- This article is about the Irish kingdom that existed from 1542 to 1800. For more ancient Irish kingdoms, see List of Irish kingdoms and Monarchy of Ireland. For other uses of "Ireland", see Ireland (disambiguation).
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|Kingdom of Ireland |
|Client state of the Kingdom of England|
and later the Kingdom of Great Britain
Coat of arms1
"God Save the King" (1780s–1800, customarily)
|Language(s)||Irish, English, Yola, Fingallian|
Church of Ireland,
|- 1542–1547||Henry VIII (first)|
|- 1760–1800||George III (last)|
|- 1542–1548||Anthony St Leger (first)|
|- 1798–1800||Charles Cornwallis (last)|
|- 1660||Matthew Locke (first)|
|- 1798–1800||Robert Stewart (last)|
|- Upper house||House of Lords|
|- Lower house||House of Commons|
|- Crown of Ireland Act||1542|
|- Act of Union||1 January 1801|
|- 1700||81,638 km2 (31,521 sq mi)|
|- 1700 est.||3,000,000|
|Density||36.7 /km2 (95.2 /sq mi)|
|Today part of|| Ireland|
|1 See notes regarding use of a crowned harp as the arms of Ireland. Although numerous flags of Ireland existed during the period, the Kingdom of Ireland had no official flag. See List of flags of Ireland.|
The Kingdom of Ireland (Irish: Ríoghacht Éireann, Modern spelling: Ríocht Éireann) refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171. King Henry VIII was recognised as monarch of Ireland by some Protestant powers in Europe, although not by the Catholic monarchies in Europe. However, his daughter Mary I was recognised as Queen of Ireland by the pope in 1555. The separate Kingdom of Ireland ceased to exist at the end of 1800, as Ireland joined with the Kingdom of Great Britain to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on the first day of 1801.
Reason for creation
The papal bull Laudabiliter of Pope Adrian IV was decreed in 1155. It granted the Angevin King Henry II of England the title Dominus Hibernae (Latin for 'Lord of Ireland'). Laudabiliter enabled the king to invade Ireland, in order to bring the country into the European sphere. In return, Henry was required to remit a penny per hearth of the tax roll to the Pope. This was reconfirmed by Adrian's successor Pope Alexander III in 1172.
When Pope Clement VII excommunicated the King of England, Henry VIII, in 1533, the constitutional position of the lordship in Ireland became uncertain. Henry had broken away from the Holy See and declared himself the head of the Church in England. He had petitioned Rome in order to procure an annulment of his marriage to Queen Catherine. Clement VII refused Henry's request and Henry subsequently refused to recognise the Roman Catholic Church's vestigial sovereignty over Ireland, and was excommunicated again in late 1538 by Pope Paul III. The Treason Act (Ireland) 1537 was passed to counteract this.
Following the failed revolt of Silken Thomas in 1534-35, Grey, the lord deputy, had some military successes against several clans in the late 1530s, and took their submissions. By 1540 most of Ireland seemed at peace and under the control of the king's Dublin administration; a situation that was not to last for long.
Henry was proclaimed King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542. The Act was passed by the Irish Parliament. The new kingdom was not recognised by the Catholic monarchies in Europe. After the death of King Edward VI, Henry's son, the papal bull of 1555 recognised the Roman Catholic Queen Mary I as Queen of Ireland. The link of "personal union" of the Crown of Ireland to the Crown of England became enshrined in Catholic canon law. In this fashion, the Kingdom of Ireland was ruled by the reigning King of England. This placed the new Kingdom of Ireland in personal union with the Kingdom of England.
In line with its expanded role and self-image, the administration established the King's Inns for barristers in 1541, and the Ulster King of Arms to regulate heraldry in 1552. Proposals to establish a university in Dublin were delayed until 1592.
In 1603 James VI King of Scots, became James I of England, uniting the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland in a personal union. In 1653-59 the three kingdoms were merged briefly into the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. In 1660 Charles II of England was restored as King of Ireland without any public dissent, backdated to his father's execution in 1649 (see: Irish Restoration).
Political union between England and Scotland was established in 1707 with the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain and thereafter, in 1801, the Kingdom of Ireland merged with the Kingdom of Great Britain to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
The Kingdom of Ireland was governed by an executive under the control of a Lord Deputy or viceroy. The post was held by senior nobles such as Thomas Radcliffe. From 1688 the title was usually Lord Lieutenant. In the absence of a Lord Deputy, lords justices ruled. While some Irishmen held the post, most of the lords deputy were English noblemen. While the viceroy controlled the Irish administration as the monarch's representative, in the eighteenth century the political post of Chief Secretary for Ireland became increasingly powerful.
The Kingdom of Ireland was legislated by the bicameral Parliament of Ireland, made up of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The powers of the Irish parliament were circumscribed by a series of restrictive laws, mainly Poynings' Law of 1494.
Church of Ireland
When the church in England broke communion from the Roman Catholic Church, all but two of the bishops of the Church in Ireland followed the Church of England, although almost no clergy or laity did so. The new body became the State Church, assuming possession of most Church property (and so retaining a great repository of religious architecture and other items, though some were later destroyed). The substantial majority of the population remained strongly Roman Catholic, despite the political and economic advantages of membership in the state church. Despite its numerical minority, however, the Church of Ireland remained the official state church until it was disestablished on 1 January 1871 by the Liberal government under William Ewart Gladstone.
Parliament of the Kingdom of Ireland
Roman Catholics and dissenters, mostly Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists, were excluded from membership of the Irish parliament from 1693 and their rights were restricted by a series of laws called the Penal Laws. They were denied voting rights from 1728 until 1793. The Grattan Parliament succeeded in achieving the repeal of Poynings' Law in 1782. This allowed progressive legislation and gradual liberalisation was effected. Catholics and Dissenters were given the right to vote in 1793, but Catholics were still excluded from the Irish Parliament and senior public offices in the kingdom. As in Great Britain and the rest of Europe, voting and membership of parliament was restricted to property owners. In the 1720s the new Irish Houses of Parliament was built in College Green, Dublin.
Poynings' law was repealed in 1782, granting Ireland legislative independence in what came to be known as the Constitution of 1782. Parliament in this period came to be known as Grattan's Parliament, after the principal Irish leader of the period, Henry Grattan. Although Ireland had legislative independence, executive administration remained under the control of the executive of the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1788-89 a Regency crisis arose caused when King George III became ill. Grattan wanted to appoint the Prince of Wales later George IV as Regent of Ireland. The king recovered before this could be enacted.
Union with Great Britain
The Irish Rebellion of 1798, and the rebels' alliance with Great Britain's longtime enemy the French, led to a push to bring Ireland formally into the British Union. By the Act of Union, voted for by the Irish Parliament, the Kingdom of Ireland merged in 1801 with the Kingdom of Great Britain to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Irish Parliament ceased to exist, though the executive, presided over by the Lord Lieutenant, remained in place until 1922. The union was later the subject of much controversy.
- de Beaumont, Gustave and William Cooke Taylor, Ireland Social, Political, and Religious :Translated by William Cooke Taylor : Contributor Tom Garvin, Andreas Hess: Harvard University Press : 2006 : ISBN 978-0-674-02165-5 (reprint of 1839 original)
- Pawlisch, Hans S., : Sir John Davies and the Conquest of Ireland: A Study in Legal Imperialism :Cambridge University Press, 2002 : ISBN 978-0-521-52657-9
- Keating, Geoffrey : The History of Ireland, from the Earliest Period to the English Invasion (Foras Feasa Ar Éirinn) Translated by John O'Mahony 1866 Full text at Google Books
- W. G. Perrin and Herbert S. Vaughan, 1922, "British Flags. Their Early History and their Development at Sea; with an Account of the Origin of the Flag as a National Device", Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 51-52:
- The red saltire on white ground which represents Ireland in the Union flag had only an ephemeral existence as a separate flag. Originating as the arms of the powerful Geraldines, who from the time of Henry II held the predominant position among those whose presence in Ireland was due to the efforts of the English sovereigns to subjugate that country, it is not to be expected that the native Irish should ever have taken kindly to a badge that could only remind them of their servitude to a race with whom they had little in common, and the attempt to father this emblem upon St Patrick (who, it may be remarked, is not entitled to a cross - since he was not a martyr) has evoked no response from the Irish themselves.
- The earliest evidence of the existence of the red flag known to the author occurs in a map of "Hirlandia" by John Goghe dated 1576 and now exhibited in the Public Record Office. The arms at the head of this map are the St George's cross impaled on the crowned harp, but the red saltire is prominent in the arms of the Earl of Kildare and the other Geraldine families placed over their respective spheres of influence. The red saltire flag is flown at the masthead of a ship, possibly an Irish pirate, which is engaged in action in the St George's Channel with another ship flying the St George's cross. The St George's flag flies upon Cornwall, Wales and Man, but the red satire flag does not appear upon Ireland itself, though it is placed upon the adjacent Mulls of Galloway and Kintyre in Scotland. It is, however, to be found in the arms of Trinity College, Dublin (1591), in which the banners of St George and of this saltire surmount the turrets that flank the castle gateway.
- The Graydon MS. Flag Book of 1686 which belonged to Pepys does not contain this flag, but give as the flag of Ireland (which, it may be noted, appears as an afterthought right at the end of the book) the green flag with St George's cross and the harp, illustrated in Plate X, fig. 3. The saltire flag is nevertheless given as "Pavillon d'Ierne" in the flags plates at the commencement of the Neptune François of 1693, whence it was copied into later flag collections.
- Under the Commonwealth and Protectorate, when England and Scotland were represented in the Great and other Seals by their crosses, Ireland was invariably represented by the harp that was added to the English and Scottish crosses to form a flag of the three kingdoms. At the funeral of Cromwell the Great Standards of England and Scotland had the St George's and St Andrew's crosses in chief respectively, but the Great Standard of Ireland had in chief a red cross (not saltire) on a yellow field.
- When the Order of St Patrick was instituted in 1783 the red saltire was taken for the badge of the Order, and since this emblem was of convenient form for introduction into the Union flag of England and Scotland it was chosen in forming the combined flag of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1801.
- Irishionary.com Collaborative Irish dictionary entry for Ríocht (Kingdom)
- Morley, Vincent (2002), Irish opinion and the American Revolution, 1760-1783, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 4, http://books.google.ie/books?id=iBrJz9XYzNgC&pg=PA4#v=onepage&q&f=false, retrieved 20 January 2012, "Féach ár bpian le sé chéad bliain aige Gaill in éigean, gan rí dár rialadh de Ghaeil, mo chian, i ríoghacht Éireann.
(the above Gaelic sentence is translated a few lines later as:) Consider our torment for six hundred years by violent foreigners, with no king of the Gaels ruling us, my grief, in the kingdom of Ireland.
Here can be seen, in close association, expressions of religious loyalty to the pre-Reformation faith represented by Creggan churchyard; dynastic loyalty to the house of Stuart; and national loyalty to 'ríocht Éireann' , 'the kingdom of Ireland'."
- McCaffrey chapter (1914)
- Text of 1555 Bull
- de Beaumont, G pp114-115
- The Statute Law Revision (Pre-Union Irish Statutes) Act 1962, section 1 and Schedule
The arms of the Kingdom of Ireland were blazoned: azure, a harp or string argent. A crown was not part of the arms but use of a crowned harp was apparently common as a badge or as a device. A crowned harp also appeared as a crest although the delineated crest was: a wreath or and azure, a tower (sometime triple-towered) or, from the port, a hart springing argent.
"King James not only used the harp crowned as the device of Ireland, but quartered the harp in this royal achievement for the arms of that kingdom, in the third quarter of the royal achievement upon his Great Seal, as it has continued ever since. The blazon was azure, a harp or string argent, as appears by the great embroidered banner, and at the funeral of Queen Anne, King James' queen, AD 1618, and likewise by the great banner and banner of Ireland at the funeral of King James. The difference between the arms and device of Ireland appears to be on the crown only, which is added to the harp when used as a device.
"At the funeral of King James was likewise carried the standard of the crest of Ireland, a buck proper (argent in the draught) issuing from a tower tripple towered or, which is the only instance of this crest that I have met, and therefore was probably devised and assinged for the crest of Ireland upon occasion of this funeral, but with what propriety I do not understand." - Questions and Answers, Notes and Queries, 1855, p. 350
"The insignia of Ireland have variously been given by early writers. In the reign of Edward IV, a commission appointed to enquire what were the arms of Ireland found them to be three crowns in pale. It has been supposed that these crowns were abandoned at the Reformation, from an idea that they might denote the feudal sovereignty of the pope, whose vassal the king of England was, as lord of Ireland. However, in a manuscript in the Heralds' College of the time of Henry VII, the arms of Ireland are blazoned azure, a harp or, stringed argent; and when they were for the first time placed on the royal shield on the accession of James I. they were thus delineated: the crest is on a wreath or and azure, a tower (sometime triple-towered) or, from the port, a hart springing argent. Another crest is a harp or. The national flag of Ireland exhibits the harp in a field vert. The royal badge of Ireland, as settled by sign-manual in 1801 is a harp, or, stringed argent, and a trefoil vert, both ensigned with the imperial crown." - Chambers's Encyclopædia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge, 1868, p. 627