On Friday 21 and Saturday 22 July 2017 Maynooth University hosted an international conference on ‘Southern Irish loyalism in context’. This two-day event brought together scholars interested in Irish loyalism before, during, and after the Irish Revolution (c. 1913–23). Independence for twenty-six counties and partition formalised an already clear separation between Irish loyalists on either side of the new border, and marked loyalists as a ‘defeated’ minority in the south. Recently, there has been significant scholarly debate on the treatment of loyalists (and especially Protestant loyalists) at the hands of republicans in revolutionary Ireland. But who exactly were the southern Irish loyalists (or unionists) and what did it actually mean to be ‘loyal’ before 1922? What became of those same loyalists afterwards and do terms like ‘ex-unionist’ or ‘ex-loyalist’ do justice to a complex set of allegiances and identities? Those southern Irish loyalists who witnessed the transition from British control in southern Ireland were the inheritors of a much longer tradition of opposition to claims for Irish independence. Nor were they alone as a minority population suffering a crisis of identity in inter-war Europe. As well as examining loyalism in Ireland, the conference aimed to put Irish loyalism in a much wider historical context. Explore the full programme here.

 

 

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