The legacy of the Ulster Plantation

Although the new settlers were mostly farmers, the plantation resulted in the growth of towns and the urban network. The newcomers brought with them their own traditions, culture and religion and formed their own community. The native Irish, although reduced in number, were not entirely removed or anglicised, creating a religious and social divide between the two groups, which has survived to the present day.

The Flight of the Earls and the subsequent plantation had a lasting effect on politics in Ulster. It led to the separation of the community along Protestant and Catholic divides. Discrimination against Catholics caused huge resentment, which increased with the later introduction of the Penal Laws discriminating against anyone not belonging to the established Church of Ireland. The two communities were unable to integrate.

Under the Government of Ireland Act of 1920, six counties in Ulster split politically from the rest of the country. As part of the Northern Ireland peace process, the Good Friday Agreement was signed on the 10th of April, 1998. In the agreement, all parties in Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland agreed that the future of Northern Ireland should be decided by "exclusively peaceful and democratic means".

New legislation for the province is being introduced on policing, human rights and equality. Importantly, there is a new feeling of optimism that the violence of the past is over, and that we can explore and commemorate our shared history.

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