Academic journal article The Seventeenth Century

The Irish College at Lisbon 1590-1834

Academic journal article The Seventeenth Century

The Irish College at Lisbon 1590-1834

Article excerpt

Patricia O'Connell, The Irish College at Lisbon 1590-1834, Dublin, Four Courts Press, 2001, pp. 148, hb. £25.60, ISBN: 1851825649

'I often considered . . . whether the ceasing of persecution might not cause among us a greater falling off from the faith.' Thus prophesied Michael Daly, the rector of the Irish college of St Patrick at Lisbon in 1795. He had persistently and successfully importuned the Portuguese authorities and Irish bishops for the refoundation of the college, first opened in 1590, but closed in 1779 due to the expulsion of the Jesuits. As Patricia O'Connell shows in this lively history of the college, it did owe its origins to the curtailment at home of the religious liberty of Irish Catholics who sought protection from the rulers of Portugal and Spain in the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean periods. As author of a previous work on the Irish college at Alcalá de Henares in Spain, Ms O'Connell is well qualified to assess the contribution of this institution to Irish religious, social and cultural history, and specifically to the burgeoning Catholic mission in Ireland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Ms O'Connell works effectively around the problem of loss of records caused by earthquake, fire, warfare and dissolution to present a narrative of the college from its establishment by John Howling, S.J., in the bustling exchange that was the Portuguese capital. Her central chapter is a prosopography of the more than 500 students who attended the college during its almost two and a half centuries of flourishing. From this group emerged archbishops, bishops and priests of Old English and Gaelic background who served in most of the Irish dioceses, as well as others who remained abroad on completion of their education. …

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