3 Pietas Austriaca and ‘Dispensers of Royal Authority’: The Early Irish Colleges and Habsburg Cultural Strategies

In: Forming Catholic Communities


The Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs were key to the foundation and maintenance of the network of Irish Catholic colleges established in their territories from the late sixteenth century. This essay explores how their support of the Irish colleges expressed the Habsburgs’ strategic aim on both the political and the cultural fronts. Comparisons are drawn with the English and Dutch collegial networks established at the same time. The histories of the individual colleges are followed to the middle of the seventeenth century, when Habsburg dominance of the Irish network began to weaken in the face of French competition.

Forming Catholic Communities

Irish, Scots and English College Networks in Europe, 1568–1918