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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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In August 2019 we returned to Turkey, after fourteen years, for a more encompassing holiday in the part that's variously called Western Asia or the Middle East.  There were iconic tourist places we had not seen so with a combination of flights and a rental car we hopped about the map in this very large country. 

We began, as one does, in Istanbul. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Religious Freedom

Israel Folau refuses to back down, tells Rugby Australia he’s prepared to quit code

(Headline - Weekend Australian - 13 April 2018)


Israel Folau is a fundamentalist Christian Rugby League footballer who was asked on Instagram: "what was God's plan for gay people??".  He replied: "Hell... Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God".

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Opinions and Philosophy

The reputation of nuclear power



One night of at the end of March in 1979 we went to a party in Queens.  Brenda, my first wife, is an artist and was painting and studying in New York.  Our friends included many of the younger artists working in New York at the time.  That day it had just been announced that there was a possible meltdown at a nuclear reactor at a place called a Three Mile Island , near Harrisburg Pennsylvania. 

I was amazed that some people at the party were excitedly imagining that the scenario in the just released film ‘The China Syndrome’  was about to be realised; and thousands of people would be killed. 

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