Friday, March 17, 2017

The Penal Laws in Ireland

In 1695, the English imposed harsh penal laws upon the Irish Catholics, forbidding them the most basic human rights. The laws were intended to crush the Catholic faith in Ireland and well as destroy and enslave the people. They held firm, however, and continued to practice their faith, although deprived of everything. The laws remained in place until 1793 when they were partially revoked.

Here are the principle restrictions of 1695:
  • The Catholic Church forbidden to keep church registers.
  • The Irish Catholic was forbidden the exercise of his religion.
  • He was forbidden to receive education.
  • He was forbidden to enter a profession.
  • He was forbidden to hold public office.
  • He was forbidden to engage in trade or commerce.
  • He was forbidden to live in a corporate town or within five miles thereof.
  • He was forbidden to own a horse of greater value than five pounds.
  • He was forbidden to own land.
  • He was forbidden to lease land.
  • He was forbidden to accept a mortgage on land in security for a loan.
  • He was forbidden to vote.
  • He was forbidden to keep any arms for his protection.
  • He was forbidden to hold a life annuity.
  • He was forbidden to buy land from a Protestant.
  • He was forbidden to receive a gift of land from a Protestant.
  • He was forbidden to inherit land from a Protestant.
  • He was forbidden to inherit anything from a Protestant.
  • He was forbidden to rent any land that was worth more than 30 shillings a year.
  • He was forbidden to reap from his land any profit exceeding a third of the rent.
  • He could not be guardian to a child.
  • He could not, when dying, leave his infant children under Catholic guardianship.
  • He could not attend Catholic worship.
  • He was compelled by law to attend Protestant worship.
  • He could not himself educate his child.
  • He could not send his child to a Catholic teacher.
  • He could not employ a Catholic teacher to come to his child.
  • He could not send his child abroad to receive education.
(From: MacManus' The Story of the Irish Race, 1921.Devin-Adair Publishing Co., New York)



Anonymous said...

Indeed, 1695. So why do they feel the need to shoot innocent people over it today? Terrible conflict. I hope it doesn't come up again.

Gareth Russell said...

The recent killings in Armagh and Banbridge have had much more short-term roots, dating to 1997 and 2001. I should also point out that the men who carried out the cowardly ambush-killings of the soldiers and the Constable, who was himself a practising Catholic, are fundamentalist left-wing republicans and many Northern Irish Catholics would be appalled to be associated with them.

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks, Gareth, that is helpful, and very true.

May said...

So awful. It is amazing the Irish were able to survive at all, let alone keep the Faith. Thanks for reminding us of this.

elena maria vidal said...

I am reminded of the time in Lourdes when I was with a group of mostly Irish pilgrims, and although many were elderly and some in wheel chairs, they sang and danced into the wee hours. When I asked my friend Mary the piano lady from Dublin how they could keep going she just said, "We're strong people."

Anonymous said...

and the funeral is more evidence the anim cara fed by faith prevailing, not the sarx sliced and diced by malevolent spirits. Eternal Rest Grant unto Them, the Souls of the Faithful Departed.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

It is also, Gareth, very needed in France.

Enki Bilal sur Ulster: bévue ou mauvaise foi?

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Making a previous link clickable

Bernard Singer said...

A comprehensive series of Penal Laws were implemented including those which debarred Catholics from sitting in parliament; from holding any government office; from voting; from entering the law profession, the army or the navy; from inter-marrying with Protestants and from holding firearms.

lara77 said...

I was thinking of Queen Elizabeth II's state visit to Ireland. She mentioned in her speech about the terrible things that were done on both sides of the long Anglo Irish conflict. I am sorry your Majesty; England initiated the horrors on a scale that dwarfed whatever Ireland acted in response to; the Irish were just defending their land. It is Great Britain who should be ashamed of the many harsh and immoral laws imposed on the Irish People. The day Northern Ireland returns to Ireland I will truly forgive Great Britain.