The Early History of Ireland

Ref: C2337918

Ireland is a land around which many legends and myths have grown. We will explore the early beginnings of the people who settled in Ireland and trace their links to mainland Britain, as well as examining the role of the Stuart kings in the plantation of Ulster. Cromwell and the English Civil War left a legacy which has caused much controversy and continues to be evaluated. and the Protestant Ascendancy had profound effects on the native Irish population. By understanding events at the end of the 18th century, which laid the ground for future revolution, we can make links to the present relationship between Britain and Ireland.

Course aim

The aim of this course is to provide a brief introduction to the history of Ireland from the arrival of St Patrick to the Act of Union.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • describe some examples of Catholic Gaelic Irish culture
  • evaluate the development of the plantation of Ulster
  • assess the role of Oliver Cromwell in Ireland
  • interpret the impact of the Protestant ascendancy

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • The tutor will suggest texts and websites which will help with further study as the course progresses

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course outline

The Early History of Ireland Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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