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Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland
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Breaking the West: Queens, Captains, and Nobility in Connacht



The province of Connacht experienced the same heady mix of negotiation, resistance, alliance, and violence that marked English–Irish contact in Leinster and Munster. Yet the government of Connacht was particularly prone to abuse by nominally loyal officials, many of them newcomers, who operated largely outside of crown control in remote parts of the realm. Not all of the entrenched local families in the west suffered in the late-Tudor and early-Stuart periods as a result, however. The O’Briens, a native Irish kingship of ancient ancestry, continued to rule as earls of Thomond and flourished during these turbulent times. They owed their success to their unswerving loyalty to the crown, but also in part to the fatal missteps of their rivals.




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