The Scots in early Stuart Ireland

Union and separation in two kingdoms

Editors: David Edwards and Simon Egan

Increased Irish-Scottish contact was one of the main consequences of the Ulster plantation (1610), yet it remains under-emphasised in the general accounts of the period. The Scottish involvement in early-to-mid seventeenth-century Ireland was both more and less pervasive than has been generally understood, just as the Irish role in western Scotland and the Isles has been mostly underappreciated.

Despite growing academic interest in English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh inter-connections sparked by the ‘New British History’ debate, the main emphasis in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century ‘British’ historiography has been on Anglo-Scottish and Anglo-Irish relations respectively. Exploring the Irish-Scottish world brings important new perspectives into play, helping to identify some of the limits of England’s Anglicising influence in the northern and western ‘British Isles’ and the often slight basis on which the Stuart pursuit of a new ‘British’ state and a new ‘British’ consciousness operated.

Regarding Anglo-Scottish relations, it was chiefly in Ireland that the English and Scots intermingled after 1603, with a variety of consequences, sometimes positive, often negative. This book charts key aspects of the Anglo-Scottish experience in the country down to the Restoration and greatly improves understanding of that complex and troubled relationship. The importance of the Gaelic world in Irish-Scottish connections also receives greater attention here than in previous accounts. This Gaedhealtacht played a central role in the transmission of Catholic and Protestant radicalism in Ireland and Scotland, which served as a catalyst to underlying political and ethnic tensions within the British Isles, the consequences of which were revolutionary.

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