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The magisterial work on late 16th century Ireland, originally published in 1885-90 and now available from iTunes (vol 1, vol2, vol 3). I've already read a lot of the later literature on the period, so it's interesting to look at this as a somewhat flawed foundation stone for everything that came later. I was pleasantly surprised that the author's supposed Unionist sympathies were not more obvious; but he does rather concentrate on the internal dynamics of the Dublin government, rather than engaging with what the Irish chieftains might have been thinking, and also rather more on Munster than on Leinster, Connacht or Ulster. I don't much mind the former, as I too am trying to track the relations between Dublin Castle and London, but the latter is a bit annoying, especially given the rather uninformative maps in the volume, which are essentially outline sketches of the whole island with a few regions offhandedly shaded in. The first section, which takes the story to the reign of Henry VIII (his father is dealt with in a single chapter), is also quite informative. But I was struck by the extent to which Bagwell rather glides over the military denouements which are the cornerstone of later narrative - the Battle of Kinsale being the most obvious example. The term "Nine Years' War" is not used at all.

Plenty of quotes from Sir Nicholas White, though he fades out of the story without explanation at the point of Sir John Perrot's imprisonment and death.

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