In Search Of Ireland's Heroes

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Overview

In In Search of Ancient Ireland, published by Ivan R. Dee in 2002, Carmel McCaffrey traced the history, archaeology, and legends of ancient Ireland from 9000 B.C. to the Norman invasion. Now, in an engaging sequel, Ms. McCaffrey tells the story of the struggle between English and Irish aspirations in the centuries since the first English incursions into Ireland in the twelfth century. This is a narrative history filled with powerful personalities and families who fought in battle and through constitutional means ...

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Overview

In In Search of Ancient Ireland, published by Ivan R. Dee in 2002, Carmel McCaffrey traced the history, archaeology, and legends of ancient Ireland from 9000 B.C. to the Norman invasion. Now, in an engaging sequel, Ms. McCaffrey tells the story of the struggle between English and Irish aspirations in the centuries since the first English incursions into Ireland in the twelfth century. This is a narrative history filled with powerful personalities and families who fought in battle and through constitutional means to free Ireland from English control. With an extensive use of original sources—letters, personal accounts, and parliamentary documents—Ms. McCaffrey brings these individuals to life and tells their story. We meet the intrepid O’Neills, the colorful O’Donnells, the wily Fitzgeralds, and many others whose passion for freedom and for Ireland could not be conquered. The Irish, as the book recounts, struggled over many generations to hold on to ancient lands only to lose their fight in the Elizabethan wars. In the early 1600s the ancient Irish Brehon laws were extinguished, and it seemed as if the Gaelic past had been washed from memory. Yet the story of Irish determination did not end there. Other generations took up the effort to establish an Irish parliament free of English control that would answer the needs of all citizens. To this stirring history Ms. McCaffrey brings the same adroitness that prompted Terry Golway of the New York Observer to call her first book "marvelous...fine storytelling and analysis." With 25 black-and-white photographs and a map.

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Editorial Reviews

California Bookwatch
There've been plenty of books on Irish history but none quite so vivid and accessible asIn Search of Ireland's Heroes... [which stands] solidly both as a companion volume and as an innovative history by itself.
Irish Emigrant
"McCaffrey has succeeded in compiling a history of Ireland which is completely accessible without losing credibility."
Examiner
The hero stories engage, the scene-setting shines as both scholarly and readable, and the character descriptions run deep....Magnificent collection.
— Michael Phelps
Kerby Miller
Written with verve and passion...In Search of Ireland's Heroes is a welcome challenge to conservative interpretations of Ireland's history.
Examiner - Michael Phelps
The hero stories engage, the scene-setting shines as both scholarly and readable, and the character descriptions run deep....Magnificent collection.
California Bookwatch
The focus on heroes makes for a lively documentation indeed.
Publishers Weekly
McCaffrey (In Search of Ancient Ireland) has penned a "quick," partisan (from the Catholic viewpoint) version of Irish history. The arrival of the English in the 12th century is duly noted and the long melancholy march to the modern age is marked by jumps from King Dermot MacMurrough to Oliver Cromwell, the potato famine and the political turbulence of the late 19th century. Of particular interest is McCaffrey's excellent portrait of Charles Stewart Parnell and his policies in the 1870s and '80s, such as his involvement in the Land Leagues, his quest for Home Rule, his affair with Kitty O'Shea and subsequent abandonment by both church and state. McCaffrey also views the role of the Catholic Church in Ireland and comes to some interesting conclusions about orthodoxy and traditional Irish resistance to it. The political ferment of the early 20th century is explored by painting portraits of all the familiar names, from Patrick Pearse to Eamon De Valera and Michael Collins. The modern troubles in the North are examined and the Celtic Tiger is praised (somehow without mentioning its father, 1960s' prime minister Sean Lemass). A breezy, somewhat superficial work, this will best appeal to the Irish history neophyte. (Oct. 6) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Janet Julian
A native of Ireland, McCaffrey is currently a lecturer at Johns Hopkins and the Smithsonian. Her previous book, In Search of Ancient Ireland, was a companion to the PBS series. Ireland's Heroes begins with the English invasion in 1167 and ends with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 that brought peace to Ulster. The book covers religious disputes, political power, poets, intermarriage between early Norman settlers and the indigenous Gaels, the ancient Brehon Laws that were community based, and the influence of families such as the O'Neills, O'Donnells and the Fitzgeralds. The English always had difficulty with their Irish colony. In the 1600s the Gaelic aristocrats left Ireland, never to return, leading to the loss of the Brehon Laws and the experiment of a Protestant plantation in Northern Ireland. The 1800s brought Robert Emmet's failed rebellion. During the 1840s the potato famine killed 1.5 million, exacerbated by English policies. One bright light was the election of Daniel O'Connell to the English House of Commons in 1830. He became the first Irish Catholic to hold that office since 1692. The Irish Republican Brotherhood was formed in 1858; similarly, the Fenian Brotherhood was founded in New York and its membership grew enormously during the 1860s. The Home Rule initiative was championed by Charles Stewart Parnell in the 1870s, but his political career was destroyed by a messy divorce case. The glorious Easter Rising in 1916 was brutally crushed by the British, leading to the founding of the Irish Republican Army and its urban guerrilla tactics. McCaffrey ends with the partitioning of Ireland and finally the peace agreement of 1998. The book includesa time line. Reviewer: Janet Julian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566637565
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 10/25/2007
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,123,606
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.15 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Carmel McCaffrey is a native of Dublin and lectures on Irish history, literature, culture, and language at Johns Hopkins University and at the Smithsonian Institution. She is a Gaelic speaker and frequently travels to Ireland. Her earlier book, In Search of Ancient Ireland, written with Leo Eaton, was a companion to the PBS series. She lives in Mount Airy, Maryland.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Preface     xi
The Incomplete Conquest     3
The Recalcitrant Colony: FitzGerald Power in Ireland     32
Princes of Ireland: O'Neill and O'Donnell     55
The Plantation of Ulster and the Erosion of Gaelic Ireland     77
Catholic Dispossession: The New Elite     107
Patriots and Rebels: Grattan, Tone, and FitzGerald     126
A Most Distressful Country: Union and Famine     145
Struggling for Land Rights and Home Rule: Charles Stewart Parnell     176
Murmuring Name Upon Name: From Literature to Armed Rebellion     201
A Terrible Beauty: The Irish War of Independence     231
North and South: The Two States of Ireland     245
Chronology of Irish History     265
Bibliography     277
Index     279
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