settlers began in Edward VI's reign as the mid-Tudor governments abandoned Henry VIII's failed policy for a united Ireland and focused on securing the English interests in the Pale. The plantations continued under Mary I and were later ratified by the Irish Parliament. Gaelic landowners were forcibly moved and denied two- thirds of their property.

Under lord deputies Sussex and Sidney, English policy in Ireland once again moved towards military conquest. Earlier attempts to subdue the Gaelic lordships were supplemented by the creation and forceful imposition of regional councils in Munster and Connaught to bring English law and authority. However Protestant religious reform was loosely enforced or neglected. Moreover, Elizabeth kept a tight grasp on the royal purse and gave little funding and manpower for Irish policy. Meanwhile the "Old English" protested about the development of arbitrary government in Ireland, and the Gaelic lords were provoked. Late Tudor Ireland increasingly began to be hampered be a series of rebellions and revolts which became more serious towards the end of the century. The government alienated key potential allies and gave a spectrum of dissident forces opportunity to unite into larger rebellions. Eventually the conquest was complete however with the defeat of Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone, who had attracted support by 1601 from both the Catholic Old English and 3,500 Spanish troops during the Nine Years' War (1594-1603).

In 1603, therefore, James I inherited a legacy of protracted conflict and resentment towards English presence in Ireland and a country that had been laid to waste, but was finally progressing towards being governable. While English laws and wider Anglicisation took place there was also the rapid dissemination of Post-Tridentine Catholicism, that is the Counter-Reformation in Ireland. Plantation recommenced, particularly in Ulster and Munster, with English and Scottish Protestant settlers displacing Catholic Gaelic landowners from the land.

During this period the creation of strong government in Ireland was sacrificed for short- term economy. In consequence the crown had a small base of support in Ireland, largely confined to the Protestant settlers or "planters" who were manipulating government against the Gaelic and Old English nobility and gentry. With the exception of Henry VIII, perhaps, successive monarchs were reluctant to pursue a permanent solution to the Irish problem. In failing to maintain a consistent and coherent policy the English crown and its agents precipitated gradual but important changes in Ireland's basic characteristics that would prove costly.

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