The 1641 Rising

Demands of Participants in the Irish Rising

John T. Gilbert (ed.), A Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland from 1641 to 1652, vol. 1 (1879)
Full text at

We in the name of all the nobility, gentry, and commonality of Ireland, before God and all the world:  as most reasonable in the sight of all good and indifferent men:  We, the above-written, do require of the crown of England, and that crown’s ministers of state that do officiate in this kingdom… these particulars:

For the Church

1.  Because as good Christians we ought in the first place to have the chiefest care of our souls, which care we can no way better express than in pure and constant profession of Christ’s ancient, only true and Catholic religion, we therefore… demand the full, free, open, general and uncontrollable profession of the ancient and only true Roman Catholic religion in this ancient kingdom and dominion of Ireland.

2.  Knowing that we cannot enjoy our religion and the public profession of it in a universal national way, as by us is meant and intended, except we may likewise have our churches, oratories, and convenient temples and chapels, we therefore demand all our churches, chapels, oratories, temples, as well private parishes, as general and city cathedrals, to be given up to our use the native inhabitants of this kingdom….

For the Kingdom

1.  That all lands and livings be restored unto those owners if yet living, or to their undoubted heirs, and very nearest of kin, that were taken away either in Queen Elizabeth’s or King James’s days.

3.  That the Scots be removed out of the north of Ireland, and the right owners which now beg about Ireland in great want and misery, though of most high blood and birth, among the nobles of that country.

5.  That the King set over them a Deputy profession the Roman Catholic religion.

12.  That they may have a triennial Parliament as in England, and that the Catholics may have the choice of their Parliament men.


English Depictions of Rebel Violence during the Conflict

From James Cranford, The Tears of Ireland (1642)

Cromwell at Drogheda

In 1649, an English military expedition under the command of Oliver Cromwell landed at Dublin.  Cromwell proceeded to attack Catholic and Royalist forces, beginning the reconquest of Ireland after seven years of de facto independence.  At Drogheda, Cromwell besieged a forces comprised of Catholic Confederates and Royalists.  After his offer of terms of surrender were refused, Cromwell’s troops stormed the town and offered no quarter.  Cromwell’s men allegedly beat the garrison commander, Sir Arthur Aston, to death with his own wooden leg, summarily executed Royalist soldiers, and burned soldiers alive in the tower of St. Peter’s Church.  Cromwell’s report to the English Parliament on his actions at Drogheda did little to temper anger at the massacre, and the assault on Drogheda occupies a key position in Irish historical memory.

Cromwell to William Lenthall, Speaker of the English House of Commons, 17 September 1649
Excerpt from Wilbur Cortez Abbott, The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell (1937).

I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgment of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood, and that it will tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the future, which are the satisfactory grounds to such actions, which otherwise cannout but work remorse and regret….

And now give me leave to say how it comes to pass that this work is wrought.  It was set upon some of our hearts, that a Great Thing should be done, not by power or might, but by the Spirit of God.  And is it not so clear?  That which caused our men to storm so courageously, it was the Spirit of God, who gave your men courage, and took it away again; and gave the enemy courage, and took it away again; and gave your men courage again, and therewith this happy success.  And therefore it is good that GOD alone have all the glory.



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