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Protestant patriots rejected the notion that Ireland was either a dependant kingdom or a colony, but the statute book, the economic and political restrictions placed on Ireland by the British government at London, and the planting of English placemen in Irish jobs instructed them otherwise.
In The percentage of land, by county, owned by Roman Catholics (i.e., the Irish natives) in 1641, 1688, and 1703.
The defeat of Hugh O’Neill, 2nd earl of Tyrone, at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 marked the start of the gradual, century-long collapse of Gaelic civilization as the dominant mode of Irish existence.
It also marked the acceleration of a long process of Protestant British colonization that would dramatically transform the land, the language, and the religion of Ireland.
Many of the best-known Irish authors lived and worked for long periods in exile, often in England, and this too has contributed to a sense of instability in the development of a canon defined as uniquely Irish.
Out of the profound cultural trauma engendered by this process, “Anglo-Irish” writing emerged.
As the shifting meaning of the term Anglo-Irish literature during the 20th century demonstrates, there is disagreement about how to characterize 18th-century Irish writing in English.
Key Irish writers, from Edmund Burke and Jonathan Swift to Oliver Goldsmith, Maria Edgeworth, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw, were traditionally considered English (or British) authors.
But during the 20th century—particularly after the partition and partial independence of Ireland in 1920–22—scholars reclaimed these writers and their works for Ireland.
There is little disagreement, however, about the dichotomous nature of Irish society at that time.