Vol. 13: Mac Craith, Mícheál.

Type: Review Article

Mac Craith, Mícheál. ‘Breandán Ó Buachalla, Aisling Ghéar’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 13 (1998), pp 166-71.

This is a review (in English) of a major work on Irish Jacobitism – described by Mac Craith as a work of deep scholarship and of meticulous research, “a labour of love which has taken the best part of twenty years” — currently available only in Irish. Non Irish-speakers have consistently underestimated the importance of the evidence of Jacobitism provided by poetry in Irish. “While in the English-speaking world, Jacobite ideology, rhetoric and propaganda is contained in a wide variety of sources, varying from broadsides to sermons and political tracts, from medallions and glassware to street demonstrations and effigies, poetry was the sole medium for the expression of Jacobite sentiment in the Gaelic-speaking world”. Thus Gaelic poetry is the key resource for the study of Irish Jacobitism and, as Mac Craith notes, Ó Buachalla quotes from 646 poems from Gaelic Ireland and Gaelic Scotland, many of them unpublished, in the course of this magisterial work. Mac Craith elaborates on the content, argument and significance of each section of Ó Buachalla’s book – a particularly useful aspect of the review from the point of view of non-Irish speaking scholars – and concludes that “no serious scholar of Jacobitism in these islands can afford to ignore the evidence provided by Gaelic literature. Breandán Ó Buachalla has placed us all in his debt.”