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Irish History Paper Proposal

Written by Colin Maguire.

Irish history is, at times, inexorably intertwined with British invasion and intrigue. As my preliminary research has suggested, this holds true for my descendants. The mighty Maguire’s of Fermanagh County in West Ulster were a powerful clan in Ireland. They were landed nobles and staunch Catholics. Not surprisingly, this led them to direct conflict with British forces, as well as other Irish clans. With their stronghold of Enniskillen Castle, they presented problems to conquerors dating back to the Normans.

However, a single clan could not hold off the advances of Britain forever. Indeed, Enniskillen was taken by the British in 1594. One might have seen this as a striking blow to Maguire resistance to the English invaders; but this is not the case. Rather, this event kicked off a century of intense resistance and bloody warfare. The subsequent wars of religion and the Willamite War also featured strong Maguire participation. Surely, much of Ireland was consumed by these conflicts. However, the Maguire’s had a special position during these conflicts. As lords in Ulster, they were at ground zero for many of the largest clashes with British forces. It also appears that, unlike many Irish during this time, they had some degree of success in resisting the British.

My paper will explore Maguire resistance from the Nine Years War to the end of the Willamite War. I will explore the larger political and military situation in Ireland and then focus on what the Maguire’s were doing at the same time. If my preliminary research is correct, and I certainly hope it is, I believe it will be found that the Maguire Clan was a major thorn in the side of the British. This seems to have been the long standing position of many in West Ulster and the Maguire’s were a major clan in that region.

One facet of this paper makes it extremely interesting and fun. That would be the fact that I am going to Enniskillen Castle as part of a spring break trip to Ireland. Here, I intend to round out my research. Though it is not clear to me how the citations for this might go, I intend to take meticulous notes at the Castle Museum and hopefully interview the curator. This is not to say that I have not already found materials. In fact, there are already nine texts and more articles to come that have explicit mention of Maguire of Enniskillen Castle during the period I am writing.

I feel confident that I will be able to provide a solid paper. I believe that there are plenty of research materials available for a paper of the required length. If not, information that I gather from Enniskillen Castle will easily suffice. The study of Maguire resistance to British invasion from 1594 to 1691 may not be of interest to many in at Kenyon College. However, it holds great importance to me as I prepare for my first trip to Ireland and begin to understand the legacy of my family. With this in depth knowledge, I will be able to create a complete and rewarding narrative that my family might be able to enjoy for generations.

Annotated Bibliography

Bartlett, Thomas and Jeffrey, Keith. A Military History of Ireland. Cambridge Press, 1996.
An in depth military history of battles in Irish History. It contains political and tactical details about all the battles relevant to my paper.

Curtis, Edmund. A History of Ireland. London : Methuen and Company, 1936.
A general overview of Irish History. An older text that I expect will give a different view than Ranelagh.

Dickson, David. New Foundations: Ireland 1660-1800. Dublin : Irish Academic Press, 2000.
This in class text has proven a solid reference for the events in the latter half of the paper. Here, the political and military situations in both Ireland and England are explored.

Doherty, Richard. The Willamite War in Ireland 1688-1691. Dublin : Four Court Press, 1998.
A complete account of the Willamite War, with several mentions of Maguire’s and Enniskillen.

Lenihan, Padraig. 1690: Battle of the Boyne. Gloucestershire, UK : Tempus, 2003.
An in depth of the notorious battle that where the Jacobites suffered a bitter defeat.

Ohlymeyer, Jane. Ireland from Independence to Occupation 1641-66. Cambridge Press, 1995.
A book that recounts a period before occupation in 1660, a vital bridge in my research.

Ranelagh, John. A Short History of Ireland. Cambridge Press, 1999.
A self described book that has several mentions of events central to my paper. There are also useful maps.

Tanner, Marcus. Ireland ‘s Holy Wars 1500-2000. London : Yale University Press, 2001.
An extremely useful guide about wars that include struggles with Anglicans.