Course Overview

Diploma in Irish History 2 – The Irish Revolution will investigate and interrogate the decade (1913-23) in which the foundations were laid for Irish independence and in which the establishment of the Irish Free State was achieved. We will examine the unionist drive to forestall Home Rule which would lead, ironically, to a form of devolution. We will trace the rise of Sinn Féin as it, somewhat fortuitously, came to epitomise the struggle for separatism.

How did the Irish Volunteers of 1913 split into two numerically unequal forces? How did Ireland respond to the exigencies of the First World War? What, if any, role did organised labour play in state formation? How did the Volunteers of 1916 become the Irish Republican Army of 1919-21? How a form of legislative independence was achieved, and how the beginnings of decolonisation were postponed to accommodate an internecine conflict, as the unity of Sinn Féin and the IRA unravelled after the ratification of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1922.

Diploma in Irish History 2 is part of The College of Media.

Course Modules

WEEK 1 – Course Introduction + The Home Rule Crisis and the Unionist Response

How the People’s Budget led to the Home Rule crisis – the threat to the House of Lords – the Solemn League and Covenant – Tory support for unionist opposition to Home Rule – the emergence of Carson and Craig – the Ulster Volunteers

WEEK 2 – Ireland and Word War 1

The 10th, 16th and 36th in the Great War – how the three Irish divisions fared and the key encounters that led to 36,000 Irish deaths

Irish Recruiting posters – how advertising was used to recruit

Ledwidge’s war – the military career and early death of the poet Francis Ledwidge

A sort of homecoming – what Irish soldiers met when they returned from WW1

WEEK 3 – The 1916 Rising

The IRB Military council– planning, executing, aborting, and reinstating the insurrection

The battle for Dublin

How to lose a country in 16 executions – the courts martial and executions

WEEK 4 – 1917 – 1919

The rise, decline and rise of Sinn Féin

The Conscription crisis

The 1918 General Election

WEEK 5 – The War of Independence 1

The First Dáil and Soloheadbeg – the IRA gears up – the military campaign and the response – the British policy of reprisal

The Propaganda war

The ‘other’ war – land seizures and the Sinn Féin courts

WEEK 6 – War of Independence 2

De Valera in America

The Secret War – Michael Collins, IRA Intelligence and the Squad

IRA Executions – Meath case study

WEEK 7 – Miscellaneous

Labour from the Lockout to the 1920 local elections

What did granddad do in the War of Independence? – exploring Family history

WEEK 8 – Resolving the Anglo-Irish War

The Truce and the Treaty Negotiations

Dail debates and decision making – the slide to Civil War

WEEK 9 – The Irish Civil War

The 1922 election pact – the pact starts to fray at the edges – the occupation of the Four Courts – the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson – siege of the Four Courts – the battle for Dublin – the battle for Munster – the deaths of Collins and Griffith – Free State and IRA atrocities – the ‘77’ executions – the Republican surrender

WEEK 10 – Legacies

The Civil War and partition

What we lost in the Four Courts

The 1924 Army Mutiny

The Kevin O’Higgins assassination and the Sinn Féin/ Fianna Fáil split


Learning Outcomes

On completing the 10 week ‘Irish Revolution’ course the student should be able to:

  • Outline the significance of some of the more notable events and personalities in the period of the Irish Revolution
  • Evaluate the forces at play in expediting and/or impeding political change during the 1913-23 period in Irish history
  • Comprehend the nature of the conservative and pietistic Irish state established in 1922, many of whose characteristics persisted for decades.
  • Understand the often problematic basis of Anglo-Irish relations in the post-1922 period.

Course Award

City Colleges Diploma


A pass grade on the written assignment will be required for awarding the Diploma.


Myles Dungan

Myles Dungan is a broadcaster and journalist with more than forty years experience of working in Irish radio and TV, as a presenter and programme maker. He has, since 1980, presented Five Seven Live, Rattlebag, Today with Myles Dungan, The History Show and Prime Time on RTE Radio and TV. In 2012 he received a PhD in History from Trinity College, Dublin and has taught at undergraduate level and as an adjunct lecturer in the University of California, Berkeley, Trinity College, Dublin, University College, Dublin, the Dublin Institute of Technology as well as City Colleges.

He is the author of more than a dozen books on Irish and American History, including Irish Voices from the Great War and Conspiracy: Irish Political Trials. He is the recipient of two Fulbright Awards to the University of California, Berkeley as a researcher (2007) and a teacher (2011). He is also the recipient of numerous awards for his radio work, including a Jacob’s Award in 1988 for the 13-part radio documentary series, Vietnam. He is the programme director of the annual Hinterland Festival.


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Live online training with real-time instructor-student interaction.
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January 2023
10 weeks, 1 evening per week from 6.30 to 9.30pm GMT
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A flexible online approach developed to allow you to learn at your own pace.
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12 weeks

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