Ethnic cleansing

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, Issue 5 (Sept/Oct 2012), Letters, Volume 20

Sir,—Re the ongoing debate on ‘ethnic cleansing’ (Letters, HI 20.3, May/June 2012). In his great welcome-home poem to Daniel O’Connell after the Clare election in 1828, the South Kerry poet Tomás Ruadh Ó Suilleabháin looked forward to Catholic supremacy with the arrival of Emancipation. He warns Protestants that O’Connell will be on their track ‘go glanfar cruinn as Eilge iad’ (‘until they are cleaned totally out of Ireland’). One doesn’t want to be anachronistic, but isn’t this as clear and unambiguous an aspiration to ‘ethnic cleansing’ as you could find in the popular verse of the time?—Yours etc.,

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