2

INTIMATIONS OF NATIONALISM IN TUDOR IRELAND

‘The blood of the First Conquest has in a manner failed’. 1 So wrote a Tudor official at the beginning of the sixteenth century. On the accession of Henry VIII in 1509 the earl of Kildare ruled in Dublin as deputy of the king. Only within the area of the Pale was English government a direct and constant experience; here the inhabitants of the most English part of Ireland looked to their government to protect them from oppression by Gaelic and Anglo-Irish alike. Tudor monarchs, for their part, were understandably reluctant to intervene too directly or vigorously in Ireland, or to undertake the task of disarming ‘so warlike a country’ and reducing ‘so great and privileged a nobility’. 2 English involvement in Irish affairs was a slow, piecemeal and largely uncoordinated effort, at least until the end of the sixteenth century. But that involvement, however faltering at first, was to have important consequences for the relationship between the different cultural traditions within Ireland, and on the constitutional and political connection between Great Britain and Ireland.

It is tempting to single out religion as the single most important factor in Tudor Ireland, one that was bound to create a division between the English Government and its Irish subjects. Religion is certainly a major determinant of Irish nationality; but, until the mid-seventeenth century, religion was not a unifying political force among Irishmen, though attempts were certainly made to make it so. In 1614 George Carew predicted that the interests which separated the Old English (as he called the Anglo-Irish colony) from the Irish would prove weaker than the cohesive force of their common religion, and that before long they would find themselves in union against the English. 3 But the sixteenth century, though harbouring the seeds of this alliance, has a special interest of its own for the historian of Irish nationalism; and its significance is best understood by turning to that frequent source of social and political change in Ireland, the English Government.

Social and political change could hardly be expected to come from anywhere within Ireland. 4 Ireland was divided into a network of small units, some ruled after the Gaelic manner, some under feudal control, but all jealous of their independence both from Dublin and from local magnates. 5 It was, like many European countries of the time, a society

-46-

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Nationalism in Ireland
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Contents 5
  • Preface to the Third Edition 6
  • Preface to the Second Edition 8
  • Preface 9
  • Introduction: Nationalism and Ireland 15
  • 1 - Colony and Nation 25
  • 2 - Intimations of Nationalism in Tudor Ireland 46
  • 3 - For God, King and Country 68
  • Notes 91
  • 4 - From English Colony to Irish Nation: the Protestant Experience 94
  • 5 - The Irish, Properly So Called 123
  • 6 - Patterns of Nationalism, 1842-1870 154
  • Notes 187
  • 7 - The Making of Parnellism and Its Undoing 192
  • 8 - The Battle of Three Civilizations 228
  • 9 - What Home Rule Stood For, 1891-1918 259
  • 10 - Nationalism, Socialism and the Irish Revolution 295
  • 11 - State and Nation in Modern Ireland 339
  • Notes 370
  • Conclusion: Ireland and Nationalism 375
  • Epilogue: History, Politics and Nationalism 391
  • Appendix: the Downing Street Declaration , 15 December 1993 433
  • Maps 438
  • Bibliography 443
  • Supplementary Bibliography 477
  • Index 488
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