Sep 17, 2015
No figure has been more hated by the Irish people than Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), the fanatical and puritanical Lord Protector of England, who in 1649 led a most vicious genocidal assault on Ireland. His campaign was intended to wipe out the Catholic religion and consolidate English rule in Ireland. In particular, Cromwell's assault was focused on the subjugation of the Catholic Norman-Irish aristocracy which had come to Ireland in the 12th century and after.
The most drastic aspect of the Cromwellian expedition was a concerted confiscation and destruction of food supplies, leading to the death from starvation of about 20% of the Irish population.
Part of the Cromwellian campaign was to move the whole Catholic population to the western province of Connaught in order to make way in the three other provinces for new English settlers. Those who refused to go west were subject to death. Thus the war cry ascribed to Cromwell, "To death or to Connaught." From this came the Irish curse-used in some places even today-"The curse of Cromwell be upon you."
Cromwell's hatred of Catholicism led systematically to the destruction of Catholic properties and churches. An account of the Cromwellian assault on Catholic faith and culture is most poignantly set out in a book titled, The Diocese of Meath Ancient and Modern, by Rev. A. Gogan, and published in 1860.