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The Protestant Plantations

To shore up Protestant Ireland, 'Plantations' were established in under which Protestant Scots and English settlers were offered alienated land in Ireland, further exacerbating the local feelings of injustice and religious persecution, that as we discovered still prevail today, more than five centuries and twenty generations later.  

Across Europe seemingly endless wars of religion broke out, bringing an end to the middle ages.  In the midst of this the English Revolution took place, resulting in the Execution of Charles I in 1649.  The impact on Ireland was the so called 'Protestant Ascendancy'. This was political, economic, and social domination of Ireland by Protestant landowners and the clergy of the Church of Ireland.  Lacking the subtlety of the English Church they had become even more rigid in their piety.  Politics and high society now effectively excluded Roman Catholics but also Presbyterians and other non-conformist Protestant denominations, along with Jews and other non-Christians. The Roman Catholics who made up the majority of the working population were even excluded from the professions and the poor were often treated as peasants, a step above slaves, part of a property's livestock.  


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Londonderry one of the Plantations that lasted

This Protestant tradition was an aspect of Ireland I hadn't anticipated.  Being brought up in Australia in the 1950's 'Irish' was synonymous with 'Roman Catholic' and almost vice versa, until Italians and Maltese arrived in greater numbers. Sure, Northern Ireland was Protestant but they had not come to Australia in any great numbers. Now I was discovering that the Irish aristocracy, professional and middle classes were Protestant. It was just that they had generally avoided being jailed and transported as convicts; nor did they have the need to flee poverty in the hope of a better life elsewhere.

My paternal grandmother's family, resident in Northern England, were distant decedents of an Irish aristocratic family listed in Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland.  Read more...

Today 78% of the population of the Republic of Ireland is Roman Catholic; while 45% of the population of Northern Ireland is Protestant and 40% is Catholic.  Organised religion is on the decline in percentage terms in both countries.




# Michael 2020-08-28 06:06
This article is brilliant. I've learnt a lot from reading about these travels
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Hong Kong and Shenzhen China






Following our Japan trip in May 2017 we all returned to Hong Kong, after which Craig and Sonia headed home and Wendy and I headed to Shenzhen in China. 

I have mentioned both these locations as a result of previous travels.  They form what is effectively a single conurbation divided by the Hong Kong/Mainland border and this line also divides the population economically and in terms of population density.

These days there is a great deal of two way traffic between the two.  It's very easy if one has the appropriate passes; and just a little less so for foreign tourists like us.  Australians don't need a visa to Hong Kong but do need one to go into China unless flying through and stopping at certain locations for less than 72 hours.  Getting a visa requires a visit to the Chinese consulate at home or sitting around in a reception room on the Hong Kong side of the border, for about an hour in a ticket-queue, waiting for a (less expensive) temporary visa to be issued.

With documents in hand it's no more difficult than walking from one metro platform to the next, a five minute walk, interrupted in this case by queues at the immigration desks.  Both metros are world class and very similar, with the metro on the Chinese side a little more modern. It's also considerably less expensive. From here you can also take a very fast train to Guangzhou (see our recent visit there on this website) and from there to other major cities in China. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

A Discourse on History




On Australia Day 2011 again we hear the calls: Change the Flag; become a Republic; reparations for the White Invasion...

There are strong arguments for progress in each of these areas but as the following article discusses we first need to ensure that the changes that must be made are indeed progress; that we don't sacrifice that which has been achieved already.

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Opinions and Philosophy




Death is one of the great themes of existence that interests almost everyone but about which many people avoid discussion.  It is also discussed in my essay to my children: The Meaning of Life on this website; written more than ten years ago; where I touch on personal issues not included below; such as risk taking and the option of suicide.

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