How the Reformation Contributed to the Conflict Between Ireland and England

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The Reformation affected the Irish population by calling attention to the inattention that was paid to the country by its English rulers. The Irish population had its own culture and had been experiencing a rebirth of Catholicism when the English Reformation occurred. The impact of the Reformation in Ireland during this time was that it created a larger gulf between the populations of Irish and English and additionally changed the focus of how Ireland was ruled.

The Catholic Church had been experiencing a revival during the time preceding the Reformation The English landowners were investing in religious buildings and relics as a way to increase their social standing, and this renewed interest in religion spilled over to create a newfound fever within the Irish community. Areas such as Galway, Cork, and Limerick had ties to mendicant friars which would further fuel the religious sentiments of the areas. Grearey argues that the Irish population was not a European one, but instead relied on the Catholic Church to unite the comingled population of Irish and English .

This would come to an end when George Browne, archbishop of Dublin, was sent to Ireland to ensure the success of the Reformation. When Henry VIII sent the archbishop to Ireland to enforce the Reformation policies, he changed the face of the Irish-English relations, much as they were. Henry VIII “destroyed every vestige of Irish sovereignty by his unilateral assumption of the kingship of Ireland, carried out unjust war against his own presumed subjects, wrecked the economy, debauched the currency, pillaged the Church in Ireland and England of an 800-year accumulation of wealth held in trust as "the patrimony of the poor" and created the class of paupers” .

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...he Kildare Revolt would be “a large garrison of English troops quartered in the Pale” effectively ending lip service homage to the Reformation that occurred under Lord Deputy Grey due to a lack of military backing.

It is no wonder that the common bond of religion stripped away and the shift from a monarchy that paid the Irish scant attention to one that sent troops to enforce edicts, that the Reformation changed the relationship between the Irish and English to one of deep seated animosity. While a few, such as the bishops were able to walk the fine lines between Ireland, England, and Rome many would use the Reformation such as the Kildare Revolt used it as an excuse to take up arms and declare Irish independence. The Reformation caused a divide that to this day is still unrepaired between the English and Irish populations that went beyond religious beliefs.
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