Ireland History

Ireland History

Prehistory and Ancient Age

According to, the original residents of Ireland were hunters and gatherers during the Mesolithic period and used stone tools. Around 3000 BC they evolved into the Bronze Age, growing grain, raising domestic animals, and making bronze weapons, tools, and jewelry. At the beginning of 2000 BC, they built large stone shrines and tombs (megaliths), still observable in the Irish landscape. In the 1st century BC it was under the control of the Picts, a Neolithic people described in Irish folklore as Fir Bolg.

The first Celts arrived around 1600 BC founding Celtic Ireland. Politically the Celts divided Ireland into four provinces: Leinster, Munster, Ulster, and Connacht. Before their arrival, the basic units of Irish society were the Tuatha, or small kingdoms, each of which was quite small, roughly 150 tuatha for a population of less than 500,000 people. The entire territory was ruled by a monarch called the Great King.

The traditional list of those appointed with the title of Great King of Ireland dates back thousands of years, to the middle of the second millennium BC. C., although the first parts of the list are quite mythical. It is not certain at what point the list begins to refer to historical individuals and also at what point these individuals can be called Great King, in the later sense of the word. This social structure was adapted to the lifestyle of the Celts, who had always been predisposed to organize themselves into relatively small and autonomous tribal units.

The Annals of the Four Masters (in Irish, Annala Rioghachta Éireann) or the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters are a chronicle of the history of Ireland. The entries cover dates between 2242 BCE and 1616, although the earliest entries are believed to refer to dates around 550 BCE. They are a compilation of earlier annals, although there are some original works. They were collected between 1632 and 1636 at the Franciscan Monastery in County Donegal.

Beltane or Bealtaine (in Irish ‘Good Fire’) was an old Irish holiday that was celebrated on May 1. For the Celts, Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season, when herds of cattle were led out to summer pastures and mountain pastures. In modern Irish Mi na Bealtaine (month of Bealtaine) is the name of the month of May. The name of the month is often abbreviated as Bealtaine, the holiday being known as Lá Bealtaine. One of the main activities of the holiday was to light bonfires in the mountains and hills with ritual and political significance on Oidhche Bhealtaine (Bealtaine’s Eve). In modern Scottish Gaelic, only Lá Buidhe Bealtaine (Bealltain’s yellow day) is used to describe the first day of May.

Saint Patrick (384-461), an archbishop and missionary from Scotland, came to Ireland to convert the residents to Christianity. He was able to make important conversions within the royal families and through the monastic schools, and introduced the written word (in Latin). With the death of Saint Patrick, the Irish elite were literate and recorded their history in writing. Ireland became almost exclusively Christian and a center of scholarship and culture, but most of this legacy was destroyed during the Viking raids of the 9th and 10th centuries.

The Northern Irish road and rail network is state-owned. The Northern Ireland Department of Infrastructure is responsible for its management and maintenance. A statutory corporation created in 1967, the Northern Ireland Transport Company (trade name Translink), operates public transportation services through three subsidiaries: NI Railways (rail), Ulsterbus (buses) and Metro.

Middle Ages

At the end of the 10th century, Brian Boru, the king of a small state called Dal Cais, conquered his greatest neighbors and became the most powerful king in the southern half of Ireland. But Máel Mórda mac Murchada, king of Leinster, began to conspire against him and made an alliance with Sitric, the Viking king of Dublin, who enlisted help from the Vikings of the Orkney Islands and the Isle of Man. The Battle of Clontarf, near Dublin, in 1014, he ended in victory for the Viking armies, but he was killed in his tent by some of those fleeing the battle.

In 1169, Richard of Clare (better known as strongbow) together with Dermot MacMurrough and a group of Normans who came from England), arrived near Waterford and settled by force. MacMurrough, known as Ireland’s most notorious traitor, was expelled as King of Leinster and invited King Henry II to assist him in regaining his throne. The subsequent invasion led to Henry becoming Lord of Ireland, marking the beginning of eight centuries of English rule. By 1300 the Normans controlled most of the country, but were unable to effectively conquer it due to the absence of a central government from which they could impose themselves.

From 1350, the Irish chiefs, who took up many of the weapons used by the Normans and had learned some of their tactics, began to regain their territories. By 1360, most of the Norman settlers had embraced Irish law and adopted the customs, music, poetry, literature, and dress of the island’s natives, coming to resemble the Irish population to the point of be known as More Irish than the very Irish (from the Latin, Hibernis Ipsis Hiberniores), a fact that the English Parliament considered as a possible threat to their future colonization interests on the island.

Due to this and as a way to channel the decline of the Irish manor in 1366, they ratified the statutes of Kilkenny, which, among other things, prohibited exogamy between English settlers with Irish natives, as well as the use of the Gaelic language and its customs, in a process known as anglification.

Modern age

In 1534, Henry VIII of England refused to recognize the authority of the Pope and persuaded the English Parliament to recognize him as head of the Church of England.

He tried to impose a similar policy in Ireland and in 1536 sides spread prohibiting appeal to Rome or making payments to the Pope. Between 1537 and 1541 numerous monasteries were suppressed and their property was confiscated. However, in areas under the authority of Ireland, where the king had no royal power, most of the residents ignored the changes that had taken place. Mary I of England, the daughter of Henry who succeeded him in 1553 and was a fervent Roman Catholic who strove to restore the old religion in both England and Ireland, was convinced that the best way to dominate Ireland was to introduce colonies of English in the country.

In 1556 he confiscated Irish territories and put English settlers there, who brought tenants and servants with them to Ireland.

Elizabeth I, the middle sister of Mary I, who succeeded her in 1558, took a harsher attitude, and a group of Irish archbishops and religious were executed. This persecution led Ireland – and those Anglo-Irish who remained Roman Catholics – to unite more. A new nation spirit then grew up, which was both Roman Catholic and anti-English.

During the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and until the Conquest of Ireland by Oliver Cromwell in 1649, two thirds of the island were governed by the Confederation of Irish Catholics, also known as the Confederation of Kilkenny for having been gestated in (Kilkenny). The difference between the island of Ireland (which was once ruled as a unit) and the Republic of Ireland (which encompasses twenty-six out of thirty-two counties on the island) is the product of complex constitutional developments carried out in the former middle of the 20th century.

Ireland History