New Publication: Protestant and Irish

Protestant and Irish: The minority’s search for place in independent Ireland  

 A collection of exploratory essays edited by Ian d’Alton and Ida Milne

In 1989 Edna Longley remarked that if Catholics were born Irish, Protestants had to ‘work their passage to Irishness’.  With eighteen essays by scholars with individual perspectives on Irish Protestant history, this book explores a number of those passages.  Some were dead ends.  Some led nowhere in particular.  But others allowed southern Irish Protestants – those living in the Irish Free State and Republic – to make meaningful journeys through their own sense of Irishness.

Through the lives and work, rest and play of Protestant participants in the new Ireland – sportsmen, academics, students, working class Protestants, revolutionaries, rural women, landlords, clerics – these essays offer refreshing interpretations as to what it meant to be Protestant and Irish in the changed political dispensation after Irish independence in 1922. While acknowledging that Protestant reactions were complex, ranging from ‘keeping the head down’ in a ghetto, through a sort of low-level loyalism, to out-and-out active republicanism, this book takes a fresh look at the positive contribution that many Protestants made to an Ireland that was their home and where they wanted to live.  It wasn’t always easy, and the very Catholic ethos of the State was often jarring and uncomfortable – but by and large Protestants reached an equitable accommodation with independent Ireland.  The proof of that lies in a continued community vibrancy – in Bishop Hodges of Limerick’s words in 1944, more than ever able ‘to express a method of living valuable to the State’.

Ian d’Alton is a Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Contemporary Irish History, Trinity College, Dublin.  Ida Milne is a lecturer in European History, Carlow College.

March 2019 | 9781782052982 | €39 £35| Hardback |234 x 156mm| 396 pages | 13 llustrations







This book: an explanation

Preface: The Protestant Accent Roy Foster

Introduction: Content and Context Ian d’Alton and Ida Milne


‘No Country’?: Protestant ‘Belongings’ in Independent Ireland, 1922–49 Ian d’Alton

Defining Loyalty: Southern Irish Protestants and the Irish Grants Committee, 1926–30 Brian Hughes

Peace, Protestantism and the Unity of Ireland: The Career of Bolton C. Waller Conor Morrissey

This ‘rotten little Republic’: Protestant Identity and the ‘State Prayers’ Controversy, 1948–9 Miriam Moffitt

Count Us in Too: Wanting to be Heard in Independent Ireland Deirdre Nuttall



Gentry Inclusion via Class Politics? Negotiating Class Transition Politically in the Irish Free State

Tony Varley

Ostriches and Tricolours: Trinity College Dublin and the Irish State, 1922–45 Tomás Irish

From Landlordism to Citizenship: Edward Richards-Orpen and the New State Philip Bull

‘Old Dublin Merchant “Free of Ten and Four”’: The Life and Death of Protestant Businesses in

Independent Ireland Frank Barry

‘The jersey is all that matters, not your church’: Protestants and the GAA in the Rural Republic

Ida Milne



Protestant Republicans in the Revolution and After Martin Maguire

‘We’re Irish, but not that kind of Irish’: British Imperial Identity in Transition in Ireland and

India in the Early Twentieth Century Niamh Dillon

‘My mother wouldn’t have been as hurt’: Women and Inter-church Marriage in Wexford,

1945–65 Catherine O’Connor

Carson’s Abandoned Children: Southern Irish Protestants as Depicted in Irish Cartoons,

1920–60 Felix M. Larkin

Patrick Campbell’s Easy Times: Humour and Southern Irish Protestants Caleb Wood Richardson


Afterword: Ireland’s Mysterious Minority—A French–Irish Comparison Joseph Ruane