The Reformation in Ireland did not result in the conversion of more than a fraction of the native population to Protestantism; nearly all continued to look to Rome for supreme authority in matters ecclesiastical. At an institutional level, however, the Roman Catholic Church suffered considerably as a result of the disruption caused by the plantations and wars of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

For background reading on Catholics and Catholicism in Ulster during the Plantation period see Marianne Elliott, The Catholics of Ulster (London, 2000); Oliver P. Rafferty, Catholicism in Ulster 1603–1983: An Interpretative History (London, 1994); and Brian Mac Cuarta, Catholic Revival in the North of Ireland, 1600-41 (Dublin, 2007).