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Early modern Catholicism in the northern Netherlands, England and Ireland: some points of comparison and contrast by Dr Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin (Head of the School of History and Archives, University College Dublin).

Dr Ó hAnnracháin gave this paper at the fourth Tudor and Stuart Ireland Interdisciplinary Conference which took place at the Iontas Building, NUI Maynooth in August 2014. As in previous years, the 2014 Tudor and Stuart Ireland Conference was a testament to the dynamism of current research on early modern Ireland. Over thirty speakers presented papers on the political, civic, ecclesiastical/religious, literary, medical, and material world of Ireland during the Tudor and Stuart periods. The majority of papers were recorded for podcasting and are available here. The fifth Tudor & Stuart Ireland Interdisciplinary Conference will be held at Maynooth University on the 28th and 29th of August, 2015. For more information go to tudorstuartireland.com.

Early modern Catholicism in the northern Netherlands, England and Ireland: some points of comparison and contrast

About Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin:
Dr Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin is Head of the School of History and Archives, University College Dublin. His principal research interests are in the history of Early Modern Ireland and the European Counter-Reformation. Dr Ó hAnnracháin is the author of Catholic Reformation in Ireland: The Mission of Rinuccini, 1645-49 (Oxford University Press). His latest work, Catholic Europe, 1592-1648: Centre and Peripheries, will be published by Oxford University Press later this year.

Between 2008 and 2011 Dr Ó hAnnracháin was the joint principal investigator in the IRCHSS-funded project, Insular Christianity. The goal of the project was to break down some of the barriers between the study of confessional or national groups, and to encourage the study of religious history in the widest senses, from the theological to the social, from visual culture to political engagement.

About the paper:
This paper offers a brief investigation of the evolution of Catholicism in three societies, England, where by the end of Elizabeth’s reign it retained significant numbers of adherents among the aristocracy but had largely lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the general population; Ireland, the only area of the Atlantic archipelago where Catholicism survived the sixteenth century and beyond as the majority confession, and the Netherlands where a significant Catholic population, reorganized in the course of 1590s and the first decades of the seventeenth century, was in existence at the end of the great Spanish-Dutch conflict in 1648. In addition to their geographical location on the western margins of Catholic Europe, the principal factor linking these three areas is their shared inheritance of state hostility and the existence of a favoured non-Catholic church establishment which posed a considerable challenge to the possibilities of survival and growth of Catholicism. However, despite this basic commonality, the difference in the self-understanding of the favoured confession and the varying extents of state power in enforcing programmes of coercion were critical factors in the differing evolution of Catholicism in the three areas.

Image: detail from Ratification of the Peace of Münster between Spain and the Dutch Republic in the town hall of Münster, 15 May 1648 by Gerard ter Borch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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