The third Home Rule crisis dominated Irish politics between 1910 and 1918. General elections bookend a period colored by hugely dramatic and controversial events that still resonate today, such as Ulster Day, the Larne Gun-running, the Easter Rising, the Somme offensive, and the Conscription Crisis. The Church of Ireland, as the largest Protestant church in Ireland, played a key role in many of these events. This book provides the first comprehensive study of the Church in this period. It explores in detail the complex relationship between the Church of Ireland and Irish Unionism at an official and popular level, the Church’s leading role in Ulster resistance to Home Rule, her reaction to the outbreak of the Great War and the Easter Rising, and the difficulties posed to the Church by the possibility of partition.
Andrew Scholes demonstrates that the Church of Ireland played a more prominent role in Ulster resistance than previous historians have allowed. He suggests that the Church of Ireland’s political influence was tied to the unity of Irish Unionism, and was weakened when the dispute over partition within Irish Unionism was replicated within the Church. Previously neglected sources are used to build a narrative that takes account of the actions of Archbishops Crozier and Bernard and Bishop D’arcy, as well as the importance of the Church’s General and Diocesan synod meetings. This high political point of view is complemented by a ‘bottom up’ study of local clergy and laity, through an examination of parochial records. The book is essential reading for historians of the third Home Rule crisis and their students, and will interest any general reader interested in the history of Ireland and the role of religion in this period.
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Defending the Walls of Jericho: The Church of Ireland and the Irish Politics, 1910-18
- ‘Life and death importance’: The Church of Ireland and Irish Unionism, 1910-11
- ‘ The citadel of Protestantism and liberty’? The Church of Ireland Episcopate and Ulster Day
- ‘A force to be reckoned’? Church of Ireland clergy, the Covenant, and Ulster Day
- ‘The Red Hand of Ulster’? The Church of Ireland and the Ulster Volunteer Force, 1913-14
- ‘The seal of lofty purpose and pure patriotism’? The Church of Ireland and the outbreak of the Great War
- ‘A counsel of lunacy’? The Church of Ireland, the Easter Rising, and partition
- ‘A potent instrument of national unity’? The Church of Ireland Episcopate and the Irish Convention, 1917-18
Conclusion: ‘Warring for the Promised Land’: The Church of Ireland and Irish Politics, 1910-18
Appendix: Archbishops and bishops of the Church of Ireland, 1910-20
About the Author
Dr Andrew Scholes is a civil servant in the Northern Ireland Civil Service. He completed his MA at Queen’s University Belfast in 2004 and was granted a Ph.D in History, also from Queen’s University in 2008.