Ireland in the Virginian Sea

Colonialism in the British Atlantic

By Audrey Horning

406 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 33 halftones, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3347-3
    Published: February 2017
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1073-3
    Published: December 2013
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4364-7
    Published: December 2013

Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press

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Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press

Awards & distinctions

2014 James Mooney Award, Southern Anthropological Society

A 2015 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

In the late sixteenth century, the English started expanding westward, establishing control over parts of neighboring Ireland as well as exploring and later colonizing distant North America. Audrey Horning deftly examines the relationship between British colonization efforts in both locales, depicting their close interconnection as fields for colonial experimentation. Focusing on the Ulster Plantation in the north of Ireland and the Jamestown settlement in the Chesapeake, she challenges the notion that Ireland merely served as a testing ground for British expansion into North America. Horning instead analyzes the people, financial networks, and information that circulated through and connected English plantations on either side of the Atlantic.

In addition, Horning explores English colonialism from the perspective of the Gaelic Irish and Algonquian societies and traces the political and material impact of contact. The focus on the material culture of both locales yields a textured specificity to the complex relationships between natives and newcomers while exposing the lack of a determining vision or organization in early English colonial projects.

About the Author

Audrey Horning is Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences, College of William and Mary, and Professor of Archaeology, Queen's University Belfast. This is her fifth book.
For more information about Audrey Horning, visit the Author Page.


“A remarkable, creative work that uncovers and illumines. . . . Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above.”--Choice

“In producing this accessible yet sophisticated account of two overlapping but distinct colonial enterprises, Horning offers a subtle interpretation of the complex early modern English plantation experience.”--American Historical Review

“Usefully encourages us to add complexity to often-simplified understandings of cultural conflict.”--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“Horning’s larger conclusions will surely generate productive study and debate.”--Journal of British Studies

“Bold and challenging.”--Journal of Southern History

"Generate[s] a provocative, new perspective on the old debate of Ireland as a colonial model for developing Jamestown."--Southern Historian