Throughout the early modern period a steady stream of confessional and theological works, religious primers, catechisms, grammatical and lexicographical works emanated from colleges of Louvain, largely directed towards the clergy as opposed to the largely illiterate laity. A reconsideration of the links between the Irish literati, Catholic clergy and Jacobite ideology might be well served by a quantitative, geographical stocktake of surviving Irish-language manuscripts. The close relationship between Irish Jacobite poets and the Catholic clergy has obvious implications for the links between Jacobitism, Catholicism and the penal laws. Priest-poets such as Liam Inglis, Domhnall O Colmain and Uilliam Mac Neill Bhacaigh O hIarlaithe promoted the Stuart cause, which remained an intrinsic feature of Irish Catholic nationalist identity until at least 1760. Eighteenth-century Irish political poetry has support for the exiled house of Stuart at its core.
In the 300 years between English re-conquest of Ireland and the Act of Union, hundreds and thousands of Irish men and women flooded into Europe and North America. As well as impacting upon their host nations as soldiers, clerics, diplomats, teachers, writers, merchants, bankers, vagrants and outlaws, many of these men and women retained close contact with, and affection for, their native patrimony. Moreover, as royalists, Jacobites and republicans, they would play a crucial role in the emergence of various Irish nationalist, royalist and republican identities. Their various and varying careers and activities followed a broad trajectory testifying to their adaptability, mobility, and political and cultural fluidity. Their testimonies, trials and tribulations also shed valuable light on the exiles’ balance of political and confessional loyalties with their duties to their adopted countries. Traditionally, historians of the Irish diaspora have tended to prioritise the Irish presence in the French, Spanish, Imperial and American service, although more recent work has shed light on Irish military, socio-economic and mercantile networks in Northern Europe, the Baltic States and Russia. Although informed by recent research on Irish exiles in early modern Europe, this chapter moves discussion on from military history to an engagement with identity and ideology, particularly Catholicism, royalism, Jacobitism, nationalism and republicanism.