THE MODERN POLITICAL history of Ireland dates from the British Glorious Revolution of 1688, in which the Catholic Irish supported King James II against William of Orange. When James's army in Ireland was defeated in 1691, and the Treaty of Limerick signed, British rule in Ireland became complete. However, thousands of Catholic Irish would leave Ireland to carry on the fight against Protestant William of Orange in the armies of the Holy Roman Empire and France. Catholics who remained behind were subjected to the heavy penal laws if they did not abjure (disavow) their ancestral religion.

The 18th century saw a period of formative peace in Ireland, a fact noted by the repeal of many of the penal laws against Irish Catholics in 1778, 1782, and ...

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