Charles Owen O’Conor, “the O’Conor Don”
Landlordism, liberal Catholicism and unionism in nineteenth-century Ireland
This book uncovers the world of Charles Owen O’Conor, "the O’Conor Don" (1838–1906), a Catholic landlord and MP from County Roscommon. The scion of the last high king of Ireland and one of a long line of politically active O’Conors, he was destined for a life in politics and served as Liberal MP for County Roscommon between 1860 and 1880. In parliament, he pursued reforms in education, juvenile care, factory law, Sunday closing, the Irish language, and landownership. However, as a loyalist and a unionist, he was out of step with the mood and aims of popular Irish nationalism, especially on the issue of home rule. Indeed, what this book demonstrates is that although he was a devout Catholic and proud Irishman, his attachment to the union, the crown, and the empire ensured that he became an increasingly marginal figure in Irish politics between 1880 and his passing in 1906.
Aidan Enright holds a PhD in history from QUB and has taught modern Irish, British and European history at a number of UK universities.