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Irish Education and Catholic Emancipation, 1791–1831

The Campaigns of Bishop Doyle and Daniel O’Connell

Brian Fleming

The restrictions applied to Catholics in the early eighteenth century to curtail their political and economic power in Ireland were gradually removed by the British government in response to changing circumstances. By 1800 the remaining restrictions related to membership of Parliament and a few senior judicial positions. The removal of these, while important symbolically, could have direct implications for very few people, given the limited franchise. Yet the campaign for their abolition, known as Catholic emancipation, presented successive British governments with serious problems and led to one prime ministerial resignation, one government collapse and many crises.

How did Daniel O’Connell use this situation to create a successful mass movement, broadening the emancipation campaign to include the issue of education? How did the area of educational provision become a sectarian battleground, and what part did Bishop James Doyle play in forcing a reluctant government to become involved in setting up a state-run education system, a highly unusual step at the time? Does his vision have a message for us now, when school patronage is such a contested issue in Ireland? This book provides an intriguing new perspective on a critical period in Irish history.

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Books, Book Chapters, Pamphlets and Journals Akenson, D. H., The Irish Education Experiment (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970). Bamford, Francis, and the Duke of Wellington (eds), The Journal of Mrs Arbuthnot, 2 vols (London: Macmillan & Co., 1950). Beckett, J. C., The Making of Modern Ireland, 1603–1923 (London: Faber & Faber, 1966). Bowen, Desmond, The Protestant Crusade in Ireland, 1800–1870 (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1978). Brock, Michael, The Great Reform Act (London: Hutchinson University Library, 1973). Burke, Edmund, Letter to Sir Hecules Langrishe (Dublin: P. Byrne, 1792). Cloncurry, Valentine, Personal Recollections of the Life and Times of Valentine Lord Cloncurry (Dublin: McGlashan, 1849). Connolly, S. J., ‘The Catholic Question, 1801–12’, in W. E. Vaughan (ed.), A New His- tory of Ireland, vol. v (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006). Coolahan, John, Irish Education: Its History and Structure (Dublin: IPA, 1981). —— ‘Primary Education as a Political Issue in O’Connell’s Time’, in M. R. O’Connell (ed.), O’Connell: Education, Church and State (Dublin: IPA, 1992). Corcoran, Timothy, State Policy in Irish Education, 1536–1816 (Dublin: Fallon Bros, 1916). Cruise O’Brien, Conor, The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography of Edmund Burke (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992). Doyle, James (‘J. K. L.’), An Essay on the Catholic Claims (Dublin: Richard Coyne, 1826). —— Letter to Daniel O’Connell, Esq., on the Formation of a National Literary Insti- tute for the Extension of Science to All Classes of Irish Youth (Dublin: Richard Coyne, 1829). —— Letters on the State of Education in Ireland: and on Bible Societies Addressed to a Friend in England...

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