Eighteenth-Century Ireland: Politics, Economy, Society

Part of the Studies in Modern History book series (SMH)


The social and political stability of eighteenth-century Ireland was something of a facade. By the late 1770s the facade began to crack; in the 1790s it collapsed. The image of stability is based on the long domestic peace which followed the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, and indeed the contrast between the eighteenth century and the turbulence of the seventeenth is striking. This is the era of (long unchallenged) protestant dominance and self-confidence. A confidence expressed — and an image of stability reinforced — by the great public buildings and elegant Georgian squares which grace Dublin to this day. Above all, the monumental Palladian colonnades of the new parliament, erected in College Green between 1729 and 1739, symbolised the burgeoning sense of security now enjoyed by the governing protestant elite. The eighteenth century witnessed the finest flowering, in literature as in architecture, of J. C. Beckett’s ‘Anglo-Irish tradition’.1


Eighteenth Century Penal Code Late Eighteenth Century Political Nation Irish Society 
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Copyright information

© Jim Smyth 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Notre DameUSA

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