A Colony of Strangers The founding & early history of Clifden
by Kathleen Villiers-Tuthill
Kathleen Villiers-Tuthill has written some excellent studies of Connemara and adds to these with A Colony of Strangers: The founding and early history of Clifden … This is a very impressive social history of the ‘capital of Connemara’ in the first half of the nineteenth century and makes a very worthwhile contribution to Clifden’s bicentenary year. History Ireland
‘…a detailed insight into an ambitious project, driven by an interesting man …. told in a wonderful flow of language, that is an easy to read history. An excellent and absorbing book.’ Galway Advertiser
‘The book is lively and well-constructed.’ The Irish Times
[The author] has succeeded brilliantly in producing a gripping and scholarly account not only of their life’s work but of the very life of north Connemara centered around the founding and early history of Clifden.
Beautifully written and produced with maps, portraits and illustrations this book is a major personal achievement for the author and deserving of every plaudit that will doubtless come its way.
Jeananne Crowley – The Connemara Journal
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Coverage of the launch of A Colony of Strangers in the Connaught Tribune
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The unique imagination, energy and determination that John D’Arcy brought to Connemara in the early nineteenth century set in motion a dynamic that would see the development of a new town, the opening up of a previously unknown district and the introduction of settlers into a hitherto forbidden region.
D’Arcy was just nineteen years of age when he inherited his family estates in 1804, imbued with the self-belief that the naivety of youth can bring and a consciousness of his responsibilities as landed proprietor and landlord. This combination of noblesse oblige and youthful exuberance propelled his ambitious plan to build a town and to populate his Connemara estate with industrious tenants, capitalists, artisans and merchants.
As time went on, the town’s population increased, its fortunes waxed and waned and its social fabric was knitted together, echoing the political and economic developments taking place throughout Ireland during this period.
A Colony of Strangers: The founding and early history of Clifden is a fascinating study of Irish urban history and a dramatic tale of one man’s efforts to create a new reality in west Galway. Extensive research undertaken by the author paints a vivid picture of many of the town’s early citizens and provides us with an interesting insight into small-town life in the west of Ireland in the first half of the nineteenth century.