WALSH, Peter. A Prospect of The State of Ireland from The Year of the World 1756 to The Year of Christ 1652.
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Written by P.W. London: Printed for Johanna Broom at the Gun in St. Pauls Church-Yard, 1682. 16mo. pp. [lxviii], 504, . Modern full calf, title in gilt on original morocco letterpiece on spine. Paper repair to margin of titlepage. From the Library of Eric MacFhinn with his signature on titlepage and note on A3. Light foxing to endpapers. All edges red. A very good copy.
ESTC R34713. Wing W640. Sweeney 5523.
Peter Walsh, D.D. was born near Naas, County Kildare c.1618. He was educated at the Irish College at
Louvain. Joined the Franciscan Order and was later Professor of Divinity at Louvain. He returned to
Ireland in 1646, the following year he attacked in nine consecutive sermons the Disputatio Apologetica
of Cornelius Mahony, in which the rights of the kings of England to Ireland was denied. As a
consequence of his conduct Walsh was deprived of the lectureship in divinity to which he had been
appointed at Kilkenny. He was driven from the house, and even forbidden to enter any town which
possessed a library. Rinuccini accused him of having affected the nobility of Ireland and destroyed the
cause. He also afterwards described him as “turned out of his convent for disobedience to superiors, a
sacrilegious profaner of the pulpit in Kilkenny cathedral, who vomitted forth in one hour more filth
(sordes) and blasphemy than Luther and Calvin together in three years”.
Walsh sided with Ormond and wrote against the Papal Nuncio, which led to his excommunication. For
his loyal services to Ormond he received a pension from the Government. He died in 1687 and is
buried in St. Dunstan’s-in-the-West, London. The Bishop of Salisbury said of him that ““He was the
honestest and learnedest man among them (Catholics), and was indeed in all points of controversy
almost wholly a Protestant”. In the dedication to Charles II, Walsh declares himself an “unrepentant
sinner”, determined to die as he had lived, the King’s “most loyal, most obedient, and most humble
servant”. ‘A Prospect of the State of Ireland’ (1682) was undertaken at the earl of Castlehaven’s
suggestion and is an account of Irish history and pre-history based on ‘Foras feasa ar Éirinn’ by
Geoffrey Keating, a work that Walsh had read in his youth; it is important as the first history of Ireland
in English to be based on native sources. [L1 8B]
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