DES KEENAN'S BOOKS ON IRISH HISTORY online version

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WELCOME TO THESE CHALLENGING AND REVISIONIST STUDIES OF IRISH HISTORY

 

 

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Author My Name is Desmond Keenan, Ph.D. in economics and sociology especially in their historical aspects. My doctoral thesis (not included in this website) was on the sociological aspects of the Catholic Church in nineteenth century. This required the systematic study of a church as a sociological body and the description of its various parts and their inter-relation and interaction as in any other sociological body. Research on my thesis gave me the first indications of the distortions which the politics of Nationalism imposed on the writing of Irish history. It is my aim in these books to remove these distortions and to present a fair and complete picture.

    Some broad conclusions can be drawn from these studies. Ireland was not an oppressed, or occupied country. Neither was it a colony. It was an equal partner in the United Kingdom just as the individual states are equal partners in the United States. Seeking independence from the United Kingdom was equivalent to an individual state seeking independence from the United States. Ireland was not a backward country, still less one whose economic growth was being retarded. The struggle for independence was a struggle to gain control of the rackets, and it closely resembled the contemporary struggle of Irish Catholics of Tammany Hall to control the rackets.. The favourite weapon of the Irish Catholics was a brutal terrorist campaign aimed chiefly at civilians and was no different from present-day terrorist campaigns. In the early 20th century racist-fascist ideology gripped Irish Catholics just as it did many people in Germany. Racist fascism was an ideology which could never unite Irish people of all religions.

           

After Nine-Eleven a healthy scepticism has grown up with regard to self-claimed freedom fighters who indulge in terrorist activities.  It is recognised that Sinn Fein/IRA is one of the  Far-Right parties that are re-appearing in Europe. People  want to learn the actual facts and not just get a re-hash of old propagandas. Nobody nowadays would accept Nazi propaganda as German history or Bolshevik propaganda as Russian history. Was Sinn Fein and the IRA carrying out a genuine struggle for freedom from oppression, or just carrying on a grubby campaign to control the rackets after the fashion of Tammany Hall?

 It is hoped that students everywhere in the world will consult these for I have attempted to give full and impartial accounts of what actually happened in Ireland and what life in Ireland for the vast majority of the people was really like. Far from being an oppressed country, Ireland was one of the leading technological countries in the world. The only reason therefore for the continuing political and terrorist struggles was to control the rackets.

Ireland was one of the leading industrial countries in the world at the time. The greatest single achievement of Ireland in the 19th and 20th centuries was the building of the mighty, but ill-fated Titanic. The ship was not created in a vacuum but was the product of numerous trades developed to the highest standards in the world. The wireless which alerted the world to the tragedy had an intimate connection with Ireland, for Marconi used Ireland as his base for attempting trans-Atlantic communications. A few years after the flight of the Wright Brothers, Harry Ferguson, who later was world-famous for his tractors, was building his own plane. Ireland's participation in the First World War alongside Britain and the United States is rarely given the treatment it deserves. 

Far from being an oppressed country, Ireland was one of the leading technological countries in the world. The only reason therefore for the continuing political and terrorist struggles was to control the rackets.

 

 

To re-interpret history it is necessary to have a new point of view. Traditionally, the perspective for writing Irish history was a racist one, based on a theory of races and race-struggles. The classical example of this kind of history is Hitlerís Mein Kampf, and this is now utterly discredited. Some attempts were made in the second half of the twentieth century to use Marxism as an alternative framework. This too has been discredited.

            My perspective, for what it is worth is a combination of Diffusionism and Structural-Functionalism without being tied too closely to either. Irish society is conceived  as a structure with interdependent parts each with its own function. The actual structures and functions are mostly derived from abroad through the diffusion of ideas. Few people will have much difficulty with this concept. Language, for example, and religion and the art of writing were imported from abroad. This contrasts with the racial theory that they flowed from the native genius of the race with each different race developing and progressing through different stages at its own pace.

            In The True Origins of Irish Society the various culture from which different elements were derived are sketched in some detail. In general it may be said that any given feature reached Ireland within a hundred years of it reaching Britain. There were no large-scale migrations of races, though small numbers of ruling or warrior families probably crossed the Irish Sea. Large scale migrations of populations did not antedate the invention of steam transport.

 

Structure and Navigation of this Site

The structure of this site is a simple pyramidal one. At the top of this page, the Home Page, there is a set of buttons  of the six books which the site contains. From every chapter in each book one can return directly to this page. When one clicks on a book  the Home Page of that book comes up. Click on Contents and the individual chapters are brought up. Within each book one can go from chapter to chapter of that book or return to the Home Page of the Book or the Home Page of the site. Each chapter is divided into section marked by hyperlinks. To return to the top of the page click on Top. Alternatively, click on the icons of the individual books below to go directly to that book. Clicking on the Topics below leads to the relevant chapter.

 

 Topics of Particular  Interest

         The Irish Government      The Irish Armed Forces   The Courts of Law    The Royal Irish Constabulary    Local Government

        Ireland and the First World War  The Great Famine I    The Great Famine II    The Catholic Association    The Veto and the Quarantotti Rescript    The Orange Order     Daniel O'Connell and Repeal     Home Rule and the Land League  The IRA Terrorist Campaign 1919-1921

Shipbuilding and Linen Manufacture      Agriculture         The Co-operative Movement    Transport and Communications

Education     Education-The Kildare Place Society and the National Board    The Queen's University    Health and Medicine

 Irish Newspapers    The Irish Literary Theatre (Abbey Theatre)    Sport and Recreation    Irish Scientists    Women's Issues

Neolithic Ireland    Social Structure of Ancient Ireland    The Irish Church in the 6th Century    Church Reform in the 12th Century

The Coming of the Normans

 

 

 

 

 

The Individual Books

Ireland 1850-1920 which deals with the political history of the post-Famine period leading up to 'Independence'. This is the period about which most people have strong beliefs, but they are not likely to get much support for their beliefs from this book. It provides a radical new perspectives and completely blows away the nationalist republican and loyalist propaganda versions of Irish history which have torn Ireland apart. Many people will not like to see their favourite dreams shattered, but they will be if they examine the evidence here presented.  Members of the Land League, of the Home Rule Party, of the republican separatist movement, and the IRA do not do well in this re-evaluation, while Protestants, especially those of the Established Church do better. The 'Easter Rising' can only be compared with an attempted Fascist putsch.

 

 

The Grail of Catholic Emancipation. The traditional story of how Daniel O'Connell, aided by the Catholic priests, broke the power of the so-called 'Protestant Ascendancy' was very far from being the truth. But it was the version put about by O'Connell and those priests who supported him for their own purposes. One person indeed at the time said the Emancipation was achieved despite O'Connell's efforts. Though this was an exaggeration it reflected the enormous antagonism towards Catholics he engendered among many Protestants who might have supported Emancipation. But that was only part of the story which was played out against the background of the Napoleonic Wars and the struggle between Napoleon and the Pope the effects of which reached as far as the dioceses of Baltimore and New York in the United States.

 

 

  Pre-Famine Ireland: Social Structure deals with the sociological and economic aspects of the period,. The material in the first book was broken down into central and local government, the judicial system, the police, the economy under the headings of agriculture, transport, industry, the financial system, and so on. Also religion, education, health and medicine, and leisure and recreation.

    It is not possible to understand political events unless one has a proper knowledge of a lot of other factors, access to education, access to wealth, access to justice, access to office, for example. Therefore it is necessary to study these matters in detail.

 

 

Ireland 1800-1850 recounts the various political and other developments decade by decade. and  dealing with the political events. This period was usually not covered in detain by nationalist historians, for apart from the Famine there was little in it that was useful for their propaganda. For the first fifteen years that Ireland was within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland it was involved in the greatest war of the nineteenth century, namely the Napoleonic War. It was the ambition of Napoleon to attain the absolute domination of Europe and to control all the other kings and emperors. He wished also to control the Pope who from start to finish gave his support to the Protestant British kingdom. King George III, unlike the heads of the various Catholic Powers, had no desire to control the Pope. Ireland progressed well under the Union until the crisis of the Great Famine. Irish nationalists always tried to place the blame for this on the British Government, but a detailed examination shows that most of the fault lay with various bodies and individuals within Ireland itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The True Origins of Irish Society. The main thrust of the investigation was to determine were there any grounds for the traditional Irish nationalist belief that the Irish were a 'Celtic' people conquered and kept in subjection for centuries by the 'Anglo-Saxons'. Little grounds were found for sustaining that belief. The history of the island of Ireland from its repopulation after the most recent Ice Age until the Twelfth Century at which point the High Middle Ages were deemed to have commenced. The author follows recent scholars in ditching traditional accounts of the repopulation of Ireland through a series of invasions and concludes that the population of Ireland is the same as that in Western  Europe. No evidence of an invasion of 'Celts' is found, and the term 'Celtic' is reserved for the language only. 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

Post-Famine Ireland: Social Structure continues the account of the development of Ireland in the post-Famine period into a great industrial and agricultural producer. The emphasis  in agriculture was now on the production of livestock most of which was exported to Britain. This trade was facilitated by the construction of roads and railway to every part of the island. Several world-class manufacturing industries were developed the most famous of which were linen and shipbuilding. In common with the rest of the United Kingdom modernisation and development was pursued in every walk of life, in religion, education, the structure of government, the courts, etc.

 

 

 

 Quoting from these books

     With regard to quotations the usual conventions must be observed. Small passages may be quoted without prior consent for purposes of illustration or criticism and the source of the passages being acknowledged by including the author's name and the book and page number from which the passages are quoted. Larger passages involving a paragraph or more need my written consent.

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A considerable part of the information was derived from contemporary newspapers many of which were kept in the British National Library's newspaper collection held at Colindale in north London U.K. Since leaving university I have been involved in research and writing. The direction of my research was heavily influenced by a book written early in the twentieth century by Adolf Hitler, namely Mein Kampf. This showed cleared how history should not be written, and how historical truth can be distorted by propaganda. I was astonished to find how the history of modern Germany presented in that book so closely resembled the version of Irish history I was taught at school.

All these books are published  by Xlibris Corporation of Philadelphia (Xlibris.com) and are copyrighted to the author. Hard copies can be obtained on the Internet by clicking on  Xlibris.Com,(Bookstore), Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnesandnoble.com and from other retailers.

 

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Copyright Desmond J. Keenan, B.S.Sc.; Ph.D. ;.London, U.K.