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Durham University

Department of English Studies


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Publication details for Dr Helen O'Connell

O'Connell, Helen (2015). 'Animal welfare in Post-Union Ireland'. New Hibernia Review 19(1): 34-52.

Author(s) from Durham


The place of animals in English culture of the Romantic and Victorian periods has been widely explored, but the topic remains generally unexamined in the literary, social, and cultural history of Romantic-period and nineteenth-century Ireland.1 This is an unfortunate gap, as Irish animal welfare exemplifies a continual strain of reformist response to the political climate that came into existence in the aftermath of the rebellion of 1798 and Act of Union. The horrific conditions endured by many animals in post-Union Ireland attracted the attention of some well-known and other more obscure social reformers. Maria Edgeworth, Mary Leadbeater, Lady Morgan, William Hickey (Martin Doyle), Caesar Otway, and William Hamilton Drummond all noted disturbing tendencies to animal cruelty in Ireland. In a range of genres from pamphlets and lectures to novels, these writers attempted to inculcate animal welfare as a component of progressive attitudes that were increasingly commonplace in Britain.

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