Longford Essays in County History


‘A very valuable addition to our understanding of one county… any native of the county or anybody interested in history generally will find that it illuminates a hidden corner of the past.’
– Stephen Collins, The Sunday Press

Longford, Essays in County History is the first full-scale study of the county since 1886, in which eight leading historians combine to examine the issues of land, religion and politics from the seventeenth century to the present.

Related aspects of the origins and development of Longford – social, political, religious, cultural and economic – come under scrutiny: Raymond Gillespie writes about the survival of the O’Farrell sept in the seventeenth century; James Kelly looks at the role of the Catholic church in the diocese of Ardagh between 1650 and 1870; Liam Kennedy and Kerby Miller sound the ‘long retreat’ of Protestant ascendancy between 1660 and 1926.

In more closely focused pieces, Tom Dunne describes ‘Edgeworthstown in Fact and Fiction, 1760-1840’, Fergus O’Ferrall ‘The Emergence of the Political Community in Longford, 1824-29’, Desmond McCabe ‘Crown Prosecution and Jury Trial at Longford Assizes, 1830-45’, and Gerard Moran ‘Politics and Electioneering in County Longford, 1868-80’.

The editors draw these disparate themes into twentieth-century perspective, suggesting potential for the fruitful interchange of national and regional histories. The book concludes with ‘Documents in Longford History’- valuable source material for reader and local historian – from the hitherto unpublished 1682 ‘Description of the County of Longford’ by Nicholas Dowdall, to Arthur Young’s 1776 Tour, Samuel Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of 1837 and the Irish Catholic Directory for 1842.

This important body of work brings scholarly judgment and recent research to bear on Ireland’s ‘forgotten county’. It will stimulate those concerned with the traditions and heritage of the north midlands, and be of enduring interest to all natives of Longford at home and abroad.

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