Major Dates     Next Page

[ ~400 BC - 1800 AD ]

5th to 6th centuries BC
Arrival of first Celtic invaders from central Europe. Celts soon came to dominate Ireland and earlier settlers. Christianity introduced to Ireland; traditionally associated with St Patrick, although there were some Christians in Ireland before the start of his ministry in about 432.

6th to 9th centuries
"Golden Age" of Irish history, characterised by rich cultural achievements at home, notably in the decorative arts and manuscript illumination, and by successful Christian missionary activity abroad.

Viking invasions of southern Ireland; development of overseas trade and foundation of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Waterford.

Brian Boru, King of Munster; recognised as King of All Ireland, following his defeat of Vikings in 999; although Viking interference continued until their defeat in the Battle of Clontarf, 101s4, in which Boru was killed. 

Arrival of the Normans, initially at invitation of Diarmait Mac Murchada, King of Leinster, to support his ambition to become King of All Ireland. 

Henry II, King of England, recognised as overlord of Ireland by both Irish and Norman aristocracy in Ireland; start of English political involvement in Ireland. 

12th to 14th centuries
Normans quickly came to control three-quarters of the land, ultimately assimilating with the local population. During this period similar parliamentary, legal, and administrative systems to those in England were being developed. 

Statute of Kilkenny passed by Anglo-Irish parliament in Dublin in an (ultimately ineffective) attempt to re-establish English dominance; excommunication and heavy penalties decreed for all those following customs of or allying themselves with native Irish. 

The area of effective English rule in Ireland had been reduced to an enclave around Dublin known as the Pale.

Henry VII sent Sir Edward Poynings to regain control of Ireland. "Poynings Law" passed two years later, making the Irish parliament subservient to the English monarch.

Henry VIII declared himself King of Ireland, the first English monarch to do so. Land declared ultimately property of Crown, to be re-granted with monarch's permission. 

King's and Queen's counties (present-day Offaly and Laois) established as first settler plantations. 

Start of Nine Years' War, rebellion against English rule led by Hugh O'Neill. 

Formal surrender of O'Neill, following defeat at Battle of Kinsale in 1601; overthrow of native political system as country brought under English central government. 

The northern counties of Ulster were confiscated to the Crown following the fleeing to Rome of Ulster chieftains. Two years later the Ulster Plantation implemented, settled by Protestant Lowland Scots and English. 

Siege of Drogheda. English Parliamentary forces, led by Oliver Cromwell, defeated pro-Royalist and Roman Catholic Irish forces; many Irish landowners were exiled to Connaught and their land confiscated. 

All of Ireland except Ulster rallied to support James II in his efforts to retake the English throne following the Glorious Revolution of 1688; initial military success caused Protestant settlers to flee to Enniskillen and Derry.

William of Orange defeated Irish forces at the Battle of the Boyne.

First Penal Laws, prevented return of land to Catholics agreed by William III at the Treaty of Limerick (1691), and successively prohibited Catholics from attending Mass, and from buying or inheriting land. The export to England of milk, butter, and cheese, and export to anywhere of Irish woollen products was also banned and the Irish economy went into decline. 

Penal Code introduced denying Catholics the vote and barring them from the military. 

Irish parliament passed the Relief Acts, removing some of the most oppressive disabilities of the Penal Laws.

Poynings Law revoked, giving Ireland legislative independence.

Orange Order founded.

Uprising of United Irishmen, led by Wolfe Tone, suppressed by British troops.

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