Counter Reformation; Desmond Rebellion; Early-Modern Ireland; Elizabeth I; Gaelic Poetry; Hugh O’Neill; Earl of Tyrone; Nine Years’ War
There are few periods in the history of any nation as tumultuous as the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries in Ireland. The following paper examines the social and religious upheavals of this period and identifies an emergent national identity among ‘Gaelic Irish’ and ‘Anglo-Irish’ Catholics. Although English forces defeated the Irish ‘rebels’ in the two major military conflicts of the period, the Desmond Rebellion (1579-84) and the Nine Years’ War (1595-1603), the means employed by England to achieve victory, cultural continuity among the Irish (and Gaelicised English), as well as the conflict over religion throughout Europe ensured that Ireland would remain a point of resistance to colonialism and the reformation. The pages below question the historical orthodoxy surrounding the ‘Elizabethan conquest’ and explore Ireland during those years in terms of a nation being created rather than destroyed.