IRISH IDEAS

By William O'Brien

Page 139

THE IRISH AGE OF GOLD [1]

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THE Duke of Argyll was at the pains of writing a book to deride the superstition that there ever was a body corporate worthy of being called an Irish nation. The fun of the thing is that the Duke is himself a pure Irishman, not many centuries removed; and that the history of his own family is the best confutation of his thesis. His clan to this day converse in the self-same Irish tongue which their ancestors brought out of Antrim. The planting of the Highlands with Irish colonies is an historical fact, as well ascertained as the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth Rock. So powerful was the instinct which attached them to their ancestral State, that purely Celtic Scottish colonies re-transplanted themselves into Ulster, hundreds of years before King James's plantation; and Highland soldiers, led by the Duke's forbears, fought on the Irish side in all the last great rallies for the re-establishment of the Brehon institutions. A daughter of the house of Argyll was married to a rebel O'Donnell; a son led the troops of the Isles in the army of O'Neil. For all his pamphleteering, there is nothing in Inverary Castle which the Duke prizes so well as the family-tree which proves him to be the descendant of princes more genuinely Irish Nationalist than the Prince of Wales is genuinely ...continue reading »


[1] Published in the Speaker, September 2, 1893.

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