Law and Religion in Ireland 1530 - 1970

‌The group’s current project will examine the ways in which law has regulated religion, and the law of religious institutions, in Ireland from the Reformation to the 1970s. The following topics fall within the scope of the project: The Legal Foundations of the Protestant Reformation in Ireland; The Penal Laws and Catholic Landholding, 1700-1793; The Penal Laws in the Long Eighteenth Century; The Catholic Relief Acts 1781 to 1793; Tithe in Ireland; The Catholic Emancipation Act 1829; Religious Disabilities after Catholic Emancipation: 1829-1920; Disestablishment and the Church Act 1869; Church Influence on Law Making in the Irish Free State; Article 44.1 of the Constitution 1937-1973; The Ecclesiastical Courts in Ireland in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries; Constitutional Aspects of the Catholic Church in the Nineteenth Century.

A roundtable conference, with contributions on these topics, will be held in the Sutherland School of Law on 6 June 2018.

Persons who are interested in contributing to this project are encouraged to contact, Dr Kevin Costello (

Legal History Group Book Launched

The first research project undertaken by UCD’s Legal History Group was a study of the interaction between the law and the family in Ireland in the period 1800-1950. The project began as a roundtable conference on the legal history of the family in Ireland, held in the Sutherland School of Law in March 2015. The papers delivered at that conference have been collected in a book entitled Law and the Family in Ireland 1800-1950 edited by Dr Niamh Howlin and Dr Kevin Costello. The book, which appeared in June 2017, is the first volume in the Palgrave Modern Legal History series. The twelve papers which make up the book cover the principal stages of family life in Ireland 1800-1950: from engagement to divorce, and touching on issues like the legal history of adoption, the legal definition of infanticide in nineteenth century Ireland, married women’s property, inter-family homicide trials in Ireland, the action for breach of promise of marriage, and the place of the family in the Irish Constitution.

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