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Conquest and Land in Ireland

Conquest and Land in Ireland: The Transplantation to Connacht, 1649-1680

John Cunningham
Volume: 82
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Conquest and Land in Ireland
    Book Description:

    Mid-seventeenth century Ireland experienced a revolution in landholding. Coming in the aftermath of the devastating Cromwellian conquest, this seismic shift in the social and ethnic distribution of land and power from Irish Catholic to English Protestant hands would play a major role in shaping the history of the country. One of the most notorious elements of the Irish land settlement was the scheme of the transplantation to Connacht, which aimed to expel the Catholic population from three of the country's four provinces and replace them with a wave of Protestant settlers from England and further afield. Brought to the forefront of attention by nationalist scholars in the nineteenth century, the transplantation is one of the best-known but conversely least understood episodes in Irish history. Yet it has been relatively neglected by recent historians, a gap in the scholarship which this book remedies. It situates the origins of the transplantation in the heat of conquest, reconstructs its implementation in the turbulent 1650s and explores its far-reaching outcomes. It thus enables the significance of the transplantation, and its relevance to wider themes such as colonialism, state formation and ethnic cleansing, to be better understood. John Cunningham is IRCHSS Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Mobility Fellow in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Trinity College Dublin/Albert-Ludswigs-Universität Freiburg.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-000-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Maps
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-vii)
    John Cunningham
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    The history of Ireland in the 1650s is synonymous with Oliver Cromwell and with his supposed pronouncement on the fate of the Catholic population: ‘Go to hell or to Connacht’. This slogan is shorthand for the policy of transplantation, the forced relocation of people. The transplantation to Connacht was a central aspect of the land settlement implemented in the aftermath of the Cromwellian conquest. It was designed primarily to clear the ground for a Protestant colonisation of the other three Irish provinces. The present work constitutes a reassessment of the history of the transplantation, examining its background, its implementation and...

  7. 1 Conquest and Land in Cromwellian Ireland, 1649–1652
    (pp. 11-30)

    The Cromwellian conquest of Ireland is synonymous with massacre, death and destruction. Inevitably therefore, its more controversial incidents, particularly the mass killing at Drogheda, have been frequently explored by historians.¹ Although the military events which unfolded at Drogheda, Wexford, Scarrifhollis, Limerick and elsewhere were of undoubted importance in shaping the course of the conquest, in this chapter they will necessarily be consigned to the background. Such an approach is adopted not so as to minimise the monumental violence and human suffering which occurred, but because it can enable the shedding of fresh light on other relatively neglected aspects of the...

  8. 2 Towards Plantation and Transplantation, 1652–1654
    (pp. 31-47)

    In October 1652 a London newsbook, The Faithful Scout, reported that ‘the long-expected news of the Irish calm, is at last blown over to us with a happy gale’.¹ For the conquerors, the question of precisely how this calm should be exploited remained to be decided. A vast confiscation and redistribution of land was imminent, and Irish Catholics and Protestants, adventurers and soldiers, state creditors and other interested parties all expected to be accommodated. This chapter will reconstruct the bargaining process that occurred relating to the design of the settlement from the autumn of 1652 to final approval in the...

  9. 3 The Land Settlement under Threat, 1653–1655
    (pp. 48-73)

    The approval in September 1653 of the legislation relating to the Irish land settlement saw an intensification of the efforts made by the various groups affected by it to protect and to enhance their prospects. The army and the adventurers both believed that their respective requirements for land should take precedence over all other demands.¹ They would face stiff competition, however, from Irish Protestants and Catholics, both of which groups hoped to retain as much as possible of the land that they had held in 1641. Under the terms of the relevant legislation, both communities stood to lose a great...

  10. 4 Enforcing Transplantation, 1655–1659
    (pp. 74-99)

    By the spring of 1655 the Irish government was at last ready to attempt the full implementation of its transplantation policy. Following its uncertain beginnings in the previous year, the effort to transplant former landowners and soldiers was carried out with some degree of success up to the end of the decade. This chapter will explore several key aspects of that process. It is necessary to set the scene by outlining the range of punishments that persons refusing to transplant were liable to. The government’s attempts to enforce the transplantation in Dublin and the south-east, the region where it had...

  11. 5 Transplantation in County Roscommon
    (pp. 100-118)

    The redistribution of land under schemes of plantation and transplantation was to be the main legacy of the Cromwellian period in Ireland. These processes entailed a drastic reduction in Catholic proprietorship, from around 61 per cent of the land of Ireland in 1641 to less than 10 per cent by the end of the 1650s.¹ These figures provide a stark indication of the extent to which Irish landed society was transformed. In order to comprehend the practical consequences of this revolution at the local and familial level, it is necessary to select and zoom in on one section of the...

  12. 6 The Transplanters and the Restoration Land Settlement
    (pp. 119-149)

    In the midst of the political uncertainty which marked the close of the 1650s, many Irish Catholics at home and abroad had reason to hope that they would soon be able to recover their confiscated estates. In December 1659 a gathering of gentlemen and officers in Brussels resolved to petition their exiled king for ‘security for their lives, estates, and equal liberty of subjects with England and Scotland; and a liberty of conscience in a modest and humble way’.¹ In May 1660 another group of Irish Catholics sent an address from London to Ormond at Breda. Describing themselves as ‘the...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 150-156)

    The fate of many transplanted families and their estates can be traced up to the end of the seventeenth century and beyond. The persistence and local influence of some is reflected in placenames such as Frenchpark, Brabazon Park, Mount Dillon, Mount Talbot, Mount Bellew and O’Callaghan’s Mills.¹ A number of transplanters or their heirs were prominent in the war in Ireland between 1689 and 1691. For example, Theobald Dillon, by then seventh Viscount Costello-Gallen, raised two regiments for James II and was among the more than 7,000 men killed at Aughrim on 12 August 1691. His wife Mary, daughter of...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 157-168)
  15. Index
    (pp. 169-184)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 185-185)