Irish Rebellion of 1641 and the Catholic Martyrs

Catholic resentment was a factor in starting the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and the establishment of Confederate Ireland from 1642 with Papal support, that was eventually put down in the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649–53. After the Act of Settlement in 1652, Catholics were barred from membership in the Irish Parliament, and the major landholders had most of their lands confiscated under the Adventurers Act. They were banned from living in towns for a short period. Catholic clergy were expelled from the country and were liable to instant execution when found. Many recusants had to worship in secret at gathering places (such as Mass rocks) in the countryside. Seventeen Catholic martyrs from this period were beatified in 1992…
…Irish Catholic Martyrs were dozens of people who have been sanctified in varying degrees for dying for their Roman Catholic faith between 1537 and 1714 in Ireland.
There was a long delay in starting the investigation into their causes. Further complicating the investigation is that the records of these martyrs were destroyed, or not compiled, due to the danger of keeping such evidence. After Catholic Emancipation in 1829, the cause for Oliver Plunkett was re-visited. As a result, a series of publications on the whole period of persecutions was made.
The first to complete the process was Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh, canonized in 1975 by Pope Paul VI. Plunkett was certainly targeted by the administration and unfairly tried.
Seventeen martyrs were beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 27, 1992. They are known as Dermot O’Hurley, Margaret Bermingham Ball, Francis Taylor and their fourteen companions. Among them are:

Patrick O’Hely, bishop (d. August 31, 1579)
Wexford Martyrs (d. July 5, 1581) – Patrick Cavanagh, Matthew Lambert, and fellow sailors found guilty of aiding in the escape of Viscount Baltinglass
Conor O’Devany, bishop (d. February 11, 1612) with Patrick O’Loughran, priest
Terence Albert O’Brien, bishop (d. October 31, 1651)
William Tirry, priest (d. May 12, 1654)

Church of the Irish Martyrs’ Ballycane, Naas is dedicated to the Irish Martyrs and was blessed and opened on the East side of the town in 1997. One of the martyrs to whom the church is dedicated is a seventeenth century Naas Dominican Friar Fr Peter Higgins, who was executed in Dublin on 23 March 1642.
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