The role of religion in Irish education is a topic that has sparked intense debate in contemporary society. This issue has its roots in the nineteenth century, and arguably even earlier, when the state’s first national school system of education was established on a non-denominational basis. Religious rivalry between the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches ultimately meant that by the turn of the twentieth century, Ireland’s primary school system of education had effectively become denominational. This lecture will trace the history of religious influence on primary education, starting with the establishment of the national school system in 1831 to the present day.
AnneMarie Brosnan is a lecturer in the History of Education at Mary Immaculate College. She holds a PhD in History having completed part of her doctoral research at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as a Fulbright Visiting Researcher. AnneMarie’s teaching and research interests focus on education in Ireland and the US South during the 19th and 20th centuries. Her most recent publication examines the history of mixed-race children in Irish institutional care. Her first book, which examines the education of former slaves in post-Civil War North Carolina, will be published by Fordham University Press this autumn.