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Monday, 6 May 2013

penal laws governed Ireland in the 18th century

  The results of these laws included abject poverty for the rural Irish, a great and lasting hatred of the ruling classes and a suspicion of a law that favoured the English. This hatred and suspicion was to give rise to the secret societies and they became widespread for where could the Irish look to for protection? Certainly not to the Landlord, the judge, or the ruling classes for they all looked upon the Irish as the common enemy. Oak Boys, Ribbon Men, and White Boys began to dispense their own brand of justice and sought revenge against those who had turned on their own. The informer, the landlord’s man, and those who had taken advantage of the evicted. The Irish had began to learn how to conceal the truth, how to hold secret meetings and how to protect themselves from outsiders and this was to become a dangerous habit and a lesson in how to hate the invader for generations to come. An extremely unwise move for any government to make and although by the end of the 18th century many of the Penal Laws had been repealed, some of them were to remain in effect until catholic emancipation in 1829.


The object of the Penal Laws was to deprive the Irish of all civil life (Catholics) and reduce them to the most extreme and brutal conditions possible. They were denied an education, to have a profession or to hold down any public office. They were forbidden from engaging in trade or commerce, to own land, to vote, to bear arms or to own a horse that was worth more than five pounds. This was the background leading up to the Famine of 1845.

the jew would like to see us back there ...

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