Northern Ireland Catholics Vs. The Protestants

Satisfactory Essays
The true causes of unrest are sometimes difficult to determine. Frequently, there are a mixture of political alliances, economic differences, ethnic feuds, religious differences and others: This paper looks at the unrest between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, "the troubles" are partly rooted in Catholic/Protestant differences, partly in political allegiances, and probably partly in hatreds that go back so far that the exact reason is lost in the mists of time.

Let's take a minute to look at the history of Ireland. Saint Patrick (c.389-461), the patron of Ireland, came from England to Ireland to convert the inhabitants to Christianity. At the time, the only Christian religion was Catholicism. He came to educate the people and succeeded beyond any rational expectation, as Ireland eventually became almost exclusively Christian, as well as a center of scholarship and culture. Even when the Protestant Reformation swept through Europe and England in the 16th Century, Ireland remained staunchly Catholic, thereby triggering the Catholic versus Protestant conflict that plagues Northern Ireland today.

The five monarchs of the 118 year Tudor Dynasty in England (1486-1603) particularly Henry VIII (r.1509-47) and his daughter Elizabeth I (r.1558-1603) -- had an enormous impact on Ireland and its people. In addition to imposing Poynings Law on Ireland, they ousted the Catholic Church and replaced it with a Protestant Church, thereby sowing the seeds for centuries of religious conflict in Ireland. They extinguished the "Kildare Supremacy" and established the principle that the King of England automatically became King of Ireland. They partially destroyed Irish culture through an "anglicization" program that imposed England's language, laws, culture and religion on Ireland; and they "re-conquered" Ireland by defeating the Gaelic lords at Kinsale, thereby extinguishing the old Gaelic order and paving the way for plantations and eventually for "union" with England.

The Battle of Kinsale, along with the "Flight of the Earls", marked the end of the old Gaelic order, and established England as conqueror of Ireland. What followed next -- the 17th Century "Plantations" -- were perhaps the most important development in Irish history since arrival of the Celts. They divided Ireland apartheid-like into two hostile camps.

Under these Plantations, the Ulster Plantation (1609), the Cromwellian Plantation (1652) and the Williamite Plantation (1693), 81% of the productive land in Ireland was confiscated from the native Irish (Gaelic-Irish and Norman-Irish alike, but invariably Catholic), and transferred to new immigrants (invariably Protestant) from Scotland and England.
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