Historical Irish Biographies
Whether you're looking for a biography about a famous Irishman or a history buff, there are several excellent books that will satisfy your need for Irish history. If you're interested in a particular person or a particular time period, you'll find a book review on Thomas Cromwell's life below. Other books you may want to read include The Box, Partorisca, and Oswald.
Book review of Thomas Cromwell
Professor G.R. Elton's Book Review of Thomas Cromwell is a must-read for anyone interested in the rise and fall of the English king, the chief adviser to King Henry VIII. Cromwell was executed in 1540, accused of heresy and treason, but he has since been resurrected by historical fiction writers as a blank canvas. But, if you're an historian, reading this book will probably come as a challenge, so be warned.
Mantel's Thomas Cromwell has a lot of similarities to Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, which is a hit musical about a self-made man. Like Hamilton, Cromwell escaped from his abusive father as a young man, travelled through Europe as a merchant, spy, and soldier, then returned to England as a lawyer. Though he is surrounded by aristocrats and the rich, he understands that true power is with the banks.
A good book review should include a summary of the major aspects of Cromwell's life. His political and religious ambitions are fascinating, and MacCulloch paints a virtuoso portrait of the man who became the ruler of England. MacCulloch discusses Cromwell's relationships with Thomas Wolsey and Anne Boleyn. He also shows Cromwell's involvement in the dissolution of monasteries, and his secret support of the English Bible. The book also examines his interests in the regulation of waterworks and weirs.
The book's writing style is also impressive. MacCulloch's diction and style are less oblique, and his descriptions of Cromwell's relationships are clear and readable. His historical analysis of the era's key players is well done, and it highlights MacCulloch's pleasure in researching the king. It is a good book to recommend to anyone who is interested in Cromwell's life.
Oswald is one of the most influential figures in Irish history, and his story is told in numerous historical Irish biographies. He was born in Ireland in the 7th century and became the overking of at least North Britain. At the battle of Degsastan in 604, he and his brothers and sisters were exiled. The subsequent king of Dalriada, Eochaid mac Aedan, took them in, but the king's sons and daughters were exiled to the island of Iona. In later life, they converted to Christianity and served as missionaries in Ireland.
Oswald's life and work are well-documented in Irish historical biographies. He was the son of an architect who died when Donn was a very young boy. The young Donn was a natural-born Irish speaker, and the family moved to Forkhill when he was a teenager. He grew up speaking both Irish and English, and was fluent in both languages.
Oswald joined the Royal Society in 1756. His father was a wealthy merchant, and he and his brothers bought Dunnikier in 1703. He was also an independent interest holder in Dysart Burghs, and joined the Pelham Administration in 1751. His role as an Irish politician and businessman was far from his most notable accomplishment. He had a remarkable career as an MP, and he remained in the House for over a decade.
In addition to his role in Irish history, Oswald Mosley became the youngest member of the House of Commons in 1918. He was only 22 years old when he was elected. He was the Conservative MP for Harrow. He also served in the Royal Flying Corps and 16th Lancers in the First World War. Afterwards, he had worked in the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Munitions.
ODNB (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography) is a leading biographical reference work in Ireland. It includes detailed biographies of notable Irish people from ancient times to the twenty-first century, including figures from the Gaelic and Irish language backgrounds. ODNB's 500 entries include mythological Oisin, P.S. Dinneen, Peadar O Laoghaire, Padraic O Conaire, Sean O Riordain, and Turlough O'Carlan.
Unlike most biographies on Irish subjects, McKenna's entry on Eriugena contains a discordant note in English. She gives Irish background to Edmund Burke, James Barry, Oscar Wilde, and Mary Queen of Scots. She even mentions that Irish people were "as tame as cats" and that the London Irish used to show their dead cats on Castlereagh's hearse.
However, there are a few flaws in the Box. While the dictionary's entries are generally accurate, the entries on Irish people contain numerous spelling and grammar errors. For example, Peter Burrowes was a United Irishman in 1790 instead of a Presbyterian minister. James Nowlan, a GAA administrator, is not listed, despite the fact that Kilkenny's Nowlan Park is named after him.
In addition to biographies of Irish people, ODNB also includes a list of the British-born clergymen, politicians, and administrators. ODNB also lists the lord lieutenants of Ireland from 1640 to 1922, which includes almost all entries. There's even a list of Saints. And if you want to get specific, the ODNB online edition is the way to go.
Many women are underrepresented in Irish history. For example, Mary Butters, known as the Carnmoney witch, is omitted from the 1916 census. She is also absent from the 1918 census. Countess Markievicz, Anna Johnston, and Alice Milligan were the first women in the Parliament. Sarah Curran, however, does not make the cut. If you're interested in learning more about Irish women, I highly recommend The Box of Historical Irish Biographies!
The Irish-language Encyclopedia of Biography is one of the most authoritative reference works on the country's history. Published by the Royal Irish Academy, it features over 11,000 biographies on prominent Irish figures from earliest times to the present. Volumes 10 and 11 of the Dictionary contain extensive biographical articles on a wide range of Irish figures. It is updated regularly with new biographies and obituaries, including the life and times of missing persons.
A biographical work is a comprehensive record of a person's life. It can include details about a person's childhood, marriage, and children, but some of the information contained in a biography is erroneous or incomplete. The first edition of this work, published in 1937, has a biographical entry for each of the 352 Patricks and many Irish figures between A.D. 350 and 1970.
A biographer has written a new biography of the political activist Thomas Paisley. Although an influential and controversial figure in Northern Ireland politics, Paisley is often overlooked by historians. His life and legacy are a testament to the resilience of the Irish people. His exemplary leadership has inspired political leaders from many countries to stand up for what's right. In addition to his achievements as a politician, Paisley also contributed to peace in Northern Ireland.
The author's powerful oratory style reflects a tradition of protestant tent-meetings and street preaching. Paisley's physical presence also lent itself to his impact. At six feet five inches tall, Paisley continued to fill out physically as he age. Critic Tom Paulin referred to Paisley as 'the big man', suggesting that his image was drawn from prehistoric giant preachers. However, Paisley's larger-than-life image may be the result of fundamentalism, not a tradition of Protestantism.
Paisley's politics were marked by tensions between protestant and Catholic socialisation patterns. His ministerial role was in working class East Belfast, which was a hub for heavy industry in the late 1940s. In East Belfast, the movement of thousands of workers made him a visible sight in the city. Paisley's magnetic appeal was also noted among some female congregants. The clergyman was a controversial figure in East Belfast, where he cultivated relationships with both unionist and catholic leaders.
While Paisley was not personally involved in the mob attacks that marked the outbreak of the Troubles, he remained a popular figure. In fact, many of the rioters were supporters and associates of Paisley. However, Paisley later disowned John McKeague when his homosexuality became public knowledge. In addition to urging the British government to take tough action against the republican threat, Paisley accused the British state of betraying Ulster.