Women of the big house families in Ireland and marriage, 1860-1920

  • Neil Watt

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study of women and marriage, during the last sixty years of the British imperial regime in Ireland (a period that witnessed social and political change, national rebellion and the multifaceted impact of the First World War), was deliberately chosen to concentrate on just such a middle-ground of women, who have been largely omitted from Irish historical discourse, in both mainstream Irish histories as well as in the more, specialised field of Irish women's history. It attempts to place women from big house families at the centre of an historical analysis, allowing for a collective and contextual understanding of their experiences during what was a remarkable period of decline and upheaval. Using the central theme of marriage, important insights can be achieved in better understanding the unchanging roles and obligations of such women. As marriage was the dominant objective in life, it is a unifying theme from which various aspects of their lives can be better understood. This study primarily focuses on their social and personal experiences, but also on the legal and financial implications which inevitably were associated with their marriages.
Date of AwardDec 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorMarie Coleman (Supervisor)

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