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Ireland and the Czech Lands

Contacts and Comparisons in History and Culture


Edited By Gerald Power and Ondrej Pilny

In recent years Irish scholars have become increasingly interested in Ireland’s profound and ongoing relationship with continental Europe. This volume is the first multidisciplinary collection of essays on Irish comparisons and contacts with the Czech Lands from the early modern period to contemporary times. Written by leading specialists and emerging scholars, the essays explore Irish-Czech exchanges and parallels in a variety of fields including history, politics, literature, theatre, journalism and physical education. Collectively, these essays demonstrate that Ireland and the Czech Lands have much in common and that they have enjoyed deep cultural connections: both countries are small European states with imperial pasts and a tradition of mutual migration and cultural transfer. Until now, however, Czech-Irish commonalities and connections have largely been overshadowed by both countries’ interactions with bigger, more powerful nations. This book remedies this neglect, offering new research which not only sheds light on Irish-Czech connections and contacts, but also offers new perspectives on the positions of both societies within the wider European context.


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Hedvika Kuchařová and Jan Pařez The Last Community: Irish Franciscans after the Dissolution of the


Prague College, 1786 The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries bore witness to very intensive contact between Ireland and Bohemia, especially as religious intolerance in Ireland encouraged many Irish Catholics to leave their native land for the Continent. One of the destinations of these exiles was Prague, the capital of the kingdom of Bohemia. Medical students completed their studies at the university in the city, and some settled thereafter in Bohemia; soldiers entered the service of the Habsburgs; and noble families joined the local aristocratic community. This essay is focused on one of the more inf luential of these Irish-Bohemian connections: the Irish Franciscans of the stricter observance (the friars minor), who for a time had their own college in the city. Although the Irish Franciscans’ role in Prague has already been well studied, less has been published on the dissolution of the college and especially on the careers of the monks after the dissolution, many of whom returned to Ireland. The present essay outlines the historical context per- taining to the Irish Franciscan college; it then discusses the complications and dif ficulties associated with tracing the careers of individual friars; and finally, it explores the diverse fates of the members of the last community. Historical Background Irish Franciscans began to move to Bohemia from 1629, having received permission from the archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Ernest Harrach, and Emperor Ferdinand II to settle and work in the city. The Prague College 86 Hedvika Kuchařová and Jan Pařez of the Immaculate...

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