McDowell, R(obert) B(rendan) 1913-

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McDOWELL, R(obert) B(rendan) 1913-


Male. Born 1913, in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Lilliput Press, 62-63 Sitric Road, Arbour Hill, Dublin 7, Ireland.


Trinity College, Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, fellow, 1951-81, junior dean, 1956-69, reader in history, 1962-67, associate professor of modern history, 1967-80, Erasmus Smith's Professor of Oratory, 1980-84, fellow emeritus, 1981—.


LL.D, Trinity College, Dublin, 2003.


(Editor, with Edmund Curtis) Irish Historical Documents, 1172-1922, Methuen (London, England), 1943, Barnes & Noble (New York, NY), 1968.

Irish Public Opinion, 1750-1800, Faber & Faber (London, England), 1944, Greenwood Press (West-port, CT), 1975.

Public Opinion and Government Policy in Ireland, 1801-1846 (Volume 5 of "Studies in Irish History"), Faber & Faber (London, England), 1952, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1975.

(Editor) Social Life in Ireland 1800-45, Colm O Lochlainn (Dublin, Ireland), 1957, reprinted, Mercier Press (Cork, Ireland), 1976.

British Conservatism, 1832-1914, Faber & Faber (London, England), 1959, Greenwood Press (West-port, CT), 1974.

The Irish Administration, 1801-1914 (Volume 2 of "Studies in Irish History, Second Series"), Rout-ledge & Kegan Paul (London, England), 1964, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1976.

(Editor) The Correspondence of Edmund Burke, Volume 8: September 1794-April 1796, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1969.

(Editor, with T. W. Copeland) The Correspondence of Edmund Burke, Volume 9 Part I: May 1796-July 1797, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1970.

The Irish Convention, 1917-18 (Volume 6 of "Studies in Irish History, Second Series"), Routledge & K. Paul (London, England), 1970.

(With W. B. Stanford) Mahaffy: A Biography of an Anglo-Irishman, Routledge & Kegan Paul (London, England), 1971.

The Church of Ireland, 1869-1969, Routledge and Kegan Paul (Boston, MA), 1975.

Ireland in the Age of Imperialism and Revolution, 1760-1801, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1979.

(With D. A. Webb) Trinity College, Dublin, 1592-1952: An Academic History, foreword by F. S. L. Lyons, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1982.

(Editor, with others) The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, Volume 1: The Revolutionary War 1794-1797, Volume 2: Ireland, Clarendon (Oxford, England), 1991.

Land and Learning: Two Irish Clubs, Lilliput Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1993.

Crisis and Decline: The Fate of the Southern Unionists, Lilliput Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1997.

(Editor, with T. W. Moody and C. J. Woods) The Writings of Theobald Wolfe Tone, 1763-98, Volume 1: Tone's Career in Ireland to June 1795, Clarendon (Oxford, England), 1998, Volume 2: America, France, and Bantry Bay, August 1795 to December 1796, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2001.

Grattan: A Life, Lilliput Press (Dublin, Ireland), 2001.

Historical Essays, 1938-2001, Lilliput Press (Dublin, Ireland), 2003.

Contributor to The Junior Dean: R. B. McDowell, a book of reminiscences about McDowell by his former students, edited by Anne Leonard, Lilliput Press (Dublin, Ireland), 2003.


R. B. McDowell spent decades studying and teaching Irish history at the University of Dublin. He also wrote and edited numerous respected, scholarly works during that time, and his literary output did not slow when he became a fellow emeritus in 1981. Perhaps the most notable of these later books is Crisis and Decline: The Fate of the Southern Unionists. The book examines both the relatively well-known story of how Irish unionists—those who wanted Ireland to remain within the British Empire—participated in the struggles for and against Irish independence from the 1880s through 1921, and the lesser-known tale of what happened to those unionists after Irish independence became a reality. McDowell, an "obviously unrepentant" unionist himself, has written a book that "is characterised by a profound sense of sympathetic involvement with the subject matter," Paul Bew commented in the Spectator. McDowell even closes the book with a description of his own experiences as a unionist living in the Republic of Ireland, a memoir that English Historical Review contributor D. George Boyce termed "a most absorbing and delightful piece of writing." This does not mean, however, that McDowell is blind to the faults of the unionists; "he also shows how arrogant and overbearing they often were," Geoffrey Wheatcroft noted in the New Statesman. Although not a traditional, objective historical study, Crisis and Decline is valuable, commented Choice critic H. T. Blethen, for "provid[ing] another perspective to a history that traditionally has been fixed on the winners."



Choice, September, 1998, H. T. Blethen, review of Crisis and Decline: The Fate of the Southern Unionists, p. 206.

English Historical Review, April, 1999, D. George Boyce, review of Crisis and Decline, p. 492; November, 2002, Marianne Elliott, review of The Writings of Theobald Wolfe Tone, 1763-98, pp. 1356-1357.

New Statesman, July 10, 1998, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, review of Crisis and Decline, p. 44.

Spectator, March 28, 1998, Paul Bew, review of Crisis and Decline, pp. 31-32.

Times Literary Supplement, January 17, 2003, Marianne Elliott, reviews of The Writings of Theobald Wolfe Tone, 1763-98, and Grattan: A Life, p. 7.


Trinity College, Dublin, Web Site, (December 12, 2003), "Local Community Leader among Group Receiving Honorary Degrees at Trinity College."*

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McDowell, R(obert) B(rendan) 1913-

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