Module Catalogue 2020/21

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

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Mr jack Hepworth
  • 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



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 ‘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 witnessed important elements of the British political elite redefining their approach to Ireland. Subsequent decades set the context for Anglo-Irish relations for the next 150 years. The famine, agrarian political protest, cultural revival, and the emergence of popular nationalism and militant republicanism 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 between the United Irishmen rebellion of 1798 and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Fatal Allies 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 diplomatic and security relations between Britain and Ireland.

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.
Each of the nine teaching weeks will include four hours of lecture materials. These materials will take various forms, including recorded clips with slides, guided engagement with primary sources, and quizzes. All lecture materials will be available to access online. Seminars will be based around pre-circulated questions relating to primary and secondary reading detailed in the module handbook.

Key events in Anglo-Irish relations and major issues in Irish historiography since 1798 will be examined across the module. Topics will include:

•       The Act of Union and its aftermath: rebellion and reaction, 1798-1829
•       The repeal movement, 1830-1848
•       The Irish famine and its diaspora, 1847-1858
•       The land war, 1879-1882
•       Home Rule and its opponents, 1870-1912
•       The revolutionary decade, 1912-1923
•       Southern Ireland from Free State to Republic, 1922-1959
•       The origins of the Troubles: Northern Ireland, 1921-1969
•       The Northern Ireland conflict, 1969-1998

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 portfolio contributions);
- Synthesise secondary literature;
- To argue clearly and succinctly both on paper (in their essay and portfolio contributions) and orally (in their contributions to seminars);
- To manage their time (in order to prepare for the seminars and portfolio);
- 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

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 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 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.