Ulster Plantation Architecture

In the early decades of the seventeenth century, the Ulster Plantation brought about a combination of old and new - old in the style of Derry's walls, the last and best of their kind following earlier urban defences like those of Athenry; new in the shape of defended houses well represented by Parke's Castle in Co. Leitrim, or Ballygalley Castle, now a hotel on the Antrim coast. Also innovative were the English-style churches such as St. Columb's in Derry. The Church of and St. Nicholas in Carrickfergus has a fine Chichester family memorial of around 1625, which is restrained in opulence when compared to the two tombs of Richard Boyle in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin and Youghal in Co. Cork, dating from a few decades later.

The End of the Gaelic Tradition

After the Willliamite campaign of 1690-91, what was left of the old Gaelic world began to crumble even further with the advent of the Penal Laws. Old traditions were only kept alive by word of mouth, poetry and the sound of song, as the country was being prepared for a new era of English-influenced Protestant domination. That, however, was to herald a whole new style of architecture and decoration which, though foreign in origin, nevertheless owed much to practising Irish craftsmanship belonging to a proud tradition which, with many interruptions, had manifested itself in various forms for many thousands of years.

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