Academic journal article Canadian Journal of History

The Anglo-Irish Experience, 1680-1730: Religion, Identity and Patriotism

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of History

The Anglo-Irish Experience, 1680-1730: Religion, Identity and Patriotism

Article excerpt

The Anglo-Irish Experience, 1680-1730: Religion, Identity and Patriotism, by D.W. Hayton. Irish Historical Monograph Series. Rochester, New York, Boydell Press, 2012. xviii, 225 pp. $115.00 US (cloth).

In a publishing career stretching back to the 1970s, David Hayton has long stood out as the consummate and leading essayist for early eighteenth-century Irish history. The incisive and ground-breaking articles published in leading academic journals and edited collections over the years have done much to open up the world of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Ireland for many academics and students alike, and have contributed in no small measure to encouraging many scholars to venture into the period and to assist in turning a previously under-populated area of academic concern into one of vigorous and illuminating research and published output. Hayton's many articles and essays have also demonstrated clear patterns, links, and developments from one to another, so that it was a most welcome development when he decided in recent years to bring some of that large corpus of existing published work together in book form and to include new research that served to complement and unify the whole in a coherent and complete fashion. The first offering of this kind was Ruling Ireland, 1685-1742." Politics, Politicians and Parties (Woodbridge, 2004), which brought together some of Hayton's key articles and essays focused upon how Ireland was governed from 1685 to 1745. The book has already become an essential text for the period among researchers and students alike, thereby demonstrating the skill with which the old and the new were wedded together to present a single, coherent overarching theme.

The current and second such book is the subject of this review, and shifts focus to another of Hayton's passions, summarized in the subtitle as religion, identity, and patriotism and explicated in the preface as an examination of the "political culture of the Irish governing class through relating it to the social background" (p. xv). However, Hayton more clearly defines what he means in that respect by going against current fashion and boldly using the adjective "Anglo-Irish" in the book's title--it is the experience of the people he describes by that usage that forms the content of the work. By way of justification for the use of "Anglo-Irish," he argues that it expresses "a highly significant element in the social and political culture of the Protestant landed class. These were people who, while genuinely thinking of themselves as Irish, were still intensely aware of their English origins and connections" (p. xiv). Throughout the book the essays validate that initial premise. Only two of the essays are wholly new, but the remaining five have been substantially reviewed and updated as is evident in both the argument and the sources cite& It is never easy to revisit a "finished" work and substantially revise it, but Hayton does so with rigour and enthusiasm. …

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