In Campions Historie of Ireland (1571), Saint Edmund Campion describes Ireland as ‘an egge, blunt and plaine on the sides, not reaching forth to sea, in nooks and elbowes of Land, as Brittaine doth (Campion 1). He indicates that Ireland is a more perfect metonymic whole than the synecdochic Britain, which has ‘elbowes of land’ jutting into the sea. Ireland is desirable through being a pleasing egg-shape, while the noun ‘egge’ implies that it is a country in need of nurturing. However, it is also a country susceptible to invasion:
Leinster butteth upon England, Mounster and Connaght upon France and Spaine, Ulster upon the Scottish Llands (which face with Hebrides) scattered between both realms; wherein at this day, the Irish Scot Successour of the old Scythian Pict or Redshancke dwelleth. (Campion 4)
Ireland is portioned out according to the proximity of the closest countries, which demarcates boundaries. Campion claims Leinster contains ‘the fattest soyle’ and because it is on the east coast is ‘most open to receive helpe from England’ (Campion 5). Leinster is partially absorbed into English space, yet it is internalised by the presence of the ‘uncivill Irish and some rebels’ (5). Leinster is an enclosed space shared by both the English and Irish, which is denoted by the aggressive actions of the Irish rebels. Campion praises the innocence of the nascent English settlers. They settle ‘into a narrow circuite of certaine shires in Leinster’ that are ‘most defensible’ (Campion 5). The English are peaceful and civilised through desiring only a tiny part of Ireland, which is close to their home country so that the land is already practically English.
Elizabethan Map of England and Ireland
In order to encourage the English to settle in Ireland as part of the Elizabethan colonial campaign that had recently acquired the Munster plantation, Robert Payne in his Brife Description of Ireland (1589) sells Ireland -Continue reading>