The End of Hidden Ireland

The End of Hidden Ireland : Rebellion, Famine and Emigration

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Many thousands of Irish peasants fled from the country in the terrible famine winter of 1847-48, following the road to the ports and the Liverpool ferries to make the dangerous passage across the Atlantic. The human toll of "Black '47," the worst year of the famine, is notorious, but the lives of the emigrants themselves have remained largely hidden, untold because of their previous obscurity and deep poverty. In The End of Hidden Ireland, Scally brings their lives to light. Focusing on the townland of Ballykilcline in Roscommon, Scally offers a richly detailed portrait of Irish rural life on the eve of the catastrophe. From their internal lives and values, to their violent conflict with the English Crown, from rent strikes to the potato blight, he takes the emigrants on each stage of their journey out of Ireland to New York. Along the way, he offers rare insights into the character and mentality of the immigrants as they arrived in America in their millions during the famine years. Hailed as a distinguished work of social history, this book also is a tale of adventure and human survival, one that does justice to a tragic generation with sympathy but without sentiment.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 276 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 181.44g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 10 pp plates
  • 0195106598
  • 9780195106596
  • 758,473

Review quote

Professor Scally's volume is painstakingly researched and well written ... a remarkable reconstruction of an Irish hamlet and of the fate of its inhabitants as they journeyed from Roscommon to Dublin, Liverpool and New York ... It is an inmportant contribution to our knowledge of the 'Hidden Ireland' in the pre-Famine period and a most valuable addition to social history. * Donal A. Kerr, Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, EHR Sept. 97 * Scally fills his narrative with lively and vivid scenes ... His evocative style depicts a thriving, efficient pre-Famine community * The Irish Times * "Using an astonishing array of social history techniques and writing with the profound pity of a modern Villon, Professor Scally has united imagination and analysis upon the melancholy facts of a pre-famine Irish village."-Peter Linebaugh, University of Toledo "A highly original book whose impressive scholarship makes a significant contribution to understanding nineteenth-century Irish and North American history....This is microhistory at its best, using a small setting to expand knowledge of bigger events. It is also splendidly written and deserves a wide readership."-Choice "Robert Scally has penetrated more deeply into the heart of "hidden Ireland" than any previous scholar, and the result is a lasting and compelling contribution to Irish history and to migration and peasant studies."-Kerby A. Miller, University of Missouri "This work is based on painstaking research into an extraordinary range of primary and secondary sources. Overall it is an outstanding piece of original research-a genuine contribution to Irish, British and U.S. social history."-William J. Fishman, University of London "Robert Scally's The End of Hidden Ireland is a beautifully written, deeply researched work of historical investigation that makes an important contribution to a true accounting of the Irish past. Scally fuses modern historical methodology with forceful, elegant prose-a rare achievement. His book is a revelation."-Peter A. Quinn, author of Banished Children of Eve "Professor Scally's meticulously researched book is a valuable addition to the growing body of work on the socio-political organization of rural life in Ireland in the first half of the last century. The publication of this book is a fitting memorial to the 500 or so Ballykilcline tenants who, weakened by famine, packed their meager possessions in May 1848 and headed for America."-Luke Dodd, Director, National Famine Museum of Ireland "Scally's book is compulsively readable, an intimate and humane portrait of a society on the brink of dissolution."-Kevin Whelan, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin "On the 150th anniversary of the Irish Famine, no memorial to the victims could be more fitting or more moving than Robert Scally's spectacular recreation of the life and death of the community of Ballykilcline. Painstakingly researched, lucidly written, his work provides a sudden and intimate access to a world and a series of individual lives cruelly destroyed during the terrible forties of the last century."-Seamus Deane, University of Notre
Dame "Well written and well researched, a distinct contribution to the subject."-Kirkus Reviews this is one of the great strengths of the book: the author's ability to unravel the complicated web of themes and relate them in an objective manner while not detracting from the horrendous events of the period ... remarkable detail, leaving no doubt as to the roles of each group that formed the different units of society on the eve of the Famine ... there is an incredible amount of material from a wide variety of sources but in particular from the Quit Rent Papers
in the National Archives ... It will become the standard reference work for local history studies of the pre-famine and famine periods. "Engrossing and imaginative....The End of Hidden Ireland opens a window on a lost world in the process of becoming lost. Robert James Scally combines the labor of an archivist with the speculative verve of an historian of mentalities."-The Washington Post This is a thoroughly readable and scholarly work. * Frank Neal, Immigrants and Minorities, Vol.19, No.1, March 2000. * With consummate skill he takes the reader through the social relationships within the population of Ballykilcline, illustrating clearly the subtle distinctions between leaders and led. He is particularly successful in analysing the abiguous position of the middle men, who provide the buffer between the Crown and tenants and who pursued their own agenda carefully editing nuanced reports to their masters in Dublin and London ... Professor Scally's book provides a
valuable insight into the full complexity of the land isse. * Frank Neal, Immigrants and Minorities, Vol.19, No.1, March 2000. * Professor Scally describes [the Rundale] system brilliantly. * Frank Neal, Immigrants and Minorities, Vol.19, No.1, March 2000. * a brillian evocation of a clash of cultures. * Frank Neal, Immigrants and Minorities, Vol.19, No.1, March 2000. * approachable and readable * Irish Historical Studies * a microhistory of a single community * Irish Historical Studies * This type of study is relatively rare in Irish historiography * Irish Historical Studies *
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Back cover copy

This book is based mainly on the experience of the townland of Ballykilcline, a community of small farmers and laborers living on an obscure estate in the Irish midlands near the provincial market town of Strokestown, County Roscommon.
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About Robert James Scally

Robert James Scally is Professor of History and Director of the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University.
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Rating details

15 ratings
4.2 out of 5 stars
5 40% (6)
4 40% (6)
3 20% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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