Raymond Gillespie
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Gaelic Catholicism and the Ulster plantation
in Irish Catholic identities
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In the historiography of early seventeenth-century Ireland the Ulster plantation has assumed a paradigmatic role. Military defeat in 1603 was followed by the flight of the earls and expropriation of the lands of the Catholic Irish and colonisation by Protestant Scots and English. There is certainly contemporary evidence to support this sort of view of seventeenth-century Ulster. From the perspective of the native Irish, the Annals of the Four Masters, written in the 1630s, characterised the Ulster plantation. The scheme that emerged for the lands escheated from the principal Gaelic lords in Ulster envisaged the former lords would be replaced with Protestant settler landlords. Catholicism in the Ulster plantation was not a simple monolithic force to be equated with dispossession, exclusion and the survival of late medieval traditional belief awaiting modernisation by Tridentine reform.

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