First published in 1979 as a tribute to the late Professor J.C. Beckett, this volume of original essays on the history of eighteenth-century Ireland was conceived both as an exercise in revision, challenging accepted orthodoxies, and as an attempt to open up new areas of study in a period grown stale with competing clichés: the 'penal era' for Catholic Ireland which was also the 'golden age' of Protestant Ascendancy.
Some of the contributions offered novel interpretations of familiar subjects ' the 'Money Bill' dispute of 1753, the crucial viceroyalty of Lord Townshend, the Volunteer movement, the issue of parliamentary 'corruption', and the role of 'middlemen' in Irish landed society. Others exposed what was then largely unknown territory ' the 'constitutional revolution' of the 1690s, the pre-history of the 'undertaker system', the economic and social transformation of Ulster, and the British dimension to the United Irishmen.
As a collection, these essays may fairly be said to have inaugurated a new era in the writing of eighteenth-century Irish history, as well as launching the careers of a generation of young scholars, a number of whom have gone on to establish themselves as leading authorities in the period. Twenty-five years on, the volume still stands as a landmark, the impact and freshness of the essays undiminished.
- The Irish Parliament of 1692 by James I. McGuire
- The Beginnings of the Undertaker System,
- The Money Bill Dispute 1753 by Declan O'Donovan
- The Townshend Viceroyalty 1767-72 by PHD Smyth
- The Volunteers and Parliament, 1779-84
- The Parliament Traffic of this Country. by APW Malcolmson
- Middlemen, by David Dickson
- Change in Ulster in the late Eighteenth Century, by WH Crawford
- Irish Republicanism in England; the first Phase , 1707-9, by Marianne Elliott