A Timeline of Irish History


PreHistoric Times

c 10,000 BC Earliest settlers arrived in Ireland, in the Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age period. They crossed by land bridge from Scotland. These people were mainly hunters. See what archeology is finding out about them and the Ceide Fields of Co Mayo!small clover

c 3000 BC Colonists of the Neolithic, or new stone-age period small clover, reached Ireland. These people were farmers. Remnants of their civilization have been excavated at Lough Gur in Co. Limerick. They traded in a limited form in products, such as axe-heads. One of their monuments, a megalithic tomb at Newgrange in Co. Meath, has survived. Visit the ancient tombs in Knowth, Boyne Valley. (Six pages, one photo per page) small clover

cc 2000 BC Prospectors and metalworkers arrived. Metal deposits were discovered, and soon bronze and gold objects were made. Items (such as axe-heads, pottery and jewelery) made by these bronze-age small clover people, have been found.

1699 BC Beginning of the MILESIAN GENEALOGIES small clover

early ages The time of legends. Who were the Fianna? small clover

c 1200 BC More people reached Ireland, producing a greater variety of weapons and artifacts. A common dwelling of this period was the "crannog", an artificial island, constructed in the middle of a lake.

c 600 BC Celts started arriving in Ireland, from central Europe. They continued to arrive, up to the time of Christianity. They soon began to dominate Ireland, and the earliet settlers. The Celts belonged linguistically to the Indo-European culture.

c 200 BC The Celtic culture of the La Tene civilization, named after a Celtic site in Switzerland, reached Ireland. Celtic Ireland was not politically unified, only by culture and language. The country was divided into about 150 minitature kingdoms, each called a 'tuath'. A minor king ruled a 'tuath', subject to a more powerful king who ruled a group of 'tuath', who was in turn subject to one of the five provincial kings. (Early on there were five provinces, with Meath as a separate province.) This caused constant shifting in power, among the most important contenders. Celtic Ireland had a simple agrarian economy. No coins were used, and the cow was the unit of exchange. There were no towns. Society was stratified into classes, and was regulated by the Brehon Laws, based largely on the concepts of the 'tuath' as the political body, and the 'fine', or extended family as the social unit.

c100 BC Arrival of the Gaels

200 AD Beginnings of High Kingship at Tara, Co Meath

c 300 AD Ireland inhabited by tribes known as Scoti

377-405 Naill of the Nine Hostages, High King

428-463 AD King McNeill reigned

431 AD Pope Celestine 1 sent Palladius to the Irish, as their first Bishop. Palladius died soon after.

432 AD Arrival of St. Patrick to help convert pagan Gaelic Kings to Christianity.

550 AD onwards Irish monks re-Christianize Europe

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Time of Written History

461 St. Patrick dies, after having achieved his dream of introducing
both Roman Civilisation, and the Christian Church to Ireland.
521 Columba or Colum Cille born at Gartan in Tyreconnell.He became a
priest and became first Abbot of a church at Derry.
561 Battle of Culdremna.
563 Columcille sails to Iona, where he Christianised Scotland and
much of England.
597 Columcille dies. his name and reputation was the greatest in the
Irish Church. He had a great reputation as a missionary.
800 Ireland attacked by Viking Norsemen, on Lambay Island, off Dublin.
908 The Eoganachta were defeated, when they tried to subject Leinster
to Cashel's rule.Their king, Cormac MacCullenan, was killed.
914 Vikings established settlements at Waterford.
916 Vikings established settlements at Dublin.
920 Vikings established settlements at Limerick.
940 Brian Boru was born. Son of a leader of one of the royal free tribes of Munster.
976 Brian succeeded his brother Mahon, as King of Munster until 1014.
999 Brian Boru defeated Vikings.
1002 Brian Boru wins recognition as king of all Ireland
1014 High King Brian Boru, killed at Battle of Clontarf.
1066 Normans defeat Saxons in England
1156 Turloch More O'Connor, a king of Connacht, who had become High King
in 1119, and who was the greatest of Brian Boru's successors - died.
1167-69 Arrival of Normans at Baginbun, Co. Wexford,
thus started 800 year struggle between English and Irish.
1170 Arrival of Richard de Clare, known as Strongbow.
1171 Strongbow becomes king of Leinster. Arrival of Henry II, end of the Milesian kings;
thus began the political involvement of England in Ireland's affairs.
1166-1175 Reign of Rory O'Connor, Last native High King of Ireland
1235 Richard de Burgo conquered Connacht.
1258 Gallowglasses (mercenary soldiers) come to Ulster from Scotland
1264 Walter de Burgo was made Earl of Ulster.
1272 The English had now conquered Ulster, east of Lough Neagh, in Meath,
as well as most of Connacht and of Munster.
1315 After Battle of Bannockburn, Edward Bruce of Scotland invaded
Ireland but failed in his attempt to overthrow Norman Rule.
1318 Edward Bruce killed by the English, near Dundalk, after having failed
to become the Ard Ri, so long sought after by the Irish.
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1361 An edict bans pure-blooded from becoming mayors, baillifs,
officers of the king or clerygmen, serving the English.
1366 Statutes of Kilkenny forbade Irish/English marriages and preventing
English to use Irish language, custom or laws.
1394 October. King Richard II, landed at Waterford, and marched up to Dublin.
1496 Line of "the Pale" at Clongowes. This was a small enclave around Dublin,
which became the area of English rule.
1507 Accession of Henry VIII.
1515 Anarchy in Ireland.
1529-36 Henry VIII made his great breach with Rome, and set himself up as
head of the Church in England.
1534 Kildare rebellion.
1541 Henry VIII declares himself king of Ireland.
1545-63 The Council of Trent gives Catholics a greater sense of purpose.
1547 Henry VIII dies, succeeded by the boy king Edward VI. England and
Ireland were ruled by the senior nobility of England.
1553 Mary ascends the Throne.
1558 Accession of Elizabeth I.
1562 Elizabethan Wars in Ireland.
1588 Spanish Armada sent by Philip of Spain, to conquer England.
1594 August. Hugh O'Neill defeated a small English force at the Ford of
Biscuits near Enniskillen.
1595 Rebellion of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone.
1598 O'Neill's great victory at Yellow Ford in Ulster
1601 Defeat of O'Neill, O'Donnell and Spaniards by Mountjoy at Battle of Kinsale.
1603 Accession of James 1. Surrender of Hugh O'Neill. Enforecement of English
Law in Ireland.
1606 Settlement of Scots in Ards Peninsula.
Land in six counties of Ulster consficated by English.
1607 Flight of O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone,and O'Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell.
"The flight of the Earls" to Spain.
1608 Plantation of Derry and others confiscated counties planned.
1632-38 Compilation of the Annals of the Four Masters
1641 Great Catholic-Gaelic rebellion for return of lands,
later joined by Old English Catholics in Ireland. Under
leadership of Irish chieftain, Rory O'More, conspiracy was
formed to seize Dublin and expel the English. English settlers
were driven out of Ulster. Catholics hold 59% of land in Ireland.
1642 Confederation of Kilkenny met.
1647 Alliance between lords of Pale and native Irishmen came to an end
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1649 English soldier & statesman, Oliver Cromwell,
landed at Dublin. His troops killed 2,000 men. A
great part of lands in Munster, Leinster and Ulster
(Drogheda and Wexford) was confiscated and divided
among the English soldiers
1650 Catholic landowners exiled to Connaught.
1656 Over 60,000 Irish Catholics had been sent slaves to Barbados, and
other islands in the Caribbean.
1658 The population of Ireland,estimated at 1,500,000, before Cromwell, was
reduced by two-thirds, to 500,000, at Cromwell's death in 1658.
1660 Accession of Charles II.
1661-68 The Duke of Ormond ruled Ireland as Viceroy.
1672 Over 6,000 Irish boys and women sold as slaves since England gained
control of Jamaica.
1685 Accession of James II.
1688 English Revolution
James II deposed in England. Gates of Derry shut in face of James' troops.
Catholics now hold 22% of land in Ireland.
1689 Siege and relief of Derry.
James II's Parliment restored all lands confiscated since 1641
1690 William of Orange (William III) lands at Carrickfergus and defeats James II
at Battle of the Boyne. 11,000 "WILD GEESE soldiers sail for France.
1691 Catholic defeat at Aughrim and surrender at Limerick.
Exclusion of Catholics from Parliament and all professions.
1695 Anti-Catholic Penal Laws Introduced
Catholics hold 14% of land in Ireland.
1698 William Molyneaux pamphlet against England making laws for Ireland.
1714 Catholics hold 7% of land in Ireland.
1740 The Forgotten Famine
1775 Henry Gratten, becomes leader of "Patriot Party".
1775 Daniel O'Connell born at Derrynane,Co.Kerry.Received early schooling from
Parish Priest, then sent to France to receive further
instruction at St. Omer and Douai.
1782 Legislative Independence won from Britain by Irish Parliament.
1791 Events leading up to the Revolution of 1798 small clover
1798 Daniel O'Connell takes law degree at Trinity College, and is admitted to the Bar.
1800 Act of Union passed (effective 1 January 1801)
1803 Robert Emmett's rising, trial and execution.
1823 Daniel O'Connell's Catholic Association founded.
1828 O'Connell elected for Clare.
1829 Catholic emancipation passed.
Tithe War began.
1837 Accession of Queen Victoria.
1839 January 6.. the Night of the BIG WIND
1840 O'Connell's Repeal Association founded.
1842 "The Nation" newspaper founded by Thomas Davis.
1843 O'Connell's "Monster Meetings" for Repeal of the Union.
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1845 Blight in the Potato Harvest.
1845-49 Beginning of Famine.small clover Charles Tteveleyan, permanent Head of Treasury.
Sir Robert Peel, Prime Minister, imports Indian Corn.
1846 April. Treveylan opens depots for sale of Indian corn,
but closes them later in summer. Repeal of Corn Laws.
1846 July. Lord John Russell replaces Peel as Prime Minister.
August: Total failure of potato harvest.
October: First deaths from starvation.
1847 Fever spreading. Treveleyan winds up Soup Kitchen Act,
and retires to write history of famine.
1848-49 Worst years of famine.
By 1848 through emigration and deaths by famine, Ireland's
population decreased by more than 2 million people (8.5 to 6.5).
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1848 Smith O'Brien (Young Ireland Leader) arrested.
James Stephens flees to France.
1856 Stephens returns from France.
1858 Stephens founds Irish Republican Brotherhood.
Fenian Brotherhood founded in America.
1861 Beginning of American Civil War.
1863 "Irish People" newspaper founded.
1865 End of American Civil War.
Arrest of editorial board of "Irish People".
James Stephens arrested, and escapes from Richmond Jail.
1867 February: Abortive raid on Chester Castle.
March: Fenian rising in Ireland.
December: Clerkenwell explosion.
1869 Gladstone, Prime Minister, dis-establishes Protestant
Church in Ireland.
1870 Gladstone's first Land Act.
1875 Charles Stewart Parnell elected MP for Co Meath.
1879 Threat of famine. Evictions.Irish National League founded.
1879-82 Land War
1881 Gladstone's 2nd Land Act. Parnell imprisoned.
1882 Kilmainham "Treaty". Parnell's release. Phoenix Park murder.
1886 First home Rule Bill.
1891 Parnell loses three by-elections in Ireland.
Parnell dies in October.
1893 Second Home Rule Bill. Gaelic League founded.
1903 Land Purchase Act (Wyndham Act).
1906 Liberals win General Election.
1909 Land Purchase Act.
1912 Third Home Rule Bill.
1914 Outbreak of First World War. IRB decides on Rising.
1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. May 3-12 executions.small clover
1917 De Valera wins East Clare.
1918 November: end of First World War.
1919-21 Irish War of Independence against Britain.
1920 Burning of Cork by Auxiliaries.
1921 December. Anglo Irish Treaty.
1922 Civil War starts between Free State army and IRA.
1923 End of Civil war.
1926 De Valera founds Fianna Fail.
1927 General Elections in Ireland.
De Valera and Fianna Fail enter Dail.
1932 General Election. Fianna Fail victory.
1937 Constitution of "Eire", claims 32 counties.
1939 Second World War.
1945 End of Second World War.
1948 General Election. Fianna Fail defeated.
1949 Repeal of External Relations Act. Ireland leaves Commonwealth.
Republic of Ireland declared (26 counties)
1951-62 IRA campaign in North.
1955 Ireland joins the United Nations.
1965 O'Neill-Lemass Talks.
1967 Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association founded.
1968 August: First Civil Rights March.
October: Derry Civil Rights March, banned by William Craig,
Minister of home Affairs, held but broken up by brutality by police.
1969 January: People's Democracy Belfast to Derry Civil Rights March.
January 4: Marchers attaacked at Burntollet Bridge.
April: O'Neill resigns. Chichester Clark Prime Minister.
August 14: British troops sent to Derry.
October: Protestant riot in Belfast.
1970 Dublin Arms Trial.
1971 First British soldier killed by IRA in Belfast.
Chichester Clark resigns, Faulkner Prime Minister.
Unionist government of NI introduces internment without
trial for suspected Republicans.
1972 Irelalnd joins the European Economic Community
1972 January 30: Bloody Sunday in Derry. British paratroopers
shoot 13 civilians during civil-rights march.
March: Stormont suspended.
1973 Sunningdale Agreement.
1974 Ulster Workers Strike brings down Faulkner and Assembly.
Direct Rule re-imposed.
Loyalits bomb Dublin and Monaghan, killing 30
1981-82 Ten Republicans die on hunger strike in Maze Prison, NI
Dying hunger-striker Bobby Sands elected to British Parliament
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1993 Downing Street Declaration; British Government accepts the right
of the people of Irelalnd to self-determinination.
1994 IRA declares cease-fire
1996 Cease-fire breaks down after Britain's Conservative government
refuses to allow Sinn Fein to join all-party talks on NI.
1997 IRA cease-fire resumes; talks begin in Belfast between government
of Irish Republic, Britain's ne Labor government, and representatives
of all NI's political parties.
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1998 Initial peace-plan accepted by all parties.
Prepared by PBN and sitka, 1998