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Ireland is only about the size of West Virginia. Wherever you happen to stop for a pint, you'll never be farther than 50 miles from the sea, and yet this tiny island land has one of the richest histories in the Western world.

Here are some important dates in Irish History:

c. 7000 B.C. Irish history began after the last ice age ended. Wandering bands of hunters and gathers (Mesolithic ie... Middle Stone Age peoples) moved to Ireland by way of Northern Britian. This way of life lasted a long time, and the culture has close affinities with those of British and Continental forest and coastal dwellers.

c. 4400 A huge burial mound built containing about three hundred tombs at Carrowmore Co. Sligo.

c. 4000-2000 B.C. Gradually, groups of Neolithic immigrants arrived. They came from the general direction of France and Spain. They erected the monuments of Newgrange and Knowth in Co. Meath and Carrowkeel and Creevykeel in Co. Sligo. The Mesolithic people seem to have survived and mingled with the newcomers.

c. 850 Golden ornaments proliferating, many made from gold imported from Spain and Europe.
Circular defensive settlement built in Co Armagh 'Emain Macha'

714 The laws of the Fenechus (or land Tillers) known as the Brehon Laws deriving from the word breitheamh (meaning Judge). Tradition has it that they were gathered by the high King Ollamh Fodhla

c. 500 The iron age begins.
Ireland is mentioned under the name of Ierne in a Greek poem.

c. 465 Emain Macha is chosen as the headquarters of the Ulaid tribe.

c. 300 B.C. Celtic tribes arrive on Irish soil. The Celts came to Ireland from Gaul (France). They were great warriors and they took over the island. (Some sources list that the Celtic tribes invaded Ireland in 600 B.C.)

300 The Roman cartographer Ptolemy draws a map the river Shannon.

c 100 The Black Pig's Dyke a defensive structure running along the southern border of Ulster was built by the Ulaid and Cruithin.

c. 50 Tribes in central Ireland build massive earth wall along the Shannon, to keep our warring northern tribes.

60 A.D. Queen Boudica of the Icini tribe of England rise in revolt against the Romans, in response to seizure of her lands and the rape of her young daughters, after significant successes, the revolt was crushed later in the year.

c. 84 Following successes in northern Britain, the Romans consider invading Ireland believing it to have large reserves of gold

200 Beginning of High Kingship at Tara, Meath

c. 120 Traffic on new Roman roads in Britain is ordered to drive on the left.

c. 300 Development of ogham alphabet, inscribed on stone.

325 The Emperor Constantine decides to unify Rome under Christianity.

331 At the battle of Achadh Leithdheirg in Co Monaghan the Ulaid of Ulster were defeated.

377-405 Niall of the Nine Hostages, High King

c. 400 St Declan a monk from Wales sets up a monestary at Ardmore in Co Waterford.

407 The Romans withdraw their legions from Britain.

c. 408 Following the Roman withdrawal Irish naval forces begin raids on western Britain.

431 Pope Celestine sends a deacon, Palladius to convert the Irish.

c. 432 St. Patrick comes as a Christian missionary and brings Christianity to Ireland.

438 Lohaire high King of Ireland appoints nine people one of whom was Patrick to revise and transcribe the Brehon Law's into Latin.

444 Armagh founded by St Patrick. Originally known as Ard Macha.

448 Alphin McEochaid, King of Dublin, and his subjects, were converted to the Christian faith by St. Patrick.

c. 461 Death of St. Patrick.

c. 500 St. Brigid founds Kildare.

520 St. Finnian founds a monastery at Clonard Co. Meath with 3000 students.

540 Movilla Abbey Mag Bile 'Plain of the sacred tree' was founded by St. Finian.
Examination of tree rings suggest that this was the second coldest year since the end of the Ice Age in Ireland.

546 Derry founded by St Columcille.

555 St. Comgall founded a monastery at Bangor Co. Down.

557 St. Columcille leaves Ireland for the Isle of Iona.

561 Battle of Culdremna.

563 The Cruthan were defeated at the battle of Moneymore (Moin Dairi Lothair) by the Ui Neill of the North. The Annals of Ulster.

575 The King of Dál Riata gained important support from the Uí Néill dynasty and, as a reward, he was granted the island of Iona for a new monastic foundation.

577 The death of St. Brendan of Clonfert known also as 'Brendan the Navigator.'

579 Death of St Finian.
A dispute between Columba and Comgall regarding the church of Ros-Torathair, a Bangor foundation, resulted in a battle at Coleraine between the Cruthan and the Ui Neill.

584 The death of Fergus bishop of Druim Lethglassie. (Downpatrick Co. Down.)

589 Columbanus sets of on his great missionary journey.

597 Death of St. Columcille.

c. 500-800 The Golden Age of Ireland, a period of great artisic and literary creativity that made Irish scholars the most revered in Europe. Monasteries are established and monastic arts flourish.

603 Comgall of the Cruthan died at Bangor aged ninety one.

604 April; Pope John IV sent an outspoken letter to Tommene bishop of Armagh.

612 The St. Gall's school of music was founded in Switzerland by Irish harper Cellach, from Bangor, Co. Down, his name was later latinized to Gallus or Gall.

615 Death of Columbanus.

619 Monks at Nendrum Co Down build a water powered mill.

634 The "Annals of Ulster" record this was the year of the death of Ailill the harper, son of Aedh Slaine.

635 St. Aidan founds Lindisfarne.

637 Domnall II King of Tara defeated his foster son Congall near Moira in Co. Down on 24th June.

c.650 or 675 The book of Durrow written.

650 The first biography of St. Brigit commissioned at the monastery she founded.

663 A plague lasting for several years breaks out, killing thousands.

668 Colman the ex bishop of Lindisfarne founds a monastery on the island of Innishboffin Co Mayo.

670 A severe winter follows a great famine.

684 King Egfrith of Northumbria sends troops to raid Ireland, where his exiled brother and English refugees sought asylum, they ravage Co Meath.

693 First Viking attack on Lindisfarne.

c.700 The Breton laws established.

714 The Kilnasaggart Pillar stone is carved in Co Armagh, it is the oldest dated monument in Ireland.

735 Bede a Anglo Saxon monk declared that the world was a sphere. He died in April this year.
Ulstermen defeated at the hands of the Gaels (Ui Neill) at Fochairt near Dundalk.

737 In Terryglass Co Monaghan Aed Allen mac Fergaile and Cathal mac Finguine the most powerful rulers in the north and south of Ireland respectively, agree to settle their territorial differences. The south agrees to recognize Armagh's primacy over the Irish church.

760 The Clonmacnoise and Birr monasteries go to war.

c.795 The Vikings attack the Irish coast and invade Ireland and subsequently found the first towns, including the city of Dublin in 841. The first settlement of Dublin was on the River Poddle, a tributary of the Liffey, to the East of Christchurch, in the area known as Wood Quay. The Vikings chose this for defensive purposes, as the High King was always expected to attack from North of the Liffey. The first recorded Viking raids took place on the monasteries of Rathlin, Inishmurray and Inishbofin.

797 Viking attack on Lambay Island, off the Dublin coast.

c. 800 'Book of Kells' created, it had 680 pages - all but 2 were in color.

802 The monastery on Iona (Scotland) is attacked by Norsemen.

803 - 17th March. More than one thousand people are killed in storms on the west coast of Ireland.

852 The Norse occupy Dublin and Waterford.

853 The Norse King Olaf of Norway lands with his army and assumes control of the settlement at Dublin.

897 Ireland visited by a plague of locusts.

900-908 Cormac Mac Cullenan, King of Cashel

1002 Brian, of the kingdom of Dal Cais in west Munster, unites Ireland for the first time under one leader. He, Brian Boru, becomes High King of Ireland.

1014 Viking command of east coast broken at Battle of Clontarf, led by Brian Boru and the Vikings are defeated. Boru is killed in the battle.

1028-36 Christchurch Cathedral Dublin built.

1095 First Crusade proclaimed by Pope Urban II, Irish join in great numbers.

1119-1156 Turlough Mor O Conor, High King.

1134-1171 Derot McMurrough, King of Leinster.

1152 Dervorgilla, wife of Tiernan O'Rourke (Prince of Breifne) is abducted by Dermot MacMurrough.

1153 Dervorgilla is returned to her husband.

1166 Dermot MacMurrough is driven out of Ireland and seeks help in England. He recruits Norman knights.

1166-1175 Rory O Conor, last native High King of Ireland

1169 First Anglo-Normans arrive in Ireland, marking start of Norman invasion of Ireland. MacMurrough is given back kingship of Leinster.

1170 The Anglo-Norman leader Richard FitzGilbert de Clare, also known as 'Strongbow', lands in Waterford. He marries MacMurrough's daughter, storms and captures Dublin, and invades Meath.

1171 MacMurrough dies. The Normans, under Henry II, conquer Ireland, beginning 750 years of British domination.

1258 Gallowglasses (mercenary soldiers) come to Ulster from Scotland.

1331 A great famine afflicted all Ireland.

1348 Ireland records it first occurrence of the Black death with outbreaks at Howth and Droheda Between August and Christmas, 14,000 perished in Dublin.

1361 An edict bans pureblooded Irish from becoming mayors, bailiffs, officers of the King or clergymen, serving the English.

1366 Statutes of Kilkenny prohibit integration of Anglo-Normans and the Irish by using their language, laws and customs.

1477 The plague again wasted Dublin this year.

1484 The plague raged this year in Dublin.

1376-1417 Art MacMurrough, King of Leinster

1460 Irish parliamentary indpendence declared

1536 Anglo-Irish parliament acknowledges Henry VIII of England as King of Ireland. Suppression of monasteries.

1569 Revolt of the FitzGeralds, Earls of Desmond.

1588 Ships from Spanish Armada wrecked off Irish coast.

1592 Trinity College in Dublin founded.

1594 Beginning of Hugh O Neill, Earl of Tyrone's, nine-year war against the English.

1598 Hugh O Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and Rory O Donnell, Earl of Tyrconell, defeat the English at the Battle of the Yellow Ford.

1602 Irish, reinforced by Spanish, defeated at Kinsale.

1607 'Flight of the Earls' to Spain, led by O Neill and O Donnell.

1609 Protestantism takes root in Northern Ireland after British Protestant forces defeat native Irish Catholics in a bloody nine-year war.

1641 Rising and Insurrection, which begins in Ulster, spreads throughout Ireland. Rebels form the Confederate Catholics of Ireland, and set up their seat in Kilkenny.

1642-1652 Civil War.

1649 Cromwell lands in Ireland; massacre of Drogheda and sack of Wexford.

1649-1650 Cromwellians devastate Ireland.

1650 Catholic land owners exiled to Connaught.

1653 Cromwell's subjugation of Ireland complete. Irish landowners evicted and land handed over to Protestant settlers.

1656 More than 60,000 Irish Catholics had been sent as slaves to Barbados, and other islands of the Caribbean.

1660 Restoration of Charles II

1672 Over 6,000 Irish boys and women sold as slaves since England gained control of Jamaica.

1689 Seige of Derry

1689 James II loses the English throne to his nephew and son-in-law, William of Orange.

1690 Having rallied a Jacobite army in Ireland, James II, the deposed Stuart king is defeated at the Battle of Boyne and the Catholic (and Stuart) cause is decisively lost to the victorious William of Orange. The flight of the Earls, the Irish nobility, begins soon after.

1691 11,000 'Wild Geese' soldiers sail for France.

1692 Catholics are excluded from office for the first time.

1692-1829 Exclusion of Catholics from parliament and all professions.

1695 Anti-Catholic legislation began in Ireland.

1695-7 Catholic clergy banished and penal laws instituted (depriving Catholics of civil rights).

Tá mo chroí-se brúite briste, Mar bheadh leac oighre are uachtar uisce. Bhain tú anghealach agus bhain tú an ghrian dhí Agus is ro-mhor m'fhaití gur bhain tú Dia dhí.

1704 The Irish Parliament, exclusively Protestant, enacted a Bill "To Prevent the Further Growth of Popery" which restricted Catholics from purchasing land or taking out leases longer than 31 years.

1740 The forgotten famine.

1772 An Act of emancipation allowed Catholics to reclaim and hold 50 acres of bog under lease for 61 years but it could not be within a mile of any city or market town.

1774 An Act was passed to permit the King's subjects of whatever religion to take an oath to testify their loyalty and allegiance to him to promote peace and industry in the kingdom. Records were kept of those who took the oath, referred to as the Catholic Qualification Rolls.

1778 Irish Volunteer Movement founded; Catholic Relief Bill passed, giving Roman Catholics leasehold and inheritance rights. (The Relief Act was passed for Catholics who took the oath prescribed in 1774).

1782 A Relief Act allowed Catholics who took the 1774 oath to purchase lands in fee, that is, outright ownership.

1782 Independent Dublin Parliament

1793 A Relief Act gave Catholics the vote on the same basis as Protestants and admitted them to the university and government offices.

1791 Society of United Irishmen founded.

1798 Rebellion in Ulster and Leinster. Much fighting around the country, with the last battles of the United Irishmen fought at Ballynahinch, Down and in Co. Wexford marking the final defeat of the rebels.

1800 Act of Union. Ireland loses its independent parliament.

1801 Ireland is made part of the United Kingdom.

1829 Catholic Emancipation Act (inspired by Daniel O Connell) passed, allowing Catholics to sit in parliament and local government corporations.

1842-1848 Young Ireland movement.

1845-1850 A million and a half Irish starve to death during the Great Potato Famine, and a million more emigrate to avoid a similar fate.

1848-49 The worst years of the famine.

1867 Fenian Rising.

1877-1891 Charles Parnell.

1893 Formation of the Gaelic League to revive Irish culture.

1906 Foundation of Sinn Fein.

1916 The Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Irish Citizen Army stages the Easter Rebellion to protest British conscription (drafting for military service) of Irishmen for their military forces in WWI. The rebellion is crushed, and its leaders are martyred.

1919 The Irish Republican Army (IRA) was formed to fight for Ireland's independance from Britian. The British government formed the Black and Tans, a special police force to oppose the IRA.

1918-1921 Irish War of Independence (Anglo-Irish war).

1920 Six counties in Ulster vote themselves out.

1922 Ireland becomes a Free State within the British Commonwealth, except for the six Ulster counties of Northern Ireland, which remain part of the United Kingdom.

1949 Repeal of External Relations Act. The twenty-six counties of Ireland leave the Commonwealth and become an independent Republic.

1951-62 IRA campaign in North.

1955 Ireland joins the United Nations.

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 attacked 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 Ireland joins the European Economic Community.

1972 January 30: Bloody Sunday in Derry. British paratroopers shoot 13 civilians during civil-rights march.

1973 Sunningdale Agreement.

1974 Ulster Workers Strike brings down Faulkner and Assembly. Direct Rule re-imposed.
Loyalists bomb Dublin and Monaghan, killing 30 people.

1981-82 Ten Republicans die on hunger strike in Maze Prison, NI - Dying hunger-striker Bobby Sands elected to British Parliament.

1993 Downing Street Declaration; British Government accepts the right of the people of Ireland 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 Labor government, and representatives of all NI's political parties.

1998 Initial peace-plan accepted by all parties. A bomb blast in Omagh, Northern Ireland, killed 28 people and injured more than 300 others. A 29th victim died a month later. It was the worst attack in 29 years of paramilitary violence in Ulster. The dissident republican group behind Northern Ireland's worst atrocity (the Real IRA) declared its violence at an end.

2000 United State Census reports 30,528,492 persons claiming Irish ancestry, 10.8% of the population which is 60 times that of Ireland.

2001 - 3rd August - A bomb exploded in a busy west London street, injuring seven people. Dissident Irish republicans were blamed.

2004 - December - Largest bank raid in Irish history takes place on The Northern Bank in Belfast - republicans are suspected.

2006 October - Several business premises in Belfast are destroyed by descendent Republicans. - November - The Assets Recovery Bureau in the south, seized property valued at one million euros, in County Louth belonging to a brother of a local IRA commander.

There are many good Irish news sites available on the interenet to keep you current on the situation in Ireland.

Last updated October 2007.

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