Ireland lies the last outpost of Europe against the vast flood of the Atlantic Ocean; unlike all other islands it is circled round with mountains, whose precipitous cliffs rising sheer above the water stand as bulwarks thrown up against the immeasurable sea.
It is commonly supposed that the fortunes of the island and its civilisation must by nature hang on those of England. Neither history nor geography allows this theory. The life of the two countries was widely separated. Great Britain lay turned to the east; her harbours opened to the sunrising, and her first traffic was across the narrow waters of the Channel and the German Sea. But Ireland had another aspect; her natural harbours swelled with the waves of the Atlantic, her outlook was over the ocean, and long before history begins her sailors braved the perils of the Gaulish sea.
Alice Stopford Green
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About the Author
She was born Alice Sophia Amelia Stopford in Kells, County Meath. Her father Edward Adderley Stopford was Rector of Kells and Archdeacon of Meath. Her paternal grandfather was Edward Stopford, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath, and she was a cousin of Stopford Brooke. From 1874 to 1877 she lived in London where she met the historian John Richard Green. They were married in Chester on 14 June 1877. He died in 1883. John Morley published her first historical work Henry II in 1888.
In the 1890s she became interested in Irish history and the nationalist movement as a result of her friendship with John Francis Taylor. She was vocal in her opposition to English colonial policy in South Africa during the Boer Wars and supported Roger Casement's Congo Reform movement. Her 1908 book The Making of Ireland and its Undoing argued for the sophistication and richness of the native Irish Civilisation. Stopford Green was active in efforts to make the prospect of Home Rule more palatable to Ulster Unionists. She was closely involved in the Howth gun-running.
She moved to Dublin in 1918 where her house at 90 St Stephen's Green became an intellectual centre. She supported the pro-Treaty side in the Irish Civil War and was among the first nominees to the newly formed Seanad Éireann in 1922, where she served as an independent member until her death in 1929.[