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Nature and the Environment in Nineteenth-Century Ireland$
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Matthew Kelly

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620320

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620320.001.0001

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‘In The Open Country’: Nature and the Environment during the ‘Monster’ Meeting Campaign of 1843

‘In The Open Country’: Nature and the Environment during the ‘Monster’ Meeting Campaign of 1843

(p.75) 4 ‘In The Open Country’: Nature and the Environment during the ‘Monster’ Meeting Campaign of 1843
Nature and the Environment in Nineteenth-Century Ireland

Huston Gilmore

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the role of nature and the environment during the series of O’Connellite ‘monster’ meetings demanding the repeal of the Act of Union during the spring and summer of 1843. It considers the nature and extent of popular participation in O’Connell’s extra-parliamentary campaign amidst a charged political atmosphere and within specific environments in which place, identity, and a discourse of nationalist grievance as negotiated through a historicisation of the Irish landscape. It seeks to analyse both the processional nature of O’Connell’s rallies, the politicised culture of conviviality they engendered, and the extent to which the Repeal Association staged these rallies with a view to how they were reported in the popular press. O’Connell’s 1843 campaign is thus seen as a burst of popular participation on a scale hitherto unseen in Ireland. The O’Connellite ‘monster’ meeting is presented as a campaign to dominate public space in both small town and rural environments, based on a symbiotic relationship between the Repeal Association and Catholicism which deployed a nationalist iconography that deployed images of the natural world, and exhorted the Irish peasantry to peacefully demonstrate in favour of Repeal by invoking the natural advantages of Ireland that would be unleashed by self-government.

Keywords:   Repeal, Repeal Association, O’Connell, ‘Monster’ meetings, Nature, Environment, Ireland

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