Four independent but interlocking essays revolving around the 1790s, arguably the pivotal decade in the evolution of modern Ireland.
Gives a deeper understanding of a period which aimed at the prospect of a non-sectarian, democratic and inclusive political system. Dispells the myths which have lingered far too long in Irish history. Themes discussed here have repercussions for current political and cultural debates.
If the 1790s can be seen as the pivotal decade in the evolution of modern Ireland, then an understanding of it is not just of scholarly interest, but has repercussions for current political and cultural debates. It is precisely because of that enduring relevance that the 1790s has never passed out of the heat of politics into the shadier groves of history. These essays look again at the window of opportunity which beckoned a non-sectarian, democratic and inclusive politics, which could adequately represent the Irish people in all their inherited complexities. These four new essays by this gifted and authoratitive writer explains why that project remains uncompleted. Understanding the reasons for its momentous defeat in the 1790s can help us in ensuring that history does not repeat itself in the 1990s. Relieved of the disabling jungle of confused meanings, the 1790s cease to be divisive. As the bicentenary of 1798 approaches, the creation of an unconstructed approach to all that it symbolises becomes both desirable and necessary.