Eugene J. Doyle is a graduate of the National University of Ireland. He is particularly interested in biography, the Victorian period, and the Irish abroad. His work has been published in, among others, Brian Lalor (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Ireland (Dublin, 2003) and Irish Historical Studies.
Justin McCarthy (1830-1912) is the forgotten leader of the Irish Home Rule Movement. Overshadowed by Parnell before him and the 1916 leaders shortly after his death, McCarthy's considerable contribution to the national cause has been largely overlooked. Without his conciliatory chairmanship (1890-6), the Irish Party would have subdivided further after the Parnell split; the critical Liberal alliance would have ended; and the House of Commons would not have passed Gladstone's second Home Rule Bill in 1893. Born in Cork but living in London, McCarthy was not a career politician, but rather a respected and financially successful writer, who championed many liberal causes long before becoming actively involved in politics. He was elected a Home Rule Party MP in 1879, and the party's vice-chairman the following year. His subsequent time as chairman, beginning with the 1890 split, spanned a period of intense struggle over the second Home Rule Bill. During these demanding years he sacrificed his health and income for the national cause - 'the religion of my life'. This biography restores its subject to his rightful place in the front rank of Irish leaders - Parnell, McCarthy, Redmond - who led the Irish Party into parliamentary battle in pursuit of Home Rule.
Chronology of McCarthy's Life and Times
The Making of an Irish Nationalist, 1830-53
The Development of a Liberal Propagandist, 1853-79
Reluctant Chairman, 1890-6
‘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.’