Transformations of the native elite in post-medieval Ireland: an archaeological perspective

Author(s): Andrew Tierney

Year: 2013


Narratives of Ireland’s past are often dominated by simplistic binary oppositions between native and newcomer, English and Irish, Catholic and Protestant, which serve to disguise the social and ethnic complexity of post-medieval Irish society. Accordingly, the ‘big house’ functions, perhaps too conveniently, as the material embodiment of colonial privilege, working as a simple and stark counterpoint to the ‘thatched cottage’ of humble native tradition. This paper interrogates such divisions by exploring the built remains of wealthy native families who retained their elite status despite the transformations of early modern Ireland, or who exploited religious and political change as a means to social advancement. Many such families, as part of the landed establishment, saw no contradiction in retaining an indigenous Irish identity within a new British political order and their substantial architectural remains serve to complicate essentialist understandings of Irish national identity.


Cite this Record

Transformations of the native elite in post-medieval Ireland: an archaeological perspective. Andrew Tierney. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428236)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Architecture Colonialism Ethnicity

Geographic Keywords
Ireland Western Europe

Temporal Keywords
17th-19th centuries

Spatial Coverage

min long: -10.463; min lat: 51.446 ; max long: -6.013; max lat: 55.38 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 621