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Irish Studies Seminar: Aidan Enright, ‘A symbol of West Britonism in Ireland’: the O’Conor Don'

Aidan Enright (Leeds Beckett University): 'A symbol of West Britonism in Ireland': the O’Conor Don and the culture and politics of liberal Catholicism and Catholic unionism

April 22, 2024
Institute of Irish Studies, 27 University Square, 01/003
16:30 - 18:00

Charles Owen O’Conor, the O‘Conor Don, was 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, 1860-80. 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. 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.

Dr Aidan Enright is a research administrator and part-time lecturer in History at Leeds Beckett University. He holds a PhD in History from QUB, which formed the basis of his monograph Charles Owen O'Conor, The O'Conor Don: Landlordism, Liberal Catholicism and Unionism in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (Four Courts Press, 2022), which won a British Association for Irish Studies book prize in 2023. He has research interests and has published on liberal and conservative Catholicism, Catholic unionism and imperialism, and Irish, English and British Catholic identities in the 19th century.

This event will be both in-person in the Irish Studies Seminar Room, 27 University Square, and online via MS Teams. All welcome in-person or online.

Institute of Irish Studies
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Event Organiser Details
Name Peter Gray
Phone 5226