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The Nuttall Encyclopedia
An island rather more than half the size of and lying to the west of England and Wales, from which it is divided by the North Channel (13 m. wide), the Irish Sea (140 m.), and the St. George's Channel (50 m.). It consists of a large undulating plain in the centre, containing extensive bogs, several large loughs—Neagh, the Erne, Allen, Derg, drained by the rivers Shannon, Barrow, Liffey, and Boyne, and surrounded on almost all sides by maritime highlands, of which those on the SW., NW., and E. are the highest. The N. and W. coasts are rugged and much indented. The climate is milder, more equable, and somewhat more rainy than that of England; but the cereal and green crops are the same. Flax is grown in the N. The tendency is to revert to pasturage however, agriculture being generally in a backward state. Unfavourable land-laws, small holdings, and want of capital have told heavily against the Irish peasantry. Fisheries are declining. The chief manufacture is linen in Belfast and other Ulster towns. Irish exports consist of dairy produce, cattle, and linen, and are chiefly to Great Britain. Primary education is largely supported by government grants; there are many excellent schools and colleges; the chief universities are Dublin and the Royal (an examining body only). In Ulster the Protestants slightly outnumber the Roman Catholics, in all other parts the Roman Catholics are in a vast majority. Ireland was occupied by Iberian peoples in prehistoric times; these were conquered and absorbed by Celtic tribes; many kingdoms were set up, and strife and confusion prevailed. There was Christianity in the island before St. Patrick crossed from Strathclyde in the 5th century. Invasions by Danes, 8th to 10th centuries, and conquest by Normans under Henry II. 1162-1172, fomented the national disquiet. Under Tudor and Stuart rule the history of the country is a long story of faction and feud among the chiefs and nobles, of rebellions, expeditions, massacres, and confiscations. Sympathy with the Stuarts brought on it the scourge of Cromwell and the invasion by William III. Thereafter the penal laws excluded Roman Catholics from Parliament. The union of the Irish with the British Parliament took place in 1801. Catholic disabilities were removed 1829. An agitation for the repeal of the Union was begun in 1842 by Daniel O'Connell, and carried on by the Fenian movement of 1867 and the Home Rule movement led by Charles Parnell. A Home Rule bill was lost in the Commons in 1886, and another in the Lords in 1893. The Church of Ireland (Protestant Episcopal) was disestablished in 1871. Since the Union the executive has been in the hands of a lord-lieutenant, secretary, and council appointed by the Crown. Ireland is far behind Great Britain in wealth, and its population has been steadily declining.
Wood, James, ed. Entry for 'Ireland'. The Nuttall Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​nut/​i/ireland.html. Frederick Warne & Co Ltd. London. 1900.