Irish History

Analyse the function of faith in the major rebellions of early modern Ireland and in peculiar comparison and contrast the issue [ of faith ] between the Tudor rebellions ( Kildare, Desmond and 9 Years War ) and that of the 1640s ( alliance of Kilkenny ) .

Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries Ireland had a series of rebellions initiated in an effort to set up a signifier of ego regulation on a provincial and national graduated table. The two primary grounds for subverting the dictatorial English Crown was to govern the land for themselves and besides to procure their rights to idolize as Catholics over the progress of the Protestant Reformation which was being promoted to a great extent in Ireland by the Tudor sovereign. While each rebellion was chiefly begun on the issue of land, the spiritual motivation was besides relevant to changing grades from struggle to struggle.

The 1534 Kildare Rebellion began when the 9th earl of Kildare was summoned to England and was arrested for “traitorously imposing war in Ireland, for murdering the male monarch ‘s faithful topics, and for transporting off weaponries of war from the male monarch ‘s fortresses to his ain castles” . [ 1 ] His boy, the “Silken Lord” knew his male parent was in at hand danger and that the power his household enjoyed was in hazard so he rose up in unfastened rebellion. Thomas Cromwell was informed of the rebellion by a missive from Robert Cowley in 1534. The missive described the rebellion every bit spiritual every bit good as political in motor “ … the earls boy, brethren, kinsmen, and disciples do do their avaunt and self-praise, that they be of the Popes religious order and set, and him will they function against the male monarch and all his sharers ; stating further that the male monarch is accursed and every bit many as take his portion shall be openly accursed” . [ 2 ]

During this period Ireland was in a disorganized province and deputy Skeffington, who was due to take over the function of Fitzgerald, had non yet arrived with any military force so the Rebels saw this as an opportune clip to subvert English authorization. On 11 June 1534 Lord Thomas Fitzgerald surrendered his commitment to Henry VIII at St. Mary ‘s Abbey where the council was sitting. He surrendered the blade of office and declared that he was no longer “Henry ‘s deputy, but his foe” and began the ‘Kildare Rebellion ‘ . While Henry VIII was so being threatened with exclusion from the Pope, and at that place was a rejection of Papal domination in England, it was non the primary ground that Silken Thomas began the rebellion. The official records of the period by Irish historian Richard Stanyhurst make no mention to religion being the ground for the rebellion. [ 3 ] However, while faith was non the cardinal motivation for the rebellion, it is still seen a cardinal facet of the leaders of the rebellions strategic be aftering. They used faith as a agency of garnering support within Ireland and in the hope of achieving much needed aid from mainland Europe. [ 4 ] Silken Thomas had insisted that all the work forces of Ireland take an curse of commitment to the Pope, to the Holy Roman emperor and to Thomas himself. [ 5 ] While the preliminary accomplishments of the Kildare rebellion can be attributed to the evident entreaty of the ‘crusade ‘ in defense mechanism of the Catholic faith with Catholic priests in the Pale trying to beat up support for the rebellion, one time the hoped for foreign assistance did non get the Kildare rebellion was easy crushed. The rebellion did nevertheless show that there was resistance towards the enlargement of Henry VIII ‘s spiritual programme from England to Ireland and that support for a rebellion can be obtained under the streamer of supporting Catholicism.

The following rebellions that took topographic point were the Desmond Rebellions of 1569-1573 and 1579-1583 which were fought chiefly in Munster. They were led by James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald, cousin of the Earl of Desmond, and the Geraldines against the enlargement of the English authorities over the part. The rebellions were chiefly motivated by the desire to keep the independency of feudal Godheads from the English Crown. Lord Deputy of Ireland, Henry Sidney tried to set up the authorization of the English authorities over the independent Lordships by presenting Provincial “ Godhead presidential terms ” to take the topographic point of local Godheads. The Desmond Rebellions besides had an component of spiritual hostility between the Catholic Geraldines and the Protestant English province. Fitzmaurice had called Queen Elizabeth I a misbeliever who was seeking to do the Irish follow a Church that God Himself did non hold with. [ 6 ] Like the Kildare Rebellion, there was no existent hope of a triumph entirely so Fitzmaurice hoped to derive aid from Spain. Fitzmaurice had sent the Archbishop of Cashel, Maurice MacGibbon to Spain to press Catholic King Philip II to come to Ireland to support the religion, condemn the Protestant Reformation and unorthodoxy of Queen Elizabeth. [ 7 ] The first Desmond Rebellion did non acquire the military support from Spain that it needed so it was easy crushed by the governor of Munster, Humphrey Gilbert. Fitzmaurice eventually submitted on February 23, 1573 holding negotiated a forgiveness for his life.

Fitzmaurice sailed to France in 1575 to seek and earn support from the Catholic King ‘s to get down another rebellion. Fitzmaurice had no success acquiring support in the tribunals of France or Spain but he did acquire support of the Vatican under Pope Gregory XIII where he besides met exiled English Catholic priest Nicholas Sanders. Fitzmaurice planned an expedition which was to do the nephew of Pope Gregory, Giacomo Boncompagni, the King of Ireland. This attempted invasion was over before it began nevertheless when Thomas Stukley who was to captain the ship that would convey them to Ireland was killed in a conflict in Morocco. This highlights that the Rebel leaders did non mind being ruled by a foreign male monarch every bit long as they could maintain their lands and sooner their swayer was a Catholic.

In July 1579 Fitzmaurice returned to Munster and tried to beat up support for another Irish rebellion against Elizabeth I in the name of the Pope. Nicholas Sanders, Fitzmaurice and others returned from Rome with Papal authorization. Nicholas Sanders, moving as Papal commissary, displayed the Papal streamer at Dingle and Fitzmaurice proclaimed a Holy War endorsed by letters from Pope Gregory. These Papal letters compelled the Catholic topics of Elizabeth I to fall in the rebellion on the evidences that she was a heretic.

Simultaneously another rebellion had broken out in Leinster. The new Lord Deputy, Arthur Grey was sent from England with 6,000 military personnels with the precedence of seting down the Leinster rebellion. Once stopped, the Leinster rebellion saw a figure of Rebels hanged as treasonists, including the Catholic Archbishop of Cashel. A figure of the executed would proclaim their Catholic religion before being hanged and were venerated by the Church as Catholic sufferer. [ 8 ] In 1569 the Catholic “ Northern Rebellion, ” had broken out in England and was besides easy crushed. The Northern rebellion coupled with the Desmond Rebellion caused the Pope to publish “ Regnans in Excelsis ” , which excommunicated Elizabeth in 1570. Subsequently Elizabeth ‘s old tolerance of private Catholic digressed into a more active repression of Catholic services. [ 9 ]

In September 1580 more Spanish support arrived along with some Italians who were traveling to contend for the Pope in Ireland. They landed in Smerwick seaport but the force of 600 work forces was rapidly cornered by the English ground forces led by Lord Deputy Grey ‘s. The supports surrendered and were massacred by Grey ‘s forces. The slaughter at Smerwick turned the tide against the Rebels. On 11 November 1583 Fitzmaurice was killed in the mountains near Tralee by the local O’Moriarty kin efficaciously stoping the Second Desmond Rebellion. The Desmond rebellions spiritual motivations were chiefly utilised to garner support from the Vatican. The ground for the rebellion was to maintain the Province of Munster in the custodies of the Desmonds and the Catholic facet was secondary to the Irish Rebels. Had they plenty adult male power and ammo so they would likely non hold needed foreign support and would non hold traveled to Europe looking for support in a sectarian war.

The last major Irish rebellion that occurred during the reign of the Tudors was the ( 1594-1603 ) . This rebellion was led by Ulster captain Hugh O Neill who had succeeded in unifying other Irish Septembers who were unhappy with the English authorities every bit good as Catholics who contested the spread of Protestantism in Ireland.

The Rebels did non hold the resources to take the walled towns of the state, so O’Neil made repeated petitions to the population of the Pale to fall in the rebellion by appealing to their Catholicism. “ Despite the announcements of O’Neill… there is small grounds that the townspeople and Pale aristocracy were in understanding with the Ulster captain ‘s war, and in this they had the backup of taking Jesuits…Whatever about their common Catholicism, the links with the Spanish monarchy were strongly disdained by the huge bulk of those of Old English beginning in Ireland. “ [ 10 ]

In 1601 4,000 Spanish soldiers arrived at Kinsale. Lord Mountjoy, who had taken control of English forces, immediately overwhelmed them with his ground forces. O Neill held out until 30 March 1603, when he surrendered to Mountjoy, therefore stoping the Nine Years War. Elizabeth I had died six yearss old. The leaders of the rebellion received sensible footings from the new King of England, James I. O Neill and the other lasting Rebel leaders were granted full forgivenesss and the return of their estates every bit long as they abandon their Irish rubrics, private ground forcess, and swear an curse of trueness to the King. O Neill and other Godheads from Ulster left Ireland in 1607 in the “Flight of the Earls” . Their purpose was to assist organize an invasion from a Catholic power in Europe to restart the war, sooner Spain, but they were unable to obtain any military support. The vacated earls ‘ lands were confiscated for seeking to get down another war and the Nine Years War ended with the English and Scots Plantation of Ulster

The intent of O’Neill ‘s rebellion was ab initio motivated by his effort to derive political control over Ulster and be declared the Prince of Ulster by working the ‘faith and homeland political orientation ‘ . [ 11 ] But in his pronunciamento to the Catholics of the towns of Ireland dated 16 November 1599, he refers them to the theoretical account of France in the undermentioned words

“Take you illustration by that most Catholic state of France whose topics, for defect of Catholic religion, did travel against their most natural male monarch, and maintained wars until he was constrained to profess the Catholic faith and maintained wars till he was constrained to profess the Catholic faith punctually subjecting himself to the Holy See of Rome to the which doubtless we may convey our state, you seting your assisting manus with me to the same” . [ 12 ]

O’Neil had distinguished between the authorization of the sovereign and his faith but made it clear that it was necessary for the King to conform to Catholicism in order to be accepted as crowned head by his people. A theologian from Waterford called Peter Lombard, who was portion of O’Neill ‘s effort to garner support in Rome, presented O’Neill as an archetypical Catholic whose purpose was to return Ireland to the Catholic religion by for good repressing Protestant unorthodoxy. In his reference to the Pope, Lombard did non deny that O’Neill had begun the war for political grounds that had nil to make with the defense mechanism of the Catholic faith coverage that O’Neill “although ever a Catholic was non yet ever every bit solicitous, earnest and avid in the cause of religion” . [ 13 ] But harmonizing to the theologist, when he entered the rebellion, O’Neill had adopted faith as ‘his head and staying purpose ‘ . It was the trial of war and the heaven-sent nature of his success, which changed O’Neill into a pious and hawkish Catholic, worthy of Papal support. [ 14 ] If Lombard ‘s averments are accurate, so the Nine Years War was the most sacredly motivated rebellion therefore far, even though it had non begun that manner.

The Irish Rebellion of 1641 is one of the most of import events in the history of Ireland. The beginnings for this rebellion were the inability of the three subdivisions of the Irish population ; the plantation owners, the Old English and the native Irish, to incorporate. The three groups were divided by their faith and their commitment in the Parliamentary-Crown battle. Another factor was the 1640 Scottish rebellion which was supported by the English Long Parliament. The Scots rebellion was chiefly about the Scot ‘s Protestant and Presbyterian beliefs versus what they believed to be Charles I moderate attitude towards Catholicism. Unable to acquire support from Parliament to repress the rebellion, Charles turned to Ireland where he gathered a big Irish ground forces who supported him after hearing that the Scots were be aftering to occupy Ireland to for good eliminate Catholicism.

On the 5th October 1641 the chief Catholic aristocracy of the Old English in Ulster plotted their rebellion. One of the leaders, Phelim O’Neil wrote that “we do truly contend for our prince, in defense mechanism of his Crown and royal privileges, which we shall go on and decease to the last man” . [ 15 ] The ground behind this trueness was that the Irish viewed Charles as pro-Catholic. Once the rebellion began it instantly descended into a series of slaughters fuelled by sectarian tensenesss. In Ulster the native provincials started assailing English and Scots plantation owners over their spiritual beliefs. The rebellion was used by the English for the intent of propaganda, overstating claims of Protestant slayings by 10s of 1000s. By August of 1642 the English parliament was entering 154,000 deceases in the rebellion in an effort to advance anti-Catholic hatred in the English. [ 16 ]

In response to the rebellion the English parliament passed anti-Popery Torahs in Ireland in December 1641 and in March 1642 the Parliament confiscated 1 1000000s hectares of land from the Irish and Old English because of their engagement in the rebellion. The English Civil War had started in 1642 and the bulk of Ireland was under the control of the Rebels. The Irish and Old English had sworn commitment to the Crown as it was more favorable to them so the Protestant ardor of the Parliament while the Parliamentarians were driven by a terrible misgiving of Charles I and Catholicism.

As England was now in a civil war in 1642, the Irish forces were looking to be winning, particularly with triumphs at Julianstown but were still handicapped by their deficiency of cardinal leading. The earl of Clonricarde suggested a system of councils that would govern over Ireland from local to national degree. In May 1642 a meeting of the Godheads and aristocracy of the Confederate Catholics met at Kilkenny and formed the Irish Confederation. Due to the English Civil War, Queen Henrietta Maria was in France and was seeking to negociate between the Irish Confederation, royal forces in Ireland and the Vatican in order to happen some signifier of declaration. Giovanni Battista Rinuccini was sent to Ireland in 1645 by Pope Innocent X to help the Irish Confederate Catholics in their war against the English Protestants, wining Pierfrancesco Scarampi as Papal Nuncio to Ireland. Rinuccini arrived and was received with great honours, asseverating that while the intent of his mission was to back up the King ; his primary aim was to assist the Irish Catholics secure freedom of Catholicism and the return of church belongings. Rinuccini had brought weaponries and ammo when he arrived. He brought two 1000 muskets and 2,000 pike-heads, 4,000 blades, 400 handguns, and 20,000 lbs of gunpowder, soldiers and over 150,000 Gallic livre to fund the rebellion. [ 17 ] This military support allowed him to act upon Confederate political relations and non simply stand aside as old Papal minister plenipotentiary had done. The military and fiscal support that he provided ensured Rinuccini ‘s engagement in major determinations.

Rinuccini was disapproving of the Confederation, believing them to be more concerned with land ownership than protecting the place of the Catholic Church. The Papal minister plenipotentiary frequently threatened members of the Confederation with exclusion and imprisonment if they did non cover strongly with Charles over the issue of faith. Rinuccini ‘s engagement cemented the nature of the rebellion into an explicitly spiritual attempt. [ 18 ] The accent was now steadfastly in the kingdom of faith over political relations.

The Confederate ‘s Supreme Council was chiefly of Old English beginning, who were eager to come to an understanding with the Crown which would guarantee their land ownership, full civil rights for Catholics every bit good as credence of Catholicism. But there were some who did non believe this was adequate and besides wanted The Graces honored which included a reversal of the plantations, execution of Catholicism as the province faith and self-determination for Ireland. Some besides insisted on maintaining Protestant churches which had been seized in the rebellion. Rinuccini was told by the Council that these issues would wholly be addressed in the proposed peace pact of the Duke of Ormonde with the Monarchists being negotiated in 1646.

When the footings were published though, they granted merely the private pattern of Catholicism. Rinuccini believed that he had been misled and that the Supreme Council had merely pursued their involvements in land ownership so he supported the more hawkish Confederates. When the Supreme Council tried to acquire the Ormonde peace pact passed, Rinuccini excommunicated them and got the pact voted down in the General Assembly. The members of the Council were imprisoned for lese majesty and a new Supreme Council was elected. This highlights the input and the influence the Papal Nuncio had over the events of the 1640 ‘s. The 1641 Rebellion and the Confederation of Kilkenny were the closest that the Irish had gotten to throwing off English regulation and steadfastly set uping Catholicism as the primary faith of Ireland. Rinuccini left the state in 1649 at the same clip that Oliver Cromwell led an English Parliamentarian re-conquest of the state with his New Model Army. Catholicism was absolutely repressed ; Catholic worship was prohibited, land owned by the Irish Catholics was seized and many members of the Catholic clergy were captured and summarily put to decease.

There are many similarities between the major Irish rebellions of the 16th and 17th centuries. They had all began largely as an enterprise to procure land ownership for the native Irish and the Old English who were all Catholic. They all used faith as a agency of garnering support both nationally and from Europe to carry through this. While the Kildare and Desmond Rebellions used the motivation of a Catholic campaign against the dictatorship of Protestantism, it can be argued that this was chiefly an effort to acquire back up both nationally and internationally for their rebellions and that the issue of faith was non high on the docket. While they Nine Years War besides began with a political docket ; there is more grounds that Hugh O Neill truly adopted the cause of a Catholic campaign like his references ‘ through Lombard to the Vatican. The same political motivations of land ownership can be said to be the beginnings of the 1641 rebellion but the difference is that one time Rinuccini became involved, the end-result was in fact a spiritual one. Ireland became a Catholic alliance even if for merely a short sum of clip. Before the Cromwellian re-conquest, Ireland had achieved its ends of going a Catholic state. All of the rebellions covered in this paper began with the same political purposes and all attempted to use spiritual ardor to foster their cause. It is the Nine Years War and the 1641 rebellion, which ended with the Irish Catholic Confederacy, which changed to go the most spiritual in nature.

By the terminal of the seventeenth century, Catholicism in Ireland was steadfastly underfoot due to the re-conquest of the island by Oliver Cromwell. All of the rebellions, irrespective of their purposes, of the old two centuries had finally ended in failure and any successes were ephemeral. The animus that existed in Ireland between Catholics and Protestants, the Irish and the English, would go on to maturate right up until the terminal of the twentieth century.


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[ 1 ] Knight, Charles, The Popular History of England: An Illustrated History. ( London, 1857 ) , p. 388

[ 2 ] McCorristine, Laurence, The Revolt Of Silken Thomas: A Challenge to Henry VIII. ( Dublin, 1997 ) , p. 71

[ 3 ] Bradshaw, Brendan, The Irish Constitutional Revolution of the Sixteenth Century. ( London, 1979 ) , p. 174

[ 4 ] UCC ( 2010 ) Culture & A ; Religion in Tudor Ireland, 1494-1558, available: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ accessed 18 Mar 2010 ] .

[ 5 ] Ibid.

[ 6 ] Falls, Cyril, Elizabeth ‘s Irish Wars. ( Syracuse, 1950 ) , pp 123-125

[ 7 ] Ibid.

[ 8 ] Catholic Encyclopaedia ( 2010 ) Irish Confessors and Martyrs, available: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ accessed 19 Mar 2010 ] .

[ 9 ] Ellis, Steven, The Making of the British Isles: the province of Britain and Ireland, 1450-1660. ( London, 2007 ) , p. 238

[ 10 ] Lennon, Colm, Sixteenth Century Ireland, The Incomplete Conquest, ( Dublin, 1997 ) , p.322

[ 11 ] Hiram Morgan, ‘Hugh O’Neill and the Nine Years War in Tudor Ireland ‘ in Historical Journal, xxxvi ( 1993 ) , p. 17.

[ 12 ] J. P. Meehan, Fate and lucks of Hugh O’Neill, earl of Tyrone and Rory O’Donnell, earl of Tyrconnel ( 3rd edition, Dublin, 1886 ) , pp 21-23.

[ 13 ] Matthew J. Byrne ( ed. ) , The Irish war of defense mechanism 1598-1600: infusions from the de Hibernia insula commentaries of Peter Lombard… ( Cork, 1930 ) , p. 35.

[ 14 ] Ibid.

[ 15 ] Lydon, James, The Making of Ireland: from Ancient Times to Present. ( New York, 1998 ) , p. 180

[ 16 ] Shagan, Ethan. “Constructing Discord: Ideology, Propaganda and English Responses to the Irish Rebellion of 1641” , Journal of British Studies, 36:1 ( 1997 ) , pp. 4-34

[ 17 ] Corish, Patrick. ( 1994 ) ‘Ormond, Rinuccini, and the Confederates, 1645-9 ‘ in Moody, T. and Martin, Francis. , eds. , Early Modern Ireland, 1534-1691, London: Routledge, 317-319.

[ 18 ] Ibid.