Banned Irish History Book published in English for the first time


Great deeds in Ireland: Richard Stanihursts De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis is the first full translation of the controversial  Latin history of Ireland by the famous Dublin intellectual, Richard Stanihurst – ISBN 978-190900-572-3 €49, £39, Hardback,  234 x 156mm, 544pp, in Latin & English.

He wrote it after fleeing Elizabethan London for the Netherlands.De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis was published in 1584 by  Christopher Plantin, the greatest printer of the age. It provided a contemporary account of Ireland’s geography and people  and what the author considered to be the greatest event in Irish history – the Anglo-Norman conquest.  Relying on the work of Giraldus Cambrensis, Stanihurst celebrated the origins of the English colony in Ireland whilst  simultaneously allegorizing the dilemma facing his own community from a new wave of Protestant English conquerors.  The Anglo-Irishman’s attempt to introduce Ireland to the Europe’s Renaissance elite in a literary tour-de-force went awry after many Gaelic Irish, also exiled on the continent, objected to the book’s satirical portrayal of Ireland’s clergy and  its representation of the country’s customs, history and learned classes.   The book was burned on the orders of the Inquisition in Portugal, marked ‘prohibido’ in libraries in Spain and provoked a  number of angry responses from readers and other writers over the following eighty years.   Because of its centrality to debates about Ireland, Stanihurst’s De Rebus was the first book translation undertaken by the  Centre for Neo-Latin Studies established at University College Cork for the study of this hitherto neglected corpus of  Irish literature.

John Barry has been involved in teaching and research in the Classics Department of University College Cork. He has  written on various aspects of Irish Latin writing and the classical influence on Irish scholarship and has been a  contributor to the New Oxford DNB.

Hiram Morgan, teaches at University College Cork. He has written Tyrone’s Rebellion (Woodbridge, 1993) and has edited Political Ideology in Ireland, 1541–1641 (Dublin, 1999), Information, Media and Power through the Ages (Dublin, 2001) and  The Battle of Kinsale (Bray, 2004). He was a founder and co-editor of History Ireland, Ireland’s illustrated history magazine. He is a former chairman of the Royal Irish Academy’s Historical Sciences Committee and is current current  director of CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts of Ireland

For more information about Great deeds in Ireland: Richard Stanihursts De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis please contact: Mike Collins, Cork University Press, Youngline Industrial Estate, Pouladuff Road, Cork, Ireland Tel: 00 353 (0)  21 490 2980 Fax: 00 353 (0) 21 431 5329 Email:  web:



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