Colonialism in Ireland

The research topic for my final paper is the impact of English colonialism on the culture of Ireland. In my paper I will approach this topic from multiple angles of Irish culture that were impacted ranging from religion and landownership to national identity and literature. To accomplish this I will be analyzing sections from Kilfeather’s Dublin: A Cultural History (Cityscapes), particularly the sections on the Penal Laws, The Irish Literary Revival, and Queen Victoria’s Last Visit to Dublin. By touching on these sections of the book I will be able to analyze the impact of English colonialism on the country of Ireland, the longstanding cultural changes this brought to the country, and the country’s later attempts to separate from the British Empire and establish an individual Irish identity that links back to its roots.

Hogan, Patrick C. “Colonialism and the Problem of Identity in Irish Literature.”

College Literature, vol. 23, no. 3, 1996, pp. 163-170. ProQuest,

My first source, “Colonialism and the Problem of Identity in Irish Literature” by Patrick Hogan is a great source related to my topic because it discusses how English colonialism suppressed the native national identities of its colonies and the significance of literature in reestablishing those identities. Hogan discusses two books that analyze how Irish writers such as Yeats, Joyce, and O’Casey accomplish this by reviving traditional pre-colonial literary styles as well as shaping characters and stories that accurately portray the suffering felt by many under a colonial society. This will tie in perfectly with the analysis of The Irish Literary Revival from Kilfeather and will help support my topic with the impact of English colonialism as well as attempts to reestablish an individual Irish identity.

Lockey, Brian. “Conquest and English Legal Identity in Renaissance Ireland.”

Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 65, no. 4, 2004, pp. 543-558. ProQuest,

My second source, “Conquest and English Legal Identity in Renaissance Ireland” by Brian Lockey is another great source related to my topic because it discusses the issues that the English ran into by trying to force their legal system on an unwilling Irish population. Lockey compares the conquest of the British Empire in Ireland to the conquest of Spanish Empire in the New World and argues that the reason the English faced much more resistance from the Irish is because English common law was rooted in the customs of the English instead of being rooted in universal values. This source will be significant in supporting my topic with the impact of English colonialism on Ireland as well as Irish resistance to colonialism when analyzing the Penal Laws section from Kilfeather.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Tyler,

    Your topic is really interesting and pertinent to the literature we’ve discussed in class; we can certainly see the ways in which both colonialism and Irish nationalism influenced the writers we have discussed. I am also interested in the cultural effects of English colonization, and I think it’s interesting that you divide these potential effects into both social and cultural categories.
    You mention that you want to research both the effects of England’s political rule of Ireland — via documents like the Penal Laws — and the various attempts at rebellion and independence movements. I’d be interested to see what you find about the cultural effects particularly of the violence associated with both colonial rule and rebellion.

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