Brief History Of Ireland Timeline

Brief History of Ireland

I could write books on the history of Ireland but will try to do a brief history of Ireland timeline, as means of a background. Ireland is a small island essentially surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and has an overall population of approximately 6 million people. It is around 300 miles north to south and 100 miles east to west. For an island so small it has had a turbulent history and books have yet to be written, about what may yet come to pass.
Brief History of Ireland
The View From Belfast Castle

Brief History of Ireland - Early Years in Ireland

Christianity came to Ireland around 450 AD and at that time Ireland was divided into four provinces, Ulster, Munster Leinster and Connacht. 

At that stage, and indeed for the next few hundred years Ireland was governed by kings and High kings, many of who battled for supremacy. 

Around 750 AD the Vikings arrived, and Dublin came into being as an important port. The video below will give you a brief history of Christianity in Ireland.


Brief History of Ireland - The English and Ireland

There has always been a great debate about the English invading Ireland, but it is more complex than that. The King of Leinster was essentially banished and he went to Henry 2nd in France for help. He agreed and sent Strongbow a Welsh Baron who effectively took control of Ireland. 

He had been promised the King of Leinster's daughter's hand in marriage, and that also; he would become heir to the King of Leinster. Henry 2nd of England viewed this as a threat and he mounted a campaign and took control-establishing Ireland as a Kingdom in 1199. This however did weaken, and once again Norman Barons took control and adopted an Irish culture. I appreciate this has been a brief look at this period but it is key in understanding the current political divisions between the North and South of Ireland.

Brief History of Ireland - The Tudor Period

It wasn't until the Tudor period that this battle would recommence once again with Henry VIII and his own personal views on his marital status. It was his actions that to this day have sowed the seeds of conflict that exist to this day. Henry got himself elected King of Ireland by the Irish Parliament and due to his fall out with the Catholic Church created plantations and gave to his protestant supporters as reward for their support.

Brief History of Ireland - Oliver Cromwell

In the 1640's Oliver Cromwell attacked anyone who did not support the Protestant cause and Catholics were essentially exiled to the infertile lands of the west coast. Irish Catholics supported James II as he fled from England, his throne having been taken William of Orange. The video below will give you a brief insight into this period of Irish history.


Brief History of Ireland - Battle of the Boyne

You could not really do a brief history of Ireland without including this event.  The famous battle of the Boyne ensued in 1690 and victory by William established the Protestant victory, which is still celebrated on the 12th July every year. An Act of Union was passed in 1800 which then made Ireland part of the United Kingdom.

Brief History of Ireland - The Great Famine of Ireland

The Great Famine then decimated Ireland in 1841 with over a million people dying and a million more immigrating, mostly to the USA. Ireland became a place of wilderness and death and in truth no one had any real key interest in governing such a place. 

Emigration continued through the early 1900's and it was then that many young Catholic activists started a plan to reclaim Ireland for the Irish. Many Protestants wished to stay aligned to the United Kingdom and this led to the famous Easter Rising in 1916.

You can watch the video below should you wish to understand more about how the Great Famine impacted the history of Ireland.


Brief History of Ireland - Forming of Northern Ireland

A bloody civil war ensued and in 1921 the Irish Free State was declared which separated Ireland. Six counties in what is now known as Northern Ireland remained with the United Kingdom and the remaining 26 counties formed an Irish Republic.

Brief History of Ireland - The Troubles

In the 1960s civil rights campaigners started a momentum throughout the world and Northern Ireland was no exception. Civil right campaigns began with the slogan "one man, one vote." Catholics believed that in Northern Ireland they were being treated like second-class citizens, and under the Civil Right banner demanded equal rights. Even in areas where there was mainly a catholic population, protestants sat on all the councils, mainly due to gerrymandering, and these councils had great power in the allocation of housing, schools and work.

Trouble erupted at these marches as the Unionist government, using the police force of the day, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, tried to prevent the protests from happening. In 1969 the British Army was sent in to protect Catholics who were being burned out of their homes, a strange quirk if ever there was one. Violence continued and Catholics quickly turned against the army, when internment was introduced as a measure to stop the re-creation of the Irish Republican Army (IRA)

It really is hard to keep this section brief so if you would like to read more about this then I have another blog that covers Northern Ireland History.

Brief History of Ireland - Today

This violence continued for well over thirty years with countless atrocities and the loss of over 3,000 lives. This lasted until 1998 when the Good Friday agreement was signed and ceasefires took place. In 2009 a local power sharing government exists with the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein having the control. It is hard to think that Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness would ever have formed a government but it seems that miracles do happen. Although Ian Paisley has now retired as First Minister the DUP and Sinn Fein are still together in the Assembly along with the other political parties in Northern Ireland.  

This is a concise and brief history of Ireland

For a brief Brief History of Northern Ireland click on the link,