Ciaran Brady FTCD, MRIA is Professor of Early Modern History and Historiography in the School of Histories and Humanities, Trinity College Dublin. His most recent book is James Anthony Froude: An Intellectual Biography of a Victorian Prophet (Oxford, 2013).
Shane O'Neill played a key role in Ireland's story in the sixteenth century, yet he has suffered a peculiar fate. Memorialised in drama, poetry and fiction as 'Shane the Proud', he has been remarkably neglected by historians who have been content - or resigned - to accept the largely personalised accounts of his character and actions, broadcast by his enemies, as a fair estimation of his historical significance. In this extended and critical study of Shane's life and times, Ciaran Brady, leading historian in Early Modern History, returns this neglected and misunderstood historical figure to his rightful place - at the centre of this turbulent period in Irish history. Based on a detailed examination of all the available primary sources, and also on a critical examination of the stories and myths that came to surround Shane, Brady offers an original interpretation that sets Shane against the multi-layered backgrounds of Ulster, Irish and English Court politics of his time - moving away from the conventional cultural stereotypes through which Shane and his contemporaries have been customarily interpreted.In doing so Brady reveals not only the highly complex nature of the problems confronting Shane and his English adversaries, and the genuine nature of the attempts of both sides to find a permanent solution on mutually acceptable terms, but also the combination of surface contingencies and deeper ideological forces that doomed their efforts to failure.
Chronology of O'Neill's Life and Times
- The Legend of Shane the Proud
- A Myth and Its Uses
- The Problems of O'Neill Lordship, 1241-1541
- The Resistible Rise of Shane O'Neill
- The Lost Peace, 1556-62
- Appeasement and Drift, 1562-5
- War, 1566-7
‘In this second revised edition the meticulous Prof. Ciaran Brady, basing himself on detailed research in the primary sources for a clear view of opinion among the Irish, proposes a more benign assessment of Shane … Like the other studies in this series, which is aimed at senior classes in school and undergraduates readers in college, as well as the general reader of history, the book has a very useful chronology of the life and times of its subject, as well as an excellent index – not always to be taken for granted these days.’
J. Anthony Gaughan, The Irish Catholic, April 2016
You can read the full review here
'Bookworm [History Ireland] is always on the lookout for publications that appeal to a particular type of reader: Leaving Cert and A-level student, languid undergrad, or general readers whose enthusiasm for history is not matched by the necessary leisure time to plough through academic monographs … A case in point was the 'Life and Times' series published by the Historical Association of Ireland in the 1990s, which aimed 'to place the lives of leading figures in Irish history against the background of new research'. The good news is that the series is back, with the same mission statement, this time published by UCD Press.'
'Also welcome is the new series of the Historical Association of Ireland’s Life and Times concise biographies, which started out some years ago under the Dundalgan Press imprint. It has now been taken over by the excellent UCD Press and given a makeover and smart new livery, keeping the bright blue colour scheme of the originals. The aim of the series is to provide scholarly and accessibly brief biographies of major figures in Irish history by experts in the field, suitable for Leaving Certificate, A level and undergraduate students but also for the general reader.'