Jacobite Jail-Breakers, Jail-Birds: The Irish Fugitive and Prisoner in the Early Modern Period

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he fugitive and prisoner have played a prominent role in Irish history, literature and politics. It is no surprise, therefore, that he should be inexorably linked with Jacobitism (Irish support for the exile Stuart dynasty), the ideology which sustained Irish national identity between the Battle of the Boyne (1690) and the French Revolution (1789) and the cause which precipitated substantial, sustained migration from Ireland during the course of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This article will explore the chequered, colourful careers of five prominent Irish Jacobites of various ‘ethnic’ (Gaelic Irish, Old English and New English), confessional (Catholic and Protestant) and professional (aristocrat, clergyman and solider) origins, whose trials, tribulations, incarcerations and escapes bear testimony to the flexibility, geographical mobility and longevity of the Jacobite ideology in Ireland and among the Irish diaspora in Europe. In addition, their sustained traffic with Ireland, England and continental Europe show the crucial role which the Irish diaspora played in Jacobite politics and the extent to which they retained a practical affection for their exiled king, homeland and persecuted peers in Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
JournalImmigrants and Minorities
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 5 Sept 2013


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