Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

10/11/2004

An Historical Perspective

The starting point for an examination of Ulster’s history over the last four hundred years is its geography. Ulster was the last stronghold of the old Gaelic civilisation because of the ‘natural barrier of small hills, forests, bogs, lakes and water courses’ which separated it from the rest of Ireland. Behind this barrier there developed a region differentiated from others by its climate, its geology and its human geography. This natural partition meant there was more trade and communication with Scotland than with the southern part of the island; and resulted in the presence of a comparatively significant number of Scots in the present counties of Down and Antrim, well before the official plantations of Ulster. The Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell were the last of the Gaelic chiefs to hold out in their Ulster strongholds against English Rule and after their flight to Europe in 1607 their vast estates were confiscated. The Crown’s plan was to displace the native Irish from these lands and replace them by loyal English and Scottish settlers who thought the imposition of English law and administration would effectively crush the old Gaelic culture and usher in an age of peace and stability. In practice it did not work out as planned. Soon it became apparent that the resources of the state were inadequate to organise the plantation of Ulster on a piece-meal basis, so the City of London and its wealthy Livery Companies were invited to assist.

Irish Council of Churches go to the link on the rhs

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