Protestantism's failure in Ireland

statsman

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Surely as a means of identifying themselves as separate from the newly arrived planters.

Similar thread here:

http://www.politics.ie/forum/history/204278-when-did-catholicism-irishness-first-become-intimately-intertwined-10.html
The 'identifying themselves as separate from the newly arrived planters' thing is the core of why the Reformation failed in Ireland, surely? Protestantism failed because it was the identifying mark of the 'Other' and the Other was insufficiently powerful to impose it at the time when the maximum opportunity existed.
 


shiel

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It is hard not to come to the conclusion that the successful, powerful and dominant English never got over their contempt for the Irish.

The Irish reaction to this contempt was, inevitably, equally extreme.

How could the English expect to convert Irish people to their point of view when they regarded them as sub-human? Why bother anyway? They do not count.

The plantations, the penal laws and even the reaction of the English to the famine epitomise this.

Whatever it was it was not Christian. Is it surprising, therefore, that their brand of religion was not a great success?
 

DuineEile

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Surely as a means of identifying themselves as separate from the newly arrived planters.

Similar thread here:

http://www.politics.ie/forum/history/204278-when-did-catholicism-irishness-first-become-intimately-intertwined-10.html
The newly arrived planters didn't speak the same language, dress the same way or have anything else in common with the natives. They were the equivalent of Eastern Europeans arriving in Ireland today. (Youse are all very welcome by the way, this is not an immigrant bashing post).

Why would a Lithuanian see that cleaving to their religion was necessary in order to remain distinct? There were a host of reasons why the natives were distinct. Religion was only one of them.


D
 

Riadach

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It was the mendicants. It was difficult to identify the Catholic Church in Ireland with ostentatious wealth when its primary purveyors were the poor friars preaching in rags. Ireland was the one of a few places where the Franciscans managed to adopt a rural model, and they succeeded massively. They even managed to win over some Bardic poets such as Pilib Bocht Ó hUiginn who could act as propagandists.
 
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former wesleyan

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It is hard not to come to the conclusion that the successful, powerful and dominant English never got over their contempt for the Irish.

The Irish reaction to this contempt was, inevitably, equally extreme.

How could the English expect to convert Irish people to their point of view when they regarded them as sub-human? Why bother anyway? They do not count.

The plantations, the penal laws and even the reaction of the English to the famine epitomise this.

Whatever it was it was not Christian. Is it surprising, therefore, that their brand of religion was not a great success?
None of which explains why the majority of the Old English remained Roman Catholic or why the " conversion " to Protestntism which did occour two hundred years later during the Penal Laws was among the remnants of the Gaelic families wishing to hold onto their lands.
 

Schomberg

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I actually just studied the period last semester in UCD and our lecturer Ivor McGrath conclude that the main reasons was it was seen as elitist and upper class and the fact that it wasnt taught through gaelic.
Huh? Look up the first printed books in Irish. You'll find they were made to turn Ireland Protestant. Later during the famine, Gaelic speaking Protestants were out doing their best. which scared the sh,t out if the local catholic priest.
The simple reason for Ireland staying RC is be wise RC in Ireland had none, or very few, of the things that turned others against Rome. They simply saw no need. Had it been 200 years later it might well have worked.
 

Mahogany

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Ok so people are mentioning that the English basically left us to our own accord.

Well then what about Scotland and Wales?
 

Schomberg

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Ok so people are mentioning that the English basically left us to our own accord.

Well then what about Scotland and Wales?
Besides what Riadach said above, the british reformation had run out of steam (and money) by the time it reached Ireland.
 

Riadach

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Besides what Riadach said above, the british reformation had run out of steam (and money) by the time it reached Ireland.
It wasn't a singular process either. I don't think it's fair to say that the reformation in Scotland and the reformation in England were part of the same process. It was historically a separate church, unlike the church in England and Wales.
 

Mahogany

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I'm just envisaging the society we'd have today had it succeeded.

Don't want to offend anyone but I feel, and I'm Agnostic btw, that we'd be much better off, culturally and economically.
 

statsman

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Huh? Look up the first printed books in Irish. You'll find they were made to turn Ireland Protestant. Later during the famine, Gaelic speaking Protestants were out doing their best. which scared the sh,t out if the local catholic priest.
The simple reason for Ireland staying RC is be wise RC in Ireland had none, or very few, of the things that turned others against Rome. They simply saw no need. Had it been 200 years later it might well have worked.
The Famine was quite a bit later.
 

Schomberg

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The Famine was quite a bit later.
I realise that but the point is Gaelic speaking Protestants were out in force both then and during the reformation

Actually, edit, the point is that it wasn't always done through English, like another poster suggested
 

shiel

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None of which explains why the majority of the Old English remained Roman Catholic or why the " conversion " to Protestntism which did occour two hundred years later during the Penal Laws was among the remnants of the Gaelic families wishing to hold onto their lands.
I know but those families were the elite and had property interests.

But the English were so dominant in world terms and the Irish were so desperately poor and down-trodden.

The English had a world empire. They still have a world language and a world literature.

They led the industrial revolution.

The led the democratic fight against more authoritarian regimes.

There is so much to admire about them.

London is a wonderful city to visit. It is one of the great cultural capitals of the world.

Yet their history in this country is so deplorable.

In addition even the most tolerant of English people still say things that really grate.

What makes it so hard to take is that they do not realise they are being patronising and offensive.

Or is that our inferiority complex getting the better of us?
 

pragmaticapproach

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Windowshopper

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Could it be the failure of the English to successfully co-opt the elites into the project? The Dissolution of the Monasteries gave the English elite a stake in the Reformation.*

*Also I have a question with anyone fimiliar with the period: what was the Irish and Old English relationship with the Church in this period? I could imagine such lords being less welcoming to the Reformation if the Church in their territories was dominated by their relations.
 
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Riadach

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Could it be the failure of the English to successfully co-opt the elites into the project?
They frequently did, someone already mentioned Baron Inchiquin and the Earl of Thomond. Reformation was often part and parcel of the surrender and regrant process. There were many crypto-catholics among the elite though and some tried to play both sides.
 

statsman

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Could it be the failure of the English to successfully co-opt the elites into the project? The Dissolution of the Monasteries gave the English elite a stake in the Reformation.*

*Also I have a question with anyone fimiliar with the period: what was the Irish and Old English relationship with the Church in this period? I could imagine such lords being less welcoming to the Reformation if the Church in their territories was dominated by their relations.
Generally speaking monasteries were founded on grants of land from the local nobility and the founding abbot/abbess would have been a family member. The abbacies tended to stay in the family. So, yes, the dissolution would not have been popular with the local lordships.
 

Cruimh

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The Protestant Reformation in Ireland never got far down among the people of the South. They remained reasonably faithful to the old Church, in part because the English did not bother to do a good missionary job among them. The English prelates were too arrogant to explain the new Protestantism in terms that the Irish peasants could understand. By 1600 the Jesuits had already won the battle for the Irish soul, partly because of what Edmund Spenser called "the zeal of Popish priests," as against "our idle ministers" who "will neither for ... any love of God nor zeal of religion be drawn forth from their warm nests."
Paul Blanshard, 1953, The Irish and Catholic Power An American Interpretation
 

Hitch 22

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Despite the stubborn refusal of Irish Catholics to take up Protestantism, many Irish remained loyal to the British/English monarch or fought in wars on the English/British side.
During the reign of Henry VIII when the Anglican Church became the established church he still managed to win the loyalty of Irish Catholics when he did away with the Lordship of Ireland and established the Kingdom of Ireland.
Catholicism and Protestantism had an on-again off-again struggle for supremacy in the 16th and 17th century.
Mary I tried to restore Catholicism but that did not stop her from planting Leinster and uprooting the native Irish. Many Catholic Anglo-Irish nobles and Catholic Gaelic chiefs fought on the the same side as Elizabeth during the defeat of the two Desmond rebellions and the O'Neill led revolt in the Nine Years War.
Catholic troops fought on the side of Charles I during the War of the Three Kingdoms and Catholics also supported James II in the Williamite Wars.
After 1691 the Stuart Pretenders were supported by Irish Catholics until the mid 18th century.
Irish Catholics fought for George III against the American colonists, they served in the militias that fought against the United Irishmen and they took part in the conquest of Africa and India. This was in spite of the Penal Laws and the exclusion of Catholics from the Parliament.
The majority of the RIC during the 19th century Young Irelander and Fenian uprisings as well as the Land War and during the Irish War of Independence were Irish Catholics and thousands of Irish fought and died in British uniform in World War I and II.
 


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