Constructing Irishness: nationalism, archaeology and the historic built environment in an independent state

Usher, R., 2014. Constructing Irishness: nationalism, archaeology and the historic built environment in an independent state. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.


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The accepted underlying principle held for the destruction of certain elements of architectural heritage in Ireland has been nationalism. The explicit manifestation of this was the destruction of Dublin’s Georgian architecture in the 1960s and 70s. Such architecture has been naturally associated with British imperialism: formal architecture represented the British Protestant upper classes, a division of society to which the native Catholic Irish did not apparently ascribe, or from which they were excluded. Assessments of value made by reactive amenity bodies such as the Irish Georgian Society did little to dispel the notion that formal architecture did not accord with Irishness, as such appraisals were being made by the elite. Additionally, independent Ireland was keen to emphasise a native Irish identity, based in the west, and reinforced by icons of tradition including thatched vernacular houses and rural living. Such identity was underpinned by the archaeological record: the pre-dominant cultural-historical theoretical approach and the invasion hypothesis reinforced distinctions between the various cultures entering the country by both the physical movements of people and the diffusion of culture. However, such assessments of value become untenable in the face of economic development, as demonstrated by the Hill of Tara and the M3 motorway debate.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Usher, R.
Date: 2014
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 09:34
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2015 09:34

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