Mary Kenny

The Rise of the Kerns

Men that God Made Mad: A Journey through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland

By

Jonathan Cape 351pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

You often encounter genteel English horror at the vision of those terrible people in Ulster fighting over religion. This terrible disapproval comes from the same psychological wellspring whereby former forty-a-day cigarette-smokers become anti-smoking prigs: when the English were in full flight, they too were well able to persecute their opponents on grounds of religion. The Anglican Church was not always meek and mild: the eighteenth-century ‘Penal Laws’ – enacted in the Age of Enlightenment – not only dispossessed Irish Papists of all entitlements in their own country but were pretty mean-spirited to the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians too. 

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