c. 7000 BC the earliest settlers arrive; mainly hunters. Farmers: from c. 3000 BC; also the time of megalithic tombs; most impressive one: Newgrange. Other people to arrive c. 2000 BC and c. 1200 BC
6th century BC to the time of Christ: Celtic Invasion of Ireland. No political unity, but unity in terms of culture and language. About 150 small kingdoms (tuath), each ruled by a minor king, subject to a more powerful king of a group of tuatha, in turn subject to a provincial king. The notion of the ‘High King of Ireland’. Agricultural society, individual farms, no towns. Rigid class system, Brehon Laws (based on the tuath and the fine)
5th century: Christianity introduced (earliest: c. 350); trad. associated with St Patrick. Great role of monasticism; Irish missionaries. Literacy in Latin and in Irish
795-895AD Viking invasions occur. Main targets: monasteries – leading to the decline of the monastic tradition. Lack of political unity – difficulty of facing the Viking challenge; exception: the North – the Uí Néill kings
Towards the end of the 10th century: a new dynasty in Munster; Brian Boru – defeating the Vikings in 999 and 1002. 1014 Brian Boru, Ard Rí (High King) of Ireland dies defeating the Norsemen at The Battle of Clontarf, the last Gaelic-Viking Battle
1014 - 1169: struggle for overlordship between kings of Munster, Leinster, Ulster and Connacht. 1169: Dermot MacMurrough (Diarmait Mac Murchada), Rí (King) of Leinster, invites the Normans to support his ambition of becoming the High King of Ireland – 1171: Henry II is recognised as overlord of the country. Normans: quickly coming to control large areas. Over the next two centuries the Normans assimilate into Gaelic Society until the English Government, fearing loss of sovereignty, instigate the Statutes of Kilkenny (1366; forbidding trade and intermarriage between the Normans and the Irish). English rule shrinks to a small enclave around Dublin known as the Pale
1541 Henry VIII proclaimed King of Ireland – the re-conquest of Ireland begins. 1558-1603 Reign of Elizabeth I. Elizabethean Plantation begins. System of Counties adopted along traditional land divisions. 1595-1603 Hugh O'Neill wages the Nine Year War against the English in Ulster. 1607 Flight of the Earls /'Wild Geese' (ruling Gaelic families of Ulster including O'Neills, O'Donnells, O'Dohertys and Maguires)/ to Continental Europe.
1609: Ulster Plantation by James VI. 1641 Charles I's policies cause insurrection in Ulster and Civil War in England. 1642 Irish Rising led by Eoghain Ruadh O'Neill. 1649: Cromwell invades Ireland; followed by further plantation and land confiscation
1689-90 Deposed James II flees to Ireland; defeated at the Sieges of Derry and Limerick and the Battle of the Boyne. 18th century: Catholics seen as a threat to England; barred from voting, education, the law and the military
1776 American War of Independence inspires unrest in Ireland. 1782: Grattan's Parliament persuades British to declare Irish independence, but in name only (Dublin administration still appointed by the King). 1791: United Irishmen founded – Wolfe Tone, Edward Fitzgerald; Northern Presbyterians, radical reforms. 1795: Foundation of the Orange Order. 1798: The United Irish Rising, 30,000 die when Rising is violently suppressed
1801: Act of Union implemented. Irish MPs: minority in Westminister. 1829: Catholic Emancipation Act passed after Daniel O'Connell is elected a Member of Parliament in 1828; O’Connell also seeks to repeal the Act of Union. 1842: ‘The Nation’ magazine is founded. The Young Ireland Movement is formed and led by Thomas Davis
1845-49: The Great Famine occurs when the potato crops fail four years in a row. Millions starve or are forced to emigrate while food continues to be exported from Ireland by the English administration
1858: Irish Republican Brotherhood (Fenians) founded; a secret society; John O’Leary. 1867: an armed rising – easily put down. Home Rule campaign begins, leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell. 1872-82: The Land War; a series of Land Acts – end of the old landlordship. 1886: Gladstone introduces the Home Rule Bill in Parliament but is defeated. 1891: Parnell’s death
1905: Sinn Féin founded by Arthur Griffith. 1912: another Home Rule Bill, opposed by the north. Ulster Volunteers and Irish Volunteers founded. 1914: Implementation of Home Rule postponed because of outbreak of World War I. 1916: Easter Rising
1918: All Ireland election. Sinn Féin win majority and decide to form their own Parliament in Ireland. 1919: First Dáil, headed by Éamon de Valera. War for Independence begins – guerilla warfare, led by Michael Collins. Black 'n Tans, Auxiliaries. 1921: end of the war; Anglo-Irish Treaty signed. Irish Free State and Northern Ireland State are created
1922-23: Civil war between pro and anti-Treaty elements in the IRA. Pro-Treatyites win and form into the Free State Army. Republicans are forced to emigrate. 1932: de Valera elected Taoiseach of Ireland for the Fianna Fáil Party. 1937: The Irish Constitution is put into effect. 1949: Declaration of the Republic of Ireland
1959: Sean Lemass is elected Taoiseach (de Valera becomes President – symbolic title and position rather than actual power) – the beginning of reforms to open the Irish economy for foreign investment (with T.K. Whitaker as the mastermind of the economic reforms), moving away from the protectionist policies of the post-treaty Ireland
1973: The United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland join European Community
1986: the divorce referendum – rejected by the majority of voters; 1995: a new referendum on divorce – eventually passed (becoming a law in 1996, > the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland). 1993: decriminalisation of homosexuality.
1963: Terence O’Neill succeeds Lord Brookeborough as prime minister – change in policies towards a more democratic order in Northern Ireland. 1967: Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association is formed as a result of civil unrest. 1968: People’s Democracy – a more radical movement; eventually leading to Civil Rights riots in Northern Ireland; unrest leading to violent conflict. 1969: British troops deployed in Northern Ireland. 1971: Provisional IRA begins campaign to oust British troops from Ireland. Internment without trial introduced in Northern Ireland. 1972: 'Bloody Sunday', Derry (30 January) - 14 unarmed civilians are shot dead by the British Army while on an anti-internment march.
1980-81: Republican Hunger Strikes in Long Kesh Prison. Ten hunger strikers die. 1985: Anglo-Irish Agreement signed. 1994: Peace Declaration. IRA ceasefire August 31st, 1994. Ulster paramilitaries declare ceasefire October, 1994. 1996: IRA ceasefire suspended. 1997: IRA declares Ceasefire on July 21st. 1998: Belfast Agreement signed on April 10th (Good Friday Agreement). Amendments to Articles 2, 3 and 29 of the Irish Constitution passed by Referendum
2000: Legislative Assembly formed at Stormont to govern Northern Ireland with all-party support. 2001: the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) is replaced by the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland). 2005: the full decommissioning of the weapons of the PIRA. 2007: Protestant paramilitary organisations (UVF, RHC, UDA) declare an end to their armed campaigns (though they retain their weapons). 2009-2010: decommissioning of weapons by the UVF, RHC and UDA.