This is the first English translation of an important seventeenth-century contention between two Irish clerics. The detail uncovered reveals much about Gaelic-Irish culture and society at this turbulent period in Irish history. The two clerics, Antonius Bruodinus and Thomas Carve, present an image of Ireland that was split between native Gaelic and Old-English culture and the influence of these two cultures on competing views about Ireland’s past.
The seventeenth century was a period of turmoil and upheaval in Ireland. The politics of religious identity were visceral, giving rise to controversies and bitter clashes. In 1671 the Irish Franciscan, Antonius Bruodinus (Antóin Mac Bruideadha; b. 1625, Clare — 7 May 1680 Prague), a former pupil of Luke Wadding in Rome, published Anatomicum Examen Enchiridii Apologetici, refuting the statements made by Fr Thomas Carve (‘Carew’, b. Tipperary, 1590; d.c. 1672 Vienna). Carve was from a family of Old-English allegiance whose previous works contain much of value on the Thirty Years War, he having been chaplain to Irish regiments fighting for the imperial Hapsburgs in central Europe. The intense exchange of views between the two clerics went to the core of many of the vexed controversies regarding identity, authority and legitimacy which characterised the debates of the time.
This is the first time that one of the main works that so explicitly focuses on culture and identity has been translated into English and treated to a detailed examination. In Culture, Contention and Identity in Seventeenth-Century Ireland, the editors provide a helpful apparatus to guide the modern reader through a myriad of arguments and retorts by the two protagonists, which reveal much information about life and politics in seventeenth-century Ireland. The book, which provides a critical edition of the text with facing translation, sheds new light on the viewpoints of Gaelic-Irish and Old-English alike, as well as the impact of the Cromwellian invasion on the country. In translating this heated exchange between the two clerics we come closer to grasping some of the pressing issues troubling Ireland’s population at the time.
Much new detail can be harvested concerning the activities of learned Gaelic families, Irish marriage customs, place names and much else besides.. The writings of these two clerics also provide a fascinating portrait of Irish clerics and their émigré networks at a time when the two traditions which each claimed to represent – Gaelic-Irish and Old-English – were being supplanted by a different élite in Ireland, the New-English.
Giacomo Fedeli is Lecturer in Classics & Ancient History at the University of Exeter, having previously conducted research at TCD. Luke McInerney is an independent scholar with a focus on the late medieval history of Gaelic Ireland and has published Clerical and learned lineages of medieval Co. Clare (Four Courts, 2014) among other works. Brian Ó Dálaigh is a former school principal and author of Ennis, Irish Historic Towns Atlas (RIA, 2012) and numerous other books on county Clare.