Imeacht na nIarlai Edited by David Finnegan, Eamonn O Ciardha and Marie-Claire Peters. GUILDHALL PRESS, Derry. Dec 2010. £40.00 Stg. 300 pp h/b.
Reviewed by Donal Kennedy.
This handsomely presented, beautifully illustrated collection of thirty-five essays by as many scholars provides a kaleidoscopic tour of the causes, course, contexts and c onsequences of the 1607 “Flight” and of its commemoration in different times and media.
The scholars, based in Ireland, England,Scotland,Spain, Germany and the United States draw on contemporary (17th Century) sources, in prose, poetry and drama, in various languages, including Irish, the language of most Irish people, learned and unlearned of the time. Six of the thirty-five essays are in Irish, attesting to its continuing use amongst the learned, and thisless learned reviewer was delighted he could cope with them with a little help from a dictionary.
The “Flight” say the Editors, “was an event of historical importance, difficult to overstate.” Four hundred years after the event, in 2007, a major international conference was held at the scene of the event, Tir Conaill/Donegal, and the collection under review is a fruit of that conference.
It is a fruit I devoured with pleasure and I would recommend the volume to those who, like Macaulay's Universal Schoolboy, know, or think they know, all about the Earls, their Plight and their Flight. I would recommend it also to the greater, more modest and honest public who admit to knowing little or nothing of the story but should enjoy reading all about them.