Module Catalogue 2019/20

HIS2002 : Fatal Allies: Anglo-Irish Relations, 1798-1998

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sarah Campbell
  • Lecturer: Dr Christopher Loughlin
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



Indeed, so much of this visit reminds us of the complexity of our history, its many layers and traditions, but also the importance of forbearance and conciliation. Of being able to bow to the past, but not be bound by it
- Queen Elizabeth II, 18 May 2011, Dublin Castle

On 18 May 2011, Queen Elizabeth II heralded a new era in Anglo-Irish relations in a speech that was branded a ‘game-changer’ in the relationship between the two islands. This module introduces students to this relationship, which can be described as being ‘close but tortuous’. The 1790s were a defining period in Anglo-Irish relations. The decade saw the birth of modern republicanism and Orangeism and the subsequent antagonism between the two which remains a defining feature of Irish political life. The 1790s also saw a redefining of the approach to Ireland within important elements of the British political elite. This was an opportunity lost by Britain, and the subsequent decades set the context for Anglo-Irish relations for the next 150 years. Events such as the Famine, the rise of popular nationalism, militant republicanism and cultural revival ensured that the Irish Question was placed firmly on the British agenda. This module examines key themes and events that influenced and shaped Anglo-Irish relations during this period. The conflict in Northern Ireland and the peace initiatives introduced by Britain and Ireland will play a key role in the module. The module will introduce students to the key debates in the historiography, including the ‘revisionist’ debate that occupied academics for much of the 1970s and 1980s. It will also examine the primary source documents of high politics that will shed new light on the diplomatic and security relations between Britain and Ireland from the United Irishmen to the Good Friday Agreement.

The aims of this module are:

To enable students to study the relationship between Britain and Ireland in-depth and analyse the different interpretations of it;

To enable students to engage with both primary source documents from the period, oral testimony collected since, and the major historiographical debates concerning the relationship;

To introduce students to recent historical research and to guide them in the analysis of primary documents and texts;

To give students the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of a longer period in Anglo-Irish relations.

To provide an opportunity of investigating in some depth selected problems, including the appraisal of selected source material and the critical examination of current historiography.’

Outline Of Syllabus

The following is a guide only. Actual subjects may differ from those listed.

Lectures (The two-hour lectures will be based on the following themes)

Wk 1: Introduction; Act of Union and its consequences

Wk 2: The Famine and the Fenians [The politics of nationalism, 1845-1882]

Wk 3:The Home Rule Crisis (1886-1912)

Wk 4: The Irish Question (1912-1922)

Wk 5: From Free State to Republic (1923-1949)

Wk 6: Northern Ireland – A state apart (1920-1968)

Wk 7: The origins of the ‘Troubles’ (1968-1972)

Wk 8: Strained relations (1972-1985)

Wk 9: The Peace Process (1985-1998)

Wk 10: Essay Writing workshop

Wk 11: The Politics of Peace (1998-2011)

Wk 12: Conclusions and Dissertations

Seminars will be based on primary source documents that will be provided in the module.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

-       In-depth knowledge of the historical background of Anglo-Irish relations;
-       Knowledge of different aspects of the period (political, cultural, security) and understanding of the interrelationship between them.
-       Knowledge and understanding of conflicting historical interpretations, and an ability to engage with the key historiographical debates concerning this period.

Intended Skill Outcomes

-       Students are expected to improve their ability to read quickly and with an eye for the distinction between the particular and the general (in taking notes on the material they read to prepare themselves for seminars and the examination);
-       Synthesise secondary literature;
-       To argue clearly and succinctly both on paper (in their essay and examination) and orally (in their contributions to seminars);
-       To manage their time (in order to prepare for the seminars and examination);
-       Students will thus develop their capacity for independent study and critical thinking and the ability to respond promptly, cogently and clearly to new and unexpected questions arising from this study;
-       They will also develop associated skills in research, critical reading and reasoning, sustained discussion and appropriate presentation of the results.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Film/Doucmentary and discussion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Based on 2 seminar groups
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study541:0054:001/3 of guided independent study.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures: to enable students to gain a sense of the relationship between Britain and Ireland; to critically engage with the uses of historical skills and methods;

Seminars: to encourage independent study and to promote improvements in oral presentation, interpersonal communication and problem-solving skills, research skills and adaptability.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M20Documentary analysis/commentary of 1,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Essay1A80Extended essay of 3,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Documentary commentary exercises and examinations test knowledge and understanding of the texts set for the module. The ability to compare and contrast related source texts on a common subject. The ability to expound and criticise a textual extract lucidly, succinctly and with relevance in a relatively brief space, and, in an exam, under pressure.

The extended essay gives students the opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest. The essay requirements acquaints students with the kind of independent research and writing skills expected with the dissertation at Year 3, including: developing a research question, investigation and synthesis of primary and secondary sources, understanding of key historiographical debates and managing an extended timeline for a project.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.