Irish Presbyterian Church, 1623-1670

The recent re-publication by the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland of what is known as The Adair Narrative, or to give it its full title, A True Narrative of the Rise and Progress of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (1623-1670), by Rev. Patrick Adair, is to be welcomed for at least two main reasons.

The first is that it is the earliest written history of the beginning, growth and development of Presbyterianism in Ireland in the seventeenth century. As such it is an important, often eyewitness, account of the early Presbyterian settlers, giving an insight into their character, their way of life, their faith; and the struggles they faced to survive as a Church.

It tells of the difficulties experienced particularly in their relationships with the Established Church and the Government authorities, and of how the fledgling Church took root and eventually began to grow and spread. Too few members of today's Presbyterian churches know anything about the struggles and sacrifices of our forefathers in the seventeenth century.

The second reason this publication is welcome is for the new general introduction, written by Dr. Joseph Thompson, in which he tells us about the author and the history of his manuscript which, though written in the 1600s wasn¹t published until 1866, and then not without controversy.

At a time when there is increased interest in the history of seventeenth century Ireland, it is good to have widely available in a new format this valuable account of the role of Presbyterianism in the period. The book has been attractively produced in hardback by Tentmaker Publications and sells at the very reasonable price of £10 (plus postage) from the Presbyterian Historical Society, 26 College Green, Belfast, BT7 1LN.

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