Catholics in the Penal Era - Home

The Reformation in Ireland resulted in the conversion to Protestantism of no more than a fraction of the native population: nearly all continued to look to Rome for supreme authority in religious matters. At an institutional level, however, the Catholic Church suffered considerably as a result of the disruption caused by the plantations and wars of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Legislation in the form of the Penal Laws from the late seventeenth century onwards also had a significant impact, though in spite of these laws the Catholic Church was able to operate in most areas, even if clandestinely at different times.

Here we provide an overview of the history of Catholicism in Ulster in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and identify resources that can help you research your Catholic ancestors in the north of Ireland during this era.

Image: Lisbane Catholic Church, Co. Down

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