Irish Military Elites, Nation and Empire, 1870–1925

Identity and Authority

  • Loughlin Sweeney

Table of contents

About this book


“Dr Sweeney’s important book brings to life the experience of the Irish officer class at a time of building revolutionary ferment. It is an astute and original study that sits at the boundaries of so many fields, from the national question to matters of gender and class.”

John Bew, War Studies, King’s College London, UK 

This book is a social history of Irish officers in the British army in the final half-century of Crown rule in Ireland. Drawing on the accounts of hundreds of officers, it charts the role of military elites in Irish society, and the building tensions between their dual identities as imperial officers and Irishmen, through land agitation, the home rule struggle, the First World War, the War of Independence, and the partition of Ireland. What emerges is an account of the deeply interwoven connections between Ireland and the British army, casting officers as social elites who played a pivotal role in Irish society, and examining the curious continuities of this connection even when officers’ moral authority was shattered by war, revolution, independence, and a divided nation.


Irish independence 1918 Armistice Irish War of Independence Army Irish identity Class, social status First World War British Empire British officer corps Home service

Authors and affiliations

  • Loughlin Sweeney
    • 1
  1. 1.John Endicott College of International StudiesDaejeonKorea (Republic of)

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-19306-5
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-19307-2
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