In the second half of the fifth century St Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. Therefore the Irish really worship him, that’s why he’s also called ‘the apostle of Ireland’. Nowadays he’s still one of their patron saints and they celebrate him the 17th March, on Saint Patrick’s day. In 1534 there was an English Reformation by Henry VIII, King of England. He broke with the Catholic Church and made his own Anglican ‘Church of England’. While Ireland still belonged to England resisted and remained Catholic.
The Vikings first invaded Ireland in 795. In the 9th century they founded Ireland's first towns, Dublin, Wexford, Cork and Limerick. In time the Vikings settled down. They intermarried with the Irish and accepted Christianity.
The Norman invasion of Ireland took place in stages during the late 12th century. The Normans first conquered England in 1066. In 1169 they invaded Ireland and controlled most parts of Ireland. The Norman influence became less after the Norman lords had an argument about the division of Ireland, another factor was the Black Death in 1348.
During the English Civil Wars the Irish supported King Charles I, the monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland (also known as Royalists) against the Parliament of England lead by Cromwell. When they lost the war Cromwell decapitated King Charles I in 1649. Afterwards he invaded Ireland and brutally murdered all remaining Royalists. This war is called ‘The Cromwellian Conquest of Ireland’ and lasted until 1653. To this day, Cromwell is still a hated figure in Ireland.
The battle of the Boyne took place in 1960 across the rivir Boyne. The battle was between the English King James II, and the Dutch Prince William of Orange. Willam was protestant while king James was catholic. The king attempted to regain his crown in England through Ireland. William of Orange won a crushing victory, which secured the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland for generations.
The Great Famine or the Great Hunger was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1852. A plant disease, called “Late Potato Blight” ruined potato crops in Ireland. This was a big disaster because to Irish potato-growing land renters, the potato was both food and cash. Part of the crop was sold to pay the rent and buy what families needed. The rest of the crop fed the family. Because of the disease people were unable to pay their rent, thousands of families were evicted from their dwellings. Millions of people died or fled the country.
Sinn Féin is nationalist political party organized in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It represents the Irish people who want to achieve a united Ireland through whatever means are necessary, including violence. The party was led by Gerry Adams from 1983.
In 1919, a war began against the British forces in Ireland. This war was called the War of Independence. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) wanted to force the British out of Ireland. They began to attack the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the police force in Ireland, because they were seen as supporting British rule and British law. The IRA also attacked the British soldiers many times. The British government sent more forces to Ireland. In December 1921 a truce was called. The southern part became independent as the Irish Free State, while Northern Ireland voted to remain in the United Kingdom.
The origins of the Irish Civil War can be traced to Ireland’s war for independence from England. To put an end to the fighting, the Irish leaders signed a treaty with England in 1921 that offered most of Ireland some freedoms. The treaty upset many Irish nationalists, who believed that their country was still under too much English control. Disagreements over the treaty led to unrest and fighting among the Irish nationalists and the Irish Republican Army.
In the late 1960s periods of violence began in Ireland that have often been called the Troubles. The protestant police attacked Catholics during marches for civil rights. And as the troubles continued, troops were sent from Britain and militant groups from Northern Ireland to keep law and order.
The Catholics had a revolutionary way of fighting back, like: marches, bombing of Protestant areas and hunger strikes in prisons, many of these prisoners were sent to prison without a trial. All this was to lead to 30 years of terror, killings bombings. In total there were over 3,600 deaths as a result of the conflict. On 10 April 1998 an agreement, The Good Friday Agreement, between the English and Irish people restored self-government to Northern Ireland and brought an end to the Troubles.
On 30 January 1972, a civil rights demonstration through the streets of Londonderry in north-west Northern Ireland ended with the shooting of thirteen civilians by the British Army. An official government inquiry began two weeks later but was widely considered a whitewash, leading to a fresh public inquiry in 1998 that took 12 years to report and absolved the victims of blame.