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Connecting past and present

The fourth Tudor and Stuart Ireland Interdisciplinary Conference took place at the Iontas Building, NUI Maynooth, in August 2014. As in previous years, the 2014 programme was a testament to the dynamism of current research on early modern Ireland. Over thirty speakers presented papers on the political, civic, ecclesiastical/religious, literary, medical, and material world of Ireland during the Tudor and Stuart periods. The closing plenary at the conference was given by Professor John McCafferty (UCD). His paper was entitled ‘A single witness: Ireland and Europe through the eyes of a small man with a big nose’.

This paper examines two manuscripts by Nicholas Archbold (b. 1588/89, d. 1650) a Capuchin priest from Shankill, County Dublin. While Archbold’s Evangelicall fruict of the Seraphical Franciscan Order and a Historie of the Capuchins in Ireland are, in formal terms, a chronicle and a history they actually constitute a lengthy (c.100,000 word) reflection on Ireland and the world as seen through the eyes of one self-confessed small man with a big nose.

These two texts are brimful of all details about the Capuchin missions in the Pale, the Rhineland and northern France and feature frequent visions, miracles and diabolical possessions. They are susceptible to a micro-historical approach which seeks to explore big issues using strictly delimited sources. It is possible to see, via Archbold’s prose, the painful process of Irish Catholic identity formation, contemporary European views of the Irish and to discern how the huge uncertainties and energies unleashed by Luther’s reformation still swirled about souls over a hundred years later.

Archbold is worth hearing just for the ways he uses words and understands language. His opinions, quips and translations are just as arresting and fresh as they were when he committed them to paper almost four hundred years ago.

Tudor and Stuart Ireland Conference Podcasts
As in 2011 and 2012, the majority of the 2014 conference papers were recorded for podcast by Real Smart Media, including the opening plenary by Professor Alan Ford (University of Nottingham) – ‘“Love God and hate the pope”: (un)changing Protestant attitudes towards Catholicism 1600-2000’ – and the closing plenary by Professor John McCafferty (UCD). For more information on the conference go to: www.tudorstuartireland.com.

The 2014 Tudor and Stuart Ireland conference was generously supported by UCD School of History and Archives, UCD Research, Marsh’s Library, Graduate Studies at NUI Maynooth, and the Department of History at NUI Maynooth.

Image courtesy of the Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute for the Study of Irish History and Civilisation, University College Dublin.

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