Kingdom of Ireland

The Kingdom of Ireland (Classical Irish: an Ríoghacht Éireann; Modern Irish: an Ríocht Éireann, pronounced [ənˠ ˌɾˠiːxt̪ˠ ˈeːɾʲən̪ˠ]) was a monarchy on the island of Ireland that was a client state of England and then of Great Britain. It existed from 1542 until 1801. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain, and administered from Dublin Castle by a viceroy appointed by the English king: the Lord Deputy of Ireland. It had a parliament, composed of Anglo-Irish and native nobles. From 1661 until 1801, the administration controlled an army. A Protestant state church, the Church of Ireland, was established. Although styled a kingdom, for most of its history it was, de facto, an English dependency.[3][4] This status was enshrined in Poynings' Law and in the Declaratory Act of 1719.

Kingdom of Ireland
Ríoghacht Éireann
  • 1542–1801
  • 1652–1660: Commonwealth
Coat of arms1
The Kingdom of Ireland in 1789; The Kingdom of Great Britain and the personal union in light green
53°21′N 6°16′W
Common languagesEnglish, Irish
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
 1542–1547 (first)
Henry VIII
 1760–1801 (last)
George III
Lord Lieutenant 
 1542–1548 (first)
Anthony St Leger
 1798–1801 (last)
Charles Cornwallis
Chief Secretary 
 1660 (first)
Matthew Locke
 1798–1801 (last)
Robert Stewart
House of Lords
House of Commons
18th June 1542
 Tudor conquest completed
1 January 1801
CurrencyIrish pound
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Lordship of Ireland
Kingdom of England
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland
Today part of
1See coat of arms 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 or arms.[2] See List of flags of Ireland.

The territory of the kingdom comprised that of the former Lordship of Ireland which was founded in 1177 by King Henry II of England as part of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. By the 16th century, the effective area of English rule had shrunk greatly; most of Ireland was held by Gaelic nobles as principalities and chiefdoms. By the terms of the Crown of Ireland Act 1542, the Parliament of Ireland created Henry VIII of England as "King of Ireland". There followed an expansion of English control during the Tudor conquest. This in turn sparked the Desmond Rebellions and the Nine Years' War. The conquest of the island was completed early in the 17th century. The conquest involved the confiscation of land from the native Irish and the colonisation of the land with Protestant settlers from Great Britain.

In its early years, the kingdom had limited recognition; no Catholic country in Europe recognised Henry VIII or his successor, Edward VI, as kings of Ireland. The succeeding monarchs of the kingdom, Mary I and Philip II, were devout Catholics and so gained recognition from Pope Paul IV as co-monarchs of Ireland (1554–58). With the exception of James II of England, for the remainder of its existence, the Kingdom of Ireland was ruled by Protestant monarchs. Their Catholic subjects, who made up most of the population, suffered officially sanctioned discrimination.[5] Ireland suffered particularly harsh conditions during the years of The Protectorate, a period of military dictatorship in the British Isles under the control of Oliver Cromwell. This discrimination was one of the main drivers behind several conflicts which broke out: the Irish Confederate Wars (1641–1653), the Williamite War in Ireland (1689–1691), the Armagh disturbances (1780s–1790s), and the republican Irish Rebellion of 1798.

The Protestant Ascendancy, meeting in their Parliament of Ireland, passed the Acts of Union 1800 which abolished both the parliament itself and the kingdom.[6] The act was also passed by the Parliament of Great Britain. On the first day of 1801, a new state — the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland — was established which united the parliaments of Ireland and of Great Britain into a single legislature — the Parliament of the United Kingdom — which still convenes today at the Palace of Westminster.

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