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Daniel O'Connell by Stephen Downey

Daniel O’Connell was one of the most important and influential figures in the history of Irish politics. Known for his considerable abilities as an orator, for his charm and his charisma he was responsible for laying the foundations of constitutional nationalism, which were to be built upon later by Parnell and Redmond. He became an innovator of European politics by attaching rural discontent to a system of formal national agitation[1], whilst enlisting the support of the powerful Catholic clergy by supporting their educational work. With the obvious later exception of Éamon De Valera, no other political figure in Ireland was so dominant or so popular for so long; his significance cannot be understated.

[1] K. Theodore Hoppen, Ireland since 1800: conflict and conformity (London, 1989), p. 19.

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This entry was written by Stephen Downey. Steven graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2011 with a joint honours degree in Ancient and Modern History. He is particularly interested in the history of politics and society in twentieth-century Ireland. Steven hopes to pursue a career in post-primary education and pass his passion for history on to the next generation.

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