I spent a few hours in the main Mullen Library at Catholic University of America, browsing the Irish history collection in the open stacks. I selected from one of the shelves “A New History of Ireland, Volume VI: Ireland Under the Union: 1870-1921,” edited by W. E. Vaughan. I settled into a chair to read the chapter, The Parnell Era, 1883-91, by R. V. Comerford.
The Irish “Land War” period of tenant-landlord agitation is typically framed as 1879-1882. But agrarian unrest on the island began during the Great Famine of the mid-19th century and lasted throughout the 1880s. In reading about British administration of Ireland during the year 1887, Comerford makes this statement that caught my eye:
“This was the great era of the transportable battering-ram and of the set-piece eviction scene, producing images that have been frequently superimposed on earlier times.” (My emphasis.)