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Charles Stewart Parnell

Dr. Alan O'Day (author)
Paperback / softback,
Publication date:
17th September 2012

Author Biography

Alan O'Day was a Fellow, Greyfriars Hall, University of Oxford. He continues to live quietly in the city of dreaming spires. His 35 books include The English Face of Irish Nationalism (Dublin, 1977), Parnell and the First Home Rule Episode (Dublin, 1986) and Irish Home Rule, 1867-1921 (Manchester, 1998). With N. C. Fleming he edited Charles Stewart Parnell and His Times: A Bibliography (Santa Barbara, CA, 2011), The Longman Handbook of Modern Irish History Since 1800 (London, 2005) and Ireland and Anglo-Irish Relations since 1800: Critical Essays (3 vols, Aldershot, 2008). He and John Stevenson edited Irish Historical Documents since 1800 (Dublin, 1992) and six volumes of original essays with D. George Boyce.


Charles Stewart Parnell has proved a compelling figure in his own time and to ours. A Protestant landlord who possessed few of the gifts that inspire mass adoration, he was the unlikely object of popular veneration. His long liaison with a married woman, Katharine O'Shea, exposed him to the fury of the Catholic Church. Other Protestants secured niches in the pantheon of national heroes but nearly all earned their places as victims of British rule; Parnell's destruction came at Irish hands. Since initial publication in 1998, new evidence and fresh interpretations allow for a fuller and yet more complex portrait for this revised account of Parnell's life. This revision considers Parnell's career within the context of his times, Anglo-Irish affairs, and theoretical perspectives. It makes extensive use of Parnell's public and parliamentary speeches, arguing that he was an exemplar of new forms of political communication and expressed a coherent ideology rooted in the liberal radicalism of the age. In the end he was a victim of his own successes and of a virulent nationalism that squeezed out the immediate possibility of an inclusive nation.Parnell's vision, though, was never wholly submerged and would reappear in the more cosmopolitan atmosphere of contemporary Ireland.