The Oxford Companion to Irish History

By S. J. Connolly | Go to book overview


Kane, Sir Robert ( 1809-90), scientist. A graduate of * Trinity College, Dublin, Kane was the first president of * Queen's College, Cork, and president of the * Royal Irish Academy ( 1877). His The Industrial Resources of Ireland ( 1844) offered a highly optimistic assessment of the prospects for Irish development, widely cited by later proponents of economic nationalism. He established a Museum of Irish Industry ( 1847), and was one of the three-man scientific commission established in October 1845 to find a cure for potato blight (see GREAT FAMINE).

Keating, Geoffrey, see LITERATURE IN IRISH.

keening, from Irish caoineadh, also referred to as the 'Irish cry', the custom of delivering a lament, accompanied by wailing and cries of grief, over the body of a dead person. The keen could be performed by friends and relatives of the deceased, or by specialist performers hired for the occasion. Although observers as late as the early 19th century commented admiringly on the fluency with which those involved extemporized in verse on the qualities of the departed and the tragedy of their death, it is difficult to see how this could have been done without heavy reliance on standard formulae. The most famous keen in Irish literature, for the ex-soldier Art *O'Leary, ostensibly delivered over his body by his wife, is now seen as the work of one or more specialist hands, possibly completed in its present form only decades after the event.

keeper of the peace (custos pacis) , the officer appointed in Irish counties from the early 14th century to assist the sheriff to maintain order and provide defence. There were several in each county, chosen from the leading gentry families; an earl or other magnate might head the commission. Their duties included regular musters and inspection of horses and weapons, and they had authority to negotiate and make truces with the Irish. From c. 1400 they were sometimes known as *justices of the peace, and performed some of the judicial duties of English JPs, but their main function remained military. RFF

Kells, Book of (Trinity College Dublin MS 58) , a copy of the Gospels in a Latin text based on the Vulgate but intermixed with readings from the Old Latin translation. The Gospels are preceded by prefaces, summaries, and Eusebian canon tables. The book is lavishly decorated with full- page depictions of the Evangelists and their symbols; portraits of Christ and the Virgin and Child; and illustrations of the temptation and arrest of Christ. Its text is enlivened with interlinear drawings and decorated initials composed of human and animal figures, most of which carry symbolic resonances. As one of the key manuscripts in the debate over *insular script and art, the Book of Kells has attracted a great deal of scholarly disagreement over its date and origin. The current majority opinion attributes it to the scriptorium of * Iona (Argyllshire), though it remains unclear whether its production took place there or (wholly or partially) at Kells, Co. Meath, where the monastic community moved after it was attacked by *Viking raiders in 806. BM

Kells, Synod of (1152) , culmination of the pre- Norman church reform movement. Sitting first at Kells and later at Mellifont, the synod legislated for payment of *tithes and other reforms of the kind initiated at the Synod of *Cashel. It reassigned Irish dioceses to four provinces, Dublin and Tuam being added to Armagh and Cashel, the archbishoprics established at the Synod of *Ráith Bressail. Cardinal John Paparo, papal legate, arrived with pallia (insignia) for the four archbishops. CE

Kenmare, title of the Browne family. Sir Valentine Browne (d. 1589) came to Ireland as surveyor- general in 1559, and his son and grandson acquired lands in Cos. Kerry, Cork, and Limerick. Although its origins were thus those of *New English colonists, the family subsequently reverted to Catholicism. Sir Valentine Browne (d. 1691) supported James II, who in 1689 made him Viscount Ken


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The Oxford Companion to Irish History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Advisers ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Contributors xiii
  • Note to the Reader xvii
  • A 1
  • B 33
  • C 66
  • D 133
  • E 167
  • F 183
  • G 212
  • H 233
  • I 254
  • K 282
  • L 292
  • M 333
  • N 377
  • O 397
  • P 424
  • Q 469
  • R 471
  • S 495
  • T 532
  • U 557
  • V 577
  • W 582
  • Y 601
  • Z 603
  • Maps 605
  • Subject Index 613


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