The Eton jacket is similar to a tailcoat but cut off just below the waist, worn as the school uniform of boys under 5'4" at Eton College until 1976, and at many other English schools, particularly choir schools.
This quote from the Bible (Matthew 18:7) is applied to Parnell by Mrs. Riordan as he married a divorced woman, Katharine O'Shea, with whom he had relations before her divorce. As divorce, not to mention adultery, is considered a sin by the Roman Catholic Church, this scandal damaged Parnell's standing among Irish Catholics.
William Sydney Clements, 3rd Earl of Leitrim (1806-1878) was an unpopular Anglo-Irish nobleman who was murdered, along with his coachman and his clerk, whilst driving to his residence in Milford in April 1878. His funeral sparked scenes of great unrest in Dublin.
These are two expressions Catholics use to refer to the Blessed Virgin.
Ivory is a type of dentine, the organic material which forms teeth and tusks. Ivory from elephant tusks has long been prized as a decorative material, a fact which has greatly threatened the survival of elephants as a species, as they have been hunted and killed for their tusks.
The Fenian Movement was an organisation of different groups all dedicated to the establishment of an Irish Republic. The name comes from the Fianna who, in ancient Ireland, were bands of young warriors who could be called upon in times of conflict.
Terence Bellew MacManus participated in the Young Irelander Rebellion, after which he was convicted and transported out of the country. He eventually escaped and settled in the United States. After his death, his body was taken back to Ireland for burial.
In Ancient Rome there are two Balbuses; one is Lucius Cornelius Balbus Major, a consul, and the other his nephew Lucius Cornelius Balbus Minor. We cannot say for sure to which Balbus Joyce is referring.
Arguably, it is just a tongue twister on the sounds b and w, a diction exercise.
The Jesuits, or Society of Jesus, are a Catholic religious order of men dedicated to evangelical work, promoting the Roman Catholic Church. The Jesuits were formed by St Ignatius of Loyola in 1539 as part of the Counter-Reformation. This saw the Catholic Church attempting to repair the damage done by the Reformation, during which Protestant and other breakaway Churches were formed, hugely damaging the power and reputation of the Vatican.
Flogging is the act of beating or whipping (from the Latin flagellum, "whip"). Typically, flogging is imposed on an unwilling subject as a punishment; however, it can also be submitted to willingly, or performed on oneself, in religious contexts. Corporal punishment in Irish schools was banned in 1982, and made illegal in 1996.