When could an independent/unified Ireland happened?

The issue being that you've assumed a ruler of Great Britain is automatically foreign to Ireland, ditto Protestant, and you've equated that with being English, yet you make no reference to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc as having the same issue when other posters bring it up so I've no idea what you would count as natively Irish. Do Catholic Hiberno-Normans count? What about Gaels from Scotland? What about independence, would a Protestant led Parliament with a Protestant monarch count as independent enough? That's almost what you had OTL before the 1800 union just with a nonEnglish monarch who also ruled Great Britain
Well you’ve definitely got me when you said earlier how I’m not to well read in Irish history :p.
Wasn’t trying to equate Protestant with foreign. Just that regardless of if the monarch was British or what not that they were still foreign rulers. Foreign monarchs who also followed a different form of Christianity from the majority of their Irish subjects. Just kinda put in there for whatever reason and wasnt try to start anything.

And I would say yes to all those options. An Ireland entirely independent is all i asked for. So long as it’s truly independent and not a client state of England or anything.
 
John Lackland, as in John I? He'd probably be overthrown very quickly if he is the same guy as in OTL.
Eh, maybe.
Maybe Henry Fitzroy is made King of Ireland as it was floated around in OTL.
Possibly.
Eh, I think Brian Boru is just as good a POD. He had a lot of the Chieftains behind him.
At best you're getting a slightly stronger High Kingdom similar to Scotland before David.
I still think you'd get Norman interference which then drags in the English King.
So spinning off the Plantagenets might be most likely.

An interesting set up could be Margaret the Maid is born male and you get a brief moment of the Scottish King being King of Norway too. I see Edward Longshank's response being getting the Pope to grant him the crown of Ireland. If we assume most of history proceeds as before then either the deposition of Richard II or the Wars of the Roses could see a more separate Ireland
 
And I would say yes to all those options. An Ireland entirely independent is all i asked for. So long as it’s truly independent and not a client state of England or anything.
I'm not entirely sure that's strictly probable considering the size and location of Ireland with respect to England and the latter's growing dominance.
Not strictly impossible you understand but like Scotland found with the Auld Alliance with France a constant threat isn't always the best option.
 
As far as I know the best candidate was Murchad and Donnacaha . Murchad seemed to be the more suitable choice. Due to him being the experienced warrior and diplomat. If rebellions popped up during his reign he would easily crush them.
Didn't Donnacha survive tho?
 
I'm not entirely sure that's strictly probable considering the size and location of Ireland with respect to England and the latter's growing dominance.
Not strictly impossible you understand but like Scotland found with the Auld Alliance with France a constant threat isn't always the best option.
But wouldn't England have a much harder situation regarding Ireland. We need to take into consideration that Ireland had a higher population than Scotland. We need to take into consideration that Ireland and Scotland could create a large enough army to be a thorn in the side of the English monarch's. How would Ireland deal with Owain Glyndwr?
 
But wouldn't England have a much harder situation regarding Ireland. We need to take into consideration that Ireland had a higher population than Scotland. We need to take into consideration that Ireland and Scotland could create a large enough army to be a thorn in the side of the English monarch's. How would Ireland deal with Owain Glyndwr?
Why would Glyndwr even exist TTL?

While Ireland could be more difficult than Scotland a lot depends on how united Ireland is, under what conditions it has united, and whether it's even friendlier to Scotland than England too. This applies to Wales too who have nearly as many references fighting off Irish raiders as they do the "Saxons".
 
Why would Glyndwr even exist TTL?

While Ireland could be more difficult than Scotland a lot depends on how united Ireland is, under what conditions it has united, and whether it's even friendlier to Scotland than England too. This applies to Wales too who have nearly as many references fighting off Irish raiders as they do the "Saxons".

Why would Glyndwr even exist TTL?

While Ireland could be more difficult than Scotland a lot depends on how united Ireland is, under what conditions it has united, and whether it's even friendlier to Scotland than England too. This applies to Wales too who have nearly as many references fighting off Irish raiders as they do the "Saxons".
I was intending for it to unify under Brian Boru. While the Welsh question is a bit more up in the air. I believe that Ireland and Scotland being so culturally and linguistically similar it would probably be natural for them to be close allies. Well I could could see the Irish monarchs inviting norman lords to help feudalise and Modernise its military. There was norman nobles in Ireland before the norman invasion happened.
 
Even if the act of Union of 1800 never happened wouldn’t they still be a client of GB? Regardless, it’s not full independence.
Ireland achieved legislative independence in 1782. The handful of remaining powers like foreign policy would have drifted across over time, as they did with Canada.
 
Ireland achieved legislative independence in 1782. The handful of remaining powers like foreign policy would have drifted across over time, as they did with Canada.
Wouldn’t that have probably taken a long ass time? By that point you’d be getting close to it’s otl independence from GB.
 
I think the fundamental problem is that Ireland just isn't very rich, and thus it is difficult for the island, even united, to sustain land and sea power sufficient to keep the nearby English wolf at bay.

Here's a scenario of sorts, not offered as amazingly plausible alas:

I rely for much background on my reading of Garrett Mattingly's The Armada (1959). But I am going contrafactual with it, postulating two big prior PODs to lay the groundwork for Philip's victory instead of defeat. Per Mattingly anyway, England was in a good position versus the Hapsburg empire for two material reasons-

-for one thing (something Mattingly attributes in part to the sage policy of Queen Elizabeth) the English were defending their home waters, and when the Armada came into sight of the patrols, its crews were decimated by long weeks at sea, whereas English crews had been living in relative health on shore. And the battle proved to be one where tremendous amounts of cannon fire on both sides very rapidly depleted the stocks of both English and Armada vessels (the Armada was largely but by no means entirely Spanish, many crews and ships recruited, hired or requisitioned from many nations, including lots of Portuguese and the pride of the Florentine navy); the English could rapidly resupply and put out to fight again, the Armada was SOL when they'd fired off their large but limited stocks of powder and shot.

For the other, it so happened that English cannon were widely known to be superior overall to what the Armada ships had. The Armada was a formidable fleet by the standards of recent older days, where the major effective way for one ship to engage another was to grapple and board the other ship in hand to hand melee fighting. But English guns could shoot heavier shot farther. As things turned out, even the English could not win anything decisively by staying out of Armada cannon range and trying to pound their foes from safety--for the destructive potential of English fire to come into play, they had to mix in closer and risk serious damage by the less effective but still somewhat deadly Armada guns. But when they did come in close, taking some casualties, they did tend to decimate the Armada ships. These were in a formation that proved to be somewhat effective in defense, but still the English were able to so weaken the power of the large fleet that it could not have carried out its mission, which was to give cover and perhaps provide transport for Parma's mercenary forces based in the Lowlands to come over to England and it was presumed (with good reason had they been able to do so) to prevail in overturning Elizabeth's limited armies and (presuming that the Catholic countryside would rally to them) seize control of England.

So let us suppose, for ATL:
a) the Hapsburgs have somehow or other gotten control of Brittany, in a secure manner. Say this has been a matter of contention for some generations but the French have for the moment anyway given up on trying to take Brittany, and Brittany's effective lords value their alliance with the powerful hegemon of much of Europe. So such a port as Brest is secure mustering ground for the Armada, and perhaps after largely assembling in Iberia, the perhaps somewhat exhausted crews have an opportunity to recuperate, take on ample stocks, maintain supply communications with the Brittany ports, and are augmented with more ships assembling there. So the Armada crews are not nearly so weakened and their resupply is less problematic than OTL;
b) King Philip having been in conflict with England for quite some time now, and being aware the English have attracted some of the best gun-founders in Europe to supply English ships with superior cannon, has taken measures over the past couple decades to improve the artillery of Hapsburg dominated ports, with Brest being one where recent breakthroughs have improved the art beyond even English standards, and thus the guns of the Armada ships are improved to be at least the equal and often superior to English standards, and the admiral and captains fully understand they need to use their artillery to advantage, and have plans for doing so.

Now then as OTL, they approach close to English waters, but farther east, closer to the mainland, on a shorter route, and their strategy and tactics are aiming at not engaging the English, gloriously or otherwise, but mainly to evade them and proceed to the ports held by Parma in the southern Lowlands, to embark the troops--and that long story short, they can't entirely evade the English patrols, but when the English defenders swarm them their combination of firepower and a well thought out defensive formation enables the fleet to punch through little damaged. Their subsequent westward passage to an English landing place is more difficult, but not as devastating as the OTL engagements south of England, and the ships manage to get through and land most of the soldiers on English soil.

Then it is largely game over. It might be otherwise; perhaps the English Catholics in exile serving Philip overestimated how readily England's countryside would rally to the Catholic cause. But let us assume here it is not so so, things go largely as they hoped and the Tudor forces are overwhelmed and broken; we can leave it up to a coin flip whether Elizabeth escapes or is captured and executed. At any rate the Kingdom of England is effectively occupied and Philip claims the crown for himself, with an English Cardinal who had been exiled in effect his viceroy. (Philip had previously been king, anyway the consort of Queen Mary, and regarded the rival Tudors Edward and Elizabeth as usurpers). Scotland of course would be a hostile border troubling the pro-Hapsburg puppet regime, nor would Philip let the expensive mercenaries remain in England beyond whatever was strictly necessary to hold the place, preferring to return them to the Lowlands which without English support might collapse and seek terms.

Ireland comes in to this because presumably at least some of the Tudor-Protestant loyalists would try to flee there. Not wanting too expensive a diversion, Philip would therefore want to mop up on the cheap, and thus be motivated to recruit as many of Ireland's diverse clans as he could into a united effort to subdue and rout the Tudor exodus.

After this--Scotland remains defiantly Protestant, though of course not entirely so, the Highlands I gather remain Catholic; it would be policy to try to destroy the Scottish resistance too. I gather the Scots (the lowland Calvinist hegemony core) were pretty good at defending themselves and by no means would England be an entirely friendly base even if many people convert, with varying degrees of sincerity, back to Catholicism nominally. So perhaps the Scottish kingdom can hang on since the Hapsburgs won't want to tie down too much force in Britain, and might content themselves with spinning off a rival Catholic highlands based kingdom professing loyalty to Hapsburg hegemony and receiving parsinomous aid to maintain their front against the Calvinist core. This leaves northeast Ireland exposed to possible Scottish raids and landings, so having organized Ireland to expel the Tudors and Protestants generally, it falls to a de facto viceroy of Hapsburg interest to organize some kind of levy of the Irish lords to form a coastal defense force nominally under some High King the Hapsburgs have influence over and again supply with frugal but effective aid in the form of some Spanish and mercenary forces to form the core of this Kingdom of Ireland force.

The Hapsburgs have little interest in deeply exploiting Ireland, which is poor and backward, but does famously produce some fighting men, so they use their influence lightly, seeking to minimize opportunities for rival powers such as say France to try to get an in and plunge the place into intense civil war. They seek to keep a quasi-peace between the rival lords, by flattery, bribery, adjudication, and by striving to recruit fighting men to serve the Hapsburgs elsewhere--to repress unrest in England say, and reinforce the fronts north and south against Scotland, not to mention continental and colonial ventures. Perhaps the Irish are encouraged to trade in the Empire of the Indies (Spanish America) and even sometimes granted scattered colonies (under the Spanish crown) here and there. Ireland prospers somewhat in the wake of English suppression.

For a time. Over time, either the Hapsburg empire simply disintegrates for internal reasons despite having largely won control over Britain and perhaps entirely over the Lowlands. Perhaps a piece of it retains control of the loose hegemony over the British realms, or perhaps Continental control fails completely and England and Ireland are both left on their own again.

In the former case, and as long as Hapsburg hegemony lasts, I expect that England will gradually come out of eclipse due to the fact that it has much greater potential to enrich its lords, and thus any viceroys masterminding affairs in England will tend to come to champion the interests of their subjects and probably develop a covetous (and security minded) interest in hegemony over Ireland as obsessive as the OTL Tudor-Stuart-Commonwealth overlords did OTL. Whereas in the latter case of the continental dynasty losing its grip completely, of course England turned loose is liable to attempt to replicate her OTL trajectory, more or less, having the same assets and interests.

But just maybe perhaps, Ireland under management that might have been astute and deft, has become somewhat accustomed to loose unity and perhaps forms of prosperity have taken root giving powerful leaders vested interests in sustaining Irish unity and independence. Against England and probably Scotland too, the Irish are in a weak defensive position, so any Irish regime must seek Continental allies to check the attentions of the kingdoms of Great Britain (the island, not a UK yet or necessarily ever). Perhaps the Spanish had done something like carve off Wales as a separate kingdom and an Ireland-Wales alliance is a major continuing thing.

The Hapsburgs probably would not have favored Ireland developing a navy nor would the island support much of one, but perhaps after generations of Irish expansion overseas and the kingdom maintaining good relations with the Spanish colonial regime, trade has enriched them enough that certain forms of agricultural progress are being fostered and the population and revenue base of the island is growing, which along with the sea traders and Irish settlements overseas, gives the regime some moderate treasury, enough to sustain a respectable naval force to oppose English or Scottish invasion, and give some cover to Irish shipping.

Thus, with an anxious eye on the balance of power and assidious cultivation of continental allies, tending to favor and be favored by Spain and her allies, perhaps an Irish kingdom can stagger along, never a great power but with bids for consideration, cultivated by all who would check English ambition. It is not so clear to me that England must in the fullness of time prevail and conquer Ireland someday.

But indeed I suppose an England-screw is pretty vital to the project; if England manages to become nearly as strong as OTL, it would take a mighty continental ally indeed to deter English conquest, and Ireland probably would de facto become subject to that mainland power.
 
I think the fundamental problem is that Ireland just isn't very rich, and thus it is difficult for the island, even united, to sustain land and sea power sufficient to keep the nearby English wolf at bay.

Here's a scenario of sorts, not offered as amazingly plausible alas:

I rely for much background on my reading of Garrett Mattingly's The Armada (1959). But I am going contrafactual with it, postulating two big prior PODs to lay the groundwork for Philip's victory instead of defeat. Per Mattingly anyway, England was in a good position versus the Hapsburg empire for two material reasons-

-for one thing (something Mattingly attributes in part to the sage policy of Queen Elizabeth) the English were defending their home waters, and when the Armada came into sight of the patrols, its crews were decimated by long weeks at sea, whereas English crews had been living in relative health on shore. And the battle proved to be one where tremendous amounts of cannon fire on both sides very rapidly depleted the stocks of both English and Armada vessels (the Armada was largely but by no means entirely Spanish, many crews and ships recruited, hired or requisitioned from many nations, including lots of Portuguese and the pride of the Florentine navy); the English could rapidly resupply and put out to fight again, the Armada was SOL when they'd fired off their large but limited stocks of powder and shot.

For the other, it so happened that English cannon were widely known to be superior overall to what the Armada ships had. The Armada was a formidable fleet by the standards of recent older days, where the major effective way for one ship to engage another was to grapple and board the other ship in hand to hand melee fighting. But English guns could shoot heavier shot farther. As things turned out, even the English could not win anything decisively by staying out of Armada cannon range and trying to pound their foes from safety--for the destructive potential of English fire to come into play, they had to mix in closer and risk serious damage by the less effective but still somewhat deadly Armada guns. But when they did come in close, taking some casualties, they did tend to decimate the Armada ships. These were in a formation that proved to be somewhat effective in defense, but still the English were able to so weaken the power of the large fleet that it could not have carried out its mission, which was to give cover and perhaps provide transport for Parma's mercenary forces based in the Lowlands to come over to England and it was presumed (with good reason had they been able to do so) to prevail in overturning Elizabeth's limited armies and (presuming that the Catholic countryside would rally to them) seize control of England.

So let us suppose, for ATL:
a) the Hapsburgs have somehow or other gotten control of Brittany, in a secure manner. Say this has been a matter of contention for some generations but the French have for the moment anyway given up on trying to take Brittany, and Brittany's effective lords value their alliance with the powerful hegemon of much of Europe. So such a port as Brest is secure mustering ground for the Armada, and perhaps after largely assembling in Iberia, the perhaps somewhat exhausted crews have an opportunity to recuperate, take on ample stocks, maintain supply communications with the Brittany ports, and are augmented with more ships assembling there. So the Armada crews are not nearly so weakened and their resupply is less problematic than OTL;
b) King Philip having been in conflict with England for quite some time now, and being aware the English have attracted some of the best gun-founders in Europe to supply English ships with superior cannon, has taken measures over the past couple decades to improve the artillery of Hapsburg dominated ports, with Brest being one where recent breakthroughs have improved the art beyond even English standards, and thus the guns of the Armada ships are improved to be at least the equal and often superior to English standards, and the admiral and captains fully understand they need to use their artillery to advantage, and have plans for doing so.

Now then as OTL, they approach close to English waters, but farther east, closer to the mainland, on a shorter route, and their strategy and tactics are aiming at not engaging the English, gloriously or otherwise, but mainly to evade them and proceed to the ports held by Parma in the southern Lowlands, to embark the troops--and that long story short, they can't entirely evade the English patrols, but when the English defenders swarm them their combination of firepower and a well thought out defensive formation enables the fleet to punch through little damaged. Their subsequent westward passage to an English landing place is more difficult, but not as devastating as the OTL engagements south of England, and the ships manage to get through and land most of the soldiers on English soil. snip
Nice idea.
I could see the Spanish using Cork harbour as a safe haven for the Spanish navy as it has one of the largest natural harbours in the world.

Cork Harbor, on the south coast of Ireland, is the second largest natural harbor in the world after Sydney Harbor in Australia.

This would mean every different Ireland where Brehon laws survive and Ireland remains an Irish speaking majority country.
https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/ireland-brehon-laws
Grace O'Malley had her ships built in Spain.
 
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I think the fundamental problem is that Ireland just isn't very rich, and thus it is difficult for the island, even united, to sustain land and sea power sufficient to keep the nearby English wolf at bay.

Here's a scenario of sorts, not offered as amazingly plausible alas:

I rely for much background on my reading of Garrett Mattingly's The Armada (1959). But I am going contrafactual with it, postulating two big prior PODs to lay the groundwork for Philip's victory instead of defeat. Per Mattingly anyway, England was in a good position versus the Hapsburg empire for two material reasons-

-for one thing (something Mattingly attributes in part to the sage policy of Queen Elizabeth) the English were defending their home waters, and when the Armada came into sight of the patrols, its crews were decimated by long weeks at sea, whereas English crews had been living in relative health on shore. And the battle proved to be one where tremendous amounts of cannon fire on both sides very rapidly depleted the stocks of both English and Armada vessels (the Armada was largely but by no means entirely Spanish, many crews and ships recruited, hired or requisitioned from many nations, including lots of Portuguese and the pride of the Florentine navy); the English could rapidly resupply and put out to fight again, the Armada was SOL when they'd fired off their large but limited stocks of powder and shot.

For the other, it so happened that English cannon were widely known to be superior overall to what the Armada ships had. The Armada was a formidable fleet by the standards of recent older days, where the major effective way for one ship to engage another was to grapple and board the other ship in hand to hand melee fighting. But English guns could shoot heavier shot farther. As things turned out, even the English could not win anything decisively by staying out of Armada cannon range and trying to pound their foes from safety--for the destructive potential of English fire to come into play, they had to mix in closer and risk serious damage by the less effective but still somewhat deadly Armada guns. But when they did come in close, taking some casualties, they did tend to decimate the Armada ships. These were in a formation that proved to be somewhat effective in defense, but still the English were able to so weaken the power of the large fleet that it could not have carried out its mission, which was to give cover and perhaps provide transport for Parma's mercenary forces based in the Lowlands to come over to England and it was presumed (with good reason had they been able to do so) to prevail in overturning Elizabeth's limited armies and (presuming that the Catholic countryside would rally to them) seize control of England.

So let us suppose, for ATL:
a) the Hapsburgs have somehow or other gotten control of Brittany, in a secure manner. Say this has been a matter of contention for some generations but the French have for the moment anyway given up on trying to take Brittany, and Brittany's effective lords value their alliance with the powerful hegemon of much of Europe. So such a port as Brest is secure mustering ground for the Armada, and perhaps after largely assembling in Iberia, the perhaps somewhat exhausted crews have an opportunity to recuperate, take on ample stocks, maintain supply communications with the Brittany ports, and are augmented with more ships assembling there. So the Armada crews are not nearly so weakened and their resupply is less problematic than OTL;
b) King Philip having been in conflict with England for quite some time now, and being aware the English have attracted some of the best gun-founders in Europe to supply English ships with superior cannon, has taken measures over the past couple decades to improve the artillery of Hapsburg dominated ports, with Brest being one where recent breakthroughs have improved the art beyond even English standards, and thus the guns of the Armada ships are improved to be at least the equal and often superior to English standards, and the admiral and captains fully understand they need to use their artillery to advantage, and have plans for doing so.

Now then as OTL, they approach close to English waters, but farther east, closer to the mainland, on a shorter route, and their strategy and tactics are aiming at not engaging the English, gloriously or otherwise, but mainly to evade them and proceed to the ports held by Parma in the southern Lowlands, to embark the troops--and that long story short, they can't entirely evade the English patrols, but when the English defenders swarm them their combination of firepower and a well thought out defensive formation enables the fleet to punch through little damaged. Their subsequent westward passage to an English landing place is more difficult, but not as devastating as the OTL engagements south of England, and the ships manage to get through and land most of the soldiers on English soil.

Then it is largely game over. It might be otherwise; perhaps the English Catholics in exile serving Philip overestimated how readily England's countryside would rally to the Catholic cause. But let us assume here it is not so so, things go largely as they hoped and the Tudor forces are overwhelmed and broken; we can leave it up to a coin flip whether Elizabeth escapes or is captured and executed. At any rate the Kingdom of England is effectively occupied and Philip claims the crown for himself, with an English Cardinal who had been exiled in effect his viceroy. (Philip had previously been king, anyway the consort of Queen Mary, and regarded the rival Tudors Edward and Elizabeth as usurpers). Scotland of course would be a hostile border troubling the pro-Hapsburg puppet regime, nor would Philip let the expensive mercenaries remain in England beyond whatever was strictly necessary to hold the place, preferring to return them to the Lowlands which without English support might collapse and seek terms.

Ireland comes in to this because presumably at least some of the Tudor-Protestant loyalists would try to flee there. Not wanting too expensive a diversion, Philip would therefore want to mop up on the cheap, and thus be motivated to recruit as many of Ireland's diverse clans as he could into a united effort to subdue and rout the Tudor exodus.

After this--Scotland remains defiantly Protestant, though of course not entirely so, the Highlands I gather remain Catholic; it would be policy to try to destroy the Scottish resistance too. I gather the Scots (the lowland Calvinist hegemony core) were pretty good at defending themselves and by no means would England be an entirely friendly base even if many people convert, with varying degrees of sincerity, back to Catholicism nominally. So perhaps the Scottish kingdom can hang on since the Hapsburgs won't want to tie down too much force in Britain, and might content themselves with spinning off a rival Catholic highlands based kingdom professing loyalty to Hapsburg hegemony and receiving parsinomous aid to maintain their front against the Calvinist core. This leaves northeast Ireland exposed to possible Scottish raids and landings, so having organized Ireland to expel the Tudors and Protestants generally, it falls to a de facto viceroy of Hapsburg interest to organize some kind of levy of the Irish lords to form a coastal defense force nominally under some High King the Hapsburgs have influence over and again supply with frugal but effective aid in the form of some Spanish and mercenary forces to form the core of this Kingdom of Ireland force.

The Hapsburgs have little interest in deeply exploiting Ireland, which is poor and backward, but does famously produce some fighting men, so they use their influence lightly, seeking to minimize opportunities for rival powers such as say France to try to get an in and plunge the place into intense civil war. They seek to keep a quasi-peace between the rival lords, by flattery, bribery, adjudication, and by striving to recruit fighting men to serve the Hapsburgs elsewhere--to repress unrest in England say, and reinforce the fronts north and south against Scotland, not to mention continental and colonial ventures. Perhaps the Irish are encouraged to trade in the Empire of the Indies (Spanish America) and even sometimes granted scattered colonies (under the Spanish crown) here and there. Ireland prospers somewhat in the wake of English suppression.

For a time. Over time, either the Hapsburg empire simply disintegrates for internal reasons despite having largely won control over Britain and perhaps entirely over the Lowlands. Perhaps a piece of it retains control of the loose hegemony over the British realms, or perhaps Continental control fails completely and England and Ireland are both left on their own again.

In the former case, and as long as Hapsburg hegemony lasts, I expect that England will gradually come out of eclipse due to the fact that it has much greater potential to enrich its lords, and thus any viceroys masterminding affairs in England will tend to come to champion the interests of their subjects and probably develop a covetous (and security minded) interest in hegemony over Ireland as obsessive as the OTL Tudor-Stuart-Commonwealth overlords did OTL. Whereas in the latter case of the continental dynasty losing its grip completely, of course England turned loose is liable to attempt to replicate her OTL trajectory, more or less, having the same assets and interests.

But just maybe perhaps, Ireland under management that might have been astute and deft, has become somewhat accustomed to loose unity and perhaps forms of prosperity have taken root giving powerful leaders vested interests in sustaining Irish unity and independence. Against England and probably Scotland too, the Irish are in a weak defensive position, so any Irish regime must seek Continental allies to check the attentions of the kingdoms of Great Britain (the island, not a UK yet or necessarily ever). Perhaps the Spanish had done something like carve off Wales as a separate kingdom and an Ireland-Wales alliance is a major continuing thing.

The Hapsburgs probably would not have favored Ireland developing a navy nor would the island support much of one, but perhaps after generations of Irish expansion overseas and the kingdom maintaining good relations with the Spanish colonial regime, trade has enriched them enough that certain forms of agricultural progress are being fostered and the population and revenue base of the island is growing, which along with the sea traders and Irish settlements overseas, gives the regime some moderate treasury, enough to sustain a respectable naval force to oppose English or Scottish invasion, and give some cover to Irish shipping.

Thus, with an anxious eye on the balance of power and assidious cultivation of continental allies, tending to favor and be favored by Spain and her allies, perhaps an Irish kingdom can stagger along, never a great power but with bids for consideration, cultivated by all who would check English ambition. It is not so clear to me that England must in the fullness of time prevail and conquer Ireland someday.

But indeed I suppose an England-screw is pretty vital to the project; if England manages to become nearly as strong as OTL, it would take a mighty continental ally indeed to deter English conquest, and Ireland probably would de facto become subject to that mainland power.
This is a really well-thought-out scenario, I’d be interested to read a longer timeline of this since the political implications for the British Isles and eventually the rest of the world would be massive.
 
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