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    Landmarks in Irish history


8,000 BC First settlers in the north of Ireland, probably from Scotland.

3,000 BC Arrival of Neolithic people in Ireland.

500-300 BC Probable arrival of Celts in Ireland; assimilation of previous non-Indo-European population.

78-84 Agricola, Roman governor of Britain, considers invading Ireland.

c 130-80 Ptolemy gives a geographical sketch of Ireland,

c 400 Ireland has strong footholds in western Scotland (the kingdom of Dalriada) and south Wales; The Irish language is brought to Scotland and forms the basis for what later becomes Scottish Gaelic.

431 Pope sends Palladius to the Irish Christians.

432 St. Patrick arrives and succeeds in officially christianising Ireland (date is contested).

c 550 Monasticism begins to expand in Ireland and leads to a flourishing of art, seen in manuscripts and religious artefacts.

563 Columba founds a monastic settlement on the island of Iona, western Scotland.

c 590 With Columbanus Irish missionary work on the continent of Europe is initiated; the first remains of Old Irish in the form of glosses stem from the continental monasteries (Würzburg, St. Gall, Milan) of this time.

c 670-700 Hagiographical studies of St. Patrick produced by Irish scholars Tírechán and Muirchú.

795 Viking raids in Ireland begin from the north.

c 800 Book of Kells, the most famous illuminated manuscript, is completed.

806 Vikings ravage settlement on Iona.

836 Viking make considerable incursions in Ireland.

c 841 Dublin is founded by the Vikings as a base on the estuary of the Liffey; settlement remains in Wood Quay.

c 900 Beginning of Middle Irish period.

914 Another series of Viking raids.

975-1014 Brian Boru is King of Munster.

1002-14 Brian Boru is King of Ireland.

1014 Battle of Clontarf with the success of Brian Boru signals the final decline of Viking power.

1169 Anglo-Norman invasion in the south-east of the country (Wexford and Waterford) by Normans from Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales.

1170 Arrival of the Norman leader 'Strongbow' who is made King of Leinster.

1171 Henry II comes to Ireland to consolidate invasion. Most of the Irish bishops and kings submit to him.

1172 Charter of Dublin issued; Normans strengthen their presence in the city.

1175 Treaty of Windsor between Henry II and Rory O'Connor High King of Ireland effectively make the latter subject to English rule.

1177 Prince John is made Lord of Ireland; his first visit to Ireland is in 1185.

c 1200 Beginning of Early Modern Irish period (until c 1600).

1210 Second visit of King John. Earldom of Ulster is confiscated.

1235 Anglo-Norman invasion of Connacht (Western province).

1315-8 Bruce invasion with resistance to Anglo-Norman rule; attempt to have Edward Bruce high king.

1316 Non-submitting Irish chiefs defeated at Athenry.

1318 Battle of Faughart where Edward Bruce is killed.

1333 Earl of Ulster, William de Burgh, is murdered. The English crown begins to loose its grip on both Connacht and Ulster.

1366 Statutes of Kilkenny, proscribing the Irish language and Irish customs, attempt to curb the rapid Gaelicisation of the Anglo-Norman settlers.

1394+9 Visits of Richard II to Ireland to stem the Gaelic revival are unsuccessful. Anglo-Norman colony is reduced to the Pale (Dublin, its immediate environs and a coastal strip down to Waterford).

15c Gaelic revival continues.

1471-1513 Garret More, Earl of Kildare, rules in Ireland (Geraldine supremacy).

1494 Henry VII dismisses Kildare in 1492 for his support of Perkin Warbeck. The Lord Deputy, Sir Edward Poynings, establishes 'Poynings Law' making all English parliamentary legislation applicable to Ireland.

1496 Garret More is re-appointed.

1509 Henry VIII King of England.

1534 The Kildare rebellion takes place. Lord Offaly takes leadership of revolt.

1540 Sir Anthony St Leger becomes Governor of Ireland

1541 Henry VIII accepted by Irish parliament as King of Ireland.

1549-57 Plantation of Leix and Offaly (centre of country).

1553-58 Mary succeeds Edward VI to the English throne leading to Marian reaction and increase in papal authority in Ireland.

1558 Elizabeth I, last of the Tudors, ascends the throne and attempts to curtail the freedom of the Irish.

1559- Various uprisings by Shane O'Neill in Ulster and the Desmonds in Munster.

1565 Sir Henry Sidney becomes governor of Ireland.

1569 The Lordship of Tyrone is taken under the power of the English Crown. This indirectly prompts revolts in Munster, Leinster and Connacht against English policy.

1571 William FitzWilliam becomes governor of Ireland.

1573 Private colonisation schemes take place in the north-east of Ulster.

1583 Defeat of the Desmonds and extinction of their palatinate (North Cork and Tipperary).

1586-92 Plantation of Munster.

1588 Parts of the Spanish Armada wrecked off the west coast of Ireland.

1592 Foundation of Trinity College, Dublin.

1595-1603 Rebellion of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone.

1598 O'Neill victorious at Yellow Ford, Ulster, causing a serious setback for Elizabeth's army in Ireland.

1600 Beginning of Modern Irish period.

1601 Irish Spanish forces are defeated by Lord Mountjoy at the Battle of Kinsale, Co Cork.

1603 Death of Elizabeth I. The accession of James I (James VI of Scotland) results in a strengthening of English Law in Ireland, in particular in Ulster where resistance had been high. Hugh O'Neill and Earl of Tyrone surrender.

1607 On 14 September many Ulster leaders leave for the continent (Flight of the Earls) depriving Ulster of native leadership.

1608-10 The resulting vacuum is filled plantations which begin in Ulster. The city of Derry is renamed Londonderry with London undertaker companies actively settling the city.

1613-5 Irish parliament of James I.

1634-5 Irish parliament of Charles I.

1641 Beginning of the Ulster rising against Protestant settlers.

1642 The English Parliament introduced the 'Adventurers Act' which was intended to curtail Irish rebellion. An English army under Robert Munro land in Ulster in April. Catholic Confederation assembles at Kilkenny.

1642 Civil war in England starts.

1642-9 Owen Roe O'Neill engages in various minor uprisings ending in his death in Nov 1649.

1649-50 Oliver Cromwell's campaigns in Ireland.

1652-3 Cromwellian confiscation of lands as part of mercenaries' payment. Act of Settlement regulates this. This leads to large number of English settlers being planted in the Irish countryside and initiates a new wave of widespread Anglicisation.

1658 Death of Cromwell.

1660 Restoration of Charles II. The Cromwellian conquest is maintained but a certain amount of property is restored to 'innocent papists' (those who did not actively support the Irish rebels).

1665 'Act of Explanation' requires that those given land by Cromwell surrender one third 'innocent papists'.

1661-6 Irish parliament of Charles II.

1685 Death of Charles II and accession of James II (Catholic).

1686-7 Richard Talbot replaced Protestant officials with Catholics on his appointment as Earl of Tyrconnell.

1688 Deposition of James II in England. Gates of Derry closed to James' troops by apprentice boys.

1689 Arrival of James in Ireland. He hold an Irish parliament from May to July.

1690 Arrival of William III (of Orange) in Ireland. Battle of the Boyne (1 July); William victorious. The military conquest continues for a year after William left Ireland.

1691-1703 Land confiscation follows.

1692 Catholics are excluded from Irish parliament.

1695 Beginning of a series of legislative measures against the Irish Catholics known as the Penal Laws which were to last into the beginning of the nineteenth century. The laws restrict the rights of Catholics in education. The Catholic clergy is banned.

1699 Acts restricting Irish woollen exports introduced.

1704 Catholics are greatly restricted in landholding and public office.

1713 Jonathan Swift becomes Dealt of St Patrick's in Dublin.

1728 Act removing franchise from Catholics.

1740-1 Famine in large parts of the country.

1742 Händel's Messiah is performed Fishamble Street Music Hall for the first time.

1775 Henry Grattan becomes leader of Patriot Party.

1778 Catholic relief act (Gardiner).

1779-80 Restrictions on Irish trade removed by British.

1780 Grattan demands Irish parliamentary independence.

1782 Parliamentary independence conceded by British.

1791 Societies of United Irishmen founded in Belfast and Dublin. Wolfe Tone's Argument on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland published.

1792 Relief Act (Hobart) enables Catholics to practice law.

1795 Maynooth College founded; Preparations for rebellion by the United Irishmen continue.

1796-8 Rebellion by the United Irishmen takes place in Wexford in May. French forces land in Killala, north Co. Mayo in August. Wolf Tone is arrested and dies in November.

1801 Act of Union of Great Britain and Ireland comes into force (1 Jan).

1803 Rising of Robert Emmet followed by his trial and execution.

1808 Beginning of rise of Daniel O'Connell to leadership.

1822 Irish Constabulary Act establishes a regular police force.

1823 Catholic Association founded, led by Daniel O'Connell.

1828 Clare election in which O'Connell is returned.

1829 Catholic Emancipation Act.

1830 Tithe War begins in which Catholics refuse to pay tithes to English.

1831 Primary education system instituted.

1837 Reign of Queen Victoria begins.

1838 Tithe Act; Poor Law Act.

1840 Municipal Reform Act; Daniel O'Connell's Repeal Association founded.

1841 O'Connell becomes lord mayor of Dublin.

1842 The patriotic newspaper The Nation is founded by Thomas Davis.

1843 Many of O'Connell's 'Monster Meetings' for Repeal of the Union take place.

1844 O'Connell is sentenced to prison but later released.

1845 Potato blight starts in some counties and begins to spread. Beginning of the Great Famine (1845-49).

1846 Blight deteriorates rapidly. Relief work gets under way.

1846 Repeal of Corn Laws. Expectation of new harvest are dashed with a complete failure of potato harvest. Public Works restarted (having been suspended temporarily). By the end of the year the hungry were dying of starvation.

1848-49 Worst years of Great Famine. There is a rebellion by Young Ireland movement.

1847 Blight recedes but the potato crop is insufficient.

1848 Second general failure of potato crop.

1850 Queen's University of Belfast founded.

1854 Catholic University of Ireland founded with John H. Newman first rector.

1858 Foundation of Fenian movement.

1858 The Irish Republican Brotherhood founded by James Stephens. The Fenian Brotherhood founded at the same time in America.

1866 Archbishop Paul Cullen becomes the first Irish Cardinal in the United States.

1867 Fenian rising takes place in five counties including Dublin.

1868 First cabinet formed by Gladstone.

1870 Home Rule movement launched by Isaac Butt. Gladstone's first Land Act recognising the rights of tenants.

1875 Parnell returned to parliament as member for Co. Meath.

1879 With the threat of famine and after many evictions the Irish National Land League was founded at Dublin under the initiation of Michael Davitt.

1879-1882 Land War is waged.

1880 Second cabinet formed by Gladstone. The system of 'Boycotting' (not working for landlord) is introduced.

1881 Parnell imprisoned; Gladstone's second Land Act.

1885 Gladstone defeated.

1886 Gladstone forms his third administration; Home-rule bill defeated in House of Commons.

1891 Death of Parnell after marrying Kitty O'Shea.

1892 Gladstone forms a fourth administration; Home-rule bill passes House of Commons.

1893 Second Home Rule Bill is introduced. The Gaelic League is founded.

1898 The United Irish League is founded.

1899- Literary revival gets well under way; Irish Literary Theatre founded; Griffith's United Irishman published.

1900 John Redmond is elected chairman of Irish Parliamentary Party and United Irish League.

1904 Abbey Theatre opened.

1906 First issue of Sinn Féin.

1907 Strike of dockers and riots in Belfast.

1908 Irish Universities Act establishing the National University of Ireland.

1913 Ulster Volunteer Force formed in Belfast; Northern resistance to various attempts at home rule hardens particularly under the figurehead of Edward Carson.

1914 Both the Ulster Volunteers and the Irish Volunteers are involved in illegal arms trafficking. The Buckingham Palace conference collapses shortly before World War I begins. Reorganisation of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

1916 Rising of rebels on Easter Monday in Dublin with an Irish Republic proclaimed on 24 April. After a week's bitter fighting the rebels surrender. They are court-martialled and 15 executed. In the Battle of the Somme the Ulster Division of the English army suffer sever losses.

1917 The Irish Convention is not a success and the other groups, Sinn Féin and the Irish Volunteers, reorganise.

1918 The General Election leads to success for the republicans.

1919 Sinn Féin party increases in strength meets in Dublin as Dáil Éireann in January.

1919-21 Anglo-Irish War begins. This consists of sporadic and uncoordinated resistance against the British presence in Ireland.

1920 Government of Ireland Act provides for separate parliaments for the North and South of the island of Ireland.

1921 Northern Ireland parliament is opened by the king. Anglo-Irish truce and treaty on 11 July and 6 December respectively. Sir James Craig is Prime Minister in Northern Ireland.

1922 Convention of Anti-Treaty IRA. The police in Northern Ireland are given special powers. In the south after the murder of Michael Collins the National Army is given emergency powers. The Irish Free State established, Northern Ireland excluded. The majority of the population is for the treaty in the ensuing election. Civil war begins.

1923 End of civil war. The Irish Free State admitted to League of Nations.

1925 Partition of Ireland is confirmed by a tripartite agreement.

1926 Éamonn de Valera founds Fianna Fáil.

1927 General elections in which Fianna Fáil is the largest opposition party.

1929 Proportional representation abolished in Northern Ireland.

1930 Irish Labour Party and TU Congress separate.

1931 The IRA is banned in the south of the country.

1932 Fianna Fáil are victorious in general elections under Éamonn de Valera.

1932-8 Unsuccessful economic war with Britain.

1933 National Guard grouping, so-called Blueshirts, is formed. United Ireland Party, later Fine Gael, is founded by the leader of the Blueshirts O'Duffy.

1934 Cosgrave is re-instated when O'Duffy resigns.

1937 New constitution introduced. The country is now officially called Éire (this replaces the 'Irish Free State', the former name).

1938 The treaty ports restored to Ireland as part of the Anglo-Irish agreement.

1939 An IRA bombing campaign in Britain takes place during World War II. Ireland remains neutral despite pressure from Churchill on de Valera. Economic sanctions imposed on the country.

1941 Air raids by Germans on Belfast and on Dublin (much less).

1948 John Costello repeals External Relations Act which paves the way for a republic. Inter-party government set up after Fianna Fáil are defeated in elections. De Valera leaves office after 16 years.

1949 Republic of Ireland is declared (18 April). Ireland Act, agreement that partition will be perpetuated.

1951 De Valera and Fianna Fáil return to office.

1954 Second inter-party government is formed under John Costello.

1955 Ireland becomes a member of the United Nations.

1956-62 Border campaign initiated by the IRA.

1957 De Valera once more in office. Becomes president 1959 (two seven year terms until 1973).

1958 First programme for economic growth in the south.

1961 Ireland unsuccessfully attempts to join the European Economic Community.

1964 Talks on reconciliation between Seán Lemass (Éire) and Terence O'Neill (Northern Ireland). Anglo-Irish free trade agreement is introduced.

1966 New University of Ulster at Coleraine, Co. Derry opened.

1967 Civil Rights Association is founded in Northern Ireland.

1968 Civil rights marches begin. Clashes in Derry between Civil Rights Association and B-special (riot) police. O'Neill initiates a programme for removing discrimination of Catholics in local government, housing and franchise (the major matter of contention between the two ethnic groups in Northern Ireland).

1969 People's Democracy march from Belfast to Derry takes place in January with attendant violence. Chichester Clark becomes Prime Minister. British troops sent to Ulster.

1970 Southern politicians are accused of gun-running. Dublin Arms Trial ensues. Sinn Féin and IRA split with a split into provisional and official factions being established.

1970 Provisional IRA begins a campaign of violence against British troops.

1971 Ian Paisley's conservative Democratic Unionist Party is founded. Internment without trial is introduced.

1972 Direct rule follows the suspension of the parliament of Northern Ireland.

1973 Northern Ireland Assembly formed with elections held. Éire and the United Kingdom join the European Economic Union on 1 Jan. Proportional representation reintroduced in Northern Ireland. Sunningdale Agreement is reached.

1973- Republic: Fine Gael - Labour coalition is formed, L. Cosgrave leader. Entry of Both Republic of Ireland and Britain into the Common Market (European Community).

1974 Power sharing executive set up but defeated by the Protestant sector in an all-out strike (May) Several serious bombings in Dublin. Also in Guildford and Birmingham at the end of the year.

1975 Internment without trial is suspended.

1976 British ambassador in Dublin killed.

1977 Fianna Fáil wins election again with Charles Haughey as leader from 1979-1981.

1978 IRA kill 12 people in restaurant fire bombing.

1979 18 British soldiers killed at Warrenpoint, County Down. Earl Mountbatten killed in boat off the north-west coast of Ireland. Pope John Paul II visits Ireland.

1981 Fine Gael - Labour coalition returned to office. Several IRA hunger-strikers die; this form of protest ends.

1982 Again many British soldiers killed: 1) Knightsbridge (July) and Ballykelly, Co. Derry (December).

1982 In March Fianna Fáil return to office briefly. Fine Gael - Labour coalition government under Garret Fitzgerald back in power.

1985 Hillsborough Anglo-Irish Agreement is rejected by Protestants.

1987 IRA bomb kills 11 people at Enniskillen service on Remembrance Sunday.

1989 Fianna Fáil enter a coalition government for first time. The Progressive Democrats accept Charles Haughey remains Taoiseach (prime minister)

1990 Ireland electorate vote for Mary Robinson as seventh President of Ireland, the first woman to hold this office.

1992 The position of the Catholic church in Ireland is weakened by the publicity given to the sexual misconduct of many of its senior members such as the Bishop of Galway, Dr. Eamonn Casey, who had misappropriated church funds for support of the child he had fathered.

1994 Both the IRA and the loyalist paramilitaries announce ceasefires.

1996 The second constitutional referendum on civil divorce and re-marriage is approved by a narrow margin.

1996 The IRA ceasefire is terminated.

1997 New Labour are victorious in British general elections. The 'peace process' is further by the appointment of Dr. Marjorie Mowland Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and by the untiring attempts of the American Senator Mitchell to achieve an agreement between the opposing ethnic political groups in Ulster.

1997 Fianna Fáil - Progressive Democrats coalition under Bertie Ahern replaces the so-called Rainbow coalition (Fine Gael, Labour, Democratic Left under John Bruton) following general elections in the Republic.

1997 IRA declare a resumption of the 1994 ceasefire.

1998 Loyalist paramilitaries announce a ceasefire. 'Good Friday' agreement, worked out by American Senator Mitchell and Northern Ireland Secretary Mowland, is accepted by electorate north and south of the border. David Trimble returned as First Minister. 29 people killed in bombing in Omagh (August) carried out by splinter group calling itself the 'real' IRA. Public outrage leads to Irish and British governments introducing tougher anti-terrorist legislation speedily.

1999-2004 Stalemate in the peace process as the IRA further refuses to decommission arms and there is no change in the status of Northern Ireland. On a general level the ceasefire still holds. Success for the more extreme parties (Sinn Fein versus the Social Democratic Labour Party [SDLP]; Democratic Unionist Party [DUP] versus the Ulster Unionist Party) in elections in 2004.

2005 IRA promises to decommission weapons (summer). Riots in Protestants area of Belfast.

2006-2012 Ceasefire holds with a virtual cessation of sectarian violence.