Ireland Éire (Irish) Airlann (Ulster Scots) Satellite image, October 2010 Location of Ireland (dark green) in Europe (dark grey) Geography Location Northwestern Europe Coordinates Adjacent bodies of water Atlantic Ocean Area 84,421 km 2 (32,595 sq mi) Area rank 20th Coastline 7,527 km (4677.1 mi) Highest elevation 1,041 m (3415 ft) Highest point Carrauntoohil Administration Republic of ...
Ireland ( Irish: Éire [ˈeːɾʲə] ( listen) ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ( Poblacht na hÉireann ), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern side of the island.
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- Iron Age
- Early Christian Ireland
- Early Medieval and Viking Era
- Norman Ireland
- Early Modern Ireland
- Protestant Ascendancy
- Union with Great Britain
- Home Rule, Easter Rising and War of Independence
- Free State and Republic
Stone Age to Bronze Age
What is known of pre-Christian Ireland comes from references in Roman writings, Irish poetry, myth, and archaeology. While some possible Paleolithic tools have been found, none of the finds is convincing of Paleolithic settlement in Ireland. However a bear bone found in Alice and Gwendoline Cave, County Clare, in 1903 may push back dates for the earliest human settlement of Ireland to 10,500 BC. The bone shows clear signs of cut marks with stone tools and has been radiocarbon dated to 12,500...
The Iron Age in Ireland began about 600 BC. The period between the start of the Iron Age and the historic period (AD 431) saw the gradual infiltration of small groups of Celtic-speaking people into Ireland, with items of the continental Celtic La Tene style being found in at least the northern part of the island by about 300 BC. The result of a gradual blending of Celtic and indigenous cultures would result in the emergence of Gaelic culture by the fifth century. It is also during the fifth century that the main over-kingdoms of In Tuisceart, Airgialla, Ulaid, Mide, Laigin, Mumhain, Cóiced Ol nEchmacht began to emerge (see Kingdoms of ancient Ireland). Within these kingdoms, a rich culture flourished. The society of these kingdoms was dominated by an upper class consisting of aristocratic warriors and learned people, which possibly included Druids. Linguists realised from the 17th century onwards that the language spoken by these people, the Goidelic languages, was a branch of the C...
The middle centuries of the first millennium AD marked great changes in Ireland. Politically, what appears to have been a prehistoric emphasis on tribal affiliation had been replaced by the 8th century by patrilineal dynasties ruling the island's kingdoms. Many formerly powerful kingdoms and peoples disappeared. Irish pirates struck all over the coast of western Britain in the same way that the Vikings would later attack Ireland. Some of these founded entirely new kingdoms in Pictland and, to a lesser degree, in parts of Cornwall, Wales, and Cumbria. The Attacotti of south Leinstermay even have served in the Roman military in the mid-to-late 300s. Perhaps it was some of the latter returning home as rich mercenaries, merchants, or slaves stolen from Britain or Gaul, that first brought the Christian faith to Ireland. Some early sources claim that there were missionaries active in southern Ireland long before St. Patrick. Whatever the route, and there were probably many, this new faith...
The first recorded Viking raid in Irish history occurred in 795 AD when Vikings from Norwaylooted the island. Early Viking raids were generally fast-paced and small in scale. These early raids interrupted the golden age of Christian Irish culture and marked the beginning of two centuries of intermittent warfare, with waves of Viking raiders plundering monasteries and towns throughout Ireland. Most of those early raiders came from western Norway. The Vikings were expert sailors, who travelled in longships, and by the early 840s, had begun to establish settlements along the Irish coasts and to spend the winter months there. The longships were technologically advanced, allowing them to travel faster through the narrow rivers. Vikings founded settlements in several places; most famously in Dublin. Most of the settlements were near the water, allowing the Vikings to trade using their longships. Written accounts from this time (early to mid 840s) show that the Vikings were moving further...
Arrival of the Normans
By the 12th century, Ireland was divided politically into a shifting hierarchy of petty kingdoms and over-kingdoms. Power was exercised by the heads of a few regional dynasties vying against each other for supremacy over the whole island. One of these men, King Diarmait Mac Murchada of Leinster was forcibly exiled by the new High King, Ruaidri mac Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair of the Western kingdom of Connacht. Fleeing to Aquitaine, Diarmait obtained permission from Henry II to recruit Norman k...
Lordship of Ireland
The Normans initially controlled the entire east coast, from Waterford to eastern Ulster, and penetrated a considerable distance inland as well. The counties were ruled by many smaller kings. The first Lord of Ireland was King John, who visited Ireland in 1185 and 1210 and helped consolidate the Norman-controlled areas while ensuring that the many Irish kings swore fealty to him. Throughout the thirteenth century, the policy of the English Kings was to weaken the power of the Norman Lords in...
Gaelic resurgence and Norman decline
By 1261 the weakening of the Normans had become manifest when Fineen MacCarthy defeated a Norman army at the Battle of Callann. The war continued between the different lords and earls for about 100 years, causing much destruction, especially around Dublin. In this chaotic situation, local Irish lords won back large amounts of land that their families had lost since the conquest and held them after the war was over. The Black Death arrived in Ireland in 1348. Because most of the English and No...
Conquest and rebellion
From 1536, Henry VIII of England decided to reconquer Ireland and bring it under crown control. The Fitzgerald dynasty of Kildare, who had become the effective rulers of Ireland in the 15th century, had become unreliable allies of the Tudor monarchs. They had invited Burgundian troops into Dublin to crown the Yorkist pretender, Lambert Simnel as King of England in 1487. Again in 1536, Silken Thomas, Fitzgerald went into open rebellion against the crown. Having put down this rebellion, Henry r...
Wars and penal laws
The 17th century was perhaps the bloodiest in Ireland's history. Two periods of war (1641–53 and 1689–91) caused a huge loss of life. The ultimate dispossession of most of the Irish Catholic landowning class was engineered, and recusants were subordinated under the Penal Laws. During the 17th century, Ireland was convulsed by eleven years of warfare, beginning with the Rebellion of 1641, when Irish Catholics rebelled against the domination of English and Protestant settlers. The Catholic gent...
The majority of the people of Ireland were Catholic peasants; they were very poor and largely inert politically during the eighteenth century, as many of their leaders converted to Protestantism to avoid severe economic and political penalties. Nevertheless, there was a growing Catholic cultural awakening underway. There were two Protestant groups. The Presbyterians in Ulster in the North lived in much better economic conditions but had virtually no political power. Power was held by a small group of Anglo-Irish families, who were loyal to the Anglican Church of Ireland. They owned the great bulk of the farmland, where the work was done by the Catholic peasants. Many of these families lived in England and were absentee landlords, whose loyalty was basically to England. The Anglo-Irish who lived in Ireland became increasingly identified as Irish nationalists, and were resentful of the English control of their island. Their spokesmen, such as Jonathan Swift and Edmund Burke, sought mo...
In 1800, following the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the Irish and the British parliaments enacted the Acts of Union. The merger created a new political entity called United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland with effect from 1 January 1801. Part of the agreement forming the basis of union was that the Test Act would be repealed to remove any remaining discrimination against Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists and other dissenter religions in the newly United Kingdom. However, King George III, invoking the provisions of the Act of Settlement 1701 controversially and adamantly blocked attempts by Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger. Pitt resigned in protest, but his successor Henry Addington and his new cabinet failed to legislate to repeal or change the Test Act. This was followed by the first Irish Reform Act 1832, which allowed Catholic members of parliament but raised the property qualification to £10 effectively removing the poorer Irish freeholders from the franchise. In...
Home Rule became certain when in 1910 the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) under John Redmond held the balance of power in Commons and the third Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1912. Unionist resistance was immediate with the formation of the Ulster Volunteers. In turn the Irish Volunteerswere established to oppose them and enforce the introduction of self-government. In September 1914, just as the First World War broke out, the UK Parliament passed the Government of Ireland Act 1914 to establish self-government for Ireland, but it was suspended for the duration of the war. To ensure implementation of Home Rule after the war, nationalist leaders and the IPP under Redmond supported Ireland's participation in the British and Allied war effort under the Triple Entente against the expansion of Central Powers. The core of the Irish Volunteers was against this decision, but the majority left to form the National Volunteers who enlisted in Irish regiments of the New British Army, the 10th...
The treaty to sever the Union divided the republican movement into anti-Treaty (who wanted to fight on until an Irish Republic was achieved) and pro-Treaty supporters (who accepted the Free State as the first step towards full independence and unity). Between 1922 and 1923 both sides fought the bloody Irish Civil War. The new Irish Free State government defeated the anti-Treaty remnant of the Irish Republican Army, imposing multiple executions. This division among nationalists still colours Irish politics today, specifically between the two leading Irish political parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. The new Irish Free State (1922–37) existed against the backdrop of the growth of dictatorships in mainland Europe and a major world economic downturn in 1929. In contrast with many contemporary European states, it remained a democracy. Testament to this came when the losing faction in the Irish civil war, Éamon de Valera's Fianna Fáil, was able to take power peacefully by winning the 193...
- Provinces and Counties
- Main Cities
Today, the island of Ireland is made up of two countries: the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland: 1. The Republic of Ireland is a sovereign state and occupies 83% of the island. Its capital and largest city is Dublin. The official languages of the Republic are Irish and English. Even though Irish is official in the country, only a small part of the population is fluent or a native speaker. While the Irish language (or Gaelic) is taught in most schools, most people speak English in their day-to-day lives. 2. Northern Ireland, which is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom, makes up the remaining 17% of Ireland and is in the north-east part of the island. It has a population of 1.8 million people, and its capital and largest city is Belfast. 3. During the 1550s and the 1650s four plantationshad taken place in Ireland. From 1801 to 1921, all of Ireland was part of the same country, called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1919, a war broke out, the Iri...The flagcolours of the Republic of Ireland are green, white and orange.A symbol of Ireland is the shamrock.Popular games in Ireland include Gaelic football and hurling.The population of the Republic of Ireland is around 4.7 million.
Ireland is traditionally divided into four provinces and thirty-two counties. Twenty-six counties are in the Republic and six in Northern Ireland. Three of the provinces are entirely within the Republic (Connacht, Leicester and Munster), and one province (Ulster) has some counties in both the Republic and in Northern Ireland. 1. Connacht- Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo 2. Leinster - Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, County Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow 3. Munster- Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford 4. Ulster- Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan (Republic of Ireland); Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh, Tyrone (Northern Ireland)
Dublinis the largest city. It is the capital of the Republic of Ireland. Dublin was established as a Viking settlement in the 9th century. The population is 525,383 in Dublin City, and 1,270,603 in Co. Dublin. Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It has 483,000 people in the Greater Belfast urban area there are 267,000 in the city itself. Shipbuilding used to be a major industry here. The Titanicwas built in Belfast at the Harland and Wolff shipyard. Armagh is a city in Northern Ireland. It is often called the 'Ecclesiastic Capital of Ireland' as it is the seat of both the Catholic Church and the (Protestant) Church of Ireland. The population is 14,590. Corkis the largest city in Munster. Corkonians often refer to it as 'the Real Capital'. The population is 119,230. but following a 2019 Cork boundary change|boundary extension in 2019, the population increased to c. 210,000. Derryis the second largest city in Northern Ireland. Derry is notable for the Medieval city walls which...
During the last glacial period (the "ice age"), most of Ireland was covered with ice. After that, Ireland became covered with trees. The first people came to Ireland about 9,000 years ago, in the Middle Stone Age(Mesolithic period). They were nomadic. Once food ran out in the place they lived, they would move to another place. Evidence of these people was found in Mount Sandel, Co. Derry. About 4000 BC, in the New Stone Age (Neolithicperiod), the first farmers arrived in Ireland. These people cleared openings in the forest and built permanent settlements with houses and farmland. When people in this age died, they were buried in tombs called megaliths. Many megaliths are left standing today, such as portal dolmens and passage tombs.The most famous megalith is Newgrange passage tomb in co.Meath. New settlers came around 2000BC, marking the start of the Bronze Age. Copper was mined mainly in Mount Gabriel, Co. Cork and tin was imported from Cornwall. These people used bronze to make w...
Many Irish people have left Ireland and moved to the United States, Canada, Australia, and South America. The Great Famine in the 1840s forced many to leave; it is estimated almost a million people died of starvation, and a million more emigrated. From a maximum of over 8 million in 1841, the total Irish population dropped to just over 4 million in the 1940s. Since then, the population has grown to over 6 million. This has been helped by the economic growth of the "Celtic Tiger" and since 2004 immigration from countries in Eastern Europe such as Poland. Today almost 80 million people around the world are descended from Irish immigrants.
Ireland's main sports are Gaelic Games(Gaelic football, hurling, etc.) and soccer. The many sports played and followed in Ireland include Gaelic games (mainly Gaelic football, hurling and camogie), horse racing, show jumping, greyhound racing, basketball, fishing, handball, motorsport, MMA, boxing, target shooting and tennis. Hockey, golf, rowing, cricket, rugby union and Olympic target shooting are organised on an all-island basis, with a single team representing the whole of Ireland in international competitions. Other sports, such as soccer and netball, have separate organizing bodies in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. As Northern Ireland is a constituent nation of the United Kingdom it also sends a Northern Ireland Team to the Commonwealth Games. At the Olympic Games, a person from Northern Ireland can choose to represent either Ireland or Great Britain. Soccer is the most popular team sport in terms of participation. According to the Irish Sports Monitor 2015 annu...
- Church of Ireland
- Ethnic conflict
The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800 on the island of Ireland. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle by a viceroy appointed by the king or queen. Ireland had its own legislature, peerage, army, and state church. Although styled a kingdom, for most of its history it was a de facto dependency of England, l
The papal bull Laudabiliter of Pope Adrian IV was issued in 1155. It granted the Angevin King Henry II of England the title Dominus Hibernae. Laudabiliter authorised the king to invade Ireland, to bring the country into the European sphere. In return, Henry was required to remit
Following the failed revolt of Silken Thomas in 1534–35, Grey, the lord deputy, had some military successes against several clans in the late 1530s, and took their submissions. By 1540 most of Ireland seemed at peace and under the control of the king's Dublin ...
In 1603 James VI King of Scots became James I of England and Ireland, uniting the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland in a personal union. James established the Plantation of Ulster in 1606, the largest of all English and Scottish plantations in Ireland. Its legacy can be s
The Kingdom of Ireland was governed by a Lord Deputy or viceroy. The post was held by senior nobles such as Thomas Radcliffe. From 1688 the title was usually Lord Lieutenant. In the absence of a Lord Deputy, lords justices ruled. While some Irishmen held the post, most of the lords deputy were English noblemen. While the viceroy controlled the Irish administration as the monarch's representative, in the eighteenth century the political post of Chief Secretary for Ireland became increasingly powe
Roman Catholics and dissenters, mostly Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists, were excluded from membership of the Irish parliament from 1693 and their rights were restricted by a series of laws called the Penal Laws. They were denied voting rights from 1728 until 1793. The Grattan Parliament succeeded in achieving the repeal of Poynings' Law in 1782. This allowed progressive legislation and gradual liberalisation was effected. Catholics and Dissenters were given the right to vote in 1793, but
When Henry VIII was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church in 1538, all but two of the bishops of the Church in Ireland followed the doctrine of the Church of England, although almost no clergy or laity did so. Having paid their Annates to the Papacy, the bishops had no reason to step down, and in the 1530s nobody knew how long the reformation would last. Unlike Henry VIII, this hierarchy was not excommunicated by the Papacy, and still controlled what became the State Church of the new King
The legacy of the Kingdom of Ireland remains a bone of contention in Irish-British relations to this day because of the constant ethnic conflict between the native Irish inhabitants and primarily the new Anglo-Irish settlers across the island. Their background espoused English culture in Ireland as it later did across much of what was to become the British Empire. However Gaelic culture and Irish language, was maintained to a significant extent by the majority of the original native population.