The Irish Revolution, 1912–23
In Monaghan, the transfer of land ownership and political power under British government legislation from the late nineteenth century resulted in the overthrow of one ruling elite, the Protestant landed class, by another, Catholic nationalist men of property. In 1912, Monaghan unionists, together with unionists in wider Ulster, prepared to prevent the implementation of home rule. In their thousands, they signed the Ulster Covenant and Women’s Declaration, and joined or aided the Ulster Volunteer Force. In response to the anti-home rule threat, Monaghan nationalists joined the Irish Volunteers. It seemed as if Monaghan might become a battlefield in a sectarian civil war until the First World War intervened with significant consequences for both communities. The 1916 Rising had little impact on Monaghan but its consequences did. All communities were discommoded during the turbulent 1919–23 period by violence (sometimes sectarian in nature), the growth of lawlessness and agrarianism, the economic effects of the Belfast Boycott, and the imposition of the border with the new state of Northern Ireland. After 1923, the people of Monaghan got on with living their lives in a changed political landscape. For many, the revolution brought a sense of lingering disillusionment: Monaghan unionists were aggrieved at their desertion by their fellow Ulster covenanters and nationalists were disappointed by how little the social and political order had changed.
Terence Dooley is director of the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses & Estates, Maynooth University. He is the author of The decline and fall of the Dukes of Leinster, 1872–1948: love, war, debt and madness (Dublin, 2014) and co-editor, with Christopher Ridgway, of The Country House and the Great War: Irish and British experiences (Dublin, 2016).