The Confederate War: Overview

Irish Catholics against Protestant English and Scots

The Irish Uprising of October 1641 began as a conspiracy to seize a number of key strongholds but rapidly escalated into a war that involved the Three Kingdoms of Ireland, Scotland and England. The insurgents failed to capture Dublin, and the swift coup that had been planned became a general insurrection as Irish resentment against the Protestant settlers from England and Scotland erupted into violence. The Uprising started in Ulster and had spread through the whole of Ireland by the spring of 1642, gathering momentum as the predominantly Catholic Anglo-Irish aristocracy joined the native Irish insurgents.

Troops were sent from England and Scotland to quell the uprising but Irish forces became more organised with the inauguration of the Confederation of Kilkenny in May 1642 and the return of exiled veterans to fight for Ireland and the Roman Catholic faith.

King Charles attempted to come to terms with the Confederates in the hope of using Irish soldiers against the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War. The Confederate Assembly became deeply divided over the negotiations, with hardline followers of Archbishop Rinuccini demanding the full restoration of the Catholic church in Ireland, while moderate Anglo-Irish noblemen worked for a negotiated religious settlement with the King. The wars in England and Scotland prolonged and complicated the Irish war. Neither the Confederates, the Parliamentarians nor the Royalists were able to deliver a decisive military blow.

The King's deputy the Marquis of Ormond surrendered Dublin to English Parliamentarian forces in 1647 rather than allow the city to fall to the Catholic Confederates. After the execution of King Charles I in 1649, however, Ormond negotiated the Second Ormond Peace, which secured an uneasy alliance between the Royalists, the Irish Confederates and the Ulster Scots against the English Parliamentarians.

The Confederate War lasted eleven years and caused massive loss of life and devastation in Ireland. It ended with the conquest of Ireland by Oliver Cromwell and the New Model Army in 1649-52.

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or follow the political development of Confederate Ireland in the Church & State thread