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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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Martina Power From Indirect to Direct Comparison: Bohemian-Irish Analogies in German and British T


ravel Writing, c. 1750–1850 The German professional travel writer Johann Georg Kohl visited both Ireland and Bohemia in the 1840s. In his travelogue about the British Isles from 1844 he stated that: From all examples of the Celtic and Slavic opposition against the Germanic tribe, such as the Basques against Spain, the people of Brittany and Vendée against France, the Poles in Poznań against Prussia, the Wends against Saxony, the Welsh against England, the Highlands Scots against the Lowland Scots, the Irish against Great Britain and the Czechs against Austria, none are so much alike and yet so dif ferent as the last two, so that one cannot resist to draw a comparison.1 The temptation to compare Ireland and Bohemia was so irresistible that Kohl dedicated a whole chapter to a description of the historic, social and cultural development of both countries. He noted that they were of a similar geographical size, and were both inhabited by defeated native populations: the ‘Celtic Gaels’ [celtische Gälen] and the ‘Slavic Czechs’ 1 ‘Von allen den von uns aufgezählten Fällen celtischer und slavischer Opposition gegen den germanischen Stamm – der Basken gegen Spanien, der Bretagner mit den Vendeern gegen Frankreich, der posener Polen gegen Preußen, der Wenden gegen die Sachsen, der Wälschen gegen England, der Hochschotten gegen die Niederschotten, der Irländer gegen Großbritannien, der Böhmen gegen Oesterreich – gleichen sich keine so sehr, als die beiden zuletzt genannten, und doch sind sie wiederum so verscheiden,...

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