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One True Catholic

One True Catholic

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Michael Conneely. Originally submitted for Law and Arts (History Honours) , with lecturer Gerard Moran in the category of Historical Studies & Archaeology
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Michael Conneely. Originally submitted for Law and Arts (History Honours) , with lecturer Gerard Moran in the category of Historical Studies & Archaeology

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 30, 2012
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04/08/2014

 
1
One True Catholic
AbstractThis essay deals with the lasting influence of Daniel O’Connell and his contributiontowards the intermixing of radical nationalism and the Roman Catholic faith. It waswritten as part of a course on Modern Irish History. The essay uses a wide range of bothprimary and secondary sources to demonstrate the beliefs of Daniel O’Connell and whathis priorities were for Ireland and her Catholic population.Through the use of William Cooke Taylor’s
 Reminiscences of Daniel O’Connell
, whichwas written within days after the death of O’Connell, the essay shows how O’Connellvalued the connection of Ireland with Great Britain, and wished never to sever this tie,save by repealing the Act of Union, which he felt was doing more damage to connectionthan strengthening it. This source also provides an excellent critique of the 1798Rebellion and how Catholics were involved in it.With Taylors account, supported by Roberts Kee’s research, the essay holds that Catholicparticipation in the Revolution was not the result of campaign that was backed by theunity of both Catholics and Protestants. More so it was a Rebellion that was planned bythe largely Protestant and middle class United Irishmen, and that the only truly Catholicaspect of the Rebellion was the Catholic participation that acted on its own instigationrather than from the direction of the United Irishmen.The essay compares the development of nationalism in Ireland, in how it differed from itsEuropean counterparts and what O’Connell contributed to its development. Through theuse of other articles, such one by Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, O’Connell views on Irish cultureare evaluated. It is concluded that while O’Connell acknowledged that some aspects of 
 
2Irish culture were on the decline, namely the Irish language, he felt there was noobligation on behalf of the Irish people to revive them. This contrasted with the Romanticbeliefs of the Young Irelanders and this difference led to the division of O’Connell fromthe Young Irelanders, and partly prevented the formation of an effective Repeal Party.The essay however stresses again O’Connell beliefs in the connection between Britainand how this contributed to the prevention, as well as his reliance on the support of themasses rather than political parties to achieve his goals, as he had done for CatholicEmancipation.
 
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One True Catholic
“One true Catholic, without a weapon,Would banish legions from Slieve na Mon”
1
 “Few who have acted with him have not also acted against him…”
William Cooke Taylor on O’Connell- June 8
th
, 1847
2
 Daniel O’Connell has held a lasting effect over Irish Nationalism and itrelationship with Catholicism. The nature of political life he had engaged in Ireland, wasone where every interest was engaged on an attempt to rescue something from thewreckage of the 1798 rebellion and the consequential Act of Union of 1880 which was “adefeat for almost everyone and a victory for almost nobody at all”
3
. Daniel O’Connell’sinfluence in the years after delivered a form of nationalism that was a curious blend of conservative Catholicism and political radicalism
4
. The Devotional Revolution of 1850-1875, which confirmed the co-existence of Irish Nationalism and Catholicism, was the joint result of the Famine and O’Connell’s impact
5
. O’Connell’s nonviolent efforts hadfundamentally delivered a nationalist movement that could hardly be identified withoutthe Catholic faith that had become the core of its identity.
1
Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh. “Gaelic Ireland, Popular Politics and Daniel O’Connell” in
Galway Archaeological& Historical Society
XXXIV (Middlesex, 1974/1975), pp 31.
2
William Cooke Taylor.
 Reminiscences of Daniel O’Connell.
University College Press. (Dublin; 2004). p.3
3
K. Theodore Hoppen.
 Ireland since 1800: Conflict and Conformity.
 
Second Edition.
(Essex, 1999). p.11
4
Ibid P35
5
Emmet Larkin. ‘The Devotional Revolution in Ireland, 1850-75’ in
The American Historical Review.
 LXXVII, (1972). pp.649-651

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