Education, Religion and the Sectarian Divide: Catholic Education for Change, Protestant Fear of Reform in Nineteenth Century Ireland

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

The Act of Union of 1801 was supposed to redefine relations between Britain and Ireland as well as within Ireland itself. Instead, it merely raised more complex questions about the nature of British identity and, especially, how ‘Catholic’ Ireland was to be reconciled with popular perceptions of ‘Protestant’ Britain.
Whilst the ‘Catholic question’ was to dominate political matters for the next century the Union also raised considerable questions in relation to Irish Protestantism and how that community was to relate to the new political order. This became increasingly pertinent as successive London governments sought to put in place a more secularised administration system in Ireland than they were ready to contemplate for England. Nowhere was this more evident than the decision to create a National Education System for Ireland which, it was hoped, would establish a model of education ‘from which should be banished even the suspicion of proselytism’.
This paper will examine the fallout from the new system and the legacy it had upon sections of the Protestant population. It will be argued that the suspicions generated by the policy created something of a barrier from educational institutions within sections of the community which was further reinforced by the growing industrialisation of ‘Protestant Ulster’. This, it shall be argued, has had significant political ramifications that continue to be felt within loyalist working-class communities today.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012
EventHistory of Education Society Annual Conference 2012 - Winchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Nov 201202 Dec 2012

Conference

ConferenceHistory of Education Society Annual Conference 2012
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityWinchester
Period30/11/201202/12/2012

Keywords

  • Hegemony
  • Loyalism
  • Ireland
  • Unionism
  • Education

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