The laws in Ireland, 1689-1850: A brief introduction

Michael Brown, Seán Patrick Donlan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


Essentially, the tale was trivial. A scoundrel named Siobharan stole a cockerel, which had been bought at a fair by Father Aengus. A local court quickly denounced the theft and a warrant for his arrest was promptly issued. It was a local drama, a conflict within a community that was replicated across the countryside and across rural societies everywhere. But the poet and scribe Aogan Ó Rathaille (1675-1729) found something emblematic, drawing from its mundane universality a tense political specificity that twisted the tale away from the ordinary and placed it into the mythic world of the symbolic. The poem he composed, 'Ar Choileach a Goideadh ó Shagart Maith' (A Good Priest's Stolen Cock) metamorphosed the event from the banalities of local spite into a profound parable of cultural, religious and political conflict. Blending the English and the Irish language, the opening stanza revealed Ó Rathaille's intent. The simple inclusion of the word 'whereas', as well as demanding the reader's attention, placed me case in a court where Anglophonic law encountered Irish-speaking communities:
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Laws and Other Legalities of Ireland, 1689-1850
EditorsMichael Brown, Seán Patrick Donlan
PublisherAshgate Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)9781409401315
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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