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Troubled Geographies

A Spatial History of Religion and Society in Ireland

Ian N. Gregory, Niall A. Cunningham, C. D. Lloyd, Ian G. Shuttleworth, and Paul S. Ell

Publication Year: 2013

Ireland’s landscape is marked by fault lines of religious, ethnic, and political identity that have shaped its troubled history. Troubled Geographies maps this history by detailing the patterns of change in Ireland from 16th century attempts to "plant" areas of Ireland with loyal English Protestants to defend against threats posed by indigenous Catholics, through the violence of the latter part of the 20th century and the rise of the "Celtic Tiger." The book is concerned with how a geography laid down in the 16th and 17th centuries led to an amalgam based on religious belief, ethnic/national identity, and political conviction that continues to shape the geographies of modern Ireland. Troubled Geographies shows how changes in religious affiliation, identity, and territoriality have impacted Irish society during this period. It explores the response of society in general and religion in particular to major cultural shocks such as the Famine and to long term processes such as urbanization.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: The Spatial Humanities


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pp. v-vi

List of Figures

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pp. vii-xii

List of Tables

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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. xv-xvi

The research that produced this book was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council/Economic and Social Research Council’s Religion and Society Programme under grant AH/F008929/1 “Troubled Geographies: Two Centuries of Religious Division in Ireland.” ...

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1. Geography, Religion, and Society in Ireland: A Spatial History

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pp. 1-10

Even today, more than a decade after the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement, which marked an end to the Troubles, the visitor to Northern Ireland cannot help but be struck by the interplay between religion, ethnonational identity, politics, history, and geography. Protestant areas are demarked by the Union Flag ...

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2. The Plantations: Sowing the Seeds of Ireland's Religious Geographies

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pp. 11-21

The major plantations of Ireland, which were put in place during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, were an attempt, or a series of attempts, to establish a Protestant population from England and Scotland in Ireland. This occurred for both political reasons—Protestant England was worried about the threat that Catholic France and Spain could pose ...

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3. Religion and Society in Pre-Famine Ireland

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pp. 22-35

The first population censuses were taken in Ireland in 1821, 1831, and 1841, but while they contain geographically detailed information about the distribution of the population, they did not include any information on religion. The Commission of Public Instruction, Ireland, taken in 1834, does, however provide us with data on religion for this period. ...

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4. The Famine and Its Impacts, 1840s to 1860s

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pp. 36-59

It has almost become a cliché to argue that Ireland’s population development over the last 150 years has been unique. It is the only developed nation in the world with a current population below that in the mid-nineteenth century and the only European country to have suffered a century of demographic decline in its recent history.1 ...

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5. Toward Partition, 1860s to 1910s

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pp. 60-82

It is clear that the Great Famine of 1845–51 had a profound effect on Ireland, leaving its mark on a significantly altered and diminished society. It is also clear that the Famine’s impact was not uniform across the entire island. The death and dispersal it caused were catastrophic, but the processes it set in train were just part of an ongoing demographic tragedy for Ireland. ...

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6. Partition and Civil War, 1911 to 1926

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pp. 83-106

By the beginning of the twentieth century, division had emerged as the primary motif of Irish society. There were many reasons, both economic and social, for this, but their impact was to divide Catholic from Protestant both psychologically and geographically. The last all-Ireland census occurred in 1911, as Partition was to follow in 1921. ...

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7. Division and Continuity, 1920s to 1960s

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pp. 107-136

The Boundary Commission of 1925 confirmed the territorial settlement of Partition. Ireland would remain divided. In many ways Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State had the same central problem at the start of this period: the 1921 treaty had created two states, but it had not created two nations.1 ...

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8. Toward the Celtic Tiger: The Republic, 1961 to 2002

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pp. 137-164

Up to this point the story of the south of Ireland’s economic fortunes has been characterized by an agricultural economy blighted by stagnation and failure. From the beginning of the 1960s a series of policy changes would occur in the Republic that would have profound consequences for the state not simply in the economic sphere but in the social, political, demographic, and even religious realms. ...

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9. Stagnation and Segregation: Northern Ireland, 1971 to 2001

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pp. 165-181

The late twentieth century saw a stark contrast between the experiences of the Republic of Ireland, described in the previous chapter, and those of Northern Ireland over the same period. While the Republic saw rapid economic progress and a decline in religious divisions, the situation in Northern Ireland was almost the reverse. ...

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10. Communal Conflict and Death in Northern Ireland, 1969 to 2001

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pp. 182-200

The conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles started in the late 1960s and largely ended following the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement of 1998, although a decade later violence continued to occur, albeit at a much reduced level. The violence led to over 3,500 deaths. ...

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11. Belfast through the Troubles: Socioeconomic Change, Segregation, and Violence

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pp. 201-220

The city of Belfast provides an illustration of much of the division and interdependence that have taken place in Ireland over the last two centuries. Belfast’s success as an industrial city did much to separate the economy and outlook of the Protestant northeast of Ulster from the rest of Ireland. ...

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12. Conclusions: Ireland's Religious Geographies — Stability or Change?

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pp. 221-228

Figure 12.1 shows the distribution of Catholics in 1834 and compares this with their distribution in 2001/2002 as interpolated onto 1834 Church of Ireland dioceses. In many ways very little has changed: Catholics make up the vast majority of the population over much of the island with the exception of Ulster, especially east Ulster, ...

Notes on Methods and Literature: From Historical GIS Databases to Narrative Histories

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pp. 229-234


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pp. 235-241


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pp. 242-243

E-ISBN-13: 9780253009791
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253009661

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 194 maps
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: The Spatial Humanities