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Ireland’s Huguenots and Their Refuge

An Unlikely Haven

Raymond Pierre Hylton is Associate Professor of History at Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia. He has lectured and studied at University College, Dublin, and is the recipient winner of the National Huguenot Society Publishing Award for 1987.

Of the 200,000-odd Huguenots whose consciences compelled them to leave France during the 17th–18th centuries, some 10,000 chose to settle in that most unlikely of refuges – Ireland. The story of why and how these most ardent of Protestant believers found themselves in this most fervently Catholic of islands is one of history’s great paradoxes.This book explores this question and attempts to reveal precisely who these Huguenots were, what they contributed to and received from their adopted land, and why Huguenot ancestry is so respected and prized even among devout Irish Catholics.

The true chronicle of Ireland’s Huguenots is, in opposition to the narrow misrepresentations of the past, one of extraordinary richness and variety, as befits an ethnic group whose influence permeated into every nook of Irish life and society. Here are some of the towering personalities that left such an imprint on Ireland’s history, character and heritage: Henri, Earl of Galway; warrior turned financial tycoon David Digues Latouche; the scholar/librarian Elie Bouhereau; and many other greater and lesser luminaries.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-902210-78-0
Hardback Price: £55.00 / $69.50
Release Date: May 2005
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-079-7
Paperback Price: £25.00 / $39.95
Release Date: September 2013
Page Extent / Format: 240 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: 24 illustrations


List of Illustrations

Prologue Lines in Ink

Introduction The French Non-Connection, Pre-Ormondite Huguenots, c.1569–1661

Part I The Ormondite Refuges
1 The Early Ormondite Refuge, 1662–1680
2 The Late Ormondite Refuge, 1681–1691
3 The Ormondite Years in Perspective, 1662–1691

Part II The Ruvignac Refuges
4 “Fortress Ireland”: The Linchpin – Portarlington's Saga, 1692–1720
5 “Fortress Ireland”: The Dublin Core, 1692–1745
6 “Fortress Ireland”: The Hinterlands: Lingering Questions

Part III Unfulfilled Refuge?
7 Matters of Faith and Politics

Epilogue Legends and Facts


Hylton offers new insights into Ireland’s Huguenot settlements, providing in many cases new data on Irish Huguenot families and their function within Irish society.
Eighteenth-century Ireland

Hylton highlights the key issues that hindered the development of a cohesive Huguenot community in Ireland … He renders a valuable service by situating Ireland’s Huguenot refugees within a wider context. The text elegantly summarizes the period in Huguenot history before the revocation of the Edict of Nantes and traces how conflicts between politique and zealot Huguenots had far-reaching consequences for the refugees in Ireland … He also provides helpful miniature biographies of many of the key ecclesiastical and political actors within the French community and those within the Irish establishment who rendered them aid. Hylton’s care in recounting these incidents along with his detailing of the Huguenot role in the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland ensure that both specialist and nonspecialist readers can glean important insight from the text. Hylton’s work also demonstrates that genealogical interests can coexist with the concerns of professional historians.
The Journal of British Studies

Hylton’s study has two distinct merits. First, he has combed through archival sources, identifying individuals, tracing their trades, social status, and family affiliations, and attempting to assess their contribution to Irish social and economic history. Second, he correctly argues that the three successive waves of Huguenot immigration into Ireland were distinct. The incentives offered in 1662 by the ‘act for encouraging protestant-strangers and others, to inhabit and plant in the kingdom of Ireland’ attracted some two hundred French Protestants to Ireland; but they, like the Flemish weavers who also came at this time, were economic migrants rather than refugees… Hylton deserves credit for debunking many of the myths that surround the Huguenot presence in Ireland.
The International History Review

The Huguenot communities in Ireland have long attracted interest. In particular, three investigators – Grace Lawless Lee, Albert Carré and T.P. Le Fanu – laid sturdy foundations of evidence and interpretation. Raymond Hylton’s study, while generous in its acknowledgement of the pioneers, goes far beyond them. So far as the sources are concerned, it is unlikely that much will come to light to modify his authoritative account of the successive stages of the settlements in Ireland. Possibly the archives of particular families of Huguenot origin will yield new information.
... Dr Hylton’s account, originating in a doctoral dissertation, will now achieve the wider circulation that it deserves. The author shows an impressive mastery of the detail and the contexts in his painstaking treatment. In essence, he identifies three phases. In the earliest, French Protestants were welcomed into Ireland, thanks to the patronage of the first Duke of Ormond and other Irish Protestant landowners. These patrons were motivated by feelings of solidarity with fellow Protestants and by hopes of economic gains. Already the specialized skills and commercial contacts of the French immigrants were appreciated. Next, in the 1680s came a second, larger influx: the result of the dragonnades and the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Finally, more were drawn into Ireland following William III’s victories. Dublin remained a magnet. In addition, the inland town of Portarlington and other provincial outposts attracted immigrants, among whom veterans from the army were prominent. The provincial settlements were conceived as military bastions against possible Catholic invasion. Dr Hylton suggests a total of between 8,000 and 10,000 Huguenots in early 18th-century Ireland, about half of whom lived in Dublin. Portarlington may have contained 650, with sizeable communities in Cork, Lisburn and Waterford.
This is the fullest and most judicious account of the refuge in Ireland.
Proceedings of The Huguenot Society

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