BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

18 September 2014
Accessibility help
Wars and Conflict - The Plantation of Ulster

BBC Homepage
Wars and

  The Plantation
  Ireland before the Plantation
  London Companies
  American connection
  Tully Castle
  Religious legacy
  Ulster Scots
  Settlement map
  Bardic poetry
  Audio gallery


  Go further

Contact Us

by topic by time by people
English and Scottish planters
<< Back to article

1641 rebellion
- Professor Nicholas Canny

Hear audio version
Audio Clips

In as far as those who precipitated events in 1641 (Phelim O’Neill and his associates) ultimately I suppose you could say that they were themselves beneficiaries or descendants of those who had benefited from the Plantation, by becoming Catholic proprietors or native proprietors within the scheme. That doesn’t mean that they were happy with the scheme and there is significant evidence of discontent among those Catholics who had become proprietors, and who had become part of the political nation (if you want to use that term) within the politics of Ulster in the preceding 30 years period of time.

But when they engaged in their insurrection on 22nd October 1641, unquestionably they weren’t intending on the destruction of the entire Plantation that had been brought into place. We don’t know precisely what they intended: they presumably intended to seize the positions of strength, the military fortification of the province; having done that to, from this position of strength, to engage in some negotiation with the Crown with a view to bettering their condition in some way. But they, I think it is correct to say, that they weren’t intent on destroying the Plantation.

But on the 23rd and the 24th and the 25th of October 1641, the popular attacks which are relatively spontaneous, are clEarly focused upon the tenants who had moved in and become beneficiaries of the Plantation; and that these actions, as well as the words which are articulated in justifying those actions - targeted attacks upon those who had moved in and benefited from the Plantation - these indicate that there was a popular sentiment of dispossession which was articulated in action as well as in words when the opportunity provided itself, when the political order was challenged by the actions which Phelim O’Neill and his associates engaged upon.

And it is important, I think, to recognise that the leaders of 1641, as much as the Crown Authorities, were probably as much taken by surprise by this popular outburst: that in that sense, there was a distance developing between Catholic proprietors and their subordinates which they didn’t have a full understanding of.

<< Back to article Index
Printable versionPrintable version
Top of Page

Reading room Multimedia zone For kids How to

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy