This provocative new history of Ireland during the long 1960s exposes the myths of Ireland's modernisation. Mary E. Daly questions traditional interpretations which see these years as a time of prosperity when Irish society - led by a handful of key modernisers - abandoned many of its traditional values in its search for economic growth. Setting developments in Ireland in a wider European context, Daly shows instead that claims for the economic transformation of Ireland are hugely questionable: Ireland remained one of the poorest countries in western Europe until the end of the twentieth century. Contentious debates in later years over contraception, divorce, and national identity demonstrated continuities with the past that long survived the 1960s. Spanning the period from Ireland's economic rebirth in the 1950s to its entry into the EEC in 1973, this is a comprehensive reinterpretation of a critical period in Irish history with clear parallels for Ireland today.
Mary E. Daly is Professor Emeritus in Modern Irish History at University College Dublin. In 2014 she was elected as the first woman President of the Royal Irish Academy in the Academy's 229-year history. In addition to a career as a teacher and researcher in modern Irish history, spanning more than forty years, she has been Principal of the College of Arts and Celtic Studies at UCD. She is a member of the Irish government's Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations, and in 2015 was appointed as a Commissioner to investigate the history of Ireland's mother and baby homes.
Introduction; Part I. The Economy: 1. 'Bringing up the rear of the pack' in Europe's golden age of economic growth; 2. Transforming the economy: whose plan?; 3. Coping with change 1: industry and trade unions; 4. Coping with change 2: agriculture and rural Ireland; 5. Coping with change 3: regional and physical planning; Part II. Society: 6. The optimism of a rising tide; 7. Farewell to 'the vanishing Irish'; 8. Women, children and families; 9. Second-wave feminism and the Irish family; 10. The churches; 11. Education, health and welfare; Part III. Politics and International Relations: 12. Party politics: the revolution that never happened; 13. International relations; 14. Northern Ireland; Conclusion: abandoning the past?; Bibliography; Index.