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Modern history: 1700-1800

James II, defeated by William of Orange’s armies, fled Kinsale in 1690. William of Orange was secure on the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the longest period of peace in modern Irish history followed. With political stability came rising prosperity, an enriched cultural life, and an appetite for new ideas.

The artefacts in National Museums NI collection from this era reflect this growing wealth. Silverware, pottery, and jewellery speak to a new opulence. Pieces of regalia of the Order of St. Patrick, a dormant order of chivalry once as exalted as the Order of the Garter, are part of this collection.

Growing wealth was accompanied by growing inequality. New laws were passed to suppress the Catholic population, and subtle forms of resistance emerged. One such was the production of ‘penal crosses’, made at the pilgrimage site of Lough Derg, County Donegal, and there are several in our collection. Beggar’s badges, worn by beggars to show where they could ask for alms, was one way that the authorities tried to manage the poor population.

The 18th century was also the Age of Sail. European powers vied for control of the sea lanes, distant colonies, and the spoils of empire. The collection includes items representing the influence of international expansion, trade, and exploration. We hold artefacts from Captain Cook’s voyages to the South Pacific.

Eventually the calm that had prevailed over the Irish political scene broke. The late 18th century witnessed the American and French Revolutions, encouraging radical thought. Many in Ireland demanded reform, while other stoked sectarian resentment. This tinderbox exploded with the United Irishman’s rebellion in 1798. It was eventually crushed, and the Act of Union was passed in its aftermath, tying Ireland ever more tightly to Great Britain.

Our collection includes military uniforms, weapons, and personal belongings of significant figures involved in this struggle. The sword and coat of Henry Joy McCracken, industrialist and revolutionary, are on display, as is the death mask of agitator and organiser, James Hope.

BELUM.P20.1977

A / NEW / AND / ACCURATE MAP OF / IRELAND.
Map

BELUM.P27.1977

A / NEW MAP / OF / IRELAND. / DIVIDED INTO / PROVINCES AND COUNTIES
Map

BELUM.P12.1976

A / NEW MAP / OF IRELAND
Map

BELUM.P35.1977

A CHART / OF THE NORTH-WEST COAST / OF / IRELAND / FROM / LOUGH SWILLY / TO / SLYNE HEAD
MAP; Sea chart

BELUM.P9.1978

A MAP / OF PART OF THE / COUNTY OF ANTRIM
Map

BELUM.P62.1977

A MAP OF THE KINGDOM OF / IRELAND
Map

BELUM.P6.1986

A Map of the Town and Environs of Belfast
Map

Placeholder - no image available for this record

BELUM.P22.1977

A NEW / AND ACCURATE / MAP / OF / THE PROVINCE OF / IRELAND
Map

BELUM.P11.1986

A New and Accurate Map of the Kingdom of Ireland from Actual Surveys
Map

BELUM.P235.1946

A NEW MAP OF / IRELAND DIVIDED INTO ITS PROVINCES, COUN-/TIES AND BARONIES
Map

BELUM.P19.1981

A PLAN OF THE RIVER LAGON, AND OF THE INTENDED NAVIGABLE CANAL / FROM BELFAST TO LOUGHNEAGH.
MAP; Waterway plan

BELUM.P33.1978

A POCKET COMPANION OF / IRELAND.
Map

BELUM.O88.1977

Aghnahoe Infantry (Yeomanry)
DRUM; [Side] Drum

BELUM.P553.1930

CARTE ANCIENNE ET MODERNE DE L'IRLANDE
Map

BELUM.P5.1977

CARTE DU GOUVERNEMENT CIVIL ET MILITAIRE
Map

BELUM.P93.1912

IRELAND / WITH THE ROADS
Map

BELUM.O496.1927

James Hope's death mask (plaster copy)
Death mask

BELUM.W2015.117

Jennings Cup
Presentation Cup

BELUM.P8.1977

L'IRLANDE
Map

BELUM.P22.1978

LES ISLES BRITANNIQUES PAR MR. DE L'ISLE, GEOGRAPHE DU ROY. & c. DE L'ACADEMIE DES SCIENCES.
Map

BELUM.P68.1973

NOUVELLE CARTE DE L'IRLANDE OU ON REMARQUE L'ETAT PRESENT DE CETTE ISLE L'ORDRE DE GOUVERNEMENT ECCLESIASTIQUE ET

BELUM.P54.1974

Plan of the Siege of Londonderry
MAP; Town plan

BELUM.P64.1977

PROVINCIA / VLTONIAE. / THE PROVINCIE (sic) OF / VLSTER
Map

BELUM.P111.1925

STRANGFORD RIVER / FROM AN ACCURATE SURVEY / BY GEORGE JOHNSON / OF PORTAFERRY / PILOT / 1755
MAP; Chart

BELUM.P12.1986

The Complete Irish Coasting Pilot
Charts

BELUM.P21.1977

THE KINGDOM / OF / IRELAND / BY ROBT. MORDEN.
Map

BELUM.O110.1943

Shot pouch

BELUM.P237.1946

Map (lower half)

BELUM.O37.1974

DRUM; [Side] Drum

BELUM.O36.1977

Badge : beggar's

BELUM.O37.1977

Badge : beggar's

BELUM.O38.1977

Badge : beggar's

BELUM.O117.1906

Badge : beggar's

BELUM.O321.1913

Badge : beggar's

BELUM.O148.1949

Badge : beggar's