Accessibility statement

Imprisonment, islands, imperialism: Patrician dimensions of the Irish imagination

Posted on 4 May 2020

Tommy Dolan's latest opinion piece

Tommy Dolan's latest article "Imprisonment, islands, imperialism: Patrician dimensions of the Irish imagination" has been published on Taylor and Francis online.

The article's abstract states: An experimental, conceptually driven foray into the Patrician field, Ireland’s ubiquitous national apostle – a former captive – is utilised as a vehicle through which to explore a trinity of salient and interrelated themes within the Catholic and Protestant hinterlands of the Irish imagination: visions of imprisonment; of the island; and of imperialism. The reader is guided through aspects of Patrician literature, visits the island’s hallowed Patrician shrines, and is thus shown Purgatory. Insights into the imaginations exhibited by a range of influential Irish ideologues and intellectuals – Gerry Adams; J.B. Bury; John Hume; Eóin MacNeill; Michael McCarthy; John Mitchel; Peadar O’Donnell; Tomás Ó Fiaich; John Ryan; William Ryan; Ian Paisley; Patrick Pearse; Oscar Wilde – are generated. The cognitive (and conspicuously Platonic) terraforming of the prison-cell into an island, and of the island into a giant prison – of either British or Vatican construction – that recurs in much Irish political thought and reflection, is observed. The concluding section involves historiographical reflection: Bury’s, and by extension St. Patrick’s, influence with regards to the development of the discipline of Irish history is highlighted. That the island exhibits a distinctive intellectual micro-climate, one in which visions of Patrick act as a formidable ideological force, is implicit throughout.