Why study the Global Irish, 1607-2011?

For a small island on the fringes of Europe, Ireland has had an outsized influence on the economic, cultural, and social history of the modern world. Much of this influence has stemmed from the tens of millions of people of Irish descent living abroad, and the innovative and skilful interconnections forged by these emigrants continue to form the basis of Ireland’s diplomacy and foreign policy today. From the links of the Gaelic aristocracy to Spain, France, and Rome in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the vast waves of nineteenth century emigration to the settler colonies of North America and Australasia, to the vibrant expatriate Irish communities in almost every country in the world today, this course will explore the extent of these global connections, the reasons for their enduring appeal, and their potential for the Ireland of the 21st century.

Course Content

You will learn:
• Overarching knowledge of the key events in the history of the Irish diaspora
• Specialised knowledge of a particular diaspora, as a research subject
• Research methods, techniques, and search strategies for digitised archives in Ireland and overseas
• Persuasive writing and effective scientific communication
• A nuanced, historically grounded understanding of Irish foreign policy and diaspora affairs in the 20th and 21st centuries
• Historiographical methods, primary and secondary source analysis, and how to approach historical documents and assess historical evidence
• A detailed analytical understanding of the role of memory and tradition in cohering migrant societies

Course Schedule

Week 1
The Flight of the Earls: Ireland in Europe, 1607-1648

Week 2
Wild Geese: Irish settlement in Europe and the Americas, 1632-1768

Week 3
Ireland and the early American republics, 1770-1830

Week 4
Transportation and settlement in Australasia, 1790-1870

Week 5
Famine and post-Famine migration, 1847-1900

Week 6
Imperial citizens? Irish people in the British Empire, 1854-1941

Week 7
Irishness, nation, and citizenship: Canada, Australia, and the United States, 1867-1960

Week 8
London Irish: Irish people in Britain, 1880-1960

Week 9
Keeping the peace: Ireland at the United Nations, 1955-1998

Week 10
Digital nomads: Irish migration in the 21st century

Programme Delivery

This will be an online learning course. If you are unable to attend live classes, the classes will be available online to watch at a later stage. It is a 10-week course, live classes will be on Tuesday evenings per week from 6:30pm to 9:30pm


Assessment will be by a mixture of a written assignments and continuous assessment.


Loughlin Sweeney lectures on global history and researches Irish communities in the nineteenth and twentieth century. He received a PhD in modern Irish history from Queens’ College, Cambridge in 2017, and has taught and researched at the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Queen Mary in the UK, and Endicott College in South Korea. His first book, Irish Military Elites, Nation and Empire 1870-1925 was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2019. He is currently working on a history of Irish communities in nineteenth-century China.

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Diploma in the Global Irish 1607-2011 (Live Online)

Diploma in the Global Irish 1607-2011 (Live Online)


6:30 PM - 9:30 PM