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An Irish village: Dunlavin, County Wicklow



This study traces the history of the village community of Dunlavin in west Wicklow over three centuries. The Dunlavin region straddles both counties Wicklow and Kildare. The study follows the evolution of the village in its regional setting, examining the long and formative impact of Anglophone settlers during the era of ‘Protestant Ascendancy’, positing a model, possibly applicable nationally, of their rise in the seventeenth century, through their zenith in the eighteenth, to their decline in the nineteenth, and replacement by the emerging Catholic interest in the twentieth.


Sir Richard Bulkeley erected the new village of Dunlavin on a greenfield site after the 1641 rebellion. In 1710, Sir James Worth Tynte inherited the village. Tynte and his eighteenth-century successors pursued a model of paternalistic landlordism, but the 1798 rebellion and the Dunlavin massacre fractured the relationship between the elite and the masses. The paternalistic model of landlordism failed in the early nineteenth century, and the severe distress experienced in the area during the Great Famine was testament to this. In the post-Famine era, Joseph Pratt Tynte never regained the levels of deference he and his fellow landlords had previously enjoyed. Tynte’s influence was challenged by invigorated nationalism and resurgent Catholicism. The Catholic middle class took control of local politics, and Dunlavin entered the twentieth century with middle-class Catholicism in the ascendancy. The irreversible eclipse of the elite was already advanced, and the process was completed later in the twentieth century. 


This study locates the Dunlavin region in the larger tapestry of Irish history. Dunlavin’s past is as integral to national history as the past in any other part of the island. This case study illuminates an individual section of a complex network of past local experiences, and reveals one small but significant part of the range of past behaviours in Ireland. 


484 pp.


‘Takes local history to an entirely different level’. Prof. James Kelly, D.C.U.

An Irish village: Dunlavin, County Wicklow

SKU: 364215376135199
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