The story of Irish Presbyterianism Collection

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This pack contains the following publications:

  • Presbyterians and the Irish Language
  • Presbyterian History in Ireland: Two Seventeenth- Century Narratives
  • Dissenting Voices: Rediscovering the Irish Progressive Presbyterian Tradition
  • Presbyterians in Ireland: An Illustrated History

Presbyterians and the Irish Language

Presbyterians and the Irish Language by Roger Blaney, originally published in 1996, is the first to establish the rightful place of the Irish language in the Presbyterian heritage in Ireland. It traces the Presbyterian Irish-speaking tradition from its early roots in Gaelic Scotland through the Plantation and Williamite War periods to its successive revivals in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

There are biographies of influential Irish-speaking Presbyterians, clerical and lay, whose love of the language helped to ensure its survival. The author contends that the origins of the Gaelic League are as likely to be found in Presbyterian Belfast as in Catholic Dublin. At a time when the Irish language was losing ground to a combination of forces, it was Presbyterians who were to the fore in saving valuable manuscripts, in teaching through the language and in publishing works in Irish.

The result is an absorbing account of an integral, important but little-known strand in the fabric of Irish Presbyterianism. It adds significantly to the mutual understanding between the main traditions on our island and provides evidence for the view that we share more than divides us.

Roger Blaney qualified in medicine from Queen's University, Belfast in 1957. After a number of appointments, he specialised in public health medicine becoming head of the Department of Community Medicine at Queen's. In addition to Presbyterians and the Irish Language,  he has written on the history of the Irish language and has  contributed to An tUltach and the newspaper LA.

Presbyterian History in Ireland: Two Seventeenth- Century Narratives

This volume makes available to a modern audience two seventeenth-century texts that are critical to our understanding of the emergence of Presbyterianism in Ireland. Patrick Adair’s ‘True narrative of the rise and progress of the Presbyterian Government in the north of Ireland’ can be considered the origin text of the Ulster Presbyterian historical tradition. It is the earliest known account of the emergence of Presbyterianism in the province, covering the period from the 1620s to c. 1670, and was written by someone who witnessed at first hand many of the episodes he describes. This fresh edition is based on the earliest surviving manuscript copy
of Adair’s text held by the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland.

Andrew Stewart’s ‘Short account of the Church of Christ …’ is drawn from the manuscript in the Wodrow collection of the National Library of Scotland and is published in full for the first time. Stewart presents the history of Christianity in Ireland from the time of St Patrick to his own day, in the process providing a reinterpretation of the Irish religious past from a Scottish perspective. Stewart’s work complements that of Adair in placing the emergent Presbyterian tradition within a longer-term perspective, one which stretches all the way back to the ancient origins of Christianity in Britain as well as Ireland, and the fresh beginnings which Stewart saw as occurring in his own lifetime.

The texts and introductory essays were prepared by a team of scholars working under the ‘Insular Christianity’ project based in Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin, and sponsored by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Both texts are accompanied by an extensive set of newly written annotations which provide additional information on individuals mentioned, terms used, and the historical background to particular events. The introductory essays contextualize the work of Adair and of Stewart, both with regard to the history of seventeenth-century Ulster and the development of a Presbyterian historical tradition. The publication of this volume provides a major resource to those interested in Ulster and wider Irish history, and more especially the history of the Presbyterian tradition on this island.

Dissenting Voices: Rediscovering the Irish Progressive Presbyterian Tradition

Dissenting Voices: Rediscovering the Irish Progressive Presbyterian Tradition provides biographies of some 300 'progressive' Presbyterians from the seventeenth through to the start of the twenty-first centuries. The stereotypical belief that there are two religions in Ireland, Catholic and Protestant, whose highly-charged fault lines have led to confrontation, fear and misunderstanding, has ignored the strong, vibrant and often courageous dissenting tradition. Dissenting Voices is a long overdue and fascinating guide to some 300 Presbyterians individuals, who have exemplified many of the admirable characteristics of that tradition and in many cases helped shape the course of Irish history, challenged the existing consensus of society for the betterment of all sections of the local community be it in terms of religious freedom, civic rights, the rights of tenants, or even the future political direction of the island of Ireland.

The lives charted in Dissenting Voices: Rediscovering the Irish Progressive Presbyterian Tradition are about more than just the contribution of fascinating and complex individuals to Ireland’s history; they also amply demonstrate the integrity and conviction of those ‘dissenting voices'.

Dissenting Voices will be of value to both the academic and casual reader with an interest in religious history and the progressive tradition of Ireland.

Presbyterians in Ireland: An Illustrated History

Presbyterians in Ireland: An Illustrated History by Laurence Kirkpatrick is an attractive, illustrated hardback volume that provides an accessible history of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. A general history of the church in Ireland from the seventeenth century to the present day is outlined, followed by chapters on subjects including missions, (in India, China and Africa), theological education and maps of the Presbyteries.

The remainder of the book is devoted to brief histories of the twenty-one Presbyteries in Ireland including all the individual churches and key ministerial figures.

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