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O'Connell, Daniel (1775–1847)

William H. Mulligan, Jr.


Daniel O'Connell, a member of the traditional Gaelic aristocracy, was an Irish patriot and nationalist. He emerged as one of the leading Irish political leaders during the first half of the nineteenth century. O'Connell advocated non-violent nationalism and furthered attempts to mobilize the Catholic community as a political force for independence. O'Connell was born on August 6, 1775, at Carhan, Cahirciveen, County Kerry, Ireland. His Uncle Daniel was a general in the French army and another uncle, Maurice, was The O'Connell, head of the name in the old Gaelic aristocracy. The O'Connells had managed to hold onto their land despite confiscations and the penal laws. As a child, O'Connell lived for a time with peasant families, as was customary among the old Gaelic elite, becoming fluent in the Irish language and familiar with the condition of the landless peasantry. Because of restrictions on the education of Roman Catholics, O'Connell went to France to study, first at St. Omer and then at Douai. The French Revolution interrupted his studies, and by all accounts the violence of the Revolution deeply affected young O'Connell. Relaxation of the restrictions on Roman Catholics allowed him to read law, first at Lincoln's Inn in London, and then at the King's Inn in Dublin. In 1798, he was called to the Irish bar as a barrister. He quickly established a successful practice, and his ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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