Background to 18th Century Ireland

Ireland in the eighteenth century was a remarkable place. For many years the period has been characterised as a golden age for the Protestant ascendancy – those who conformed to the Church of Ireland – 'as by law established' – and a penal era in varying degrees for Catholics and Protestant Dissenters (mainly Presbyterians) – the real picture was much more complex and nuanced.

This introduction to the period will help you to understand many of the issues with which the Irish Parliament in Dublin was faced.