Irish Tales (1716)
by Sarah Butler
Ian Campbell Ross, Aileen Douglas & Anne Markey, editors
Published in London only months after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, Irish Tales is an historical romance offering a Jacobite reading of early Irish history, culminating in Brian Boru’s victory over the Viking invaders at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. The love story of Princess Dooneflaith and Prince Murchoe, son of the high-king himself, is played out against a backdrop of efforts to unite the people of Ireland in resistance to the Danish tyrant Turgesius. Remarkably, Sarah Butler draws her historical materials from one of the best-known Irish-language accounts of the Irish past, Geoffrey Keating’s Foras Feasa (written i.1634), a major work of history that had not yet appeared in print, but which circulated in elite literary circles in Irish and English-language manuscripts. Irish Tales, then, stands at the nexus of Irish-language manuscript culture and language print culture in its exploration of the conflicting claims of the public and private spheres in contemporary life. This edition contains an introduction and extensive annotation, making Irish Tales readily accessible to scholars and students alike.
Ian Campbell Ross is Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies in the School of English, Trinity College Dublin. Aileen Douglas is Senior Lecturer in the School of English, Trinity College Dublin. Anne Markey is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Early Irish Fiction in the School of English, Trinity College Dublin.