‘Out in the Cold’?: The children of the Irish Parliamentary Party and the Irish Free State

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Drawing on the recent scholarly interest in ‘generationism’ and the revolutionary period, this article examines the life chances of the 247 children born to the last cohort of Irish Parliamentary Party M.P.s elected to Westminster between 1910 and 1918. It employs a prosopographical approach to reconstruct their lives at specific points (1910 and 1948) in order to assess the impact that independence had on their fortunes longitudinally. While it problematises the idea that the Edwardian children of nationalist M.P.s formed part of a privileged elite in waiting, it does conclude that they enjoyed a degree of cultural and political capital that positioned them advantageously in advance of home rule The analysis advanced here suggests that despite experiencing some political disorientation, those scions of the old I.P.P. who lived through the revolutionary years re-oriented themselves relatively quickly, regrouped, and experienced considerable political and professional success during the following decades. As for those children who were born or achieved adulthood after 1922, there is little evidence to suggest that they were socially or politically ostracised, or that, in turn, they felt a sense of fundamental alienation from the new state. Ultimately, unlike those who had fought for the republic but ended up feeling as if they were among the losers, what the children of the I.P.P lost after 1918 should not obscure the fact that many of them were among the winners in the new Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-114
Number of pages51
JournalIrish Historical Studies
Issue number161
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


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