The Later Stuart Period

1660 to 1714

In May 1660 Charles II was proclaimed King in Dublin. The men who had organised Cromwellian Ireland thus restored to power the son of the Stuart king whom their party had beheaded only 11 years before. The new reign promised a period of some security. Dublin was adorned by new bridges, its castle was renovated and a great Royal Hospital was built at Kilmainham, on land granted by the king. Commerce began to thrive in the Irish ports and the houses of the nobility, such as the Duke of Ormond's castle at Kilkenny, were restored.

All changed in 1685 when Charles died and was succeeded by his younger brother James. Wherever possible there had been toleration of Catholic ways under Charles II: James II, a Catholic himself, now tried to reverse the Cromwellian settlement, to give power to the Irish Catholic aristocracy and to impose his will. Through forcing the issue he lost his throne. At the battle of the Boyne in 1690, James was defeated by his son-in-law, Prince William of Orange, who was to rule both England and Ireland jointly with his wife, Queen Mary, until her death in 1694, then as sole monarch until 1702. King William was succeeded by his sister-in-law, Queen Anne, who ruled as the last of the Stuarts until 1714.

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