8

THE BATTLE OF THREE CIVILIZATIONS

The Anglo-Irish presence in Ireland, from the twelfth century onwards, was a most significant influence on the development of a self-conscious Irish identity, and of parliamentary institutions to give this identity political expression; it was these people, essentially of English origin, who—often for their own ends—formulated and articulated Ireland’s ‘ancient historic rights’. Parnell was the last, and greatest, in the long line of Anglo-Irishmen who made a contribution to this tradition; the difference was that whereas his forbears, Swift and Grattan, spoke for the Protestant nation, Parnell represented, in fact if not in name, the Catholic nation. But the Anglo-Irish not only provided political precedents and precepts for Irish nationalists; they also, and especially after 1890, helped give Ireland a distinctive cultural identity, a sense of the individuality of the Irish nation, and of its peculiar linguistic, social and racial characteristics. This they did wittingly and unwittingly. Wittingly, in the attempt made by some prominent Anglo-Irishmen to identify with and save Irish culture in the hope that it would provide a common ground for Irishmen of all political persuasions; and unwittingly, by the fact that the ‘colonial’ dominance of Ireland stood for what came to be regarded as an alien culture, against which the Irish identity must assert itself, and which it must absorb, or itself suffer absorption. The ‘battle of two civilizations’ 1 was fought, not only between England and Ireland, but, and perhaps more fiercely, within Ireland; and it acquired a special intensity in the last decade of the nineteenth century with the fall of that most celebrated representative of the Anglo-Irish nationalists, Charles Stewart Parnell.

The paradox of Parnell’s people—their interest in native culture, and yet their precarious position in that culture—was inherent in their own identity. As newcomers and, eventually, conquerors, they destroyed much that was native; but as Irishmen who had come to stay in Ireland they preserved and valued much that might otherwise have disappeared. But to their critics it was the destruction not the preservation that was emphasized and remembered. 2 Thus, while the Anglo-Irishmen gentlemen of the eighteenth century were exploring happily the world of Irish literature, architecture and language, and casting a warm eye on Gaelic ruins and graveyards, one of their foremost enemies, Daniel Corkery, accused then in retrospect of presiding over the

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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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