This is a strikingly original book. All revolutionary movements since 1789 have looked instinctively to the French model.
However, it was not the French Revolutionary tradition that influenced Ireland but rather that Catholic, royalist, anti-republican tradition in France which was very strong throughout the 19th Century and reached its apogee at the time of the Dreyfus affair.
There were many such French reactionary influences bearing on the generation that made the Irish Revolution, not the least of which were the French teaching orders such as the Holy Ghost Fathers. The version of modern history they promoted was deeply hostile to the French Revolution and to secular republicanism. The events before, during and after Easter 1916 were therefore part of a reaction against modernism and secularism.
Yet by a semantic irony, it came to be called republican. It was never republican in any sense that a continental European would understand. It was, in fact, informed by a reactionary clericalism that sat very comfortably with the actual nature of Irish society.
|Publication date||20 Dec 2010|