What’s happening in the history of early modern Ireland?


Anybody seeking an answer to the question posed above could do worse than to check out the podcasts now available from the Tudor-Stuart Ireland Conference held last month at University College Dublin.

They are available here.

Map of Ireland from 1592 by Abraham Ortelius
Map of Ireland from 1592 by Abraham Ortelius (Wikimedia Commons)

This two-day event brought together a large number of Irish history scholars, from the postgraduate to the professor. Judging from the number of speakers and the attendance levels, the organisers were right to assume that there was a need for such a conference, and plans are already afoot for a further instalment next year.

Among the highlights was a round-table session to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Ciaran Brady and Raymond Gillespie (eds), Natives and newcomers: essays in the making of Irish colonial society, 1534-1641 (Dublin, 1986). Chaired by Professor Nicholas Canny, this session brought together a number of the contributors to that seminal volume. The reflections offered by this group, all of whom have since made substantial contributions to scholarship on early modern Ireland, made for interesting listening.

The keynote address was delivered by Professor Marian Lyons on the subject of ‘The variegated Irishness of the Irish in seventeenth-century Europe’. This wide-ranging lecture offered, amongst other things, a useful overview of the experiences of Irish natives as newcomers on the continent.

Alongside these offerings, there was plenty for anyone interested in early modern Ireland to digest; the availability of the podcasts
goes some way towards offsetting the problem of having to choose one out of the three parallel conference sessions running at any one time over the two days.

I am not aware of any conference proceedings publication plans, but it is to be hoped that a good deal of the research presented will find some appropriate outlet in print over the coming years. This should help to reinforce the growing vibrancy of this field, just as Natives and newcomers managed to do a quarter-century ago.

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