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The Minority VoiceHubert Butler and Southern Irish Protestantism, 1900-1991$
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Robert Tobin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641567

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641567.001.0001

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Irish Community and Protestant Belonging, 1930–49

Irish Community and Protestant Belonging, 1930–49

(p.83) 3 Irish Community and Protestant Belonging, 1930–49
The Minority Voice

Robert Tobin

Oxford University Press

This chapter posits an overlapping sense of alienation among Southern Protestants and Irish intellectuals during the 1930s and 1940s, as both groups found themselves out of step with the pieties of the Catholic nationalist culture predominant at the time. It identifies secular Catholic intellectuals Seán O'Faoláin and Owen Sheehy Skeffington as central figures in Irish society and the importance of the journal The Bell. It evaluates Butler's attempts to frame his notions of communal belonging in philosophical terms, placing his writings in the context of his own wide reading, the ideas of George W. Russell, and the influence of Catholic Vocationalism in 1930s Ireland. It introduces his fascination with various social utopian experiments from history, analyses his attitude to his own Christian inheritance, and evaluates his essentially secular brand of Protestantism. It notes the evolution of traditionally Protestant institutions such as the Irish Times and Trinity College Dublin in accommodating social change.

Keywords:   Seán O'Faoláin, Owen Sheehy Skeffington, Catholic Vocationalism, Localism, Utopianism, Secular Protestantism, The Bell, Irish Times, Trinity College Dublin, Church of Ireland

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