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The Irish to the Rescue

The Tercentenary of the Polish Princess Clementina’s Escape

Edited By Richard Maher

In May 1719, the rescue and escape of Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska from her detention in Innsbruck was celebrated throughout Catholic Europe. It was a feat of painstaking planning, daring execution, and steel-nerved improvisation. Masterminded by Kildareman Charles Wogan, he and his Irish and French companions influenced the course of international relations, shocking King George I’s government in London, and providing a much-needed boon to the followers of the exiled Stuart claimant, James Stuart III.

This unique collection of essays does not merely recount the factual story of Maria Clementina’s rescue and subsequent marriage, it provides for the first time in any publication an authoritative analysis of its political and cultural significance and the full historical context in which the event took place. A full image of Europe at the time of the rescue is sketched out, including such topics as the question of the Irish in Europe in the eighteenth century; the illustrious Sobieski family and their origins; a short account of the rescue itself; the fate of Charles Wogan and

his followers after the rescue; the Habsburg-Hanoverian alliance and its context; the marriage of James Stuart III and Maria Clementina Sobieska; details of the collection of Stuart artefacts housed at Trinity College Dublin; and contemporary musical compositions which were written and dedicated to Maria Clementina.

This book is a follow-on publication from a public seminar titled The Irish the Rescue: The Tercentenary of the Polish Princess Clementina’s Escape. The seminar was held at Europe House in Dublin on 30th April 2019.

The seminar and the publication of its proceedings have been generously sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ireland and the Embassy of France in Ireland.

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1 Irish Jacobite Military Exiles in Europe, 1691–1748 (Éamonn Ó Ciardha)

ÉAMONN Ó CIARDHA

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Sustained, widespread traffic to Europe has characterised Ireland’s migration experience over 1,500 years. Close links with the Holy See and Europe’s great universities, religious institutions and organisations, the English crown’s extensive continental possessions and a lucrative trade in fish, wine and wool across the Irish Sea and English Channel accounts for much of this early exchange. The Reformation, Counter-Reformation and English Re-Conquest of Ireland (1534–1603) boosted this footfall; furthermore, the three wars which book-ended, bisected and defined seventeenth-century Ireland forced thousands of de-mobbed soldiers and exiled or ruined aristocrats, gentry and husbandmen into the meat-grinder of Europe’s incessant, intensive confessional, dynastic and colonial conflicts. In the decades after the ‘Glorious Revolution’ (1688), thousands of Irish Jacobites (supporters of the exiled House of Stuart) found themselves scattered across Western Europe, where they would play a prominent role in society, including banking, the church, education, trade and, particularly soldiering.1

This brief reappraisal will discuss some recent developments in early modern Irish military history and historiography and explore issues of identity and ideology through the letters, life-stories, literary relics and memoirs of these exiled Irish Jacobites. It will re-examine something of their lives, social networks and links with their former patrimony, while scrutinising their political, military and cultural milieu, as well as their attitudes towards their exiled king and native patrimony. Furthermore, it will explore how this expatriate community remained in contact with Ireland and functioned as a military, political, diplomatic, and cultural group; how they organised...

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