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About this book

How did the Protestants gain a monopoly over the running of Ireland and replace the Catholics as rulers and landowners? To answer this question, Toby Barnard:

- examines the Catholics' attempt to regain control over their own affairs, first in the 1640s and then between 1689 and 1691
- outlines how military defeats doomed the Catholics to subjection, allowing Protestants to tighten their grip over the government
- studies in detail the mechanisms - both national and local - through which Protestant control was exercised.

Focusing on the provinces as well as Dublin, and on the subjects as well as the rulers, Barnard draws on an abundance of unfamiliar evidence to offer unparalleled insights into Irish lives during a troubled period.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Land and Peoples

Abstract
The English intention to rule Ireland had first been acted on when (in 1169) Henry II, king of England and duke of Normandy, was authorized by the pope to invade and annexe the island. Until the sixteenth century, English control waxed and waned. During those centuries, its authority seldom extended beyond the capital, Dublin, a narrow corridor of land around Dublin and the eastern seaboard (known as the Pale from the ditch which demarcated its boundary), and a few ports strung along the coast, such as Waterford, Cork, Drogheda and Limerick. In 1541, worries over security made Henry VIII’s advisers assert English authority in Ireland more aggressively. This aggression matched similar initiatives in the north and far west of England and in Wales. The most legible sign was an act, devised in England and passed by the Dublin parliament, which declared Henry VIII king of Ireland. Before this, he and his predecessors were styled simply as the lords of Ireland. The act for the kingly title of 1541 announced an ambition: to bring Ireland completely under English rule and to turn it into a provincial dependency little different from northern and western England or Wales. Distance, an unwillingness of England to spend heavily on the venture, the interference of other European states, and — above all — the distinctive cultures and attitudes of the inhabitants of Ireland conspired to defeat the scheme.
Toby Barnard

Chapter 2. Rebellions and Reconquests, 1641–1691

Abstract
Late in October 1641, Catholics in Ulster killed Protestant neighbours, ejected more from their homes and seized the settlers’ properties. The insurgents had intended to synchronize their actions with the capture of the English governors in Dublin. Once they controlled the government, it was expected that mastery of all Ireland would soon follow. But the Dublin plot was forestalled. Despite this reverse, others throughout the kingdom soon joined the bands in Ulster. The insurrection was not suppressed until early in 1653. Immediately questions propose themselves. Why did Ireland rebel? Why did the revolt last so long?
Toby Barnard

Chapter 3. Governing Ireland, 1692–1760

Abstract
After 1690, the triumphant Protestants of Ireland had to attend to familiar tasks. They needed to complete the pacification of the island and ensure that it was not again disturbed by Catholic insurgency. Mundane but vital matters of administration, ensuring that the writ of Dublin ran into the remotest districts, and the interlocking issues of taxation and defence, dominated the deliberations of the victors. At the same time, the relationships of the minority with their near neighbour, England, which had ensured victory, and with those — the Irish Catholics — whom they had lately defeated (only with English and Dutch help) had to be renegotiated.
Toby Barnard

Chapter 4. Parliament, Improvement and Patriotism, 1692–1760

Abstract
Fears that a death-knell had been tolled for an independent Irish legislature, with the growing propensity of England to intervene in Irish affairs after 1690, were confounded. From 1692, the Dublin parliament not only retained but enlarged its role. Haughty Irish MPs responded to English slights by rehousing themselves. In 1729, a virtuoso from the emerging Protestant Ascendancy, Edward Lovett Pearce, well-connected and well-travelled in continental Europe, was commissioned to design a new parliament house on College Green, opposite Trinity College. Grand in scale and conception, the building proclaimed the arrival in Ireland of a sophisticated and modern classicism learnt directly from Italy and nowhere to be found in the secular public buildings of London or Edinburgh. This commission could be seen as a gesture, costly and permanent, which matched the rhetorical flights of the Irish patriots in parliamentary debates. It was equalled in grandeur and modishness only by the mansion of Castletown, which the Speaker of the Commons, William Conolly, was erecting in County Kildare during the 1720s.119
Toby Barnard

Chapter 5. Rulers and Ruled

Abstract
Because the king of Ireland was the most notable absentee from the kingdom, he required a deputy. Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the choice alternated between local magnates, usually descended from the Old English settlers of the middle ages, such as the Fitzgeralds, earls of Kildare, the Butlers, first and second dukes of Ormonde, and Richard Talbot, ennobled as earl of Tyrconnell, and generals or nobles despatched from England. Neither option avoided dangers: locals promoted themselves and their cronies; the imported seldom had much grasp of the personalities and nuances of Irish affairs. English ambitions to subordinate Ireland more fully required the more frequent use of Englishmen, to the chagrin of loyal locals. For a time this trend away from the employment of the Irish-born was masked by the long viceroyalties of the two dukes of Ormonde, which stretched, although not uninterruptedly, from 1643 to 1713. Thereafter, no one of Irish birth was appointed to this, the highest office in the English government of Ireland. Just as the lord lieutenancy told of the special character of the Ireland within the dominion of the English monarch, so too did other important posts on the official Irish establishment.
Toby Barnard

Chapter 6. Catholic Masses and Protestant Élites

Abstract
English policy aimed to eradicate Catholicism from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Ireland. Failure quickly to do so led to a more limited although still ambitious scheme to remove its leaders. Government service was closed to those who would not profess Protestantism. Other openings — in the law, education and even skilled crafts — narrowed and sometimes closed. By the early eighteenth century, the only profession in Ireland open to Catholics was medicine.354 However, the most important element in the leadership of Catholic Ireland, the priesthood, although harassed, survived. Even Protestant observers thought that the lack of priests was more damaging than their presence. Near Dublin, at Ballymore, parishioners, deprived of Catholic worship, were left ‘without even the sense or thought of religion’. As a result, the people were said to ‘die rather like beasts than Christians’.355 In other places, such as County Kerry, the Catholic priesthood was more active than the established Protestant church. There the negligence of Protestant ministers made parishioners turn to Catholicism, ‘and several are buried like swine for want of a parson, and others are forced to get popish priests to baptize their children or suffer ‘em to die without baptism’.356 Priests and schoolteachers worked — at different moments — under threat of imprisonment, banishment or even death. Yet, by 1731 enquiries uncovered more than 2300, both the regulars (members of religious orders like Franciscans, Capuchins and Dominicans) and secular (essentially parish) priests. In addition, 549 Catholic schools were noted. Probably the number was considerably larger.357
Toby Barnard
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