Jubilees, Centenaries and Historians

  • Stuart Andrews


The Fenians had attempted to detach the debate about Irish independence from the polemical confrontation between Catholic and Protestant. The defeat of Gladstone’s Irish University Bill of 1873, through opposition from the Catholic hierarchy, brought down the Liberal government. The Bill proposed the abolition of Queen’s College, Galway, and the creation of an Irish National University, incorporating both Trinity College and the Catholic University of Dublin — but excluding theology, philosophy and modern history from the curriculum.1 Newman’s Idea of a university (1875) held that to exclude theology from university courses was ‘to impair the completeness and invalidate the trustworthiness of all that is actually taught in them’; but he was defending Catholic not Reformation theology.2 The 1870s saw Protestant resentment at Disestablishment redoubled by the promulgation of the dogma of Papal Infallibility. The resentment was dramatically fuelled by Gladstone’s intemperate intervention.


Trinity College Home Rule Grand Pageant Irish History Edinburgh Review 
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  1. 2.
    J. H. Newman, The idea of a university defined and illustrated (1875) p. 70.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    W. E. Gladstone, The Vatican decrees in their bearing on civil allegiance: a political expostulation (1874) in Norman [10.12] pp. 213–16.Google Scholar
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© Stuart Andrews 2006

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  • Stuart Andrews

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