Questions how people thought about Catholicism, Protestantism and their society. In explaining this, the author offers new ways of looking at the 18th century and at modern Irish history in general. It is a view which places Ireland clearly within the mainstream of European historical developments. The text examines the pamphlet literature which related to the Catholic question in 18th-century Ireland. From this emerges at least the suggestion of a new general interpretation of the period - a perception of Ireland as an "ancien regime". That is to say, there is a consistent attempt to set Ireland in a contemporary European context.