History of Ireland, timeline and evolution through time (war and peace).
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Ireland’s history is marked by invasions and settlement by foreign peoples. The Celts, the Vikings, the Normans, the English and the Scots have all left their mark on Irish history, geography, culture, language and people.
The Irish History strand focuses on the relationship between society, culture and politics in the history of modern Ireland from the 17th to the 21st centuries. Designed as a flexible means of pursuing modern Irish history, it can be individually tailored to allow students to focus on specific research interests including political, cultural and social history, migration, and women's history and gender.
Early Irish History
Historians estimate that Ireland was first settled by humans at a relatively late stage in European terms – about 10,000 years ago. Around 4000 BC it is estimated that the first farmers arrived in Ireland. Farming marked the arrival of the new Stone Age. Around 300BC, Iron Age warriors known as the Celts came to Ireland from mainland Europe. The Celts had a huge influence on Ireland. Many famous Irish myths stem from stories about Celtic warriors. The current first official language of the Republic of Ireland, Irish (or Gaeilge) stems from Celtic language.
Early Christian Ireland
Following the arrival of Saint Patrick and other Christian missionaries in the early to mid-5th century, Christianity took over the indigenous pagan religion by the year 600 AD. Irish Christian scholars excelled in the study of Latin, Greek and Christian theology in monasteries throughout Ireland. The arts of manuscript illumination, metalworking and sculpture flourished and produced such treasures as the Book of Kells, ornate jewellery, and the many carved stone crosses that can still be seen across the country.
War of Independence
What followed is known as the "war of independence" when the Irish Republican Army – the army of the newly declared Irish Republic – waged a guerilla war against British forces from 1919 to 1921. One of the key leaders of this war was Michael Collins. In December 1921 a treaty was signed by the Irish and British authorities. While a clear level of independence was finally granted to Ireland the contents of the treaty were to split Irish public and political opinion. One of the sources of division was that Ireland was to be divided into Northern Ireland (6 counties) and the Irish Free State (26 counties) which was established in 1922.
Republic of Ireland – 20th Century
The 1937 Constitution re-established the state as the Republic of Ireland.
In 1973 Ireland joined the European Economic Community (now the European Union).
In the 1980s the Irish economy was in recession and large numbers of people emigrated for employment reasons. Many young people emigrated to the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Australia.
Economic reforms in the 1980s along with membership of the European Community (now European Union) created one of the world’s highest economic growth rates. Ireland in the 1990s, so long considered a country of emigration, became a country of immigration. This period in Irish history was called the Celtic Tiger.