O'Halloran: Study of the History and Antiquities of Ireland

Pdf O'Halloran, Sylvester. An Introduction to the Study of the History and Antiquities of Ireland. London: J. Murray, 1772.
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Sylvester O’Halloran (1728-1807), born in Limerick, was a renowned surgeon and historian. Having studied in London, Leyden and Paris, O’Halloran attempted to rectify the great lack of surgical services both in his native Limerick and in Ireland at large.

In 1761 he was one of the founders of the Limerick County Infirmary and is most highly renowned for being responsible for the establishment of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1784. Along with these achievements he had a passionate commitment to education, research and surgical skills.

His career as a surgeon was complimented by an interest in the arts, which began with his collection of Gaelic poetry manuscripts, leading to an interest in Irish history. He was one of the earliest historians writing in English to stress a positive view of the pre-Norman period of Irish history, which had been dismissed as a period of barbarism by most contemporary chroniclers.

Both his Introduction to the Study of the History and Antiquities of Ireland (1772) and General History of Ireland (2 Vols, 1778) stand among the earliest refutations of an Anglo-centric view of Ireland. In his works O’Halloran attacks writers such as David Hume, James MacPherson and Thomas Leland for what he saw as their misrepresentation of Irish history.

The Sylvester O'Halloran Bridge, Limerick is named in his honour.

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