The Parnell Connection

Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891)

Taking a short breather and a cup of coffee in between this morning’s lecture and a forthcoming computer lab session I thought I’d do a quick post following on from a comment on yesterday’s post about an O-level History paper.

I was an undergraduate student at Magdalene College, Cambridge, which just happens to be where 19th century Irish nationalist politician Charles Stewart Parnell (above) studied, although I hasten to add that we weren’t contemporaries. There is an annual Parnell Lecture at Magdalene in his honour; an annual Coles lecture is yet to be established. Parnell is widely remembered here in Ireland too, not least in place names: there is , for example, a handsome Georgian square in Dublin named after him.

Parnell was one of the most charismatic, capable and influential Parliamentarians of his era, and led the Irish Parliamentary Party at the forefront of moves for Home Rule for Ireland. He also had a splendid beard. His career was cut short by scandal in the form of an adulterous relationship with Kitty (Katherine) O’Shea, whom her husband divorced in 1889 naming Parnell in the case, and whom he married after the divorce. (Kitty, that is, not her husband.) They were not to enjoy life together for long, however, as Parnell died in 1891 of pneumonia in the arms of his wife in 1891 at their home in Brighton (Hove, actually).

 

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3 Responses to “The Parnell Connection”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    You might also have Brighton in common with him but I don’t think you were disciplined by the College for brawling in the streets!

    This article about Parnell and other Irishmen of the era at Magdalene is by Ged Martin, an urbane and friendly Irish historian who I remember as good company at the College table in the early 1980s:

    http://www.gedmartin.net/martinalia-mainmenu-3/233-magdalene-college-cambridge-in-mid-victorian-times

    • telescoper Says:

      You might also have Brighton in common with him but I don’t think you were disciplined by the College for brawling in the streets!

      Are you sure?

  2. That really is a splendid beard.

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