660-1800', Ultán Gillen
3. 'Ireland under the Union, 1801-1922', John Bew
4. 'Independent Ireland', Fearghal McGarry
5. 'Northern Ireland since 1920', Niall Ó Dochartaigh
6. 'Twenty-First-Century Ireland', Diarmaid Ferriter
7. 'Intellectual History: William King to Edmund Burke', Daniel Carey
8. 'Cultural Developments: Young Ireland to Yeats', David Dwan
9. 'Irish Modernism and Its Legacies', Lauren Arrington
10. 'Media and Culture in Ireland, 1960-2008', Maurice Walsh
11. 'Historiography', Richard Bourke
12. 'Religion', Ian McBride
13. 'The Irish Language', Vincent Morley
14. 'Ireland and Empire', Jill C. Bender
15. 'Women and Gender in Modern Ireland', Catriona Kennedy
16. 'Political Violence', Marc Mulholland
17. 'Famine', Ciara Boylan
18. 'Economy in Independent Ireland', Andy Bielenberg
19. 'Nationalisms', Matthew Kelly
20. 'Feminism', Maria Luddy
21. 'Diaspora', Enda Delaney


"The scholarship is formidable: all the chapters are grounded in the most up-to-date research, all are substantial, the best sparkle with original insights ... Vincent Morley provides a heroically concise survey of the Irish language in Irish society from its origins to the present day. It is regrettable that the political ideas and historical consciousness encoded and articulated in Irish – as explored by Morley himself in a number of recent studies – register so infrequently in other contributions to this book."

Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, The Irish Times, 6 February 2016

"This superb collection of essays is presented explicitly as a state-of the-art report on historical scholarship by the current, successor, generation of Irish historians ... Like Joyce's Stephen Dedalus, Irish historians can never quite fly by the nets of nationality, language and religion. Some, like Vincent Morley who provides an intellectually rigorous chapter on the Irish language, do not try to do so."

James Smyth, History Ireland, July-August 2016

"Vincent Morley’s chapter provides a tidy and insightful survey of the Irish language across the centuries. This means that there is some recognition in the Princeton History of the political and literary culture of Gaelic society, but its appearance here also constitutes a kind of intellectual ghettoisation: the language, culture and lives of the majority of the population should be part of the narrative and analysis in the relevant survey chapters of a history of Ireland. The sheer stretch of time covered – effectively, a thousand years, well beyond the book’s stated time-span – unavoidably curtails the space devoted to the last two centuries."

Barra Ó Seaghdha, Dublin Review of Books, November 2019