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Who ruled Ireland? The Irish administration, 1879-1914

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Fergus Campbell


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In an influential monograph, The greening of Dublin Castle (1991), Lawrence McBride argued that the Irish administration was in a rapid state of transformation between 1892 and 1922. Broadly speaking, he argued that the Protestant and unionist senior administrators were gradually replaced by Catholic and nationalist civil servants during this period. However, a significant body of evidence suggests that McBride may have overstated the changes taking place in the Irish civil service. Using a prosopographical study of the senior civil servants in Ireland in 1891 and 1911, this article suggests that there was significantly less 'greening' than McBride claimed. The British state appears to have regarded Irish-born Catholics as potentially disloyal, and to have implemented a subtle system of ethnic discrimination at the upper levels of the Irish civil service. It is argued that the existence of this glass ceiling provided young educated Catholic professionals with a powerful motive for participation in the Irish revolution (1916-23). © 2007 Cambridge University Press.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Campbell F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Historical Journal

Year: 2007

Volume: 50

Issue: 3

Pages: 623-644

Print publication date: 01/09/2007

ISSN (print): 0018-246X

ISSN (electronic): 1469-5103

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0018246X07006280


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