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HISTORICAL CONTEXT Irish history pervades the novel in a way that English history does not pervade Dickens’ Great Expecations. Here are a few relevant dates/epochs: prehistory—the mythic past of Ireland was usually described as a series of invasions where each succeeding people conquered and took over from their predecessors. Traditional stories about these peoples (the Firbolg, the Tuatha de Danann) were very much part of Irish folk culture and are referred to in Joyce’s fiction. 432 CE—traditional date of St. Patrick’s mission to Ireland 1014—Battle of Clontarf. Irish forces defeat the Vikings in Dublin and its surrounds and then fall in to civil war. 1155—Pope Adrian V grants the overlordship of Ireland to Henry II of England (1154-89) in a document that does not survive. 1485—Henry VIII begins the Tudor policy of conquest and colonization in Ireland. 1558-1620—a series of revolts against English rule allowed the English to impose a plantation system on
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