Burning the Big House The Story of the Irish Country House in a Time of War and Revolution Terence Dooley

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
08 Mar 2022
ISBN:
9780300260748
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
384 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
63 b-w illus.
Sales territories:
World

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The gripping story of the tumultuous destruction of the Irish country house, spanning the revolutionary years of 1912 to 1923

During the Irish Revolution nearly three hundred country houses were burned to the ground. These “Big Houses” were powerful symbols of conquest, plantation, and colonial oppression, and were caught up in the struggle for independence and the conflict between the aristocracy and those demanding access to more land. Stripped of their most important artifacts, most of the houses were never rebuilt and ruins such as Summerhill stood like ghostly figures for generations to come.
 
Terence Dooley offers a unique perspective on the Irish Revolution, exploring the struggles over land, the impact of the Great War, and why the country mansions of the landed class became such a symbolic target for republicans throughout period. Dooley details the shockingly sudden acts of occupation and destruction—including soldiers using a Rembrandt as a dart board—and evokes the exhilaration felt by the revolutionaries at seizing these grand houses and visibly overturning the established order.

Terence Dooley is professor of history at Maynooth University and Director at the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates. He is the author of numerous books including The Decline of the Big House in Ireland.