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The End of Hidden Ireland: Rebellion, Famine, and Emigration Paperback – June 13, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0195106596 ISBN-10: 0195106598 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (June 13, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195106598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195106596
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.8 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #573,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

During the winter of 1847-48-"Black '47"-when the potato famine ravaged Ireland, the town of Ballykilcline, County Roscommon, was hit hard. The problem "was above all about food, and therefore about land." Hopelessly behind in paying their rent, the tenant-farmers rebelled. Those who had taken advantage of an offer from their landlord, Major Mahon, and left for Canada perished en route. News of the disaster reached Ballykilcline and Mahon was murdered. Recriminations followed about "Papist plots" on the landlord's side met by stalwart resistance on the part of the tenants. This study of the Irish land system and the effects of the great famine shows how the land was divided; the influence of the "Gentlemen and the Squireens"; the hatred of the peasants for the "drivers"-the landlords' rent collectors and evicters; and the peasants' eventual emigration (paid for by the British crown) and their new lives in the United States. Scally is professor of history and director of the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University. His account will be of particular interest to academicians. Illustrated.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"The End of Hidden Ireland opens a window on a lost world in the process of becoming lost. Robert James Scally combines the labor of an archivist with the speculative verve of an historian of mentalities."--The Washington Post

"Well written and well researched, a distinct contribution to the subject."--Kirkus Reviews

"Scally's book is compulsively readable, an intimate and humane portrait of a society on the brink of dissolution."--Kevin Whelan, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin

"A beautifully written, deeply researched work of historical investigation that makes an important contribution to a true accounting of the Irish past... His book is a revelation."--Peter A. Quinn, author of Banished Children of Eve

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By MEG on April 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Scally does an excellent job of using historical facts to present a better picture of a devistated Ireland. Americans in particular often misunderstand the cause of the chaos usually blamed on the potato blight. In reality, the famine was only the "icing on the cake", which Scally explains well. The first half of the book is a very detailed description of Ireland in the days immediately preceeding the famine. The second half walks us through the once-green hills of a broken Ireland, passing sunken faces and hungry eyes. Scally has been accused of leaving historical fact for emotional imagination. I submit the idea that every historian must create something from imagination at some point. Although we can read facts, we must paint the scenes in our minds. This is an excellent book to read if you are already interested in "Black '47" and is also good for the serious reader who cares to explore the Emerald Isle of 150 years ago . . . this is also an important source for an Irish-American who would like to better understand his or her roots, like me. Perhaps those of us who have ties to the isle are more likely to appreciate the suffering that happened there.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "" on July 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
The trauma and distress my own ancestors went through during this famine period was horrible. In the ten year period Ballykilcline lost over 90% of its population from disease, eviction, emigration and death by starvation. My own ancestors lived in Kilglass Parish where they lost 55% of their population. Robert James Scally's book gave me a very clear understanding of what transpired from about 1835 to 1850.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
I give this book a "7" mostly because Scally should get a lot of credit for all the research he did for this book. It's very obvious. However, I would not recommend it if you are looking for a quick and easy read. This book is best for someone studying the famine and migration of the Irish to America.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Albert Doyle on March 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Scally's book is the product of detailed research into the wiping out of the Irish village or "townland" of Ballykilcline in County Roscommon around the time of the great famine of the mid 19th century in Ireland and the forced emigration of its people to the Liverpool area of Lancashire and to the United States and Canada.

The book starts with a description of the British imposed land ownership system in Ireland at the time, the landlords' financial difficulties which led to their desire to clear the land of their troublesome tenants by assisting them on their way, made easier by the famine.

But the book presents an incomplete picture because of Scally's failure to consider context and history.

Even the title is misleading. "Hidden Ireland", presumably meaning the remnant of the Gaelic culture which still stubbornly remained in the culture and language of the townland people and particularly in their attitude about use and ownership of land, had been receding in defeat for many years. Starting in 1607 with the defeat of the great northern leaders, O'Neill and O'Donnell and the "Flight of the Earls", the slow removal of native Irish leaders and the seizure of land by the colonizers, the Penal Laws of 1695 effectively proscribing the Catholic religion, and the Act of Union in 1800 after the United Irishman rebellion of 1798 were all aimed at destroying the Gaelic, Catholic, Irish nation. In fact they were never completely successful, and certainly the effort did not end with the leveling of Ballykilcline although it was a part of a low point for the Irish nation.

The Irish people were never fully subjugated; nor were the peasants the docile, cultureless ignoramuses painted by Scally, poor though they may have been.
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