Book Details
Mandatory Fields
Pádraig Lenihan
The Last Cavalier Richard Talbot (1631-91)
UCD Press
In Press
Optional Fields
Left for dead at the sack of Drogheda, Richard Talbot later ingratiated himself with the future James II by plotting to assassinate Oliver Cromwell (though he was captured and escaped in odd circumstances). The Last Cavalier traces how Talbot, a ‘cunning dissembling courtier’, grew to be more than just another Restoration rake. He took on the cause of reconciling his countrymen’s allegiance to London and to Rome and, under a Catholic king, clawing back their lost status and power in the 1680s. Talbot, now Earl of Tyrconnell and viceroy, almost succeeded but after the Boyne (where he led the Jacobite army in battle) he lost his grip, and his country.The  key features of this biography are  that Talbot’s career is reappraised in the light of modern scholarship and fresh primary sources, including autobiographical notes, unearthed by the author. Moreover, as aconfidant of James the Catholic heir apparent, Talbot embodied the popish threat for many Englishmen. Hence the study of his career brings into focus critical issues that transcended three kingdoms and conveys a memorable picture of how courtiers competed amid the sordid glamour of the ‘merry monarch’s’ court. It is the story of a big man-nicknamed ‘Goliath’, Talbot was reputedly the tallest man at court in the 1660s—buffeted by big issues.Talbot made a bid to assert Irish independence which was carefully thought-out, boldly implemented and by no means foredoomed to failure, even after the ‘Glorious Revolution’.  A counterfactual question underlies any assessment of his wartime government: could Talbot have reversed the ‘Glorious Revolution’ and set James back on his other two thrones or, at least, created a viable French protectorate in Ireland?
Grant Details
None: NUIG Grant in Aid of Publication not available when contract issued from publisher
Publication Themes