The Sassy Countess is a blog about historic houses, properties, castles, estates, mansions, homes, land, and lifestyles! Focusing mostly on 18th century, other time periods are also included, such as Regency, Golden Age, Gilded Age, Victorian, American Post and Antebellum, Romantic, Jacksonian, Medieval, Renaissance, Edwardian, New Republic, etc.
Ireland certainly has seen a tumultuous last
couple of centuries. The last few decades have been a time of prosperity that
has brought out the best in Irish nationalism. This includes celebrating the
best, and worst, times that the nation has lived through. The worst times,
according to many, was the 18th century when the visibility of the British
oppression was the most grand. The hatred of the British and their
oppressiveness not only lived and breathed during that century, it also
continued through most of the 20th century. The fuel that fed the fire of every
Irishman through these times of oppression was very essence that had brought
the Georgian mansion in Dublin to the brink of extinction then to be reinvented
and cherished as an Irish accomplishment. The country decided that it was the
Irish craftsman that did the building. So therefore, Irish buildings they are!
The oppressive British aristocrats moved in and built the large 18th century
mansions in Dublin, Ireland. The current value and preservation of the elite
Georgian manors is a direct result of the Irish Nationalism.
the Conqueror was not only the conqueror of England, he and his Norman knights
conquered Ireland as well (Wood, 39). This set off a chain of events of
national pride in the Irish. The Irish aristocracy was told to either follow
King William I, or to die. Many decided that it would be better to live than to
not follow such a strong king. Those that did not follow William, The Bastard,
did find that someone who was true to the king easily replaced their position
in society. They also found that their lives were indeed in peril (Gravett,
chapter 3, page 1). Those that were of average, or slave stock, did not have to
worry about their positions in society. They were the ones that openly opposed
the British monarchy.
general population continued to fight against the tyranny of the English. The
blood of the Irish elite had become intermingled with that of England’s
nobility due to intermarriage, so they thought themselves more English than
Irish. Because of this, the nobility created an edict in 1361 banning anyone of
pure Irish heritage from having positions of office including church, military
or political positions. It also included a ban on having a full blood Irishman
as a servant to an Englishman. The British fervor continued to charge the elite
into issuing an additional edict five years later that forbade intermingled
marriages as well as using the Irish language, custom or law a crime
separation of class and of nationality continued as Henry the VIII came to the
throne and created the Anglican Church in the 16th century (Phillips
104-105). The Nobility wanted to stay in the good graces of the king and so
most changed religions. The general population remained true to their Catholic
religion. This separated the ordinary person from the aristocrats even further.
Religious warfare began, and it continued to fuel the fire of Irish nationalism
(Hunt et al. 475-486 ).
the war of religion fermented and grew, the separation of those British and the
Irish grew as well. For over a hundred years the Catholic Irish fought the
Protestant British in mind, body and spirit. In 1649, Oliver Cromwell entered
Ireland with a flourish. He confiscated land and divided it all amongst his
English soldiers. Catholic landowners were exiled, and over 60,000 Catholic Irish
were sent to Barbados as slaves (Ancestry.com).
Irish people were decimated, but it only fueled their hatred for the English
and enlarged their Irish pride. By the early 18th century, Catholics
held only 7% of Irish land (Ancestry.com). The English Revolution did not help
the Irish in the least. The new King, William of Orange, was a foreigner who
had little to do with England, much less Ireland (Phillips, 164-167). He
allowed the Parliament to run things most of the time, letting the wolf rule the
sheep. They put their power in full effect and created a law that disallowed
anyone of the Catholic faith to either rule the kingdom as sovereign, or to be
a Member of Parliament (Hamilton, 8).
more British moved into Ireland, especially Dublin, they started building their
own types of housing. The Brits brought their fashions from London with them to
their new land, this included housing which consisted of floor plans, exterior
and interior design as well as façade style. The most popular housing style in
London at the time was the Georgian (Baker, 33). These mansions were built
using the architects of England, but the labor of the locals (Lewin, 2008). The
Irish were allowed to build the houses, just not own them (Ancestry.com).
Irish were fed up with the self-righteous attitude of the English and created
their own Parliament in 1782. This led to a rebellion in 1798 where the British
monarchy thrashed the Irish patriots. The uprising was a direct result of the
century of oppression that the British held over the Irish (1798 Rebellion).
Even though this rebellion ended, others continued until 1998 (Ancestry.com).
The Irish believed that they had the right to be self-governing and continued
throughout the centuries by showing their nationalism to the world by using the
IRA as their voice against the oppressive British rule (Irish Republican Army).
a peace treaty was signed after hundreds of years of Irish-British war. The
Irish used their voices loudly and were finally heard, but they were now on
their own to find their own way. Dublin was their capital and they wanted to
make sure that it looked like it was a governmental city worthy of a great
nation. The locals began tearing down everything that reminded them of British
rule. Many of the huge Georgian mansions were destroyed to make way for modern
buildings. People from all over the world moved to Dublin to make use of their
great tax system. Foreigners decided to rent in the old Georgian houses,
instead of the new office buildings. Local people noticed how the newcomers
flocked to the Georgian areas and it became a fad for the fashionable to move
there. The Doctors and Lawyers wanted to impress their clients with their
address, so they were now moving their offices into the mansions (Georgians).
Many Irish were now trying to save the old Georgians instead of tearing them
down using the argument that even though a Brit owned them, an Irishman built
them! (Joyce, 2009)
Some may say that the new
fad of saving the Georgian houses is because of pure economics. They are now
fashionable, and so they are worth more. When more people move to an area, they
bring money with them, which increases the income of the locals. Saving a
popular location has nothing to do with nationalism, but everything to do with
the almighty dollar, or in this case the euro. This could certainly be
partially true; however, why would Irish people move into the area? They moved
into the Georgian mansions because they are proud of their address! Pride and
nationalism has been the soul of every Irishmen for centuries, and it did not
stop with an influx of foreigners.
It is obvious to
everyone throughout the world that the Irish people have a strong sense of
nationality. Until recently, there were conflicts aired on television showing
exactly how much effort the Irish have put into their insistence that they will
be heard as a people. There have been many centuries of British overlords not
allowing any type of Irish Nationalism. Because of that, anything English has
been destroyed. Now, that same sense of Irish pride has kept the Georgian
houses in Dublin from being destroyed, and have become a popular place for
doctors and lawyers to house their offices. These mansions are now a public
cause. The Georgian houses in Ireland are protected; indeed they are popular
because the Irish national pride has decided that they are actually an Irish
written for class at American Military University.
“A Timeline of Irish History”.
Ancestry.com. 1998. Web. August 21, 2011.
Baker, John Milnes. American House Styles: A Concise
Guide. New York: W.W. Norton
Company, 1994. Print.
“Georgians on Market
Reflect Drop in Prices.”
The Irish Times, June 15, 2011.
Web. August 17, 2011.
Christopher. The History of Castles: Fortifications Around the World, 2nd
Guilford, CT: Pequot Press, 2001. Print.
Hamilton, Janice. The
Norman Conquest of England. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century
Books, 2008. Print.
Hunt, Lynn., et al.
The Making of the West Peoples and Cultures Volume I: To 1740 A
Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2003. Print.
Joyce, Joe. “ESB
Plan to Knock Down Georgian Houses Opposed.”
The Irish Times, May 28, 2009. Web. August 17, 2011.
Lewin, Alison Williams. “The Norman Conquest: England after
William the Conqueror.”
Review of The Norman Conquest:
England after William the Conqueror by Hugh M. Thomas, Saint Joseph’s
2008. September 19, 2011