Irishness and Empire in the Twentieth Century

  • Seán William Gannon
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)


This chapter assesses the extent to which the Irish identities of twentieth-century Irish imperial servants shaped their personal/professional experience. It evaluates the impact of colonial Irish stereotypes on recruitment, with particular focus on the idea of the ‘Irish subversive’, which influenced Colonial Office attitudes towards Southern Irish recruitment well into the imperial endgame. It assesses the extent to which Irishness impacted on the careers of Irish British Colonial Service officers and examines its influence on the racial attitudes displayed by Irish officers towards those amongst whom they worked, and on their views of the anticolonial campaigns which, for many, came to define the mid-twentieth-century imperial experience. The implications of the findings for the idea of an Irish colonial-diasporic identity are examined and popular Irish attitudes towards British imperial service explored.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seán William Gannon
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Contemporary Irish HistoryTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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