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Stopford Green’s The Making of Ireland and its Undoing, 1200 – 1600

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Published during the height of the Irish cultural revival presaging the Easter Rising of 1916, Alice Stopford Green's The Making of Ireland and its Undoing: 1200-1600, was published in London in 1908. The Making of Ireland & its Undoing concerns itself with the period spanning the two centuries after the Norman conquest of Ireland and end of the Tudor dynasty and posits the theory that some two-hundred years after the Norman invasion more than accommodation had been made with the invaders; indeed, by the onset of the Tudor dynasty and Henry VIII's ruinous Irish designs Gaelic Ireland, the Anglo-Normans and the later Anglo-Irish had coalesced to form a new confident and vibrant Ireland. This Ireland, Stopford Green believed, was far from the barbarism, the 'miserable estate' and 'rude people' that the Tudors would have history believe, in fact far from it. It was for Ireland's success and not its backwardness that Henry had to undo his closest economic and political rival. Although the English had been in Ireland for centuries prior to Henry VIII, it was, as Stopford Green informs us only then that Ireland underwent a new type of invasion that was to lead to its undoing. In two parts entitled 'Trade and Industry' and 'Education and Learning' the reader is informed in considerable detail in excess of 500 pages how and why Ireland had developed so successfully in the spheres of commerce and trade, while also showing how developed the clan system and country had life had become by the early 1500s. Stopford Green then illustrates how disastrously these and invidiously destroyed first by Henry VIII and then by his daughter, Elizabeth I. As with Trade and Industry, in the realms of Irish and National Learning, Stopford Green professes Ireland to have been a place high learning, a national of bards, brehons and chroniclers as opposed to a the English newcomers, who in the main were greedy robbers. The Making of Ireland and its Undoing was an important publication in 1908, not only for its uncompromising nationalist sentiment, but also its unique investigation of Irish economic history. Its presented an argument that shows how Ireland had expanded over a period of 400 years into a prosperous and self-confident nation that had managed to preserve and integrate many of its most ancient political, cultural and economic systems and why this very success necessitated their destruction by the later Tudor Monarchs and adventurers. Republished in digital format, Alice Stopford Green's Making of Ireland and its Undoing is a must for anyone interested in Irish History and historiography.

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