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Irish Leaders and Learning Through the Ages
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508pp. 2003
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Irish Leaders and Learning Through the Ages

Paul Walsh; essays collected and edited and introduced by Nollaig Ó Muraíle

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Described as 'the prince of Irish historians' by the great Belgian medievalist Paul Grosjean, SJ, Fr Paul Walsh (1885-1941) produced an astonishing body of original research and editorial work in various areas of Irish history and literature over a period of more than thirty years prior to his untimely death at the age of 56. His output included more than twenty books and some three hundred articles scattered through a variety of journals.

Some of these articles were collected and published posthumously in two volumes edited by his friend Colm Ó Lochlainn, Irish Men of Learning (1947) and Irish Chiefs and Leaders (1960). A projected third volume never appeared.

The present volume contains all of the articles that were to be included in that last volume, together with several additional items on a variety of historical topics. This collection of more than one hundred articles includes many important and original contributions to Irish learning which have not been superseded by subsequent scholarly endeavour. Many of the insights they provide into the world of medieval Gaelic Ireland are still remarkably fresh and vivid. The volume has an introduction giving bibliographical details of the articles included and, as an appendix, a complete list of Paul Walsh's writings.

Paul Walsh, onetime lecturer in Welsh at Maynooth in 1916, was appointed to the Irish Manuscripts Commission in 1933 while a parish priest in Multyfarnham, county Westmeath. He was also named to the first board of the Dublin Institute of Advance Studies (DIAS) in 1940, and had an honorary doctorate conferred by the National University of Ireland in 1941. After a long illness, he died in June of that year. It was noted at the time that his death warranted little mention in the national press as a result of Adolf Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union.

Nollaig Ó Muraíle lectures in Irish at NUI, Galway. He edited Irish Leaders and Learning through the Ages (2003), a collection of Fr Paul Walsh’s writings, and an edition of Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh’s Great Book of Irish Genealogies (2004).

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