The first in a series of lectures which discusses aspects of the War of Independence and the subsequent Civil War, Dr. Elizabeth Stack will discuss the 1918 Election and the First Dail, as well as the beginning of the War of Independence.
The 1918 election is now seen as a key moment in modern Irish history because it saw the overwhelming defeat of the moderate nationalist Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP), which had dominated the Irish political landscape since the 1880s, and a landslide victory for the radical Sinn Féin party which had vowed in its manifesto to establish an independent Irish Republic. The election was held in the aftermath of World War I, the Easter Rising and the Conscription Crisis. It was the first general election to be held after the Representation of the People Act 1918, so women over the age of 30, and all men over the age of 21, could vote. In the aftermath of the elections, Sinn Féin's elected members refused to attend the British Parliament in Westminster (London), and instead formed a parliament in Dublin, the First Dáil Éireann ("Assembly of Ireland"), which declared Irish independence as a republic. The Irish War of Independence was conducted under this revolutionary government which sought international recognition, and set about the process of state-building.
This is the first lecture in our War of Independence Centenary Series with Executive Director Dr. Elizabeth Stack.