Covington, Sarah

The Devil from over the Sea: Remembering and Forgetting Oliver Cromwell in Ireland




In stock

SKU: 5318 Category:


In Ireland, few figures have generated more hatred than Oliver Cromwell, whose seventeenth-century conquest, massacres, and dispossessions would endure in the social memory for ages to come. The Devil from over the Sea explores the many ways in which Cromwell was remembered and sometimes conveniently ‘forgotten’ in historical, religious, political, and literary texts, according to the interests of different communities across time. Cromwell’s powerful afterlife in Ireland, however, cannot be understood without also investigating his presence in folklore and the landscape, in ruins and curses. Nor can he be separated from the idea of the ‘Cromwellian’: a term which came to elicit an entire chain of contemptuous associations that would begin after his invasion and assume a wholly new force in the nineteenth century. What emerges from all these memorializing traces is a multitudinous Cromwell who could be represented as brutal, comic, sympathetic, or satanic. He could be discarded also, tellingly, from the accounts of the past, and especially by those which viewed him as an embarrassment or worse. In addition to exploring the many reasons why Cromwell was so vehemently remembered or forgotten in Ireland, Sarah Covington finally uncovers the larger truths conveyed by sometimes fanciful or invented accounts. Contrary to being damaging examples of myth-making, the memorializations contained in martyrologies, folk tales, or newspaper polemics were often productive in cohering communities, or in displaying agency in the form of ‘counter-memories’ that claimed Cromwell for their own and reshaped Irish history in the process.

Additional information




Covington, Sarah


Oxford University Press

Publication Year