Views of the Past in Irish Vernacular Literature, 1650–1850

Vincent Morley

in Unity and Diversity in European Culture c.1800

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263822
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734960 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Views of the Past in Irish Vernacular Literature, 1650–1850

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The Irish Magazine, published monthly between 1807 and 1815 and edited by Watty Cox, was perhaps the earliest periodical to articulate a consistently nationalist view of Ireland's history. Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies, like the Irish Magazine, evoked a strong response from the Irish public. Was their popularity an early manifestation of the romantic nationalism that would be so ubiquitous a generation later? It is hardly possible to open a discussion of historiography in Irish without referring to the synthetic history of Ireland entitled Foras Feasa ar Éirinn (‘A basis of knowledge about Ireland’) written by Geoffrey Keating around the year 1634. None of the factors that would have hindered the propagation of Keating's history applied to the poem Tuireamh na hÉireann. This chapter looks at a number of historical poems that strongly resemble Tuireamh na hÉireann and each other in both form and content, including those composed by Seán Ó Gadhra, Aodh Buí Mac Cruitín, Mac Cumhaigh, and Nicholas Kearney.

Keywords: Ireland; history; poems; Watty Cox; Thomas Moore; Irish Melodies; nationalism; Geoffrey Keating; Foras Feasa ar Éirinn; Tuireamh na hÉireann

Chapter.  10281 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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