Information and French Support for Jacobite Ireland, 1689-1691

  • Jonathan Stuart Keogh

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


    Although conventional Irish historiography has viewed French support for the Jacobite war effort in Ireland in the period 1689-1691 largely in terms of military assistance, a small number of scholars have taken a more original view. Their works considered the interaction between the two groups by looking at both French and Irish sources and scholarship in tandem, thus creating a new paradigm through which to examine the period.

    This new approach is adopted here and is applied to the concept of information as it related to French support for Jacobite Ireland. Through themes and individuals the crucial importance of information, its acquisition, concealment and transmission is shown in the context of the changing French appraisals of the Irish campaign. The information to be considered ranges from propaganda and diplomacy to court gossip and cryptography. Both thematic areas like propaganda and intelligence through correspondence are examined. Specific French individuals, exemplary in the appropriation and exploitation of information, are looked at and their contributions assessed.

    The thesis shows that the French went to considerable effort to stay informed about the situation in Jacobite Ireland and to secure their channels of communication. The efforts of the new Williamite regime to intercept and disrupt that flow of information, both regarding correspondence and propaganda in an Irish and a Three-Kingdom context are also outlined. The study also considers domestic French discussions and court conflicts and how these may have influenced military events in Ireland.

    In sum, this study argues that French support for James II was subject to internal discussion and brokerage of influence at court. The examination as a whole confirms information as a valid framework of enquiry to better understand French interaction with Jacobites in Ireland, but is also applicable in a wider context, that of the use of intelligence in the conflict between France and the new Williamite regime in the Three Kingdoms in the early period of the Nine Years War.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorChristopher Storrs (Supervisor)


    • Ireland
    • Jacobite
    • Intelligence
    • Propoganda
    • Nine Years War
    • James II
    • Louis XIV
    • Louvois
    • William III

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