This paper examines the historiographic methodologies of Geoffrey Keating’s 1634 Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, showing that Ireland’s first humanist national history presents collections of thematically similar episodes within the chronological framework provided by the succession of Irish kings. This organizational strategy enabled Keating to craft a new genre of Irish national history, drawing on the full extent of Ireland’s seanchas, its ancient histories and traditions. Thus, though Keating was concerned with generic differences in constructing this influential work, he was equally attentive to the possibility that the Foras Feasa could offer a foundation for writing about the Irish past that incorporated in its very structure the wealth of Ireland’s ancient sources, most of which were inaccessible to colonialist historians of Ireland. The Foras Feasa reclaims Irish history for Irish-speaking historians, offering a model for Irish national history that incorporated traditional methods of organizing knowledge while also demonstrating the necessity that any credible history of Ireland operate within the full context of the seanchas, thus asserting the inadequacy of colonialist histories of Ireland.


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pp. 83-106
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