The Hungary link

Roy Johnston reviews Ireland and Hungary: a study in parallels by Thomas Kabdebo, Four Courts Press £25 hbk

HUNGARIAN AUTHOR Dr Thomas Kabdebo is a former Director of the library at National University of Ireland, Maynooth, who now teaches cultural studies in University College Dublin.

In writing Ireland and Hungary, which has a foreword from current Hungarian president Arpad Goncz, Kabdebo has had the support of the Royal Irish Academy and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the assistance of several Irish and Hungarian scholars.

February/March 2002

The book begins with an analysis of Arthur Griffith’s sources for his Resurrection of Hungary, and a comparative study of Ireland and Hungary in the 1848 period. He goes on to treat the Hungarian reception of the news of the Easter Rising, viewed in the wartime environment from the angle of Germany’s ally. ‘The wife of Count Markievicz’ gets some attention, as does Casement.

There follows a chapter on the Hungarian reception of Irish independence, covering the period 1918-1944.

He goes on, with Seamus Ó Siochain, to unearth Hungarian links with two Casements, father and son -- the father was a link between the Hungarian revolutionary Lajos Kossuth and the English politician Viscount Palmerston. It is suggested that this Hungarian link pre-disposed Casement jr to be influenced by the thinking of Griffith.

The book ends with an analysis of the Irish reaction to the rising in Hungary in 1956. Ireland and Hungary will strengthen the European dimension of Irish political history, and is to be welcomed.

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