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I long to study the purely national, natural character of an Irishwoman' When Horatio, the son of an English lord, is banished to his father's Irish estate as punishment for gambling debts and dissipated living, he adopts the persona of knight errant and goes off in search of adventure. On the wild west coast of Connaught he finds remnants of a romantic Gaelic past a dilapidated castle, a Catholic priest, a deposed king and the king's lovely and learned daughter, Glorvina. In this setting and among these characters Horatio learns the history, culture and language of a country he had once scorned, but he must do so in disguise for his own English ancestors are responsible for the ruin of the Gaelic family he comes to love. Written after the Act of Union, The Wild Irish Girl (1806) is a passionately nationalistic novel and a founding text in the discourse of Irish nationalism. The novel proved so controversial in Ireland that Sydney Owenson, later Lady Morgan, was put under surveillance by Dublin Castle.