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Within a short time of publication 
Professor Gurtis's book was accepted 
as the best single-volume history of 
Ireland. He starts from the earliest 
origins of the country and takes the 
story up to the 1922 Treaty. 


u. p. 30 


NATURE has placed the two islands of Britain and Ire- 
land in such close neighbourhood that it was inevitable 
that their destinies should be interwoven in various 
ways, and the Irish themselves have long spoken of 'The 
Three Kingdoms' which they formed and which for some 
centuries have been in one royal line. Ireland, lying to the 
west of the greater island, has by geography and history been 
made to feel the impact of it from early times. She contains 
some twenty million statute acres and 32,000 square miles 
of territory, while England, apart from Wales, has thirty-two 
milh'on statute acres, and Scotland nineteen. Ireland is, 
however, far more fertile than Scotland, and compares well 
with rich England in this regard, for the limestone plain, which 
makes up nearly half her soil, forms the best grazing land in 
Europe, and everywhere, indeed, good land and poor land lie 
side by side. In Tudor and Stuart times the officials who made 
plans for confiscation and colonization reckoned that out of the 
twenty millions of acres some twelve millions were 'profitable 
land', to be set apart for settlers, English or Scotch. But a 
great deal of the island is lake, bogland, and mountain; up to 
three centuries ago our country was very untraversable and 
greatly severed by natural features. Its abundance of all that 
the natural man desires has tempted many invaders, but no 
country has resisted invasion more successfully, for it is a 
difficult country to hold though easy to overrun, as the 
Normans found. The soft air and abundant rain, the extent 
and fertility of good soil, the food-producing richness of Ireland 
all conspire to make life easy and enable the native race to 
recover quickly after the most devastating wars. Hence the 
high 'survival value' of the Irish people, who have beaten 
i ivader after invader, not so much by arms as by the constant 
r svival of 'man-power'. It is worth recalling that as late as 
i 800 out of every three men in the British Isles one was 
a n Irishman, and in view of their military disposition and 


hostility to the Saxon (much of it well deserved) it is not \ 
be wondered at that militarists in the greater island for loi>i 
regarded Ireland as a danger This explains much of oili 
history and the measures frequently taken for the 'reduction 
of Ireland', when wise kings and statesmen should have taker 
other courses to win her people over. It is only one of the 
difficulties in writing Irish history that a close political con- 
nexion has bound Ireland and Britain together for long 
centuries, and the story has to include at once the native race 
Anglo-Ireland, and English government in Ireland. 

To make a country's history intelligible, the historiar 
naturally seeks for some point of unity, and this has beer 
long deferred in Ireland's history. Of ancient Erin under its 
High kings we can only say that, as with England itself at the 
time, political union was slow, whatever we may say of a 
remarkable cultural unity and the 'nation-making' that we 
owe to native heroes such as Brian Boru. And even the olc 
Gaelic State was destroyed by the Norman-French invasion 
though its laws, language, and order of life lived on locallj 
among the Gaelic septs of Ireland till the Tudor conquest 
Since this latter event, the political State has seldom (save foi 
a brief spell under the Stuarts) been representative of th< 
majority who believed themselves to be the true and histori< 
Irish nation. For the establishment of a central government 
representing the nation and able to rule justly over all itt 
elements, Ireland has had to wait till the present generation. 

The Treaty of 1922 and the attainment of true self-govern 
ment, with the willing assent of Great Britain, gives meaning 
and justification to the long-continued struggle which fills s< 
many of these pages, and permits us to treat dispassionate!} 
a story around which great and enduring passion has beej 
woven. But though Ireland is now free to write her future his 
tory in brighter pages, the difficulties of writing her past remaii 
and are admitted by all who have honestly attempted it. Fo, 
centuries almost any point of unity seems lacking, and thoi 
Henry VIII set up the Kingdom of Ireland and Elizabet 
reign saw the whole island welded into an apparent whoi 
the religious and political despotism of the titular Monan*Hn 


ifortunately made the general acceptance of it impossible, 
et even as it was, the Kingdom of Ireland, though its 
anarchs for nearly three centuries never visited their 
cond realm, has had historic greatness and national appeal, 
d to restore it as it was in the days of Grattan has been the 
n of most of our leaders since the Union of 1800. 

Politics and religion take up a disproportionate space in 
,r history, but these questions, the unfortunate heritage of 
e past, have left a deeper mark here than elsewhere in 
irope, and though they have been dissolved in the light of 
Ddern reasonableness their importance in our history and 
the shaping of the national character cannot be minimized, 
hen we add to them the Land question and the agrarian 
ht, we have a union of passionate forces on which Irish 
tionality has been reared. 

On the matter of our religious differences, one treads on 
pred and dangerous ground, and the historian can only 
jat conscientious religious belief with the respect it deserves 
d view the Churches of the past in the light of their own 
y. The three-fold distinction of 'Catholic, Protestant, and 
esbyterian' has for Irishmen a dear and historic significance, 
d can be used without apology or offence. Minorities, 
cial, religious, and political, have played a great part among 
, and the former 'Protestant Ascendancy' and all that it 
s meant in the field of civilization, literature, and political 
tedom, as well as its faults, are immortalized in the pages of 
oude and Lecky. The Protestant Dissenters of the North 
ve an honoured place in patriotic history for their democratic 
ord and their part in the agrarian fight which has left 
Bland, in spite of all the confiscations and plantations of 
e past, a land owned by 600,000 peasant proprietors. The 
storian can only register and regret the fact that the counties 
acre the Presbyterians are most dominant are now severed 
(litically from the rest of Ireland. 

The main task, after all, must be to trace the story of the 
ajority who have finally achieved nationhood, and who in the 


struggle have always found among the Protestant minority 
leaders and heroes, and a constant body of sympathy and 
aid. The natural ties between Irishmen are indeed stronger 
than their political and religious divisions; strong enough 
indeed, if encouraged by our leaders, to effect that true union 
of all Ireland which, in spite of many great victories, remains 
unachieved. We have traced the course of a remarkable 
race-consciousness from far back in Irish history into the 
nation-consciousness of to-day, and it is the story of a con- 
stant absorption of all later elements into the Irish nation 
which emerges from 1603 onwards. 

To carry through a history which begins with the Gaelic 
Celts and reaches almost to the present time is no light task 
of compression and selection. The writer has sought to give 
cultural, social, and economic factors their due weight with 
the rest, and throughout has selected what seemed to him the 
moving forces, the deciding facts, and the men that mattered, 
and to present them in a story that has movement and 
meaning. Some thirty years' study and twenty years' teaching 
of Irish history have clarified it for him, and will, he trusts, do 
so for his readers. 

E. C. 









OF KILKENNY, 1327-1366 102 

1399 II8 


RULE, I399- J 477 X 3i 


TION, I477-I54 r 47 

QUEST OF IRELAND, 1540-1603 167 

PERIOD, 1603-1660 221 


1714 275 

XVI HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 290 

1782-1800 317 







INDEX 427 


IRELAND IN 1014 32~33 







^ ''HE traditions of the Irish people are the oldest of any 
I race in Europe north and west of the Alps, and they 
A themselves are the longest settled on their own soil. 
When they learned to write they recorded the tradition that 
they originally came from northern Spain. The ancient Leabar 
Gabdla (the Book of Invasions) tells how the three sons of 
Mileadh of Spain, namely, Heremon, Heber, and Ir, came to 
Erin about the time of Alexander the Great and conquered the 
land from the Tuatha De" Danann. Of the races that were in 
possession before them, the Tuatha De* Danann were a superior 
race, semi-divine in their arts of magic and wizardry, the 
Firbolg were a race dark, short, and plebeian; the Fomorians 
were gloomy giants of the sea. From the three sons of Mileadh 
descended all the royal clans of later Ireland, To this day, 
wherever Irish is spoken, the story of 'Meela Spaunya' is 
remembered, and to be of the old Milesian race is an honour- 
able distinction. 

Modern scholars agree that Ireland was first peopled by 
neolithic men, users of flint, and then by dark, small people 
from the Mediterranean, users of bronze, who are perhaps the 
Firbolg of our traditions. Later, Scotland and Northern 
Ireland were peopled by a race called the Picts, in Irish 'the 
Cruithne 1 . Then about 350 B.C. came Celts from the centre 
of Europe, a tall race, red-blond of hair, speaking a language 
close to Latin. The Gaelic Celts, coming direct by sea from 
south France and perhaps northern Spain, conquered Ireland; 
the British Celts, their cousins, coming from France and the 
mouth of the Rhine, invaded and conquered Britain. A great 
Celtic empire had once covered central Europe, but now 
between the Germans on the east and Rome on the south was 
at last narrowed down to Gaul and northern Spain. Britain 
and Erin were the last conquests of the Celts, and Ireland is 
to-day the only Celtic nation State left in the world. 


The victory of the Gaelic invaders came from their weapons 
of tempered iron, their greater stature, their superiority in 
battle to the bronze-using aborigines, and their warlike, 
aristocratic, and masterful temper. They were destined to 
become the political masters of Ireland, and by the year 
A.D. 800, though they were an upper-class minority, they had 
completely imposed their empire, language, and law upon 
our whole island. To the Romans they were known as the 
Scots, to themselves they were the Gaels, and they called their 
country itriu, a name familiar to us as Erin, and to the Latin 
world as Hibernia. 

Ireland was already a land of ancient cultures. From the 
Tuatha De" Danann and Firbolg the Gaels added to their gods 
such deities as Angus Oge, the Dagda, and Dana, the Mother 
of the gods. Ireland was full of sacred places of the dead, 
groves of deities, and great hill-fortresses, such as Tara, 
Emain Macha, and Aileach. The traditional memories, the 
music and the art of the older races blended with the arts of the 
Gaels. Politically they also took over many things. Monarchy 
became a feature of their government, though on the continent 
the Celts were republican. Ireland was already divided into 
the five 'Fifths' or kingdoms, and this division has lasted 
until to-day, though Meath no longer is a province. Ulster, 
Connacht, Munster, north and south Leinster formed this 
pentarchy, and the province-kingdoms were divided again into 
petty states called Tuatha, of which by A.D. 1000 there were 
about one hundred. 

The religion of the Irish was Druidism; this was of Celtic 
origin, but blended with much earlier paganism. Celtic, too, 
was the earliest form of writing, the Ogam, based on the Latin 
alphabet, but serving for little more than funeral inscriptions 
on upright stones or short writings on wooden staves. A 
remarkable institution of the Irish Celts was their learned 
class the 'Fill' (poets or seers), 1 who were greatly venerated 
and feared. It was they who preserved the traditions, epics, 
laws, pedigrees, and history of the race. When Christianity 
came this powerful caste took on a veneer of the new faith > 

1 Singular 'File', pronounced 'Filla'; plural 'Filidh', or m modern 
spelling 'Fili', pronounced 'Fill-ee'. 


but until the fall of the Gaelic order in 1603 they were 
the hereditary keepers of the ancient lore and learning of 
Ireland as expressed in the Irish language. When writing 
came in with Christianity, Gaelic became a cultivated language 
and the sages wrote down in it the epics and records which they 
formerly kept orally. 

In our earlier history tradition and fact are blended together, 
and it is not till St. Patrick's arrival in 432 that we may regard 
ourselves on historical ground. The oldest of our national 
epics, the Tdin B6 Cualgne, takes us back to the time of Christ. 
It tells how Maeve, queen of Connacht, made war on Concobar, 
king of Ulster, and his famous Red Branch heroes, whose seat 
was the hill-fortress of Emain Macha near Armagh, and then- 
most famous name that of Cu Chulainn. In this we read of 
five kingdoms, but there is no supreme king, and Ulster is the 
greatest of the five, stretching south to the Boyne and across 
to the middle Shannon. Later, Leinster received its name from 
the 'Broad spears' of two thousand Gauls, with whom its 
exiled king Labraid recovered his kingdom. The early records 
of Munster also show Gaulish immigration, and this did much 
to make a distinction between the south and the Gaelic- 
Pictish north. 


The Gaels were a military and oppressive aristocracy, and 
about the year A.D. 100 there was a great revolt of the pre- 
Celtic subjects under Cairbre Cinn Cait, 'the Cat-head'. This 
was crushed by a Gaelic prince called Tuathal, and there 
followed a great historic event, the formation of a united 
kingdom of Meath and Connacht, which provided Ireland for 
centuries with a central High kingship. The Firbolgs never 
revolted again, and the pride of their Gaelic masters remained 
unbroken. Henceforth anybody 'who was anything* boasted 
a pedigree derived from Heremon, IT, and Heber. 

Tuathal's first capital was Maeve's fortress of Rath Croghan 
in Roscommon. East of the Shannon he built a second capital 
on the hill of Uisneach near Mullingar. A hundred years after 
him, about A.D. 200, his descendant Conn CeM-cathach ('of 
the hundred fights') formed a central monarchy, of which the 


eastern part was called Midhe or 'the Middle kingdom*. He 
had a rival in the south in Eoghan Mdr, also called 'Mogh 
Nuadat' (devotee of the god Nuada), who created the kingdom 
of Minister, but the two at last came to terms, and divided 
their spheres of influence north and south of a line from 
Dublin to Galway along a ridge of sandhills called Escir Riada. 
Henceforth 'Mogh's Half and Conn's Half* were recognized 
divisions of our island. 

In Conn, from whom Connacht gets its name, we have the 
first of the line of the High kings of Ireland, the Dal Cuinn or 
'Race of Conn', who lasted till 1022 and gave Ireland a centre 
of national unity. The expansion of this victorious race was a 
defeat for both Ulster and Leinster. Ulster lost the Boyne 
valley, and built 'The Great Wall of Ulster', reaching from 
Newry to Lough Erne. Leinster fell back from Tara to the 
Liffey, and the Connacht-Meath kingdom reached the eastern 
sea. Meanwhile the race of Eoghan M<5r, called later the 
Eoghanacht, by the year 400 built up a powerful kingdom, 
including the present Minister and Clare, and made their 
capital on the hill of Cashel. 

Of the Dal Cuinn, Cormac, son of Art son of Conn, is the next 
great name (A.D. 275-300). In Gaelic tradition he is the first 
founder, legislator, and nation-maker, who made Tara's ancient 
and sacred hill the capital of Ireland. On its broad green 
summit were the great banqueting place and the timber halls 
of kings, princesses, and nobles, and here every third year 
as High king (Ard Rf) he presided over the Feis of Tara, a 
great national assembly for law, homaging, music, games, and 
literary contests. In such gatherings, which were also held 
at Tailten, was the national unity in language, culture, and 
government testified and affirmed, right up to the Norman 

Tradition attributes to Cormac MacArt the five great roads 
of Ireland, which ran from Tara north, south, and west, and 
the formation of a standing warrior force, the Fianna, whose 
chief was Finn MacCumhaill, which finally grew too strong 
for the Ard Rl and was crushed in a battle at Gavra by 
Cormac's grandson, Cairbre. Round the Fianna grew up a 
body of dramatic legend which is remembered to this day 


among all Gaelic speakers, and the wise Finn, his son the poet 
Oisin, his grandson the valiant Oscar, Diarmaid 'of the love- 
spot', and all their company have been the first and most 
lasting darlings of the folk-lore of the Gael 


In Niall of the Nine Hostages, who ruled at Tara from 380 to 
405rappears the greatest ruler of the race of Conn. Ulster and 
Leinster had steadily shrunk before the Connacht expansion. 
Leinster could not forgive her defeats and remained an enemy 
of the High kings, but Ulster had to surrender her pride of 
place. Seeking new lordships of their own, hi 332 the "Three 
Collas', princes of the race of Conn, marched against the 'Great 
Wall of Ulster' and slew in battle Fergus, the last king of 
Concobar's race. The defeated Ultonians had to retreat east 
of the Bann and Lough Neagh, and there, behind a third defen- 
sive wall, now called the 'Danes' Cast', they retained their 
independence in the petty kingdom called Ulidia, which 
covered Antrim and Down. The three Collas then set up a new 
kingdom called Oriel (Oirgialla: 'Eastern vassals'), which 
covered the present Monaghan, Louth, and Armagh. It was 
regarded as an offshoot of Connacht, and is part of the expan- 
sion of the Dal Cuinn. But Emain Macha became a grass- 
grown solitude, as all the great pagan forts, even Tara, were 
destined to be after the coming of the Faith. 

The time of Niall is a remarkable one for Irish unity, the 
ruin and reshaping of Roman Britain, and the first coming of 
the Christian faith to Erin. 

Niall was a splendid hero of the Gaelic blood, tall, fair- 
haired, and blue-eyed, a great and noble-minded warrior, 
'kind in hall and fierce in fray*. Of his many sons, Laeghaire 
succeeded him as Aid Hi, from others descended the High kings 
of Ireland, who were known till 1022 as the Ui Neill, or 'de- 
scendants of Niall'. Two of his sons, Eoghan and Conall, about 
A.D. 400 marched northwards, conquered north-west Ulster, 
and founded a new state variously called the kingdom of 
Aileach, the Northern Kingdom, or Ulster. Its capital was 
Aileach, a great stone-built cashel on a hill north-west of Derry. 


Eoghan, the senior, took for his share Inishowen (Inis Eog- 
hain) and Tfr Eoghain (the land of Eoghan), and his descen- 
dants the O'Neills were lords in central Ulster till 1603, while 
Conall, the younger, took as his domain Tlr Conaill (Conall's 
land), and from, him descended the O'Donnells. In time this 
new kingdom subjected both Oriel and Ulidia and by 1000 had 
built up a new kingdom of Ulster. About the same time 
bands of Gaels began to cross the thirty-mile strait between 
Antrim and Argyle and make settlements among the Picts of 
'Alba' (the Irish name for Caledonia). 

The Roman empire in Britain, only sixty miles by sea, could 
not fail to cast its influence upon Ireland. Wales was a Roman 
province, and all the western coast from Galloway to Corn- 
wall contained petty towns and rural villas, where dwelt a 
romanized population of Britons, who spoke a kind of Latin, 
were already Christian, and prided themselves on their im- 
perial speech and citizenship. Not a single Roman legionary 
ever set foot on the soil of Ireland but much Roman influence 
was bound to radiate upon her. The full light of civilizatioi; 
andthe Faith were, frnwevpj, not to .faU_upon,Irela.nd"".tai tbj 
^nijare itsejf, was .destroyed^As it decayed from A.D. 350, 
the Scots of Ireland and the Picts of Caledonia began 
to assail Britain from the north and west, the Roman 
legions were finally withdrawn in 407, and then the 
savage and pagan Angles and Saxons assailed her from 
the east. 

In the fifth century was founded a new Britain. The Anglo- 
saxons finally Teutonized most of what is now England and 
the south-east corner of Scotland, while the Celtic Britons 
held out in Cornwall, Wales, and Strathclyde and colonized 
Brittany. In Ireland the Picts succumbed to Milesian rule, 
in Scotland they went under before the Angles and Scots. In 
Britain the Roman speech 01 men like Patrick vanished and the 
Latin tradition and language survived only in the Church. 
The Irish now seemed about to become masters of both Wales 
and Scotland. The High kings of Tara, such as Niall, directed 
constant attacks upon Roman Britain, and a large part of its 
western coast was for a time Gaelicized. A later Irish book 
records that in the fifth and sixth centuries 'gr^t: was the 


power of the Gaels over the Britons, and they divided the isle 
of Britain between them, and not more numerous were the 
Gaels at home than those who dwelt in Britain'. 

The Gaelic conquest of Wales, however, was not to be per- 
manent, for in the sixth century a British prince, Cunedda, 
marched from North Britain and mastered all Wales, which 
received its name of Cambria from his followers the Cymry 
('Companions'). Thus the western front of Britain remained 
with the British Celts, who preserved for centuries an intimate 
alliance with Ireland in art, law, education, and Christianity, 
though their Celtic dialects were too far apart to serve as a 
common link. But in northern Britain the Gaels made a 
lasting conquest and gave Scotland (Alba) a stamp she has 
never lost. Up to this time it had been (north of the Roman 
wall) a Pictish kingdom, divided in two by Drum Alban. 
The Scots of Ireland were destined to become masters of the 
northern and western parts and to give Scotland their name. 
In 470 Fergus Mac Ere, prince of Dalriada in north Antrim, 
and his three brothers crossed over and founded the kingdom 
of Argyle ('the eastern Gael'), or Scottish Dalriada, and so 
began the long history of Gaelic Scotland. 

ST. PATRICK, 390-461 

In the spiritual history of Ireland the first great name is that 
of Patrick, 'the Apostle of Ireland'. He gave to this pagan 
island the priceless gift of the Christian faith and the moral 
order of the Christian Church. He opened it up to Latin 
civilization and the culture of Rome, which, though the Empire 
died, survived in the Church. He turned a land that had no 
written literature into a land where scholars and poets culti- 
vated both the Latin, or learned speech, and the Gaelic, the 
dearly loved native speech. He turned the Irish from a race 
of cruel conquerors, whose galleys were dreaded on all the 
coasts of Britain and Gaul, into a race whose enthusiasm was 
for missionary labour, Latin learning, and the contemplative 
life. To the fifth century no name sounded more barbarous 
and brutal than that of the plundering Scots, but to later 
centuries no names were sweeter or nobler than that of 


Columba, Aidan, and Adamnan, or more famous in learning or 
religion than John Scotus or Columbanus. 

The Ireland to which Patrick was to give a new direction, 
though barbarous and isolated, had a remarkable culture and 
unity of her own. The High king of Tara was only a sort of 
president over the several kings of Erin, but his was a high 
name to evoke, and his safeguard was essential to any stranger 
landing at an Irish port. He could call out the national host 
to repulse or invade foreign enemies, and it was his prerogative 
to settle the disputes of under-kings and preside over the great 
periodic Aonach or all-Ireland gatherings at Tara or Tailten. 
If he lacked the prestige of medieval Christian kings he was on 
the other hand surrounded with pagan taboos and privileges, 
for the High king of Tara was by ancient tradition a priest- 
king. As such, a king like Niall was the head and centre of a 
powerful and greatly feared pagan religion and culture. 

The Druidic priests were numerous, highly respected, and 
greatly feared among the Irish Celts. Socially they were the 
equals of the kings and warriors; they were the augurs and 
interpreters of the calendar, and magical gifts for spells of 
enchantment against enemies or for surrounding a battle-field 
with a 'Druid mist', and so on, were attributed to them. The 
'brehons' or jurists of later times inherited their law-giving 
office. Of the best as well as the worst side of the Druid 
religion unfortunately we know little, but much of the pagan 
lore has survived, and the 'Shee' or fairy people of peasant lore 
to-day are the dwindled-down survivors of the gods of two 
thousand years ago. 

The 'Fill' or learned class were the hereditary custodians 
of the national memory and of the oral literature, in which 
they spent long years of training. It was believed of the 'File' 
that he had supernatural gifts and could by his satires inflict 
blemish or evil upon the subject of his dispraise. His know- 
ledge of pedigree and history enabled him in return for hand- 
some gifts to feed the pride of the Gaelic aristocracy cr by 
poetic exhortation to bring victory to a patron. With the 
coming of Christianity the priestly caste died out, but the 
learned class survived, and until 1603 were the main support 
and champions of the old Gaelic order. 


The life of our national apostle may be said to cover the 
yeata 390-461. Patrick was born a Roman citizen, speaking 
a kii^d of Latin, in a small town called Bannavem Taberniae, 
the site of which is disputed but at least was at some point 
of western Britain where the land was fertile and a considerable 
Romano-British population dwelt. The raids of Niall of the 
Nine Hostages were constant up the Severn and the Solway, 
and it seems as if fate brought together hi the high light of his- 
tory the great warrior-king and the humble Christian boy who 
was destined to end the pagan monarchy. In one of these raids, 
about A.D. 405, among the horde of slaves that were brought 
back to Ireland was Patrick or 'Patricius', son of Calpurnius, 
then a youth in his sixteenth year. The Roman empire had 
not yet fallen in Britain, and the Catholic church had long 
flourished there. The two proud boasts of Patrick in his 
writings were Roman civilization and the Christian church, 
and he urged the Irish to be at once Christians and Romans. 
As a slave under a pagan master, tending sheep on Slemish 
hi Antrim, the serious boy meditated on his fate and pitied the 
pagan people to whom the Light had not come. Six years 
afterwards he escaped, got away to Britain, and thence to 
Gaul, where he spent long years at Auxerre, learning the Bible 
and the grounds of the faith, and later received priestly orders. 
Everything now worked for his return to the land of his cap- 
tivity, from which, in a vivid dream, he heard the 'voices of 
the Irish' calling on him to come and walk once more among 
them. The Church of Gaul was the greatest organized branch 
of the western Church and had a special care to keep Christian 
'the Roman island (Britain) and the pagan island (Ireland)'. 
At its request, Pope Celestine sent one Palladius to convert 
Ireland in 431, but a sudden death removed hi, and Patrick 
seemed the appointed man. The Church of Gaul consecrated 
him bishop and sent him in 432 on the mission which was to 
fill the rest of his hie. 

Patrick's mission finally centred itself in north-east Ulster, 
where after twelve years a local prince presented him with 
the site of a church at Armagh, which was destined to be the 
metropolis of Irish Christianity. Helpers came to him from 


Gaul or Britain, such as Auxilius, Iserninus, Secundinus and 
Benignus. He appointed the first of these bishop in northern 
Leinster, the second in southern Leinster, the third in Meath; 
while Benignus succeeded him in Armagh. When Patrick 
died in old age about 461 he had laid the foundations of the 
Church in Ireland, but the house itself was long to build. 
Wherever we find the word 'domnach', now 'donagh' (from 
'dominicmn'), in place-names we see the hand of Patrick. 

We may be sure that the democratic Christian faith was 
gladly accepted by the under-races and oppressed peoples, but 
that it was resisted by the High king and the Gaelic aristoc- 
racy, as well as by the Druids and the Fill, is equally certain. 
Patrick's famous meeting with the High King Laeghaire 
may be a legend; this son of Niall indeed died a pagan, but 
at least offered no active opposition to the new faith. It is 
not till 490 that the first Christian king of Cashel, Oengus, 
appears. But the opposition was not a fierce one and the 
Church did not need to be founded in the blood of martyrs. 

Under 440 the annals say, 'Leo was ordained bishop of 
Rome and Patrick was approved in the Catholic Faith'. 
Further proof of a papal commission we have not; it is enough 
that Patrick was a bishop ordained by the Church of Gaul and 
obeyed the call of Christ 'to go forth and teach all nations in 
my name'. From his Confession and what we know of the 
Church of his time, we cannot doubt that Patrick was a typical 
western Christian of his age, holding by the Latin Eucharist, 
the invocation of saints, the sacraments and the doctrine of 
the Catholic faith as held generally in his tune. Above all he 
must have regarded the Bishop of Rome as in spiritual matters 
the final authority. 

Patrick intended to fouiid in Ireland a branch of the Church 
in which, as in Gaul or Britain, bishops with large dioceses 
would rule the Church, and parish clergy and regular monks 
would exist side by side. Ireland, however, was a country of 
many tribal states, without great roads, towns, proper com- 
munication, or a strong central authority. Instead of the 
episcopal church he had planned, there developed from the 
work of others a monastic church with a strong national spirit, 
well suited to the conditions of the country, and this remained 


the dominant character of the Church till the twelfth century. 
As a result not only the work but the memory of St. Patrick 
was for long obscured, and other names than his were claimed 
as founders of our Church, The pagan structure of Ireland 
itself made his mission for a century difficult. In the poets or 
'Fill' Ireland had a rampart of native culture which was hard to 
dislodge. The race of Conn, whose kingdom was rooted in the 
Gaelic past, did not yield easily. Laeghaire died like a pagan 
fighting against Lemster in 463, and by his own orders was 
buried upright in his armour facing the hereditary foe. It was 
not till the High king Diarmait died in 565 that the old pagan 
order as enthroned in Tara ended and the ancient hill became 
the abandoned fortress that we see now. Kings, however, 
were for centuries to count less than monks in Ireland. 


In the sixth century the Church began to take a charac- 
teristic form which we call Celtic, a word applied also to the 
sister churches of Scotland, Wales, and Brittany. The Anglo- 
saxon conquest of Britain and the Frankish conquest of Gaul 
cut them off for a century or more from the Continental Church 
and its head, the Pope. This intercepted the communications, 
with the result that later the Celtic churches were found to 
have tenets and rites older than those of the existing Roman 
Church. In isolation also they developed that monastic 
character and body of native customs to which the term 
'Celtic particularism' is applied. ' But all these, though they 
caused great controversy later, never amounted to indepen- 
dence of the papal authority or the rejection of Catholic 

The division of Ireland into province-kingdoms and petty 
'tuatha' led to the bishops being numerous and each .of them 
ruling a 'tuath' or two with spiritual functions only. On the 
other hand, numerous monasteries were founded by gifts pf 
land from some local chief to some prominent saint. The 
abbot became more important than the bishop, and the bishop 
generally resided modestly in some monastery. In the emjow- 
ment of an abbey the first abbot's kin were generally given 


the succession in the office, and his successors or 'Coarbs* 
were for centuries members of his family. So much did the 
monastic system triumph that soon after 500 Patrick's own 
see became a monastic community and soon there was both 
an abbot and a bishop at Armagh. It was to the great abbots 
that in later times the Pope had to address himself as the heads 
of the national church. 

The Latin tongue and the study of the Bible and Catholic 
theology now entered the country. First among those to 
whom we owe this stands St. Finnian, abbot-bishop of Clonard 
in Meath. Under the influence of British monasticism at St. 
David's, Finnian about 540 organized Clonard as a centre of 
Latin studies and education. From thence Latin letters spread 
and the 'Fill' began to use the Latin alphabet to write their 
own Gaelic. 

By 600 Clonard was followed by other great foundations 
such as Clomnacnois, Clonfert, Lismore, Deny, Kildare, and 
others, the work of Qaran, Brendan, Carthach, Columba, and 
Brigid. These made a new world in Ireland. In the abbeys 
and theu: many daughter houses not only was the peaceful life 
possible but religion, learning, and education flourished, and 
the Irish monasteries were at once the schools, the libraries, 
and the universities of the land. Because of their sanctity and 
security they became also the capitals, the markets, the art 
and craft centres of Ireland, and such monastic 'cities' as 
Glendalough were till the Norse period the nearest thing to 
towns that Ireland had. 

In the midst of this renaissance a youth came to manhood, 
whose name was destined to excel the founders of Irish Chris- 
tianity, including even Patrick himself, in the hearts of the 
Gaelic race. In 521 was born at Gartan in Tyrconnell a boy of 
the race of Niall of the Nine Hostages, whose devotion to the 
Church soon won him the name of Columba or Colum Cille, 
'the frove of the Church'. Ordained priest at Cloonfad, he did 
the round of the schools of his time, and studied for a time in 
Leinster with a Christian 'file' called Gemman. From him the 
saint was strengthened in his natural attachment to the poetry 
fend lore of the past, which he combined with a passion for the 
fcfew ijwth. About 546 he founded a church at Deny on 


Lough Foyle; lie was its first abbot, and thence founded other 
houses, such as Durrow in Meath. For them he drew up the 
Columban rule, just as Ciaran, Brendan, and others drew up 
rules for their foundations. Not for five centuries did any 
continental religious Order enter Ireland. 

An event in which Columba saw the hand of God sent him 
upon the true mission of his Me. While staying with Finnen, 
abbot of Moville, he secretly copied out a portion of a Bible 
which modern scholars think was perhaps the earliest copy in. 
Ireland of St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate. Appealed to by the 
angry host who wished to keep the precious book to himself, 
the High king Diarmait gave the famous decision, 'To every 
cow her calf, to every book its copy'. Columbainangerrejected 
the decision, and others both of Church and State joined in the 
dispute, which led to a great battle in 561 at Culdremna in 
Sligo between the High king and Columba's royal kinsmen in 
the North. For this the saints of Ireland united to condemn 
Columba. His own noble nature soon repined at the slaughter 
of thousands in a quarrel due to himself, and he decided to 
redeem his soul by winning in a foreign land as many souls for 
Christ as perished at Culdremna. 

Fergus Mac Ere had already founded the petty kingdom of 
Argyle, but among his people and among the Picts lay a land 
of pagan barbarism. Thither in 563 Columba sailed with a few 
monks and received the island of lona from the king as the seat 
of his mission. For nearly three centuries this little island was 
to be the most famous seat of learning and piety in all the 
Celtic lands, 'a soil,' says Dr. Johnson, 'made sacred by wis- 
dom, valour, and virtue'. Before his death in 597 Columba, 
'abbot-bishop of the isles', had evangelized Alba, and is the 
apostle of Scotland as Patrick is of Ireland. 

His name indeed became the greatest in the Irish Church, 
and Ireland in 575 needed his wisdom and authority on several 
great matters. At the convention of Drumceat (in county 
Deny) the High king Aed presided over a national council of 
kings and abbots, and Columba spoke both as a prince and a 
churchman. The relations of Scottish Dalriada and Ireland 
were in dispute, and on his advice it was settled that this little 
kingdom, whose capital was still northern Antrim, should give 


its military service to the High king and its naval service to 
the king of Argyle. Ireland and Scotland were still one empire 
and remained so till the Norse raids cut them politically 
asunder. A cultural dispute had also to be settled. The poets 
('Fill') had accepted the faith with their lips but in their 
hearts retained the pagan lore and the pride of their caste. 
Numerous and great were the rewards they demanded for their 
compositions and encomiums, so that then: exactions became 
a national nuisance and a proposal was made to exile or 
outlaw them. But Columba, who had been trained under a 
Christian 'file' in youth, was their saviour; a prince of the 
ancient race, his ardent Gaelic soul was on their side. His 
casting vote saved the Fill and turned them from a race 
of wandering visitants into a privileged caste of letters and 
learning. He advised that every province king and every lord 
of a 'tuath' should have a supreme poet or 'ollarnh', and in 
the course of the centuries the FiH became the ancestors 
of the professional, endowed, and hereditary poets, bards, and 
chroniclers whose order survived till 1603. 

To their deliverer the poets paid the greatest tribute they 
could render, and there were attributed to him in later times 
many lyrics personal in note and tender with the love of Nature 
and of Ireland. Colurn Cille was a poet in Latin and left one or 
two hymns of lofty quality, but whether he was a poet in his 
own tongue we know not; at least it is eloquent of his well- 
known love of Ireland and the native tradition that wandering 
bards and unknown monks fathered on his name their most 
inspired verse. 

Columba died in lona in 597, and in the same year the 
Roman missionary Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory to convert 
the pagan English, landed in Kent. Columba had founded a 
spiritual empire in the North, and from lona not only Scotland 
but much of England was christianized, while Wales and 
Cornwall looked towards Ireland as their culture centre. In 
633 Edwin, king of Northumbria, fell in battle, and two 
brothers of the rival dynasty, Oswald and Oswy, returned 
from the exile into which he had driven them. Both had 
been taught among the monks of lona, had learned Irish, and 
favoured the generous and simple faith of Columba's monks. 


Oswald in 633 brought into his kingdom the monk Aidan with 
a band of monks from lona and the rocky isle of Lindisfarne 
became their home. So began what Bede called the 'thirty 
years' episcopate of the Scots'. In 625 the Roman Paulimis 
had been sent to Northumbria, but his mission failed in the 
north with the rise of the heathen Penda of Mercia and 
receded to Kent. In its place the lona mission reached as far 
as the Thames, and Irish bishops and monks were all over 
Mercia and East Anglia and as far west as Glastonbury. 
Northumbria was their great conquest and its kings for a 
hundred years spoke Irish. 

In 642 Penda slew the saintly Oswald at the battle of Maser- 
field, but after dreadful ravages in central England Oswy in 
655 at last slew the heathen monarch in battle at Winwaed. 
The triumph of the Irish mission, however, was checked by the 
Northumbrian Wilfrid, abbot of Ripon, a man of vigour and 
genius, who was determined to link the English Church on to 
that of the Continent rather than remain with the Church of 
Armagh and lona, and finally the differences between the Irish 
and Roman forms came to a head at the Synod of Whitby held 
under King Oswy in 664. 

These differences had already evoked correspondence be- 
tween the Roman headquarters and Ireland. The Irish monks 
wore a tonsure of their own, in which the front of the head was 
shaved, leaving long locks behind. Other small differences 
existed, but what was serious was the Easter question. Under 
papal authority the Paschal date had been fixed for the 
Church by Victorius in 457, but the Celtic churches adhered to 
the Paschal term as fixed by Anatolius in the third century. 
As a practical result the Irish were found keeping Easter from 
the fourteenth to the twentieth of the lunar month and the 
Continental church between the sixteenth and the twenty- 
second. On this matter of controversy many letters had passed 
between the Irish leaders and Rome. Popes Honorius and 
John IV had urged the Irish to conform and had been answered 
by Cummian and by Columbanus. The latter, writing to 
Gregory the Great, boldly maintained the Irish position over 
Easter, but conceded to the Holy See a primacy of honour and 
a measure of supreme authority, adding, 'it is known to all 


that our Saviour gave Saint Peter the keys of the kingdom of 
Heaven, and that Rome is the principal seat of the orthodox 

By the middle of the seventh century southern Ireland had 
accepted the Victorian Easter and only northern Ireland and 
lona, strong in the name and memory of Columba, stood out. 
At the Synod of Whitby, Colman, Bishop of Lindisfarne, 
spoke for the Irish side, but was no match for the arrogant 
Wilfrid, who said of the Scots, Picts, and Britons who opposed 
the rest of the world, 'though your Fathers were holy, do you 
think that then: small number in a corner of the remotest 
island is to be preferred before the universal Church of Christ? 
Would you put your Columba before the Prince of the Apostles 
to whom was said "Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will 
build my Church"?' This was final. Colman might plead 
that his side held the same Easter as Saint John, and that 
Columba was their master, but no Catholic at that time could 
stand against the argument that Christ had made Peter the 
head of the Church and that the Pope (now against them on the 
Easter question) was his successor. Colman did not deny this, 
and when Oswy, as president of the synod, decided that he 
preferred to be with Saint Peter and the Church of Rome the 
conference decided against the Irish monks. We may note 
that they made no claim for their Church to be independent 
of papal authority and they did not even mention Patrick, a 
proof of how nationalistic their Church had become and how 
the great name of Columba had overshadowed the name of the 
first apostle. 

Thus defeated, the Irish withdrew to lona and left England 
to the orthodox side, but on the Easter question even lona 
conformed in 716 and soon after so did northern Ireland. 
Wilfrid as bishop of Ripon brought Northumbria over, and 
five years after Whitby Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury 
began the career in which he organized the Anglo-Saxon 
church solidly in bishoprics and parishes. Such an established 
Church threw into prominence the monastic character and 
isolated customs which the Celts still retained, though con- 
verted on the Easter and tonsure questions, and in spite of the 
piety, learning, and enthusiasm of the Irish, the more organized 


Churches of England and the continent continued to accuse 
them of unorthodoxy in practices, though not in faith. 

Checked in England, the missionary genius of the Scots 
found a greater field in Europe, where the wide empire of the 
Franks enabled them to penetrate far. Whether as organizers 
of local churches, teachers in Palace schools, wandering scholars 
and scribes or solitary preachers, they won for ever the 
unspoiled glory of pioneers and restorers of the Church and 
the tradition of Latin culture in the seventh to the ninth 
centuries, the Golden Age of the Irish Church. Many of those 
whose aim was solitude sailed away to lonely islands of the 
western sea, and got as far as Iceland and the Faroes. Others 
have left their names in the loneliest mountain glens of 
Switzerland. Others, educated in Latin at home, wandered 
from abbey to abbey in Europe and earned their bread as 
scribes and won fame for their beautiful handwriting. The 
books Scottice scripti were highly prized. To such scribes is due 
the preservation of much classical literature which otherwise 
would have perished in the Dark Ages. Some of the superior 
members of this class wrote poetry or prose in Latin worthy of 
the best standards of the time, some such as John the Scot and 
Sedulius were appointed chief professors in the Palace schools 
of Charlemagne and his successors, and won fame in philosophy 
and the science of the time. 

Columbanus is the first great name among our missionaries 
abroad. An alumnus of Bangor, in 590 he left Ireland with a 
few companions and arrived in Burgundy. Before his death in 
615 he converted or restored to the faith large parts of Lom- 
bardy and Burgundy and founded two monasteries, Luxeuil 
and Bobbio, while his disciple Gall carried on his work in 
Switzerland. The map of Europe before the year 900 shows 
the footprints of many such men; among the great names are 
Cataldus of Taranto, Killian of Franconia, Colman of Lower 
Austria. In the Low countries and north-east France Irish 
monks and scholars were particularly in evidence, and at 
Peronne on the Marne about 670 they founded a monastery 
which was their first on the continent and which was followed 
in later centuries by other houses in Cologne, Ratisbon, 
Vienna, and other places which formed a chain of 'Monasteria 


Scotoruin', keeping alive the name and fame of Ireland on the 
Continent and strengthening the Church at home. Unfor- 
tunately after the Norman conquest of Ireland these houses 
fell into the hands of others. 

In general the Irish monks and teachers were in doctrine 
orthodox, though unorthodox in many of their practices, in 
their preaching evangelical, and in their organization weak. 
But in John Scotus 'Eriugena' Ireland produced a man of in- 
dependent and unorthodox genius. After learning all that the 
Irish schools could teach, John came about 845 to France and 
became chief professor at the Palace school of the Emperor 
Charles the Bald at Laon, where he remained for twenty-five 
years. John has been called 'the greatest intellect given by 
Ireland to Europe in that age', and one of the most brilliant 
of all those scholars whom the Renaissance of Charlemagne's 
time produced. A skilful writer in Latin, he stood alone in his 
knowledge of Greek; a daring speculator and a Neo-Platonisl 
he won universal attention by his teachings on Free will and 
Original sin, on which men were free to speculate but in which 
the orthodox regarded him as near to heresy. 

By the year 800 the Irish Church at home attained an 
ordered form which she kept little changed till the year noo. 
The Easter and the tonsure questions had been settled, and no 
controversy of importance brought Armagh into conflict with 
Rome. The unity age succeeded to the missionary age. The 
name and true importance of Patrick were revived again at 
Armagh, where about 800 the scribe Ferdomnach in the Book 
of Armagh wrote down various traditional lives of Patrick. 
From henceforth the supremacy of Armagh over the whole of 
Church of Ireland was affirmed. This was a return to that 
Roman unity which Patrick had desired and it was natural 
that an admission of Papal authority should go with it. An 
ancient canon in the Book of Armagh says that 'whensoever any 
cause that is very difficult and unknown to all the judges of the 
Scottic nation shall arise, it should rightly be referred to 
the See of the archbishop of the Irish, to wit Patrick, and the 
examination of the prelate thereof. But if by him and 
his wise men such a cause cannot be determined, we have 
decreed that it shall be sent to the Apostolic see, that is, to 


the Chair of the Apostle Peter which has the authority of 
tne city of Rome.' 


By A.D. 800 Ireland had become a unity of civilization and 
law, and no languages save the Gaelic of the ruling classes and 
the Latin of the Church were spoken. The Gaels had subjected 
or absorbed the former peoples and created a race-conscious- 
ness which has never been lost. For all that there was little 
centralized authority. The High king Laeghaire, son of Niall, 
was slain in 463 while at war with Leinster. He was succeeded 
by Ailill, king of united Connacht and Meath, son of Dathi the 
son of NialTs brother Fiachra. In 483 Ailill's two cousins, 
Murchertach 'Mac Erca', grandson of Eoghan, son of Niall and 
head of the northern 'Dal Cnfnn', and Luguid (Lewy), son of 
Laeghaire, son of Niall, united and in the battle of Ocha 
defeated and slew Ailill. He was then succeeded as High king 
by Luguid, and he again, according to their compact, by 
Murchertach in 509. The royal succession was thus recovered 
for Niall's line, and Diarmait, great-grandson of Niall, is the 
first High king who can be called a Christian (544-565). But 
meanwhile Connacht had found a king of its own in the line of 
Brion, another brother of Niall. In short, the connexion of the 
Connacht-Meath kingdom was severed finally by the battle of 
Ocha. It was established that the High kingship henceforth 
went alternately between the Ui Neill of the North and of the 
South, or Meath. From Murchertach Mac Erca descended 
the local kings of the Ui N&ll of the North. The High king 
Diarmait, head of the southern Ui N6ill, had two sons, Colman 
and Aed Slaine. From the first of these came the later kings 
of Meath, who had rivals for centuries in the descendants of 
Aed. The succession in the High kingship was uncertain up 
to the year 734, then up to 1022 it ran alternately between 
the Ui N&11 of the north and the Ui N&11, that is, the Clan 
Colman, of the south. 

Such a succession-rule alone was sufficient to prevent con- 
tinuity and therefore strength in the High monarchy. The 
south also paid little obedience, and the Ard Ri remained 


merely the president of a union of Irish states, which was no-w 
a heptarchy of Connacht, Meath, Leinster, Minister, Aileacn. 
Oriel, and Ulidia. The real genius and interest of Ireland lay 
in her art and culture. The world-famous books of Kells and 
Durrow are of this age and attest the Irish genius for illumina- 
tion and Latin calligraphy. The great monasteries had their 
libraries and schools, which trained the scholars who won the 
respect of Europe. Side by side with the enthusiasm for Latin 
and theology went a passion for the native language, which 
was now a written speech. The higher clergy with their Latin 
tradition despised the old language, charged as it was with 
pagan tradition, and the abbot Ada ran an of lona, writing the 
life of Columba in Latin, though himself an Irishman, speaks 
scornfully of the lingua Scottica vilis. But the Fill remained 
a powerful body attached to their ancient law and language. 
With them and many nameless wandering monks began the 
writing of Irish poetry in metres based on the Latin hymns. 
Others compiled the old laws of the 'Feni' or free Gaels, now 
called the Brehon laws, and the writing of Irish history begins 
about 600. The marginal jottings and gbsses of Irish mission- 
aries, familiar with Latin and Gaelic, on the continent, upon 
copies of the Gospels, have enabled scholars to reconstruct the 
Scottic language in what is called the early Irish stage, which 
ends about goo, and is then replaced by Middle Irish, which 
goes on till 1500. Apart from the more accurate records, the 
abundant fancy and imagination of Irish writers and poets 
expressed itself in charming lyrics, prose romances, historical 
tales, and the reconstruction of the great pagan epics such as 
the Tdin Bd Cualnge. 

The Irish mind was now fresh and vivid and seemed likely 
to achieve great things in poetry, prose, and drama. Along 
with that, it must be added, went a strong pedantic and anti- 
quarian strain. It is tragic that not only did the Scandinavian 
and then the Norman invasions dislocate and partly destroy 
Irish learning, but they also did much to cripple the natural 
inspiration of the Irish mind. Of the Golden Age the greater 
part of the manuscripts have perished and can only be partly 
deduced from the reconstructions made after the Norse 
period. The pedantic spirit of the professional literary man 


unfortunately got the better of the inspired but anonymous poet. 
It is, however, a real glory for Ireland that she was the first 
nation north of the Alps to produce a whole body of literature 
hi her own speech, to be followed in this by Anglo-Saxons, 
Norsemen, and Welshmen. 

The structural unity of Ireland had now remained intact for 
four centuries in language, law, religion, and culture. Scholars 
and poets could freely pass, be understood, and entertain all 
listeners throughout the whole island. The national unity was 
visible in the High king, hi occasional 'Rig-Dail' or national 
gatherings, and in the general assemblies held by the High 
king at Tailten and such centres. Unfortunately the political 
weakness of Ireland was to be now put to a cruel test by the 
Scandinavian onslaught. 


A BOUT the year 800 the Scandinavians, moved by an 

l\ uncontrollable impulse, took to the sea. Led by their 
/ \ 'jails' and free warriors, in galleys superior to anything 
yet invented, which could at once face the Atlantic seas and 
sail far up any navigable river, they soon became the constant 
terror of civilized lands. Ireland is rich in navigable streams 
and great inland lakes, and is nowhere more than fifty miles 
from the sea. She was thus from the Norse point of view an 
ideal land to attack, with her broad pastures, abundant cattle, 
unorganized people, and rich and numerous monasteries. 

Of the two Scandinavian races which took to the Atlantic, 
the Norwegians sailed boldly out westward to Iceland, where 
they founded a republic in 870, and south-west to the Scottish 
isles. Here they colonized first Orkney and Shetland, then the 
Hebrides ('Sudreyas' or 'southern isles') and Man, then various 
points in Galloway, the Solway Firth, and as far south as 
Pembroke. This took a century or more, and the Hebrides 
soon witnessed a blending of the Gaelic inhabitants and the 
Norsemen, which, speaking Gaelic but keeping many Norse 
traces, remains to this day in the Scottish isles. The kings of 
Norway from the time of Harold Fairhair (circa goo) did not 
easily abandon these roving subjects of theirs, and for cen- 
turies claimed the Norse colonies as their Tribute-lands'. 

The Danes, on the other hand, kept nearer in and attacked 
England and Normandy. The differences between these two 
races were slight, but the Irish, who had a strong sense of 
colour, called the Norseman a 'Finn-gall' or 'fair foreigner' and 
the Dane a 'Dubh-galT or 'dark foreigner'. The land of the 
vikings they called 'Lochlann', and they hated and dreaded 
them as ruthless and pagan invaders. 1 

1 The traditional name in Ireland for our Scandinavian invaders is 
'the Danes', bnt it is accepted that the greater part of them were 
Norwegian, hence I use the word 'Norse' as most convenient 


THE NORSE TYRANNY 800-1014 23 

The first raids of the sea-kings fell upon Orkney, Shetland, 
and the Hebrides, where they set up petty earldoms. In 830 
the pressure was so severe that the abbot of lona and his monks 
fled to Downpatrick with the relics of Columba. Thus was 
lona, that 'light of learning and piety' which had shone so long 
in the north-west, extinguished. Armagh took its place 
definitely as the head-quarters of Irish Christianity. As the 
hordes of viking ships grew, the kingdoms of Ireland and Scot- 
land were cut off, Scottish Dalriada was united with the king- 
dom of the Picts, and about 840 Kenneth Mac Alpin became 
the first 'king of Picts and Scots'. 

Turgesius (in Norse Thorgest') was the first viking to 
attempt a kingdom in Ireland. His ships sailed up the Shan- 
non and the Bann into Lough Ree and Lough Neagh, whence 
he commanded the kingdoms of Ulster, Connacht, and Meath. 
With a grim humour he made himself abbot of Armagh, while 
his wife Ota sat as a priestess at the high altar of Clonmacnois 
and delivered heathen oracles. But after lording it in this 
fashion from 831 to 845 Turgesius was treacherously taken by 
Malachy ('Maelsechlainn'), king of Meath, and drowned in 
Lough Owel. 

After many defeats the Irish began to recover, and in 848 
this Malachy, now High king, crushed a Norse army at Sciath 
Nechtain. He felt that the cause of Ireland was part of the 
general Christian cause of Europe and reported his victory to 
the Emperor Charles the Bald along with gifts and a request 
for safe conduct for Irish pilgrims to visit Rome. But, soon 
after, two vikings, Olaf the White and Ivar 'Beinlaus', landed 
in Dublin Bay in 852 and fortified the hill above the liffey 
where Dublin Castle now stands. 

The straightforward character of 'the war of the Gael and 
the Gall' 1 soon vanished. A mixed race grew up in Ireland 
and Scotland and in the islands, to whom the Irish gave the 
name of 'Gall-Gaels'. , Irish kings began to intermarry with 

1 The name of an historical tract in Irish commemorating the life 
and victories of Brian Born 'Gall' in Irish meant originally a Gaul; 
it now came to mean a 'Norseman'; next it was applied to Normans, 
and fall about 1540 was the general name for the Normans who became 
practically Irish. It still means 'the English' in the native language, 
along with 'Sasanach'. 


the Norse and to adopt such names as Magnus, Lochlann, 
Sitric, etc. Cervall, king of Ossory, who died in 888, was 
accepted as king of Dublin; daughters of his married Norse 
chiefs and from them descended many famous vikings of later 
times. The weight of the Scandinavian attacks on Ireland 
was also diverted to England in the time of Alfred the Great. 
From the death of Ivar in 873 'there was rest for forty years 
to the Men of Erin', and during this lull another Cervall, king 
of Leinster, occupied Dublin. 

Meanwhile Cashel was ruled for a century by a race of 
Eoghanacht priest-kings, which at last produced a remarkable 
man in Cormac Mac Cullenan, a scholar-king and a man of 
sincere and noble character. For or by him was compiled one 
of the famous lost books of Ireland, the Psalter of Cashel. Of 
the portions that survive, one is called Cownac's Glossary, an 
attempt to compare Irish words with contemporary languages. 
Another is the Book of Rights, drawn up in Irish and in verse 
by the orders of Cormac and agreed upon by the chief poets 
and kings of Ireland. r _Ajj_reyJsed_ later tmder,_J8rian Boru it 
describes the prerogatives of the High king and the rights 
and duties of the province-kings and their vassal-states. 

Cormac, who was bishop-king of Cashel, was prematurely 
slain in 908 hi war against the Leinster men at Ballaghmoon, 
when, against his own wish and impelled by wicked advisers, 
he attempted to subject Leinster to Cashel. With him ended 
tl e priest-kings, and another branch of the Eoghanacht soon 
alter took the throne of Cashel in the person of one Cellachan. 

The century 914-1014 is a date easily remembered for the 
whole story of the Norse attempt to subdue Ireland and its 
failure. It begins and ends dramatically hi Dublin. In 914 
two grandsons of Ivar, Ragnall and Sitric, arrived in Water- 
ford Harbour and built a fortress there. Next, in 916, Sitric 
sailed up the Liffey and recovered Dublin, which, after the 
death of Cervall, king of Leinster, in 909, had been left un- 
defended. The occupation of Dublin was a challenge to all 
Ireland which the High king Niall 'GMndubh' (Black-knee), 
head of the Northern Ui Neill, nobly took up in 919. Collect- 
ing the levies of Ulster, Meath, and Connacht, he marched upon 


Dublin. Sitric's forces met him at Kilmohavoc ('Cell-mo- 
shamoc'), a ford on the Liffey west of Dublin, and there the 
hero-king was slain and the Irish defeated. After this 'battle 
of Dublin' the capital remained in the hands of the race of 
Ivar, and it was clear that all the valour of the Irish was 
of little avail against the trained courage of the armoured 

Next the race of Ivar occupied Limerick in 920, and so was 
finally spread a whole chain of viking colonies and fortresses 
round the coast from the Liffey to the Shannon, of which the 
strongest points were Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, and 

Now came the zenith of Scandinavian power in Ireland. A 
line of kings of the race of Ivar followed in Dublin, which 
became a kingdom covering the two counties of Dublin and 
Wicklow, stretching down to Arklow and reaching inland to 
Leixlip. Among these kings, Olaf 'Cuaran' ('of the Sandals') 
ruled Dublin victoriously from 944 onwards, and reached the 
height of his victories when in 977 his army defeated the forces 
of the High king Domnall, whereupon all Meath from the 
Shannon to the sea was placed under a Norse oppression so 
severe that the Gaels called it a 'Babylonish captivity 1 . It is 
significant of the disruption of things that the Fair or Aenach 
of Tailien, which it was the prerogative of the High king to 
hold, was intermitted for some eighty years till Brian revived 
it again in 1007. At the same time a yoke almost as heavy 
was placed upon Minister, whose rivers the Norsemen could 
easily penetrate, and where they had the centres of Waterford, 
Cork, and Limerick to operate from. The race of Ivar seized 
on the capital, Cashel, itself, and though bravely resisted by 
the Eoghanacht king, Cellachan, could not be overthrown. 
Cellachan died in 954, and with his son the direct Eoghanacht 
dynasty ended, leaving the way open to a greater line. 

f At last the Norse yoke was broken by two remarkable men, 
Malachy (Maelsechlainn), king of Meath, and Brian Boru 'of 

The oppression of Munster under the race of Ivar isgraphLcni 


described in the opening pages of the War of the Gael and 
the Gatt Thomond (North Minister) was the kingdom of 
Cennedig, head of the Dal Cais, one of the royal free tribes of 
Minister, which sprang a long way back from the royal stoclc 
of Ailill 0mm, father qfJEoghan M6rand Cormac Cas. Cenn&f 
dig had two sons, Mahon and Brian^and Mahon succeeded 
him. Brian, the younger, was born about 940 and grew up 
during the worst days of the Norse tyranny when the Dal- 
cassians had been driven into the present county Clare, and 
Ivar of Limerick planned a great rampart between Limerick 
and the Fergus to hem them in. Mahon was ready to accept 
terms but Brian urged resistance, and in a number of petty 
battles trained a Dalcassian army to face the Norsemen. The 
two brothers triumphed so far that on the death of Donnchad 
son of Cellachan in 963 Mahon claimed the throne of Cashel. 
But first Ivar, who had Eoghanacht allies, had to be over- 
thrown. In 968 at Sulcoit in Tipperary the two brothers com- 
pletely overthrew Ivar's forces and marched upon Limerick, 
and took it, while Ivar fled with the two Eoghanacht princes, 
Donovan and Maelmuad. The Norse tyranny in Minister thus 
collapsed and Mahon ruled peaceably for eight years as king 
of Cashel until Ivar returned from oversea, conspired again 
with Donovan and Maelmuad, and slew "him by treachery, 
This cleared the way for the really great man in Munster, 

_.- ---_.. ,._- n- ...II :-_ -IT . : V" ^ ...-.JT7. ^ , ,,^+nUw Q- mr , 4J ^ f,^^ * * -t * 9**^ 

Brian honourjtoJv.j^oujgi, by open battle or 'fair "challenge, 
slew Ivar and disposed of his two allies, whose death removed 
for the time any Eoghanacht claimants to Cashel. 
,_Er,Qm .976^0 ipiAjBrijyn, reigned^ as king of Minister, which 
in the eyes of "orffiodox annalists was his first usurpation. He 
justified it by a work of reconstruction which puts him on a 
footing with Alfred, Edgar, and Otto the Great as restorers of 
Europe after the Scandinavian fury. 

Meanwhile Malachy had arisen like another star in the 
North. He was born in 948, became king of Meath, and in 
980 High king. This he signalized at the battle of Tara in 980, 
where he overthrew a Norse army, marched upon Dublin and 
forced Olaf to surrender, and so ended at one blow 'the 
Babylonish captivity in Meath, which was like the captivity 
of Hell'. Olaf went oversea and died next year a Christian in 


lona, for already the settled Norsemen of the southern lands 
were giving up the pagan gods. 

Malachy thus became master of Dublin, but had no wish to 
destroy so rich a city and so useful a vassal-state, and therefore 
finally installed there in 994 a son of Olaf, Sitric called 'Silk- 
beard'. Sitric, who was the son of Olaf Cuaran by Gormflath, 
sister of Maelmora, later king of Leinster, was to survive all 
the drama of the age and die in 1042. Irish on his mother's 
side, and at least a nominal Christian, he shows how mistaken 

it Would be_to regarfl tfrq Brian-saga as a war of Triqh against 
Norse and Christians against pagans. Malachy had mniried 
Gormflath some time after the death of Olaf, and both he and 
Brian were to show a fatal leniency to her son. 

Gormflath was one of the fateful women of Irish history. 
Her career was long and disastrous for Ireland, however much 
she justified it as a Leinster patriot and for the sake of husband 
and brother. She is described in a Norse saga (for the Norse 
knew her well as 'Kormlada'), as 'fairest and best-gifted in 
everything that was not in her own power, but it was the talk 
of men that she did all things ill over which she had any power'. 
This beautiful, dangerous woman was the wife in turn of Olaf, 
Malachy, and Brian, and in the end for the sake of revenge was 
ready to give her hand to the invader Sigurd. 

Brian was alreadyldng^of Muster- 8 -'"'* his next step was 
To'sufriect Ossory and Leinster and so rule the SouthernJialjL 
Leinster was in a state of weakness and the royal succession 
was disputed, so Brian was able to subject it, and by 984 was 
supreme over southern Ireland. A clash between himself and 
Malachy was inevitable, but in the contest Brian was the 
greater man and could send the viking ships of Limerick up 
the Shannon to dominate both Connacht and Meath. At last 
in 998 the two leaders, who were able to fight or parley like 
gentlemen, divided Ireland between them,_and Brian became 
supreme king of -tbje~-Sou&ern ,half, withTtne vassalage of 
Dublin and the Norse towns. According to his opponents, 
this was his second usurpation. 

Leinster and Dublin were, however, soon leagued against 
Irish unity and a woman's heart was thrown into the scale. 
Malachy was now tired of Gormflath and finall}! repudiated 


her. Turning to her brother Maelmora, she urged him to take 
the kingdom of Leinster, to which he had a royal claim, to 
unite with Sitric, and then between them break the double 
yoke of Malachy and Brian. Brian, however, marched up 
from Kincora, and in 999 at Glenmama, on the mountain slope 
of Saggard, west of Dublin, routed the Norse and Leinster 
allies under Maelmora and Sitric and marched victor into 

Brianjwas now an elderly man and had already two sons, 
Murchad and Taig, but he too fell under the spell of Gormflaiuh, 
who became his wife and bore him a son Donnchad. For her 
sake he restored Sitric in Dublin and installed Maelmora in the 
kingdom of Leinster. 

The joint sway of Brian and Malachy could not last. In 
1002 Brian met his rival at Tara and gave him time to decide 
on open battle with the aid of the northern Ui Neill, or peace- 
fully to surrender the High kingship. Malachy called in vain 
on the princes of the North and so gave in. Brian became 
Hifih king of Ireland. It was his third usurpation, and a final 
breach of the Ui Neill succession, which had lasted for six 

Both Church and State, however, admitted the fact. In 
1004 Brian carried out the Circuit of the High king with a pomp 
never equalled before or after his time, and marched from his 
capital at Kincora up through Connacht over the Erne, through 
Ulster to Armagh, down into Meath and to Dublin and back 
by Leinster and Ossory to Cashel again. In the great church 
of Armagh after mass he laid twenty ounces of gold as a gift 
upon the altar and bade his scribe Maelsuthain enter in the 
Book of Armagh words which can be still read there in 

"The holy Patrick, when going to Heaven, ordained that 
the whole fruit of his labour as well of baptism as of church 
matters and alms should be paid to the apostolic city which 
in Irish is called Ardmacha. So have I found it among the 
books of the Scots and have written it in the sight of Brian, 
emperor of the Scots, and what I have written he has con- 
firmed for all the kings of Cashel.' 


This was the greatest moment in the history of native 
Ireland. J3riajiJ?y, this -title was claiming the monarchy of 
thejwhole Gaelic race. To sanctify his rule he accepted the 
supremacy of Armagh over the whole Church of Ireland. Brian. 
whqs&RQbflityjand depth of character shinKjJirough^ the ages, 
was a sincere Christian and saw the necessity of religiouVami 
political bonds for the salvation of society. 

Ten years remained to him to hit Ireland out of the ruin of 
the Norse age. He had already made Munster a strong king- 
dom and its monasteries the seats of a revived culture, and 
now he did this work for all Ireland, and the loyal Malachy 
supported him. He rebuilt ruined churches or founded others, 
sent overseas to replace the lost books, and in other ways 
healed the ruin of the past two centuries. In 1007 he presided 
over the Fair of Tailten, which had been suspended for eighty 
years, and so all Ireland celebrated the ending of the Norse 
terror. > 

But gradually the disruptive forces stirred again. Malachy 
had enough to do in keeping order in the Northern half. The 
baleful genius of Gormflath still burned against the two great 
men who had repudiated her, and again she stirred up Maelmora 
and Sitric with taunts on their vassalage. Summoned by 
Malachy to his aid, Brian had to march up from Kincora and 
besiege Dublin from September to Christmas 1013, and to 
retire for lack of provisions. He was now an aged man, but 
with brain and energy as active as ever. Sitric was meanwhile 
seeking viking aid for the Letnster-Dublin alliance. Sigurd the 
Stout, earl of Orkney, offered himself and two thousand Norse- 
men in mail and was promised in return the hand of Gormflath, 
and with it the kingdom of Erin. The rendezvous was to be 
on the high ground between Dublin and the Tolka. There 
on Good Friday, April 23, 1014, Brian, marching up from 
Kincora, faced the allies on the slope of Crinan's Hill north of 
the river. His army, levied from all Munster, was swelled with 
his vassals from south Connacht, of whom Taig O'Kelly was the 
most ardent spirit. He only required of Malachy to keep his 
forces stationed behind the line of battle. On the other side 
Sigurd commanded two thousand men, the pick of the Norse 
world of Scotland and Man, and was supported by the levies of 


Leinster and of Dublin. Maelmora led his men, but Sitric 
watched the battle from the ramparts. Brian himself, too aged 
for battle, stayed in his tent behind the lines. In the fierce 
fighting Murchad broke the opposing Norsemen and Sigurd 
fell, so did Maelmora, and the allies were swept away in rout, 
the Leinster and Dublin men making for the bridge back to the 
city, and the vikings for the weir of the Tolka to get to their 
ships at Clontarf . It was, however, flooded by a high tide, and 
most of them perished there, and among the pursuers the 
young Turloch, son of Murchad, was drowned. The hero 
Murchad himself fell in the battle, and Brian, unhappily left 
unguarded in his tent, was slain by one of the flying Norsemen, 
Brodir, seizing such an opportunity. Such was the battle of 
Clontarf and what the Norse sagas commemorated as 'Brian's 
Battle'. Of Gormflath we hear no more. The body of Brian 
was borne with the utmost honour by the clergy to Armagh, 
and buried near the high altar there. His army, badly 
shattered in the fighting, could not take Dublin, and retreated 
back to Kincora, under the command of his son Taig. 


WITH the fall of Brian at Clontarf ended an heroic age. 
There was for a time a restoration of the old order. 
Malachy resumed the High kingship but died in 
1022 at an advanced age, and with him ended the Ui N&ll 
succession, which had lasted for six centuries. There followed 
'kings with opposition', and the struggle of province dynasts 
for the supreme power lasted till the Norman invasion. Brian 
had set the bad example of usurpation; others imitated him 
but could not, like him, justify it. The Heptarchy kingdoms 
recovered their independence. Taig remained with difficulty 
king of Cashel till his death in 1023, when his brother Donnchad 
replaced him, and Leinster regained her freedom. When 
Maelmora's son Broen died in 1018 the way was left for another 
branch of the royal race. 

Nevertheless Brian's reign is of unique importance, both as 
ending and beginning a period. He brought the viking terror 
to an end, gave Munster a predominance which might have led 
to a real monarchy for Ireland, restored the Church, and gave 
Ireland a new impetus of art, literature, and culture not 
unworthy of her former Golden Age. By such great men was 
the national consciousness created. He settled the political 
structure of Ireland as it lasted till the Normans came. To 
him is attributed the general adoption of the patronymics of 
and Mac (grandson and son), which gave us the famous 
surnames of O'Brien, O'Connor, MacCarthy, and so on. These 
surnames had in fact already begun, but it may well be that 
Brian hastened their general acceptance. Henceforth the 
succession of kings was limited to the heirs male of these 
founders, though descent from father to son had to fight long 
against the 'Derb-fine' law, by which all the male descendants 
of a king to the fourth generation were eligible. 

The recovery of the native Church followed on Brian's 
victories, and before a century was passed a reform began 



IN 1014 

Scale of Miles 
O 20 4-0 60 



which merged in the general Reform of the Church under the 
lead of Rome. Many of the old abbeys never revived, but 
others such as Clonmacnois did, and new ones arose, and 
Ireland still remained the culture centre of the Celtic lands. 

In the revival of civilization Brian's patronage and inspira- 
tion was strongly marked. The collection of what could be 
saved from the past began, and abbots and kings prided them- 
selves on the possession of great books such as the Book of 
Leinster, into which careful scribes gathered the epics, poetry, 
history and science of the past. The metal-work hi gold and 
bronze, in which Ireland excelled in the former age, revived 
and gave us such gems as the processional Cross of Cong. So 
too the great stone High crosses mark the artistic revival of 
this age, such as we have still at Tuam and Monasterboice. In 
architecture the Irish evolved a Hibemo-Romanesque style, 
of which the great examples are Cormac's Chapel at Cashel 
and the doorway at Clonfert. In this period of 1014 to 1166 
Ireland had one more chance of a native civilization and 
political unity, but unfortunately her political weakness was 
to prove fatal 

The political structure of Ireland was now as follows. The 
Scandinavian menace had been ended for good, and the popu- 
lation of the Norse towns turned Christian and finally in speech 
and habit almost Irish. The name Ostmen ('Eastmen') is 
applied to this new race, now cut off from the great viking 
world. They chose their own bishops and built their own 
cathedrals, Sitric of Dublin setting the example by founding 
Christchurch in 1040 and installing Donatus as bishop. 

The Ostman states were of considerable size. Dublin-shire, 
as the Norse called it, stretched from Skerries down to Arklow, 
and the country north of the Liffey was a thickly populated 
country, still called Fingall (Fine Gall, 'the land of the Norse- 
men'). Waterford, Limerick, Cork, and even Wexford, though 
much smaller, had each before the Normans came a consider- 
able territory round their walls called 'the cantred of the 
Ostmen'. In Dublin by noo the old race of Ivar died out and 
their place was taken by a family of Norse earls called Mac 
Torcaill. Waterford also, and apparently Limerick and Cork, 
had their petty independent rulers. The Norse attempt to 


conquer Ireland had failed, but Irish generosity and the loose 
structure of the Irish State now allowed these petty republics 
to enjoy citizen rights under the High monarchy. Neverthe- 
less their hearts were not entirely with Ireland or their 
nationality absorbed. Their sea-towns were now to serve the 
Irish province kings as they deserted their inland raths, and 
within a century Dublin, Cork, and Limerick had become 
respectively a second capital for MacMurrough, MacCarthy, 
and O'Brien. 

The political balance of Ireland, as it now stood, is summed 
up in the Book of Rights, which Brian for his own purposes 
caused to be re-edited. In this new form the book provided 
for the claim of Munster, Leinster, Ulster, and Meath to enjoy 
the High kingship, but not Connacht, which by ancient tradi- 
tion was part of the old Meath-Connacht kingdom. Again, 
Brian's edition increased the King of Cashel's power in his own 
province he was to have the military service of the Gaels of 
Dublin and Ireland and, if he were not King of Erin, to be 
King of Mogh's half. The result of this design for a central 
monarchy proved very different in the outcome. The struggle 
of 'kings with opposition' began, and though three of these 
kingdoms in turn produced able men nothing so promising as 
Brian's monarchy emerged again. 

In Munster, after the death of Donnchad, a weak man, 
Turloch, son of Taig, and then his son Murcertach ruled till 
1119. These were able and enlightened men, but their brave 
efforts to revive their ancestors' greatness ended with them. 
They were threatened too by a revival of the Eoghanacht line, 
whom the Dalcassians had thrust aside, and in 1050 we read of 
Carthach, king of Desmond, whose race was destined to 
challenge the O'Brien kingship. In Leinster the line of north 
Leinster kings ended with Maelmora, and in 1040 their place 
was taken by Diarmait or Dermot, whose family demesne was 
Hy Kinsella in Carlow and north Wexford. Dermot was a 
man of ambition and force and ended up as king both of 
Leinster and of the Galls of Dublin in 1071. From his son 
Murchad came the royal name of MacMurrough. 

In Meath, though the descendants of Malachy (the O'Melagh- 
lins) were of the old Ui NeUl of the South, their line produced 
no great men, and their small but fertile kingdom became the 


prey to the neighbouring kingdoms. In the North the surname 
of MacLochlann became pre-eminent out of the race of Niall 
Ghindubh, and these vigorous kings of Cenel Eoghain seemed 
about to create a single kingdom in Ulster. In Connacht arose 
the O'Connors, whose demesne in county Roscommon was 
called Sil Muiredaig (by the Normans 'Shilmorthy'). 

The Book of Rights gives us an almost complete picture of 
the High king and his prerogatives, the duties inter $e of the 
High king and the province kings, and their rights again over 
their vassals. In all there are some hundred sub-states in 
Ireland called Tuatha, each with its petty Ri or king, several 
of them sometimes uniting again into a Mdr-Tuath, such as 
the seven tribes of Leix. It was a patriarchal society in which 
the king must be the senior and best fitted to rule of an 
ancestral line. Once accepted by his chief vassals and inau- 
gurated with ancient rites on some sacred hill in the open air, 
he then became a considerable despot. But his rights came to 
him by popular acceptance, and no 'stranger in the sovereignty* 
could for long hope to govern an Irish state. The strength and 
the weakness of the Irish political structure were to be sorely 
tested again before long, and it was shown that though weak 
in central command it was strong in local resistance. The 
survival-value of the Gaelic order was a high one. 

We now briefly follow the political events that led up 
to the Norman invasion. In 1086 Turloch O'Brien died at 
Kincora at the great age of seventy-seven, 'King of Ireland' 
according to the annals of Loch C6. He was succeeded by his 
son Murcertach, a man of intellectual ability, a friend and 
patron of Church reform and a statesman of ability. But the 
task of welding Ireland together could only be achieved by 
the continued supremacy of one kingdom, and this the others 
generally combined to prevent. In Connacht there arose a 
determined rival, Rory O'Connor; in Ulster another, Donal 
MacLochlann. Had Ireland but realized it, the situation from 
abroad should have taught the necessity of union. In 1066 
Anglo-Saxon England fell before the Conqueror and his 
Normans, and this aggressive race was bent upon further 
expansion. In 1072, say the Irish annals, the 'Franks' 


invaded Scotland, and in logo the Norman adventurers m 
Wales slew Rhys, king of south Wales, in battle. Thus, says 
the Welsh chronicler sadly, 'fell the kingdom of the Britons'. 
From another side Lanfranc, the new archbishop of Canter- 
bury, was claiming a supremacy for his see over all the British 
islands, and Ireland it was clear would have to set her ancient 
Church in order. 

Murcertach strove valiantly to meet the new order of things. 
After long warfare with his northern rivals, he secured homage 
enough in noi to make the 'Circuit of the High king*. He 
pleased the Church in that same year by presenting his former 
capital of Cashel as the site of a proposed archbishopric for 
Munster, and before his death he presided as High king in 
mo at the first Reforming synod at Fiadh-mic-Oengusa. 

The islands and coasts of Scotland and Ulster were still the 
home and haunts of Norsemen and vikings. Among the names 
of the mixed Gall-Gael race who ruled earldoms from their 
galleys we may notice Somerled, in 1164 'king of the Gall- 
Gael' or 'Lord of Argyll', ancestor of the MacDonneUs of the 
Isles, and an earlier 'Suibhne', ancestor of MacSweeny. In 1102 
there appeared in these waters Magnus 'Barefoot', one of the 
last sea-kings of Norway, a gallant and heroic figure, claiming 
tribute from the Hebrides and Man. Murcertach made friends 
with him and entertained hin^ at Kincora. He then prepared 
to sail home for Norway, but, landing in Ulster to forage, he 
and many gallant vikings were slain by a local levy, in 1103. 
Murcertach had marched north, and like his great ancestor 
placed a gift of gold on the high altar of Armagh, but was 
suddenly attacked and routed by his rival MacLochlann at 
Moy Cova on August 5th 1103. The O'Brien glory never 
recovered, and on his death in ing Munster fell out of the 
race for supremacy, Turloch O'Connor, who became king of 
Connacht in 1106, took his place and became Ireland's last 
great king. 

Meanwhile forces other than political were moving. The 
reformation of the Church had begun in Europe a century 
ago. For Ireland the necessity, too, was pointed out by Roma 


and Canterbury and realized by a band of native reformers. 
The eleventh and twelfth centuries were for Europe an age of 
recovery in the intellectual and spiritual life, and this impulse 
Ireland was destined to feel also. Her monastic centres had 
long played a noble part, but they had become rich and 
stagnant, devoted to their local interests, and yet subjected 
to the tyranny of temporal lords. Only the churches of the 
Ostmen had the Order of Benedict or Augustine; the native 
abbeys obeyed the Rule of Columba, Ciaran, Brendan, and 
other ancient founders. The Irish Church was still monastic, 
and a proper Episcopate with due authority and endowment 
was lacking. The practice of simony, the intrusion of men 
with minor orders into high Church offices for selfish reasons, 
and hereditary succession in the great abbeys, were abuses 
similar to those that the Cluniac reform on the Continent 
had already assailed. From 957 the abbacy of Armagh was 
for a century and a half continuously in the hands of a single 
family, the Gann Sinach, who as laymen or hi minor orders 
attained the Coarb-ship and then appointed an insignificant 
bishop or added this office to their own. 

The Hildebrandine reform added still further emphasis, and 
Ireland was included in the programme of 'Unity and Purity' 
which Gregory VII pronounced. The Norman archbishops 
of Canterbury from Lanfranc on, in virtue of their claim 
derived from Augustine to be supreme over all the British 
isles, pointed out hi various letters to the Irish leaders the 
need of a general purification. Ireland was asked to accept 
all the essentials of the Western Church, the supreme authority 
of Rome, conformity to one ritual, canonical marriage, a proper 
episcopate under Roman authority, celibacy and tithes for the 
clergy, and the freedom of the Church from lay domination. 

Once again, as in the seventh century, the Irish Church 
came into conflict with the papal head-quarters. Catholic 
unity and doctrine it had no wish to reject, but attachment 
to old custom was tenacious and opposed to the centralizing 
and unifying programme now set forth. But the forward 
wave was against Irish conservatism. Of the Churches which 
had clung to 'Celtic particularism 1 , Scotland was brought into 


Roman conformity under Queen Margaret, and when Wales 
succumbed to the Norman advance the independence of St. 
David's vanished also. 

The interference of Canterbury began with the Ostmen, 
who turned from the Celts and looked towards England for 
their church government. Of the bishops of Dublin before 
the Norman invasion almost all sought Canterbury's approval. 
After Donatus (1035-1074), Patrick was sent to Canterbury 
by the citizens, was consecrated by Lanfranc, and swore 
obedience to him. Lanfranc took the opportunity to address 
a letter to Turloch O'Brien as King of Ireland, pointing out 
the abuses of the Irish church, which was the beginning of 
a long correspondence between England, Ireland, and Rome 
on the church question. The next two bishops of Dublin, 
Donatus and Samuel O'Haingli, again were confirmed by 
Canterbury, and Anselm also claimed the Primacy of all the 
Britains. Not till 1152 did Dublin give in to the Irish church. 
So it was with Waterford. Its first bishop, Malchus, a monk 
from Winchester, was consecrated by Anselm and two English 
bishops. The letters recommending him to Anselm from the 
Ostmen townsmen were attested by 'Murchertach, our king', 
and four Irish bishops. In 1105 the Norse city of Limerick 
also got its first bishop, Gillebert, who, however, was Irish. 

A band of native reformers now appeared alongside of this 
Ostman movement. A number of Irish bishops aspired to 
have hi Ireland the status of their Continental brethren and 
were ready to accept Roman reform. In Gillebert of Limerick, 
who had been a monk at Rouen with Anselm, they found an 
inspiring writer who provided them with a tract on the 'status 
of the Church', outlining a proper episcopal and parochial 
organization for Ireland and advocating a uniform liturgy. 

Reform was now fully launched in the South, and the High 
king Murcertach gave it his blessing by presenting at a council 
of Cashel in noi the famous Rock to the Church, as the seat 
of an archbishop. Next the North of Ireland joined in and 
Armagh took its rightful place as head of the Church. In 
1105 Celsus (Cellach) was elected Coarb; he also was of the 
Sinach and a layman, only twenty-five years old, and 


married, who took holy orders only after his election. The 
next year he took episcopal orders when the bishop of Armagh 
died, and united in himself the double office of abbot-bishop. 
He was thus an example of all the abuses of the time, but 
justified himself by joining the Reform party and throwing 
his great name and influence into it. Welcomed by the 
southerners, in 1106 at Cashel he was accepted by all as 
Archbishop and Primate of the Irish Church. It was a title 
up to then unknown. In return Celsus erected Cashel into 
an archbishopric for Malchus of Waterford, Rome showed 
its approval by appointing Gillebert papal legate in 1107, but 
deferred its sanction to the new archdiocese. The next 
advance was made at the national synod of Rathbreasail or 
Fiadh-mic-Oengusa in mo, presided over by the High king 
and Celsus, which divided Ireland into twenty-four proper 
sees. But this programme needed a long working out. Again 
in 1122 the Dublin Ostmen got a bishop, Gregory, consecrated 
at Canterbury, rejecting an act of the synod which subjected 
their bishopric to that of Glendalough. To be ruled from a 
Celtic monastery somewhere in the mountains was not to the 
taste of the Norse burgesses, who preferred to have a bishop 
of their own within their walls. 

While unity was evolving in the Church, Turloch More 
O'Connor was attempting the unity of the Irish State. He 
was Ireland's greatest king since Brian, and, like him, strove 
to make one province supreme in order that the others should 
be subject to it, but again success to be permanent needed a 
line of successors equal to himself in ability. All that could 
be done to make the fluctuating monarchy real he did; as 
king of Connacht, and then as High king, girdling Connacht 
with forts at all the vital points, spanning the Shannon with 
a bridge, dismembering the other kingdoms and striving to 
appoint their rulers. On the death of Murcertach in 1119 he 
secured the High kingship and held it till his death in 1156. 
He accepted the High king's position as patron of Church 
reform and of national culture. From his own kingdom, 
which he made into a bastion dominating the rest of Iceland, 
he enforced his personal will upon the other princes. It is 


tragic that such a man was not in charge of the national destiny 
when the Normans arrived. Instead, he was succeeded in 
Connacht by a son who was a weakling and the old game of 
'Kings with opposition' began again. 

Divide et impera was a maxim well understood by Turloch. 
He expelled from Meath its king, Murchad O'Melaghlin, in 
1126 and set up in his place his own son Connor, but the young 
prince was soon slain in a local revolt because he was 'a 
stranger in sovereignty'. The same policy was attempted 
with Leinster. Its real triumph was the permanent division 
of Minister, a kingdom formerly so pre-eminent. In 1127 he 
invaded it hi great force and at Cork divided it between 
Conor, nephew of Muroertach O'Brien, and Cormac MacCarthy. 
The former took for his kingdom Thomond or North Munster 
(the present counties of Clare, Tipperary, Limerick, and north 
Kerry) and the latter Desmond or South Munster (south Kerry 
and county Cork as far east as Lismore). Cormac was an 
amiable prince, a friend to Reform and the builder of a 
beautiful church at Cashel. But the division of Munster was 
disastrous. Turloch O'Connor was reviving for selfish reasons 
the Eoghanacht claim which Brian had extinguished a century 
ago, and it would appear that Carthach, the founder of this 
name in 1050, had no particular claim to the kingdom of 
Cashel. But again in 1151 Turloch More invaded Munster in 
full force, overthrew Turloch O'Brien at Mean Mdr near Cork, 
and once more divided the province. 

This policy caused an alignment of rival forces which ended 
in the Norman invasion. Murcertach MacLochlann, king of 
the Cenel Eoghain ('the Race of Eoghan'), subjected Ulidia and 
Oriel and united Ulster. He was Turloch O'Connor's chief 
rival, and Leinster joined him from the south. Here Dermot 
(Diarmait) MacMurrough, great-grandson of the first Dermot, 
came into the kingdom of Leinster about 1126. In that year, 
in a vacancy, the High king Turloch imposed his son Conor 
upon Leinster, but Dermot asserted his claim and expelled the 
Connacht prince. Henceforth he was enemy to O'Connor and 
friend to MacLochlann. This bad man was to be the ultimate 
cause of the loss of Ireland's independence. 

Among other princes of the time we may note Donnchad 


O'Cervall, king of Oriel, a patron of Church reform, who gave 
the land for Mellifont; Murchad O'Melaghlin, last king of 
undivided Meath; and Tiernan O'Ruairc, lord of Brefni. 
Tiernan was a man of Dermot's stamp, full of fierce energy, 
and an out-and-out partisan, who, though on the native side, 
proved no less disastrous to the native cause. Brefni, now 
the modern counties of Cavan and Leitrim, was a vassal-state 
of Connacht and defended it on the north-east against Ulster. 
O'Ruairc made it one of the chief minor states and aimed at 
annexing to it western Meath. 

Irish kings could seldom rise above a temporary greatness, 
but Dermot at least showed how strong a province-king could 
be. The chiefs of northern Leinster had little affection for 
bis southern branch of the royal race. The border state of 
Ossory under Mac Gillapatraic resisted Leinster's claim to 
suzerainty. The Ostman states of Dublin, Waterford, and 
Wexford owed homage and service to the king of Leinster, 
according to the Book of Rights, though their supreme alle- 
giance was due to the High king. To be at once 'king of the 
Leinstermen and of the foreigners' was a proud title which the 
Leinster kings had not enjoyed since the first Dermot, but 
Dermot II meant to be all this. In the struggle of province- 
kingdoms Leinster too should play its old part, and according 
to the Book of Rights there was nothing to bar its claim to 
the High kingship. 

Dermot was not a complete barbarian; indeed he was a 
patron of culture and religion. His palace at Ferns had in its 
library one of the glories of Irish literature, the Book of Leinster, 
written about 1150; here he founded an abbey, and similarly 
he endowed All Saints in Dublin as well as Jerpoint and 
Baltinglas. But all his political activities betrayed ferocity 
and violence. Early in his career he sacked the abbey of 
Kildare and shamefully treated the abbess. The indignation 
of the Church at such deeds of the Irish princes had much 
to do with the surrender of the bishops later to the English 
king, who they thought alone could guarantee order. Against 
Dublin, Dermot had a special animus, because it had expelled 
his race, and the townsmen returned his hatred. He only 
finally became king of Leinster by hard battling, in which he 


had to subdue Ossory, besiege Waterford, and similarly to 
force Dublin under its earl Asgall Mac Torcaill into reluctant 
submission. In 1141 he had to suppress a revolt of the north 
Leinster chiefs and blinded or slew seventeen of them. In no 
case did he win affection or loyal submission, save in his 
native domain of Hy Kinsella. 

But for a time the strong hand was effective, and by 1150 
Dermot was the admitted king of Dublin and Leinster and 
could play a great part in the general war of Ireland. In 1151 
the High king Turloch invaded Minister to enforce the sub- 
mission of O'Brien, and in the general strife MacMurrough 
carried off Dervorgilla, the beautiful wife of Tiernan O'Ruairc. 
It was by her own invitation it seems, for Dermot was a tall, 
handsome, and imposing man, but his off ence was made no 
better when he soon sent her home again. The 'High king 
made an award between him and the prince of Brefni, but' 
O'Ruairc never forgave bis enemy and a deadly private feud 
was added to their public rivalry. 

But until the death of the High king Turloch there were 
some years of peace, and in 1152 he presided over the Synod 
of Kells, where the cause of native reform readied its summit. 

The North had now in Maelmaedoc O'Morgair, who is known 
to history as St. Malachy, produced the greatest of the re- 
formers. Born in Armagh in 1095 and made a priest in 1119, 
as vicar to Celsus he enforced the new ideas upon this stubborn 
and backward province. His first see was Connor, where he 
made Bangor his head-quarters, but when Celsus died in 1129 
he named Malachy his successor in Armagh. The old Claim 
Sinach was strong enough to resist, but finally Malachy was 
put in possession of the arch-see by the reforming party and 
the princes who supported them. In 1137, however, he 
resigned it to his successor Gelasius, and retired to Bangor 
again, where he devoted himself to enforcing Roman reforms 
in the North-east. So far, papal confirmation of these changes 
was lacking, and in 1139 Gelasius and the other bishops sent 
Malachy to Rome to secure for Armagh and Cashel the 
archbishop's pallium. 1 On the way he was received by 

1 A collar of lamb's wool which an archbishop must receive at the 
hands of the Pope or his legate before Rome accepts him. 


St. Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux and head of the Cisteician 
order, who later wrote a life of the Irish saint. To the great 
churchman Malachy recited all the evils of Ireland's Church 
and State and Bernard marvelled that so saintly a man should 
come out of a race so barbarous as he described. 

We may suppose that Malachy and the bishops who later 
sent shnjIgT reports to Rome were so impressed with the need 
of reform in the spiritual life of Ireland that they could not 
realize the effect they had upon Rome. 

When Malachy reached the Holy city, Innocent II would 
only grant the pallia at the request of a national synod, but 
he made Malachy papal legate in place of Gillebert in order 
to convoke it. Malachy returned to Ireland with a band of 
Cistercian monks provided by St. Bernard, for whom a site 
was provided on the banks of the Boyne by the king of Oriel. 
'Gfllacrist (or Christian), bishop of Lismore, a zealous reformer, 
was their first abbot, and a beautiful church which they 
built at Mellifont was the first Gothic building in our 

In 1148 a synod of bishops, assembled at Inispatric, again 
sent Malachy for the pallia, b'ut he died on the way at Clair- 
vaux in November, and the pallia remained ungranted until 
a full national synod was summoned to Kells in 1152, 'in 
order to set forth the Catholic Faith, to purify and correct the 
morals of the people, to consecrate four archbishops and give 
fhem the pallia*. At this assembly the High king Turloch 
dud the princes of Ireland gave secular approval to the 
decrees issued by Cardinal John Paparo, legate from Rome, 
Christian of Lismore, Gelasius, and the bishops of the Irish 
Church. The island was divided into thirty-six sees, and 
instead of two archbishoprics four were now admitted and 
given the pallia by Paparo, namely, Armagh, Cashel, Tuam, 
and Dublin. Armagh was to be supreme over all the rest. 
The arch-see of Leinster was located in Dublin instead of 
Glendalough, in order to detach the Ostmen from Canterbury. 
The present bishop, Gregory, accepted the new title and 
Ostman separatism came to an end. Many at the time thought 
it sufficient to have only two archbishops, Armagh and Cashel, 
for Ireland, but it seems that Tuam and Leinster were added 


to gratify provincial pride. Unfortunate Meath, whose kings 
were weak, had no metropolitan granted to it. 

On paper the lines of a national self-governing and episcopal 
church had been laid down with the approval of Rome, but 
to be a success it needed a reformed and powerful State, 
and of this there was little hope. Everywhere in Europe the 
revived Church, in order to carry out its great mission, allied 
itself with growing Monarchy. Many of the Irish reformers 
came to regard without dismay foreign intervention. By the 
donation of Adrian, granted three years alter the Synod of 
Kells, the Pope is said to have commissioned Henry II to 
reform Ireland. Whether this donation is genuine or not, is 
one of the great questions of history. But we cannot doubt 
that political confusion caused good and zealous men to despair 
of the State and disposed them towards what followed. 

In 1156 the death of Turloch O'Connor removed Ireland's 
last great king. The High monarchy collapsed once more. His 
son Rory succeeded him in Connacht, but hi his claim to the 
High kingship was thrust aside by Murcertach MacLochlann. 
It was an office easily won, easily lost. Once more the under- 
kings did homage to a successful candidate, and finally, in 
1162, Murcertach was acknowledged High king in Dublin 
by Earl Asgall and the Ostmen, who also admitted Dermot 
to be their immediate lord; after which the two kings installed 
as archbishop of Dublin Laurence OToole, now Ireland's 
greatest churchman and brother-in-law of Dermot, in suc- 
cession to Gregory. Thus the king of Ulster became, as the 
annals say, 'High king of Erin without opposition/ and four 
years more of national independence were left to Ireland. 

In 1155, it is said, Pope Adrian IV had, by the so-called 
Bull 'Laudabiliter', commissioned Henry II of England to 
invade Ireland and, reform its Church and people, and at a 
royal council at Winchester talk had been made of carrying 
this out, but Henry's mother, the Empress Matilda, had 
protested against it. 1 In Ireland nothing seems to have been 

1 For the Boll 'Laudabiliter' set later, pp. 56-57. 


known of the matter, and no provision was made against 
English aggression. 

It was an unexpected event in Irish politics that ended 
native independence. The High king Murcertach was at wai 
with his vassal Eochy Mac Dunlevy, king of Ulidia, and, 
taking him prisoner, had him blinded, though Eochy had 
submitted on terms and on the guarantee of Donnchad 
O'Cervall, king of Oriel, and other princes (1166). Shocked 
by this atrocity, his vassals revolted against him under 
O'Cervall and slew him in a petty battle at Leitir Luin. The 
High kingship again became vacant, and Rory O'Connor 
secured it and made 'the Circuit of the Ard Rf'. At the same 
time Tiernan O'Ruairc seized the opportunity to avenge his 
private feud against Dennot MacMurrough. Dublin and 
Waterford, Ossory and the chiefs of north Leinster also 
revolted against their brutal overlord, and when Tiernan in- 
vaded Leinster, Dermot was left without supporters save in 
Hy Kinsella. But Dermot was a man of action and took a 
rapid decision to appeal for English aid. On August ist 1166 
he sailed for Bristol with his daughter Eva, whose rank and 
beauty made her a matrimonial prize, leaving behind him to 
guard his domain his favourite, though, it would seem, 
illegitimate son, Donal Kavanagh. 

No such momentous event had happened since Ireland 
became a monarchy. MacMurrough's expulsion was not the 
work of the High king or the decision of a national council, 
but of his enemy O'Ruairc acting in concert with his Leinster 
rebels. The High king Rory, however, confirmed the event, 
and proceeded to confirm Ireland to the princes, dividing 
Munster between Dennot MacCarthy and Donal Mdr O'Brien, 
Meath between O'Ruairc and Dermot O'Melaghlin, Leinster 
between Donal MacGillapatric of Ossory and Dermot's brother 
Murchad, and the kingdom of the North between Murcertach's 
son Niall and Aedh O'Neill. He then celebrated the Tailten 
games, and the political structure of Ireland seemed to be 
restored. But the banished king of Leinster had already found 
in Wales allies who were to reverse it for ever. 


TRELAND had already for a century been threatened by 
I the powerful monarchy of Norman England, and still more 
1 immediately by the aggressive Norman baronial race. The 
fall of Celtic Wales heralded the fall of Celtic Ireland. The 
earldoms of Chester, Shrewsbury, and Gloucester, and the 
Honour of Glamorgan had by noo brought most of Wales 
under the feudal yoke. When in 1090 Rhys ap Tewdwr, 
king of Dyved, was killed by the Normans the independence 
of southern Wales perished. Pembroke became a Norman 
lordship under Arnulf of Montgomery, who in 1097 made 
castellan of his castle at Pembroke Gerald of Windsor, ancestor 
of the Geraldines of Ireland. Arnulf was banished by Henry I 
in 1103 along with his brother Robert, Earl of Shrewsbury, 
but the Norman advance was not checked, and in 1109 
Henry I granted to Gilbert de Clare 'all the land of Cardigan, 
if he could win it from the Welsh'. This was the sort of 
'speculative grant' which was to be common in Ireland. 

Within a few years all Pembroke, Glamorgan, and the 
peninsula of Gower were full of Norman forts and had a medley 
of Welsh, Norman, Saxon, and Flemish population. The first 
Henry planted in Gower and south Pembroke a colony of 
Flemish men-at-arms, no longer needed in English wars, and 
they and the Welsh bowmen were to be the rank and file of 
the Norman bands. A Welsh revolt of 1136 showed how stub- 
born the Britons were, when in open battle Richard, son of 
Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Hereford, and many other knights 
perished. King Stephen, however, in 1138 created Richard's 
younger son Gilbert Earl of Pembroke, and he again reduced 
the Welsh. His son, Richard FitzGilbert ('Strongbow 1 of our 
Irish tradition), welded Pembroke into a feudal State. 

It was in southern Wales that the Norman conquerors of 
Ireland grew up. The younger son and the gentleman-soldier 
who has made so much English history was abundant there. 



The first feudal band to invade Ireland, Maurice FitzGerald 
and the rest, were a family party, putting their stock into a 
common enterprise and ready for the great jump-over into 
Ireland. The Earl of Pembroke was their overlord and the 
King of England their still remoter lord, but loyalty to both 
sat light upon them. Had events brought the Geraldines and 
their race to Ireland in times better suited to their genius for 
conquest we cannot doubt that they would have founded an 
independent Norman monarchy in Ireland. 

A Welsh princess, Nesta, daughter of the Rhys who was 
slain in 1090, was the queen-bee of the Norman- Welsh swarm. 
By her love-affairs with Henry I and Stephen, constable of 
Cardigan, and her genuine marriage with Gerald of Windsor, 
she was the mother or grandmother of the Fitzgeralds, 
Barrys, Carews, and other sharers in the conquest of Ireland. 
Almost every one of them had Welsh blood in him, and was 
thereby qualified to master and to understand the Irish Celts. 

The dominant genius of the 'Franks' was feudal, military, 
and romantic. They belonged to the older feudalism, which 
found its best expression on the borders, but which in England 
was bridled by the masterful genius of Henry II. In Wales 
they could conquer as widely as their swords, carry on private 
war, invade the Welsh mountaineers and divide the spoil 
among the barons. This was to be their spirit in Ireland. 
But it was something the Gaels could understand, and such 
men before long were to become almost as Irish as the Irish. 
The feudal class lived also in the tradition of the minstrels 
and the great chansons de geste of Charlemagne, Arthur, and 
Godfrey; it was no great step for them to delight in the music, 
language, and ancient epics of Ireland. Nationalism was 
scarcely known to these men, who had come over a century 
ago as Frenchmen and had not yet become English. Adapt- 
ability was their genius, and proud as they were of their own 
blood, speech, and traditions, they were ready to treat as 
equals any race that they could respect and freely to inter- 
marry with it. In Wales they had absorbed Welsh blood 
and doubtless knew something of the Celtic speech. In Ireland 
the first generation of them were only too ready to make 
'happy marriages' with Irish princesses. 


The feudal and military organization of the Normans was 
to give them a surprising victory in Ireland. In the knightly 
land-holding class, son succeeded father, and there was thus 
no disputed title. If the heir was under age, his overlord 
protected his interests and safeguarded his succession. Com- 
pared with this, the uncertain 'derb-fine' rule of succession 
among the Irish kings put the latter at a disadvantage. On 
the other hand, the Normans were to find that when there were 
a dozen or more 'royal heirs' eligible for the kingship of an 
Irish state the ruling stock was 'unkillahle' and could rarely 
expire like the feudal family. When it came to the art of 
war and fortification the superiority of the Normans had been 
displayed already in England, south Italy and Palestine. The 
'miles' or mounted soldier of gentle blood wore a mail shirt 
covering his body, thighs, and arms, and a conical iron helmet, 
with a guard for the nose and a chain covering for the neck 
and throat. Their horses were light coursers which had no 
armoured protection. A much more elaborate plate armour 
for man and horse was to become fashionable by 1200, but 
the equipment of the Geraldines and their companions proved 
the right thing for Irish war and lingered for many generations 
The art of castellation was yet in a primitive stage, and the 
castle of the Norman when he first appeared in Ireland was a 
tower of wood rapidly erected on some eminence which a few 
archers could hold and with an outer stockade or 'bretesche* as 
a defence against attack. Again it was not till about 1200 that 
these numerous mote-fortresses could be abandoned and in 
central places arose stone castles with donjon and bailey 
almost impregnable to the Irish enemy. But it was still more 
in their mentality that the Normans were a race made to 
conquer. The Irish Gael, though given to war and with 
plenty of natural courage, for the most part fought in linen 
tunics with light axes, swords, and spears. To the Irish kings 
a battle was intended to achieve an immediate object; that 
achieved, then 1 armies retired. To the Norman-French, war 
was a business proposition and their enterprise a joint-stock 
company out of which profits were expected. A battle once 
gained, the next step was to throw up an impregnable castle, 
the next was to organize the conquered country into a manor 


or barony and seek if necessary a charter for it from Earl or 

Such was the race to whom King Dermot turned for allies. 
At Bristol he was received by one Robert FitzHarding, who 
sent him on to his sovereign, and in Aquitaine Henry gave 
him letters patent to enlist among his subjects. Returning 
to Wales, Dermot won over Richard, Earl of Pembroke, with 
the promise of his daughter's hand in marriage and the 
succession to Leinster with rich fiefs for his lieutenants. 
Strongbow was in bad odour with the King, who disliked 
Stephen's baronage, and welcomed the prospect of adding a 
rich kingdom in Ireland to a poor earldom in Wales. The 
bargain took four years to carry out, but Dermot returned to 
Leinster in August 1167 bringing a small Norman force under 
Richard FitzGodebert. The High king offered to restore to 
him the ten cantreds of Hy Kinsella on paying an 'honour 
price' to O'Ruairc and giving two sons as hostages. Dermot 
accepted the offer, but when he brought in further Normans 
Rory put the two hostages to death, leaving him only one son, 
Donal Kavanagh. 

On May ist 1169 there arrived in Bannow bay in south 
Wexford a number of ships carrying Robert FitzStephen, 
Maurice Prendergast, thirty knights, sixty men-at-arms with 
breast-plates, and three hundred archers. There on the grassy 
headland of Baginbun they built the first Norman earthwork 
in Ireland, whose ramparts can still be traced. A traditional 
Anglo-Irish rhyme records that: 

At the creek of Baginbun, 
Ireland was lost and won 

The Irish annals say: "The fleet of the Flemings came to 
Erin, they were ninety heroes dressed in mail, and the Gads 
set no store by them.' Backed by this small but professional 
force, Dermot held his ground until in the next year Maurice 
FitzGerald and Raymond le Gros of Carew arrived. Finally 
on August 23rd 1170 Earl Richard landed near Waterford 
with his bride Eva and one thousand men-at-arms. He was 
joined by Dermot and Donal Kavanagh, and without delay 
they attacked and took Waterford, which resisted its rightful 


king. Its earl, Sitric, was beheaded and Strongbow married 
Eva in the city cathedral. 

Dublin was the supreme objective. The High king brought 
a national levy to defend it on the west side, but Dennot led 
the allied army inland by the Wicklow mountains and early 
in September reached the city where it was undefended on 
the south. The Ostmen under their earl Asgall offered to 
parley, but while this was hanging fire Raymond le Gros and 
Milo de Cogan, who, like true Normans, preferred a/a# accompli, 
suddenly attacked and took the fortress. Asgall fled over- 
sea and Dublin became the capital of English power in 
Ireland. To all appearance Dermot had by the swords 
of his Norman allies now recovered the whole kingdom of 

The Gaels could no longer afford to 'set no store' by these 
new-comers. Dennot now talked of winning the High king- 
ship, and the High king collected a great national army to 
recover Dublin. But suddenly the king of Leinster died at 
Ferns on May ist 1171, destined to be remembered with 
execration as 'Diarmaid na nGalT ('of the Foreigners'). 

Strongbow thus became king of Leinster, but he was 
threatened at once by an overwhelming combination. A 
Norse fleet sailed up the Liffey, having on board a thousand 
vikings whom Earl Asgall had hired in the Hebrides and Man, 
who were led by a famous berserk, John 'the Wbde' or 'Mad'. 
Giraldus Cambrensis says admiringly of them: "They were 
men with iron arms and iron hearts.' The High king was 
bringing up an Irish army to besiege Dublin from the west, 
and had the two forces united, Strongbow would have been 
in a desperate situation, cooped up in Dublin with most of his 
forces. Unluckily for themselves, the Norsemen attacked 
first, and were outside the eastern gate attacked and cut to 
pieces by a Norman force under Milo de Cogan. John the 
Wode died like a berserk, while Asgall was taken and beheaded 
in his own hall. 

For all that, Strongbow was in danger from an all-Ireland 
rally which blockaded Dublin for two months. Rory O'Connor 
offered Strongbow the kingdom of Leinster under the High 


monarchy if he would send his soldiers back, but the Earl 
refused, and at last a desperate sally was decided upon. 
Maurice FitzGerald pointed out that England had rejected 
them and Ireland was against them; let them therefore sally 
forth in arms, so that 'by their valour they should reduce 
the five kingdoms of Ireland into one'. Strongbow's lieu- 
tenants were ready to renounce England and found a new 
Norman monarchy in Ireland, but the Earl was a weak and 
hesitating man who preferred to be a great baron in Ireland 
rather than a small king. Faced with an Irish rally, he was 
ready to submit himself to his sovereign, King Henry. But 
the sally advocated by FitzGerald was necessary. A vanguard 
of six hundred horsemen, followed by Donal Kavanagh and 
his Leinster men, marched out in the early morning and, 
making a detour by Finglas, took the High king's army, 
encamped in the present Phoenix Park, by surprise, scattered 
it, and broke up the siege. It was mid-September, and the 
victors captured enormous stores of provisions. 

Such a double victory for Norman Han gave point to 
FitzGerald's boast that he and his companions could unaided 
have conquered Ireland. But already the Earl had sent in 
his submission to Henry II, who was marching to Pembroke 
to cross over into Ireland. To the Angevin, Ireland was for 
the moment a welcome refuge from the storm raised by the 
murder of Archbishop Becket on December 2Qth 1170, for 
which he was threatened with a papal interdict. 


King Henry landed at Waterford on October i/th 1171 
with an army of four thousand men. But he did not intend 
a military conquest; he came first to ensure that the gains of 
the adventurers should depend on the Crown of England, 
and secondly to secure a voluntary submission of the Irish 
Church and princes. If he had with him the donation of 
Adrian IV (the Bull 'Laudabiliter') he did not proclaim it, 
but then he was out with the Papacy. For all that, it appears 
evident that its purport was already known or was now re- 
vealed to the Irish leaders. Short though his stay of less 


than six months in Ireland was, it was sufficient to establish 
the basis of English sovereignty. 

His first measure was to confirm to Strongbow 'the land of 
Leinster' as an appanage of the earldom of Pembroke, and to 
FitzGerald and the others the baronies granted to them by 
Dermot, to be held of the Earl. Henry seems to have scolded 
the adventurers before accepting their homage. They, on the 
other hand, accepted with a poor grace these gifts from the 
royal hand. They had hoped to be kings hi Ireland and had 
to remain mere barons. 

The Waterford citizens submitted to so great a king, and he 
rewarded them by confirming 'the liberties of the Ostmen'. 
He then marched inland from Waterford to Cashel, then back 
to Waterford and so to Dublin. At Lismore 'he held a council 
where the laws of England were received and confirmed 1 ; 
whether this applied only to the English in Ireland or included 
the Irish we cannot tell. There also he arranged for the 
holding of a national synod under Bishop Christian, who was 
papal legate. On the strength of such fair assurances, the 
leaders of Church and State prepared to accept him. 

At Waterford began the submission of the native chiefs. 
Dermot MacCarthy, king of Desmond, came in and for a yearly 
tribute got back his kingdom under royal suzerainty, saving 
to the Crown the city of Cork and the 'cantred of the Ostmen' 
round it. Next came in Donal More O'Brien, king of Thomond, 
the king of Ossory, and other local chiefs. Arriving in Dublin 
on November nth, Henry wintered there and received the 
homage of further kings, including even Tiernan O'Ruairc, 
until only the High king and the princes of the North held out. 
Their surrender entailed a general though ill-informed accep- 
tance of a great European king, based on his show of peace, 
his rights under a papal concession, and a naive belief that he 
would be content to be an absent Ard Rf, receiving their 
homage and tributes but otherwise leaving them undisturbed 
hi their province kingdoms. But that they failed to grasp 
what the Angevin monarchy was was soon shown. The 
submission of the clerical leaders of Ireland, men of intelli- 
gence and education, is more surprising. We must suppose 


that they accepted as genuine Adrian's donation and, in 
despair of achieving the regeneration of the Irish Church 
without the protection of a powerful monarch, decided to 
accept this great foreigner. 

The Synod of Cashel met towards the end of 1171. Laurence 
of Dublin and the archbishops of Tuam and Cashel presided 
along with Christian of Lismore and a representative of 
Henry, the archdeacon of Dandaff. Gelasius of Armagh was 
too old to attend but came later to Dublin and accepted 
Henry. The synod put the coping-stone on the long work of 
Reform but accompanied it with submission to the English 
king. Decrees were passed ordaining tithes for the clergy, 
Peter's pence for Rome, regulations on marriage and baptism, 
and the freeing of churches from secular exactions. Nothing 
was said as to the claims of Canterbury over the Irish Church, 
and the supremacy of Armagh over the whole island with 
final obedience to none but Rome was accepted. An episcopal 
and parochial church was thus finally provided. As regards 
the native liturgies, their day was ended. 'The divine offices,' 
ran one of the decrees, 'shall be celebrated according to the 
usage of the Church of England.' 

So when the bishops and the chiefs who had done homage 
went home, Henry could indeed feel that he had added a new 
crown to his many realms. 

Meanwhile he gave to Dublin its first charter of municipal 
liberties. He wished to favour and control this old Teutonic 
race of Ostmen who commanded the towns of Ireland and were 
her merchants and mariners; and finally their towns, and the 
cantreds around them, of Wexford, Waterford, Cork, and 
Limerick were brought directly under the Crown. Dublin 
itself was thrown open to the traders of Henry's wide empire 
and soon became a populous merchant town. 

Henry's final care was to provide for the royal government. 
He appointed Hugh de Lacy * Justiciar' or viceroy, and placed 
constables and garrisons in Dublin, Wexford, and Waterford. 
As Crown demesne he annexed the greater part of county 
Dublin, the cities of Dublin, Waterford, and Wexford with 
their cantreds (territories), and the coast from Waterford to 


Dungarvan. The new barons of Ireland would naturally form 
the council under the King's deputy, and in later times the 
Anglo-Irish believed that a 'statute of Henry FitzEmpress' 
gave this council the right to choose a justiciar in case of a 
vacancy until the king should decide. 

The new Lord of Ireland now showed the Irish chiefs what 
he meant by his full sovereign powers. They had submitted 
of their own free will, and only one province had been 
'conquered' by the barons. But the forceful Angevin proved 
that, whatever the Gaelic chiefs might expect, he meant to 
be in Ireland the complete Anglo-Norman king. In England 
all land-titles depended on the king, who could grant or 
recover them as 'Dominus Terrae' or supreme landlord. This 
was a conception unknown in Irish law and foreign to the 
Irish mind, but essential in feudal law. Henry now exercised 
it in the case of Meath, a whole kingdom of which the 
O'Melaghlins were hereditary princes, which he granted to 
Hugh de Lacy in as ample a manner as its last undisputed 
king, Murchad O'Melaghlin, had held it. Meath, a whole 
province which covered the present counties of Meath and 
Westmeath with Cavan and Longford, now became a feudal 
earldom, held of the Crown by service of fifty knights. There 
can be no question that Henry acted with bad faith towards the 
submitting chiefs, both in this and in later cases. 

Henry left Ireland on Easter Monday, April lyth 1172, 
recalled by the threat of a papal interdict owing to Becket's 
murder. From the point of view of a strong government 
which would have protected the Irish from the Norman 
aggressors, it is regrettable that his stay was so brief. Nor 
did he ever again visit Ireland, which was destined for his 
youngest son, John, born in December 1166. The royal power 
was for thirty years little more than nominal and the feudalists 
had it their own way. 

On the conclusion of the Synod of Cashel, Henry sent envoys 
to Pope Alexander III, asking for a papal privilege for Ireland. 
He was in May 1172 reconciled with the Papacy, and m 
September Alexander not only absolved him but from Tuscu- 
lum published three letters on the Irish question. One was 


addressed to Christian of Lismore as legate and the bishops of 
Ireland. It reproved the evil customs of the Irish as made 
known to Rome by the bishops themselves, and enjoined on 
them to assist Henry in keeping possession of Ireland. A 
second, to Henry, urged him to continue his good work of 
reforming the evil customs of the Irish people. A third com- 
mended the lay princes of Ireland for receiving him as king of 
their own free will. Finally the Pope sent a privilege which 
was published by papal envoys soon after at the Synod of 
Waterf ord; it conferred on Henry the dominion over the Irish 
people. Whatever, then, we may think of the so-called 'Bull' 
of Adrian, there can be no doubt that the letters and privilege 
of a later Pope conferred the lordship of Ireland upon Henry II. 

Over the authenticity of the so-called Bull 'Laudabiliter', 
the text of which we have only in Giraldus Cambrensis' 
Conquest of Ireland, great controversy has raged; some writers 
holding it to be a pure forgery, others regarding it as a 
touched-up version of a genuine document, others believing 
in its authenticity. It is certainly hard to explain the general 
and voluntary submission of the Irish bishops at Cashel and 
the Irish kings at Waterford and Dublin unless some such 
document was in the air at least. True, it was not published 
by Henry when in Ireland, but that can be explained by his 
being alienated from Rome over the murder of Becket. There 
is still better evidence for a grant of Ireland in 1155. In that 
year the famous writer and churchman, John of Salisbury, 
went from Henry II to the Papal Curia and obtained from 
the English Pope, Adrian IV, a grant of Ireland for the 
Angevin king. 'At my prayer,' he says in his book Metalogicus, 
'he granted Ireland to Henry as an inheritance, as his letter to 
this day testifies, and also sent by me a golden ring adorned 
with an emerald for the purpose of investiture, and this is 
still kept in the State archives.' 

This was written about 1159. Giraldus did not write his 
History of the Conquest of Ireland till about 1188, and his 
dating is not accurate, but we can hardly doubt that he had 
some such genuine document before him. 1 In the 'Bull' of 

1 There is no original or copy of 'Laudabiliter' in the papal archives. 


Adiian, as given by "him, the Pope addresses Henry 'as a 
Catholic prince labouring to extend the borders of the Church 
and teach the truth of the Christian faith to a rude and un- 
lettered people. It is beyond all doubt that Ireland and all 
other islands which have received the Christian faith belong 
to St. Peter and the holy Roman Church.' Henry has signified 
his proposal 'to enter Ireland in order to subdue the people 
and make them obedient to laws, and that he is willing to 
pay from every house there one penny to St. Peter and to 
keep and preserve the rights of the churches in that land 
whole and inviolate*. The Pope therefore gives him permission 
to enter and take possession of the island on these terms, and 
charges the Irish people to accept and duly obey him as their 
liege lord, saving only the rights of the churches. 

The grant of Ireland by the Papacy to Henry II constituted 
a 'moral mission' under which Adrian and Alexander III 
constituted Henry king or lord of Ireland for certain purposes. 
Too much stress can hardly be laid on the moral and legal 
terms which accompanied the grant, especially the preserva- 
tion of the rights of the Irish Church. When Alexander 
praises the lay princes for receiving Henry willingly, he assumes 
a bargain which had to be kept. Later generations of Irishmen 
right up to the seventeenth century fully accepted the papal 
donation as a fact witness the Remonstrance of the Irish 
chiefs to the Pope in 1317 but both then and later they 
accused the Crown of England of having violated the rights of 
the Irish Church and the Irish people. 


SELDOM has so great a country been thrown open to a race 
of gentleman buccaneers as Ireland was now, and as it 
was again in the sixteenth century. Raymond le Gros, 
Strongbow's marshal, not content with the grant of county 
Carlow, attacked Cork in defiance of the rights of the Ostmen 
and Dermot MacCarthy. Limerick was also threatened, but 
Donal More O'Brien, king of Thomond, gave the Normans 
their first overthrow at Thurles, where Strongbow had his 
force of Dublin Ostmen cut to pieces. Then began a war of 
resistance, in the course of which several chiefs were removed 
by very dubious methods; thus in 1172 Tiernan O'Ruairc was 
slain while engaged in a parley with Hugh de Lacy. 

Finally, by the mediation of Laurence O'Toole, in October 
1175 Henry made the treaty of Windsor with the High king 
by which Rory was left as king of Connacht under Henry 
and over-king of the unconquered area on payment of an annual 
tribute of hides. We have no record that the tribute was ever 
paid, and though Rory remained Ard Ri over half of Ireland 
till his death in 1198 he was but a shadow-king. Yet until 
the death of his brother and successor Cathal in 1224 Connacht 
remained a Gaelic kingdom. Henry himself soon violated the 
spirit of this treaty by granting out Minister and Ulster. 
It was a shameless business, especially for a king who in 
England was a great constructive statesman, but comment 
would be vain. There was as yet no central government 
worth speaking of. The feudal horde was bent upon the 
conquest and division of Ireland, and the Crown gave way 
to their demands. The Irish, too, were a warlike race, and 
on recovering from their first complaisance made it clear that 
only a general conquest by fighting barons, little troubled by 
law or conscience, could make English rule a success. For a 
century or more 'speculative grants' were the order of the day. 
The rights of the friendly Irish and of those who had aided 



Strongbow or de Lacy had to be regarded, and up to the 
Statutes of Kilkenny in 1366 the legal equality of the 'Five 
Bloods' or provincial dynasties were admitted in Anglo-Irish 
courts. But in general the native owners were regarded as 
rightless, and even when they received royal grants these 
were generally interpreted to cover but the life of the grantee. 
So different did the Conquest become from that 'moral 
mission' with which the Pope had commissioned Henry and 
from the legal acknowledgment which the Irish chiefs, when 
they submitted, believed they had secured. In the fighting 
itself the Norman superiority was everywhere displayed, and 
in the general break-up of Gaelic Ireland well might the Irish 
poet say: 

'Conn of the hundred fights, 
Rest in thy grass-grown sepulchre 
And reproach not our defeats with thy victories.' 

Few of the adventurers lived beyond middle age. On 
June 1st 1176 the death of Strongbow removed the chief 
figure of the Conquest. His only child by Eva MacMurrough, 
Isabella de Clare, was an infant, and Leinster passed into 
the hands of the Crown. He had, however, given it a feudal 
structure which his son-in-law, William the Marshal, was later 
to complete. 

The 'Land of Leinster' covered the five modern counties 
of Wexford, Carlow, Leix, Kilkenny, and Kildare. For its 
defence Strongbow fixed the site of castles at New Ross, 
Kilkenny, Dunamase, and other points, and planted his vassals 
out to rule and garrison the land. Among the chief of these, 
Maurice FitzGerald became lord of Naas and Robert de 
Bermingham of Carbery or Tethmoy in Kildare; in Carlow, 
Raymond de Carew received the baronies of Idrone and 
Forth; in Wexford rich fiefs went to the Prendergasts and 
others; and so were founded in Leinster many names famous 
in later history. In the treatment of the native race the line 
was drawn between those who had aided and been loyal to 
King Dermot and his heir Strongbow, and thosewho had 
resisted. Among the latter the Ui Faelain and Ui Dunchada 
septs, who ruled the rich plain of Kildare, were ousted and 
removed themselves into the Wicklow mountains. The latter. 


whose patronymic became O'Toole, henceforth ruled as lords 
of Imaal and Fercullen in north and western Wicklow, while 
the O'Byrnes or Ui Faelain commanded the rest of the county 
southwards to Arklow. Among the faithful, or those who 
received terms, MacGHlacolmoc, lord of south county Dublin, 
retained under the name of FitzDermot for two centuries the 
barony of Rathdown. For his great services to his brother- 
in-law, Donal Kavanagh was left in possession of most of Hy 
Kinsella, while a nephew of Dennot, the ancestor of O'Morchoe, 
was left in possession of lands about Gorey. The conquerors 
contented themselves with the rich lands and the key points 
for planting towns, manors, castles, and abbeys, but great 
tracts of mountain and forest country were left to the native 
chiefs. The new manors of the Norman lords were stocked 
with labourers of the native race called 'betaghs' (biatach, a 
'food-provider'); among the superior tenants were English 
freemen, townsmen, and military vassals. 

Hugh de Lacy left an equally enduring mark upon medieval 
Ireland. His earldom of Meath was a palatinate containing 
half a million acres of the rich midland plain. Having 
removed the native chiefs by battle or treachery, he proved a 
great organizer and in many ways a tolerant lord. His castles 
at Trim, Kells, and elsewhere, built in stone after the later 
fashion, were such as no native attack could overthrow. As 
in Leinster, the land was organized in manors, of which the 
rude labour was done by the native 'betaghs', town-life began, 
and abbeys, founded or brought under a Continental rule, 
formed a strong Anglo-French element. His enfeoffment of 
the eighteen baronies of Meath created an English nobility 
which lasted almost to the battle of the Boyne. Thus began 
the famous names of Tyrel of Fertullagh and Castleknock, 
Fleming, baron of Slane, and Petit of Mullingar, Nangle, baron 
of Navan, Nugent, baron of Delvin, and others. .A cousin of 
the earl, Robert de Lacy, founded the barons of Rathwire 
and Ferbill. Thus the English land was pushed almost to 
the Shannon, but of necessity or policy some of the old chiefs 
were left undisturbed; thus an O'Melaghlin was left in the 
barony of Clonlonan, O'Farrell in Longford, and in other 
western parts of this great earldom O'Carroll, lord of Ely, 


O'Connor, lord of Offaly, and elsewhere Mageoghegans and 
O'Molloys. In them, as in the Leinster mountains, were the 
makings of a Gaelic resurgence in the future, as yet unsus- 
pected. The Norman seed, indeed, though thrown widely, 
was too thin; a sufficient influx from England to reinforce the 
first settlers did not happen, and the feudal advance into 
central Ireland was more like a spear-head than a broad shield. 

The Norman success inspired a fresh attempt upon Minister 
and Ulster, provinces which were rich in the river, wood, 
meadow, cornland, hunting, and fishing which tempted the 
conqueror. Henry sanctioned it and also provided the Irish 
barons with a permanent over-lord. At a Council in Oxford 
hi 1177 he created his son John 'Dominus Hibemiae', and 
thus began that lordship of Ireland in the English Crown 
which lasted till 1540. The Papacy had designed a royal title 
for John, but Henry preferred a lesser one in order to keep 
Ireland subordinate. 'Dominus' was a title implying mere 
feudal suzerainty, but John later showed that to him it 
implied full royal rights. At the same council Robert Fitz- 
Stephen and Milo de Cogan were granted the kingdom of 
Cork, or Desmond, jointly between them, while to Philip de 
Braose, lord of Brecknock in Wales, was granted the kingdom 
of Limerick, or Thomond. In each case the Crown reserved the 
cities of Cork and Limerick with then: 'cantred of the Ostmen'. 

The Norman adventurers were always ready to make good 
with their swords that which was granted them on parchment. 
De Braose failed to occupy Limerick, which Donal More 
O'Brien retained until his death in 1194, but FitzStephen 
and de Cogan took Cork, induced Dermot MacCarthy to 
surrender, left him twenty-four cantreds in Desmond under 
tribute to them, and divided between themselves the seven 
cantreds east and west of Cork. Dermot, the first Irish king 
to submit to Henry II, was undoubtedly a much-wronged 
man, and when he died in 1185 the former native kingdom of 
Desmond expired with him. FitzStephen and De Cogan left 
no direct heirs, but up to 1330 Carews, representing Fitz- 
Stephen, and De Cogans, representing Milo, remained answer- 
able to the Crown for the 'kingdom of Cork'. 

The conquest of Ulster makes the finest story in the Conquest 


after that of Leinster. John de Courcy was the younger son 
of a Somerset knight and had come to Ireland as a good field 
for the adventurous. Collecting a band of his fellows, he de- 
cided, without waiting for royal leave, to invade and conquer 
Ulster, It was the most warlike and impenetrable of the Irish 
kingdoms, but his onslaught was worthy of the Norman race at 
its best. The petty kingdom of Ulidia was his first objective. 
Its capital, Downpatrick, fell into his hands on February ist 
1177, and when its king, Rory MacDonlevy, appeared to 
recover it De Courcy proved the victor. MacDonlevy had done 
homage to Henry II and resisted this aggression. He appealed 
to his suzerain, MacLochlann, king of Cenel Eoghain, but in a 
desperate encounter on June 24th of that year the united 
Irish were again routed. The Northern men were hard to 
beat, but in several more battles De Courcy's force of knights, 
archers, and mail-clad foot showed the superiority of the 
professional over the amateur soldier. At last he was able to 
organize his conquest. He had no definite title from the King 
nor did he try to obtain one, and he survives in history in the 
titles accorded by contemporary writers of 'Princeps Ulidiae' 
and 'Conquestor Ultoniae'. His whole career of some thirty 
years in Ulster shows him ruling like an independent prince. 
Beyond the sea, Somerled was lord of Argyle under the King 
of Scots, and also, under the Crown of Norway, 'King of the 
Isles of the Norsemen* (the Hebrides), while Godred, Norse 
ruler of Man, retained the southern half of the Isles. In order 
to win allies among such men De Courcy married Affreca, 
Godred's daughter. 

In Ulidia, De Courcy was a noble founder of abbeys, castles, 
and petty towns. His stone castles arose at Carrickfergus, 
Dundrum, and other places; into Down, Inch, Greyabbey, and 
Coleraine he introduced Benedictine and other monks; and 
along the coast of Antrim and Down and inland to Lough Neagh 
he enfeoffed his companions, the Rackets, Russels, Savages, 
Whites, and Logans of later times. The old kingdom of Ulidia 
disappeared and in its place arose a Norman-French state and 
colony, but it was rather a veneer than a true English plantation. 

By 1180 the native Monarchy of Ireland had gone to pieces, 


and the death of the noble Laurence OToole marks the end 
of the native Church. The new Anglo-Norman government 
could not conceive of anything but a State Church of prince- 
bishops, ruling their wide dioceses with ample revenues and 
powers of justice, and serving the State as loyal officials. 
The place of Laurence when he died at Eu in Normandy in 
November 1180, on his return from a visit to Henry, was 
taken by John Comyn, first of the feudalized bishops of Ireland. 
This practical prelate, who was elected in England by English 
bishops in 1181, in a long episcopate of thirty years served the 
government well, built St. Patrick's as a second cathedral for 
Dublin, and organized the rich lands of his see as taken over 
or increased by Crown grants until they stretched from Dalkey 
on Dublin bay south to Glendalough and west to Dunlavin, 
and in north Dublin included Swords and other manors. The 
Gaelic mind took long to grasp the conception of the new kind 
of bishop, endowed with feudal lands and privileges, serving 
the interests of the State, peers in Parliament, having courts of 
their own for spiritual and other cases and elected with papal 
and royal confirmation, foreigners unable to speak their 
language or understand their law. This new episcopate in 
time controlled all the colonized land, but did not succeed 
in the West and North. 

The wave of Norman aggression now slackened. By 1190 
Strongbow, FitzStephen, De Cogan, Maurice FitzGerald, and 
Raymond le Gros were all successively dead. Henry could now 
devolve the care of Ireland on his favourite son John as Lord 
of Ireland. This Benjamin of the royal flock was now seven- 
teen and was a graceless and insolent youth, but his appearance 
in Ireland might give reality to things. Hugh de Lacy had 
recently taken as his second wife a daughter of the High king; 
this aroused suspicions that he meant to make himself King 
of Ireland, and he was dismissed as justiciar. John himself 
landed at Waterford on April 25th 1185 with a considerable 
army. Among his close companions were three young men 
destined to found great families in Ireland, namely, Theobald 
Walter, John's butler, Bertram de Verdun, his steward, and 
William de Burgo. The court marched by Lismore and 


Kildare to Dublin, where John received the homage of several 
kings and chiefs of the South, but with detestable manners he 
and his minions mocked the long beards and speech of these 
men who knew nothing of French or court ways. John's real 
achievement, in addition to building a few castles, was to 
make numerous parchment grants of Irish land and still further 
increase the royal demesne. He annexed to himself the 
barony of Louth and gave the rest of the former kingdom of 
Oriel to Bertram de Verdun as lord of Dundalk and to Roger 
Pipard as lord of Ardee. Minister was also sub-infeudated, 
but, as Donal O'Brien still ruled, only the nearer parts of 
Thomond could be appropriated, and Philip de Worcester 
got five cantreds in south Tipperary, Theobald Walter five and 
a half cantreds in north Tipperary, and William de Burgo also 
large fiefs in the north part of the country along the Shannon 
and facing Clare. To Theobald, John also gave the manor of 
Arklow, and later his descendants enjoyed the profits of the 
office of Butler of Ireland. John again confirmed to William 
and Gerald, sons of Maurice FitzGerald, the manors of May- 
nooth and Naas, and to the Barrys and Roches in eastern Cork 
the lands FitzStephen had granted them. Finally he departed 
from Ireland on December zyth 1185. 

Among those first invaders whom John especially feared and 
hated the greatest was now Hugh de Lacy. The Earl of Meath 
had built up in the centre of Ireland a powerful feudal State, 
and after the death of his Norman wife, by whom he had two 
sons, Walter and Hugh, he married Rose, daughter of the High 
king Rory O'Connor, and had by her a son called William 
'Gonn'. A suspicion arose that he was preparing the way for 
an independent Norman kingdom of Ireland. But suddenly 
De Lacy was struck down by an unexpected hand. Like most 
of the Normans, he had little fear or veneration for the Church 
when it stood in his way, and the stones of ancient Irish 
abbeys were excellent material for the new castles with which 
he bridled the Gael. In nothing could he have more offended 
the native race. And so when on a day in July 1186 Hugh was 
aiding at the building of a castle at Durrow from the stones of 
the ancient monastery there, a young man called O'Miadaigh, 


taking it on himself to avenge his people, struck off his head as 
he stooped to the work, and fled away. The earldom of Meath 
was taken into royal hands, for the heir, Walter, was a minor 
till 1194, and so the two great fiefs of Meath and Leinster 
lacked adult lords at a time when they were so important to 
the Norman cause. 

Among the new arrivals William de Burgo was a man both 
in thought and action. No advance could be made in Minister 
while Donal More O'Brien lived, and indeed De Burgo protected 
him and married a daughter of his in 1193. We note how De 
Courcy, Strongbow, Hugh de Lacy and the first De Burgo all 
married Irish or half-Irish princesses; it was part of their 
programme for taking root in Ireland, but it alarmed the 
Crown. And again we may note how through the De Burgo 
marriage with an O'Brien the blood of the great Brian Boru 
has flowed down through the Mortimers and the House of 
York to the present royal House of England. 

On the death of Donal More in 1194 the advance was resumed. 
The De Braose grant was put into effect, all Limerick was 
occupied, and De Burgo shared in the spoils. His great strong- 
hold of Castleconnell dominated the Shannon. Among those 
who were now enfeoffed in county Limerick was Thomas 
FitzGerald, younger son of the first Maurice, who got lands 
about Shanid. He is the ancestor of the earls of Desmond 
whose war-cry was 'Shanid Abu', and from this centre his race 
acquired most of county Limerick. The city itself ceased to be 
the O'Brien capital, and in 1197 Prince John granted to 
Limerick the liberties of Dublin and confirmed the rights of 
the Ostmen there. De Burgo advocated a further advance, 
and showed that to round off the Conquest the occupation of 
Connacht was essential 

The High king Rory had played little part in the events of 
these later years and in 1198 died in obscurity in the abbey 
of Cong on the banks of Loch Corrib. As a modern poet has 

There he died and there they left him, 
Last of Gaelic monarchs of the Gael, 

Slumbering by the vast eternal 
Voices of the western vale. 


The O'Connor candidate was now the valiant and subtle 
Cathal 'Crovderg' ('Red-hand'), a younger brother of Rory. 
It would appear that a grant of Connacht was made to De 
Burgo, but he died in the winter of 1205 without making it 
good, for John had already changed his mind as to permitting 
the already great barons of Ireland to aggrandize themselves 

In 1199 John succeeded to the English throne, and the Lord- 
ship of Ireland was merged for good in the Crown of England. 
John had learned that the Monarchy, as reconstructed by his 
father, and the Baronage were natural enemies. Whatever 
his fortunes in the struggle were in England, in Ireland at least 
he succeeded in depressing the feudal interest and exalting the 
royal authority, by the policy of raising up against the old a 
new and more limited baronage and favouring the Irish chiefs 
as a counter-balance to the Norman conquistadors. 

Among the new men stands boldly out William the Marshal, 
Earl of Pembroke, who in 1189, already an elderly man, had 
married Strongbow's heiress, Isabella. Among the other 
magnates were Walter de Lacy, heir to Meath, and Richard 
and Walter, the sons of William de Burgo and his Irish 
wife, who succeeded at their father's death to his lands 
in 1205. 

We may now at this date consider the effects of thirty years 
of Norman aggression and English rule on Ireland. There 
existed a titular 'Lord of Ireland', but of central authority 
there was almost nothing. The feudal class had no wish for 
it save that they valued 'the laws of England' which protected 
them in the enjoyment of their conquests. No attempt had 
been made to bring the Irish under one law with the English, 
and after the first submission it was clear to the Irish kings 
that they had no legal protection. Overborne by the first rush 
of the Normans, the kings of Ireland still sought a secure 
position for their kingdoms under the Crown. But a Dublin 
government scarcely existed, there was a fortress in Dublin 
under a constable, there was a royal deputy and royal 
demesnes, but no coinage, courts, or administration of State. 


In so far as a Council of State existed, it was the body of 
baronial tenants-in-chief themselves. The real strength of 
the colony lay in the feudal element whose 'conquered' lands 
covered half the island. 

The native losses were overwhelming. The kingdoms of 
Leinster, Ulidia, Oriel, Meath, Thomond, and Desmond had 
disappeared. De Courcy had carried the Norman flag to the 
Giant's Causeway, and, in brief, everything south and east of 
a line drawn from Limerick to Lough Neagh and Coleraine was 
'English land'. 

Leinster was now a great feudal State. Strongbow had laid 
down the lines and his son-in-law, the Earl Marshal, continued 
his work and planted in new feudal families. Meath and Ulster 
too were great feudal principalities, one of which De Courcy 
ruled more like a king than a baron. Oriel too had been sub- 
inf eudated under Prince John, the Clintons, Gernons, and other 
families were planted there, and thus Meath was linked up 
with Ulster. 

In the south most of Munster had been granted away, though 
Kerry was as yet untouched. The Norman confidence that 
it could hold down these great countries was superb, but in 
fact the organization was not deep enough nor was a sufficient 
Anglo-saxon population introduced, and in time a Gaelic 
recovery was inevitable. Had the invaders proceeded by one 
kingdom at a time the event would have been more of a success. 
But rapid and extensive conquest and immediate exploitation 
was more to the feudal mind. And from the first they waged 
feuds over the border lands which they claimed from one 
another and thus prevented common action. 

Of the unconquered kingdoms, that of Aileach or Cenel 
Eoghain was the most dangerous and warlike. De Courcy had 
subdued Ulidia but had little success west of Lough Neagh. 
He may have claimed that his 'Ultonia' included the whole 
North, but in fact his grants are never outside of Antrim 
and Down. Not a single Englishman had yet put permanent 
foot in the greater part of Ulster, and save for a few attempts 
in the next generation this remained so till the end of the 
sixteenth century. 


In war and fortification the Normans still for a century were 
to retain their pre-eminence. The wooden tower or 'bretesche' 
built on a high mound or 'motte' gave way to elaborate stone 
castles such as those of Trim or Kilkenny, Armour was 
developing and the plain 'miles' of the earlier time was be- 
coming the elaborately armed and mounted knight of medieval 
chivalry. But in Ireland the invaders found the conical helm, 
the mail shirt, the light unprotected horse and easy saddle, the 
bow, spear, and sword the best fitted for Irish warfare in the 
wooded and trackless country against the active and ill-armed 
Irish foot. Save for a few encounters such as that of Thurles 
or Downpatrick battles between Norman and Gael had been 
soon decided, and the Celts had yet to learn the use of armour 
and professional soldiery. 

As Lord of Ireland, King John pursued an anti-feudal policy 
at least in reducing the powers of the 'First Families' and in- 
troducing new ones. He renewed in 1200 the Honour of 
Limerick to William, nephew of Philip de Braose, though at a 
huge price of five thousand marks, and granted to his kinsman 
Meiler FitzHenry all central Kerry as far south as the lakes of 
Killarney. In the 'kingdom of Cork' he made fresh grants to 
Barrys, Roches, Barrets, Condons, Prendergasts, and Fitz- 
geralds, the latter of whom entrenched themselves at Imokilly 
in south-east Cork, while the Roches became lords of Fennoy 
and the Barrys of Buttevant. 

But in 1205, when he deprived De Courcy of Ulster and 
made it an earldom for the younger Hugh de Lacy, he brought 
an almost independent State to an end, and in 1207 in granting 
new charters for Meath and Leinster he reduced their liberties. 
He showed also signs of wishing to balance the Irish baronage 
by favour to the Irish when he granted Connacht in 1205 and 
1210 to Cathal O'Connor and Thomond to Donough O'Brien, 
and confirmed in their estates several petty chiefs. 

In government John brought to an end the almost purely 
feudal regime that had prevailed in the Colony for thirty years. 
He set up a royal administration and created a State Church, 
dealing as best he could with the outlying feudal and Gaelic 
lords. His agent in this was Meiler FitzHenry, his justiciar 


from 1200 to 1208, under whom the building of Dublin Castle 
was begun, and the colony was secured in 'the laws of England' 
as denned under Henry II. The King's court in Dublin was 
to be the supreme court of the realm, while the Justiciar in the 
council of the tenants-in-chief was the final authority. A 
coinage for Ireland was struck and those assizes in which 
Henry had applied the jury system to criminal and land cases 
were extended to Ireland. No freeholder need henceforth 
answer in any court for his freehold except before the King, 
his justiciar or justices, and by jury of his equals. During the 
reign nine Anglo-Norman bishops were introduced into the 
Church of Ireland and, to show that bishops must be loyal 
men, in the last year of his reign he decreed that no native 
Irishman should hold office in a cathedral church. Armagh, 
Tuam, and Cashel, however, remained under Gaelic bishops. 
John's later visit of 1210 put the coping-stone to the royal 
policy, and in so far as his short reign and his difficulties 
allowed we may say that John 'implemented' the Lordship of 
Ireland on government lines, whereas his father had only 
'acquired' the kingdom of Ireland by consent of the native 
kings and bishops. 

The greatest of the Anglo-Irish magnates in nobility of 
character was William the Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and 
Lord of Leinster in virtue of his wife, Strongbow's daughter. 
Whereas few of the great barons felt anything but contempt 
and hatred for John, the Marshal had played a leading part in 
getting the English magnates to accept John instead of his 
nephew Arthur. But he found it hard to maintain his loyalty 
in face of John's double-dealing. The murder of the young 
Arthur in April 1203 inspired feelings too deep for words in 
honourable men, but for the time they were silent. 

The fall of De Courcy followed next. He was the sole sur- 
vivor of the early conquistadors, the ruler of an almost inde- 
pendent State for which he had no royal patent, and he is said 
to have spoken indignantly of the murder of Arthur. Un- 
fortunately for himself he was also a childless man. In August 
1204 he was summoned by the justiciar FitzHenry to submit 
himself, he refused, and in May 1205 the young Hugh de Lacy 
was created Earl of Ulster. De Courcy made a stand in his 


castle of Rath or Dundrum on the Down coast against Fitz- 
Henry and De Lacy, but was taken prisoner, then released, and 
finally died in France in 1219. So 'the Conqueror of Ulster' 
vanished from Irish history. 

The creation of the Ulster earldom was a decisive event for 
the Gaelic chiefs of the North. West of Ulidia they had not 
yet submitted to the King of England, but when an Earl of 
Ulster was created there was interposed between the Lord of 
Ireland and them a feudal suzerain. Till the fifteenth century 
the O'Neills on several occasions did homage to an Earl of 
Ulster, but the O'Donnells never. 

John, in pursuance of his anti-baronial aims, soon repented 
handing over two vast provinces to the De Lacy family. The 
Irish baronage was full of rebellious spirit, William the 
Marshal spent three years in Leinster, from 1207 to 1210, 
organizing it on the lines laid down by Strongbow and founding 
towns at New Ross, Kilkenny, and other places. He did his best 
to stand loyal to the King, but the two De Lacys and William 
de Braose went into open rebellion. The latter was by John's 
grant lord of the great Honour of Limerick. He got into 
trouble with John over his rents, but the De Lacys stood by 
him and William the Marshal sheltered him. John's difficulties, 
such as the loss of Normandy in 1204, the quarrel with Rome 
hi 1206, and a papal interdict in 1208, did not, however, lessen 
the Angevin energy. He resolved to pursue the Irish rebels 
home to prevent their leaguing with King Philip against him, 
and finally landed in Ireland near Waterford on June 20th 
1210 with a large army. He spent only three months in Ire- 
land, but it was a marvellous example of daemonic energy. 

Marching up to the Nore at Kilkenny he proceeded by 
Dublin, Trim, and Carlingford, driving the De Lacys and De 
Braose before him till they made a stand at Carrickfefgus. 
On his way he was joined by two of the leading Irish kings, 
namely, Cathal O'Connor whom he had recognized as king of 
Connacht in 1201, and Donough O'Brien, son of Donal More. 
It is recorded as illustrative of Irish warfare that when John 
presented the king of Connacht with a richly caparisoned steed, 
Cathal thanked him and mounted the horse, but first removed 


the saddle, and so rode all day beside the King, much to the 
surprise of the Normans, who thought the heavy saddle 

After a short siege Carrickfergus yielded and the two De 
Lacys and William de Braose fled oversea, whereupon John 
took into his hands the two earldoms of Meath and Ulster and 
the Honour of Limerick. This latter fief was never renewed. 

Ireland now lay at John's feet. He sent Cathal O'Connor 
and Donough O'Brien back to be kings of then* own countries, 
and returned to Dublin to put his hand to the royal govern- 
ment. There he held a council of his Irish barons, where 'by 
common consent the laws and customs of England' were 
extended to Ireland. Twenty Irish chiefs, whose names we 
have not, are said to have done homage to him there. During 
his short but active stay he set working not only the machinery 
of central government but that of the local areas also, which 
were organized into counties under sheriffs, and with county 

On the departure of John in August 1210 episcopal justiciars 
continued his royal policy, and the frontiers of the colony were 
pushed forward to Athlone, Clonmacnois, Roscrea, Clones, and 
Cael-uisce on the Erne, where royal castles were built. The 
two latter were intended to bridle the Ulster kings, who stood 
sternly aloof. In Aedh O'Neill the Cenel Eoghain of Tyrone 
found a great man who ruled the kingdom from 1196 to 1230. 
He represented one branch of the royal stock descended from 
the Niall Glundubh of 919, but the MacLochlann branch had 
long been dominant and the O'Neill ascendancy had yet to be 
secured. Aedh found a natural ally in an O'Donnell, who 
similarly had to establish his family among kindred stocks. 
In 1201 Egnechan Q'DonneU united with O'Neill to crush a 
MacLochlann candidate in battle near Portrush, and thus the 
O'Neills and O'Donnells, side by side, established kingships 
which lasted unbroken till 1603. 

John's reign continued in triumph for five years until the 
baronial revolt that led to Magna Carta shook his throne. 

IN 1216 


Scale of Miles 












,/LANDy *-'-.|j; 


LDOM or 

L Gloucester 



The Irish baronage, inspired by William the Marshal, was for 
him. In 1213, when Philip Augustus collected an army to 
invade England, John summoned the national hosts of earls, 
barons, knights, and freemen to be at Dover at the dose of 
Easter week for the defence of England. The main body took 
up their position at Barham Down near Canterbury, and the 
Marshal brought over the whole body of Irish barons, five 
hundred in number. But the King was reconciled with the 
Pope by the legate Pandolf, and on March I5th 1213, in a 
charter attested by himself, the justiciars of England and 
Ireland, the archbishop of Dublin, and six earls, John of his 
own freewill and by the common advice of his barons, granted 
to God and His Church and to the Pope and his successors the 
whole realm of England and Ireland at tribute of a thousand 
marks per annum, saving his royal rights. The charter ended 
with an oath of homage. It was not till 1360 that the English 
parliament repudiated this papal suzerainty, but in Ireland 
it was not forgotten on the native side as a fresh affirmation 
of the papal grant of 1155 and 1172. 

After the further surrender of Magna Carta in 1215, it was 
a small thing for John to make concessions in Ireland. There 
he restored Walter de Lacy to the earldom of Meath, though 
his brother Hugh was not restored in Ulster. The faithful 
Cathal O'Connor was formally granted the kingdom of Con- 
nacht, to hold in fee of the Crown by rent of three hundred 
marks per annum, to pay five thousand marks for the charter 
and not be dispossessed without judgment of the King's court 
in Dublin. Whether this was an hereditary grant the next 
reign was to show. 


THE death of John in 1216 left the Crown of England on 
the head of a child of nine years, Henry III, who till 
1232 was ruled by the regents, William the Marshal, 
who died in 1219, and then Hubert de Burgo, justiciar. The 
Irish government was in this reign organized, and the Anglo- 
Irish were secured in the rights and laws of England. Dublin 
castle had its Exchequer, Chancellor, Treasurer, and Justices 
of assize, who put the Common law and jury system into 
effect. The Viceroy or justiciar was supreme judge, political 
officer and commander of the feudal levy, and named the lesser 
officials while the King reserved to himself the appointment 
of the chief ministers. Appeals against his judgments could 
be carried to England, and the Crown regarded Ireland as a 
land controlled from Westminster and for which it could 
legislate by edict. Justiciar or chief justice remained the title 
of the viceroy until the appointment of Mortimer as King's 
lieutenant in 1316 marked the beginning of a higher title with 
greater powers. The shire-organization spread with sheriffs, 
coroners, and later 'keepers of the peace' and county courts, 
and by 1260 there were seven counties, Cork, Limerick, Water- 
ford, Kerry, Tipperary, Connacht, and Uriel (Louth). The 
parliament of the colony till Edward the First's time was the 
council of bishops, abbots, and lay peers, summoned from 
tune to time by the justiciar; while the tenants by knight 
service, who numbered some five hundred, formed the feudal 
host of the Crown. Outside the counties, the great Liberties 
of Meath, Ulster, etc., were areas which the justiciar did not 
directly control. 

The Anglo-Irish were now secured in the rights and liberties 
of Englishmen, which, as 'the laws and customs of Ireland', 
became the proud heritage of the colonists. In 1217 Magna 
Carta was sent over and published in Ireland. Henceforth 
the Anglo-Irish could appeal to this document as securing to 



them, as to born Englishmen, their rights, liberties, and lands, 
and that they should not be dispossessed or suffer in life, limb, 
or liberty except by due trial before royal judges and by the 
jury of their equals. By several enactments of the reign the 
Crown directed that Common law was to be used in Ireland and 
all writs of Common law were to be current there. In 1228 
John's charter requiring English law and customsto be observed 
in that land was ordered to be proclaimed in every county. 

So much for the Norman-English invaders of Ireland, who 
since 1170 had become a numerous population. But what of 
the native race and their legal position? Here we have to 
distinguish between the kings and chiefs of the unconquered 
land, and the lords and people of districts in or adjoining the 
conquered areas. The kings of Connacht and Thomond were 
now reguli or local sovereigns by royal grant and under royal 
suzerainty. Cathal O'Connor till his death in 1224 and 
Donough O'Brien till his death in 1240 were practically Gaelic 
kings of the old order, though O'Brien had little more left than 
county Clare. Only in the North, west of the Bann, were there 
Gaelic kings who had not even admitted the English over-lord. 
John had also admitted as tenants of the Crown several chiefs 
of the Decies in Waterford and elsewhere, but, as with Cathal 
O'Connor, were the grants for life or hereditary? Under his 
son advantage was taken of these surviving chiefs to treat 
their tenures as merely temporary and to oust them in favour 
of Englishmen. Had the Crown now, when it was so strong in 
Ireland, made an honest attempt to turn the Irish kings into 
tenants-in-chief on honourable and hereditary terms it is 
possible that the work of Henry VIII would have been antici- 
pated when he made peers of the realm out of various Gaelic 
chiefs. The great opportunity was lost, but it would appear, 
as a result of John's council at Dublin in 1210 or even the 
earlier decrees of Henry II, that the chief Irish dynasties, 
called the 'Five Bloods', were at least regarded and treated as 
freemen in the courts of the colony. 

A further question rises on the treatment of the free 
population of the native race. Ever since the invasion the 


Normans had been reducing the free tenants on the manors 
they founded to serfdom and villeinage. There was a large 
existing class of Irish villeins called 'betaghs', whom the 
Normans naturally retained to work the soil. In addition they 
sought to reduce ordinary free tenants to forms of bondage 
familiar to them in England and Wales, for they had brought 
few English peasants with them. Then 1 ancestors had done 
this with Anglo-Saxon 'ceorls', and it was now done even more 
shamefully in Ireland, until the word 'hibernicus' became a 
general equation for 'villein'. Many of the free and even of 
the noble were thus reduced in status, or had to fly from their 
patrimony. To deny the Irish the right of freemen was to 
make them ignoble of blood and 'to reduce to slavery the blood 
that has flowed in freedom from of old'. 1 A race so proud as 
the Gaelic aristocracy and which put the 'free clans' so high 
in estimation was well aware of what such legal injustice meant. 

The State had to have some policy on this question, for a 
wise government would try to bring both races under a common 
law. But how were the new occupiers and lords to be pro- 
tected from the Irish demand for redress if the native race 
were given the full benefit of the 'laws and customs of Ireland'? 
How were the Irish to be treated justly if also claims rising 
from the Conquest were to be legalized and protected, or 
how were sufficient labour and service to be found for the 
exploitation of the land? 

In 1214 the writ 'of villeins and fugitives' was extended to 
Ireland; its action was to go back as far as 1170, so to cover the 
Conquest period and to enable landlords to claim and recover 
their serfs. When the land-assizes of Henry II were extended 
to Ireland under John it was provided that that of Novel 
Disseisin, protecting freeholders from unjust dispossession, 
should not operate from before 1199 and the others not from 
before 1172. When the Assize of Clarendon was sent over in 
1204 it was directed that no one should be impleaded for the 
goods or life of an Irishman until after Michaelmas 1205. Thus 
the injustices of the past thirty years were protected and the 
gains and oppressions of the Anglo-Irish covered. 

Still it was obviously implied that after 1205 the Irish might 

1 See the Remonstrance of the Insk in 1317, p. 97, here. 


plead, answer, and receive redress in Anglo-Irish courts. This 
seems to have been John's intention. Unhappily, as the cen- 
tury proceeded events showed that this implication was dead 
in law, and finally the Statutes of Kilkenny in 1366 debarred 
the native race definitely from the law and even deprived the 
Five Bloods of their admitted privilege. 

This demand for English law on the part of the Irish did not 
necessarily mean that they liked it. While the law was strong 
and they were under feudal lords or the county administration 
they naturally sought its protection, but some of its penalties 
were dreadful to the native race, whose law rarely applied 
death or mutilation as punishments. Royal permission to a 
feudal lord 'to erect a gallows and to have assizes with judgment 
of thieves and all other liberties and free customs belonging 
thereto, and also free warren in all his demesne lands', would 
strike the resident native population with horror. The 
English law with its good and bad features might have been 
forced upon them, and indeed many asked for it, especially 
for the protection of their lands and personal freedom; but 
when, after a century, they were able to shake it off, the 
majority reverted gladly to their own ancient code. 

The Anglo-Irish had stood by John hi his latter end and 
expected the favour of his son. While the Earl Marshal lived 
and when, on his death in 1219, Hubert de Burgo ruled till 
1232, the feudal class was favoured, for Hubert was an uncle 
of Richard de Burgo. Walter de Lacy was restored at once to 
Meath, though his brother Hugh did not get Ulster back till 
1227, and so the baronage were able at every point to resume 
their plan of a final conquest. 

Metier FitzHenry had been granted all central Kerry from 
Tralee to the lakes of Killamey. He died childless in 1220 
and the Minister Geraldines became his heirs. Thomas of 
Shanid left two sons, John and Maurice. From the former 
descended the earls of Desmond and the knights of Kerry; 
from the second the FitzMaurices, barons of Kerry and lords 
of Clanmaurice and Lixnaw. The Geraldine brothers now led 
a Norman advance in which the whole coast from Bantry to 
Castlemaine was bridled with a ring of fortresses, such as 
Killorglin. "The foreigners overran all Desmond even to the 


sea and built castles for themselves against the Gael', say the 
Annals of InnisfalUn. John got the FitzHenry lands, Kerry 
became a Geraldine inheritance, and by 1228 the south-west 
was all feudalized. The Irish of Desmond were thus cooped 
up in their last stronghold. Partly by Norman aggression and 
partly by the attacks of Donal O'Brien, who seized the occasion 
to oust the Eoghanacht rivals, the MacCarthys had now been 
driven out of the rich plains of Cashel along with their vassals 
the O'SuUivans of Knockgraffon into the country west of Cork. 
There they subjected the older races and built up a new lord- 
ship. Dermot MacCarthy of the Conquest time was succeeded 
by his son Donal More, and he again by his son, Dermot 'of 
Dundrinan', who died in 1230; both were addressed as 'king 
of the Irish of Desmond' in royal letters. 

Meanwhile the two Lacys attempted the conquest of the 
Erne and upper Shannon. The First Families rooted them- 
selves in and benefited by the extinction or return to England 
of original grantees. William, son of the first William de 
Braose, had been restored to his Irish lands but not to the 
Honour or kingdom of Limerick, and he now made large grants 
in Tipperary to Theobald Butler (for such became the family 
surname), which the latter thus held hi chief of the Crown. 
Butler also got the De Worcester cantreds in south Tipperary, 
he owned the great manor of Gowran in Kilkenny, and so the 
fortunes of the house were made. 

The second William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, had his 
father's nobility of character, but found it hard to be loyal to 
Henry Ill's government or to endure the unjust treatment of 
loyal Irish chiefs. As justiciar from 1224 to 1226 he attempted 
to befriend the O'Connors against the Lacys and their sort. 
On the death of Cathal O'Connor in 1224 h* 8 s 011 Aedh suc- 
ceeded to the kingship and the Marshal supported his cause in 
the disorder due to the De Lacy ambitions. O'Connor, however, 
was summoned to the King's court at Dublin 'to surrender the 
land of Connacht which he ought no longer to hold on account 
of his own and his father's forfeiture, for by King John's 
charter, granted to Cathal, he only held the land as long as he 
faithfully served the King'. This was a most unjust reading 


of the terms of the treaty of 1215, for Cathal had believed that 
the grant of Connacht was made to him and his heirs. But the 
baronial faction led by Richard de Burgo had the ear of the 
justiciar Hubert, and De Burgo daimed Connacht under the 
grant made to his father. Aedh O'Connor himself was mur- 
dered in a petty affair in Dublin, and in May 1227 the 'Land 
of Connacht' was adjudged to his enemy, Richard de Burgo, 
with a reservation to the Crown of five cantreds about Athlone, 
henceforth called 'the King's cantreds'. 1 In 1228 Richard 
was himself made justiciar and so united both public and 
private powers. He devoted himself to the conquest ol 
Connacht but could not achieve it at once, and for some years 
Felim, brother of Aedh, ruled the kingdom of Connacht. 

Norman Ireland now became a second field hi which to 
fight out the battle of Crown versus Baronage. William, second 
Earl Marshal, had been succeeded by his brother Richard, and 
Richard became the leader of Henry's barons. After a protest 
against the King's foreign favourites, he withdrew to his lands 
in Wales and finally to Ireland, in which he arrived as a pro- 
claimed traitor. An Anglo-Irish party was worked up against 
him by the government, and finally at a conference with these 
secret enemies at the Curragh of Kildare he was treacherously 
wounded to death (April ist 1234). The Earl had declared his 
cause to be that of 'justice, the laws of England, and the expul- 
sion of foreign favourites', but the English government might 
well fear that the grandson of Strongbow and Eva Mac- 
Murrough would proclaim himself King o f Ireland. 

In these baronial clashes of the thirteenth century the 
knights were in the full panoply of medieval armour, the pot 
helmet, surcoat of linen or silk, 'gambeson' or padded garment 
under the coat of mail, mail hose, sleeves extending to the mail 
glove, a heavy charger (or 'destrier'), an expensive animal, 
which itself was protected with housings of mail and quilted 
cloth. In their 'gentlemanly encounters' men and horses did 
little fighting and suffered little loss. But such a baronage was 
not destined to rule Ireland; the Normans in this land had to 

1 Really the O'Connor royal demesne, Sil Muiredaig or Shilmorthy. 


fight with lighter armour and more active steeds, and the Irish 
themselves soon showed what serious things battles could be. 

The kingdom of Cenel Eoghain, under O'Neill, stood boldly 
aloof from these confusions. Egnechan O'Donnell ruled the 
Cenel Conaill till 1208 and was then succeeded by his son Donal 
More. He too entered into alliance with Aedh O'Neill, and 
before he died in 1240 reduced Brefni and its chiefs O'Ruairc 
and O'Reilly to submission, and made himself over-lord of 
Fermanagh. On the death of Aedh O'Neill in 1230, 'a king who 
never gave pledge or hostage to Gael or Gall', a Donal Mac- 
Lochlann for some years revived the claim of his race, but at 
last Brian, son of Aedh, with O'Donnell aid, recovered the 
kingship of Tlr Eoghain for his race at the battle of Cameirge 
in 1241, in which the MacLochlann name was practically 
extinguished and Donal and ten of his 'derbfine' fell in the 

The great event of these years was the Conquest of Connacht, 
of which we may say that had Ulster suffered the same fate 
the Normans would have ruled Ireland from sea to sea. 
Hubert de Burgh fell from office in 1232, but the feudal caste 
was still in the saddle, and in 1235 Richard de Burgo called on 
the whole feudal host of Ireland to install him in his land 
of Connacht. The justiciar himself, Maurice FitzGerald, lord of 
Offaly, sanctioned and joined in one of the finest buccaneering 
exploits in all feudal history. Almost all the great names of 
feudal Ireland followed De Burgo in the army that invaded 
Connacht and easily drove Felim O'Connor out of his kingdom. 
There then followed the enfeofrment of a whole province. 
De Burgo took for himself in chief all the rich land of county 
Galway between the Comb and the Shannon, later called 
from him Clanrickard, and a large but less fertile area in 
county Mayo, with Loughrea as his chief manor. Maurice Fitz- 
Gerald received from hi most of Sligo county with other 
baronies in Mayo and Galway, and Hugh de Lacy further 
conveyed to him his claims as Earl of Ulster over TyrconneL 
and Fermanagh, There were now founded by De Burgo's 
lieutenants other great Norman names in Connacht, such as 


the Berminghams, lords of Athenry, and the Prendergasts, 
Stauntons, D'Exeters, and De Angulos of Galway and Mayo. 
The rank and file also received their shares, and in east Mayo 
was planted a whole group of Welsh tenants, the Barrets, 
Lynnets, Merricks, and Walshes, called in later times 'the 
Welshmen of Tirawley', while in the mountain barrier between 
Mayo and Galway was planted the race of the Joyces. 

The conquerors founded towns, such as Galway, the work 
of De Burgo, Sligo, the work of FitzGerald, and Athenry, 
a Bermingham town. For the most part, however, it was a 
feudal conquest which created a mere Norman noblesse which 
for some time retained a veneer of French blood and speech, 
but whose tenantry were almost wholly native and Gaelic- 
speaking, and who took over the whole existing Gaelic structure 
of the province. It is doubtful if outside their castles and the 
walls of these petty towns the Saxon speech was ever heard in 
medieval Connacht. Within a century even this veneer wore 
through and the Normans of Connacht were the first of their 
class to turn Irish. 

Of the present five counties of Connacht only Roscommon 
and Leitrim, the least fertile, were not infeudated and were 
left to the Gael. Felim O'Connor returned to bow the knee 
and was granted the five 'King's cantreds' at money rent of 
the Crown. Henceforth the lordship of his race was confined 
to county Roscommon. They continued for over a century to 
call themselves kings of Connacht, but hi fact the O'Connor 
kingship now vanished and De Burgo became 'Dominus 
Connaciae'. Norman arms had thus reached the Atlantic, 
making Connacht for a time part of the great French-speaking 
world of Europe. 

Richard de Burgo died in 1243 and Maurice FitzGerald, 
lord of Naas and Offaly, took the lead of the conquerors. We 
note now the disappearance of many great names of theCon- 
quest whose dead grants came into the hands of the Geraldines, 
Butlers, and De Burgos. The two greatest of all, De 
Lacy and Marshal, suddenly disappear from history. In 1241 
Walter de Lacy, earl of Meath, died leaving only two daughters, 
and two years later his brother Hugh, earl of Ulster, died 


without heirs at aJL In 1243 died Anselm, last of the five sons 
of the elder William, earl of Pembroke, and only heiresses, 
daughters of the first Marshal, survived. The De Lacy lordship 
hi Meath was divided between Matilda, the eldest daughter, 
who was married to Geoffrey de Genville, and Margery, the 
second daughter, wife of John de Verdun. The former portion 
was called the Liberty of Trim, the second, a smaller area, the 
lordship of Lochsewdy or Westmeath. In the case of Leinster 
there was a five-fold partition among the daughters of the first 
Earl Marshal and their husbands or heirs. Thus Roger Bigod, 
Earl of Norfolk, came to be lord of Carlow, Aymer de Valence, 
lord of Wexford as well as Earl of Pembroke, Roger Mortimer, 
lord of Leix, the De Clare earls of Gloucester, lords of Kilkenny, 
and William de Vescy, lord of Kildare. All were Englishmen 
and absentees. Strongbow's original fief of Leinster, as a single 
unit, had been a great 'English land'; now, split into five 
portions, it could not resist the future Irish resurgence. 

As for Ulster, in 1264 Walter de Burgo, already lord of 
Connacht, was created earl there, and so began a line which 
lasted till 1333. 

Maurice FitzGerald of Offaly was a great lord in both 
Leinster and Connacht, and from this latter vantage-point set 
himself to make good the claims conveyed to him by Hugh de 
Lacy. From Sligo he invaded Tyrconnell, and for a time 
dominated this land of mountain and glen; but he died in 1257 
and the heroic GofEraidh O'Donnell turned the Norman tide, 
invaded Sligo, and defeated an English force at Credran. But 
now Brian O'Neill appeared in the field; after his victory at 
Cameirge he styled himself 'king of Ulster', and so claimed the 
homage and tribute of the whole province. He was defeated 
on the Swilly river by Goffraidh, but Tyrconnell's hero died 
of his wounds, and his country was only saved by the arrival 
in 1258 of Donal Oge O'Donnell from Scotland, where he had 
been fostered and had married Catriona MacSweeney, a descen- 
dant of the Suibhne of 1034. Donal brought with him a band 
of Scottish galloglass, led by his brother-in-law, and this was 
the first appearance in Ireland of these first-rate fighting men. 
Backed by them, he shook off the O'Neill claim, and by his 


death in 1283 had become over-lord of Tyrconnell, Sligo, and 
Fermanagh. The Nonnan advance was checked for good in 
the north-west, and not till 1540 did an O'Donnell do homage 
to a king of England. 

The galloglasses were to remain till the sixteenth century the 
most formidable element hi Irish warfare, and English accounts 
of the sixteenth century describe them as tall, fierce footmen, 
with battle-axes as tall as themselves, clad in helmet and coat 
of mail, refusing to fly and bearing the brunt of the battle till 
the last. 

The origin of the galloglasses must be sought in the Hebrides, 
which hi Irish were called the 'Innse Gall' or 'Isles of the 
Norsemen'. 1 The name (galldglach) itself means 'Norse' or 
'Foreign soldiery'. In these islands there had grown up a 
mixed Gaelic and Norse race, having the tall stature and war- 
like spirit of both races, lovers of the sea, speaking a Gaelic 
full of Norse words and following the wandering and fighting 
traditions of the vikings and using their weapons. Within the 
next two centuries the galloglass mercenaries penetrated every 
part of Gaelic and Norman Ireland, and to have a band of 
Scots was the thing for every chief or lord who valued his 
reputation. The MacSweeneys were the first to come, as 
marshals to O'Donnell, and in time there were three branches 
of them in Tyrconnell, of Doe, Fanad, and Banagh. The 
MacDonnells or 'Race of Sumerled', lords of the Isles, provided 
marshals for O'Neill's forces, and later MacCabes, MacDugalls, 
and Sheehys took service with the chiefs of Ulster, Connacht, 
and Munster. 

In the military and political history of Ireland the galloglass 
proved a turning-point. Up to this the Irish, though brave 
enough, in their light dress were no match for the heavily 
armed Normans, but now they found in these Scottish mer- 
cenaries trained and traditional soldiers who could endure the 
Norman arrows and repulse their foot, and who before long 
turned the tide of battle against them. To them we may 
attribute much of the resurgence of Gaelic Ireland in the 
next three centuries. 

1 'Gall' at first meant a Gaul, next a Norseman, then was applied to 
the Normans or early English settlers in Ireland. 


Brian O'Neill now sought to revive the old High kingship, 
and secured the support of O'Connor and O'Brien, but when 
it came to battle only O'Connor supported hi. In May 1260 
he advanced upon Downpatrick with a levy of the Ulster 
chiefs, but at Drumderg near that town was defeated and 
killed with many of his vassals. The battle showed that in the 
old style of war the Irish could never prevail, for there were no 
galloglasses with them, and they fought in linen tunics with 
sword, spear, and light axe. A poem of the tune which is a 
lament for the hero Brian and his vassals, the O'Cahans, testifies 
to this. 

Unequal they came to the battle, 

The Foreigners and the race of Tara; 

Fine linen shirts on the race of Conn, 

The Foreigners one mass of iron. 

The glory of the O'Neills for the time departed. In 1264 
Walter de Burgo became earl of Ulster and as such set up in 
place of Brian a 'tame O'Neill', Aedh Buidhe (the yellow- 
haired), from whom descended the O'Neills of Clandeboy, the 
Clann Aedha Buidhe. 

The tide of Norman expansion fluctuated also in the west 
and south-west. Until 1242 Donough O'Brien remained king 
of Thomond, but after him the O'Briens were more and more 
menaced by royal grants to Normans. In Desmond, John 
FitzThomas had climbed to pre-eminence, inheriting various 
claims, and was the greatest man in the counties of Cork, 
Limerick, and Kerry. To crown his greatness, in 1259 he got 
a royal grant of Desmond and Decies (west Waterf ord) in fee. 
After Dermot, king of Desmond, who died in 1230, the Mac- 
Carthy royal succession was disputed between the race of 
Cormac Finn and Donal Got, his two brothers, and Finghin 
('Fineen'), son of the latter, became the family hero and 
levelled the Norman castles built round the coast from 1215 to 
1228. When the grant of 1259 was ma de, Fineen MacCarthy 
rallied his people, and in July 1261 at the battle of Callann 
near Kenmare the Irish won a complete victory over the army 
of FitzThomas and the justiciar, and the Geraldine himself, 
his son Maurice, and many gallant knights and barons fell 
there. Only an infant grandson, Thomas, son of Maurice, 


survived to represent FitzThomas. The battle of Callann was 
as decisive in Desmond history as the career of Donal Oge was 
in the history of Tyrconnell. The MacCarthys, though they 
no longer held the plain of Cashel or the city of Cork, hence- 
forth built up a great lordship, covering finally all south-west 
Minister from the lakes of Killarney south to Bantry Bay and 
east to Macroom. The senior line, descended from Cormac 
Finn, retained the sovereignty as MacCarthy More and till 
1394 called themselves 'kings of Desmond', while the junior 
branch of Donal Got, called MacCarthy Reagh, were lords of 
Carbery between Bantry and Inishannon. The grant of 
Desmond and Decies to FitzThomas did not indeed lapse and 
was renewed later to his grandson, but in the interval the 
MacCarthy power became too strong to be uprooted again. 

The persistent hope of the Irish race that they might 
find another native or foreign Ard Rf instead of the new 
English over-lord now turned towards a king of Norway. In 
1263 there appeared off the coast of Scotland Haakon, last of 
the sea-kings of Norway, demanding tribute and homage of the 
Outer isles. The Irish sent envoys to him, asking him to come 
to their aid, but he was concerned only with his Scottish 
claims, and on landing there was defeated at Largs in an in- 
decisive battle by Alexander III, king of Scots. Thereupon he 
sailed home and the Norwegian suzerainty of the Scottish Isles 
lapsed. In its place the MacDonnells became to all intents 
independent Lords of the Isles, and so lasted till James IV 
extinguished their lordship in 1499. 

Thrown on their own resources and unable by their mutual 
jealousies to unite, still the native princes by local victories 
defeated the great Conquest design. At the end of Henry Ill's 
reign the justiciar D'UfEord built a royal castle at Roscommon 
and in 1270 advanced with Walter de Burgo against Aedh 
O'Connor, son of Felim. Backed by a force of galloglass, 
O'Connor defeated them at Athankip on the Shannon. Hence- 
forth the O'Connors retained the Five cantreds and from 
Roscommon were accepted by the local chiefs as 'kings of the 
Gael of Connacht*. The war of the two races thus ended in a 


drawn fight, the Irish unable to make a central union but 
strong in local resistance, the Normans divided from one 
another by their feuds and ambitions, and already through 
residence and intermarriage knowing the Irish speech and 
allying themselves with Irish princes. The plan of a final 
Norman conquest had failed, but the failure was only admitted 
openly a century later by the Statutes of Kilkenny. 


THE Conquest of Ireland was destined now to go no 
farther than the points it had reached, namely, Ulster 
east of Lough Neagh, Meath, Leinster, most of Connacht 
and Munster. The English Lordship was legally admitted, 
but in fact Ireland was already divided into the three areas of 
the Gaelic territories, still unconquered, the feudal Liberties, 
and the 'English land' divided into counties and ruled by 
sheriffs, which, and which only, the Dublin government could 
effectively control. The strength and success of this 'English 
land' depended on efficient government and effective support 
from England. 

Under Edward I the Crown made an attempt to create in 
Ireland a replica of the English monarchy. The persistent 
flaw in English rule in Ireland was the absence of the monarch 
himself. 'The Lion himself came not to the hunt/ wrote 
Davies under James I, 'and left the prey to the inferior 
beasts.' Edward, a man of English and rigid mind, did not 
admit the rights of the native race, and in two instances, that 
of Desmond and that of Thomond, he granted to feudal lords 
two Irish kingdoms. He was not likely to sympathize with 
Brehon laws any more than he sympathized with Welsh laws. 
But he might be expected to sympathize with the native 
demand to be made equal in English law with the colonists. 
In 1276 the Irish through the justiciar D'Ufford offered him 
the sum of eight thousand marks for the benefits of English 
law. After three years' delay Edward referred the question to 
a parliament of Irish barons, but they seemed to have shelved 
the question, and the selfish spirit of this class, who did not 
wish their serfs set free or their exploitation of the native race 
checked, was too strong for the Crown. Edward is much to be 
blamed, for the royal power was then very strong, and indeed 
he did later by royal fiat secure legal equality to such indi- 
vidual Irishmen as sought for it, but to have general effect this 



needed enactment in Parliament and fearless execution by 
royal judges. 1 

The baronial class had now a fresh generation of leaders. 
In 1280 Richard de Burgo, son of Earl Walter, succeeded in 
the lordship of Connacht and the earldom of Ulster, which he 
ruled till his death in 1326 and raised to their greatest power 
and extent. Known as the 'Red Earl', he was the admitted 
leader of the Anglo-Irish and popular with the Gaels by his 
descent from the O'Briens. The Munster Geraldines had their 
chief in Thomas FitzMaurice, grandson of the Thomas slain at 
Callann. When he received in 1292 a re-grant of all Desmond 
and Decies there was on this occasion no native revolt, for 
MacCarthy More was friendly to the Geraldines, and Fitz- 
Maurice admitted the lordship of their race in south-west 
Desmond. The great name among the Leinster Geraldines 
was John FitzThomas, fifth baron of Offaly, who by bequest 
or the extinction of other branches of the family finally con- 
centrated in his hands vast possessions in Leinster, Limerick, 
and Connacht. In eastern Munster the Butlers, in virtue of 
their own grants and succession to the extinct De Braoses, 
Worcesters, and others, ruled most of Ormond. After five 
short-lived Theobalds followed one another, in 1299 Edmund 
succeeded and was the founder of a race of Earls. When we 
add to such men Geoffrey de Genville, lord of Trim, and others, 
we have a handful of men who controlled the greater part of 
Ireland, and whose feudal interests formed a thick-set hedge 
which the Crown was not likely to break down. 

During the reign the balance of power was shifted among 
them. After a long dispute between Richard de Burgo and 
FitzThomas, hi 1299 the Crown compelled FitzThomas to 
surrender Sligo and his baronies in Mayo and Galway to the 
Earl. Richard, however, refrained from using Sligo as the 
base of a renewed attack upon the O'Donnells. It was from 
the eastern side that he extended the earldom of Ulster, 
which finally took hi the great peninsula of Inishowen and 
reached to the eastern shore of Lough Swilly. The leading 

1 In or about 1292 Edward commanded a Great Council held in 
London that a grant of English law should be made to all Irishmen 
who demanded it, 'for his council had shown him that it would be 
greatly to his advantage'. 


Ulster chiefs were subjected to the Earl and eleven of them 
from O'Neill downwafds consented to hold their lands and 
regalities from the Earl of Ulster by military sevice, providing 
355 men in all or payment of one pound per man. This military 
service was called by the Irish 'Bonnacht'; it was claimed by 
the Earls of Ulster till the middle of the fifteenth century. 

In two directions King Edward favoured pure feudal expan- 
sion. One was his grant of Desmond and Decies to FitzMaurice, 
the other was when in 1276 he granted 'the whole land of 
Thomond' (county Clare) to Thomas de Clare, a kinsman of 
the Earl of Gloucester, as a feudal liberty. De Clare was a 
brave soldier; he invaded Thomond at once, built a strong 
castle at Bunratty, and colonized the land around it with 
Englishmen. Following the usual Norman ruse, he supported 
Brian Ruadh O'Brien against his nephew Turloch, son of the 
former reigning chief, Conor. But the young Turloch was a 
gallant fellow; he took up arms against the Norman claim and 
there followed a long and sporadic war which did not end till 
1318. In this De Clare and the race of Brian Ruadh fought 
endless battles against Turloch which are the subject of a 
glowing historical tract in Irish, called the Wars of Turloch, 
written by Sean Magrath some fifty years afterwards. 

On the non-feudal side, Edward aimed at making the 
Lordship of Ireland the second jewel in his crown. A number 
of viceroys, generally English, were instructed to make the 
government both efficient and lucrative and strengthen it 
against the feudal lords. The ordinary revenue of the colony 
was seldom more than five thousand pounds per annum but 
State taxation might be made to grow. In 1275 a council of 
Irish magnates granted to Edward I the 'Great Custom' on 
the export of wool, hides, and leather, and Ireland began to 
provide a State revenue for the Crown. Since the Anglo-Irish 
were to be treated as Englishmen, many of the great public 
statutes of Edward I were now, by royal writ, extended to 
Ireland, such as that of Gloucester in 1285. But Ireland 
remained lacking in many of the great acts passed in England 
from 1272 onwards, such as the Statute of Treason of 1352; 
hence it was that Poynings' parliament of 1494-5 applied 


here all the great 'acts made formerly for the public weal' in 

The Statute of Gloucester contained the 'Quo Warranto' 
writ by which the Crown could inquire into feudal and episcopal 
privileges. This was a powerful weapon in England, but how 
was a mere viceroy without a strong government behind him 
to question the liberties of the Irish magnates? Several of the 
justiciars attempted it, but it was not till John de Wogan, a 
knight of Pembroke, arrived as justiciar in 1295 to rule with 
intervals till 1312 that the great attempt to extend the shire- 
land was made. De Wogan was sent to reconcile the feuds of 
the nobles and to make the colony not only self-supporting but 
a treasury to draw upon for Edward's Scottish and French 
wars. The feuds of the Irish magnates were many, a proof 
how selfish and local-minded a nobility can be without the 
restraining hand of a national monarch. 

It was Wogan who settled the feud of FitzThomas and De 
Vescy in 1297 and that of De Burgo and FitzThomas in 1299. 
His great achievement in Irish history is the foundation of the 
Irish Parliament in 1297. Edward wanted an army from 
Ireland for his Scottish war and ordered that the widest 
possible approval of the Irish colony should be obtained. The 
usual council of the prelates and lay peers was summoned to 
meet the justiciar and his ministers, and in addition for the 
first time two knights were summoned from each of nine 
counties and each of five liberties with the sheriff or seneschal 
in each case. The counties summoned were, in Leinster, 
Dublin, and Louth (Uriel); in Monster, Waterford, Tipperary, 
Cork, Limerick, and Kerry; in Connacht, Roscommon; while 
the liberties were Meath, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, and 
Ulster. By acts of this parliament Kildare and Meath were 
made shires, and the eleven counties and five liberties repre- 
sented may be taken as what was then regarded as the 'English 

Other acts passed attest how Irish the outlying colonists 
were becoming and how hostile both to them and the native 
Irish the Dublin parliament was to be. Such of the English 
as wore their hair in the flowing locks or 'coolun' which were 
the Irish fashion were to be taken for Irish and treated as such, 


and the name of 'degenerate English' was for the first time 
applied to them. Another act forbade the maintaining of 
kern, that is Irish footmen, and by another every holder of 
twenty ploughlands was to keep horse and armour and be 
ready to serve the State. 

The first step was thus taken towards a representative 
parliament for the Anglo-Irish colony. 

As Edward's representative, Wogan showed firm will and 
ready action in inquiring into the privileges of lords, prelates, 
and abbots. He got Meath and Kttdare made into shires, and 
the forfeiture of De Vescy in Kildare and death of Roger Bigod, 
earl of Norfolk, without male heir hi 1306 enabled Edward to 
resume two great feudal liberties. But the King let his servant 
down and before long renewed the Liberty of Carlow to his 
second son Thomas of Brotherton, whom he created Earl of 
Norfolk. So, after all the efforts of Edward's viceroys, the 
feudal magnates of Ireland continued to guide the fortunes of 
the colony. 

The accession of the worthless Edward II made little 
difference to Ireland as long as Wogan ruled. In 1310 he 
summoned to Kilkenny a still more representative parliament, 
for, in addition to the prelates and eighty-eight magnates each 
summoned by writ, he called for two knights from each shire 
and two members from each of a number of towns. Parliament 
so formed was an Anglo-Irish assembly and no Irishman sat 
among the deputies, or even among the magnates unless it 
were some bishop or abbot of Gaelic blood. In this body, 
which seldom rose above one hundred and twenty, the council 
remained the important nucleus; it spoke for the 'English 
land', for it could not speak for Gaelic Ireland; its language 
was French or English, and yet it claimed to be the final law- 
maker and court for all Ireland, which it bound with its 
decisions as far as they could be enforced. 1 It was not, how- 
ever, till 1372 that the medieval Irish parliament received the 
final shape which it kept until 1537. 

1 Thus the Statutes of Kilkenny, passed by a small Anglo-Irish 
parliament in 1366, bound the whole island with disastrous results till 


The parliament of 1310 passed an act that 'no mere Irish- 
man shall be received into a religious order among the English 
in the land of peace'. This is the first use of the famous phrase 
'mere Irish' (merus hibernicus), and it implied that Gaels living 
by Irish law and under their own chiefs were not possessed 
of civil rights among the English race. The phrase 'land of 
peace' is also significant of the feeling that only the shires were 
the true English land, while the lands of the great feudal lords 
were 'march lands', and those of the Irish were a 'land of war', 
beyond English control. It is to the credit of Walter Jorz (or 
Joyce), the English archbishop of Armagh, that he got the act 
at once revoked by appeal to the King. 

Wogan ruled till 1312. During his period the Lordship of 
Ireland became profitable to the Crown and the colonists 
contributed great supplies of men and provisions for the 
Scottish wars. Of the Irish levies the Earl of Ulster was the 
leader, and he fought several campaigns in Scotland, but as he 
was the father-in-law of Robert the Bruce we may assume that 
he was not whole-hearted in the business of suppressing 
Scottish independence. 

There arrived in Ireland in 1308 a young Englishman who 
was the legal heir to vast estates. This was Roger Mortimer, 
lord of Wigmore in Herefordshire, by descent from the Marshals 
and Lacys lord of Trim and claimant to Leix. He was soon 
to find how the return of an absentee of English birth could 
arouse the hostility and opposition both of Irish and Norman. 
In Leix, Mortimer had to force O'More, who in Irish eyes was 
king there, into submission and to bridle the country with his 
great castle on the rock of Dunamase. In Heath the aged 
Geoffrey de Genville had retired into a monastery and the old 
Lacy earldom had to be divided again between Mortimer, as 
husband of the heiress Joan de Genville, and Theobald de 
Verdun, already lord of Westmeath. But the junior Lacys 
and Verduns, who were rooted in the Irish soil, resented the 
feudal law by which fiefs passed through females and like the 
Irish believed in male succession as long as there were men of 
the name who could defend and maintain their country, accord- 
ing to the maxim 'tir mharbh tir gan tighearna 1 ('a land without 
a lord is a dead land'). In a land of border wars the patriarchal 


and kin spirit became imperative and captured the invaders 
also. Naturally it was more felt among the junior De Burgos, 
Verduns, Lacys, etc., than their seniors, who were great tenants 
of the Crown and men of State. Before a century the annalist 
Clyn speaks of the 'clans and surnames' (nadows et cognomina) 
of the Geraldines, Roches, Poers, and others. 

When therefore Meath was redivided in 1308 the junior 
Lacys of Rathwire resisted, and even the younger Verduns had 
no love for the chief of their name. Wogan's last public action 
was to lead an army against the Verduns and receive a defeat 
at their hands. But such rebels against the State did not 
therefore join the Irish chiefs, and for a long time yet war upon 
the Irish was the sport of the Englishry. Among those most 
praised in this field was Piers de Bermingham, baron of 
Tethmoy, the ruins of whose strong castle in the 'Carrick' or 
Rock of Carbery near Edenderry may still be seen. The 
O'Connors, lords of Offaly, were his neighbours, and in open 
war could not be subdued. He therefore, on Christmas Day 
1295, invited their chief men to a banquet at the Carrick, and 
after they had feasted well had Calvach O'Connor, the chief, 
his two brothers, and twenty-nine of his leading men massacred. 
It was a determined attempt to wipe out a whole royal 'derb- 
fine', but actually several O'Connor 'royal heirs' survived and 
it was shown once again how unkiUable was an Irish dynasty. 
But not only did the Dublin government reward Sir Piers with 
a hundred pounds for this callous deed, but a stirring con- 
temporary ballad in English, as spoken in Ireland, praises him 
enthusiastically as 'a hunter out of the Irish'. In the eyes of 
the law and its supporters Irish chiefs were 'felons' and out- 
laws, or rebellious vassals of a Norman grantee. 


On June 24th 1314 at Bannockburn was established the 
freedom of Scotland. The English government had to abandon 
Scotland, but the King of Scots was not so easily got rid of. 
Robert Bruce had a very capable brother Edward, earl of 
Carrick in Galloway, whose energies and ambitions needed an 
outlet. He had also thousands of veterans unemployed and 


as the war was unfinished he boldly carried it into the enemy's 
quarters. In Ireland he saw the makings of a great anti- 
English combination, the Irish chiefs ready to welcome a 
deliverer, the Irish Church wronged by the English lordship, 
numbers of the feudal Anglo-Irish discontented, and his 
father-in-law the Earl of Ulster neutral or even friendly. 
Scotland was a country of mixed languages and races, Norman, 
Gaelic, and English. In Ireland the same situation existed, 
and Bruce, who was on his father's side a feudal Norman and 
on his mother's side descended from the ancient Gaelic kings 
of Alba, felt himself able to manage the Irish situation. 

On May 25th 1315 Edward Bruce arrived in Lame harbour 
(then called Olderfleet) with the greatest foreign force ever yet 
landed in Ireland, an army of six thousand veterans clad in 
mail. He was joined by Robert Byset, lord of the Glens of 
Antrim, a man of Scottish descent, and by Donal O'Neill, son 
of Brian 'of the battle of Down'. With such a union of veteran 
soldiers and light Irish troops Bruce proved invincible in every 
battle till his last. 

The first serious encounter was at Connor in Antrim, where 
he defeated the Red Earl. He then invaded Meath, was 
j oined by the Lacys of Rathwire and the Verduns, and crumpled 
up the large but untrained levies of the colony in a series of 

The Scottish victories caused a general Irish resurgence and 
many local triumphs of the native race. Numbers of their 
clergy and many of the Irish members of the Franciscans 
openly welcomed the Scots, and according to the Anglo-Irish 
annalist Clyn, 'there adhered to them almost all the Irish of 
the land and few kept their faith and loyalty'. Donal O'Neill 
failed to unite the kings in common action, but almost nowhere 
was the English cause safe and many of the Norman race 
joined the Scots or stood neutral. At Kells in. Meath Edward 
Bruce defeated Mortimer and at Ardscull Edmund Butler. 
All the north was in his hands save Carrickfergus, and finally 
on May Day 1316 he was crowned on the hill of Knocknemelan 
near Dundalk; 'the Gaels of Erin' say the annals of Loch Ce" 
'proclaimed him King of Erin*. 

Edward, King of England, was slow to move till Ireland 


was almost lost; then, to win over the Anglo-Irish magnates, 
he created Edmund Butler earl of Carrick and John Fitz- 
Thomas earl of Kildare and appointed Roger Mortimer his 

It was to Connacht that Bruce looked for a striking victory. 
There had been since 1274 among the royal race of O'Connor 
a long and deadly succession war. The race of Cathal Crovderg 
had ruled till the death of Aedh, the victor of Athankip. Then 
for forty years the kingship was contested by the respective 
heirs of Cathal and of his younger brothers, Murcertach and 
Brian of Leyny, among whose numerous descendants some 
ten names of 'kings' appear, till in 1310 Felim, the true heir of 
the senior line of Cathal, was elected. But he had a strong 
rival in Rory, head of the Clan Murcertach. 

Felim had marched with the Red Earl to Connor but ac- 
cepted the offers of Bruce and returned home. There he slew his 
rival in battle and assumed the whole sovereignty of Connacht. 
His nominal over-lord, the Earl of Ulster, was now a defeated 
man and 'a wanderer throughout Erin without sway or power' 
but William 'Liath' ('the Grey') de Burgo, cousin of the earl, 
and Richard de Bermingham, lord of Athenry, raised a Norman 
force and met Felim in battle at Athenry on August loth 1316. 
The young king commanded a great levy of chiefs from 
Connacht, Meath, Thomond, and Brefni, and the fight was 
worthy of the great occasion, but in the end the Norman 
horse and archers triumphed, over a thousand Irish fell, and 
Felim was slain beneath his own leopard standard. It was the 
most determined fight made by the Irish since the Conquest 
and evidently they now wore mail, for it is recorded that the 
victors walled Athenry out of the profits of the arms and 
armour taken from the Irish dead. So fell the O'Connor 
kingdom of Connacht. 

Edward Bruce was at least master of the North, he took 
Carrickfergus after a long siege in September, and his brother 
Robert arrived to join him. They were irresistible in the open 
field, and when they invaded the Midlands again they found 
almost no foe to face them, for the magnates could not unite 
and the government was paralysed, but their ravages created 
such a famine and general ruin as to lose them many hearts. 


Early in 1317 they inarched upon Dublin, in which the Red 
Earl had sought refuge, thinking he might deliver the city to 
them, but the mayor and citizens boldly manned the walls, 
and as they had no siege train to take so strong a town the 
Scots retreated from Castleknock in February and marched 
to the west and then back to Ulster. 

Thence Robert returned to Scotland. On April 7th 1317 
Mortimer arrived at Youghal as Lord lieutenant with an 
army and a commission to admit the Irish to the full use of 
English law. He drove the Lacys out of Meath and at Athlone 
made a treaty with Cathal O'Connor, 'prince of the Irish of 
Connacht', and confirmed to him the Five cantreds. So 
weakened were now the O'Connors that this Cathal, head of 
the Clan Brian, could show no king among his ancestors for 
six generations back to Turloch More himself, and thus was 
not even a 'royal heir'. This interloper, however, did not last 
long, and Turloch, brother of Felim, in 1324 recovered the 
kingship for good for the race of Cathal Crovderg. But the full 
glory of the O'Connors never returned. 

It is now (1317) that a combination of the Irish chiefs under 
Donal O'Neill sent to the Avignon pope, John XXII, their 
Remonstrance against English oppression. 

In this great indictment both of the Lordship of Ireland and 
the Anglo-Irish, they charge the kings of England with 
violating the spirit of Adrian's grant, especially as regards the 
native Church. They have sought redress from the present 
king but he has made no answer, they therefore appeal to his 
suzerain the Pope. They charge the 'men of the middle 
nation', that is, the colonists, with constant cruelties against 
the native people, robbing them of their land and reducing 
them to slavery, 'so bringing into servitude the blood that 
has flowed in freedom from of old'. They quote the case of 
the O'Connors murdered by Sir Piers de Bermingham, and the 
remark of an Anglo-Irish cleric who had said in Edward 
Bruce's court at Carrick that to kill an Irishman was no more 
than to kill a dog. The charges are in one important case 
untrue, but the relations of the races since 1170 justified the 
general charge and the passion does not invalidate the truth. 


They have asked the King of England to divide the island 
between them and the English, but no reply has been received, 
and despairing of justice from him they have decided to 
repudiate bis authority; therefore Donal O'Neill, 'by heredi- 
tary right King of Ireland', surrenders his rule to Edward 
Bruce 'Earl of Carrick, sprung from the most illustrious of our 

The days of great popes were over and the only response to 
Ireland's appeal was a letter from John XXII to Edward II 
early in 1318, urging him to do justice to the Irish according 
to the Donation of Adrian, and a Bull of excommunication 
against Edward Bruce and his adherents. 

It was already late in the day, for Brace's chance of an 
Irish monarchy was by now on the wane. But before it expired 
a great local victory was recorded for the native side. In 
Thomond the war of De Clare and the O'Briens had gone on 
for nearly forty years, Richard de Clare taking the place of his 
father Thomas and Murcertach O'Brien replacing his father 
Turloch. At last on May loth 1318 the issue was fought out 
at Disert O'Dea near Ennis. In the picturesque account given 
in the Wars of Turloch the comparison between the well-armed 
Englishry and the light and active Gaels is well drawn and the 
picture is shown of De Clare and his Normans forming them- 
selves at last into a 'battle hedge' and being slain to a man. 
'So dour the hand-to-hand work was that neither noble nor 
commander of them left the ground, but most of them fell 
where they stood, both knight and battle-baron, lord and 
heir.' On the news of the battle De Clare's wife abandoned 
Bunratty castle and went off with what remained of the 
garrison in their fast galleys to Limerick. 'From which time 
to this never one of their breed has come back to have a look 
at it,' concludes the triumphant chronicler. 

So the O'Briens, unlike the O'Connors, recovered their 
former kingship, which they only exchanged for an earldom 
in 1540. 

Bruce had retired to Ulster and might have held the North 
for long bad he but waited for men and supplies from his 
brother Robert, but when a colonial army led by John de 


Berrningham, lord of Tethmoy, marched against him, he 
rashly faced it with an inferior force of Scots, Irish, and Meath 
rebels at Faughart near Dundalk, on October I4th 1318. In 
the battle he himself was slain after a gallant stand, his allies 
suffered severely, and the remnant of the Scots got back to their 
native country as best they could. So ended the Bruce enter- 
prise of Ireland. Edward had attempted to be that foreign 
Ard Ri which the Irish had sought for in Haakon of Norway 
and had received great support, but though he was a gallant 
soldier we cannot feel that he had the gifts of a nation- 

Thus was the English lordship of Ireland restored. The 
Red Earl recovered Ulster and Connacht and banished Donal 
O'Neill into the wilds of Tyrone, while John de Benningham 
was created earl of Louth. There was little thought of 
vengeance, and even the De Lacys and Verduns were restored 
to most of their estates. The lesson was not without its effects. 
In 1320, at a Dublin parliament, Mortimer, in the name of the 
King, granted Magna Carta once more to the clergy and 
people of Ireland. Further, in accordance with his instruc- 
tions, he issued charters of English liberty to some Irish chiefs, 
and by edict in 1321 admitted all Irishmen, 'both within and 
without the liberties, who have been, or shall be, admitted 
to English law, the English law of life and limb', saving to the 
King and the lords the chattels of their serfs called 'betaghs 1 . 1 

Henceforth the emancipation of the Irish was more a matter 
of individual grant by letters patent of the Crown, purchased 
for money in accordance with this declaration, rather than a 
general enfranchisement by statute. This would have en- 
countered the selfish interest of the lords and their villeins; 
indeed, as it was, the Statutes of Kilkenny fifty years later 
settled the question in a manner fatal to the Irish. 

For the moment there was an apparent revival of Anglo- 
Ireland, and it seemed that the ship of State might resume a 
better course. When the Red Earl, greatest of the magnates, 
died in 1326 his grandson William 'Donn' ('the Brown Earl') 

1 Under the feudal system, the villeins and their property belonged 
to the manor lord. 


succeeded to the earldom at its height. But in fact the ravages 
and victories of the Scots had been fatal to those Anglo-Irish 
towns and manors which had been widely founded all over the 
midlands. The crops could soon be replaced after the famine 
but men and buildings could not. From this time the strength 
of the colony had to lie hi the coast towns and the settled 
nearer districts. 

The Irish chiefs had failed to secure a general triumph but 
won many local victories. Many of them recovered lost lord- 
ships, as did the O'Briens, while Aedh O'Donnell levelled De 
Burgo's castle of Sligo and enforced the permanent supremacy 
of Tyrconnell over that' O'Connor branch, sprung from Brian 
of Leyny, which was later called O'Connor Sligo. 

The feelings of the Irish with regard to Bruce varied, and 
some of the comments no doubt were made after his failure. 
Whether a Scottish feudal monarchy in Ireland instead of an 
English one would have bettered things Fate was not to attest. 
Some of the chiefs preferred the advantage they could get from 
terms with the English. Among the expressions of feeling we 
have that of the O'Maddens, a strong sept in county Galway. 
After the Bruce war the Red Earl got Mortimer to grant 
English law to Eoghan O'Madden of Hy Many, his brothers, 
and his heirs, and the Earl divided this country between him 
and O'Kelly. 'One-third of the province of Connacht to be 
under O'Madadhain, no English steward to preside over his 
Gaels, and he and his free clans to be equally noble in blood 
with his lord De Burgo, contrary to the former decisions of 
these English lords that the Gael was a bondsman while 
the Saxon was a noble.' No wonder that in a Gaelic tract 
of the time written for this O'Madden there is a long eulogy of 
the Anglo-Norman lords and reproof of the Connacht chiefs for 
wanting to call in 'Scottish foreigners less noble than our own 
foreigners, in imitation of the O'Neills', which goes on to praise 
'those princely English lords who gave up their foreignness for 
a pure -mind, their harshness for good manners, their stubborn- 
ness for mildness and their perverseness for hospitality*. Also 
the pitiless ravages of the Scots impressed many, and the 


native annals call Edward Bruce 'the destroyer of Ireland in 
general, both of the English and the Gael', and say that 'there 
was not done from the beginning of the world a better deed for 
the men of Erin than that deed, for theft, famine, and destruc- 
tion of men occurred throughout Erin for the space of three 
years and a half, and people used actually to eat one another 
throughout the island'. 



ATER the overthrow and murder of the unfortunate 
Edward II, Roger Mortimer ruled England for three 
years along with the Queen-mother Isabella. He was 
himself an Irish magnate, and in the parliament of Shrewsbury 
in 1329, when he got himself created earl of March, favoured 
his Anglo-Irish supporters by getting Maurice FitzThomas 
created earl of Desmond and James, son of Edmund Butler, 
earl of Ormond. By later grants of Edward III James was 
granted a palatine Liberty in Tipperary and confirmed in the 
prise of wines throughout Ireland as Butler; while Desmond 
equally received palatine rights in Kerry. 

In the year 1330 Mortimer was overthrown and executed 
by his enemies, and Edward III began his reign, that of a 
warrior rather than a statesman. He had to take Ireland into 
account with the decay of the government there, the decline 
of revenues, the revival of the Irish, the question of their 
admission to the law, the absenteeism of titular landowners, 
and the overgrown powers of the magnates. The Fitzgeralds 
and Butlers were by way of owning the whole south, and 
the fewer the great nobles were the greater they became. In 
1316 on the death of Theobald de Verdun the Liberty of West- 
meath expired, and on the death of Aymer de Valence in 1324 
the Honour of Wexf ord was left vacant. When it was renewed 
to his grandnephew Laurence Hastings, in 1399, ft was 0]Q ly 
another case of an English absentee getting what rents he 
could from his distant Irish estates. 

In 1331 Edward sent over as his deputy Sir Anthony Lucy 
with these instructions. The Irish were to be brought under 
English law 'but the betaghs to remain subject to their lords', 
Mortimer's grants as being made in the King's minority were 
to be resumed, and twenty-four great absentees must return 
or garrison their lands. Chi the first point, the legal equality 



of the Irish was not confirmed by any Irish parliament but 
was pleaded many times in Irish courts. The absentees 
failed to obey the order. The second point was taken as an 
attack upon the Earls of Desmond and Ormond and others 
who owed their titles or grants to Mortimer. Even the mere 
sending over of an ordinary knight as viceroy was resented by 
the proud magnates of Ireland, who had hoped that, if not 
the King himself, at least some great English nobleman would 
be sent to rule them. 'For this race, both English and Irish 
did ever love to be ruled by great persons'; 1 a saying very 
true of all Irish history and fatally ignored by Ireland's 
rulers throughout the centuries. 

To the 'English in Ireland' this royal programme was more 
serious even than the revival of the Gaelic race. Magna 
Carta, with its protection of men in their estates, life, and 
liberty, had been re-extended to Ireland as late as 1320, 
Edward III had re-issued it at his accession hi England but 
not in Ireland, and Lucy's edict of Resumption seemed a direct 
violation of Anglo-Irish rights. The result was the first begin- 
nings of a 'Patriot party' among them, who disliked the officials, 
'the English by birth', and made the claim for their own 
native and aristocratic caste to control Ireland. Up to the 
end of the eighteenth century the Anglo-Irish of every kind 
maintained this spirit of colonial independence. Beyond this, 
or to achieve an Irish nationality like that which the Bruces 
won for Scotland, they never seriously contemplated to go. 

Maurice, earl of Desmond, took the lead of this opposition 
and Lucy had to be recalled, but for thirty years the struggle 
went on. And before the King could proceed further, a 
disastrous event in the North struck the colony an even 
deadlier blow than the Bruce war. 

On June 6th 1333 William, the young Earl of Ulster, was 
murdered at the 'Ford of Carrickfergus' by some of the Mande- 
villes and other tenants of his as the result of a family feud. 
This was the second assassination of the kind within four years, 
for John de Bermingham, the victor of Faughart, had been 
murdered in the same way by his own tenants at Balibragan 

1 Sir John Davies in his Discovery of the True Causes why Ireland has 
never been subdued to the English Crown (1612). 


in 1329. Rebellion and disloyalty now marked the lesser 
Normans, who resented great earls over them and wanted to 
be supreme 'captains of their nations'. 

The murder of the Brown Earl had irreparable effects. 
His wife fled to England with her only child, Elizabeth, and 
the male line of the De Burgo earls came to an end. They had 
been the great rampart of the colony on the North and had 
then- lordship endured through the Middle ages Irish history 
would be written differently. Now the greatest feudal State 
in Ireland became a nominal lordship for another English 
absentee, this time a royal one, namely, Lionel, Duke of 
Clarence, Edward's second son, to whom later the infant 
Elizabeth was married. Seizing their opportunity, the Ulster 
chiefs, former vassals of De Burgo, recovered their ground and 
reduced the vast earldom to the limits of the coast of Antrim 
and Down. 

The De Burgos thus vanished from Ulster. But in Connacht 
there was a junior branch of the De Burgos of whom a different 
story was to be told. William Xiath' had left two sons, Ulick 
and Edmund 'Albanach' ('the Scotsman') so called because 
he had spent twenty years of his youth in Scotland. By 
feudal law all the De Burgo lands should go to the young 
heiress, but the two brothers stood by the Gaelic law of male 
succession in despite of royal wardship. Ulick seized upon all 
the family lands in county Galway, where he founded the Clan- 
rickard Burkes, and Edmund equally upon the Mayo lands, 
where he founded the Mayo Burkes. Thus arose two great 
families who lorded it over most of Connacht for two centuries 
without a legal title. On the borders of Limerick and Tipperary 
a third branch, called the lords of Castleconnell or Clanwilliam, 
were at this tune founded by another Edmund, a younger son 
of the Red Earl. 

The victory of these Norman-Irish was a triumph also for 
the Gaelic tradition and showed how little they cared for 
feudal titles compared with building up a kingship on the 
hearts of the native race. 'Twenty years did Edmund remain 
in Scotland,' says a Gaelic history of the family, 'when by the 
death of the Brown Earl tribe-extinction came upon the 
Burkes, and Edmund returned and landed in Umhall of 


O'MaDle ("the Owles of Mayo"), and his chief poet and ambas- 
sador to the Connachtmen was Donn O'Breslin, and Edmund 
took to wife the daughter of O'Maille.' The families which the 
two brothers founded became Irish chieftains; the Clanrickard 
branch were known as the 'Upper MacWilliam', the Mayo 
one as the 'Lower MacWilliam'. The O'Kellys of Hy Many, 
the O'Connors and other chiefs profited by the turn of events, 
and Connacht to all intents was lost to the English law and 
language. Thus in 1340 MacDennot, already lord of Moy 
Lurg and Airthech in north-west Roscommon, 'extended his 
sway over Sliabh Lugha (De Angulo's county) by the strong 
hand', and in 1317 O'Dowd 'recovered Tireragh from the 
English and divided it among his sept' . The feudal veneer alone 
remained. The Norman families which in 1235 had French 
names and spoke French were by the sixteenth century Irish 
speakers and known by such patronymics as MacCosteUo, 
Mac Jordan and so on. The feudal influence, however, was 
never lost, these families remained proud of their English 
blood, and up to recent times the population and the gentry 
of Connacht were a blend of Norman and Celt in which the 
blood of De Burgo's companions preponderated. 

This revolution had its influence on the Ulster border, 
where the difficulties of mountain, lake, and river reinforced 
the warlike spirit of the native race and made Ulster in the 
sixteenth century the last province to succumb. The county 
and town of Shgo ceased to be a De Burgo lordship and 
O'Connor Sligo, a race descended from Brian of Leyny, 
became lords there with O'Donnell as suzerain. In Fermanagh 
also arose the ruling race of Maguire, the first of whom was 
Donn, installed by O'Donnell hi about 1300. In Leitrim the 
O'Rourkes, and in Cavan the O'Reillys became rulers, and save 
for the eastern coast of Ulster English influence disappeared 
in the northern province. 

Within a hundred years all over Ireland the Gaelic chiefs 
recovered large parts of their former lordships in hundreds of 
petty battles of which we have few details, in which Scottish 
galloglass and Irish kern defeated the horse and foot of the 
Norman stock. The general pressure due to the greater num- 
bers and fertility of the native race also steadily pushed the 


invading stock back to the areas nearer to the towns, and the 
coast. Many a castle built by the Normans fell to the Gaelic 
chiefs and became the strongholds of native lordships. In the 
use of armour, heraldry, banners, and fortifications the Irish 
chiefs became the imitators and then the equals of their feudal 
neighbours, with whom they began to intermarry and ally. 

In east and central Ulster within seventy years there 
emerged several new native states: in Monaghan the lordship 
of MacMahon, in north Derry ('Cianacht') that of O'Cahan, in 
Inishowen O'Doherty, all founded on the ruin of the earldom. 
Only on the sea-coast did De Courcy's settlers survive, such as 
Byset, lord of the Glens, Savage, lord of the Ards, and Mande- 
ville of the Route in north Antrim. Even these feudal families 
soon lost their French character and adopted Gaelic law and 
surnames; thus did Mandevflle become MacQuillan ('son of 

The Irish chiefs had never willingly abandoned their ances- 
tral rights, and the disappearance of legal over-lords and 
absentees enabled them to rise again. A striking instance is 
recorded in Lysagh O'More, who about 1340 made himself 
again lord of Leix, where the Mortimers were titular possessors. 
'He stirred up to war all the Irish of Munster and Leinster by 
persuasion, promises, and gifts, and expelled nearly all the 
English from their lands by force, for in one evening he 
burned eight castles of the Englishry, and destroyed the noble 
castle of Dunamase belonging to Roger Mortimer, and usurped 
to himself the lordship of the country. From a slave he 
became a lord, from a subject a prince.' 

About the same time Taig O'Carroll 'slew or expelled from 
Ely (the country about Slieve Bloom) the nations of the Brets, 
Milbornes, and other English and occupied their lands and 
castles'. A similar triumph of O'Kennedy, the native heir to 
Onnond, lost to the Earl of Ormond his great lordship or 
manor of Nenagh in Tipperary and drove his dominion back 
to the south of that county and to county Kilkenny. It was 
also shown how fatal to the 'Land of Leinster' as an English 
colony was the wide mountain land which lay so near to the 
capital. The O'Byrnes and O'Tooles occupied by the strong 
hand the great tracts which by law belonged to the Crown and 


the archbishop, and O'Byrne finally ruled from Delgany down 
to the Butler manor of Arklow. 

The race of Donal Kavanagh, descended from Donal, son of 
King Dermot, and called from him MacMurrough Kavanagh, 
as long as the Bigods remained lords of Carlow accepted their 
position as tenants under Strongbow's heirs and were favoured 
as 'Irishmen and kinsmen of Roger le Bygod, Earl Marshal'. 
But on the extinction of this family the rich county of Carlow 
lay open to them and they began to assert their former claims 
over Idrone and Hy Kinsella. By ancient right they were 
monarchs of Leinster, and in 1327 'the Irish of Leinster elected 
to themselves a king, Donal MacMurrough' . From this time on 
the MacMurroughs called themselves kings of Leinster and 
their domain finally stretched from Idrone to Ferns, where 
they recovered the old palace of King Dermot, which had been 
long in Norman hands. 

Since the conquest of 1172 the native race, though they had 
made some valiant efforts to revive the High kingship, either in 
a Gael or a foreigner, had failed in their central ob j ecti ve. They 
did, however, in local combinations recover most of their old 
lordships and became in every part of the island what the 
English called 'captains of then* nations' and 'lords of countries'. 


In later days Poynings' parliament attributed the decay 
of English rule to the beginning of Edward Ill's reign, from 
which the long decline of one hundred and sixty years set in. 
Edward indeed made a long attempt to bring the colony under 
imperial control, but, instead of coming himself with a large 
army, he could do nothing more than to issue ordinances and 
edicts from London and to send over English viceroys and 
officials to control and administer the government. This was 
resisted by the Anglo-Irish, led by several of the great magnates, 
who insisted that the affairs of Ireland should be settled in an 
Irish parliament and in Irish law courts subject to the royal 
supremacy and who favoured the appointment of native lords. 
We may call it, to anticipate modern terms, the clash of 
Unionism and Home Rule. 


In 1341 the King sent over Sir John Morris with an edict 
that none but English-born should hold high legal office in 
Ireland. This was resisted by a patriot party, and when the 
viceroy called a parliament to Dublin the Earls of Desmond 
and Kildare instead summoned an assembly of their party to 
Kilkenny in November of that year which sent a long address 
to the King. Ireland, they said, is a third part lost to the 
Irish, the justiciars know nothing of Ireland, they override the 
rights of the subjects and enrich themselves at the expense of 
the country, the ministers are corrupt and negligent, cases are 
cited to England which could be settled hi Ireland, and finally 
the act of Resumption of 1331 'is contrary to Magna Carta 
by which no man can be deprived of his freehold without due 
process of law'. Theirs, however, was a constitutional protest, 
and they ended by saying that while Scots, Gascons, and 
Welsh have often risen against the Crown 'your loyal English 
of Ireland have ever been loyal and please God will ever be so'. 

The King withdrew the statute excluding the Anglo-Irish 
from office, but later, in 1344, Sir Ralf D'Ufford was sent over 
as viceroy for the reformation of Ireland, accompanied by his 
wife, widow of the murdered earl of Ulster. This strong 
governor made an expedition into Ulster in the attempt to 
recover the earldom and proclaimed a general pardon for the 
Anglo-Irish, but did not please them all the same. According 
to the Anglo-Irish annals 'This justiciar was an invader of the 
rights of the clerics and of the lay, rich and poor, a robber of 
goods under the colour of good, the defrauder of many, never 
observing the law of the Church nor that of the State, inflicting 
many evils on the native-born, the poor only excepted, in 
which things he was led by the council of his wife'. This 
statement reflects that Anglo-Irish sentiment which has so 
often thwarted English viceroys when bent upon crushing the 
great, whether Irish or Old English. 

In the next year Desmond again called a rival parliament to 
Callan, but D'Ufford outlawed him, marched into Monster, and 
subdued the earldom. On taking the Earl's castle of Castle- 
island he had the Earl's seneschal and two others put to death 
for treason in 'exercising, maintaining, and inventing many 
foreign, oppressive and intolerable laws'. These apparently 


were that combination of Irish and feudal exactions, generally 
called coyne and livery and 'March law", which were so odious 
to the government and the loyal colonists. After D'Ufford's 
death in 1346 the royal policy was again suspended; a general 
pardon proclaimed; and the Anglo-Irish had Magna Carta 
again confirmed to them. 

Finally the Earl of Desmond was pardoned and restored. 
In Earl Maurice we see the first case of a Norman-Irish magnate 
openly opposing English government in Ireland. While he 
led the Anglo-Irish the Gaels also regarded him as the greatest 
of those settlers who by now showed an affection for Irish 
speech and Irish poets, and the Geraldines, who had never been 
English in England, were soon to become Irish in Ireland. 

In the midst of this struggle, the Black Death fell upon 
Ireland and proved a scourge to the colony not less than Bruce's 
invasion. The native Irish, being a rural and scattered race, 
escaped better than the Anglo-Irish population who were 
clustered in towns and manors. The plague was to reduce still 
further their limited numbers. The Friar Qyn, whose Latin 
annals are the best we have for this time, ends his chronicles 
with this pestilence of which he himself died at Kilkenny. 
'This pestilence raged so', he says, under 1349, <a * Kilkenny 
that on the 6th day of March eight Friars preachers died in one 
day, and in the city seldom did one only die in a house, but 
commonly the man and the wife with their children and 
servants together took the one road of death.' 

Among^he later English viceroys the most meritorious was 
Sir Thomas Rokeby, who ruled from 1350 to 1355, and with 
the usual small but well-equipped force of the time, paid for 
from England, of light horse (hoblers), archers, and men-at- 
arms, at least preserved the borders of 'the English land'. 
Under him we note an attempt to secure obedience and re- 
sponsibility among the Irish septs whom no longer either the 
government or the colonists could dispossess. In 1350 Rokeby 
made terms with three chiefs of the Dublin border, namely 
John O'Byrne, captain elect of his nation, Walter Harold, and 
Matthew Archbold, who had been elected chiefs by the leading 
men of their name. The government confirmed these men as 
captains of their nations and as responsible for keeping their 


people in order. Of the three we note that two are old Ostmen 
names, of families which had become lords along the slopes of 
the Dublin mountains and turned themselves into Irish septs. 
Henceforth the recognition of such Irish captains was a fre- 
quent practice of the government, to the end of the sixteenth 

After the death of Maurice, earl of Desmond, in 1356 Anglo- 
Irish magnates ruled Ireland as justiciars till the coming of 
Lionel of Clarence. Royal ordinances to appease the wounded 
feelings of the 'English by blood' declared that 'the affairs of 
the land of Ireland shall be referred to our Council here but 
shall be determined in our parliament there'. 'All Englishmen 
bora in Ireland shall be taken to be true Englishmen like those 
born in England, bound by the same laws, rights, and customs.' 
An edict of 1361 declared that 'no pure-blooded Irishman of 
Irish nation shall be made mayor, bailiff, or officer in any place 
subject to the king or hold a canonry or living among the 
English; yet at the request of Irish clerics living among the 
English we ordain that such Irishmen, of whose loyalty our 
judges are assured, shall not be molested 1 . In this decree the 
Crown drew the distinction between the independent Irish 
living under Brehon law and those individuals who dwelt 
peaceably among the English. 


The Anglo-Irish had often asked for the King or a prince of 
the blood to come over, and now in Lionel of Clarence, Edward's 
second son, a tall, handsome, young Plantagenet, they had all 
they had looked for. Lionel, who was appointed lieutenant in 
July 1361 with almost sovereign powers, was already in virtue 
of his wife earl of Ulster and lord of Connacht. To recover 
these lost lordships was his personal object, to extend 'the 
land of peace* and organize the colony was his public object. 
The evil of absenteeism was now shown when no less than 
sixty-four titular lords of land in Ireland were specially 
ordered to accompany him, who included the inheritors of 
Leix, Carlow, Wexford, and Kilkenny. With several of these 
he landed at Dublin in September 1361 with an army of 


fifteen hundred men, all that the King could spare from the 
French war. 

When Lionel called on the Anglo-Irish to reinforce him he 
found that they were far from zealous in a war against their 
Irish neighbours, and the Earl of Kildare and others stood 
aloof when he marched against the Irish at Wicklow. For all 
that he waged some vigorous campaigns against the septs of 
Leinster, captured Art More MacMurrough, king of Leinster, 
and in Cork restored to their wasted lands some of the old 
English. For a time he checked the loss of Ulster, but a resi- 
dent lord was needed there and Lionel like all young English- 
men of his time chafed at the Irish service and longed to be in 
France, where chivalric glory and rich booty were to be made at 
every battle. It was partly due to this weariness that he finally 
summoned as a solution of the Irish problem the ever-famous 
Parliament of Kilkenny in February 1366. His one lasting 
contribution to Irish history was to be the division and estrange- 
ment of the two races in Ireland for nearly three centuries. 

In this assembly thirty-five acts in all were passed in the 
Norman-French which was the legal language of the time. 
The preamble runs thus: 'Whereas at the conquest of the land 
of Ireland and for a long time after, the English of the said 
land used the English language, mode of riding and apparel, 
and were governed and ruled, and their subjects called 
Betaghs, by the English law, in which time God and Holy 
Church, and their franchises according to their conditions, 
were maintained, and they themselves lived, in subjection; 
now many English of the said land, forsaking the English 
language, fashion, mode of riding, laws and usages, live and 
govern themselves according to the manners, fashion, and 
language of the Irish enemies, and have also made divers 
marriages and alliances between themselves and the Irish 
enemies aforesaid; whereby the said land and the liege people 
thereof, the English language, the allegiance due to our lord 
the King, and the English laws there, are put in subiection 
and decayed.' 

To prevent these evils stringent laws are enacted. The 
English are forbidden by severe penalties to make fosterage, 
marriage or gossipred with the Irish or in law cases to use 


Brehon law or the 'law of the Marches', or to entertain Irish 
minstrels, poets or story-tellers. 1 They must not sell to the 
Irish in time of peace or war horses or armour, or in time of war 
any victuals. They and the Irish among them must use 
English surnames of colour, trade, place, etc., must speak 
English and follow English customs. For the purpose of war 
they must practise with the bow and ride with the saddle after 
the English fashion. If they use the Irish speech they shall 
forfeit their lands to their lords until they undertake to use 
English. The Irish are excluded from cathedrals, abbeys, and 
benefices among the English. Every 'chieftain of English 
lineage' shall arrest evildoers of his own lineage or following 
until they are delivered by the law. Only on the Marches shall 
kerns and hired soldiers be maintained. In every county of 
the land of peace there shall be four keepers of the peace to 
assess and review the English for military service. This 'land 
of peace' is reckoned as the counties and liberties of Louth, 
Meath, Trim, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, 
and Tipperary. 

The statutes of Kilkenny remained in force for over two 
centuries. After enacting them, in November 1366 Lionel left 
Ireland for good, and in October 1368 died in Italy. He left by 
his wife, Elizabeth de Burgo, only one child, Philippa, who 
later marrying Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, passed the 
earldom of Ulster to the Mortimers and in the end to the crown 
of England. 

The Statutes of Kilkenny marked the failure of the Conquest 
of Ireland as it was meant to be, viz. a complete reduction of 
the whole island to English law and Norman lordship. Their 
object on the English side was 'to cut the losses' and in aban- 
doning a large part of Ireland to enforce in the still 'English 
land' the use of English law, custom, and speech. It was only 
in the so-called 'obedient shires', covering about a third of 
Ireland, that the government hoped to count on a continued 
English population, the enforcement of royal orders, and the 

1 A parliament of 1351 had already spoken of this 'March law' thus: 
'Whereas in disputes among English and English they have heen -wont 
to be governed by the law of the March and the Brehon law, which ts 
not law and ought not to bt called law and is not the law of the land t ' etc. 


use of the Common law. The 'degenerate' English on the 
Marches were by origin Frenchmen, in the course of two cen- 
turies they were becoming Irish, and they lived in a feudal 
world of their own, in which Irish and feudal law were strangely 
mingled, and in which they ceased to pay their homages, dues, 
and services to the Crown. In order to keep them for the 
English connexion, they were now allowed to maintain Irish 
troops, and were made responsible for not only their families 
but their followers and retainers as if they were 'captains of 
their nations'. It was hoped that penalties or concessions 
would prevent their becoming still further Irish. The loyal 
English, for their part, were to return to the use of the bow 
and the heavy Norman saddle, for it was by such that then- 
first victories had been won. In the obedient shires the 
militia duty was to be enforced and wardens of the peace were 
to supervise it. Thus between the common folk of the counties 
and the feudal bulwark in the Marches the English land might 
be kept intact. 

The phrase 'chieftains of the English lineage' is significant. 
These were the Butlers, Burkes, Roches, Geraldines, and such 
who now lorded it over a third of the island. A further phrase, 
'captains of their nations', is henceforth a legal phrase and fact 
applied till the end of the sixteenth century to the chiefs and 
lords, both Gaelic and Norman. But, whatever government 
might enact, in fact the Gaelic speech and culture with all its 
attraction of music, poetry, and epic was destined to capture 
the chiefs of lineage and their English vassals. That which 
might have prevented it was not attempted, such as a fresh 
influx of the more modern English race or a university 
which might have made an English culture-centre of Dublin. 1 

The phrase 'Irish enemy* is equally significant. Since John's 
reign the admission of the native Irish to English law and 
liberty had been a burning question, it had often been asked 
for and on the royal side granted and by the selfish colonial 
feeling thwarted. Now the question was solved in a way fatal 

1 A university had been attempted in Dubhn in 1310-1320 by 
Bikenor, archbishop of Dubhn, but came to nothing, and Ireland had 
no State university till Trinity College was founded in 1592. 


to the union and fusion of both races. It is not too much to 
speak of the Outlawry of the Irish race as enacted by these 
statutes. Admission to English law was henceforth limited to 
the Irish living among the English' and accepting the English 
tradition, or to grants made for fee or favour to some head of 
an Irish sept and his kinsmen. The charters of emancipation 
frequently granted, of which many survive or are recorded, 
attest by the provisions of the rights to which the recipient 
is now admitted the disabilities that the Irish suffered when 
'rightless' in the eyes of the law. 1 

The Irish themselves, it must be admitted, contributed to 
this final division. Clinging proudly to the Irish language and 
their own law, what did they know or care for sheriffs, assizes, 
juries, the procedure and the dreadful penalties of the Common 
law, expressed in French and English. The time had now 
come, they thought, to reverse the Conquest and recover large 
parts of Ireland, in which they could enjoy as before the old 
Gaelic ideal of life. 

From the English point of view no area was properly English 
and no population truly under the Crown unless it was organ- 
ized shire-land, and hence till the reign of James I large areas 
in the west and north were not subject either to the benefits 
or duties of law. Nevertheless the legal titles of the first 
conquerors and the rights of the Crown, even if for two cen- 
turies they were abandoned, did not become dead in law, and 
it remained for many a chief in the sixteenth century to be 
told that legally he and his people were mere encroachers and 
intruders upon some Englishman's land or an inheritance of 
the Crown. For such an injustice the statutes of Kilkenny 
remained the first legal quotation. 

The mass of the Irish had never been in full possession of 
English liberty, but by tacit acceptance the chief dynasts, the 
so-called Five Bloods, had been law-worthy. Now even this 
was taken away from the proudest of the Irish kings, who 

1 These charters, granted to an individual 'of Irish nation', -which 
went on till the end of Elizabeth's reign, allow the recipient and his 
issue to buy, inherit, bequeath, and transfer land and property, to 
trade freely and follow professions, to have justice done to himself and 
to answer for himself ur the King's courts, to enjoy Church livings and 
offices (if a dene) and to have and use all other such rights as the 
King's liege subjects use and enjoy. 


henceforth were regarded as rightless and of 'Irish condition 
and servitude'. They were no longer subjects and could not 
inherit or hold land, or have office or living among the Eng- 
lishry or have justice done in their courts. Thus did the old 
native race, in so far as it lived its own life, become hi legal 
parlance 'the King's Irish enemies', a very significant phrase. 
But the English, however 'degenerate' and rebel they might 
become, remained always 'English lieges', who might be 
recovered to loyalty and their duty. 

To enforce these discriminating acts was to prove a task 
almost impossible. What was to prevent the feudal English 
from intermaniage and fosterage with so attractive and proud 
a race as the Gaels? Many instances prove that they could not 
be prevented, though for long the great earls did not take to 
themselves Irish wives. Royal licence could be obtained or 
purchased to break these laws, and later on acts of parliament 
could be passed to that effect; nevertheless they hung over the 
heads of offenders, and in the next century an earl of Desmond 
was executed on the charge of violating them. 

English law once enacted, even by a petty parliament of the 
Pale, was a sharp-edged sword, even though it was generally 
suspended. Two outstanding instances of when it fell are 
those of Art Oge MacMurrough Kavanagh, king of Leinster, 
who, when he married Elizabeth le Veel, heiress of the barony 
of Norragh in Kildare, was not allowed as an 'Irish enemy' to 
enter upon a feudal estate; the other is that of Conn O'Neill, 
son of the reigning O'Neill, who married a daughter of the Earl 
of Kildare, yet this marriage was not valid in law for him or 
her until an act of Parliament in 1480 enfranchised him and 
his issue by her. 

The statutes of Kilkenny were given the most solemn force 
possible by the signature of the royal duke and the full consent 
of the council and parliament, and at the request of the arch- 
bishops of Dublin, Cashel, and Tuam, and the bishops of 
Waterford-Lismore, Killaloe, Ossory, Leighlin, and Cloyne, 
who, 'all being present at the said parliament did fulminate 
sentence of excommunication against those contravening the 
aforesaid statutes'. 


There was no protest on the part of the native Church and 
lay leaders. For over two hundred years the chiefs cared for 
little but the recovery of their local lordships, nor did they 
realize the future danger for them in the acts of a parliament 
which, though it only represented the colonists, could legislate 
for all Ireland and had now legalized the outlawry of the native 
race. Yet up to 1625 the law had little difficulty in proving 
the Irish mere squatters on 'Englishmen's or Crown lands' and 
so dispossessing them or reducing them to mere leaseholders 
or tenants-at-will. According to the English, after 1366 all the 
'mere Irish' living under Brehon law were 'of Irish and servile 
condition'. Even a man of Irish surname, living in a town or 
manor, might have his right to his property or trade questioned. 
The Irish knew well the difference between 'free races' ('saor- 
chlanna') and 'unfree races' ('daor-chlanna') in their own law, 
but ignored or did not understand the hidden machinery of 
royal or feudal law which could be used to destroy them. The 
Anglo-Irish, on the other hand, though many of them became 
'degenerate', never lost the protection of Common law and 
Magna Carta, and thus between the 'King's Irish rebels' and 
the 'King's Irish enemies' there remained always a world of 

Few could have seen how the Kilkenny statutes would work. 
After 1366 the English language ordained in them dwindled 
away and until the seventeenth century had no great history 
in Ireland. The French of the feudal class became rusty and 
died out among them, save in the nearer parts, but it was Irish 
and not the English of Chaucer that they acquired instead. 

The statutes of Kilkenny became to the colonists almost as 
sacred as Magna Carta and were many times reissued. The 
penalties were always there and served to keep all privileges 
in the hands of the Englishry. But when in Poynings' parlia- 
ment in 1495 they were once more enacted, there had to be 
passed over those two acts which forbade the speaking of Irish 
and riding after the Irish fashion. So common by that time 
among the English and even in the Pale had the language and 
horsemanship of the 'Irish enemy' become. 



ROYAL visits, such as those of Lionel, covering a number 
of years, would doubtless have preserved a large part of 
Ireland to the English Crown. But not for many years 
again was a royal prince to be seen in Ireland, and after the 
departure of Clarence the native chiefs continued their re- 
conquests. The Englishry were pushed back in many a point 
along the border, and among the states founded by the warrior 
chiefs we may note two in Ulster and one in Desmond. In the 
latter there were already the two MacCarthy chiefs, MacCarthy 
More and MacCarthy Reagh of Carbery; now there arose a 
Dermot MacCarthy whom Lionel had for a time checked, but 
who by his death in 1368 had created by the strong hand a 
third lordship for this race, that of Muskerry in west Cork. 
In Ulster the earldom was assailed by chiefs bent upon carving 
out new lordships, and among these Cumhaidhe O'Cathain, 
called in English tradition 'Cooey na Gall' ('of the Foreigners', 
because he spent his youth among the English and learned 
their use of armour and tactics), founded a lordship in the 
present county of Deny, called Iraght O'Cahan. 

A still greater state was that of the O'Neills of Clandeboy, a 
race descended from the Aedh Buidhe who was king of Tir 
Eoghain in 1280. Because the Earl of Ulster had favoured 
him, his children were allowed to expand at the expense of 
older native chiefs on the east side of the Bann, while Donal 
O'Neill, son of Brian, continued the line of 'The Great O'Neill 
of Tyrone'. In the course of a century from about 1350 the 
O'Neills of Clandeboy founded a Gaelic state which stretched 
from the Glens of Antrim to Belfast and the north part of 
Down. They conquered not only the colonial land but also 
wiped out the MacDunlevys and O'Flynns, who had formerly 
ruled in Ulidia. 

Meanwhile the Dublin government could command little 



more than Leinster and the towns. On the borders it left the 
feudal lords and 'the chieftains of lineage' to cope with the 
Irish as best they could, and hi order to do so these earls and 
barons hired kerns and 'bonnaughts' (Irish mercenaries). 
Already hi 1314 Edmund Butler had 'put Dermot son of Tur- 
loch O'Brien and his kerns at coign on the English farmers 
of his country'. 'Coign' was the billeting of troops on one's 
tenants according to old Irish law, but it was hateful to the 
feudal class and caused the exodus of many of the lesser 
Englishry from Ireland. 

The three Earls of Kildare, Desmond, and Ormond were 
now the leaders of the 'English by blood'. Of the three, 
Gerald, third earl of Desmond (1359-1398), ruled four coun- 
ties in the south, while James Butler, second earl of Ormond 
1350-1382), by royal grants had the Palatine lordship of 
Tipperary and the prisage of wines throughout Ireland. The 
Desmond Geraldines were before long to turn Irish, but the 
Butlers remained loyal to the English connexion, and this was 
due to a royal marriage. The first Earl of Ormond, James, 
married Eleanor Bohun, a granddaughter of Edward I; then- 
son, called the 'noble earl' as a kinsman of the King, inherited 
rich lands in England. 

It was the 'land of peace' which continued to occupy the 
main attention of the English Crown. In 1368 at a council in 
Guildford the King stated that he had heard from the faithful 
subjects of Ireland 'how that the Irish ride in hostile array 
through every part of the said land so that it is at point to be 
lost if remedy be not immediately supplied'. He therefore 
had summoned a parliament to Dublin in May 1367, which 
advised that the only salvation was in the continuous residence 
of the Earls and others who have inheritance in Ireland. The 
King therefore now by the advice of his English peers and 
council ordained that those hi England who have lands in 
Ireland should return to reside or supply men for the defence 
of the same before next Easter, or in default be deprived of 
those lands. This was the first Absentee act; there was to be 
a still more severe one in 1380. 

The French war was now proving a failure and England had 
little money or men to spare for Ireland, but among the 


transient viceroys a strong man was found in Sir William de 
Windsor (1369-1376), who came in June 1369 with the title 
of Lieutenant. In the first year of his office a great triumph 
for the Irish took place in Munster. Brian O'Brien, king of 
Thomond, crossed the Shannon and at Monasteraneany de- 
feated his enemy, the Earl of Desmond, and took him prisoner 
on July roth 1370. He then occupied and looted Limerick 
and the Earl was only ransomed after a tedious captivity by 
the lieutenant. O'Brien and the Irish of Munster, Connacht, 
and Leinster were now, it was said, 'confederated to make a 
universal conquest of Ireland'. To cope with such a rising, 
Windsor attempted to wring money out of the colony, and in 
1371, besides getting local grants, he forced one parliament at 
Kilkenny into granting three thousand pounds and another 
at Baldoyle two thousand pounds. This was more than the 
Anglo-Irish could pay in one year and on their protest the 
aged King recalled Him but soon sent him back to raise 
the needed supplies. In 1375 Edward directed the Irish 
parliament to send sixty representatives to appear before the 
English Council with their complaints in February 1376, 
namely, two from each county to represent the nobles and 
commons, two from each town, and two clerics from each 
diocese. Although they sent these delegates, the united Par- 
liament declared that 'according to the rights and liberties 
enjoyed from the time of the Conquest and before, they were 
not bound to send such representatives, and though they now 
elected them they reserved the right of assenting to any sub- 
sidies made in their name; moreover, their present compliance 
was not hereafter to be taken in prejudice of the rights, laws 
and customs which they had enjoyed from the time of the 
Conquest and before'. 

Nothing came of the visit of the Irish deputies to England, 
save that the council superseded Windsor and made Ormond 
justiciar in July 1376. They attempted to impeach Windsor 
and their complaints were heard hi the Good Parliament of 
April-July 1376. In this famous parliament the process of 
Impeachment originated, and possibly the Irish complaints 
aided it; in fact, however, as long as it, lasted the Irish parlia- 
ment was never able to impeach ministers of state, who were 


responsible only to the Crown in England. But from this 
time the Irish parliament took a final shape, which lasted till 
1537. It was now established that for taxation purposes the 
assent of parliament was necessary and local taxation by 
agreement with towns, estates, and counties ceased. In the 
parliament or council of 1372 two clerical proctors from each 
diocese were added to the commons. The obligation of lay 
magnates to attend parliament became a matter of tenure-in- 
chief of the Crown and the writs of individual summons were 
restricted to the earls, barons, and prelates. 

After the departure of Windsor the Irish in their various 
combinations attacked the colony on every side. Of all the 
losses since that of Ulster the worst was that of the once 
English 'Land of Leinster'. It might almost be said that had 
geography made this province a land as level as Meath Eng- 
land's first conquest of Ireland would never have been a 
failure. Though Norman towns and manors encircled Leinster, 
the whole wild inland country, which was the nominal demesne 
of the King and Archbishop, in reality remained in the hands 
of the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles. By 1400 the whole lovely 
eastern coast from Bray to Arklow was a solitary stretch 
where scarcely an English ship appeared, where there was 
scarcely a colonist and where only the royal castles of Wicklow 
and Newcastle kept a precarious hold. The O'Byrnes became 
lords not only of the mountains but of the coast from Bray 
to Arklow and so inland to Shillelagh. And Glenmalure, the 
wildest and most impenetrable defile in Wicklow, was their 
final stronghold. 

The natural leader of the Leinster Irish was MacMurrough 
Eavanagh, the descendant of Donal Kavanagh. For over a 
century his race, left in possession of part of Hy Kinsella, and 
favoured by the Bigod descendants of Strongbow, remained 
fairlypeaceable, but on the extinction of the Bigods in 1306 they 
reasserted their old kingdom of Leinster. Carlow was renewed 
as a fief to Thomas of Brotherton, younger son of Edward I, 
but on the passing of this feudal state to an absentee English 
prince the MacMurroughs seized the opportunity to assert their 
ancient kingship, and in 1327 the Irish of Leinster had met 
and chosen as king over them Donal son of Art MacMurrough. 


From this time until the days of Henry VIII MacMurrough 
Kavanagh styled himself 'Rex Lagenie'. 

Absenteeism and the extinction of Anglo-Norman families 
favoured the Irish recovery. The two baronies of Idrone and 
Forth O'Nolan, formerly the heritage of Raymond le Gros in 
Carlow, fell into MacMurrough hands when the Carews, barons 
of Idrone, expired about 1370. So did the Kavanaghs build 
up the old Hy Kinsella again, rich and level country backed 
by the inaccessible range of Mount Leinster and by great woods 
from which no Norman force could hope to dislodge them. The 
Dublin government realized so pressing a danger, and Duke 
Lionel made war on the Leinster Irish and captured Art More, 
son of the Donal of 1327, who ended his days in Dublin Castle. 
But his elder son Donal took his place and in 1372 had to be 
bought off with a fee of eighty marks from the Exchequer, 
which became an annuity regularly paid to the MacMurroughs 
up to the year 1536. 


In Art Oge appeared the greatest of Donal's descendants 
and of the medieval chiefs of Ireland the one who most ruined 
the English colony. Inaugurated king of Leinster in 1376, 
Art took the field with colours flying, and, summoning all the 
hereditary vassals of the old kings of Leinster, the O'Mores, 
O'Connors, O'Byrnes, O'Dempseys, and the rest, ravaged the 
colonial lands until the terrified officials of the Exchequer 
renewed to him the grant made to his uncle. 

And now the Anglo-Irish at last got a Prince of the Blood 
as viceroy. Edmund Mortimer, third earl of March, was 
husband of Philippa, daughter of Lionel of Clarence. In May 
1380 he landed as the King's lieutenant with a considerable 
army, bent upon the recovery of his Irish estates, but after a 
long and gallant march as far northwards as Coleraine and 
then back to Dunamase in Leix, where he made O'More swear 
vassalage again, and then down to Cork, he died suddenly hi 
December 1381. Himself a young man, he left by Philippa an 
infant heir, Roger, a boy of eight, who in 1385 was declared 
heir to the throne after Richard. 


Richard II succeeded to the throne of England in 1377, a 
boy of eleven, who as he grew to manhood proved himself of 
a sensitive and artistic temperament marred by weakness and 
indecision and ill-fitted to cope with the violent nobles who 
surrounded the throne. For Ireland Richard seems to have 
had a real solicitude and a desire to set things right. His 
lordship there was full of lapsed fiefs, and Ulster, Connacht, 
Westmeath, and a large part of Leinster might be reckoned as 
gone. Close to Dublin the Irish septs held the great mountain 
plateau and menaced Wexford, Carlow, and Kildare. The 
absentee evil was a very great one, for by it English lands 
passed to the neighbouring Irish and Normans. An exodus 
had set in of the more English tenantry, while the further 
Englishry were becoming Irish in language, law, dress, and 
warlike pursuits. The more the colony dwindled in size and 
English order, the greater became the heads of the original 
families. The two Burkes dominated most of Connacht, the 
Kildare earldom spread from Kildare to meet in Carlow the 
power of the Butlers, with whom the lands of the Desmond 
earls marched at Clonmel and Kilf eakle. The Earls of Ormond 
had lost to the O'Kennedys upper Ormond, but in south Tip- 
perary and in Kilkenny they formed a compact power which 
reached its height when in 1391 the Despenser heir of the 
Liberty of Kilkenny conveyed to James, third earl of Ormond, 
his manor and castle at Kilkenny with numerous rich lands 
and manors attached. This great territory with its centre in 
the noble castle that overlooks the Nore became under its 
Palatine lords an almost sovereign state and an 'English land' 
in speech and culture second only to the Pale itself. 

The Irish chiefs were now all bent on building up their local 
lordships, and the dream of restoring the High kingship was 
abandoned. They did, however, admit the judicial, political, 
and military supremacy of the old province kmgs, and even as 
MacMurrough was admitted to be king by his 'urraghts' so 
were O'Neill and O'Connor. The Irish mind could well con- 
ceive of a De Burgo as 'Lord of the English of Connacht' and 
an O'Connor as 'king of the Gael of Connacht', existing side 
by side. For this later title there were now two claimants, 


Turloch Donn and Turloch Ruadh O'Connor; their feud was 
fatal to the old kingship, and though in 1385 they came to an 
understanding, the kingship was never united again. 1 

Imitating the Normans in war, castles, and heraldry, the 
Irish chiefs strove also to attain that primogeniture which gave 
the feudal class much of its stability. The 'derb-fine 1 rule for 
the succession to chieftainships lasted indeed till 1603 with the 
claims of the 'Rig-domnas', or royal heirs, but Tanistoy was 
now general, by which in the lifetime of a chief a 'Tanist* or 
successor was appointed who would rule till the chief's son 
came of age. This narrowed down the succession, and it 
would seem that the Tanist's son rarely claimed to succeed 
his father after the interim. In one or two families such as 
MacCarthy and O'Neill of Tyrone a long-sustained and success- 
ful effort took place to secure the succession from father to 
son, but the claims of 'royal heirs' according to law were often 
asserted and led to long and destructive succession-wars. 

The way for Richard's visit was prepared by a number of 
viceroys, of whom the most gallant figure is James, third Earl 
of Ormond, a brave knight who spoke the native language 
fluently and was trusted by the Irish. The King's Irish ad- 
visers, such as John Colton, archbishop of Armagh, sent long 
and eloquent reports on the Irish situation. In these reports 
the name of Art MacMurrough often occurred and inspired 
Richard with the determination that in him was the chief 
'Irish enemy'. Art with an army of his vassals had occupied 
most of county Carlow and further in 1390 had married 
Elizabeth Calfe, heiress of the barony of Norragh in county 
Eildare. In her name he claimed this estate, but the law did 
not admit that a 'mere Irishman' could hold English land, and 
so he was denied possession. In his anger he committed 
dreadful ravages, with a great host burned the town of Naas, 
and wrought rum among the Englishry of counties Kildare, 
Wexford, and Carlow. 

King Richard landed at Waterf ord on October 2nd 1394 with 

1 From this Turloch 'Bonn* ('the Brown') we gat the still surviving 
title of O'Connor Don. 


a large army, and all the royal power was for once exercised in 
Ireland by the monarch. The English parliament had granted 
large sums for the recovery of Ireland and Richard called upon 
the great absentees to accompany him. 1 Before his departure 
he restored the Honour of Carlow to Thomas Mowbray, earl of 
Nottingham and Earl Marshal, who came with the King, as 
did also Roger Mortimer, heir to the throne, and earl of March 
and Ulster. 

From Waterford Richard marched up the Barrow, admiring 
on his way the luxuriant beauty of Leinster, and sending his 
lieutenants inland to wage war on Art MacMurrough, who 
burned New Ross but fell back before the English on to his 
woodland fastness of Garbh-choill at the foot of Mount 

Marching by Kilkenny, Richard reached Dublin hi Novem- 
ber and spent the Christmas there in the castle. There the 
great plan for Ireland was evolved. In a letter to his uncle, 
Edmund of York, Regent of England, Richard divided Ireland 
into 'the wild Irish, our enemies; English rebels; and obedient 
English'. Of the English 'rebels' he wrote 'they have become 
disobedient through injustice practised upon them by our 
officers and if they are not won over they will join the Irish 
enemies'. As for the Irish, he had already written from 
England to O'Neill, as the greatest of the Irish, promising 'to 
do justice to every man'. 

According to the plan which the Earl of Ormond, the arch- 
bishops of Armagh and Tuam and others suggested to the 
King, the Irish were to be induced into an honourable sub- 
mission and recognized as vassals of the Crown, with the 
exception of Art MacMurrough. On the Irish side, it seems 
that O'Connor and other chiefs urged Niall More O'Neill to 
lead a general resistance to Richard, but Archbishop Colton 
induced the king of Tir Eoghain to submit, Ormond and 

1 A statute of Absentees for Ireland was passed in the English 
Parliament of 1380 by which all subjects who have lands, rents, bene- 
fices, offices, and other possessions in Ireland shall return to reside 
there and hold such lands, etc., or send men to defend them; otherwise 
two-thirds of the profits shall be forfeited to the use of the justiciar and 
government for the use and defence of the State. This important act 
was often put into force in the next two centuries. 


Desmond induced MacCarthy, O'Brien, and the southern chiefs 
to do the same, and the result was the greatest homaging 
of native Ireland to an English king that took place between 
1172 and 1540. 
The royal policy had four distinct objects: 

(a) The Irish chiefs except MacMurrough and his Leinster 
vassals were to surrender the lands they had 'usurped' from 
the English and promised a double obedience in future to the 
King as liege-lord and to the Norman earls to whom they 
owed simple homage as their suzerains. In return they were 
to be confirmed in their 'Irish lands', namely, those territories 
which they had always held from the time of the Conquest. 

(b) The 'rebel English' were to be pardoned and restored 
to their due allegiance. Of these, however, only eight, from 
Munster and Connacht, appeared to claim their pardon. 

(c) A definitely *EngHsh land' was to be created in eastern 
Ireland, east of a line drawn from Dundalk to the Boyne and 
down the Barrow to Waterford. In this English Tale' a new 
colony was to be planted and grants were to be made to new 

(d) In order to carry out the latter, the warlike Art Mac- 
Murrough and his vassals must be compelled to quit the lands 
of Leinster. 

On January 2Oth 1395, at Drogheda, Niall More made his 
submission to Richard, and his example was followed by all 
the chiefs of the Gaelic race save O'Donnell, his vassals in 
Fermanagh and Sligo, and the barbarous chieftains of the 
Connacht seaboard. Between January and May 1395 the 
King, the Earl Marshal, Ormond and other magnates received 
at Dublin or other centres the homage and submission of 
eighty paramount chiefs, who sometimes appeared with their 
tanists. At Drogheda on March i6th Niall Oge O'Neill sub- 
mitted to the King in the name of his father, 'prince of the 
Irish of Ulster', and also did simple homage to the Earl of 
Ulster. He promised to surrender all lands, lordships, and 
liberties unlawfully possessed by him or others under him, 
surrendering to the Earl the 'Bonnacht* or military service of 
the Irish of Ulster, and to come to parliaments and councils 
when summoned by the King, his heirs, or his deputies. He 


was followed by a whole body of his vassals, such as Magennis 
and MacMahon, who took the same terms; while John or 
Shane MacDonnell, who called himself 'constable of the Irish 
of Ulster', submitted separately. 1 From south Ulster and 
Meath came in O'Reilly of Brefhi and other 'captains of then- 
nations' and so further south the chiefs of northern Munster, 
O'Kennedy and others, who accepted Ormond as their over- 
lord. On March ist, at Dublin, Brian O'Brien, 'prince of the 
Irish of Thomond', did homage and was followed by a group of 
vassals in Clare. In like fashion did Turloch Donn O'Connor, 
'prince of the Irish of Connadrt', submit at Waterford for 
himself and a group of vassals covering a large part of that 
province; while at Kilkenny Taig MacCarthy More ('Major'), 
'prince of the Irish of Desmond', submitted and accepted 
Desmond as his over-lord; along with him MacCarthy, lord of 
Muskerry, bowed the knee.* 

The title 'Prince of the Irish of Ulster', etc., in the case of 
O'Neill, O'Connor, O'Brien, and MacCarthy attests the survival 
to this time of the old provincial kingships, at least in the mind 
of the native race. In one or two areas, such as Meath and 
north Munster, they had ceased to exist. But it is significant 
that after this solemn and general submission to their English 
lord the greater Irish chiefs dropped the title of 'long', and 
henceforth MacCarthy is MacCarthy More, instead of 'king of 
Desmond'. But MacMurrough Kavanagh continued on bis 
seal and elsewhere to use 'Rex Lagenie' up to Henry VIII's 
reign, and the annals, which are very conservative, continue 
to use the name 'Hi' for the great princes. 

For the Leinster rebels against whom Richard had sent his 
troops with fire and sword the terms were to be different. 
The Earl Marshal as Lord of Carlow dealt with Art Mac- 
Murrough, who by this time found himself abandoned in his 

1 This John was a brother of Donal MacDonnell of Harlaw, Lord' 
of the Isles; expelled by Donal, he had taken to the galloglass profession 
under O'Neill. In 1399 he mamed Margery Byset, heiress of the Glens 
of Antrim, and founded a MacDonnell lordship there. 

a The chief vassals of the province kings, such as MacMahon, vassal 
of O 'Neill, are called by the Anglo-Irish 'urraghs' or 'urraghts', a cor- 
ruption either of 'oimgh', tinder-king, or 'oireachf , the assembly of 
a king's chief vassals and electors. 


resistance, and on January 7th. 1395, at Tullow in Carlow, the 
king of Leinster pledged himself with all his vassals and 
fighting-men by the first Sunday of Lent to quit Leinster and 
go at the King's pay to conquer lands elsewhere occupied by 
rebels and enemies, which lands they should hold for ever of 
the King and his successors. Further, Art was granted the 
barony of Norragh and the annual fee of eighty marks for life. 
To these terms his 'urraghs', O'Byrne, O'Toole, O'Connor, 
and others, also bound themselves, and at Ballygory on 
February i6th Art and his under-chiefs did homage to the 
Earl Marshal. 

In the midst of all this homaging, on March 25th Richard 
knighted four Irish kings in Dublin, and of this ceremony and 
their behaviour Froissart gives a picturesque account. Charmed 
with so easy a surrender, Richard made several fine grants of 
lands in Leinster to his admiral, John de Beaumont, and others. 
By the end of April, however, Richard began to think of his 
return to England, to which the Lollard and other problems 
recalled him. Probably the King's facile imagination, which 
had been kindled with the idea of setting Ireland right, had 
now subsided. Though he had intended a parliament in 
Dublin, none such met to ratify the Irish submission or possibly 
to reverse the Statutes of Kilkenny. On May ist, on board his 
ship at Waterford, Richard knighted William de Burgo of 
Qanrickard, Walter de Bermingham of Athenry, two 'English 
rebels' and Turloch O'Connor Don, and so on May I5th he 
departed with all his chivalry for England, thus repeating the 
mistake of Henry II and John in leaving Ireland before their 
work was completed. It was, however, regarded as a spectacu- 
lar triumph hi England. 

The Irish chiefs had done their homage and taken their 
oaths in one language only, Irish, while the Norman 'rebels' 
took theirs in French or English. From what we read in 
Froissart of their taciturn pride and democratic sense and from 
their letters to the King, we can gather the difficulty of 
making these patriarchal kings into liege vassals of the Crown 
and members of the English-speaking parliament of Dublin. 

It is doubtful if the 'English land' was increased by a single 


acre as a result of these imposing submissions of 1395. They 
had been a triumph for the Gaelic chiefs, who were now admitted 
to be legal possessors of the land they had inherited, even if 
they must surrender lands 'usurped'. In return they had 
admitted the King as their sovereign, and in the case of Mac- 
Carthy, O'Kennedy, and O'Neill, admitted the Earls of Des- 
mond, Ormond, and Ulster as their immediate lords, so that 
no doubt could now exist that they had received a status in 
English law for their lands and chieftainships. Successfully 
completed on both sides, these treaties might have solved the 
great problem of the relation of the Irish princes to the English 
Crown. But in fact the bargains were not carried out, and 
O'Neill and the rest made no attempt to hand over the 'English 
lands' which they were said to have usurped, while Mac- 
Murrough and the Leinster chiefs made not the slightest 
attempt to quit the land of Leinster. Nor was the great sub- 
mission ever legalized by enactment of the Dublin parliament. 
On the English side the refusal of the chiefs, especially 
MacMurrough, to fulfil the terms was denounced as a breach of 
faith and led to Richard ITs second expedition. Nevertheless 
their submission was regarded as binding the future, and one 
of the arguments put forward by Henry VIII in talcing the 
Crown of Ireland in 1540 was the general acceptance of 
Richard II as over-lord in 1395, 

Roger Mortimer was now left as Lieutenant to enforce the 
terms and to recover his lordships of Leix and Ulster. In 
doing so he was slain in a battle of Kellistown in Carlow on 
July 2oth 1398 against an army of the Leinster Irish, in which 
he was said rashly to have worn only the linen dress of an 
Irish chief. Himself but twenty-five years of age, Mortimer 
left only an infant son, Edmund, and a daughter Anne. 

The news of this disaster filled King Richard with fury and 
despair, for Roger was heir to the childless kfrig and his chief 
lieutenant in his struggle with the baronial party. He revoked 
MacMurrough's grant of Norragh, and on June ist 1399 landed 
at Waterf ord with a large army, vowing to burn MacMurrough 
out of his woods. Again he marched by Kilkenny and sent 
the Earl of Gloucester to bring MacMurrough to submission. 


A meeting of the feudal host in its full panoply of armed 
knights in serried ranks and the light levies of the Irish under 
the king of Leinster in some unnamed glen of these wild 
mountains is the subject of one of the few illuminated pictures 
we have of Irish medieval history. Art MacMurrough is 
represented as riding a splendid black horse, without saddle 
or housings, which had cost four hundred cows. He wears 
a high, conical cap covering the nape of the neck, a parti- 
coloured cloak, long coat and under-coat, all of gay yellow, 
crimson, and blue. 1 He is described as a fine, large, handsome 
man, of stern, indomitable bearing, who refused to submit and 
boldly declared, 'I am rightful king of Ireland and it is unjust 
to deprive me of what is my land by conquest/ 

From Dublin Richard himself marched back to Waterf ord, 
for events in England compelled the return of him and his 
grand army. There the news of Derby's landing at Ravenspur 
reached him, and the last of the Plantagenets sailed from 
Ireland on August I3th 1399 to meet his tragic doom of 
deposition and death. 

1 See 'King Richard', A contemporary French poem by Jean Cretan, 
printed in Archaologia (1824); illuminations reproduced in Green's 
Short History, illustrated ed. 1898, p. 90$. 


HOME RULE, 1399-1477 

HENRY IV began his reign with conciliation to Ireland 
and restored to MacMurrough the barony of Norragh, 
which, however, Art kept for only a few years, and 
neither he nor his heirs ever claimed again. 

A new period now began between England and Ireland. 
With justice we may say that 1394 to 1399 ** '^ e kst e ^ ort 
of the English lordship' till Tudor times. The Lancastrian 
dynasty was too weak to attend to Ireland, and before long 
all England's ambition was diverted to the French wars and 
later all her energies to the Wars of the Roses. Only in an 
odd breathing-space up to 1485 did the English Crown turn 
its serious attention to the lordship of Ireland. The 'first 
conquest' begun by Henry II was now an obvious failure. As 
a result of a government which had no money or men to spare 
for Ireland, the native race recovered two-thirds of Ireland 
and spread once more the language and culture which during 
the Conquest had receded to remote parts. The national 
spirit reasserted itself and proved victorious over the alien 
one; unfortunately political unity was not restored with the 
racial unity, and the ideal of the fifty or sixty Gaelic 'captains 
of their nations' was simply to recover the old aristocratic 
tradition and the pedantic culture of the bards, Brehons, and 
chroniclers who surrounded them. The traditional world of 
Gaelic Ireland became as strong again as in the eleventh 
century, and a great body of manuscript literature in Irish 
comes down from these times. 

Not only did the colony dwindle but its language died away, 
for no University existed in Dublin, and the French-speaking 
feudal class took to Irish rather than English. There was 
an exodus of the common English and of the clerics, who pre- 
ferred to stay in England in spite of the severe Absentee act 
of 1380, numbers of the tenantry abandoned the country 


unable to endure the Irish advance or to tolerate the exactions 
of the March lords, and so there was a steady diminution of 
the Anglo-Irish race. In this Irish world the part which the 
government played became less and less. But the Pale of 
Leinster and Meath was still large, though destined to dwindle 
during the century. It becomes necessary to treat as almost 
separate entities the history of the Gaelic chiefs, the great 
earls and the feudal class, and the 'land of peace', as ruled by 
the Dublin government under the final control of the Crown. 
But the relations between the three were never entirely sus- 
pended, much as each moved on its own orbit. 

The high title of King's Lieutenant, now generally superseded 
the lesser title of Justiciar, his salary was increased, but such 
was the decline in the revenue that the expenses of Ireland 
had often to be met from the English exchequer. The pride 
of the Anglo-Irish was gratified by the appointment of great 
nobles or even princes of the Blood; while the Home Rule 
sentiment was occasionally met when the sword of State was 
committed to men like the Earl of Ormond, who was lieutenant 
several times during this period. 

On the accession of Henry V in 1413 a memorable viceroy 
appeared in John Talbot, Lord Furnival, afterwards earl of 
Shrewsbury, and one of England's most famous captains in 
France. He arrived in November 1414 and remained till 1419, 
grappling with the threefold problem of how to maintain the 
'English land', repulse the Irish enemy, and give force to the 
central government. By this time there was a sturdy and 
narrow Anglo-Saxon patriotism in England, equally hostile to 
Irish, Scots, Welsh, and Frenchmen, and Talbot felt this both 
for the Irish and the English of Ireland. In Dublin, where he 
ruled as viceroy for several periods till 1447, he tried to build 
up a pro-English officialdom which would ensure a strong and 
impartial government. His brother Richard, archbishop of 
Dublin and Chancellor, was his right-hand man against the 
Home Rule and aristocratic party led by James of Ormond, 
who is called the 'White Earl'. By this time the colonial 
feeling was expressing itself in parliamentary form and did not 
rest till it secured the legislative autonomy of Ireland. 


Talbot was succeeded by the Earl of Ormond, and he again 
in 1423 by a prince of the Blood who it was felt could command 
the general respect and allegiance of Ireland. Edmund 
Mortimer, earl of March and Ulster, son of the Roger slain 
in 1398, was now a man, but a man of unambitious character. 
By blood, if succession through women was allowed, he had 
the better right to the throne than the young Henry VI, but 
neither Henry IV nor Henry V had felt any reason to mistrust 
him. When Mortimer arrived in 1423 both Irish and English 
greeted him as the greatest of all the native magnates, and 
when he held his court at Trim five Ulster chiefs with Eoghan 
O'Neill at their head did homage to him, both as the King's 
deputy and as earl of Ulster. But Mortimer died suddenly of 
the plague early in 1425, leaving only a sister Anne, the wife 
of Richard, duke of Cambridge, and mother of the still more 
famous Richard, duke of York. Thus was extinguished the 
almost royal name of Mortimer. 

Talbot was at once appointed justiciar by the Council, and 
before the chiefs could depart compelled them into a further 
submission, and in all some nine of the greater chiefs made 
terms with the government, among others Eoghan O'Neill 
admitted the rights of the young Richard of York as earl of 
Ulster and his over-lord. After his uncle's death, Richard 
united in himself the lordships of Ulster, Trim, Leix, and 
Connacht in Ireland, of the Marches in Wales, and in England 
the duchy of York. He also had a double claim to the throne, 
that of Clarence and that of York, but for the present he was a 
loyal man, attached to the court and the cause of Humfrey, 
duke of Gloucester, the King's youngest uncle. 

After the death of Mortimer it was some twenty years before 
Ireland became important again in English eyes. Archbishop 
Richard Talbot strove to maintain an English faction in the 
government, but in fact the Home Rule party was now in 
the saddle and England, immersed hi a losing war in France, 
had to cut Ireland out. Not till the appointment of Richard, 
duke of York, as Lord Lieutenant in 1447, did Ireland count 
again in English politics. 


On their part, the Gaelic chiefs continued their local 
triumphs and built up lordships based on the old domains 
of their race or at the expense of the English colonists. Among 
these we may note the O'Connors, former kings of Connacht. 
Cathal Crovderg's line maintained itself till 1385, ousting the 
rival stocks, and then split into the two races of O'Connor Don 
and O'Connor Roe. In Ulster Eoghan O'Neill succeeded in 
1432 when he was made king of Ulster 'on the flagstone of the 
kings at Tullahoge by the will of God and men, bishops and 
sages'; he ruled till 1455 and built up a great O'Neill supremacy. 
In the north-west the great name was that of the OTtonnells, 
who dominated Tyrconnell and Fermanagh and in Sligo were 
over-lords of O'Connor Sligo. 

In the south-east, the great name was that of MacMurrough 
Kavanagh. In his later years Art Oge MacMurrough had 
shown himself more peaceful, for he had revived the vast 
family lordship in Hy Kinsella, In a deed of July 1417 he 
sought a safeguard for his son Gerald to travel freely through 
Ireland and the King's dominions, and in doing so he admitted 
himself liege-man and subject of Henry V. Early in 1418 Art 
died in his own fortress, having earned the title of 'the most 
fierce rebel, against whose power all Leinster could not stand'. 
Art was succeeded by his son Donough, who again was suc- 
ceeded by his nephew Donal Reagh ('Riabhach'); he ruled till 
1476 and under him the domain of the MacMurroughs stretched 
from the Dullough in north Carlow to Enniscorthy in Wexf ord. 
Donal's seal is extant which bears the title 'Rex Lagenie', and 
this title his race retained till 1522. l 

The great earldoms and the feudal English dominated 
a large part of Ireland and were an element on which the 
English connexion might still reckon. These were the 'Middle 
nation' who stood half-way between the English and the Irish 
division in their sympathies and, reared as they were among 
a dominant Irish population, were familiar with Irish speech, 
culture, and law. A typical example is Gerald, third earl of 
Desmond, who died in 1398. In Irish tradition Gerald was 

1 Nevertheless the law never recognized such Irish lordships aa 
MacMurrough's to be legal, see later p 191. 


the 'Gear6id larla' who was a poet and a lover of the Gaelic 
spirit. He composed verses both in Gaelic and French, and 
in the annals of Clonmacnois is described as 'a. nobleman of 
wonderful bounty, cheerfulness in conversation, easie of access, 
charitable in his deeds, a witty and ingenious composer of 
Irish poetry, a learned and profound chronicler, and in fine 
one of the English nobility that had Irish learning and the 
professors thereof in greatest reverence of all the English of 
Ireland'. Gerald got leave from the Crown to have his son 
James fostered among the O'Briens of Thomond, but his heir 
was his grandson Thomas, who succeeded in 1399. What 
followed is a signal example of how the Anglo-Norman race 
of Ireland was turning Irish. The young Thomas was about 
1416 ousted by his uncle James, who was backed by the 
O'Briens, on the grounds that he had married a low-born 
Irishwoman, Catherine MacConnac, and so violated not only 
the Statutes of Kilkenny, but the pride of the Geraldine race. 
Earl Thomas died in France in 1420, and his uncle James took 
his place, for the English government was powerless to prevent 
him. It was practically an assertion of Irish chieftainship and 
Tanistry among this great and once-feudal Norman race. 
James, the new earl, entered into alliance with the White Earl 
of Onnond, who procured many grants from the Crown for 
him, and as a result before his death in 1462 he lorded it over 
the four counties of Cork, Limerick, Kerry, and Waterford, 
and commanded the ports of Dingle, Tralee, Limerick, Youghal, 
and Cork. 

The three great earls of the South were destined to build 
up a supremacy over Ireland which passed successively from 
Ormond to Desmond and from Desmond to Kildare. Their 
junior branches began freely to intermarry with the Irish, and 
even in the loyal Butlers we find Richard, brother of the White 
Earl, marrying a Catherine O'Reilly. From this Richard 'of 
Polestown' in Kilkenny descended a Butler line which after 
a century succeeded to the earldom. His son Edmund, 
generally called 'MacRichard', married Catherine O'Carroll, 
and these junior Butlers became full of Gaelic blood. But the 
great Earls themselves maintained the purity of their stock 
and for some generations never married Irish. This did not 


prevent a gallant knight such as James, fourth or White Ear 
of Ormond, from having Gaelic sympathies and speaking Irish, 
or, on the other hand, making war upon the neighbouring 
septs. His aunt Joan had married Taig O'Carroll, lord of Ely, 
and yet in September 1407 the Deputy and Ormond won a 
great victory at Callan, in which Taig was defeated and slain, 
a native hero and 'a man of great account and fame with the 
professors of poetry and music of Ireland and Scotland'. 

That great and widespread class in Munster, Meath, and 
the borders whom the law called 'chieftains of lineage* and 
'degenerate English', now aspired to great local lordships like 
the Irish themselves, and, against the whole spirit of English 
monarchy, built up whole 'countries' twenty or thirty miles 
square, in which they ruled partly like feudal seigneurs and 
partly like Gaelic kings. 

The Gaelic and the Norman lords, indeed, in their use of the 
Irish language, their patronage of Brehons and bards, their 
standing forces and love of local independence, were becoming 
almost indistinguishable, and the prohibition of intermarriage 
and fosterage went by the board. Ireland became a chequer- 
board for an aristocracy derived from both races, in many ways 
acting together, though for long the 'Old English' boasted 
that they were of the blood of the Conquest and thought 
themselves a superior race. 

The course of events had made them the masters of Ireland, 
save for the Pale, which remained England's one foothold and 
bridge-head here. 

In England after the death of the Duke of Bedford in 1435 
everything made for the Wars of the Roses. The growing loss 
of France and heavy taxation led to the formation of two 
parties at Court, the one led by Humfrey, duke of Gloucester, 
Henry V's only surviving brother, which was for continuing 
the war, and the other led by the Dukes of Somerset and 
Suffolk, which wanted to make terms with France while 
possible. Henry VI was 'a good, innocent, and simple man', 
ruled by his masterful wife, Margaret of Anjou. As they were 
childless, Gloucester was next in succession, so when he was 


removed or died mysteriously in February 1447 the Court 
party seemed to triumph. But this only threw into more 
prominence Richard of York, whom many regarded as a more 
legitimate heir to the throne than Henry himself. Along with 
this went universal 'lack of governance', the passion for getting 
local lordship, often by ousting other men, and the evils called 
'livery and maintenance', namely, the enlisting of retainers 
and maintaining by force the lord's law-suits and quarrels. 

In Ireland the same passion for lordship was displayed, and 
man-power was what the local magnates desired. The Anglo- 
Irish lords more and more quartered upon their tenants their 
armed retainers, kern, galloglasses and bonnaughts, and hence 
arose what the English government regarded as the evils of 
'coigny, livery, kernety, bonnaught, cuddies', etc., which in 
the sixteenth century Tudor officials denounced as 'abominable 
Irish exactions' and 'Irish cuttings and spendings'. They were 
derived from Gaelic custom and hence to the numerous Irish 
tenants of these earls and 'chieftains of lineage' seemed en- 
durable, but to the English tenants they were intolerable and 
to the government odious. But even the viceroys from time 
to time maintained the State army by quartering it on the 
Pale by the rule of 'coigny'. 1 

The feuds of the great men in England in the shires and at 
court were finally to end in the wars of the Roses. The 
Somerset party in England thought to get rid of their greatest 
opponent by appointing Richard of York as Lieutenant of 
Ireland in December 1447 for ten years. By this they hoped 
to get him out of the way, but Richard was a skilful politician 
and determined to use this office in such a way as to enlist 
Ireland for his cause in the inevitable struggle. 

In Ireland parliament and government were falling into the 
hands of the Patriot party, and when in 1447 the Earl of 
Shrewsbury retired from office the Anglo-Irish came into full 
power. Already, however, the great family of Ormond had 
taken their side in the war that was to break out hi England, 
for James, son and heir of the White Earl, married Eleanor, 
sister of the Duke of Somerset, and was created earl of Wiltshire. 
1 'Billeting', from the Irish 'coinmhedh', maintenance.' 


On July 6th 1449 Richard landed at Howth accompanied 
by his beautiful wife Cecily Nevill, 'The Rose of Raby', with 
a considerable army, and supreme powers as lieutenant. 
Richard was a tall and handsome man of princely and affable 
bearing; to the Anglo-Irish he stood for the great names of 
De Burgo, Lacy, and Mortimer, his ancestors; to the Irish he 
was 'the lord of the English of Ireland', in whose veins was 
the blood of Brian Boru. Richard cared less for setting the 
government of Ireland right than for enlisting the country on 
his side. The result of his thirteen years of power was to put 
the aristocratic Home Rule party into power for nearly a 
century and to win the hearts of nearly all Ireland for the 
romantic cause of the White Rose until every hope of it was 

Such was the charm that Richard displayed that, according 
to a later English chronicler, 'he got him such love and favour 
of that country and its inhabitants that their sincere and lovely 
affection could never be separated from him and his lineage'. 
At Trim and Carlingf ord, where he displayed the 'Black dragon' 
banner of the earldom, he received the homage of Magennis, 
MacMahon, O'Reilly, and MacQuillan (formerly Mandeville), 
whose forces in all amounted to over three thousand men, proof 
of what a 'land of war' Ireland had become. He then turned 
south and marched into Wicklow where Brian O'Byrne sub- 
mitted to him, and altogether over twenty-four of the leading 
Irish chiefs of Ulster and the midlands and the Old English 
of Munster came in and did homage and provided for his table. 
O'Neill of Tyrone in particular admitted the suzerainty of his 
over-lord, the Earl of Ulster, and in August of this year at 
Drogheda Henry O'Neill, eldest son of Eoghan, acting for his 
father, made a solemn treaty, By this he bound himself and 
his sept to be the men of the Duke, to restore all lands and 
castles formerly possessed by the Duke's ancestors as earls of 
Ulster, as well as the ancient 'bonnacht' or military service 
due from the Irish chiefs of Ulster, and to support the Duke if 
necessary with a thousand men. In such terms the Duke saw 
the makings of an Irish army which would maintain his cause 
in Ireland or even provide recruits for him in England. 
Actually, the treaty had little effect, for an Irish chief was 


not likely to surrender his conquests, but an entente was 
established between the House of York and the O'Neills which 
lasted for several generations and aided the race of Niall More 
in establishing an hereditary succession which lasted to the 
end of the next century. 

In October 1449 w 35 b m m Dublin Richard's third son, 
George, future duke of Clarence. This was a highly popular 
event; the Irish henceforth regarded Clarence as 'one of our- 
selves', and it was in the belief that Lambert Simnel was his 
son that he was crowned in Dublin. 

In May 1450 the King's chief minister, William de la Pole, 
duke of Suffolk, was murdered by the mob in escaping to 
France, and on hearing of the removal of his enemy York 
returned to England, where the Court had to take him into 
favour and confirm him as lieutenant. In October 1453 the 
birth of a royal prince, Edward, knocked him out of the 
succession, but on the King's becoming imbecile he was made 
Protector. On May 22nd 1455 the first clash in the Wars of the 
Roses took place at St. Albans, and there the Duke of Somerset 
was slain. On Lady Day 1458 a 'love-day' was staged in 
London hi which the Duke of York and the Queen walked in 
procession hand in hand, but the lords who were there 'never 
came together again after that time to parliament or council 
unless it were in field with spear and shield'. 

Next at 'the Rout of Ludlow' in October 1459, the Yorkist 
forces were scattered, and York made for Ireland and his son 
Edward of March and his nephew Richard of Warwick for 
Calais. An English parliament attainted York and all his 
adherents, so that his office of Lord Lieutenant legally ceased. 
But this meant nothing to the Anglo-Irish, for they now had 
a long of their own' and meant to make use of him. On 
Richard's return he was welcomed with enthusiasm and when 
he summoned a parliament to Drogheda in February 1460 it 
gave almost sovereign powers to the superseded viceroy and 
proceeded to assert its legislative independence in those words: 
'The land of Ireland is, and at all times hath been, corporate 
of itself by the ancient laws and customs used in the same, 
freed of the burden of any special law of the realm of England, 
save only such laws as by the lords spiritual and temporal and 


the commons of the said land had been in great council or 
Parliament there held admitted, accepted, affirmed, and 

Thus did Ireland, or rather the English colony, assert its 
separateness from England except for the personal link of the 
Crown. Richard accepted the declaration with some mis- 
givings, no doubt, for he was a true Englishman and a possible 
king, but for the present his purpose was to enlist on his side 
the magnates and people of Ireland. 

The invasion of England from the two points of Dublin and 
Calais was the next Yorkist step, and when Warwick took the 
King prisoner at the battle of Northampton in July 1460, 
York returned at once with many devoted followers from 
Ireland, and made an almost royal entry into London, while 
Parliament under pressure admitted his claim to succeed to 
the Crown on the death of Henry. But Richard did not live 
long to enjoy his triumph, for on December 3ist 1460 he was 
killed outside his own castle at Wakefield, in an encounter 
with a large Lancastrian army. His son the Earl of March, 
however, marched upon London, was crowned there as 
Edward IV, and secured his kingdom at Towton in March 1461. 
After this decisive battle, among others who paid for their 
defeat, James, fifth earl of Ormond and earl of Wiltshire, was 
taken and finally beheaded. In the new king Ireland welcomed 
with enthusiasm the triumph of hereditary succession and of 
a gallant and handsome youth who through his Irish descent 
was regarded as one of the English of Ireland. In Edward 
the vast, though at present unprofitable, estates of Ulster, 
Connacht, Trim, and Leix were merged in the English Crown. 

The popularity which Duke Richard had won for the House 
of York was to be deep and to last long. 'This race has ever 
desired to be ruled by great persons' and no better example 
of such a ruler has appeared either before or since, but that 
he had Ireland's interests at heart we can hardly suppose, and 
he did not scruple to drain the colony of men to such an extent 
that, as the chronicler says, 'the English domination was utterly 
dissolved and spoiled'. Another writer not long afterwards 


says: 'He so gained the hearts of the Irish nobility, that divers 
of them, especially those of Ulster, Clandeboy, the Glinnes, 
and the Ardes, which at that time was better inhabited with 
English nobility than any part of Monster or Connacht, came 
over with him against Henry VI to divers famous battles, 
lastly to Wakefield, where they not only lost their lives with 
him, but also left their country so naked of defence that the 
Irish, in the meantime, finding the enterprise so easy, cast up 
their old captain O'Neill, relyed with their ancient neighbours 
the Scots, and repossessed themselves of the whole country, 
which was the utter decay of Ulster.' His most lasting achieve- 
ment, indeed, was to give the parliament of the Anglo-Irish 
the opportunity under his great name to declare their right 
to determine their own laws at home. Of this sentiment the 
high peak was touched in 1460; it was one of the first objects 
of the Tudors to repeal it and so to end fifty years of Home 
Rule, but in some form or other the claim has never been 

The Yorkist cause was not immediately won in Ireland. 
John, 'brother of James who had fallen at Towton, and who 
was attainted along with other chief Lancastrians, returned 
to Ireland and summoned Edmund MacRichard and the local 
Butlers and the towns of Kilkenny and Clonmel to arms. But 
at Pilltown near Carrick-on-Suir in 1462, their forces were 
overthrown by Thomas, the new Earl of Desmond, and the 
Lancastrian attempt failed. The results were to be decisive in 
the history of this great and pro-English line of earls. Attainted 
by both parliaments (till the attainder was removed in 1476), 
Earl John and his brother Thomas remained absentees in 
England, leaving the Polestown branch their deputies in Ire- 
land, and on the death of Thomas in 1515 the senior line 
of the Butlers expired. 

The accession of Edward IV in England was a party 
triumph, not the work of the whole nation, and the wars of 
the Roses were far from ended. During their unsteady twenty- 
four years of rule, Edward and his brother Richard after him 
had practically to abandon Ireland to the great lords there 
who had supported their father. Their brother George, duke 


of Clarence, was nominal lieutenant most of the time until 
his execution in February 1478, but Irish earls ruled as his 
deputies. The system of governing Ireland by English-born 
viceroys had to give way to one in which 'over-mighty subjects' 
ruled the Pale, divided government offices among their sup- 
porters, used the revenues and forces of State for their own 
purposes, and at the same time ruled their vast earldoms like 
petty kings. 

The supremacy among the three great Earls passed succes- 
sively from Ormond to Desmond and then to Kildare, whose 
line kept it for some sixty years. The Butlers passed off the 
Irish stage when Earl John became an absentee. The Poles- 
town Butlers, their Irish deputies, had a hard struggle to 
maintain themselves between the two Geraldines of Desmond 
and Kildare, but loyally maintained the Lancastrian tradition. 
Irish marriages were becoming common, and these junior 
Butlers were already half Gaelic. Edmund MacRichard mar- 
ried Catherine O'Carroll, and his son James about 1463 married 
Saiv Kavanagh, daughter of Donal Reagh, king of Leinster, 
and had by her a famous son, Sir Piers 'the Red', in later times 
earl of Ossory and Ormond. 

The power of the Desmond earl was now princely. James, 
who ruled from 1416 to 1462, had made it supreme in the four 
south-west counties, and the main Desmond line was supported 
by four junior branches, the Knight of Kerry at Dingle, the 
Baron of Clanmaurice at Lixnaw, the Knight of Glin in 
Limerick, and the White Knight or Fitzgibbon at Kflmallock. 
He himself founded the important family of the Fitzgeralds 
of Decies in West Waterford which district he gave to his 
younger son Gerald. Among his English tenants James 
was a great palatine lord, to a widespread Gaelic population 
he was like an Irish 'Ri* to whom as a great prince of an 
accepted stock they gave generous obedience. In defiance of 
the Statutes of Kilkenny he granted portions of the earldom 
to Irish chiefs, thus he planted an O'Brien in the great castle 
and lordship of Carrigogunnell on the Shannon. The ruling 
race of Thomond were his allies, for he had been fostered among 
the O'Briens, and in the south-west MacCarthy More was true 


to the vassalage which the head of the race had admitted in 
1395, even if MacCarthy Reagh was hostile. 

The fame of the Earl reached even to Florence where the 
Secretary of State to the Republic in 1440 wrote him a flatter- 
ing letter, congratulating him of being of Florentine stock, of 
the ancient family of the Gherardini, 'so that the Florentines 
themselves could rejoice that through him they bore sway 
even in Ireland, the most remote island in the world'. When 
the Desmond power fell with a crash in 1583, it was written: 
'the Earl of Desmond grew into the greatest estate, power, and 
riches of any subject perhaps in the world, which is manifest 
by this that at his attainder he forfeited near 500,000 acres 
of land and had not less than 20 great houses and castles big 
enough for the residence of a prince.' 

This vast power, however, was built upon the subjection 
of his tenants, both English and Irish, to those impositions 
which were especially detested by later Tudor officials, and in 
the sixteenth-century history of Holinshed we read: 'James, 
Earl of Desmond, being suffered and not controlled, during 
the government of Richard, Duke of York, his godsip and of 
Thomas Earl of Kildare his kinsman, did put upon the King's 
subjects within the counties of Cork, Kerry, Limerick and 
Waterford the Irish impositions of quinio (coign) and livery, 
cartings, carriages, lodgings, cosherings, bonnaght and such 
like, which customs are the very breeders, maintainers and 
upholders of all Irish enormities.' 

For the law-cases of his Irish tenants Earl James introduced 
Gaelic brehons into Munster, and, since every great man must 
now have his family bard, he made an O'Daly his court poet. 
To maintain his troops, for every great man must now have 
an army, he brought in a Scottish galloglass family, the 
MacSheehys, from the North and quartered on his tenants 
numbers of kern, bonnachts, and other hired troops. 

Thomas succeeded his father James as earl and became 
deputy for the Duke of Clarence from 1463 to 1467. He held 
a parliament at Trim and Drogheda in 1465, some of whose 
acts are memorable. The attainder of Edmund MacRichard 
was reversed and the revolt of 1462 was thus pardoned. The 


Irish living in the counties of Meath, Louth, Dublin, and 
Kildare were ordered 'to take English surnames, to go as 
English, and be sworn as lieges within a year'. This provision 
is notable, because it is the first recognition of the Pale of 
four counties as the only portion left of the true 'English land', 
into which, however, the native race and language were fast 

Son of a father who had been fostered among the O'Briens 
and of a Burke mother, the Earl of Desmond had strong Irish 
sympathies. When he summoned parliament to Dublin in 
1464, MacWilliam of Qanrickard, Red Hugh O'Donnell, and 
other chiefs, both English and Irish, attended him, and the 
sight was seen of Irish chiefs and their galloglasses walking 
the Dublin streets, a token that the Norman and Celtic aris- 
tocracy were blending and become joint lords of Ireland. Yet 
Earl Thomas was a noble-minded man who spoke English, 
tried to reconcile the Butlers, and founded at Youghal a 
splendid collegiate church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, well 
endowed by him, which had a long history. Yet he was suspect 
of the English monarchy, both for his father's and his own 
favour to the Irish, and for his continuance in 'Irish imposi- 
tions'. There was, further, a suspicion that so great and 
splendid a lord might assume the Crown of Ireland, and whether 
Desmond ever entertained it we know not, but it is certain 
that for over seventy years there was a constant fear in 
England that some Irish lord would take upon him the 
sovereignty of Ireland. 

Suddenly, by one of the most dramatic surprises in Irish 
history, the greatest man among the English of Ireland was 
overthrown. King Edward was persuaded into an attempt to 
crush the Home Rule aristocracy, and in 1467 sent over as 
lieutenant Sir John Tibetot, earl of Worcester, a devoted 
partisan of the Yorkist House and a classical scholar and child 
of the Renaissance. Tibetot as Constable of England had 
ruthlessly sent to execution many enemies of the House of 
York and had earned the name of 'the Butcher'. He came 
over to assert the English control of Ireland and summoned 
a parliament to Drogheda at the end of 1467, wherein the 


sovereignty of Edward as Lord of Ireland was re-asserted and 
the bishops were ordered to preach general obedience to him. 
James Butler, son and heir of Edmund MacEichard, had his 
marriage with Saiv Kavanagh legitimized by act of Parliament. 
But the real thunder-bolt was fired when suddenly the two 
Earls of Desmond and Kildare were attainted 'for horrible 
treasons and felonies as well as in alliance, fosterage, and 
alterage with the Irish enemies of the King as in giving to 
them horses, harnesses, and arms'. Desmond was taken and 
beheaded at Drogheda on February I4th 1468, but Kildare 
was lucky enough to procure a pardon. 

The judicial murder of Earl Thomas struck both the 
Irish and English of Ireland with universal horror. It was a 
deadly and determined blow at the Home Rule aristocracy, 
and, above all, a clear warning from the English government 
that even the greatest of the Anglo-Irish was not to be per- 
mitted to favour the Irish race or to forsake the strict lines 
of English loyalty as laid down by the statutes of Kilkenny. 
The fatal result was to drive the great house of Desmond over 
to the Irish side and to ensure its almost permanent disloyalty 
till its tragic fall in 1583. James, son of the executed earl, at 
once rose in arms and swore that he and his would never 
attend parliament or council again or enter any walled town 
of the King except at their own pleasure. This James, sixth 
earl, went even more Irish than his father and by marrying 
Margaret O'Brien started the tradition among the Desmond 
Geraldines of marrying Irish wives. 

The blow, however, was premature and King Edward him- 
self in 1470 had to fly to Holland before an uprising of the 
Lancastrian party, in which Tibetot himself was taken and 
executed after his own fashion, and on Edward's restoration 
in 1471, nothing remained for him but to leave in power in 
Ireland the Home Rule aristocracy. Thus did Thomas, earl 
of Kildare, become Deputy under the Duke of Clarence from 
1470 till his own death in March 1477. The houses of Ormond 
and Desmond now passed out of the running, and from this 
time to 1534 the Earls of Kildare became the real rulers of 
the country. 

All this time the independence of the Irish parliament was 


growing, and an act of 1468 asserted that English statutes 
to be valid in Ireland must be ratified by the Irish parliament. 
In 1470 Thomas of Kildare was elected justiciar by the Irish 
council in the vacancy caused by the attainder of Tibetot, 
and according to the 'statute of FitzEmpress'. George of 
Clarence, attainted and executed in February 1478, was fol- 
lowed by a line of nominal lieutenants, royal princes, whether 
Yorkist or Tudor, but the real power was with native deputies. 

And so we come to the all-but-kingship of the Earls of 
Kildare, the great fact in Irish history for some sixty years, 
which became complete under Gerald, son of Thomas, eighth 
earl of Kildare, called by the Irish 'Garret More', the real king 
of Ireland from 1477 till his death in 1513. Already the Irish 
parliament, a body which represented only the counties of 
Leinster and a few towns, had accepted the Kildare supremacy 
and was ready to clothe its doings with legality. By a grant 
of 1474 it gave Earl Thomas a retinue of a hundred and sixty- 
three spearmen, and by the creation of the Guild of St. George 
for the defence of the Pale it placed under the command of 
the deputy a force of two hundred fully equipped men, chosen 
out of the four counties of the Pale, so that some four hundred 
of the best equipped soldiers in Ireland for twenty years were 
at the disposal of Kildare. 



period marks the culmination of the Home Rule 
I demand of the English in Ireland, asserted definitely 
A in 1460, Though interrupted by Poynings 1 law in 1495, 
it continued in effect till the fall of the House of Kildare. 

In Garret More we get a remarkable character, perhaps the 
first example of the blended Anglo-Irish type, the result of 
influences both English and Irish, to appear in our history in 
which it has played so large a part. The power of Kildare 
was already prepared by a number of marriages, both with 
the Gaels and the Englishry, which it was his policy to continue 
and which built up for his family a great 'House power'. In 
1480 his sister Eleanor married Conn, the eldest son of Henry 
'the O'Neill', and an act of parliament made him and his 
children by her of free estate in the law. By other marriages 
the house of Kildare secured allies everywhere, but the win- 
ning over of the great chiefs of the North was especially a 
trhimph. In the royal race of Tyrone, Henry O'Neill, son of 
Eoghan, ruled till 1483, continued the lineal succession, and 
built up a vast lordship in central Ulster. Conn More, as he 
was called, and his son Conn Bacach, later earl of Tyrone, 
were kinsmen and loyal supporters of the House of Kildare 
till it fell and in themselves attested the blending of the two 
races. In the north-west Red Hugh ODonnell ruled for the 
long period of 1461 to 1505, and, though unrelated by blood 
to Kildare, became his standing ally. It was he who built 
the noble Franciscan house at Donegal, to which we owe in 
later times such works as the Annals of the Four Masters. 
The great enemy, on the other hand, of Kildare continued to 
be the Butlers under James, son of Edmund MacRichard, who 
was made deputy by the absentee Earl of Onnond for his Irish 
lands and lordships. 

Till 1485 the Anglo-Irish remained in an entire possession 



of the Irish government. In 1477 Gerald was elected justiciar 
by the Council of Ireland under the statute of FitzEmpress, 
but when the Duke of Clarence was put to death in February 
1478 King Edward deprived Kildare of bis office and sent 
over Henry, Lord Grey, instead. But the Anglo-Irish spirit 
now ran high, and in defiance of the royal will Kildare called 
a parliament at Naas which confirmed his tenure of office. 
The King had to withdraw the appointment of Grey, and a 
parliament held at Trim enacted that in future in the case of 
a vacancy a justiciar should be elected by the Council and 
the consent of parliament till the King's pleasure should be 
known. After this defeat of the Crown the Kildare supremacy 
was left undisturbed. The smaller grew the Pale the greater 
was the Home Rule it enjoyed, and while the real power of 
Kildare came from his vast earldom which spread steadily 
over Leinster, it was well worth his while to control the revenue 
and the offices of State, and, above all, to get the sanction of 
legality for all his measures. 

The short rule of Richard III made no difference, and an 
Irish parliament under Kildare in 1485 enacted that the 
Chancellor, Treasurer, and three other chief ministers should 
hold for life, and together with the peers should, according to 
the statute of FitzEmpress, elect a viceroy in time of vacancy. 
On August 2ist 1485 King Richard was slain at Bosworth, and 
Henry Tudor ascended the throne. With him a totally new 
age began for England, and the medieval time passed away. 
But in Ireland the medieval age went on and the romance of 
the White Rose died hard. The Earl of Kildare, like many in 
both England and Ireland, had to face the problem of how 
long Henry VII would keep the throne of England and whether 
there were not truer princes of the blood alive than he, John 
de la Pole, earl of Lincoln, Edward, earl of Warwick, son of 
Clarence, and perhaps the younger son of Edward IV. At the 
moment of Bosworth, Lincoln was Richard's accepted heir and 
legal lieutenant of Ireland. Was Ireland to obey a Yorkist 
viceroy or not? 

For some twelve years Ireland was the stage of successive 
attempts against the new Tudor throne. The first centred 


round the name of Lambert Simnel, whom, early in 1487, an 
Oxford priest brought to Dublin, a handsome boy of ten, who 
was supposed to be Edward of Warwick, son of George of 
Clarence. The Earl of Kildare and the Anglo-Irish lords as 
well as the archbishops of Armagh and Dublin and three other 
bishops accepted the boy as the real Warwick, son of their 
Dublin-born Clarence. The Earl of Lincoln appealed to 
Margaret, duchess of Flanders and sister of Edward IV, and 
she sent two thousand German, mercenaries who landed in 
Dublin on May 5th 1487. On May 24th of that year the 
pretender was crowned as Edward VI of England and Ireland 
in St. Mary's Church at Dublin, with a golden circlet taken 
from a statue of the Blessed Virgin, and thus did the Home 
Rule party get a king of their own whom all the country 
accepted, save for Waterford and the Butler towns. 

The next and necessary step was to impose the pretender 
upon England, and early in June a combined army of Germans 
and Anglo-Irish, under De la Pole, landed in Lancashire, but 
at Stoke in Lincolnshire, on June i6th 1487, they were cut to 
pieces by the Tudor army, and about four thousand of them 
fell, including the Earl of Lincoln, a brother of the Earl of 
Kildare, and Martin Swartz, the leader of the German mer- 
cenaries, while Simnel himself was taken and ended his days 
as a scullion in the royal kitchens. Henry had procured a 
papal Bull in support of his right to the Crown, and so he put 
the Anglo-Irish in the wrong; nevertheless he had to leave 
Kildare in office as Deputy. In 1488 he sent over Sir Richard 
Edgecomb to take the oaths of allegiance of the Irish lords, 
and after some resistance Edgecomb proclaimed a full pardon 
for Kildare and the chief supporters of the pretender. Again 
Kildare was left in power, and now we find hi interfering 
everywhere in Irish disputes, traversing the whole country, 
and in succession-questions putting in the chief that he 
favoured. Gunpowder had come to Ireland, the Earl's house 
in Dublin had a guard of musketeers, and he was able to blow 
down the castles of his enemies with light artillery. 

Again in 1491 the Yorkist hope revived and there landed 
in Cork a handsome boy of seventeen under the care of one 


John Taylor, who this time was given out to be Richard, the 
younger of the two sons of Edward IV, while Henry's sup- 
porters denounced him as Perkin Warbeck of Tournai. This 
time a still larger alliance supported this 'French lad', which 
included most of the Anglo-Irish (though Kildare was now 
more wary), the Emperor Maximilian, and the kings of France 
and Scotland. Warbeck soon, however, departed from Ireland, 
to which he did not return till 1495, and in the interval 
Henry VII took steps at last to deal with the recurring danger 
from beyond the Irish sea. 


At last the new Tudor dynasty took decisive action in 
Ireland. Kildare was removed from power and on October 
I3th 1494 there arrived as Deputy to Prince Henry a viceroy 
such as had not been seen for a hundred and fifty years. Sir 
Edward Poynings was a typical servant of the new regime; 
he had but a thousand men, but with these and backed by the 
new monarchy he was ready to crush the Home Rule party 
and restore the sovereignty of England. To replace them, he 
brought with him pure-born Englishmen to be Chancellor, 
Treasurer, and other officials, in order to purify the Dublin 
government and discover the King's ancient rights and 
revenues. The armed resistance to Poynings was but small, 
and he soon relieved the siege of Waterf ord which in 1495 was 
beleaguered vainly by Maurice, earl of Desmond, and Warbeck. 
His real work was to ensure that the parliament of Ireland 
should never be used against English interests again. 

The famous 'Poynings' parliament' met on December ist 
1494, and lasted into 1495. It was a packed assembly which 
was easily persuaded to attaint the Earl of Kildare, and on 
March 5th he was sent to England and lodged in the Tower 
of London. 

Poynings' orders were to reduce the Lordship of Ireland to 
'whole and perfect obedience', and to suppress those who 
practised on 'the innocent and true English subjects, great 
and divers robberies, murders, burnings, and the universal 
intolerable and damnable extortions of coign, livery, and pay' 


Henry had held his hand for ten years, he now struck a master- 
blow worthy of his cool and inflexible temper. His general 
purpose was to proclaim the sovereign rights of the Crown in 
Ireland going back to 1327; his more immediate purpose was 
to prevent Ireland's remaining a hatching-ground for Yorkist 
plots and to end Home Rule as enjoyed by a Yorkist nobility. 
The 'Irish enemies' could for the time be disregarded, and 
even the 'degenerate English' did not directly menace the 
Crown's authority. What was serious was the seizure of the 
'State' by an Anglo-Irish party who had made Dublin as it 
were the capital of a nation and in whose parliament a Yorkist 
claimant might be crowned or a native king be elected or 
treaties passed with England's enemies. The real and lasting 
result of Poynings' measures was to render harmless the Dublin 
parliament as an instrument in Irish hands, and to destroy 
it as a Yorkist citadel. It was indeed an act of union, a fore- 
runner of the great one of 1800, and intended to link Ireland 
once again to the destinies and civilization of England. 

Various acts resumed to the Crown the appointing of all 
officers of State and constables of royal castles, abolished the 
statute of FitzEmpress, brought to an end the Guild of St. 
George, declared the army to be the king's only and forbade 
any to keep artillery save his deputy, and made it treason to 
take the field against the State. The proceedings of the 
'pretended parliament' of 1460 were annulled and every royal 
writ or command under the Great or Privy Seal declared sacred 
as in England. 

So ended the Home Rule experiment of fifty years. To 
ensure that the Irish parliament should never act freely again 
against English policy, was passed the famous 'Poynings' law' 
which states that no parliament shall be held in Ireland 'till 
the Lieutenant and council of Ireland shall first certify the 
King under the Great seal of such causes and acts as them 
seemeth should pass; then the King and his Council, after 
affirming such causes and acts to be good and expedient for 
the said land, shall send his license thereupon, as well in 
affirmation of the said causes and acts as to summon the said 
parliament under his Great seal of England: that done, a 


parliament shall be holden after the form and effect afore 
rehearsed, any parliament holden hereafter contrary to these 
forms to be void and of no effect/ This famous law was to 
have a curious and long history right up to 1783. 

The citadel of power being thus recovered, the next step 
was to defend it against Irish and English enemies. It was 
provided that a double ditch should be built round the four 
counties of the Pale to prevent rievers from raiding the cattle 
there. This ditch was to run from the mouth of the LifEey to 
Kildare up to Trim and so through Meath to Dundalk. For 
the defence of this land, every subject must be armed after 
English fashion and be ready to do military duty as by ancient 
statutes when called upon. 

The great statutes up to this time made 'for the common 
weal in England' were declared to be of force in Ireland. It 
was not intended that the English parliament should hence- 
forth legislate for Ireland, for the Crown was the imperial 
authority; her parliament was left in control in this matter, 
but could safely be so left, subject to the veto of the Crown 
under Toynings' law'. 

To recover the King's revenues was as important as to 
assert his prerogative. They had fallen almost to zero, as his 
financial experts found, and so a great act of Resumption 
restored to the Crown all royal rights and revenues usurped 
or lost since 1327. For the most part this was an act on paper; 
for it was certain that the Crown could not dispossess half 
the nobility of Ireland, but it could be used on occasion or 
suspended in terrorem. 

In order to recall the 'March English' from their degeneracy 
and warlike habits and to forbid their local tyranny, the great 
war-cries of the Anglo-Irish, such as 'Butler Aboo' or 'Crom 
Aboo', were forbidden, and Brehon law was condemned. Coign 
and livery and all such Irish extortions were severely prohi- 
bited, so were the black-rents as paid to the Irish enemy. 
Finally the Statutes of Kilkenny were re-enacted, which had 
been the first attempt to check the 'degeneracy* of the 
EngHshry, but it is a commentary on their failure that the 


original acts forbidding the speaking of Irish and riding without 
a saddle are not repeated. By this time even in the Pale Irish 
was becoming universal. 

Poynings stayed in Ireland till January 1496, having with 
his small army of a thousand trained soldiers showed how 
effective such troops with muskets and artillery could be 
against the numerous but amateur levies of Ireland. The 
bridling of the Irish parliament for centuries was his real 
contribution to Irish history. The rest was merely a striking 
assertion of English sovereignty in Ireland which the Tudor 
government only resumed after forty years. When he and his 
Englishmen departed, no increase of the revenue or Crown 
lands was recorded, Home Rule was restored under Kildare, 
the degenerate English continued as before, and the tide of 
Irish language and feeling continued to flow. Once again 
parsimony and desire to get rid of the Irish problem had 
asserted itself and meanness of expenditure upon Ireland was 
to be the continued and fatal note of Tudor rule. A great 
moment was again lost, and if instead of the Statutes of 
Kilkenny being re-enacted the Irish had been made equal to 
the English in law, a union of the divided population might 
have followed. Henry did indeed admit two MacCarthy chiefs 
to English law and proclaimed that such of the natives of 
Ireland as are willing to submit themselves should be admitted 
to the King's grace, but this general pronouncement had little 

It was, however, chiefly to save the Pale that Poynings had 
come, and, small though the 'English land' had become, hence- 
forth it felt it had a strong monarchy behind it, and the pro- 
English elements in Ireland showed a confidence and boldness 
they had not displayed since the days of Talbot. 

The end of the Warbeck enterprise was inglorious. His 
siege of Waterford, the 'urbs intacta', in July 1495, was a 
failure, and after troubled wanderings, his final fate was to 
be captured in Cornwall in 1497, and to be executed in 
November 1499. Five days later the unfortunate Edward of 
Warwick was beheaded, and so ended the Yorkist hopes, 
though for thirty years yet two De la Pole brothers survived. 


Henry VII had already realized in a meeting with Garret 
More that 'since all Ireland cannot rule this man, this man 
must rule all Ireland', and so he restored Kildare as Deputy, 
giving him further in marriage as his second wife his own 
cousin, Elizabeth St. John, and pardoning the whole body of 
his supporters. Kildare ruled Ireland for the rest of his life, 
and the bridling of the Dublin parliament even made him still 
more master, for as long as the King approved he could manage 
it and legislate in it as he wished. Save for that, all his former 
powers were restored and so was Anglo-Irish control in Dublin. 
All the highest offices in Church and State (saving those of 
bishops and of Chancellor, Treasurer, and the chief judges) 
wereinthe appointment of Kildare; he spent whatever revenues 
of State there were, commanded its forces, named the con- 
stables of the royal castles, and used the royal artillery for 
his own purposes. In the North he protected the interests of 
his nephews, sons of Conn More O'Neill, though the second of 
these, the famous Conn Bacach, did not become O'Neill till 
1519. A fine family grew up round him and through his five 
daughters he allied himself to the great houses of Gael and 
GalL One married "Ulick Burke of Clanrickard; another Donal 
MacCarthy Reagh; another Mulrony O'Carroll; another the 
Lord of Slane; a fifth, Margaret, Sir Piers Butler who, on the 
death of his father James in 1478, became head of the Poles- 
town Butlers and deputy for the absentee Earl of Onnond. 

In these years in which he was left in charge of Ireland, 
Garret More both as deputy and earl, marched over more of 
Ireland than any viceroy had done for generations, bringing 
local chiefs into vassalage, securing the succession of the 
O'Neill or the O'Kelly he favoured, and blowing down with 
the royal artillery the castles of private opponents. Ireland 
had found in him an 'uncrowned King', and though she was 
divided into local combinations, at least they revolved round 
the great names of Geraldine, Butler, Burke, and O'Brien. 
The culmination of these armed confederacies was seen in the 
year 1504. In the west Garret More's great opponent was 
Ulick Burke, his own son-in-law, who was usurping the royal 
town of Galway and had ill-treated his wife, Kildare's daughter. 


It came to a great battle in which the summons of Kfldare 
was answered by O'Donnell, O'Neill, O'Kelly, the Mayo Burke 
and the English of the Pale, and that of Clanrickard by O'Brien 
and the chiefs of Ormond and Connacht. In all, Kildare 
mustered such an army of English and Irish as would have 
conquered the Pale in twenty-four hours, had he but dared 
to claim the Crown of Ireland. On August iQth 1504 some 
ten thousand men faced one another on the low hill of Cnoc 
Tuagh (Knocktoe) near Galway, armies medievally equipped 
with bows and bills, spears and swords, light horsemen and 
heavy axe-men, and so desperate was the fighting that out of 
Clanrickard's nine battalions of galloglass, eighteen hundred 
men, only the remnant of one battalion escaped alive. 

It was a famous victory, and Kildare entered Galway in 
glory, but though it was reported to the King as a great 
triumph for the English cause in Ireland and earned the 
Garter for the Earl, it was but the final explosion of a long 
feud and for Kildare the crushing of a great rival The ability 
of Garret More cannot be doubted, nor can his popularity with 
both the races of Ireland, but though he was a secret Yorkist 
and wished to be a king-maker, he was not one of those Braces 
or Vasas who have dared to set themselves at the head of a 
new and independent nation. 

Kildare indeed realized that a new age had come with the 
failure of the Yorkist hope and the coming of the Tudors, 
nor could he ignore the news that in 1499 *^ n g James of 
Scotland brought the Lordship of the Isles to an end after 
two centuries and a half of independence by hanging its lord, 
John MacDonnell, and three of his sons. The moral was that 
both in England and Scotland the day of a new and powerful 
monarchy had come. 

In 1505 Hugh Oge O'Donnell succeeded his father as over- 
lord of Tyrconnell, Sligo, Fermanagh, and Leitrim. His race 
had been allied with Kildare for some forty years against 
Clanrickard and other enemies, and Kildare and he became 
the chief leaders of a movement to unite Scotland and Ireland 
against England with the possible hope of a Yorkist restora- 
tion. There were still two nephews of Edward IV alive. 


Edmund and Richard de la Pole, and the Yorkist cause sim- 
mered on till the death of Richard at the battle of Pavia in 
1525. The accession of Henry VIII to England did not dis- 
solve the plan and Henry himself was too full of glowing youth 
and European ambition to care for the time about Ireland, in 
which he continued Kildare as deputy. O'Donnell was that 
new type of Irish chief who could travel and speak other 
languages, he visited Rome in 1510, and later on his return 
was knighted by the King in London, but did not hesitate to 
enter into communication with James IV, King of Scots, 
Henry's enemy, who thought of attacking England through 
Ireland. But before this design ripened the Great Earl himself 
was dead. 

It was in a petty skirmish with the O'Mores of Leix that 
Garret More's long Life ended. He was trying one of the King's 
new guns upon them, and in return one of them shot him with 
one of their new muskets. On September 3rd 1513 the Earl 
was dead, and six days later the King of Scots was slain with 
all his chivalry at Hodden Field, while O'Donnell could 
only write from Donegal to Henry to clear himself from 

Garret More came nearer to being the accepted king of 
Ireland than any man since the Conquest, and his popularity 
lasted for the forty years of his rule. He is described as 'a 
mighty man of stature, full of honour and courage, open and 
plain, hardly able to rule himself when he was moved to anger, 
easily displeased and soon appeased, of the English well- 
beloved, a good justiciar, a suppresser of rebels and a warrior 
incomparable'. Under him, though the union of the two races 
was not operated, there was a growing sense of a new nation- 
ality, and Gaelic chiefs and Old English lords allied and inter- 
married openly. The influence of the Renaissance was seen 
in Ireland in the founding of Kilkenny school by Piers Butler, 
in a splendid college at Maynooth, built by the Great Earl, 
and the fine library, both of manuscripts and books, that 
the Earl and his son had in their Maynooth castle. It was 
a. flowering time also for Gaelic culture which both races 
honoured, and if Ireland was dominated by a numerous and 

CIRCA. 1500 





powerful aristocracy without a king, at least civilization under 
them had a noble and generous character. 

The power of the Geraldine had extended itself over the 
Pale, and over a large part of Leinster and is expressed in the 
Red Book of Kildare, a great family rental drawn up for 
Garret More. This power rested on affection and loyalty as 
well as on force, and even after the fall of the Geraldines in 
1534 a Dublin official could write to Thomas Cromwell: 'this 
English Pale, except the towns and a few of the possessioners, 
be so affectionat to the Geraldines for kindred, marriage, 
fostering, and adherence, that they covet more to see a 
Geraldine to reign and triumph than to see God come among 

Garret Oge, as the Great Earl's son was called by the Irish, 
was continued as deputy with similar powers to his father. 
He was equally able, skilful, and popular, and continued those 
'marriage alliances on which the family power rested. King 
Henry was content for the present to allow Ireland to be 
governed by what is called 'the Pale policy*, that is, to leave 
the government and control of the country in the hands of a 
nobleman whose deputyship had become hereditary. But 
Garret Oge was threatened both from England and Ireland 
in a way his father had not known. King Henry was slow to 
mature, but as he did he began to feel that Tudor sense of the 
omnipotence of the State and the danger from 'over-mighty 
subjects' which was the keynote of the new monarchy, and 
Irish nationalism was likely to receive little consideration from 
a king to whom English nationalism and English religion were 
things it was treason to oppose. 

In the very year of Garret More's death Wolsey first came 
into power in England; he soon gained the ear of Henry, and 
did not cease to mock at the new Earl as 'the King of Kildare', 
a subject who left the Crown few rights in Ireland. Again, in 
1515, Earl Thomas of Ormond died, and his rights went to his 
grandson, Sir Thomas Boleyn. Sir Piers Butler then claimed 
the earldom of Ormond, and appeared more and more as a 
pro-English opponent of the Kildare supremacy. When Anne 
Boleyn became a royal favourite, the influence of this family 
too was thrown into the scales. In Dublin itself the loyalist 


dement became more and more emboldened, and from this 
time frequent reports to the Crown impressed Henry with the 
belief that a reformation of Ireland must be taken in hand. 

In Tudor eyes, Ireland was full of independent and unruly 
lords whose lands in acreage were greater than many a proud 
nobleman in England, and these 'mesne' lords stood between 
the Crown and the common subject, against all the traditions 
of English monarchy. True, the 'common English subject* 
was far from common in Ireland, but he was to be found at 
least in the Pale, in Wexford and other small areas, in the 
more English part of the Church, and above all in the towns. 
The seaport towns boasted their old allegiance to English speech 
and law, while they cherished the many charters which had 
made them almost into city republics, and a group of southern 
towns, such as Waterford and Kilkenny, were partisans of the 
Butler house and of the Tudor dynasty. The towns of the 
south-west, indeed, were hi Desmond hands, but Galway, most* 
remote of all, might well be made a royal fortress in the west 
Whenever the 'strong policy' of earlier times should be 
attempted, it was thought possible to recall the old English 
colony to its allegiance and stop 'degeneracy' into Irishism. 

Medieval isolation also was over, and with the duel that now 
began of the new centralized monarchies of Europe this island 
might become a dangerous centre of intrigues against England 
This was especially so when the breach with the Church began. 
The idea of making Ireland first pay for herself and then of 
making her a second jewel in the English Crown, in view of all 
her potential wealth, was bound to occur. At present when- 
ever Henry thought of Ireland and his revenues there, it 
seemed full of 'the King's decayed rents and embezzled lands'. 

A series of reports now began in excellent Tudor English, 
sent from the pro-English element in the Council of Ireland 
and others who felt it safe to 'appeal to Caesar', directed 
against the Kildare rule. Gradually a few Englishmen were 
introduced into the Council, such as John Alen, made arch- 
bishop of Dublin and Chancellor in 1528. In league with Sir 
Piers Butler, who openly became anti-Kildare, this faction 
made Garret Oge's tenure of office more and more shaky. Sir 


Piers himself in 1515 took the title of Earl of Ormond, T>ut 
Henry did not like it and made Sir Piers content himself in 
1529 with that of Earl of Ossory, while the favoured Sir 
Thomas Boleyn enjoyed till 1539 ^ e ^tle * Ormond, derived 
from his grandfather, Earl Thomas. 

These reports, which begin in 1515 and continue till 1536, 
tell of an unhappy and dwindling Pale becoming more and 
more Irish. The common subject is burdened by Black-rents 
paid to the Irish enemy and by the deputy's army which he 
quarters on them by 'coign and livery 1 . English long bows, 
spears, swords, bucklers, and jacks have been replaced by 
Irish short bows and darts. The deputy's army is a multitude 
of galloglasses and kerns, his nestings are for his own advan- 
tage, he employs the King's artillery against his particular 
enemies and, uses the sword the King has committed to him 
'to extinguish the fame and honour of any other nobleman 
within that land 1 (a Butler touch) . The further English prac- 
tise Irish law, and in Waterford, Cork, Kerry, and Limerick 
under the Earl of Desmond and in counties Kilkenny and 
Tipperary use Irish habits and Irish tongue and do not obey 
the King's laws. Outside the Pale the land is given up to 
some ninety captains of English blood and Irish chiefs, all 
independent and maintaining each a small army. The moral 
is that the King should take the government out of the hands 
of native lords and send an English Deputy. The complaints 
are more against 'the old English Irelandized', than against 
the Irish, who are praised for keeping their own laws justly, 'also 
there be no more industrious people under the sun than their 
churls and husbandmen, if their lords do not eat them out'. 

At last in 1520 Henry sent over as full lieutenant an 
English nobleman of royal descent, Thomas, Earl of Surrey, 
son of that Duke of Norfolk who had died gallantly at 
Bosworth on the Yorkist side. He came with an army of 
1,100, which was as large a force as the Crown generally spared 
for Ireland, but when he considered the country he informed 
Henry that if a conquest were to be undertaken to be final it 
would need 6,000 men. He also told Henry how it was only 
in the Pale that sheriffs acted and the King's writ ran, and that 
the common English, in spite of Poynings' acts, still paid those 


shameful Black-rents of 740 (some 20,000 of our money) 
yearly, a point which particularly stung Henry's pride. 

The Tudor monarch, however, rejected the policy both of 
Conquest and Plantation. Indeed, in view of the fact that the 
armed forces of the Irish chiefs alone were reckoned at some 
22,000 at this time, a conquest would have been a hazardous 
undertaking. Economy as regards Ireland was to become a 
Tudor tradition and cost more in the end than a firm and just 
policy would have done. 

Several Irish chiefs came in to Surrey, and among these were 
Hugh Oge O'Donnell and Conn Bacach, now the O'Neill. 
Cormac McCarthy, lord of Carbery, also came in, and in a 
letter to Surrey Henry suggested that this chief should sur- 
render his Irish lands and receive them back as an estate-in- 
tail from the Crown. "The Irish lords', he wrote, 'may be told 
that though we are above the laws we will take nothing that 
belongs to them.' Henry thus renounced the idea of a fresh 
conquest, adopting instead the policy of 'Surrender and 
Re-grant' which later deputies put into effect, and announced 
as the policy of his later reign in Ireland 'sober ways, politic 
drifts, and amiable persuasions'. 

Surrey was withdrawn in 1522 and Kildare again restored, 
but on a less secure basis and with more enemies. Anne Boleyn 
became the King's favourite, and for twelve years her family, 
allied with the Butlers, were enemies to the Earl. In the south- 
west his kinsman, James, tenth Earl of Desmond, and O'Brien 
intrigued with Charles V in favour of Richard de la Pole, and 
such intrigues were taken seriously in England, for they 
seemed to threaten an Irish combination backed by France 01 
the Empire and Scotland. 

In the Reformation Parliament of England, 1529-1536, 
Henry made the great breach with Rome, and Thomas Crom- 
well took the place of chief minister which the fall of Wolsey 
left vacant. Till 1540 this resolute and unscrupulous man had 
the direction also of Irish affairs and it was now that the fall 
of the semi-royal House of Kildare was achieved. In 1532 
Garret Oge was wounded in securing the succession of his 


nephew Fergananim O'Carroll and was never the same man 
again. In 1533 the Council at Dublin, a junta of some twelve 
men who were mainly pro-English such as the archbishop and 
another John Alen, Master of the Rolls, again sent one of those 
long representations which were to be fatal to Kildare, and in 
February 1534 the Earl was recalled for the last time and lodged 
in the Tower. Before leaving, he appointed as his deputy his 
eldest son Thomas, Lord Offaly, a handsome and attractive 
youth of twenty-one, known to the Irish as 'Silken Thomas' 
(Tomas an tSioda) because of the silken garments of himself 
and his bodyguard. The wise Earl realised the danger the 
Kildare supremacy was in and adjured his son to be guided by 
the advice of the Council. All was ruined, however, by the 
rashness of a fiery young man and the coldblooded malice of 
the enemies of his house. The pro-English faction and the 
Butlers, who did not want Kildare ever to return, spread 
a report that the Earl was dead in the Tower, the victim of a 
cruel and heretic king, and in a dramatic moment on June nth 
Silken Thomas in the council-chamber surrendered the sword 
of State and declared himself not Henry's deputy but his foe. 
Although the son of an English mother, Offaly well understood 
Irish and was moved to his final gesture by the chanting of his 
Irish harper, O'Keenan. 

The rising that followed had little military significance. 
Archbishop Alen was murdered, when attempting to flee, by 
Offal/s followers, and this brought on Thomas the full excom- 
munication of the Church. He failed to take Dublin castle 
and retired to his strong castle of Maynooth, from which he 
appealed to the Emperor and the Pope against the excom- 
municate Henry, who had, he declared, forfeited the Lordship 
of Ireland for heresy. The rising showed that the majority of 
the Irish regarded their country as a papal fief held by the 
Crown of England in virtue of Adrian's donation. 

The royal lion was now roused to his full fury, and in 
October 1534 Sir William Skefirngton arrived as deputy with 
the largest army seen for some time and occupied Dublin. 
QSaly was proclaimed traitor and the 'Curse' of the Church 
against him was published in such dreadful terms that when 


it was shown to him the unhappy earl of Kildare died of 
despair in. the Tower in December of that year. The crafty 
earl of Ossory saw in all this the triumph of the Butler house 
and raised all Ossory and Ormond in arms. The one military 
event of importance was the capture of Maynooth in March 
1535. Skeffington took it after a week's siege, and after two- 
thirds of its garrison of a hundred were killed the survivors 
surrendered, but were immediately put to execution 'as an 
example to others'. 

"The pardon of Maynooth' was never to be forgotten in Irish 
tradition and served as a dreadful precedent for Tudor wars, in 
which garrisons, however gallant, received little quarter and 
the priests in particular were given no consideration. 

In August 1535 Silken Thomas, who had failed to bring 
Ireland to his help, surrendered unconditionally and was sent 
over to London. There, after a miserable sojourn in the Tower, 
in February 1537 he was executed at Tyburn along with five of 
his Geraldine uncles, who had been trapped in various ways. 
Lord Leonard Grey, who had succeeded as Deputy, pleaded 
for the life of the unfortunate Gffaly, but was not listened to, 
for Henry in his wrath was determined to extinguish in its own 
blood the whole Geraldine race. In Ireland there was no House 
of peers as in England for the trial of its own members, and for 
centuries even the noblest of the Irish, if seized and sent over 
to England, could first linger untried and miserably in the 
Tower of London or be finally executed by mere royal order. 

Ireland, whether Gaelic or Norman, was shocked to a man 
at this ending of the great house of Kildare, an example as to 
what might happen for a century to whoever dared to oppose 
the Crown. Only one scion of the house was left, Gerald, 
half-brother of Thomas and a mere boy of ten, who was rescued 
and in whose interest was formed the Geraldine League of old 
English and Irish lords by the devotion of his aunt, Lady 
Eleanor, the widow of MacCarthy of Carbery, who married 
Manus O'Donnell so as to make a union of north and south. 

While this league menaced the Pale, the new policy of Henry 
for Ireland was put into effect. The fall of the Kildare lord- 
ship had given the Crown a foothold such as it had not had for 


a couple of centuries and brought most of Leinster within the 
Pale. The pro-English elements were greatly encouraged and 
a typical member of the ruling junta, Brabazon, Treasurer of 
War, wrote to Cromwell while Silken Thomas was in prison 
urging that the whole sept of the Geraldines should be wiped 
out; 'the poor commonalty, however, be very true people and 
conformable to all good order, and the destruction of the land 
is wholly by the extortions of the lords and gentlemen of the 
country' . If the Government had really cared for the poor and 
the ordinary people, no doubt Tudor rule in Ireland would 
have won more hearts than it did. 

For the new policy of reforming the Church on English lines 
and bringing Ireland into English 'civility', Piers Butler, Earl 
of Ossory, could be well relied on to lead the way. Already in 
May 1534 he had made a treaty with the King by which he 
was to have the rule of counties Kilkenny, Tipperary, and 
Waterford as King's lieutenant, and swore to resist 'the abused 
and usurped jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome'. The murder 
of Archbishop Alen also enabled Henry to provide for Dublin 
an English prelate, George Browne, who had accepted the 
King's view and could be trusted to enforce Reform. The re- 
ligious programme was prepared between Cromwell and the 
Irish Council and hi 1536 the 'Reformation parliament' met 
under the Deputy, Lord Grey. The non-religious enactments 
were forced through without much difficulty in a small body 
which represented some nine counties at most, a small peerage 
and some dozen towns. The Earl of Kildare and his family 
were attainted, a subsidy was granted to the Crown, Black- 
rents were no longer to be paid, intermarriage and fostering 
with the Irish and the keeping of Irish minstrels, 'rymours' 
and bards was not to be permitted among the Englishry, the 
use of Irish dress was forbidden, and English dress and lan- 
guage were to be used. By an act against Absentees the many 
derelict lordships of the original Conquest were vested in the 
Crown, such as the lordships of Carlow, Wexford, and other 
Leinster fiefs. As the King was already by law Earl of Ulster 
and Lord of Leix and Connacht, this act still further increased 
that vast area of Ireland to which, when the occasion arose, 
the King's title could be proved. 


The religious programme, however, was not to the liking of 
the Anglo-Irish, no matter how loyal they might be, and was 
stubbornly resisted by the bishops and the clerical proctors 
among the Commons, but finally there were forced through 
acts dissolving the abbeys of Ireland and putting their 
properties in the hands of the Crown, and annexing to the 
King the First-fruits and other perquisites of the Papacy. On 
the question of Supremacy the opposition was so prolonged 
that an angry letter from Henry was necessary in February 
1537, and the clerical proctors were by act of this assembly 
excluded from parliament for ever. This enabled the Act of 
supremacy to be passed, by which the King was declared 
Supreme Head on earth of the Church of Ireland, and all 
office-holders hi Church and State were to acknowledge him 
as such. Thus was the papal authority, or as it was styled 'the 
usurped authority of the Bishop of Rome', rejected for all 
Ireland by the pressure of the English State and the vigour of 
a small English faction backed by Piers, Earl of Ossory. It 
is doubtful whether there was then more than a handful of 
Protestants in all Ireland among the Irish and Old English. 

The justification for these acts was set forth in the words: 
'Inasmuch as this land of Ireland is the King's proper dominion 
of England and united, knit and belonging to the Imperial 
Crown of the same realm'. 

How many of the Irish bishops accepted Henry as Head of 
the Church cannot be easily established. It was a doctrine 
unheard-of till then that a lay prince could have the spiritual 
supremacy over the Church of God in any country. The 
opposition was headed by Cromer of Armagh, himself an 
Englishman, and it seems certain that the whole policy of a 
Reformation enforced from England was opposed by the vast 
majority of Irishmen. Nevertheless sufficient bishops, perhaps 
a majority, were found to take the Supremacy oath, and in 
this matter we must remember that Henry set up a Church 
'Catholic without the Pope', and that for the rest of his reign 
ordinary worshippers continued to receive as before the old 
sacraments and attend the Latin Mass. The change in any 
case could only affect Leinster and the nearer areas. Along 
with it went a policy of anglicization, and bishops and clergy 


were expected to use and preach in English. The wrecking of 
the abbeys was especially shocking to the common people, who 
saw no fault in the monks, and the civilization of Ireland 
suffered a terrible blow by the destruction of these centres of 
learning, religion, and hospitality, expecially in a country 
lacking in towns, villages, and manor-houses like those of 
England. Relic-burning, as ordered by Cromwell and Browne, 
shocked the people in their deepest sense both of piety and 
tradition. Among the most precious objects of veneration 
destroyed was the TBaculum Jesu', the supposed Staff of Christ 
which had been St. Patrick's crosier; this was burned publicly 
in Dublin by order of Archbishop Browne. 

As the years passed and the return of Henry to the fold could 
hardly be hoped for, the Pope began to appoint new bishops 
for Irish sees, and in 1541 two Jesuits visited Ireland for the 
first time. The idea was already born that Ireland must be 
kept true to the old Faith, whatever the cost might be. 



WITH the fall of the House of Kfldare, the Tudor 
government which had got to work in England in 
1485 could now get to work in Ireland. Aristocratic 
Home Rule was ended and henceforth the English government 
ruled Ireland through English viceroys and an officialdom con- 
trolled finally from Whitehall and by Star Chamber methods. 
Never again till the seventeenth century was a great Irish noble- 
man of ary house to be the King's lieutenant. The Pale had 
been extended to cover most of Leinster and Meath, and in this 
secure foothold a new policy in Church and State was put into 
effect, regardless of the alliance of lords and chiefs called the 
Geraldine league which threatened it all along the borders. 
The final consummation of the new policy was that Henry was 
to take the title King of Ireland, to which general approval 
was to be secured. His agent in this was first Lord Leonard 
Grey (1536-1540) and then Sir Anthony St. Leger for the rest 
of th e reign. Except for the savage extinction of the Geraldines, 
Henry preferred the conrilation method, one based on the wish 
not to spend money on Ireland, and expressed in his phrase 
'sober ways, politic drifts, and amiable persuasions'. To secure 
the necessary support was the task of the new English viceroys, 
and this proceeded slowly. But in Dublin was firmly entrenched 
a pro-English official class, both English-born and Anglo- 
Irish, while in the nearer areas in which the religious houses 
could be safely dissolved grants of rich abbey lands for a mere 
song won over the local gentry and nobles, as they did in 
England itself. 

To save the person of the only heir of the Geraldines of 
Kildare was now the passion of Ireland, both English and 
Gaelic. The Geraldine league included Desmond and the 
MacCarthys of the south, Brian O'Connor of Offaly, brother- 
in-law of Silken Thomas, in the centre, and Conn O'Neill in 



the north. It went so far as that O'Neill was to be crowned 
King of Ireland at Tara, but Grey and his small but modern 
army was a match for all enemies, and at Bellahoe in 1539 he 
routed Conn O'Neill as he invaded the Pale. Nevertheless the 
main object of the league was achieved when in 1541 the young 
Gerald was shipped away and sent to the court of Florence, 
where he grew up. In the Pale, it was reported, the people 
were 'so affectionat to this house that they would sooner a 
Geraldine come among them than God', and whatever the 
military result of the league was it showed at least a common 
spirit of opposition which the government should have recog- 
nized. But with the departure of the young Geraldine quiet 
fell upon Ireland and the way was prepared for Henry to turn 
the Lordship into a Kingdom, to secure assent for the breach 
with Rome, and to win over the aristocracy to support him in 
his new titles. 

The policy of 'Surrender and Re-grant' was designed to win 
over the Gaelic chiefs and such Old English as could prove no 
such titles to their lands and lordships as would be valid in 
law. According to the theory of the English monarchy, all 
land-titles depended on the Crown, while in Ireland the greater 
part of the island was owned by Gaelic chiefs whose titles came 
from Irish law, and even some Normans such as the Burkes 
could prove no legal' claim. Sir Anthony St. Leger, who ruled 
Ireland from 1540 to 1548, was the chief agent in winning over 
this nobility to a royal confirmation of their estates. 

But first a new title to Ireland had to be found for Henry. 
In December 1540 St. Leger and the Council of Ireland advised 
that he should take the title of King, 'for that the Irish have 
a foolish opinion that the Bishop of Rome is King of Ireland'. 
A parliament was therefore summoned to Dublin hi June 1541, 
in which Henry was confirmed in the Crown of Ireland. The 
title was intended to be flattering to Irish pride and as such 
it was passed, according to the official report, 'to the general 
joy'. The parliament was a fuller one than had met for a long 
time, and included four archbishops, nineteen bishops, and 
twenty peers, of whom four were new. 

Thus began the new Kingdom of Ireland, which lasted in 


that form till the Union of 1800. Henry, however, laid it down 
that he was 'King of this land of Ireland as united, annexed, 
and knit for ever to the Imperial crown of the realm of Eng- 
land'. In others words, the Crown of Ireland was if so facto 
vested in whoever was king of England, nor was anything 
but a mere proclamation in Dublin needed at a royal accession 
in England to that effect. In later days this was to have 
serious consequences, as when the Parliament of England 
deprived James II of his throne while the Irish nation con- 
sidered that he was still, in law and fact, king of Ireland. 
The Tudor monarchs had no intention that parliament in 
England should share the control of Ireland, but in later days 
when the parliament of England became supreme it claimed 
control over the parliament of Ireland. Henry set up in 
Ireland all the style and trappings of monarchy, a royal great 
seal, courts of law, a Privy Council and so on, but in fact it 
was a government controlled from England, in which national 
representation found little place, and exercised through 
English-born viceroys. 

The parliament which declared Henry king represented 
only the English part of Ireland, but it was attended by some 
nobles who had been absent for generations, such as the Earl 
of Desmond, Barry, Roche, and other lords of Munster, while 
proxies attended for O'Brien, and four or five Irish chiefs 
came hi person, of whom one, Brian MacGillapatric (hence- 
forth Fitzpatrick), actually sat as Baron of Upper Ossory, and 
all gave their 'liberal consents'. Sir Piers Butler had early in 
1539 been created Earl of Ormond in addition to Ossory, his 
son James had succeeded him, and it is illustrative of the 
prevalence of the Irish language among the nobility that the 
Chancellor's speech prodaiming Henry as King of Ireland had 
to be translated into the native language by Earl James for 
the benefit of the Irish and Norman peers. 

It cannot be doubted that there was a considerable enthusi- 
asm for the new Monarchy, and had it been accompanied with 
noble conditions it might have had great success. Formerly 
the Council of Ireland had included the Lords of the Pale, and 
if the native nobility of Ireland as the royal area increased had 


kept their place in the Coundl, which was all-powerful, native 
feeling could have found expression in a generous loyalty. 
But in fact Ireland was to be governed by a small council of 
officials from which the Irish nobility were excluded, though 
the Lords of the Pale claimed to be that council which under 
Poynings' law had the initiative of drawing up Bills and 
sending them over to be accepted or amended in England. 
Under this famous law also the Irish parliament continued for 
centuries to be bridled and could not originate or deal with 
legislation at its pleasure. 

Henry's Irish policy after the fall of the House of Kildare 
was as follows: 

(i). He imposed upon Ireland a Reform of the Church on 
lines similar to that of England, that is Catholic in doctrine 
but royal in government; 

(2). He began a system of government in which the royal 
will was supreme and in place of native lords English deputies 
ruled the country; 

(3). But, content with the acceptance of his monarchy in 
Church and State, he then tried to base it on treaties with the 
nobility, both Irish and Norman, whom he left undisturbed in 
their lordships and lands if they would accept tenure under 
the Crown. 

(4). His policy included anti-Irish measures in favour of 
English speech and 'civility', and the Irish language and 
culture, as expressed in the bards, poets, and others, were 
again forbidden or even penalized. Ireland was to be made if 
possible a second England through the complaisant bishops 
and nobility, and no provision was made for the recognition of 
Irish and Gaelic tradition. 

Under Lord Grey and still more under St. Leger numerous 
treaties of 'Surrender and Re-grant' were made with the most 
prominent chiefs and even a few of the 'degenerate English', 
though in general the Old English of Ireland were taken to be, 
unlike the Irish, 'natural liege subjects' who needed no new 
title for their property. Many of these treaties were made 
with lesser chiefs, such as OToole, who had long menaced the 
Pale, but even the greatest of the old province kings were won 


over both to accept Henry and to renounce the Pope. Thus 
in the autumn of 1540 St. Leger got Cahir MacMurrough 
Kavanagh and his sept to renounce the name MacMurrough 
and promise that 'in future no one should be elected chief but 
that they would obey the King's law and hold their lands by 
knight-service and accept such rules as the King should 
appoint'. So came to an end the MacMurrotigh kingship, 
though as kte as 1522 Gerald Kavanagh had styled himself 
Tdng of Leinster and leader of the Leinster-men'. Brian 
MacGillapatric, through the influence of the Earl of Onnond, 
submitted and was made Baron of Upper Ossory, for the new 
policy included the offer of titles to the more prominent chiefs 
and inducing them thus to come to Parliament. 

Among the 'degenerate English' Ulick Burke was made 
Earl of Clanrickard, and thus the 'usurped' lordship of his 
race was confirmed to him. To win over the northern chiefs 
was especially important, for O'Neill was regarded by the 
Irish as hereditary king of Ireland, and the Ulster Irish were 
especially warlike and independent. It was therefore a great 
triumph when in December 1541 Conn Bacach O'Neill sub- 
mitted to St. Leger on certain terms. He accepted Henry as 
King and Head of the Church and promised to hold his lands 
by knight-service of the Crown, and to attend Parliament and 
answer the summons of the Deputy with a stated number of 
armed men; in return he was offered and accepted the title 
of Earl of Tyrone. On October ist 1542 Conn was at Green- 
wich created Earl, the tide to go after him to his eldest son 
Matthew as Baron of Dungannon. 

The reigning O'Donnell was now Manus, son of Hugh Oge. 
St. Leger met this chief in Cavan in August 1541, and found 
him an elegant and handsome gentleman, magnificently attired 
in crimson velvet. He expressed a warm loyalty and finally 
signed a treaty on similar terms to those of O'Neill, agreeing 
to accept whatever title the King should confer upon him. 

The head of the great O'Brien race was Murrough, who was, 
however, the younger brother of Connor, the former chief, had 
been his Tanist, and succeeded him on his death in 1540. He 
also was won over and created Earl of Thomond and Baron of 
Inchiquin. These re-grant treaties had to take into account the 


expectant rights of tanists, and so Connor's son, Donough, 
was at the same time created Baron of Ibrackin and later, on 
Murrough's death, became second Earl of Thomond in which 
again his son Connor succeeded him. 

Thus three feudal earldoms were bestowed on Gaelic kings, 
with several lesser titles of baron. The history of Tudor 
Ireland was to be largely the history of the great landlords, 
for or against the State, and therefore the after-fate of these 
creations is to be noted. The O'Donnells did not receive the ex- 
pected title of Earl of Tyrconnell till the accession of James I. 
Nevertheless the entente now made turned this family for 
most of the century into a pro-English power hi the north-west, 
used by the Government to balance the still greater O'Neills. 

Among the families now won over, the Fitzpatricks, barons 
of Upper Ossory, henceforth were a strength added to the 
English connexion. The O'Brien Earls of Thomond by the 
end of the century had moreover accepted the State church. 
The Norman-Irish race of Clanrickard, after some vicissitudes, 
were then also found on the loyal, though not on the Protestant, 
side. But the greatest of the Gaelic families, the O'Neills of 
Tyrone, were destined to provide the fiercest opponents of the 
Tudor policy and to fall with a crash in 1603. 

One item in the winning over of the Irish nobility was to 
induce them 'to come to Court', and thus James Fitzmaurice, 
later for a short time twelfth Earl of Desmond, was educated 
at Windsor and was known therefore as 'the Court page'. In 
the same way the young Barnaby Fitzpatrick, heir to the first 
Baron of Upper Ossory, and Thomas, son of James, the Earl 
of Ormond who died in 1546, were brought up along with the 
young Edward the sixth. One prominent chief, however, was 
not pardoned or taken into favour. This was Brian O'Connor, 
lord of Offaly, brother-in-law of Silken Thomas, who had been 
the bravest and most determined of 'the Geraldine band'. He 
himself was destined to be banished and his country confiscated. 

The future of the 'new earls' was to prove uncertain and 
troubled, and the comment of the Annals of the Four Masters 
that by these treaties 'the sovereignty of every Gaelic lord was 


lowered' represents the Irish f eeling that by accepting tenure and 
titles from England they were abandoning the native tradition. 
The submission, however, of forty of the greatest chiefs and 
lords, the most general submission since Richard II, seemed 
for the moment Henry's greatest triumph. He was content to 
rule through them and to leave them to enjoy their lordships 
undisturbed under this cover of submission to him, and for the 
most part to govern their countries by Irish law and custom. 
We find O'Donnell still ruling over his 'urraghs' or vassal- 
chiefs, Maguire of Fermanagh and O'Connor of Sligo, and so 
with the other paramount chiefs. Again, as under Henry II 
or Richard II, the Irish chiefs might flatter themselves that 
the King of England was merely a great foreign Ard Rl, content 
with their homage. 

By the end of his reign (1547) Henry's actual sovereignty 
had extended over Leinster and was being pushed into nearer 
Munster, where the Earls of Ormond and Desmond undertook 
to co-operate in suppressing Brehon law and Irish bards and 
introducing the principles of English law. The revenue was 
but small, some eight thousand pounds at best yearly, and 
Henry's policy of moderation was inspired by this fact that 
Ireland did not pay for itself. 

EDWARD vi, 1547-1553 

The success of Henry's policy had been mainly due to St. 
Leger, an Englishman of the old aristocratic type, and a fair- 
minded man who saw no reason for depriving Irish lords or the 
Church of their just liberties. He was continued in office for 
another year, till 1548, but was then succeeded by Sir Edward 
Bellingham, sent over as Deputy to enforce the reform ideas 
of the Protector Somerset. As yet these were of a mild or 
Lutheran order, but opposition to the breach with Rome was 
stiffening, and while Browne of Dublin spoke for the govern- 
ment, Dowdall of Armagh took the lead of the Catholic party. 
The aristocratic cliques that ruled England under an infant 
King had little time for strong measures in Ireland, and again 
in 1550 St. Leger was restored and the Mass was again sung 


in Christ Church. The first prayer book of Edward VI, still a 
Catholic one, was printed in Dublin, but the second or Genevan 
one was not sent over. Whatever Protestant population there 
was was to be found in the towns, and even nobles like the 
Earl of Ormond, in common with the great men of both 
countries, waited to see whether Rome would return or what 
form the State church was to take. Texts and phrases were 
to play a large part in the decision one way or another. A 
picturesque story of a Council meeting in March 1551 of the 
deputy St. Leger and the archbishops of Armagh and Dublin 
with others, makes St. Leger defend Edward's first prayer 
book, while Dowdall exclaims against the Mass in English 
'then shall every illiterate fellow read mass', and Browne as 
a loyal servant of whatever was the government, says, 'I 
submit to the king as Jesus did to Caesar'. 

More and more the English government in Ireland was to 
realize that to get a population loyal both in Church and State 
an English colony was needed. The greater part of Ireland 
was not 'shire land' in which sheriffs could rule and the Com- 
mon law run. To extend the 'English land' was needful, and 
already under Edward, Leix and Ofialy, 1 whose chiefs had 
been put out of grace, were garrisoned, and in the north-east 
Sir Nicholas Bagenal, Marshal of the army, was granted the 
Lordship of Mourne in Down and the rich lands of the abbey 
of Newry, which became an English foothold in Ulster. 


A boy-king was now succeeded by an ailing and elderly 
woman, and though the old Church was restored, it was but 
for five years. For the moment it all seemed a triumph for 
Ireland, in which both the nobility and the Catholic bishops 
could be loyal alike in Church and State. Browne and the 
taarried bishops were deprived and Ireland absolved and 
restored to the faith by the Papacy. Mary, however, retained 

1 The Crown in November 1548 appointed an Englishman, Walter 
Cowley, as 'Surveyor-General and Escheator-General of Ireland', to 
receive, value, and re-distnbute the forfeited lands. 'Escheator- 
General' was to prove a dreaded name in subsequent forfeitures and 


her father's title, and was proclaimed as Queen of Ireland, nor 
was it possible to recover from the hands of the grantees, how- 
ever Catholic, the former abbey lands. The noble-minded St. 
Leger was restored with no difficulty about the Mass, and he 
ruled till 1556 with his former policy of conciliation. To 
reverse acts of injustice and to please those who loved the great 
families, three noble youths were allowed to return, Gerald of 
Kildare, Thomas Butler, Earl of Onnond, son of Earl James 
who died in 1546, and Barnaby Fitzpatrick, Lord of Upper 
Ossory. Gerald, the new Earl of Kildare, had been brought 
up as a foreigner and never went back to Irish ways. Though 
restored to vast estates, he never recovered either the palatine 
powers or the political ascendancy of his race. The Geraldines 
of Leinster had in effect been tamed, and not till 1798 did they 
again produce a patriot name. Thomas, tenth Earl of Ormond, 
was to live to a great age, and did not die till 1614. He was 
known as 'Black Tom', and because of his good looks and 
kinship with her was a favourite of Elizabeth. His grand- 
father, Piers Roe, had seen and brought about the ruin of the 
Fitzgeralds of Kildare; Thomas himself, an able soldier and 
politician, continued the loyal policy and before his death saw 
the Geraldine house of Desmond completely destroyed. In 
so far as a man could be called a Protestant at this stage, the 
Earl of Ormond was one, and in any case an unswerving 
supporter of the State. 

In 1556 a forward policy began with the Earl of Sussex, who 
arrived as Lord Lieutenant on May 24th 1556 and superseded 
St. Leger. The new viceroy was instructed to restore the whole 
Catholic system, to expel the Scots from Antrim, and to plant 
Leix and Offaly. A parliament met at Dublin in June 1557, 
and a Bull of Paul IV absolved Ireland from heresy and con- 
firmed Mary as Queen. 

The Scottish danger had been growing for half a century. 
The Lordship of the Isles had been extinguished hi 1499, but 
the MacDonnells transferred themselves to May, Rathlin, and 
Antrim, and by 1550 James MacDonnell, who called himself 
Lord of the Isles, established himself in the Glens of Antrim, 
where an older branch of the race had ruled since 1400. By 


this time there were some ten. thousand Hebridean Scots, or 
'Redshanks' as they were called, in the North, and they spread 
westward against the MacQuillans, lords of the Route, and 
south against the O'Neills of Clandeboy. These Scots were 
gallant fighters, war was their trade, and, like the earlier 
galloglasses, they began to hire themselves out along with their 
kinsmen from the Isles in the service of the Ulster chiefs. 
Sussex made a useless raid against them, and they continued 
to be a great factor hi the North for forty years. 

The midland area of Ireland had long been a land of tin- 
conquered septs the O'Mores of Leix, the O'Connors of 
Offaly, the O'Dempseys of Clanmalier, and others. From 
their secure retreat among the great bogs and woods they 
easily attacked the Pale and year by year exacted then: black- 
rents. Brian O'Connor had been outlawed for his part in the 
Geraldine league and finally was deprived of his lordship. 
Under Edward, Leix and Offaly were annexed, and, as was 
often to be the case later, the Crown's title to these areas, by 
descent from the Mortimers, etc., was easily found by juries of 
inquisition. Surveys of the districts were made under Cowley, 
the Escheator-General, and had the Irish realized it the 
terrible weapon of confiscation threatened them all. Accord- 
ing to the English law, forfeiture followed the crime of Treason 
and all that was needed then was to get a local jury to declare 
the lands vested in the Crown and at its full disposal. Under 
the conditions of the time a jury could be intimidated, bullied, 
or even fined and imprisoned for not giving a verdict to suit the 
government, and so obsequious juries, even of native Irish- 
men, were found for sixty or seventy years ready to attaint 
their own chiefs. An act of parliament, was necessary to 
complete the attainder by which the convicted man and his 
heirs were for ever deprived of their lands, but Parliament itself 
could be subjected to government pressure. 

The confiscation of areas so large and the dispossession of a 
whole body of native lords, still less of all the population, could 
hardly have taken place in Tudor England, no matter how 
great the Despotism was, but in Ireland it became common for 
a century and a half to declare vast countries forfeited and all 


the local landowners attainted, the next step being to plant 
such areas with English grantees. Thus Confiscation and 
Plantation were to go hand in hand, and Leix and Offaly under 
a Catholic queen were the first example. 

By an elaborate plan the countries of Leix, Offaly, Clan- 
malier, Slievemargy, etc., were in 1556 thrown open to 
planters. The native owners were to retain only a third of 
their own country, that lying to the west, while in the nearer 
two-thirds land grants were made to a number of settlers on 
stated terms. These were to be ^English subjects born either 
in England or Ireland'; their estates were to be limited in size 
and were to descend to the eldest son by the English law of 
succession; the grantees must take only English servants; they 
must build stone houses, and serve the Deputy with a stated 
number of troops, and to pay a head-rent ('quit-rent') to the 
Crown. The Irish chiefs and freeholders were also to receive 
grants hi the forfeited areas on quit-rent terms, and the con- 
fiscated territories were shired as Kmg's and Queen's counties, 
with fortresses at Philipstown and Maryborough. 

This treatment of the native race was so sweepingly unjust 
that the native septs rose in arms, and for some fifty years 
their fierce resistance was prolonged by scions of these families. 
The terms indeed had to be modified later, hi 1561, and more 
generous grants made to the chiefs, among whom, for example, 
Owny O'Dempsey got a re-grant of his whole country, and his 
nephew later became Viscount Qanmalier. But the O'Mores 
and O'Connors, who were naturally the main opponents 
of a policy which reduced them from Gaelic kings to small 
landlords, produced determined and gallant rebels, such as 
Rory O'More of Leix, his son Rory Oge and his son again 
Owny MacRory, all alike slain in battle against the English. 
Not till 1603, at the general reduction of Gaelic Ireland, did 
the remnant of these septs lay down the arms which they had 
used in every rising that marked Elizabeth's regime. By that 
time the O'Connors had disappeared and of the O'Mores one 
only, the father of the famous Rory O'More of 1641, was 
allowed to retain a small estate 

There was no difficulty in getting the petty parliament of the 
Pale to confirm this plantation. But a year after, in November 


I 558 Queen Mary was dead, and the long reign of Elizabeth 
was destined to end in a general destruction of Gaelic and 
feudal Ireland. 

Already by 1558 it seemed doubtful if Henry VIIFs policy 
of ruling Ireland through the 'new earls' would succeed. It 
was hoped on the English side that the great lords and chiefs 
would gradually introduce and enforce in their own countries 
the English law, religion, and language. But the Government 
and even these new earls could hardly foresee what a deter- 
mined opposition the old Gaelic and Brehon order was capable 
of, even among the Old English. The poets and bards had 
long been the chief inspirers of the native tradition and main- 
tained the haughty pride and warlike spirit of their patrons, 
Gael or Gall, by their encomiums in verse. Similarly, the 
Brehons and chroniclers kept up the native law and all its 
records, and while they and the poets were well endowed in 
the Gaelic system, so also thousands of galloglasses and other 
mercenary soldiers depended on the native order which they 
were determined to maintain. The Tudor government had 
already set itself to proscribe Irish law and language, and hoped 
that where it could not do so directly it might turn earls and 
chiefs into agents for doing so. Again, the abolition of Irish 
captainships and patriarchal titles such as O'Neill had already 
been urged by officials, and in one or two cases had been 
included in terms of Surrender and Re-grant. 'Experience 
showeth that the captainships in Ireland are the undoing of 
the same', wrote an official in 1544, and this remained the 
Government idea till the end of the century, when the wise 
Mountjoy declared, however: Tor believe me with my ex- 
perience, the titles of our honours do rather weaken than 
strengthen them (the Irish chiefs) in this country.' 

By the terms of Surrender and Re-grant the lord or chief 
was left in possession of his whole country without provision 
made for the rights of his tenants or even the introduction of 
English law and land-tenure. In other words, when Henry 
made O'Neill, Clanrickard, and others peers of the realm, he 
actually threatened their Irish vassals with a form of land- 
lordism quite unknown to Irish law. In native law the chief 


was not the owner of his whole 'country' (which in O'Neill's 
case meant the three modern shires of Tyrone, Armagh, and 
Deny) he was simply the elected head and ruler of a whole 
body of vassal septs, some of whom held from him, while 
others again held of these vassals, freeholders who bore arms 
were numerous, and underneath all there was a large population 
of earth-tillers and craftsmen who also had their rights in law, 
though they were unwarlike. The chief had but a demesne of 
his own, called 'mensal lands', and further to maintain hirp 
in his office he had rights of tributes, food-rents and military 
service over bis whole 'country'. In the feudal system of 
Monarchy, all authority, title, and land-tenure came from above 
by the grant of the King or a superior lord. Of Irish law, 
however, it would be almost true to say that 'it was the people 
who gave the land to the chief, while in the feudal State the 
chief gave the land to the people'. The imposition of a great 
local tyrant, called an earl or baron, deriving his title and 
authority from an English king and intended to serve him, 
was resisted by an overwhelming mass of opinion. 


It was no mere romantic sentiment that 'was involved in 
being 'O'Neill', 'MacCarthy More', etc., for whoever had been 
duly inaugurated king commanded the allegiance, the military 
service, the tributes and above all the sacred awe of his people. 
Hence Mountjoy could say fifty years later, 'No subjects have 
a more dreadful awe to lay violent hands on their lawful prince 
than these people have to touch the persons of their O'Neills/ 
It added little as regards the obedience of the people that 
some one was Earl of Tyrone or Clancarthy if he were not also 
O'Neill or MacCarthy More, for the legal background was one 
in which the chief according to ancient custom was supreme 
lord. Especially in war, he could bring out the whole armed 
forces of his freemen and commandeer food-supplies. To have 
such a lord was essential to the unity and strength of an Irish 
state, and even if the exactions were numerous, the motto ran 
'Spend me and defend me'. Hence the Government itself 
continued in many cases to accept chiefs as 'captains of their 


nations' because as such it could call them to account; and 
hence, to quote one instance, Hugh O'Neill defended his taking 
the title of O'Neill (forbidden by law) while he was also Earl 
of Tyrone because otherwise some one else would take it and 
the people would prefer to obey him rather than an English- 
created earl. 

This Gaelic resistance, based on chieftainship and Tanistry, 
was to last for fifty years, and elective captainships did not 
disappear until the law had subdued the whole population. 
The old Gaelic world, which had existed for two thousand 
years, was now to clash with the modern world as represented 
by the Tudor government, strongly entrenched in Dublin. 
Its ideal was that of an aristocracy who still lived in the heroic 
age, in the atmosphere of battle and foray, and who were 
expected by their poets, historians, and followers to be warriors 
rather than statesmen. Numbers of them fell in the forefront 
of useless battles, while the wise man who let the others do the 
fighting and kept himself in power for a long life was rare. 
True, the chiefs were now to produce men who perforce 
were statesmen and wily politicians rather than mere soldiers, 
such as Shane O'Neill; but even his remarkable brain was 
stilled by a sudden stab in a drunken quarrel. 

The Gaelic resistance against English law and language and 
against the State landlords of native blood who 'had gone 
over* was not a general one; it could indeed hardly be so, for 
each of the many chiefs who ruled the greater part of Ireland 
was 'king in his own country', and their feuds and jealousies, 
old and present, were too many to sink. Even if a great genius 
had risen to unite them theirs was a most unequal struggle 
against the machinery of a powerful State, especially as the 
Gaelic chief was not even hereditary, and at any moment a 
strong or Irish-minded ruler might be displaced by a weak or 
loyal kinsman, whom the Government could, as it often did, 
make use of as a 'tame' or 'Queen's O'Neill'. T n spite of our 
admiration for some gallant and noble leaders and sympathy 
for their attitude to the world, we must admit that they were 
hopelessly out of date" and destined to lose, since they could 
scarcely hope to conquer and seldom knew how to compromise. 
Of his Gaelic resistance there were already several striking 


local instances. Richard, second Earl of Clanrickard (1544- 
1582), called 'Sasanach' by his people because he had adopted 
English ways and tried to rule as a Crown earl, was opposed 
not only by an elected 'MacWilUam' who represented the old 
order, but even by his own two sons. In Thomond, Donough 
O'Brien became the second earl, but on his death in 1554 his 
brother Donal asserted the old captainship and ruled for four 
years. We have now vehement poems of the bardic poets 
praising these champions of the old order and pouring con- 
tempt upon the 'Queen's Irish'. In Thomond, however, Conor, 
Donough's son, succeeded as earl, and the O'Briens henceforth 
combined the powers derived from the old title and the new. 

It was in the North that the most striking clash occurred of 
the new and the patriarchal order and that the latter found 
its greatest champion. Conn O'Neill, in accepting the title of 
Earl of Tyrone, had renounced that of O'Neill and his eldest 
son Matthew, Baron of Dungannon, was to be his heir-at-law. 
But the next son, Shane (called by the Irish 'the Proud') 
claimed that Matthew was illegitimate and that he was the 
rightful heir. Shane was already Tanist to his father, now 
an old man who died in 1559, but he did not by his birth claim 
to be next earl. On the contrary, he rejected all English 
titles and came out as the determined maintainer of Gaelic 
kingship. In the feud that followed between him and his 
brother, Matthew was slain, and at the accession of Elizabeth 
Shane held the field while Matthew's two sons, Brian and 
Hugh, were mere youths. When Conn Bacach died, Shane 
had no hesitation in taking on the proud style and the great 
powers of 'The O'Neill'. 

Ireland was now a world of varied elements, in which the 
most permanent and effective was the State seated in Dublin 
and able to command most of Meath and Leinster as well as 
the loyalty of Ormond and a large element among the Anglo- 
Irish. The proceedings of Council and parliament in the Pale 
for the present might be disregarded by Gaelic and Norman 
lords, but they were to be of decisive importance for them and 
the future of Ireland. Of such a nature were the doings of 
Elizabeth's first parliament in Dublin. 



The Earl of Sussex was continued as lieutenant by the new 
Queen, and like most of the aristocracy of his time was as ready 
to enforce the English service as he had been a few years 
before to restore the Mass. He summoned a parliament which 
lasted from January I2th to February ist 1560, and in it in 
less than twenty days was imposed on Ireland by the govern- 
ment and the Irish-born deputies of a third of the island a 
Reformation of the Church which was certainly unacceptable 
to the great majority of Irish-men. Parliament now represented 
ten counties and twenty-eight towns, namely, Leinster, Meath, 
and two counties of Munster (Tipperary and Waterford), so 
that Ulster and Connacht were unrepresented save for one 
town deputy from Ulster and two from Connacht. Twenty- 
three temporal peers attended, but the only Gaelic ones were 
Thomond and Fitzpatrick. As to the number of bishops who 
actually came when summoned authors differ, and possibly 
only some eleven attended. By the parliamentary constitu- 
tion the spiritual Estate could not defeat a statute, and so 
were passed the two acts of Supremacy and Uniformity in 
wording similar to those already passed by the English par- 

By the act of Supremacy the monarch became Supreme 
Governor on earth of the Church of Ireland, and an oath 
accepting the Queen as such was imposed upon all holders of 
office in Church and State, all mayors of corporate towns, all 
taking university degrees, and all tenants-in-chief of the Crown 
suing out livery of their estates. The Queen was given the 
appointment by letters patent of bishops. By the act of 
Uniformity the new Book of Common Prayer was imposed 
upon all ordained clergy, and attendance at the State Church 
was made compulsory on pain of a fine of one shilling each 
Sunday (the 'Recusancy' fine). English was the language of 
the prayer book, and yet this language was only understood 
by a minority of the people. It was provided that Latin might 
be used instead, but no provision was made for the Irish lan- 
guage, which all the Gaelic race spoke and most of the Old 
English understood. No attempt was made until it was too 


late to convert the people through the medium of their own 
language, and it was not till the beginning of James I's reign 
that the prayer book and New Testament were published in 
Irish, nor was it till the reign of Charles I that the whole Bible 
was translated into Irish. So was set up in Ireland that Es- 
tablished Church on Anglican lines which the Irish called the 
'Queen's religion' and which was officially called 'that religion 
which is established by the lavi s of the land', or 'the Protestant 
reformed religion established by law'. From this time, how- 
ever, a Protestant population slowly grew up, at first in the 
towns and later reinforced by the new colonists. 

How was Ireland to accept this Elizabethan establishment, 
which in theory was the Catholic Church of Ireland merely 
reformed and cleansed of abuses under the direction of Mon- 
archy and Parliament? How many bishops accepted the 
royal Supremacy is a disputed point; a Catholic writer declares 
that out of eleven bishops who attended Parliament seven 
accepted the Supremacy Oath, while a Protestant divine says 
that out of all the bishops only two refused the Oath and were 
deprived. The persecution of those who objected was at the 
time not good policy, and for some thirty or forty years the 
Queen in general used the royal Prerogative to dispense with 
the Oath in the case of officials and protected the ordinary 
loyal subject from persecution for Religion's sake. But it was 
dear that the Church had been set up on a basis to which 
ultimately all must conform, and to be loyal to the Crown both 
as sovereign and head of the Church was considered the duty 
of all true subjects. Nor could it be doubted that the old 
Church of the Papal allegiance to which the majority of the 
Irish belonged had been dispossessed and disestablished and 
that the Catholic population had lost the cathedrals and 
churches and were by law unable to serve the Crown. Thus 
religious persecution at first took only a negative aspect and 
it was long before positive and active persecution began. 

The precise nature of this breach with the old order was at 
first hard to realize. In the eyes of Rome, Elizabeth's new 
prayer book made the Church of England and of Ireland both 
schismatic and heretical. It was some time, however, before 
the Pope abandoned the dream of winning this woman back, 


and it was not till 1570 that Pius V excommunicated her and 
released her subjects from their obedience. Up to that time, 
therefore, though the situation became more tense in Ireland, 
we must regard Religion as not playing the chief part. Never- 
theless, for the first time in history a common resentment 
against the new Establishment and the official policy on 
religion began to unite the two races, Gaelic and Old English, 
who were to become the Irish nation. 

SHANE O'NEILL, 1558-1567 

Sussex remained Lieutenant of Ireland till 1566. He was 
the last of those viceroys of the old aristocratic St. Leger type 
who, whatever then- particular orders were, in general respec- 
ted the rights of the Irish nobility and people, and wished for 
reforms to go slowly and to secure national acceptance. In a 
dispatch to Elizabeth in 1560 he pointed out how Ireland was 
still divided into the two factions of the Geraldines and the 
Butlers, and that, while the latter favoured the Earl of Tho- 
mond and the Baron of Dungannon, the Geraldines favoured 
Shane O'Neill and Donal O'Brien, champions of Tanistry. He 
advised that the Irish captains should be summoned so that 
their consent should be obtained to accepting the government 
as coming from the Prince and paying a certain rent to the 
Crown, while they should rule their country in a manner 
according to the old order. Two years later he repeated this 
advice and advised that the Brehon law should be tolerated 
in Irish countries and even between the Irish and the March 
English. He was finally withdrawn in February 1566, and 
succeeded by Sir Henry Sidney. 

Sidney ruled till 1571. He also was a manly, tolerant, and 
indeed a lofty-minded statesman and one of the greatest men 
that England has sent to Ireland; but by this time the two 
countries were growing more and more apart and the problem 
of ruling Ireland in the face of the 'strong policy' which was now 
in favour became more and more difficult. Of the many 
problems which Sidney had to face that of dealing with Shane 
O'Neill was the greatest. 

Shane was the most uncompromising opponent of English 


rule in Ireland that had yet appeared. A most skilful politician 
and a man of humorous and attractive address, a handsome 
and proud personage also, he proved more than a match for 
that official class which now had the State behind them, or 
if he came to an interview proved disarmingly attractive. 
After all, he commanded three whole counties in Ulster as 
well as the vassalage of Maguire, MacMahon, O'Reilly and 
other chiefs. In 1560 Elizabeth ordered his subjugation, with 
the unfortunate result that the young Brian, Baron of Dun- 
gannon, was slain hi 1562. His younger brother, Hugh, was 
rescued by the Government and brought over to London, 
where he was taken into the Earl of Leicester's household. 
But Shane could not be ignored or crushed, and so at the end 
of 1561 he was summoned over to London to see the Queen 
herself and stayed there from January to May 1562. Con- 
sidering the fate of Silken Thomas before him and many a 
chief after him, it was a bold step to march into the lion's den 
even with a royal safe-conduct. On January 6th he made his 
submission to the Queen, who admired him as she did all 
handsome men, while London partly jested and partly was 
impressed with the 'Great O'Neill' and his tall galloglasses. 
Shane returned to Ireland high in favour, with the unofficial 
title of Lord of Tyrone, and with encouragement for his offer 
to expel the Antrim Scots whom at the present the Dublin 
Government disliked. For several years Shane was the 
greatest figure hi Ireland. According to a report of Sidney, 
'Lucifer was never puffed up with more pride or ambition than 
O'Neill is. He continually keepeth six hundred armed men 
about him and is able to bring into the field one thousand 
horsemen and four thousand foot. He is the only strong man 
of Ireland, his country was never so rich or inhabited, and he 
armeth and weaponeth all the peasants of his country, the 
first that ever did so of an Irishman/ 

Expeditions, partly military, partly diplomatic, were made 
against Shane at various times by Sussex and Sidney, but 
both in arms and in diplomacy O'Neill fenced skilfully, for he 
was not a great soldier. He was ready to acknowledge the 
Queen as sovereign but was resolute against the introdiu tion 
of English law into Ulster. He was proud of his descent from 


an Earl of Kildare, which thus gave him friends in the Pale, 
for by this time, though the law made a distinction between 
the Irish and the Old English, in fact through intermarriage 
the Butlers, Burkes, Desmonds, O'Neills, and other great 
families were of mixed blood. On one occasion Shane declared 
to Government envoys: 'I care not to be an earl unless I be 
better and higher than an earl, for I am in blood and power 
better than the best of them (the new Irish earls), and will 
give place to none but my cousin of Kildare for that he is of 
mine house. My ancestors were kings of Ulster and Ulster 
is mine and shall be mine.' Such was the main aim of Shane, 
in whose programme Religion or the union of Ireland counted 
less than the maintenance of the O'Neill kingship. In this 
aim his two opponents were the O'Donnells and the Antrim 
Scots, and he won his greatest victory against the latter at 
Glenshesk near Ballycastle on May 2nd 1565, where James, 
the head of the MacDonnells was slain. His death was not 
forgiven by the Scots, who found a new leader in James's 
brother, Sorley Boy ('Buidhe'). 

The victorious Shane then turned against the O'Donnells 
whose chief Calvach he defeated and captured. Calvach died 
in 1566 and was succeeded by his brother Hugh Duv ('the 
Black'), whom the Government determined to support. For 
the first time the idea occurred of seizing Derry in order to 
attack Ulster from the sea, and this port was occupied by 
Colonel Randolph, but a gunpowder explosion led to the 
evacuation of the garrison. Encouraged by this, in 1567 Shane 
marched into Tyrconnell, but At Farsetmore on the Swilly was 
completely routed by O'DonnelL Having lost his army, Shane 
took the wild idea of throwing himself on the protection of the 
Scots of Antrim, but when he fled to them they murdered him 
in a drunken quarrel at Cushendun when they brought to 
mind their defeat at Glenshesk. Thus perished the greatest 
O'Neill that the old Gaelic order had produced* 

On the news, both Sidney and Cecil urged the confiscation 
and then the shiring of Ulster, which lay vacant, but the 
Queen was content to have Shane attainted, the name of 
O'Neill legally extinguished, three counties confiscated by 


legal process, and then to allow Turloch Luineach O'Neill to 
succeed as practical lord of Tyrone. Turloch was second 
cousin of Shane and had been his Tanist. It is illustrative 
of the Irish law of kingly succession that Turloch's rlaim to 
succeed went back to Conn More, who died in 1493, his great- 
grandfather, and grandfather to Shane, and that since this 
Conn there had been at least fifteen 'royal heirs'. Turloch was 
a cautious and on the whole a loyal man and for some twenty 
years under him it appeared as if native Ulster might safely 
be allowed to continue. Meanwhile the young Hugh, now 
Baron of Dungannon, with the Queen's favour, 'trooped the 
streets of London with sufficient equipage and orderly respect'. 

The interest again shifts to Dublin and the Pale. With Sir 
Henry Sidney a 'forward policy' was ordered from Whitehall 
which was the first step towards the general reduction of 
Ireland on Tudor lines. Whether this could be done by peace- 
ful means and general content was doubtful; in any case the 
growing religious tension complicated the question, for we 
cannot doubt that had there been no Reformation the loyal 
element in Ireland would have been very large and would have 
included a great majority of the Old English. 

Sidney's instructions, as given to him in October 1565, 
outlined much of this new policy. He was to inquire into the 
best means available of establishing 'Christ's religion' among 
the people. The whole of the existing counties of Minister and 
Leinster, save Clare, were to be considered as under the law. 
English manners were to be substituted for Irish customs, 
money rents for arbitrary exactions of the lords, and the chiefs 
were to be induced to accept 'estates of inheritance'. It was a 
large programme and Sidney was given great powers, such, as 
the appointment of all Church officers except archbishops and 
bishops and of all civil offices except the Chancellor, Treasurer, 
and chief justices. He rightly could complain, however, that 
the revenue on which to do all this was inadequate, for Tudor 
parsimony continued almost to the end, and that he had only 
twelve hundred soldiers in a land where lords and chiefs had 
on foot some twenty or thirty thousand men. 

Sidney continued the Surrender and re-grant policy which 


during the reign made apparently loyal a considerable number 
of Gaelic chiefs. The granting of titles continued, and another 
great dynast, Donal MacCarthy More, was in 1565 made Earl 
of dancarthy. In the next year Calvach O'Donnell again 
acknowledged the Queen, and in 1567 Donal O'Connor Sligo 
surrendered his captaincy and received a grant for life of his 
whole country. Now, this O'Connor was an 'urragh' or chief 
vassal of O'Donnell, and though the latter was for the present 
loyal the Government's evident scheme for withdrawing the 
'urraghs' from under the paramount chiefs and bringing them 
directly under the Crown was to cause further trouble. 

Sidney's parliament of 1569-1570 enacted the new policy. 
It was again more representative of Ireland than the parlia- 
ment of 1560, but Ulster, Connacht, and the Desmond country 
were still unrepresented. There appeared in it for the first 
time what was to be of permanent consequence, namely, a 
constitutional, Catholic, and loyalist opposition led by Sir 
Edmund Butler, eldest brother of the Earl of Ormond, which 
was supported by the Lords of the Pale and the lawyers and 
deputies who appeared for the towns. Among his other 
measures for making Ireland a monarchy Henry VIII had 
established the King's Inns in Dublin as the centre of the Irish 
legal profession, for without it the much-desired English law 
could not spread. This weapon was now turned against the 
Government, for the lawyers of the Old English stock who 
were trained there henceforth opposed the Reformation and 
set themselves to defeat whatever penal laws might be passed. 
It was not yet possible generally to exact the oath of 
Supremacy and many of the chief government officials re- 
mained Catholic. Especially did the old self-governing towns 
remain strongholds of the old Faith and until 1624 even their 
mayors were generally Catholic. The lawyers were the obvious 
people to elect for the towns and along with the Lords and 
gentry of the Pale they formed what was called a 'country' 
party as against the 'Court' or 'English party'. For the first 
time a Deputy had to use skill and persuasion amounting to 
force to carry through measures against a stout and conscious 
Opposition. Sidney wanted Poynings' law suspended so that 


measures proposed by him could be put at once before this 
parliament. But the Irish party now saw in Poynings' law 
a weapon to their hand, and a check upon arbitrary measures, 
religious or otherwise, on the part of viceroys, for the pro- 
cedure it entailed it gave them time 'to appeal to Caesar'. 
Finally, however, a Suspension bill was accepted, but with the 
provision that in future such a bill must secure a majority of 
both Houses. 

The effective result was that any penal measures against 
Catholics or even active measures to endow the State Church 
had to be dropped and the parliament ended in a triumph for 
the Opposition. It was, however, a loyal opposition and 
Sidney found no difficulty in getting an act to attaint Shane 
O'Neill, to abolish the O'Neill title, and declare three counties 
forfeited. Henceforth the Old English Catholics in parliament 
were always ready to attaint 'traitors and rebels' at the 
Government's wish, hi order to have a greater claim for indul- 
gence on the religious question. The result of such tactics was 
that by 1603 the Irish Statute book contained much less penal 
legislation against the Roman faith than did the English. 

Sidney's other measures were also passed; such as a parlia- 
mentary subsidy for ten years in lieu of the 'coign and livery' 
which had formerly maintained the army; an act to shire all 
the countries that were not yet shire-ground; and another to 
abolish Irish captaincies except where established by law. 
Under the shiring act, Connacht was in 1570 divided into 
counties. The intention of this act was indicative of the 
Government's policy to anglicize all Ireland, namely 'that her 
Majesty's laws may have full course through the whole realm'. 
The act 'for taking away captainships and all exactions be- 
longing thereunto from all lords and great men of this realm 
exercising absolute and regal authority within large circuits', 
though it could not be at once enforced, was sufficient to alarm 
not only Gaelic 'lords of countries' but also great feudal 
princes such as the Earl of Desmond and the Burkes, whose 
powers went back to the original conquest. 

Another act of this parliament set up presidencies for 
Connacht and Minister and for a hundred years these two 
provinces were subjected to what was in effect a local form of the 


all-powerful Council at Dublin, with the object of suppressing 
feudal and chiefly privileges and bringing the whole country 
under the law. Sir Edward Fitton was the first President of 
Connacht and Sir John Perrot, reputed an illegitimate son of 
Henry VIII, the first President of Minister. 

Before this parliament ended Sir Edmund Butler, who had 
begun as the leader of the loyal Catholics, was in rebellion, and 
by an act of this very parliament an attainted traitor. How 
this came about is instructive of the situation that was de- 
veloping in Ireland. 

The chief motives of rebellion under Elizabeth were 
destined to be: the insecurity of land-titles among the Old 
English of Leinster and Munster, threatened by English-born 
adventurers and planters, the attack upon feudal and chiefly 
lordships, and the religious grievance. At first it was the two 
former which agitated men, and it was not till Hugh O'Neill 
attempted to make a national combination that the three were 
united. The temporal sovereignty of Elizabeth was not re- 
pudiated in any thorough fashion, but the attacks on what the 
Irish considered their rights of land and liberties and to hold 
oflice gradually brought more and more of them into the field 
against the official government. 

A curious bit of antiquarian buccaneering drove Sir Edmund 
Butler with others into revolt. When the Presidency of 
Munster was set up a band of young gentlemen from Devon, 
Somerset, and other south-western counties began to arrive 
in Ireland, such as Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Humfrey Gilbert, 
and others. Among these Sir Peter Carew of Mohun Ottery 
hi Devon was certainly the most aspiring. On the strength of 
a pedigree whose value is very uncertain he claimed to be the 
heir of Fitzstephen and the original Carews of Ireland, and so 
to be the inheritor of most of Carlowand the moiety of the old 
'Kingdom of Cork'. The Carews of Ireland had in fact expired 
about 1370 and their chief barony in Carlow, Idrone, was now 
in the possession of the Kavanaghs. The northern part of 
Idrone, called the Dullough, had come into Butler hands and 
belonged to Sir Edmund. Peter Carew's claims were seriously 
put before the Council, which declared them valid, and as the 
Council was all-dominant in the area which it could control, 


nothing but strong protest, aimed or otherwise, was of any use. 
Sir Edmund with his brothers went into rebellion, and though 
after three years he was pardoned he was never restored in 
blood and so did not inherit the Earldom in due time. The 
Kavanaghs, who by this time were much weakened by division 
into several septs, made their protest to the Lord Deputy 
Sidney and the Council in 1568, and three of their chiefs 
declared that their ancestors before the Conquest and ever since 
had been lawfully seized of Idrone. The answer of the Council 
was, however, that Dermot 'Ny Gall', king of Leinster, had but 
one daughter and heir 'who was married to the Earl Strong- 
bow, from whom descended divers noblemen of England, of 
which stock the defendants were not come, but a wild Irish 
race and kindred sprung up since within the realm'. The right 
and legitimate descent of the Kavanaghs was thus denied, and 
the title of the Carews, whose heir Sir Peter was, was affirmed. 
The Carews had been barons there, 'until the MacMurroughs, 
a rebellious nation of Irish people, in time of common rebellion, 
wrongfully and by force seized the said barony and lands and 
with strong hands and without right or title maintained it; 
from which MacMurroughs the present defendants are de- 
scended, but not born in lawful marriage or legitimate by the 
laws of Holy Church 1 . The defendants not being able to prove 
the contrary, the Lord Chancellor and court decreed that Sir 
Peter and his heirs should have the possession of the barony. 
There was nothing left for the Kavanaghs to do but to accept 
Sir Peter as their lord (for in default of a native lord the Irish 
generally wished to have a strong and just master, even of 
English Hood), and, as it happened, Sir Peter proved a kindly 
and easy lord. But the case was most illustrative of what was 
to happen when Irish chiefs, no longer able to make a fight, 
found their claims to their lands challenged either by the 
Crown as representing the Mortimers and other families or by 
Anglo-Irish claimants going back to the original conquest. 

Meath and Leinster having by this time been more or less 
brought under the law, the rich and accessible province of 
Munster was the next experiment. Perrot, President of Mun- 
ster, declared the Earl of Desmond's palatine liberty of Kerry 


null and void, while that of the Earl of Ormond in Tipperary 
was not to be infringed. Sir Humfrey Gilbert did not hesitate 
f to infringe the pretended liberties of any city or town cor- 
porate, not knowing their charters to further the Queen's 
service, answering them that the Prince hath an absolute 
power and that what might not be done by the one (prero- 
gative) I would do by the other (force) in case of need*. Thus 
was the doctrine of the State proclaimed, and as a result 
Minister was soon in commotion. It was a part of the trouble 
that in the rich lands around Cork harbour, when Sir Peter 
Carew got his claims allowed, the Gilberts and Raleighs 
managed to feather their nests also. 

Religion entered into the general grievances, and the Old 
English of Munster, a rich and prosperous country, full of 
towns and abbeys and inhabited by a strong feudal caste and 
their tenants, felt the religious appeal more strongly than did 
the native Irish. Already abroad the dispossessed Church had 
its bishops, papally appointed, and soon had its colleges in the 
Low countries, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. A strong and 
enthusiastic Irish world was being built up abroad, and as the 
idea of the counter-Reformation grew the Irish abroad, acting 
with the leaders at home, determined on a Crusade to recover 
Ireland for the Faith. The easy-going religion of the old sort 
was replaced after the Council of Trent by zeal, determination, 
and the conscious knowledge of the grounds for one's religion. 
The Jesuits and the bishops were the guiding spirits of this 
movement, while on the other hand the Crown for the success 
of the State Church relied upon Englishmen such as Adam 
Loftus and others, who 'by her royal pleasure' were installed 
in Armagh, Dublin, and the nearer sees. Loftus was a complete 
example of the new type of State bishop, unable to understand 
the language of the country, putting the English interest first, 
and yet as Chancellor and member of the Dublin government 
able to thwart the more generous viceroys such as Perrot. 
Successively during his long life, which ended in 1605, Loftus 
was dean of St. Patrick's, archbishop of Armagh, then finally 
of Dublin (1567-1605), and Provost of the new college founded 
by Elizabeth. To the common man of the time no doubt the 
Pope and theories of religion were far-off things, but the old 


familiar Mass and Sacraments were what touched him close, 
and when the service in St. Patrick's was in English, and Loftus 
removed the altar from the east end and put a communion 
table in the centre, the majority of Irishmen felt that this was 
not the old religion which they believed Christ founded and 
committed to Peter. 

There was of course plenty of honest attachment, zeal, and 
intellect on the other side, and the Puritan spirit, now 
growing in England, was to be a militant antithesis of the 
Jesuit spirit on the Catholic side. When in February 1570 
Pius V declared Elizabeth excommunicated as a heretic and 
her subjects released from obedience, the position of the 
peaceful Roman Catholic between the two kinds of zealot 
became more and more difficult. How was he to obey the 
Pope in spiritual things and be a loyal man to the Queen in 
temporal things? How was he to deny the right of the Pope 
to excommunicate, depose, and even sanction the murder of 
heretic sovereigns when Rome itself made no official state- 
ment as to this doctrine? Luckily for the ordinary man the 
Prerogative was high and was able by the Dispensing power 
and in other ways to shield nun from the penalties of religious 
laws. The great failure of the State Church was that it was 
not made national or attractive enough and that its bishops 
were not of saintly and patriotic character fitted to win over 
the old population to itself. 


Gerald, fourteenth Earl of Desmond, who succeeded in 1558, 
was a weak and incapable man, and his character was particu- 
larly unfortunate because for long his family had been out of 
royal favour and a palatinate so huge and independent as that 
which he inherited was almost certain to be attacked. Thomas, 
Earl of Ormond, had powers almost as great, but then he was 
the 'white-headed', as Desmond was the 'bad', boy of the piece 
in southern Ireland in Government eyes, and in any case 
Thomas was an exceedingly wise and acute man. The winning 
over of Desmond was attempted, and in London in 1562 he 
promised to pay the Queen her feudal dues, and to suppress 


Brehon law and the poets 'who by their ditties and rhymes In 
commendation of extortions, rebellion, rape, and ravin do 
encourage lords and gentlemen'. But he showed no inclination 
to carry out his promises, which were indeed difficult considering 
how great a power and revenue the Earl derived from the 
masses of his Gaelic tenants. He had a standing feud with 
Ormond over boundaries such as Clonmel where their territories 
touched and over the prise of wines from the ports of Minister, 
and indeed the Ormond-Geraldine quarrel was a century old. 
Finally it came to a pitched battle in 1565 at Affane on the 
Suir, in which Earl Gerald was defeated and taken prisoner. 
Both earls were then summoned to London where Desmond 
along with his brother John was kept in honourable confinement 
till 1573. Their detention was condemned by the Deputy as not 
only unjust but dangerous, because no Irish lord could afford 
to be absent from his country for long. That Sidney was right 
was shown when Sir James Fitzmaurice, the Earl's cousin, 
summoned the chief Geraldines, declared that their lord's 
rights were in danger, and got himself elected their Captain. 

Fitzmaurice was a Catholic enthusiast and made the Irish 
cause predominantly a religious one. When the Pope declared 
Elizabeth deposed, his Bull was taken seriously by many of the 
Irish leaders, both the Church and the nobles, for the idea still 
survived that the Pope was the final suzerain of Ireland. In 
common with the Catholic party in England, they looked to 
Mary, Queen of Scots, no win captivity, as the rightful sovereign 
of both realms. 

This first revolt of the Old English of Munster was led by 
Fitzmaurice and Sir Edmund Butler who, for his part, declared, 
'I do not make war against the Queen but against those who 
banish Ireland and mean conquest'. In short, the reduction 
of the Desmond palatinate threatened that proud race which 
had made the former conquest with a new conquest directed 
against themselves. Carew's claim to half of the old kingdom 
of Cork brought into the field even MacCarthy More, the new 
Earl of Clancarthy. Carew, however, like Raleigh, Grenville, 
and the other Devon men now in Ireland, was of the fighting 
gentry type, who, as the Normans had done before them, 
backed up their charters with their swords. He took Butler's 


castle of Cloghgrenan, and Perrot and Gilbert suppressed 
Minister with the merciless slaughter of garrisons. In the mid- 
lands and Wicklow the discontented septs rose under Rory Oge 
and the famous Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne, but no great battle is 
recorded or victory for the Irish side. When the allies besieged 
Kilkenny in 1569 it was a failure, but the composition of the 
rebel army is interesting, namely 4,500 men, of whom 1,400 
were galloglass, 400 musketeers, 400 pikemen in mail, and the 
rest horsemen and kerns. Formidable in numbers, such Irish 
armies, however, were seldom a match for the small but 
disciplined armies of the government backed by artillery. 
The rebellion ended without any sweeping vengeance on the 
government's side and Fitzmaurice departed to the continent 
in 1573, while Sir Edmund, though he remained attainted, 
henceforth ceased to be a rebel. 

In the lull that followed, the Lord Deputy Sidney, who had 
been recalled in 1571 but held office again from 1575 to 1578, 
was able in peace and in state to travel through Ulster and 
Connacht. For the present Ulster was left to its native chiefs, 
the loyal Hugh Duv O'Donnell, the semi-loyal Turloch 
O'Neill, and the apparently loyal Hugh, baron of Dungannon, 
who was sent back in 1568. 

In his journey Sidney made shires of Connacht and of Clare, 
and when the 'degenerate English' of the west trooped in he 
found with surprise that few of them could speak English and 
that, though they knew their origin and surnames, Prendergast 
had become MacMorris, De Angulo Costello, and so on. In 
Connacht Richard, Earl of Clanrickard, was the great man and 
Conor, Earl of Thomond, the same in Clare, but the old Irish 
order died hard. 

Connacht had its own wars, or rather constant disturbance, 
quite different from the other provinces. Though Clanrickard 
was a loyal man, his two sons, Ulick and John, called the 
'Mac-an-Iarlas' or 'Earl's sons', led the resistance to the 
President of Connacht, whose orders were to introduce English 
law and abolish Irish 'cuttings and spendings'. The native 
nobility looked on this as a way of depriving them both of 
power and revenue, and making the 'churl as good as a 


gentleman 1 . Irish feudalism, whether Norman or Gaelic, was 
undoubtedly most oppressive to the poor man upon whom the 
quartering of mercenaries was a constant curse, and the 
haughty pride of the gentry in their ancestry and blood was 
extreme. It now took the form of hating the English language 
and the middle-class English who came as commanders and 
officials, rather than the Queen, to whom in general they did 
not refuse allegiance. The 'rising out' of the Burkes was sup- 
ported by a remarkable female, Grace or Grania O'Malley, 
queen of Clare Island and Clew Bay, a famous commander of 
war galleys, who was said to be 'for forty years the stay of all 
rebellions in the west'. 

The furious pride of the Burkes is shown in one or two 
incidents. In 1572 President Fitton sent the Earl of Clan- 
rickard over to London to be detained and examined by 
the Privy council, whereupon his two sons and the Mayo 
Burkes flew into rebellion, and hired a whole army of 1,400 
Scots and 2,000 galloglass. The sporadic fighting simmered 
on till 1582. In 1576 the Earl's sons submitted and went 
to Dublin with Sidney, but on their return, contrary to 
their agreement and in the sight of the castle of Athlone, 
'they shook off their English clothes in the Shannon and 
resumed Irish dress'. In June of that year they attacked 
Athenry, which the English forces had occupied. Sidney re- 
ported; 'In this town was the sepulture of their fathers and their 
mother was also buried there; the chief church of which town 
they most violently burned, and Ulick, being besought to 
spare the burning where his mother's bones lay, blasphemously 
swore that if she were alive and in it he would burn the church 
and her too rather than any English churl should inhabit or 
fortify there.' 

There was indeed as yet no Irish nation and the aims and 
local pride of the Connacht lords were a whole world removed 
from those of burgesses and landlords in the Pale, though a 
general attachment to Ireland united them, and even the Irish 
language was by now common with all Irishmen. Oppor- 
tunism was indeed the general policy of lords and chiefs, for 
loyalty itself was hard to maintain. When Qanrickard died 
in 1582 he adjured his sons to serve the Queen of England and 


left his curse on any who would do the contrary. Ulick, the 
elder son, obeyed his father's words and as earl of Clanrickard 
became a loyal man; at the battle of Kinsale his son Richard 
was foremost on the English side. Even the famous Grace 
O'Malley, who married Richard 'the Iron' Burke, became 
mother of Theobald Burke 'of the Ships', first Viscount Mayo. 

Meanwhile the Pale had its grievances too, for it had to 
support the main charges of the Government, and the Deputy's 
army was quartered upon it by 'cess', the coinage was a debased 
one, and the Lords and gentry of the Pale felt more than others 
the exclusion from office and fines which they suffered as 

No wonder that able and honest men like Sidney groaned 
over their charge, for which they were provided with neither 
sufficient troops or men or even allowed a generous policy, for 
Elizabeth 'would never consent to let a great nobleman serve 
in his own country*. Indeed the government became more 
centralized still when in 1580 a Court of Castle Chamber was 
set up in Dublin, a parallel to the Star Chamber court in 
England, through which the English-born junta in Dublin 
controlled the whole government, and the lords of the Pale 
found themselves more and more excluded from that share in 
the Council of Ireland, which they believed they had under 
Poynings' law. These general grievances, however, such men 
as Fitzmaurice believed they could cut like the Gordian knot 
by a general Catholic confederacy backed by Spain and the 

Philip II, indeed, though he continued to be the Catholic 
hope, proved a very disappointing patron, who actually during 
his long reign never sent over more than a few hundreds of 
men directly to the Irish cause. His hands were full with the 
revolt of the Netherlands which began in 1572, and with 
maintaining the greatness of Spain in Europe and the New 
World. When England helped the Dutch and the Huguenots 
he thought himself entitled to help Irish rebels in return, but 
mainly as a way of hitting back at his enemy, England, and 
without any enthusiasm for the Irish cause, which like a 
politician he waited to see become really formidable before he 


would help it. The Papacy was more whole-hearted but had 
not the money or the armies to back an Irish Catholic rising. 
Hence when Fitzmaurice returned, the show of support behind 
him was not impressive. 

Fitzmaurice arrived at Dingle in Kerry on July i8th 1579, 
bringing with him a few soldiers, some money, and promises of 
further aid from Philip, and the Bull of Gregory XIII which 
declared Elizabeth deprived of her kingdoms. There accom- 
panied him the Legate Saunders and the Jesuit Allen, both 
Englishmen, and a Spanish friar, Oviedo, papal commissary 
to the troops, who was to devote twenty years or more to 
bringing the Irish cause to success by Spanish aid. The 
leaders of this revolt had a. moral justification for rebellion, 
which they declared to be sacred and lawful, 'a war for the 
Catholic religion and against a tyrant who refuses to hear 
Christ speaking by his Vicar', hence they called upon the 
people of Ireland without distinction to join them. John and 
James, the Earl's brothers, did so with numbers of the Munster 
gentry, but Desmond himself for the time stood aloof. Many 
native lords actively opposed the rising, especially Barrymore 
and Sir Cormac McCarthy of Muskerry, both good 'Queen's 
men'. Unfortunately for the cause, Fitzmaurice was killed on 
August i8th in a petty affray with the Burkes of Castleconnell, 
and the one real leader and man of pure principle in the rising 
disappeared. Nevertheless a widespread rising showed what 
discontented elements there were. The O'Mores and O'Connors 
took arms again, though Rory Oge was soon slain, and in 
Leinster FitzEustace, viscount Baltinglass, a typical lord of the 
Pale, revolted on the religious question and allied himself with 
the Wicklow rebels. In 1580 in the lonely pass of Glenmalure 
Fiach McHugh O'Byrne gave a complete overthrow to the 
forces of the Deputy, Lord Grey de Wilton. 

The Munster rising was suppressed by Perrot, Ormond, 
'General of the army of Munster', Carew, and other English 
commanders. Again pitched battles were rare and the war 
took the form of the siege and the massacre of garrisons and 
the destruction of the country which brought on all the horrors 
of famine. The promises of Philip and the Pope materialized 


in a force of seven hundred Spaniards and Italians who landed 
at Smerwick west of Dingle in October 1580 and fortified 
themselves there. But rapidity of decision and combination 
was all on the English side, and the fort at Smerwick (remem- 
bered in Irish tradition as 'Dun-an-cor' or 'fort of gold') was 
besieged by the Lord Deputy and Sir Walter Raleigh, com- 
pelled to surrender, and its garrison pitilessly massacred. 

Saunders and Allen both died during the rising and the 
Earl's brothers were the one slain and the other executed. 
Desmond himself was finally driven into rebellion, proclaimed 
a traitor, his castles stormed one by one, and at last when the 
rebel forces had been reduced to a handful was tracked down 
and killed at Glenageenty in Kerry on November nth 1583. 
Thomas of Ormond might perhaps have procured the unfortu- 
nate Earl his life or pardon, but on the one hand Irish chiefs 
had now a natural dread of ending their days in the Tower and 
on the other Ormond was not averse to seeing the Geraldines 
overthrown. A large part of the shame must also rest on 
Philip, who left the unfortunate Irish to their fate. 

By 1583 the rebellion was over and Munster was a devastated 
land. The introduction of colonists to support the English 
Church and government in Ireland had often been urged, and 
it was now resolved to try it on a large scale in this fertile but 
depopulated province. Henceforth for over a century rebellion, 
or whatever was styled so, was to be followed by confiscation 
and Plantation. The modern idea of redress to cure grievances 
was not thought of. Desmond had chosen to 'rebel', and it 
had cost Elizabeth half a minion pounds to suppress him and 
his supporters, so he and they must pay for it. It was a simple 
and sufficient piece of logic for English rule in Ireland. 


In June 1586 Elizabeth approved the final 'Articles' for the 
plantation of the Desmond lands. The Earl and his chief 
supporters were attainted, and their attainder and the Planta- 
tion approved by the Parliament of this year. At first, out of 
the 5,000,000 acres of Munster 500,000 were intended for 
confiscation, but in the end only 210,000 were granted to the 


new settlers. These were required to be English, but it was 
not precisely demanded that they should be Protestant, and 
indeed at the time there were too many gentlemen of the old 
Catholic upbringing to insist on this point; in fact, some of the 
planters, such as Sir Nicholas Browne, ancestor of the Earls 
of Kenmare, were soon found on the Catholic side. The lands 
confiscated were the richest in the south-west, and with the 
imperfect measurements of the time (for the extent of an 
estate depended on the evidence of sworn juries of the neigh- 
bourhood) it was always possible by pressure or persuasion to 
add a great deal of supposed 'unprofitable 1 to the 'profitable* 
lands. By this scheme 'Seignories 1 or chief grants of 12,000, 
8,000, 6,000, and 4,000 acres were created. Those who were 
granted them, called 'Undertakers', were to plant English 
tenants under them. The grants were made in socage, not 
tenure-in-chief, but a head or 'quit-rent' was to be paid to the 
Crown. In Kerry, for example, the quit-rent was a mere 
hundred pounds for the seignory of 12,000 acres. Along with 
the planters, many of whom were at least brave soldiers, came 
the lawyers, and in this and later plantations chicanery and 
the cruel ingenuity of the law was used to extend the grants 
and to swindle the natives. Thus, though no grantee was to 
have more than one seignory, Sir Walter Raleigh was ulti- 
mately in possession of 40,000 acres. 

The Plantation of Munster had for the time but a limited 
success. It certainly led to a number of landlords of English 
stock being added to the Old English and Irish of Munster, 
who naturally hated them, but the grantees did little to fulfil 
the planting conditions, and as Elizabeth received but little 
revenue from the whole transaction she was soon disappointed, 
and never again in her lifetime was such a plantation attempted. 


Perrot was a gallant and handsome man who, as President 
of Munster, had acted with severity to the rebels, but now in 
times of peace was for moderation and fair treatment both on 
religion and land. He was indeed of the St. Leger type but 
his pride and choleric temper were to ruin him. On being 


appointed, he found himself thwarted by the English junta 
in the Council, led by the Chancellor Loftus, who wanted 
stronger measures against the Catholics. Perrot refused to 
have a Court of High Commission in Ireland and was against 
persecution for religion's sake. By now the government in 
Ireland was a despotism controlled from Westminster and 
checked by few of the institutions which checked it in England, 
and the Court of Castle Chamber, which lasted till 1672, was 
Ireland's Star Chamber and less controlled. 

Among other checks, a frequent meeting of Parliament 
should have been the principal, but Perrot's was the first held 
since 1569. It met in April 1585 and lasted till May 1586, 
Again a wider area of Ireland than ever before was represented, 
and thirty-one towns and twenty-seven shires sent in all 118 
deputies. But the more numerous the Commons were, the 
more they could organize resistance. 

For the twenty-six peers who attended, Perrot prescribed 
parliament robes, and his Assembly had more pomp than had 
yet been seen. The Deputy began with a bill to suspend 
Poynings' law, in order that legislation could be carried 
through without consulting England, but by this time the 
Opposition well realized the advantages to them of this law, 
and the bill was rejected. Perrot, whose intended measures 
were thus thwarted, had to be content with a subsidy bill, and 
with acts for the attainder of Desmond, Baltinglas, and other 
rebels, and for the plantation of Munster and the Composition 
of Connacht, The Catholic party again pursued the skilful 
frame of 'holding up' legislation which might be of a religious 
character. But to prove how loyal they were, though Catholics, 
they assented to the attainder of 'the great rebels'. 

Perrot found himself thwarted on another side when, 
according to instructions, he proposed to convert St. Patrick's 
into a university but was defeated by Archbishop Loftus. 
His quarrel with the Loftus party finally led to his being 
withdrawn in June 1588 and charged with various offences. 
He finally died in the Tower in 1592. Loftus made it a great 
point against him that before his parliament there had been 
but twelve Recusants of any standing in the Pale, 'but since 
then they have grown to great obstinacy and boldness', for 


the Lord Deputy had said, 'This people are not to be dealt 
with hardly in matters of religion'. 


Perrot's most effective achievement was the settling of the 
land-tenure question in Connacht and Clare. It had been a 
standing problem under the Tudors how to bring the Irish 
chiefs and old Norman lords under the Crown, to have their 
estates legalized in English law, and to decide on what terms 
their tenants were to hold of them. It was a problem answered 
hi several ways, and not always with wisdom, while the violent 
way of ousting chiefs like the O'Connors and O'Mores led to 
nothing but long guerrilla resistance. In the Surrender and 
Re-grant treaties sometimes a whole vast country would be 
handed over to a Clanrickard or an O'Brien; at another time 
provision would be made for the vassals and freeholders of 
Irish law to retain their rights. The Composition of Connacht 
was at least an equitable and peaceful solution, though it was 
in favour of the great men. 

In 1585 a Commission was appointed for the counties of 
Connacht and Clare, local juries were summoned and their 
inquisitions were made the basis of a great number of 'in- 
dividual agreements with the lords and chiefs of the West. 
By these the Old English lords and 'chieftains of countries' 
were to hold their lands by secure tenure under the Crown in re- 
turn for ten shillings on every quarter of arable land and a fixed 
amount of 'rising out' or military service to the Lord President 
of the province or the Deputy of Ireland when summoned. 
By the inquisitions the lords and chiefs were found to have 
enormous countries, thus O'Kelly of Hy Many was lord over 
80,000 acres. In addition to the castles and demesnes which 
they held in virtue of their office, the chiefs derived from then- 
tenants tributes in kind, military service, and what the 
English called 'cuttings and spendings'. The Normans had 
followed this system, but maintained primogeniture as against 
the Irish system of elective chieftainship and Tanistry. By 
the Composition the demesnes were to become the private and 
family property of the chiefs with succession to the eldest son, 


though provision was made for the Tanists and 'royal heirs'. 
The office and title of chieftain, such as O'Connor Don and 
O'Kelly, with all that pertained to it, was abolished. Instead 
of the old 'cuttings and spendings', the chief's tenants were on 
the death of the present lords and chiefs to pay money rent, 
and the under-lords of the paramount chiefs were to grant the 
same terms to their tenants. This great Composition was to 
be ratified by Parliament, but unfortunately this was never 
done. Nevertheless it was a wise measure which quieted most 
of the turbulent aristocracy and allowed for the continuation 
of Gaelic law and tradition. As a result, and because Connacht 
and Clare were by Cromwell left to the Irish, the western 
province has remained until the present a predominant Norman 
and Gaelic land. 

Another act of Perrot, though it seemed of little importance 
at the time, was to have great and lasting results. This was 
the kidnapping at Rathmullen in September 1587 of the young 
Red Hugh O'Donnell, who spent four years as a prisoner hi 
Dublin Castle. But he was to be heard of again. 


As the reign of Elizabeth proceeded the religious atmosphere 
heightened and Ireland reflected the growing war of Reforma- 
tion and counter-Reformation on the Continent. The Govern- 
ment was bent on enforcing the State religion, but for the 
present proceeded slowly, so that many found it possible to be 
complete Queen's men. Nevertheless the preaching of Jesuits 
and the papal bishops had its effect, and combined with religion 
was the resentment over the savage treatment of Desmond and 
far more loyal men such as Baltinglas. Religion, Land, and 
local Lordship were to be the great trio of Irish wrongs. 
Many who remained attached to the Queen as sovereign 
resented English methods and hated the new English settlers 
and officials; this was the spirit of the Lords of the Pale. It is 
one which has been common even with the most loyal of the 
Anglo-Irish in later times, and is one of the hardest things for 
Englishmen to understand. 


Spain had long been the favourite among foreign countries 
to the Irish, and while the Gaels believed they came thence, 
and the bishops looked to Philip to restore the Church, the 
old Irish towns, especially Galway, Limerick, and Cork, had 
their chief trade and intercourse with Spain. 'Spanish hearts' 
were common in Ireland, and what between religious, racial, 
and commercial feeling, we can hardly doubt that a Spanish 
monarchy would have been acceptable to Ireland and that the 
success of the Armada would have led to a general and most 
dangerous rising in the country. 

But when 'that great fleet invincible' in 1588 suffered 
complete defeat on the English coast and only a remnant of its 
ships managed to get round to the rocky coasts and wild seas 
of western Ireland the result was indeed disastrous and pitiful. 
The galleons that reached Ireland were many enough and 
contained so many soldiers, arms, and money that even then 
if they could have landed safely they could have provided the 
chiefs with a first-rate army. But the storms which were their 
fate drove them headlong from Malin in Inishowen down to 
the Blasket Island, and everywhere save for some lucky 
exceptions they were driven on the rocks or sunk off lonely 
islands. Instead of a united Catholic people ready to welcome 
them, they found a people terrorized by the Government, 
officials active against them, and the septs divided, some like 
the Mayo Burkes sheltering them, others like the O'Malleys 
slaughtering them as they came ashore. The Government 
was pitiless, the Deputy Fitzwilliam ordered all provincial 
governors to execute any Spaniards taken, and Bingham, 
President of Connacht, by proclamation declared that any one 
harbouring them for more than twenty-four hours would be 
proclaimed a traitor. Acting on such orders, several over- 
loyal chiefs murdered the unfortunate foreigners, and Boethius 
Clancy, the Irish sheriff of Clare, had 300 despatched at Malbay. 
Probably in all some 10,000 Spaniards were lost or murdered 
on the west coast. The Ulster chiefs were an honourable 
exception to this cruel treatment. Hugh O'Donnell harboured 
3,000 refugees for some time and he and Hugh O'Neill finally 
got them safe away to Scotland. Sir Brian O'Rourke (called 
'na Murtha', 'of the Ramparts'), lord of Leitrim, sheltered 


1,000 Spaniards and as a result was driven out of his country 
by Bingham, fled to Scotland, was basely handed over by 
James VI to Elizabeth, and tried and executed as a common 
criminal in London in November 1591. 

Meanwhile the eyes of the English Government were per- 
force turning more and more to Ulster, the last unconquered 


After the death of Shane, Turloch O'Neill ruled Tyrone in 
general with satisfaction to the Government. But as dowry 
with his wife Agnes Campbell, daughter of the fourth Earl of 
Argyle, he got 2,000 Hebridean Scots, and the enlistment of 
these professional fighters aroused suspicion. 'One Scot', it 
was said, 'was worth two of the Irish.' The maintenance of 
the new Scots became now the thing with the O'Neills and 
O'Donnells as that of the older galloglasses had been. It was 
they who kept the Connacht rebellion simmering and gave a 
stiffening to the later Ulster rising. In 1586 two MacDonnells 
with 2,000 Scots invaded Connacht to aid the rebel Burkes, 
but Bingham surprised them on the river Moy, and most of 
them were drowned in the complete rout that followed. This 
ended their career in Connacht, and Sorley Boy MacDonnell 
in the same year submitted and was granted most of Mac- 
Quillan's country of the Route, so that the Scots now had all 
north Antrim. Nevertheless Scots mercenaries continued to 
serve in the rebel armies and at Kinsale some 800 of them fell 
on the Irish side. 

Hugh O'Neill was the figure on which because of his innate 
greatness and secretiveness the eyes of Dublin Castle turned 
more and more inquiringly. In 1585 he sat in Parliament as 
Baron of Dungannon and Perrot divided the rule of Ulster 
between him, Sir Turloch, and Sir Henry, son of Nicholas 
Bagenal. In March 1587 he went to London, where he was 
well known, and was recognized as Earl of Tyrone like his 
grandfather Conn, but not with the same authority over his 
'urraghs' and reserving to the Government ground for a royal 
garrison at Portmore on the river Blackwater between Armagh 
and Tyrone. 


For more than a century now adventurous or greedy 
Englishmen saw in Ireland a country full of fertile land and 
rich estates, easily acquired either after rebellion or by the 
favour of the Court. Ulster thus in its turn became a field 
for colonization as Leinster and Munster had been. The 
Queen was by descent from the Mortimers 'Countess of Ulster', 
and this title was considered enough to entitle her to the whole 
of the province, regardless of native rights. In particular De 
Courcy's old lands of Ulidia in Antrim and Down were con- 
sidered by law hers, and the recent O'Neills of Clandeboy had 
no right there. In 1572 Sir Thomas Smith, with her consent, 
planned without success to colonize the peninsula of the Ards. 
In 1573 one of her favourite courtiers, Sir Walter Devereux, 
Earl of Essex, proposed to plant the North-east and the Queen 
made him a grant of all the country between Coleraine and 
Belfast, she to bear half the expenses and get half the dividends. 
This mean and shameful bargain Sidney criticized sharply, 
saying that the conquest of Ireland should not be 'a private 
subject's enterprise but at the Queen's purse'. The opposition 
of the MacDonnells and the Clandeboy O'Neills was too great 
for Essex and his few hundred of Elizabethan gentlemen, and 
he had to abandon the enterprise and received in compensation 
the barony of Farney in Monaghan. But before he withdrew 
two atrocities stained the English name, one the massacre of 
the Scots on Rathlin Island by a force which he landed there, 
and the other the seizure of Brian MacPhelim O'Neill of 
Clandeboy and his wife and others, who were executed to the 
number of some forty in Dublin in October 1574. We can well 
imagine with what secret indignation men like Hugh O'Neill 
saw events like this take place, which made clear to them that 
in English law they had no title to their lands or captainships. 

Hugh O'Neill's plan was to succeed Sir Turloch as 'The 
O'Neill', the most famous of all Irish names, entailing not only 
personal loyalty but all lands, of military service and tributes 
without which, though Earl of Tyrone in English law, he could 
not count on the obedience and devotion of the ancient king- 
dom of Tyrone. It was not, however, till May 1593 that 
Turloch retired (dying in 1595) and that Hugh was able to 


unite in a powerful combination the titles of Earl and The 
O'Neill (a title actually forbidden by law). He was already, 
by six years spent in London in the household of Leicester and 
at Court, acquainted with the arts of war and diplomacy and 
English politics and statecraft He was an excellent soldier 
and for the time was a loyal man, even serving with an English 
troop against Desmond. Being allowed to keep six hundred 
men in the Queen's pay, he cunningly changed them from 
year to year, and on the pretence of roofing his new castle at 
Dungannon he procured a great quantity of lead which might 
be used for bullets. He was to be the first Irish leader to bring 
into the field an army trained and equipped after the best 
fashion of the time and wearing red coats. 

By 1587 it was noted that 'allmen of rank within the province 
are become his men'. Fitzwilliam said of him: 'As long as Sir 
Turloch lives he is not dangerous, but when he is absolute and 
hath no competitor he may show himself to be the man which 
in his reason he has wisdom to dissemble.' Later it was 
written of him: 'His rebellion will be more dangerous and cost 
the Queen more crowns than any that have foregone him since 
her reign began, for, educated in our discipline and naturally 
valiant, he is worthily reputed the best man of war of his 
nation. Most of his followers are well-trained soldiers and he 
is the greatest man of territory hi the Kingdom and absolute 
commander of the north of Ireland.' 

In Hugh O'Neill the Irish cause was to find at last a man of 
real greatness, a statesman as well as a soldier, a born leader 
who combined thought with action and caution with energy, 
no out-of-date Gaelic chief intent on his own rights and wrongs, 
but a man of intellect who understood his times and who called 
on Ireland to combine all her wrongs and seek redress as a 
united nation. The great rising began in the North with an 
alliance of Tyrconnell and Tyrone, formerly hostile, and while 
the elder Hugh proved to be a cautious leader, in Red Hugh 
O'Donnell was found a lieutenant, a young hero, and the 
forward fighter of the cause. 

To explain Red Hugh we must go back. Hugh 'the Black' 
had succeeded his brother Calvach as chief of Tyrconnell and 


married a woman who became famous in Irish history. This 
was Finola, daughter of James MacDonnell killed at Glenshesk, 
and therefore niece of Sorley Boy. Finola, who was thus a 
Highland woman, was known to the Irish as 'Ineen Duv' ('the 
dark lady'). Her mother Lady Agnes Campbell, wife of Sir 
Turloch O'Neill, had brought to her husband some thousands 
of Scots and Finola did the same for her husband, the O'Donnell. 
'Dealing with the Scots' was now common with the Ulster 
chiefs and much feared by the government, for they were the 
backbone of any Irish army. By Hugh, Finola had three sons, 
Aodh Ruadh, best known in history as 'Red Hugh', Rory, and 
Caffar. She is described in the Annals of the Four Masters as 
being 'like the mother of the Macchabees, who joined a man's 
heart to a woman's thought', and indeed it was her ambition for 
her sons and then her determination in their cause that inspired 
much of the later rising. Hugh was born in 1572 and grew up 
as the hero of the clan for his beauty and gallant character. 

In 1587 the Deputy Perrot, who feared that the O'Donnells 
were going over to the Irish side, by a mean stratagem had 
the young Hugh captured, and brought to Dublin, where he 
remained hi wretched captivity till he finally escaped by his 
flight along with Art O'Neill to Glenmalure at Christmas 1591. 
Although he was got safe away to Tyrconnell, the memory of 
his cruel captivity and his sufferings in the snow, which left 
him permanently crippled, rankled and made him a bitter 
enemy of the English. His mother ardently embraced his 
cause, his father resigned in his favour, and in 1592 Red Hugh 
was inaugurated as "The O'Donnell'. It was the last true 
Gaelic 'enkinging', and Hugh was to be the last of the old 
Gaelic kings. Except for the submission of Manus in 1542, 
Tyrconnell had never submitted to an English monarch, and 
as it commanded Fermanagh and Sligo also, it was able to 
make a last great fight for freedom. 

Red Hugh was not in fact the senior of his race, for Calvach 
had left a grandson, Niall 'Garbh' ('the turbulent'), who might 
have been The O'Donnell. For the present and until 1600, 
however, Niall remained faithful to his cousin. 



By a surrender and re-grant treaty the reigning chief, 
Ross MacMahon, had received all Monaghan, with succession 
to his brother Hugh. The latter succeeded, but when he 
proceeded to distrain for rent upon his tenants he was seized 
and finally executed by the Government in 1589. His fate 
was regarded as most unjust by the Irish, for, as O'Neill said, 
'cattle driving is merely distraining for his right according to 
Irish custom'. Hugh MacMahon was attainted and all Monag- 
han save Farney came by the usual easy attainder method into 
the hands of the Crown. But Elizabeth was disappointed over 
the Munster plantation, and this time a new and equitable 
plan was adopted. The country was divided between seven 
chief MacMahons and a MacKenna, who received from 2,000 
to 5,000 acres each in demesne with chief rents from the free- 
holders of ten pounds for every 960 acres. The chiefs them- 
selves were to pay a quit-rent to the Crown, which was to be 
represented by a Seneschal Thus the rights of chiefs and 
native freeholders were recognized, and Monaghan, though 
there was no chief 'MacMahon' left, remained loyal. As a 
result it was not included in the final Plantation of Ulster. 

THE TYRONE WAR, 1594-1603 

The great confederacy of the Northern chiefs was the last 
stand of the old Gaelic world in the province which, west of 
Lough Neagh, the English had never settled, and where the war- 
like Northerners were in full possession. By geography Ulster 
was well fitted to make a desperate resistance, for on the south 
its border was one long chain of lakes, forests, and mountains, 
where the only passes were the Gap of the North beyond 
Dundalk on the one hand and the fords of the Erne at Ennis- 
killen and Ballyshannon on the other. There was no English 
garrison on the north coast, and this left open the communica- 
tions with the Hebrides and with the citizens of Glasgow, who 
had no scruple in supplying Irish rebels with munitions of war. 

In Ulster also the old Gaelic order of poets, brehons, and 
chroniclers was intact, and this had always been the greatest 


enemy of English civilization, which had no regard for the 
vested rights of the literary class. It was a land also of Gaelic 
lordships, of which that of O'Neill was the greatest, and 
Tyrone was a great Gaelic state just as Desmond had been a 
great feudal state. Nowhere were the chiefs more proud or 
warlike. The 'shiring* policy of the Crown, by which English 
law was continually spreading, had not yet reached Ulster 
along with the rule of sheriffs, etc., but already such State 
officials were being appointed and naturally they were bound 
to clash with the Gaelic kingships. And again, while in the 
other provinces the Crown had asserted itself in some fashion 
or other, in Ulster the Catholic party saw the last hope and 
prop of the Roman Church. As long as even one province 
could hold its own the Reformation could not be made final 
for all Ireland, and hence many dreaded the coming of peace 
because it would be followed by religious persecution. 

The first chief to appear in arms was Hugh Maguire, lord of 
Fermanagh, who stood at bay on the Erne, which the English 
wished to seize as the western gateway into Ulster. The 
expulsion and fate of his neighbour O'Rourke naturally 
alarmed him, and though he paid not to have a sheriff one 
Willis was appointed in his country, who had behind him the 
cruel but vigorous Bingham, President of Connacht. There 
was much fighting about Enniskillen in 1592, and soon Hugh 
O'Donnell as Maguire's suzerain came to his aid, so did 
Tyrone's brother, Connac MacBaron, and between them in 
August 1594 they defeated a small English force at the 'Ford of 
the Biscuits' near Enniskillen. Thus began the great rising 
of the Northern chiefs. 

Elizabeth had little money or men which she cared to spare 
for Ireland and the Deputy Fitzwilliam had at this period of 
comparative peace an army of less than a thousand men. The 
Ulster chiefs alone could command thousands of Irish and 
Scottish mercenaries and at need could call up their free- 
holders in arms, so that at first the advantage seemed all with 
them. O'Neill himself did not take the field till 1595, but 
O'Donnell already struck for his hereditary rTfltma over North 


Connacht, where he set up a MacWilliam of Mayo, a Mac- 
Dermot, and an O'Connor Sligo of his own. Meanwhile the 
Gaelic cause became a Catholic cause, and Magauran, arch- 
bishop of Armagh, in 1592 was sent by O'Donnell and Maguire 
to solicit help from Philip and the Pope. 

O'Neill had always resented the existence of an English 
force at Portmore, and in 1595 he attacked and took it His 
coming into the open field alarmed the Government more than 
anything, especially after he defeated at Clontibret an English 
force under his brother-in-law, Sir Henry Bagenal. In May of 
that year Norris, President of Munster, arrived in Ireland with 
two thousand veterans from the Netherlands, and on June aSth 
1595, O'Neill was proclaimed traitor as being 'the principal 
and chief author of this rebellion and a known practiser with 
Spain and her Majesty's other enemies'. Hugh had also taken 
the title of O'Neill. Without this he could not command the 
sacred authority of the name, but it was illegal in English eyes 
and made his offence the greater. Nevertheless a truce was 
made which lasted from October till the next February 1596. 

THE WAR IN 1596 

In January of this year the two leaders met Government 
envoys near Dundalk. They both stood out for liberty of 
conscience and O'Donnell asked to have no sheriff or garrison 
in his country. The Queen's answer refused to guarantee 
liberty of conscience, though yielding on other points, and 
finally the truce was prolonged, peace was declared later in 
April, and in August O'Neill and the chiefs were pardoned. 
They were in fact playing a waiting game, for which O'Neill 
had particular skill, and were in communication with Philip II. 
In a letter of May i6th they asked Spain for six thousand 
soldiers with arms and munitions and swore they would con- 
tinue the war though the English terms were favourable. They 
suggested that Philip should send the Archduke of Austria to 
be king of Ireland. Maguire and the other chiefs also sent 
letters, and Philip was appealed to that 'with your aid we may 
restore the Faith and secure you a kingdom'. Tyrone also was 
working up a general confederacy of the Irish, and on July 6th 


wrote to a number of southern chieftains, urging them to rise 
and assist 'Christ's Catholic religion', in which he pledged 
himself never to make peace with the English except along 
with them. In the local areas of Wicklow and Leix he could 
count on certain gallant figures such as Owny O'More and 
Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne, but the latter was in this year finally 
hunted down and slain, and by now England had in Ireland 
a large and trained army of seven thousand men. 

THE WAR IN 1597-1598 

Fitzwilliam had been succeeded as viceroy by Russell and 
he again by Lord Brough on May 22nd 1597. Under him the 
war was renewed in May and a threefold attack on Ulster 
was planned. O'Neill had two good commanders in the mid- 
lands, Piers Lacy and Captain Tyrrell. In July it was decided 
that (i) Brough should march from Dublin to Portmoie; (2) 
Clifford, now President of Comment after Bingham, should 
march from Boyle against O'Donnell, having with him 
Donough O'Brien, Earl of Thomond, the Baron of Inchiquin, 
and Ulick, Earl of Clanrickard; and (3) Barnewall, son of Lord 
Trimleston, with a force from the Pale, should march from 
Mullingar, all three to meet at Ballyshannon. The result was 
a disaster on the three fronts for the English, for O'Donnell 
repulsed Clifford, Brough was defeated near Benburb by 
O'Neill, and Barnewall with a thousand men was ambushed 
at TyrrelTs Pass in Westmeath by Lacy and his army cut to 
pieces. After such a threefold failure, the Government in 
December made a further trace with the northern chiefs, which 
was finally prolonged till June the next year, and a fresh 
pardon made out for Tyrone. At last the war in its final stages 
was renewed over Portmore. It was again in English hands, 
and in July the Lord Deputy sent Sir Henry Bagenal to 
relieve it from a threatened attack. He had with him 4,000 
foot and 300 horse, all trained soldiers. The allies decided to 
put the matter to the test of battle and O'Neill and O'Donnell 
collected 5,000 men from Tyrone, 2,000 men from Tyrconnell 
and i ,000 from Connacht, to oppose Bagenal on his march 
irom Newry. On August 15, 1598, at the Yellow Ford on the 


Blackwater, the Irish won a complete victory, Bagenal was 
killed, a third of the English army destroyed, and the rest 
driven back upon Armagh. According to Camden: 'Since the 
time the English first set foot in Ireland they never received 
a greater overthrow, thirteen stout captains being slain and 
over fifteen hundred common soldiers.' 

This complete victory for the time seemed to lay Ireland at 
Tyrone's feet. The discontented and patriotic everywhere 
took up arms, and by the end of the year the rebel forces in 
Ireland had swelled to some 30,000 horse and foot. In Munster 
O'Neill was already in communication with the Geraldines 
who had suffered in the plantation, of whom the chief was 
James FitzThomas, who claimed to be Earl of Desmond, and 
among the Irish Fineen (or Florence) MacCarthy Reagh, 
claiming to be MacCarthy More. Into this promising field for 
rebellion Tyrone's commanders Tyrrel and Lacy descended in 
October 1598, and within a fortnight the whole Munster 
plantation was swept away and a rebel army took the field, 
though at least half of the Old English remained loyal. The 
reputation of O'Neill 'now stood as high among his country- 
men as that of Hannibal after Cannae'. In Spain and Italy 
he was regarded as a great commander and a Catholic hero, 
and when an envoy of his went to the court of Scotland it 
appears that James VI received him kindly and promised he 
would remember Tyrone 'when it shall please God to call our 
sister the Queen of England to death'. In fact, however, 
O'Neill knew the weakness of his own position. Without 
artillery and siege weapons he could not hope to take walled 
towns like Dublin. Connacht had been quieted by the Com- 
position and Leinster was for the most part in English hands. 
In Munster great lords like Barrymore were Queen's men, so 
were the Earls of Thomond and Clanrickard in Clare and 
Connacht, and the skilful policy of the government in religion 
had kept the Catholic majority quiet. O'Neill's hopes had in 
the first place to be in Spanish aid, which so far had been 
disappointing, and secondly in prolonging the fight, by the 
cautious tactics that he was a master of, until Elizabeth should 
die, when a possible succession war in England would give 
him the victory, or the accession of James of Scotland, a 


supposed Catholic, would enable him to lay down his arms on 
terms acceptable to his allies and himself. In this waiting 
game, however, which one great and many small victories 
illuminated, O'Neill was to be beaten by new English tactics 
and the rashness of Red Hugh. 

In September 1598 Philip of Spain died, but his son, the third 
Philip, to whom the Irish again appealed, promised them help. 
And so the winter and spring passed with the Council of Ireland 
only daring to peer out of the Pale, while Elizabeth in her 
feminine fury against 'the Arch-traitor' prepared to launch 
'the royallest army that ever went out of England'. 


Sir Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex, was given the 
chance by his adoring Queen to distinguish himself as Lord 
Lieutenant in Ireland and with an army of 16,000 foot and 
1,300 horse arrived in Dublin on April I5th 1599. Th e Queen 
ordered him to march straight against O'Neill, whom she was 
determined not to pardon. The Council in Ireland, however, 
induced him not to attack Ulster till the grass had grown and 
cattle were fat, and therefore, early in May, he marched with 
a fourth of his army in a vain expedition into the South, during 
which a detachment was cut off by the O'Mores in the 'Pass 
of Plumes' near Maryborough. In Wicklow Fiach O'Byrne's 
son, Phelim, again defeated an English force in Glenmalure. 
So the Lord Lieutenant's army began to dwindle and by July, 
through sickness, dissipation of his forces, and other losses he 
had but 4,000 men under his direct command. 

Meanwhile in Connacht O'Donnell won the last of his 
victories. The Government had set up a loyal O'Connor Sligo 
and the President Clifford marched to his help from Boyle 
with 2,000 men. He was held up on the high road that crosses 
the Curlew mountains by O'Donnell and O'Rourke, and there 
the English were routed and lost among others Norris, Presi- 
dent of Munster. It was the last victory of those tall gallo- 
glasses that had served the O'Donnells for over three centuries. 

Essex now marched northwards, but not to gain the final 
triumph which Elizabeth demanded. He met O'Neill at the 


Ford of Annaclint on the borders of Monaghan and Louth, 
and there, after some parleys between them which were never 
revealed, a truce was declared which lasted till the end of the 
year. Recalled in anger by the Queen, Essex left Ireland on 
September 24th 1599 to meet his death by the headsman's 
axe on February 25th 1600. 

The Essex episode prolonged O'Neill's cause and was a 
triumph for those waiting tactics and small engagements by 
which he hoped to wear the English out and snatch a final 
victory. But with the appointment as Deputy of Sir Charles 
Blount, Lord Mountjoy, a new kind of war began which was 
to beat O'Neill at his own game. Mountjoy, who arrived in 
February 1600, had a splendid army of 20,000, but rather 
than trusting to battles he decided that the war could only be 
ended by a general famine. His plan was not to give Tyrone 
battle but to hem him into Ulster by forts such as Derry, to 
cut him off from his southern allies, and, after reducing them, 
to make the final attack upon him. Elizabeth had entrusted 
Mount] oy with great powers, but one thing she would not 
grant him, 'the pardon of the arch-traitor, a monster of in- 
gratitude to her and the root of misery to her people'. At the 
same time Sir George Carew, cousin of the original Peter, was 
made President of Minister, and he and Ormond set to work 
to crush the southern rebellion. 

In January 1600 O'Neill himself entered Munster with an 
army and held a camp of the Catholic confederates at Holy 
Cross in Tipperary. The main rebels collected around him and 
there they made Fineen MacCarthy, 'MacCarthy More', James 
FitzThomas earl of Desmond, and Oviedo archbishop of 
Dublin. In March, however, he retired north and the war 
continued with no more truces to its end. Hugh Maguke was 
slain in an encounter near Cork. The Munster rising was so 
rapidly and savagely suppressed that a general pardon was 
proclaimed in the province at the end of the year. During the 
fighting both the unfortunate FitzThomas (called by the Irish 
the 'Sugan Earl' or 'Earl of straw') and Fineen were seized and 
sent over to London, where they ended their days in the Tower. 
In October of that year Earl Gerald's son, a delicate and ailing 
man, was sent over from bis captivity in London and set up as 


Earl to content Munster, but as he was a Protestant the 
people rejected him and he returned to London to die. Such 
was the end of the Munster Geraldines. 

The massacre of garrisons and the systematic destruction of 
crops by the troops finished off most of the rebellion in the 
South. In Leix, for example, Owny O'More bitterly protested 
at the burning of crops, 10,000 worth of which was destroyed 
in his country alone. By this time most of the heads of the 
O'Mores and O'Connors had perished, and in 1600 the gallant 
Owny himself was killed: 'a bloody and bold young man, chief 
of the O'More sept in Leix, after whose death they never again 
held up their heads'. 

The war was now confined to the North, where O'Neill still 
commanded a proper army of 4,000 men and where a long line 
of ditches called 'Tyrone's trenches' mark the elaborate de- 
fences that barred the Gap of the North. A price was put on his 
head of 2,000 alive or r,ooo dead, but 'the name of O'Neill was 
so reverenced in the north as none could be induced to betray 
him for so large a sum'. What could be done was to sap the 
strength of the confederates by detaching their vassals and 
commanders from them. This was achieved by Sir John 
Docwra, who occupied Derry in May 1600 in order to attack 
the chiefs from the north. Sir Arthur O'Neill, a son of 
Turloch Luineach, Niall Garbh O'Donnell, and Donal O'Cahan, 
lord of north County Derry, were successively bought over, 
and Niall in particular was promised the earldom of Tyr- 
connell. O'Neill's hopes had to centre more and more upon 
Spain, where a fleet was being prepared to assist him. The 
danger was well realized in England, and Mountjoy said: 
'The coming of the Spaniards will be the War of England made 
in Ireland.' 

But when the fleet of Philip III came, it was disappointing 
both for where it landed, the size of its army, and the nature 
of its commander, Don Juan D'Aguila. 

Some western or northern port should have been the Spanish 
objective; instead they occupied Kinsale on the Cork coast on 
September 2$rd 1601, in a province already subdued and all 
the length of Ireland from the Northern chiefs. Philip's aid 
consisted of only some 4,000 men and a few ships, while 


D'Aguila was a commander of no eminence or resolution and 
was soon out of sympathy with those he had come to help. 
His proclamation calling on the Irish to rise against a heretic 
Queen ('Elizabeth is deposed of her kingdom and all her 
subjects absolved from fealty by Popes Pius V, Gregory XIII 
and Clement VIII, to whom the King of kings has committed 
all power, even to deposing of temporal monarchs') was most 
injudicious, for even Philip II would not have consented to 
the deposing doctrine, and O'Neill and O'Donnell could have 
had no wish to see the national cause made a mere outfiash 
of the counter-Reformation. But disappointed though they 
were, they marched to join the Spaniards, while O'Sullivan 
Beare and O'Driscoll put into Spanish hands their castles of 
Dunboy, Castlehaven, and Baltimore. 

Rapid action was necessary for all parties and Mountjoy at 
once besieged Kinsale from land and sea, while Carew was sent 
off to intercept the Northerners. But O'Neill and O'Donnell 
outmarched the forces which would have stopped them and 
by the end of November 1601, with an army of some 12,000, 
were encamped around the Deputy's forces, thus besieging 
the besiegers. 

The whole fate of Ireland hung upon a single battle. A 
victory for O'Neill would have led to further aid from Spain 
and a great nocking to his standard, for Mountjoy himself 
records how much of the population, even the Old English, 
had 'Spanish and Papist hearts' and that 'in the cities of 
Munster the citizens were so degenerated from their first 
English progenitors as that the very speaking of English was 
forbidden by them to their wives and children'. So much had 
the Irish language and sympathy prevailed. But those who 
were actively on the Irish side were a minority, and it is 
notable that among the Deputy's commanders around Kinsale 
were Richard, the new Earl of Clanrickard, O'Brien, Earl of 
Thomond, Cormac MacCarthy of Muskerry, and St. Lawrence 
from the Pale. 

Everything favoured O'Neill's Fabian tactics, for by 
wastage on December 2nd the Deputy had only some 6,500 
men fit for arms, while Tyrone had 6,000 foot and 500 horse, 
with 3,000 Spaniards inside Kinsale. But the Spaniards 


pressed for a decisive battle, which took place on Decem- 
ber 24th 1601, in which through mismanagement the combina- 
tion of Spaniards and Irish felled, and O'Neill, who favoured 
waiting for another day, was forced into action by O'Donnell, 
which ended in a rout for the Irish. In this the losses of the 
Irish were reckoned from 1,000 to 2,000, among whom a 
Spanish regiment on the Irish side, and 840 out of 900 Scots 
under MacDonnell captains, were slain outright. 

Such was the sudden and astonishing termination of a long 
war in which the Irish had gained victory after victory. 
O'Donnell in terrible agitation took ship for Spain, where 
next year he died in Salamanca, with the suspicion that an 
English agent poisoned him. O'Neill marched back to the 
north, while D'Aguila shamefully surrendered without making 
any terms for his Irish confederates. Of the castles which 
had been surrendered to him, that of Dunboy made a heroic 
resistance worthy of the last stand. 

There was nothing left for the stubborn O'Neill but to stand 
on his defence among the woods and wilds of Tyrone, leaving 
Dungannon to be taken and the famous inauguration stone 
of the O'Neills at Tullahoge to be destroyed by Mount joy as 
a symbol of the ending of Gaelic independence. In Tyr- 
connell, Red Hugh's brother Rory with difficulty maintained 
the cause, but famine and the desertion of allies finished off 
the faithful. Mount joy recalls that in Tyrone alone he saw 
3,000 bodies dead of famine and Ulster was becoming, like 
Munster before it, depopulated. Though O'Neill urged them 
to hold together for terms, successively Rory O'Donnell and 
other chiefs submitted to the Government. Elizabeth was 
now dying, the war in five years from October 1598 to March 
1603 cost some 1,200,000, and Mountjoy was a man who, 
when his cruel measures had succeeded, had considerable 
feeling for a beaten enemy. Finally O'Neill, who stood almost 
alone, offered to submit and was received by the Lord Deputy 
at Mellifont. There on March 30th 1603 the ageing but in- 
domitable patriot laid down his arms and made humble 
submission to the offended Elizabeth. But in fact she was dead 
on March ,24th and Mountjoy, as Lord Lieutenant for the new 
king, extracted from O'Neill a fresh submission to King James. 


It is a pitiable thought that had O'Neill known in time he 
would certainly have held out to extract honourable terms for 
himself and his confederates from the new sovereign who had 
formerly professed friendship for him. 

By the terms of his submission Tyrone renounced the title 
of O'Neill (the real source of his power); abjured dependence 
on any foreign power, especially Spain (to whose King he 
wrote a manly letter of farewell which must have stung the 
proud Philip); renounced his authority over former 'urraghs', 
and resigned all lands and lordships save such as the Crown 
might grant him. 

The beginning of the new dynasty promised brighter things 
for those who had been in arms and for Ireland as a whole. 
O'Neill and Rory O'Donnell went to London with Mountjoy, 
who was now made Lord Lieutenant and later Earl of Devon- 
shire for his services. James received them kindly and O'Neill 
was restored to his earldom with all the lands of Conn Bacach, 
while O'Donnell was made Earl of Tyrconnell. In both cases, 
however, the lordship was greatly limited. Some of O'Neill's 
former 'urraghs' were set free of him, such as Sir Henry Oge 
O'Neill and the O'Neill of the Fews in south Armagh. The 
rich fisheries of the Bann and Lough Neagh were also taken 
away. O'Donnell was limited to his county and had to leave 
Inishowen to O'Doherty and surrender the fort of Ballyshan- 
non and the rich fisheries of the Erne to the Crown. Niall 
Garbh, who had been promised the earldom, might weH 
consider himself shamefully treated, but at least he received 
a large estate at Lifford. Thus to outward seeming Gaelic 
Ulster was restored, but in fact the old order had gone, and 
after four years attempting to reconcile themselves to the new, 
the Earls had to quit their ancient province. 

The submission of O'Neill, following on the extinction of 
Desmond twenty years before, did in fact bring to an end 
Gaelic and feudal Ireland. The last unconquered province 
was thrown open to English law and Government. There 
were to be no more 'lords of countries* and 'captains of their 
nations' and no wide territory in which the poets, Brehons, and 
chroniclers could practise freely their art. In the struggle the 


hereditary poets had thrown real inspiration and passion into 
their verse, giving a Biblical fervour to their exhortations to 
the chiefs to save their mother Erin. Now came the violent 
and sudden ending of the whole Gaelic world. But though the 
ancient learned and literary caste came to an end (for the law 
took little heed of their rights) and were ruined along with 
their noble patrons, the Irish language was to find more 
genuine expression in poets and writers who lived, and felt, 
with the common people. 

Ireland, Gaelic and Norman, had been for centuries a 'land 
of war*. In 1530 the chiefs alone could have collected twenty 
thousand armed men. Now the country from end to end was 
disarmed and save for foreign aid could not be armed again. 
No longer could some petty chief lead out with impunity the 
small army of his state against the now victorious State. 
Irish 'cuttings and spendings 1 were replaced by the lord's 
money rents. English landlordism took the place of the older 
tenures of Brehon and semi-feudal law. The change was a 
disastrous one for the numerous free tenants of Irish society 
but of advantage to the Irish aristocracy, had not the political 
disasters of the new century destroyed most of their class. 

The fight of the Northern chiefs was an apparent failure. 
Nations, however, are made in many ways, and among these is 
the heroic example of great men even when they seem to fail. 
Few of the great names of Irish history come better out of the 
tangled treachery, cruelty, self-seeking, and indifference of 
their times than the wise and long-lived Hugh O'Neill and Red 
Hugh O'Donnell, that fiery spirit soon quenched. 



THE new reign began with an Act of Oblivion in Feb- 
ruary 1604, by which all offences against the kw done 
up to the present time were forgiven, and all the Irish 
without distinction were received into his Majesty's immediate 
protection. It was obvious that the old order was to be done 
away with and a proclamation of Lord Deputy Chichester in 
1605 declared ended the 'servitude and dependence of the 
common subjects upon their great lords and chiefs'. Yet 
instantly an incident showed that at least in Religion there 
was a definite breach between the Government and the people, 
and that in this question at least the recent rebellion had had 
a far-spread sympathy. The liberties of Ireland, constitu- 
tional, feudal, chiefly, and religious, had been swept away but 
those of the old towns remained. They had been seemingly 
loyal during the rebellion and hence were regarded as 'the 
sheet-anchor of the State'. James the First was believed to be 
an open, or secret Catholic. Acting on the belief that religion 
was now to be free, the southern towns such as Cork, Kilkenny, 
and Waterford hi 1603 reoccupied their old churches and 
celebrated the Mass openly. But this Mount joy would not 
tolerate and his victorious army of 14,000 men, after a short 
resistance, brought the towns to due submission. It was seen 
that Toleration would not be guaranteed by law but must 
depend upon the favour of the Prince. 

Mountjoy, however, once the fighting was over, proved 
himself a man of noble thinking, and though he left Ireland 
in 1604, he continued to urge the better way upon the Court, 
but unfortunately his early death in 1606 removed a wise 
statesman and a friend of Tyrone. 

In a letter of February 25th 1603 Mountjoy had dwelt upon 
the curable evils of Ireland. The nobility, towns, and the 
English-Irish, he said, though weary of the war, feared that a 



reformation in religion would follow upon a peace. The 
Church as established was full of abuses. There should be no 
persecution for religion's sake, save the oath of Supremacy 
for office, and there should be no plantations save on the sea- 
coast or the great rivers. And actually that a general 'Refor- 
mation* would follow upon peace was shown hi the fact that 
after the defeat of Kinsale the Recusancy fines were generally 
inflicted and a High Commission Court, set up in 1593, began 
to act with vigour. But according to the charges of Coun- 
cillors such as Loftus, the liberal-minded Mount joy put an end 
to it and stopped rigorous measures in the matter of religion. 

From the battle of Kinsale onwards Ireland entered upon 
a new phase in her history. A new Irish nationality emerged, 
Catholic by conviction, a mixture of English and Gael by race, 
becoming in the upper classes ever more and more English- 
speaking. But in the common people we see a blended race 
who in the long run have proved to be the characteristic Irish 
people, feeling a sense of common history and a common 
Faith, with an intense passion for the land which nothing has 
been able to shake, and speaking that Gaelic language which 
was the speech of the majority up to 1800. Milesian or Old 
English, Danish or Norman, whatever their origin they have 
all accepted the Irish legend as against the English legend. 
How to reconcile this Catholic nation, fast forming because of 
a general ill-treatment, with an Anglican government was a 
problem, but how to make it fit in with a greedy, intolerant, 
and pampered Protestant ascendancy, which increased with 
every plantation, was a harder problem still. 

There was no doubt that a new order had begun and that all 
Ireland was to be united as a kingdom under an English 
monarchy. The whole country was for the first time shired, 
and English sheriffs, justices on assize, juries, and all the other 
forms of English law, land-tenure, and local administration 
appeared everywhere. Sir John Davies, an exceedingly able 
Englishman, was made Attorney-general for Ireland, and in 
his circuits through the country enforced for the first time the 
Common law and inquired into the principles of the Brehon 
code and the Irish system of land-tenure, which was now swept 


away and replaced by the ordinary rules of English land- 
lordism. At first, in the cases of Cavan and Fermanagh, he 
gave decisions recognizing great numbers of the Irish as 
freeholders, but when later ways had to be found of ousting 
them he was not above making judgments unworthy of law and 
his former impartiality. Decisions by him and other judges 
abolished the Irish law of chieftainship, Tanistry, equal par- 
tition among the heirs, Irish serfdom, and so on, and thus 
the whole Irish Brehon system became of mere antiquarian 
interest A royal commission for Defective titles was insti- 
tuted, by which all who owned or claimed estates under the 
old system were encouraged to bring them in and to receive 
confirmation of them by royal patents. 

How to deal with the majority in Religion was a standing 
problem, especially as the towns and the nobility and gentry 
of the Pale and of Munster were increasingly proud and 
stubborn in the matter. To enumerate ( the faults and explain 
the failure of the State Church to capture the great majority 
of the people one need only read the dispatches of Mountjoy, 
the writings of Spenser, or the confessions of honest bishops. 
Thus Edmund Spenser, in his View of the State of Ireland, 
speaking of the planting of Religion, says: 'wherein it is great 
wonder to see the odds between the zeal of Popish priests and 
the ministers of the Gospel. For they spare not to come out 
of Spain and from Rome by long toil and dangerous travelling, 
where they know peril of death awaiteth them and no reward 
or riches are to be found, only to draw the people unto the 
Church of Rome: whereas some of our idle ministers, having 
the livings of the country offered unto them without pains and 
without peril, will neither for the same nor any love of God 
nor zeal of religion be drawn forth from their warm nests to 
look out into God's harvest, which is even ready for the sickle 
and the fields yellow long ago.' 

Of positive persecution and still more of actual martyrdom 
for Religion's sake the government cannot fairly be accused. 
It was dear that, unless some great genius rose to draw the 
people over to the Established faith, the Jesuits and papal 
bishops had already won the day in Ireland, and that, quite 


apart from the towns, the mass of the country gentry were 
now Romanist, as firmly as Scottish gentlemen were Pres- 
byterian and English gentlemen were Puritan or High Church 
Anglicans. The amount of persecuting statutes hi Ireland was 
actually small compared with England, and the chief griev- 
ances centred round the oath of Supremacy which excluded 
the Old English from lucrative offices and the Recusancy fines 
which fell most on the middle classes. Only one striking case 
of martyrdom positively for religion is recorded in the reign, 
that of O'Devany, bishop of Down and Connor, in 1612. It 
was over the proscription of the Catholic upper classes from 
what they considered their full rights as loyal citizens that 
trouble arose. 

In 1604 Sir Arthur Chichester was made Lord Deputy and 
ruled till 1616. It was now that the constant bickering over 
the religious question arose when the viceroy, the judges, and 
the new bishops strove to put the laws into effect. The mayors 
of the old towns, the officials of the State, and others had the 
Oath presented to them, fines or exclusion from office and 
place followed, nevertheless it was only as the reign proceeded 
that it became possible to limit the jobs entirely to Protes- 
tants. A petition against interference with the private use of 
their religion was in 1606 presented to the Deputy by five 
peers and some two hundred gentlemen of the Pale, all Old 
English, headed by Sir Patrick Barnewall, brother-in-law of 
Tyrone, 'the first gentleman's son that was ever put out of 
Ireland to be brought up in learning beyond the seas'. The 
Government prosecuted him and sent him to England, but he 
returned in March 1607, for the authorities could not find 
a legal case against the petitioners. All Roman Catholic 
Ireland contributed to the fund of his defence and it ended in 
a triumph for the Recusants. 

James himself was an amiable man, well disposed to Tolera- 
tion, but the unfortunate Gunpowder Plot in England made it 
harder for him to oppose that anti-Popish feeling which 
was becoming a rooted and bitter tradition with the English. 
In 1606, when his English parliament passed severe laws 
against Roman Catholics, which were the model of the later 
Penal code hi Ireland, the King got inserted a new oath of 


Allegiance by which Roman Catholics could qualify as loyal 
men if they accepted him as lawful and rightful King and 
repudiated the right of the Pope to depose him, as well as 
the doctrine that Princes excommunicated by the Pope might 
be lawfully deposed or murdered. The oath, however, was con- 
demned by the Papacy, and again it was shown how difficult 
it was for a peace-loving Catholic subject of the King to keep 
safe between militant Puritanism on one side and a Roman 
Curia on the other which would not encourage compromise. 
Nevertheless the compromise expressed in this oath, which 
said nothing as to repudiating the spiritual supremacy of the 
Pope, remained a device attempted several times later in 
Stuart Ireland. The fact was that James himself could not 
grant open and legal toleration, and that even at their most 
willing the Stuart kings could only secure to the Catholics by 
the exercise of their prerogative an 'indulged' or 'connived* 

The Deputy Chichester now reversed Mountjoy's liberal 
policy, and a royal proclamation in July 1605 was the first of 
those 'strong measures' which continued for eighty years to 
be launched with little success against the majority and then- 
priests. All were ordered to conform 'to that religion which 
is agreeable to God's word and is established by the laws of the 
realm', and within six months Jesuits, seminary priests, and 
others ordained by the authority of Rome were to abjure the 
realm. One can be sure that few had obeyed the order when 
the date came, especially as officials knew that the King was 
merely conciliating English opinions. The walls of all the 
old towns, the castles of many peers, the houses of the country 
gentry, and the unbribable devotion of the common people 
continued to shelter the wandering bishop and the harmless 

Persuasion and the cultural appeal were not wanting on the 
loyal side. The long-needed University of Dublin was at last 
founded in 1592 by charter of Elizabeth with endowment of 
lands and money from the city of Dublin and many of the 
gentry, and a gift of over 600 from the English forces serving 
in Ireland. From the first, Trinity College was on the Anglican 
and indeed the Puritan side in religion and it was unfortunate 


that it was founded at a time of religious cleavage. But as far 
as learning went, under its first Provost, Loftus, it began to 
produce very able men such as James Ussher, sprung from an 
old Anglo-Irish family, bishop of Meath in 1620 and archbishop 
of Dublin in 1625. Until the time of Wentworth indeed the 
college at Dublin continued to be frequented by the 'natives' 
and all the liberal-minded, to whom it opened its gates. 


In the final reduction of Ireland 'the Flight of the Earls' was 
an event second only to the submission of 1603, but its causes 
are obscure. Most of Ulster had been restored to a few great 
chiefs, but O'Neill and O'Donnell had a new situation to deal 
with and a difficult game to play, harassed as they were by the 
new of&cers and bishops of the Crown and with the steady 
pressure against them of their former enemies. A long dispute 
between the Earl of Tyrone and Donal O'Cahan, his former 
'urragh', who on his submission in 1602 had been promised his 
country under the Crown, made O'Neill realize that he was now 
only a great English landlord instead of a Gaelic king, Rory 
O'Donnell was in the same position, and both at last began to 
fear that they would be called up before the Irish Council on 
charges of conspiracy and put in danger of their life and liberty. 
Wearying of what they believed to be an untenable position, 
they decided to abandon Ireland. An exiled Maguire and 
Tyrone's son Henry, an officer in Spanish service, sent a ship 
into Rathmullen on Lough Swilly in which on September I4th 
1607 Tyrone, Tyrconnell, and his brother Caffar, Maguire and 
others, ninety-nine in all of the leading men of the North, de- 
parted to find at last an asylum and their graves in the Holy 
City. With their departure, we may truly say, came to an end 
that Milesian aristocracy which had lorded over Ireland from 
the dawn of history. Spain welcomed and honoured hundreds 
of such exiles, who became more and more numerous as 
Plantation went on. For long it was hoped by great numbers, 
not only of the native race but of the Anglo-Irish who now 
regretted the exiled hero, that he would return to set Ireland 
free, but when the news of his blindness and then of his death 


in 1616 came they abandoned hope 'and trooped in in hundreds 
to get their patents from the Crown'. 

Several advisers such as Bacon had urged generous treat- 
ment of the Irish, hut the opportunity to plant a whole 
province seemed too good to miss and the Government de- 
termined to carry it into effect. At the close of 1607 a jury was 
summoned at Lifford and another at Strabane of Irish and 
English freeholders, of whom the Irish were in a majority, and 
in the first case Sir Cahir O'Doherty was foreman and in the 
second Sir Henry Oge O'Neill, now the leading man of his 
name. Their Bills of indictment against O'Neill, O'Donnell, 
and others for supposed treason and conspiracy were duly 
returned to the King's Bench, upon which, according to 
English law, they stood attainted and all their lands escheated 
to the Crown, an act of Parliament only being necessary to 
complete the attainder. 

Those Irish gentlemen who thus outlawed their chiefs 
supposed that, save for them and their particular demesnes, 
other freeholders would be left in undisturbed possession. 
Davies had encouraged this idea by former judgments, and 
the natives had every reason to believe that only the Earls 
were to suffer, but now the Attorney-General turned round 
and in a letter to the Earl of Salisbury wrote: 'both by Irish 
custom and the law of England his Majesty may now seize 
these lands and dispose of them at his good pleasure.' Of this 
we may remark that, whatever the power of native chiefs was, 
they certainly did not under the accepted principles of Brehon 
law actually own the whole land of their 'country*, nor can we 
imagine that in England the rebellion of a few great men 
would have led to the dispossession of the whole body of then- 
tenants in several counties. 

Having thus got Tyrone and Tyrconnell, the Government 
went boldly forward until Confiscation, on the plea of a rebellion 
which had been pardoned in 1603, embraced six whole counties 
Donegal, Tyrone, Deny, Armagh, Cavan, and Fermanagh. 
In Fermanagh the last admitted chief, the famous Hugh, had 
fallen in rebellion; a kinsman, Conor Roe, was now granted a 
considerable estate and the rest of the county was confiscated 
to the Crown. In Cavan also Sir John O'Reilly had been 


killed in rebellion, and though one or two of his name received 
grants, Cavan had the fate of Fermanagh. In Armagh, 
O'Hanlon, the ruling chief of a large part of the county, was 
attainted with O'Neill. And before another year was ended 
a foolish and belated rising brought in further lands. The 
young Sir Cahir O'Doherty by the more generous policy of 
1603 had been granted his father's whole country of Inishowen 
and had every reason to be a loyal man. But in April 1608, 
on words arising between him and the governor of Deny, Sir 
Cahir was struck in the face. This was an affront that it was 
scarcely possible for a proud Irish chief either to endure or to 
get peaceable satisfaction for; O'Doherty therefore flew into 
rebellion, but was very soon hunted down and slain. The 
whole of that great peninsula was then added to confiscated 
Tyrconnell. Charges were then brought against Niall Garbh 
O'Donnell, a discontented and much-deceived man, and Sir 
Donal O'Cahan of favouring this rising, and Niall was sent up 
to Dublin, where, however, a jury would not and could not 
find him guilty. Davies pointed out the moral, which was not 
forgotten: 'We must have an English colony, for the Irish will 
never condemn a principal traitor.' Finally both Niall and 
O'Cahan were sent over to the Tower of London, in which, 
some twenty years later, they died. The treatment of these 
chiefs is too shameful for comment, but only Docwra, who 
had won them over by what he believed to be genuine offers 
from Government, had the decency to protest. 

The final plan was issued in May 1609 under the name of 
'the articles of Plantation'. In all some 500,000 acres of 
'profitable* land were thrown open to settlers. Land measure- 
ments were then of an uncertain character, and to the 'profit- 
able land* conveyed in the grants might be added 'unprofitable 
land as the county could afford'. English and Scottish 'Under- 
takers' were invited to take estates of 1,000, 1,500, or 2,000 
acres, to hold of the Crown in socage. They were to be 'English 
or inland (i.e. Lowland) Scots' and 'civil men well affected in 
religion'. A second rank of grantees were called 'Servitors', 
on less favourable terms, who were generally Scots. AH were 
compelled to take the oath of Supremacy admitting the King 
to be head over the Church. A third rank consisted of 'N ati ves', 


who received grants from the Crown, but were not required to 
take the Supremacy oath. Undertakers and Servitors were 
after a period to pay head-rent to the Crown of 5 6s. 8d. for 
every 1,000 acres. Neither of them might alienate the fee to 
the Irish, but the Servitors might take Irish tenants at 8 for 
every 1,000 acres, i.e. they must pay a heavier rent if they 
took Irish tenants. The natives were to pay a heavier head- 
rent, viz. 10 135. 4d. t for every 1,000 acres or in proportion, 
and might take Irish tenants. It is estimated that of the total 
some 58,000 acres were thus granted out to 280 native free- 
holders, but it is to be remembered that already in 1603 the 
Crown had confirmed some of the Irish landowners in their 
estates, which still remained theirs. Even so the native gentry 
became a minority in their own province and in general the 
best lands passed to the settlers. Chichester himself protested 
that half the land should have been left to them and Sir 
George Carew, formerly President of Munster, in 1614 addressed 
to James a paper in which he pointed out the wrongs of the 
Irish and said that there had always been a Royalist population 
among them but that now religious feeling had brought to- 
gether the Old English and the native Irish, and he prophesied 
that they would rebel under 'the veil of Religion and Liberty 
than which nothing is esteemed so precious in the hearts of 
men'.. As generally happens, the soldiers were more generous 
than the officials, and whereas the Elizabethan English had 
shown a certain generosity and admiration for the Irish, the 
new Puritan race of English and Scots was to be very lacking 
in both. 

In dividing the spoils, provision was made for the Estab- 
lished Church, which had formerly little footing in Ulster, but 
was now well endowed. So was Dublin University, and land 
was also set apart for a Royal school in each county. James 
also revived some of the decayed towns such as Carrickfergus 
and Coleraine and created nineteen new boroughs in Ulster, 
the corporations of which were strictly Protestant. The 
grantees were bound by strict 'Plantation terms' to build 
castles and 'bawns' and plant in 'British' tenants, for this 
word was now applied to the English and Scottish planters, 
the latter of whom were generally Presbyterian. But the most 


striking transaction was that the City of London was granted 
for money all the north part of county Deny, i.e. the land 
between Coleraine and Derry, wherein they were to build 
towns. The vast woods and rich fisheries of this area went to 
them, with freedom of export and import for all commodities 
For all this the twelve London Companies were to pay a head- 
rent to the Crown, to lay out a sum of 20,000, and to take 
only Scots and English as tenants. To manage these estates 
they set up the present Irish Society. It was later on the 
theme of much comment from Wentworth that the Crown had 
granted out this great province with all its natural riches to 
the planters on very poor terms for itself. 

The Plantation of Ulster has naturally been the subject of 
much passion and much misconception. In the first place, we 
must note that it did not include the three counties of Monag- 
han, Antrim, and Down. The first of these was, under the 
settlement of 1590, left to the Irish. The second was for the 
most part in 1603 granted to Sir Randal MacDonnell, son of 
Sorley Boy, who as a Scot (though a Highlander and a Catho- 
lic) was favoured by James. Later he was made Earl of 
Antrim and his vast estates covered the whole of the Glens and 
the Route, from which the unfortunate MacQuillans were 
ousted. One branch of the Clandeboy O'Neills retained a 
portion of Antrim and are represented to-day by the O'Neills 
of Shane's Castle. In Down there existed such native chiefs 
as O'Neill of South Clandeboy and Magennis of Iveagh, while 
in Lecale and around Downpatrick there survived some of De 
Courcy's English, such as the Whites, Russells, Savages, etc., 
who for their origin were now left generally in possession. 
But already in 1603 the foundation of a flourishing Scottish 
colony had been laid in the Ards of Down and in the neigh- 
bourhood of Belfast by two Scottish adventurers, Sir James 
Hamilton and Sir Hugh Montgomery, These wily, active, and 
tenacious Scotsmen, by various clever devices or for small 
sums, got possession of White's country of Dufferin and two- 
thirds of South Clandeboy, leaving to Sir Conn O'Neill of 
Castlereagh, a drunken and sluggish man, only a portion of 
his lordship, which his- descendants failed to keep. It was in 
actual fact north Down and south Antrim which were the real 


home of the new Scottish colony which later reinforced those 
in the Escheated counties and formed the Presbyterian race 
of to-day in the North. 

Secondly, it is a rhetorical exaggeration that the Irish en 
inasse were driven to the hills and bogs. In fact, as we have 
seen, several hundreds of native freeholders received grants; 
not only they but the bishops and servitors were allowed to 
take Irish tenants (leaseholders), and other native grantees 
already existed. The distinction must be kept between those 
Irish gentry who had grants from the Crown, those who were 
tenants and leaseholders under the planters or Irish, landlords, 
and the mere tenants-at-will or labourers which the mass of 
the population became. 

Actually a considerable Gaelic aristocracy was left in Ulster, 
though little of it was to survive the Cromwellian period. The 
O'Donnells indeed disappeared from Tyrconnell, but two sons 
of Niall Garbh got land in Westport, Mayo. Several of the 
O'Neills were left, either with small grants now or by former 
grants. Thus Sir Henry Oge O'Neill retained a great estate; 
his grandson, Felim of Kinard or Caledon in county Armagh, 
was to be the leader of the 1641 rising. Sir Turloch MacHenry 
O'Neill retained the Fews in county Armagh, some 10,000 
acres. Sir Art, son of Turloch Luineach, kept a large estate 
in the barony of Dungannon, and Shane MacBrien O'Neill 
retained much of North Clandeboy. In Cavan some small 
grants were made to the O'Reillys, and in Fermanagh Connor 
Roe Maguire, having surrendered his claims in 1607, was 
granted a large estate and his son Brian in 1628 was created 
Baron of Enniskillen. In county Down (not a planted county) , 
Magennis of Iveagh had his whole country re-granted to him, 
22,000 acres in all, and in 1623 was created Viscount of Iveagh. 
In Monaghan (also not planted) the MacMahons were left in 
possession. There were thus many chiefs left, but the fate of 
many of them was to see their estates dwindle, often by 
their own recklessness, to feel the smart of being reduced to 
small landlords, and to disappear as a result of 1641. In the 
desperate rising of that year the leaders were an O'Neill, a 
Maguire, a Magennis, and a MacMahon. 

Thirdly, the colony was not an immediate success. The 


displacement of the population was difficult, and finally by 
1612 the orders for the expulsion of Irish from the Plantations 
were a dead letter. The London companies in particular, 
being absentees, retained thousands of Irish as small tenants 
or cultivators on their lands. The new landlords found that 
the spare-living and industrious Celt would generally outbid 
the Scot or the Englishman when it came to paying rent. 
'Plantation terms' were far from observed and were hard to 
enforce. The colony grew slowly, and it was not till after 1660 
that the Scottish element in Ulster became a pronounced 
success and the only case of a real democratic, industrial, and 
labouring colony established in Ireland. Ulster finally became 
a province almost entirely Protestant as regards the land- 
owners and mainly so as regards the population, and it is 
reckoned that in 1641 of the 3,500,000 acres in the six counties 
the Protestants owned 3,000,000 and the Catholics the rest. 
But even this proportion was to be reduced after 1660, and 
after 1690 scarcely anything of the Gaelic and Catholic 
aristocracy remained. 

It should be remembered that this Confiscation and Planta- 
tion, like others which followed it in the next twenty years, 
was done at a time of peace, after a solemn and general Act 
of Oblivion and Pardon, and when all the Irish were disarmed 
and a large army of occupation could silence all resistance. 

Though Ulster was to be the one success in making Ireland 
Protestant, a large Irish and Catholic minority in the whole 
province has tenaciously persisted to this day, and up to 1840 
or so the two races lived curiously side by side, the Irish in 
general living in the mountainous and poorer lands, retaining 
their religion and language, and even producing a number of 
poets in Irish who have written some of the most inspired 
verse which remains to us. 

The apparent success of the Ulster Plantation inspired 
others, and the view prevailed in the Government that colonies 
everywhere were necessary to secure a loyal population which 
would provide juries and other ofhcers, elect the right sort of 
members of parliament, support the State Church and intro- 
duce the English language, methods of land-tenure, agriculture 
and so on, and through whom trade and industry, the towns, 


and consequently the King's revenues, would steadily increase. 
From 1610 to the beginning of Charles I's reign various 
Plantations were carried out. The areas selected were those 
which were regarded as particularly Irish and where a title for 
the Crown as representing extinct owners could be found. 
They were: a large area in north Wexford, south Carlow, and 
the adjoining part of Wicklow, where the MacMurroughs were 
dominant, and which represented the old Hy Kinsella; Annaly, 
or Longford; Leitrim or O'Rourke's country; and Ely O'Carroll 
in the present south Offaly. MacMurrough's country con- 
tained the large amount of 67,000 acres, and the other portions 
were similarly extensive. The general scheme was to get the 
natives to surrender a third or a quarter of the land, in order 
to be given secure possession of the rest. The chiefly names 
and all survivals of Irish law and custom were to be abolished. 
The numerous freeholders under the Irish system were to be 
reduced, for the Government did not favour small freeholders 
and the intention was to establish English landlordism and 
its dependent tenures. The grantees were, as in Ulster, to be 
Britons and Protestants. The natives fought their case stub- 
bornly through those Catholic lawyers who could now be 
trained in Dublin, but finally they retained possession only of 
the major parts of the land, not always the best parts, and the 
number of freeholders was, for example, in MacMurrough's 
country reduced from 667 to 150, the others being made lease- 
holders instead. Among these the largest grantee was the 
ancestor of the present MacMurrough Kavanagh. 

These plantations caused general exasperation, and even 
men like Walter, Earl of Ormond, wondered who would be the 
next even of the most loyal to have his property attacked. 
This exasperation was to have its effect in 1641 and 1689. 
The plantations had the still further result of bringing the old 
Gaelic order to an end, with its hereditary bards and Brehons 
whose occupation was gone. But socially its worst result was 
to establish English landlordism without its best features in 
Ireland and to reduce the masses of the people at best to mere 
leaseholders or even cottagers and tenants-at-will. Up to 1640, 
however, Roman Catholic landowners, great or small, the Old 
English being the more important, held two-thirds of the land. 


and this made their part in political and religious life very 


The Lord Deputy finally summoned a parliament to Dublin 
in order to confirm the Ulster and other Plantations, to vote 
money, and to legalize the introduction of English law in the 
country. It was feared by the Catholics that he also contem- 
plated the enforcement of penal measures or even the intro- 
duction of new ones. This led to a trial of strength, therefore, 
between the two religions and to the appearance of a Catholic 
Opposition strong in numbers and skilfully led. The numbers 
of the Commons had, by the representation of all Ireland and 
many new towns, been increased up to 232, the peers, though 
not a large body, were mainly of the Old English loyal and 
Catholic type of the Pale and nearer counties, and the Irish 
Parliament thus presented an imposing front. Roman Catho- 
lics were not barred from the Commons as in England, and 
therefore, a Protestant majority, necessary from the Govern- 
ment point of view, had to be secured by 'management', the 
influence of sheriffs, and, above all, the creation of thirty-nine 
new boroughs returning Protestant deputies. There was an 
initial struggle over the election of the Speaker, the Catholics 
putting forward Sir John Everard and the English Sir John 
Davies, but finally the latter was elected by a small majority, 
which proved the strength of the parties. The Catholics again 
played the loyal note and without much hesitation confirmed 
the attainder of the Earl of Tyrone, etc., and the Plantations. 
They acknowledged the King's title gladly, granted a generous 
subsidy, pronounced the Statutes of Kilkenny obsolete, and 
declared all subjects and natives of Ireland without distinction 
to be under one common law. 

It was on the religious question that this anti-rebel party 
showed determined resistance. They believed that the 
majority which had been procured was for the purpose of 
passing penal measures against their faith. The Lords of the 
Pale claimed under Poynings' law to be part of that Council 
which should be consulted as to new laws, and on the eve of 
the Parliament eleven of them petitioned the Deputy in person 


protesting against 'miserable villages by whose votes extreme 
penal laws shall be imposed on the King's subjects'. As these 
Recusants had all the proud names of Talbot, Roche, Barry, 
Butler, Nugent, and so on, all the Old English of the Conquest, 
they had to be listened to. The Commons themselves sent a 
deputation to the King, led by Sir William Talbot, and claiming 
to represent twenty-one counties and twenty-one ancient 
towns. On April I2th 1614 James gave them one of his usual 
pawky lectures, saying, 'What if I created forty noblemen and 
four hundred boroughs?, the more the merrier/ As regards 
religion, they were but half subjects and therefore deserved 
only half privileges. He charged them with believing in the 
doctrine that heretic sovereigns, deposed by the Pope, might 
be lawfully murdered, a charge which Talbot and others said 
should be submitted to the Catholic Church. Finally James 
conceded that eleven boroughs should be abolished. In fact, 
this parliament, dissolved in October 1615, ended in a triumph 
for the Recusants, for, though no open toleration was promised, 
no new measures were added and forced attendance at church 
was dropped. 

The Stuarts were not fond of parliaments, and as in Ireland 
it was possible to do for long periods without them, there 
was not another till 1633. It had been shown, indeed, how 
strong the Irish side was, but the Protestant element was 
growing, and during the rest of the reign the peerage was 
added to so as to increasq it in the House of Lords. Among 
the new creations, however, several were of the Old English 
and Catholic stock, such as Dillon, earl of Roscommon, 
Plunkett, earl of Fingall, Brabazon, earl of Meath, and Barry, 
earl of Barrymore, while a few such as MacDonnell, earl oi 
Antrim, Murrough O'Brien, earl of Inchiquin, Maguire, Baron 
of Enniskillen, and Viscount Magennis of Iveagh, represented 
the old Gaelic race. 

For the rest of James's reign Ireland was ruled by Oliver 
St. John till 1622, and then by Lord Falkland till 1629. Pros- 
perity slowly increased and there was apparent peace and 
growing order. On the religious side in general the viceroys 
maintained 'connived indulgence', but with difficulty owing 
to the bitter Puritan and intolerant spirit then on the increase 


in both countries. In Ireland the only acts of importance on 
the Statute Book were that of Supremacy and the Recusancy 
fines, the latter were not or could not be enforced, but were 
hung as a threat over the heads of the Roman Catholic upper 
and middle classes and indeed were reckoned to amount to 
20,000 per annum, if they could be duly enforced. The oath 
of Supremacy kept all the Old English out of office, but even 
then it was not always demanded of office-holders. It was, 
however, a standing grievance that loyal subjects, however 
eminent, could not serve their sovereign, and this led to that 
state of mind which officials call the 'Old English Irelandized*. 
The law, too, if enforced, debarred Catholics from the practice 
of the law, from keeping a school, and from university degrees. 
What the more recent Protestant element in Ireland thought 
was shown in people like Archbishop Ussher who in 1627, 
along with twelve other bishops, declared that 'the religion of 
the Papists is superstitious and heretical and Toleration is a 
grievous sin'. In 1615 the first Convocation of the whole Irish 
church met and issued 104 articles of Religion as against 
the thirty-nine of the Church of England and much more 
Calvinistic; these lasted till Strafford came. 

In 1617 King James established a Court of Wards to educate 
and administer the estates of minors who were tenants-in-chief 
of the Crown, the Deputy and Chancellor being permanent 
members. The opportunity could be taken to ensure that 
these minors must be educated in the new College at Dublin or 
in England, and as a result the heirs of some of the old families 
were soon found to be of the State Church. According to the 
law, tenants-in-chief on 'sueing out livery* were obliged to take 
the oath of Supremacy, and though this was not generally 
exacted, it could be used against Roman Catholics. Such was 
the pressure which the Crown and other centres of power could 
use against the majority religion. The young James, later 
Earl and then Duke of Ormond, was thus educated at Lambeth 
as the first convinced Protestant among the Butlers, and by 
1640 four other peers of native stock, the earls of Kildare, 
Barrymore, Thomond, and Inchiquin, were Protestant. 
Clanrickard and Antrim were the two greatest Catholic peers, 


and yet such was the complexity of things that Richard, 
fourth Earl of Clanrickard, married Frances, daughter of 
Elizabeth's Secretary of State, Walsingham. 

Indeed, to keep the more aristocratic settlers Protestant was 
a constant problem. Already several of the Elizabethan 
settlers were found on the other side, such as Sir Nicholas 
Browne, who got great estates in Kerry, and was the ancestor 
of the Earls of Kenmare. Another striking case was that of 
the family of Bagenal, whose main estates came to be in 
Carlow, and who under Charles I were Roman Catholic and 
officers in the Confederate army. 

Munster was now by way of becoming a Protestant province, 
at the time even more so than Ulster. This was largely due to 
the ability, energy, and fortune-seeking of a remarkable man, 
Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, the outstanding example of the 
new magnate type that had supplanted the lords and chiefs of 
Ireland. In the distribution of lands and offices and the 
general scramble for confiscated property many 'new men' 
arose, some of whom were of, indeed, the lesser Irishry, such 
as Crosby and Shaen. The undeveloped economic wealth of 
Ireland brought the business-man into prominence, and out 
of the woods, fisheries, linen, and cloth-weaving of Ireland 
huge fortunes were made. Richard Boyle came to Ireland 
penniless in 1588. Before his death he had become a magnate 
on an enormous scale, was created Earl of Cork in 1620, and 
had four sons who were peers, the most famous being Roger, 
Lord Broghill, later Earl of Orrery. The first Earl of Cork 
bought up Raleigh's vast estates for a sum of 1,000, for a mere 
song got hold of abbey-lands and the Earl of Desmond's old 
college of Youghal, built several towns such as Bandon, 
founded industries such as iron-smelting and linen-weaving, 
and everywhere brought in English settlers. He also com- 
manded eight votes in the Irish House of Commons, and in 
short was a magnate of a modern type which made the old 
landed peers insignificant, and whose rise, riches, and political 
importance naturally filled them with fury. 



The new reign promised a new regime in Ireland. Charles 
had a Roman Catholic wife and his High Church sentiment 
made him even more desirous to continue religious indulgence. 
Ireland also had an army to support, and though the revenue 
was increasing it was necessary to get it increased still further 
by national consent. The obvious way was to promise con- 
cessions on Land and Religion, the two great questions for the 
Irish people. Lord Falkland therefore was instructed to offer 
what were called 'Graces', and finally in 1627 the Romanist 
peers and bishops sent agents to the King and made a bargain 
to this effect. Land titles for sixty years back were to be valid 
against all claims of the Crown, Catholics might practise at the 
Bar on a simple oath of allegiance based on that of 1606, and 
other minor concessions were included. On the question of 
land titles, those of Connacht were particularly in question. 
The Composition of 1585 had never been confirmed by parlia- 
ment, although in 1615 Chichester had been instructed to 
grant patents confirming the various agreements. In return 
for the Graces the Recusants were to pay 120,000 spread over 
three years, and a parliament was promised which should 
confirm the whole bargain. The money was paid, but the 
most important of the Graces were never legalized. The 
Irish naturally considered themselves badly tricked, and it is 
difficult to find any justification for Charles and Falkland. 
The Puritan pressure, represented now in the English parlia- 
ment, was indeed great and what the Irish Catholics might 
expect from it was shown hi the protest of Ussher and his 
fellow-bishops that 'the religion of the Papists is superstitious 
and toleration a grievous sin'. Charles did indeed continue 
toleration by Prerogative, and the strength of the Catholics 
even in the capital is shown by the existence of thirty 'mass- 
houses' in Dublin at the tune. 

After the rule of Lords Justices for three years, Ireland 
found one of its greatest viceroys in Sir Thomas Wentworth, 
created Lord Deputy in 1632, and in 1639 Lord Lieutenant and 
Earl of Strafford. 


Wentworth came to apply to Ireland the regime of 'Thorough' 
which King Charles and Archbishop Laud -were now enforcing 
in Church and State. The idea recurred as at several times in 
history, that Ireland should be made the second jewel in the 
Crown and after paying for its own Government should provide 
a surplus for the Crown. In the struggle between King and 
Parliament this island might also be put on the royal side, for 
however Irish Catholics might be ill-treated it was well under- 
stood that their religion and their nature was for Monarchy. 
Wentworth intended first of all to staff the Irish government 
with Englishmen of his own choosing in place of the inefficient, 
corrupt, and persecuting Anglo-Irish junta. Then he intended 
to increase the royal revenue, which was pitifully small, for 
Ireland was lightly taxed and its land and wealth had been 
shamefully disposed of to planters and officials for a mere 
song. Wentworth knew that to attack the new vested 
interests of men like Boyle or of the London Companies meant 
determined and malignant resistance, but he was a man of 
unfaltering courage and determination. 

Wentworth indeed considered the new Protestant moneyed 
class a far greater danger to the Crown than the submissive 
native race. On his appointment he found that there was an 
annual deficit in the revenue of 20,000, for the Government 
as it stood preferred to have it so so that England would have 
to make up the balance. 

The first step was soon achieved, to set the Court of Castle 
Chamber in working order as the Star Chamber of Ireland and 
to see that no appeals from Ireland could go to England. He 
told the Council, in which men like Loftus had long resisted 
such viceroys as Falkland, that it became them better to 
consider what might please the King than what might please 
the people. Ireland, he declared, with its great men and its 
weak Crown, was like England in the Wars of the Roses. 
There were to be no intermediaries between the King and his 
subjects, and he would make an act of State equal to an act 
of Parliament. 

To balance the Protestant and the Catholic elements for the 
advantage of the Crown was an obvious policy. The penal 
statutes could be kept suspended over the heads of the Catholics 


and used or not, as policy dictated. The Recusancy fines 
were not dead, and at the beginning of his rule he extracted 
20,000 from the Catholic party on condition of escaping these 
fines for another year. Nevertheless the regime of Toleration 
was maintained. To enforce decency and order of a Catholic 
character hi the Church of Ireland and to get her properly 
endowed was another great aim. In 1634 he imposed the 
Thirty-nine articles of the English Church upon the Convoca- 
tion of the Church of Ireland. New statutes drawn up by Laud 
were imposed on Trinity College, and for the first time Roman 
Catholic scholars were asked to take the oath of Supremacy, 
with the result that though they continued to attend for 
educational purposes they were unable to attain degrees, 
fellowships, and scholarships. In his Church policy Went- 
worth's great agent was Bramhall, bishop of Deny. The act 
of Uniformity was enforced, laymen in possession of church 
lands were induced or compelled to return them, and in the 
confirmation of titles provision was made for the rights of 
the Church as well as the Crown. Wentworth realized well 
that the real enemies of both were the stubborn Protestants 
of the North. 

In 1634 Wentworth summoned a Parliament which lasted 
till 1635. The House of peers contained twenty-four Anglican 
bishops and the Catholic nobles were now outvoted by the 
many Protestant creations of recent years. Again it was 
necessary to balance the two religions hi the House of Com- 
mons; hi the case of the Catholics they were won over by a 
promise of Graces, and Wentworth scored at the beginning 
by procuring handsome subsidies. Trouble then arose over 
the viceroy's evident intention to water down the Graces and 
not to grant that confirmation of land titles which both parties 
demanded. Catholics were merely permitted to practise at 
the minor side of the law, with some such small concessions. 
As regards land titles, both parties had demanded an Act of 
Limitations, but Wentworth said that to legalize all grants for 
sixty years back was to bar out those who had held land before 
that and would cover all sorts of abuses and grants on terms 
detrimental to Church and Crown. Instead he got an act 
passed establishing a Commission for Defective Titles, under 


which each grant was to be examined in turn by the Com- 
mission, which he controlled. Having got his way he dissolved 
Parliament in 1635. 

Armed with such powers, he compelled landowners and 
planters to have their grants reviewed, and if they were 
confirmed, he generally managed to increase the King's rent 
and to recover tithes and advowsons. In doing so he naturally 
clashed with those who had benefited, but he was fearless in 
exercising the strong hand against the great. Thus he made 
the Earl of Cork surrender the college of Youghal and further 
fined him 15,000 for the flaws and evasions of this grant. 
His boldest measure, however, was to get the charter of the 
London companies in the North forfeited, with a fine of 
70,000 for non-fulfilment of conditions, and the customs of 
Coleraine and Derry were annexed to the Crown. As the 
companies had the City of London behind them, this made a 
dangerous and in the end a fatal enemy for Wentworth. 

The next great plan was for a plantation hi Connacht and 
Clare. The West was still Gaelic and Norman in its landed 
classes, and the Composition of Connacht, never fully con- 
firmed, had established them on easy terms. The revenues of 
the Earl of Clanrickard in this province were greater than the 
King's. Wentworth therefore in July 1635 set up a commission 
at Boyle, and grand juries were summoned for the various 
counties. Wentworth made light of the promise of Chichester 
in 1615, and declared that the King's title went back to the 
De Burgos. Resistance was only too likely, so he said that if 
the juries would find for the King they should keep three- 
quarters of their property, otherwise he would take all by 
process of the Exchequer. The juries of the counties save 
Galway yielded and found a title for the King, but there they 
stood out and were finally brought before the Castle Chamber 
and heavily fined. Wentworlh's time, however, was to be too 
short for planting a Protestant colony in the West. 

More admirable was Wentworth's energetic policy of reducing 
the selfish liberties of the old towns, whose corporations were 
very corrupt, and throwing them open to new industry; of 
clearing the seas of pirates, of building up a mercantile 
shipping, and of fostering Irish industries. He encouraged 


the linen industry and invested 30,000 of his own in it. The 
woollen industry he discouraged because Irish woven cloth 
might compete with the finer drapery of England, but the 
trade in the rougher manufacture was permitted. In this he 
expressed his policy openly to the King: 'We must not only 
endeavour to enrich them (the Irish) but make sure still to 
hold them dependent upon the Crown and not able to subsist 
without us.' His economic policy, however interested, 
undoubtedly made Ireland highly prosperous, but this was all 
swept away by the disasters of the next twenty years. In an 
account of his office to the King in 1636 he could rightly boast 
that he had endowed the Church, wiped out the Irish debt, 
given the Crown a surplus of 50,000, and raised an army to 
keep the peace between parties. 

Strafford's work and schemes were alike to be ruined by 
what the Irish called 'The War of the Three Kingdoms'. When 
the Scots revolted against Charles and took the Covenant in 
February 1638 Strafford imposed upon their kinsmen in Ulster 
a Non-resistance oath. When the war against the Scots began 
in 1639 he assembled an Irish army of 9,000 men at Camck- 
f ergus and was ready to take against the rebels measures which 
Charles would not accept. He then summoned a Parliament 
hi Dublin which met in the most loyal mood and voted sub- 
sidies of 200,000 to be spread over three years. This assembly, 
which combined Protestants and Catholics, lasted till 1641. 
Jn November 1639 Strafford was summoned to England, 
leaving James, Earl of Ormond, as general of the army. On 
his departure all the discontented elements combined and his 
fine army was disbanded under pressure of the English Parlia- 
ment. In November 1640 the famous Long Parliament began 
in England, and the complaints of Ireland, sent hi by all the 
aggrieved sections, did much to bring the great viceroy to the 
scaffold in May 1641. By this time the subsidies were yielding 
only half the original grant, and in order to win Irish support 
Charles abandoned the proposed plantations, reduced the 
powers of the Castle Chamber, and withdrew the commission 
of Defective Titles, confirming the Graces and proposing a bill 
to confirm sixty-year titles in Connacht, Clare, Limerick, and 


In this crisis Charles should have certainly given the com- 
mand of Dublin to the loyalist Earl of Orrnond, a great man 
of the old Norman-Irish stock, though a Protestant. Instead, 
he appointed the Earl of Leicester, an absentee, and the real 
power ~vas exercised by two Lords Justices, Borlase and 
Parsons, who were Puritans and Parliament men. Their rule 
was destined to be most disastrous and to drive Irish Roman 
Catholics, even of the most loyal type, into rebellion. In 
August 1641 they prorogued Parliament, thus stopping a bill 
for the grant of the Graces, which Charles had ordered them 
to prepare; and when Parliament met again in March 1642 all 
unity was gone, the Catholic members were absent, and 
rebellion had spread all over the land. The mishandluig of a 
delicate situation was perhaps intentional on the part of these 
two, who unjustly regarded all 'Papists' as rebels, had no 
objection to rebellion spreading because it meant more con- 
fiscations, and were glad to embarrass the unfortunate King. 

The general revolt against Monarchy in Britain naturally 
inspired Irishmen with the thought of getting their grievances 
redressed by force, which otherwise were not listened to. These 
were: the confiscations, the unjust treatment of the natives, 
the favour shown to the colonists, and exclusion from office 
and civil rights as Roman Catholics. On the religious question, 
as one Irishman was heard to say, 'If the Scots may fight for 
their religion, why not we?' But it is to be noted that the 
leaders of the subsequent rising never formally repudiated 
the English monarchy; at the utmost they demanded the 
rights of Ireland as a Catholic kingdom with a viceroy accept- 
able to native feeling, Parliament set free from the shackles 
of Poynings' law, and full civil and religious rights for the 
Catholic population. 

The elements of this rising existed both at home and 
abroad. At home it found a leader in Rory O'More (a nephew 
of the famous Rory Oge), Sir Felim O'Neill, and other gentle- 
men whose estates had all but vanished in these later times. 
Abroad there was a whole world of Irish soldiers in the service 
of Spain and Austria, and of priests and friars in the Irish 
colleges of the Low Countries, Spain, and Italy. A union was 


now formed between them, and while Rory O'More led the 
cause at home Father Luke Wadding, head of the Irish 
Franciscans at Rome, organized the cause abroad and sought 
the aid of the Pope and of Cardinal Richelieu. 

The rising at home began with a plot formed by O'More 
and Conor Maguire, Baron of Enniskillen, to seize Dublin 
castle on October 23rd 1641. The plot failed through treachery, 
but many of the Leinster Irish appeared in arms, and there was 
a general rising in Ulster under Sir Felim, in which the long- 
suppressed fury of the native race found vent in cruel massacres 
of the planters, whose losses amounted to perhaps some 10,000, 
but were greatly exaggerated in horrified England. The Ulster 
colony for the time was swept away, and Sir Felim held most 
of the province. On hearing the news, the Long Parliament 
voted money for the suppression of this Rebellion, but how to 
raise it was the problem. This was finally done by declaring 
forfeit the estates of the leading rebels and offering them for 
sale to subscribers called 'Adventurers'. In February 1642 
Charles had to accept the so-called 'Adventurers Act', by 
which he was further forbidden to pardon rebels. Until the 
settlement under Charles II this sweeping act of the Long 
Parliament bound the hands of every English government, 
and was the basis of the later Cromwellian settlement. For 
the present, however, only a limited sum was raised, which 
actually Parliament soon employed against then* own King, 
and it was not till 1649 tna * the English Parliament could 
effectively deal with Ireland. 

A small victory at Julianstown near Drogheda in November 
1641 by Rory O'More over Government forces was the first 
encouragement to the Irish, and the English troops sought 
refuge in garrisons such as Deny, Drogheda, Bandon, and 
Cork. But O'More found the Lords of the Pale reluctant to 
join in active rebellion, and it was only after two meetings 
with them at Crofty Hill and Tara that in December he induced 
these loyal Old English to join- the cause by dwelling on their 
disabilities and declaring 'we are the only subjects in Europe 
not allowed to serve their Prince'. The insurrection then 
steadily spread and embraced Munster, in which the Irish 
were commanded by Lord Mountgarret, a Butler, and 


Connacht, where Clanrickard was a Royalist but for the present 
stood aloof. 

The King and his parliament now bargained with the Scots 
for an army to suppress Ireland, and in April 1642 General 
Munroe landed at Carrickfergus with a large force. The Ulster 
Scots joined him, and the Parliament side found able leaders 
in Sir Charles Coote, Roger Boyle (Lord Broghill), and Mur- 
rough O'Brien (Earl of Inchiquin), one of the old Gaelic 
aristocracy but a determined Protestant. So the war became 
general, and when in August 1642 Charles set up his standard 
at Nottingham against Parliament the Monarchy for all 
effective purposes ceased to control its three kingdoms. 

Ireland had technically been in a state of war for a year 
before the Great Rebellion began in England, hence it was 
possible for the victorious Parliament later to accuse the Irish 
of having begun the struggle. The official opening of war in 
England now caused a definite alignment of forces in Ireland. 
In August 1642 the Irish parliament met again, but it was now 
a Protestant body, which excluded Catholics. Charles made 
Ormond Lord Lieutenant and there rallied to him considerable 
English royalist forces. But so far in Ireland it had been a 
fight between Catholic and Protestant, or rather of the Old 
Irish against the New English. For this reason many of the 
Protestants preferred to obey Parliament's orders as issued 
by the Lords Justices in Dublin. In Munster this side was 
commanded by Inchiquin, President of Munster for the 
Parliament, and Lord Broghill, whose family had built up a 
great land-power stretching from Bandon to Youghal. In the 
north-east Munroe's army held the field under joint orders 
of the Parliaments of England and Scotland. In the north- 
west the settlers united as 'The Laggan army* under the two 
brothers Stewart, and Deny and Enniskillen became Protestant 
'cities of refuge', as Cork and Bandon were in the south. 

The Roman Catholic party, expelled under the Lords 
Justices from the Dublin parliament, now set up an executive 
council to represent and give legal force to their side. This 
council again formed in October 1642 the Catholic Confederacy 
of Kilkenny, with a supreme Council and an assembly of two 
Houses. They represented the four provinces, each of which 


was to have an army with a general-in-chief. Rory O'More 
was the presiding spirit of the Confederation, and it was a 
Royalist though Catholic body, whose motto was: 'Pro Deo, 
pro Rege, pro Patriot Hibernia unanimis.' 

Thus did the Irish nation, which was now a blend of Gaels 
and Old English, who stood firm by the Roman faith, appear 
hi arms hi what they declared to be a just and lawful cause. 
The oath which they took was modified for any Protestant 
royalist who might join them, but their general aim was 
Catholic and they were pledged to establish if possible the 
Catholic Church. It was found, however, impossible to get 
those of them who owned abbey lands to restore them. Their 
general aim, expressed in many declarations, notably that of 
Brussels in 1642, was to procure: liberty of conscience, govern- 
ment by officials who should be Catholics, restitution of lands 
confiscated 'for religion', liberty of trade in the Empire, and the 
independence of the Irish Parliament by the repeal of Poynings' 
law. They expressed a preference for the 'moderate Protes- 
tants' of the King's religion, and their constant fear was what 
they might suffer from the Roundheads in England, whom 
they accused of disloyalty to their sovereign and an intention 
to extirpate the Catholic religion. Nevertheless they had 
assembled and taken arms without royal permission and so it 
was possible for later English governments technically to 
declare they were not a legitimate body. 

It was not easy to procure one mind among the Confederates. 
The majority were Anglo-Irish Catholics, while the Old Irish, 
who had suffered most by confiscation and plantation, were 
more bent upon the recovery of their estates and the main- 
tenance of the old Gaelic language and tradition. Among the 
Old English many thought that the best game to play was to 
support the Monarchy, with whose fall their own would come, 
while others, among whom the clergy were the most deter- 
mined, thought that 'England's difficulty was Ireland's oppor- 
tunity', and that a full Catholic government and nation might 
emerge out of the general upset. Ormond himself, whose own 
brothers and cousins were Catholics, strove hard to convince 
them that their best hope was to support the Crown and be 
content with whatever terms Charles could grant. MacCarthy, 


Viscount Muskerry, threw in his lot with the Confederates and 
so did Clanrickard; Antrim also gave help, but all three were 
distinctly on the moderate and cautious side. 

At this time the best Irish soldiers were to be found in 
Spanish service, in which even the Protestant Inchiquin had 
been trained, and so in August 1642 two famous commanders 
were summoned from the Continent, who arrived with arms 
and money supplied by Richelieu and other sympathizers, viz. 
Owen Roe O'Neill, a nephew of the famous Earl of Tyrone, and 
General Preston. O'Neill was the natural leader of the Old 
Irish, while Preston represented the Old English Catholic side. 

O'Neill took command in Ulster and soon controlled most 
of this province. A man of cautious, silent, and patient 
genius, he formed the Ulster rebels into a disciplined army, 
by far the best that appeared on the native side. But in 
Inchiquin he found a man of Gaelic descent and military 
genius equal to his own. Ormond, created Marquis in 1642, 
was a statesman of humane and liberal mind, though not a 
great commander, who was determined that the cause of 
the King must come first. In March 1643 he defeated Preston 
at New Ross, and in general, in the several battles that followed, 
the Old English leaders showed little ability or determination. 

In England the Parliament cause now began to triumph, 
united as it was till 1648 with the Scots, and all who feared that 
the Monarchy would be destroyed began to veer to Charles's 
side. The help of Ireland became more and more necessary 
as the King's cause declined, and when the battle of Marston 
Moor in July 1644 marked the arrival of a new military genius 
in Oliver Cromwell and of a Roundhead army of Independents 
and Sectaries, who were the enemies both of Anglicans and 
Presbyterians and were ready to go as far as a Republic. 

In August 1645 Charles sent an English Catholic, Lord 
Glamorgan, to treat with the Catholic confederates for help. 
They were to send over 10,000 men and in return were to have 
legal toleration and possession of the churches then in their 
control. But this was a secret treaty and when it leaked out 
Charles repudiated it. 

The whole situation was altered in Ireland by the arrival in 
October 1645 of the Papal Nuncio Rinuccini, who landed 


in Kerry and arrived in Kilkenny with money from Rome and 
from Mazarin. He had been invited by the majority of the 
Confederation and by the labours of Wadding, to restore 
public Catholicism and bring Ireland again under the spiritual 
authority of the Pope. The Nuncio at once took the lead of 
the more extreme clerical party and saw in O'Neill the one 
general who could win the Catholic cause. He did not, however, 
repudiate the Monarchy, for his was not a political mission, 
and probably his supporters would have been content with 
Ireland under a Catholic viceroy of the Crown, which Ormond 
was not. But the arrival of a papal envoy and foreign inter- 
vention only made the victorious Puritans of England the 
more determined to reconquer Ireland. 

On June 5th 1646 Owen Roe won a brilliant victory at. 
Benburb in Tyrone. Munroe had formed a combination with 
the Stewarts to march from opposite directions and to crush 
O'Neill, but by superior tactics he prevented their junction, 
and completely routed the English-Scottish army, of whom 
over 3,000 fell. Like the battle of the Yellow Ford won by his 
great uncle on the same river, O'Neill's victory should have 
led to final results. Unfortunately, when Preston united with 
him, their differences prevented such final fruits and Dublin 
remained in the hands of the Lords Justices. 

Charles's final defeat at Naseby in July 1645 made Mrn still 
more dependent on Irish aid, and so he instructed his viceroy 
in August 1646 to offer what is called the 'Ormond Peace'. By 
this the oath of Supremacy was not to be required of office- 
holders, religious penalties were repealed, and all land-titles 
from 1628 were confirmed. A large party of the confederates 
welcomed the terms, but the Nuncio's party were strongly 
opposed, and Ormond found that even many of the Old 
English were not, as he said, 'excommunication proof. The 
spirit of the moderates was expressed by Colonel Walter 
Bagenal, who declared, 'We shall certainly be overwhelmed if 
we do not support the King.' But the clergy excommunicated 
those who favoured the peace, O'Neill was on their side, and 
under the pressure of his victorious army the Assembly 
rejected it in February 1647. 

By this time the army of Cromwell and the Independents 


dominated the Long Parliament itself and the royal cause was 
almost lost. Ormond therefore decided to surrender Dublin 
to the Parliament forces that were on their way, preferring, as 
he said, 'English rebels to Irish rebels'. Colonel Michael Jones 
arrived with 8,000 Roundheads, and on July 28th Ormond 
surrendered the sword of State to the Commissioners of Par- 
liament and quitted Ireland. It was fatal for the Irish cause 
that the capital should thus he handed over to the English 
enemy, but we must equally blame the Irish commanders for 
not seizing it in time. Preston indeed attempted to do so, but 
was routed by Jones at Dangan Hill with the bloody slaughter 
of over 5,000 of his men. From this moment Cromwell had a 
safe point of entry into Ireland. Meanwhile Inchiquin was 
sweeping all Munster, and on November I3th 1647 ^ e finished 
off Lord Taafe's Catholic army at Knocknanoss near Kanturk. 
In the battle a force of Antrim Highlanders on one wing of the 
Irish army swept all before it at its first charge, but hi the 
general rout was surrounded and cut to pieces, and their com- 
mander, the famous Alastar 'Colkitto' MacDonnell, perished 
on the field. 

The triumph of the Independents in England created a new 
alignment everywhere, in which the Scots, the Presbyterians hi 
the Long Parliament, the Ulster settlers, and many of the 
English of Ireland united to save the cause of monarchy. Even 
Inchiquin turned over and was voted a traitor at Westminster 
hi April 1648, but Broghill and Coote stood true for Parlia- 
ment. A majority of the Catholic party also united with 
Ormond when he returned in September 1648 to lead the royal 
cause. O'Neill and the Ulster army stood true to the Nuncio, 
but Rinuccini finally left Ireland in February 1649 at the 
request of the Confederacy itself. The execution of Charles hi 
January 1649 still further united those who favoured his son. 
Ormond was continued by the new King as Lord Lieutenant, 
but in an attempt to recover Dublin was defeated by Michael 
Jones in August at the battle of Baggot-rath. The way was 
thus cleared for Oliver Cromwell, who arrived in Dublin on 
August 15 1649 as 'Lord Lieutenant and General for the Par- 
liament of England'. He commanded an army of 20,000 men, 
all determined and enthusiastic members of various sects, 


highly disciplined, perfectly equipped, and inspired by Old 
Testament Christianity. Their commander, however, as well 
as being a Protestant zealot, was a sturdy English nationalist, 
a great soldier, and a cool-headed politician. Here was a com- 
bination which only a union of all Ireland could have beaten 
and the spirit of which promised little quarter to 'papists' and 
their religion. 

Cromwell's objects were: to recover Ireland for the rule of 
the Commonwealth or Republic of England, which had 
abolished alike Monarchy, the Church, and the Peerage, to 
enforce the Adventurers Act of 1642, and to punish the Ulster 
massacres, for which he quite mistakenly held all Irish papists 
responsible. Turning northwards, early in September he 
attacked and stormed Drogheda, where hi a general massacre 
some 3,500 people, both soldiers and townsfolk of both sexes, 
were put to the sword, in what Cromwell declared to be a just 
vengeance for 'innocent blood'. 

Turning south, he attacked and treated Wexford in the 
same way, and the subsequent surrender of other towns such 
as New Ross showed what terror the first two examples had 
created. In a public proclamation he charged the Roman 
clergy with being responsible for the war, and declared, 'I 
meddle not with any man's conscience, but as for liberty to 
exercise the mass, I must tell you that where the Parliament 
of England has power, that will not be allowed' a bad outlook 
for Ireland under his rule. 

Before Cromwell's landing, Ormond had striven to unite the 
Irish armies under himself, Inchiquin, and O'Neill, and it was 
a Royalist garrison which was massacred at Drogheda and 
Wexford. But the death of Owen Roe O'Neill hi Cavan on 
November 6th 1649 removed the only commander who could 
have faced Oliver with success and the last great man of a race 
that had played so large a part hi Irish history. 

While Cromwell continued his campaign in the South, 
Broghill reduced Munster, Inchiquin's men joined Mm, and 
Coote gamed the upper hand in Ulster. In March of the next 
year (1650) Kilkenny surrendered, and the Confederacy dis- 
solved except for the more extreme section, which sought 


refuge beyond the Shannon. The Ulster Irish army was brought 
down to serve in the south, and when Cromwell attacked 
Clonmel on May gth 1650 he suffered his one repulse at the 
hands of Hugh O'Neill, a nephew of Owen Roe, who then 
slipped away with his whole army while the mayor was treating 
for surrender. 

Oliver himself left Ireland on May 26th 1650, leaving as 
commander and Lord Lieutenant his son-in-law Ireton. His 
campaign had not ended the war, for the Roman Catholics 
dreaded the fate that would follow their defeat, and Ormond 
spun out the fight as long as possible in the interests of his 
master, Charles. He himself, Preston, and Inchiquin all for- 
sook their unfortunate country in 1650, but Clanrickard re- 
mained as viceroy, several armies still held out, and hi fact 
Irish resistance did not end till 1652. In June 1651 Coote gave 
a final overthrow to the Ulster army at Scarrifhollis near 
Letterkenny, and the savagery of these wars is shown hi Coote's 
ordering Owen Roe's only son Henry to be murdered after the 
battle. Limerick yielded to Ireton under the gallant Hugh 
O'Neill in October 1651, and the war may be regarded as over 
with the surrender of Galway in May 1652. But still various 
Irish armies of over 30,000 men in all were holding the field, 
and how to induce them to surrender was a problem for the 
Government. The Cromwellian army itself was some 34,000 
strong. Finally, however, in the course of 1652 the Irish 
forces submitted, separately and without making terms for 
their side as a whole. The Republican 'army officers' even 
now complained of leniency to the Irish, and a report drawn 
up by Dr. Henry Jones, bishop of Clogher, by exaggerating the 
massacres of 1641, worked up English feeling to a pitch at 
which Catholic and rebel Ireland could expect little mercy. 

It was first necessary to get the soldiers out of the way, and 
over 30,000 of them were given leave to transport themselves 
to France or Spam, while thousands of common Irish were 
dispatched to the West Indies as practical slaves. The popu- 
lation in the last ten years of war and ravage had fallen to some 
half million, and Ireland was almost a blank sheet on which 
the English Commonwealth could write what it wished. 

To avenge the Ulster massacres and other crimes a High 


Court was set up in Dublin in August 1652, but the usual 
English instinct of fair play asserted itself even with the Crom- 
wellians, and in fact only fifty-two victims were executed by its 
orders. Among these was the unfortunate Sir Felim O'Neill 
and (a curious instance of the English turned Irish) Sir Walter 
Bagenal, an officer of the Confederates, executed for having 
put an English soldier to death 'out of the course of lawful 
warfare'. Luckily for himself, Rory O'More had died in the 
remote island of Inishboffin before the final collapse. 

Policy and vengeance inspired a far more cruel treatment of 
the whole race than a few hundred executions could be. It 
must be remembered that the Sectarian republicans were in 
command of the whole British isles and that their hero Crom- 
well had successively laid low the Anglicans of England, the 
Presbyterians of Scotland, and the Catholics of Ireland. His 
military rule, lasting till 1658, which his opponents call 'the 
Usurpation* or 'Interregnum', was in fact exercised over the 
whole of the three kingdoms through an invincible army. 
Ireland, as possible Stuart ground, had to be held down, but 
the Irish were also to be punished as rebels and as 'papists', 
and the fate dealt out to them was only possible to minds 
steeped in the story of the Jews and the Amalekites. 


In August 1652 the Parliament of England, which was a 
mere remnant representing the army, passed an act for Ire- 
land, generally called the Cromwellian 'Act of Settlement*. By 
this, 'Irish papists' (a term which embraced many English 
settlers of the old faith) were divided into several classes 
according to their guilt. 1 The mass of the poor with not more 
than LQ in goods were given a general pardon. The arrears 
of pay of the Cromwellian army and the claims of the adven- 
turers under tke Act of 1642 were met by the confiscation of 
nine counties. Ireland had to pay for its own conquest and, 
says Clarendon, 'was the great capital out of which the Crom- 
wellian government paid all debts, rewarded all services, and 

1 A good many Protestant Royalists Buffered forfeiture also, be- 
ginning with Ormond and Inchiquin. 


performed all acts of bounty*. Under the Act of Settlement 
certain classes of the Irish were excluded from pardon, the rest 
were allowed to keep all or some of their lands and property 
and were ordered to remain where they were for the present. 
But the claims of the Army officers for more land for them- 
selves and their men led to the idea of Transplantation, and 
Cromwell finally accepted the great scheme which bears his 
name. By ordinances hi June and July of 1653, and then in 
a final Act of Satisfaction hi September 1653, Ireland was 
divided into two parts, viz. Clare and Connacht which alone 
were to be left to Irish gentry and landowners, and the rest, 
which was confiscated in order to meet the claims of the 
Adventurers and of the soldiers and officers, with their arrears 
of pay. The common people were too valuable as labourers 
and cultivators to be expelled, and the fate of Transplantation 
beyond the Shannon was reserved for the upper classes, who 
were given estates in the West to compensate them for their 
estates in other provinces. 

To move the whole aristocracy with all their retainers was a 
problem, but the Cromwellians did not lack energy or ruthless 
determination, and by the end of 1655 the transplanted classes 
were all west of the Shannon and twenty-six counties were left 
in English hands. The work of apportionment was speeded up 
by the genius of Sir William Petty, who produced what is called 
'the Down Survey' of Ireland, the first scientific mapping out 
of Ireland, so-called because the topographical details were laid 
down by measurement on maps. 

In this elaborate confiscation the government took over also 
the towns, and the property of the Church, which it dises- 
tablished, leaving full toleration at least to all Protestant 
sects. The towns were also planted with new English, and the 
former burgesses of Galway, Waterford, etc., were ordered to 
move two miles out of all such corporate and garrisoned towns. 

In December 1653 Cromwell was made Lord Protector of 
England and, as a result, of Ireland also, and continued so till 
his death. Ireland was ruled in his name by Fleetwood, and 
then from 1655 by the Protector's son Henry, who showed 
some humanity towards the Irish. The great business was 


the carrying out of the Act of Settlement, the general intention 
of which was, in addition to installing the Adventurers, to 
colonize Ireland permanently with a Cromwellian army. This 
army, originally 34,000, was hi 1655 reduced to 19,000, but it 
was sufficient to hold Ireland down. The amount of land 
confiscated and planted is reckoned by Petty as 11,000,000 
(English) acres out of the whole 20,000,000 acres of Ireland, 
nearly 8,000,000 of these being 'profitable'. Actually as a 
scheme of colonization the Settlement was a failure, for the 
soldiers in large numbers sold their debentures in Irish lands to 
officers and speculators for whatever they could get and 
returned to England. Nevertheless many thousands of the 
common soldiery were planted on the land and with their 
families formed a new and considerable -element in the Pro- 
testant and English population of Ireland. The real result was 
to create a new landlord class in Ireland; for the Adventurers, 
and also great numbers of army officers, were installed in Irish 
estates. The Catholic landowners were reduced to a minority, 
and the new English element in the towns never again lost their 
dominance in the civic and industrial life of the country. Thus 
Galway, which up to this had been a strong Catholic centre 
in which Gaelic culture could survive, henceforth ceased to be 
that old prosperous 'City of the Tribes' which it had been 
since the De Burgos first came to Connacht. 

The brevity of the Cromwellian regime, however, prevented 
the full success of the great scheme for turning Ireland into a 
second England. In 1653 Ireland was declared part of the 
Protectorate and there was a union of the three kingdoms, in 
which Ireland (viz. the Cromwellian element) was represented 
in the English Parliament by thirty members and was granted 
free trade with Great Britain and the colonies. 

The death of Oliver Cromwell on September 3rd 1658 re- 
moved the strong hand that kept the mi1it.fl.ry usurpation 
together. In Ireland as in England, the majority of the 
Roundhead soldiery would willingly have fought if they could 
have found a successor to their dead hero. But in both 
countries the Army leaders determined to restore the Monarchy 
on conditions of constitutional and religious liberty. And so 


when General Monck marched from Scotland and declared for 
a free Parliament in London, Broghill and Coote did the same 
in Ireland, and Charles II was proclaimed king in Dublin on 
May I4th 1660. The restored monarch put the Cromwellian 
leaders into power as Lords Justices and created Coote Earl 
of Mountrath and Broghill of Orrery, with other titles and 
rewards for the Cromwellian renegades. It is to he particu- 
larly remembered that the restoration of the Stuart monarchy 
in Ireland was the work of the Cromwellian leaders and their 
army, and not in any way that of the Royalist Irish, whether 
they were Protestant or Catholic. All that the disarmed and 
leaderless people could do was to cheer when they heard their 
tyrants proclaim the son of the king that they had murdered. 
This consideration ruled the mind of Charles II when he had 
to meet the claims of Ireland for redress. 


IT was an obvious piece of justice that Charles II should 
attempt to redress what Ireland had suffered from the 
Cromwellian 'usurpation'. In its later years the Kil- 
kenny Confederation had thrown itself on the Stuart side, and 
after the final defeat hundreds of Irish gentry had served 
Charles abroad in various ways as 'ensign-men 1 . Ireland was 
now Royalist ground, for the Irish Catholic leaders saw that 
only in the Monarchy lay their hopes for toleration and their 
recovery of their property. The English parliament now 
shared the power with the Crown and had no friendly feelings 
for the Irish. The Dublin parliament itself became a Pro- 
testant assembly, even if no actual law was yet passed to 
exclude Roman Catholics; the Irish Protestants were in pos- 
session of all the main seats of power; and it was only as a 
landed class and a majority of the people that the Catholics 
were formidable. The real division was Protestant versus 
Catholic, and public opinion in England was opposed to 
weakening the 'Protestant and English interest' in Ireland. 
Charles himself, though he wished well to the Irish, had to tell 
them: 'My justice I must afford to you all, but my favour must 
be given to my Protestant subjects.' 

To satisfy the two interests, the whole land of Ireland was 
put at the Crown's disposal. The Catholic Irish in arms since 
1641 and even up to the Onnond peace of 1646 were treated as 
technical rebels against the King, and it was not enough to 
argue that they had stood on their defence as Catholic Irishmen 
and not repudiated the King. 

A royal Declaration of November 1660 laid down the details 
of the second Act of Settlement. The Crown was pledged to 
the Adventurers act of 1642, but the Cromwellian settlement, 
as done under the 'Usurper', might be revised to the advantage 
of the Roman Catholics. The lands of the Adventurers were 
confirmed to them, and 'innocent Protestants' were restored 



at once. 'Irish Papists' were divided into classes according to 
their 'guilt or innocence', and those transplanted merely as 
such were given back their former estates. 'Ensign-men' were 
restored if they had accepted nothing as transplanters, but 
where adventurers and soldiers were in possession of their 
estates they were to be 'reprised' out of the forfeited lands yet 
undisposed of, the amount of which was much exaggerated by 
the Cromwellian leaders Orrery and Mountrath. Papists 'not 
innocent' included, for example, those who had joined the 
Nuncio or been in the Confederacy before the Peace of 1646, 
for, very unjustly, the Irish cause of 1642-1646 was considered 
a 'rebellion'. The royal favour still meant much, and by the 
Declaration and in the Act eighteen peers and many other 
proprietors were restored at once, such as Antrim and Inchi- 
quin. But in general, while considerable numbers of Catholic 
landlords returned from beyond the Shannon, many had to be 
content with their transplanter portions there, and many more 
were excluded from grace under the sweeping definition of 
'rebellion'. Charles would have liked to do more for them 
but was not the man to insist, English public opinion was un- 
friendly, and the Cromwelhan party in Ireland was too strong 
and militant to be dislodged. 

In May 1661 an elected Irish parliament met, which by the 
imposition of the oath of Supremacy proved to be a Protestant 
one, and the Act of Settlement as completed in England was 
laid before it. It met with stubborn resistance from the 
Cromwellian wing, which meant to keep all it could, but 
Poynings' law operated to their disadvantage, for a Bill once 
returned from England could only be accepted or rejected in 
full It was finally pushed through, and Onnond, now a Duke, 
who had been appointed Lord Lieutenant in 1661, in July 1662 
gave it the royal assent. 

Charles now set up a Court of Claims, consisting of seven 
honest Englishmen, which restored great numbers of Catholic 
gentry, much to the indignation of the Cromwellians. In 1663 
an Act of Explanation was passed by the Irish. Parliament by 
which the Cromwellians had to surrender to 'unreprised' 
Catholics one-third of the estates which they held in May. $659. 
This Act was due to Ormond, who had the backing of the King 


and Cavalier party in England and of a Protestant but loyalist 
element in the Irish parliament, led by the Earl of Kildare. 
The Court of Claims lasted till August 1667, but it was too 
favourable to the Catholics to please Protestant opinion in 
England and Ireland, and after this date no more claims were 
heard.. Some three thousand of the old proprietors remained 
excluded, among whom even a number of 'Ensign-men' got 
none of the 'undisposed forfeited land', because there was not 
enough of this to go round. The Catholics had no voice either 
in Parliament or Council, they were now mere suppliants for 
justice, and Charles preferred to sacrifice his friends to his 
enemies. Otherwise he and the Duke of York and Ormond 
did what they considered all that was possible under the cir- 
cumstances. But the Act of Settlement remained a standing 
grievance with the Catholic aristocracy, which only closed 
with the battle of the Boyne. A particularly shocking case 
of the legal injustice of the act was that of Lewis O'Dempsey, 
Viscount Clanmaher, who had been a Confederate Catholic. 
His claim to be restored was not even heard and the great 
estate of this head of an ancient sept of Leix was granted to an 
English official. At least the conquerors of Ireland up to this 
had been aristocratic fighting men, and it is no wonder that 
now the blood of the 'ancient families' grew hot within them 
to see their land ruled by 'a generation of mechanic bagmen, 
strangers to all principles of religion and loyalty'. 1 Gaelic 
Ulster suffered most, for its surviving chiefs had led the Rising 
of 1641 and got no mercy. The great names of MacMahon of 
Monaghan, Maguire of Fermanagh, O'Neill of the Fews, and 
O'Neill of Tyrone, now vanished for good from the landed 
aristocracy of the North. 

The final result was a Protestant Anglican ascendancy 
owning most of the land and dominant in parliament, the 
government, the towns, and trade. According to Petty, in 
1672 the new Cromwellian settlers owned 4,500,000 out of the 
12 million profitable acres which Ireland then had, the Catholic 
3,500,000 and the older Protestant settlers the rest. The 
Catholics were 800,000 of the total population, and the 

1 So Richard Sellings mote to Onnond. Secretary to the Catholic 
Confederacy, he had been Incky enough to be restored to his estates 


Protestants 300,000, but the majority of these were Ulster 
Presbyterians and English sectaries. 

The restoration of the Monarchy was accompanied by that 
of the State Church, of which in a single day in January 1661 
two archbishops and ten bishops were consecrated in St. 
Patrick's. This was the only religion now recognized officially, 
and what amount of toleration Catholic and Protestant dis- 
senters would get was the question. Onnond's policy aimed 
at balancing them against one another so as to keep the Epis- 
copalian ascendancy safe. In Ireland, as hi England, the 
Puritan gentry who had fought against the Crown and Church 
or their sons now accepted both, and Protestant Dissent was 
confined to the middle and lower classes. 

Along with the Church and the Crown the Parliament of 
Ireland was restored, supreme in internal affairs but controlled 
from England under Poynings' law, and for the most part a 
Protestant Anglican assembly, though the Catholics were not 
legally excluded and still had the vote. By the theory of the 
Constitution it was an admitted principle that 'the Crown of 
Ireland was appendant and inseparably annexed to the Im- 
perial Crown of England, and that whoever was King de facto 
in England was King de jure in Ireland*. But, while the Crown 
had formerly been the supreme power for Ireland, the Parlia- 
ment of England now shared the sovereignty with it and, 
though for some fifty years the claim to legislate for Ireland was 
not laid down, it was already working in practice. The later 
'restrictive Trade acts' passed in England to the disadvantage 
of Ireland rested, however, on the ground that after 1660 Free 
Trade between the three Kingdoms had been done away with 
and that the trade of the Empire was an English preserve in 
which Scotland and Ireland as long as they had their own 
parliaments had no right to share. 

The next question affecting the Irish, next to the Land, was 
that of Religion. The Roman Catholics were divided into a 
moderate party and an extreme or Ultramontane party, but 
the moderates were in the minority and found it hard to create 
a pro-English sentiment, especially as the State would make 
no provision for the Catholic clergy, who had to depend on 


their flocks or on support from abroad. Onnond attempted to 
encourage and increase the moderate section. In 1661 Father 
Peter Walsh and Richard Sellings drew up a Remonstrance on 
the questions over which Roman Catholics were in disrepute, 
such as the 'deposing' theory. The Remonstrance admitted 
that all princes and governors, irrespective of their religion, are 
God's lieutenants, that the King's power is supreme in civil and 
temporal affairs, that it binds all subjects, and that no foreign 
power may pretend to release them from their allegiance. 
Twenty-one peers and 164 prominent laymen accepted the 
Remonstrance but out of 2,000 priests only seventy would sign 
it. It was finally submitted to a congregation of bishops and 
laymen at the end of 1665. To repudiate the 'deposing power' 
of the Pope was further than the bishops in the congregation, 
led by O'Reilly of Armagh, would go, though they accepted 
monarchy as of God, and the Inter-Nuncio, who from Brussels 
now ruled the Roman Church in Ireland, formally condemned 
the Remonstrance. It thus failed to bring about legal tolera- 
tion for the Catholics, but at least those who swore temporal 
loyalty were not molested, and the royal power saw to it that 
as far as possible the penal measures were not enforced. This 
continued for the rest of Charles's reign, interrupted only by 
the Popish plot, and during it the Catholic element increased 
greatly in power and public importance. By the treaty of 
Limerick later the defeated Irish Catholics asked for nothing 
better than to return to the 'connived toleration* which in 
spite of the statutes they enjoyed at this period, 

Onnond ruled Ireland from 1661 to 1668 and rightly com- 
plained later that he would have made a success of his office 
had he not then been removed from it. Under him a consider- 
able reversal of the Cromwellian settlement took place, and 
it was he who encouraged Charles to use the prerogative in 
favour of Ireland and used his own authority for the same 
purpose. This was especially necessary when in 1666 the 
English parliament passed one of those commercial measures 
against Ireland which were to continue for some thirty years. 

This was the 'Irish Cattle Bill'. The landlord and farming 
interest in England resented the competition of cheap cattle 
from Ireland, and as a result the import of Irish cattle into 


England was forbidden. They were termed a 'public nuisance', 
in the act, which prevented the King from using his power to 
issue licences for individual Irishmen to import cattle contrary 
to the Act. The great source of wealth in Ireland, whose other 
industries had perished in the last twenty years, was in the 
provision trade and the export of beef, mutton, butter, etc. 
These being debarred from England, the trade with the Con- 
tinent, however, was left to her, and Ormond freely encouraged 

Another commercial restriction was expressed in the Navi- 
gation Acts. In 1651 the first of these famous acts, on which 
England built up her maritime and trading supremacy, included 
Ireland in its benefits and allowed Irish ships to carry goods 
freely abroad and to all parts of the Empire. The Act was 
passed again in 1663 and again in 1670, and in these re- 
enactments Irish ships were not put on the same footing as 
English ships, and direct export from Ireland to the colonies 
and direct import from the latter to Ireland was forbidden. 
Thus Ireland could only get colonial goods through England 
or send her goods out through England, the building of a 
mercantile fleet for overseas trade was made impossible, and 
Ireland remained for over a century excluded from the trade 
,of the Empire. Nothing did more to create the bitterness felt 
by the Protestant 'patriots' of Ireland in the next century, 
when Swift wrote sardonically of men who 'with the spirit of 
shopkeepers framed laws for the administration of kingdoms'. 
And, a result scarcely foreseen, the main damage fell upon 
England's own Protestant colony in Ireland which formed the 
main strength of the commercial and manufacturing class. 

The Irish Parliament lasted from 1661 to 1666, but there was 
none again till 1690. As in England, this assembly of landed 
gentry abolished all tenancy-in-chief of the Crown, all military 
tenures, the Court of Wards, and the rest of the feudal side of 
the monarchy. Large subsidies after the English fashion were 
voted, mainly derived from the Customs, the Excise, and the 
new Hearth-tax. The latter had also been introduced in Eng- 
land in 1660, but was abolished there in 1689 as oppressive to 
the poor; it continued, however, in Ireland till nearly the end 


of the eighteenth century, a shameful infliction upon the poor 
peasant, to whom even two or three shillings in the year for 
such a tax was a burden and a wrong. The abolition of the 
Court of Wards and of tenure-in-chief of the Crown favoured 
the Catholics as well as the Protestants, for heirs of estates-in- 
chief on succession had formerly been subject to the oath of 
Supremacy. Minors who were orphans now fell under the care 
of the Chancellor, and even still he could use his authority to 
have them educated in the Anglican faith. 

Ormond was succeeded as Viceroy between 1670 and 1677 by 
Lord Berkeley and Lord Essex. This was a favourable time 
for the Catholic Church, which was led by Oliver Plunkett and 
Peter Talbot, one the archbishop of Armagh, the other of 
Dublin, and both of the Old English and loyal element. Under 
Essex, Dublin, formerly a small medieval town, began to be 
extended and greatly beautified and four fine stone bridges 
now spanned the Liffey, over which since Norse times there 
had only been the old Ostmen's bridge. 

This hopeful time was an opportunity for the Roman Catholic 
party again to attack the Cromwellian settlement and for the 
English Government to favour the Roman Catholics, as far as 
constant criticism and anti-Popish feeling hi England permitted. 
Colonel Richard Talbot was sent to London in 1670 and secured 
a Commission which, under Prince Rupert, examined the 
claims of the dispossessed gentry. Roman Catholics had also 
been excluded from the towns under the Cromwellian regime, 
and in all the old corporations the merchants' houses and the 
businesses were in the hands of Protestants, nor could Catholics 
purchase houses in them without taking the oaths of Allegiance 
and Supremacy. The Lord Lieutenant was now authorized to 
permit any one to purchase such houses on a simple oath of 
allegiance. The 'Re-modelling* of corporations was now being 
pursued in England as a way of strengthening the Anglican and 
Tory element, and the same policy was extended to Ireland, 
where the Catholics were regarded as true royalists. Hence 
under Essex 'New rules' for Irish towns were issued, to apply 
to the capital and all the other chief corporations. By these 
rules, the election of the mayor, sheriff, and other officers was 


to be confirmed by the Lord Lieutenant, the elective power was 
confined to the aldermen, and the oath of Supremacy was to 
be taken by all mayors, officers, councillors, and members of 
guilds and companies, but it might be dispensed with in the 
case of Catholics at the discretion of the Lord Lieutenant, 
on condition of taking an oath of temporal allegiance and 
repudiating the supposed papal 'deposing power'. Thus the 
Government was able to restore Catholics to a large extent to 
the towns, but it all rested upon mere favour and on how 
strong the Monarchy remained. In fact, the Protestant con- 
trol of the corporations and of the rich and powerful trading 
guilds remained for the future practically unbroken, since their 
favour was necessary for the admission of non-Anglicans. 

The English Parliament, especially the "Whigs, watched all 
this with growing hostility, and in 1673 compelled Prince 
Rupert's Commission, under which some of the claimants had 
been restored, to be withdrawn, as well as the Declaration 
of Indulgence which Charles had issued in the previous year 
for both countries, suspending the penal laws. 

Ormond returned as Lord Lieutenant in 1677 and lasted out 
the reign of Charles II. He aimed at summoning another Irish 
parliament to get subsidies in return for a fresh revision of the 
Act of Settlement, but the Popish plot of 1678 ruined his plans. 
The Protestant mania in England spread to Ireland, and one 
victim of it was Archbishop Plunkett, who was sent to England 
and tried and executed there. Ormond was instructed to carry 
out strong measures, to disarm the Roman Catholics, and to 
banish then* clergy, but when the plot subsided and a Tory 
triumph ended the reign, the policy of connived toleration was 

On February 6th 1685 Charles II died and Ormond ceased 
to be Lord Lieutenant in March. Ireland was now in somewhat 
of the flourishing condition which she had been in in 1640, and 
in the last twenty years the revenue had doubled itself. During 
the reign the balance of the Catholic and Protestant elements 
had been reversed and the former had lost both political and 
religious rights. But they still had a large part, possibly a 
third, of the freehold land, and the royal Prerogative protected 


them from the worst forms of religious persecution. Unfor- 
tunately the Prerogative had not the whole-hearted support 
of any English party, not even the Tories, nor did any 
strong English party favour Irish claims or the repeal of dis- 
abling religious statutes. The hope of Catholic Ireland was 
absolutely in the Stuart monarchy, which with the new King 
became a Catholic one, and had James showed the right skill 
and caution his dynasty might have continued and Ireland 
remained a loyal and contented dominion. 

The economic condition of Ireland in actual truth was 
neither sound nor progressive. English landlordism had been 
introduced without its better features and the majority of Irish 
peasants had been reduced to mere cottiers and tenants-at- 
wilL Economically their standard was low and their general 
diet was the potato, a root introduced within the last genera- 
tion. Petty records that of the 184,000 houses then in Ireland 
only 24,000 had one chimney or above and the rest had no 
chimney. What with the penal laws and the exasperation 
they caused, the claims of the dispossessed gentry, and the 
poverty of the Gaelic-speaking peasantry, all the materials 
existed for a fresh Rising, if such were possible. 


The reign of James II offered the hope that two of these 
grievances, Land and Religion, might be mitigated by consti- 
tutional measures. James had at first the full support of the 
Church and Tory party in England and with their aid might 
well have kept the throne. Colonel Richard Talbot had long 
represented the Irish Catholics in England and was thought 
of as the man for Ireland. He was created Earl of Tyrconnell 
and as Lieutenant-general was given the command of the 
army in Ireland. Up to this only a Protestant militia was on 
foot, now a Roman Catholic standing army was designed. In 
December 1685 James appointed his brother-in-law. Lord 
Clarendon, as Lord Lieutenant, and he arrived in Dublin in 
January 1686, but only the civil government was committed 
to him. 

Tyrconnell stood for the old Anglo-Irish Catholic party, 


which had little sympathy with the native race and the Gaelic 
tradition. Ireland was to him a Catholic kingdom, as to the 
earlier Confederates, and now the hope seemed realized under 
a Catholic king and possibly a viceroy of this faith. 'Ireland', 
he said, 'is in a better way of thriving under the influence of 
a native governor than under any stranger to us and our 
country.' Roman Catholics should be secured in full civil and 
religious rights and the upper classes admitted to office, 
political and military, by the suspension or repeal of the Oath 
of Supremacy. The Irish aristocracy should be restored to 
their rightful place under the Crown, and this entailed revising 
or repealing the acts of Settlement and Explanation. Talbot 
was more of a soldier than a statesman and believed in having 
a Catholic army to secure these ends. This army, he repre- 
sented to James, would be a support to him against the Whigs 
or other opponents in his three kingdoms. A clash with 
Clarendon, who as an Anglican, though a Tory, did not share 
these views or aims, was inevitable, and the revocation of the 
Edict of Nantes at this time (1685) still further increased 
English prejudice against Popery and France. 

Clarendon was instructed to admit Roman Catholics to office 
hi the Council, the law, the corporations, and the sheriffdoms. 
The charters of the corporations were remodelled under writs 
of Quo Warranto, and under the new charters Roman Catholic 
members secured their places in the town councils. Before 
long two-thirds of the judges were Roman Catholics and every 
county save Donegal had a sheriff of this persuasion. Mean- 
while Tyrconnell staffed the army with Catholic officers and 
secured the chief garrisons. To him everything was a pre- 
liminary to a parliament, representative of the old race, which, 
would repeal the Act of Settlement and the penal statutes. 
To such an active policy Clarendon could not give his assent, 
and was recalled on January 8th 1687. He was succeeded as 
Lord Deputy by Tyrconnell, and the way seemed open for that 
religious and national ideal which was expressed in the phrase: 
'Reducing everything to that state that Ireland was in before 
Poynings' law and the Reformation of Henry VIII.' 

James now, disastrously for himself and his dynasty, broke 
with the Church and Tory party in England and proceeded to 


secure general toleration by the royal Prerogative alone and 
the possible support of the Protestant Dissenters. In Ireland 
the Anglican minority similarly began to waver in their 
loyalty, and the Dissenters, especially the northern Presby- 
terians, preferred to wait on what the English parliament 
would do. The first Declaration of Indulgence in April 1687 
was extended to Ireland; so was the second in April 1688. It 
was the second which led to the trial of the Bishops and the 
invitation of the leaders of both parties which brought William, 
Prince of Orange, to England on November 5th 1688. He was 
'the Whig deliverer' whom even the Tories reluctantly accepted, 
but to the majority of Irishmen James was lawful King and the 
true heir after him the newly born prince, his son James Edward . 

Again, as in 1642, the three kingdoms were to be divided 
over the Stuart cause, but this time the Stuart king found no 
one to fight for him in England and only a few thousand High- 
landers in Scotland, so that after Killiecrankie ruined the hopes 
of the Scottish Jacobites in June 1689 Roman Catholic Ireland 
became his one hope. Thousands of Irish Protestants now 
poured over into England, the rest were disarmed, but numbers 
were ready to fight for William if the chance came. Seeing 
how dangerous the situation was, some of the Irish leaders, 
such as Chief Justice Keating, favoured coming to terms with 
William, but with the army in the hands of Tyrconnell and 
Ireland full of discontent the die was cast otherwise. Tyr- 
connell had now a Catholic army and had secured most of the 
garrisons, but it was fatal for the Stuart cause in Ireland that 
he did not secure Deny and Enniskillen. In the former, on 
September i6th 1688, the apprentices closed the gate against 
the Earl of Antrim and his Catholic regiment, and both towns 
became Protestant cities of refuge. James was still the only 
king, but when on February i3th 1689 William and Mary 
accepted the Crown of England by vote of parliament, Irish 
Protestants In general transferred their allegiance. Scotland 
also accepted William, and Ireland alone offered James a refuge. 
He had fled to France, and on March i2th 1689 landed at 
Krnsale, escorted by a French fleet bringing money, ammuni- 
tion, and some French officers but no troops. These Tyrconnell 


could provide and he offered James the support of a kingdom. 
As for Louis, he wished to see James restored to his British 
throne, but for the time was not prepared to send an army 
to support him; he did, however, send arms for 10,000 men. 

Thus the cause of Ireland was once more transferred from 
statesmen to soldiers and put to the ordeal of battle. Tyr- 
connell was in control of most of the country, and for the first 
time for a century practically the whole Irish nation was in 
arms, this time under the command of the lawful King. Accord- 
ing to the allegiance which they owed him the aristocracy 
found little hesitation in flocking to the royal standard, and 
the most loyal of the Old English and the surviving Lords of 
the Pale were found side by side with the Old Irish gentry 
among his commissioned officers. The subsequent war of 
1689-1691 can certainly not be called a technical rebellion 
on the Irish side. The novel situation was seen of a King de 
jure who till lately had been King de facto in all three kingdoms 
appearing in arms against a King whom the English and 
Scottish parliaments had made monarch de facto. According 
to the accepted constitutional position, however, which had 
prevailed ever since Henry VIII took the title of monarch of 
Ireland, the latter kingdom had been inseparably annexed to 
whoever was King de facto of England. On this theory, which 
naturally was resented on the Irish side, was based the r.laim 
in torn of the English Commonwealth, of Cromwell, and then 
of William III and the Parliament of England to rule Ireland. 
William himself, however, a tolerant and reasonable man, 
realized the Irish position and was undoubtedly willing to 
secure Ireland after submission in her former rights. 

The objects of what is called 'the Williamite War in Ireland' 
differed in the eyes of the various actors. Tyrconnell was 
concerned with Ireland first and her rights, and if these could 
not be secured under a Stuart king he was ready to put her 
under the wing of France. James II looked on Ireland as a 
stepping-stone to the recovery of England. He was at heart 
a good Englishman and realized that yielding to extreme Irish 
claims would do Mm harm in his native country. Louis's 
main purpose was to use the Irish war to embarrass William and 


prevent or delay his return to the Continental war. He was 
sincerely wishful to see James restored to England and 
impressed on him not to alienate his Protestant subjects by 
relying too much on his Catholic subjects. French aid 
proved to be not quite as feeble as Spain's had been in 1573- 
1603, but it was half-hearted in spite of the fact that the 
French fleet had full command of the sea. The Irish war was 
but a sector of the great war waging between Louis and his 
enemies in the League of Augsburg, an alliance which included 
the Catholic Emperor Leopold and the Pope, Innocent XI, 
who objected to French domination in Europe and to Louis's 
treatment of the Church in France. Of the League the 
guiding spirit and the most determined member was William 
of Orange, who, if he could quickly reduce Ireland, could then 
throw the weight of Great Britain into the European contest. 
William was sincerely free from bigotry and a statesman of 
enlightened and liberal mind. We cannot doubt that had the 
Prerogative remained as high hi his hands as it was even in those 
of Charles II he would have secured, as well as offered, honour- 
able terms to the Irish on their defeat. Unfortunately for them, 
Parliament in England had now reduced the monarchy to a 
constitutional limit, it was both Protestant and anti-Irish, and 
could insist that the royal word needed its confirmation. Out 
of these conflicting hopes James was personally to come out 
worst, while the Irish nation was to lose even what liberties 
and favourable prospects it had had under his brother. 

The war commenced with the siege of Deny, which lasted 
from April i7th to July 30th 1689. Meanwhile James sum- 
moned to Dublin an assembly of the Irish Estates which met 
on May 7th 1689; it is generally called 'the Patriot Parliament*. 
This was the last legislative assembly of the older Irish race up 
to 1922 and the last in which the Roman Catholic faith was 
represented. Only a handful of Protestant bishops and loyalists 
attended. Among the fifty peers, the Earls of Clamickard, 
Antrim, and Clancarthy (formerly Viscount MacCarthy of 
Muskerry); among the viscounts, Magennis of Iveagh, Roche 
of Fennoy, O'Dempsey of Clanmalier, Justin MacCarthy, 
Lord Mountcashel, and Donal O'Brien, Lord Clare; and among 


the barons, Fleming, Bermingham, FitzMaurice, Plunkett, 
Purcell, Burke, Butler were famous names of the Gaelic 
and Norman, past. Many of them were destined to be outlawed 
and attainted and to disappear from Irish history, or survive 
only among the peasantry. Of the 230 members in the Com- 
mons many also were to meet the death of exiles; the great 
majority were Anglo-Irish Catholics who would doubtless have 
understood the Gaelic speech, but the language of the Parlia- 
ment and of the army was now English, and for the most part 
this was an 'Old English' assembly. The great names of 
Kildare, Ormond, and Inchiquin were not there, and even 
Antrim and Clanrickard were to be found early in the next 
century on the Protestant side. 

The proceedings of this Parliament were natural enough in 
men who had suffered so much over religion and confiscation, 
but they were scarcely wise or creditable. James favoured 
liberty of conscience and admission to office for his Catholic 
subjects and was willing to revise the act of Settlement, but 
had no desire to estrange his Protestant Irish subjects. Parlia- 
ment, however, proceeded to repeal the acts of Settlement and 
Explanation outright, without regard to the claims of sub- 
sequent purchasers. An act of Attainder was passed against 
some 2,400 landowners and others who had left Ireland in the 
Protestant exodus or were absent elsewhere. Their property 
was vested in the Crown and they were ordered to return to 
prove their innocence and loyalty or to stand their trial by 
fixed dates, according to distance. These dates gave little or 
no time for refugees and absentees, however innocent, to 
return. To this act James was strongly opposed but had to 
give way. It naturally infuriated the Williamite party hi both 
countries and brought about in its turn severe treatment for 
the Jacobites. England could, and often did, pass most unjust 
measures of confiscation, but Ireland had not the power to do 
so, and her leaders should have learned better from their own 

Another act ordered Protestants and Catholics to pay 
tithes to their own clergy respectively. Another declared the 
independence of the Irish courts and it was proposed to repeal 
Poynings' law, but against this James stood firm. He had 


little reason to be pleased with his Parliament, especially as no 
subsidies worth speaking of came in, but the affection of 
Ireland for the Stuarts was not so much personal as national, 
and James was reminded: 'If your Majesty will not fight for 
our rights, we will not fight for yours/ 

Deny was relieved on August ist 1689. The Protestant 
irregulars of Fermanagh under Colonel Wolseley next defeated 
Mountcashel at Newtown Butler and the Jacobite siege of 
Enniskillen was abandoned. The loss of Ulster followed, and 
on August isth William's commander, Marshal Schomberg, 
landed at Bangor with an army of 20,000 men. During the 
winter he faced James's army along the river Fane near 
Dundalk without coming to a battle. In numbers James's 
forces were superior, but in equipment the thousands of hardy 
peasants who were ready to serve 'RI Shamus' and were 
natural soldiers were far inferior. 

A stiffening of Continental soldiers was necessary, and so in 
March 1690 Louis sent 7,000 French regulars under Marshal 
Lauzun to Ireland, to compensate for whom Lord Mountcashel 
sailed to France with 5,000 men, the best of the Irish army, 
who were destined never to return. 

On June I4th William himself landed at Carrickfergus, and 
his united forces amounted to 36,000 men, who were mainly 
foreign mercenaries, Danes, Germans, and Huguenots. Mean- 
while the English fleet was able to land troops in Munster or 
wherever opportunity offered. On July ist 1690 the battle of 
the Boyne decided the contest of the two kings and lost the 
greater part of Ireland for the Jacobites. It was not a stub- 
bornly fought battle, for though the Irish horse fought well, 
the Irish foot did not, and gallant officers such as Patrick 
Sarsfield could only regret that they were not able 'to change 
Kings and fight it over again'. When James fled to Dublin 
and then returned to France for good it was left for the Irish 
under Tyrconnell to continue the fight with French aid, not 
so much now for James as for the preservation of their barest 
rights as a nation and as men. 

The importance in history of the battle of the Boyne is 


beyond all comparison with its interest as a clash of two 
armies. As a European event it was part of the coming and 
the final triumph of Louis's European enemies. The strange 
event befell that what was the final defeat of the Catholic and 
national cause of Ireland was greeted with a Te Dewn in 
Catholic Vienna, though with mixed feelings by the Pope. In 
the history of Ireland it is one of the half-dozen events that 
have completely changed her destiny. Kinsale in 1603 had 
spelled the downfall of the Gaelic order. The Boyne marked the 
doom of the Old English loyalist aristocracy. Mainly Norman 
with some Gaelic survivors and later Elizabethan additions, 
it had in the last thirty years still retained the greater part 
of the soil of Ireland. But now it fought its last fight and by 
subsequent attainder, outlawry, and pressure of the Penal 
laws was to become an inconspicuous and timid minority in 
its own country. Gaelic peers such as Iveagh, Mountcashel, 
dare, and Qancarthy vanished for good, the Old English 
lords fared better, but in general the history of the old Norman 
and Celtic aristocracy and its leadership of the race may be 
said to end at this fatal date. The Protestant and Anglican 
ascendancy, social, religious, and political, became securely 
established for another century and a half. The blow to the 
still surviving Gaelic tradition, culture, and speech was fatal. 
Though badly broken under James I, these had still found 
patrons among the surviving nobles and gentry. Henceforth 
such patrons were to be few and the Irish language descended 
into the ranks of the peasantry, who themselves, as a result 
of frequent confiscations, were soon a blend of the noblest 
names of the old order and the blood of the common people. 

From the Boyne it was an easy march for William into 
Dublin, and Ulster and Leinster fell into his hands, while 
John Churchill, the famous Marlborough, in Minister captured 
Cork and Kinsale. The Irish army fell back across the 
Shannon, where they held the bridge-head of Athlone, and the 
main army took up its stand at Limerick under Tyrconnell as 
Lord Lieutenant representing the government and Lauzun and 
Brigadier Sarsfield (whom James had created Earl of Lucan) 
in military command. 


William's first attempt to take Limerick ended in a repulse 
and he soon left Ireland. Athlone held out, and the decisive 
struggle was deferred till the next year with Ginkle acting for 
William and Sarsfield for Ireland. Louis withdrew Lauzun's 
army, but in May 1691 Marshal St. Ruth, an enthusiastic 
soldier, arrived from France with arms and stores and a 
commission to unite all the Irish forces. He soon raised 15,000 
men and for the first time put purpose and honesty into the 
French alliance with Ireland. On June 30th Ginkle forced 
the passage at Athlone in face of a gallant resistance and St. 
Ruth fell back to the hill of Aughrim, beyond Ballinasloe, 
where on July I2th 1691 Ireland was once again lost and won. 
The stand made by the Irish army was worthy of the last 
field, where all that was dear to them as a nation and as men 
was at stake; the priests urged them to die or conquer for the 
Faith; and, inspired by the leadership of St. Ruth, they had 
almost won the day when a cannon-ball ended his career. In 
the rout that followed, thousands of them strewed the fields of 
Connacht, and Sarsfield could only collect the remnant and fall 
back on Limerick. Waterford and Galway surrendered on 
terms, and the old city on the Shannon became the Irish 'City 
of refuge'. 

The second siege lasted from September 4th to October 3rd 
1691. Tyrconnell had died in August and supreme command 
devolved on Sarsfield, whose Irish spirit, military skill, tall 
stature, and manly beauty made him the hero of this fight as 
Owen Roe had been of the former one. Old English on one 
side, on the other he was an O'More and grandson of the leader 
of 1641; and so typifies well the final union of the two races. 
It was his fate to die two years later at Landen, fighting for 
France and sighing 'Oh, that this were for Ireland', ending 
thus the soldier story oi that wronged sept which began with 
Rory Oge in 1560. 

At last he decided to treat with the enemy since France had 
failed him. On October 3rd the Treaty of Limerick was 
signed by William's commander Ginkle and the Chief Justices 
on one side and Sarsfield with his lieutenants on the other. 
Scarcely was the ink dry when a great French fleet came up 
the Shannon with a real army on board, but it was too late for 


Sarsfield to go back on his word, and in any case he was a man 
both ol valour and honour. The fleet's main use was to trans- 
port immediately some 5-,ooo Irish soldiers to France, while 
2,000 more departed on English ships. This was arranged 
under the military articles of the treaty, which permitted Irish 
officers and men the choice of taking an oath of allegiance to 
William and returning to their estates or homes, enlisting in 
the English forces, or departing to France in French or English 
ships. Of the whole of Ireland's last army 11,000 finally 
sailed for France with most of the officers, of the rest 2,000 
went home, and 1,000 enlisted with GinMe. Seldom in history 
have a few thousand men, departing into exile, represented as 
these did almost the whole aristocracy, the fighting force, 
and the hope of a nation. Had men like Sarsfield, who had 
after all only loyally served their lawful King, returned now to 
their estates they would have had every right to be restored, 
and to dispossess them again would have been difficult. But 
they thought themselves still bound in honour to James and 
hoped to return one day along with him. Such devotion to a 
King who was hardly worth it does honour to them, but one 
may regret that they did not put Ireland and the national 
cause first. Their great estates, left ownerless, were destined 
to enrich still further the English ascendancy and reduce 
Catholic Ireland to the shades. Already the Dublin govern- 
ment had set up a Court of Claims, under which 4,000 Jacobites 
finally forfeited their estates. 

The Civil articles of Limerick were thirteen in number. By 
the first the Catholics of Ireland in general were to enjoy such 
privileges 'as they enjoyed under Charles II and as were con- 
sistent with the laws of Ireland'. Ginkle pledged his word that 
their Majesties would endeavour to reduce the number of 
attainders and procure further securities for the Irish Catholics 
from Parliament. By the second article 'all the inhabitants 
of Limerick or any other garrison now in the possession of the 
Irish', 'all the officers and men now in arms under commission 
of King James either in the English quarters or the counties 
of Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Mayo (and Galway by 
separate capitulation)', and 'all such as are under thetr protection 


in these counties', should keep their former estates, properties, 
and privileges and enjoy their professions and callings, on 
condition of taking the simple oath of Allegiance enacted in 
the English Parliament in the first year of William and Mary, 
and no other. 

'All such as are', etc., was to be famous as 'the omitted 
clause'; when the fair copy reached William it was found to 
have been omitted, but he reinserted it with his own hand 
when he signed the Treaty on February 4th 1692. 

Article 7 recognized the rights of those protected by the 
treaty to keep horse and arms sufficient for their defence. The 
9th article laid down that the oath to be taken should be that 
mentioned in the 2nd article, and no other. This, we may note, 
did not include the oath of Supremacy or any abjuration of 
the papal spiritual power. Finally article ia pledged their 
Majesties to ratify the Treaty within twelve months and to 
have it fully ratified by the Parliament of England. Such 
were the terms that Sarsfield and his Irish army were able to 
exact after two years of a losing war. If carried out both in 
the spirit and the letter by William and his English Parliament 
they might have restored the Catholic religion in Ireland at 
least to the tolerable position of Charles II's time, limited the 
amount of confiscation, and left the former landowners a still 
considerable aristocracy. But, while Ginkle could speak for 
William, both were foreigners who could not understand the 
place of the King in the new constitution of England, and it 
was soon shown that the English Parliament meant to interpret 
the Treaty both in letter and spirit in the most narrow and 
ungenerous way. 



THE period 1691-1714 was for Ireland an interim period, 
in which in a sense the Stuart monarchy survived and 
the Prerogative remained considerable; so between the 
liberality of William and the Toryism that triumphed under 
Anne the final subjection of Catholic Ireland was deferred. 
Nevertheless the Anglican ascendancy was secured after the 
fall of Limerick, and it remained for the new King and the 
Protestant parliaments of both countries to decide how 
the terms should be carried out. There was no hurry for the 
victors, and it was not till 1697 that the Irish parliament 
ratified the Treaty of Limerick and 1700 that the confiscations 
were completed. This may be called the Williamite settle- 
ment of Ireland. In 1692 Lord Sidney was sent over as Lord 
Lieutenant to represent the new regime. He summoned at 
Chichester House the Irish parliament, a body of three hundred 
in the Commons and twelve bishops and sixteen peers in the 
Lords, which henceforth became as long as it lasted a Protes- 
tant body, for an act of the English parliament passed in 1691 
was now extended to Ireland by which members of both Houses 
were required to take an oath of allegiance, a declaration 
against the Mass, Transubstantiation, and other Roman 
doctrines, and an oath abjuring the spiritual supremacy of the 
Pope. This effectually debarred conscientious men and the 
few Catholic members and peers who presented themselves, 
and it was not till its repeal in 1829 ^- at Roman Catholics 
were enabled to sit in parliament. For a century or more they 
could only humbly petition the King or plead as suppliants at 
the Bar of the House. 

The double question of the carrying out of the Treaty of 
Limerick and of the attainders now for years occupied the 
government. A Court of claims was set up at Chichester 
House in Dublin, under which some 4,000 landowners were 


attainted, and there were forfeited to the Crown lands amount- 
ing to 1,100,000 plantation acres (1,700,000 English acres). 
William used his royal influence, as he had promised, in favour 
of the attainted, and got restored sixty-five great landowners 
who were not protected by the Treaty. As a result the amount 
of confiscated land was reduced by one-fourth. This angered 
both parliaments, especially as William made vast grants to 
his Dutch favourites, the Earls of Portland and Albemarle, 
and his former mistress the Countess of Orkney. The Irish 
House was well bridled under Poynings' law and in 1697 had 
finally to pass a Government bill which ratified the main 
force of the Limerick terms, though it whittled them down 
considerably. The conclusion of the matter in England was 
a Resumption bill passed in April 1700, which set up a Board 
in which were vested all the confiscated Irish estates, and, with 
the exception of seven of the favoured landowners, all the 
King's grants were resumed. But some 400,000 acres were 
restored to 'innocent papists', and finally about a million 
English acres were soJd in the open market, representing the 
final amount of confiscated land in the last confiscation in 
Insh history. When the lands were publicly offered, Irish 
Roman Catholics were debarred by act of the English Parlia- 
ment from purchasing or leasing more than two acres, for the 
Protestant ascendancy was determined to limit the Catholic 
landowning class to the narrowest limits possible. 

It is reckoned that by 1700 the Roman Catholics had the 
freehold of about one-eighth of the land, but even this was to 
be greatly reduced in the next thirty or forty years by the 
proprietors conforming to the Established Church either 
willingly or under pressure of the Penal laws. Many great 
names had vanished by the attainders of over fifty years; 
others now ceased to be leaders of the majority. The second 
Duke of Ormond was a Williamite; so was the Earl of Kildare; 
the Earl of Antrim in the next generation was a Protestant, 
and so it befell with other names such as MacMurrough 
Kavanagh. The 'Lords of the Pale' now only survived in a 
few timid Catholic peers such as the Earl of Fingall, while in 
Minister of the old nobility Browne, Earl of Kenmare, became 
the leading name. Of all the great Gaelic patronymics of 1500, 


only O'Brien, Earl of Inchiquin, finally remained in the peerage, 
but as a supporter of Church and State. 

The other great question was the Treaty of Limerick. The 
terms covered not the whole Irish Roman Catholic population 
but merely the officers, soldiers, and garrisons of the Irish 
army in the cities of Limerick, Galway, and Waterford, and 
the counties of Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Mayo, and 
Galway, and all such as were 'under their protection in the said 
counties'. This famous 'omitted clause' had been restored by 
William, but when the whole Treaty was brought before it to 
be ratified with this clause restored the Irish Parliament, less 
liberal than the King, in 1692 showed its resentment by 
throwing out a Mutiny bill which had been drafted by the 
Councils of both kingdoms, as well as a Money bill prepared 
in England. Hence Sidney dissolved parliament; he himself 
was soon withdrawn, and finally Sir Henry Capel was sent as 
Deputy from 1695 to 1700. Under him the Irish Parliament 
in 1695 began that iniquitous Penal code which was not 
completed till 1727. The treatment of the defeated nation 
was a violation both in the spirit and in the letter of the 
Treaty of Limerick. But the army and the nobility to whom 
it had been promised were mainly in France; as to those who 
remained at home disarmed and harmless, when they died out 
it was considered the Treaty was sufficiently honoured. William 
endeavoured, as he had promised, to reduce the number of 
attainders, but on this point was finally defeated by the intract- 
able English Parliament, which now shared the sovereignty 
with the Crown. His promises and his wish to mitigate the 
Penal laws were also overridden and his own parliament did 
not hesitate to dishonour 'the word of a King'. The Preroga- 
tive, which the Stuarts had used to protect Ireland, had been 
cut short, and the royal power to dispense with or suspend 
the religious statutes had been abolished at the 'glorious 

As regards tne Penal laws, the 'violation' consisted of the 
limiting of the terms to as small a population as possible, 
reviving into fall operation religious statutes which under 
Charles II had been left dormant, and, worse still, enacting 
for the future far more crushing ones. 


The Irish Parliament now became a permanent element iii 
the Constitution. It was. and remained till the Union, a 
Protestant body of Cromwellians and Williamites of almost 
pure English blood who had all the arrogance of conquerors. 
But its independence was shackled by Poynings' law, and it 
was in virtue of this imperial control that Sidney could over- 
ride it when in 1692 it protested about the 'omitted clause'. 
It did not control the army, it had not the real power of the 
purse, and the Viceroy, his secretary and the ministers of 
State, were appointed from, and were responsible to, West- 
minster alone. The 'Glorious Revolution' of which the Whigs 
boasted in England, which ended the personal monarchy of 
the Stuarts, did not even give the Protestant oligarchy of 
Ireland a responsible system of government. Only a small 
advance was made when, after 1692, by a procedure called 
'Heads of Bills', either Irish House could propose a bill which, 
if accepted by the Irish Council, was then passed by the Irish 
parliament and transmitted to England, where the King's 
Privy Council could accept, alter, or reject it. On its return, 
the Irish parliament must accept or reject it in full; if passed 
it received the royal assent from the Lord Lieutenant. Above 
all, the imperial power of King and Parliament in England 
claimed the final directing and restraining power in all matters 
touching the Empire, its defence, its trade, and its navigation. 
For internal purposes, the Irish parliament remained supreme, 
but where English interests were touched or when it came to 
the 'reduction' of Ireland by an army the English parliament 
legislated without regarding the Irish assembly. 

Ireland was so completely under irresponsible government 
controlled from England that a meeting of her parliament 
every second year was considered sufficient for carrying on; 
there was no fixed limit to its duration and the Viceroy could 
dissolve or prolong it at discretion; hence he needed only visit 
Ireland once in two years, leaving Lords Justices in his place. 
There was an hereditary revenue uncontrolled by parliament; 
fresh services became necessary, and so the practice was 
established, after the protest of 1692, by which Bills of Supply 
(money bills) were prepared by the Councils of the two realms 
in unison, which were limited in duration to two years; another 


reason for a mere biennial session. According to the witty 
Earl of Shrewsbury in 1713, the office of Lord Lieutenant was 
'a place where a man had business enough to prevent him 
falling asleep but not enough to keep him awake'. So effectually 
had the sister kingdom been silenced. 

The constitutional dependence of Ireland on the de facto 
government of England was frankly admitted by the new 
ascendancy. The Act of recognition of William and Mary as 
joint sovereigns was passed by the Irish Parliament 'forasmuch 
as this kingdom of Ireland is annexed and united to the 
Imperial Crown of England, and by the laws and statutes of 
this kingdom (Ireland) is declared to be justly and rightfully 
belonging and ever united to the same*. When this principle 
was affirmed in the act that made Henry VIII king of Ireland 
it did not entail the subordination of the Irish parliament to 
the English one; what it asserted was the imperial sovereignty 
of the single Crown supreme over its two realms. 

But the course of English history determined that with the 
accession of the Georges England became an aristocratic 
'crowned Republic', and Ireland was to find out, as Machiavelli 
said of the rule of Venice, 'of all forms of servitude, servitude 
under a republic is the worst*. English domination suited the 
upstart ascendancy for the present, but it was not long before 
it began to chafe. 

On the Catholic question it has to be remembered that until 
the peace of 1697 England was engaged in a European coalition 
against France and that some of her allies were Catholic; again, 
James might possibly be restored, in which case native Ireland 
might rise once more. The one consideration urged some 
decency towards the defeated Irish this was William's; the 
other that of Parliament urged the disarming of them and 
excluding them from all places of power and trust so that they 
should never again seize the reins. This panic and cruel spirit 
animated Capel's Dublin parliament of 1695. 

Exclusion from parliament by the act of 1692 was the first 
violation of the Treaty, for under Charles II the Catholics had 
sat in the Lords and formally at least might sit in the Com- 
mons. What followed was in the same spirit. An act was 


passed for disarming 'papists' (henceforth for nearly a century 
the official and legal designation of his Majesty's Roman 
Catholic subjects), by which only those protected by the 
Treaty were allowed to carry the arms of a gentleman for self- 
defence and fowling. No 'papist* might own a horse worth 
above five pounds, and no gunsmith might take a Catholic 
apprentice. Thus was the Irish majority, which since 1590 
had thrice taken the field, disarmed for a century, and only 
foreign aid could, as later in 1798, have properly re-armed it. 
Another act made it illegal for Catholics to go for education 
abroad and forbade them to keep a public school at home. The 
University of Dublin was already dosed to them as regards 
degrees, fellowships, and scholarships. This and other 'no 
education' acts were particularly shameful, as well fitted to 
brutalize a race of aristocratic and learned tradition and 
reduce it to peasant status and ignorance. 

The Irish parliaments of the rest of William's reign followed 
suit. William indeed and the nobler spirits of England should 
have vetoed their enactments, but it was much easier to yield 
to the 'No Popery' spirit in both countries. The majestic and 
world-wide system of the Church of Rome could not be treated 
like some Protestant sect at home seeking a modest toleration; 
the very greatness of her empire and the completeness of her 
claims over the souls and minds of believers marked her out 
for special persecution from the narrow Protestant and English 
nationalism of the age. 

The Dublin parliament of 1697 dealt with the ratification of 
the Treaty of Limerick. William consented to leave out the 
'omitted clause' if parliament would accept the remainder, and 
abandoned his promise to reverse outlawries. The Roman 
Catholics petitioned in vain to be heard by counsel at the Bar 
of the House against this open violation of the King's word. 
It is to the honour of some of the peers and bishops of the 
Church of Ireland that when the Bill of ratification left the 
Commons it was only carried in the House of Lords by one 
vote, and seven bishops and seven peers entered their protest 
against it. The Lords also passed the Outlawries Bill, by which 
all outlawries (save those already reversed or protected by the 


Treaty) were to stand, but the Lords secured that certain peers 
and gentry were also exempted from the Bill. 

This was the end of the Treaty of Limerick as far as the 
Irish parliament went. The anti-Popery spirit was shown by 
an act for the banishment of all Roman Catholic bishops and 
dignitaries, leaving untouched the parish clergy, who, it was 
hoped, would die out in time for want of due consecration. As 
an established Church, the Roman Catholic religion now 
reached its nadir point hi Irish history, and those bishops who 
stood their ground were reduced to less than half a dozen, 
living the most obscure, and at any moment possibly dangerous, 
existence. In the next year (1698) another act excluded 
members of this Church from the practice of the law except 
by taking an oath of allegiance and abjuration of the papal 
authority. Exemption was, however, provided for those who 
were covered by the Treaty or who had practised under 
Charles II. Thus the trained lawyers who could defend Roman 
Catholic claims were reduced to a handful. 

England was meanwhile passing its own equally severe penal 
code for Romanists, but in comparing the injustice of such 
laws we must remember that in the one country they affected 
only a small element; in Ireland they were directed against 
the majority of the nation by a minority which owed its victory 
to the armies of England and whose ascendancy depended on 
English support. 

But the Catholic 'dissenters' from the Church of the minority 
were not the only dissenters. In Ulster was strongly entrenched 
a Presbyterian population of Scots origin, amounting to some 
hundreds of thousands; in the rest of Ireland Cromwellian 
times had left behind great numbers of English sectaries. 
They had all sided with William and expected toleration from 
him; he, on his part, though he could do nothing for Catholic 
nonconformists, strove hard to do something for Protestant 
ones. He granted to Presbyterian ministers, who had preached 
in his cause, a yearly sum called the Regium donum at 1,200 a 
year, and in 1695 sent over from England a Toleration bill on 
the basis of the English one of 1689. But in Ireland, where 
one would expect the whole Protestant minority to unite, the 
Anglican Church and aristocracy were almost more hostile to 


the Protestant democracy than to the dispossessed Catholics. 
The Cromwellians had been branded 'republicans and regi- 
cides', the Ulster Scots were denounced as stubborn enemies of 
Tory monarchy and episcopacy; both were, in short, obstacles 
to the complete success of an upper-class Anglican regime. The 
Tory and High Church spirit was now strong among the bishops 
of the Church of Ireland; that minority which owned most of 
the land and controlled politics supported them, and between 
them the Toleration bill was rejected. In spite of this, Ireland 
was a much better land for the Dissenters than England. There 
was no Clarendon Code on our statute book, and William 
prevented the Test act from being extended here. In the 
North the Presbyterians controlled many of the corporations; 
everywhere they had the vote and even returned some mem- 
bers of Parliament. Until the reign of Anne they were secure, 
and it is no wonder that William of Orange is still the hero of 
the North. 

Though apparently triumphant over the Catholic majority 
and the Dissenting democracy, the Anglican minority had its 
own quarrels with the mother-country. The trade and industry 
of Ireland was mainly in Protestant hands, but would English 
commercial jealousy allow it to prosper? William here again 
had to yield and to promise his Parliament of England that he 
would promote English trade and discourage Irish trade. 
According to the system and theory of the times, England 
regarded what was imported from the other two kingdoms as its 
own concern; as for the trade of the Empire and the commerce 
of the seas, that was an English preserve, for Scotland and 
Ireland had done nothing to found or conquer the American 
and West Indian 'plantations'. An act of the English parlia- 
ment in 1696 forbade goods to be exported direct from the 
colonies to Ireland. Another of 1699 allowed the export of 
Irish manufactured woollen goods only to England, where 
heavy duties prevented their competing with this great English 
industry. Thus was the woollen industry of Ireland crushed. 
But William was allowed to encourage the linen-weaving trade, 
and this, of which the English had no jealousy, became a great 
industry in Ireland, not confined as now to the North, but 


spread over the whole island, whose soil and climate are 
favourable to flax-growing. Nevertheless the industry found 
its chief hold among the Presbyterian weavers of the North, 
and in towns like Belfast and Lurgan, where the Huguenots, 
such as Crommelin, introduced the latest machinery. 

The Restrictive acts were a blow rather to the Protestants 
of Ireland than to the Catholics, who were mainly confined to 
the land, and such an attack by England upon its own colony 
roused an indignation which found vent in a famous book by 
Molyneux in 1698 called The Case of Ireland's being bound by 
acts of Parliament in England, stated. Its author declared that 
subjection of the Irish parliament to the selfish enactments of 
England were the main cause of trouble, and after some sixty 
years a large party of the ascendancy took this up as their 

William III died on March 8th 1702. The reign of his sister- 
in-law Anne, was a return to 'High Church and State' principles 
and a triumph for the Tory party, which rejoiced to see a pure- 
bred Englishwoman and a grand-daughter of Charles I on the 
throne. The Tory spirit was strong in the upper-class 
Protestants of Ireland and favoured to a certain extent the 
Roman Catholics, whose religion seemed to put them on the 
royalist side. Unfortunately Anne and the Tories also had 
the 'No Popery' obsession, though the Whigs were stronger 
still in this. France too was the enemy of England, and when, 
on the death of James II in September 1701, Louis XTV 
recognized his son Prince James Edward as King, a fresh 
motive against France and against Irish Roman Catholics was 
found. Before long the great war of the Spanish Succession 
(1702-1713) began, and Ireland became once again a danger- 
point, for it was pretty certain that if a French army had 
landed the 'Pretender' (as the English affected to call James's 
son) on the soil of Ireland there would have been a fresh up- 
rising. Thus the Irish majority could still be branded as 
dangerous and pro-French. 

So the Penal code continued, though Anne was a Stuart and 
though the majority of the Irish bishops and officials were 
Tories. The second Duke of Onnond was appointed Lord 


Lieutenant in 1703 and continued in office for nearly the whole 
reign; at heart a Jacobite, he did what he could to mitigate the 
persecuting spirit, but the 'ferocious Acts of Anne', as Burke 
called them, were a curious comment on the last Stuart reign. 
In 1703 another act was passed to banish Roman bishops, 
regulars, and vicars-general, but a Registration act which 
accompanied it showed the disposition to allow at least the 
simple toleration of the Mass. By this any secular priest 
taking a simple oath of allegiance could be registered and then 
perform his priestly functions undisturbed. It was accepted 
by over 1,000 priests, whose numbers showed that it was 
impossible to suppress the religion of two millions of Irishmen. 
Unregistered priests remained liable to the penalties of treason 
under existing statutes. This act remained in force till 1780; 
henceforth the numbers of priests and their people steadily 
grew, and by 1750, under the authority of the Papal inter- 
nuncio at Brussels, twenty-four bishops ruled the Roman 
Catholic Church in Ireland, for the most part quietly tolerated, 
though never out of danger. 

The extinguishing of the Roman faith as a religion was now 
obviously impossible, and the Church of Ireland, with its great 
revenues and highly endowed bishops, accepted the fact that 
as regards the mass of the people itself was a minority religion. 
But when it came to political power, to ordinary civil rights, and 
the pursuit of natural liberty, happiness, and prosperity, that 
was another question. A whole code was passed to bar the 
Roman Catholics from the land, the army, the electorate, 
commerce, and the law. In 1704 a typical act 'against the 
growth of Popery* enacted that estates which had belonged or 
might belong to Protestants should not come into Catholic 
hands. Roman Catholics were only to inherit from one another, 
they might not purchase land or lend on mortgages, or take 
a lease over thirty-one years. Even for such a lease they must 
pay a rent of two-thirds of the annual value. Further, by 
what was known as the 'Gavelkind act' the estates of a Catholic 
landowner was to be divided at his death among all his sons, 
unless the eldest should conform within a year or on coming 
of age, in which case he should inherit the whole estate accord 
ing to the usual English law of 'primogeniture'. The act was 


intended either to increase the Protestant landlordry or by 
equal division to turn Catholic proprietors before long into an 
impoverished though freeholding class. It had actually great 
effect in reducing the number of the Romanist aristocracy, 
some of whom 'conformed' to keep estates intact and prevent 
the family being degraded into holders of a few acres. Others, 
against their conscience, on succeeding to the estate attended 
the Protestant service once in order to satisfy the law. For 
those who stuck it out in the eighteenth century, the 'Gavelling 
act' was the cruellest of the Penal laws. 

Other parts of this sweeping 'anti-Popery' act excluded 
Catholics from offices in the State, corporations, or army, and 
also from voting at elections, except on taking a declaration 
against Roman doctrines. By a later law of 1708 they were 
forbidden to act as grand jurors, though allowed to sit on 
petty juries, and severe penalties were imposed on such of 
them as continued to practise law. By another of 1710 fifty 
pounds reward was promised to any one securing a 'popish 
bishop', and Roman Catholic employers were forbidden to 
take more than two apprentices to their trade, save in the 
linen-weaving industry. The Penal code was finally com- 
pleted by an act of 1727 by which Catholics were finally 
debarred from voting for members of Parliament both in 
counties and boroughs. 

The penal laws were to last in their entirety for some seventy 
years and not to be repealed till 1829. They can be divided 
into the actual penal measures, which positively punished 
people for their religion, and the disabling statutes, which 
excluded Catholics from office, the army, and civil employment. 
Naturally, as the liberal spirit grew it would desire to abolish 
the former, which were repugnant to ordinary human feeling, 
but as regards the disabling statutes, these were preserved as 
long as possible and were justified by many good men as 
necessary to maintain the Protestant ascendancy, the aristo- 
cratic constitution, and the connexion with England, We 
may divide them again into those which affected the older 
population as a nation and as its various classes. Some of 
the laws limited the landowners to such estates as they held 


or inherited by law, but prevented their buying fresh land or 
acquiring favourable leases. Their heirs were encouraged to 
conform, and 'informers', who were favoured by deliberate 
statutes, were a constant terror to those who sought to evade 
the law or whose titles might be brought under some Attainder 
act. It was especially exasperating to such of a proud aris- 
tocracy as survived that they were disarmed and forbidden 
to carry arms or ride like their Protestant neighbours. 

Then there were the laws which affected the middle classes 
and excluded them from the learned and lucrative professions 
of the law and education, or debarred them from trade and 
industry or the free purchase of land and property. What the 
law did not do the selfishness of an ascendancy could do, and 
Roman Catholics henceforth had little share in the trading 
guilds and companies of the boroughs. The only fields left 
open to their industry were the linen trade, grazing, agriculture, 
the practice of a. few professions such as medicine, brewing, 
and so on. Both they and the upper classes were excluded 
from offices, from commissions in the army and navy, from 
the electorate and parliament. The nation as a whole suffered 
from all this body of law, which debarred it from all the essen- 
tial civil rights which even in a despotic State they would have 
enjoyed, and which allowed a newly arrived minority to hamper 
them hi every natural ambition and self-development. 

The mass of the Irish people, however, were neither gentry 
nor freeholders nor middle-class people looking for jobs and 
careers for their sons. Then- grievances were economic and 
positive, the payment of hearth tax to the State, of tithes to 
the Established Church, of heavy rents for their small potato 
plots to landlords mostly of alien stock and language, not to 
speak of forced labour on the roads, and the rest. English land- 
laws had been introduced into Ireland at successive Plantations 
with all the features in them which were most oppressive to the 
poor man. Favourable leases, the letting of properly furnished 
farms at reasonable rent, copyholds, and such things were not 
to be the lot of Ireland. 'In England the landlords let farms, in 
Ireland land', such was the judgment of an English peer in the 
nineteenth century. Reduced to an almost general status of 
mere tenants-at-will, their main food the potato, their wages 


as labourers less than a shilling a day, the lot of the Catholic 
peasantry was one of the worst in Europe. And how could 
they procure redress? Not from the gentlemanly Parliament 
up at Dublin, which scarcely passed a single act in favour of 
the poor husbandman all through the eighteenth century. 
Not from the parson to whom they paid tithes of corn and 
cattle, sometimes even of potatoes, nor the Church courts of the 
Establishment. Not from the grand jurors and justices of the 
peace, all Protestants, who now ran the county government. 
The Catholic aristocracy and middle class were to have all 
their wrongs redressed from. 1778 to 1829; a far more deter- 
mined and disastrous struggle had to be waged by the Irish 
peasant for sixty years after that before he shook off the chains 
of his serfdom. 

As farmers, weavers and industrialists, the Protestant 
Dissenters, especially in the North, who were little represented 
in the landlord and ruling classes, had their own religious and 
economic grievances, far fewer and lighter than those of then- 
Catholic neighbours, but galling enough. Their creed had 
received no legal recognition. The State regarded the Popish 
priest indeed as an enemy, but did not deny that he was a 
priest and that his functions of marriage, etc., were valid. 
The Presbyterian or Dissenting minister was not an ordained 
clergyman according to law, unless he had been ordained by 
a bishop, and the marriages he performed were not marriages 
by law. As regards the free purchase, inheritance, and enjoy- 
ment of land the Dissenters were not subject to any disability, 
nor were they excluded from the trades and professions, for 
they had no objection to the anti-Popish Declaration required. 
They had the vote in towns and shires and could sit in parlia- 
ment with a clear conscience; if their political influence was 
small it was because the Church of Ireland ascendancy could 
be used against them. They were strong in the industries of the 
North and they or their fathers had received farms at low rents 
in order to colonize Ulster. A favourable practice called 'the 
Ulster custom', prevalent in the North, gave the tenant a 
certain right in his farm and allowed him to sell this right when 
vacating it. But the payment of tithes to the State clergy 


galled them and united them with the Catholic peasants in 
hatred of the Establishment. The Church of Ireland, as repre- 
sented in Dean Swift later, did not hide its dislike or open 
hatred of the Presbyterians, whose well-organized faith, un- 
compromising spirit, and widespread influence in the North 
especially made them so formidable. 

In England the Whigs were the friends of the Dissenters. 
But under a Tory government, the democratic sectarians of 
Ireland had to endure a long-sustained attack as enemies of the 
established Church and no true friends of Royalty, especially 
of that Stuart prerogative to which the Tories and High Church 
still clung. In 1704 when the 'act against Popery' was re- 
turned from England it was found to include a new clause 
added by the English ministry, requiring office-holders under 
the Crown to qualify by taking the Sacrament according to the 
Anglican Church. The clause was passed and it excluded 
Protestant dissenters from all offices in State and corporations. 
Their members at the same time disappeared from Parliament, 
and they lost their former control of the northern boroughs 
such as Belfast. Thus did the disqualifying acts exclude the 
Protestant as well as the Catholic dissenter from political 
power, local and central. Later, in 1710, the Regium donutn 
was withdrawn from their ministers, in accordance with the 
general attack on Dissenters in both realms. 

Ireland under Anne seemed like a Tory stronghold from 
which Bolingbroke in England might hope for support in his 
secret plan of restoring Prince James Edward. Many of the 
State bishops were well inclined, the Duke of Ormond, Lord 
Lieutenant, was actively on his side, and the Chancellor, Sir 
Constantine Phipps, was almost impeached for favouring 
Catholics and admitting them to the army. The hopes of the 
Catholics ran high and it seemed not improbable that a second 
Stuart restoration would restore their old lords and bring 
back the exiled ones. But the sudden and fatal illness of Anne 
in 1714 ruined these hopes. This childless woman, whose only 
objection to her half-brother was his religion, would express 
no open wish or take any open action about the succession. 


The Whig Privy Council boldly took the initiative, got her to 
install the Earl of Shrewsbury as chief minister, by a coup 
d'Jtal overthrew Bolingbroke's cabinet, and on the death of 
Anne in August 1714 brought in as king George the Electoral 
Duke of Hanover, great-grandson of James I. The Jacobite 
leader was impeached and fled to France; so was Ormond, who 
died in exile in 1745, though his line was restored to his titles 
and estates later. With his attainder the only remaining^ 
Palatinate in Ireland, that of Tipperary, was abolished. The' 
Whigs came triumphantly into power hi Cabinet and Parlia- 
ment and retained their supremacy unshaken for fifty years. 


A MORE unattractive figure than George the First could 
hardly have been found for the Throne of these king- 
doms. The triumphant Presbyterians of Scotland and 
Anglican Whigs of England stomached him for their own reasons 
and left it to Tories and Highlanders to sentimentalize about 
'the Divine Right J and 'the King over the water'. To the Irish 
nation, now subjected for good to a colonial ascendancy, the 
accession of a dull German princeling was more than an offence 
to all the traditions of Monarchy it was the positive death- 
knell of the hopes that had survived the Boyne. The religion 
of the majority, their political and civil liberty, and all their 
racial self-expression were proscribed for almost a century, or, 
worse still, driven underground with disastrous results. A 
dynasty had arrived which not only was not interested in the 
fate of Ireland and the treatment of its Catholic subjects but 
was positively by the new constitution of a limited monarchy 
forbidden to interfere. To the mass of the Irish people George 
must have seemed neither a King nor a man. As for the 
Stuarts who had at least attempted justice to Ireland, a Scot- 
tish Jacobite rising in 1715 and another in 1745 scarcely made 
a ripple in Ireland. After Philip of Spain had failed them and 
then Louis, after their devotion to the Stuarts had only brought 
on disaster after disaster, it is no wonder if the majority of 
those who survived began to think on the old maxim: 'Put not 
your trust in princes, for there is no help in them'. 

The aristocratic and militant part of the old Irish nation, 
whose exodus had begun in the Elizabethan age to Spain, was 
now abroad in the armies of France, Spain, and Austria, whose 
Irish Brigades were for nearly a century constantly recruited 
by the 'Wild Geese* of Ireland. They were destined never to 
return as armed men to their mother-country and the hope of a 
foreign or native deliverer died into a pathetic legend. 
The restoration of the old aristocracy was the constant 


HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 291 

theme oi the Gaelic poets of Hanoverian Ireland. The heredi- 
tary bards had inspired the resistance tinder Elizabeth, and 
O'Bruadair and others had lived to see the Jacobite armies in 
the field, but now all that was left for their patronless and 
impoverished successors such as Egan O'Rahilly and Owen 
Roe O'Sullivan of Kerry and Art MacCooey of Armagh, was to 
lament the old Gaelic and Norman aristocracy, and under 
many lovely and secret names for Ireland, 'the Dark Rosa- 
leen', 'Kathleen Ni Houlahan', or 'Drurnin Doun Deelish,' to 
imagine the return of the old order. The theme of many a 
melodious 'Aisling' or 'Vision' was that of a symbolic Ireland, 
a beautiful sorrowful maiden and her rightful spouse, a mythi- 
cal Stuart. But the Ireland of a native aristocracy, generous 
patrons of the Gaelic literati and poets, was a dream rapidly 
dissolving. As for any practical hope of a Stuart restoration, it 
ended with 1745. The world of the 'File', the Brehon, the man 
of learning, art, and poetry, whose history as an established 
and cultured class went back to pagan Ireland, had lingered 
on till the Boyne, but it was now over. The Irish language 
which had been cultivated for a thousand years now, save for an 
odd printed work, remained all through the eighteenth century 
in the manuscript stage. In the current idiom which replaced 
the learned, it became confined to the peasantry and to a few 
wandering scholars, musicians, and poets, who in each pro- 
vince kept alive a poetic rivalry and a sort of Gaelic academy. 
In prose the language produced little of merit, but its swan- 
song in poetry was rich and of great beauty. Though the 
upper and middle classes gradually forsook it, the people dung 
to the Gaelic speech with an affectionate attachment which 
only gave way in the nineteenth century. 

It was the peculiar tragedy of the Irish nation that it was 
now left leaderless in the aristocratic sense. The pressure of 
the Penal laws, the frequent education of minors in the State 
religion, the natural disposition to go with the tide, the 
growing indifference of the eighteenth century to dogmatic 
religion, all conspired to make great numbers of the surviving 
gentry conform within the next fifty years and to reduce the 
Catholic landowning class to a mere fraction. But thus 


through intermarriage of the new landlord class with the old 
the blood of the ruling element in Ireland was in a generation 
or two an admixture of Celt and Norman, of Elizabethan and 
later planters. A similar story can be told of the peasantry, 
among whom were absorbed great numbers of Cromwelhan 
troopers and other settlers. Though the religious division has 
persisted, no one can doubt that the greater part of the modern 
Irish nation is well mixed, and that there are few people in 
our country whose ancestors on one side or another have not 
been Gaelic speakers. But, blending or no blending, the tradi- 
tion of Irish nationality was already founded too strong to be 
ever lost. 

In the period 1714 to 1760 Ireland had little or no political 
history. The Protestant ascendancy in Church, government, 
law, parliament, local government, industry, was complete. 
It was a replica on a small scale of that of England, but at 
least in England the Anglican aristocracy for all its faults 
ruled in the Church of a majority and had the support of a 
nation. It was otherwise in Ireland, where both the ruling 
aristocracy and Church represented an alien minority. But 
the ascendancy here seemed just as secure. Swift, who hated 
the stubborn Presbyterians, describes the 'papists' as a people 
entirely crushed, 'harmless as women and children', and though 
tolerant in a lofty way he thought their religion a superstition 
which would naturally die out. George I or George II could 
do nothing, even had he wished, for his Irish subjects, and on 
the other hand they were unable by the laws to serve him. 
Whatever fighting spirit was in them was drained off by the 
departure of the 'Wild Geese' to enlist in foreign armies. From 
1690 to 1730 it is said that some 120,000 of such departed, 
never to return. To keep down those who remained was for 
the time an easy task, but nothing can excuse the enacted 
injustice by which they were kept down rather than governed. 
Peaceful, as opposed to military, emigration curiously 
enough began not with the Roman Catholic but with the Pres- 
byterian population. In 1718 great numbers of leases, formerly 
granted on easy terms, fell in in the North-eastern counties. 
On renewal the great landlords doubled or trebled the rents 


The Ulster Scot was only too ready to chafe at tithes, Church 
courts, and other burdens; to be also rack-rented was intoler- 
able. Emigration to New England set in, and every year 
thousands of Presbyterians sailed for America, to settle in 
Pennsylvania and the frontier States. Here they found a land 
of religious and political equality, and it was not long before 
such ideas floated back to their cousins at home. There, in 
Antrim, Derry, Down, and Armagh, the native Irish, able to 
live more sparingly and more patient under social wrongs, 
could outbid them in the bidding for farms, and thus did 
considerable parts of the North go back to the Catholic and 
Irish-speaking peasantry. 

The Church of Ireland ascendancy now filled the whole 
stage. They had excluded both the Romanist and Noncon- 
formist elements from power and place and even deprived 
them of the rights of subjects. But, at least for the Protestant 
Dissenters, Whig rule now procured a partial freedom. The 
Regium donum was restored in 1718 at two thousand pounds 
yearly and, though the test clause for office had to stand, the 
British government at least in 1719 forced on the Irish parlia- 
ment a Toleration act for the Dissenters. By this, on condi- 
tion of an oath of civil allegiance and the usual declaration 
against 'popish' doctrines, they were exempted from attendance 
at church, allowed to worship freely and to serve at least in 
parish offices. So they remained till Emancipation began. 

At least in 1714 our country, after the unrest of a hundred 
and fifty years, reached an equilibrium which lasted for some 
fifty years. Unjust as was the established order, it gave peace 
and security for such gains as men could make or such educa- 
tion as their minds could take advantage of. 

Ireland had now no constitutional or responsible govern- 
ment. It was in effect a despotism worked from Dublin but 
controlled from Westminster in a double interest, that of the 
Protestant ascendancy at home and that of England in its 
relations to a subject kingdom. There was a parliament 
meeting every second year dealing with internal affairs and 
voting necessary supplies. A Lord Lieutenant, who main- 
tained the state of a king, came over for the session. His chief 


occupation was to maintain the 'Protestant Constitution 1 , 
to get the necessary supplies and votes when measures came 
before the House, and to keep Ireland 'safe' for England. But 
the war with France, which ended in 1713, did not begin again 
till 1740, and both in England and Ireland the Walpole policy 
of peace and 'letting sleeping dogs lie' ruled politics. It was a 
thoroughly inglorious age in both countries, that of a selfish 
and corrupt political oligarchy which got between the King 
and his people. 

Generally Ireland was ruled by two or three Lords Justices, 
one of them representing the British interest, who brought 
irresponsible government to a fine art by 'management', 
namely, securing for favours hi return the votes controlled by 
the 'Undertakers', that is, the great borough-owners such as 
the Duke of Lemster. The Irish House of Commons was even 
more packed with members from pocket boroughs and from 
'decayed and rotten' boroughs than the English was, and quite 
as many were ready to sell their votes for bribes, pensions, 
sinecure offices. As in England, 'Patronage' and the nomina- 
tion to offices and use of the revenue for the purchase of 
support had passed into the hands of the King's ministers. 
But in Ireland there were no political parties; the groups who 
owed allegiance to one magnate or another and the borough 
or county members who alone represented free election had no 
principles to bind them into opposing parties. Hugh Boulter, 
archbishop of Armagh from 1724 to 1742, a pure-bred English- 
man, who was no less than thirteen times a Lord Justice, was 
for nearly twenty years 'our Walpole 1 . Even the recent 
Anglo-Irish were now suspected of not being truly loyal to 
the 'English interest', and Boulter filled the great offices 
hi Church and State with Englishmen and got his majorities 
in Parliament by the distribution of offices, pensions, and 

But all this state of things soon found critics from among the 
Anglo-Irish themselves. The 'rights of the subject' came to 
mean for them 'the rights of Ireland'. By the 'Glorious 
Revolution' of 1689 England had secured a Constitution in 
which a Prime minister took the King's place in the Cabinet, 

HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 2Q5 

the ministry was responsible to a majority in Parliament, the 
army, the revenue, and the judges were under parliamentary 
control, and the 'Habeas Corpus' act secured the subject from 
arbitrary imprisonment. But all these triumphs, the Bill of 
Rights, the Act of Settlement, the Triennial and then the 
Septennial bill fixing the duration of Parliament, had not been 
extended to Ireland. Whatever the blessings of the 'Glorious 
Revolution' may have been for England they were ingloriously 
denied to Ireland. 

While the old nation lay totally disarmed, an English army 
of 12,000 men occupied Ireland, paid out of Irish revenue, but 
legalized by a Mutiny bill of the English Parliament passed 
under William III and now become perpetual. England, with 
her much larger population, maintained only an army of 7,000 
men. In Finance the power of the Irish Parliament was 
limited. In 1660 the hereditary revenue of Crown lands, etc., 
had been settled permanently on the King, and so the govern- 
ment disposed of it. But new supplies became necessary, and 
to vote these after 1692 the Irish parliament had to be sum- 
moned every second year. Parliament itself was of unlimited 
duration, and that of George II (1727-1760) lasted thirty-three 

Under Poynings' law as explained by an Act of Philip and was impossible forthe IrishParliamenttopass a measure 
unacceptable to the Government. Any Bill it might pass must in 
thefirst place beapprovedandacceptedbythelrishPrivyCouncil 
and then by the Privy Council of England; as it left the hands of 
the latter it must be accepted or rejected in full with whatever 
modifications it had received in its passage to and fro. Suppose 
a great question arose like that of the Excise Bill in England 
in which the great Walpole was defeated, the Irish govern- 
ment might feel obliged to withdraw a hated measure but it 
itself need not retire to make place for a new set of ministers. 
No, for the government consisted of the Lord Lieutenant and 
his Secretary, both Englishmen, and the chief ministers and 
officials whom the Lord Lieutenant appointed or summoned to 
the Privy Council of Ireland, so that in fact the whole govern- 
ment depended on England and had as their prime duty 
to protect England's interests here. The Lord Lieutenant, 


though nominally answerable to the King, was in fact under 
the orders of the Secretary of State for Home Affairs. 

But on this point we must remember that in England itself 
for the removal of a chief minister at the time it needed the 
withdrawal of the King's favour or his own failure to keep a 
majority of supporters together in the Commons. Only, in 
Ireland the English capacity for party action and the pressure 
of public opinion which occasionally compelled both King and 
Cabinet to give way on some great question did not exist. 

This irresponsible government ruling in English interests, and 
this shackled and spiritless legislature, were to last almost 
unquestioned till 1760. In 1719 the coping-stone was put to it 
by the Declaratory Act (called that of 6 George I), which abol- 
ished the appellate jurisdiction of the Irish House of Lords and 
affirmed the right of the Parliament of England to bind Ireland 
by its acts. The power had been exercised in fact since 1640, 
it was only now, after a celebrated lawsuit called the Sherlock- 
Annesley case, made into a statute. 

If a man filled with a burning sense of injustice turned his 
eyes away from this unedifying picture, he could behold far 
worse things in Ireland, the shocking poverty and ill-treatment 
of the lower classes, the callousness of the rich, the unemploy- 
ment and decay due to the Restrictive acts of England, the 
lack of a currency to stimulate trade and the vast sums which 
went every year over to England as rents to great Absentees 
who under the recent confiscations had received large grants 
of Irish land. Such a man was found in Jonathan Swift, dean 
of St. Patrick's from 1713 to 1745. One of the Anglo-Irish 
colony and born in Dublin, he had employed his brilliant and 
sardonic genius in the cause of Harley and the Tories under 
Queen Anne, and since their defeat was a disappointed man. 
He now devoted this genius to the cause of his native country. 
No Irishman of the age was more talked of and quoted in his 
own country than he, or has been more remembered and 
written about since. In 1720. when he wrote his anonymous 
Proposal for the universal use of Irish manufactures the govern- 
ment tried to prosecute the printer for publishing a 'seditious, 


factious, and virulent pamphlet 1 , but a grand jury could not be 
found to convict him. Swift's fame was assured by the Drapier's 
Letters of 1724, in which he denounced Wood's halfpence. 
Ireland was in need of copper money and the Duchess of 
Kendal, an ex-mistress of George I, who was already pensioned 
from the Irish revenues, procured a patent for an English 
ironmaster called William Wood to coin 100,800 worth of 
halfpence and farthings. It was reckoned that the profit 
to him would be 40,000, of which a large part would have 
gone to this disgusting harpy. The transaction, especially as 
made under such auspices, met with the opposition of the Irish 
Parliament which for the first time dared to stand out against 
both governments. But it was the intervention and the 
scathing wit of Swift that defeated it and caused the with- 
drawal of the patent. The storm made the English govern- 
ment send over for the first time since 1714 an able man as 
viceroy, namely, Lord Carteret, and Ireland for once had to 
be taken seriously. He used every pressure to get Harding, the 
printer of the anonymous Letters, prosecuted, but when it went 
to a second grand jury they retorted by presenting all persons 
who had attempted or should endeavour to impose Wood's 
halfpence upon Ireland as 'enemies of his Majesty and the wel- 
fare of this kingdom'. We must remember that grand juries, 
like all the authorities in Ireland, were Protestant. 

This may have seemed a small triumph for justice compared 
with the greater wrongs of the time, but it was important as 
the first note of Anglo-Irish opposition to the selfish domination 
of Ireland by England, which led in time to the great achieve- 
ments of Grattan and the 'Protestant Irish nation'. Hence- 
forth viceroys had to be men of some ability and at least had 
to come in person to manage the Irish parliament by influence, 
bribery, and good dinners. 

Swift, however, was never silenced till his death. In sub- 
sequent writings he poured forth his immortal scorn upon the 
vested injustice of the times. He attacked the policy by which 
the high offices in Church and State were filled with pure-born 
Englishmen, frequently of no merit, who had no scruples in 
serving the interests of 'the Castle'. He attacked the corrupt 


parliamentary system and in savage but obvious satire de- 
picted the wrongs and starvation of the Irish poor. 'Bum 
everything from England but her coal,' is one of his best- 
remembered maxims, and he may be called the founder of the 
economic policy of Sinn Fein. Other famous phrases of his 
are often quoted. He spoke of the legislators of the inglorious 
times since the Whigs began as 'coming with the spirit of 
shop-keepers to frame laws for nations'. He compared Ireland 
with its splendid harbours empty of shipping to the noble 
prospect which a prisoner may catch from out of his window- 
bars. 'Ireland', he wrote, 'is the only kingdom I have ever 
heard or read of, either in ancient or modern history, which 
was denied the liberty of exporting their native commodities 
wherever they pleased. Yet this privilege, by the superiority 
of mere power, is refused to us hi the most momentous parts of 

Swift ignored a good deal that we would call unjust, such as 
the Penal laws. His indignation was hi fact more easily 
aroused by human than by legal injustices, and his genius with 
its Saeva indignatio directed itself chiefly against the shocking 
wrongs of the social order and the unreason, cruelty, and follies 
of mankind. Humanity as well as Ireland has much to leam 
from the Latin epitaph that he made for himself in St Patrick's: 

Here rests Jonathan Swift, 

Where bitter indignation can no longer rend the heart 

Depart, traveller, and imitate, if thou canst, 

So strenuous a champion of Liberty. 

Primate Boulter was, after the withdrawal of Carteret, 
practical ruler for nearly twenty years. This very unclerical 
prelate made it his business to rule Ireland in Church and State 
through "Whigs and Englishmen, which he thought the only 
way of keeping Ireland safe for the Protestant and English 
interest. On one occasion he complained that if an English* 
man were not appointed to the vacant see of Cashel there would 
be thirteen Irish' to nine 'English' bishops, 'which we think 
will be a dangerous situation'. As a result of this poh'cy, 
continued after him, every Chancellor of Ireland was an 
Englishman till 1785. 

HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 2Q9 

Ireland was indeed ruled by three English-born prelates up 
to 1764, Boulter himself, Hoadley, archbishop of Dublin 
(1730-1742), and Stone, archbishop of Armagh from 1747 to 
his death in 1764. Under Boulter the penal laws were com- 
pleted by the disenfranchisement of the Catholic voters in 
1727. In 1733 this Primate began a scheme of popular edu- 
cation and founded the 'Charter schools'. These were so well 
endowed by private donors and grants of the Irish parliament 
that by 1763 the yearly income spent on the schools was 
15 ,000. Unfortunately, as the scholars could only be educated 
on a Protestant basis, the Charter schools never found any 
favour with the Catholic bishops or the mass of the people. 
Boulter was an excellent administrator, but an absolute 
Protestant ascendancy man, and typical like Hoadley of the 
unimaginative 'Latitudinarian' bishops who ruled the Church 
in England and Ireland. 

The age of positive persecution, however, was now over. In 
1745 Lord Chesterfield was viceroy, and in order to prevent 
any movement in favour of Prince Charles Edward in Ireland 
he treated the Roman Catholics with respect and the Penal 
laws were suspended. The final defeat of 'Bonny Prince 
Charlie' in 1746 was in fact the death-knell of the hopes of 
Jacobite Ireland. After this, the hopes of whatever survived of 
the nobility and of the growing middle class among the Catho- 
lics were practical and limited to asking for modest favours 
from the government. Among the peasantry who spoke Irish 
and supported as best they could the wandering poets, the hope 
of a Stuart restoration became a poetic fancy in which they 
transferred the Golden Age of the past into an impossible 
dream of the future. The upper and middle classes showed 
every sign of unconditional loyalty and submission, but we 
cannot doubt from the songs and poems that were in favour 
among the oppressed peasantry and their old martial spirit 
that had a French army landed and armed them there would 
have been a popular rising once again, but mainly against 
cruel landlords, tithe-proctors, and the other 'petty tyrants 
of their fields'. 

The spirit of the times favoured toleration. Religious zeal 
died out among the Protestant upper class, and the prevalent 


Deism could see no reason for persecuting people even for 
what it thought absurd beliefs. The liberal spirit affected 
the Papacy itself and made upper-class Catholics take their 
religion less seriously than in the former century. Protestant 
clerics, justices of the peace, and landowners became kindly 
disposed and protected their Catholic neighbours from the 
operation of the laws. Foreign powers such as the Empire, 
and France during her period of peace with England from 
1714 to 1740, protested against the Code as unjust and' 
absurd. At first it cannot be doubted that the Protestant 
conquerors genuinely wished the wholesale conversion of the 
Romanists, but this spirit soon died or was confined to more 
serious bishops and zealous people. To all reasonable, humane, 
or even indifferent men the actual Penal laws became inde- 
fensible, but this did not weaken the determination of the 
ascendancy to maintain the disabling statutes and prevent 
Jacobite land titles being revived, for on those two points the 
ascendancy rested. According to Edmund Burke, a man of 
old Norman stock and the son of a Catholic mother, 'the 
Protestant ascendancy is nothing more or less than the reso- 
lution of one set of people to consider themselves as the sole 
citizens of the Commonwealth and to keep a dominion over the 
rest by reducing them to slavery under a military power'. 

The last years of George II saw the rapid growth of a Pro- 
testant nationalism directed against the English control of 
Ireland, and kept alive by the Restrictive acts in trade and by 
the 'management' of Parliament in the English interest by the 
Court party. There was a considerable lower-class Protestant 
population, especially in the towns, and these, who were almost 
entirely without voice in the corrupt and unrepresentative 
parliament, it was not difficult for writers and authors to stir 
into occasional mutiny. The tradition begun by Swift that 
Ireland was a sister kingdom, of England's, entitled to the same 
rights from Magna Carta down, was carried on by George 
Berkeley, bishop of Cloyne in his Querist, and by Lucas in the 
Citizens' Journal (1747-1749). The mass of the Catholic 
people, who had no representation at all, could only look 
on indifferently or applaud what seemed to be a revival of 

HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 301 

Irish nationalism. The Protestant ascendancy, formerly Tory, 
under the general spirit of the age became Whig, and saw the 
general panacea for things that were wrong in making Parlia- 
ment more powerful and representative of public opinion, 
while we cannot doubt that the depressed Catholics would, 
on the other hand, have welcomed the revival of the Royal 
power which alone had helped them in former days, for the 
'King's grace' was in their tradition. 

In 1751-1753 a constitutional event marked a step forward 
in the claim of the Irish parliament to control government and 
finance. It had become more or less continuous since 1692, 
and however much Burke might blame it for its penal laws, 
like a true Whig he thought that a continuous and sovereign 
legislature was a supreme benefit and that the Irish parliament 
by its measures improving trade and commerce had by his time 
'made Ireland the great and flourishing kingdom that it is'. 

A vital element in parliamentary government is the control 
of the finances. In England this was secured by the Revolu- 
tion of 1689. In Ireland the parliament of 1692 had protested 
that Money bills were the sole gift of the Commons, a protest 
for the time without effect. The national revenue was now 
increasing in spite of the injustice of the laws, for Boulter and 
Stone managed Ireland well, peace prevailed, and industry 
prospered. In 1751 the Duke of Dorset as Lord Lieutenant 
was actually confronted with the question of what to do with 
a surplus in the revenue. He and Primate Stone declared that 
the King would give his consent to the application of part of 
the balance in the Treasury to the reduction of the public debt. 
The House of Commons passed a Bill to this purpose, and so 
admitted that they could not spend their own money without 
the consent of the English Privy Council. The question 
emerged again under Dorset in 1753. Indignant over the f onner 
surrender, a party of opposition had formed itself in the 
House of Commons under Boyle, the Speaker, and Anthony 
Malone, Prime Sergeant, which was joined by no less a person 
than the Earl of Kildare. Again the viceroy announced the 
royal consent to appropriate part of the balance to the re- 
duction of the National Debt, but the Irish parliament would 


not admit that the surplus was the King's by prerogative and 
finally threw out a Money bill sent from England which 
embodied this principle. The Lord Lieutenant then took the 
whole of the surplus revenue out of the Treasury by means of 
a royal letter, and bribed over the opposition by creating 
Boyle Earl of Shannon and Malone Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer, with large pensions, while Kildare became Duke of 
Leinster. So little nobility or popular spirit was in this 
aristrocratic 'Patriot party': nevertheless it was the foundation 
of a nobler movement led by Grattan, Flood, and Charlemont. 
And further, the Irish parliament secured its claim over finance 
to the extent that any future surplus was appropriated to Irish 
needs, and spent in liberal bounties to agriculture, industries, 
Trinity College, and so on. 

Thus did the Protestant ascendancy of Ireland become 
politically conscious. Meanwhile, apart from the few peers and 
gentry who survived of the Catholic aristocracy and the mass of 
the peasantry, a Catholic middle class began to grow up whose 
wealth was derived from occupations which were still permitted 
to them, from the grazier system and from the lucrative 
provision trade. As these formed a 'money interest' and yet 
by law could not lend money on mortgages, etc., or acquire 
land on paying terms, they presented a fresh argument for the 
relaxation of the Penal code both from their own point of view 
and that of Protestants who wished to borrow their money. 
The Catholics were without cohesion, for the gentry were if 
anything even more caste-proud than their Protestant neigh- 
bours and were also disposed to lie low and not bring the law 
down on them- they had a snobbish distaste for the merchant 
class, who again displayed little or no interest in the wrongs of 
the peasantry and the poor. As regards leadership, the natural 
leaders of the nation had been greatly diminished by con- 
formity. Between the years 1703-1788 it is reckoned that 
from five thousand gentry and middle-class people of impor- 
tance conformed to the Established Church, partly through 
growing indifference to religion and partly through the 
pressure of the Penal code. The' Catholic bishops and clergy, 
though devoted to the religious side of their duty, had no 
desire to join in political agitation which had so often ruined 

HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 303 

them in the past. Nevertheless the first gleam of a more manly 
spirit was shown in the 'Catholic Committee 1 founded in 1756 
by the efforts of Dr. Curry, Charles O'Connor, and Thomas 
Wyse. It was a weak beginning, which for a long time had little 
democratic sympathy and only sought relief by humble ad- 
dresses to the Throne. We may say that the upper and middle 
classes of the Roman Catholics had become Whigs and asked 
for nothing better than to recover a portion of their civil rights 
under a Protestant constitution which they constantly avowed 
they had no wish to subvert. 


The accession of the young George III helped to lift this age 
still further out of the dead-weight of the Whig and Hanover- 
ian rule which had prevailed for fifty years. George openly 
displayed himself as a Tory, and the traditions of this party 
included a certain tenderness for Roman Catholics who had 
suffered at Whig hands for their Stuart and Tory attachment. 
The new King was determined to end if he could the corrupt, 
shameful, and unrepresentative rule of the Whigs, based as it 
was on the great 'family connexions', who had reduced the 
power of the Crown to a shadow. Bad as this system was in 
England, it was still worse in Ireland. George, however, was 
no democrat, nor had he any intellectual views as to the real 
changes and reforms which the age needed. He was, moreover, 
a pronounced and serious believer in the Church of England 
and took his title of Supreme Governor and Defender of that 
faith very seriously. His Coronation oath bound him to 
maintain the Protestant succession as by law established and 
to a declaration against Roman Catholic doctrines, which was 
indeed offensive to great numbers of his subjects, but which 
as a conscientious man he believed it his duty to maintain. 
Otherwise, both in England and Ireland, he was ready to co- 
operate with Parliament in abolishing the worst features of the 
penal laws. Altogether the accession of a young Prince, a 
born Englishman, moral and serious, devoid of the gross 
manners and vices of the first two Georges, who wished to be 
the 'Father of all his people', could not fail to encourage Irish 


hopes of redress and to revive once more the loyal sentiments 
of the Catholic gentry and bishops towards the English 

The Irish Parliament still presented the picture of an 
opposition party opposed to the Court party and led by a few 
magnates such as Leinster and Shannon. The former system 
of 'management' was maintained in full until the death of 
Primate Stone in 1764, but with the arrival of Lord Townshend 
as viceroy in 1767 a new epoch opened in Irish history. One 
of George's initial acts was to command that the Lord 
Lieutenant of Ireland should reside continuously, and under 
Townshend the viceregal court became a centre of splendour, 
wit, and hospitality such as made the Dublin season highly 
attractive. Ireland had now to be taken seriously, for it had 
a growing population, and considerable wealth, and the spirit 
of constitutional opposition from the Anglo-Irish had to be 
either opposed or satisfied. Townshend was commissioned by 
George to end the corrupt rule of the 'Undertakers' and the 
corruption and jobbery of the Irish Government, but it was 
too much for him entirely to dtfeat in his period of rule (1767- 
1772). In 1768 the Irish parliament, which formerly had 
lasted for a whole reign, was at least made more expressive of 
public opinion by the passing of an Octennial bill, providing 
for a general election every eight years. This was the first 
triumph for the Reform movement directed from outside 
parliament, which owed so much to Lucas and to public 
opinion. But when in 1769 the House of Commons rejected a 
Money bill sent over by the English Privy Council 'because 
it had not its origin in that house' Townshend lectured the 
Commons at the Bar of the House of Lords and dissolved 
parliament for two years. England, however, had little reason 
for discontent with the Anglo-Irish, for they had in their 
parliament loyally and generously assisted her in her con- 
tinental wars, especially in the Seven Years War of 1756- 
1763 against France and Spain. The mother-country was 
now approaching the tragic conflict with her own colonies in 
America (1775-1783), and, as on former occasions, England 
needed Irish help in her difficulties, and again a large body of 

HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 305 

Irishmen, this time her own progeny, determined to use her 
difficulties so as to procure concessions for their country. 

From 1760 the Government had to face at once the question of 
Catholic relief and the Protestant demand for a constitutional 
parliament. All the arguments existed for at least releasing the 
Catholics from the more obvious injustices of the Penal code. 
Their upper and middle classes and their bishops took every 
opportunity to protest their loyalty. In 1762 Lord Trimleston, 
one of the surviving Lords of the Pale, presented an address to 
the viceroy, Lord Halifax, signed by leading Roman Catholics 
and asking permission to enrol their people in the service of 
the Crown. Trimleston dwelt on their loyal conduct during the 
last war and declared that 'all impressions in favour of the 
Stuart family were worn out with the gentlemen of consequence 
and fortune in this country'. The Government did not change 
the law which prevented Catholics from serving as officers of 
the army, but as a measure of condescension several Irish 
Catholic regiments were allowed to enlist themselves in the 
army of England's ally, Portugal. 

A few concessions were all that the upper classes sought for, 
but the whole social system which few criticized at the time 
was against the peasantry. In the early years of George III 
there was a widespread agrarian movement in Ireland, espe- 
cially among the high-spirited people of Munster. The pressure 
of tithes, highest of all in the south, rack-rents, the hearth- 
tax and the expulsion of the people from their ancient 
rights by Enclosure acts led to a general discontent which 
expressed itself in movements called after 'the White-boys', 
'Shanavests', and other local names, and which, as the people 
spoke Irish, associated itself with the old hatred of the 'Saxon 
foreigner' and 'the breed of Calvin and Luther* and hoped for 
aid from France or Spain. But even the better off and more 
law-abiding Presbyterians of the north had exasperating 
grievances also, the tithes, persecution by Church courts, 
forced labour in road-making, the raising of rents when 
leases fell in, and the clearance of great areas when fines could 
not be paid by such landlords as the Marquis of Donegal!. 
Wherever Protestant and Catholic tenants were mingled 
together, the latter generally outbid the others for farms, and 


this in the border counties such as Armagh led to bitterness 
and even bloody encounters between the two persuasions. 
The Presbyterian emigration to America was swelled, and those 
who stayed at home heard with sympathy or enthusiasm of 
the later revolt of the Colonies and the establishment of a free 

In these troubles both sides formed themselves into what 
were in fact 'peasant trade unions', the 'White-boys' being the 
Catholic, and the Ulster Presbyterians calling themselves 'Steel- 
boys' and 'Oak-boys'. A more just Road Act did something to 
appease the movement in the North; and severe repressive 
acts and military operations suppressed the White-boy move- 
ment for the time, but to the end of the century it constantly 
broke out again. Not all landlords were bad, of course, and 
from the people's point of view many were of the old stock, 
either still of the old religion or conforming to the new, and 
even among the more recent landlords there were many good 
and just men who resided on their lands and with the growing 
interest in agriculture of the time brought great tracts of land 
into cultivation and were proud of their model estates. ;But 
while tithes to Protestant clergy and hearth-taxes to the State 
were unjust enough, the real root of discontent was the system 
itself by which the mass of the people were rightless cottiers 
and small tenants holding entirely at the will of the lord, over- 
rented and having no security in their holdings or compensa- 
tion for whatever improvements they made. Few at the time, 
whether Protestant 'patriots' or Catholic loyal-addressers, 
expressed indignation at this state of things, and it was 
reserved for other men in the nineteenth century to rouse a 
flame over the real wrongs of the people. 

There was now in Ireland among all classes a higher spirit 
and indeed a general ferment, which expressed itself in litera- 
ture, politics, and other forms of self-expression. This was 
pronounced in the Parliament which Townshend summoned 
in which the Opposition, beside the former leaders such as 
Shannon and the Duke of Leinster, contained a great number 
of trained lawyers skilful in debate and several new names such 
as Henry Flood and Hely Hutcbinson. The latter was an 

HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 307 

advocate and a writer on Free Trade, while Flood was destined 
to lead a far more genuine 'Patriot party' than had yet taken 
that name. 

Townshend was the first viceroy who was instructed to offer 
concessions to Anglo-Irish feeling and to satisfy it by breaking 
up the indefensible system of aristocratic group-corruption 
which had prevailed. But this was with an interested object, 
for England had just emerged out of a great and expensive war 
and trouble might be foreseen with her American colonies. 
Money support from Ireland had been amply given; her 
military support was now sought. The Octennial Bill of 1768 
was a concession to the reformers; in return Townshend 
proposed an Augmentation of the Army Bill, by which the 
Irish forces were to be raised to 15,000 men, of which 12,000 
were to remain in Ireland (unless by permission of the Irish 
parliament they could be transferred), the remainder were to 
be at the disposal of the Imperial government. After much 
resistance, for many of the patriots thought these forces might 
be used to coerce the Americans with whom they had much 
sympathy, the Augmentation Bill was passed. 

When Townshend resigned in 1772 it seemed like a personal 
defeat for him at the hands of the Opposition. But at least he 
had wrought one great change, namely that he had transferred 
the patronage from the hands of the aristocratic groups and 
the Undertakers into the hands of the viceroy. This did not 
end corruption, but it meant that the buying and bribing of 
votes in parliament was now in the hands of the English 
governor of Ireland, who had to obey policy as dictated from 
London and preserve Ireland for the English interest. 

Townshend was succeeded from 1772 to 1776 by Lord Har- 
court Parliament now contained a high-spirited Opposition 
led by Flood and joined in 1775 by Henry Grattan, a more 
generous and emotional spirit than Flood, but with less realism 
and political acumen. The new 'Patriot party*, whom we 
may regard as a body of Irish Whigs in touch with Whig 
reformers in England, had now a whole programme which they 
were united to achieve. It was a parliamentary one, rather 
than a social or truly reforming one, and aimed at winning for 
Ireland a real Parliament and a 'free Constitution', such as 


England had won for herself by the Revolution of 1689, by 
bringing the army under Irish control by a renewable Mutiny 
bill, procuring a permanent Habeas Corpus act, establishing 
the position of the judges, and purifying parliament from the 
corruption and bribery that disgraced it. From the purely 
Irish point of view, they proposed to end the commercial 
subjection of Ireland, and the monopoly of Englishmen in 
Church and State offices which had been the tradition since 
1714. This intrusion and pampering of the 'English by birth' 
had, as in the fourteenth century, done much to persuade the 
'English by blood' that they were a nation and inclined them 
towards the old native race. Flood and his supporters spoke 
of the 'Protestant nation', and Flood himself, like many others, 
not only believed that Ireland had its rights as a colony to all 
the liberties of English freemen, from 1172 onwards, but showed 
interest and sympathy with the Irish language and the Gaelic 
past. Beliind them, though the Catholics seemed as yet 
negligible, existed the makings of a great Anglo-Irish move- 
ment and a spirit of at least colonial nationalism. The Pro- 
testant clergy as a whole were poorly endowed and had little 
love for the rich and luxurious English-born bishops who ruled 
them. If we can judge by men Like Goldsmith, there was 
considerable Tory and even Jacobite sentiment among them. 
Above all, the middle classes were greatly irritated by the 
continued pressure of the Acts in Restraint of Trade, which 
England had imposed since 1660, and which resulted in unem- 
ployment and discontent among the town populations, which 
to a large extent were Protestant. Thus the commercial 
interest reinforced the political and legal classes in a demand 
for Irish rights. 

Liberalism was now in the general air, and the elegant gentle- 
man who sat for pocket or rotten boroughs were very different in 
Protestant zeal from the morose Puritans of a century before. 
Whatever the demerits of aristocratic rale may be, the ruling 
classes of Ireland showed in a high degree all an aristocracy's 
instinct for beauty and dignity in art and architecture. Dublin 
bad now become a splendid capital, the second in the Empire, 
and its noble buildings are to this day a testimony to the good 
taste of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy of the eighteenth century. 

HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 309 

Lord Chesterfield in 1745 gave us the Phoenix Park, one of the 
most beautiful and widest public spaces in Europe. In 1729 
the building of the Parliament House in Dublin was begun. 
Ample grants by the Irish parliament made Trinity College a 
noble and ample specimen of eighteenth-century architecture, 
and the gentry themselves filled the lovely corners of all our 
provinces with fine houses and handsome demesnes. It was 
at this time that the writings of Edmund Burke and the 
speeches of Grattan, De Burgh, and others in the Irish parlia- 
ment gave Irishmen a reputation for sustained eloquence and 
verbal felicity which they have never lost. But behind all this 
Anglo-Irish civilization and nationalism survived the old Irish 
nation with its Gaelic tradition, suppressed but not dead, and 
destined to revive when this brilliant Whig episode was over. 

Concessions to the Roman Catholics began in 1750 when 
they were admitted to the lesser grades of the army. Twenty 
year later, in 1771, was passed the 'Bogland act', which 
enabled them to take leases for sixty-one years of not more 
than fifty acres of unprofitable land, to be free of taxes for 
seven years. It was a miserable concession, but at least it 
broke up the long ostracism of the native people from the free 
enjoyment of their own soil. 

Flood was the Irish leader on Trade concessions and on the 
Absentee question, but his bill to tax absentee landlords, of 
whom there were one hundred in England, was defeated. In 
1775 he accepted the post of Vice-Treasurer under the govern- 
ment, which he kept till 1782, and thus gave place as leader to 
Grattan. He was regarded as bought by the government and 
never fully recovered his popular influence, though, as he said, 
'a patriot may do as much in office as out of it'. The year 1775 
saw England at war with her American colonies and the results 
for Ireland were momentous. The government laid an embargo 
on all Irish goods going to the colonies and this caused general 
distress. Parliament, however, continued its loyal record, voted 
supplies for the war, and allowed 4,000 troops and later still 
more to be withdrawn from the Irish army. Lord Bucking- 
hamshire replaced Harcourt from 1776 to 1780, and the ill- 
success of English arms in America pointed out the necessity 


for the conciliation of Ireland. Even if Ireland had not helped 
to conquer or colonize the original Plantations, she had at 
least contributed large supplies of money to hold them against 
the French, and the injustice of excluding her from imperial 
trade became more and more obvious. In 1778, therefore, the 
English Prime Minister, Lord North, carried concessions 
through the British parliament in favour of Irish trade. By 
these the Navigation acts were amended to include Irish-built 
vessels, bounties were granted to Irish fisheries, and some other 
slight concessions were made. Thfe question of Catholic relief 
was taken up by the British Government which saw now 
the necessity of winning over the Irish Catholics unless it 
was prepared to see them won over by the Patriot party and 
so reinforce an already embarrassing movement. Contact 
between the Imperial government and the Catholic Committee 
was established through Edmund Burke, its London correspon- 
dent. The Minister bishops drew up a declaration repudiating 
the papal deposing power and denying that the Pope had any 
civil or temporal authority in Ireland. This was accepted by 
most of the Catholic clergy and was made into an Act in 1774. 
It is significant that the bishops did not consult the Pope and 
that the oath was generally accepted, in strong contrast to the 
opposition against the Remonstrance in the former century. 
Four years later this was followed by Gardiner's Relief act of 
1778. By this Catholics might take leases of land of indefinite 
tenure, though not freeholds, on condition of an oath of 
allegiance. They might inherit land on the same terms as 
Protestants, and the Gavelkind act was repealed. Two years 
later a great concession was made to the Dissenters when in 
1780 the Test clause imposed on them in 1704 was also abolished 
by law. The Dissenters were thus made eligible for office, 
though as things stood the Protestant ascendancy prevented 
the concession having much effect on Government and 

The undefended condition of Ireland, which had no militia 
and whose army was now mainly being used by the Imperial 
government in America and elsewhere, now led to the formation 
of the memorable Irish Volunteers. With France, Spain, and 

HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 311 

Holland joining in against England, there was a considerable 
prospect of invasion, and it was realized that among the subject 
Catholic and Dissenting peasantry a foreign invader might 
find considerable support. When it was therefore proposed 
by the Patriot party to raise volunteers, the Government 
accepted the proposal and provided the new corps with arms. 
Martial enthusiasm became universal among the Protestant 
ascendancy, and eventually some 80,000 men were seen in 
arms and brilliant uniforms in every part of the country, 
raised by local subscriptions, and well provided with muskets 
and a certain amount of cannon. What their actual object 
was was not clear in view of the general enthusiasm. Grattan 
declared them to represent 'the armed property of the nation', 
and though Catholics subscribed to the funds few of them 
were enlisted in the ranks. It was in fact a Protestant body. 
The Duke of Leinster commanded the Volunteers in Leinster, 
and in Ulster the Earl of Charlemont. Flood's attitude was 
a definite one, the Volunteers were there to exact Ireland's 
rights from England and to remain on foot till these were 
secured. And indeed concessions soon followed on one another, 
for England was threatened not only with the loss of America 
but defeat at the hands of her European foes. The history of 
Ireland has few pages to excel the romantic events that stirred 
Dublin and the Irish parliament in October 1779. Everybody, 
on the teaching of Swift, was pledged to wear Irish manufacture 
only. There were now 40,000 volunteers on foot, they were 
all the fashion and their leaders were the idols of the nation. 
When they appeared to line the streets for the members who 
presented to the Lord Lieutenant a motion that 'only by a free 
trade could this nation be saved from impending ruin', there 
could be no doubt what forces were behind them. On Novem- 
ber 25th the Commons, by an unprecedented act of rebellion, 
voted supplies for only six months, and De Burgh made the 
famous outburst, 'England has sown her laws like dragons' 
teeth and they have sprung up armed men'. Concession was 
imperative, wrote the Lord Lieutenant, and so in December 
Lord North carried through the British parliament measures 
permitting the free export of Irish wool, woollen cloth, and 
manufactured glass and freedom of trade with the colonies. 


Thus did the Patriots with the Volunteers behind them win 
Free, or almost Free, Trade. They went on then to secure 
what they believed to be a Free Constitution, and as the 
Volunteers grew in numbers and daring it seemed certain that 
England would have to yield this also. 

In February 1782 a Volunteer convention took place at 
Dungannon attended by the delegates of 143 corps and 
presided over by Charlemont, the commander-in-chief, 
Grattan, and Flood. The delegates from Antrim and Down, 
representing the democratic Presbyterian spirit, played a 
very honourable and sincere part in the proceedings. Resolu- 
tions were passed that 'the claim of any other than the King, 
Lords, and Commons of Ireland to make laws to bind this 
kingdom is unconstitutional, illegal, and a grievance'. So 
were 'the powers exercised by the Privy councils of both 
kingdoms under Poynings' law*. Also 'the ports of Ireland 
are open to all ships of countries not at war with his Majesty'. 
Grattan in his Volunteer uniform also got accepted a motion 
that 'as Irishmen, Christians, and Protestants, we rejoice at 
the relaxation of the penal laws against our Roman Catholic 

The Volunteer leaders were all ready to abolish the purely 
penal measures against Catholics, but on their admission to 
Parliament and the vote they were divided. Grattan wished 
to enfranchise the freeholders and admit the upper classes to 
office and the legislature. Charlemont and Flood did not 
agree with him. Flood thought the Catholic question too 
dangerous to touch for the present and aimed at a reform of 
parliament and the creation of a Protestant democracy by the 
extension of the franchise to Protestants at large. 

The modern and democratic touch of this Convention was 
provided by the picturesque figure of Frederick Augustus 
Hervey, earl of Bristol, and since 1768 bishop of Deny, a rich 
and extravagant Englishman who had been promoted to the 
Irish episcopate. This unbalanced but generous-hearted man 
advocated the complete abolition of both the Penal and the 
disabling statutes, and was the first to propose a union of 
the unprivileged Catholics and Dissenters in the struggle for 
a free and representative constitution. 

HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 313 

The Imperial government for over ten years remained in 
favour of the Catholics, whose tradition was one of loyalty and 
submission. Therefore in 1782 the Irish parliament, in which 
the liberal spirit also prevailed, passed Gardiner's second 
Relief act. By this Roman Catholics who had taken the 
oath of 1778 might purchase, hold, and bequeath freehold 
land and leases on the same terms as Protestants. A number 
of other laws were swept away, such as those against the 
residence of the regular clergy and against the bearing of 
arms, the law of registration of priests, and the acts against 
education. But no establishment of a Roman Catholic college 
was permitted, and when Grattan urged that the Roman 
Catholics should be secured in full civil liberties he was 
opposed by Charlemont and Flood. But at least 1782 marks 
the end of the purely penal part of the religious code which had 
lasted for over a century. 

It now occurred to some that the religious emancipation of 
the majority might lead to the revival of land-claims going 
back to the great forfeitures of only a century before. Indeed, 
the admission of Catholics to parliament, some thought, 
might threaten the whole Protestant ascendancy, based as it 
was on English acts of Parliament since 1642. The Roman 
Catholic leaders disclaimed any wish to reopen this question, 
and in 1782 'Yelverton's Bill' gave effect and fresh confirma- 
tion to such English acts as in the past affected the land- 
settlement of Ireland. Yet up to recent times, among the 
Irish-speaking people, poor or wandering heirs of the dis- 
possessed gentry of old, respected and sometimes supported 
by the people, went on hoping that some day they would get 
their estates back again. 

Had Great Britain triumphed over her American colonies it 
is probable that she would have made a firm stand against the 
somewhat similar demands from Ireland. But the military 
ardour and Irish patriotism of the Volunteers were never put to 
the test as they might have been then, nor were the eloquent 
denunciations of English rule which were often heard in the 
Irish parliament. In 1782 Lord North resigned owing to the 
defeats in America and the Tory experiment of George's reign 
came to an end. When the independence of the American 


colonies was recognized next year and England ended the war 
against France and Spain, she was in little mood to face further 
armed resistance in Ireland. Moreover, the reforming Whigs 
under Rockingham, Fox, and Burke came for a time into 
power in England, and their programme included friendship 
with the Irish reformers. Grattan's party could now for some 
twenty years count on the friendship of the English Whigs as 
such, but unfortunately for them these went out of power for 
some fifty years when the younger Pitt came into office in 1783 
as the head of a new Tory party. 

In April 1782 the Duke of Portland arrived in Dublin as the 
Whig viceroy, instructed to make further concessions and to 
take Grattan and Charlemont into office. They, however, 
declined, believing their hands would be left freer and their 
criticism more genuine in Opposition. Judged by the light of 
later events it was a mistake, for it left the Irish Government 
hi the hands of Fitzgibbon, Beresford, and the rest of the junta 
who ruled Ireland and were far less liberal than even the British 
government which was supposed to control them. The recog- 
nition of Irish parliamentary independence was made both in 
the British and the Irish parliaments in May 1782. At West- 
minster Lord Shelbourne in the Lords and Fox in the House 
of Commons proposed to meet the full Irish claim, and the 
Declaratory act of 1719 was repealed. On May 27th this was 
communicated by Portland to the Irish parliament, and as a 
result the claim of the Privy Councils of England and Ireland 
to alter Irish bills was abolished. The Mutiny bill was limited 
to two years, and the independence and salaries of the judges 
were established as in England. The triumph of the Patriot 
party was received both in the House on College Green and in 
the Irish nation with universal and generous enthusiasm. 
The Irish parliament voted 100,000 towards the British navy 
and allowed the Imperial government if it wished to withdraw 
5,000 men from the Irish army of 12,000, for England was still 
at war with three maritime powers. The sum of 50,000 was 
voted as a mark of gratitude to Grattan, who had by now 
become the admitted leader of the Protestant nation. This 
token of national gratitude he felt himself able to accept; 
otherwise this great man through all his life fought an entirely 

HANOVERIAN RULE, 1714-1782 315 

disinterested fight for liberty as he conceived it. In his great 
speech on this day he traced the progress of Ireland from the 
spirit of Swift onwards, from injuries to arms, from arms to 
liberty. 'Ireland is now a nation. In that character I hail 
her, and bowing in her august presence I say Esto fierpetua.' 
Unfortunately this liberty was only to last eighteen years. 
It can, however, be mainly attributed to this great man and 
'Grattan's Parliament' has been the popular designation ever 
since of the new Constitution. 

Henry Flood, a much colder and more realist type of man, 
has had his fame as a leader of the Patriot party obscured in 
popular memory and gratitude, though he deserved well of it. 
At this point Grattan was content to stop and trust England's 
word. Flood, however, insisted on a positive renunciation on 
the part of Great Britain to bind Ireland by British acts of 
Parliament. This also the British government decided to 
accept, though the generous-minded Fox himself, who was a 
statesman, admitted that it was an unwise surrender and that 
it would have been better to have instead an honourable 
and perpetual treaty drawn up between the two countries, 
providing for Great Britain's imperial rights. 

On January 22nd 1783, the promised bill was brought hi 
and passed the British parliament. Irish legislative indepen- 
dence was accepted hi the following words: 

'Be it enacted that the right claimed by the people of 
Ireland to be bound only by laws enacted by his Majesty 
and the Parliament of that kingdom, in all cases whatever 
shall be, and is hereby, declared to be established and 
ascertained for ever, and shall at no time hereafter be 
questioned or questionable. 1 

England was indeed 'the weary Titan*. She had lost most 
of her American empire and reached a low ebb in European 
eyes as a naval and military power. Nevertheless peace was 
in the air, and a political genius, the young Pitt, came in with 
general consent as a great peace minister. In this masterful 
and thin-blooded man who founded a new Tory party, George, 
though defeated in his attempt to restore the direct influence 


of the Crown, found a minister whom he leant upon for the 
next twenty years as one who respected his royal master's 
prejudices and pride. A new page began in the history of the 
British empire, for, having lost most of the old one by bad 
statesmanship, her rulers had to realize that what remained or 
what might be added could only be retained by wise and 
generous policy. French Canada, though conquered, was in 
1774 confirmed in its laws, language, and religion, and the 
same moral could be applied to Ireland. Pitt accepted for the 
present the new status of Ireland honourably, and for some 
ten years the rights of Ireland as a sister kingdom went without 
challenge from the King's first realm. 


NATION, 1782-1800 

T N 1782 Ireland entered upon a period of great apparent 
I prosperity which can be not unjustly attributed to her 
1 Parliament's having attained full legislative power to 
establish the economic prosperity of the country, The tense 
events of the recent struggle had ended in triumph and 
left a far more generous spirit and patriotic feeling than had 
as yet animated the ruling class. Ireland was in fashion, and 
the expression of this in poetry, literature, and scholarship was 
pronounced by comparison with the dreary silence of the first 
half of the century. By the abolition of the greater part of the 
Penal code, the upper and middle classes of the Roman Catho- 
lics were at least enabled to acquire property and to have 
the status of citizens again. What the old race had suffered 
by the pressure of this Code, prolonged over a hundred years, 
cannot be estimated. Its positive results were unfortunately to 
create in the mass of the people a total lack of confidence in or 
even a detestation of the law, so that to be against the law was 
almost the mark of a hero and a friend of the people. Had the 
Hanoverian dynasty but understood, another fatal result was 
the estrangement of the popular imagination from the Crown, 
for which in earlier days, little as it might do for them, both 
the Irish aristocracy and the peasantry had felt a pronounced 
loyalty. 'This race', it had been said by Sir John Davies, 'did 
ever love great personages/ The greatest Person in the three 
kingdoms now never came to visit his second realm and for all 
this person-loving race could know might almost not have 
existed. The natural alliance should have been the Altar and 
the Throne; unfortunately this had been rendered impossible 
for most Irishmen, and their sole devotion was given to the 
Altar of that Church to which in spite of all the laws they had 
clung. What Ireland has lost by the suppression of the native 
intellect and the possibility of genius because of the laws which 



for a century condemned the mass of the population to 
ignorance can also never be reckoned. 

Half of the Penal laws had been abolished, for none could 
defend them, but when it came to the laws which excluded the 
Catholics 'from the State' there was a sharp and continued 
clash of opinion among those in power and those in opposition. 
Grattan wished to go on to full Emancipation and admit them 
to the franchise, parliament, and all offices except the very 
highest. Thus he thought their leaders and merchants would 
be enlisted on the side of the new Constitution, the essentially 
Protestant basis of which as established by law they would be 
bound to accept and observe. Few of the Patriot leaders went 
so far, although outside parliament, especially in the two 
democratic centres, Dublin and Belfast, and among the Presby- 
terians of Antrim and Down, the full claim of the Catholics 
was favoured. They themselves had a great genius on then- 
side, Edmund Burke, but for the present did not show much 
political spirit or initiative. The Catholic Committee was an 
aristocratic and snobbish body, dominated by Lords Trimleston, 
Fingall, Gormanstown, and Kenmare, who did not relish being 
associated with men of trade, and had little or no sympathy 
with White-boys and oppressed peasants. The ruling junta 
in Dublin was for the most part strongly opposed to Catholic 
emancipation, and this spirit was embodied in a very able 
man, John Fitzgibbon, afterwards Earl of Clare. Although 
he was the son of a Catholic convert of old Norman stock, 
Fitzgibbon shared none of the 'Old English' or Gaelic tradition 
which might be expected from his ancestors and had little 
sympathy with their religion. 1 He was a realist in politics 
who despised the eloquent platitudes about Natural and 
National rights which were then so frequently delivered, and 
thought that the real grievances of Ireland were those of the 
oppressed lower classes. To him the British connexion and 
control of Ireland came first; the Protestant constitution next 
must be maintained at all costs, for the Anglo-Irish were 
'England's garrison'; if they could not maintain themselves, 

1 Both the son and father made a fortune at the Bar. In 1778 the 
son entered Parliament as one of the two members for Dublin University, 
Htusey de Burgh being the other; after 1783 he represented Kumallock. 


the only alternative would be to throw them into the arms of 
Great Britain by a Union. The romantic events of 1782-1783 
were to him a 'fatal infatuation', endangering Imperial control. 
Nevertheless, though determined not to yield up the citadel of 
Anglo-Irish Protestant ascendancy to disloyal elements, he was 
sincerely hi favour of the economic measures that made for 
Ireland's prosperity and believed in the Kingdom of Ireland, 
provided it could be safely maintained. 

For many years, in peace-time and growing prosperity, all 
seemed well and the political temperature diminished. Under 
the Duke of Rutland, Lord Lieutenant from 1784 to 1787, 
several remarkable men were placed in the Irish government, 
and at least it displayed vigour and efficiency. Fitzgibbon 
was made Attorney-General, John Foster Chancellor of the 
Exchequer and soon after Speaker, and Sir John Parnell 
Chancellor of the Exchequer in his place. Much has been 
written and much passionate feeling expressed over the fate 
and fall of 'Grattan's Parliament' and in praise or dispraise of 
what it was and did, but there can be no doubt that it gave 
Ireland a period of remarkable prosperity. The revenues 
were increasing and were practically hi the control of Parlia- 
ment, which appropriated the surplus to the encouragement 
of trade and manufactures, the endowment of agricultural and 
other societies, and such public utilities as a great canal system, 
or again to the beautification of Dublin. By a whole system 
of bounties and preferential duties Irish industries were 
encouraged and built up against the natural competition of 
the more highly developed and favoured industries of Great 
Britain. Free Trade and laissczfaire were economic principles 
not to be adopted for over sixty years yet, and the accepted 
duty of a government was to protect and encourage industry 
by protectionist measures. Agriculture, too, was the basis of 
the State and the rents of landlords were the first consideration 
of the legislature. 

Foster's Corn law of 1784 began an epoch in Irish history of 
lasting consequences. Under the operation of the bounties 
and encouragement it provided for tillage our country became 
a great corn-growing country, amply satisfying the home 


market and selling its surplus to Great Britain. There the 
Industrial revolution was changing the whole face of England, 
and the growing towns and manufacturing population in addi- 
tion to what their own country produced needed the cattle 
and corn of Ireland. The Irish Corn laws, like those of England, 
designed to exclude foreign grain except on dire necessity, 
lasted till 1846. In that period Ireland became, what it had 
never been before, a great tillage country; the rents of the 
landlords went up, and there was abundant employment for 
labourers. It became a common spectacle in Ireland for 
harvesters from the West, who carried their own scythes and 
were hence called 'spalpeens', to be seen tramping in bands in 
every county of the fertile areas, seeking work at a shilling a 
day. Such was the support of one of the last and most melli- 
fluous of our Gaelic poets, Owen Ruadh O'Sullivan, himself a 
man of aristocratic descent. What these men thought of their 
lot is to be read in Gaelic songs and poems of the tune directed 
against landlords or still more the rich fanners ('bodachs') 
who underpaid them. The more spirited of the peasantry 
were not reconciled to the social order, whatever the middle- 
class Catholic might be, and their secret combinations were to 
be openly displayed in the Rebellion of 1798. But for those 
who profited, the time of Grattan's Parliament was a great 
one. It led to the building of noble country mansions and to 
the great corn mills, and the carrying trade, and the urns and 
beautiful houses of our numerous towns; such farmers as had 
favourable leases prospered; and the Catholic trading classes, 
now partly emancipated, became a widespread prosperous 

Writers such as Burke and politicians such as Foster and 
Parnell, hi their fight against the Union, were able to drive 
home what an advantage Ireland had in her resident free 
Parliament and how this had made Ireland prosperous beyond 
all comparison with other countries of the time. The popula- 
tion in the century from 1706 onwards, declared Foster hi an 
anti-Union speech in 1799, had increased from i millions to 
4i millions. Ireland's export of linen hi the first of these years 
had been only some J million yards; in 1783 this had risen to 
16 millions; in 1796 it reached nearly 47 millions. The total 


exports of Ireland in 1706 in value reached only 550,000; 
in 1783 nearly 3,000,000; and in 1796 over 5,000,000. Her 
trading and industrial classes were thus won over to the side 
of the Constitution and their opposition to the Union had later 
to be overcome. It must be admitted that in the giving of 
bounties and the grant of contracts much corruption and 
'graft' prevailed and selfish and vested interests were created. 
Amid the many acts by which the legislature benefited the 
country we unfortunately discern little that the ruling classes 
would have considered a give-away of their landed and privi- 
leged rights. The noble Grattan fought hard to get Tithes set 
on some just basis, and Fitzgibbon attacked the high rents 
and exploitation of the peasantry and the poor, but, as in 
England, unfortunately the oligarchic age had to last for two 
or three generations yet, and the tradition of Irish patriots 
remained in the romantic and political sphere rather than in 
the social reforming. At least in 1793 Parliament abolished 
the oppressive Hearth-tax and thus encouraged the peasant 
to build a comfortable cottage in place of his hovel 

Although Ireland had apparently secured a 'Free Constitu- 
tion' and seemed to be a sister kingdom of England's, in fact 
the new order presented not only many faults and defects but 
positive dangers for its own continuance. Parliament had no 
rival parties as in England, its corruption was far greater, and 
above all it had no regular and ordinary control over the 
Ministry. Although Bills now began and went through the two 
Houses as in England and were then sent direct to the King, 
the English Cabinet could still advise him to veto them. 
The Lord Lieutenant, with his secretary, usually an English- 
man, stood to Ireland what the King had formerly been to 
England, but he again obeyed the instructions of the Home 
Secretary in England and he again was controlled by the 
Prime Minister. From the Irish Privy Council, the Lord 
Lieutenant selected the Ministers of State who formed the 
actual government. They could not be removed by a vote of 
the House of Commons, they did not think it necessary to 
resign either as a group or an individual on the defeat of a 
measure, and if having opposed, let us say, a Catholic Relief 


Bill (as in 1792-1793) next year they supported it under orders 
from the British government or because popular feeling 
demanded it, they saw no inconsistency in this. In Fitz- 
gibbon's eyes their duty was to stop all dangerous measures 
and to maintain the 'English connexion'. He himself more 
than once expressed his irritation at 'experiments' in Ireland 
directed by English politicians. The only way that Parliament 
had of bringing this irresponsible government to heel would be 
to refuse to pass supplies or the annual Mutiny bill. But in 
fact the prevalent temper of the Irish parliament was loyal 
and even in the days of the Union only a few daring spirits 
proposed such an expression of 'no confidence'. 

The junta which ruled Ireland has often been blamed for 
bringing about the Union, by resisting Catholic emancipation, 
the purification of Parliament, and the extension of the 
franchise. But it contained several remarkable and efficient 
men. Among these was Fitzgibbon who in 1789 was created 
Lord Chancellor (the first Irishman to hold that office for a 
century) and a peer; in 1795 he became the Earl of Clare. 
Another leading figure was John Beresford (1738-1805), a son 
of the Earl of Tyrone. He was member for Waterf ord for forty- 
five years, was appointed to the Privy Council in 1768, was soon 
after made Chief commissioner for Revenue, and was practi- 
cally the head of Irish affairs after 1784 and Pitt's right-hand 
man. Allied by marriage to Lord Clare and having many sons 
by two, marriages, he put these into such lucrative offices in 
Church and State that it was said that the Beresfords finally 
controlled one-quarter of the jobs of Ireland. He and others 
of the junta were mockingly called 'the King-fishers' for their 
assiduous devotion to self-interest. There were men of higher 
moral standing among them, such as Foster and Parnell, and 
the Patriots were not without influence in the Government, 
but it must be admitted that the stand made by the junta was 
more effective than the attack of the Ponsonbys, Parsons, and 
other liberal Irishmen who battered for seventeen years at the 
gates of 'the Castle'. 1 

1 'Dublin Castle' was henceforth in Ireland the synonym for the 
narrow-minded and unrepresentative system of government which, 
with some generous intervals, ruled the country till 1921. 


The 'management of Ireland' had now passed into the hands 
of the Viceroy and was to become a serious matter when after 
ten years Britain found herself at war with France. The 
viceroy had to maintain his government by the constant 
distribution of the patronage in the old corrupt or dubious 
fashion, in which, however, the eighteenth-century government 
of England itself was not much superior. Hence the opposition 
to parliamentary reform, for if members could not be bought 
how could the majority be kept together? The upper classes 
had a naive passion for titles, Parliament was already top- 
heavy with Irish peerages, and these were made more ridiculous 
still when the Union came to be carried. But sinecures, pen- 
sions, and highly paid jobs were the usual means of bribery, 
and often a mere deputy of an important post would see 
nothing wrong in living in England and drawing his salary 
running into four figures from his empty office. 

The Reform of Parliament was the general object of both 
Grattan and Flood, but while Grattan like a true Whig would 
be content with inside purification, the more original Flood 
wanted the reform of the franchise from without. Moreover, 
while Grattan thought the Volunteers had done their work, 
Flood, who felt little gratitude to England, wanted to main- 
tain them to secure final reform. 

The more important and wealthy that Ireland became and 
the more equality with England she attained, the more 
necessary it seemed in British eyes to 'manage' her, a point 
that was emphasized when the next great war began. She had 
a sovereign parliament, and parliaments which have asserted a 
large measure of right generally go on to claim more. Pitt and 
most English statesmen felt the limit had been reached. The 
Viceroy therefore had all the more to exercise that patronage 
and distribution of places and pensions, with an occasional 
gush of peerages, that had been in his hands since Townshend. 
This policy was not difficult in a parliament where out of 300 
members the only unbought men were those from the thirty- 
two counties, elected by the forty-shilling freeholders, and a 
few of the great towns. In the boroughs the vote varied from 
place to place; in some the corporation alone elected the 
member, in others the local magnate, in others all the residents. 


Most of them were insignificant places, owned by the patron 
and called 'po'cket-boroughs', others, the 'decayed' or 'rotten' 
boroughs, had few or hi several cases no inhabitants. The 
patrons had the nomination of 176 members, and 86 sat for 
'rotten boroughs'. Above two-thirds of the seats in the House, 
Grattan declared in 1790, were private property. The un- 
bought element was steadily outvoted by the corrupt or 
nominated, unless public opinion were so strong at times as 
to compel the latter to swing over to the patriot side. Hence 
the failure in the end of Grattan and Flood to make the new 
Constitution a lasting success, in face of the bribery of the 
court and the negative spirit of the ruling junta. They had 
refused to take office, only a Whig triumph in England could 
now put them in power, and with their minority of votes they 
could not hope to capture 'the Castle'. The pension list in 
the six years from 1783 rose to 100,000 per annum, and the 
number of place-men and pensioners was nearly one-half of 
the whole Commons. 

Even the best of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy looked on 
Government, as the nobles had done hi the fifteenth century, as 
an inexhaustible treasury of salaries and perquisites. The 
Speaker had a salary of 4,500 per annum and 500 for each 
session. Aristocracy, with its splendour, art, and corruption, 
bore all the sway in the Europe of the time, but the Revolu- 
tion in France was soon to launch the great attack on all 
privileged systems and spread its ferment to all lands, not 
least of all to Ireland. 

For some years there was a lull in political agitation, a great 
increase of wealth, and a spirit of liberalism in politics. Several 
great questions were, however, merely in suspense: Catholic 
emancipation, the purification of Parliament, and the relations 
between the Imperial government and the new Constitution. 

For some years Grattan and Flood worked together as 
leaders of a forward movement. Both thought it essential to 
maintain the Protestant ascendancy, but while Flood wished 
to increase the electorate by adding more Protestant voters 
and making Parliament more representative, Grattan would 
have been content to purify the sovereign parliament from 
within by reducing the pensions list and the number of the 


bought place-men. Both realized that the new Constitution 
was not safe as long as a stubborn and narrow junta ruled 
Ireland and as long as a majority in Parliament could be 
bought to support British policy. But Flood thought the only 
lasting foundation was that of a reformed electoral system 
and the support of a democratic population which could make 
its influence felt in the House. Flood expressed little gratitude 
to England, for, as he said, the advantages it already derived 
from Ire.1a.nd were such as any country would have been glad 
to have. Grattan was a convinced loyalist and imperialist, 
generously ready to give England the full and unhesitating 
support of Ireland at any crisis. To show his confidence and 
because Parliament was to him the supreme authority he was 
ready to disband the Volunteers, whom, on the other hand, 
Flood wished to maintain as the wedge for a further advance. 
The Catholic question Flood was content to leave at the point 
it had already reached. Grattan, who was an aristocrat, advo- 
cated throwing open the vote, parliament and all offices to the 
more respectable and aristocratic element among them while 
maintaining 'the happy Constitution hi Church and State' 
which the Whigs believed perfect. Thus would the upper 
classes, the natural leaders of the people, unite loyally under 
the Crown to promote the temperate liberties of Ireland and 
the civilizing of the country. 

On November loth 1783 there was a Convention of the 
Volunteers in Dublin. Of its leaders the Bishop of Deny 
wanted to give the vote to the Roman Catholics, but his 
motion was defeated by Flood and Charlemont. A Reform 
bill, mainly the work of Flood, was next on November agth 
introduced by him in the House of Commons, but as he came 
dressed straight from the Convention in Volunteer uniform 
the House which disliked the suspicion of intimidation refused 
leave to introduce it. In the next year, March 1784, he was 
given leave to introduce the Bill, which had secured great 
support in the country. It proposed to abolish the right of 
corporate bodies to return members, to extinguish decayed 
boroughs, to limit Parliament to three years, and to extend 
the vote to Protestant leaseholders. The Bill, however, was 
rejected, and this idea of a Protestant democracy vanished. 


It marked the end of the Volunteers in their original form, for 
conservatives like Grattan thought they had outplayed their 
part. Several of their corps persisted and admitted Catholic 
members, their arms often got into hands which used them in 
the Rebellion, but, as the 'armed property of the Protestant 
nation' whose brilliant uniforms Grattan and most of the 
leaders had worn, the Volunteers now subsided. In the next 
year the Government introduced the proposal for a new 
militia which it could control, and Grattan supported this. 
After 1785 Flood rarely appeared in Parliament and died 
in 1791, while Fitzgibbon, who had formerly shown some 
liberalism, now became the most determined opponent of 

The great interest in 1784-1785 centred round Pitt's com- 
mercial proposals. The new Prime Minister of England, like 
the Whig Fox, considered that the settlement of 1782-1783 
had not been final because it did not provide for full imperial 
control or even settle the question of Ireland's trading rights 
in the Empire. He sent over as viceroy the Duke of Rutland 
in February 1784, with Thomas Orde as his Secretary, with 
instructions to bring forward measures which have received 
the name of 'Orde's Commercial Resolutions'. The general 
intention of these was a commercial treaty between the two 
countries by which Ireland was to have practically equal 
trading rights with England. Lord North's concessions had 
done much for Irish trade but excluded her from the full trade 
of the Empire, while between the two kingdoms themselves 
commerce was subject to various import duties and restrictions. 
In February 1785 Orde brought forward his proposals in the 
Irish Parliament by which there was to be free trade between 
the two countries, Ireland was to be admitted to the full 
imperial trade, and in return was to contribute out of her 
surplus revenue to the support of the Imperial navy when the 
revenue exceeded 665,000. The Irish parliament accepted 
the proposals, but in England commercial jealousy was so 
roused that Pitt had to reduce the extent of the concessions 
to Ireland, In their new form the propositions debarred 
Ireland from trading in that part of the world between South 
Africa and South America and from importing Indian goods 


except through Great Britain. Her parliament must re-enact 
all British laws on the navigation and trade of the colonies. 
The regulating power of the British parliament was to cover 
all goods imported from Ireland into the American or West 
Indian colonies, and even part of the trade with the United 
States. Resolutions to this effect passed the British parlia- 
ment, but had such a small majority in the Irish that Orde 
finally withdrew them. They had become unacceptable to 
Irish feeling, because under them the British parliament would 
have the final control over the trade of the Empire, Great 
Britain would keep the trade monopoly of India and to some 
extent of the Plantations, and Ireland would be bound to 
trade within the British Empire. Also free trade with 
England might lead to the ruin of Irish industries, carefully 
protected by bounties and the protective measures of the 
Irish parliament. 

From another aspect Ireland would be bound to a perpetual 
tribute to Great Britain which would increase with her pros- 
perity. Grattan declared that the amended proposals involved 
for Ireland 'a surrender of trade in the east and of freedom in 
the west'. Their defeat was hailed with delight in Ireland, 
with mortification by Pitt. He had shown signs of favouring 
Reform, but now he made no further effort to displace the 
unrepresentative junta that ruled 'the Castle'. 

Great Britain thus retained the monopoly of the imperial 
trade and protection against Irish trade with England, admis- 
sion to which was to be one of the baits offered at the Union- 

A further division took place between the two Parliaments 
when at the end of 1788 King George's intellect gave way. A 
Regency had to be provided, and the obvious person was 
George, Prince of Wales, then a handsome and attractive 
young man who had allied himself with the Whigs against 
his father and Pitt. The latter resolved that the Prince 
should only succeed as Regent under an act of Parliament 
which should impose limitations upon him. The Whigs 
declared that he ought to succeed automatically with full 
royal powers, one of which was that of turning out one ministry 
and installing another. Armed with such a prerogative, the 


Prince Regent might dismiss Pitt and bring in Fox. In Ireland 

among the Irish Whigs hopes ran high that as Regent he would 

turn out the Fitzgibbon-Beresford clique and bring into power 

the party which had won the Constitution. On February 5th 

1789 Pitt introduced into the British parliament a limiting 

Bill to the above effect. In Ireland the Patriot party led by 

the Duke of Leinster in February of the same year got carried 

by nearly two votes to one an address to the Prince urging 

him 'to assume the government of this nation during his 

Majesty's indisposition, under the style of Prince Regent of 

Ireland and to exercise the prerogative of the Crown'. The 

"Viceroy, Buckingham, refused to transmit it to one who was 

still legally a subject. A deputation, however, carried it to 

London and was graciously received by the Prince. Before 

the British bill could be passed the King recovered at the end 

of February, and as a practical matter the Regency question 

dropped. Again the Government had to recover a majority and 

to punish the Opposition. No less than sixteen peerages were 

created; among others a Mr. Stewart became Marquis of 

Londonderry, and Fitzgibbon, who had vehemently opposed 

the action of the Opposition, was appointed Lord Chancellor. 

The incident had its effect in turning the mind of Pitt, who 

was greatly influenced by the ruling junta, in the direction of 

a Union. He had seen the Irish Parliament take its own way 

over his commercial propositions; he now saw the possibility, 

if the Regency question came up again, of Ireland's appointing 

a Regent who would be full sovereign while in England he 

would be limited by act of parliament. The moral became 

clear to him that the Irish Parliament might in trade, politics, 

and even war and peace take an independent line which would 

endanger England's imperial supremacy. 

From 1790 to 1793 Lord Westmorland was Viceroy and his 
Chief Secretary was Hobart. In the parliament under him 
appeared another memorable figure, Robert Stewart, famous 
in history as Viscount Castlereagh. He was elected for 
Co. Down in 1789, and the curious electoral system of the time 
is shown in the fact that the open poll lasted forty-two days 
and cost his father, Lord Londonderry, no less than 60,000. 
Grattan remained leader of the Opposition and sought by a 


place and pensions bill to reduce the corrupt element in Parlia- 
ment. In June 1789 he, Charlemont, and Ponsonby formed 
the Whig Club to promote administrative reform and main- 
tain the Constitution of '82. But already political ferment 
outside Parliament was on the increase and many realized that 
the aristocratic monopoly of government and property was 
not to remain unchallenged. 

Agrarian discontent was marked in the continued White- 
boy movement which stringent Crimes acts were unable to 
eradicate. A large cause of it was the iniquity of the tithe 
system. Grattan made several attempts to bring it to an end 
but he was defeated by the vested interests, and the evils of 
this system lasted till 1838, the bishops of the State Church 
being stubborn against any change. All he could do in 1789 
was to procure that land reclaimed from the wilds should be 
exempt from tithes for seven years. Later, in 1793, he procured 
the abolition of the hated Hearth-tax. But while such agrarian 
movements disturbed the South, in the northern counties 
competition for farms and the religious difference led to 
standing feuds between Catholic and Protestant peasantry. 
In Ulster and elsewhere the Catholic tenants banded them- 
selves into a society called the 'Defenders', who owed their 
origin in 1784 to an encounter between the two religions. The 
Defenders spread to the South and became well organized in 
Wexford for example. They did much to bring about the 
rising of 1798 when they were blended with the political 
movement of the United Irishmen, but their name disappeared 
after that. This unhappy agrarian religious feud was kept 
up not less on the other side in the Ulster Teep-of-Day 

In addition to this ferment, principles of political freedom 
and reform were spreading rapidly among the Presbyterians of 
the North and found an echo also in other parts among the 
unprivileged classes. Dublin had a strong democratic element, 
the hero of which was Napper Tandy. The movement in 
France that soon became a Revolution added its ideas to the 
ones that the northern democracy had already imbibed from 
the emigrants who had gone off to America and from whom 
news came back of a free country. 'American' and 'French' 


democratic and republican sentiments soon became general 
among masses of the Irish population. 

It is significant of the altered times that the people began to 
find then- leaders in men who were not in Parliament or even 
members of the ascendancy. The most remarkable of these 
new leaders was Theobald Wolfe Tone, a young lawyer from 
county Kildare and of no great social standing. Born in the 
Established Church, he adopted the prevalent Deism and 
regarded the Church as part and parcel of the privileged 
injustice of the time. His active and enthusiastic genius, that of 
a soldier rather than a politician, was deeply stirred by the news 
from France in the years following the meeting of the National 
Assembly hi 1789, which led to a Constitution, the abolition 
of all privileges, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, 
all hi a few months. To thousands of earnest or enthusiastic 
spirits in Europe the French Revolution seemed the dawn of 
a new and perfect age; it was so to Tone, and he, unlike others, 
was never disillusioned. To him Ireland was a supreme 
example of all that privileged injustice which France had 
renounced, and he devoted his great talents as an organizer, 
writer, and natural soldier to attack a corrupt ascendancy and 
the English connexion that maintained it. But at first like 
most of his fellow-reformers he strove to achieve his aims 
within the law, and it was only the march of events that drove 
him and them into armed extremism. 

In 1791 Tone attracted public attention by his pamphlet 
signed 'ANorthern Whig', in which he attacked the Constitution 
of '82 and advocated the union of Catholic and Dissenter to 
secure the reform of a corrupt unrepresentative Parliament. 
Next, along with Rowan Hamilton, Napper Tandy, and 6ther 
Protestants of education and standing, he formed the 'Society 
of United Irishmen' in October 1791, with its first headquarters 
at Belfast. Its objects were to abolish all unnatural religious 
distinctions, to unite all Irishmen against the unjust influence 
of Great Britain, and secure their true representation in a 
national Parliament. The union of Catholic and Dissenter 
had been advocated by the bishop of Deny; it now became 
Tone's lifework. Thus to the grievances of the common 
people were added the doctrinaire principles of Episcopal 


Protestants in Dublin and Belfast, Thomas Addis Emmet, the 
brothers Sheares, Oliver Bond, Henry Joy McCracken, and 
others. The real danger to the established order came from 
the democratic Presbyterians of the north, where in January 
1792 the journal, the Northern Star of Belfast was begun, for 
the sturdy, educated, and logical Scoto-Irish race now enjoyed 
just sufficient rights as Protestants to make them feel aggrieved 
that the rest were denied them. 

This union of the discontented advanced a great step when 
in 1790 John Keogh, a Dublin tradesman, became dominant 
in the Catholic committee and Wolfe Tone became its secretary. 
This timid body now had the courage to send a deputation to 
Pitt himself who gave a gracious promise that the British 
ministry would offer no objection if the Irish Parliament 
proceeded further hi emancipation. Next, in January 1792, 
they drove out of their body Lords Kenmare, Fingall and 
others of the aristocratic section which had long dominated it. 
There was general enthusiasm over this, and the Government, 
which had long regarded the Catholics as tame loyal-addressers, 
saw with consternation that they had now entered boldly into 
the political field. It was realized that further concessions must 
be made if they were not to be thrown into the arms of the 
Protestant reformers. Wolfe Tone regarded the aristocratic 
patriots of Grattan's party with much the same contempt that 
the French revolutionaries had for Lafayette and the Girondins, 
but Grattan's support of complete Catholic emancipation was 
sincere and continued to the end of his life. The Irish executive, 
which cared nothing for feeling in the Dublin parliament, now 
frustrated the generous intentions both of Pitt and of Grattan, 
and the Catholic Relief Bill of 1792 granted only minor con- 
cessions which were contemptible in view of the public demand. 
Grattan laboured for the cause in London and a National 
convention met in Dublin to demand the full franchise. The 
King received the deputation, including Tone, graciously, the 
Viceroy in January 1793 announced the King's wish that 
Parliament should consider the situation of his Catholic 
subjects, and the executive had to yield before such a positive 


Hobart's Catholic Relief Act of 1793 in its main provisions 
was carried with the votes of two-thirds of the House of 
Commons. It enabled the Catholics to bear arms, to become 
members of corporations, to vote as forty-shilling freeholders 
in the counties and in the open boroughs, to act as grand 
jurors, to take degrees in Dublin University, to hold minor 
offices, and to take commissions in the army below the rank of 
General. But they were debarred from seats in Parliament and 
from offices in the government and State, for, while most of 
the humiliating oaths of former times were abolished, to be 
a member of Parliament or enjoy a government post still re- 
quired the Sacrament and the anti-Roman declaration of 1692. 
The other measures had been carried by two to one, but a 
motion admitting them to Parliament, moved by George 
Knox, was vetoed by 163 to 69. 'So near was this poor king- 
dom to its deliverance.' Grattan especially regretted that the 
upper class of the Catholics had not been admitted to a full 
voice in the State. Nevertheless the Catholic Committee 
expressed their enthusiastic gratitude, voted 1,500 and a gold 
medal to Wolfe Tone and similarly rewarded others of the 
deputation, and dissolved themselves. 

On January 2ist 1793 Louis XVI was sent to the guillotine, 
and in February the French Republic, already at war with 
Austria and Prussia, declared war on England. For twenty-one 
years Great Britain was to be France's chief enemy by land 
and sea. The horrors and revolutionary principles of France 
were answered by a Conservative panic among all the ruling 
classes in Great Britain and Ireland, and those reforms which 
were so pressingly needed in politics, law, religion, and the 
condition of the poor were shelved for forty years. Pitt 
thought it no time for reforms and most of the Whigs agreed 
with him, inspired by the eloquent treatises of the Irishman 
Edmund Burke. 

Of the 'New Whigs' in opposition Charles Fox led only a 
remnant, too small to be of much help to Ireland. The ruling 
junta in Dublin was firmly entrenched, for Pitt regarded it as 
the chief security for imperial control, and Fitzgibbou was 
often denounced by the Opposition as 'Mr. Pitt's delegate.' 


Since corruption in the Viceroy's hands was the existing weapon, 
it must not be taken from him; an alliance of the discontented 
dements against things as they were must be resisted at all 
costs. The war indeed changed the whole face of Ireland's 
prospects and once more, as in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, in England's wars against Spain and France, her 
hopes of a lasting conciliation and contented loyalty were 
sacrificed to the supposed military necessities of Britain. 

But the Imperial government still looked with a kindly eye 
on the Catholic claims. The Roman Church was the friend of 
Monarchy and Religion and a great bulwark against revolution 
and atheism. Its bishops, priests, and respectable classes in 
Ireland expressed unfeigned horror of the French Republic, 
and the famous Irish Brigade, which had so long served the 
French monarchy, now for the most part transferred itself to 
King George's forces rather than serve a godless Republic. 
Once again the Catholic nation of Ireland seemed on the 
conservative side and further concessions might safely be 
made to their upper classes. But among the Romanist peas- 
antry, who had no share or interest in Parliament and govern- 
ment jobs, 'Jacobin' ideas began to spread, directed mainly, 
however, against practical wrongs and inspired by the radical 
teachings of the United Irishmen. 'Hereditary hatred,' wrote 
Thomas Emmet of them, 'and a sense of injury has always 
conspired with national pride and patriotism to make them 
adverse to England and enemies of the British connexion.' 
The Church of Ireland ascendancy, which possessed all the jobs 
and owned five-sixths of the land, but formed only one-tenth 
of the population, had indeed done much for Ireland in civili- 
zation, wealth, architecture, a free parliament and even 
religious toleration. But gratitude for all this could hardly 
be expected from an Irish-speaking peasantry, steeped in the 
past and subjected to a harsh landlord system. All the 
dramatic events and 'nation-making' of the last thirty years 
had scarcely touched them, and almost nothing had been done 
to win their loyalty or even manly consent to the established 

Some small measures of reform were accepted in 1793, though 
a general Reform act was out of the question. The revenues 


were brought under the annual control of parliament. By a 
Pension Bill all future pensioners were excluded from parlia- 
ment and the total amount available for this form of bribery 
was reduced from 120,000 to 80,000. A Place Bill was 
passed compelling members who should accept government 
posts to vacate their seats and seek re-election. In spite of 
this Place Bill the number of those who held posts or pensions 
under the Crown was seventy-two at the time of the Union, 
and it was their votes which carried this detested measure. 
On the other hand, the government of Ireland sought to bring 
to an end the period of popular outside organizations which 
had begun in 1775. An Arms act abolished the Volunteers by 
forbidding the carrying of arms except by the government 
forces, and a militia was enlisted It met with great opposition 
in various parts from the common people, and the remarkable 
sight was seen more than once of Catholic militiamen and 
Presbyterian 'United men' firing upon one another. Further, 
a Convention act forbade subjects to assemble in bodies calling 
themselves representatives of the nation. This act made 
illegal the National conventions which had been so much in 
fashion and was for long years afterwards to hamper move- 
ments such as O'ConnelTs. 

As in its previous wars, Great Britain had no reason to 
complain of support in money and men from the Irish Parlia- 
ment, and Grattan was among the first to pledge Ireland's 
cordial support in the war against France. Nevertheless, 
outside parliament French sympathies were pronounced and 
gave point to a fresh attempt finally to win over the Roman 
Catholic population. This led to what is called the 'Fitz- 
wilHam episode'. 

The war against France had led to a coalition in England 
between Pitt and his Tories and the aristocratic or 'Old 
Whigs'. Pitt intended to keep the upper hand, but it was 
agreed that Ireland should be a Whig province and Lord 
Portland was made Secretary for Home affairs, which included 
this country. Lord Fitzwilliam, an Irish landowner and a 
friend to Grattan and the Roman Catholic cause, was in 
January 1795 appointed Lord Lieutenant in plajce of West- 
morland. Fitzwilliam planned to take Grattan into office in 


the Irish government and to carry full Catholic emancipation. 
For this he thought it essential to remove the junta, who 
obstinately stood in the way of all liberal measures. Fitz- 
gibbon and Beresford got to know of this and used their 
influence with Pitt to defeat Fitzwilliam's plan. The latter 
was instructed not to introduce the proposal to admit Catholics 
to parliament and government offices, but to support it if it 
were brought forward. Without securing the backing of Pitt, 
he dismissed Beresford and proposed to "do the same with 
Fitzgibbon and others of his band. This roused Pitt's jealousy 
of his Whig allies taking too much on themselves and his 
determination not to let down the junta which ruled Ireland. 
Fitzgibbon persuaded the King, in a communication through 
one of his ministers, that the admittance of the Catholics to 
parliament and omces of State would be a violation of his 
Coronation oath to maintain the Protestant constitution as 
by law established. George was a dull and obstinate man, but 
his conscience was a rooted one, and it might well be argued 
that until parliament relieved him from his solemn oath he 
could not be expected to change it. Portland himself became 
alarmed and instructed Fitzwilliam to offer only minor con- 
cessions. Finally he was recalled in February. Undoubtedly 
much of the failure of 1795 was due to the imperfect under- 
standing between FitzwilHam and Pitt, but it is tragic that a 
generous and final settlement of Catholic emancipation was 
not made now instead of in 1829. 

When Fitzwilliam left Dublin on March 25th 1795 his 
carriage was drawn by the people to the shore through streets 
draped in mourning. It cannot be doubted that the majority 
La the Protestant ascendancy itself had been in favour of 
emancipation, and many noble men in the Commons had 
fought hard for it, such as Sir Lawrence Parsons, who reminded 
the government how they had voted 1,700,000 in support of 
Britain. But these were only individuals and their minority 
could not shake the Fitzgibbon clique. So ended all hope of 
Reform. The moral for those who had hoped to alter parlia- 
ment from without unhappily was that the Constitution of 
'82 was a thing to be despaired of and the minds of such 
reformers as Tone and the United Irishmen were driven to the 


thought of a Revolution. The generous Fitzwilliam was 
succeeded by Lord Camden, who secretly was instructed to 
oppose both Emancipation and the reform of parliament. The 
one concession that did take effect was the endowment from 
State funds of Maynooth College as a seminary for the Roman 
Catholic clergy, who could no longer be educated in France and 
whose loyalty it was thus hoped to secure. But from this 
moment Ireland entered upon that period which only ended 
with 1803 and which saw the Republican organization of 
Ireland, attempted French aid, the Rebellion of 1798, the 
Union and the last pathetic outbreak of Robert Emmet. 
Wolfe Tone, whose name was to be prominent in the armed 
movement, now left Ireland and spent some time in Phila- 
delphia, The United Irishmen replaced their former oath, 
which was legal and public, by a secret and revolutionary one, 
while their Directory from Dublin began to organize Ireland 
on a military basis and through their emissaries to enter into 
correspondence with the French government. 

After the Fitzwilliam episode the crisis began to approach 
fast. Grattan and the moderates strove to exact the reason- 
able reforms which might have averted it, and in May 1795 he 
proposed a Catholic Relief bill, but in vain. In May 1797 a 
further attempt by Ponsonby and him at a moderate Reform 
hill was also in vain and was the last. The majority in parlia- 
ment thought it sufficient answer that Great Britain was 
engaged in the great struggle against victorious France. Fitz- 
gibbon, now Earl of Clare, was determined to save the British 
connexion and the Protestant ascendancy at all costs, by a 
Union if all else failed. He could rely on most of the Protes- 
tant population, which, though it was a minority, could be 
armed at any moment against Catholics and Dissenters and he 
was ready to oppose force to force. 

The long-standing local feuds between Protestants and Catho- 
lics hi the Ulster counties came to a head on September 2ist 1795 
in an affair called 'the Battle of the Diamond' in Armagh, 
when in an armed encounter between the two sides some 
twenty or thirty Defenders were left dead. The day closed 
with the institution of the Orange order 'to maintain the laws 
and peace of the country and the Protestant Constitution, and 


to defend the King and his heirs as long as they shall maintain 
the Protestant ascendancy'. This was followed by a continued 
religious war in which great numbers of harmless Catholics 
were driven into Connacht while the more spirited enrolled 
in the United Irishmen. The Orange order soon numbered 
many thousands of militant Protestants, for the most part 
Episcopalians, but it is to the credit of Lord Camden that he 
refused to employ them in the later Rebellion. 

Early in 1796 the Irish parliament passed an Insurrection 
act of a severity which would have been impossible in Britain. 
It allowed the Lord Lieutenant to proclaim any district or 
districts and place them under martial law. It compelled 
arms to be produced, imposed the death penalty for adminis- 
tering an unlawful oath, and transportation for life for taking 
such an oath, and empowered magistrates to seize suspects 
and send them to serve in the fleet. In November the Habeas 
Corpus Act was suspended for all Ireland. Ulster was now 
regarded as the dangerous province, the discontented had 
great numbers of arms, and the Presbyterians were to a 
large extent sworn United Irishmen. The disarming of Ulster 
was next ordered by Lord Camden and carried out by 
General Lake from March to October 1797, and during it one 
of the most noble-minded of the popular leaders in the north, 
the Presbyterian William Orr, was hanged for administering the 
United Irish oath. The excesses of the ill-disciplined troops 
and militia, who exceeded even their brutal orders, were 
bitterly denounced by Grattan's minority in parliament and 
even in the English House of Commons, but, as we have seen 
in our own times, a Great War is a bad time to complain of 
military methods until they become too cryingly scandalous. 
The number of arms taken from the people, which it is reckoned 
included 50,000 muskets and 70,000 pikes, at least justified the 
Government in believing that if Ulster had not been disarmed 
in time the Protestant province would have been by far the 
most dangerous area in the Rebellion. 

The government now went on to provide a further armed 
force, that of the Yeomanry, which consisted of Protestant 
tenants and townsmen commanded by gentry under commis- 
sion from the Crown. These were actively used and imparted 


to the later operations the savage spirit of religious partisans. 
At the outbreak of the Rebellion the government could count 
upon not less that 15,000 regulars, 18,000 militia, and 50,000 
yeoman, badly disciplined and shockingly out of hand. But 
it is to be noted that of the two latter forces the yeomanry 
were Irishmen and many of the militia were Catholics. 

The cruelties of the troops and the firm determination of 
the government to flog rebellion out of the people naturally 
cowed great numbers, but on the other hand drove into 
rebellion a host of desperate or injured men who would 
have remained peaceful under better treatment. Many now 
preferred a 'union with France' to a 'union with Britain', 
if such had to be. According to the current patriotic song, 
'the Shan Van Vocht', the French were already 'on the sea' 
and during two years several expeditions menaced English 
rule in Ireland. Fitzgibbon believed that a rebellion was 
imminent and that the back of it must be broken rapidly if the 
aristocratic government of Ireland was not to be overthrown 
or Ireland separated from England. She had now a population 
of /$ millions, three-quarters of whom were the old native 
peasantry, men generally of sound physique and military 
disposition, of whom 150,000 were reckoned to be United 
Irishmen; they had able and educated leaders, local and 
central, and only needed to be properly armed from. 

Early in 1796 Tone, who had left America, arrived in Paris, 
where Carnot was so impressed with him, that he gave him the 
rank of adjutant-general in the French Army. At Hamburg 
the Directory of the United Irishmen had two other envoys, 
Arthur O'Connor, a gentlemen of Milesian descent, and Lord 
Edward Fitzgerald, a younger son of the Duke of Leinster. 
Tone was now determined to overthrow if he could both 
English rule in Ireland and her aristocratic and corrupt govern- 
ment as the first necessity of liberty. He wrote in his diary at 
this time, 'The truth is, I hate the very name of England. I 
hated her before my exile and I will hate her always,' This 
product of the English race in Ireland was indeed a son of the 
Revolution as much as any Danton, and his optimistic, gay, 
and gallant character had all the makings of a great soldier. 


The young Napoleon would have called Tn'm 'one of Plutarch's 
men'. He was not a communist any more than the French 
revolutionaries, who had no objection to the rights of Property 
as long as it was not feudal, but he relied upon the poor, who 
were to Mm the Irish nation, to save Ireland. As he rightly 
said, They were ready for any change, for no change could 
make their situation worse.' What Tone would have done 
with Ireland had he succeeded cannot be known, for he failed, 
but the memory of the man who founded the Republican 
tradition in Ireland has been the most inspiring in later history 
of all the names which the period 1770-1800 produced. For 
though unrelenting against what he considered the ruling 
tyranny and the classes that supported it, personally Tone was 
a man of sincere, generous and likeable character, a moral man, 
and a good husband and father. 

While enthusiasts such as Fitzgerald over-exaggerated the 
forces of insurrection and thought they merely needed arms 
from France, Tone, who was more of a realist, declared that 
only a French army of 20,000 men could guarantee success. 
Finally Carnot determined upon a French expedition to Ireland 
and gave the command to the young Hoche, one of the most 
brilliant of the Republic's generals. On December I5th 1796 
a fleet of forty-three ships, carrying 15,000 soldiers and ample 
arms, one of which carried Tone, sailed from Brest. After 
much bad seamanship part of it arrived in Bantry Bay on the 
22nd, but again, as often before, the weather was for England, 
and a strong easterly gale which blew for a week made landing 
impossible. Grouchy, second-in-command, mismanaged every- 
thing, ship after ship made back for France, and Hoche him- 
self, who never even reached the Irish coast, was the last to 
return on January I4th. The government was naturally de- 
lighted at the passing of such a peril, and most of all with the 
report that the Munster peasantry, led by the bishop of Cork 
and Lord Kenmare, had shown every sign of supporting the 
royal forces. It is a strange fact to look back upon that 
the Catholic towns of Cork, Galway, and Limerick were 
then the loyalist centres while Presbyterian Belfast was the 
rebel town. 


The patriot phalanx in the Irish parliament made a last 
appeal to the government in March 1797 to calm and conciliate 
the country by repealing the Insurrection act and accepting 
a Reform of parliament and a final removal of religious disa- 
bilities. In the British parliament Fox also pleaded against 
a great majority for conciliation measures in Ireland. But 
from the King downwards it was clear that such measures were 
not to be hoped for. So between the government and the 
army the rising in Ireland became inevitable. When their 
proposals were defeated on May i5th by 170 votes to 30, 
Grattan, Ponsonby, and their minority left the House in 
despair, and constitutional reform was totally abandoned. 
The executive now had in its ranks Viscount Castlereagh, 
as Secretary for Ireland, who was as firm as Fitzgibbon on 
repression and later the necessity of a Union, but unlike him 
favoured Catholic emancipation. One cannot doubt that as 
things stood a French invasion on a large scale, especially if 
the French could have kept the sea, would have led to the 
greatest rising in Irish history and might have secured the 
independence of Ireland. But it seems equally certain that 
had the King's government in Ireland at this time conceded 
full emancipation to the Catholics, reformed to some extent 
the corrupt state of parliament, widened the vote, and granted 
the oppressed peasantry some lightening of their miserable 
condition under landlords and tithe-proctors, a rebellion would 
either not have taken place or would have been of a limited 

The second great attempt on the part of France was when 
a Franco-Dutch fleet of the Batavian Republic collected at 
the Texel in June 1797 to convey 14,000 men to Ireland. On 
October nth 1797 it was met and defeated by Admiral 
Duncan at Camperdown, and henceforth French aid to Ire- 
land was insignificant. With the death of Hoche, Bonaparte 
was left supreme among the generals of France and he thought 
little of the chances of success in Ireland or the ability of the 
Irish leaders. 

The last parliament of the old Kingdom of Ireland began its 
first session on January gth 1798. It was, as before, a body 


little representative of the country and full of members from 
unimportant towns and of placemen who made up some one- 
third of the House. It is true that some 30,000 Catholics had 
been added to the voters, but their votes were too few and recent 
to produce much effect. This parliament was destined to pass, 
or rather to have forced upon it, the legislative Union with 
Great Britain and to watch the course and suppression of the 
Insurrection of '98. 

The military command of Ireland had been in the hands of 
Lord Carhampton. He was superseded in December 1797 by 
Sir Ralph Abercrombie, who found the army so disgracefully 
undisciplined that in a general order of February 26th 1798 he 
declared it to be 'in such a state of licentiousness as must 
render it formidable to every one but the enemy'. This 
honourable Englishman was not to the taste of the ruling 
junta; he was compelled to resign and his place was taken by 
General Lake, who applied to the country at large the methods 
he had used in Ulster. Floggings, burnings, tortures, the 
shooting and hanging of men, were now a fate that even the 
most innocent might fear from hordes of soldiery living at 
'free quarters' and without control No wonder that retalia- 
tion followed and that savagery and outrage on the military 
side was answered on that of the rebels. 

The Directory of the United Irishmen could not count upon 
French aid and therefore determined on a rising without it, 
A general insurrection was planned for May 23rd, but the 
government struck at once, for its spies were many, and 
arrested the leaders, so that the Rebellion was deprived at one 
blow of its organizers. The Sheares brothers suffered on the 
gallows-tree. Lord Edward Fitzgerald died of wounds inflicted 
on him when he was arrested. Wolfe Tone was in France. 
But a rising broke out on May 24th. Minister and Connaught 
remained for the most part quiet, but at various points of 
Meath, Leinster, and Ulster poorly armed bodies took the 
field, who were soon suppressed and on several occasions 
simply massacred by the mounted troops. In Antrim and 
Down several thousand Presbyterian farmers, mixed with 
some Catholics, turned out. But the most determined, indeed 


the only formidable, rising took place in the quarter where 
no one would have expected it. County Wexford had been in 
the days of Strongbow planted with Normans, Flemings, 
and Saxons, and though the northern parts were Irish, the 
southern baronies were still occupied by an Old English 
population speaking an old-fashioned Saxon dialect. The 
Defenders had been strong among these sturdy peasants, and 
as often happened they blended themselves with the United 
Irishmen. The government troops practised in this county 
the same methods which disgraced them in other parts, and 
their conduct was especially aggravated by the fact that they 
were largely Orange yeomen who treated it as a religious war. 
The Catholic leaders in Dublin had assured the government 
of their loyalty, but in Wexford several priests were found who 
either sympathized with the people or at least urged them to 
go out and die like men. On May 26th a rebellion began in 
Wexford led by Father John Murphy of Boolavogue, who 
proved himself a very able leader, which was not suppressed 
till June 3oth. In various engagements the Wexford men, who 
were generally armed only with pikes but had a few hundreds 
of expert musketeers, defeated small bodies of the troops, 
acquired confidence, and increased hi numbers, until they 
occupied the town of Wexford and held most of the county. 
To maintain their cause, however, it was necessary to cut their 
way out to the surrounding counties, but several determined 
battles failed to give them the opening that they needed. On 
June ist they were defeated at Newtownbarry in an attempt 
to force their way into Wicklow. Two days later another large 
body attacked Gorey so as to find a way along the coast to 
Dublin, won the day, but did not make use of their triumph. 
The most determined battle was at New Ross, where the rebels 
were commanded by a Protestant leader, Bagenal Harvey, on 
June 4th. Here some 1,400 soldiers under General Johnson 
held the town and defended the river Barrow, beyond which 
lie the counties Waterford and Kilkenny. The rebels were 
probably ten times as numerous but were for the most part 
mere pikemen. Their constant and gallant charges finally 
carried them into the town, but after hours of fighting the 
troops rallied and the rebels, many of whom had abandoned 


themselves to drink and plunder, were driven out and it is 
calculated that over 2,000 of them were left dead. 

The formidable numbers of the rebels, 'led on by desperation 
and enthusiasm', as Camden described them, greatly increased 
the alarm of the government and showed what would have 
happened had the other provinces equalled the fighting spirit 
of Leinster. On June gth another rebel army, led by Father 
Michael Murphy, made a determined attack on Arklow. This 
town was defended by 1,600 militia and yeoman under General 
Needham, who had to bear the onslaught of some 19,000 
desperate but ill-armed peasants. Here again after several 
hours' fighting and almost carrying the British defences they 
recoiled, disheartened by the death of their leader. Pos- 
session of artillery, muskets, and fortified positions naturally 
gave the government troops an advantage which outweighed 
the numbers of their opponents. In Wexford it was clear that 
it was a religious rising and Catholic sentiment animated the 
rebel forces. But unhappily the Rebellion degenerated every- 
where into a war of 'Orange and Green' between two kinds 
of Irishmen, a sad awakening from the ideals of the United 

By this time thousands of English militia were on their way 
to Ireland. The Wexford rebels made Vinegar Hill at Ennis- 
corthy their head-quarters, but this was stormed on June aist 
by General Lake with an army of 13,000. Wexford town was 
recovered, and the rebellion in the county came to an end. 
Executions followed, among whom there suffered Bagenal 
Harvey. One remnant of the Wexford army under Father 
John Murphy penetrated into county Kilkenny hoping to 
raise the people, but after a defeat made their way home and 
dispersed, while Father Murphy was captured and executed 
without pity. A few other local engagements followed, but 
after July 2nd only a small remnant kept up the fight, made 
their way into the Wicklow hills, and for some time under 
Joseph Holt and Michael Dwyer kept up a guerrilla warfare. 

The viceroy Camden was replaced in June 1798 by Lord 
Cornwallis, who combined the two offices of Lord Lieutenant 
and Commander-in-Chief . He was an experienced and humane 
soldier and issued a general pardon as soon as it was possible. 


Ulster had been too disarmed and broken to be formidable, 
but three small battles took place in counties Antrim and 
Down, where the rebels were mainly Presbyterians. Those 
of Antrim were led by Henry Joy McCracken while those of 
Down selected Henry Monroe as then" leader. On June 7th 
the town of Antrim was attacked by several thousands of 
insurgents who were finally repulsed, and McCracken suffered 
death for the cause at Belfast. In Down there was an engage- 
ment at Saintfield and a final pitched battle at Ballinahinch 
on June 13th. Monroe showed some military skill and the 
rebels the usual headlong courage of Irish pikemen against 
artillery, but they were finally routed with the loss of several 
hundreds. Monroe too paid the death penalty, and the 
Presbyterian rising came to an end. The Catholic nature of 
the peasant revolt in Wexford disenchanted most of them, 
who had hoped for an all-Ireland rising without regard to 
men's religious beliefs. 

On July 17th an Act of Amnesty was carried in the Irish 
parliament and led to the general submission of the Leinster 
and other rebels. But when it was too late French aid again 
revived the embers. On August 22nd a force of 1,000 Repub- 
lican soldiers landed in Killala Bay under General Humbert, 
which was joined by many unarmed peasants, marched inland, 
and defeated a large mixed force at Castlebar, but was soon 
surrounded by Cornwallis at Ballmamuck, and forced to 
surrender. Later, of several ships that had been dispatched, 
the Hoche arrived in Lough Swilly but had to surrender to an 
English squadron and Wolfe Tone was taken and conveyed 
to Dublin. He could hardly have expected his life, nor did he 
seek it; he only asked to be shot like a soldier in view of the 
French officer's uniform that he wore. He was, however, 
sentenced by a court martial to be hanged like a common 
criminal and therefore inflicted a wound on himself of which 
he perished in his pride on November igth 1798. 

The imprisoned United Irish leaders were offered their lives 
on condition of revealing the secrets of their movement. They 
refused to do so though they were ready to justify their 
motives, and were finally sent as State prisoners to Fort 
George in Scotland. Released some years afterwards, several 


of them, such as Thomas Addis Emmet, emigrated, and died in 
America. Most of them had begun as mere reformers and 
liberals and would have been contented had liberality and 
humanity existed in the Government. Their final fate of 
exile was far happier, however, than that of the hundreds 
of common Irishmen who were sent to Botany Bay or forced 
into the army and navy. 

The Rebellion over, what remained was to settle a disor- 
dered country and consider the future government of Ireland. 
Grattan and his remnant still thought that conciliation might 
appease the country and preserve the Constitution, while 
prominent men in the Protestant ascendancy, such as Foster 
and Parnell, argued that there was no need for a change 
considering that the Irish Parliament and the Protestant 
gentry with their yeomen and militia had suppressed a most 
dangerous rebellion. But the ruling junta was now bent upon 
a Union with Great Britain as the only safe means of maintain- 
ing the Protestant constitution and England's imperial control. 
On this Cornwallis, Castlereagh, and Fitzgibbon were united, 
and Pitt strongly took the same course. The two sections of 
the population that Tone had striven to unite, the unprivileged 
Roman Catholics and Presbyterians, had now been crushed 
and the latter disillusioned. A huge British army held Ireland 
down and prevented even free political discussion and action, 
while large numbers of the propertied classes, both Catholic 
and Protestant, had been terrified into a state of mind which 
favoured a Union. Lord Camden had said, 'Ireland is like a 
ship on fire, it must be either extinguished or cut adrift'. The 
rebel leaders had failed to sever it from England, it now re- 
mained to grapple it to England's side. In the dead lull that 
followed the events of 1795-1798 the stage was occupied 
entirely by the two governments, bent on Union, and the Irish 
parliament, offering a varied resistance. 

To Pitt the Union was an imperial necessity. The Rebellion 
was a moral pointing out how the Kingdom of Ireland could 
not have survived without British aid. The rebellious elements 
had received French aid and might do so again. How could a 
separate Irish parliament and the Constitution of '82 be main- 
tained in face of this danger? Emancipation and the extension 


of the franchise were bound to come, but supposing pro- 
French Catholics and democratic Dissenters got a majority in 
the Irish parliament how long would the Anglican monopoly 
in Church and State survive? The panacea for all was a legis- 
lative Union. In the united Parliament of Great Britain 
and Ireland representatives of the Catholics might safely be 
admitted for they would always be a minority. The Church of 
Ireland, threatened by three-quarters of the people, could only 
be saved by a union of the two State churches. Once the 
Imperial government was entrusted with the complete control 
of the three Kingdoms and no longer menaced on the west by 
Irish nationalism, whether extreme or moderate, it would be 
able from Westminster to combine the whole force of these 
islands against France. A modem statesman, in return for 
such advantages for his side, would think it necessary to offer 
all-round terms in order to secure general consent. But this 
was not only an oligarchic age but one threatened by Revo- 
lution, in which the people were a danger te be suppressed, and 
the peasant must be content with his hard lot. The chief, 
indeed the mam, thing to be overcome was the separate Irish 
Parliament, the citadel of the Protestant ascendancy, from 
which the King's viceroy distributed a rich and unceasing 
stream of jobs, pensions, offices, and titles. It had to be simply 
bought out. Had it been a body elected under a general fran- 
chise, to bribe its electors would have been almost impossible, 
and it is certain that their consent could have not been got 
otherwise. But it was not so, and the corrupt state of parlia- 
ment within and the limited number of voters outside enabled 
the Union to be successfully carried. It proved the former 
contention of Grattan, Flood, and Tone that only by Reform 
could the Constitution of '82 be made safe and permanent. 

As it was, the majority of its 300 members could be bought 
out by present bribes or future prospects. Buying out the 'fee 
simple of Irish corruption' was a costly business, but money 
could be found for it. Outside forces had at least to be con- 
sidered or propitiated. The Irish Parliament had made the 
country prosperous by paternal legislation and the whole 
system of protective acts and bounties. Hence the merchant 
and manufacturer class was against the Union, unless it could 


be shown that they would benefit by full admission through 
Empire trade and free commerce with Great Britain. The 
Bar was also pro-Ireland, for great and many emoluments 
flowed from the separate judiciary which the Kingdom of 
Ireland maintained. All these forces could pull strings and 
offer great obstruction. But the Roman Catholics, though 
numbers of them had recently been admitted to the franchise, 
had almost no political power or influence; yet they were the 
majority and regarded themselves as the Old Irish nation. 
Their admission to full citizen rights had been one of the 
burning questions for thirty years, and it was recognized by all 
to be only a matter of time. Pitt, Castlereagh, and Comwallis 
proposed to win them over to the Union by the undertaking 
that this measure would be followed by full emancipation in 
a united parliament. Horrified by the Rebellion and strongly 
anti-French, their bishops, clergy, and upper classes turned a 
favourable ear to what were mere promises which they might 
have insisted should form part of the actual Act of Union. As 
for the lower classes, they were beaten and cowed, nor, under 
the undemocratic system of the time, need such non-voters 
be considered. The separate Irish parliament could hardly be 
expected to swamp itself by the admission of Catholics and 
Dissenters, and only in a British Parliament would total 
emancipation be both possible and safe. Pitt and Comwallis 
were sincere in wishing that emancipation, should follow the 
Union, so that it might be 'a Union not with a party but with 
the Irish nation', which both had vision enough to see was 
mainly outside parliament. But Clare did not wish it so, and 
this adamant personality prevailed, at the cost of robbing the 
Union of all its national and statesmanlike appeal. Indeed one 
may go further and say that the Union was made from this 
point of view a shameful breach of faith, perhaps even worse 
than the Treaty of Limerick. 

The Irish Parliament met for its last session on January 22nd 
1799. Cornwallis brought forward the proposal for a Union, 
but when the debate on the Address came up the patriot 
remnant, Grattan, Plunket, and others, were joined by Sir 
John Parnell and other former Government supporters, and 
Sir Laurence Parsons's motion against the Union was carried 


by 109 votes to 104. Cornwallis, however, was determined not 
to spare men either on the right hand or the left. He at once 
dismissed Parnell, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Fitz- 
gerald, Prime Serjeant; on the other hand, he purged the Irish 
Cabinet of its reactionaries and the government became in 
fact himself, Castlereagh, and Clare. Pitt thus had an un- 
yielding trio in power in Ireland, and it was announced that 
the proposal of a Union would be pressed on, no matter how 
often defeated, till it were carried. In the British House of 
Commons in February he carried resolutions for a Union, his 
arguments being the unsatisfactory settlement of 1782-1783, 
as illustrated by the Regency and other disputes, the necessity 
of a united front against France, the danger of the Protestant 
establishment in Ireland being overthrown, and the impossi- 
bility of full emancipation for the Roman Catholics except in 
a united legislature. On the British side the Union was carried 
by a great majority. On the Irish, however, a prolonged re- 
sistance held it up for a year, and its opponents had to be worn 
down or bought out. Placemen still numbered seventy-two; 
if loyal to Ireland they could be dismissed. The owners of 
eighty-four pocket or decayed boroughs might oppose the 
Union, but if they were offered compensation for this loss of 
property and influence they might prefer their pockets to then- 
nation and their honour. The House of Lords offered no 
resistance to speak of, and when twenty-eight members of 
Parliament who were given peerages for their votes climbed up 
to it, they swamped it for the government. 

Offices, pensions, threats of dismissal further helped to 
secure the majority, and the unbought members opposed in 
vain. The buying-out of the rest, as if the national parliament 
belonged to them, makes one of the most unpleasing pictures 
in history and disgusted even Cornwallis and those who did the 

Parliament was prorogued in June 1799, and in the months 
that followed offers to public opinion outside was one of the 
concerns of government. The Catholics were sounded, and 
their aristocratic leaders, such as Lords Kenmare and Fingall, 
readily said 'Yes*. To the Roman clergy the government gave 


what amounted to a promise that immediately upon the Union, 
though not forming part of the actual treaty, the Imperial 
government would offer a State provision for the clergy, along 
with the regulation of episcopal elections, and commutation 
of tithes. Thus Cornwallis endeavoured 'to give them the 
most favourable impression of the measure' without binding 
engagements, for the consent of the King and the British 
cabinet would have to be secured. At Maynooth in January 
1799 a meeting of the bishops under Dr. Troy passed resolutions 
accepting the offer of State provision and admitting the right 
of the government in return to confirm the papal election of 
bishops and the appointment of the parish priests. To the 
Catholic laity was thrown out the prospect of admission to the 
Union parliament. They, however, were less complaisant than 
the bishops, for they represented an ancient nation, not only a 
Church, and the Dublin Catholics at a meeting in the Exchange 
declared as one man that the Union would mean the extinction 
of Ireland's liberty and denounced as a calumny the imputation 
that they could be induced to sacrifice the independence of 
their country. An impressive young barrister called Daniel 
O'Connell here made his maiden speech and passionately 
declared that he would sooner have the Penal laws back than 
lose the national parliament. 

Apart from the Catholics and the ruling class there was a 
large Protestant population which was not so easily bought 
or intimidated and which was clearly in a majority against 
the Union. But 'the Will of the People* was a doctrine 
out of fashion and no suggestion was made that the Union 
should be submitted for approval to the whole nation. Indeed 
Pitt would not even consider having a general election and the 
return of a new parliament on this great issue. In the Commons 
Grattan's liberal remnant was reinforced by conservatives 
such as Parnell and Foster, proud of the Protestant constitu- 
tion of '82, while outside parliament the Bar, the Dublin 
Catholics, and even the Orange order showed great hostility. 
But free expression of opinion and still more public indignation 
was hardly possible, for Ireland was held down by 100,000 
troops. The Rebellion had failed; the United Irish Society, 
though thousands secretly belonged to it, was a broken force; 


and the brutal victors in the late civil war did not mean to 
permit public meetings. Inside the House all that Grattan 
and his party could say or do did not avail to shake the 
ministerial intention. When Parliament met on January r5th 
1800, the government was certain of its majority. Creations 
and promotions in the peerage amounted to forty-eight, the 
buying out of the pocket boroughs was to cost 1,260,000, 
and office-holders were to get compensation for their lost jobs. 

On September 5th 1800 Castlereagh outlined the proposals 
of the Union. Ireland was to be represented in the Imperial 
parliament by a hundred members and in the House of Lords 
by thirty-two peers. The Churches of England and Ireland 
were to be united and the Anglican establishment in Ireland 
to be maintained. The viceregal office and courts of Law were 
to remain. As regards trade, there was to be free commerce 
between both countries and the full trade of the Empire was 
opened to Ireland, but certain bounties, as for example on linen, 
were to be retained in the interests of Ireland. As regards 
imperial contributions, Ireland was to share for twenty years 
in the general expenses of the Empire in the proportion of 
two to fifteen, after which the matter should be re-opened. 
During that time she was to retain her Exchequer and a 
separate National Debt. All members of the united parlia- 
ment were to take the oath which excluded Roman Catholics. 
But the forty-shilling freehold in the counties and the vote in 
the boroughs, as restored to the Catholics in 1793, was main- 
tained. On June 7th the Bill was carried on a third reading, 
this time by 153 to 88, and on August 1st it received the royal 

The dramatic protests of the last scenes have often been 
described. Grattan's lament for the Constitution that he more 
than other men had created was a noble piece of eloquence, 
mingled with hope for the nation that yet outlasted it: 'Yet 
I do not give up my country. I see her in a swoon but she is 
not dead; though in her tomb she lies helpless and motionless, 
still on her lips is the spirit of life and on her cheeks the glow 
of beauty.' It was a fine dirge for the Irish Protestant nation 
which he at least had striven to broaden and make real by the 


admission of representatives of every creed. Yet the after- 
thought remains that this nation of a minority, for all its 
merits and in spite of all it did for Ireland, was from first to 
last an upper-class oligarchy based on a particular creed and 
not even representing the whole of it. To secure the Union, 
Pitt had to buy it out, and whatever he might say in the 
English parliament he knew in his heart that the Union was 
not 'a treaty between the two nations'. It has certainly never 
been regarded so in Ireland, and with calm judgment one 
may say that had it not been a time of rebellion followed by 
a military terrorism the Union, even if attempted, would 
not have succeeded. Pitt and Cornwallis were English gentle- 
men who did not relish the way the Rebellion was crushed or 
the Union carried, but Fitzgibbon unblushingly justified it all. 
They intended to complete the Union by making good their 
promises to the Catholics. Early in 1801, after the Union was 
safe, Pitt proposed to the King on behalf of the ministry and 
as part of the Union measures the admission of the Catholics 
to parliament, with the removal of tests for office, and State 
provision and regulation for the Roman Catholic bishops and 
clergy. George's dull and obstinate mind was now constantly 
on the verge of insanity and it was his fixed idea that consent 
to Catholic emancipation would constitute a breach of his 
coronation oath. He was now strengthened in this opinion 
by the Chancellor, Lord Loughborough, a member of the 
Cabinet but an enemy of Pitt, but Fitzgibbon had already 
made up his mind for him in 1795. He answered Pitt at once 
that his coronation oath prevented him from discussing such 
a proposition, 'which tended to destroy the groundwork of our 
happy constitution*. To oppose the King's will was not 
merely a ticklish matter but it might throw him off his mental 
balance again. So Pitt dropped the subject and sent the King 
an assurance that during his Majesty's reign he would never 
again raise the Catholic question. In this way Catholic eman- 
cipation, which should have been carried in 1793, was nearly 
carried in 1795, and was distinctly promised in 1799, was 
dropped till 1829. It added to the many great lost oppor- 
tunities of Irish history, the things not done when they should 
have been done and then done too late for any gratitude. 


Pitt's memory must bear most of the blame. He had not 
pledged his whole cabinet on the question, he had not con- 
sulted or informed the King sufficiently and so had roused the 
dull old monarch's stubborn pride. Yet he was England's 
political master and could still have carried the day. When 
George raised the objection that his coronation oath in 
conscience bound hi to maintain the established religion 
and the disabling acts, Pitt might well have answered that 
Parliament, which had in 1689 imposed this oath on the 
King, could also in 1800 relieve him from it. But the hopes 
of Ireland and the rights of her people had to be abandoned 
because of the stupid prejudice of a King, because of English 
party politics, and because of Protestant dominance and 
gentlemanly agreements 'to drop things' in Downing Street. 
It was a lesson that Ireland had painfully to learn over and 
over again in the course of the next century. 


WITH the Union the Kingdom of Ireland as vested in 
the Monarchy and Parliament since 1540 came to an 
end, the separate government by the King, Lords, 
and Commons of Ireland ceased, and the political connexion 
with England was expressed legally as the United Kingdom of 
Great Britain and Ireland. With the separate Crown passed 
away the nobility and aristocratic rule, for there was no 
reason for noblemen's seats in the capital bnce the legislature 
had departed. Only the office and name of Viceroy, a Privy 
Council, a number of necessary officials, the Established 
Church, and a judiciary left complete and imposing, remained to 
tell of the former Kingdom of Ireland. For Dublin the change 
meant one from a prosperous and stately capital to that of a 
dull provincial city with a stagnant trade. Parliament House 
became the new Bank of Ireland and the splendid insignia and 
trappings of the two Houses the perquisites of former peers and 
officials. Of the stirring age from 1780 onwards most of 
the chief actors had gone, and the death of Clare in 1802 
removed the principal author of the change, but Grattan still 
urged the Catholic cause in the united Parliament. 

The Union had not been a treaty made with the Irish people, 
and even had it been so the national sense would probably 
have resented it later. But the failure to carry out on the 
British side the promises that were made to the Catholic 
majority deprived it of its greatest argument from the first. 
Indeed the history of the next forty years is simply a commen- 
tary on the fact that the British Crown, the ministries, and the 
parties at Westminster were averse to, or by the party game 
chose not to satisfy, Ireland's just expectations. These promises 
which took so long to fulfil had embraced full Catholic 
emancipation, State provision for the Catholic clergy, and the 
settlement of the Tithe question, thus offering hopes to the 
Catholic upper and middle classes and even to the peasantry. 



Ireland was now a nation of 4k mill 10118 , of whom more than 
half lived in poor habitations with only one hearth and 
existed mainly on potatoes, but it was a race which felt itself 
an ancient nation, and in spite of two centuries of oppression 
was naturally high-spirited and intelligent. The 'predominant 
partner', England, now had on her hands a problem greater 
than before. Would rule from Westminster prove better than 
rule from College Green? Would the Imperial government be 
content with merely having solved the danger of a possibly 
independent Ireland or would the wisdom of her rulers and the 
conscience of her people seek to lift Ireland out of all those 
injustices which could be directly traced to English mis- 
government? The aristocratic and unreformed government 
of England lasted till 1832 and at least in this period settled 
the Catholic question. After the Reform act of 1832 the 
great middle class of England got their share of political power 
but the common people not till 1867 and 1884. Unfortunately 
the strong Protestant prejudice of the middle and even of the 
upper class was stubbornly opposed to the Catholic spirit of 
Ireland, though it could be generous enough in money charity 
at periods of famine and distress. -The_House of Lords, a far 
more formidable barrier, also now appeared as the great 
enemy of Irish demands and continued for a century to 
impose its veto on Bills passed by the lower House on the 
three great questions of the land, the Established Church, and 
the restoration of Irish self-government. 

Out of a total membership of some 660 the Irish members 
in the Union House of Commons were 100 and were thus in 
a permanent minority. For nearly thirty years, except for 
such men as Grattan, they were not representative of the 
unprivileged classes in Ireland, and it was not till a great party 
leader arose in O'Connell that the tactical advantage of a 
pledged Irish party in Parliament was realized. 

The insurrection of Robert Emmet in 1803 was a belated 
flash out of the failure of '98 and a protest of a young Protes- 
tant idealist of the same calibre as Wolfe Tone and the United 
Irishmen, among whom his own brother Thomas Addis had 
been prominent. Rebellion under the circumstances could 
only be a protest, for Ireland was still held down by a large 


army and by an Insurrection Act. The young hero's death 
on the scaffold, the moving verses written on Tn'm by his friend 
Thomas Moore, and the idealism of the whole affair places it 
in the realm of poetry and tragic romance rather than politics, 
but as a solemn sacrifice the execution of Emmet has had 
an effect on Irish political sentiment far beyond that of any 
act of Parliament or political event. 

Under the dull rule of Lord Hardwicke and the Duke of 
Bedford, Ireland was a very dead country which it was the 
main aim of government to keep down by the Convention act, 
the suspension of Habeas Corpus, and the Coercion acts which 
make the melancholy story that from 1796 to 1823 only four 
or five years were of normal civil government. The justifica- 
tion was the simmering of armed revolt following on '98 and 
the continued agrarian disorder and crimes of the White-boys, 
'Shanavests', 'Caravats', and other peasant bodies protesting 
against tithes, rents, and then- other oppressions. Pitt died 
in 1806, having done nothing on the Catholic question; though 
admitting the justice of a Catholic petition, he could only 
reply, 'Time must always enter into questions of expediency/ 
English statesmen, whose country was in a more static condi- 
tion, could not be made to understand the urgency of Irish 
questions, and this alone was a bad omen for the Union. It 
can hardly be doubted that the best government for Ireland 
for the time would have been a firm, autocratic, just, and 
reforming administration, continuous and independent of 
party politics, and addressing itself mainly to the needs of the 
depressed population. 

Of the three Churches traditional in Ireland, only the 
Established Protestant one was highly endowed and controlled 
by the State and formed what men like Castlereagh called and 
valued as 'an ecclesiastical aristocracy'. The Presbyterian 
had for a century received a modest endowment called the 
Regiwn donwn of some 2,000 or 3,000 yearly, but this had 
done little to win the loyalty of their body and a number of 
theu: ministers had been implicated in 1798 and one even 
publicly executed. The failure of the Rebellion and the 
religious note that had been given to it had left the 'Presby- 
terians depressed and disillusioned over the union of all 


Irishmen irrespective of religion. In 1802 the government 
increased the Regium donum very considerably and in future 
payments were made to Presbyterian ministers, on scales 
ranging from 50 to 100, paid directly from the State if the 
government were satisfied of the particular minister's loyalty. 
Thus were the clergy of the Presbyterian Church to be made 
a second 'ecclesiastical aristocracy' and weaned for good from 
all disloyalty. For all that, democratic sentiment and a 
desire for religious equality continued to be strong in the 
.North, where the Dissenters also had their own disabilities, 
the Roman Catholic Church of the vast majority alone now 
depended on its flocks for maintenance, but at the time of the 
Union offers had been made of State provision along with 
Government regulation of episcopal appointments. The 
bishops, who were conservative and loyal, were well disposed, 
but the laity, as represented by Daniel O'Connell, were opposed 
to seeing their Church also harnessed to the State, and the new 
type of priesthood, educated at Maynooth instead of on the 
Continent, felt themselves too much at one with their people 
and their anti-English sentiments to wish to be made dependent 
on the government rather than on the people. This proved 
itself a stumbling-block in the way of Catholic Emancipation. 

After the death of Pitt, emancipation was taken up again, 
and in 1807 Daniel O'Connell appeared as the dominant figure 
in a new Catholic Association. The great question was urged 
over and over again in Parliament. The Irish bishops seemed 
ready to accept the principle of a government Veto on episcopal 
appointments by the Pope, and acting upon this Grattan in 
1808 presented a Catholic petition which the House rejected. 
But later in that year and in 1810 the Irish bishops refused 
the Veto proposal and this delayed emancipation, for Grattan 
and his supporters thought it fair that the Crown should have 
a control over the papal appointments. Grattan's bill of 1813, 
which gave all the later rights of 1829, practically passed, but 
when Canning got the royal Veto inserted in it, Grattan 
disclaimed it and the BUI dropped. In 1814 Monsignor 
Quarantotti, head of Propaganda and acting for the Pope in 
Rome, declared for the Veto, but was denounced by O'Connell. 


who said, 'How dismal the prospect of liberty would be if in 
every Catholic diocese there were an active partisan of the 
Government and in every Catholic parish a priest as an active 
informer.' The Veto question was thus defeated, at the cost 
of alienating from O'Connell, Lord Fingall and the Catholic 
peers in Ireland and Grattan in Parliament. The latter 
continued, however, 'with a desperate fidelity* to serve the 
Catholic cause till his death in 1820. O'Connell was making 
an Ireland very different from the Whig, aristocratic, and 
rational eighteenth century that Grattan had adorned. Never- 
theless to the nationalists of his time, such as the poet Moore, 
Grattan was the noblest figure in the great age that had now 
ended. He had written of himself in 1810 the best tribute that 
could be paid him: 'I hope I shall now as at all other times 
prove myself an Irishman, that Irishman whose first and last 
passion was his native country/ 

In jfii5 the final overthrow of Napoleon brought to an end 
the great Revolutionary age that had begun in 1792. The 
reactionary monarchies were restored all over Europe and a 
period of unsteady peace set in, but in spite of the Grand 
Alliance of emperors and kings middle-class revolutionary or 
reforming temper was soon to be found everywhere. In 
Ireland as in England economic distress set in, for the Corn 
laws had brought agricultural prosperity with high rents and 
prices for landlords and fanners, and Ireland had done well out 
of the high prices prevalent in war. But the slump that follows^ 
a war brought about a fall in the price of wheat, a return to 
pasture, and unemployment for the peasant population which, 
already large, was increasing fast. Agrarian discontent 
expressed itself in crime and disorder and was suppressed by 
Coercion acts, while at the same time an army of 25,000 men 
garrisoned Ireland. A Bill of 1816 made easier still the already 
great powers which landlords had in Ireland for the ejectment 
of tenants in arrears of rent. In 1817 there was a partial^ 
famine and another in 1822, due to the failure of the 
potatoesT and England generously subscribed jhree-quarters 
of a million pounds in charity. But Ireland needed, more 
lasting remedies. 


In 1817 the two Exchequers were amalgamated, according 
to the terms of the Union. In 1793 the Irish National Debt 
was but 2j million pounds, but by 1817 it was 113 millions, 
for Ireland had to bear as a separate debt all the costs of the 
troubled times of rebellion and her contribution in the great 
war. Henceforth the National Debt was one for the whole of 
these islands, but it is certain that so poor a country as Ireland 
bore too much of the burden. 

Until Q'Connell became 'the Uncrowned Jing* of Ireland 
and until some nobler action froSTEngSnd could happen, a 
strong ascendancy spirit prevailed in the ruling class and 
magistracy of Ireland, who thought themselves the victors in 
the late rebellion, and the Orange order was widely spread 
over all the provinces. In Parliament, Plunket succeeded 
Grattan in the advocacy of the Catholic cause, and in February 
1821 his resolutions in favour of Emancipation passed the 
House of Commons, but they contained the Veto clause to 
which O'Connell was obstinately opposed. In any case the 
House of Lords rejected the Bill, and this was the first case of 
their obstruction to a necessary Irish measure which was to 
continue for nearly a hundred years. Later in the year a royal 
visit of George IV to Ireland was the first sight of a king that 
Ireland had had since the Boyne. It aroused great enthusiasm, 
but unhappily neither j George nor his successors William IV 
and Victoria had a genuine, as distinguished from an official, 
soIidtiScie for Ireland. In the generajhieglect of Ireland there 
was nothing for it but agitation in the country itself to stir the 
official government into action. 

The Catholic Association was suppressed in 1812 under the 
Convention act of 1796, and a mild 'Catholic Board' took its 
place which was divided on the question of the Veto, on which 
the Catholic gentry were on one side and O'Connell and the 
priesthood on the other. In 1823, however, a real forward 
body appeared in the 'Catholic Association of Ireland', led by 
O'Connell and Sheil. O'Connell, a clever lawyer, saw to it that 
it escaped coming under the Convention act by not dairning 
to be a representative body of delegates. Pledged to obtain 
emancipation by legal and constitutional measures, and 


confining itself to petitions and correspondence, the Association 
had members paying a modest annual subscription and a body 
of supporters throughout Ireland, where collectors in every 
parish collected what was called the 'Catholic Rent' of poor 
supporters at a penny per month. The movement spread like 
the heather alight, and with the funds thus raised the Catholic 
cause could be advanced in the newspapers in both countries, 
popular opinion formed, and the unjust proceedings of land- 
lords and Orangemen contested in the courts. 

plConneUy-the son of a small Catholic landlord in Kerry, 
a native speaker of Irish, a man of tall and commanding 
presence with a magnificent voice which tens of thousands 
could hear, a born organizer of open-air mass meetings and 
party conventions, and a sincere though not bigoted son of the 
people's religion, was destined to bring a totajHy new sgirit into 
Irish affairs. Emancipation to the upper and middle classes 
meant admission to the army, parliament, government, and 
professions, but to the masses it meant the liberation of 
the peasant from local tyranny. For the ignorant, ill-used, 
and Gaelic-speaking masses of the Irish people, a new Moses 
arose who was neither of the Court, the government, the parlia- 
ment, nor the Protestant ascendancy. The law had for ages done 
nothing for the poor earth-tiller, in fact it had continued to 
make his lot even harder, and now it was realized that deliver- 
ance could only be looked for in forming into mass to overbear 
the law and the government. The people found a national 
hero such as they had not had since Sarsfield, and him and his 
condemnation of disorder and vengeance they obeyed, though 
Insurrection acts could not make them do so. In the Catholic 
Association they found popular amateur tribunals whose 
decisions they obeyed as they would not obey the State courts. 
In the former century Dean Swift and the liberal Protestant 
Grattan had first stirred their hope or at least their interest. 
Wolfe Tone and his Protestant republican idealists, had the 
rebellion been effective, would certainly have been followed 
into battle by great masses of the Gaelic peasantry. But these 
men were not of their own religion or class, and in O'Connell 
they found a man who could speak to their hearts. O'Connell 
was indeed no friend to the Gaelic past, and though he could 


and often did address crowds in Irish he told them that the 
old language was a barrier to modern progress. 

He believed in Ireland a Nation and the union of all Irishmen 
as much as Wolfe Tone, but he opposedj^bellion and force, 
expressed sincere loyalty to the Crown, and statecTthat Irish 
freedom was not worth the shedding ol a single drop of blood. 
Up to this time the masses of the Old Irish knew nothing of 
the English Crown, of politics or parliaments; they harboured 
old poetic ideas of a Stuart return and later hopes of a French 
invasion, and meanwhile did their best to defy the law and 
seek redress in secret societies. Such Gaelic songs and verses 
as survive of '98 have the old note of a leaderless and depressed 
nation which was still monarchic and aristocratic in feeling, 
Gaelic in speech, and ready to fight the old fight in arms again. 
Under O'Connell they were led into new ways of English speak- 
ing, of "party" politics, with the Catholic sentiment dominant, 
and of leadership by political organizers and parish priests. 
The Protestant aristocrat, the middle-class Liberal, and even 
the Catholic peer and bishop lost that leadership which they 
had in fact only half-heartedly attempted. The Union with 
England and the difficulty of securing redress from distant 
Westminster unfortunately made politics necessary in Ire- 
land and turned the eyes of the race for a whole century 
towards England until politics became a passion to which 
true nationalism was sacrificed. 

O'Connell once declared that 'nations have been driven mad 
by oppression', but he taught Ireland to trust to methods 
which no army could be called on to suppress. In 1825 
Parliament passed a Suppression act which ended the Catholic 
Association, but by skilful reorganization it emerged as a new 
'constitutional' society whose first object was to 'promote 
concord among all classes of Irishmen'. Its strength was soon 
put to the test on the emancipation question. The Catholics 
had got the vote in 1793 and there were now 100,000 forty- 
shUling freeholders in the counties, but as they were practically 
the slaves of their landlords they generally voted as they were 
told. But at the Waterford election in 1826 Lord George 
Beresford, whose family owned a large part of the county, 
was to bis surprise and indignation rejected in favour of a 


liberal Protestant, Villiers Stuart. It was a sign that the 
feudal bond, which rested on fear more often than affection, 
was weakening. 

In 1828 the Duke of Wellington became Prime Minister with 
Sir Robert Peel as Chief Secretary for Ireland. Emancipation 
seemed bound to come, though it had the Crown, the House of 
Lords, and great public opinion in Britain against it, but it 
was made inevitable here and now by the Clare election of 
July 1828, where O'Connell was elected on the limited franchise 
of the time by 2,o37~votes to 982 tas~t for Vesey FitzGerald. 

This remarkable victory had been wrested from a whole 
official opposition by a leader who owed almost nothing to 
the ascendancy, by a priesthood who wished to owe nothing 
to the State and who had moved through the ranks of the 
voters urging on them that it was a fight for the Faith, and by 
a disciplined and sober crowd of small fanners who had long 
been helots, but now under the teaching of the 'Liberator' 
dared to have 'a public mind and a public spirit'. The Parlia- 
mentary declaration of 1692 still barred the victor, but it was 
clear that Ireland's cause was won. In March 1829 Peel 
proposed the abolition of tests for office and parliament, and 
Wellington, remembering that he was an Irishman too, 
declared the only alternative was civil war. In April the 
Emancipation bill passed the House of Lords, which, like the 
Crown, had to yield to such a solemn warning, but, with a 
display of that niggling and half-measures spirit which was 
long to spoil such concessions, Peel saw to it i^hat. the_forty- 
Shijjing freeholders were deprived of the vote 4 and the franchise 
rjusfid. tp ten pounds. The Catholic Association was also 
dissolved. Nevertheless the Constitution was at last opened 
to the loyal upper-class Catholics of England and Ireland, 
reserving in Protestant hands the Monarchy and the offices 
of Regent, Lord Lieutenant, and Chancellor of England. A 
new oath of allegiance displaced the former declarations, and 
the removal of the Sacramental test for Parliament finally 
emancipated Protestant Dissenters. But while the law now 
opened public and municipal posts to Catholics and others, 
admission to them was controlled by a caste which was 


reluctant to share them, and it was long before the majority 
could secure their share in public jobs from the hands of the 
ascendancy which had been in the saddle since 1660. 

On the death of George IV in 1830 the Whigs came in after 
an exclusion of fifty years, and Lord Grey's Reform act of 
1832 began a middle-class age in England, which, however, 
with its strong Protestant and Anglo-saxon prejudice was 
scarcely a better friend to Ireland than aristocracy had been. 
A Reform act was passed for Ireland which gave the parlia- 
mentary vote to 10 householders in towns, and in the counties 
to 10 freeholders and leaseholders of 20 and upwards. 
Attempts to settle the Tithe question and to reform the 
Established Church, which, it had to be admitted, was only 
the Church of a minority, failed and gave more^argurnent to 
O'Connell's demand for the Repeal of the Union which was 
13s nexfgfeat cause. In 1831 Chief Secretary Stanley intro- 
duced a system of National Education to meet the popular 
need and the Catholic demand for religious instruction. The 
system became a great success as an educational one, but it 
had fatal effects on the Irish language and the old Gaelic 
tradition. According to Thomas Davis, at this time the vast 
majority of the people living west of a line drawn from Derry 
to Cork spoke nothing but Irish daily and east of it a con- 
siderable minority. It seems certain that at least two millions 
used it as their fireside speech, and those of us who remember 
the old generation in the West who were born before the 
Famine cannot doubt that they had a great and tenacious 
affection for the ancient language. But the institution of 
universal elementary schools where English was the sole 
medium of instruction, combined with the influence of O'Con- 
nell, many of the priests, and other leaders who looked on Irish 
as a barrier to progress, soon made rapid inroads on the native 
speech and helped to extinguish that old 'Clanna Gael' pride 
and isolation which the mixed Norman-Irish race had long 

The boasted 'Age of Reform' was slow to do anything really 
to appease Ireland. But at last some of the inevitable 
advance took place under the ministry of Lord Melbourne 
(1835-1841), during which the young and attractive Queen 


Victoria succeeded her absurd old uncle William IV. A 
Municipal Reform act in 1840 abolished the picturesque and 
ancient bulTcorrtlpt governing bodies of our greater towns and 
provided a uniform constitution with a popular electorate. 
The ascendancy had so far taken care to exclude Catholics 
from office and freedom, but before long the latter soon began 
to rule in their ancient cities and O'Connell became the first 
Catholic mayor of Dublin for two centuries. 

The Tithe question, which Grattan had first raised in 1787, 
had been for long beyond all endurance, and a strike of peasant 
Ireland, encouraged by the writings of Bishop Doyle, had now 
made it impossible for these taxes to be collected. In the 
course of this 'Tithe war' several armed encounters took place, 
and at Carrickshock in Kilkenny in 1831 the police were routed 
and eighteen of them killed. At last in 1838 a far from generous 
Tithe act, which merged this exaction in the rent, removed 
an old grievance out of politics. In 1838 a Poor Relief act 
gave Ireland for the first time a system of poor law ancl 
extended here the dreary and degrading workhouse system 

reCftntly Rfif "p 1>n " ^"g 1 "^ Tt waa nf rnnrgp a had +imp far 

the poor, whether deserving or not and whether English or 
Irish, a tune too when if property was assailed in Ireland the 
propertied classes in the sister-country would certainly rush 
to its assistance. 

For the first time since the Union an 'Irish party' now 
appeared in parliament, due to the Reform act, led by O'Con- 
nell, and holding the balance between Whigs and Tories. In 
return for O'Connell's support and promise to help in Ireland, 
Melbourne for five years did his best to conciliate the country 
in spite of the miserable give-and-take of the party game. 
Lord Mulgrave, a noble-minded Viceroy, saw to it that Catho- 
lics and Protestants, rich and poor, were treated as equal 
before the law, that the Orange spirit was discouraged, and 
Catholics got a share in government and legal jobs. For this 
policy, which met with the bitter opposition of landlords and 
ascendancy men, a rare and upright minister was found in a 
Scotsman, Thomas Drummond, under-secretary to Mulgrave, 
a splendid administrator, fearless and just and inspired with 
a deep sympathy for the poor, But his task was made easier 


by the instructions given by the adored .O'Connell to the 
j>eople to keep quiet and trust to the law. 
"Tie country had in fact since 1796 been under a terrorism 
which survived both the Rebellion, the Union, and Emancipa- 
tion, a terrorism La which the normal ascendancy was rein- 
forced by an Orange bigotry which meant to keep the power 
in Protestant hands in spite of emancipation and to make 
rebels and 'Croppies' (for so they called the discontented) Tie 
down', as their song ran. This menace did much to justify 
O'ConneU's banding of the long-dispirited Irish majority and 
the fighting of the Catholic and peasant cause in every arena 
except the battle-field. But while he declared that federated 
Orangemen were regarded by the people as enemies and 
exterminators, he added: "The Liberal Protestant is an object 
of great affection and regard from the entire Catholic popu- 

For the first time now and, in a sense, for good, the terrorism 
was broken by Mulgrave, Drummond, the Attorney-general 
Perrin, and the Irish administration. The new police force, 
called the Royal Irish Constabulary, whose ranks were filled 
with native Irishmen, became a force of high efficiency for 
keeping order, though indeed it was more like an army, and 
later was used for eviction purposes and as the first line for 
suppressing rebellion. The Orange Order, which numbered 
125,000 men, became discredited even though a royal duke 
commanded it, and was broken up in 1837, and not revived till 
1845. The magistracy and local government were opened to 
Catholics and purged of party taint. On the other hand, the 
faction-fights, which showed what wild and lawless blood still 
survived in the old Milesian peasantry, were suppressed. To 
this appeasement contributed a noble friar, Father Mathew, 
whose Temperance crusade had marvellous, though unhappily 
temporary, results in weaning the people from the drinking 
habit which was common among all classes. 

The highly endowed State Church remained one of those 
rusty chains which must be burst asunder if justice was to 
prevail for all Irishmen, and, while the Orange Order wanted to 
keep it intact, Catholics and Presbyterians were united against 
it. But Landlordism in the form it had assumed in Ireland 


was the mnri* palling chain of. rwryHsqr lifn. -A: French 
inquirer, Gustave de Beaumont, who visited us at this time, 
wrote that though he had seen the Red Indian in his forests 
and the negro in his chains, in Ireland he had seen 'the very 
extreme of human wretchedness'. Part of the genius of 
O'Connell lay in enlisting enlightened and liberal opinion in 
Europe on his side. There he was far more admired as a states- 
man and champion of liberty than in England, yet there were 
plenty of honest men hi England too who admired and aided 
the Irish fight. Drummond was a type of this friend of Ireland, 
but when in 1837 he wrote to the Lord Lieutenant and grand 
jury of county Tipperary that peasant crime rose from peasant 
wrong and that 'property had its duties as well as its rights', 
he roused astonished indignation from the peopleTlnasters. 
Unfortunately bis early death in 1840, a bloodless martyr to 
this cause, removed a true friend of Ireland and left her to the 

There was to O'&mneH's mind the greatest chain of all left 
in the legislative union of Ireland and Great Britain, and while 
he was all against national separation he was now resolved to 
win back national independence. The Repeal of the Union 
filled the rest of his days, but the restoration of 'the Old House 
on College Green' was a greater task than two more generations 
of Irishmen by persuasion were able to achieve. 

On the defeat of Melbourne and return to power of the 
Tories (1841-1846) under Peel, the 'Liberator* resumed outside 
action and with his Repeal Association roused the people to 
tremendous fervour. 'Monster meetings' were attended by 
thousands marching in military array though without weapons 
to some point where their beloved 'Dan' swayed them with an 
extraordinary blend of eloquence over Ireland and vitriolic or 
humorous, though often coarse, attacks on her enemies. On 
the sacred Hill of Tara it is said a quarter million of people 
listened to him. The greatest meeting of all was to be at 
Clontarf on October 8th 1843, but the government prohibited 
it and O'Connell ordered the people to stop their march and 
disperse; they obeyed though many believed he meant there 
'to give them the word'. He and five others were next prose- 
cuted for conspiracy; they were condemned by a Protestant 


jury in Dublin, but the verdict was reversed in the House of 
Lords in September 1844. After such a failure O'Connell 
never recovered his unique leadership, and his magnificent 
health began to fail. 

Concessions to Ireland, however, of the minor order con- 
tinued, and in response to the demand for a popular university 
the 'Queen's colleges' were founded at Dublin, Cork, and 
Galway. But, being undenominational, they did not satisfy 
the Catholic prelates. And by now the great majority of the 
Irish people on the national question believed that the Union 
must go. How was this to be achieved? Ireland was destined 
to oscillate for a century between Repeal (in forms such as 
Federalism and Home Rule) to be won by consent with 
England, and Separation to be achieved by force. O'Connell 
had been the great advocate of the one method; a new genera- 
tion now appeared of 'physical force men' with the aims and 
the principles of '98. 

In 1842 the Nation newspaper was founded and the young 
men who wrote for it or surrounded it were called the 'Young 
Ireland Party'. Their leaders were mainly Protestants, 
inspired by the memory of the United Irishmen, with some 
Catholics such as Gavan Duffy. Among them Thomas Davis, 
a Trinity man, who died hi early manhood in September 1845, 
has left the most moving memory since Robert Emmet though 
he was not destined to see Ireland in arms. The Young 
Irelanders believed that the first and last aim was 'National 
independence', compared to which 'Irish grievances' on the 
one hand and 'concessions from England' on the other were 
minor points. They were full of the romantic liberal nationalism 
of the time which animated men like Garibaldi and Kosciusko. 
Only one of them, Fintan Lalor, put forward as the first 
essential the securing of the peasant's right to his land. While 
they stood for the principles of Wolfe Tone and also honoured 
Grattan, they drew their inspiration from far back hi Irish 
history and the Gaelic and Norman past, an inspiration 
expressed by the poet James Clarence Mangan and in the 
many stirring poems and ballads hi popular metres which 
circulated from the Nation into every village of the land. To 
a large extent it was a revival of the Gaelic, militant, and 


aristocratic spirit, and the cult of 'the Dark Rosaleen', formerly 
expressed in the native tongue but now poured into the new 
mould of the English language which was steadily spreading 
among the common people. 

At first Davis, John Mitchel, and the others of this party 
were willing to work with O'Connell, who naturally resented 
their arrival. But" O'Connell had against him not only the 
extreme Protestant spirit, which took the form of violent 
hatred, but the hostility or suspicion of the liberal Protestant 
element which either had stood by Grattan or disliked the 
Catholic aspect of O'ConnelTs crusade and the way he had 
wrested the leadership out of the hands of the landlords and 
the patriots of the former generation. 

Meanwhile Ireland was approaching the dreadful crisis of 
the 'Great Famine'. Her population in 1845 was about eight 
millions, of whom half were wretchedly poor and dependent on 
the potato for food, at a time when Ireland was intensely 
cultivated and some three-quarters of the soil was under wheat 
and other crops. The people depended almost entirely on the 
land without any outlet in industry, for the flourishing trades 
and industry of Ireland had since the Union suffered from the 
free import of English goods, manufactured under greater 
economic advantages, as well as from strikes and other local 
-troubles. The day's pay of an Irish agricultural labourer 
ranged from a shilling in the more prosperous North to eight- 
pence in the South, though at harvest eighteen-pence was 
usual. Undoubtedly the country was over-populated, or 
rather its population was not based upon a proper and healthy 
economic system. In 1843 the Devon Commission made _a 
report which, though it had no practical result, exposed the 
dangerously impoverished state of the people and the injustices 
of the landlord system. 'In England and Scotland', said the 
Duke of Newcastle, 'the landlords let farms, in Ireland they 
only let land', and the small farmer had been robbed of all 
tenant right. 

In September 1845 the potato blight appeared and it was 
not till 1848 that the Great Famine ended in complete ex- 
haustion. Peel was becoming., a Trade as 
against the Protection on which the wealth of Great Britain 


had been founded, and the state of Ireland was a final argu- 
ment. In January ^6 he introduced a Bill for the repeal of 
the Corn laws for both countries; it was carried and along 
with the repeal of the Navigation acts opened up the British 
isles to the import of cheap corn from America. O'Connell 
was not to see the great disaster that ended his crusade for he 
died at Genoa in May 1847, a stricken invalid on his way to 

Following on the failure of the potatoes a growing majority 
of the poor had to be kept alive by State aid or the private 
charity which came in generously from Great Britain and 
America. The Government retailed Indian meal from America 
at low prices and established relief works where starving men, 
if they had the strength, could earn ninepence or a shilling 
in the day and buy meal for their families. In the summer of 
1847 it was calculated that 3 millions were being kept ah' ve by 
public works or charity. The potato harvest, however, of that 
year was fairly good, and by March 1848 the worst was over. 
In the course of this dreadful visitation, by death from famine 
or fever or by emigration to America the population fell from 
over 8 minions toj6J, - The upward curve which had gone on 
.since the Corn Laws began suddenly fell and a steady decline 
set in, so that by 1881 the population wasonly some 5 millions. 
Whatever the landlords may have Seen before, most of them 
had now done what they could as individuals for their people, 
and it is said that one^tbjrd of them, emexgedjcuined. It was 
necessary for parliament in 1849 to pass an Encumbered 
Estates act allowing for the sale of the estates of ruined owners. 
Under this act great numbers of estates passed into new hands 
(the purchase-money by 1858 amounted to 23 million pounds) 
and great numbers of new landlords appeared, some of them 
English and Scotch, who, wishing to improve their estates, 
often evicted and ill-treated the tenants even more harshly 
than the landlords 'of the ould stock', whom the people often 
had cause to regret. But at least emigration relieved the 
pressure and diminished the number of tiny holdings, while 
day-wages slowly increased. 

The Famine, the worst event of itskjnd recorded in European 
history at a time ol peace, staggered the conscience of England 


on the Irish, question and caused CarlvJajto write some of his 
most burning pages. In Ireland it evoked sentiments ranging 
from indignation down to rebellion. Many asked why was not 
the abundant wheat and corn harvest used to feed the people, 
instead of its being sent to England which was its chief market, 
or otherwise used to pay landlords' rents? Some thought that 
a continued IrisJi parliament, resident in Dublin, would have 
seen that the people did not starve and that at least it could 
not have handled the situation worse. Others replied that 
after all Ireland had now the public wealth, capital, and 
charity of England at its back, which as a self-managing small 
country it could not have. Moderate men of the upper class 
such as Smith O'Brien, a landlord in Clare, pointed out in 
parliament the failure of the Union as regards Ireland, and 
that while time after time measures which would have passed 
an Irish parliament without difficulty were contemptuously 
rejected in the British,"coef ctve measures or Bills unacceptable 
to Ireland were forced upon her by large majorities. _JQie 
extreme wjjng of the Young Ireland party turned to the idea 
of arms. The events of the time seemed to give them hope, 
for 1848 was a year in which the French monarchy fell at last 
and other crowned heads had to fly from their capitals, and 
even the Chartist movement in England seemed encouraging. 
O'Brien, Meagher, and Dillon attempted a revolt in Minister 
but it proved a lamentable failure, and the only armed en- 
counter was at Ballingany in Tipperary between O'Brien and 
some half-armed peasants and a garrison of police on August 
5th 1848, in which a handful of rebels were killed or wounded. 
State trials followed, Smith O'Brien, Meagher, Duffy, and other 
leaders were condemned to death, but the sentences were 
commuted and they spent some years of imprisonment in 
Tasmania and elsewhere. Mitchel had already under a Treason 
Act been transported. This was the end of the Young Ireland 
party. In the next year Queen Victoria visited Ireland and 
received an enthusiastic welcome, but it was fifty years before 
she came over again, and nothing effective was done to make 
the monarchy popular and visible in the realm it had always 


SELDOM has a nation experienced so definite an ending- 
point and a starting-point in its history as Ireland had in 
the Great Famine. The Repeal movement, the insurrec- 
tionary and even the constitutional agitation spirit all suddenly 
collapsed. The country lay prostrate, and in the course of a 
few years the population declined by some two millions. 
Emigration to America set in with a vast and steady flow (in 
1852 there were two hundred and twenty thousand emigrants) 
andJXjrjjiniiJbig.ibiLthanejxisixjy years kept the population at 
home in a state of decline and made a greater Ireland in 
America of minions to whom Ireland has been either a passion- 
ate memory or an ancestral poetry. Those who emigrated did 
so for the most part at their own expense and in turn sent 
back the money for their relatives to follow them, so that the 
Irish in America have never felt gratitude to England even for 
that State-provided emigration which should have been an 
Imperial duty. Great numbers also crossed over into the 
English manufacturing towns or London. The support given 
by the Irish abroad in money to Irish political causes as well 
as to revolutionary agitation, and the way they have helped to 
make the Irish question a world one has been of momentous 

The departure of so manyjilowed what remained of, the old 
Irish race mqre room on their own soil and there set in a rapid 
decrease of the poorer cabin homes and an increase in the 
larger holdings, .But the repeal of the Corn Laws which 
permitted the free entry of cheap corn from abroad, though 
it did much good, was a blow to Irish tillage and meant that 
the land began to go back to pasture. There was thus less 
labour needed, and as there was none or little outlet of industry 
in the towns there was much distress on the land. The new 
landlords under the Encumbered Estates act were an 'im- 
proving' race and in many cases used the powers which the 



law gave them to dear off their tenants, s&-that the Famine 
was followed by a huge increase in evictions. This found 
retaliation in Ribbonism and continued agrarian combinations 
marked by much* crime and disobedience to the law, which 
again brought on Coercion acts or the suspension of Habeas 
Corpus. It was a dead time in politics, but the Land question 
was one of grim reality and was destined to be dominant for 
fifty years. 

The Great Famin^alsohad a fatajLeffect upon the^old 
GaeUeJanguage and tradition. Those who have talked with 
aged survivors of the times Before the famine understand what 
a change then took place in the numbers who spoke Irish and 
in the purity and richness with which it was spoken and the 
poetry and folklore that was embodied in it. The losses by 
famine, fever, and emigration were greatest among the cottar 
jdass and in the most Gaelic parts of the country. In Mayo 
and Kerry, for example, the population fell by over half. The 
small labourer type that in the eastern counties still spoke 
Irish was almost wiped out or ceased to find employment as 
tillage declined, and within fifty years county Meath, for 
example, ceased to be an Irish-speaking district. Though 
Munster and Connacht, Donegal, and other sea-board counties 
continued up to our times strongly native-speaking, the decline 
finally affected them also, and by 1900 it left only a few 
counties with a large Irish-speaking population. It is one of 
the hardest tasks of our modern Government to turn back the 
tide which has ebbed so strongly and suddenly in the language 
which dominated Ireland for two thousand years. The decay 
in the language was also aided by the use of English by political 
leaders, especially by the great O'Connell and the Young 
Ireland party. Political agitation had to be in English, for the 
eyes of Ireland were turned towards Westminster. It must be 
admitted that the Catholic Church of the majority of the Irish 
people has been indifferent, if not hostile, to the old tongue. 
A great attempt made from 1840 to 1850 to win over the Irish 
peasantry to the Established Church through the medium of 
then- own language failed in that object, but unfortunately 
struck a further blow at the language when the priests adjured 
the people to abandon it lest it should be the vehicle of their 


conversion. Strong as Nationalism has remained in Ireland, 
unfortunately the language has not been a vital part of the 
national cause, and the English language has become that of 
patriotism, politics, religion, and even of the fireside, among 
the great majority of the Irish race. 

An Irish Franchise act of 1850, though of a limited nature, 
raised the total electorate to some one hundred and sixty 
thousand voters and enabled an Irish party to hold together 
in Westminster, but it was not till after 1884 that practical 
manhood suffrage gave popular sentiment full play in politics. 
Remedies for the land laws in Ireland were obviously necessary 
but were barred by the general spirit of the age which believed 
in the sanctity of Property, a spirit which often regarded 
'tenant-right as landlord-wrong'. The propertied classes in 
both countries looked upon Irish agitation as a blow to the 
foundations of society, and the House of Lords could always 
put its jveto on measures for tenant relief. Yet, as Lord 
DufferaTshowed in the House of Lords, the 'new "landlords 
were harder masters than those of the old stock who, even if 
the tenant had little legal right, recognized customary and 
unwritten right. Now the tenantry had the right to ask 'that 
legal right under definite law should now become the substitute 
for equitable right under uncertain custom*. 

In 1850 the Tenant Right League was formed with the 
object of securing for the tenant fair rent and security from 
capricious evictiojajjut though at the General Election of 1852 
"ERe'teague returned a party of fifty to Parliament its three- 
years' agitation was a failure. Some dreary years followed in 
which agrarian outrage was constant and on the other hand 
the spirit of Orangeism which had now entrenched itself 
mainly in the North brought a new and invincible spirit of 
opposition into Irish politics. Such evictions on a large scale 
as those of the Adare estate of Glenveigh in Donegal in the 
winter of 1860-1861 added to the bitterness which was to 
culminate later in a Land war. In spite of many honourable 
exceptions and although many of them were of the old Gaelic, 
Norman, and Elizabethan stock the final verdict must be pro- 
nounced of the Irish landlord class that they were, as De 
Beaumont called them, une mauvaise aristocratic. 


A nobler, if for the time it seemed an impossible, spirit came 
into Ireland with the Fenian insurrectionary movement. The 
Irish Republican Brotherhood was founded in Dublin in 1858, 
and thousands of emigrants who fought in the American civil 
war pledged themselves to return and fight for Ireland. The 
Republican ideal had begun with the Protestant Wolfe Tone; 
it was now taken up by Catholic Irishmen and remained the 
other wing to the constitutional Home Rule movement up to 
our own times. The Fenians (whose name was derived from 
the famous 'Fianna' of Irish legend with their commander 
Finn MacCool) despised both constitutional agitation and 
'concessions from England' and set the old claim of National 
independence above all minor questions. Their newspaper, 
the Irish People, revived among the masses the ideal of Ire- 
land a nation, and in Stephens, O'Leary, O'Donovan Rossa, 
Kickham and their band were found romantic leaders. At 
the close of the American war the Fenians were numerous in 
Ireland and England, but the Government was able to crush 
insurrection without much trouble. In March 1867 the 
armed rising was a failure and though no blood-vengeance 
was enacted most of the leaders were sent to prison for 
life or long terms. The only victims of the law were three 
young Irishmen hanged for attempting the rescue of two 
Fenian prisoners hi Manchester in November 1867, in the 
course of which a policeman was shot dead. They are called 
The Manchester Martyrs'. Fenianism thus apparently failed 
but in fact it was destined to remain alive and have lasting con- 
sequence. It found its support rather among the labourers in 
the country and the thoughtful Irish-minded populace in the 
towns than among the farming class, and it was strongly 
opposed by the Catholic Church, but the manly ideal of a fight 
for Ireland and the stern, thoughtful, and disinterested charac- 
ter that marked their leaders entitle the Fenians to all respect. 

The two aspects of the national fight, Land and Home Rule, 
were to be the national passion from 1870 onwards, with Uni- 
versity education for the Catholics striking a minor note. The 
way was cleared by the disestablishment of the Church of 
Ireland in 1869. The highly-endowed State Church comman- 
ded the allegiance of only an eighth of the population, she had 


against her both the Romanist and Presbyterian elements, and 
though she claimed to be the ancient Church of Ireland with 
uninterrupted succession it had to be admitted that she had 
never been nor could be the Church of anything but a minority, 
even though that minority was powerful in the upper classes. 
In spite of her fine record in scholarship and learning and for 
the noble men she had produced it was clear that her claim to 
remain the national Church could not be supported, though it 
was secured by the Act of Union. Further, the age was 
making for justice to all classes of Irishmen, and the dises- 
tablishment of the State Church was part of the undoing of the 
grossly unjust subjection of Ireland from Elizabeth onwards. 
Disestablishment had the support of England's great Liberal 
statesman, Mr. Gladstone, himself a sincere Anglican, and when 
he came into power in 1869 he carried through the Act by which 
the Church of Ireland was disestablished and put on a footing 
with other churches. Henceforth she was to be ruled by a 
representative Church Body and made self-governing. Of 
her former revenues, 7,500,000 was paid to her to maintain 
the existing clergy for life; from the surplus, appropriations 
were made to education and other public causes, 770,000 was 
voted to the Presbyterian Church as compensation for the 
Regium doman, and some 372,000 granted as a final lump 
sum to Maynooth College. 

Until a great leader arose in Parnell to lift up the Repeal 
banner which O'Connell had let fall, the Land question occu- 
pied almost the whole field of politics. On the University 
question the Catholic bishops had denounced the Queen's 
colleges of 1845, and when they attempted hi 1854 to found a 
'Catholic university* with the famous Newman as president 
it was a failure* In 1879 the 'Royal University of Ireland' was 
established, an exarnining and degree-giving institution which 
made way in 1908 for the National University of Ireland. In 
1878 an act was passed for Intermediate education and 
1,000,000 was voted to it from the Irish Church surplus. Thus 
Ireland was endowed with an education system ranging from 
the National school to the University. Meanwhile, by an 
Act of 1873, fellowships and the higher degrees were opened 
to all creeds in Trinity College. 


The landlord system in Ireland, which was far more unjust 
than that of England, had its roots in the unjust confiscations 
and plantations of earlier centuries and the importing of 
English land-laws without their better features. Few or none 
of the ties that bound the English fanner and villager to the 
resident squire and Anglican parson existed here, for the 
clergyman represented an alien Church and the landlord a 
potentate of recent and unwelcome arrival in Ireland differing 
at first in race and in language. Naturally the system was 
mitigated by good individuals and personal generosity, but 
the system itself was bad. In the great attack now to be made 
upon it there were few defenders save those who benefited by 
it, and numbers of noble-minded Englishman and women gave 
their help in the Irish fight. Two centuries before, the Irish 
peasantry, though the law had degraded great numbers of them 
from freeholders to leaseholders or tenants-at-will, had at 
least been protected by survivals of Irish usages, such as the 
'Ulster custom* which had been universal at one time but now 
was confined to the North. This gave the tenant an interest 
in his holding, secured him as long as he paid his rent, and on 
his quitting possession enabled him to sell his interest in the 
farm. But it was only a custom, and the time had come for 
the Irish farmer to demand a legal right in the land. From the 
landlords' point of view, the land was theirs to let or recover 
at their wish, but the people, who had never acquiesced in the 
plantations and confiscations of past history, continued to 
regard the soil of Ireland as belonging to the people of Ireland. 
Had wisdom prevailed in time, Tenant Right and Landlord 
ownership might have been reconciled together and made a 
permanent system; as it was, landlordism was doomed to be 
swept away and Ireland became a land of peasant proprietors. 
Mr. Gladstone had become and remained for the rest of his 
life a friend of Ireland, determined to do what he could to 
redress the injustice of centuries, including, finally, the Union. 
In 1870 he introduced and carried a Land Act, the first of many 
such, which gave legal force to the Ulster custom in the other 
provinces and protected tenants from the unjust forms of 
ejectment. But it had little effect, for it left the landlord's 
rights practically intact, and this and a series of bad years 


brought the question again and again to the front. Finally 
the Land act of 1881 conceded to the tenants the principles 
advocated at the Tenant Right convention of 1850, and 
secured to them 'the three F's' (fair rents, fixity of tenure, and 
free sale). Their leaders, however, went on to claim that the 
peasantry should become the owners of the soil and this step 
forward coincided with the Home Rule cause from 1879 

In 1873 a Home Rule League was founded with a Pro- 
testant lawyer, Isaac Butt, as chairman, and among its first 
members were prominent men of the Protestant and educated 
classes. The name 'H_qme_Riile' was a happy invention of the 
Irish genius for political phrases, it essentially JLmpJtad that 
Ireland was to manage her internal affairs, leaving to West- 
minster the supreme control over trade, the army and navy, 
foreign policy and all imperial matters. At the General Elec- 
tion of 1874 Butt entered the British parliament with fifty- 
nine followers, but his was a party of moderate claims, and 
fire and passion had to be put into it by a younger man, 
Charles Stewart ParnelL 

The rival English parties were now called Conservatives and 
liberals, a modern variant for Tories and Whigs. Lord 
Salisbury represented the solid English weight of one, Glad- 
stone, eloquent and emotional, the advancing spirit of the 
other. The latter was already old when he took up his mission 
'to pacify Ireland 1 , and he was the first English statesman who, 
as a matter of principle and justice, sought to meet Ireland's 
claims. The Irish members now held the balance in the party 
game at Westminster, and every democratic advance favoured 
them. The Secret Ballot Act of 1872 enabled Irish peasants 
to vote without fear of their masters, and the conservative 
gentlemen who represented them in Parliament were before 
long swept out of politics. It was thus that in 1879 the 
O'Conor Don was beaten by a Parnellite for County Roscom- 
mon, the last representative of the old Catholic gentry in 

Charles Stewart Parnell was born in 1846, one of a long 


family at Avondale, County Wicklow, where in due time he 
became the squire of a handsome estate. 

He was destined to become in his time like O'Connell the 
'uncrowned King of Ireland', but the place of the eloquent 
Hibernian and Catholic liberator' was strangely filled by this 
reserved, handsome, proud man of the landlord class, the 
Protestant faith and the Anglo-Irish ascendancy, who in his 
taciturn, inflexible, and deep attachment to Ireland goes back 
to such aristocratic leaders as Red Hugh or Owen Roe O'NeilL 
The career of 'Charles Stewart ParnelT, as he was called with 
a mixture of adoration and respect, was short, but no leader 
of the Irish nation before or since has commanded in life and 
death a deeper loyalty. A man of silent reflection though of 
little reading, he had become convinced of the long injustice 
of Ireland from the great broken treaties down to the atrocities 
of the Yeomen in '98. In his hatred of England he followed 
after Wolfe Tone and Swift; much of it was over the Union 
which his great-grandfather, Sir John Parnell, had opposed 
to the end, and the regeneration of our legislative independence 
was his first aim. His career was a revival of the old Protestant 
leadership, but this time the Protestant aristocrat had a 
Catholic nation behind him. For such a general, capable 
lieutenants were found in Michael Davitt, the author and 
inspiring genius of the Land League, Joseph Biggar, the 
founder of 'obstruction tactics' in the House of Commons, 
John Dillon, John Redmond, William O'Brien and others. 
A signal example of the art of obstruction was over the South 
African Bill (to annex the Transvaal) in 1877, when seven 
Irish members, including Parnell, held up the bill for twenty- 
six hours by continuous speeches, to the indignation of the 
British members and the sorrow of Mr. Butt. 

Parnell used all the weapons and employed all the talents 
of his lieutenants, but his was the inflexible will, the power of 
unalterable decision, the sticking and unbeatable tenacity, 
and the instinct of command. His reserve and silent person- 
ality impressed even the British House of Commons, 'the finest 
gentleman's club in the world'. Irish leaders had often tried 
to flatter England before, but Parnell always spoke as an 


equal and never apologized either for Ireland or himself. To 
the mass of Irish people, still accustomed to aristocratic 
leadership, he became 'The Chief, a nanie which recalled the 
Gaelic past. 

It was in 1875 that this shy and haughty young man de- 
cided to enter Irish politics, a course to which the influence of 
his American mother and of his sister Fanny, already a young 
poetess and patriotic enthusiast, helped to draw him. In 
April of that year he was elected member for Meath in Butt's 
party and on June 30, 1876 created a sensation in the House of 
Commons by interrupting the Chief Secretary for Ireland 
who had spoken of the 'Manchester murderers', and icily 
declaring that neither he nor Ireland had ever regarded or 
would regard the three executed men as anything but martyrs. 
This made him a hero with the Fenians and made the House of 
Commons wonder to see one who appeared to be a perfect 
English gentleman take up the despised Irish cause. 

Michael Davitt may be regarded as the second name in 
the cause. Born in Mayo in 1846, evicted with his family 
which sought a home in Lancashire, he became a Fenian and 
in 1871 was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment for his 
part in an attack on Chester castle, but was released in 1877. 
His real life-work was the cause of the oppressed tenantry 
whom almost all Irish leaders had ignored for centuries. 

Davitt, himself of the tenant class, taught that the Land 
struggle must go along with the national struggle. It was he 
who said that the Irish at present would never find a chief 
from among themselves and that an aristocratic leader was 
already provided them in the young ParnelL The latter was 
elected chairman of the Home Rule Confederation of Great 
Britain in 1877 and in the next year Chairman of the Irish 
party in the House of Commons, whom he ruled, an accepted 
despot, for twelve years. Butt had already retired, a disap- 
pointed man, and died in 1879. 

Parnell, since 1877 the real leader, and member for Cork 
city, now united the Land and the political issue and became 
convinced that a million Irish farmers should own each his 
own farm and that landlordism of the old type must go down 


before peasant ownership. To this double cause he attracted 
such a mixture of peasant self-interest, national enthusiasm, 
and personal devotion that the physical-force alternative 
seemed for a generation less real and even less romantic. 
Home Rule Ireland had the eyes of the world turned to it; 
there were now in America and Great Britain as many Irish 
as in Ireland, and their pockets were generously emptied for 
frequent delegations from home. It was on one of these that 
at Toronto the young Timothy Healy, a devoted retainer of 
Parnell, hailed his chief as 'The Uncrowned King of Ireland'. 
The Irish leader had to ride several horses agrarian, political, 
revolutionary at once and he rode them with superb skUl. 
A large part of the Fenians under John Devoy and Patrick 
Ford were for him, but some of the older ones such as O'Leary 
were against him in his plan of uniting all Irishmen at least to 
try a parliamentary solution for Ireland's many questions. 


The General Election of 1880 saw thirty Irish members 
returned under Parnell, pledged to stand independent of all 
English office and parties and to promote the Irish cause by 
all possible devices within the law. In the country itself the 
Land League, founded by Davitt in 1879, an ^ *n e weapons of 
the boycott and 'No-Rent' campaign united to bring land- 
lordism to its knees. It seemed as if Ireland was attacking 
England and carrying the war into English politics. In Ireland 
ParnelTs was the final voice and the law of the Land League 
was stronger than British law itself. Opposition and extrem- 
ism shrank before this astonishing leader who in the worst of 
election riots 'looked like a man of bronze'. But under- 
neath the more or less legal agitation ran the fierce old stream 
of agrarian crime that had gone on for over a century, en- 
hanced by bad harvests, falling prices and numerous evictions. 
The harvest of 1879 was the worst since the Great Famine, in 

1880 there were 2590 agrarian outrages and between 1874 and 

1881 some ten thousand evictions. The peasant's 'wild justice 
of revenge' displayed itself in the shooting of many landlords 
and their agents. 'Captain Moonlight' was the phrase for the 


secret terror, and in the towns secret societies were pledged 
to obtain Ireland's independence by methods of assassination. 
Gladstone was Premier again from 1880 to 1885 and com- 
plained of receiving little help or gratitude from the Irish 
party for such measures as the Land Act of 1881, or help in 
the difficulty of ruling Ireland. Yet his portrait as 'the Friend 
of Ireland' adorned thousands of peasant homes. In October 
1881 the viceroy, Lord Cowper, had Paraell lodged for seven 
months in Kilmainham gaol, and the Irish leaders retaliated 
with a 'No Rent' manifesto. England realized that anarchy 
was the alternative to Parnell and a 'Kilmainham Treaty* set 
the prisoner free and amended the Land Act of 1881. 

'The Chief had elements behind him hard to quell or unite. 
The wise Davitt for long advocated 'Land nationalization 1 
instead of 'Peasant ownership'. The people's resistance to 
evictions and bad landlords was not always confined to stand- 
ing sieges in their cabins, their anger often showed itself in 
murder and outrages. 'Coercion acts' and other modes qf 
suspending Habeas Corpus were Government ways of assert- 
ing the law.' Parnell himself urged the peasants to 'keep a 
firm grip on their homesteads', and left it to them to interpret 
the words. He declared it right to 'boycott' those who took 
evicted farms, and the people ingeniously applied this form of 
popular resentment to landlords (one of whom, Captain 
Boycott, thus enriched the English language with a new 
word). Most of the Catholic bishops and priesthood were 
dubious as to the moral aspect of the Land Campaign, though 
Walsh of Dublin and Croke of Cashel were hailed as 'patriot 

Indeed the Head of the Church himself attempted to inter- 
fere in a matter which concerned the rights of property and 
the sanctity of law and contract. In 1882 Gladstone tried 
indirectly to get the land agitation condemned at Rome but 
a mission to Leo XIII, managed by a Mr. Errington, proved 
a failure in view of Irish opinion. Again in 1882, when a 
*National Tribute' was started for Parnell, the Pope sent a 
letter to the Irish bishops condemning it and forbidding loyal 
Catholics to subscribe, but the bulk of the people refused to 


obey and finally some 40,000 was raised. Again in 1887 a 
Monsignor Persico was sent from Leo XIII on a mission to 
Ireland, and next year a Papal rescript condemned the 'Plan 
of Campaign' as breaking voluntary contracts, and denounced 
boycotting and intimidation. But the Irish bishops declared 
that the facts were misrepresented and the failure of these 
efforts showed once again, as hi the time of O'ConneU and the 
Veto, that 'the Irish take their politics from Ireland and 
their religion from Rome.' 

The instincts of Parnell were in fact conservative and 
though he was the leader, he was the controller, of a revolution. 
The 'No Rent* manifesto received only his reluctant approval, 
and when in 1886 John Dillon and William O'Brien launched 
"The Plan of Campaign' (by which, if a landlord refused any 
offer of 'a fair rent', all the tenants on the estate should unite 
in a common fund to support that tenant against ejectment 
and forced sale, and so compel the landlord to accept a re- 
duced rent) Parnell did not like the scheme, though it met 
with much success. 

On the Land question Parnell's greatest triumph was 
Gladstone's Act of 1881 which gave the tenant a right in the 
land without destroying the landlord's right, reduced the rents 
20 per cent, and provided for a further reduction in fifteen years. 
Most of the landlords became convinced that England had 
abandoned them and that it was best for them to be bought 
out by the State under Land Purchase rather than continue 
a losing fight. Another enactment hi 1887 enabled 150,000 
fanners to take advantage of the 1881 act, and the Land 
Purchase Bill of 1891 set in full flow that transference of 
property which has made Ireland a land of peasant proprietors. 
The Land War was by now almost over. 

But such 'concessions' did not bring the desired peace, and 
in May 1882 the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish, Chief 
Secretary for Ireland, and Mr. Burke, Under-Secretary, in 
Phoenix Park by the members of a secret gang of 'Invincibles' 
horrified England and made Parnell's constitutional leadership 
difficult At a General Election kte in 1885, however, by an 
overwhelming vote (for a recent Franchise act had established 


almost universal suffrage in both countries) he was returned 
as Chairman of an Irish Party of eighty-six, out of Ireland's 
total representation of I03 1 . 

Mr. Gladstone, now seventy-six years of age ("The Grand Old 
Man', he was fondly called) became premier with a following 
f 335 against 249 Conservatives, and took up the last great 
fight of his life, to reverse the Union. 

Home Rule for Ireland thus enlisted the genius of two of 
the greatest parliamentarians of the nineteenth century, and 
the alliance seemed to promise victory. Parnell made moder- 
ate demands, though in a dramatic speech at Cork in 1884 
he had declared 'No man has a right to fix the boundary of the 
march of a nation'. He and his party would be content with 
a subordinate Parliament for Ireland which would leave the 
power and supremacy of the Imperial Parliament untouched 
and unimpaired. "That the Irish people should have the 
legislative and executive control of all purely Irish affairs, 
subject to the supreme authority of the Imperial Parliament" 
remained till 1914 the compromise of the moderate nationalist 
elements in Ireland. They hoped, if they could win such a 
victory, that the extremist elements would be contented and 
that Ireland would settle down to a middle-class constitutional 
nationalist self-government which would leave the imperial 
supremacy of Westminster untouched. They themselves, 
however, knew better than Englishmen such as Gladstone how 
determined these elements were, that the Fenian tradition 
was still strong, and that the Irish Republican Brotherhood, 
founded in America in 1858, was pledged to the complete 
separation of Ireland from England. But a successful bargain 
between the moderate elements in England and Ireland on a 
parliamentary basis seemed possible and timely, and Glad- 
stone argued that such was the way to win the eternal loyalty 
of Ireland to the Imperial connection. 

1 The Irish representation in the House of Commons had been in- 
creased from 100 since the Union. The Franchise bill of 1867 had 
given householders and lodgers in the towns the electoral vote, the 
above one in 1884 extended this to the country. In England it added 
1} million voters, in Ireland the electorate rose from 200,000 to 700,000. 
As regards Ireland, it was contemptuously called by Conservatives 
'the mud-cabin vote*. 


Gladstone introduced his first Home Rule Bill in April, 
1886. An Irish parliament was to be set up with an Executive 
responsible to it. The imperial legislature was to retain fiscal 
control, Ireland was to pay an imperial contribution per annum, 
Free trade was to be maintained between the two countries, 
and the Imperial government was to retain the control of the 
army, navy, ports, foreign affairs, etc. 

But already the opposition was organized which was to defeat 
Home Rule right up to 1914. The cause of Ireland became for 
the first time a party question and remained so till the end. 
The Tories took up the cause of the maintenance of the Union 
and of the Protestant cause hi Ireland. Those who stood for 
the Union in Ireland were a minority of about one minion out of 
five, they were generally of the Protestant faith, and included 
most of the landlord class, the richer and more favoured 
elements of the nation throughout the island, and in the north 
the majority of the population. The House of Lords and the 
Tory party conceived it their duty to support them and to 
prevent that disintegration of the British isles, the very seat 
of Empire, which was the danger, according to Pitt, when he 
forced the Union of 1800. The Irish majority, that is the 
Catholics, were in the main nationalist: the poorer they were 
the more intense was the old Irish sentiment among them, 
nurtured on hundreds of years of Irish history, but in the 
higher ranks and among the priesthood there was a consider- 
able adherence to the Union. 


North-east Ulster was to be for thirty years the citadel of 
the Union cause. Lord Randolph Churchill, a Tory leader, 
though much of a free-lance, in February 1886 addressed 
enthusiastic Orange crowds in Belfast and the North, urging 
them to resist Home Rule. He made popular the famous 
phrase "Ulster will fight, and Ulster will be right'. The anti- 
Home-Rule cause in Ireland and England began to be associ- 
ated with a strong 'No-Popery* sentiment reminiscent of the 
seventeenth century, and encouraged by English political 
allies. 'Home Rule is Rome Rule' was another famous slogan. 


Religious animosity has on the other hand been inconspicuous 
in the South, where the intensity of Protestant feeling in the 
North has hardly been realized. 

The excitement of Belfast was expressed, after Churchill 
left, in serious riots. They were not the first of then* kind, for 
in August 1864 riots had followed the burning of an effigy of 
Daniel O'Connell by a Protestant crowd, as an off-set to a 
demonstration in Dublin in honour of 'the Liberator'. In 
subsequent years the Orange operatives of Belfast showed 
themselves determined to permit no Catholic procession or 
Home Rule demonstration hi their city. So now in June 
1886 a collision began between Protestant and Catholic work- 
men which led to riots which were prolonged into September, 
in which many lives were lost and the military had to be called 
in to the help of the police. 

Meanwhile, in the House of Commons, Gladstone made a 
superbly eloquent appeal to all sides to pass the Home Rule 
Bill and end the feud of England and Ireland. But already 
some of his ablest lieutenants had forsaken him. Mr. Joseph 
Chamberlain, a Radical, seceded and founded a new party, the 
'Liberal Unionists', and a Whig section under Lord Hartington 
also revolted. In spite of all the old man's eloquence and 
solemn warnings, the enthusiastic support of his main party, 
and a temperate speech from Parnell, the Bill was finally 
defeated by 343 to 313 votes. A General Election followed 
and a Conservative government came in under Lord Salisbury, 
strong enough with the help of the Liberal seceders to finally 
defeat Home Rule. Lord Salisbury's nephew, Mr. Arthur 
Balf our, as Chief Secretary for Ireland, was bent upon crushing 
Irish agrarian crime by 'twenty years of resolute govern- 
ment', but hoped by administrative measures 'to kill Home 
Rule with kindness*. 

But a second attempt upon the Unionist fortress in Pailia- 
ment was preparing. The Liberal centre remained true 
under the magic of Gladstone's name. In 1887 and 1888 came 
the famous Pigott case. No less an organ than The Times 
published articles entitled Parnellism and Crime which accused 


the Irish leader of encouraging the murder of landlords. 
Her Majesty's government were suspected of wishing the 
charge to be proved, so when a Special Commission cleared 
Parnell and the forger Pigott committed suicide, it lost much 
credit, while the Irish leader's popularity became all the 
greater. When his complete vindication was made public, 
he was cheered by all parties in the House of Commons, and 
everywhere in England there was a generous reaction towards 
a former enemy. 1889 was indeed his great year, but he re- 
ceived all tributes with his usual distant politeness. 

Great Britain, however, was now split over the Home Rule 
question, Protestant Ulster was determined to resist even to 
blood, and public opinion in both countries ranged itself 
strongly for or against Ireland's demand. 

But in 1890 the hero of Ireland fell with a Napoleonic sud- 
denness that gave the perfect finish to the drama of his leader- 
ship. A secret love-attachment to the English wife of Captain 
O'Shea, one of his own party, became the subject of a divorce 
case in which he was found guilty. His party and Ireland at 
once renewed their confidence in 'the Chief', but Mr. Gladstone 
on the moral issue declared he could not continue in his 
leadership if Mr. Parnell retained his, and the Roman Catholic 
bishops on the same moral issue also declared against him. A 
majority of his party, among whom his former adorer, Tun 
Healy, played the leading part and which included Dillon and 
Davitt, deposed him from the chairmanship of the Irish party 
in the famous 'Committee Room No. 15,' of the House of Com- 
mons. The rough-tongued but staunch Joe Biggar, who might 
by his good Ulster common sense have saved the situation, 
was already dead, and passion prevailed. A majority of the 
Irish people followed the anti-Parnellites. The Dissenting 
bodies in England had generally supported Home Rule, more 
from admiration of the great Liberal hero than for love of 
Ireland, but now 'the Nonconformist Conscience', so powerful 
in Britain, joined the Catholic hierarchy in their condemnation. 

Our 'Uncrowned King', whose pride never stooped to 
apologize for himself, after marrying Mrs. O'Shea, fought 
heroically to recover his leadership. Ireland was rent as by a 


civil war of vituperation, insult and mob-violence. The mental 
strain and the physical hardships of a desperate campaign, in 
which he characteristically refused to believe that all was lost, 
were too much for a nervous constitution, and Charles Stewart 
Parnell died at Brighton on October 7, 1891, prematurely 
worn out at the age of forty-five. He was buried in the national 
mausoleum at Glasnevin and was followed to the grave by a 
vast concourse of mournful followers or repentant foes, who 
for the last time united in honouring the fallen Chief. The 
dramatic exit of the heaven-born leader left the national cause 
for thirty years to wander in the wilderness. 

What this proud and inscrutable man had planned for 
Ireland's future can never be revealed, but he had lifted her 
cause to its full height again, and the white heat of his devotion 
to her puts him as a national hero among the silently passionate 
men, such as Red Hugh O'Donnell and Owen Roe O'Neill. 

A year after his death, Gladstone was again Prime Minister 
and the Liberals had a majority with the aid of the Irish vote. 
He introduced his second Home Rule Bill in July, 1892 and 
it was finally carried by 301 to 267 in the Commons, but the 
House of Lords, who had abandoned the Irish landlords but 
would not flinch on the question of the Union, flung it out by 
419 to 41. It seemed clear that till the House of Lords was 
reformed no Home Rule Bill could pass. 'The Grand Old Man' 
himself retired in 1894 and died four years later, leaving 
the last chapter unwritten. His advocacy of the Irish cause 
proved disastrous for his party, and from 1886 to 1906, save for 
an interval of three years, was effective in putting all the 
Conservative elements into power. 


IN the brief years of his leadership, Parnell had taken 
upon him to secure for his country the Land for the 
People and Home Rule for Ireland. Before his death he 
had gained the one but failed in the other. The peasantry, 
though they had not yet entered into the Promised land, had 
been brought to the Pisgah whence they could survey it, and 
if Parnell was not their only leader, or the first to take up the 
cause, he was the unquestioned leader, such as seldom comes to 
an enslaved people. Nothing remained, now that the principle 
had been accepted, but for successive Land acts to complete 
the movement begun by a Liberal government in 1870. 
The great Conservative party, with the House of Lords behind 
them, themselves accepted Land Purchase, the buying out of 
the landlords, and smaller 'concessions' to Ireland provided 
the Union was maintained. But while this aristocratic party 
abandoned landlordism in Ireland, it was far otherwise 
with Home Rule, which in their view was 'marching through 
rapine and ruin to the dismemberment of the Empire'. So 
vital did they deem the maintenance of the status quo that, 
reinforced by the Liberals who had forsaken Gladstone in 
1885, they assumed the name of Unionists. 1 To all appearance 
they had triumphed. Gladstonian Home Rule without the 
'Grand Old Man', seemed unthinkable. As for the Nationalist 
party, split not merely into two, but into several factions, it 

1 This -was because the Harfangton Whigs and the Radicals under 
Chamberlain after 1885 joined them or -voted with them on this ques- 
tion. In the General Election of 1895 the Conservatives numbered 
340, the Liberal Unionists (Chamberlain's wing) 71, the Liberals 177 
and the Irish Nationalists 82. The proportion varied little till the 
Liberal triumph in 1906. It was in +&* year that the name Unionists 
was finally adopted for the whole alliance. 



was like an army that has lost the leader that created it. The 
driving force of the Land agitation diminished, for the go's 
were good years for the farmer compared with the disastrous 
8o's and the first decade of the twentieth-century better still. 
It seemed that only a sudden triumph in the party game 
at Westminster, or some unexpected event in world- 
politics, could make Home Rule once more a burning 

After Parnell there could not fail to be a dull epoch for 
Ireland. His party was split and John Redmond took the 
place of the dead chief, but Tim Healy, William O'Brien and 
John Dillon were rivals rather than lieutenants, and it was 
1900 before even the seeming of unity was restored. The 
Imperialist wing of the Liberal party under Lord Rosebery 
dropped Home Rule as too dangerous a question and it went 
out of practical politics till 1905. There set in the age which 
went on to 1912, the Irish party still loyally keeping its pledge 
to hold aloof from English parties and government office, still 
including able and sincere men, still able to enlist popular 
support and money in America and these islands, and 
still promising to give us back 'the Old House on College 
Green'. But hope deferred maketh the heart sick, and in 
the grand disillusionment that followed Parnell the national 
cause took new and deeper channels than mere politics. 
Rather wearily Ireland accepted the concessions which it 
was thought would satisfy her while maintaining the 

Land Purchase was now completed under Tory rule. By 
the Balfour Act of 1891 and another of 1896 the claims of the 
selling landlords were met by the issue of Land Stock backed 
by the British Treasury. Mr. George Wyndham, Secretary for 
Ireland, was in 1903 responsible for an Act which offered a 
bonus to landlords who would sell, so facilitating the sale of 
entire estates, and enabled the tenant to purchase on easy 
terms of sixty-eight years' repayment. It was a 'settlement 
by consent' of all sides. The management of these great 
operations, which were backed by millions of money on 
British credit, was entrusted to an Irish Land Commission 
Court, while the due payment of the annual interest to 


the selling landlords became a charge on the Imperial 
Exchequer. 1 

After fifty years of agrarian struggle the Irish tenantry be- 
came, as long as they could pay the annual interest, the owners 
of their farms, and Ireland has become like France, a land of 
peasant proprietors, of whom the greater number have but a 
modest acreage. This triumph would have seemed amazing 
to their grandfathers of 1840, who lived like serfs under land- 
lords who were by law sole owners of the land and could eject 
the occupiers on default of one year's rent. Successively in a 
long, violen,t and often cruel campaign the Irish peasantry had 
recovered that right to the land which they believed had been 
theirs long ago. 

Many lovers of Ireland hoped that the dual interest of land- 
lord and tenant might be maintained and the landed gentry 
continue to rule the country, though no longer with the auto- 
cratic powers of old. But in 1902 a landlord gentleman named 
Shawe Taylor brought about a conference between land- 
owners and the leaders of the Home Rule party as representing 
the tenants, and following their report which was accepted at a 
landowners' Convention, it was decided that dual ownership 
in the land should be abolished. This was the principle ex- 
pressed in the Act of 1903. The landlord in modern Ireland, 
whose ancestor was a grand seigneur owning thousands of 
acres, now seldom has more than a handsome country house 
and a demesne of a hundred acres. Landlordism in Ireland 
came to an end at that date. The history of this class has 
gone through curious stages since, in the seventeenth century, 

1 These annuities, or annual payments, which the tenants of pur- 
chased estates made in order to repay the sums lent them to buy their 
lands (sixty-eight years from the Act of 1903 -was the final date), -were 
the occasion of a standing dispute between the governments of Great 
Britain and the Irish Free State. From the Treaty onwards they -were 
collected by the Irish Government and handed over to the British 
National Debt Commissioners, to be paid to the holders of Guaranteed 
Land Stock, who have acquired the original landlord's interest. Mr. 
De Valera's Government, however, retained them on the ground that 
they were, or should have been, surrendered by the British at the 
Treaty. The result was an Economic war in which Great Britain 
collected the equivalent of the annuities in duties on our cattle, etc., 
going into British ports {some 3,000,000 per annum). Agreement was 
reached in May 1938 by which the Irish Government paid a lump sum 
of ,10,000,000 to Britain as a settlement of all claims. 


they became absolute owners in law of the land of Ireland. 
Robbed of their political ascendancy in 1800, they continued 
still for nearly a century to retain their social, landed and local 
ascendancy. The events of 1870 to 1922 have deposed them 
from all except the social and intellectual side of their leader- 
ship in a land which their fathers, for good and evil, both 
owned and ruled and have done much to make into a nation* 

A Congested Districts' Board, established in 1891, to enlarge 
and unify the small uneconomic holdings in the west, was all 
part of Balfour's policy of '.killing Home Rule with kindness'. 
So were the light railways which, by an Act of 1899, were 
laid to open up the remote areas of the western seaboard. 
An officially-founded Department of Agriculture and Sir 
Horace Plunkett's privately-founded Irish Agricultural Or- 
ganization Society aimed at teaching the Irish fanner how to 
apply modern and co-operative methods to the land of which 
he had become the possessor. Otherwise how could a com- 
munity of small individual cultivators make their land profit- 
able in face of modern competition? It has long been said, in 
explanation of the survival value of the race, that 'potatoes 
and turf have saved the poor Irishman', Something more 
was needed if the rich but neglected soil of Ireland was to 
prosper under a system of small holdings. Modern science 
provided us for example with a system of spraying against 
potato blight which, had it been known and applied in 1847, 
could have saved the food crop, and consequently the lives of 
hundreds of thousands. 

An Act for the establishment of County Councils in 1898 
was part of the slow process by which from 1829 the govern- 
ment of the towns and counties has been opened up to the 
Catholic majority. Since the time of Charles I the counties 
had been governed by Grand Juries. Under this system 
the Justices of Peace in their Quarter Sessions, assisted by 
juries of a certain standing and limited in number to 23, all 
of them unpaid, struck the county rate or 'cess', looked after 
the upkeep of bridges and roads, and administered the county 
generally They were landlord bodies, generally Protestant, 
and addicted to giving the more important jobs to their 


adherents. The claims of the majority and of the Catholic 
population were now met by the establishment of elected 
bodies, so that before long the popular vote controlled most of 
the local government. But in proportion as the dominance of 
the Catholic majority was established in the southern counties, 
so the Protestant majority came to control the northern ones. 
The claims of the Roman Catholic population in Education 
were met in various ways and crowned in 1908 by the creation 
of the National University, a teaching as well as an examining 
and degree-giving institution, by its charter undenominational. 
A modicum of Irish ('Compulsory Irish'), as the result of an 
agitation by the Gaelic League, was made essential for en- 
trants. This has given the keynote to the enforcement of 
Irish since the creation of the Free State wherever the State 
controls. The older University, however, Trinity College, long 
a Protestant preserve, has kept the character of an independent 
body, owing nothing, until 1947, to State subsidies. Since 1873 
all its fellowships, degrees, and emoluments have been open to 
members of all creeds, and the study of the Gaelic language, 
past and present, has been encouraged within its walls in every 
way except that of compulsion. 

Ireland, though her population still fell by emigration, was 
undoubtedly prosperous from 1900 onwards. The money 
voted, for example, by Parliament to public buildings such as 
University College, Dublin, or the College of Science was on 
a princely scale. A Commission hi 1894 on the financial 
relations between England and Ireland found that Ireland 
had been greatly overtaxed since the Union; this has been often 
quoted, but in justice we must wonder, if the old Irish Parlia- 
ment had continued, where would the hundreds of millions of 
pounds necessary for buying out the landlords have been got 
if not backed by the credit of the British Empire? 

Many therefore, both in England and Ireland, began to ask, 
what does Ireland want more? The answer was that Ireland 
is an ancient nation deprived of her national legislature 
standing at the bar of that Parliament which had taken it 
away and demanding to have it restored. The Irish party only 
asked to have it restored as in the i8th century, broadened, 


made representative, and established without danger to im- 
perial authority. But many excellent men declared that one 
could be a Unionist and believe the Union to be best for 
Ireland, and yet a patriot and 'kindly Irish of the Irish'. Such 
a one was seen, for example, in Sir Horace Plunkett, a man of 
mvselfish and enlightened patriotism. 

By 1900 the Fenian and 'physical force* element seemed 
completely out of the picture. The centenary of "98* stirred 
the old dream of armed rebellion among the 'hillside men', 
but passed over without an incident, and when the South 
African War broke out in 1899 tne Dublin Fusiliers and 
other Irish regiments maintained the fame of Irishmen as 
'Soldiers of the Queen 1 , though they cheered for Kruger on 

The Land question having been settled by consent, the hope 
was entertained of a settlement of the Home Rule question 
on moderate lines by consent of the great English parties, the 
Irish Nationalists party, and the Irish landlords. Mr. George 
Wyndham was Secretary for Ireland in 1903 in Mr. Balfour's 
ministry and his Act in effect settled the Land question. 
Why should not the Conservative party meet the Irish demand 
for self-government? They alone could answer for the House 
of Lords which remained closed to Liberal measures. Wynd- 
ham, a descendant of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, felt the ro- 
mantic appeal of Ireland, while his Under-secretary, Sir 
Anthony MacDonnell, was an Irishman and a Catholic. 
Lord Dunraven and other Irish gentry united in an Irish 
Reform Association to advocate in 1904 the 'Devolution' of 
strictly Irish affairs to a semi-elected Council which would 
have the spending of 6,000,000 per annum on national 
services. William O'Brien, M.P., on the side of the Irish party 
favoured the scheme, so did Wyndham, so did, it is said, the 
new monarch, Edward VII himself. A bill was prepared to 
this effect, but the extremists, both Irish and Conservative, 
wrecked it, and Wyndham had to resign from his office in 
1905. Later events have made it clear that any such mild 
solution of Ireland's national claim could not have contented 
her for long. 


In 1906 a remarkable 'swing of the pendulum* displaced the 
Conservatives from office and brought the Liberals into power 
for eight years. The forward advance of this party was 
now resumed under Asquith and his Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer, Lloyd George, whose 'democratic budgets' and 'Land 
taxation' schemes alarmed the land-propertied class and made 
it certain that only a reform of the House of Lords could secure 
the passing of Liberal measures. Among these was Home 
Rule. In 1900 Redmond had been elected Chairman of a 
far-from-united Nationalist party, and now at last Home Rule 
became again a primary objective to which the Liberals were 
bound and for which the Irish votes in the House of Commons 
were pledged to them. 

Even the grand alliance of Parnell and Gladstone in 1886 
had only partly obscured the difficulties in the way of an ulti- 
mate triumph. The Nationalist party in general voted with 
the Liberals, for their instincts were democratic and popular, 
and their record in supporting humanitarian legislation in 
Parliament is a very creditable one. But from 1895 to 1906 
the Conservatives ruled England and Home Rule was an 
Opposition cause. Though it had behind it the majority of 
the Irish people at home and financial and other support from 
the Irish abroad, it had against it a combination of forces 
strongly entrenched and socially and politically very powerful. 

The House of Lords under the constitutional system had 
a final veto on measures passed by the House of Commons, 
it could be relied upon to throw out any Home Rule bill. 
This meant that English Society was mainly against Home 
Rule and so was the Crown till Victoria died in 1901, though 
her son and successor, Edward VII, was popularly believed to 
be a 'friend of Ireland.' 

England was still in its middle and even in its lower classes 
a very conservative, imperialistic and Protestant country, 
and the Irish cause won the allegiance only of the Liberal 
elements. In Ireland itself the Protestant population, though 
dominant only in the north, was widely and strongly spread 
over the rest of the country and only slowly lost its position 
as a ruling minority. It amounted to about a quarter of the 


population, but in wealth, trade, the land, and social influence 
was even stronger than its numbers. The landed and social 
ascendancy of the Anglo-Irish in Ireland long outlived the 
Union which destroyed their political ascendancy. A large 
British army, stationed at various points, especially on the 
Curragh of Kildare, helped to maintain the numbers, the 
confidence and the prestige of the minority. 


The Orange Order was the strongest bulwark of the Protest- 
ant and anti-Home-Rule cause. Since it was founded in 1795 
it had at various times suffered the disfavour of Government, 
especially under the Under-secretary Drummond, but by the 
middle of the century it had recovered in numbers and organi- 
zation. The twelfth of July, commemorating the victory of 
the Boyne, was the great annual day of the Orangemen and 
was celebrated not only in Belfast, Deny, and other Ulster 
towns as it is to-day, but outside the province also, though it 
became more and more dangerous to flaunt the Orange flag 
there as the century advanced. The Order professed complete 
religious tolerance under the British Crown for all, with a 
preference naturally for the 'Good Old Cause', but since their 
Catholic fellow-Irishmen had declared for Home Rule they 
feared that the triumph of this would establish a Roman 
Catholic domination throughout the whole island. 

It could be answered that Irish nationalism since Wolfe 
Tone had always been tolerant on religious differences and put 
Ireland before religion. Daniel O'Connell, though it was 
inevitable that his movement should have a Romanist char- 
acter, had boldly opposed Rome and the bishops on the Veto 
question. Parnell himself, as a Protestant, had been very 
cautious on the religious side; though he led a Catholic laity, 
not more than a minority of the priesthood were for hi. 
The bishops and clergy of this Church had always deprecated 
armed insurrection and advocated to their flocks 'moral force, 
patience and perseverence', and 'keeping within the law* for 
the bettering of their condition. Though they were prominent 
in many ways in the public questions that agitated the country, 


and powerful locally, it was not from them that the Moses 
came to lead the people out of bondage. The British govern- 
ment was well aware what a valuable ally it had in a church 
which has such well-defined doctrines as to civil obedience, 
the justification of rebellion and the sanctity of property. 
But it had failed to win the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland 
over to its side by self-interest. Of the three great historic 
denominations it alone, save for the endowment of Maynooth, 
received no emoluments from the State. Its clergy had 
accepted this position since the days of O'Connell, though the 
old conservative foreign-educated bishops and priests of the 
Union times had inclined towards government control and 
maintenance. But 'the less you are bought by the State, the 
more you are responsible to the people' was the lesson of that 
position, and the priesthood and the bishops of later days, 
drawn from the ranks of the old Irish race, have felt for, 
even if they did not always counsel, the popular movements 
of Ireland. 

In spite of such evidence that 'loyalty* and Catholicism 
were not irreconcilable, the Orange Order continued to profess 
suspicion of Popery and Home Rule as an alliance that threat- 
ened them, and to maintain the sturdy and militant Puritan- 
ism of their ancestors of TDerry, Aughrim, Enniskulen, and the 

The city of Belfast had now become a first-rate factor in all 
considerations of Irish politics. In 1800 its population was 
only about 25,000 as against that of Cork, 70,000, and Dublin 
172,000, and it was considered a rebel centre. But subsequently 
the North-east, already the seat of prosperous home industries 
in the eighteenth century, became a highly specialized modern 
industrial area. Linen and cotton weaving passed into the 
factory stage and the great ship-building industry of Harland 
and Wolff was founded. By 1881 Belfast had a population 
of 186,000 which has steadily increased since to over 400,000. 
Alone in Ireland it has capitalized industries worthy to rank 
beside those of Great Britain and a very numerous and highly- 
skilled artisan class, mainly of the Orange fraternity. Ulster 
has continued to believe that its great industries have 


flourished by Free Trade and through the political union which 
enable it to send its goods out through the whole British 
empire. If Ireland had remained under the old Dublin 
parliament and there had been no Union, probably the Ulster 
problem would not have arisen. But the Protestants who in 
1800 had been against the Union were now for it, while the 
Catholic majority were against. 

By 1906 it was clear that Orangeism was a marvellous 
combination of the ruling class in Ulster, of the working classes 
in Belfast, and the majority of the Protestant farmers of the 
North. Belfast was its stronghold, its disciplined strength 
was impressive, and it had the political alliance of the Unionist 
party and of British society. 

The worst feature of Orangeism has been the periodic out- 
breaks and riots in Belfast, largely due to the rivalries of 
working-class people of different persuasions and deprecated 
by the upper classes. In the province itself hostility between 
'Orange and Green' and Catholic and Protestant tenants had 
been a tradition since the eighteenth century. The plantation 
of Ulster indeed is a. fact which has remained one to the present 
day, the planting, namely, of a new Protestant and Anglo- 
Scottish population in the province, who have proved to be 
'England's one successful colony' in Ireland. 

A striking fact to be observed in the nineteenth century was 
the going over of the Northern presbyterians to the Unionist 
side. In the latter half of the eighteenth century they had 
displayed, especially in Antrim, Down and Belfast, a strong 
spirit of democracy and tolerance, but the principles of the 
United Irishmen were now rare among the descendants of 
those who were rebels in '98. Their Church had since been 
won over by the Regiwn Donum, greatly increased since the 
Union; and the removal of religious disabilities, the extension 
of the franchise, the various Land Acts, and the rapid growth 
of industry in Belfast and other northern towns had removed 
their grievances and given them economic prosperity. By the 
end of the century the majority of them were found on the 
Unionist side, though they still favoured Liberalism where 
Home Rule was not concerned. Also their ministers and the 


older generation among them held aloof from the Orange Order, 
which was founded as and long remained an Episcopalian 

The history of the Ulster Presbyterians is a very definite 
and compact piece of Irish history. It was under James I 
that they were first planted in Ulster, and it was under Charles 
I that the Scottish Church in Ireland first assumed the organ- 
ized form it still retains. In 1642, seven Lowland Scottish 
regiments under the command of General Munroe arrived at 
Carrickfergus, despatched by the Scottish Estates at the 
request of the Long Parliament. They had already taken the 
Solemn League and Covenant and now extended it to the Ulster 
colonists whom they came to defend. After a triumphant 
campaign, the chaplains of the army at Carrickfergus on 
June 10, 1642, organized the first Presbytery of their Church 
in Ireland. From that time the Presbyterian Church has 
maintained itself in the North, hut it was destined to suffer 
much persecution in the next century and a half. Seeing that 
their ancestors were known to be of a Calvinistic turn when 
they were deliberately invited by favourable terms to plant 
Ulster for England's benefit, the Presbyterians might well 
complain that religious disabilities, subjection to the State 
Church and oppression by great landlords were a betrayal of 
the original Plantation. Yet under Anne and George I they 
could always be reckoned as a sure bulwark for the Protestant 
and Hanoverian cause. It is true that American and then 
French republican or democratic principles spread among them 
in the last quarter of the eighteenth century and there was a 
prospect of a rising in Ulster in 1798, but in the period after 
the Union the nationalism of the presbyterians waned fast. 
The United Irishmen had been even stronger in Belfast than 
in Dublin but Daniel O'Connell did not find the North sympa- 
thetic ground and at the time of Catholic Emancipation and 
Repeal their most famous leader and preacher, the Rev. Henry 
Cooke, Moderator of the Ulster Synod, was a vehement op- 
ponent of the Liberator. Liberalism remained characteristic 
of the Scoto-Irish, and indeed comes from their democratic 
religion, but their theoretic sympathy with Irish Nationalism 


waned as they became an industrial community compacted 
in the North-east, and as Nationalism itself became more 
romantic, Catholic, and Gaelic. Allied though they were for 
some generations with the Catholics to remove the common 
bonds which they suffered under Landlordism, the Anglican 
ascendancy and the Established Church, the first Home Rule 
Bill (1886) may be taken as the date when the Presbyterians 
forsook their old allies. Their final adhesion to the Unionist 
alliance was at the signing of the second Covenant in their 
history in 1912. 


No survey of modern Irish history can be just which dis- 
regards the division of Ireland into Protestants, Presby- 
terians, and Catholics, that is, namely the adherents respective- 
ly of the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, 
and the Roman communion. 1 The name 'Anglo-Irish' 
designates the former, who in the eighteenth century had a 
legal ascendancy over the rest of the population. While the 
Catholic people have retained an instinctive nationality which 
goes far back, the Anglo-Irish, whose blood is through descent, 
marriage or conversion, largely derived from the old English 
and Gaels of earlier centuries, developed in the eighteenth 
century a pronounced nationalism, of their own. This, though 
in men like Grattan and Flood it went far in the Irish direction, 
had always in mind loyalty to the Crown and allegiance to 
the British connection. The Union ended the conservative, 
loyal, and aristocratic nationalism of 'the middle nation'. 
But up to our own time the Anglo-Irish population, strong 
among the landed and the middle classes, has produced no 
small number of politicians, writers, and poets who have sup- 
ported the Home Rule cause and the memory of 'Ireland a 
nation'. Parnell himself, one of them, was only aiming at the 
restoration of Grattan's Parliament, thrown open, however, 

1 'Protestant* naturally in its -widest sense includes all non-Roman 
Catholic churches but traditionally in Ireland in its most definite sense 
it means the Episcopal Reformed Church, the formerly established 
church of Ireland. 


to all creeds and classes. Many Protestants supported Home 
Rule as a practical, rather than a romantic, solution of the Irish 
question, and it is certain that Parnell knew nothing of, and 
would have had little sympathy for, traditional Irish national- 
ism and the revival of Ireland as a Gaelic nation. 

The balance between the three dominant creeds of Ireland 
is a primary factor in modern Irish history. Had the Protest- 
ant element been in a majority at any given time, history 
might have taken a very different turn, but the existence of a 
far larger Catholic and native population than themselves 
always inclined them against any out-and-out break with 
England. This is as true of the Anglo-Irish in the days of the 
Great Earl of Kildare as of their successors of Grattan's time. 
The huge exodus of the native Irish after the Famine seemed 
to promise an increase in the Protestant section of the popula- 
tion, but the former balance was before long restored, and the 
waning of the Protestant element has long been a feature 
outside Ulster since the Land war and Land acts. According 
to the last census of all Ireland, taken in 1911, the Church of 
Ireland population out of a total of 4,390,219 numbered 
576,611, the Presbyterians numbered 440,525, there were 
some 60,000 Methodists and other sects, and the Roman 
Catholics constituted seventy-five per cent of the whole. 

Among the three main elements of Ireland the Anglo-Irish 
have always considered themselves an aristocratic, enlight- 
ened, and in many ways a very Irish stock. Living for centuries, 
as they have done, among a race of innate Catholic and Celtic 
temperament, they have learned much from them, and their 
opposition to Home Rule has been based more on political 
grounds than on religious or racial prejudice. The course of 
politics indeed had produced a fresh division of Ireland, not 
as formerly into Episcopalian and Presbyterian, but into 
Protestant Ulster and the rest of Protestant Ireland. 
Though united with the North on the question of the Union, 
the Protestants of the rest notably Trinity College showed 
a reluctance to join in with the religious sentiment that ani- 
mated the North. Their attraction was more for the old 
Ireland, and so a remarkable rift was supplied between the 


Anglo-Irish minority in the South and the mainly Scottish- 
descended majority in the North. 

All this organization of the Protestant North, and the going 
over of the Presbyterians to the Unionist side, was ill-perceived 
by the Home Rule leaders. But its importance was to be 
attested in the events of 1912 to 1922, and in the establish- 
ment of the modern Six-Counties State. The Nationalist 
party conceived their struggle to be for Ireland as a whole 
but already, apart from the resistance of the Anglo-Irish in 
the rest of the Island, a solid core was forming in the North 
which was far more serious and was under-estimated both by 
Redmond and the Liberal leaders. The democratic advances 
of the age in themselves fostered the grouping for and against; 
if the Franchise act of 1884 gave the electoral majority to the 
Catholics elsewhere, it gave it equally to the Protestants in 
the North. Finally all the elements of opposition to Home Rule 
for Ireland here and in Great Britain were united and defined 
in a great leader, Sir Edward Carson, one of the Anglo-Irish 
born in Dublin, who at the age of fifty-seven and after a long 
and distinguished career as a lawyer, took up the Union 
cause. In the very month, February 1910, in which Redmond 
declared that he held the casting vote in the House of Commons 
Carson became leader of the Irish Unionist party. 

The 'Irish question,' then, had now become a party one and 
an Imperial one, and it was to constitutional means and the 
now accepted Liberal alliance in Great Britain that up to 
1914 the Home Rule leaders looked for victory. But politics 
were not all, and both in Ireland, Britain and America 
wherever the Irish were, a romantic note was added which 
enlisted generous sympathies. 


Irish nationalism since it was first formed in the sixteenth 
century has seldom been purely material and has not remained 
contented for long without some spiritual aim high above 
politics and material wrongs. So it was now. Ireland had 
been gorged with politics and those of the not very edifying 


type which circumstances had forced upon her, even if Parnell 
had ennobled them. But now a growing spirit manifested 
itself which went back to the Anglo-Irish nation of the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries on the one hand, and the old 
Gaelic ancestry on the other. Its inspiration came from 
scholars, historians, and poets and went back to such idealists 
as Thomas Davis and other lovers of the old Gaelic tongue and 
tradition. The younger men who believed in Ireland a nation 
turned rather to Wolfe Tone and '98 than to the ballot-box, 
the political platform, and Ireland's fight at Westminster. 
Others thought Ireland's destiny was never to be a political 
nation but that she was and might win fame as a spiritual and 
cultural nation. In many the two conceptions were blended 
and found their fulfilment in the leaders of 1916. 

The literary renaissance of modern Ireland began about 
1890 and is illuminated by the great names of Standish 
O'Grady, Yeats, M, and other poets, dramatists, and imagina- 
tive writers. But their work has been in the English language 
and has not made the wide appeal that the attempt to revive 
the Irish language has had. In 1893 the Gaelic League was 
founded by Douglas Hyde for the revival of the native lan- 
guage and, soon after, the appearance of a weekly paper, 
Fainne an Lae ('Dawn of Day'), and the writings of Father 
Peter O'Leary (the first man to use modern Irish as spoken for 
true literary purposes) enchanted old speakers who could read 
the language and thousands of the new, who turned with en- 
thusiasm to study the speech of their grandfathers. 

By 1900 the Irish language, though something like half a 
million people still spoke it along the western and southern 
coasts and great numbers of the older people spoke nothing 
else, was rapidly dying. The neglect and abandonment of the 
old speech had begun with the upper classes in the seventeenth 
century, continued with the middle classes in the eighteenth, 
and in the nineteenth had reached the peasantry also. While 
the Welsh Celt has retained his language and has made it the 
badge of his nationality and the expression of his religion, the 
Irish Celt has not been taught by his leaders to maintain his 
distinctive language nor has it been much heard from the 
altar. In the courts and in the schools English has been for 


generations the sole permitted language. Yet as late as 1600 
not only was Irish the sole language of the old Gaelic popula- 
tion but it had captured even the Norman settlers and it is 
certain that the majority of the Irish people have ancestors 
who at one time or another have spoken Irish. Even the 
English language in Ireland is saturated with Gaelic idiom, 
sounds, and words. The cultural, literary, and poetic wealth, 
going back over a thousand years, of the language has been 
made known by scholars, Continental and Irish. The de- 
ciphering and publishing of the ancient epics such as the Tdin 
B6 Cualgne revealed the fact, long hidden by the cataclysm 
of the seventeenth century, that Ireland had a vernacular 
literature older than that of any other Western races. So on 
many a side the appeal for Irish has been both a romantic 
and a reasonable one. But in spite of thirty years of the Gaelic 
movement and since 1922 its enforcement by a native govern- 
ment, statistics tell of the continued decline of this old speech 
whose future depends less on the hundred thousand or so of 
native speakers who survive in Donegal, Kerry, and Conne- 
mara than on the tens of thousands in the towns and else- 
where who have learnt it and consider it essential to Ireland's 
claim to be a nation. 

It would be hard to enumerate all the movements for 
her regeneration which from 1890 made Ireland interesting 
and drew back to her thousands who cared less for her 
politics than her poetry, and who, like Red Hugh O'Donnell, 
wished to make 'Kathleen Nl Houlahan' a queen once 


With the abdication of the landlords the Protestant 
ascendancy passed away, but Dublin Castle had still to be 
captured if Ireland were to be ruled according to Irish ideas. 
Edward VII was regarded as a fnend of Ireland and was the 
first of his line to be so, but after his visit in 1903 he had 


reluctantly to admit that lie was not in the true sense King 
of Ireland. 

How was Dublin Castle to be captured? Parnell and his 
party had failed in Westminster; would the Fenian solution 
be tried again or could Ireland by concentration at home win 
the victory? In 1899 Mr. Arthur Griffith, a clever journalist 
back from South Africa, founded his newspaper, the United 
Irishman (later called Sinn F&iri), and soon won adherence 
to his gospel of passive resistance to British rule, recalling her 
representatives to work for her at home, and reviving Irish 
industry by the boycott of British goods. A continuous 
advocate of 'government by the King, Lords and Commons 
of Ireland', his ideas were eighteenth century, but the gospel 
of 'Sinn Fe"in' ('Ourselves', i.e. self-help) got its sting from 
the continued failure of the Irish party at Westminster. 
To the teachings of Swift and Flood the young generation, 
such as Patrick Pearse, added those of Tone, Robert Emmet, 
Davis, and the Fenians, but the idea of force for the present 
was unthinkable. 

Home Rule as a constitutional movement was given its 
last chance when in 1906 the Liberals returned to power in 
the Imperial parliament with a huge majority. Their leaders, 
whose programme meant at battle with the House of Lords, 
were pledged to give some form of self-government, but 
realized what a dangerous combination against them existed 
in the Conservative and society forces of Great Britain, 
and the Protestant sentiment of Ulster. At the moment, by 
the Old Age Pensions act and other social measures, Ireland 
for the first time since the Union ceased to pay for herself, 
and in 1910 more money was spent on her than she contri- 
buted. To many this was an argument against Home Rule, 
but according to others 'good government is no substitute for 

In 1909, after Lloyd George's land-taxation Budget was 
rejected by the House of Lords, the Prime Minister, Asquith, 
with the support of Redmond, leader of the Irish party, 
carried through the Parliament Act of 1911 which practically 
ended the veto of the Peers by anacting that a Bill, once passed 
in the House of Commons, should within two years automati- 
cally become law. This great barrier once removed, in 1912 


the third Home Rule Bill was introduced and up to the out- 
break of the European war was a subject of furious debate in 
the realms of George V. 

The Bill reserved to Great Britain the strategic and external 
control which even before the Union she had exercised but 
added a further point, namely fiscal control. That the king- 
dom of Ireland should not be able to raise and spend its own 
money seemed an anomaly, especially considering that the 
three colonial Dominions of Australia, Canada, and South 
Africa now after 1907 all enjoyed full self-government. Yet 
even as it stood the great majority of the Irish people supported 
Redmond in his acceptance of the Bill. But there was to 
be no plain sailing for the unfortunate barque. In Ulster the 
Protestant population, under the lead of Sir Edward Carson, 
and while the Bill was before the Commons, expressed their 
resolve to resist Home Rule at all costs. Though Orangeism 
gave this movement most of its force and made the opposition 
religious as well as political, the Presbyterians, who had been 
with Catholic Ireland in the eighteenth century and far into 
the nineteenth on the two questions of Tenant Right and 
religious equality, now in the main joined the opposition and 
swore to the Solemn Covenant of September 28, igi2i which 
got the signatures of 200,000 Northerners. 

As if to show the final unity of Protestant Ulster, gentry 
and commons, Church of Ireland and Presbyterians, cleric and 
lay, the Covenant was signed immediately after Carson by 
Lord Londonderry, the Bishop of Down, the Moderator of 
the General Assembly, and many other heads of Society and 
the Churches in the North. By its solemn wording 'the men 
of Ulster, loyal subjects of King George V,' swore 'to stand 
by one another in defending for ourselves and our children 
the cherished position of equal citizenship in the United 
Kingdom, and in using all means which may be found 
necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a 
Home Rule parliament in Ireland, and in the event of such 
a parliament being forced upon us to refuse to recognize its 

Never before was such a bold defiance made of Parliament, 


whose acts, when passed in due form, have, ever since Parlia- 
ment began, had binding force upon all subjects of the Crown, 
whatever they may have thought of them before passing. 
But all men are entitled to their conscience, a higher law than 
that of the State, if they are prepared to suffer. This 
principle was put forward by the Protestant North, had it 
not been for generations equally true for the Catholic South ? 

Mr. Bonar Law, leader of the Unionist opposition in Parlia- 
ment, now took up the cause of Ulster, and the open enemies 
of Home Rule seemed less dangerous than the secret forces in 
high places. Redmond was now fully pledged to the Liberal 
alliance. His position was one that called for all the genius 
of his dead Chief. An amendment by Carson to the Bill pro- 
posed the exclusion from its scope of the province of Ulster. 
The Irish leader could only reject such an amendment, as he 
was bound to do, because 'for us Ireland is one entity*. 

In January 1913 the Bill passed the Commons but it was 
rejected by the House of Lords, so that under the Parlia- 
ment Bill it could not pass automatically till 1914. The Ulster 
Covenanters were already arming and drilling openly under a 
provisional government, and a British soldier, General Rich- 
ardson, was found to command their army of 100,000 men. 
On the other side in October 1913 a National Volunteer force 
was organized in Dublin under Eoin MacNeill, Pearse and 
others. So was a 'Gtizen army 1 of the Irish Labour party, 
led by James Connolly. The condition of the poor, and the 
low wages paid in the Irish capital, shocked all fair-minded 
men, hut a General strike organized in 1912 by James Larkin 
had been defeated by the employers, a disastrous victory it 
was to prove. Though at first dummy rifles, in North and 
South, made the marchings of the respective Volunteers a 
little ridiculous, there was no doubt of their determination. 
Both sides soon got real arms from abroad, and it looked as if 
Home Rule would bring about a civil war which would involve 
Great Britain, the first since 1642. In March 1914, the refusal 
of General Cough and other officers in command of the 
British forces at the Curragh to obey government orders to 
move against Ulster showed how high up the resistance to an 


Act of Parliament might go. Reluctantly Redmond advised his 
supporters to join the National Volunteers, but it was clear 
that between his moderate wing and the extremist one led 
by Pearse and others of the Irish Republican Army co-opera- 
tion would not last long. 


The outbreak of the Great War in August 1914 altered the 
whole face of things. The unexpected event in world politics 
did happen. The Home Rule Bill received the royal assent 
but it was not to be put into force till the war was over; 
and Ireland remained under the Union till the world conflict 
ended. Some 100,000 Irishmen altogether served in the British 
ranks, though Conscription was not, and indeed could not be, 
enforced. To outward seeming Ireland was for the Allies, but 
as often before in her history, the apparent stream of things 
hardly represented the secret stream beneath. 

A European war in which Great Britain is engaged has 
always made Ireland a danger-spot, for its people, whatever 
they feel for the Monarchy, have little enthusiasm for Imperial 
expansion, and there was always a minority wishful to seize 
the opportunity to 'fight the old fight again'. The menace of 
conscription created great excitement, and Redmond's efforts 
to enlist Ireland's manhood as a separate unit under the Irish 
flag by their failure showed how little he could do with the 
Coalition government. A rising was planned by the Irish 
Republican Brotherhood, and on Easter Monday 1916 the 
Post Office and other buildings in Dublin were seized by about 
1,000 men, and Pearse for the Volunteers and Connolly for 
the Citizen army proclaimed the Irish Republic. A large 
British force was landed and after a bombardment of four days 
the main body of the rebels surrendered. General Maxwell 
under martial law executed Pearse and fourteen others of the 
leaders; among the commanders who escaped the death penalty 
fiamon De Valera was to be the most prominent. The Rebel- 
lion, though a small affair and soon over, served its purpose as 
a blood sacrifice in a country which had become apathetic 


about Nationalism, and Pearse and the others took their 
place on the accepted roll of 'the dead who died for Ireland'. 
While thousands of suspects were interned and popular 
opinion rapidly became Sinn Fein, the Coalition government 
could not give Redmond that firm offer of Home Rule for the 
whole country which he needed to maintain his hold on Ireland, 
and Sinn F&n came out as a political force by winning an 
election in Roscommon in February 1917. A Convention 
summoned by the government, intended to be of all parties 
and to hammer out a settlement, was ignored by them, and 
Redmond died a broken man in 1918. He was a noble and 
sincere gentleman and a splendid orator of the old Grattan 
type, but he had outlived the day when mere Home Rule 
within the Empire would content the new Ireland. 


When the Great War ended in October 1918 it was certain 
that Sinn Fein would claim the rights of a nation for Ireland 
at a time when the Allies were setting so many free. The 
initial step was to act as one. In January 1919 the deputies 
elected to Ddil ireann ('the Assembly of Ireland') met as a 
parliament and proclaimed Saorstdt Eireann (the 'Republic' 
or, more correctly, the 'Free State* of Ireland). Neither 
Nationalists nor Unionists attended, and it was left for Sinn 
Fein to win and to command the victory. 

A General Election in England following the dose of the 
War returned again a Coalition government of which Mr. 
Lloyd George became Premier, and in so far as Home Rule for 
the majority was achievable all British parties were now in 
agreement. The English Conservatives abandoned their 
resistance of before the War, for too many promises had been 
made to go back upon, and the shock of the world-conflict 
had brought old-fashioned Conservatism to an end. But, 
while to deny Home Rule as it was on the Statute book 
was impossible, to force it on Ulster was no longer to be 
thought of. 


Ireland was now after the Great War a country with over 
foor millions of people, of great agricultural prosperity (for 
Ireland always profits by great wars, being a food-producing 
country) and a numerous manhood which during the War had 
not been drained off as in the last sixty years of emigration. 
Politically Sinn Fe*in commanded their allegiance, for the 
Home Rule party had ended with Redmond. In April 1919 
a Sinn F6in Convention elected De Valera President and 
Griffith Vice-President of the organization, for De Valera 
represented the military wing which was more powerful than 
the civil wing as represented by Griffith. Then began a per- 
plexing state of things in which there were two governments in 
Ireland and in which people often preferred the Sinn Fe*in 
courts to the established courts. But while civil Sinn Fe'in 
functioned in public, some 2,000 militants of the Irish Re- 
publican Army in small bands took to the gun, and the seizure 
of government buildings and sporadic deeds of bloodshed 
between police and insurgents heralded a growing period of 
war. In December 1919 Mr. Lloyd George proposed an 
Amending act for the Home Rule BUI by which Ireland was 
to be self-governing, but 'Ulster*, consisting of the six counties 
in which the Protestants have a total majority, was not to 
come under the Dublin parliament. This became an Act in 
December 1920, but though it contented Carson and his follow- 
ing it did not content Sinn Fein. 1 Abroad, American sym- 
pathy for Ireland and the influence of the Irish-Americans 
there, as well as the feeling in the Dominions and Great 
Britain, made the Irish question a world one, which England 
in pursuance of the avowed aim of the war 'to set small nations 
free* had to take into account. For some time, however, the 
British Government was reluctant to hand Ireland over to 

1 This six-county area, which, now as 'Northern Ireland' has a gov- 
ernment and constitution of its own, is formed of the counties Antrim, 
Armagh, Deny, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone. It contains now (1949) 
about rj million people as against rather less than 3 millions in the 
Free State. Of these counties the first four have a majority of Protest- 
ants (of all sorts) ranging from Antrim (70 per cent) to Deny (59 per 
cent), bat Fermanagh has a Catholic majority of 56 per cent and Tyrone 
of 55 per cent. The city of Belfast of coarse is overwhelmingly Pro- 
testant. 'Northern Ireland' is not an exact description, since it does 
not include Donegal. 


such an avowed enemy or to believe that Sinn Feui represented 

By 1920 sporadic fighting between the Royal Irish Con- 
stabulary and the Republicans and the assassination of 
prominent opponents became so frequent that the British 
Government decided that neither the hard-pressed police 
force, nor the maintenance of a more regular army was sufficient 
to secure order in Ireland, and determined to do so with a small 
but select force who would track down the leaders of the 
militant Republicans. Part of these, who were ex-officers, 
were called the Auxiliaries; the others from then* emergency 
costumes received the famous name of Black-and-Tans. On 
the Irish side, De Valera, Griffith, William Cosgrave and others 
conducted the civil government; prominent among the leaders 
in the military side were Michael Collins and Richard Mulcahy 
who led 'flying columns'. The object was a Republic, but the 
old-fashioned Griffith only reluctantly abandoned his original 
demand for Home Rule by 'the King, Lords and Commons of 

The result of all this was a dreary record of reprisals and 
counter-reprisals, burnings, murders, and outrages, not 
between armies, but between expert gunmen on both sides. 

In 1920 under Lloyd George's Amending Act the six counties 
of the North began their separate existence as a self-governing 
area with a parliament and government of their own, located 
at Stormont, with limited powers and subordinate to Imperial 
control Thus was the Partition of Ireland achieved, a 
momentous event which no Irish leader had ever contemplated. 
The Covenant had pledged those who signed it to resist Home 
Rule for all Ireland. Now, since post-war Britain would no 
longer countenance this, Carson, Craig, and then- supporters 
fell back upon the Six-counties area in which alone they could 
be sure of a Protestant majority, and reluctantly abandoned 
their co-religionists elsewhere. Their Parliament was opened 
on June 22, 1921, by King George V, who expressed his hope 
for a final re-union of Ireland. 

As for the South, in April 1921 Lord FitzAlan, the first 
Roman Catholic viceroy permitted by law to rule Ireland since 


Tyrconnell, ordered a general election to be held to a Dublin 
parliament under the Amending act. But Sinn F&n returned 
a majority of the members and then refused to work the Act. 
Thus disappeared from history the Irish pledge-bound 
parliamentary party, founded over forty years ago by 
Butt and made real by the genius of ParnelL 

There was a complete deadlock in which the Angle-Irish 'war* 
continued. The Church of England expressed the horror of 
the nobler England at the state of things, and King George 
was sincerely anxious for reconciliation. At the end of June 
a truce was declared and the British government decided to 
negotiate with the leaders of Sum Fe"in, for, like Henry VII 
and the Earl of Kildare, it came to the conclusion that since 
all Ireland could not rule these men, they should rule all 
Ireland. But even advanced offers of something like Dominion 
status did not succeed and there was an impasse between the 
demand for a Republic and the British claim that Ireland 
must at least remain within the Empire. In October 1921 
Lloyd George summoned a conference to London in which he 
and other leading statesmen represented the British side while 
Griffith, Michael Collins, fiamon Duggan, Robert Barton and 
George Gavan Duffy were envoys for De Valera's government. 
Finally on December 6th a Treaty was signed for both sides, 
by which the Irish Free State was recognized as a Dominion 
with full powers of self-government and determination, but 
leaving Great Britain the control of certain harbours for pur- 
poses of defence. The demand for an 'out and out Republic' 
was dropped. The right to maintain its own exclusion from 
Ireland was admitted for the unit of six counties henceforth 
called Northern Ireland. 'Ulster' had in fact already 'voted 
itself out' and though provision was made for re-union under 
one Parliament at some future date, it was a date none 
could foresee. 

According to the new constitution of the Empire since 
the war, Great Britain and her Dominions form 'the British 
Commonwealth of nations' and are recognised as 'autonomous 
communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no 
way subordinate to one another in any aspect of their external 
or domestic affairs, though united in a common allegiance to 


the Crown*. This was the great circle into which the ancient 
nation of Ireland was now invited to enter, and the King 
again became as before 1800 the King of Ireland. 

The powers of freedom conferred by this treaty npon the 
Irish majority were far beyond what any Irish national party 
had ever won since 1660. But when Ddtt tireann was sum- 
moned to consider the treaty Eamon Be Valera opposed its 
acceptance, because it had gone too far on the question of 
allegiance to the Crown and inclusion in the Empire and be- 
cause the Irish delegates had not sufficiently consulted him and 
his cabinet. The Ddtt, however, ratified it on January 7th 1922 
by 64 votes to 57, whereupon De Valera resigned and withdrew 
with his following, and Griffith became President of the Execu- 
tive council of Saarst&l fiircann (an office corresponding to that 
of Prime minister in Great Britain) . England honoured her word 
with the greatest scrupulosity and dispatch and the Lord Lieu- 
tenant handed over to the new government Dublin castle, 
the Viceregal lodge, the barracks and all the other centres of 
British rule in Ireland. For the first time for over seven 
centuries an Irish national government took possession of all 
the seats of power and exercised the rights of a representative 
sovereign assembly over most of Ireland. It was significant 
of altered times since 1800 that, instead of sitting in 'the old 
House on College Green 1 , so often sung about, they chose as 
their permanent meeting-place 'Leinster House', a noble 
group of buildings in Kildare Street which recall the days 
before the Union when such Irish peers as the Duke of Leinster 
had a 'town house' in the capital. 

Irish self-government was thus restored in 1922. The 
history of a nation never ends, and time alone can decide its 
destiny; but at least the Conquest which began in the twelfth 
century was now reversed, and it is certain that no Irish 
government will ever again, as it did in 1800, surrender the 
rights of the Irish people as a separate nation. 



Richey, A. G., A Short History of the Irish People. 1887. 

Hyde, Douglas, Literary History of Ireland (Gaelic literature from 
earliest times). 1889. 

Hayden, M., and Moonan, G., Short History of the InshPeopte. 1921. 

Dunlop, R., Ireland from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. 

Gwynn, Stephen, The History of Ireland. 1923. 

Hull, Eleanor, A History of Ireland (two vols.). 1926, 1931. 

Curtis, E., and McDowell, R. B. (ed.), Irish Historical Documents, 
1172-1922. 1943. 

Cronne, H. A., Moody, T. W., and Quinn, D. B , Essays in British 
and Irish History in honour of James Eadie Todd (includes nine 
studies on Irish history, 1642-1879). 1949. 

Irish Historical Studies (standard periodical on Irish history; bi- 
annual). 1938-. 


Macalister, R. A. S., Ancient Ireland. Rev ed., 1949. 

MacNeill, Eoin, Phases of Irish History. 1919. 

Celtic Ireland. 1921. 

Early Irish Laws and Institutions. 1935. 

Green, A. S., History of the Irish State to 2014. 1925. 

Meyer, Kuno, Ancient Irish Poetry. 2nd ed., 1913. 

Gougaud, Dom Louis, Christianity in the Celtic Lands, translated 
by Maud Joynt. 1932. 

Kenney, J. F., Sources for the Early History of Ireland (ecclesias- 
tical). 1929. 

History of the Church of Ireland, ed. by W. Alison Phillips, vol. i. 


Orpen Goddard, Ireland Under the Normans, n6o,-iei6 (four 
vols.). 1911-20. 



Curtis, E., History of Medieval Ireland, and ed., 1938. 

Richard II in Ireland. 1927. 

Wilson, Philip, Beginnings of Modern Ireland (covers the first half 

of the sixteenth century), 1912. 

Bagwell, It, Ireland under the Tudors (three vols.). 1885-90. 
Bryan, D., The Great Earl of Kildare. 1933. 
Maxwell, Constantia (ed.), Irish History from Contemporary Sources 

(1509-1610). 1923. 
Butler, W. F. T., Confiscation in Irish History. 1917. 

Gleantngs from Irish History. 1925. 

History of the Church of Ireland (as above), vol. ii. 1934. 

Knott, Eleanor, Bardic Poems of Tadhg Dall 6 h-Uiginn (excellent 

introduction on the Irish Bardic Schools). 1922. 
Ronan, Rev. M. V , Reformation in Dublin (under Henry VIII); 

Reformation in Ireland (under Elizabeth). 1926, 1930. 
Edwards, Dudley R., Church and State in Tudor Ireland. 1935. 
Longfield, Ada K, Anglo-Irish Trade in the i6th century. 1929. 
Moody, T. W., The Irish Parliament under Elizabeth and James I 

(in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. xlv). 1939. 
Hayes-McCoy, G. A., Scots Mercenary Forces in Ireland (1563- 

1603). 1937. 
O'Faolain, S., The Great O'Netl. 1942. 


Bagwell, R., Ireland under the Stuarts (3 vols.). 1909-16. 

Butler, W. F. T., Confiscation in Irish History. 1917. 

Moody, T. W., The Londonderry Plantation, 1609-41. 1939. 

Mahafly, J. P., An Epoch in Irish History. 1903. 

Prendergast, J. P., Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland. 3rd ed., 

Dunlop, R., Ireland under the Commonwealth (two vols. of docu- 
ments, with excellent introduction). 1926. 

Seymour, Rev. St. J. D., Puritans in Ireland, 1647-61. 1921. 

MacLysaght, E., Irish Life in the Seventeenth Century, after Crom- 
well. 1939. 

O'Bnen, George, Economic History of Ireland in the ijth Century. 

FaUriner, C. L., Illustrations of Irish History and Topography. 1904. 

Essays relating to Ireland. 1909. 


Froude, J. A., The English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century 
(three vols.). 1881. 


Lecky, W. E. H., A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century 

(five vols.). 1892. 
Reid, Rev. J. S., History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, 

ed. W. D. Kfflen (3 vols.). 1867. 

History of the Church of Ireland (as above), vol. iii. 1933. 
Murray, R, H., Revolutionary Ireland and its Settlement (the war 

of 1689-91 and William Ill's reign). 1911. 
O'Brien, George, Economic History of Ireland in the i8th century; 

Economic History of Ireland from the Union to the Famine. 1918, 

Murray, Alice, History of the Commercial Relations between England 

and Ireland, from 1660. 1903. 
MacNeill, J. G. S. f Constitutional and Parliamentary History of 

Ireland till the Union. 1911. 
Kiernan, T. J., History of the Financial Administration of Ireland 

to i8rj, 1930. 
R. Barry O'Brien (ed.), Two Centuries of Irish History, 1691-1 870. 

2nd ed., 1907. 
Corkery, Daniel, Hidden Ireland (a picturesque study of Gaelic 

Ireland in the eighteenth century). 1925. 
Maxwell, Constantia, Dublin under the Georges. 1936. 

Country and Town in Ireland under the Georges. 1940. 

Beckett, J. C., Protestant dissent in Ireland, 1687-1780. 1948. 
McDowell, R. B., Irish Public Opinion, 1730-1800. 1944. 
Lecky, W. E. H., Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland. 3rd ed., 

Madden, R. R., Lives and Times of the United Irishmen (four vols.). 

Tone, T. W., Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone, written by himself, and 

continued by his son (two vols.). 1826. 
MacDermot, F., Theobald Wolfe Tone. 1939. 
Bradley, Patrick B., Bantry Bay. 1931. 
McAnally, Sir Henry, The Irish militia, 1793-1816: a social and 

military study. 1949 
Dunlop, R., Daniel O'Connett. 1900. 
Gwynn, Denis, Daniel O'Connell. Rev. ed., 1947. 

Young Ireland and 1848. 1949. 

Duffy, C. Gavan, Young Ireland; Four years of Irish history; The 

League of North and South. 

O'Brien, R. Barry, Life of Parnell (two vols.). 1898. 
Hammond, J. L., Gladstone and the Insh Nation. 1938. 
Davitt, Michael, Fall of Feudalism in Ireland. 1904. 


O'Connor, Sir James, Ireland 1798-1924 (two vols.). 1925. 
Mansergh, N., Ireland tn the Age of Reform and Revolution. 1940. 
Pomfret, John E., The Struggle for Land in Ireland, 1800-1933. 


Henry, R. M., Evolution of Sinn Fein. 1920. 
Phillips, W. Alison, Revolution in Ireland, 1906-23. 1926. 
Pakenham, F., Peace by Ordeal (the Treaty of 1921-2). 1935. 
Marjoribanks, E., and Colvin, I. D., Life of Sir Edward Carson. 

Mansergh, N., The Irish Free State- its government and politics. 


The Government of Northern Ireland. 1936. 

O'Sullivan, D., The Irish Free State and its Senate. 1940. 


Abu: Irish war cry ('to victory'), e.g. O'Donnell Abu, pronounced 


Aedh or Aed, anglicized Hugh, pronounced Ae. 
Aileach pronounced Al-yuch. 

Ailill Alyill. 

Aonach Aynttch. 

Ard Rl Aurd Ree. 

Athenry Ath-un*rye. 

Aughrirn w Auch-rim. 

Bacach (Lame) ., Bok-acn. 

Banagh Bann-ach. 

Betagh Beita. 

'Buidhe' (yellow) Bwee. 

(C is always hard in the Irish language, but as Ch Is guttural 
like Scottish 'Loch'). 

Cairbre 'Cinn Cait' 


Cell (cell or church) 



Cenel Conaill 

Cenel Eoghain 




Clann Sinach 



Conn C^d-cathach 


Cti Chulainn 

pronounced Carbry Kinn Kat. 




Kennel Kunnill. 
Kennel Owen. 
Clan Shinach. 


Colum Ktlla. 
Kayd Kathach. 

Koo Hullin. 

Dail liireann 

Dau-il Ayrun. 
Daul Kash. 






Diarmaid nan Gall 




'Donn' (Brown) 
'Dubh' (Black) 







Eoghan M6r 


pronounced Daul Kurinn. 
Dee-armid nan Gaul. 
Dee-armid (now Dermot). 

Dunn -a- ckud (Donough 
Dunnach, is the modem 

Dun (or Doun in Munster). 
Drum Kat. 

Duv in South, Dhu in North. 
Du-gaul (or Duv-goul in 


,. Emmun Mocha. 




Ayryoo (modem 'Erin's=.<4yr- 


Owen More. 

Esker Ree-ada 







Fine (race) 


Fionn MacCumhain 


Garbh (Hough) 
Gear6id larla 




Fee-a wick Ayngussa. 




Finn-gaul (plural Finn-ghaiti 

Finn MacCool. 
Fir Bollug. 


Garrode Eearla. 
Glen Malyure. 


'Gorm' (Blue) 


Hy KinseUa 
Hy Many 




Leabhar Gabala 
'Liath' (Grey) 

MacCarthy 'Reagh* 





Mogh Nuadat 

M6in M6r 




pronounced Gloort-duv. 
,, Gorrwn. 
Gormflah (anglicized Gormley 

or Gormlai). 

High KinseUa. 
High Maany. 


Yva (almost as in 'ivy'). 

Kinn Kdra 

Kinn Sella. 

('Head of the 


Lyow-ar Gavdla. 


Mac Murrv. 


Maanus (from Magnus). 

as in 'Mile'. 

Moe Nooadat. 

Mone More. 


Mur-Kertach (a modern form 

Murr-uch (anglicized form of 


Niall Gldndnbh 



Nee-al Gloonduo. 




O Ruairc 

Rath Croghan 
'Reagh' (Swarthy) 
Rhys ap Tewdwr 
Ri (king) 
Ruadh (Red) 

Saorsidt ireann 


Shanid A.bti 

Sinach or Clan Sinach 

Sinn F&in 

Siol Muiredaig 






Tfon B6 Cualgne 






Tlr Eoghain 


Tuatha D DanaTin 






Umhall of 6 Maffle 



Pronounced 6 Kah-un. 


6 Roo-irk. 

Rath Crd-han. 

Ray or Reeach 

Rees ap Tudor. 


Roo-a, anglicized Roe, 

Saerstaut Ayrun. 
Shaan (Irish 'Sedn'), 
Shannid Aboo 
Clann Shinnach. 
Shtnn Fayn. 
Sheet Mwredy* 

Tyge (as in 'tie'). 


Tautn Boe Coolny. 





Teer Kunill. 

Teer Owen. 


Tooatha Day Danann. 



Ee Fwaelaun. 

Ee Nayl. 


Ooal of 6 Maulya. 



A.D. 200. Conn C&Ucathach founds the Middle Kingdom (Meath) 

and begins the High kingship of Tara. 
377-405. Niall of the Nine Hostages, High king. 
400. Mall's sons, Eoghan and Conall, found the kingdom of 


432. Patrick begins his mission in Ireland. 
563. Colmcille begins his mission in lona. 
575. Convention of Dromceat. 
664. Synod of Whitby. 

795. First appearance of Vikings off Irish coast. 
852. The Norse occupy Dublin and Waterford. 
900-8. Reign of Connac Mac Cullenan, King of CasheL 
919. Battle of Dublin and death of Niall Glundubh. 
940-1014. Career of Brian Boru. 
1014. Battle of Clontarf and death of Brian. 
1095-1148. Career of St. Malachy. 
1100-72. Reform of the Irish Church. 
1119-56. Turloch More O'Connor as High king. 
1134-71. Dermot MacMurrough, king of Leinster. 
1152. Synod of Kells. 

1 155. Date of the alleged "Bull Lavddbiliter." 
1 1 66. August I. Expulsion of Dermot MacMurrough. 
1166-75. Rory O'Connor, last native King of Ireland. 

1170. August 23. Tending of Richard, Earl of Pembroke 

(" Strongbow"). 

1171. October-April 1172. Henry II in Ireland. 

1172. September. The Pope grants Ireland to Henry. 
1177. Henry creates his son John 'Dominus Hiberniae'. 

12x0. King John in Ireland, organizes the Anglo-Irish govern- 

1235. Conquest of Connacht by Richard de Burgo. 
1258. Coming of the Galloglasses to Ulster. 



1260. Battle of Downpatrick and death of Brian O'Neill. 

1261. Battle of Callann and triumph of the MacCarthys. 
1264. Walter de Burgo made Earl of Ulster. 

1270. Battle of Ath-an-Kip marks failure of Norman conquest. 
1297. Beginning of the Irish Parliament. 
1315-18. The Bruce Invasion. 
1333. Murder of the last De Burgo Earl of Ulster. 
1366. Statutes of Kilkenny. 
1376-1417. Art MacMurrough, king of Leinster. 
1394-5. First visit of Richard II to Ireland. 
1399. Second visit of Richard II. 
1425. Death of last Mortimer Earl of Ulster in Ireland. 
1460. Declaration of Irish parliamentary independence. 
1477-15 13. Gerald, 'the Great Earl' of Kildare, rules Ireland. 
1487. May 24. Lambert Simnel crowned King in Dublin. 
1494-5. Poynings' Parliament and acts. 
1504. Battle of Cnoc Tuagh (Enocktoe). 
15x3-34. 'Garret Oge 1 , Earl of Kildare, rules Ireland. 
1534-5- Rebellion of 'Silken Thomas', Lord Offaly. 
1536-40. The Geraldine League. 
J 536-7. The first 'Reformation Parliament' in Dublin. 
1540-56. St. Leger, Lord Deputy, wins over the Irish lords and 
chiefs to accept Henry VIII. 

1541 . June. Irish Parliament accepts Henry as King of Ireland. 

1542. Conn O'Neill created Earl of Tyrone. 
1556. Plantation of Leix and Offaly. 
1559-^7- Shane O'Neill, lord of Tyrone. 

1560. The second 'Reformation Parliament' in Dublin. 
1569-70. Parliament under the Lord Deputy Sidney passes 

measures for the 'reduction' of Ireland. 

1569-73. First Desmond Revolt, led by Sir James Fitzmaurice. 
1579-83- Final Desmond Revolt and suppression. 

1585. The Composition of Connacht. 

1585-6. Perrot's Parliament. Rise of 'Catholic Constitutional 

1586. Plantation of Munster. 

1592. Foundation of Trinity College (University of Dublin). 
1594-1603. The Tyrone War or Northern Confederacy. 
1598. August 15. Battle of the Yellow Ford. 


1601. December 24. Battle of Kinsale. 

1603, March 30. Surrender of O'Neill. 

1607, September 14. Flight of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrcon- 


1608-10. Foundation of the British colony in Ulster. 
1613-15. Chichester's Parliament. 
1627. Charles I offers 'The Graces'. 
1632-40. Wentworth (Lord Strafford), viceroy. 
1639-41. Last Irish parliament in which Catholics sat (save 

1641, October. Irish rising began. 

1642, February. The 'Adventurers' Act'. 

1642, June 10. The Presbyterian Church in Ireland organized. 

1642-9. Catholic Confederacy. % 

1642. Arrival of Owen' Roe O'Neill and Preston. 

1645, October. Arrival of the Nuncio Rinuccini. 

1646, June 5. Battle of Benburb. 
1646. The 'Ormond Peace'. 

1649, August; 1650, May. Cromwell in Ireland. 

1652. Cromwellian Act of Settlement. 

1660, May 14. Restoration of Charles II. 

1662. Second Act of Settlement. 

1666. English Act excluding Irish cattle. 

1670. Navigation Act, excluding Ireland. 

1687-91 . Earl of Tyrconnell, Lord Lieutenant for James II. 

1689, April-July. Siege of Deny. 

1689, May. The Irish 'Patriot Parliamenf . 

1690, July i. Battle of the Boyne. 

1691, July 12. Battle of Aughnm. 

1691, September-October. Siege of Limerick. 

1691, October 3. Treaty of Limerick. 

1692-1829. Catholics excluded from Parliament and office. 

1695. Beginning of the Penal laws. 

1697. Treaty of Limerick 'ratified' by Irish parliament. 

1699. Irish woollen industry crushed by England. 

1700. The Treaty 'ratified' by English parliament. 
1704. The 'Gavelkind' Act i 

1704. Protestant Dissenters excluded from office by Test Act. 
1719. Declaratory Act. 


1724. Swift's 'Drapiers Letters'. 
1756. Founding of the Catholic Committee. 
1767-74. Viceroyalty of Lord Townshend. 

1771. Relief to Roman Catholics begins -with the Bogland Act 

1772. Rise of the Patriot party in Parliament. 
1778. Organization of the Irish Volunteers, 

1778. Gardiner's Relief Act for Catholics. 

1779. English concessions on Trade and repeal of most of the 

Restrictive acts. 

1 780. Repeal of Test Act for Dissenters. 

1782. Volunteer Convention at Dungannon. Gardiner's second 

Relief Act. Establishment of Irish parliamentary 

1783. January 22. Renunciation Act by Great Britain. 

1784. Foster's Corn Law (lasts tall 1846). 
1784-5. 'Orde's Commercial Propositions'. 
1788-9. The Regency dispute. 

1790. Wolfe Tone becomes Secretary to the Catholic Committee. 

1 79 1 . The Society of United Irishmen founded. 
1793. Hobart's Catholic Relief Bill. 

1795. The Fitzwilham episode. The United Irishmen become 

1795. September 21. 'Battle of the Diamond'. Orange Order 


1796. Ireland put under martial law. 

1796, December. First French fleet sails to invade Ireland. 

1797, The disarming of Ulster by General Lake. 
I 797i June. Second French attempt against Ireland. 

1798, May 24. Rebellion of '98 breaks out. 
1798, November 19. Death of Wolfe Tone. 
1800, August i. The Act of Union becomes law.' 

1807. Daniel O'Connell becomes the leader of Catholic Ireland, 
v 1828, July. The Clare Election. 

' 1829, April. Catholic Emancipation Bill passed. O'Connell 

takes up 'Repeal'. 

1831. National Education system founded. 
1835-40. Administration of Mulgrave and Drummond. 
1842-8. The Young Ireland movement. 

1845. The Queen's Colleges founded. 
1845-7. The Great Famine. 

1846. Peel gets the Navigation and Corn Laws repealed. 


1847, May. Death of O'Connell. 

1848, August. Rising under Smith O'Brien, etc. 
1850. Tenant Right League formed. 

1867. The Fenian Rising. Execution of the 'Manchester 

1869. Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland. 

1870. Gladstone's first Land Act. Home Government Associa- 

tion founded by Isaac Butt. 
1877. Famell becomes Chairman of the Home Rule Confeder- 


1879. Land League founded by Davitt. 
1881. Gladstone's second Land Act. 
1886. Gladstone's first Home Rule Bill defeated. Riots in 


1891. October 7. Death of Parnell. 

1892. Gladstone's second Home Rule Bill defeated. 

1893. Gaelic League founded. 

1899. Griffith begins the Sinn Fern, movement. 

1900. John Redmond Chairman of the Irish Party (till 1918). 
1903. Wyndham's Land Act settles the Agrarian question. 
1908. National University founded. 

1912. The Third Home Rule Bill introduced. 

1912, September 28. Solemn League and Covenant in the North. 

1913, January. The Bill defeated in the Lords. Ulster and 

National Volunteers organized. 

1914, March. The 'Curragh Mutiny'. Third Home Rule Bifl 

receives royal assent. 

1917, February. Sum Fe'in wins the Roscommon election. 
191821. 'The Anglo-Irish War*. 

1919, January. The Sinn Fern deputies elected to Ddil ftireawi 

meet and proclaim Saorstdt ireann. 

1920, Lloyd George's Amending Act allows the Six Counties in 

Ulster to vote themselves out. 

1921, June 22. King George opens the Northern parliament. 

1921, December 6. The Anglo-Irish Treaty signed in London. 

1922, January 7. Treaty ratified in Ddil ireann. 


Absentees (eighteenth century), 396, 309 
Absentees (medieval), 83, 102, in, 133, 

iaj. 164 

Act of Settlement (1653), 353-3, 356 
Act of Settlement (1663), 356-8, 263, 969 
Act of Explanation (1663), 237-8, 309 
Adamnan, abbot of lona, zo 
Adrian IV, Pope, donation of (Bull 

LaudabOlteP), 43-6, 32-7, 74, 97-8, 

163, 194 

'Adventurers' Act* (1642), 244, 150, 232 
Aldan, bishop of Lindufame, 13 
Afleach, a, 3 
AildlMolt, 19 
Aihll Olnm, 26 
Alen, John, archbishop of Dublin, 139, 

163, 164 

Alexander III, Pope. 'Privilege of, 31-3 
Amending Act (loso), 409 
Angulo, de. S Costello 
Annaly, tu Longford 
Annuities (under Land Acts), 389 
Antrim, Earls of, 330, 249, 337, a66, 268-9. 

Set MaoDonnells 

Antrim and Down, rising in (1798). 344 
Aonach(Fair)ofTaraandTailten,4,8,3i, 29 
Aid Ri (High King, office of), 3-6, 8, n, 

19, 28, 31, 33-6, 40-1, 43, 65, 8j, 86 
Argyle (or Scottish Dalrlada), 6, 7, 13, 14, 23 
Armada, the, in Ireland, 204 
Armagh, Book of, 18, 28 
Armagh (city and see of), 3, 9, 13, 18, 28, 

AsgaJl'fHascnlf), earl of Dublin, 43, 43, 31 
Asquith (Prime Minister), 393, 403 
Aughrim, battle of, 272 

Bacvlitm JiM (St. Patrick's crozier), 166 
Bagenal family, the, 174, . 337, 248, *5 
Baggotrath, battle of. 249 
Bauour, Arthur (Chief Secretary), 384, 388, 

390, 392 

Ballinahinch, battle of, 344 
Ballot Act, 376 
Ballygory, 128 

Bards, 194. SM Irish language and culture 
Barrets, 82 

'Battle of the Diamond' (1793), 339 
Beaumont, Gustavo de, 363 
Belfast, 350-1, 383-4, 394-45, 404, 408-9 
BeUahoe, battle of, 168 
Belhngham, Sir Edward, Deputy, 173 
Benburb, battle of, 248 
Beresf ord, John, 322, 328, 331, 333 
Berkeley. Bishop, 300 
Berxningnam, John de, Bad of Lonth, 97, 

99, 104 

Bermingham of Athenry, 82, 96, 128 
Berminghams of Tethmoy and Carbery, 

39, 94 

'Betaghs', Irish villeins, 60, 

Stt Irish, admittance of, to 
Biggar, Joseph, M.P., 377, 383 
Bigods, Barb of Norfolk, Lords 


of Carlow, 

83, 92, 108 
Bmgham, President of Connacht, 210 
'Black-and-Tans', 409 
Black Death, the, no 
Black-rents, 132, 132, 160-1, 164 
Bogland Act, 309 
Boleyns, the, 138-63 
'Bounacht' (military service), 90, 126, 138, 


'Bonnaughts' (Irish mercenaries), ixg, 199 
Book ofRigUs, 24, 35, 4 
Borlase and Parsons, Chief Justices, 243-3 
Boulter, Archbishop of Armagh, Lord 

Justice, 994; 298-9 

Boyle, Richard, Earl of Cork, 337, 241 
Boyle, Roger SM Broghill 
Boyne, battle of. 270-1 
Braose, de, family, 6x, 68-71, 79 
Brehon law, 19, ax. 113, 117, X73> l8 4, M 3, 

233. Su Irish kingship 
Brian Bom, 33-33 
BroghilL Roger Boyle, Bad of, and Bad 

of Orrery, 237, 230, 255, 237 
Browne, Archbishop of Dublin, 164, 166, 

Browne, Nicholas, Sir, ancestor of the 

Earls of Kenmare, 237 
Bruce, Edward, 93-100 
Bun 'LaudabUiter, the, 43, 53. 56-7 
Burgo (or Burgh), de, Hubert (justiclar of 

England), 78, 8x 
Burgo, de, William, 64-3 
Burgo, do, Richard, 66, 8o- 
Burgo, de, Walter, Earl of Ulster, 83, 83-6 
Burgo, de, Richard, Earl of Ulster, 89, 91, 

95-7. 90-100 

Burgo, de, William 'Llath', 96 
Burgo, de, William, 'the Brown Earl', 99, 


Burgo, Edmund 'Albanach* de, 103-6 
Burgo, Uuck de. 103-6 
Burgo, de, or Burke, of Castleoonnell or 

Clanwilliam, 103, 198 
Burgo, de, Ulick or William, of Clan- 

nokard, 106. xaS {'the Upper Mao- 


Burke. Set mho de Burgo 
Burke, Ulick of Clanrickard 154-3 
Burke, Ulick, first Earl of Clandckard, 

Burke, Richard, second Earl of daurickard, 

181, 195-6 

Burke. Ulick, third Bad, 196-7 
Burke. Richard, fourth Earl, 197, 2x7, 

Burke, Ulick, fifth Ead and Marquis, 936, 

341, 243, 247, 231 




Burke of Mayo ('the Lower MacWffliam 1 ), 

loo 1 , 197 

Burke, Theobald, Viscount Mayo, 197 
Burke, Edmund, 300, 300, 310, 314, 330 
Butler, Theobald Walter ('the Butler*), 64, 

Butler,' Edmund. Earl of Carrick, 89,05-6, 

Butler, Edmund 'MaoRlchard' of Poles- 
town, 133-6, i4*-3_ 

Butler, James, son of Edmund, 143, 143, 

Butler, Plan, ion of James, 134, 138-64. 
Ste Onnond 

Butler. Sir Edmund, 188, 190-1, 194, 193 

Butt, Isaac, 376-8. 410 

Bysets, lords of the Glens of Antrim, 93, 
107, 137 

Callinn, battle of (1339), 83 

Cantreds, 34, 50, 34, x 

'Cantreds, the Five' (of Rotcommon), So, 

83, 86. 97 

Caxneuge, battle of, 81 
Campbell, Lady Agnes. ao8 
'Captains of their nations', 94, 103, no, 

130-3, 160-1, 171, 303, 330, 333 
Carew, Sir George, 313, 217, 339 
Carew, Sir Peter. 190, 193, 194, 213 
Carew, Raymond Te Gros* de. 30, 39, 63 
Carews (of Carlow and Cork), 48, 39, 61, 

133, 190-1 

Carrickshock, battle, 363 
Canon, Sir Edward, 400, 404. 49 
Cashel, 4, 10, 34, 37, 39 
CJW, Pialter of, 24 
Cashel, Synod of, 34 
Castlereagh, Viscount, 338, 340, 348-30 
Castle Chamber, Court of, 339 
Catholic Association, 356-7, 358, 360 
Catholic Committee, 303-3, 310, 313, 318, 

Catholic' Confederation of Kilkenny (1643- 

i649),43-5i, 37-& 

Catholic Emancipation, 303-3, 310-13, 
316-18, 331-6, 346-9, 331-3, 356-7, 

Cenel ConallL SM Tir Conafll and 

Cenel Eoghain, kings of, 63, 67, 71, 81, 85. 

Stt MacLochlaon and O'Neill 
Cess', 197, 3?o 

Charlemont, Lord, 311-13, 314, 335, 338 
Charter Schools, 399 

'Charters of English liberty' iz5, 116, 153 
Chesterfield, Lord Lieutenant, 399, 309 
Colchester, Sir .Arthur, Lord Deputy, 


Christian, bishop of Lismore, 44, 34 
Church of Ireland, from the Union to 

Disestablishment, 330, 353, 363, 364, 


Churchill, Lord Randolph, 383-4 
'Citizen Army', 403-6. 
dancarthy, Earls of. Stt MaoCarthy 
Clandeboy, (M O'Neills 
Clanrlckard, Earls of. S*t Bnrke 
dare, de, family of, 47, 30-3, 58-9, 90, 

Clare, Earls of, SM O'Brien and Fiti- 


Clare election (1838). 361 

Clare, Richard FitzGubert, Earl of Pern- 
broke ('Strongbow'), 47-33, 58-60 

Clare, Thomas de, Lord of Thomond, 

Clarence, George, Duke of, 139, 141-3, 
148-0. 133 

Clarence, Lionel. Duke of, 105, 111-17 

Clontarf, Repeal meeting at, 365 

Uonmacnois, 13, 33. 34 

Qonbbret, battle of, 311 

Clvn, Fnar, annalist, 94, no 

Coerdon Acts, 337, 333, 337, 371 

Cogan, MUo de, 31. 61, 63 

Coign, Livery, and 'Insh exactions', no, 

_ "9.J37, H3, 145, 130, 160 

Collins, Michael, 409-11 

Colman, bishop-abbot of Llndiafarne, 15-6 

Colomba, Saint, 13-14, o 

Columbanus, 15, 17-18 

Comyn, John, first Anglo-Norman arch- 
bishop of Dublin, 63 

Cong. 34, 65 

Conall, son of Niall, j. S Tiroonalll 

Confiscations, 332-4, 373-6. SM alto 

Congested Districts Board, 390 

Connacht, composition of, 303-3, 341-4 

Connolly, James, 403-6 

'Conn's Half, 4, 37 

Conn CeoVcathach, Ard Ri, 3, 4, 39 

Convention Act, 334, 353, 338, 371 

Cooke, Rev-Henry, 397 

Coote, Sir Charles, 345, 249-31, 835, 357 

Cormao MacCullenan, 34 

Corn Laws. Sit Foster 

Cornwallis, Lord Lieutenant, 343-50 

Coronation oath, 351 

Cosgrave, William, 409 

Costello, 83, 106, 195. S Angulo, de 

Councils Bui (1904), 393 

County Councils Act, 390 

Conroy, John de, 'Conquestor Ultooiae', 
61-3, 67-70 

Court of Wards, 336, 361 

Covenant in Ulster (1913), 398, 404, 409 

Covenant, the, in Ulster (1041), 343, 397 

Cromwell, Oliver, in Ireland, 347, 349-51 

Cromwellian Settlement. 353-4, 356 

Curlew Mountains, battle of, 314 

'Curragh Mutiny', 405 

Dal Cuinn ('the race of Conn'), 4, n, 31. 

Ste also Ui Neul 
Ddtl Atreann, 407, 411 
Dalnada, 6, 7, 13-14 
Dathi, 10 

Davies, Sir John, 104, 333-3, 337 
Davis, Thomas. 366-7, 381 
Davitt, Michael, 376-7 
Declaratory Act of 1719, 396. 314 
Defective titles, commission for, 333, 340 

. t 



. . --- 

Deputy, Lord, office of, 143-3, 154, 167, 

170, 377 
Derb-flne' law of succession, 31, 49, 8x, 

93-4i 4 

Dennot I, King of Letaster, 33. Stt 

Deny, Hervey, Earl of Bristol, bishop of, 

312, 345 

Deny, siege of. 266, 268, 270 
Desmond, Earls of. 
Fitzgerald, Maurice Fit* Thomas, first 

Bad, loa, 104, 109-10 
Gerald, third Earl ('Gearfid larla'), 119, 

1 34-3 

Thomas, 135 
James, 135 i4-3 
Thomas, 143-3 
Tames, tenth Bail, 161 


twelfth Earl, 172, 173 
last true Earl, 193-9 

Thomas, the 'Sugaun Bail', 913, 915 
Gerald, the 'Tower Earl', 313-16 

Desmond, kingdom of. Stt MacCarthy 

Do Valera, Eamon, 406-11 

Devolution Scheme, 393 

Diamond, battle of the, 336 

Dillon, John, 383-388 

Dillon, John Blake, 369 

Disestablishment Act, 374 

Docwra, Sir John, 216, 319, 338 

Dorset, Lord Lieutenant, 301-9 

Dowdall, Archbishop of Armagh, 173-4 

Down Survey, the, 253 

Drumceat, Convention of, 13-14 

Drummond, Under-Secretary, 363-5 

Duffy, Gavan, 366, 369 

Dullough, the, 134, 190 

Dungannon, Convention at, 319 

Easter question, the. 15-16 

Easter rising In 1916, 406 

Education in Ireland, 224, 380, 286, 313 

333. 3J6, 362. 366, 374. Stt Irish 

language, Universities, Penal laws, 

Charter schools 

Edward VII and Ireland, 393-3, 403 
Emain Macha, 3 

Emigration, 391-3, 303-6, 339, 368-70 
Emmet, Robert, 336, 334-3 
Emmet, Thomas, 331, 333, 343 
Encumbered Estates Act, 368, 370 
Eoghanacht longs of Cashel, 4, 10, 25, 26, 

33, 7p Stt MacCarthys 
Eoghan Mor, or 'Mogb Nuadat*. 4, 26 
Eoghan. son of NiaU, 3. Su Tlr Eoghaln, 

ana O'Neills 
Errington mission, 380 
Essex, first Earl of, 306 
Essex (Sir Robert Devereux), second Earl 

of, Lord Lieutenant, 3 14-15 
Essex, Lord Lieutenant under Charles II, 


Famine, the Great (1846-8), 367-71 

FM of Tara, 4 

Fenian movement, 378-9, 382, 392, 403 

Fergus Mac Ere, 7, 13 

FM (the Gaelic professional poets), 2, 3, 

8, 12, 30, 136, 210-20, 391 
Financial relations of Great Britain and 

Ireland, 330, 358, 383, 391 
Fingall (Fine Can), the Norse country in 

Dublinshire, 34 

INDEX 429 

Finn-gall (the Norsemen], 22 

Finn SlacCool, 4, 373 

'FitiEmpress', statute of, 55, 133, 146, 

148, 131 

FitzEustace, Lord BalUnglts, 198 
Fitzgeralds (or Geraldlnes), the, 48, 33, 

64-5, 68. 78. Stt Earls of Desmond 

and Kildare 

Fitzgerald, Gerald of Windsor, 48 
Fitzgerald, Maunce, 50, 52-3, 63-5 
Fitzgerald, Thomas, 'of Shamcr, son of 

Maunce, 65 
Fitzgerald, Thomas, son of Maurice, son 

of John, 85-6, 89 
Fitzgerald, John, son of Thomas of Shamd, 

Fitzgerald, Maurice, Lord of Offaly, 80-3 
Fitzgerald, John FitcThomas of Offaly, 

Fitzgerald, Lord Edward, 338, 339, 34* 
Fltzgibbon, John (Earl of Clare), 19, 

318-22,328,331-2,331-6, 340, 348i333 
Fitzmaunce, Sir ] mies, 194-3, 197-8 
Fitzpatrick, ut Macgillapatric 
FitzStephen, Robert 48, 50, 63, 64 
'Fltzwubam Episode 1 (1795), 334-6 
'Five Bloods', the, 76. 115-116 
Flemings, the, from S Wales, 46, 30 
Flood, Henry, 306-0, 311-13, 323-6 
Foster's Corn Law, 319-20, 368, 370 
Foster, John, Speaker, 319-20, 345, 349 
Fox, Charles, and Ireland, 314-16, 326, 

3a8, 332, 334i 340 

Franchise Acts in Ireland, 312, 323-4, 328, 
^ 330, 354,360, 362, J7, 3". 400 
French Republican expeditions to Ireland, 

33. 338, 339-40 

Gaelic League, 390 
Gardiner's Relief Acts, 310, 313 
Galloglass, the, 83-4, 137, 143. 153, W*f 
185. 105, 105, 214. Su HacDonnells 

Gavelkind Act, 284, 310 

Genville, GeofErey de, 83, 89, 93 

George III and Ireland, 303-4, 327-81 


George V and IrHand, 404, 409, 411 
'Geraldine League', 163-4 
Geraldiaes. Stt Fitzgerald, Desmond, 

Gladstone and Ireland, 376, 382, 383-6, 


'Glamorgan Treaty', 247 
Glenmalure, 121, 198, 208, 314 
Glenmama, battle, 28 
Glcnveigh evictions, 379 
Gowran, 79 

'Graces', the (1637), 238, 340, 243 
Grand Junes (county government), 287, 

297, 390 

Grattan, Henry, 3O7-5, 333, 337 
Gray, Lord Leonard, Deputy, 163-70 
Griffith, Arthur, 383-8 

Habtas Corput, in Ireland, 308, 337, 333, 

Heal y, Timothy, 379, 83,388 
Hearth-tax, 361, 321, 329 



Hebrides, Isles, Lordship of, *a, 6a, 86, 

7, 333, 173 

Henry II m Ireland, 43, 53-7 
Henry VIII, policy in Ireland, 156, 139-73 
High king. SwArdRI 
Hoadley. archbishop, 299 
Hobart (Chief Secretary), 338, 333 
Home Rule Bills, 383-4, 386, 403-10 
Home Rule, Irish, in medieval times, 

108-10, 133-3, 146-9, 231, IJ3- Su 


Home Role party, tet Irish Party 
Hy Klnsella, 33, 108, 190-1, 333. 
Hyde, Douglas, 401 
Huguenots, 363, 183 

Idrone, barony, 39, 108, 133, 134. X9 
Inchiqum, Earls of, 343-34, 169, 377. Su 

'Ineen Dav* (FlnoJa MaoDonnell, mother 

of Red Hugh), 308 
Inishowen, 6. Ste O'Doharty 
'Invinoibles', the, 380-1 
lona, 14-16, 33 
Irish Agncultural Organization Society, 


Irish Brigade, 370, 393, 333 
'Irish exactions', 179, 189, 193. soa, 909, 

333. St4 Coign and Livery 
Irish Free State (SaonUt &vrt*n) 388-9 
Irish kingship and chieftainship, roles of, 

etc., 19, 31. 36, 94, no, la/, "9. 

i73-3i 179-81, 189, 303-3, 307-8, aio, 

330, 333, 333. 933. Su Derb-fine 
Irish language and culture, i, 7, ia, 14-31, 

19-31, 117, 138, 131, 136, 133, 156, 

164, 170, 178-9, 183-3, 189, 194-6, 

<io, 332, 371, 391, 399, 330, 359-63, 

391, 401-3 

Irish Party in House of Commons, 376-410 
Irish peasantry, agrarian and economic 

grievances of, 361-3, 364, 386-7, 

393-3, 303-6, 309, 330-1. 339, 360, 363 
Irish Republican Army, 406-10 
Irish Republican Brotherhood, 383 
Irish, treatment under and admittance to, 

English law, 76-8, 88, 93-3, 99-103, 

lix-17, 147, IJ3, 333, 334 
Isles, Lordship of, u* Hebndes and 

Iveagh, Magennis, Lord of, 138, 331, 368, 

James VI of Scotland and I of England, 
sis, arS-37 

Tames II and Ireland, 364-71 
esmts in Ireland, 166, 193, 333 
ohn Scotus 'Enugena', 18 
John XXII, Pope, 57, 133, 134, 190 
ones, Michael, commander in Dublin, 349 
oyces, 83 
usbctar, office of, 34, 63, 66, 68-9, 74 

Kathleen Ni Houlahan', 'Rolsfn Dubh' 
'Dark Rossleen' (and other poetic 
names for Ireland), 391, 338, 360, 367, 

KeUstown, battle of (1398), 9 

Kells, synod of, 43-3 

Kenmare, Earls of, 337, 3x8, 331 

Kildare, Fitzgerald, Earls, of 96, 109, 136, 

338, 369 

Kildare, John FltzThomas, first Earl, 96 
Kildare, Thomas, Earl of, 143-6 
Kildare, Garret More, Earl of, 146, 138 
Kildare, Garret Oge, Earl of, 138-63 
Kildare, Silken Thomas, Lord Offaly, 162-3 
Kddare, Gerald, Earl of, 173 
Kildare, James, twentieth BarL SM 

Kilkenny, Statutes of, 59, 78, 93, 99, 

111-17, 133, 133, 133, 164, 333, 334 
Kilkenny, Catholic Confederation of, 343- 

51, 357-8 

' Kilmainham Treaty*. 380 
Kingdom of Ireland, the (1541-1800) 

168-70, 175, 9, 333 it pasttm, 353, 

403, 409, 411 

Klnsale, battle of, 303, 317-18, 371 
Knocknanoss, battle of, 349 
Knocktoe, battle of, 154-3 

Lacy, Hugh de, Earl of Heath, 34-5, 60-1, 

Lacy, Hugh the younger, Eari of Ulster. 

69-70, 78, 81-3 
Lacy, Piers, commander under Tyrone. 

Lacy, Walter de, Earl of Meath, 63, 69-70, 

78, 83-31 

Laeghaire, High king, 5, 10-11, 19 
'Laggan Army 1 , 345 
Lalor, John Fintan, 366 
Land Acts, 373-6, 380, 387-93, 399 
Land Leagues and land war, 366, 373, 

Landlordism hi Ireland, 170, 300, 303, 330, 
333-3, 327, 239, 333^4, 337, 334, 338, 
364, 371, 376, 386-7, 391-3, 399, 303, 
306, 317-31, 339, 333, 337, 339, 
337-00, 363-4, 389-90 

Langnshe's Act, 33 x 

Larkin, James, 403 

Leinster, James, Marquis and Duke of, 

Leo XIII, Pope, and Ireland, 380-1 

Limerick, sieges of, 331, 373 

Limerick, Treaty of, 373-7, 380-1 

Lindisfarne, 13-6 

Lloyd George, Prime Minister, 393, 403, 

Loftus, Adam, Archbishop of Dublin, 192 

London Companies In Ulster, 330, 333, 341 

Longford (Annaly), 60, 333 

Lord Lieutenant, Office of, 73, 93, 120, 133, 

160, 173, 379, 394- 
Lucas, Citunt't Journal, 

, , , , 
394-6, 330-3, 387 

MaoCarthy, kings of Desmond, 33, 41, 79, 


MacCarthy, Connac, king of Desmond, 41 
MacCarthy, Dermot, king of Desmond, 

461 33, 6x 

MacCarthy, Dermot of Dundrintn, 79 
MacCarthy, Flneen, victor of CaUann. 83 
MaoCarthy, lordship of (1360-1330), 86, 89 
MacCarthy More, Taig, 137 



MacCarthy More, Donal, Earl Clancarthy, 

188, 194 
MacCarthy, Fmeen, 'MacCarthy More', 

MaoCarthy, Donough, Lord Clancarthy, 368 
MacCarthy Reagh of Carbery, 86, 161 
MacCarthy of Muskerry, 118, 197, 917 
MacCarthy, Viscount Muskerry, 947 
MacCarthy, Justin. SM Mountcaihel 
McCracken, Henry Joy, MI. 344 
MacDonnells, Lords of the Isles and 

Antrim, 86, 137, 153, 175-6. SM 

Antrim, Earls of, and Scots 
MacDonnell, Alastar 'Colkitto', 949 
MacDonnell, James, lord of the Glens, 186 
MacDonnell, Randal, Earl of Antrim, 330 
MacDonnell, Sorley Boy, 186, 905, 330 
MacDonnell, Sir Anthony (Under-Secre- 

tary), 393 
MaoGiUapatno of Ossory (Fitxpatriok), 49, 

171-3, 175, 183 
MaoLochlann, Murcertaoh, High Idng, 41, 


MaoLochlanns, 36, 41, 45-6, 63, 71, 81 
MaoMahon of Monaghan, 138, 300, 931 
MaoMurrough, Art Oge, lung of Leinster, 

1X3, 139, 131, 134 
MacMurrough, Dermot II, king of Leinster, 

41-6, 50-1, 191 
MaoMurrough, Donal Kavanagh, 46, 50, 

53, 60 
MacMurrongh, Donal Reagh, long of 

Lemster, 143 
MacMurrough Kavanagh, sept of, 171, 

xoo-x, 993, 333 
MacMurrough, Saiv, daughter of Donal 

Reagh, 143, 145 
MaoQuulan. 107, 138, 176, 905, 930. SM 

MaoSweenys, 83, 84. SM Sulbhne and 


MacToroaill, None earls of Dublin, 34, 43 
Magenms SM Iveagh 
Magna Carta, 74-5, 99, 100-10, ZI 7 
Maguire, Bnan, Baron of . 

"44, 358 


Maguire, Conor Roe, 337, 331 

Maguire, Hugh, Lord of Fermanagh, tio, 

81 J, 337 

Uagulre of Fermanagh, 106, 183, 308 

Malachy I, King of Heath and High king, 

Malachy II, High king, 33-31 

Malaohy, Saint, 43-4 

Man, aa, 6a 

Manchester Martyrs', 373, 378 

MandeviHes, 67, 104, 107. Stt MacQutllan 

Mangan, James Clarence, 366 

March, Roger, first Earl, 103, 107 

March, Edmund, Earl of Ulster and March, 
113, 133 

March, Roger, 133, 133, 139 

March, Edmund, 133-3 

March, Earls of. SM OHO Mortimer 

'March law*, no, 113 

Marshal, the family of, 39, 67, 69-73, 
78-80, 83-3 

Marshal. William the elder, Earl of Pem- 
broke, 59, 66-7, 69-73, 83 

Marshal, William the younger, Bad of 
Pembroke, 79-80 

Marshal, Richard, Bad of Pembroke, Be 
Maynooth Castle, 136, 163 
Maynooth College, 336, 349, 374 
'Maynooth, pardon of, 163-3 

'Mere Irish', the, 93, 113-17, 135 

Miliba, Irish, 334, 338 

Mitchel, John, 367, 369 

Molyneux, 383 

Monaghan. settlement of (1591), too, 930 

Monroe, Henry, Irish rebel leader, 344 

Mortimer, Roger,, of Wigmore, Lord of 

LU, 83, 89, 93-4, 103-a. SM March 
Mountcashel, Justin MacCarthy, Viscount, 

368, 370, 171 
Mountjoy (Sir Charles Blount), Deputy 

and Lieutenant, 178, 179, ai3-3Z 
Molgrave, Lord, Viceroy, 363-4 
Municipal Reform Act, 363 
Munroe, Scottish General in Ulster, 345,348 
Monster, Plantation of. Set Plantations 
Muskerry. SM MacCarthy 

Napper Tandy, 339 
National Education system, 363 
National University, 391. SM Universities 
Navigation Acts, 361, 368 
New Ross, battle of, 349 
Newtown-Butler, battle of, 370 
Nian 'GlnndubV, High king, 94-3, 3 
Null of the Nine Hostages, High king, 

5-6. SM Ui Neill 
Norragh, barony, 134, 138-31 
'No Rent Campaign' manifesto, 380-1 
Northern Star', 331 
North, Lord, and Ireland, 310-13 

O'Brien, Turloch, High Idng, 36 
O'Bnen, Murcertacb, High Idng, 36-7, 39 
O'Bnen, Donal More, king of Thomond, 

53, 58, 61 
O'Bnen, Donough, king of Thomond, 

O'Brien, Turlocn, 90, 98 

O'Brien, Muroertach, 98 

O'Bnen, Bnan, 'Prince of the Irish of 
Thomond', 137 

O'Bnen, Murrongh, first Bad of Thomond, 

O'Bnen, Donough, second Bad of Tho- 
mond, 179 

O'Bnen, Conor, third Bad of Thomond, 

173, 181, 184, 195 
O'Bnen, Mnrrough, Earl 

of Inchiqidn, 

3439, 33^3> 357* SM TnBlilqiim 

O'Brien, Donal, Earl of Clare, 368, 371 
O'Bnen, William Smith, 369 
O'Bnen, William. M.P , 377, 381, 393 
O'Byme, Fiach MaoHugh, 193, 198, 319 
O'Byrne, Phelim MaoFlach, 3x4 
O'Bymes of Wicklow, 60, 107, 131, 138, 

138, 193, 198, 313 

O'Cahans of Deny, 85, 107, xx8, 3x6, 336-8 
Ocha, battle of (483), 19 
O'Carrols of Ely, 107, 135-6, 163, 333 
O'ConneH, Darnel, 349, 336-68 
O'Connor, Tnriooh, High king, 36-7, 40-3, 



O'Connor, Rory, High Idng, 46, 30-1, 39, 

O'Connor, Cathal 'Crovderg', King of 

Connacht, 58,70-1, 76, 79, 97 
O'Connor, Aedh (Hugh), 79-80 
O'Connor, Felim, 80-3 
O'Connor, Aedh, too. of Fdim, 86 
O'Connor, Felim (of Athenry), 96 
O'Connor, Cathal. of Clan Brian. 97 
O'Crnnor, Turioch, brother of Felim, 97 
O'Connor, Turioch 'Dona', 134, 137-8 
O'Connor Don and O'Connor Roe, 154, 203 
O'Conor Don, the, 134, 303, 376 
O'Connor, Charles, of Belanagare, 30$ 
O'Connor Sbgo, too, 106, 188, 308 
O'Connor of Offaly. 61, 94, 97, i? 
O'Connor Faly, Brian, 173, 176-7 
Octennial Bill, 304, 307 
O'Dempsey of uanmaher, 176-7* 358, 368 
O'Devany, Bishop of Down, martyred, 334 
O'Doberty of Inlshowen, 107, 3x9, 237 
O'Donnells of Tirconaill, 71, 81-4, 136, 

134, 173-3. SM Conau, ion of Niall 
O'Donnell, Donal More, king of Tirconaill, 


O'Donnell, Goffraldh, 83 
O'Donnell, Donal Oge, 83-4 
O'Donnell, Red Hugh, 144, 147 
O'Donnell, Hugh Oge, 153-61 *6x 
O'DonneU, Manus, 163, 171, 308 
O'Donnell, Calvach, 186, 188, 307 
O'Donnell, Hugh 'Dubh 1 , 195, 303-8 
O'Don&ell, Red Hugh (Aedh Ruadh), 

307-8, 310-18 
O'Donnell, Rory, Bad of Tyrconnell, 

318-19, 336-7 
O'Donnell, Niall 'Garbh', 308, 316, 3x9, 

338, 331 
O'Haingli, 30 

0' Kelly of Jay Many, 39, 106, 303-3 
O'Keonedy of Ormond, 107, 133, 137, 139 
Olaf 'Cuaran', king of Dublin, 33-6 
Olaf tha White, lord of Dublin, 33 
'Old English Irelandized', 336 
'Old English' (Normans ox Ireland), 1x4, 

116, 119, 136, 140, 145, 160, 184, 193, 

X9J, 333, 367, 37X 

O'Leary, John, Fenian, 373. 379 
O'Leary, Rev. Peter, 401 
O'Maddens of Hy Many, zoo 
O'Malley of Umhall in Mayo, 106, 196 
O'Malley, Crania or Grace, 196-7 
O'Melagnlin, 33, 35, 41-3, 55, 60 
O'More of Leut, 93, 107, 136, 176-7 
O'More, Rory Oge, 176-7, 198 
O'More, Owny MacRory, 177, 3x3, 3x6 
O'More, Rory, 177, 343-4, *44, '46, 3S3 
O'NelU of Tlr Eoghaln, 71, 8x. Set 

Eoghan, son of Niall, Niall Glondubh, 

ana MacLochlann 

O'Nelll Aedh, king of Cenel Eoghain, 71, 81 
O'Neill, Brian, long of Cenel Eoghain, 81, 


8s, 85 

O'NelU Aedh Bnidhe, 83 
O'Neill, Donal, ton of Brian, king of Cenel 

Eoghain, 95, 98-9 
O'Neill, Niall More, Princtp* Hibtrnl 

cofum UUonte, 135-8 
O'Neill, Eoghan, 133, 138 
O'Neill, Henry, son of Eoghan, 138, 147 
O'Neal, Conn More, 116, 147, 134, 181 

O'Neill, Conn Baoach, first Earl of Tyr> 

154. 161. 167-8, 171, 181 
O'NelU, Matthew, Baron of Dungannon, 
O'Neill, Shane the Proud, i8i- 
O'Neill, Turioch Luineach. 187, 195, a 
O'Neill, Hugh, second Earl of Tyre 

179-80, 190, 193, 305-31, 336-7 
O'Neill, Henry Oge, 319, 337, 331 
O'Neill, Sir Felim of Kinard, 331, 343-4, 
O'Neill Owen Roe, 347-51 
O'Neill, Hugh 'Dubh 1 , 351 
O'Neill of the Fewa, 331. 3j8 
O'Nellli of Clandeboy, 85, 1x8, 141, J 

Orange Order, the, 336-7, 349, 363, 

37a, 383-4, 394-^, 404 
Orders Commercial Resolatlons, 336-7 
Onel, 3, 44, 64, 67 
Ormond, Earls of. See alto Butler 
Ormond, James, first Earl, 103, 104, 1 


Ormond, James, third Earl, 123-4, 13 
Ormond, James, fourth or 'White' E 

X3M33I 136 

Ormond, James, fifth Earl, 137, 140 
Ormond, John, sixth Earl, 141-2 
Ormond, Thomas, seventh Earl, 141, 
Ormond, Piers Roe, Earl of Ossory > 

Ormond, 154, 158-9, 163, 175. 

Butlers of Polestown 
Ormond, James, son of Piers, Earl, 169, 
Ormond, Thomas 'Dubh', Earl, 173, 1 

194, 199, 315 

Ormond, Walter, Earl, 333 
Ormond, James, Earl, Marquis and Di 

Lord Lieutenant, 343, 343-51, 33; 


Ormond, James, second Duke, 969, 383, 
'Ormond Peace , 348, 357 
Orrery. Earl of. See BroghiD 
O'Rualro of Lei trim. 106, 304-5 sio 
O'Ruairo, Tiernan, king of Brefnl, 4, 

53, 58 
Oilmen, the (of Dublin, Watorft 

Limerick, Cork}, 34, 38, 53-4, 65, 


O'SuIlivan of Bear*, 79, 217-18 
O'SuUivan, Owen Roe (poet), apt, 330 
OToole, Laurence (Lorcan), Saint, 45, 
OTooIes of Wioklow, 60, 107, 131. 14 
Oviedo, Archbishop of Dublin, 198, 3 

Palatinates of Kerry and Ormond, ; 
191, 194, 389 

Pale, Lords of the, 169, 197, 103, 334, - 
367, 371, 305 

'Pale, the English', 136, 136, 144, S 
148, 133-3. 158, 160, x4, 197, "34, 

Papacy and Ireland, 9, 10, 13, 33, 37-9, 
53-7, 97-8, 149, 161-3, 164-6, 
174-3, 183, 193-4, 198, 3ix, 333, 
s6o, 368, 371, 3*> 333, 336. 380, 35 

Parliament and Constitution of Irelan> 
eighteenth century, 378, 293-8, 4V 
3<>7-9, 3, 314-13, 321-30, 346-j 

Parliament of Ireland (to the end of 
seventeenth century), 88, 93-3, 
119-21, 144, 146, 130-3, 163-3, 16 
175, lot, 188-9, 3ox, 934-6 241 
359, 268-70, 374-*, 278-82 

ameD, Charles Stewart, 376-88 

tarnell, Sir John, Chancellor of Exchequer, 

, 319, 345, 348-3 

'arsons, Chief Justice, 143-5 

'arsons, Sir Laurence, 347 

>as of Plumes, battle of, 114 

'atnck, Saint, 7-11, 16, x8, 166 

Patnot Parliament* of 1689, 368-70 

'atnot Party of eighteenth century, 483, 

. 94-3. 97. 300-9, 316 

rearse, Patrick, 403, 405-7 

"eel, Sir Robert, 363, 367 

>enal laws against Protestant Dissenters, 

381-4, 287-8. Set Presbyterians 
*enal laws against Roman Catholics, 183, 

188, aax-3, 236, 840, 337, 365, 373, 

977-8i, 384-0, 398, 300, 316. SH 

Cathobc Emancipation 
'errot, Sir John, Deputy, 191-3, 193, 

198-400, 303 
>erslco, Monslgnoi, 381 
>etty, Sir William, 333, 338-9 
>hJLp II of Spam, 174, 197-8, 304-3, 311, 


>hlllp III of Spain, 314-19 
>hoezux Park murders, 381 
Vtt (Prime Minuter), 316-35 ptutim 

^ M \ ,?"?" r8 *- x 93-4. 7 
>lace Bill (1793), 334, 348 


Leitrim, etc _, under James I, 333 

Lelz and Osaly, 174-7 

Munster, 199-300, 313, 337 

Ulster (1572-3), 306, 396 

Ulster f 1 608-9), 336-33 
Plan of Campaign', 381 
Humes. Pass of (battle), 314 
Plunkett Blessed Oliver, Archbishop of 

Dublin, 363-3 
tanket, William, 347, 338 
Jhmkett, Sir Horace, 390, 394 
*onsonby, George, 333, 339, 340 
J oor Rebel Act, 363 
'opish Plot, 363 

population of Ireland (census, etc.), 333, 
338-9, 864, 376, 393, 3o, 338, 354, 
337, 367, 370, 39*. 393, 399, 4* 
poyningrlaw, 143, 151-2, 170, 189, 301, 
346, 139, 463, 369, 313, 3U-I3 

INDEX 433 

Reformation Parliament (1360), 183-3, 

187-8, 192 ' 
Regency Bill, 337-8 
Registration Act (1704), 984, 3x3 
Rtgium Donum, 281, 293, 356, 374 
Religious Toleration, triumph of, 303, 399, 

300, 309-10, 3x3, 361. Set Catholic 


Remonstrant!, of Father Peter Walsh, 360 
Remonstrance of the Irish to Pope John 

XXIL 37, 77. 93. 97 
Renunciation Act (1783), 315 
Repenl of the Union, 363-6. St* also 

Home Rule 
Restnctive Trade Acts by England against 

Ireland, 261-3, 378, 383-3, *8i 3* 

308, (repeal of) 310, 312, 315, 336 
Rhy ap tewdwr, 37, 47-S 
Ribbonism, 371. 5*t 'Wniteboys', etc. 
Richard II in Ireland, 133-30 
Rinucdru, Papal Nuncio, 347-9 
Rising of 1641, 143-3 
Royal Irish Constabulary, 364, 409 

SturstM Sirtaim, 407, 4x1 
Sonoeld, Patrick, 271-273 
St. Leger, Sir Anthony, Deputy, 170-3, 


St. Ruth, French general, 273 
Scarrifholus, battle of, 351 
Schomberg, Marshal. 370 
Scots, mercenaries in r6th century, 176, 

196, 305, 218, 349 
Shawe Taylor, 389 

arliament, 108, 150-3, 160 
^resbyterians of Ulster, the, 330, 333, 344, 

66, 68, 370, 388, 393-3, 3x0, 313, 

3*9, 33L 337-9, 344, 333-6, 361, 374, 

396-8, 400 
presidencies of Monster and Connaught, 

190, i, 114, 313. 7 

3uarantottl, MonsJgnor, 356 
Jjo Wmrranlo writ, 91, 465 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 100, 19*, 199-300, 337 
Rathbreasail, tynod of. 37, 40 
Raymond le Gros de Carew, 1*3 
Rebellion of 1798, 330, 336-45 
Recusancy Pines, 183, 334, 333-6, 338 
Redmond. John, 377, 388, 303, 403-7 
Reformation Parliament (1536-7), 161, 


Sidney, Sir Henry, Deputy, 184-191, 


Simnel, Lambert, 149 
Sinn F6in, 403-11 

Sitnc 'Silk-beard', Idng of Dublin, <7~34 
Six-County State (Northern Ireland), 

404-5, 408-10 
Skeffington, Deputy, rfs 
Smerwick, Port, 199 

Somcrled, ancestor of HacDonnell*, 37, 84 
Stewart, Robert, commander in Ulster 

(1643), 243, 248 

Stewart, Robert, ttt Castlereagh 
Stone, Archbishop of Armagh, 399 
Straflord, Earl of. Set Wentwortn 
'Strongbow*. Richard FitxGUbert de dare, 

Earl of Pembroke, 47-8, 30-6, Su 

Clare, de 

'Sulbhne', ancestor of MacSweeny, 37, 84 
Supremacy, Royal, Act and Oaths of, 165, 

171, 182-3, 193, 334-3, 336, 363-3, 

74, 350, 361 
Surrender and Re-grant', policy, x6x, 167- 

8, 171, 188 

Surrey, Thomas, Bar! of, Lieutenant, 160-1 
'Surveyor-General and Esoheator'of Ireland, 

first, 174, *7& 

Sussex, Earl of, Lord Lieutenant, x73-8fl 
Swift, Jonathan, 296-8, 300 

Tallten, Games, 8, sx, 33. 9. 46 
T<H B6 Cufigna, 3, 30, 403 
Talbot, John, Earl of Shrewsbury, Lieu- 
tenant, 132-3, rs7 
Talbot. Peter, Archbishop of Dublin, 



Talbot, Richard Su Tyrconnell 
Tanistry, rule of succession by, 134, 133, 

iji-*, 179, 180, 184, 187, 323 
Tara, 3, 4, 5, 10, n, a6, 28, 83, 168, 944, 


Tenant Right 5w Land League* 
Teat Act (1704), a88, 310 
Thomond, earls of. Sit O'Bnen 

Lieutenant, 144, 143 
TJrmwley, 'Welshman or, 83 
Tir ConallL Set O'Donnells and Conall, 

ion of mall 
Tir Eogbam. Su Cenel Eoghain, O'Neills 

anil Eoghan, ton of Niall, 54, 386, s 93 , 303, 331, 339, 33 
Toleration Act (1719), *8a, 93 
Tone, Theobald Wolfe, 330-1, 336-9, 341, 

Toryism in Ireland, 988-9, 996, 301, 303, 


Townshend, Lord Lieutenant, 30; 
Trim, lordship of, 83, 89, 93, 164 
Trinity College, 335-6, aao, 140, 280, 309, 

Tyrconnell, Richard Talbot, Earl of, 362, 


Tyrell, commander under Tyrone, 1x4-3 
Tyroiri Pass, battle erf, tia 
Tyrone, earls of. Stt O'Neill 

Ul Neill, 3, 19, 31. SM also Dal Culnn 

Ulidia, 5, 63 

Ulster and Home Rule, 383, 385, 394-8, 

400, 405 

Ulster, 'Bonnacht' of, 138 
'Ulster cuttom', 373, 375 
Ulster, Covenant (iQia) 39, 404 
Ulster, earldom of Set Courcy, Lacy 

Burgo, Mortimer, York 
'Ulster Massacres' of 1641, 344, 350, 331 
Ulster, Plantation of See Plantations 
Ulster Volunteers, 405 
'Undertakers,' the, 049, 304-7 
Uniformity, Act ol, 183 
Union, parliamentary of Great Britain and 

Ireland, 338, 341, 343-54, 3 8 3 
Union, Roman Catholic attitude to, 549-33 
Unionist Party, 384, 387 

United Irishmen, the Society of, 339-31, 

334, 337, 341-3, 349 

Universities in Ireland, 1x4, 131, 193, 335, 


University of Dublin. SM Trinity College 
University, (Queen's, Royal, National), 

U ''hs' 3 * 4 ' 39 8 
Ussher, James, archbishop of Dublin, aafi, 

Verdun, Bertram de, 63-4 

Verdun John de, lord of Westmeath, 83 

Verdun, Theobald de. 93, loa 

Vescy, de, lord ol Kildare, 83. gx-3 

1 UI CU1U*LV, O^, 

Veto" quest ion, the, 349. 356-8 
n, visits Ireland, 

Victoria, Queen, 

id, 369 

Vinegar Hill, battle of, 343 

Volunteer*, the Irish (iSth century), 310- 

13, 335-6, 334 
Volunteer*, the National (1913), 405-6 

Wadding, Father Luke, 344, 348 

Warbock, Parkin, 149-33 

Wentworth, Sir Thomas, Lord, Deputy 

and Lieutenant, 338-43 
Wexford, rising in (1798), 34^-43 
Whitby, Synod of, 13-6 
Whiteboyr, 'Shaoavesta', 'Defenders', etc. 

agranan associations, 306, 330, 339, 

mm ?33, 336-7. 333, 37X 
'Wild Geese , the, 290 
William III and Ireland, 

tland, 366-73, 374, 377, 
Windsor, 'treaty' of. 58 
Windsor, William de, King's Lieutenant, 


Wogan, John, Justldar, 00-4 
'Wood's Halfpence', 297 
'Wyndham Ail'. {88 So 
Wyndham, George (Chief Secretary), 388-9 

'Yellow Ford', battle of, 3x3 

'YelvertonV Bill', \n 

Yeomen, the, 337, 110, 343, 376 

York, Richard, Dnkr of, liarl of Ulster, 

etc, Liem.'ii IIIL iu 41 
'Young Ireland Party', 366-9