Definition of Penal Laws in English:

Penal Laws

plural noun

  • Various statutes passed in Britain and Ireland during the 16th and 17th centuries that imposed harsh restrictions on Roman Catholics. The laws were repealed by various Acts between 1791 and 1926.

    • ‘Their mission was to provide people with religious instruction in an attempt to rejuvenate Catholicism in Ireland following the Penal Laws.’
    • ‘Founded in 1793, following the repeal of the repressive Penal Laws, Carlow College, Ireland, is today well into its third century of education.’
    • ‘And that's the moderate version; the more hard-line version would deny that there was any ‘real’ Irish person who benefited from the Penal Laws at all.’
    • ‘Secreted within the back gardens of a terrace of houses, like some fugitive Penal Laws church, its very identity will be at stake.’
    • ‘She was educated in Paris when the Penal Laws prohibited Catholic education in Ireland.’