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5.0 out of 5 stars Very much worth the paper it's written on., 19 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Catholics Of Ulster (Paperback)
Brimming with information previously unknown to me and not covered in many other histories. I would definitely recommend it. The main basis for her writing it, as I understand, is that the Ulster Catholic community is not sufficiently discussed in histories of Irish catholics or histories of Ulster; that the Ulster Catholic community has had a different historical experience which has been substantially different from that of Catholics in the rest of Ireland, and yet strangely removed from that of the rest of Ulster's populous.

Elliott describes how, at times, Ulster Catholics' socio-economic state and interests was more akin to that of their Catholic cousins throughout Ireland, and at other times it mirrored the concerns of their Protestant neighbours at home in Ulster. Their experience has been similar to and connected with both Ulster Protestants and Southern Catholics (whatever tacid interactions the community has had with Southern Protestants is not delved into in any great detail) but distinct from both.

She paints a more complete and detailed, and thus a neccessarily greatly more complex picture of the history of the community. She attempts to ascertain exactly how monolithic the community is - seemingly not very; the working-class Catholics of Belfast don't share the same historical experiences as do those of majority-Catholic, rural, western and southern parts of the province, who, in turn, differ strickingly from those Catholics living in religiously mixed or even predominantly Protesant communities in eastern, central and northern Ulster. The rise of the middles class within the Catholic community since the mid-nineteenth century has created yet another line of distinction.

In The Catholics of Ulster Elliot goes back to basics. Justifications for her book's claims are sought from Gaelic manuscripts, which show the early distinctiveness of Ulster and the province's rivaly and interconnections with other Gaelic kingdoms in the British Isles (with the rest of Ireland to the south, Scotland to the north and the Isle of Man to the east).

The rise of "political" institutional Catholocism in the nineteenth century, as sponsered by the Church is discussed as some great length. The rise of Republicanism elsewhere in Ireland in the early stages of the twentieth century is commented upon as well as that movement's comparative lack of success in Ulster. The experience of Catholics throughout the Home Rule Crisis is talked about in detail, as well as the gradual shift in the mid-twentieth century which took place within militant republicanism in the province away from Dublin's conservatism towards a more socialist outlook.

It is not that other histories of Ireland's catholics, Ireland's, nationalists, or indeed of Ulster do not mention these events, but Elliots does them justice by detailing them, and by doing show she reveals that Ulster's Catholics have historically at various stages shared much more in common with the province's Protestant populations than with Catholics to the South.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable account of Catholicism in Ulster, 15 Jun 2008
This review is from: The Catholics Of Ulster (Paperback)
Marianne Elliott has written the authoratative account of Catholicism in Ulster, from its earliest roots to the recent past. A scholarly and definitive work.
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The Catholics Of Ulster
The Catholics Of Ulster by Marianne Elliott (Paperback - 21 Feb 2002)
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