Celebrate Ireland Series: Karen Holland on the Siege of Derry

Thursday, February 21, 2013

7:00 PM-8:15 PM

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Providence Public Library
150 Empire Street
Providence, RI 02903

Barnard Room (3rd Floor)

Thu, 2013-02-21 19:00 - 20:15

Professor Karen Holland of Providence College utilized PPL's Special Collection on Irish Culture for her research on the Siege of Derry. Her presentation will highlight the materials and resources of the collection as well as an account of her visit to Derry in early January.

“The Hero of the Siege of Londonderry, 1698?”

Historical and literary accounts of a military engagement often unanimously extol one outstanding individual as the hero of the battle or campaign.  This, however, is not the case with four works authored in the first two decades after the 1689 siege of Londonderry where a variety of individuals – both male and female, human and divine – are championed in a range of literary genre.

 Two of the authors promote themselves as the heroes of the siege:  Rev. George Walker in his journal A True Account of the siege of Londonderry (1689) and John Mitchelburne in his five act tragi-comedy Ireland Preserv’d or The Siege of Londonderry (1705).  The other two texts acknowledge Colonel Adam Murray as the champion of 1689:  Rev. John Mackenzie in his history A Narrative of the Siege of Londonderry (1690) and Joseph Aickin in his epic poem Londerias or a Narrative of the Siege of Londonderry (1699).   Female contenders for the honor are the Amazons who appear in Mitchelburne’s drama and the personified city of Londonderry as presented in both of the literary works. 

Ultimately all four authors praise God and his Providence as the true victor of the siege.  While the conventions of the literary genre each author selected – journal, drama, history, and epic poem  - require certain attributes of the hero, the author’s own ambition, and personal and confessional differences also play a role in the creation of the hero of 1689.

Karen A. Holland, Ph.D is an Assistant Professor of History at Providence College and a scholar of Roman Britain and early Celtic Ireland through modern times.  Publications include articles on the “Sidney Women in Ireland, c/1556-1594” in the Sidney Journal Special Issue:  Sir Henry Sidney in Ireland and Wales and several biographies found in the forthcoming The Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen 1500-1650.  

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