Ireland’s Ascendancy at the End of the Long Eighteenth Century

  • Eilís O’Sullivan


The Ascendancy was the privileged group that controlled Irish politics and society during the long eighteenth century. This chapter discusses the Ascendancy’s ethnic and religious origins. In considering their concerns, mores and fashions, the chapter outlines urban and rural renewal, ambitious building projects, and the social life enjoyed by the Ascendancy in Dublin and in the provinces. The chapter concentrates on Ascendancy women, their interests and life experiences. Compared to the existence of poorer women, the lives of Ascendancy women appeared fine. Nevertheless, Ascendancy females, denied the freedom to make even basic decisions for themselves, experienced the inequalities suffered by all women in Georgian Ireland. The women’s expensive but constrictive clothing reflected the strictures of society, religion and convention.


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  2. R.B. McDowell, “Ireland in 1800,” in A New History of Ireland 4: Eighteenth-century Ireland 1691–1800, edited by T.W. Moody and W.E. Vaughan, Vol. 4, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eilís O’Sullivan
    • 1
  1. 1.Mary Immaculate CollegeUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland

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