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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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Lili Zách Irish Intellectuals and Independent Czechoslovakia in the Interwar Period: Reflections i


Lili Zách Irish Intellectuals and Independent Czechoslovakia in the Interwar Period: Ref lections in Catholic Journals Despite the generally isolationist policies of the Free State government, the interwar period featured significant interest on the part of Irish intel- lectuals in the wider world, including newly independent Czechoslovakia. Amongst these were the staunch Catholic scholar and politician John Marcus O’Sullivan1 and the academic and politician Michael Tierney, who had both been educated on the Continent, and were particularly receptive to international news and inf luences.2 Furthermore, in addition to Catholic journals and diplomats, the Irish press in general indicated an Irish interest in Czechoslovakia.3 More generally, the Irish government itself was in the process of establishing links with various countries after 1 See, for instance, John Marcus O’Sullivan, ‘The League of Nations of a Century Ago’, Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review 8/32 (December 1919), 565–79. 2 Bryan Fanning has observed that the founders of Studies, for instance, had been educated outside Ireland. Bryan Fanning, The Quest for Modern Ireland: The Battle of Ideas, 1912–1986 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2008), 67. 3 Significant interest was evident particularly in the Tuam Herald and the Irish Times, whose editors, Richard John Kelly and Robert M. Smyllie respectively, had personal interests in Czechoslovakia. R. M. Smyllie was on friendly terms with two Czechoslovak consuls, Pavel Růžička and Karel Košťál, both crucial figures in strengthening Czechoslovak-Irish ties between the two World Wars. On this issue, and regarding wider Irish-Czech cultural...

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