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Kurt Bowen’s Protestants in a Catholic state: Ireland’s privileged minority (1983) was probably correct, however, to pinpoint recruitment into middle-class occupations during the 1960s and ’70s by what Crawford’s interviewees call the ‘Protestant network’.

(See my ‘Shorthand for Protestants’ in HI 17.5, Sept./Oct.

After 1890 the mainly Protestant landed élite, who owned most Irish land, saw its slow transfer over 30 years to those who in the main worked it.

Then came an even more cataclysmic partition and independence in 1922.

It positioned itself internally as ‘the Irish Church’ whose origins lay in Celtic Christianity.

Economic advantage was one of the reasons why Protestants did not complain much in the Catholic-dominated Republic.

Catholicism is seen as coterminous with a nationalism and Gaelicisation that it subsumes.

In Crawford’s narrative, Protestants are cast adrift, are questioned and become self-questioning, but also querulously assertive, about their national identity.

This provided the basis for a transition towards retaining Protestants’ old place in the new society.

By the time the oath was ditched in the 1930s and a republic declared in 1948, deemed incompatible with Commonwealth membership, old colonial certainties had retreated.

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