Source 2 of 6: An English view of Irish customs

Engraving of Irish Feast
Engraving of Irish Feast

Engraving of Irish Feast

About this Source

Source Details
Drawing from 'Image of Irelande', an English book about Ireland published in 1581.

Context
John Derricke's book was dedicated to his patron, Sir Henry Sidney. The book is mainly about Henry Sidney's father, the Lord Sidney responsible for the Plantation of Munster. The book is full of illustrations of the 'wild Irish', but also stresses that many Irish gentry were loyal to Queen Elizabeth.
Puzzled?
The illustration shows the typical Irish chieftain eating out of doors with very rough and ready table manners. The English made many attempts to 'civilise' the Irish by trying to make them adopt English manners. This civilising usually involved converting to Protestantism as well, which rarely happened. This picture shows how the artist wanted people in England to see the uncivilised Irish.

Questions

  • How are the Irish presented in this source?
  • Is there anything here to suggest it is one-sided?
  • Who would have read this book? Do you think they would have had to chance to see for themselves whether it was accurate or not?