Scots in Ireland under the Union: the boundaries of Britishness c.1800-1925
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date26/06/2021
Clark, Stuart James Robert
The aim of this study is to contribute towards historical understanding of how Scottishness, Irishness, and Britishness were constructed and operated within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, c.1800-1925. It seeks to move beyond existing comparative work concerning Scottish and Irish engagement with the British union state by focussing on direct interactions between the two groups. The thesis focuses on the activities and experiences of different groups of Scots on the island of Ireland during this period: soldiers in the Scottish regiments; Scottish politicians holding Irish office; Scottish farmers and agriculturists involved on Irish land; and the membership of Dublin’s Saint Andrew Society. It argues that in each sphere of research Scots articulated distinct versions of Scottish identity in Ireland and were correspondingly recognised as distinctly Scottish by the Irish. Whilst the elements of Scottish identity articulated by different individuals in differing contexts does not necessarily point to a consistent and coherent interpretation of Scottishness; Scottishness was, crucially, consistently deployed as a claim to expertise or superiority in areas crucial to British interests in Ireland and the wider empire. I argue that this functionality is reflective of the leading role Scots had played in defining and maintaining interpretations of Britishness which worked to privilege their own place within the union state and empire. By seeking to rigidly adhere to and enforce their interpretations of Britishness in Ireland, Scots were significant contributors to the failure of the union state to develop a version of British identity capable of including all of the inhabitants of Ireland.