The Rise and Fall of the Big House

$125.00

We’ll look at why the Big House was a target for long-standing resentment among the Irish population. This course will explore the rise of the Big House, as well as the complex set of circumstances that led to its demise. We’ll also take a closer look at some of the Big Houses, study their designs, and take a look at what life was like for their occupants.

5 Zoom sessions. Wednesdays 6:30-7:45 pm September 28 – October 26.

Course fee: $125

  • Online payment is strongly preferred. It automatically notifies the instructor and the director of the Irish College of your registration.
  • By check, make it out to ‘Celtic Junction Arts Center’ and mail to Irish College, Celtic Junction Arts Center, 836 Prior Ave N, St. Paul, MN 55104. If you pay by check, please send an email to the instructor, Otto Paier at 2miaguys@gmail.com and copy education@celticjunction.org. Without an email, we won’t know to expect you or how to communicate with you.
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Description

Large country houses, also known as Big Houses, have been part of the Irish landscape since 1170. Hundreds of these Big Houses were built in the 18th century alone which coincided with the peak of the Protestant Ascendancy. Big House estates ranged from a modest 500 acres to well over 150,000 acres. However, post-Famine changes including agrarian unrest, land wars and land reforms, estate mismanagement, exorbitant spending, and political and social revolutions along with a campaign of Big House burnings from 1919 to 1923 drastically made sustaining these estates untenable for many. The economic crash of 1929 and the prolonged agricultural depression following WWI were the death knells for most of the remaining Big Houses. Of an estimated 6,000 Big Houses that existed over time in Ireland, fewer than ten percent are still standing today. The Big House was long a focal point of Anglo-Irish political dominance and a symbol of British imperialism, colonialism, elitism, and oppression. We’ll look at why the Big House was a target for long-standing resentment among the Irish population. This course will explore the rise of the Big House, as well as the complex set of circumstances that led to their demise. We’ll also take a closer look at some of the Big Houses, study their designs, and take a look at what life was like for their occupants.