Cover of the book 'Ireland' by Frank Delaney.

Jonathan Swift and other Irish heroes

The novel ‘Ireland’ by Frank Delaney is a collection of stories about the history of Ireland. It contains all the important events. The conversion to Christianity by the Roman Scot St Patrick, the British invasion in the 12th century, big revolts as well as smaller ones, the Great Famine in the 19th century.

Myths also have their place. For example: Saint Patrick banning the snake from Ireland. And it includes an entertaining story on the invention of the harp, Ireland’s national symbol.

Funny anecdotes about famous artists. Such as the composer Handel, who finds the inspiration for his wonderful Messiah while visiting Dublin. Or the writer Jonathan Swift (Gulliver´s Travels) who, as a protestant head of church, manages to become immensely popular with the predominantly Catholic Irish people. Because of his generosity and explicit views on the British rule and oppression of the Catholics.

Naturally, heroes of Irish resistance also get their chapter. After many a military revolt, a lawyer named Daniel O’Connel started a non-violent mission in the first half of the 19th century. He managed to effectively mobilize public opinion. His meetings attracted enormous crowds – sometimes over 100,000 gathered.

He was elected to a seat in the English Parliament in 1828. Initially, he could not take his seat because this was forbidden by law. The law was changed because of him. He continued his campaign on equality for Catholics and Irish authority over their own country from within parliament. At that time, Catholics were banned from taking up practically any interesting post; they were hardly allowed to possess anything, and all Irish citizens were obliged to financially contribute to the Church of England. His spirited leadership achieved important results.

‘Ireland’ is a magnificent book about the rich history of Ireland. Related with passion and a good sense of humour. A pleasure to read.

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