The first people arrived in Ireland and came from Scandinavia to Scotland and then from Scotland to Ireland. They were a Stone Age people and lived by hunting, farming and fishing. The next groups were the Bronze Age people from southern Europe who skilled metal-workers. The Celts followed around 200 BC coming to Ireland from France and Spain. They brought their own language and iron weapons and tools. The Beginning of Christianity: Saint Patrick was born in Great Britain. In 432 he came to Ireland to teach Christianity. Monks began to build monasteries and wrote many manuscripts in Gaelic and Latin.
The island of saints and scholars”. Ireland became an outpost of European civilisation. The Viking Invasion: Sea raiders from Sweden, Denmark and Norway began to establish settlements on the east coast of Ireland. After a time Viking groups settled down and married the local Irish. An Irish king defeated the Vikings militarily at the Battle of Clontarf. Norman Invaders: Anglo-Norman invaded Ireland. Their influence was strong at the beginning. Irish language, lwas ans customs continues as before. Many of the Anglo. Normans, like the Vikings before them married the local Irish and became even more Irish than the Irish themselves.
Religious Problems: Henry VIII replaced the Roman Catholic Church in England with the Protestant Church of England in 1536. He attempted to introduce his religious policies into Catholic Ireland by closing down Catholic churches and monasteries. Queen Mary I tried to giving land in Ireland to English, Scottish and Welsh settlers. This was the start of the Plantation of Ireland. Queen Elizabeth I sending Protestant and managed to bring all of the country under English rule. Irish land was systematically colonised. Elizabeth was afraid that the Spanish would use Ireland as a first step for invading England.
The settlers did not mix with the native Catholic population. Irish Catholic rebelled against the Protestant settlers. Oliver Cromwell arrived in Ireland to re-establish English rule. By 1651 the population had been halved as a result of conflict, hunger and disease. Cromwell introduced many anti-Irish laws. The 17th & 18th Century: James II threw out many of the anti-Irish laws. His Protestant enemies in England invited the Protestant William of Orange to become king. His smaller army was defeated by King William at the Battle of the Boyne on July 12, 1690.
Laws known as the “Penal Laws” were brought in which discriminated against Catholics ans concerning the right to practise their religion, have an education, own property and vote. Wolfe Tone, an Irish Protestant wanted complete independence from Britain and an Irish Republic with equal rights for people of all religions. In 1798 a rebellion led by Wolfe Tone failed. Ireland unites with Britain: Protestant Irish Parliament was abolished by the British. Ireland was united with Great Britain into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Daniel O’Connell succeeded in ending the Penal Laws against Catholics by peaceful means.
He also called for political independence for Ireland. The Fenians: The Irish Republican Brotherhood was founded in 1858, those involved were known as “Fenians” or “Republicans”. Their aim was to establish an Irish Republic through revolutionary means. It was a complete failure. Charles Stuart Parnell succeed in starting land reform giving many Irish farmers the chances to own their land. At this time a national re-awakening occured and both the Irish language and Gaelic games experienced a revival. The Easter Rising: Irish nationalism was becoming stronger and a nationalist group was founded. The IRB also continued to exist.
These organisations believed that Britain would never allow Ireland freedom unless forced to do so by the use of violence. The IRB, the Irish Volunteers and the Citizen Army, a well organised workers defence force, trained along military lines organised a rising in Easter. It was once again a failure. The War of Independence and the Civil War: Sinn Fein, the political wing of the future IRA became by far the biggest party in Ireland elections. They in fact won seventy-three out of 105 seats and set up their own parliament in Dublin. The British refused to recognize this and from 1919 to 1921 a War of Independence was fought.
The Ira turned the war in their favour. The IRA was formed from members of the Citizen Army. A truce was agreed between British and the IRA in 1921. Ireland was divided into two parts, the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. Collins was for this treaty, but many were against it and a Civil War broke out. Collin’s side known as the Irish Army was defeated. 1932 – 1968: Eamon de Valera won the Irish Free State elections with his new republican party Fianna Fail. De Valera ended the oath of loyalty to the British monarch and brought in a republican constitution.
The Irish Free State was renamed Eire and it remained neutral during World War II. Eire became the Republic of Ireland and joined the United Nations. Northern Ireland: suffered from the economic depression, but the war years made the shipyards busy and the new aircraft industry produced thousands of bombers for the war effort. Londonderry became a major American base. In the 1950s and 1960s both north and south agreed to limited forms of economic cooperation. The Catholics and Protestants grew more and more apart. They had separate schools, separate churches and separate traditions.
The Troubles: In the Protestant Northern Ireland state the Catholic minority had faced discrimination and started a civil rights movement. The British Government suspending the Northern Ireland Parliament and established direct rule from London. British troops were sent in to keep the peace. They were welcomed at the beginning by the Catholic community. In 1972 in which 13 unarmed civil rights marchers were shot dead. This period has seen almost 3. 200 killed and over 36. 000 injured. Orangemen: An Orangemen is a person who belongs to an organization called the “Orange Order”.
The movement began after a bitter fight between Protestant and Catholics with the aim of defending the Protestant religion and culture against nationalist Catholicism. They called themselves Orangemen after their hero King William. Each year the Orange Order participate in what is known as the “marching season. ” These are parades celebrating the victory of William of Orange over the Catholic James Stuart. July 12, 1960 was the victory of William at the Battle of the Boyne. This day is referred to as the “Glorious Twelfth” and is a national holiday in Northern Ireland. For many Protestants, the Twelfth is the most wonderful day of the year.
Spectators also include the police and the army while helicopters circle overhead on the lookout for trouble. Writer: Ireland has had an abundance of writers and poets. The first famous Irish writer was Jonathan Swift with hs satire “Gulliver’s Travels” which became famous overnight. He also wrote many pamphlets on Irish affairs and became increasingly bitter at the ill-treatment of Ireland under English rule. Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin and studied at Trinity College before going to Oxford. The career began with the puplication of “The Happy Prince” and other Tales. Wilde is famous for his wit and is the most read of all Irish authors.
He was charged with momosexual offences and on leaving jail was declared bankrupt. George Bernard Shaw was the son of an unsuccessful wholesaler and grew up shy, poor and lonely. Shaw decided to become a writer and moved from Ireland to London. He was at first so unsuccessful that he had to seek employment as an art and music critic but had his big break with “The Devil’s Disciple in New York”. William Butler Yeats studied Art and became friendly with a group of mystics. He had been writing poems and plays since ha was seventeen and decided to become a full time writer.
One of his first works “The Wanderings of Oisin” was based on Celtic mythology. James Joyce a poet and noelist. He studied languages and had his first book, an essay on Ibsen, published in1900. He left Ireland for good. Dubliners was published, followed by Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Samuel Beckett was an excellent academic and sportsman and went to Paris as an exchange lecturer. He joined the French Resistance during the Second World War. He wrote three novels and addition the play “Waiting for Godot” which made him financially secure. Bram Stoker created the idea of “Dracula”.
The book has never been out of print and over 800 movies have been based on it. IRA: The IRA was in fact founded in1919 from three military organizations, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Irish Volunteers and the Citizen Army. Its objectives were and are the complete withdrawal of the British Army and the establishment of a thirty-two country republic. The IRA has always believed in the use of violence. Their political beliefes are based on the writing of Wolfe Tone. Many Protestants today see the IRA as terrorists or extremist Catholic nationalists. In 1918 Sinn Fein won a landslide election victory.
The IRA seeing that its political wing could go no further then fought a War of Independence from 1919 – 21. They operated under the leadership of Michael Collins. They were divided into groups of o more than thirty welltrained men who made lightning attacks on police barracks and army depots, ambushed police and troops, captured their weapons and moved. The British Government negotiated with the leaders of the IRA and a truce was arranged. A treaty was signed divided Ireland in two. The anti-treaty group fought a losing Civil War against the newly formed Irish Army.
The IRA became illegal in the south in 1936. They planted a series of bombs in England an had talks with the German Government about the possibility of receiving military supplies. No agreement was reached and the talks stopped. Customs posts and electricity installations were blown up. The old and almost defunct IRA was totally unprepared and it took them some time to be reactivated. The IRA members are divided up into Active Service Units which are small cells to limit the effectiveness of informers. Half of those who join lost family or friends in the conflict. The IRA terrorism caused many casualties.
The IRA often apologised afterwards but claim that injuring or killing innocent people is one of the hazards of urban guerilla warfare. Protestant paramilitary groups started killing too. Their killings are a response to IRA action. They find it difficult to locate IRA targets. The main strategy of the IRA is to hit high-profile commercial targets, financial centres, power stations. Members of the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constablery are seen however as “legitimate targets”. In 1981 there was a hunger strike where imprisoned republicans went on hunger strike. They wanted Prisoner-of-War status.
Over 150. 00 attended Bobby Sand’s funeral. People in the south often agree with the IRA ideals but not with their violent methods. In the end everyone will have to sit down and negotiate a lasting peace. St. Patrick’s Day: March 17 is Saint Patrick’s Day in the Republic of Ireland. It’s a time to join in a parade, paint your face green, white and orange, of course to drink until you drop. Is the most important national holiday. It is said that Saint Patrick was a salve who came from Carlisle in north west Britain. He was captured by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland but escaped to France and became a bishop.
He then decided to go back to Ireland. All the kings of Ireland had converted to Christianity by the time of his death. St. Patrick has banished all snakes from Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is a main family attraction. Community groups and local businessmen prepare mobile floats. There are marching bands too. The biggest parades are held by the Irish communities in New York, Chicago, Sydney and Melbourne. Wakes: are old tradition. The word meaning “final departure”. Family and friends come to offer sympathy and food and drink is provided for everybody.
This ends up with singing and even dancing. The idea is that the dead person would not want everyone to be miserable. It is like a final party and a great send-off for the person’s next life. The Catholic Church was firstly against of so much drinking. But they changed their opinion. Weddings: are a great opportunity for families and friends to get together. In Ireland people have large weddings, usually with over than hundred guests. A church wedding is the norm followed by a big meal in a large restaurant. There is often a life-band and lots of drinking. It is also a favoured way to meet someone.
Famine: Nearly half of the land was owned by English landlords, who rented the land to the native Irish. Irish farmers could only afford to eat potatoes. The potato crop was destroyed by a disease called potato blight. One million people die of starvation and one million people emigrated to America. Many of them travelled on “coffin ships” that sunk away. From British Government they get very little help. The Famine also brought other diseases. Others died from eating gras, seaweed and other plants. Some eat the dead body of friends or family. Many were already so weakened that they could not work.
It is a reason to hate the English. Emigration: Ireland is the only European country whose population is less today than it was in the past. The reason was the potato crop failure. Many leaving for the USA and Canada. People were also deported to British colonies. Women and children were sold as slaves. Irish rebels jointed continental armies. Protestants had come to Ireland as settlers. People left during the Industrial Revolution to work in the mills and mines of England and Wales. Some left with a spirit of adventure. New York, Boston, Sydney, London and Liverpool are bigger “Irish” cities than most cities in Ireland.
Emigration still continued north and south stopping only in the sixties and seventies before rising again. Youth: Problems: high unemployment and emigration, disturbing social inequality and the seemingly insoluble conflict in NI. Republic: Exports are booming, prices of houses are rising but in spite of this unemployment is continuing to rise. More jobs are being provided but not enough to cope with the flood of young people going on to the labour market. Official unemployment rate: 12,8%. Result of the high birth rates of the 60’s and 70’s. there appears to be a conflict between the old and the young.
The 1995 referendum on divorce was approved only by a majority of a few thousands votes. NI: is more liberal becaouse laws passed at Westminster are applicable throughout the UK. The effects of the years of almost continuous violence are difficult to measure. the youth have become almost immune to the killings. Some have also become involved with paramilitary groups. Youth is more willing to fight for a cause in which they believe in. Official U. R: 15,6%. The town of Strabane has the highest rate in Europe with over 70%. Problems are poverty, homelessness, urban crime and drug abuse.