Catholicism Displacement in Historic Ireland

Map of Irish Catholic Land Ownership, 1688

Currently, the country of Ireland is known to be predominantly Christian with a focus on the Catholic Church. Although the Irish people are mostly Catholic, it was not always like this; as with other European countries as well, there was unrest between Protestant Christians vs others, especially Catholic Christians. In Ireland, this was known as “penal laws”, which “punished” Catholics for their involvement with the Catholic Church and those who reigned under that sect.

In Siobhan Kilfeather’s Dublin: A Cultual History, Kilfeather describes the hardships faced by the Catholics in the late 1600s following the Williamite victory. After Ireland established Protestant rule, many acts were passed involving encouragement of Protestant settlement, barring Catholic priests to practice Catholicism, and prohibition of mingling between Catholic and Protestant citizens. Relief for the Catholic Irish people did not come until much later, which also took the help of a very small minority of sympathetic Protestant Irish citizens.

In “Irish Plantations” by OpenLearn, the maps of the different plantations show the gradual decrease of Catholic plantations, which eventually made them into a marginalized minority in Ireland. Protestants were encourage to settle into Ireland and keep up the majority rule, which made it difficult for the two different sects to get along and maintain orderly rule and harmony (https://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/world-history/irish-plantations-map) Unfortunately, it has been proven time and time again in history that even if two sects come from the same main religion, they will not necessarily be welcoming to one another; this has led to many large wars spanned throughout the generations, with some still occurring in places such as the Middle East. Although these “religious wars” have been a part of history all throughout the world, we should strive to live in a society that can put away religious differences for the good of the whole.

1 Comment

  1. I agree with you in living in a world in which religion does not cause a difference among people. I myself also wrote on this important part of Irish history which was very interesting in how a specific religion group was caused harm by facing injustices. Thank you for this piece.

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