Joseph [Joep] Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fior-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, Its Development and Literary Expression Prior To The Nineteenth Century (John Benjamins Pub. Co., Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 1986); Utrecht Publications in General and Comparative Literature, vol 22.

SEARCH: imagotypical; national, -istic; do chum gloire Dé & onóra ha hEireann [in Annals of the Four Masters]; James I; legend-interpretation; osmosis; Ascendancy; antiquarianism; Gaelic; Gaelicized; Gaelic League; polarisation; seminal; political allegiance [bardic]; penal laws; retrojection; honour; O’Conor.

GEOGRAPHY: To Strabo, whose Geography dates from the early first centrury ad, Ireland (called Ierne) is a half mythical country beyond barbarous Britain, at the edge of the habitable world. The inhabitants are wild and primitive, ‘men who are complete savages and lead miserable existences because of the cold’ (vol 1, 442), man-eaters as well as heavy-eaters, who piously devour their fathers and have intercourse with sisters and mothers (vol 2, 258) [Leerssen, 1986, p.33.]

Roman Andalusian Pomponius Mela, in De situ orbis (also called De chorographia): ‘abundant grass … cattle burst from eating … peasants uncivilised, more ignorant of all decency that other nations, wholly lacking in good faith.

William of Malmesbury sees Ireland as dependent on English influence for its civilisation: ‘Quanti enim valeret Hibernia si non adnavigarent merces ex Anglia? It a peniuria, immo pro inscientia cultorum, ieinum omnium bonorum solum, agrestem et squalidam multitudinem Hibernensium extra urbes producit: Angli vero et Franci, cultiori genere vitae, urbes nundinarum commercio inhabitant.’ [‘What would Ireland be good for without the trade that comes from England? Both the poverty and the ignorance of the peasants, and the non-producing barenness of the soil, bring forth only the boorish and squalid crowd of non-urban Irish, and the more civilised English and French inhabit the trading towns. (De regum gestis Anglorum, ed. W Stubbs, vol 2 p.485) [38]

Richard II, letter to Duke of York, in 1395: ‘en nostre terre Dirland sont trois maners des gentz., cestassavoir Irrois savages nos ennemi, Irroix rebelx et Engleis obbeissantz’, quoted in Th. Chotzen, ‘De Wilde Yr’ bij Vondel en elders, Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsche taal- en letterkunde 53 (1934) 1-18. MAJOR SOURCE.

St Bernard of Clairvaux highlighted the difficulties his friend St. Malachi had to overcome in Ireland.

Adrian IV: bulla Laudabiliter, 1155, placing a desired reform of Irish morals and church affairs under responsibility of HII, whom he authorised:

ut pro dilatandis ecclesie terminis, pro viciorum restringendo decursu, pro corrigendis moribus et virtutibus inserendis, pro Christiane religionis augmento, insulam ille ingrediaris. [You will enter that island for the purpose of enlarging the boundaries of the church, checking the descent into wickedness, correcting morals and implanting virtues, and encouraging the growth of the faith of Christ. (Cited in Giraldus Cambrienis, Expugnatio Hibernica, The conquest of Ireland, AB Scott and FX Martin, eds. and trans., in A New History of Ireland:: ancillary publications, vol. 3.; Dublin, RIA, 1978; p. 146.

John Derricke, a long and vengeful rhyming tract on raids of Irish soldiers (kernes) on the Pale.

On Stanyhurst: pp.42-47. Stanyhurst’s belief in the role of the Pale-Engish as models of civility to the Irish survived his own recusancy which otherwise softened his later works, when he followed his tutor Edmund Campion into the Jesuit order. He wrote defining the Irish: ‘the people are thus enclined, religious, franke, amorous, irefull, sufferable of infinite paynes, very glorious, many sorcerers, excellent norsemen, delight with wars, great almsgivers, passing hospitality.’ [47]

An … indication of the continuity of medieval and colonial attitudes is the fact that the most important 16th c. writers were themselves Catholic: Campion and Stanyhurst. Edmund Campion fled from England and stayed with his erstwhile Oxford acquaintance Richard Stayhurst, producing a History of Ireland in manuscript there in 1596, which he revised in an initial version of 1571. the MS was published by Sir James Ware in 1633, but by that date, Stanyhurst’s description of Ireland, printed in Holinshed’s Chronicle of 1577, was already based upon it. See Stanyhurt, A treatise contayning a playne and perfect description of Irelande’, in Raphael Holinshed, The first volume of the chronicles of Englande, Scotland, and Irelande, London 1577.

Stanyhurst suppresses some and adds other parts to the History. he deletes ‘they are sharpe witted, lovers of learning, capable of any studie, whereunto they bend themselves, constant in travailes’ (Campion p.19). He follows Cambriensis and Campion in regarding the Irish as amoral. Stanyhurst prefers—in his own words—‘not to impute any barbarous custome that shall be here layde down, to … the inhabitants of the english pale ..’ (fol. 27.v.)

FURTHER: A conquest draweth, or at the least wise ought to drawe to it, three things, to witte, law, apparayle, and languague [sic]. For where the countrye is subdued, there the inhabitants ought to be ruled by the same law that the conqueror is governed … and if anye of them lacke, doubtlesse the conquest limpeth. (fol. 3r.) … truely as long as these empaled dwellers did sunder themselves as wel in land as in language, from the Irishe, rudenes was day by day supplanted, civilitie engrassed, good laws established, loyaltie observed, rebellion suppressed, and in fine the cyon of a yong England was lyke to shoote in Ireland. But when their posteritie became not all togither so wary in keeping, as their auncestors were valiant in conquering, and the Irish language was free dennized in the English pale: this canker tooke such a deepe roote, as the body that before was whole and soundes, was by little and little festered, and in manner wholy putrified. (fol 2.v). God with hys grace, clarifie the eyes of that rude people that at length they may see theyr miserable estate: and also that such, as are deputed to the government thereof, bend their industry to concionable pollicye to reduce them from rudenesse to knowledge, from rebellion to obedience, from trechery to honesty, from savageness to civilitie, from idlenes to labour, from wickednesse to godlyeness, whereby they may the sooner espye their blyndenesse, acknowledge their loosenesse, amend their lives, frame themselves plyable to the lawes and ordinaunces of hir Majestie, whom god with hs gracious assistance preserve, as wel as to the prosperous government of hir realm in England, as to the happye reformation of hir realme in Ireland. Finis. (Fol. 28.v.) [45-46]

Thomas Smythe, Dublin apothecary, denouncing Irish poets in 1561: ‘these people be very hurtfull to the commonwealle, for the chifflie mayntayne the rebells; and, further, they do cause them that they would be true, to be rebellious theves, extorcioners, mutherers, ravners, yea and worse if it were possible. Their furst practisse is, if they se anye younge man discended of the septs of Ose or Max, and have half a dowsen about him, then will they make him a Rime, wherein they will commend his father and his aunchetours, nowmbyring howe many heades they have cut of, howe many townes they have burned, and howe many virgins they have defloured, how many notable murthers they have done, and in the ende they willcompare them to Aniball, or Scipio, or Hercules, or some other famous person; wherewithall the pore foole runs madde, and thinkes indede it is so.’ [Quoted in Quiggin, 1911; not bibliographised.] [53]

Harington ameliorated a short but negative reference to Ireland in his translation of Orlando Furioso; Ariosto had called Ireland and ‘Isola del pianto’ etc. (X,93, p.286); Harington translates: ‘For Isle of wo it may be justly called,/Where peerless peeces are abused so;/By monster vile to be devoured and thralled/Where pyrats still by land and sea do go/Assalting forts that are but weakly walled.’ [55]

For Fynes Moryson, laziness was the root of all evils in the Irish character, making them ‘love libertie above all things, and likewise naturally … delight in musick, so as the Irish harpers are excelent.’ [Leerssen, p.55]

Dunton was sufficiently intrepid to make the journey to the West of Ireland to meet with the ‘Irish savages’ in their natural state. He was the first to identify the real Ireland with the backward parts: ‘a wild mountainous country in which the barbarities of the Irish are so many and so common, that until I came hither, I looked for Ireland in itself to no purpose.’ Quoted in E. MacLysaght, Irish Life in the 17th Century (2nd ed. Cork/Oxford 1950).

Such trends were noticeably influenced by a new appreciation of the Irish landscape. … Furthermore, the concept of the ‘sublime’ was now [73] beginning to create a matrix for the aesthetic appreciation of such landscapes. … Especially Edmund Burke’s milsetone An enquiry into the origin of our ideas of the sublime and beautiful (written around 1750, published in 1757) linked the sublime definitively with notions like terror, obscurity, power, vastness and infinity (chapter headings).

The theatre manager and historian William Rufus Chetwood, who had employment in Dublin for a while, published A tour through Ireland in several entertaining letters in 1746, which presents a wholly new, positive enthusiasm towards the country, its landscape and its inhabitants. … sets out to refute ‘the strange stories delivered in old geographers, viz Strabo, Solinus, Mela, and G. Cambriensis’ 9p.74); ‘many curious and entertaining Particulars of a Kingdom, which, to my certain knoweldge, has been grossly misrepresented’ (p.3). He describes an English servant as the epitome of stupid anti-Irish prejudice. Defended ridiculed Irish claim to ancient civilisation when he gives his opnion that a Gaelic royal court: ‘was much on the same footing as her Neighbours and indeed the State of the whole Nation: What do our Barons and the Feuds differ from the petty Princes of Ireland, except in Title? We can gather from their Antiquaries, that each Monarch always entertained the following ten Officers in his Court, which (by the way) does not savour greatly of Barbairy, viz, a Lord or Prime Minister, a Judge, an Augur or Druid, a Physician, a Poet, an Antiquary or Herald, a chief Musician, and three Stewards of the Household’ (p.94). [Leerssen, 76]

Samuel Derrick, Irish born successor to Beau Nash as master of Ceremonies at Bath, published a description of various places in Ireland in 1767 … incl. Killarney, ‘one of the most beautiful and romantic spots in this kingdom.’ [76]

John Bush, Hibernia curiosa. A letter from a gentleman in Dublin, to his friend at Dover in Kent, giving a general view of the manners, customs, disposition, &c., of the inhabitants of Ireland (Lon 1769); a successful work read as a counter-blow to the denigratory versions of Irish character, and attributing the miserable conditions of the poor Irish not to their own vices but the the injustices that left them in direst poverty. Denoucesn absenteeism, rackrents, middlemen, religious tithes, etc., and identifies with the rural poor ‘who live in huts … of such shocking materials and construction that through hundreds of them you may see smaok ascending from every inch of the roof … and through every inch of which defenceless coverings, the rain, of course, will make its way to drip upon the half naked, shivering, and almost starved inhabitants within. (p.30) [Leerssen, 77] … while the priests and subordinate landlords, in ease and affluence, live in haughty contempt of their poverty and oppression, of which the first proprietors are but oo seldom, indedd, for the the interest of this kingdom, spectators’ (ibid.).

The plagiaristic Tour through Ireland of 1780, collected by Philip Luckombe from the descriptions of Bush, Twiss, and Campbell. [79]

Arthur Young, pp.79-80.

Thomas Campbell, his account of ‘a young buxom lass from Roscommon, and a country squire from Galway’ is a paean to the unaffected sincerity and grace of their ‘native character’: ‘I was delighted with it, for it was the original, and I had hitherto seen only the copy.’ He refers to as ‘all the Chesterfieldian indecorums of [her] laughter’ when the squire speaks Gaelic. Leerssen questions whether Campbell really witnessed the scene he describes (in Philosophical Survey, 1777, p. 297), or whether the little sketch is not as fictitious as the others that it refers to.

Goldsmith, in ‘Descriptions of the manners and customs of the native Irish’ in the Weekly magazine, 1759, under the subtitle of ‘a letter from an English gentleman;, prefers the native character to that of the ‘Protestants’ who share in the traditional shortcomings of the Irish without having their ‘national virtues to recompence these defects’; includes a tale of hospitality in a humble cottage, and pretends to be agreeably surprised by the chastity of the comely daughter. Since Goldsmith never returned to Ireland after 1952, the narrative is self-evidently fictitious.

If the Stage Irishman may, like a court jester, challenge the audience’s superiority (involving both their national, English superiority over his Irishness, and their supremacy as the theatre’s ultimate authority), he must, like a court jester ultimately confirm it, be made to acknowledge the hierarchic order of things … to defuse or sublimate the ongoing political conflict of which his nationality is a reminder.

Ben Jonson’s Irish masque at court (1613) [88-9].

Thomas Stuckeley, in The Battell of Alcazar, by George Peele, printed 1594 [90]; Famous historye of The Life and Death of captaine Thomas Stuckeley, printed 1605.

Sir Robert Howards The committee, which, though not divulged until after the Restoration, was probably written in Cromwellian times. It is strongly anti-Roundhead and pro-Cavalier, describing the efforts of gallant captain Careless to hold on to his lands without signing the obnoxious coventant. … Teg was such a successful and popular creation that the play, in its fourth ed., received the subtitle The faithful Irishman; Teg is a truly seminal Stage Irishman [Leerssen, 100-01].

John Crown’s City politiques (1683) which dealt with the split between whiggish London and a Cavalier court, false witnesses are brought in to testify that a plot of high treason is being hatched. The witnesses’ nationality is Irish, their religion Catholics.. the witness reveals his unreliability in a bull tantamount to a confession of perjury: ‘Tish is de man I was bid to shwear against.’

Thomas Shadwell [104-108]; equates witchcraft and popery; towards the end a messanger arrives from the capital and arrests Tegue O’Divelly for complicity in the Popish Plot. [106] Dryden’s Mac Flecknoe (ca. 1678) sardonically hails Shadwell as the successor of boring Richard Flecknoe; insulted by the patronymic, Shadwell defended himself against the charge of Irishness, as if the throwaway insult had cut deepest; his defence contained in the preface to his Tenth Satyr of Juvenal (1687) where he peevishily protests against Dryden’s ‘ me the Irish name Mack, when he knows I never say Ireland till I was three and twenty years old, and was there but four months.’ His father was Recorder of the City of Galway. Leerssen believes that the play exorcises subliminal doubts of Church of England belief and also the taint of Irishness. The part of Tegue O’Divelly, acted by Antony Leigh, was revived in Shadwell’s sequel, The amorous bigotte. [107] And ftn.98: Leigh appeared in Crowne’s City politiques as the lawyer Bartolino, who uses a lisp; in Otway’s the cheats of Scapin, he imitates Welsh, Lancashire and Irish accents as well as nautical slang. Also Teg in The Committee. [464] And fnt. 99: An echo of O’Divelly appears in the memoirs of captain Carleton where a certain Murtough Brennan, a Kilkenny priest in Spain, attempts to debauch a young woman in a confessional.[464]

In the Elder Colman’s plays, a good Irishman is an Anglicised one, such as the Irish Oxonian Knowall, in The Oxonians in town, who says: ‘National reflections are always mean and scandalous: but it is owning to such men as these that so much undeserved scandal has been thrown on our country: a country, which has always produced men as remarkable for honour and genius as any in the world. &c.’ Colman defended himself against the inmputation of national bigotry thus and by dedicating the piece to the leading Irish Patriot political, Hely Hutchinson. ‘.. so far from intending to cast an illiberal reflection on the irish nation, it was evidently his main design to vindicate the gentlement of that country from the reproach deservedly incurred by worthless adventurers and outcasts … &c.’ (The Oxonians in town, p.[v], ftn.111 [465].

Bog-witticisms, or, Dear Joy’s common-places (ca. 1690); The Irish Hudibras (see Spoken English In Ireland, Dolmen 1979).

Farquhar’s Stage Irishmen, p.115-120; Susannah Centlivre’s Stage Irish, 120.

Charles Shadwell, The Humours of the Army (1713), set in Portugal, with chars. of four nations, of whom Major Outside has a broad brogue and another, called Young Fox, an Irish major, speaks standard English, ergo Gaelic and Anglo-Irish. [127]

Charles Molloy’s The Half-Pay Officers (1720), borrows characters Fluellen and Macmorris (Mackmorrice) from Shakespeare’s Henry V. [127]

Irish songs and airs popular in the period, such as ‘Eibhlín a rún’, and ‘Droimeann donn dílis’ (the latter a Jacobite song) were incorporated in dramas such as Coffey’s The Beggar’s Wedding, after Gay, which uses the former (1729, p.29) [129]. The song ‘Drimmendoo’ is referred to as the typical Irish song in Smollett’s Humphrey Clinker.

Thomas Sheridan: The stage Irishman had become so stratified [i.e. petrified] that anti-stage Irishmen could be thought of. Captain O’Blunder is the first example. The Brave Irishman was performed in 1746 and first printed in 1754, largely from actors memories; an early version was acted in Dublin in 1737, with the title The Honest Irishman. O’Blunder is equipt with stage Irish signifiers, but prevails through courage and humour. He forces a stage-Frenchman to eat a potato, much as Fluellen forces Pistol to eat a leek; he is made out to be fond of Gaelic and eager to meet other Gaelic speakers. [131] Sheridan is concerned with the fortunes of his Irishman in England, who becomes involved in a rivalry with Cheatwell for the hand of his fiancee Lucy. A mixture of naive honesty and irascible courage, he is handed over by Cheatwell as a madman to two doctors whom he believes to be inn-keepers. Leerssen comments: ‘the question of imputed insanity sums up Sheridan’s treatment of the confrontation of Irish and English nationality: the madness that the Englishman imputes to the Irishman and that he sees confirmed in each national and personal peculiarity deviating from English pre-expectations, is in the end shown to lie in the misunderstanding between the parties rather than within either of the parties concerned.’ [132]

Charles Macklin: Love a la mode, Drury Lane in late 1759; rivalry of four suitors for the hand of witty, wealthy Charlotte, incl. Sir Callaghan Brallaghan, in Prussian service, the all too soldierly soldier. Sir Brallaghan’s martial pride takes the form of an expression of British patriotic pride which exempts him from ridicule, disappointing the convention. The play is a moral lesson on the need for honesty to overcome prejudice. [134] The true-born Irishman, performed Dublin 1761, and unsuccessfully in London 1767; the London ed. is prefaced by a prologue stating the intnetion of presenting ‘a Milesian spring, confess’d in every part/Hibernia’s Seal impress’d on Tongue and Heart./Nay more, our Bard still rises in Offence,/And dares give Irish Tones a sterling sense./But what is stranger still, indeed a wonder./He hopes to make him please without a Blunder.’ And finally: ‘This is his plan, on this you must decide,/He’s on his Country fairly to be tried.’ In the treatment of Mrs. O’Dogherty’s anglicising pretensions on returning from the coronation of George III, Macklin represents her social polishing as a fall from grace. Mr O’Dogherty—styled Diggerty by his wife—remonstrates against her: ‘..let me have our good, plain, old Irish English, which I insist is better than all the English English that ever coquets and coxcombs brought into the land.’ [136] When O’Dogherty utters his paean to ‘fine sounding Milesian names’—‘O’Callaghans, O’Sullivans, O’Brallaghans, O’shaghnesses, O’Flahertys, O’Gallaghers, and O’Doghertys—Ogh, they have courage in the very sound of them’—the irony is that Macklin himself has refashioned his name. O’Dogherty whiggishly refuses to accept preferral for a title at the price supporting the Government, thus exemplifying the stance of the the Patriotic party. [138]. The True Born Irishman also includes a denunciation of absenteeism, and other ills. Leerssen comments, ‘after Macklin one can see the Stage Irishman undergoing a sentimentalisation … ‘ [139]

Richard Cumberland’s Major Dennis O’Flaherty, appearing first in The West Indian, was a star-vehicle for Moody and Owenson. ‘Another hero your excuse implores,’Sent by your sister kingdom to your shores;/Doom’d by Religion’s too severe command,/To fight for bread against his native land/A brave, unthinking, animated rogue,/With here and there a touch upon the brogue./Laugh, but despise him not, for on his lip/His errors lie; his heart can never trip’ (Prologue). Leerssen quotes briefly from Bartley’s more extensive excerpt from Cumberland’s Memoirs, I, 274-76, in which he explains the circumstances and motives involved in the creation of this character: ‘an opportunity of shewing at least my good will to mankind, if I introduced the characters of persons, who had been usually exhibited on the stage, as the butts for ridicule and abuse, and endeavoured to present them in such lights, as might tend to reconcile the world to them, and them to the world.’ Cumberland speaks of the courage and honour natural to a character in spite of the ‘impolitic alternative, to which his religious disqualification had reduced a gallant and a lyal subject of his natural king.’ Likeable O’Flaherty was revived later in The Natural Son (1784).

In Isaac Jackman’s comic opera The Milesian, Captain Cornelius O’gollagher is described as ‘certainly an indifferent orator, and yet his expressions come so truly from the heart that he makes his audotors feel, altho’ they smile at him.’

And NOTE: In Isaac Jackman’s The Divorce, there is a scene in which an amiable Irish wooer of rich and elderly ladies is taken for a Frenchman, and teaches his sweetheart Irish as if it were French. (p.23). (ftn.114 [465]

W. C. Oulton’s farce Botheration (1798) ends with the trusty Irish servant pointing out that ‘[his] tongue may blunder, but [his] heart ne’er can’. [144] ALSO: ‘And Thady O’Blarney’s ambition shall be, to serve faithfully and honestly those kind Masters and Mistresses before whome he has now the honour to stand.’ Leerssen comments: ‘the character steps back and the actor re-emerges: the servant of play charactrs becomes the servant of the theatre-going public.’ [145] His ideological role—expresses in a show-stopping song—is to promote the doctrine of ‘sweet sisters, Ireland and England’ in the face of Napoleonic threat: ‘And teach invaders, should they come, their rafts are all in vain’ And NOTE: In Oulton’s Botheration a switch of identities between a frank Irish footman and a grouch physician is used to make the doctor see that he treats his servants with less courtesy than is their due. (ftn.121) [465])

Richard Griffith’s Variety (1782): Leerssen quotes [as does Duggan] Lady Fallal’s profession of pride in her brogue, ending: ‘Soften off a little of my brogue—… I would not part with anything I brought from my own dear country upon any account whatever; … I think my brogue, as you call it, the prettiest feather in my cap; because it tells everyone I am an Irish woman; and I assure you , I am prouder of that title, than I am of being called my lady Fallal. For I don’t believe there’s a Fallal to be found in all Ireland, except myself, and I’m out of it.’ (1782, p.18). [145]

Captain Mullinaheck, in O’Keeffe’s The world in a village (1793): ‘Madam, let me be blown into chops and griskins from the mouth of a cannon, when I turn my face as an enemy against George my belov’d King, and Ireland my honoured country!’ [146]. His comic opera Fontainbleu (1790) features an Irish innkeeper in France who lures English tourists to her establishment (The British Lion), with English fare and English jingo-ism: ‘English! that’s what I am. I was born in Dublin.’

Mrs Griffith, The Platonic Wife (1765) contrasts the Irish servant patrick’s loyalty with the perfidy of the French chambermaid Fontange. Patrick serves Mr. Frankland, Fontange serves Emilia. Fontange betrays her mistress to Frankland, but Patrick reveals his evil intent, and comes to foresee a joyful repatriation as fitting reward. [151]

The South Briton, by ‘A Lady’ (1774), dedication dated from Dublin [152]

Cumberland’s The Note of Hand (1774), a moral lesson against racing and gambling, has Young Rivers gamble away his Irish estate to his disguised uncle; the tenant O’Connor MacCormuck teaches him the effects of his profligacy, and converting him, is made agent for the esate: ‘tell my needy tenants, the shall no longer be rack’d to pamper the carcase of a race-horse, and support the profligate excesses of the gaming table.’ [156] MacCormuck reveals the trickery and deceits of the card-sharpers.

O’Keeffe, The Prisoner at Large (Newmarket, 1778) set near Killarney lakes; here the tenants are being racked by the middleman Dowdle, acting for absentee Lord Esmond, then on the Grand Tour; the evil Count Fripon, a sharper, is trying to collect the rents; and when Esmond returns he manages with the help of honest Jack Connor to overthrow the schemes of middleman and parasite. [158]

William Macready, The Bank Note (n.d. given here) has a servant Killeavy who quits his master’s service on an insult; accepts an apology, but will nt resume service with him. Another servant morally superior to his master is Murtagh Delany, servant to Mr Connoolly, an inveterate snob, in his Irishman in London (1793): ‘Faith, Sir, begging your pardon, I think a man does not desarve to belong to any country, that’s ashamed to own it.’ Murtagh is the servant discusses in Duggan who refuses to see any manufactures in England to compare with the oyster beds in Poolbeg or the lying-in Hospital in Dublin: ‘they are the right sort of manufactories … those that provide comfortable lodgings, and every sort of meat and bread, for poor craters that can’t provide for themselves.’ [160]

William O’Brien, The Duel (1772) featured trigger-happy Sir Dermot O’Leinster and his son.

Hugh Kelly, The School for Wives, written ‘to remove the imputation of barbarous ferocity, which dramatic writers, ever meaning to compliment the Irish nation, have connected with their ideas of that gallant people. (1774, p.iv.) … ‘they are drawn with a brutal prompitude to quarrel … to make them, proud of a barbarous propensity to duelling … is to fasten a very unjust reproach upon their general character … . (p.v.) He vests dislike for the duel in a middle class clerk, Connolly. In this way—Leerssen remarks—the Irish gentleman with a predeliction for duelling is not contradicted by a differently inclined Irish gentleman but counterbalanced by a middle-class Irishman. Connolly’s wisdom is: ‘I prefer a snug berth in this world, bad as it is, to the finest coffin in all Christendom … I hope to see the day that it will be infamous to draw their [gentlemen’s] swords against any body but the enemies of their country.’

Leerssen quotes from newspaper comments on the disgrace of Sheridan’s portrait of the duelling Irishman in Sir Lucius, at the infamous first night of The Rivals; ‘scarce equals the picture of a respectable Hotentot (Morning Chronicle, 18 Jan 1775); ‘so ungenerous attack upon a nation … so villainous a portrait of an Irish gentleman, permitted so openly to insult the country upon the boards of an English theatre (Morning Post, 21 Jan 1775). Leerssen believes that the outrage was caused by the duellist not the Irishman. Lee was replaced by Moody, leading the Morning Post to write: ‘Mr. Moody has O’Flahertized Sir Lucius O’Trigger very laughably.’ (Jan. 17).

Moody, eulogised by Churchill in Rosciad as the vindicator of his nation’s dignity, played O’Flaherty (in Cumberland’s West Indian) in 1771, 1772, and 1773, and eight times between 1782 and 1788 (see Bartley) [164]. Clinch brought to it a ‘very gentlemanly brogue, and naivete of manner [which] made Sir Lucius so agreeable to the audience, that the part is likely to be as fortunate to him as that of Major O’Flaherty was to Mr. Moody’ (London Evening Post). Assessing the furore, Leerssen comments: ‘Sheridan indirectly hurt the fabric of accomodation and pretended harmony that was woven in the interest, and to the amusement, of the English audience [after 1745]’ [164]. The press quotations are from the introduction of Cecil Price’s edition of the plays (2 vols, Clarendon Press; 1973).

The emendations made by Sheridan consist in giving Sir Lucius a pretext for a duel in his reference to an insult passed upon his country.

Leerssen: from Ben Jonson’s ploy to hide court masquers under Irish garb, to Shadwell’s exorcism of an anti-Shadwell in the priest O’Divelly, to the vicarious outrage of the so-called ‘sentimental blockheads’ at the anti-irish insult which they felt Sir Lucius to contain, the stage Irishman seems to have been consistently determined by attitudes governing the London stage, rather than by his so-called national traits. [167] … a disproportionate number of them are knights or baronets … [they] move in gentry or aristocratic circles … all these hybrids … are … instances of a proces by which an Irish nationality was to spring from a disregard for cultural, economic, political and religious divisions within Irish society … . [168]



Tara: the Feis Temro, for instance, one of the national institutions traditionally referred to as corollary to a functioning high-kingship, was in fact a fertility rite culminating in the installation of a sacred king as spouse or consort of the sovereignty goddess. [Leerssen, 175]

It is indicative of the complete absence of anything resembling a politically effective national [outlook] or common Gaelic political perspective that the Hiberno-Norman barons who settled in Ireland were not, in the bardic view, specifically linked to England and to the English king whose vassals they were. [Leerssen, 178]

There seems to have been a natural reluctance to recognise the relativity of the Gaelic framework … the erection of feudal Norma castles in paricular was a visible and forcible disruption … as a result, prphecies began to be prduced which link expulsion … to the restoration of the high-kingship [PARA] Such pseudo-prophetic modes of literary propaganda … were to persist for more than 600 years without being either materialised or abandoned. [180] … this was not presented as a pan-Gaelic ideal based on inter-clan solidarity [but] as part of the chieftain’s campaign to seize the high-Kingship of Tara for himself.

Cairt eile ní iarrfa sibh/acht tú ar thoradh do ghaisgidh/léim fa ghaoibh géara doid ghuin/séala dhaoibh ar do dhúthaigh. [‘Those shalt seek no other charter except they own reliance on they gallantry; to charge against the sharp spears that peirce thee is thy true charter to this land.’] From Tuathal Ó hUiginn’s ode to Eoghan Ó Raghallaigh (d.1449). [185]

Whereas the Gaelic overking exerts vassalage from his lesser peers, the feudal king bestows it on his subjects. [187]

Aonghus Ó Dálaigh, addressing his Hiberno-Norman patron Richard FitzWilliam de Burgo: ‘Cred agaibh aoidhigh a gcéin/a ghiolla gusan ngaillgéimh,/a dhream ghaoidhealta ghallda,/naoidheanta sheag shaorchlannda? When comes it that ye have guests from afar, Ó youth of foreign beauty, Ó ye who are become Gaelic, yet foreign, young, fraceful, and highborn?

Gearoid Iarla coins the term Eireannacht to unite the Geal and Goill as inhabitants of the same country, defined against the Saxaons with their king in London. In Keating, also, Gaedhal and Sean-ghall are subsumed under the common term of Eireannach from which the Nua-Ghall are explicitly excluded. [190-91]

Gearoid Iarla (Desmond): ‘Fer liom bheith ‘gam bráithreachaibh/giobh creach a n-inntinn umainn/ná beith a gcoir bhráighdeanais/ag ríogh Shaxan i Lunainn.’ [‘I would rather be among my own folk—even though they should harbour plans to plunder me—than to find myself imprisoned at the hands of the Saxon’s king in London.’] He was patron to Godraidh Fionn Ó Dálaigh. Ó Dalaigh was in trouble with Desmond’s father Maurice, who regarded his indiscriminate poetical praises of various patrons as a form of fickleness. Leerssen comments; ‘what might at first sight seem bardic duplicity can in fact be explained from the formulaic convention of bardic praise-poem as a genre … the quarrel … was essentially a cross-cultural misunderstanding.’ In making his apologies, Ó Dalaigh explains in verse: ‘I ndán na nGall gealltair linn/Gaoidhil d’ionnarbhadh a hEirinn/Goill do shraoineadh tar sál sair/i ndán na nGaoidheal gealltair.’ [‘In poems to the Goill we promise the driving of the Gaoidhil from Eire; in those to the Gaoidhil we promise the driving of the Goill East overseas!’] [192]

Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn addressing Seán, the Mac Uilliam Iochtar, claims that sovereignty in Ireland is won by force of arms, and exonerates the latest invaders in terms of the invasions of their predecessors: ‘Gi bé adéaradh gur deóraidh/Búrcaigh na mbeart n-inleóghain-/faghar d’fhuil Ghaoidhil nó Ghoill/nách fuil ‘na aoighidh agoinn.’ [‘Should any say that the Brukes of lionlike prowess are strangers—let one of the blood of Gael or Gall be found who is not a sojourner amongst us.’] To the ensuing verse, ‘Gan adhbhar le a mbiodhgfadh bean/gan leattrom Ghoill ag Gaoidheal/gan éadáil Ghaoidil ag Gall/gan éagair aoinfhir d’fhulang’ [without anything ‘which might make a woman tremble, no Gael committing injustive against any Englishman, nor any Englishman despoiling a Gael, no wrong of any man permitted’], Charles O’Conor added the marginalia, ‘mo mallacht or a thaidhg is naireach an dan é so do dhiaidh’ [‘curse you, Tadhg, this is a shameful poem you have left: TD vol 1, 120n. and vol 2, 255). Leerssen, however, interprets the poem ‘in the context of cultural fraternisation between Hiberno-Normans and Gaelic culture as represented, and presided over, by the poets … stimulated by the appearance of Tudor policy as a common threat to both.’ [199] But poem has more often been interpreted as a cynical betrayal of the foreigner.

.. the Tudor Protestants did indeed develop a strong ‘national; awareness in these conflicts—even to the point of imputing similar feelings to the native raiders. The real origins of Aodh de Lacam’s sentiments [supra] can be found in men like lord Roche rather than with Cormac mac Airt. [215]

We need only think of ‘translation’ of [Eoghan Rua mac an Bhaird’s poem addressed to Nual Ní Domhnaill, ‘An bhean fuair faill ar an bhfeart’, where she is depicted as a lonely mourner at the family tomb of the exiled O’Donnell’s in Rome, as ‘The Woman of the Piercing Wail’by JC Mangan] to realise how such poetry could alter be subjected to a national or even nationalistic reading. That no political commitment as such was present in the intentions of these latter-day bardic poets becomes obvious, not only in their tendency to see the political upheavals of their time exclusively in their cultural (and by implication, professional) impact, but also in the fact that many of them showed little compunction in shifting their allegiance to the incoming power—that is to say, to James I who, they thought, might as a Scotsman and as successor to an originally Gaelic throne to sympathetic to their cause—their professional cause, that is: the maintenance of Gaelic learning. … a political metamorphosis worthy of Ovid [220]

Cf. 240, infra: … the most interesting poem of the mid 17th c. is An Síogaí Romhanach, the anonyous vision poem sometimes attributed to a mac an Bhaird. It describes an allegorical spirit-woman weeping at the tombs of O’Neill and O’Donnell in Rome—a close parallel, as I have remarked before, to Eogahn Rua mac an Bhaird’s poem ot Nualla Ní Domhnaill. … the poem bewails the fact that the old prophecies have not come true … a future, to wit, in which the scions of the great Gelic past will be conquerors. [241]

Leerssen takes issue with the standard interpretation of Fearghal Og mac an Bhaird’s poem on the accession of James I (edited by Padraig Breathnach in Eigse 17 (1977-9). Whereas a nationalist critic like Tomas Ó Concheanainn seeks to date it earlier, in order to impose upon it the schema of his own patriotic feelings—‘a depth of patriotic feeling [involving] the hopes and fears of his race during a very troubled period of Irish history (O Concheanainn)—Leerssen sees it as an accomodation to the new dynasty: ‘the brilliant sun lit up: King James is the dispersal of all mist; the joint mourning of all changed to glory; the great signs of change.’[‘an ghrian loinneardha do las;/sgaoileadh gach ceo Cing Séamas;/tug ‘na glóir comhorchra cháigh:/móir na comhortha claochláidh.’ [221]

Leerssen goes on to say: ‘There is not any contradiction between the reading of this poem as an inaugural ode and Fearghal Og’s loyalty to the Gaelic cause.’ he illustrates with a eulogy to Queen Elizabeth by flann Mág Craith which was interpreted by Standish O’Grady (BMCat vol 1, 544) as mock-laudatory. The poem has survived—in spite of the repugnance of some of its editors—because it was answered by Daithi Ó Bruadair. Leerssen: ‘such poems prove that a nationalistic intent cannot be proved to have been operative at the time … the breakdown of the bardic order was lamented in purely personal terms [in view of their] own failed station in the new social order. [224]

Leerssen educes the caste-theory of Pairlement Chloinne Tomáis to show that social position was of more account than national solidarity. [225]

Fearflatha Ó Gnimh’s ‘Mo thruaighe mar táid Gaoidhil’ despairs of the degenerate Gaels and the usurping English alike, and his ‘Mairg do-chuaidh re cheird ndúnthchais’ makes the sardonic point that there is no future left in the poetry business: ‘Tairnig onóir na héigse ..’ Mathghamhain Ó hIfearnáin wrote a bitter injunction to his his: ‘A mhic ná meabhruigh éigse’ [‘son, don’t cultivate the poetic art’]. [226]

The national division was blurred by the bardic esteem for certain [228] non-Gaelic aristocrats, aas well as by their loathing for the lower-class Gaels. … Keating in Foras Feasa defended Ireland not by refuting English denigrations but by restricting their application to the lower classes [228]

concern for the language’s heritage and future began to actuate the discursive activities of Irish priests and monks living in exile on the Continent … culminat[ing] in the production of a seminal Irish grammar written in Latin by theologian Francis Molloy in 1677. [233]

Donncha mac an Chaoilfhiaclaigh’s ‘Do frith, monuar, an uainsi ar Eirinn’ [239]

Eamonn an Dúna’s ‘Mo lá leóin go dEo go n-éagad’ [‘My eternal day of sorrow’] exemplifies hateful English: ‘Transport, transplant, mo mheabhair ar Bhéarla./Shoot him, kill him, strip him, tear him/A Tory, hack him, hang him rebel./A rogue, a thief, a priest, a papist.’ [241]

An Síoga Rómhánach, an anonymous vision poem attributed to a Mac an Bhaird. It ends: ‘the Gaels in arms shall triump, their nobles shall bear sway over unbelievers, their faith will be without blight or eclipse. their church, brothers and bishops, priests and good clergy, will be teaching the flock.’ [242]

Leerssen treats of aisling poetry, 247-9. He outlines the recurrent topos of puella senilis, but quarrels with the traditional reading of the type as a reproach of the errant female—‘no better than a meirdreach who gives her love to every foreigner adventurer’ (T. O’Rahilly, Eriu, 1943), arguing instead that ‘foreigner, Gael and Eire stand in a triangular relationship in which no-one is wholly free from blame and in which, conversely no one is exclusively guilty. [247-48].

The most important poet straddling the reigns of James II and William III was Dáibhí Ó Bruadair whose work offers a cross-section of all those post-bardic, proto-national attitudes I have outlined so far. … still retained the old bardic pride in his literary calling … voice[s] sardonic regrets at his now worthless accomplishments as a poet [251] … tendency to view the political situation from a professionally literary point of view … the old bardic view which saw the triumph of English aggression primarily as a class upheaval … [253] … the choice patron in no way indicative of real political allegiance … [254]

The Stuarts had been able, from the beginning, to count on a cautiously sympathy among Gaelic poets, owing, perhaps to … their [Gaelic] lineage … Irish Catholics. James II reign provided the political focus which united Catholic, post-bardic and anti-colonial views into a nationally Gaelic ideology. Ó Bruadair’s poetry is the expression of this. [253-255]

Leerssen reads Aogan Ó Rathaille as nearer to the aristocratic poet, marked by profound fatalism regarding the civilisation he represents in its final crisis after the Boyne, that to the nationalist poet that his editors and the Gaelic League enthusiasts Dinneen, Ó Donnchadha, and Corkery discovered in him. [260ff.]

The poetry of the 18th c. in the wake of Ó Rathaille, is indicative of an outlook on the English-Gaelic confrontation in which religious, linguistic, or more broadly cultural aspecs, economic and legal factors and a well-defined politcal stance (Jacobitism) have been welded into a coherently structured ideology which, I think, may be called nationally Gaelic … [they] accepted their appurtenance, no longer to specific caste or social class, but to the totality of Gaeldom, religiously and socially defined by the penal laws, culturally by the Irish language, and politically by their Jacobitism: this fact constitutes in itself the act of allegiance by which a ‘national’ group creates its own self-recognition as such. [275]

A letter of An Mangaire Sugach to Richard McElligott [with Theophilus O’Flanagan, a founder of the Gaelic society of Dublin in 1807, vide Leerssen 426] explains the dearth of surviving manuscripts: ‘there were so many severe & penal laws Instituted & enacted against them, their Authors patrons, & other Encouragers; by which means they were expelled, & obliged to quit their Country, Family, Friends, & other protectors; so that there are hardly any fotsteps [sic] of them to be traced till now that by the lenity of the present Government, they begin to breath, & hope to be encouraged, & redressed; yet it will take up a great deal of Time & labour to collect specimens of their work and anecdotes of their lives, & [blot of sealing wax here] translations, and that by traversing a great part of the country far & near & by Improving an acquaintance with many distant Correspondents.’ (RIA MS 24 0 55), [288]

.. an auto-image of a Gaelic Ireland of ancient civilisation and cultural refinement (impying as its obverse the un-Irish foreignness and cultural disruption introduced by the anti-Gaelic forces) was transmitted from the bardic poets into middle-class Dublin in the late 18th c. An imagotypial polarity is thus created and perpetuated in which ‘England’ and ‘Ireland’ are made to coincide with ‘foreign barbarism’ and ‘native civilisation’. … the imagotypical binaries are each other’s mirror images. [289]


Part III: The Public Assertion of Irish Civility

Irish intellectual activity at Paris, Salamanca, Lisbon, Douai; Seville,Rouen, Bordeaux, Louvain and Rome. ... A cultural propaganda war which, on the Irish side, tended to aim for a refutation of the English slander on the Irish character and civilisation. [293]

recusant Old English tended to become Jesuits whereas the Gaelic exiles drifted mainly towards the Franciscan Order … in France and Spain respectively [293]

Jesuit Henry Fitzsimon, a Palesman,b. Dublin 1566, imprisoned 1599-1604, answered John Rider Protestant Dean of St. Patrick’s challenge to prove certain teachings from Catholic doctrine with ‘Brief collections from the Scriptures’, MS (1601); Rider answerd wtih a printed pamphlet, A friendly caveat to Ireland’s Catholics, and at the next turn with Rescript. On the continent, Fitzsimon published A Catholic confutation of Mr Rider’s claim to antiquitie (Rouen 1608), with a ‘dedicatorie epistle’ to ‘the Catholickes of Ireland and of all Estates and Degrees’. Fitzsimon later issued Justification and exposition of the divine sacrifice of the masse (1611), also against Rider.

Anonymous Breve relacion de la presente persecucion in Irlanda (Sevilla 1619); Maurice Conry, Old French bishop of Ferns’s denunciation of Cromwellian persecution, Threnodia Hiberno-Catholica (Innsbruck 1659); Anthony Bruodine (i.e. Mac Bruaideadha), list of Irish martyrs in Propugnaculum Catholicae veritatis (1669). [294-95]

Jesuit Cornelius O’Mahoney, b. Co Cork; Disputatio apologetica et manifestativa de iure regni Hiberniae Catholicism Hibernis adversos haereticos Anglos (Lisbon; with impression disguising it as Frankfurt). Argues that England never had any title to Ireland, and if so, forfeits it on grounds of heresy. His motive in writing: ‘nec Angli mirari debent quod Catholicus Hibernicus pro iure Catholicorum Hibernorum contra iniuriam haetericorum Anglorum pugnem’ [‘nor should the English marvel I, an Irish Catholic, do battle for the right of the Catholic Irish against the injustice of a heretical English.’] [295-96] The book ends with an exhortation: ‘Agite ergo Catholici Hiberni, & felicem finem imponite operi, quod incaepistis, & nolite timere haereticos adversios, timete, & amate Deum, eius praecepta servate, & fidem defendite, & ipse vobis retribuet & immarcosibilem gloriae coronam, quam mihi, & vobis praestare dignetur.’ [‘Onwards then, ye Catholics, crown with success the work you have undertaken, and do not hear your heretical adversaries, but fear and love God, serve his precepts and defend the faith, and he sahll reward you and may deign to vouchsafe all of us the undiminishing crown of glory’]. O’Mahoney urges the reinstating of a high-kingship, preferably Gaelic [vernaculum seu naturalem Hibernum]—anticipating Gaelocentric nationalism—thus going against the Confederation’s claim of loyal support to Charles I, and was accordingly banned by Rinnucini’s party. [296]

The collapse of the Confederation sparked a letter by one Paul King, printed in 1649 which started an acrimonius debate between Rinuccinian and anti-Ormondists (John Poncius, Nicholas French, and the two authors of the large Commentarius Riniccinianus), and on the other Richard Bellings (who also continued Sydney”s Arcada) and John Callaghan, authors of similarly titled works. [297]

A du[a]l purpose can be noticed in Continental Gaelic scholars: to reassert Gaelic civility by pointing at the country’s proud achievements in matters of religion. [297]

The Catalan El Desseoso printed in Irish version as Emanuel, or Scáthán an chrábhaidh or Desiderius (Louvain 1616), translated by Flaithrí Ó Maolchonaire, authority on Augustine of Jesuit leanings, later Archbishop of Tuam. Sgáthán shacramuinte na haidrithe (1618) by Hugh Mac Caghwell [nick-named ‘Mac Aingil’], indebted to Bonaventura O’Hussey’s (brother of Eochaid Ó hEoghusa) catechism of 1611. Parthás an anma (1645), by Anthony Gernon. Unprinted translations into Irish of St Francis de Sales, Jaun Eusebio Nieremberg, Angelo Ellis, and Thomas a Kempis. Devotional works, Dowley’s Suim bhunadhasaigh an teagaisg Chriosdaidhe (1663), a cathecism influenced by Gernon’s book of 1645 and which was reprinted in 1728 as an appendix to Hugh Mac Curtin’s Elements of the Irish language; Francis Molloy’s Lucerna fidelium or Lochrann na gcreimheach (1676). The treatise of miracles (1667), a bilingual work by Richar Archdekin, SJ; Andrew Donlevy, Teagasg Criosduidhe (Paris 1742). Cornelius Nary, Prayers and meditations (Dublin 1705); Rules and godly instructions (1716); A cathecism for the use of the parish (1718). James Gallagher, Catholic bishop of Raphoe, Irish sermons, in Gaelic (Dublin 1737). 2298-99]

Philip Ó Clerigh, Grammatica Hibernica, Franciscan college (Rome 1637); Anthony O’Connor, Brevis Instructio in Grammatica Hibernica (Prague 1659); Micheal Ó Clerighs dictionary of archaic Gaelic, Louvain, 1943; also his Foclóir nó sanasan nua; Tuileanga Ó Maolchonaire wrote a redaction of Tadhg Og Ó hUiginn’s prosody in Madrid, 1659.

Theobald Stapleton, Cathechismus, seu doctrina Christina Latino-Hibernica, per modum dialogi inter magistrum et discipulum (Bruxellis 1639): miserum est tot videre Hibernos, qui aliam mullam praeter Hibernicam linguam norunt, orationem Dominicam, Synbolum Apostolorum, Praecepta Dei & Ecclasiae, & caetera, quae Christianus scire tenetur, corruptis ac indecorislinguae Lantinae [sic] verbis recitare audentes, nescientes quid dicunt’ [‘sad sight to see so many Irish … reciting (prayers) … in corrupt and unbecoming Latin, not knowing what they are saying ..’]; nulla exstate nation in universo orbe quae suae Patriae linguam nativam scire, legere, aut scibree praeclarum esse, not existimet’[‘there exists no nation on earth which does not consider it highly important to know, read, and write the language of the Fatherland’]; qua ratione consentaneum est, ut nos Hiberni nostram linguam & idoma retineamus, excolamus & extollamus, quae, quod ita iacet deserta, quasi in oblivionem iret, tribuendum vitio est linguaw Hiberniae Authoribus atque Poetis, qui eam verborum osbcuriorum varietate offuscaverunt; nec culpa vacent plerique nostrae Patriae viri nobiles ac primarii, qui linguam suam (tametsi olim celebrem ac locupletem) respuentes, externas amplectuntur, in iisque addiscendis temporis iacturam faciunt, maternaque lingua (quae ab antiquitate, perfectione, at elegante maxime commendatur, paenitus eradicata, & exterminata est’ [‘for that reason it is fitting that the Irish hold on to, cultivate and raise up our native language and speech whose present neglect, hearly to the point of oblivion, is to be blamed on the bad style of literary and poetical Irishmen, who have obfuscated it under a welter of overly obscure words; nor are most of the leading and noble men of our Ftherland free from guilt, who scorning its language, (so celebrated and thriving of old) embrace foreign ones; in learning these they make a sacrifice of time while their mother tongue (which is commended by its antiquity, perfection and elegance) lies nearly wholly uprooted and exterminated’] [all p.xiv-xv]. [300-01]

Francis Molloy, Grammatica Latino-Hibernica compendiata (Romae 1677): multorum inuria … ortum habuit, quod Catholicise Hibernorum Nationi malleum inter, & incudem diu positae, ex quo praeli introductum est beneficium inhibitum fuerit, ne dum proprii Idiomatis studium; verum etiam publicus, imo privatus (proh dolor!) passim usus, ut vel sic antiquissima Patriae monumenta, Sanctorum vitae, Religio, Ecclesiae traditiones, & memoria protractu temporis, sepulta penitus iacerunt, & aeterna tandem traderentur oblivioni: quo fit hodie ut rudiores in populo linguam, quam no noverant, audiant; decipiantur in dies, inque infinitos propemodum seducantur errores. Ego idciro Idiota quidem, zelo tamen, quo debui, ductus, tanto volens occurrere damno, no funditus Opusculum compsoui, tum doctis, tum indoctis, Anglis, Scotis, Hibernis, aliisque quibuscunque ad praefatum Idiomaa discendum, legendum, scribendum, dibte pronuciandum, conservandumque.’ [‘it has resulted from the injustice of many that the Catholic Irish nation placed between the hammer and the anvil, was denied every privelige, yes even the study of its own language; not only public but also (on woe!) the general private use; so that the so very ancient records of the fatherland, Lives of the Saints, Religion, Church traditions, and the memory of a long time lie buried deep and are indeed delivered to oblivion. And this results today in the fact that the untaught among the people hear a language they do not know. they make mistakes each day and are seduced into almost numberless errors. For that reason I (though but a layman in these matters,m yet driven by an imperative zeal) wishing to set my face against so great a curse, have fully composed this little book, both for the educated and the uneducated, English, Scottish, Irish and all others, for the teaching, reading, writing, pronouncing and preserving of the aforesaid language’ (p.[iii]ff.) [302]

Thomas Dempster sought to attach Irish saints and scholars to Scotland rather than their native Ireland. Hugh Mac Caghwell published commentaries on Duns Scotus, while Luke Wadding with Mac Caghwell supervised the edition of Duns’ complete works, 12 vols (Lyons 1629), having earlier in 1624 published Dun Scotus’s defence of Immaculate Conception. Wadding also issued the Franciscan history, Annales Minorum, in the 8 vols (1625-34). [304]

Henry Fitzsimon, list of Irish saints, Catalogus aliquorum (or praecipuorum) sanctorum Hiberniae (Duoai 1615; Liege 1619; Antwerp 1621); appeared also in O’Sullivan Beare’s Compendium (1621) and in Kilkenny born David Roth’s sive antiquioris Scotiaw vindiciae adversus immodestam parechasim Thomae Dempsteri, moderni Scoti, nuper editam (also 1621).

Also Roth, Analecta sacra, 3 vols, the 3rd known as De processu martyriali, (1616-91), denouncing Reformation politics of Elizabeth and James I; Brigida Thaumaturga (1620) and Hibernia resurgens, sive refrigerium morsum serpentis antiqui (1621), both more specifically against Dempster; also Hierographia sacrae insulae Hiberniae lineamenta adumbrata, containing a ‘decertatio apologetica adversus Conaeum,Camerarium, Demsterum.’

Roth also collaborated with Thomas Messingham, an old-English defender of Irish culture, and moderator of Irish College at Paris. Messingham’s important Florilegium insulae sanctorum, seu vitae et acta sanctorum Hiberniae, contains hagiographical sketches by various hands incl. Rothe;s ‘De nominibus Hiberniae tractatus’, which was used by Bishop Ussher and others.

Ussher called Dempster in Greek ‘a thief of saints’.

Messingham, Mac Ainghil, and Hugh Ward (a Mac an Bhaird and prof. of philosophy at the Irish College, Louvain) conceived the project which subsequently bore fruit as the Annals of the Four Masters, under the Ó Clerighs.

Patrick Fleming,author of Collectanea sacra (posthum. 1677), being materials concerning St. Columba, was murdered 1631 shortly after appt. as principal of Prague Franciscan college.

Hugh Ward (one of the Mac an Bhaird’s) professor of philosophy at Louvain, wrote a life of St. Romuald, edited and posthumously printed by Thomas O’Sheerin in 1662: ‘ex scriptoribus antiquis et novis, ac publicis instrumentis demonstratur Hibernia ad saeculum quindecimum Christianum vocatum Scotia, et Hiberni Scoti’[‘it is demonstrated from ancient and modern writings that Ireland was called Scotia and the Irish Scoti until the fifteenth century’]. Sheerin died in 1673. [306]

Micheal Ó Clerigh’s Bollandist influence; viz, Jean Bolland and Herbert Rosweyde, Flemish jesuits, and their centuries long project of collecting saints lives. [307]

The Annals were not printed till the mid nineteenth century. The volumes actually published were the second and third of the intended six; edited by John Colgan under the title of Triadas thaumaturgae acta (1647) and Acta sanctorum Hiberniae (1645). The former dealt with Patrick, Brigid, and Columba, the latter with other saints in the first three months of the calendar; both works subtitles spell out Ireland’s claim to the appellation of ‘veteris et majoris Scotiae’ and ‘Santorum insulae’. … Old English recusancy is absorbed and swamped out by this general indentification between Gaelic culture and Irish sanctity. The most important source is Lughaidh Ó Clerigh’s Beatha Aodha Ruaidh Uí Dhomhnaill. … The facts themselves in all their overwhelming multitude stand as Gaelic Ireland’s claim to a long and continuous historical tradition. … The Annals were evidently conceived as a monument to Gaeldom as a whole, transcending the bardic Eberian-Eremonian divide [of the 20-yr early Contention of the bards involving the Mac Bruaidheadha and Mac Aedhagáin families respectively] which in any case had become an anachronism in the 17th c. context. [308-09]

Ftn 272: the English title of Annála Rioghachta Eireann (‘Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland’) a misnomer. John Colgan coined the term, but names Micheal Ó Clerigh, Cucoigrighe Ó Clerigh, Cucoigriche Ó Duibhgeannáin, and Ferfeasa Ó Maolchonaire, as well as a fifth Conaire Ó Clerigh. John O’Donovan ousted Ó Duibheannain and includes Conaire Ó Clerigh; one Muiris Ó Maolchonaire was for a while a sixt. O’Donovan explains that Colgan was probably reflecting the classical reference to the four masters (Quattuor Magistri) of medical science, which Brendan Jennings, OFM suggests in 1936 that a commentary on the rule of St Francis with its title the Expositio quattro magistrorum was a factor.

Together with its dedication to an English-recognised Protestant subordinate chieftain Fearghal Ó Gadhra, the dedication of 1636 is dated ‘an taonmadh bliadhain decc do righe an Righ Carolus os Saxain, Frainc, & os Eirinn.’ The phrase, do chum gloire Dé & onóra ha hEireann’, widely used as a nationalist motto, and attached as the epigram to numerous Irish-Ireland books including editions of the Annals, occurs in parenthesis only as a decorative sentiment in the context of this dedication. Leerssen remarks: ‘nationalistically oriented scholars took the above-quoted parenthetical phrase out of its context and willed it to apply, not to the motive behind Ó Gadhra’s munifence but ot Ó Clerigh’s own motivation in undertaking such historical labours; it could accordingly (and quite spuriously) become a kind of motto for nationalistically-motivated research into Ireland’s past, thus retrospectively attributing such attitudes to those 17th c. scholars. In a footnote, he reminds us that the phrase was finally the legend of a postage stamp issued in 1943. [310]

Extract from Annals, dedicatory preface, Vol 1, lv-lvi: ‘It is a thing general and plain throughout the whole world, in every place where nobility or honour has prevailed in each successive period, that nothing is more glorious, more respectable, more honourable (for many reasons) than to bring to light the knowledge of antiquity ancient authors, and a knowledge of the chieftains and nobles that existed in preceding times, in order that each successive generation might possess knowledge and information as to how their ancestors spent their time and life, how long they were successively in the lordship of their countriews, in dignity and in honour, and what sort of death they met … [PARA] I have calculated on your honour that it seemed to you a cause of pity and regret, grief and sorrow (for the glory of God and the honour of Ireland), how much the race of Gaedhal the son of Niul have gone under a cloud and darkness without a knowledge of the death or obit of saint or virgin, archbishop, bishop, abbot, or other noble dignitary of the Church, of king or prince, lord or chiefain (and) of the synchronism or connexion of one with the other.’ [‘Do brhaitheas ar char gur bhahbar truaighe, & nemhele, doghailsi, & dobroin libh, (do chum gloire dé & onora na hereann) a mbed do dheachattar sliocht Gaoidhil meic Niuil fo chiaigh & dorchadas, gan fios ecca na oidheasdha Maoimh, na nabbaoimhe Ardepiscoip, Epscoip, na abbad, na uasal graidh eccailsi oile, Righ, na Ruirigh, tighearna na toisicch, comhairsir na coimhsineadh neich dibhsidhe fri aroile.’]

Peter Lombard, archbishop of Armagh, resided in Rome, De regno Hiberniae sanctorum insulae commentarius (printed 1632), in which he corrects the English image of the Irish by allowing them to be uncultivated and lazy and musical, but insisting that they are ‘tenacissimi orthodoxae fidei’.

Philip O’Sullevan Beare, ed. Spain, and prevented from returning by the defeat at Kinsale; Spanish navy officer; controversial books, incl. Tenebriomastix (now lost), an attack on Dempster; Zoilomastix, attacks Dempster, Camerarius, and Stanyhurst. His Decas Patritiana (1629) a in 10 books on St. Patrick, with an appendix attacking Bishop Ussher strongly ad hominem under the name as ‘Archicornigeromastix’. His Historiae Catholicae Iberniae compendium (1622). Argues strategic importance of Ireland in the fight against heresy: ‘Iberniam esse arcem & propugnaculum, unde Haeretici posent debellari, & alia regna conservari’. The work includes sections praising the civilised Irish character of ‘men of ingenious and liberal dispositin, who take honour in the scholarly and military side of their earthly life, who abhor servitude and mechanical labour, who are complaisant, benign, and hospitable to each other, and even more so to strangers, and most friendly … prodigious physical and intellectual vigour … patient of heat, thirst, cold, unvanquished in adversity [in all the exigencies of which they display] a proud and unbroken mien [and unfailing] good cheer.’

Leerssen indicates that O’Sullevan Beare establishes the exclusive reliance on Gaelic pedigree as the criterion of trustworthiness in the struggle against the English crown. The class whome he calls Iberni Ibernici as distinct from the Iberni Anglici or novi Iberni or Anglo-Ibernes. O’Sullevan Beare’s book concentrated on the lineage of the Gaels as stemming from Míl, the eponym of the Milesians (Míl Espaine). [314-15]

Leerssen quotes remarks by PJ Corish (‘The origins of Catholic nationalism’, in A History of Irish Catholicism, vol. 3, chp. 8, (Gill 1968) adding a definition of legend” to Curtis’s remark that ‘Milesian or Old English, Danish or Norman, [all Catholics] accepted the Irish legend as against the English legend.’: ‘meaning by legend the interpretation placed by the community on its history, its reaction to and rationalising of past events.’ [315]

Keating, Hiberno-Norman corruption of Mac Etienne, French name with Gaelic patronymic. Foras feasa ar Eirinn, the linguistic and stylistic lodestar of modern Irish prose.

Authors enumerated as false historians by Keating include Cambrensis, Spenser, Stanyhurst, Camden, Moryson, Davies, Campion’, ‘agus gach Nua-Ghall eile d’á scríobhann uirre [i.e. Ireland’] ó shoin amach’, who like a beetle on a bright day are only interested in finding dung (vol 1, 4). [317]

Leerssen’s extract from Forus feasa ar Eirinn: ‘they have displayed no inclination to treat of the virtues or good qualities of the nobles among the old foreigners and the native Irish who then dwelt in Ireland; such as to write on their valour and their piety, or the number of the abbeys they had founded … on the priveliges they had granted to the learned professions of Ireland, and all the reverence they manifested towards churchmen and prelates.’ (vol 1., 4f.)


It is not for hatred nor for love of any set of people beyond another, nor at the instigation of anyone, nor with the expectation of obtaining profit from it, that I set forth to write the history of Ireland, but because I deemed it was fitting that a country so honourable as Irelad, and races so noble as those who have inhabited it, should go into oblivion without mention or narrtion being left of them: and I think that my estimate in the account I give concerning the Irish ought therather to be accepted, because it is of the Gael I chiefly treat. Whoever thinks it much I say for them, it is not to be considered that I should deliver judgement through favour, giving them much praise beyond what they have deserved, being myself of the old Gall as regards my origin … [PARA] … the race is dispraised by every new foreign historian … the extent of the pity I felt at the manifest injustice which is done to them by those writers … I know not why they should not be put in comparison with any nation in Europe in … valour, learning, and in being steadfast to the Catholic faith. Forus feasa ar Eirinn/the History of Ireland, ed. and trans. D Comyn & PS Dinneen (ITS Lon. 1902-04). [317-18]

In Keating, the native Irish race is called Gaedhil, Sean-Ghaedhil, or Fior-Gaedhil (true Gaels), as distinct from Sea-Ghoill and Nua-Ghoill, while the Old Irish and the Old English together are called Eireannaigh, replacing a racial appellation with geographical one. [318]

John Lynch, Archdeacon of Tuam, lived in St. Malo from fall of Galway in 1652 to his death in 1674, and trans. Keating into Latin; published Alithinologia and Supplementum Alithinologiae, post-Confederation works conciliatory towards Old English Catholics, and sharp against Cambrensis. His attach on Cambrensis was published in 1662 as Cambrensis Eversus, seu potius historica fides, in rebus Hibernicis, Giraldo Cambrensi abrogata [320], defends the Irish against charges of barbarism, and defends the Irish language apolitically: ‘for did the Welsh ever refuse to show obedience to the monarch of England by reason of the fact that they are steeped in the Welsh language? … Bretons & Basques … Yet if the Irish have maintained their current and widespread ancestral speech, will they as an immediate result be said to hatch dangerous plots against their supreme prince? I see no reason why the language’s abolition is insisted on so vehemently. (p.16)’ [320-21]. His students were Duald Mac Firbis and Roderick O’Flaherty.

Stephen White, an English Jesuit, wrote an unpublished Apologia por Hibernia adversus Cambrensis calumnias (1615); also De santctis et anitquite Hiberniae, unpublished MS containing manuscript material gathered at INgolstadt, Kassel and Schaffenhausen, whichhe supplied to Hugh Ward and company. He accuses Cambrensis of lies and heretical tendencies in his ad hominum attack. [32]

Peter Walsh, Prospect of the state of Ireland (Lon. 1682). An Irish Franciscan, he endorsed the Ormondite cause and was repudiated by clerical and Gaelic Irish who were Rinuccinian and came ‘close to hounding the hapless friar into Protestantism’ (Leerssen) [321] His conciliatory line is expressed in his praising the English as the conquerors of the Old Irish as they really were, rather than the degenerate race described by the Cambrian [Cambrensis] and others. [322]

Lynch’s mentor was Duald Mac Firbis, who worked for Sir James Ware. Roderick O’Flaherty was a fellow pupil, chieftain of his clan and bardic scholar, plunged into destitution, and was the first Gaelic scholar to have a work published in London, presumably sponsored by one of the Molyneux brothers who had entered into correspondence with him. Ogygia (1685) [321]

Ogygia, bardic myto-antiquarianism; writes against Borlase, as earlier in his manuscript Observations on Dr Borlase’s reduction of Ireland (1682) and Sir John Temple; invests high hopes in James Stuart, Charles Catholic brother, in a dedication: in Latin, ‘Ireland, the most ancient cradle of your forefathers, Ó most victorious duke, in the publication of her Antiquities implores most humbly your Grace’s patronage … with ashes strewn on her head, her loins girdled with a hair-shirt, her loosened hair hanging down her face, and with tears in her eyes: and in her outstretched hands she proffers a book in which are written lamentations, mourning, and woe (Ezek. 2:10).

O’Flaherty was again reduced to dire poverty under the Penal Laws, but was noticed a last time by Thomas Molyneux, who wrote of his ‘miserable condition’ as seen ‘3 hours west of Gallway in Hiar or West-Connaught’, stripped of his Irish manuscrips, with nothing but ‘some few of his own writing’ and ‘a few old rummish books of history printed.’ (A Journey to Connaught, April 1709, ed. A Smith, Miscellany of the Irish Arch. Society 1 (1846), 161-178).


Chp. 6: Gael and Anglo-Irish

.. How these Protestants, perennially in apprehension of native resentment and disaffection, in constant memory of the rebellionof 1641, could go beyond socio-economic and religious divisions, and take a positive interest in Irish antiquity as it it were there own ... [326]

Leerssen forcibly quarrels with the attitudes that depend on the polarisation of Protestant and Gaelic in religion and language—attitudes which have wasted energy in debating whether O’Gadhra converted to Protestantism while studying at TCD, or whether Ussher converted to Catholicism in the end, instead of examining how figures like Maoilín Og Mac Bruaideadha, Christopher Nugent, or Fearghal Ó Gadhra could make some osmosis or intercourse between the two groups. [327] Cf: … Gaelic tradition [in] a symbiosis of sorts with Ascendancy antiquarianism [332]

Thomas Strange wrote in March 1696 to Luke Wadding from the Franciscan house in Dublin where Michael Clery spent time copying, reporting that Ussher had offered to help the Gaelic antiquarians to the extent of lending his library; and there is evidence that such bi-partisan contacts continued even after the 1641 Rebellion. See RB Knox, James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh (Cardiff UP 1967). Further, Ussher contributed to the Annals by lending the Book of Lecan to Connell Mageoghegan who provided it, or a copy, to Micheal Ó Cleirigh. [328]

Ftns 293, 298: the wholesale condemnation of Ussher derives a misinterpretation by CR Elrington of an ambiguous phrase in one of his letters to Bedell, corrected by William O’Sullivan in Irish Hist. Stud. 16, 12 (Sept 1968), 215-19. In a letter of 30 July 1628, Bedell asked Ussher to procure Nehemiah O’Donnellan’s translation of the Psalms into Irish; Bedell’s translator Murtagh King was probably protected by Ussher on his instance.

Constantia Maxwell: Robert Ussher [a nephew of the prelate] is chiefly noted as having strengthened the national element in the College by promoting the study of Irish. [329]

Mageoghegan translated the Annals of Clonmacnoise into English in 1627. The originals have disappeared. The first English trans. of bardic history, it was intended for Toirdhealbhach Mac Coghlain, a kinsman, with the barbed comment about those who through ‘neglect their Bookes, and choose rather to put their children to learne eng: than their own native tongue.’ See Mageoghegan, The Annals of Clonmacnoise, ed. D Murphy (Dublin 1896).

Bedell; small catechism with scriptural passages and prayers in Irish, 1631; trans. Old Testament with cooperation of Murtagh King and James Nangle. A Catholic priest exclaimed at his graveside, ‘Sit anima mea cum Bedello!’ James Ware was his protégé.

Narcissus Marsh, TCD Provost 1679; saw Bedell’s Old Testament (1685) through the press together with a republication of Daniel’s New Testament (1681), supported by Robert Boyle who had a new font cut.

John Richardson, b. Armagh, ed. TCD, chaplain to Duke of Ormond, publ. Book of Common Prayer in Irish, 1712, and Irish sermons in 1711. Also, Proposals for the conversion of the Popish natives of Ireland (1711) and Short history of the attempts that have been made to convert the popish natives of Ireland (1712; rep. 1714): ‘Preaching the Irish language is not an Encouragement to the Irish interests … For the Irish Papists, who can speak English, ever were, and still are as great enemies to the English interest, as the Irish Papists who cannot speak English. … the Irish language, as such, hath nothing of Impiety, Heresie, or Immorality in it; and no Man, I presume, will be condemned at the Last Day for speaking Irish.’]

John Toland, a native speaker of Irish, from N. Donegal, studied Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Leyden; visited Oxford 1694-5 while preparing Christianity Not Mysterious (1696), a precursor of English Deism; given to loudly proclaiming controversial views in coffee houses; claimed in a letter to Molesworth of 1718 that he had suggested first to Edward Lhuyd—who was keeper of the Ashmolean in 1694—that Irish and Welsh were akin, in contrast with the accepted Scythian theory of Irish origin. Lhuyd’s correspondence mentions that ‘one Mr. Tholonne is lately come hither … with a design to write and Irish dictionary & a dissertation to prove Irish a colony of Gauls’ (letter of 9 Jan 1694 [335]. An opponent of revealed religion, he toyed with the idea of a hermetic ‘Socratic Society’: see Paul Hazard, La crise de la conscience européene 1680-1715, 3 vols (Paris 1935) [364]. Toland attacked the declaratory act of 1720, not with any national , Irish arguments (for Tolland repeatedly expressed a unionist attitude like that of Sir Richard Cox) but with the libertarian argument that this act would give the House of Lords a dangerous supremacy over the Commons. See Toland, Reasons offer’d to the honourable house of commons why the bill sent to them shou’d not pass into law (Lon 1720). [365]

Toland, strenuous anti-Catholic, but no less interested in Gaelic history. He outlined a plan for a history of Gaelic antiquity in a series of letters to Molesworth, published posthumously in 1726. Toland speaks with all the combined authority of a Protestant and a native son, and vindicates the Gaelic past, even from a Protestant point of view, against writers misguided by the Gaels more recent shabbiness. A collection of several pieces now first published, 2 vols (London 1720). [ftn.387 483].

Lhuyd’s main achievement the recognition of linguistic connection between the Gaelic and Brythonic languages. Possibly introduced to Roderic O’Flaherty by Molyneux, and collected also from Duald Mac Firbis: ‘I have in divers parts of the kingdom picked up about 20 or 30 Irish manuscripts on parchment; but the ignorance of their criticks is such, that tho’ I consulted the chiefest of them, as O’Flaherty (author of Ogygia) and sveral others, they could scarce interpret one page of all my manuscripts; and this is occasioned by want of a Dictionary … ‘ (letter of 25 Aug 1700). Among other linguistic essays, Archaeologia contains a Gaelic dictionary and grammar, the first printed since those of O’Clerigh and O’Molloy respectively. [337] O’Flaherty wrote an ode to Lhuyd: ‘Arbiter hinc veterem renovandi Camber honorem arripit.’ The ode is printed in Lhuyd’s Archaeologica Britannica, giving some account additional to what has hitherto been publish’d, of the languages, histories and customs of the original inhabitants of Great Britain (Oxford 1707), and subtitled ‘Glossography’. [336ff]

Leerssen quotes with emphasis Sir John Rhys’s estimate that had Gaelic philology followed the path of Lhuyd rather than the ‘fantastical speculations and emtymological solecisms’ [Leerssen’s phrases, 339] of Vallancey and Co., the meteoric appearance of Zeuss and Zimmer would have been impossible and unnecessary. [337]

Richard MacElligott, ed. Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, (1808).

Among many documents canvassing for a Union, in order to support the claim—or at least the hold—of the Protestant minority on the majority of acres in Ireland—were Swift’s ‘Story of An Injured Lady’, Henry Maxwell’s Essay towards a union of Ireland with England of 1703, and earlier Sir William Petty’s remarks in his Political anatomy of Ireland (1672), on ‘The Inconvenience of Not-Union’. Petty argued, ‘It is absurd that Englishmen born, sent over into Ireland by commission of their own King, and there sacrificing their lives for the King’s interest, and succeeding in his service, should therefore be accounted alines, foreigners, and also enemies, such as were the Irish before Henry the Seventh’s time … It is absurd that the inhabitants of Ireland, naturally and necessarily bound to obey their Sovereign, should not be permitted to know who, or what the same is, i.e., whether the parliament of England or that of Ireland; and in what case the one, and in what the other. Which uncertainty is or may be made a pretence for any disobedience.’ [340-41]

William Molyneux, The case of Ireland’s being bound by acts of parliament in England (1698), arising from the trade restrictions and especially the wool bill being discussed in the House of Commons. Molyneux was also translated Descartes’ Meditations into English and was a correspondent of John Locke. His argument regard the rights of the Irish parliament turns on the difference between planters and Gaels: ‘supposing Henry II had Right to invade this Island, and that he had been oppos’d therein by the Inhabitants, it was only the Ancient Race of the Irish, that could suffer by their Subjugation; the English and Britains, that came over and Conquer’d with him, retain’d all the Freedoms and Immunities of Free-born Subjects. (p.19-20). The dedication asserts: ‘Your Majesty has not in all Your Dominions a People more United and Steady in your Interest than the Protestants of Ireland.’ But those Old English who had established parliamentary practice had generally remained Catholic and Stuart supporters. [342] The Case of Ireland elicited criticism in English responses such as Case of Ireland, An Answer to Mr Molyneux, where the inference was ironically made that if Molyneux was right the Irish parliemnet should be filled with Old English. [343]

In explaining how the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy became enlisted to Gaelic antiquarianism , Leerssen argues as follows: ‘in the assertion of [separate] interests … the anglo-Irish drew on a pre-Reformation tradition of jurisprudence or political practice—i.e. a tradition that ante-dated their own presence … placing themselves in the position of heirs to a tradition … sua natura anti-English … leading to a growing identification with Gaelic Ireland. Leerssen further remarks that Molyneux’s book can be counted as one of the first instances of the effect of Enlightenment thought on British politics, since it addresses questions of the reciprocal rights and duties of citizen and government. [344] The celebrated core of Molyneux’s declamatory view is this: ‘that ireland should be bound by Acts of Parliament made in England, is against Reason, and the Common Rights of all Mankind. All men are by Nature in a State of Equality, in Respect of Jurisdiction or Dominion: this I take to be a Principle in it self so evident, that it stands in need of little Proof. … [a maxim] so inherent to all Mankind, and founded on such Immutable laws of Nature and Reason, that ‘tis not be be Alien’d or Given Up, by any Body of Men whatsoever.’ The source is his friend Locke’s [anonymous] Treatise on Government, and a number of Molyneux’s arguments echo that text almost verbatim. [345]

Patrick Darcy’s An Argument delivered (1643; 2nd ed. Dulin 1764), written in support of the pro-Ormond faction in the Confederation, anticipates Molyneux’s Case.

Sir Richard Cox, Some thoughts on the bill for prohibiting the exportation of woollen manufactures (Dublin 1698).

Leerssen’s account of “patriotism”, not the equivalent of ‘nationalism’ but ‘a form of political philanthropy’: [346] Berkeley: ‘A patriot is one who heartily wisheth the public prosperity, and doth not only wish, but also study and endeavour to promote it.’ (Maxims concerning patirotism, 1750; in Berkeley’s Works 1904, 4, 562.) The patriot idea in England was expounded in Bolingbroke’s On the spirit of patriotism and The idea of a patriot king (1749; written 1736-38), where patriotism meets the liberalism of the Commonwealth-men.

Swift’s Proposal for the universal use of Irish manufacture (1720): ‘utterly rejecting and renouncing everything wearable that comes from England … burn every Thing that came from England, except their People and their Coals.’ (Works, vol 10,17). Ftn. 339: Swift offered this as a report of ‘a pleasant observation of some Body’s’ quoted to him by the deceased archbishop of Tuam; the commentary was rephrased between 1720 and 1725 editions of the pamphlet; the publisher was in fact prosecuted, and the judge, Whitshed, asserted that ‘the author’s design was to bring in the Pretender’. (vol 10, 137)

Sir William Temple, ‘An Essay on the Advancement of trade in Ireland’, in The Works of Sir William Temple, 4 vols (Lon 1770), vol. 3, speaks of the necessity ‘to introduce, as far as can be, a vein of parsimony throughout the country, in all things that are not perfectly the native growths and manufactures.’ This in a letter to the lord lieutenant Essex. Later in the same letter he presciently warns that among Irish industries however the woollen industry ‘seems not fit to be encouraged’. [349]

Swift: ‘I do profess without affection, that your kind opinion of me as a patriot (since you call it so) is what I do not deserve; because what I do is owing to perfect rage and resentment, and the mortifying sight of slavery, folly, and baseness about me, among which I am forced to live.’ Swift to Pope, 1 June 1728; Correspondence, ed. H. Williams, 1963-5, 3, 289. [349]

Samuel Madden tried to inculcate patriotic principles in the form of ‘good resolutions’, in Reflections and Resolutions. His cramped attitude towards a hopefully indulgent Westminster parliament takes the form of an uncomfortable reflexive when Ireland ‘resolves to hope that England will remember’ her. [350] His Letter to the Dublin Society of 1739 mentioned proudly on its title-page that it had been ‘printed on Irish paper’.

Walter Harris, anonymously published Remarks on the affairs and trade of England and Ireland (1691), denoucning importation of French wine and Flemish linen. [350]

Arthur Dobbs, An essay on the trade and improvement of Ireland, 2 vols (Dublin 1729-31). ‘Instead of being Splenetick or grumbling at any Restrictions put upon us by our Ancestors, let us endeavour to promote the enjoyment of what we have with pleasure and satisfaction; that we may all in our several spheres chearfully contribute to support the Power, Wealthm Fame and Commerce of the British Empire, of which Ireland is no inconsiderable member’ (vol 2, 16). Drafted a bill of the improvement of agriculture in 1732. [350]

Molesworth, Considerations for the promoting of agriculture (1723), as a resulting of which Swift inscribed a Drapier’s letter to him. [351]

Thomas Prior, with Dobbs and Madden, founded the Dublin Society for the promotion of husbandry, manufacture, science and the useful arts, in 1731 (later the RDS). He vigorously promoted Berkeley’s universal panacea in Authentick narrative of the use of tar-water (1746). [351]

Berkeley’s Querist, three parts, 1735, ‘36, and ‘37, edited by Madden and Prior; rev. ed., 1750; and also in Berkeley’s posthumous miscellanea, 1752; includes 895 rhetorical questions (but 595 in 1750 ed.) in a ‘fugatic treatment’ [Leerssen’s phrase, 352] touching on a number of basic problems of the Irish economy. ‘Whether there be upon earth any Christian or civilized people so beggarly, wretched, and destitute as the native Irish?’; ‘Whether, nevertheless, there is any other people whose wnats may be more easily supplied from home?’ (Q 132, 133); ‘Whether our hankering after our own woollen trade be not the true and only reason which hath created a jealousy in England towards Ireland? And whether anything can hurt us more than such jealousy?’ (Q 89; ‘Whether our old native Irish are not the most indolent and supine eople in Christendom: … their habitations and furniture more sordid than those of the savage Americans?’ (Q 357-8); ‘Whether a scheme for the welfare of this nation should not take in the whole inhabitants? And whether it be not a vain attempt to project the flourishing of our Protestant gentry, exclusive of the bulk of our natives?’ (Q 255); ‘the most pressing wants of the majority.. the dirt and famine and nakedness of the bulk of our people’ (Q 106). Berkeley identifies not property but the circulation of property as the measure of wealth, anticipating Adam Smith. [351-54] The post-1745 eds. of The querist replaced ‘Papists’ with ‘Roman Catholics’.

Swift: ‘.. a bare face of nature, without houses or plantations; filthy cabins, miserable, tattered, half-starved creatures, scarce in human shape; one insolent ignorant oppressive squire to be found in twenty miles riding; a parish church to be found only in a summer’s day journey, in comparison of which, an English farmer’s barn is a cathedral; a bog of fifteen miles round; every meadow a slough, and every hill a mixture of rock, heath, and marsh; and every male and female, from the farmer, inclusive to the day-labourer, infallibly a thief, and consequently a beggar, which in this island are terms convertible … there is not an acre of land in Ireland turned to half its advantage; yet it is better improved than the people: and all these evils are the effecs of English tyranny: so your sons and grandchildren will find it to their sorrow.’ (Swift to Brandreth, 30 June 1732.) [355]

Ftn. 352: Arthur Dobbs, Essay on the trade and improvement of Ireland (1729-31), on the Irish peasant: ‘when they have sown their Corn, planted their Potatoes and cut their Turf for Firing, do either hire out their Cows or send them to the Mountains, then shut up their Doors and go begging the whole Summer until Harvest, with their Wives and Chidlren in the most tatter’d and moving Condition they can appear in … (vol 2, 47).

ABSENTEEISM: Sir Walter Harris could praise English residence of Anglo-Irish landlords as a reinforcement to unity in the 1690s. Drain on national income … middlemen … rackrents. Absenteeism a ‘dirty word’ with Berkeley, Q 104. Attacked by Thomas Prior in List of absentees of Ireland and an estimate of the yearly value of their estates and incomes spent abroad (1st ed. 1729, rep. during the century). A similar list appeared in Anthologia Hibernica, vol 1. 213-220. Taxation was frequently proposed. [355]

Archbishop King of Dublin, a radical not preferred to Armagh, attacked the English interest in the Church of Ireland. [356]

Leerssen’s remarks on Swift condensed at p.357: Although Seift was too misanthropic a humanist, too staunch a believer in the old values of Anglican rationalism, to feel comfortable with the idealistic, progressive connotations in the appellation “Patriot”, he did share a number of grievances with the Anglo-Irish patriots.

Swift: ‘That all persons born in Ireland are called and treated as Irishmen, although their fathers and grandfathers were born in England; and their predecessors having been conquerors of Ireland, it is humbly concieved they ought to be on as good a foot as any subjects of Britain, according to the practice of all other nations, and particularily of the Greeks and Romans’ (letter to Peterborough, 28 Apr 1727).

Swift, in the Drapier’s Letters: ‘Were not the People of Ireland born as free as those of England? How have they forfeited their Freedom? Is not the Parliament as fair a Representative of the People, as that of England? And hath not their privy Council as great, or a greater Share in the Administration of public Affairs? Are they not Subject to the same King? Does not the same Sun shine over them? And have they not the same God as their Protector? Am I a free-man in England, and do I become a Slave in six Hours by crossing the Channel? (Works [op. cit], vol. 10, 31.).

.. but the Love and Torrent of Power prevailed. Indeed, the Arguments on both sides were invincible. For in Reason, all Government without the Consent of the Governed, is the very Definition of Slavery: But in Fact, Eleven Men well armed, will certainly subdue one single Man in his Shirt.’ (Works, vol. 10, 62-3.)

Swift one of the first to stop regarding Catholics with suspicion, in his Queries relating to the sacremental test (1732): ‘For Popery, under the Circumstances it lies in this Kingodm; although it be offensive, and inconvenient enough, from the Consequences it hath to encrease the Rapine, Sloth and Ignorance, as well as Poverty of the Natives; it is not properly dangerous in that Sense, as sone would have us take it … The landed Popish interest in England far exceeds that among us, … the little that remains here is daily dropping into Protestant hands, by Purchase or Descent … The Papists are wholly disarmed. They have neither Courage, Leaders, Money, or Inclination to rebel (vol. 12, 258-9).

John Keogh, Vindiction of the antiquities of Ireland (1748): ‘The very Roman Catholics of Ireland have proved themselves to be loyal subjects to the present Government; for there has been no rebellion or insurrection here since the late wars of Ireland, though since then three in Scotland.’

Berkeley’s Letter to the Roman Catholics of the diocese of Cloyne (1745), an epitome of Ascendancy apprehensiveness. ‘..that you have been treated with truly Christian lenity under the present government; that you persons have been protected, and your properties securded by equal laws: and that you it would be highly imprudent as well as ungrateful to forfeit these advantages by making yourself the tools to the ambitions of foreign princes … [who] will not fail to abandon you, as they have

always done.’ (Works, 1901, vol. 4. 433). [361]

Berkeley, A Word to the wise (1749), a conciliatory open letter to Catholic clergy. ‘Why, then, sound we not conspire in one and the same design—to promote the common good of your country.’ [362]

Henry Brooke: ‘.. Papists of this Kingodm, are particularly placid and peacable, at this Season: But reflect whether we ought not to dread the heavier Storm, from so very still and sullen a Calm. … those Men, by whom our Maidens were polluted, by whom our Matrons were left childless … [etc], from Farmer’s Letters, Letter 2. With reference to his earlier Farmer’s Letters: ‘I most solemnly assure you that when I wrote those letters I was in perfect love and charity with every Roman Catholic in the kingdom of Ireland. I knew that they were a depressed people. I had long pitied them as such. I was sensible that the laws, under which they suffered, had been enacted by our ancestors, when the impressions of hostility were still fresh and warm, and when passion, if I may venture to say so, co-operated, in some measure, with utility and reason. (in Brookiana, 1804.) He later explained that he was ‘never anti-Catholic, but merely fearful that persecution had made Catholics disloyal.’ Quoted from a 1760 reprint of the Farmer’s Letters, in Francis G. James, Ireland in the empire 1688-1770: A history of Ireland from the Wiliamite wars to the eve of the American revolution (Harvard, 1973). [364] In 1760 he was employed by the Catholic Committee, whose members incl. Charles O’Conor, John Curry, and Thomas Wyse, producing The tryal of the Roman Catholics which attempted to deflate the myth of 1641 and demonstrate the trustworthiness of the Catholics in the new era. [364]

And NOTE, infra: Brooke’s History of Ireland, from the earliest times [&c], for which a prospectus appeared in 1744 [‘.. wherein are set forth the ancient and extraordinary customs, manners, religion, politics, conquests, and revolutions, of that once hospitable, polite, and martial nation; interspersed with traditionary digressions, and the private and affecting histories of the most celebrated of the natives’, and also ‘a preface dedicatory to the most noble and ilustrious the several descendents of the Milesian line’] shows his intentions of treating of all Irish record patriotically in a composite tale of honour. Earlier, he had indeed attempted to learn Irish on receipt of a flattering bardic poem. This project was spoiled when Robert Digby, planning a volume of Ogygian tales for which he published a prospectus in 1744, gained manuscript material from Charles O’Connor which were then embezzled by his cousin, Henry Brooke for his own History. [377]. Leerssen later refers facetiously to this ‘co-operation’ between Digby and O’Conor as a sign of the growing adhesion of the Anglo-Irish to the idea of the Gaelic past as their own national past. [382]

And see ftn. 389, which notes that Gilbert (Hist. of Dublin, 1854) records the reason for the title of Digby’s work in ‘the rapid sale of several works, published with the title of Tales, as the Arabian, Persian, and Peruvian &c ..’ [483]

Sir Thomas Molyneux [br. of William], Some considerations on the taxes paid by Ireland to support the government (1727), unpublished tract.

Leerssen: The basis for this cultural osmosis of Gaelic culture into the Anglo-Irish classes, was, in the main, laid in the 18th c.—preceded only by the isolated instances of Ussher and Ware [-], announced by the unusual case of O’Flaherty, and made viable by the work of Lhuyd. [366]

Sir Richard Cox, fled Ireland in the Civil War; later, as Lord Chancellor, one of the prime movers behind the penal laws; An essay for the conversion of the irish, showing that ‘tis their duty to become Protestants (1698); also Hibernia Anglicana: or, the history of Ireland from the conquest thereof by the English to this present time (1698-90), is wholly anti-Catholic and castigates Keating, Walsh, O’Flaherty, O’Sullevan Beare. Unlike him, Borlase is even unaware of the existence of those writers.

Hugh MacCurtain, A brief discourse in vindication of the antiquity of Ireland (1717): ‘..that the Antient Irish before the coming of the English were no Way inferior to any People or Nation in the known World for Religion, Literature, Civility, Riches, Hospitality, Liberality, War-like Spirit, &c (p.286f.) [364]. This was the first Gaelic history to be published in Ireland, and for it Sir Richard Cox, as Chief Justice, had MacCurtain clapped in jail, where he produced an Irish grammar, dedicated to John Devenish, major-general of the Austrian army in the Netherlands. [367]. In his grammar, MacCurtain invites ‘the studious and other ingenious Gentlemen, lovers of Antiquity, that by a little labour they might learn [the Irish language] … and engage the curious to tast of the sweet streams of Oratory & poetry in the copious language of a long time neglected (p.4f.) [367]. ‘It is certain, most of our Nobility and Gentry have abandon’d it, and disdain’d to Learn or speak the same these 200 years past … how strange it seems to the world, that any people should scorn the Language, where the whole treasure of their own Antiquity and profound sciences lie in obscurity, so highly esteemed by all Lovers of Knowledge in former Ages, that swarms of foreign Students from all parts of Europe flock’d into the Nation to taste of, and learn the Arts and sciences therein contained’ (p.7); ‘The Irish Gentry have therefore Opportunities enough, still left, for recovering and preserving their Mother-language, and, consequently, are without the least Colour of Excuse if they shamefully continue to neglect it.’ (p.[iv])

Tadhg Ó Neachtain’s doggerel deibhí shows 26 Gaelic scholars gathered in the capital, incl. MacCurtin, Walsh, Dermod O’Connor. O’Connor was the author of the first English translation of Keating’s Foras Feasa ar Eirinn, published in London in 1723, dedicated to the O’Brien earl of Inchiquin, and strenuously denounced, but reprinted sumptuously a few years after. O’Connor was writing in defence of Ireland against ‘the censure of illiterate and unjust Men, who insolently attempt to vilify and traduce the lineal Descendents of the great Milesians (a Martial, a Learned, and a Generous Race) as a nation of ignorant, meanspirited, and superstitious’ (p.[iii]f.).

Leerssen enlarges on the fecund contacts between the Gaelic ‘sub-culture’ and the Ascendancy, meaning to show that a small group of Irish scholars did actually trouble to break ranks and communicate with and to their political opposite numbers in the colonial polarisation of the period. [370].

Hugh MacGuaran, a rumbustious poet whose poem Pléaráca na Ruarcach was the first to gain literary fame in English translation at none other than Swift’s hand, using a rollicking tetrameter: ‘O’rourke’s noble fare will ne’er be forgot,/By those who were there and those who were not.’

Swift on the Irish language: ‘It would be a noble achievement to abolish the Irish language in this kingdom, so far at least as to obligge all the natives to speak only English on every occasion of business … This would, in a great measure civilize the most barbarous of them, reconcile them to our customs, and reduce great numbers to the national religion, whatever kind may then happen to be established’ (vol 12, 89).

The Irish historical library, by bishop William Nicholson (1724). [373]

Dr John Curry had published an anonymous, pseudo-Protestant pamphlet expressing the need for tolerance towards victims of the penal laws [A brief account from the most authentic Protestant writers of the causes, motives, and mischiefs of the Irish Rebellion on the 23 day of October 1641 (Lon 1752). Walter Harris, a lawyer from Co. Laois, wrote a counter-blast called Fiction unmasked, or an answer to a dialogue lately published by a popish physician (1725), all but disclosing Curry’s identity. Curry rejoined in Historical memoirs of the Irish rebellion in the year 1641, in a letter to Walter Harris, Esq. (1758), with a prefatory Advertisement by Charles O’Conor calling Harris ‘a mercenary and injudicious compiler of historical fragments’ (p.ix). [373] Other works by Curry were, Occasional remarks on certain pasages in Dr Leland’s History of Ireland relative to the Irish rebellion of 1641 (Lon 1773), and An historical and critical review of the civil wars in Ireland, with The state of the Irish Catholics (rep. Dublin 1793). A copy of Curry’s Historical memoir was supplied to Ferdinando Warner, the author of the Dublin Society-promoted History of Ireland, by Charles O’Conor, to offset Protestant histories. Another copy was supplied in 1763 to David Hume, then in Paris, with a view to mellowing his interpretation of 1641 as it appeared in the early editions of his History of England (vide infra).

Harris, married to the great-grand-daughter of Sir James Ware, undertook his edition of Ware’s works under the auspices of the Physico-Historical Society, founded by Madden and others; appearing 1739-1746 with subscriptions by patriots including Dobbs and Madden, as well as from Archbishop Boulton of Armagh and Sir Lawrence Parsons, Sir Richard Cox the Younger, and the ailing Jonathan Swift. Harris is able to draw on the writings of O’Flaherty, O’Molloy, MacCurtin, and shows the influence of Lhuyd by providing “Comparative Table of some few Words … shewing the Affinity between the Irish and British languages” (Vol 2, 26ff.). He borrows the names of pre-Norman writers and the criticisms of Cambrensis from Keating and O’Flaherty, but remains intransigently pro-Penal Laws (those ‘wholesome Bills’, vol 3, 220). He recognised the element of literary tradition in Irish historical lore: ‘It should be considered, that the Compilers of the antient History of Ireland have drawn their Accounts from the Sonnets of the antient Bards, and had (it must be confessed injudiciously) copied for Truth the Metaphors and Flights of those Poetic Madmen ..’ (vol 3, 106). In answering anti-Irish reports in historians since Strabo, he says: ‘When such an odious Picture is drawn of us, who, my Lord [lord Newport, chairman of the Physico-Hist. Soc.] can refrain from a just Indignation? … But you know, my Lord, that these are groundless Aspersions … The Nobility and Gentry of this Kingdom are as Polite, well-bred, and humane, as those of other Nations; the Merchants and Traders as just and honest in their Dealings; and the bulk of the People not inferior to the Populace elsewhere’ (p.136). He sees the Physico-Historical Society as having been ‘erected with a view of removing these gross Misrepresentations, which have been handed down from early Ages concerning this Country, and are yet continued’, and endorses the patriotic plan of a general History of Ireland ‘shewing the ancient and modern State of it in true and proper Colours, together wtih the several Revolutions in property, Religion, and Government’ because it would ‘tend not only to honour, but to the real Emolument of the Kingdom’ (p.136) [376]

Leerssen: The Anglo-Irish now begin to regard Ireland’s Gaelic past as their own. [376]

Mrs Sarah Butler’s Irish tales: or, instructive histories for the happy conduct of life (1716; rep. up to 1734; and posthumously, Lon/Dublin 1735), the first example of Anglo-Irish fiction, inspired by ‘those many Transactions which made up the Lives of two of the most potent Monarchs of the Milesian Race in that ancient Kingdom of Ireland’ [p. ix]; her acknowledged sources include Keating (‘in his manuscript’), O’Flaherty and Peter Walsh. A preface on “the Learning and Politeness of the Ancient Irish”: ‘although they may seem [so Rude and illiterate a People], in the Circumstances they lie under (having born the heavy yoke of Bondage for so many Years, and have [sic] been Cow’d down in their Spirits) yet that once Ireland was esteem’d one of the Principle Nations in Europe for Piety and Learning ..’ (p.[x-xi]). One of her tales is a love story set to the background of the Battle of Clontarf. [378]

William Phillips’, in Hibernia freed (1722), treated Gaelic aspirations wholly sympathetically; treats of expulsion of Vikings by Kings O’Brien of Munster and O’Neill of Leinster, the former modelled on Brian Boru; dedicated to Henry O’Brien, earl of Thomond. The preface is a sop to the English feeling: Another Nation shall succeed/But different far in manners from the Dane/ ../And mix their Blood with ours: one People grow,/Polish our Manners, and improve our Minds.’ (p.59)

In Rotherick O’Connor (Smock Alley, 1720), Shadwell’s sympathies are clearly on the Norman side; Rotherick is considered a tyrant, whole under the sway of the play’s main villain, the archbishop of Tuam; the Gaelic hero cheerfully acknowledges the superiority of the English and that there presence can only improve the Irish. [380] Shadwell takes care to avoid any reflection on Ireland’s bravery from the fact that the Gaels are militarily inferior to the Norman’s ‘artful Engines’. Leerssen shows than the imagotype involves a supine adulation of the English, but also a valorisation of native Irish courage sine Catholicism and rebellion. [381]

O’Conor [see also Lersen04]: his history of Ireland, in the tradition of MacCurtin, printed as Dissertations on the antient history of Ireland: wherein an account is given of the origins, government, letters, sciences, religion, manners and customs of the antient inhabitants. The book won Dr. Johnson’s positive interest, having been show it—as he wrote to O’Conor in an unsolicited letter of appreciation—‘by the favour of Mr. Faulkner.’ After his remarks encouraging researches into the history of a nation ‘once so illustrious’, Johnson continued: What relation there is between the Welch and the Irish languages, or between the language of Irland and that of Biscay, deserves enquiry. Of these provincial and unextended tongues, it seldom happens that a fair comparison can be made. I hope you will continue this kind of learning, which has lain too long neglected, and which, if it be suffer to remain in oblivion, &c.’ [And note that FDA omits the above sentence without marking the hiatus.] [382]

Ftn.391: Most of the biographical information about Charles O’Conor gathered from O’Conor SJ, 1930 and 1949; Ward/Ward, 1979; de Valera 1978; and O’conor’s Letters, ed. War/Ward 1980. [484]

Charles O’Conor, in Dissertations, holds Irish to be a close approximation of the language of Japhet and descendants (p.37) and to resemble Hebrew (p.50). His is optismistic: ‘It is certain that the untowards fortune of Ireland, for several Ages past, hath at length relented. The first Men of the Nation have distinguished themselves throughout Europe, by the Encouragement of every art extensive of its Happiness and Reputation: they have expelled its evil genius, by weeding Prejudice from Patriotism, hateful Distinctions from the common Interest, and all Schemes of Engrossment from Liberty’ (p. xxxix).

AND NOTE: The Dissertations successfully reissued in 1766 with additions attacking Macpherson, Johnson’s arch-enemy. Dr. Johnson now wrote to O’Conor encouraging him to take up a history of Ireland dealing with the period before Thomas Leland’s (‘Leland begins his history too late: the ages which demand an exact enquiry are those times (for such there were) when Ireland was the school of the west, the quiet habitation of sanctity and literature. If you could give a history, however imperfect, of the Irish nation, from its conversion to Christianity to the invasion from England, you would amplify knowledge with new views and new objects. Set about it, therefore, if you can: do what you can easily do without anxious exactness. Lay the foundation and leave the superstructure to others.’ (Johnson to O’Conor, 19 May 1777; also in Boswell.) O’Conor began working on a history of his own, which he never completed.

NOTE bibl.: Ann de Valera, Antiquarian and historical investigations in Ireland in the eighteenth century (MA thesis UCD 1978).

And NOTE ftn. 397: O’Conor published an isolated pamphlet anonymously between 1761 and 1771 called a vindication of Lord Taaffe’s civil principals, written in defence of the Observations on affairs in Ireland from the settlement in 1691, to the present time, published in 1766 by Viscount Taaffe, living in Austria. That work was based on materials gathered for Taaffe by O’Conor (cf. O’Conor to Taaffe, 14 June 1766, Letters vol. 1, 200-1. O’Conor then published in 1771 his Observations on the popery laws, posing again as a Protestant. His identity became known, to his mortification, making further anonymous publications of this kind impossible. (Cf. Love [‘O’Conor & Leland’] 1962-3, p.9-10).

James Eyre Weeks, editor of Dublin spy, published a children’s geography in 1752.

1641: Hume had reiterated the Protestant propaganda and had vested it with the aura of his ‘philosophical’ non-partisan approach. [385]. David Hume, The history of England from the invasion of Julius Caesar to the revolution of 1688, 8 vols (London 1823). The Irish parliament commemorated the rebellion each 23 Oct. with anti-Catholic services [and] Temple’s history was regularly reprinted. If one wished to ameliorate the Ascendancy’s image of Gaelic Ireland—leading to a relaxation of the penal laws—one had to start with 1641.

Hugh Reily, Ireland’s cause briefly stated (1720), reissued as The impartial history of Ireland (1754, 1787), and as The genuine history of Ireland. See A de Valera, op. cit., supra.

Charles O’Conor issued The Protestant interest considered as to the operation of the popery laws (1757), and The danger of popery to the present government examined (1761), both masquerading to some extent as the writings of a liberal Protestant. Then for a decades his pamphleteering ceased, and he turned to hacks like Brooke to write for him. [386]

The pamphleteering approach fell into disuse when O’Conor, Curry and Wyse formed the Catholic Committee and gained the extremely cautious assistance of Catholic peers such as Lord Trimleston, Kenmare, and Fingall. They adopted the method of the political lobby, demonstrating abject loyalty to lord lieutenant and crown. O’Conor responded to the arrival of Ferdinando Warner [vide supra], who was now in the good graces of the Dublin Society, and likely to be recipient of a public subscription towards a general History of Ireland, by communicating to him papers to offset the Protestant interpretation fo 1641 and other parts of Irish history, notable John Curry’s Historical Memoirs. [386-87] Charles O’Conor’s letter to Curry, remarking on his encouragements to Warner, is to be found in his Letters, ed, CE &RE Ward, 2 vols (Ann Arbor, Mich.; Irish Am. Cult. Inst./Univ. Microfims 1980).

O’Conor wrote an open letter to David Hume ‘on some mispresentations in his history of Great Britain’, that is, regarding 1641. The letter appeared in the Gentleman’s magazine in 1793. A copy of Curry’s book was sent to Hume in Paris about the same time. (See David Berman, ‘David Hume and the 1641 Rebellion in Ireland’, Studies 65, 1976, pp.101-112.).

Hume toned done his account of 1641 in the 1770 ed. of his History. [388]. But note, ftn.406: Hume became harsher in the 1778 ed., thinking—according to Berman—at that date that O’Conor and Curry had overstated their claim; though Leerssen believes that the history (1771) issued by Leland in the interim was the real cause of his change of heart.

When the first volume of Warner’s soi-distant impartial history (‘nothing argued for with a partial affection to one country, or with a prejudice to the other’) appeared in 1763, Charles O’Conor say through this astutia historica, as he called it (letter to Curry, 19 Aug, 1763; Letters, Vol I, p.172) [388]. Warner allow himself the usual anglo-Irish condescension towards the savage natives: ‘they are yet so far from being civilised, especially in villages distant from cities, and where the English manners have not prevailed, that their habitations, furniture, and apparel are as sordid as those of the savages in America. … laziness … a cynical content in dirt and beggary &c [verbatim quoting Berkeley].’ Preparatory to publishing a second volume—in fact never completed—Warner issued a separate History of the rebellion and civil war in Ireland (1768), diminishing the reputed number of massacre victims and condemning the penal laws, but not absolving Catholics. [389]

Thomas Leland, successful author of a life of Philip of Macedonia: in him O’Conor supposed he found another vehicle. Exhorted by O’Conor and by Burke, and supplied with MSS by these as well as Lord Charlemont, he began preparing in 1769. O’Conor called on Curry to suspend his work on an answer to Warner, but Leland’s book, appearing in 1771, shattered his hopes when it came down firmly on the side of Temple’s account of 1641, ultimately based on the questionable depositions at TCD. In The History of Ireland from the Invasion of Henry II with a preliminary discourse on the ancient state of that kingdom, 3 vols (Dublin 1772), Leland pretended some impartiality, and begged off with an apologetic assertion that it was difficult or impossible to write of the events ‘without offending some, or all, of those discordant parties.

For O’Conor’s relation to Leland, see Walter D. Love, ‘Charles O’Conor of Belanagare and Thomas Leland;s ‘philosophical’ history of Ireland’, in Irish historical studies 13 (1962-3), p.1-25.

For Burke’s part in the Leland controversy, see Walter D. Love, ‘Edmund Burke and an Irish historiographical controversy’, in History and theory 2 (1962), pp.180-198.

Curry rushed a pamphlet into print attacking Leland’s book [bibl.; Occasional remarks on certain passages in Dr Leland’s History of Ireland relative to the Irish rebellion of 1641, London 1773]; followed by his Historical and critical review of the civil wars in Ireland, with The State of the Irish Catholics (rep. Lon. 1793).

Charles Topham Bowden, A tour through Ireland (Dublin 1791), visited Charles O’Conor and reported that he ‘has been, for many years of his life, employed in collecting materials and writing a history of Ireland, which was anxiously wished for by the public: whom I am sorry to inform they never are to behold that interesting work, as he has committed it to the flames, from an apprehension that his bad state of health would not permit him to complete it agreeable to his wishes, or worthy of the rank he has long supported in the literary world’ (p.218-19) [Leerssen 391]

Paul van Tieghan, Ossian en France, 2 vols (Paris 1917).

Roderick O’Flaherty answered Sir George Mackenzie’s attempts [in A Defence of the Antiquity of the Royal Line of Scotland, 1685] to push back the date of the Irish invasion of Scotland—thus reviving the Dempsterian view that Scotland not Ireland was the original of ‘Scotia’—in The Ogygia vindicated against the objections of Sir George Mackenzie, which was not however printed. [392]

It is in this context that we understand the dialogue between Scot and Irishman in Macklin’s Love a la mode (1757), in which Sir Archy says: ‘..why ye of Ireland, sir, are but a colony frae us, an oot cast!’, to which Sir Callaghan O’Brallaghan replies—in a parody of the historical tradition represented by O’Flaherty—‘I beg your pardon, Sir Archy, that is the Scotch account, which, you know, never speaks truth, because it is alway partial—but the Irish history, which must be the best, because it was written by an Irish poet of my own family, one Shemus Thurlough Shannaghan O’Brallaghan; and he says, in his chapter on genealogy, that the Scots are all Irishmen’s bastards.’ See JO Bartley, ed., Charles Macklin, Four Comedies (1968), p.59. [393]

Faced with the fact that Gaelic Irish historians had established that the traditions of Finn could not have antedated the arrival of the Irish Celts in before the third century when Ossian was supposed to have lived—with the assent of English and Scottish historians such as Stillingfleet and Lloyd, and most recently endorsed by Thomas Innes in A critical essay on the ancient inhabitants of the northern parts of Britain or Scotland (1729)—Macpherson counterattacked in an introduction to Fingal (1726) entitled “A dissertation concerning the poems of Ossian”, speaking of ‘the improbably and self-condemned tales of Keating and O’Flaherty’ as ‘credulous and puerile to the last degree.’ [393]. He claimed that ‘internal proofs’ showed that ‘the poems published under the name of Ossian, are not of Irish composition. That favourite chimaera, that Ireland is the mother-country of the Scots, is totally subverted and ruined’ (p.263). He strengthened his position with spurious theories of migration westward in his Introduction to the history of Great Britain and Ireland (1771).

Hume became a forceful enemy of Macpherson’s pretensions, pointing out the ‘insipid correctnes’ of the verses, which revealed their contemporary origin, in comparison with the original genius of Homer and Shakespeare. Boswell records that he said ‘if fifty bare---d highlanders should say that Fingal was an original poem, he would not believe them.’ Hume himself wrote in favour of the real Irish tradition, with its greater freedom from 18th c. decorum: ‘the songs and traditions of the Senachies, the genuine poetry of the Irish, carry in their rudeness and absurdity the inseparable attendants of barbarism, a very different aspect from the correctness of Ossian, where the incidents, if you will pardon the antithesis, are the most unnatural, merely because they are natural.’ (Philosophical Works, rep. 1964) [399]

Bibl. Edward Snyder, The Celtic revival in English Literature 1760-1800 (Havard UP 1923). Also, ‘The Wild Irish: a study of some English satires’, in Modern Philology 17 (1919-20), pp.687-725.

Cóimhthionól Gaedhilge, a society for the preservation of Irish, established in Dublin in 1752, of which only the manuscript constitution survives as O’Reilly MS no. 6 at TCD Library [also available on microfilm at the NLI, and printed in James Carney, A genealogical history of the O’Reilly’s written in the eighteenth century by Eoghan Ó Raghallaigh (Cavan 1959), pp.21-22. [383, 395]

James Mageoghegan, Histoire de l’Irlande ancienne et moderne (1758-62).

John O’Brien, bishop of Cloyne, Focalóir Gaoidhilge—Sax-Bhéarla (paris 1768). The introduction to O’Brien’s dictionary contains an attack on the embezzling of Irish tradition by Macpherson. In 1764, he had published anonymously an essay in Journal des scavans pointing out Oisin’s Irish origin.

Leerssen, ftn. 486: William O’Kelly, professor at Vienna, Historica descriptio Hiberniae seu majoris Scotiae, insulae sanctorum (Vienna 1703). Matthew Kennedy, lawyer, Cronological, geneaological and historical dissertation on the royal family of the Stuarts (Paris 1705), asserting Irish-Gaelic origins of that dynasty. Demetrius Mac Enroe, Calamus Hibernicus (ca.1720), a heroic Jacobite poem. Abbé A. N. O’Kenny Sommaire de l’isle des saints (1739), almanack. MacCurtin’s grammar (1728); Conor Begley’s dictionary, 1732; and a partial reprint of Broudine’s Propugnaculum Catholiciae vertitatis (1669) under the title of Descriptio regni Hiberniae (Rome 1721).

Ferdinando Warner, then preparing his history, issued an attack on Macpherson called Remarks on the history of Fingal (London 1762) in which he was evidently primed by Charles O’Conor, who wrote to Curry speaking of presenting Warner with ‘unanswerable arguments’ (Letter to Curry, 4 June 1762).

Sylvester O’Halloran contributed a letter to the Dublin magazine, signed Miso-Dolos, in Jan 1763 (p.21-22), headed ‘The poems of Ossine, the son of Fionne Mac Comhal, re-claimed’, asserting patriotically that ‘the esteem which mankind conceives in general, is always proportion to the figure they have made in arts and arms’, impugning the Dempsterian embezzlement, and praising ‘our great primate Usher who, though not of Irish descent, yet thought the glory of his country worth contending for, and adverting harshly to ‘the Caledonian plagiary’.

Thomas Leland joined in the general attack on Macpherson in his Aan examination of the arguments contained in a late Introduction to the history of the antient Irish and Scots (Dublin 1772).

A Dublin Society select committee to examine the antient state of arts and literature and other antiquities of Ireland was brain-childed by Charles Vallancey in 1772 (see Minutes for 17 May 1772). The successor fo the Select Committee was the Hibernain Antiquarian Society, 1779-83, which in turn set in motion the creation of RIA in 1782, with vallancey as one of its founding members.

Vallancey: son of a Huguenot émigré, Army officer; derided by many as a charlatan or at best a naive nitwit, Vallancy contributed few ideas of any value to the study of Gaelic antiquity, but much badly-needed enthusiasm, energy and social/religious respectability. He had founded his periodical Collectanea de rebus Hibernicis as a forum for antiquarianism. [Further] it was the additional merit of Vallancey to open this world [of Ascendancy] enthusiasm for Irish antiquity] to his friend and mentor Charles O’Conor, in whose wake younger Gaelic, Catholic scholars like O’Halloran and Theophilus Flanagan could begin to function in close collaboration with Ascendancy Protestants.’ [403]. Other men, like William Beauford, Charles Ledwich, and Thomas Campbell, who like [Bishop] Percy took a more Nordic and consequently less enthusiastic view of Gaelic antiquity began to deride Vallancey’s ‘wild reveries’ openly in his Collectanea, which consequently became less a forum for Irish antiquarianism than a bear-baiting ground. [403-05]

Leerssen offers a further defence of Vallancey against charges of folly and eccentricity, at [420], arguing that his Phoenician theories were in line with the French-nurtured pre-scientific philology exemplified in English by Rowland Jones, James Parsons, and William Shaw—the latter Dr. Johnson’s friend who called Gaelic ‘the language of Japhet, spoken before the Deluge, and probably the Speech of Paradise.’ Vallancey jauntily compared the few Irish words he knew with Phoenician, Iranian, Arabic, Chinese, etc … but his work inspired JC Walker, and also Charlotte Brooke, to lay the foundations of Irish literary history. His eminent position is testified by the stature of his opponents, e.g., Percy, and the well-known bequest by Henry Flood (vide infra) [420].

O’Conor was invited to become a corresponding member of the Select Committee (founded 1772) of the Dublin Society, as was Sylvester O’Halloran and the Dublin Catholic archbishop Carpenter, under the presidency of Sir Lucius O’Brien. At the first meeting, O’Conor was entrusted with publishing O’Flaherty’s answer to Mackenzie, in The Ogygia vindicated, which duly appeared in 1775 with an introduction by O’Conor on the origin and antiquity of the ancient Scots of Ireland and Britain (ppxxv-xlviii) and an appendix containing John Lynch’s anti-Dempsterian letter to Boileau. In this way—as O’Conor wrote to Curry—he hoped to have ‘the latter as well as the former hypothesis of North British writing demolished in one book and under the same cover’ (letter to Curry 25 Mar 1772).

Letters of invitation from Sir Lucius to Charles O’Conor are quoted in Charles O’Conor S.J., The early life of Charles O’Conor (1710-91) of Belanagare and the beginning of the Catholic revival in Ireland in the eighteenth cntury, unpublished typescript dated 1930 in the NLI. See also ‘Charles O’Conor of Belanagare. an Irish scholar’s education’, in Studies 23 (1934), pp.124-143, 455-469; and ‘Origins of the Royal Irish Academy’, Studies 38 (1949), pp.325-337.

Sylvester O’Halloran reacted to Leland’s History with his Ierne defended, with the subtitle, ‘a Candid Refutation of such passages in the Rev Dr. Leland’s and the Rev Mr Whitaker’s Works, as seem to affect the Authenticity and Validity of Antient Irish History.

Bibl.: a seminal essay for Leerssen’s study is clearly Walter D. Love, ‘The Hibernian Antiquarian Society: a forgotten predecessor to the Royal Irish Academy’, Studies 51 (1962), pp.419-431. And NOTE: RIA members were Vallancey, O’Conor, Walker, Parsons, and O’Flanagan.

Thomas Campbell’s Philosophical survey (1777) repeatedly takes a unionist stance (p. 334-5, 341-2. 350-1, 359-60). [405]

Ledwich contrasts native barbarism with English civility in the preface to his Antiquities of Ireland: ‘When Hibernians compare their present with their former condition; their just and equal laws, with those that were uncertain and capricious; the happy security of peace with the miseries of barbarous manners, their hearts must overflow to the Autho of such blessings: nor will they deny their obligations to the fostering care of Britain, the happy instrument for conferring them’ (2nd ed., p.[iv]). [405]

Sylvester O’Halloran had learned Irish as a boy from Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill, as he tells in An introduction to the study of the history and antiquities of Ireland: In which the assertions of Mr Hume and other writers are occasionally considered (London/Dublin 1772) (p.162). [Leerssen, 406] It opens; ‘Having a natural reverence for the dignity and antiquity of my native country, strengthened by education, and confirmed by an intimate knowledge of its history, I could not, without the greatest pain and indignation, behold … almost all the writers of England and Scotland … representing the Irish nation as the most brutal and savage of mankind, destitute of arts, letters, and legislation ..’ (p.i). O’Halloran attacks the calumnies of Cambrensis, but also the more modern ones of Macpherson and Hume (pp.282ff, 337ff), doing so from an Irish rather than a specifically Gaelic standpoint. In his General History of Ireland (1778), he examines the pre-English record of high civilisation. … O’Halloran’s works present a confluence of the Gaelic and Anglo-Irish traditions of antiquarianism, and seem more concerned with the vindication of Ireland’s national reputation than with the elucidation of past history. [Leerssen, 416]



Sir Lucius O’Brien, Luke Gardiner, and Hely Hutchinson gaing increasing applause for non-mercenary behaviour faced with the tightening of government patriotage under Townshend, Viceroy; the Octennial Bill established 8-year elections in 1768; Townshend resigned in 1772; Grattan entered Parliment 1775.

The demand for free trade was now made with thinly-veiled threats of armed force, and Hussey de Burgh’s famous reference to the Cadmus legend is indeed an aprt assessment of the situatio at the time: ‘England has sown her laws like dragon’s teeth and they have sprung up armed men.’ Free trade was thus exacted from the British govt., with the result that the Irish economy took a sudden turn for the better.. [407].

Poyning’s Law of 1495, cemented in Declaratory Act of 1720; Grattan gained the Repeal of the Declaratory Act during the short-lived Rockingham Adminstration. [407]

Grattan’s speech: ‘I am now to address a free people: ages have passes away, and this is the first moment in which you could have distinguished by that appelation, I have spoken on the subject of your liberty so often, that I have nothing to add, and have only to admire by what heaven-directed step you have proceeded until the whole faculty of the nation is braced up to the act of her own deliverance. I found Ireland on her knees, I watched over her wth an eternal solicitde; I have traced her progress from injuries to arms, and from arms to liberty. Spirit of Swift! Spirit of Molyneux! your genius has prevailed! Ireland is now a nation! in that new character I hail her! and bowing to her august presence, I say, Esto perpetua! She is no longer a wretched colony, returning thnaks to her governor for his rapine, and to her king for his oppression; nor is she now a squabbling, fretful secretary, peerplexing her little wits, and fixing her furious statutes with bigory, sophistry, disability, and death, to transmit to posterity insignificance and war. Look to the rest of Europe, and contemplate yourself, and be satisfied. Holland lives on the memory of past achievement; Sweden has lost her liberty; England has sullied her great name by an attempt to enslave her colonies. You are the only people,—you, of the nations in Europe, are not the only people who excite admiration.’ See Grattan, Speeches in the Irish and the imperial parliament, ed. by his son, 4 vols (London 1822), vol 123, p.182.

Paul Hiffernan, the colourful mounteback .., published in 1754 a pamphlet advocating the use of Irish subject-matter for a national (Anglo-)Irish literature … the pamphlet called The Hiberniad and advocating Ireland’s literary potential with an ‘apologetic Sketch, in Behalf or Its Natural Beauty, and Its Genius of its Inhabitants’ (p.3); also, ‘Two Motives for national Pride, ara (1) The Beauties of the Country; (2) The extraordinary Talents of its Native’ (p.5). [Leerssen, 409].

Richard Twiss’s Tour of Ireland (1775) caused such Irish indignation, especially with its echoes of Fynes Moryson and its verbation repetitions Lithgow, that Irish chamberpots were made with his portrait inside, besided answers in Richard Lewis, A Defence of Ireland and ridicule by William Preston in pamphlets. [410] And see ftn.439: a ‘twiss’ became a chamberpot (cf. Lexicon 1971) [486]

John Keogh, Vindication of the antiquities of Ireland (1748): ‘not any affront or abuse is half so much resented as a national one. [410]

Charles Forman, A defence of the courage, honour, and loyalty of the Irish-nation. In answer to the scandalous reflections in the Free-Briton and others. He adduces Gaelic and Old English catholics as evidence of bravery, and refers to Protestant Anglo-Irishmen to illustrate Irish wit. [410]

Edmund Burke wrote the Sir Hercules Langrishe that the penal laws ‘divided the nation into two distinct bodies, without common interest, sympathy, or connexion’ (Burke, Works, 1856, vol. 6 p.22). [411]. Langrishe’s contention ‘that the roman catholics should enjoy everything under the State, but should not be the State itself’ withered under the clear gaze of Edmunc Burke (letter to Langrish, 3 Jan 1792; and published in the same year; also in Burke Letters, speeches and tractson Irish affairs, ed. Matthew Arnold, 1881, pp.206-278).

And NOTE ftn.441: It was Burke who found a London publisher for Curry’s Historical memoirs, and who had drawn up an address for the Catholic Committee in 1764. Cd. Curry to Burke, 8 June 1765.

Grattan regard the significance of Gardiner’s [Catholic relief] bill to be the question ‘whether we shall be a Protestant settlement or an Irish nation.’ [411]

Leerssen comments: to be sure, Grattan’s nation is primarily a socio-economic one and cannot be equated with the diachronically defined ‘nation’ (an inherited culture, as an expression of national character working through history) as used in later, 19th c. contexts. [408]

Paul Hiffernan, colourful mountebank, The Hiberniad (1754), a pamphlet advocating the use of Irish subject-matter in ‘An Apologetic Sketch, in Behalf of Its Natural Beautiess, and Genius of Its Inhabitants’, and arguing that ‘Two Motives for national Pride are 1) The Beauties of the Country; 2) The Extraordinary Talents of its Natives’ (p.5).

Richard Twiss, Tour in Ireland (1776), based on travels in the preceeding year, drew much hostility as repeating slurs on the Irish character in Fynes Moreyson and Lithgow.[410]

A Richard Lewis wrote a poem, A Defence of Ireland, ‘in Answer to the Partial and Malicious Accounts given of it by Mr Twiss’ [410] … which contains, amid much invective in heroic couplets, an appeal to Charles O’Conor … Ireland’s most able champion in the national fight against calumny: ‘When cowardly Scribblers, with infernal Rage,/IRELAND traduce in each malignant Page,/When base Assassions grasp th’envenom’d Dart,/And try to stab HIBERNIA to the Heart,/Why sleeps O’CONNOR [sic]?/Why, with powerful arm,/Will he not straight such Murders disarm?/Rise, Rise!—thy Country calls!—In soft Repose/Indulge not, but chastise thy Foes:/Let not, Oh! let not those thou lov’st complain,/Nor hear thy Country as thy Aid in vain.’ (p.28) [415]

John Keogh, Vindication of the antiquities of Ireland (1748) claimed that ‘not any affront or abuse is half so much resented as a national one.’

Charles Forman, pamphlet, A defence of the courage, honour, and loyalty of the Irish-nation. In answer to the scandalous reflections in the Free-briton and others (1754), citing emigres (wild-geese) as well as Anglo-Irish exemplums of courage and wit respectively.

Burke held that the penal laws, in repressing the majority, sinned against eh basic Lockean principle of ‘equity and utility’ (p.27)

The Irish Volunteers resolved, at the Dungannon Convention in 1782: ‘We hold that the right of private judgement in matters of religion to be equally sacred in others as in ourselves; and as men and as Irishmen, as Christians and as Protestants, we rejoice in the relaxation of the penal laws against our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, and that we conceive the measure to be fraught with the happiest consequences to the union and the prosperity of the inhabitants of Ireland. (quoted in Lecky, 1892, vol. 2, 284) [411]

Fitzgibbon, opponent of the patriots, threw cold water on their ‘independence’: ‘For give me leave to say, sir, that when we speak of the people of Ireland, it is a melancholy truth that we do not speak of the great body of the people … the ancient nobility and gentry of this country have been hardily treated. the Act by which most of us hold our Estates is an Act of violence—an Act subverting the first principles of the Common Law in England and Ireland. I speak of the Act of Settlement.’ [412] And cf. Burke, ‘the old violence’.

Wolfe Tone: ‘A country so great a stranger to itself as Ireland, where North and South and East and West meet to wonder at each other, is not yet prepared for the adoption of one political faith … Our provinces are ignorant of each other; our island is connected, we ourselves are insulated; and distinctions of rank and property and religious persuasion have hitherto been not merely lines of difference, but brazen walls of of separation. We are separate nations, met and settled together, not mingled but convened—uncemented, like the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw, with a head of fine gold, legs of iron, feet of clay—parts that do not cleave to one another.’ (Quoted in Froude, 1895, vol 3, 12-13).

William Crawford, History of Ireland. From the earliest period to the present times, 2 vols (Strabane 1783). Ends with references to Grattan’s free parliament: ‘flame of patriotism … emancipated from foreign bondage … our brethern in America … glorious struggle … attained the accomplishment of their wishes.’ [416]

Ogygia, published in translation by James Hely, TCD, in 1793 and dedicated to ‘The Irish Nation’: ‘..sincerely and most ardently wishing that the blessing of peace, plenty, unanimity and brotherly love, may for ever continue in the land; that your rts and manufactures may rapidly flourish and increase, to a degree of celebrity and perfection; that your real grievances may procure immediate redress, and that every corrupt and gross abuse may be chased from this once unpolluted isle; and that your commerce and trade, through all its various branches, unobstructed and unrestricted, extend to all parts of the globe!’ (p.xii). He was assisted in the translation by Theophilus O’Flanagan.

Theophilus O’Flanagan, young antiquarian employed at TCD, issued his translation of John Lynch’s Cambrensis eversus as Cambrensis refuted (1795), which he represents anachronistically as a ‘vindication of the national and constitutional independence of Ireland, against the outrageous calumny and opprobrius [sic] traduction of all unprincipled adversary writers, one of whome is particularily designated, the false and flimsy Giraldus Cambrensis. (p.iii). Leerrsen comments that this sort of timelessness—or anachronism—is not unlike the one created by the eighteenth century aisling or vision-poem. [418]

The main enemy identified in the notes added by O’Flanagan is Edward Ledwich, whom O’Flanagan here [Cambrensis refuted, 1795] calls ‘one … of Giraldus’s followers’ in the effort ‘to degrade the character of our nation, and to endeavour, by every possible calumny, to bring us into disgrace and disrepute not only with the generality of the enlightened world, but even with ourselves.’ (p.iii) Ledwich was the anti-Phoenician opponent of Vallancey and his fellow-Gaelic antiquarians [418]

Leerssen: what is needed for a national ideology is what Dinneen called so aptly ‘the unification of history’ synoptically unifying Brian Ború, the great earl Fitzgerald, Eogan Rua Ó Néill, Swift, Tone, and O’Connell (to the exclusion of misfits like Sir Richard Cox) as avatars of a single timeless principle—at the same time disregarding differences that are greater between any of these these than between contemporaries like, for example, George Washington and Catherine the Great. [418]

John Smith’s Galic antiquities [consisting of a history of the druids, a dissertation on the authenticity of the poems of Ossian: and a collection of ancient poems, translated from the Galic of Ullin, Ossian, Orran, &c. (Edinburgh 1780) have been condemned by Van Tieghem and Stern as miserable forgeries; in their time ther were nearly as successful … as Macpherson’s own work; [he] had no qualms about publishing his Gaelic sources which appeared as Sean dána in 1787. Though obviously under the misapprehension that those fragments he collected could be pieced together into one epic whole, he does indicate the shift from one fragment to another. [419]

Thomas Ford Hill collected smaller Gaelic poems from highland tradition, in the Gentleman’s magazine, 1781, thereby doing much to save the Ossianic child from the Macpherson bathwater.

Henry Flood made a large bequest—the income of an estate—to found a chair of philology at TCD, stipulating that ‘if he shall still be then living, Colonel Charles Vallancey to be the first professor thereof … seeing that by his eminent and successful labours in the study and recovery of that language [Gaelic] he well deserves to be so first appointed. (Quoted in Parsons, op cit., infra.) The foundation was successfully opposed by his relatives, arguing that it contravened the Anglocentric 28 Henry VIII (‘Act for the English order, habite, and language’).

Lawrence Parsons, Observations on the bequest of Henry Flood, Esp. to Trinity College, Dublin. With a defence of the ancient history of Ireland, Dublin 1795.); a pamphlet pointing out that the study of Gaelic would make manuscripts accessible ‘which would throw a considerable light upon a very early era of history of the human race, as well as relieve this country from the most unjust charges of ignorance and barbarism, at a time when it was by far more enlightened and civilized than any of the adjacent nations’ (p.25-6). Parsons highlights Vallancy’s Pheonicio-Gaelic interpretation of the Carthaginian speech in Plautus’s Poenulus (p.38-9).

Charles Henry Wilson published a collection of Select Irish poems translated into English (c.1782), which anticipated Charlotte Brooke’s Reliques of ancient Irish poetry. Wilson later published recollections of her father Henry Brooke in Brookiana (1814). Wilson’s poems contain verses in homage to Vallancy, ‘born to cultivate the arts’.

Charlotte Brooke encouraged to learn Irish by her father … of a retiring disposition … JC Walker induced her to furnish his Historical memoirs of the Irish bards of 1785 with some Gaelic poems and translations—credited to an anonymously “fair hand” … he and Percy prevailed on her to publish her collection of translations from the Irish … a speedy second edition … ‘I trust I am doing an acceptable service to my country, while I endeavour to rescue from oblivion a few of the invaluable reliques of her ancient genius … And will they [her countrymen] not be benefitted, will they not be gratified at the lustre reflected on them by ancestors so very different from what modern prejudice has been studious to represent them? But this is not all.—As yet, we are too little known to our noble neighbour in Britain; were we better acquainted, we should be better friends. The British muse is not yet informed that she has an elder sister in this isle; let us introduce them to each other! … Let them entreat of Britain to cultivate at a nearer acquaintance with her neighbouring isle. let them conciliate for us her esteem, and her affection will follow of course. Let them tell her, that the portion of her blood, which flows in our veins is rather ennobled than disgraced by the mingling tides that descend from our heroic ancestors. (Reliques of Irish poetry: consisting of heroic poems, odes, elegies, and songs, translated in English verse, Dublin 1789, p.vii-viii). Refering to O’Conor, O’Halloran, and Vallancey, she says: ‘comparatively feeble hands aspire only (like the ladies of ancient Rome) to strew flowers in the paths of these laureled champions of my country’ (p.iii). The book has an Irish motto: “A Oisín, as binn linn do sgéala—Ó Oisín, we are charmed by your stories’). It is pointedly respectable to include Gaelic originals thereby putting their geniuneness beyond all doubt. [422-23]

2 eds of Reliques of Irish poetry: consisting of heroic poems, odes, elegies, and songs, translated in English verse published in Dublin 1789; another in 1795.

JC Walker: The Historical memoirs of the Irish bards stands next to Ledwich’s own Antiquities of Ireland as the work that was to remain most influential into the following century. … it evinces an overriding interest in the social realities of Gaelic antiquity. A broad spectrum of native sources, not only secondary (Keating, MacCurtin, O’Flaherty, Toland, O’Conor) but primary (from Fearflatha Ó Gním to Carolan). ‘Can that nation be deemed barbarous, in which learning shared the honours next to royalty? Warlike as the Irish were in those days, even arms were less respected among them than letters. Read this, ye polished nations of the earth, and blush! (Vol 1, p.8-9). ‘It was hinted to me by a friend, who perused my manuscript, that I dwell with too much energy on the oppressions of the English; treading, sometimes with a heavy step, on ashes not yet cold. But, however thankful for the hint, I cannot subscribe to his opinion. I have only related unexaggerated historic truths.’ (Vol 2, p.3) [424]

Gaelic Magazine, Bolg an tsolair, 1795, published in Belfast by the Northern Star, revivalist in purpose as ‘recommend[ing] the Irish language to the notie [sic] of Irishmen’; it contains Ossianic poems, with translations by Charlotte Brooke, and a learner’s grammar. [424-25]. A grammar was later issued in 1837 likewise called Bolg an t-solair, with the title-page motto: ‘Eirinn go brath and the distych, ‘Is tir gan tlacht, gan reacht, can fhéile/Nach ttuigin treabh aon Mhathara chéile’ [‘it is a land without sheen, without order or joy, where the children of one mother cannot understand each other’], being the closing lines of a poem by Paul O’Brien, professor of Irish at the Catholic seminary of Maynooth, and member of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, published in an Irish grammar (A practical grammar of the Irish language, 1809, p.x), intended for Maynooth students.

Theophilus O’Flanagan, trans. Lynch’s Cambrensis eversus [417 supra]; fell under grave and unfounded suspicion of forgery. See ftn. His account of Ogham in Co. Clare published in the first vol. of Transactions of the RIA (1787, sect. c., p.1ff.; and cf. Archaelogia 7, 1785, pp.276-85. The imputation that he actually forged the inscription which he so fancifully misread was reputed by Samuel Ferguson in a vigorous defence, in Proceedings of the RIA, 2nd ser. vol 1., 265ff, 315ff. He translated the Annals of Innisfallen; employed as Irish language expert at TCD & RIA; and had a widespread if unobtrustive influence on contemporary antiquarianism, his help being acknowledged by Charlotte Brooke [1789, p.ix], JC Walker [1786, pref.], and James Hely 1793, p.xi], while Campbell mentions in 1787 the help of Mr Flanagan, a student of Trinity College, greatest adept he [the librarian there] knew in the Irish language’ [Campbell to Percy, 27 Feb 1787] while Percy though his ‘the very ablest assistance of this kingdom’ that he could offer to John Pinkerton was that of Campbell and O’Flanagan [Percy to Pinkerton, 28 Feb. 1787].

O’Flanagan dedicated his translation of Ogygia to Henry Grattan. His footnotes include a advocacy of the study of Irish: ‘Even to know the language, or to be more than superficially acquainted with the ancient history of this country, has been long considered, by frippery folly and ostentatious nonsense, with the very realm, an ungenteel and inelegant accomplishment—a mark of what contracted ignorance calls barbarism, and the fatal characteristic on which bigoted prejudice fixes its merciless talons … This is the flattering picture of our national spirit, pride, and independence!—We reject national distinction, without advancing national prosperity.’ (p.46-7 n.)

In 1807 he founded the Gaelic Society of Dublin, and edited its first and only volume, Transactions, the following year, containing his translations of the Deirdre saga, and a poem by Tadhg Mac Bruaaideadha, etc. Leerssen sees O’Flanagan as an important link between pre-Union ascendancy antiquarianism and its nineteenth century successor, cutlural nationalism, but also after O’Conor and before Eugene O’Curry between this antiquarianism and living Gaelic tradition. Himself Gaelic, he had close links with the lexicographer Peter O’Connell, with Richard McElligott, his Limerick-born colleague in the Gaelic Society, and poets like Aindrias Mac Craith, ‘an Mangaire Súgach’. [426]

Vallancey’s Grammar of the Iberno-Celtic or Irish language (1773) was the first grammar by a member of the ascendancy not be be inspired by motives of prosletyzation [but to] aim to vindicate Gaelic culture by vindicating the language in which it expressed itself. Dedication to Sir Lucius O’Brien; ‘Sir, the repeated indignities of late years cast on the the history and antiquities of this once famed and learned island, by many writers of Great Britain, have involuntarily drawn forth the following work. The puerile excuse hitherto offered by the invidious critics, of the want of means to learn the language of the country whose history they presume to censure, must from henceforth be rejected (unpaged) … Where the language of any ancient nation is attainable, a criterion is discovered for distinguishing accurately, the more remarkable features in the national character. Should the dialect be found destitute in the general rules of grammatical construction, and concordance; barren of scientific terms; and grating in its cadence: we may without hesitation pronounce, that the speakers were a rude and barbarous nation. The case will be altered much, where we find a language masculine and nervous; harmonious in its articulation; copious in its phraseology; and replete with those abstract and technical terms, which no civilised people can want. We not only grant that the speakers were once a thinking and cultivated people; but we must confess that the language itself, is a species of historical inscription, more ancient, and more anuthentic also, as far as it goes, than any precarious hearsay of old foreign writers, strangers in general, to the natural, as well as the civil history of the remote countries they describe. (p.1) [427]

Bolg an tsolair continued this idea: ‘The Irish will be found by the unprejudiced ear, to excell in the harmony of its cadence; nor was ever any language fitter to express the feelings of its heart; nor need it to be wondered at, when we consider that their country was the seat of the muses, from times of the remotest antiquity, and that no nation ever encouraged poets and musicians, more than the ancient Irish … (p.iv) [427]

In a crucial observation, Leerssen compares the Macpherson-influence style of Anglo-Irish translations of Gaelic poetry (in Charles Henry Wilson and Charlotte Brooke) with the style in which Patriot playwrights were beginning to treat of Gaelic antiquity on the Dublin stage. [428]

The ossianic and gothic ‘graveyard’ influence is clearly noticeably in The Siege of Tamor (1773) by Gorge Howard. Ftn. The Author had at one time corresponded with O’conor and worked as an attorney for the Catholic Committee (vide O’Conor to Curry, 22 Jan 1763, in Letters, vol 1 152; O’Conor to Howard, 4 Jly 1763, Letters vol 1, 160-1; and also Gilbert’s History of Dublin, 1854, vol. 2, 44-8. Leerssen quotes from the play (pp.38; 13-14 [‘Fighting for freedom, they have nobly perish’d/And liberty sheds tears upon their graves; 20; and 12), and characterises its verse-encomia of ancient Irish kings in the sprit of the modern Bolingbrokean tradition of the Patriot king as ‘Patriot, rather than loyalist, claptrap’. [429]:, e.g., O! may th’almoight arm at once o’erwhelm/This spacious isle beneath the circling main,/Its name and its memorial quite efface,/And sink it from the annals of the world,/Ere the last remnant of her free-born sons/Stretch forth their willing necks to vile subjection! (p.12).

Leerssen quotes in full Peter Seguin’s Prologue, noticed also in Kavanagh and others. The sentiments are essentially those of a Patriot antiquarian: ‘O shame! not now to feel, not now to melt/At woes, that whilom your fam’d country felt; let your swol’n breast, with kindred ardours glow!/Let your swol’n eyes, with kindred passions flow!/So shall the treasure, that alone endures,/and all the world of ancient times—be your!’ (from Prologue, Siege of Timor, Dublin 1773, pp.iii-iv)

Francis Dobbs, The Patriot King, or, the Irish Chief (1774); significantly rejected by major London theatres; performed Smock Alley 9p.8). Leerssen quotes the familiar preface. ‘So many lines with an Irish howl,/Without by Jasus, or upon my showl;/’Tis strange indeed—nor can I hope belief,/When I declare myself, the IRISH CHIEF.’ (p.9). The Gaelic cause is identified with the libertarian, Patriot one. Ceallachain—leading a small band faced with a Danish army: ‘What are ten thousand slaves opposed to men/Who fight for freedom, and for glory burn!’ (p.33); again, Ceallachain: ‘Think’st thou … I could resign/A loyal nation to tyrannic sway?/Had you e’er felt the flame of patriot fire,/Whose purifying blaze enobles man,/and banished each base, each selfish thought,/Far from the breast wherein deigns to dwell … (p.41). Leerssen shows the source of these sentiments in Charlotte Brooke’s translations. [433].

JC Walker attributed the melancholy nature of Irish music to the historical and political woes of the poets, who were therefore seen as being uniformly stirred by patriotic feeling: ‘thus we see that music maintained its ground in this country even after the invasion of the English. But its style suffered a change: for the sprightly Phrygian, ‘to which’, says Gelden, ‘the Irish were wholly inclined’, gave way to the grave Doric, or soft Lydian measure. Such was the nice sensibility of the Bards, such was their tender affection for their country, that the subjection to which the Kingdom was reduced, affected them with the heaviest sadness. Sinking beneath the weight of sympathetic sorrow, they became prey to melancholy. Hence the plaintiveness of their music.’ (vol, 1, 181). [433]

In contrast—or unfortunate extenuation—of this pathetic view of the sources of sentiment, JC Walker also elaborates a national trait which he must surely have adopted from the stage-Irishman of the London theatre: ‘ … But perhaps the melancholic spirit which breates through the poetry and music of the Irish, may be attributed to another cause; a cause which operated anterior and subseqent to, the invasion of the English. We mean the remarkable susceptibility of the Irish to the passion of love.’ (Vol. 1, 185).

All this starry-eyed fascination with Ireland’s Gaelic roots was rudely interrupted in the year 1798 when the amorous Irish rose in open revolt. [434]

The reassertion of an anti-Gaelic and pro-British historiography was bolstered by the re-publication of Ledwich’s Antiquities of Ireland in 1804.

John Jones, Impartial narrative of the most important engagements which took place between his majesty’s forces and the rebels, during the Irish rebellion, 1798, 2 parts (Dublin 1799). ‘The surviving loyalist will rejoice in the triumph of Law and the restoration of order. The surviving Rebel will repent his folly, and enjoy the comforts which Law and Order distribute.’ (part 1, [434]

Patrick Duigenan, Impartial History of the late rebellion in Ireland (new ed. London n.d. [1802].

John Graham, Annals of Ireland, ecclesiastical, civil and military (London 1819), dedicated to ‘the Protestants of the united empire of Great Britain and Ireland’ (p.[iii]).

Catholic emancipationists also dwelt on the injustice meted out to the Catholic population, and strove to prove the political reliability of the Catholics by showing their meekness in the face of this adversity -thus, for instance, bishop Doyle. [435].

Leerssen identifies Moore’s biography of Lord Edward as the instrument which established his place in the national hagiology. And note: misorthog., Robert Emmett [sic, Leerssen 435]


JC Walker, assessing the impact of the Rebellion on antiquarianism: ‘Vallancey must, as you suppose, be hurt at the conduct of those whose champion he has been. However, he has this consolation: the rebellion began amongst, and was for a considerable time confined to, the descendents of the English and other nations that settled in the counties of Dublin, Wicklow, and Wexford. I do not believe it would be possible to find one hundred or even fifty people in those three countries who understand or speak the Irish language. Latterly, indeed, the Milesians have rallied round the standard of the Rebellion.’ (Walker to Pinkerton, in Pinkerton, Literary correspondence, 1830, vol. 2 37.) [435]

JC Walker’s Historical memoirs reprinted in 1804.

O’Flanagan … followed in the footsteps of Vallancy, and used every opportunity to denounce Edward Ledwich, Vallancey’s old adversary, as the ‘Anti-Antiquary of Ireland’ whose writings are ‘deliberately designed and barefaced falsehoods’. The Advertisement reads: ‘The society recommends itself to every liberal, patriotic, and enlightened Mind; an opportunity is now, at length, offered to the Learned of Ireland, to retrieve their Character among the Nations of Eurpe, and shew that their History and Antiquites are not fitted to be consigned to eternal oblivion; the Plan, if pursued with spirit and perseverance, will redound much to the Honor of Ireland. (O’Flanagan, ed., Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, 1808, p.227) [435].

The society had a rule stipulating that ‘no religious or political Debates whatever shall be permitted, such being foreing to the Object and Principles of the Society’ (p.xvii). An almost identical rule was included in the articles of the Iberno-Celtic Society’s Transactions (p.vii), of which society the ‘chronological account of the Irish writers, and descriptive catalogue of such of their works as are still extant in verse or prose’ by Edward O’Reilly formed the bulk. The president of the society was the duke of Leinster, joined by 8 peers, 6 baronets, 2 MPs and 2 Catholic bishops, while George Petrie and James Hardiman were also members.

In the year of the Act of Union, JC Walker wrote to John Pinkerton, ‘A few years ago, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the late Charles O’Conor’ were printed in Dublin, which, when ready for publication, it was thought prudent to suppress. The work, it is true contains some curious historical facts, and some interesting particulars of the ancient Irish families; but it breathes the spirit of bigotry, broaches dangerous doctrines, and reflectes with acrimony on the English settlers, and the Irish parliament, &c. Through the kindness of a friend, I am indulged with the use of this publication for a few days. I have already run my eye through it, and found honorable mention of you, and some severe attacks on Ledwich and Cambell. (Walker to Pinkerton, March 1800), in Pinkerton’s Literary correspondence, 1830, vol. 2., 137-8.)

Edward Reilly read a to the RIA in 1824 a paper on Brehon Laws, which defended the justness and equity of the ancient Gaels as evinced by their legal system, later published with a catalogue of Irish legal documents in TCD. [437]

ftn. The Ulster king of arms, Sir William Betham supported Vallancey’s theories of Phoenician origin of the Celts; his position in the RIA made untenable by Petrie’s historical enquiries; O’Reilly assisted Bethan’s genealogical work; one James Scurry contributed a grammatical /lexicological survey of Irish studies to the RIA in 1828, which was caustic about O’Reilly’s work. See Transactions of the RIA, vol. 15, section ‘Antiquities’, p.1-86. [437]

Philip Barron, founded Ancient Ireland, the first periodical since Bolg an tsolair. Ancient Ireland ran for five monthly issues: ‘to revive the study of the Irish language, and to institute a vigorous inquiry into the Antient History of Ireland (No. 1, p.2); ‘necessary to state, for the information of all, that this Magazine is to be solely land altogether a literary publication. Politics and Polemics are totally excluded from its pages’ [prospectus bound with the magazine in the copy held by the NLI.] At the same time, the issue quotes with approval a communication from an anonymous corresponded who had ‘thrown away the English language with contempt, and taken to our own language again.’ [437]

The Ulster Gaelic Society (Cuideacht Gaedhilge Uladh), founded in Belfast in 1830 by Dr James McDonnell, who organised the famomous Belfast harpers festival of 1793 and others such as Dr Bryce, Robert McAdam, and Tomás Ó Fiannachta. An Irish Harp Society was active from 1807 to 1817. [438]

James Henthorn Todd founded the Irish Archaeological Society, (o replace the defunct Iberno-Celtic Society), with the Duke of Leinster and many RIA members, notably O’Curry, O’Donovan, Petrie, Hardiman; but also Daniel O’Connell, Thomas Moore, Smith O’Brien, and archb. John McHale; amalgamated in 1853 with the Celtic Society (fnd 1845) to form Irish Arch. and Celtic Society. Ossianic Society formed in 1853. [438] Another society of note was the Kilkenny Archaeological Society (est. 1849), later called the Royal Historical and Arch. Assoc. of Ireland (1872-92) and Royal Antiquaries of Ireland (from 1892). It had a rule stating that all matters ‘connected with the religious and political differences which exist in our country’ are not only ‘foreign to the objects of this Society’ but also ‘calculated to disturb the harmony which is essential to its success.’ [ftn.466] Leerssen remarks that the official nationalist policy of the date was equally unwilling to draw on cultural revivalism, viz O’Connell and Butt. Also, Douglas Hyde’s Gaelic League professed apolitical intentions, as did its immediate predecessors, the Gaelic Unin and the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language. And NOTE that Leerssen refers the reader to Breandán O’Buachalla for further information about Irish language societies. [439]

Matthew Carey’s Vindiciae Hiberniae (Phil. 1819), ‘those superior spirits, who scorn the yoke of fraud, impostre, bigotry, and delusion; who, at the sacred shrine of truth, will offer up their prejudices, how inveterate soever, when her bright torch illuminates their minds; who, possessing the inestimable blessing of thrice-holy and revered liberty, acquired by an arduous struggle against a mere incipient despotism, will sympathize with those who contended ardently, although unsuccessfully, against as grievous an oppression as ever preseed to earth a noble and generous nation, which embarked in the same glorious cause as Leonidas, Epaminondas, Brutus, the prince of Orange, William Tell, Fayette, Hancock, Adams, Frankin, and Washington … [PARA] It is likewise dedicated to the immortal memory of the Desmonds, the O’Nials, the O’Donnels, the O’Moores, the Prestons, the Mountgarrets, the Castlehavens, the Fitzgeralds, the Sheareses, the Tones, the Emmetts [sic], and the Myriads of illustrious Irishmen, who sacrificed life or fortune, in the unsuccessful effort to emancipate a country endowed by heaven with as many and as choice blessings as any part of the terraqueous globe, but, for ages, a hopless and helpless victim to a form of government transcendently pernicious. (p.[iii]). [440]

Leerssen: the moment that Irish nationalism fell into step with its European counterparts marked by the fact that the Young Irelanders should take their name from Mazzini’s Young Italy-movement [and] Junges Deutscheland. … The retrojection of nationalistic attitudes also involved the way Gaelic literature was read … Gaelic poetry was as anti-English as any nationalist could wish; but the nature of its anti-Englishness (.. bardic, Catholic, or Jacobite rather than national) was slightly reinterpreted [441]

Leerssen illustrates with a comparison between the original and the translation by Mangan of Eoghan Rua O’Suilleabháin’s ‘Sláinte Righ Searlais’. Here Mangan inserts the words ‘my nation/Fallen down so low!’ where Eoghan Rua only laments the devastation of the aristocratic and clerical orders of Gaelic Ireland. [442]

On O’Dwyer of the Glens, Leerssen comments: The use of such token markers of exoticism, label[s] of the poem’s non-Englishness [or Gaelic quaintness] was common practice … in order to stress its a radical Irishness, notwithstanding the fact that it was written in Victorian English. [442]

.. without the least mala fides on the translator’s [Ferguson’s] part, the focial point has nevertheless shifted from the I Bhróin clan [in his trans. of Aonghus Ó Dalaigh’s inter-tribal battle-song of a Wicklow tribe] to what is represented as a nationally fought conflagration between Gaels and English. [443]

Dinneen, in his edition of Eoghan Rua Ó Suilleabháin: ‘That the work of a lyric poet of the first rank which express national sentiment in its highest form, should in modern times remain unedited for 120 years after his death, is a national scandal which has no parallel in the annals of civilised men, and can be explained only by assuming that the state of slavery in which Ireland susisted for centuries, did no cease to exist with the Penal Code. (1901, iii.)

Leerssen remarks on Dinneen’s supposition that the mellifluous verse of Eoghan Rua at the last hour of Gaelic literary tradition were synonymous in sentiment with the nationalism of the early 20th c. The fact that these two events could be considered as aspects of the same phenomenon is, for Leerssen, owing to the antiquarian tradition.


CONCLUSION: Among the gaelic population, English expansionism was not conceived initially (i.e., in pre-Tudor times) as a struggle between two nation-states. The only cohesive force comprising all of Gaelic Ireland as a unity was, until the 17th c., a cultural rather than a political one. … the relationship between Gaelic clans was one of shared rivalry rather than central unity … the common denominator vested in the intellectual elite (bardic) rather than the political elite (chieftains) of the country.

On the Irish stereotypes in the 19th c., Leerssen bibliographises: Rachel Bromwich, Matthew Arnold and Celtic Literature: a retrospect 1865-1965 (Oxford 1965); Lewis Curtis, Apes and Angels: The Irishman in Victorian Caricature (Washington 1971); and Shaw, ‘The Celtic Twilight’ in Studies 23 (1934), pp2541, 260-78.

.. the English-Irish confrontation perceived on the Irish side as primarily a cultural one, involving religion, mode of jurisdiction, and the social position of the poet. [446]

..the adoption of a Gaelic auto-imagotype by a non-Gaelic class of Irishmen, the Anglo-Irish. [447]

What took place was rather that the Anglo-Irish began to take interest in the imagotypical sense of nationality that Gaelic Ireland had developed … the Gaelic nationality that was adopted by the late 18th c. Patriots could fire the nationalistic ideology of a certain ‘undergroud’ political tradition, existing in the margin of the activities of O’Connell and later Home Rulers. From the Young Irelanders and the Fenians until the end of the 19th c., that nationalistic tradition led a peripheral existence, which became a dominant political force after the failure of constitutional efforts of Home Rule advocates like Parnell. [449]

The Gaelic Ireland to whose image the pre-romantic Anglo-Irish began to subscribed … was at the same time the continuation of the English sentimentalized hetero-image of Gaelic Ireland. [449]

It is this perceived continuity that gives 20th c. writers in English a sense of linguistic and cultural affinity with Beowulf … rather than ‘foreign’ works like the Edda … a modern Anglo-Irish poet like Kinsella and Heaney, for all that he writes in English, will look back to a gaelic rather than an Anglo-Saxon ancestry, to the Triads, the Tain Bo Cuailgne, the Buile Suibhne. [453]

.. imagotypical nature of the continuity [effects] the selection of earlier genre or forerunners, and their elevation into a canon; or the occurence of certain literary revivals ... END


[ADD. SECTION, compiled from footnotes, etc.]

The imagotypical concept is taken from Hugo Dyserinck, several titles. [ftns. 1-3]

As distinct from the native Irish, the Hiberno-Norman, and the Old English—being those who arrived before the Reformation—the anglo-Irish are those who came after the Reformation and unheld the English Protestant interest. [ftn.11]

Leerssen: ‘By Anglo-Irish literature is meant literature written in the English language by authors of Irish background, often on matters Irish. this usage is quite distinct from the similar demographic term Anglo-Irish, denoting the Protestant upper-middle and upper classes, settled in Ireland, of English extraction. Thus, authors like Yeats, Synge, O’Casey and Patrick Kavanagh all wrote in the literary tradition known as Anglo-Irish literature; but only the first two of these four would be called Anglo-Irish as to their social background.’ [ftn 12]

None other than Edmund Burke attacked at a personal meeting Hume’s description of 1641 as being misguided and misleading (see Ernest Campbell Mossner, The Life of David Hume, 1980, p.394). [ftn71]

Although Ireland cannot be called simply a ‘colony’ like, for instance, the Spanish colonies in the New World … Tudor policy was certainly inspired by colonialist attitudes, and often looked towards Spanish policy in America for inspiration. The status of Ireland as a kingdom, with a parliament (albeit one excluding, on various counts, native representation) is the main difference between Ireland and a colony proper. But in other respects (the expropriation of land, its distribution … the social establishment of the[se] settlers as a new ruling class, the submission of the native population both in social and economic terms, their employment as providers of cheap labour, the subordination of the country’s internal economy to the interests of the ‘mother’ country) Ireland did have the character of a colony. Plantation policy even in its nomenclature had a colonial connotation, and though slavery was not established as such in Ireland ... (ftn.45 [461])

Leerssen cites, on p.64, The true impartial history and wars of the kingdom of Ireland, 1691, and reports in the ftn. 64 that authoritative bibliographies, e.g., Wing, attribute this to James Shirley, then some years dead, and that John Shirley is the more likely author. [462]

Dramatic fictional Irishmen, see Bartley (Teague, Shenkin and Sawney; being an historical study of the earliest Irish Welsh, and Scottish characters in English plays (Cork UP 1954); Duggan, The Stage Irishman (Talbot 1937), and Anneliese Truninger, Paddy and the Paycock, A study of the Stage Irishman from Shakespeare to O’Casey (Bern:Francke 1976) For non-dramatic fictional Irishmen, see Fritz Mezger, Der Ire in der englischen Literatur bis zum Angfang des 19.Jahrhundrets, Palaestra 169 (Leipzig: Mayer & Muller 1929)., and George O’Brien, ‘The fictional Irishman 1665-1850’, in Studies 66 (1977), pp.319-326. (ftn.84 [463])

Dekker’s vignette of an Irish pedlar: ‘an Irish tyole is a sturdy vagabond, who scorning to take paines that may make him sweat, stalks onely up and downe the country with a wallet on his backe, in which he carries laces, pinnes, and points and such like, and under cullor of selling such wares, both passeth to and fro quietly, and so commits many villainies as it were by warrant (Dekker, 1886, vol. 3 104-05). (ftn.87 [463])

In Samuel Foote’s The orators and Colman’s The Manager in distress, the action is interrupted by an Irish characer beginning to speechify from the pit or from a box. (ftn.89 [464])

A note on the Gaelic kinship system, and esp. the terms tuath and fine, quotes extensively from DA Binchy, ‘The Passing of the Old Order’, Proceedings of the International Congress of Celtic Studies, held in Dublin 6-10 July 1959 (DIAS 1962), p.119-32. (ftn.123 [466])

Discussing the question of national consciousness, Leerssen refers to an argument adopted by Donncha Ó Corráin, who tries to push it back to the pre-Norman period, to the 7th c., when the Irish ‘had developed a sense of identity and otherness [other than whom, Leerssen asks] and had begun to create an elaborate origin-legend embracing all the tribes and dynasties of the country.’ Ó Corráin further speaks of ‘a mandarin class of monastic and secular scholars whose priveliged position in society allowed them to transcend all local and tribal boundaries.’ (O Corráin, ‘Nationality and kingship in pre-Norman Ireland’ in Nationality and the persit of national independence, ed. TW Moody (Belfast:Appletree 1978), pp.1-35. (ftn.140 [468]

Ftn 147 distinguishes between Iarla Gearoid’s Eireannaigh and the older, and mythological usage, fir Erenn, which seems to mean men of the Goddess Eriu as Tuatha de Danann were tribes of the Goddess Danu. (ftn.150 [468]

Ftn 194: The translations [of An Síogaí Rómhánach] given her are largely based on JT Gilbert’s version ‘The Irish Vision at Rome’, appendix XXIV to A contemporary history of affairs in Ireland from 1641 to 1652, ed Gilbert, vol. 3, 190-6 (Dublin 1866). Gilbert probably used a different redaction and bowlderised his translation, since it does not closely match that edited by Cecile O’Rahilly. [473]

Pairlement Chloinne Tomáis is purportedly narrated by Sir Domnhnall Ó Pluburnáin [anglice Blubberham], a plebian with an English knighthood. Something similar is achieved to the practice of giving ludicrous names to stage Irishmen in the English 18th c. drama. (Ftn.207 [473])

Dinneen and O’Donoghue (in Dánta Aodhagain Ui Rathaille/The Poems of Egan O’Rahilly, 2nd ed., London ITS 1911) added an embarrassing string of exclamation marks to each line in his ed. of O’Rathaille’s poems, according to Leerrssen: ‘a piece of editorial impudence which distorts the tone of the original … and turns the elegiac poet into a Gaelic League soap-box orator’. (ftn.216 [474])

Robert Rochfort, Life of the glorious bishop St. Patrick, St. Brigid and St. Columb, patrons of Ireland (St Omer 1625); Rochfort lectured at Louvain.

On the misnomer of The Annals of the Four Masters, see Lersen01. Ftn.272 [478].

Thomas O’Sullevane, prefatory Dissertation to the Memoirs of Lord Clanricarde (1722), best known as source of information on ancient bardic practices of Ireland. Quoted in Brian Ó Cuiv, ‘an eighteenth-century account of Keating and his Foras Feasa ar Eirinn’, in Eigse 9 (1958-61), 264-69. (ftn 280 [478]).

An anonymous manuscript grammar compiled in Louvain in 1669, copied by the Dublin scribe Seán Ó Súilleabháin for the bookseller Jeremiah Pepyat (the Dublin outlet for Arch. Britannica, and transmitted to Lhuyd. Cf. Lhuyd, 1707, p.299. (Ftn. 316 [480])

Note review of this work by Alan Harrison, in Eigse, Vol. XXII (NUI 1987), pp.155-[59]. Note also errata concerning Thomas Molyneux’s authorship of ‘Journey in Connaught’ [under A-Z Datasets, Molyneux.

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