New Book on Daniel O’Connell by TCD Historian Patrick Geoghegan -‘King Dan: the Rise of Daniel O’Connell, 1775-1829’

Posted on: 14 November 2008

Launching a new book on the life of Daniel O’Connell in Trinity College Dublin yesterday, Thursday, November 13th , the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe, TD, said: “Daniel O’Connell was one of the greatest figures in Irish history, a man with an international reputation as a statesman who inspired millions with his peaceful campaign for liberty and civil rights and his opposition to slavery and tyranny”.  He noted that O’Connell created the first mass democratic movement in history and that he succeeded in articulating so many of the ideals which underlay the foundation of the Irish state.

Speaking about the challenges facing Irish education, Minister O’Keeffe said that he was impressed to read that O’Connell was a century ahead of his time in his promotion of universal education.  He also thought that it was a testament to O’Connell’s vision for Ireland that in the 1820’s he insisted that some of the Catholic rent should go towards national education and that he never wavered in his commitment to ensuring that all Irish people, regardless of religion or gender, should receive the best possible education.

The book, ‘King Dan: the Rise of Daniel O’Connell, 1775-1829’, by Trinity College historian, Dr Patrick Geoghegan is the first new study of the life of Daniel O’Connell in twenty years.  Geoghegan’s interpretative biography concentrates on O’Connell’s glory period, culminating in the winning of Catholic Emancipation in 1829.  Geoghegan is the author of a number of books including ‘The Irish Act of Union’ (1999) and ‘Robert Emmet’ (2002), and is recognised as one of the country’s leading historians. He also presents the popular weekly radio programme, ‘Talking History’, on Newstalk, which covers all aspects of history from the ancient to the modern world.

The critically acclaimed and bestselling book provides a radical new interpretation of O’Connell’s reckless youth, his career as a lawyer, and his titanic struggle to win Catholic emancipation over a quarter of a century.  Recognising his flaws as well as his greatness, it shows the forces that drove him to create and lead an entirely new movement in Irish politics.  As Geoghegan noted, perhaps it was no wonder that in 1829, following the concession of Catholic emancipation, George IV lamented that O’Connell was now ‘the King of Ireland’.

New book on daniel o'connell by tcd historian