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A History of Ireland by Edmund Curtis

A History of Ireland (1936)

by Edmund Curtis

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Points of interest:
For a hundred years the Kings of Northumbria spoke Irish.
Cormac's Glossary, a ninth century work, tries to compare words in Irish and contemporary languages.
Brian Boru is credited with introduction of "Mac" and "O".
The Cistercian abbey at Mellifont is the first Gothic building in Ireland.
Galloglasses first appear in Ireland in 1258.
Younger sons of Norman families preferred Irish custom to primogeniture.
When Pierre de Bermingham massacred 32 O'Connors at a banquet on Christmas day 1295, he was rewarded by the Government, and an English ballad was written in honour of him.
Irish Parliament never acquired right of impeachment.
Renaissance had some influence in Ireland (examples on p 156)
The Chancellor's speech in 1541 proclaiming Henry King had to be translated into Irish for both Irish and Norman peers.
Shane O'Neill was said to be the first Irishman to arm all his peasants.
Catholic and loyal opposition first appear in Parliament of 1569-70.
The Brownes, Earls of Kenmare, were descended from an Elizabethan planter.
Sir Patrick Barnewall, c 1606, was said to be the first gentleman to be educated overseas.
"The religion of the Papists is superstitious and heretical and Toleration is a grievous sin" - Issher and 12 Church of Ireland Bishops, 1627.
By 1640 the Earls of Ormond, Kildare, Barrymore, Thomond and Inchiquin were Protestant. Yet Inchiquin had been in the Spanish army.
The Restoration in Ireland was the work of Cromwellians, not Royalists.
Many of the militia in the Ninety-Eight were RC.

This read much better than I had remembered from the last time I had read it through, and the clumsy sentences were less noticeable than I had supposed. I can now see why it is accepted as the standard history of Ireland, for it is packed with facts and seems to omit no incident of any importance at all in political history. There is much less however on social, economic and religious history, and even on the political side there is not enough explanation of the background. The references to English history are often unsatisfactory too. The book is reminiscent of Feiling's History of England in both its merits and defects: it is invaluable for reference but far too congested to be a readable introduction.
  jhw | Apr 23, 2006 |
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Preface -- Nature has placed the two islands of Britain and Ireland in such close neighbourhood that it was inevitable that their destinies should be interwoven in various ways, and the Irish themselves have long spoken of 'The Three Kingdoms' which they formed and which for some centuries have been in one royal line.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0415027861, Paperback)

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