The Nugents of Westmeath and Queen Elizabeth's Irish Primer

By Denis Casey

This is the first in-depth study of the oldest surviving 'beginner's guide' to the Irish language. Christopher Nugent, baron of Delvin, presented Queen Elizabeth I with an Irish language primer in 1564, which he produced while he was a student at the University of Cambridge. Although of limited practical use for learning Irish, the primer was nonetheless a landmark in the history of the Irish language and Anglo-Irish cultural relations, which has remained largely unexplored until now. This study locates the primer within a variety of contexts, including Christopher Nugent's Anglo-Irish background, the medieval Irish grammatical tradition, Renaissance second-language teaching, and English attitudes to Irish culture in the sixteenth century. It also offers the first-ever detailed analysis of the contents of the primer and highlights its possible indebtedness to a pre-print version of the Aibidil Gaoidheilge & Caiticiosma (1571) of Nugent's Cambridge contemporary, Sea?n ? Cearnaigh. The links between the writings of Nugent (an Anglo-Irish Catholic) and ? Cearnaigh (a Gaelic-Irish Protestant) highlight the religious and cultural complexity of the time and help make the primer a compelling object of study. (Series: Maynooth Studies in Local History, Vol. 123) [Subject: Tudor History, Irish History, Westmeath, Cultural Studies, Ireland]


Publication Date: 8/5/2016
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781846826085