Background for Ireland at the end of the 18th Century

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Ireland at the end of the 18th Century


The 18th century was the age of the protestant ascendancy. However while protestants were privileged and upper class there was a clear division between Anglican protestants and other citizens - they were regarded as inferior i.e. Catholic and Protestant dissenters.

Protestants made up approx 10% of the population and owned approx 85% of the land. Only Anglican protestants were able to sit in the Irish parliament and enjoy full political rights.

Protestants very much regarded themselves as Irish not British.


Catholics made up approx 80% of population and a small group owned 15% of the land. There was a small middle class but most catholics were poor and in rural areas.

They lacked full political rights due to the penal laws - which were slow repealed throughout the C18th.The 1893 Catholic relief bill gave Catholics the right to vote if they met the 40 shilling land requirement however they  still lacked full emancipation.


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