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Eyewitness to Irish Historyby Peter Berresford Ellis
Synopses & Reviews
It is easy to see why Ireland has produced so many notable storytellers, poets, and historians. It has a rich oral and written history stretching back over three thousand years. More important, it has what may be the oldest vernacular literature of Europe. The Irish have been writing eloquently in the language spoken by the common people for more than fourteen hundred yearsdespite concerted efforts by the English, beginning with Henry VIII, to extinguish the Irish language and deny the people any formal education.
A unique documentary history of Irish civilization from ancient times to the present, Eyewitness to Irish History draws upon original source materials to capture the tumultuous events and distinctive texture of Irish history like no other book. Comparing the readings compiled here to snapshots, the renowned Celtic scholar Peter Berresford Ellis offers what, in essence, is a family photo album of Ireland and the Irish peoplebeginning with Golamh, the legendary leader of the band of Iberian Celts who settled the island more than three thousand years ago, as told in the Lebor Gabála Erenn, or Book of Invasions, and concluding with gripping firsthand accounts by those on both sides of the bloody civil conflict in Northern Ireland.
From the codification of the Irish laws by the poet Ollamh Fodhla in the eighth century b.c.e. to the defeat of the Vikings by High King Brian Boiroihme in 1014 c.e., from the English Tudor conquests of the sixteenthcentury to the Easter Uprising of 1916 and the subsequent establishment of the Irish Free State, virtually every major event is covered here in texts ranging from ancient forsundun (praise songs) and the hero kings to newspaper accounts, public decrees, and even graffiti. At the same time, youll find vivid portraits of everyday life in Ireland throughout the centuries as chronicled in everything from St. Patricks confessions to heartrending accounts of the famine of 1848 to the letters, diaries, and memoirs of a vast and multifarious array of authors.
The story of Ireland as told through the words of those who actually lived it, Eyewitness to Irish History offers you an unparalleled opportunity to experience the grand sweep of one of the worlds most ancient and vital civilizations.
Book News Annotation:
Irish historian Ellis, incorporating early oral sources, presents a documentary history of Ireland from ancient times to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. These "snapshots" of history, as he calls them, are interspersed throughout with contextual and continuity explanations. Not entirely surprisingly, the focus is on Ireland's struggle to rid itself of the colonial power of its neighbor, England.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Offering original source material - letters, diaries, reports, memoirs and other first-hand accounts - this volume captures the tumultuous events and distinctive texture of Irish history.
Through sources ranging from ancient forsundun (praise songs) and the hero kings to newspaper accounts, public decrees, and even graffiti, this book offers vivid portraits of major events and everyday life in Ireland through the centuries--beginning with Golamh, the legendary leader of the band of Iberian Celts who settled the island more than three thousand years ago, and concluding with gripping accounts by those on both sides of the bloody civil conflict in Northern Ireland.
Ollamh Fodhla, fierce in valour,
Marked out the Scholars Rampart,
The first mighty king with grace
Who convened the Festival of Tara.
Fifty years, it was tuneful fame,
Was he in the High Kingship over Ireland
So that from him, with fortunate freedom,
Ulaidh [Ulster] received its name.
He died a natural death within his capital.
Lebor Gabála Erenn (Book of Invasions)
"I have often said, and written, it is Famine which must consume them (the Irish); our swords and other endeavours work not that speedy effect which is expected, for their overthrow."
Lord Arthur Chichester, Lord Deputy, November 22, 1601
Written to Lord Burghley, chief adviser to Queen Elizabeth I
"In OConnell Street large groups of people were gathered together. From the flagstaff pole on top of the General Post Office, the GPO, floated a new flag, a tricolour one of green, white and orange, the colours running out from the mast. Whats it all about? I asked a man who stood near me, a scowl on his face. Those boyhoes, [sic] the Volunteers, have seized the Post Office. They want nothing less than a Republic, he laughed scornfully. Theyve killed some Lancers; but theyll soon run away when the soldiers come. "
On Another Mans Wound, London, 1936
Through sources ranging from ancient forsundun (praise songs) and the hero kings to newspaper accounts, public decrees, and even graffiti, this book offers vivid portraits of major events and everyday life in Ireland through the centuries—beginning with Golamh, the legendary leader of the band of Iberian Celts who settled the island more than three thousand years ago, and concluding with gripping accounts by those on both sides of the bloody civil conflict in Northern Ireland.
About the Author
PETER BERRESFORD ELLIS, from an old Cork family, took his degrees in Celtic Studies and was recently acclaimed as "the pre-eminent Celtic Scholar now writing" (Times Educational Supplement). As well as his popular books on the ancient Celts, he is the author of many notable Irish histories, including History of the Irish Working Class; Hell or Connaught!: The Cromwellian Colonization of Ireland 1652—1660; The Boyne Water: The Battle of the Boyne, 1690; A Dictionary of Irish Mythology; and Erin’s Blood Royal. Under his own name he was the author of a bestselling novel The Rising of the Moon, about the Irish Republican Brotherhood’s 1866 attempt to invade Canada. Under the pseudonym of Peter Tremayne, he is best known for his internationally bestselling Sister Fidelma mystery series set in seventh- century Ireland. He lives in London.
Table of Contents
1. Ancient Ireland.
2. Early Christian Ireland.
3. The Viking Terror.
4. Ireland and the Angevin Empire.
5. Irish Princes and Norman Lords.
6. The Tudor Conquests.
7. The Flight of the Princes.
8. Obedience to the English Empire.
9. The Insurrection of 1641.
10. The Cromwellian Conquest.
11. The Williamite Conquest.
12. The Penal Laws.
13. The Insurrection of 1798.
14. Union, 1801; Insurrection, 1803; Catholic Emancipation, 1829.
15. Repeal, Starvation, and the Insurrection of 1848.
16. The Insurrection of 1867 and the Land League.
17. The Insurrection of 1916.
18. The War of Independence, 1919–1921.
19. The Civil War, 1922–1923, and the Aftermath.
20. Irish Neutrality and the Irish Republic of 1949.
21. A Protestant State and Civil Rights.
22. The Long War.
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