"There are points at which history and geography meet, and where history provides material that geography alone can weave into shape." So began William Spotswood Green in his lecture to the Royal Geographical Society on February 9 1906. Republished here is the print version taken from The Geographical Journal, No. V, May 1906, Vol. XXVII. Green was uniquely placed to be able to speak about the Spanish Armada through his experiences as a naturalist, a marine biologist, as well as being the Chief Inspector of Irish Fisheries at the time. Combining his intimate knowledge of the Irish coastline with Spanish, English and Irish sources Green provides a fascinating insight in to the fate of many of the ships of the armada as well as the crews.
Tracing the courses of the surviving ships of the Armada after the English escort returned home, Green is able to surmise why they sailed so close to the notoriously dangerous Irish Atlantic Sea coast and pinpoint the resting places of many of the ships which took shelter there. Having visited many of the areas numerous in his capacity as Chief Inspector Green was able to describe some of the items that were recovered by locals, including chests and guns, and see some of the actual remains of ships at low tides.
For anyone with an interest in the Spanish Armada and the doom of many of the ships on the Irish coast this is an essential read. Green's knowledge and experience provide a wealth of information and help re-tell the last days of so many who met their end on the Irish coast as well as the lucky few who made it to shore.
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The Historical Manuscripts Commission was established by royal charter in 1869 with the express purpose of reporting on papers of historical interest in private keeping. The first two reports, dated 1870 and 1871, are republished here. They cover 520 pages, and show that the body was exceptionally active in fulfilling the task assigned to it.
The first report is 13 pages long, with a 133 page appendix. This appendix gives the various separate reports for each collection or location visited. It commences with a detailed look at the records of the House of Lords, and then proceeds to cover a great many aristocratic residences, such as Kimbolton Castle, Blickling Hall, Hatton Collection, Crome Court, Macclesfield, Tabley House, Trelawne, Stanford Court, and many others. Sevceral Cambridge colleges are reported on, as well as some important religious instiutions, like Norwich cathedral. The English report concludes with a look at some town and city corporation records, such as Bridgewater and Coventry.
There is a detailed report for Scotland, with extended treatment for Hamilton Palace, titled aristocrats like Richmond and Lothian, the Catholic Bishop of Edinburgh, the University of Edinburgh, and corporations of Glasgow & Edinburgh. A small number of reports are published for Ireland, including the aristocratic collections of Charlemont, Rosse, and Talbot de Malahide, and the corporations of Dublin, Kilkenny, Limerick, Waterford and Cork.
The second is 22 pages with an appendix of 263 pages. This covers many more places, including early reports on collections which were to become hallmark series for the HMC such as Bedford and Ormond. There are 41 English aristocratic collections, 17 for Scotland and 7 for Ireland, along with several colleges and corporations.
The two volume set is then completed with a comprehensive 85-page index. This publication is essential for scholars of early modern and medieval history in Britain or Ireland.
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Originally published in Dublin in 1848 by M. H. Gill for the Dublin University Press and republished here is William F. Wakeman's Archaeologica Hibernica: A Handbook of Irish Antiquities, Pagan & Christian: Especially of such as are easy of access from the Irish Metropolis by William F. Wakeman with numerous illustrations.
Apart from the revolutions of nationalism that took place in Europe in the year 1848, this year is also seen by archaeologists as a revolution and Wakeman's publication, Archaeologica Hibernica, is numbered amongst these revolutionary publications. Written when he was only twenty-five, in his preface Wakeman declared that his aim and the aim of Archaeologica Hibernica was to open the eyes of the Irish to the richness of their own past, while berating travelled gentlemen of Ireland for knowing more about the River Thames than they did about the Boyne Valley. The illustrations referred to in the title of Archaeologica Hibernica were much admired at the time and and woodcuts have relevance today as they picture many of Ireland's best known archaeological treasures before they were ever seriously excavated and in a sense preserve for posterity the likes of Dowth and Newgrange before they 'tampered with' by Victorian gentleman archaeologists.
Archaeologica Hibernica contains 199 printed pages, which include 91 illustrations. The publication is divided into a number of distinct: Pagan Antiquities, those which preceded the introduction of Christianity to Ireland or were thought to have been constructed in the fifth century; the early Christian period, which includes round towers and the remains of the Anglo Irish. Under the first section Wakeman divides Pagan antiquities into five categories, namely cromlechs, pillar stones, sepulchral mounds and cairns, duns and raths and stone circles and Wakeman visited numerous sites for these examples of Pagan Ireland, including Newgrange, the Phoenix Park, Kilternan, Druid's Glen and the Hill of Tara. Section 2 treating on early Christian remains is again divided into five sections oratories and bee-hive houses - the first Christian remains in Ireland - early churches such as those at Kilternan Glendalough and Kells, early decorated churches, crosses and round towers. Part three details the monastic tradition and includes treatise on Jerpoint Abbey, St. Patrick's Cathedral, fonts, castles and town gates all of which are beautifully illustrated with fine woodcuts. Archaeologica Hibernica is concluded by some miscellaneous items of archaeological interest, which include torques and weapons of wood, stone and bronze.
Wakeman's Archaeologica Hibernica is a wonderful publication whose intention was to introduce the educated men of Victorian Ireland to their archaeological heritage and although many of the sites visited by Wakeman such as Newgrange, Glendalough, Kells and Jerpoint are now familiar names, his intentions have as much relevance today as they did in 1848.
Republished here is the 1850 edition of Sylvester O'Halloran's History of Ireland together with a continuation of O'Halloran's History by William Dolby and associated writers then resident in the United States.
Published in Providence Rhode Island by Murphy & McCarthy in about 1850 this publication contains Sylvester O'Halloran's History of Ireland from the earliest times to 1171 and is continued by with Dolby's History of Ireland from the Invasion of Henry the Second to the present, compiled from the most approved writers on the subject by W[illia]m. Dolby, aided by a committee of Admirers of Irish History. In all this publication contains 860 printed pages together with a number of copper-plate illustrations of notable Irish personalities such as Wolfe Tone and Daniel O'Connell.
O'Halloran's History of Ireland was first published in Ireland in 1774 and his preface to William Dolby's publication is dated Limerick 12th January 1778. One of Limerick's most famous sons, O'Halloran was born at Caherdavin, Co. Limerick, the third son of Michael, a prosperous Catholic farmer. He was taught at an early age by his mother's cousin, the Gaelic poet and scholar Séan Claragh McDonnell and unusually during the Penal Era attended a school run by a Protestant clergyman. However, to further his education O'Halloran first went to London and then Leyden and Paris to continue his education where he studied under the anatomist and academician, Antoine Ferrin. Returning to Limerick in 1749 O'Halloran successfully practised ophthalmic surgery in Limerick until his death in 1807 establishing the Limerick Infirmary in 1760 and becoming a member and latterly a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and Royal Irish Academy.
Despite his success as a surgeon it is as an historian and defender of Gaelic Ireland that O'Halloran's name has been preserved for posterity. O'Halloran's interest in the arts began with his collection of Gaelic poetry manuscripts and this led to an interest in Irish history. From the early 1760s he became embroiled in a heated dispute over the validity and importance of pre-Norman Irish History, which many of the contemporary chroniclers had dismissed as a period of barbarism. Beginning with a public plea in 1763 to preserve the Irish Annals and a refutation of MacPherson's Ossian; Insula Sacra (1770) he went on to publish An introduction to the study of the Antiquities of Ireland (1770). In response to Thomas Leland's conservative History of Ireland (1773) he published his Ierne Defended (1774), which asserted the value of Irish manuscripts and continued his defence of pre-Norman Irish civilization with his A General History of Ireland (1774/5), which forms the first half of this publication.
Criticised in his own lifetime for being too sympathetic towards Gaelic Ireland, O'Halloran was immortalised shortly after his death (1807) in Maria Edgeworth's The Absentee, as the character of Count O'Halloran the 'tall thin doctor in his quaint French dress with his goldheaded cane, beautiful Parisian wig and cocked hat'. Republished here on fully-searchable CD-Rom, O'Halloran's History of Ireland down to 1171 coupled with William Dolby's History of Ireland from Henry II to the end of the 1840s is a monumental defence of Irish history and culture and one that should not be missed by anyone interested in Irish history and historiography, the first part of which rightly takes it place as one of the first refutations of Anglo-centric view of Ireland.
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