Ireland was settled by humans civilisations around 6000 BC, relatively late in European prehistory terms. Since that first human settlement, Ireland has had many periods of invasion and change in its civilian populations. This rich history and heritage has helped to shape Ireland into the unique country it is today.
The first major and long lasting people to leave their mark on Ireland were the Celts. They had a huge influence on Ireland and 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.
In the early to mid-5th century, following the arrival of Saint Patrick and other Christian missionaries, Christianity replaced the old pagan religions. 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.
At the end of the 8th century and during the 9th century Vikings invaded the island, threatened the Celtic culture and society and founded cities like Dublin and Cork. Eventually the Vikings settle down on the island, many become farmers and gradually assimilate with the original population.
The unity that had been in place in Irish society under Brian Boru during the Viking invasions, had however disappeared by the time Ireland faced its next challenge, the Normans. An invasion of Norman mercenaries marked the beginning of more than seven centuries of Norman and English rule in Ireland, expanded until the beginning of the 13th century. Normans built walled towns, castles and churches and they also increased agriculture and commerce in Ireland.
Hoping to recover their lands and political dominance in Ireland, Irelands Catholic majority took the side of the British Catholic king James II in England's Glorious Revolution of 1688. The 17th century was consequently a bloody one in Ireland. It culminated in the imposition of the harsh regime of Penal laws. These laws set about disempowering Catholics, outlawing Catholic clergy, forbidding higher education and entry to the professions, and imposing oaths of conformity to the state church, the Church of Ireland.
At the end of the 18th century, Irish nationalism manifested itself for the first time in the rising of The United Irishmen inspired by the French Revolution. In 1798 they raised in arms against the British. The British army crushed the rising and the leaders were hanged in public. Finally, in 1801, the Irish parliament was abolished and Ireland became part of "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland".
Years later, the great famine arrived, and potatoes were the staple food of a growing population at the time. When blight (a form of plant disease) struck potato crops nationwide in the 1840s, the disaster followed. Potatoes were inedible and people began to starve to death.
In the mid 19 century, the Great Famine became one of the most tragic and profoundly devastating events in Ireland's history creating a seismic change in the population and culture; 1 mill. Irishmen starved to death, another million emigrated to America and other places.
On April 24th (Easter Monday) 1916, two groups of armed rebels seized key locations in Dublin; Padraig Pearse led The Irish Volunteers and James Connolly led the Irish Citizen Army. They occupied the General Post Office in Dublin, declared Ireland a republic and announced the formation of their own government. The Rising finished on April 30th with the surrender of the rebels.
Finally, the "Irish War of Independence" began in 1919 and continued until 1921. In 1922, the southern 26 counties of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom and it was then divided into Northern Ireland (Ulster), which remains part of Britain, and the Irish Free State within the Commonwealth. Gaelic was restored as the official national language, together with English in the new country that it became known as the Republic of Ireland. Ties with Great Britain were cut in 1948.
Around the 6th century a monastery Duiblinn (Irish for 'Blackpool') was founded due south of the tidal pool in the River Poddle, a tributary of the Liffey on the south bank. Later on, in 988 A.D., the bay and the pool attracted the Vikings who corrupted the Gaelic name into Dyflinn, and by the 10th century a recognisable town finally developed here.
During the 13th century a stone fortress was built in the city of Dublin after 700 years of Norman rule. The city grew fast and had a population of 8,000 by the end of that century, prospering as a trade centre.
Despite stone fortifications, Dublin town was sacked many times but always recovered and prospered, mainly due to close trading links with the English towns of Chester and Bristol. It soon became the most important town in Ireland.
From the 14th to 18th centuries, Dublin was incorporated into the English Crown. The Parliament was located in Drogheda for several centuries, but was switched permanently to Dublin after Henry VII conquered the County Kildare in 1504.
The early 16th century was a turbulent time and Henry VIII's split with the church brought more trouble to Dublin. He plundered and broke up the religious institutions that remained loyal to the Pope, ordering relics to be burnt in the streets. The closure of the monasteries brought about a revolution in landholding in the city, including the adaptation of All Saints into Trinity College, Ireland's first university.
Dublin and its inhabitants were transformed by the upheavals of the 16th and 17th centuries. While the English community of Dublin and the Pale were happy with the conquest and disarmament of the Irish, they were deeply alienated by the Protestant reformation that had taken place in England, being almost all Roman Catholic. By the end of the 17th century, Dublin was the capital of the Kingdom of Ireland, ruled by the Protestant New English minority and considered the second city of the British Empire after London.
The 1800 Act of Union, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, it is considered by many to have had an enormous impact on Dublin and been the cause behind its decline. Its Golden Age was over.
The campaign to repeal the Act of Union and restore self-government had Daniel O'Connell as its leading protagonist and the Easter Rising of 1916 as its main event, bringing much physical destruction. Dublin was the scene of some of the most severe fighting of the Irish rebellion of 1916 and of the revolution of 1919 to 1921, which resulted in the establishment of the Irish Free State.
Dublin became the political, economic and cultural centre, as well as the capital of Ireland once again after claiming its independence. Among these new state-sponsored roles included the re-location of Ireland's government body, Dail Eireann, which assembled in Leinster House. In addition, both the Four Courts, Ireland's judicatory seating, and the Custom House, they all contributed to Dublin's late 18th century architectural development. Both buildings accrued indirect damages during the Civil War; however, modern-day renovations have restored both structures to their previous glory.
Nowadays, since the mid-1990s, an economic boom christened as the 'Celtic Tiger' brought massive expansion and development to the city, including the creation of Dublin's newest landmark, the Spire monument on O'Connel Street. Fuelled by the boom years, Dublin has grown to be the single largest conurbation in Ireland.
Babbel is an international success with millions of active subscribers and ranked as the world's #1 innovative company in education.
Learn and review on your own schedule: Mobile, tablet or desktop compatible, with lessons about 10-15 min.
Expert-made courses: Learn the basics or focus on topics like travel, culture, or business.
Start speaking right away: Learn to speak a new language naturally and conversationally.
Every learner is different: Each course is based on your native language and personal interests.
Remember everything: Babbel employs proven cognitive techniques that move new vocab to your long-term memory.
Refine your pronunciation: Practise speaking and improve your pronunciation with speech recognition technology.
Registration with Babbel is completely free of charge and the first lesson in every course is FREE to try (Depending on the language you choose, that's 30-80 free lessons!).
If you want full access to Babbel's courses, simply choose a subscription that works best for you. Buy with confidence: 20-day money back guarantee!