The lords and other landowners of Ireland, known, together with their relations as the Ascendancy, long after they had ceased to be in the ascendant, entered a twilight period just over a century ago; when they lost most of their political power at the same time as their economic foundations were eroded by agricultural depression and agrarian disturbances. This is their story during the hundred years of their decline; a decline which, while it can to some extent be blamed on their own extravagance, mismangement and political obstinancy, was largely the result of economic and social upheavals beyond their control. It is easy enough to say that if only they had farmed their lands more efficiently they would still be able to maintain their ancestral homes; but during the past century just as many well-farmed family estates have been sold up as neglected ones…
In short, the Ascendancy was a ‘doomed aristocracy’…And while they suffered misfortunes, they never ceased to enjoy life; along with the tragedy went a light-hearted gaiety, with an abundance of absurd, bizzare and hilarious incidents.
Twilight of the Ascendancy