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18 September 2014
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Wars and Conflict - The Plantation of Ulster

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Ulster Peasants lost out when Gaelic Ireland collapsed
- Dr. Katharine Simms

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In the south of Ireland, it is possible to say that the peasantry may have found increased stability and freedom after the breakdown of Gaelic rule because we have a satire (Parliament of Clann Tomáis) which complains on the part of an author from the poetic class, a hanger-on of the aristocratic society that’s been displaced. He complains about the uppityness of the peasants now, their improved diet, the fact that they are sending their sons to be educated as priests, that their daughters are learning silkwork and sampler making, and that they are, in effect, becoming middle class instead of living on rotten vegetables and barley, bread as they had done under the old regime. But I don’t think that contrast can be seen in Ulster because of the complete displacement of the society where people had been more heavily pastoral for instance: and the lowlands were now passing, to a great degree, into the hands of English settlers and the uplands that had been used for summer grazing only now seem, in certain circumstances, to have been occupied all the year round by displaced landowners and their followers, as the Ulster creaghts, leasing the grazing from the new English settlers who had got the arable land in the more fertile lowlands.

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