Posts Tagged ‘Northern Ireland’

Further Adventures in Eighteenth-Century Fiction

11 April 2011

By Christina Morin

It’s been a while since I’ve shared my thoughts on my favourite eighteenth-century Irish fiction, so I thought I’d offer a few more suggestions. Given the nature of my current research (a project called ‘The Gothic Novel in Ireland, 1760-1830’), I’ve been reading extensively in Irish Gothic fiction from the mid- to late-eighteenth century. As a result, my recommendations are drawn from this recent reading of now overlooked but no less interesting fiction. Unfortunately, these texts are so rare today as not to be available in modern editions – so you won’t be able to head out into the sunshine we’re having for a lazy though potentially sublime afternoon. That is, of course, unless you have a laptop, wifi, and remote access to Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO). Be that as it may, these are fascinating examples of eighteenth-century Irish literary production, all of which point to the need to re-assess current perspectives on Irish fiction of the period and its important contribution to the contemporary rise of Gothic fiction. So, without further ado….

  1. The Adventures of Miss Sophia Berkley (1760) by ‘A Young Lady’ has been identified in recent years as a Gothic novel predating Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764) – the text now generally understood as the ‘first’ British Gothic novel. Set initially in Ireland, the novel follows the eponymous heroine as she meets and falls in love with the son of an ancient Irish family. On the eve of their marriage, however, Horatio is killed and taken away by pirates near Sophia’s coastal home, and she is left distraught. Worse is yet to come, however, when her father, falling fatally ill, reveals that his affairs are horribly compromised. Upon her father’s death, Sophia emigrates to London, where she endures a series of unfortunate mishaps, abductions, and daring escapes before….  Well, I won’t spoil the plot for you. Suffice it to say, there is a happy ending, but perhaps not the one you might expect. Only one volume long, The Adventures of Miss Sophia Berkley won’t require too much investment on your part and is well worth the read! Read more

The origins of the SDLP

8 September 2010

Contributed by Sarah Campbell

The 40th anniversary of the party that once spoke for the minority in Northern Ireland failed to inspire any editorials or features in the Irish national press in recent weeks.* A party in decline, it appears it has already been resigned to the scrapheap of history. Born exactly 40 years ago and sired by the 1968 generation of Northern Catholics who put rights before the republic, the SDLP’s conception can be traced to the early 1960s, when the idea of setting up a party like it began germinating in the Northern nationalist consciousness.

By 1964 there was an agreement in principle and a year later, the National Democratic Party was formed and was holding annual conferences. Shortly after, the civil rights movement (NICRA) revolutionised Northern Catholics and it was in civil rights issues that many of the founding members of the SDLP cut their teeth in politics. But was the SDLP, as it claimed, a party of civil rights?

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Review: If Lynch had invaded

2 September 2009

Contributed by Brian Hanley

If Lynch had invaded? RTÉ 1, 1 September 2009

Jack LynchTime and word count are limted, so I’ll get to the point: a terrible waste of talent and production values, with no need at all for the final half an hour of sub Saving Private Ryan dramatics. If you are making a documentary on Brian Boru I can see why you may feel that reconstructions are neccesary. However there was a wealth of excellent archival footage and a wide range of interviewees (the ex-Irish soldiers were the best); why not stick to that? Presenter Tom Clonan in his army landrover driving around Newry was particularly ill-judged. All so that the programme could conclude that Lynch got it right (again) and weren’t we lucky to avoid some terrible bloodshed. At least Des O’Malley noted that actually 3,500 plus people died in a slow-drip civil war over the next 30 years. Admidst the neccesary hype to grab viewers the impression was given that the ‘invasion’ plan was news. In fact the key documents have been available to researchers since 2001 and have been written about on several occasions. (See the Cedar Lounge Revolution blog.)

While the idea of serried ranks of Irish troops crossing the border in Panhard armoured cars may cause hearts to quiver in the post-Articles 2 & 3 era, in fact there is nothing at all surprising in the Irish government contemplating this, given that they regarded the six counties as Irish territory (a revelation that they planned incursions into, say, Wales, would have been truly shocking) and that almost the entire southern establishment had at various stages sworn to end partition. Read More