Parliament, Improvement and Patriotism, 1692–1760

Part of the British History in Perspective book series (BHP)


Fears that a death-knell had been tolled for an independent Irish legislature, with the growing propensity of England to intervene in Irish affairs after 1690, were confounded. From 1692, the Dublin parliament not only retained but enlarged its role. Haughty Irish MPs responded to English slights by rehousing themselves. In 1729, a virtuoso from the emerging Protestant Ascendancy, Edward Lovett Pearce, well-connected and well-travelled in continental Europe, was commissioned to design a new parliament house on College Green, opposite Trinity College. Grand in scale and conception, the building proclaimed the arrival in Ireland of a sophisticated and modern classicism learnt directly from Italy and nowhere to be found in the secular public buildings of London or Edinburgh. This commission could be seen as a gesture, costly and permanent, which matched the rhetorical flights of the Irish patriots in parliamentary debates. It was equalled in grandeur and modishness only by the mansion of Castletown, which the Speaker of the Commons, William Conolly, was erecting in County Kildare during the 1720s.119


Eighteenth Century Seventeenth Century Parliamentary Debate River Blackwater Civic Post 
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© Toby C. Barnard 2004

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