Ireland is riven by sectarian hatred. This simple assumption
provides a powerful explanation for the bitterness and violence
which has so dominated Irish history. Most notably, the troubles in
Northern Ireland have provided fertile ground for scholars from all
disciplines to argue about and explore ways in which religious
division fueled the descent into hostility and disorder. In much of
this literature, however, sectarianism is seen as, somehow, a
'given' in Irish history, an inevitable product of the clash of the
Reformation and Counter-Reformation, something which sprang fully
formed into existence in the sixteenth century. In this book
leading historians provide a detailed analysis of the ways in which
rival confessions were developed in early modern Ireland, the
extent to which the Irish people were indeed divided into two
religious camps by the mid-seventeenth century, and also their
surprising ability to transcend such stark divisions.
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