November 30 marks 350 years since the birth of Jonathan Swift, the Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer poet and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, and Ireland’s most popular author, writes RAY CLEERE

Virtually everyone in Ireland knows something about Jonathan Swift and can tell the story of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’. Jonathan Swift is best remembered as a poet, satirist, and political writer. He was also a clergyman and Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin for 32 years between 1713 until his death in 1745.

Although he was a prolific writer and publisher, as a journalist, political pamphleteer, historian, and writer on religious matters, the canon of his works is dominated by three famous texts: ‘A Tale of a Tub’ in 1704; ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ in 1726 and ‘A Modest Proposal’ in 1729.

He was also a man who fought hard against social injustice and what he felt were unjust impositions on the Irish people, despite the fact that he would have preferred an appointment in England.

He lived to be almost 78 years old, a remarkable age at the time, which historians have attributed to his love of exercise and an obsession with cleanliness.

Jonathan Swift was born 350 years ago on November 30, 1667, at number 7, Hoey’s Court, near St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in Dublin. His parents were Anglo-Irish and his father, also Jonathan, died before his son was born.

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