Aidan EnrightNov 24, 2022
Charles Owen O'Conor, the O'Conor Don
Landlordism, Liberal Catholicism and Unionism in Nineteenth-Century Ireland
Four Courts Press 2022
Aidan Enright holds a PhD in History from Queen’s University Belfast and is an Associate Researcher and Part-Time Lecturer in History at Leeds Beckett University, where he teaches Modern British History and he is also a Teacher of Social Sciences at University of Bradford International College.
In this interview, he discusses his first book, Charles Owen O'Conor, the O'Conor Don: Landlordism, Liberal Catholicism and Unionism in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (Four Courts, 2022)
This book uncovers the world of Charles Owen O’Conor, the O‘Conor Don (1838–1906), one of the most prominent Catholic landlords and Liberal MPs of his generation. The scion of the last high king of Ireland and one of a long line of politically active O’Conors, he was a wealthy, fair-minded landlord who served as MP for his native County Roscommon between 1860 and 1880. In parliament, he supported reforms in education, juvenile care, factory law, Sunday closing, the Irish language and landownership. However, as a loyalist, unionist and imperialist, he was out of step with the mood and aims of popular Irish nationalism, especially on the issue of home rule. Indeed, although he was a devout Catholic, proud Irishman and critic of the union, his liberal Catholic and unionist outlook ensured that he became an increasingly marginalized figure as Irish politics polarized along Catholic nationalist and Protestant unionist lines.
Charles Owen O'Conor, the O'Conor Don: landlordism, liberal Catholicism and unionism in nineteenth-century Ireland is published by Four Courts Press.
Aidan Beatty is a historian at the Frederick Honors College of the University of Pittsburgh