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Chronology of Irish History

(10000 B.C. - 1987 A.D.)



10000 Ice Age recedes. No sign of human life in Ireland.
6000 Probable date of first human settlement. It is believed a land bridge existed from Scotland and settlers were Scandinavian migrants, mainly foragers.
6000-2000 Stone Age. Neolithic farmers and tomb builders.
700 Bronze age metal workings
350 Celtic migration. With superior iron weapons, they overrun natives.


77-84 Agricola, Roman governor of Britain, considers the conquest of Ireland.
c. 130-80 Ptolemy’s account of Ireland.
300 High Kingdom established at Tara.
350 Earliest Gaelic writings. Celtic raids on British coast.
367 Major attack on Britain by the Irish, Picts, and Saxons.
400 O’Neill dynasty founded in Ulster.
431 Palladius sent as bishop to the Irish believing in Christ by Pope Celestine I.
432 St Patrick’s mission to Ireland establishes Christianity and opens a golden era of religion, literature, education, and missions.
433/4 Prosper of Aquitaine attributes the conversion of Ireland to Pope Celestine I.
c. 550-650 The flowering of monasticism in Ireland.
563 Foundation of Iona by Columba.
575 Convention of Druim Ceat.
c. 590 Columbanus begins his mission to the Continent.
597 Death of Columba.
615 Death of Columbanus at Bobbio.
c. 650-750 Writing of Irish canon and vernacular law in progress.
663 Death of Guaire Aidni, Ui Fiachrach king of Connacht.
c. 670-700 Tirechan and Muirchu produce hagiographic works on St. Patrick.
697 Synod of Birr and the proclamation of the ‘Law of the Innocents’.
600-850 ‘Golden Age’ Ireland’s classical phase of literature and arts.
700 Brehon Laws define the ranks of kings, nobles, and commoners, and the rights and status of each --- based on a hierarchy and tribal pales. These laws remain until the plantation of Ulster in the early 1600s.
c. 700 The eastern Eoganacht become dominant in Munster.
c. 700 Writing of Crith Gablach (a law tract on status).
704 Death of Adomnan, ninth abbot of Iona.
721-42 Cathal mac Finguine king of Munster.
c. 725 Ui Briuin dynasty dominant in Connacht.
734 Abdication of Flaithbertach mac Loingsig. Cenel Conaill now excluded from Ui Neill overkingship.
743 Clann Cholmain first take the overkingship of the Ui Neill.
c. 750 Completion of Collectio canonum Hibernensis.
c. 750-850 Armagh comes under Ui Neill control.
793 Vikings raid Lindisfarne. Arti mac Cathail ordained king of Munster.
795 Viking raids on Iona, Rathlin, Inishmurray, and Inishbofin.
802 Iona burned by the Vikings.
c. 800 The Ui Neill dominate north Leinster.
800 Ireland’s most famous antiquity, the Book of Kells, is illuminated.
800-1000 Viking raids penetrate deeper inland. Cities of Dublin, Cork, and Waterford are founded.
804 Aed Oirnide of the Ui Neill ordained overking of the Ui Neill by the abbot of Armagh.
806 Sixty-eight members of the Iona community killed by the Vikings.
807 Construction of the monastery of Kells begun.
820-47 Feidlimid mac Crimthainn king of Munster.
836 Viking raids penetrate deep inland.
837 Large Viking fleets appear on the Boyne and the Liffey.
840-1 A Viking fleet overwinters on Lough Neagh.
841-42 A Viking fleet overwinters in Dublin.
842 First reported Viking-Irish alliance.
845 Forannan, abbot of Armagh, captured by the Vikings.
846-62 Reign of Mael Sechnaill I, powerful overking of the Ui Neill.
866 Aed Finnliath clears the northern coastline of Viking bases.
914 A great Viking fleet arrives in Waterford and the beginning of the second period of raids.
919 Niall Glundub, overking of the Ui Neill, killed in the battle of Dublin.
c. 950 Close of the second period of Viking raids.
956-80 Domnall ua Neill overking of the Ui Neill.
980 Mael Sechnaill II becomes overking of the Ui Neill.
975-1014 Brian Boru king of Munster at Tara, latterly of Ireland.
997 Brian Boru and Mael Sechnaill II divide Ireland between them.
999 Brian Boru defeats the Leinstermen and the Ostmen at the battle of Glenn Mama. Sitric Silkenbeard, king of Dublin, submits to him.
1002-14 Brian Boru reigns as king of Ireland.
1014 Vikings defeated at Clontarf, ending their influence. Death of Brian Boru during the battle.
1022 Death of Mael Sechnaill II, overking of the Ui Neill.
1086-1119 Muirchertach O’Brien king of Munster and claimant to the kingship of Ireland (1093-1114).
1101 Synod of Cashel, Muirchertach O’Brien grants Cashel to the church as the seat of a metropolitan.
1106-56 Turlough O’Connor king of Connacht and claimant to the ‘high kingship’ of Ireland.
1111 Synod of Rath Breasail. Ireland divided into territorial dioceses under two metropolitans.
1134 Consecration of Cormac’s Chapel at Cashel.
1142 Foundation of the first Cistercian house in Ireland (at Mellifont).
1152 Synod of Kells-Mellifont. A national church organization with four metropolitans, under the primacy of Armagh.
1154 Henry II of England obtains a papal bull enabling him to possess Ireland as part of the crown inheritance.
1166 Death of Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn, ‘high-king’ of Ireland. Dermot MacMurrough, king of Leinster, driven overseas. Seeks help of Henry II and recruits Cambro-Norman knights.
1169 Arrival of FitzStephen, FitzGerald, and others. Wexford taken, Dermot restored to kingship of Leinster.
1169-1172 Norman invasion sealed by Strongbow coming from Wales. Henry II declared King of Ireland.
1170 Marriage of Strongbow to Dermot’s daughter Aoife. Siege and capture of Dublin. Invasion of Meath.
1171 Death of Dermot. Strongbow lord of Leinster. Arrival of Henry II. Submission of Irish bishops and most Irish kings.
1172 Second Synod of Cashel. Grant of Meath to Hugh de Lacy. Henry leaves.
1172-1250 Normans become the ‘Old English,’ but integrate into Irish culture and society completely.
1175 Treaty of Windsor between Henry II and Rory O’Connor, high-king of Ireland, who agrees to rule unoccupied territory as a vassal.
1176 Death of Strongbow.
1177 Conquest of Ulaid by John de Courcy, Council of Oxford: Prince John made lord of Ireland, speculative grants of kingdoms of Cork and Limerick to Norman vassals.
1185 Prince John’s first visit to Ireland. Occupation of lands in Limerick begun by Theobald Walter, William de Burgh, and Philip of Worcester.
c. 1200 Start of Classical Irish period in literature, lasting until 1600.
1210 King John’s second visit to Ireland. Confiscation of the earldom of Ulster and honour of Limerick. Submission of Irish kings.
1235 Final conquest of Connacht by Richard be Burgh. Five ‘King’s Cantreds’ reserved for O’Connor.
1257 Death of Maurice FitzGeral; his lordship of Sligo ravaged by Godfrey O’Donnell, king of Tir Conaill. Normans in Thomond defeated by Conor O’Brien and his son, Tadhg.
1258 Meeting of Caol-Uisce on the Erne between Aodh son of O’Connor, Tadhg son of O’Brien, and Brian O’neill, self-styled ‘King of the kings of Ireland’.
1260 Battle of Down: defeat and death of Brian O’Neill.
1261 Battle of Callan: John fitz Thomas of Desmond and his heir defeated and killed by Finghin MacCarthy, himself slain later that year.
1263 Earldom of Ulster, long vacant, bestowed on Walter de Burgh, lord of Connacht.
1276 Hereditary lordship of all Thomond granted to Thomas de Clare.
1292 Custody of rents, homage’s, and services of all Crown tenants English and Irish in the Decies and Desmond granted to Thomas fitz Maurice of Desmond.
1315-1318 Invasion from Scotland by Edward Bruce in league with the O’Neills. After occupation of Ulster and declaration of himself as King of Ireland, Bruce is killed in battle and the invasion defeated.
1316 Battle of Athenry; rebellious Irish chiefs of Connacht defeated and killed.
1318 Battle of Dysert O’Dea: Richard de Clare defeated and killed by O’brien. Battle of Faughart: Edward Bruce defeated and killed.
1333 Murder of William de Burgh, earl of Ulster. Crown loses control of Anglo-Norman Connacht and the Irish chiefs in Ulster.
1361 Arrival of English expedition under Prince Lionel of Clarence, earl of Ulster, to stem decline of colony.
1366 The Statutes of Kilkenny. For fear that the Normans are becoming too Irish, the Statutes are adopted, forbidding Normans to take on the manners, fashion, and language of the Irish enemies. Intermarriage declared illegal, as is admitting and Irish storyteller into the house. In effect for two centuries. Punishment could mean confiscation of land.
1394-95 King Richard II’s first expedition to Ireland. Defeat of Leinster Irish under Art MacMurrough, and submission of nearly all Irish and rebel English chiefs.
1398 Death of Roger Mortimer in war against Leinster Irish.
1399 King Richard II’s second expedition to Ireland, with inconclusive results.
1414-47 Prolonged struggle between the factions of James Butler, fourth earl of Ormond, and John Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, for control of royal government in Ireland.
1449-50 Richard duke of York in Ireland as king’s lieutenant. Submission of many Irish chiefs and English rebels.
1459-60 Duke of York’s second visit to Ireland. Parliament meeting at Drogheda upholds his authority against Henry VI and an English Act of Attainder.
1467-8 Edward IV appoints Tiptoft, earl of Worcester, Lord Deputy in place of Thomas FitzGerald, earl of Desmond, subsequently executed for treason. Munster rebels.
1478-9 Anglo-Irish opposition frustrates Edward IV’s attempt to appoint Lord Grey as Deputy in place of Geral Mor FitzGerald, eighth earl of Kildare.
1487 Earl of Kildare has Lambert Simnel crowned as Edward VI in Christchurch cathedral, Dublin.
1494 In the wake of Anglo-Irish support for Perkin Warbeck, Henry VII dismisses Kildare (1492) and sends Sir Edward Poynings as Lord Deputy. ‘Poynings’ Law’ makes all past legislation of the English parliament applicable to Ireland, and requires the king’s approval for all future summons of the Anglo-Irish parliament and contents of its legislation.
1496 Kildare reappointed.
1504 Battle of Knocktoe: by defeating Burke of Clanricard, O’Brien, and the Irish of Ormond, Kildare completes his dominance of Ireland, Irish and Anglo-Irish.
1509 Accession of Henry VIII.
1510-1550 The Reformation in Europe. Ireland remains Catholic.
1513 Death of Gerald FitzGerald, eighth earl of Kildare and Lord Deputy of Ireland, succeeded by his son Gerald the ninth earl, who also becomes Lord Deputy of Ireland.
1520 Thomas Howard, earl of Surry, appointed as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland instead of Kildare.
1522 Piers Butler, eighth earl of Ormond, appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland.
1524 Royal commission resolves differences between Ormond and Kildare and restores Kildare to the office of Lord Deputy.
1529 Appointment of Sir William Skeffington as royal commissioner.
1533/4 Lord Deputy Kildare summoned to court and leaves his son Lord Offaly (Silken Thomas Fitzgerald) as vice-deputy.
1534 Kildare placed in tower where he dies; outbreak of rebellion led by Lord Offaly.
1534-6 Continuing revolt in Ireland; fall of Maynooth Castle, arrest of Lord Offaly (by now tenth earl of Kildare), and he and his five uncles brought to England.
1536-7 Meeting of the Irish Reformation Parliament; execution of Kildare and his five uncles at Tyburn.
1537-1541 Henry VIII declared King of Ireland by Irish Parliament, and appoints himself head of the Church of Ireland.
1540 Sir Anthony St Leger appointed as governor of Ireland.
1541-3 Meeting of parliament which declares Henry VIII to be king of Ireland; launching of ‘surrender and re-grant’ programme.
1547 Death of Henry VIII, accession of Edward VI.
1548-53 Inauguration of garrison policy to surround the Pale with fortified positions; pursued by successive governors Sir Edward Bellingham, Sir Anthony st Leger, and Sir James Croft.
1553 Death of Edward VI; accession of Mary I.
1553-1558 Queen Mary (Bloody Mary) restores Catholicism in England.
1556-64 Thomas Radcliffe, earl of Sussex, serves as governor in Ireland.
1557-8 Queen Mary establishment of a military ‘plantation’ confiscating Counties Laois (Leix) and-Offaly; murder of Matthew O’Neill, baron of Dungannon; launching of a military campaign in Ulster to uphold ‘surrender and re-grant’ arrangements.
1558 Death of Mary I; accession of Elizabeth I.
1560 Elizabeth I restores Protestantism in England.
1560 Meeting of the second Irish Reformation Parliament which approves the Elizabethan church settlement for Ireland.
1561-4 Sussex pursues intermittent military campaigns against Shane O’Neill and encounters opposition to financial exaction’s from within the English Pale.
1565 Death of Shane O’Neill.
1565-71 Sir Henry Sidney serves for his first period as governor of Ireland.
1566-7 Sidney launches military campaign in Ulster which produces the killing of Shane O’Neill; he attempts to restore government authority in Munster by arresting the earl of Desmond.
1569-71 Meeting of parliament in Dublin which declares the entire lordship of Tyrone forfeited to the Crown; appointment of first provincial presidents in Connacht and in Munster; launching of private colonization ventures in Munster and in Ulster; outburst of local revolts in Munster, in Leinster, and in Connacht against government policy.
1570 Elizabeth declared excommunicated by the papacy.
1571-5 Sir William FitzWilliam serves for his first period as governor of Ireland.
1572 Sir John Perrott and Sir Edward Fitton regain authority as presidents respectively of Munster and Connacht by bringing rebels to surrender.
1573-4 Private colonization ventures in Ulster continue even without the consent of FitzWilliam.
1575 Sir fJames Fitz Maurice FitzGerald departs from Ireland to seek Catholic support in Continental Europe for continued opposition to the government.
1575-8 Sir Henry Sidney serves for second period of governor of Ireland.
1576 Sidney launches an apparently conciliatory policy and brings private colonization to a close. The earl of Essex, the last of the private colonizers, dies in Dublin.
1577 The government attempts to increase its revenue from Ireland by the imposition of a land tax and encounters strident opposition from the Pale community.
1578 Sidney surrenders his position as governor and leaves Ireland in the belief that his government has been undermined by lawyers in the Pale.
1579 James Fitz Maurice FitzGerald accompanied by the English Jesuit Micholas establish themselves near Dingle, Co. Kerry. Sir John of Desmond, brother to the earl of Desmond, murders Henry Davells, an English official, and Desmond is forced by his subordinates to make common cause with the rebellion.
1580 The rebellion in Munster is joined by a second revolt in Leinster led by James Eustace, Viscount Baltinglass, and Feagh Mac hugh O’Byrne and supported by discontented Palesmen who profess themselves free from allegiance to a Catholic monarch. Arthur Lord Grey de Wilton is appointed governor to deal with the dual revolt and has his army defeated at Glenmalure in Wicklow but ousts the Continental force from Smerwick.
1580-98 Edmund Spenser in Munster.
1582-3 Systematic suppression of rebel forces in Leinster and Munster culminating in the killing of the earl of Desmond.
1584-8 Sir John Perrott serves as governor of Ireland.
1584 Provincial councils reconstituted in Munster and Connacht.
1585 Meeting of parliament in Dublin which proceeds with the attainder of Desmond and his supporters, and the confiscation of their property. A commission in England devises a scheme for the distribution of the confiscated Munster property and the establishment of a plantation. The president of Connacht devises the Composition of Connacht; and Hugh O’Neill, baron of Dungannon, created earl of Tyrone.
1585-7 Grantees of Munster Plantation lands assume possession of their properties; Perrott experiences increasing difficulty in dealing with his English Protestant officials who consider him excessively lenient in his treatment of Catholic recusants.
1586 Eochaidh O hEodhusa appointed file to Maguire of Fermanagh.
1588-94 Sir William FitzWilliam serves as governor for the second time.
1588 The Spanish Armada defeated.
1589-90 Sir Richard Bingham, president of Connacht, seeks by force to extend the authority of the government into northern Connacht and the southern reaches of Ulster.
1591 Red Hugh O’Donnell seeks to expel all English officials from the lordship of Tyrconnell, and he and Hugh Maguire oppose the imposition of Composition arrangements on their respective territories.
1591 Trinity College established in Dublin.
1593-4 Opposition to government intervention in Ulster intensifies but Tyrone remains loyal even though his brothers have engaged in rebellion.
1594-1603 Nine Years’ War with rising of O’Donnell and O’Neill in Ulster.
1595 Death of Turlough O’Neill provides Tyrone with the opportunity to assume the Gaelic title of O’Neill. Tyrone then also enters into rebellion and with Red Hugh O’Donnell opens negotiations for support from Spain.
1596 Edmund Spenser completes A View of the Present State of Ireland.
1596-7 Ulster rebellion intensifies and is imitated by dissatisfied lords in Leinster and Connacht.
1598 Major defeat of government forces in Ulster at the Yellow ford; rebellion extends into Munster and the plantation is overthrown.
1599 Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, appointed to suppress the rebellion. Dissipates his energies and agrees on truce with Tyrone.
1600 Appointment of Charles Blount, Baron Mountjoy, as governor, and intensification of the government effort to suppress the Ulster revolt.
1602 Arrival of Spanish military support at Kinsale where it is joined by a rebel army from Ulster. Decisive victory for the government forces at Kinsale.
1603 Death of Elizabeth; accession of James VI and I and surrender of Tyrone to Mountjoy; towns seek formal acceptance of Catholic worship.
1603 Belfast founded on Chichester grant.
1605 Sir Arthur Chichester appointed as governor; proclamation declaring all persons in Ireland to be free subjects of the king; proclamation expelling Jesuits and seminary priests from Ireland; pressure on Dublin merchant community to conform in religion.
1606 Foundation of St Anthony’s Franciscan College, Louvain; government efforts to dismember Ulster lordships through judicial investigation.
1607 Government investigation of Ulster lordships intensifies; the earls of Tyrone, Tyrconnell, and others abandon the country and are proclaimed traitors. O’Neills leave for the Continent in the ‘Flight of the Earls’.
1608 Revolt of Sir Cahir O’Doherty; government decision to plant six Ulster counties.
1609-10 Government proceeds with scheme for the plantation of the six Ulster counties, former O’Neill lands by Lowland Scots and English.
1610-30 Geoffrey Keating working on Foras Feasa ar Eirinn.
1610 Desiderius by Flaithri O Maolchonaire.
1611 Publication of Bonaventura O hEodhasa, An Teagasg Criosdaidhe (Antwerp).
1612 Publication of Sir John Davies, A discovery of the True Causes Why Ireland was never entirely subdued.
1612 Derry given to London guilds and merchants to exploit and fortify under the name of the Honourable Irish Society.
1613-15 Meeting of Irish parliament, which endorses the plantation scheme in Ulster, and provides for increased representation of the settler population in future parliaments. Meeting of Convocation of the state church which adopts 104 articles of faith.
1614-1618 Derry walled.
1616 Death in Rome of Hugh O’Neill, earl of Tyrone.
1621 Plantation scheme revealed for settlement of portion of the Irish midlands.
1622 Comprehensive survey of the Irish church and government and of all plantations established in Ireland.
1625 Death of James I; succession of Charles I.
1626 Charles I offers ‘Graces’ to his Irish subjects in return for subsidies. This provides for the tacit toleration of Catholicism in Ireland, thus vexing his Protestant subjects.
1628 Charles I formally issues the Graces; undertakers in the Ulster plantation permitted to retain ‘natives’ as tenants.
1629 Government temporarily in control of Viscount Loftus and the earl of Cork, who attempt suppression of Catholic worship in Dublin.
1632-6 Compilation of Annala Rioghachta Eireann (Annals of the Four Masters).
1633-41 Thomas, Viscount Wentworth (created earl of Strafford 1640) serves a governor in Ireland.
1634-5 Irish parliament convened and Wentworth reveals his intention to proceed with a plantation of Connacht and to disregard the Graces.
1635 Wentworth takes measures to establish Crown title to the province of Connacht.
1637 Wentworth takes measures to consolidate and maintain discipline over the state church in Ireland.
1639 Scots Covenanters oppose the extension of an episcopal form of church government to Scotland, and Wentworth seeks to have Scots settlers in Ulster swear their allegiance to the king.
1640 Wentworth (now earl of Strafford) convenes Irish parliament, which resists him once he has left the country, remonstrating against his rule.
1641 Strafford tried, convicted, and executed in England on a charge of treason, outbreak of rising in Ulster; Ireland lapses into political chaos.
1641-1653 Peasant Rising in Ulster joined by Owen Roe O’Neill returning from Continent. Oliver Cromwell campaign results in massacres and confiscation of two and a half million acres of land. Irish are forced west of the river Shannon to ‘Hell or Connaught’.
1642 English parliament seeks for the suppression of the Irish rising through the ‘Adventurers Act’; Scots Covenanter army under Robert fMonro lands in Ulster (April); Owen Roe O’Neill arrives from the Spanish Netherlands to form the Ulster Catholic army (July); civil war between king and parliament commences in England; Catholic Confederacy assembles at Kilkenny.
1643 Overtures proceed between the Confederacy and the king.
1644-5 Ireland remains in chaos while Archbishop Rinuccini arrives from the Papacy to provide direction to the rising.
1646 Forces of Owen Roe O’Neill defeat those of Monro at Benburb, Co. Tyrone (June) but fail to capitalize on the victory; Rinuccini attempts to prevent the Confederate Catholics from coming to terms with a Protestant monarch; publication of Sir John Temple’s The Irish Rebellion.
1647 Forces of parliament dominant in English civil war; Dublin conceded by Ormond to a parliamentary force.
1649 Execution of Charles I; arrival of Cromwell in Ireland and sieges of Drogheda and Wesford (Sept.-Oct.); death of Owen Roe O’Neill (Nov.).
c. 1650 Parlaimint Chlainne Tomais (Parliament of Clan Thomas) completed; An Siogai Romhanach (The Roman Fairy).
1650-2 Continuation of Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.
1653 Surveys commence for Cromwellian plantation.
1654-5 Cromwellian plantation implemented.
1658 Death of Oliver Cromwell.
1660 Restoration of Charles II; declares he will uphold the Cromwellian conquest and restore property to ‘innocent papists’.
1661 Reconstitution of an episcopal state church in Ireland; commission investigates Irish land ownership.
1662 Duke of Ormond appointed governor of Ireland; commission hears claims for Irish lands.
1663 Duke of Ormond appointed governor of Ireland; commission hears claims for Irish lands.
1663 Closure of court of claims for Irish lands, its business unfinished.
1665 ‘Act of Explanation’ obliging Cromwellian grantees to surrender one-third of their lands to provide for ‘innocents’ who had been dispossessed.
1670 Synod of Catholic bishops meets in Dublin.
1678 Titus Oates plot in England; moves against Catholic public worship in Ireland.
1681 Execution of Oliver Plunkett, Catholic archbishop of Armagh.
1684 Establishment of the Dublin Philosophical Society by William Molyneux.
1685 Death of Charles II. James II, a Catholic, ascends British throne. He is dispossessed, flees England after William of Orange takes over.
1687 Richard Talbot, earl of Tyrconnell, appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland and sets about replacing Protestant officials with Catholics.
1688 Birth of a son to wife of James II (June); ‘invitation’ to Prince William of Orange and his wife Mary (daughter to James II) to accept the throne of England; flight of James II to France (Dec.).
1689 William III and Mary II enthroned as joint monarchs; James II arrives in Kinsale from France (Mar.); siege of Derry underway and relief provided by Williamite forces (July). Catholic ‘parliament’ underway in Dublin.
1689-1691 Jacobite war between James II and William of Orange on Irish soil. Siege of Derry by James unsuccessful.
1690 William III arrives near Carrickfergus; defeats forces of James at the Boyne (July); James flees to France and William takes Dublin. Sieges of Athlone and Limerick fail but Williamite courts in Dublin commence hearings against those who fought against William III.
1691 Athlone taken by Williamite forces; Jacobite army defeated at Aughrim (July); Galway and Limerick taken (Sept.). Irish officers permitted to go to France. Treaty of Limerick signed (Oct.) end war.
1695 ‘Flight of the Wild Geese’ as bulk of Irish Army goes to the Continent.
1695 Acts restricting rights of Catholics in education, arms-bearing, and horse owning; Catholic clergy banished.
1695-1725 Penal Laws enacted to crush Catholics and Catholicism. Restrictions on Irish trade. Irish woollen industry crippled by England.
1698 Death of Daibhi O Bruadair.
1699 Acts restricting Irish woollen exports.
1700-1800 Presbyterians in Ulster come under some of the Penal Laws and begin a mass Scotch-Irish exodus to America.
1703 Parlaimint no mBan (Parliament of Women).
1704 Legislation restricting rights of Catholics in landholding and public offices (by means of ‘tests’).
1710-1795 Ribbonmen, Poop-o’-Day Boys, Volunteers, and other secret organizations form up and night-ride in vicious peasant land wars.
1710 Stair Eamuinn Ui Chleire.
1713 Jonathan Swift becomes dean of St Patrick’s.
1719 Toleration Act for Protestant Dissenters.
1720 ‘Sixth of George I’: Declaratory Act giving Westminster parliament the right to legislate for Ireland.
1724 William Wood granted patent to mint copper halfpence for Ireland, provoking Swift’s Drapier’s Letters.
1726 Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift.
1728 Act removing franchise from Catholics. Death of Aogan O Rathaille.
1731 Founding of Charter Schools.
1738 Death of Turlough Carolan.
1750 ‘Dublin Society’ (later Royal Dublin Society) founded.
1758 Wide Streets Commission appointed to oversee development of Dublin.
1762-72 Viceroyalty of Townshend.
1768 Octennial Act limiting duration of Irish parliaments.
1772 Relief Act allows Catholics to lease bogland.
1778 Relief Act allows Catholics leasehold and inheritance rights.
1780 Colonial trade opened to Irish goods, following Volunteers’ campaign.
c. 1780 Cuirt an Mhean Oiche (The Midnight Court), by Brian Merriman.
1782-1800 Penal Laws relaxed. Grattan’s Parliament in Dublin compels Westminster to abrogate its authority to legislate for Ireland and gains Irish autonomy.
1782 Volunteers call for legislative independence at Dungannon convention (Feb.); Rockingham government in Britain brings to power an administration favourable to Irish claims; Relief Acts allow Catholics to own freeholds outside parliamentary boroughs and gives access to educational rights (May-July); repeal of ‘Sixth of GeorgeI’ and amendment of Poynings’ Law (June). Catholic colleges reopened, using English language.
1784 Death of Eoghan Rua O Suilleabhain.
1789 Reliques of Irish Poetry, by Charlotte Brooke.
1791 Theobald Wolfe Tone’s Argument on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland (Aug.); foundation of society of United Irishmen in Belfast and-later-Dublin (Oct.).
1792 Relief Act admits Catholics to the practice of the law. Belfast Harp Festival.
1793 Volunteers suppressed and arms movements restricted (Feb.-Mar.); Relief Act admits Catholics to parliamentary franchise (Apr.); Irish Militia established (Apr.).
1794 Dublin United Irishmen suppressed.
1795 Earl Fitzwilliam arrives as Lord-Lieutenant (Jan.) and dismissed (Feb.); Catholic seminary established at Maynooth (June); Orange Order founded (Sept.).
1795 Battle of the Diamond fought outside Armagh by Catholic Volunteers and the victorious Protestant Peep-o’-Day Boys. The Orange Order is formed to celebrate.
1796 Insurrection Act (Mar.) and suspension of habeas corpus (Oct.); French invasion force in Bantry Bay (Dec.).
1798 Martial law imposed (Mar.); rebellion in Wexford (May); Humbert lands in Killala (Aug.); United Irish Rising crushed; Tone arrested and dies (Nov.).
1800 Act of Union under British Prime Minister Pitt forces Irish Parliament to dissolve and Ireland to become part of the United Kingdom; Castle Rackrent, by Maria Edgeworth.
1803 Unsuccessful rising by Robert Emmet’s. Emmet immortalizes himself in his speech from the dock before his execution.
1822 Irish Constabulary Act (setting up county police forces and salaried magistracy).
1823-1843 The era of Daniel O’Connell in which emancipation is won for the Catholics.
1823 Catholic Association founded.
1824 Free Trade in manufactured articles established between Britain and Ireland.
1825 Catholic Emancipation bill rejected by house of Lords.
1826 Waterford electors reject Beresford family’s nominee.
1829 Catholic Emancipation Act permits Catholics to sit in parliament; forty shilling freeholders disenfranchised.
1831 Introduction of ‘national’ system of elementary education.
1832 Irish Tithe Compostion Act.
1833 Irish Church Temporalities Act.
1835 ‘Lichfield House Compact’ between O’Connell, Whigs, and radicals.
1838 Foundation of Father Mathew’s Temperance movement.
1840 Foundation of Repeal Association (Apr.); Irish Municipal Reform Act (Aug.).
1843 Repeal meeting at Clontarf prohibited and cancelled.
1845 Maynooth endowment spectacularly increased (June); potatoe blight first noticed (Sept.).
1845 Queen’s College founded in Belfast.
1845-1848 Young Ireland movement founded. Young Ireland Rising fails.
1845--1850 Crop failure, British landlordism, and governmental incompetence result in famine. A million Irish peasants die by hunger and disease and another million flee, mainly to America.
1846 Repeal of Corn Laws (June); Russell and new Whig government decide not to intervene in Irish grain market (Aug.).
1847 Foundation of Irish Confederation.
1848 Abortive rising at Ballingarry.
1849 Encumbered Estates Act, facilitating sale of land.
1850 Irish Reform Act trebles county electorate and reduces borough electorate. Tenant League founded.
1856 ‘Phoenix Society’ (a precursor of the Fenian movement) founded at Skibbereen.
1858-1867 The era of the Fenians, a secret organization with heavy Irish-American backing. The Fenian Rising fails.
1859 ‘Fenian Brotherhood’, a sister organization, established in USA.
1860 Publication of William Carleton’s Collected Works (Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, 1830).
1866 Archbishop Paul Cullen becomes the first Irish cardinal.
1867 Attempted Fenian rising.
1869 Disestablishment of the Anglican Church as the Church of Ireland by W.E. Gladstone. Land reforms enacted.
1870 Gladstone’s first Land Act, recognizing tenant right (Aug.); foundation of Home Government Association by Isaac Butt (Sept.).
1873 Home Rule League founded.
1877-1891 The era of Charles Stewart Parnell as ‘uncrowned King of Ireland’. Parnell becomes a major political for by attaining leadership of the Irish Party in Westminster, Parnell elected president of Home Rule Confederation of Great Britain, leading the fight for the abolition of the Act of Union to be replaced by Irish Home Rule. Parnell is destroyed in a divorce scandal and succumbs without reaching his goals.
1878 Fenian ‘New Departure’ initiated by Davitt and Devoy.
1878-1880 Standish O’Grady’s ‘History of Ireland: Heroic Period’.
1879 Irish National Land League founded.
1880 Parnell elected chairman of Irish Parliamentary Party.
1881 Ladies’ Land League founded; Land Act introduces judicial fixing of rents (scope extended 1882, 1887), and ‘No Rent Manifesto’ issued by imprisoned nationalist leaders.
1882 Irish National League replaces proscribed Land League; chief secretary and under-secretary assassinated by Invincibles in Phoenix Park.
1884 Franchise extended by ‘Mud Cabin Act’; Gaelic Athletic Association founded, which not only revives the old games but proves a boon to nationalism.
1885 Irish Loyal and Patriotic Union founded (1891: Irish Unionist Alliance) formed to fight Gladstone’s Home Rule..
1886 Catholic hierarchy endorses Home Rule after Gladstone’s ‘conversion’; Government of Ireland bill defeated in Commons; ‘Plan of Campaign’ initiated and proscribed.
1889 O’Shea names Parnell as co-respondent in divorce petition.
1890 Gladstone’s threat to resign if Parnell remains leader, followed by hierarchy’s denunciation of Parnell and his repudiation by his part (Dec.).
1891 Anti-Parnellite Irish National Federation formed, followed by Parnell’s death; land purchase extended and Congested Districts Board founded.
1893 Gaelic League formed as forerunner of the cultural revival which becomes extremely nationalistic in character; second Government of Ireland bill defeated in Lords. The Celtic Twilight, by W.B. Yeats.
1894 Foundation of Irish Agricultural Organization Society and Irish Trades Union Congress.
1895 The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde.
1896 Women qualified as poor law electors.
1898 United Irish League founded; Local Government (Ireland) Act applies parliamentary franchise to local elections, extending vote to some women.
1899-1904 Arthur Griffith founds the Republican paper, The United Irishman, and later, Sinn Fein political party.
1899 Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland established.
1900 Redmond elected chairman of Irish Parliamentary Party and United Irish League.
1900 First publication by Irish Texts Society: Poems of Keating.
1902 Land Conference representing nationalists and landlords, followed (1903) by Wyndham’s Land Purchase Act. Cathleen ni Houlihan, by W.B. Yeats.
1903 Formation of Griffith’s National Council and Sloan’s Independent Orange Order. Poets and Dreamers, by Lady Gregory.
1904 Irish Reform Association founded to promote ‘devolution’. John Bull’s Other Island, by G.B. Shaw.
1905 Formation of Ulster Unionist Council and Irish Industrial Development Association; reorganization, under Redmondite Board of Erin, of Ancient Order of Hibernians.
1907 Dockers’ strike and riots in Belfast; Irish Councils bill dropped. Rioting at opening week of the The Playboy of the Western World, by J.M. Synge.
1908 Foundation of Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union and Griffith’s Sinn Féin; Acts for Old Age Pensions and Irish Universities.
1909 First compulsory powers of land purchase enacted.
1910 O’Brien’s All-for-Ireland League founded.
1911 National Insurance introduced; Lords’ veto on major legislation abolished.
1912 Asquith’s introduction of third Government of Ireland bill; Catholic workers expelled from Belfast shipyards; Ulster Covenants signed on ‘Ulster Day’ (28 Sept.). Parlaimint Chlainne Tomáis reissued.
1912-1914 The Third Home Rule Bill passes. Protestant Ulster holds Covenant Day, declaring an Act of Covenant of loyalty to Britain. Protestants arm and run guns into province. Home Rule Bill suspended by beginning of World War I.
1913 Successive formation of Ulster Volunteer Force, Irish Citizens Army, and Irish (National) Volunteers; Dublin strikes and lock-out.
1914 Illegal importation of arms by Ulster Volunteers (Apr.) and Irish Volunteers (July, Aug.); collapse of Buckingham Palace conference just before outbreak of European war; Redmond’s futile attempts to reconstitute Irish Volunteers as home defence force (Aug.) and Irish Division (Sept.), followed by creation of 36th (Ulster) Division formed by Ulster Volunteers, enactment and suspension of Home Rule (Sept.); split in Irish Volunteers, and first plans for rising.
1915 Irish Republican Brotherhood reorganized and Military Council formed (Dec.).
1916 Irish Republic proclaimed in Dublin (24 Apr.), followed by martial law, rebel surrender (29 Apr.), imprisonment’s, and fifteen executions; Battle of Somme, shattering Ulster Division; Lloyd George’s futile attempt to implement Home Rule with exclusion of six counties. ‘Easter 1916’ written by W.B. Yeats; privately circulated; published 1920.
1917 Ineffectual Irish Convention; reorganization of Sinn Féin and Irish Volunteers (Oct.).
1917-1921 Sinn Fein wins election. Republic declared. De Valera named President. Lloyd George rejects Irish claim and Anglo-Irish War ensues with Black and Tan terror.
1918 Headquarters staff formed for Irish Volunteers; hierarchy’s opposition to extension to Ireland of conscription linked to Sinn Féinn and nationalist opposition (Apr.); arrest of republican leaders in ‘German Plot’; republican success at general election (Dec.), allowing formation of Dáil Éireann the following month.
1919 De Valera’s attempt to get recognition of Irish claim by Peace Conference, followed by his eighteen-month tour of USA.
1920 Better Government of Ireland Act introduces partition between two Home Rule states; riots in Derry and Belfast, revival of Ulster Volunteers, and expulsion of Catholic shipyard workers followed by Republican ‘Belfast Boycott’; reorganization of police, suspension of judicial process and habeas corpus, followed by partial martial law; sporadic violence and ambushes, culminating in Dublin’s ‘Bloody Sunday’ (Nov.) and burning of central Cork (Dec.).
1921 Ulster Parliament opens. Irish delegation goes to London and a truce is declared. The Irish Dail rejects the terms and after further negotiations a Treaty is signed by Michael Collins after an ultimatum by Lloyd George. De Valera repudiates Treaty.
1921 Craig’s victory in first elections in Northern Ireland (NI); truce between republicans and Crown forces, followed by meetings of Lloyd George and de Valera, peace conference, and Anglo-Irish ‘Treaty’ (6 Dec.).
1922 Treaty narrowly approved by Dáil and formation of provisional government under Collins (Jan.); convention of anti-Treaty Irish Republican Army, their occupation of Dublin buildings, and failure of peace negotiations; ‘Special Powers’ given to NI police (Apr.) to quell sectarian conflict; ‘Pact’ election followed by arrest of anti-Treaty leaders and outbreak of civil war (June); National Army given emergency powers, reinforced after murder of Collins; ‘Irregulars’ excommunicated by hierarchy; summary executions of 77 republicans; Irish Free State inaugurated and Northern Ireland excluded from it (Dec.). Ulysses, by James Joyce.
1922 In Ulster B-Specials are formed and Special Powers enacted.
1923 Irregulars ordered to cease hostilities and dump arms (Apr., May); Cosgrave’s Cumann na nGaedheal founded; Free State admitted to League of Nations; remaining tenanted land vested in Land Commission (as in NI, 1925).
1923-1925 Civil War ends with thousands of Anti-Treaty men and women interned. Ulster ends proportional representation, begins gerrymandering, and refuses to change borders.
1924 National Army reorganization, cut-back, and mutiny.
1925 Northern nationalists enter NI Commons; Boundary Commission collapses and partition confirmed by tripartite agreement.
1926 De Valera leaves Sinn Féin and founds Fianna Fáil Party; ‘Balfour Declaration’ at Imperial conference proclaims Commonwealth co-partnership. Rioting at opening of The Plough and the Stars, by Seán O’Casey.
1927 O’Higgins assassinated; Fianna Fáil enters Dáil.
1929 Proportional representation abolished in NI parliamentary elections (as in local elections, 1922); censorship of publications centralized in IFS. An tOileánach (The Islandmand) by Tomás O Criomhthain.
1930 Irish Labour Party separates from Trades Union Congress.
1931 Banning of IRA in IFS; autonomy of Free state extended by Statue to Westminister.
1932 De Valera replaces Cosgrave as president of Executive Council; ‘tariff war’ provoked by his withholding land annuities from British Exchequer; Belfast riots demanding more outdoor relief from Poor Law guardians (abolished in IFS, 1923). Land annuities to Britain cancelled and Treaty renounced. All of Ireland claimed, and oath to the Crown is abolished. This leads to a trade and economic war with England.
1933 Blueshirts (National Guard) formed from Army Comrades’ Association, and proscribed; United Ireland Party (Fine Gael) formed under Blueshirt leader O’Duffy; oath of fidelity and right of appeal to privy council abolished.
1934 O’Duffy’s resignation allows Cosgrave’s reinstatement as Fine Gael leader. The Blueshirts, a quasi-fascist movement, makes a brief and unsuccessful appearance.
1935 Importation to IFS and sale of contraceptives banned; Belfast disturbances.
1936 IFS Senate abolished; IRA proscribed by de Valera; Governor General eliminated under External Relations Act.
1937 Constitution of Éire replaces IFS constitution of 1922.
1938 Agreement between de Valera and Chamberlain to end tariff dispute and return ‘Treaty ports’ to Éire; UK guarantee to subsidize NI social welfare payments to British levels.
1939 IRA bombing campaign in Britain, and raid on Magazine Fort in Phoenix Park; Éire’s declaration of neutrality implemented after outbreak of war (Sept.). Death of W.B. Yeats.
1940 Deaths of IRA hunger-strikers in Éire; joint Anglo-Irish military consultations; covert imposition of economic sanctions by UK against Éire.
1941 Worst German air-raids in Belfast and Dublin. Death of James Joyce.
1942 The Great Hunger, by Patrick Kavanagh.
1944 Split in Irish Labour Party (healed 1950); American attempt to have Axis legations in Dublin closed.
1945 Congress of Irish Unions formed after split in Trades Union Congress.
1946 NI National Insurance aligned with British system.
1947 Universal secondary schooling enacted in NI.
1948 National Health Service introduced in NI; Irish Republic enacted (inaugurated Apr. 1949) after Costello’s repeal of External Relations Act.
1949 The Republic of Ireland is declared, damaging claims to the six counties of Ulster Ireland Act, giving UK’s assurance to NI that partition would be perpetuated. Cré na Cille, by Máirtin O Cadhain.
1951 Minister for Health resigns after hierarchy’s campaign against Mother and Child Scheme (similar scheme put through by de Valera, 1953).
1952 Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett.
1954 IRA attacks in Armagh; The Quare Fellow, by Brendan Behan.
1955 Republic admitted to United Nations Organization.
1956-62 Border campaigns against the Ulster border are badly conceived and end in failure.
1958 First programme for Economic Expansion in Republic (others in 1963-64, 1969).
1959 Split healed with formation of Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
1961 Republic’s unsuccessful application to join European Economic Community (repeated 1967).
1963 Hillery’s plan for universal secondary education in Republic.
1964 Riots at Divis Flats in Belfast. Terence O’Neill elected Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Civil Rights movement founded in Dungannon. First meetings of Lemass and O’Neill raise vain hopes of reconciliation; McAteer’s Nationalist Party becomes official opposition at Stormont Castle.
1966 Anglo-Irish Free Trade agreement. Paisley agitation against Civil Righters heightens. O’Neill invokes Special Powers Act after Malvern Street murder of Catholics by outlawed Ulster Volunteer Force.
1967 Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association founded.
1968 Clash in Derry between CRA and police; O’Neill’s programme for eliminating anti Catholic discrimination in local government, housing, and franchise. Civil Rights movement snowballs. Royal Ulster Constabulary baton charge at Derry gains world attention.
1969 People’s Democracy march from Belfast to Derry (Jan.); first in series of Belfast explosions (Mar.) and deaths in ‘Troubles’ (July); army drafted to NI after Protestant ‘siege’ of Bogside (Derry) following Apprentice Boys’ parade (Aug.); reform of central and local franchise in NI (Dec.). Paisley mob attacks Civil Rights march at Burntollet Bridge, B-Specials mobilized. Orange and Apprentice Boys parades incite riots. Constabulary and B-Specials beaten in the Battle of Bogside. Riots in Belfast, Catholics burned out in Ardoyne, O’Neill resigns.
1970 Provisional Sinn Féin formed after split, reflecting similar split in IRA; initially multi-sectarian Ulster Defence Regiment replaces B Specials (formed 1920); Social Democratic and Labour Party formed from moderate nationalist groups.
1971 Internment reintroduced; Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party founded. First British soldiers killed by execution. Chichester-Clark resigns.
1972 ‘Direct Rule’ imposed after episodes such as Derry’s ‘Bloody Sunday’ (Jan.) in which soldiers killed thirteen CRA marchers, and bombing of Aldershot barracks; eleven killed in ‘Bloody Friday’ explosions caused by Belfast IRA (July); ‘special position’ of Catholic church expunged from Republic’s constitution. Stormont government falls to direct rule from London. William Whitelaw named Supremo by Heath. Ulster reels under bomb campaign by IRA. Sectarian murders begun by Protestants in revenge. Twenty thousand British troops in Ulster. Operation Motorman breaks barricades as British troops enter Free Derry.
1973 Republic and UK (including NI) enter EEC; proportional representation restored for NI local elections; Northern Ireland Assembly created, power-sharing executive agreed, and tripartite Sunningdale conference held. Proposals for new governmental alignment accepted by middle-of-the-road parties on both sides. Catholic and Protestant extremists vow to destroy the plan. De Valera retires as President of the Republic. Lynch government falls to Fianna Gael-Labour Coalition. Erskine Childers, a Protestant and son of a Republican martyr, elected President of the Republic. Coucil of Ireland, with extremely limited powers, agreed upon by North and South. Catholic/Protestant power-sharing coalition initiated November 21 in Ulster with Brian Faulkner as leader. Militant wing of Unionist Party rejects coalition and bolts, leaving government badly weakened.
1974 Unionists leave Assembly (Jan.), general strike organized by Ulster Workers’ Council (May), and direct rule reimposed (May); multiple killings in Dublin explosions (May) and Guildford and Birmingham pub bombings (Nov., Dec.). Militant Protestants sweep election. Bernadette Devlin ousted. Labour Party returns to power in England. Harold Wilson again Prime Minister. Dublin bombed without warning. Militants from Ulster suspected. General strike by Ulster Protestants brings down coalition. Direct rule reinvoked by Harold Wilson. Swedish Academy names Sean MacBride Nobel Peace Laureate.
1975 Northern Ireland Convention convened; NI internment suspended (abolished 1980). New Supremo, Merlyn Rees, fails to stabilize Ulster. IRA intensifies bomb campaigns in England in effort to have British public opinion force government to remove troops from Ulster. De Valera dies.
1976 Convention collapses; British ambassador in Dublin killed; Republic’s Emergency Powers Act referred to Supreme Court by president, who was subsequently forced to resign. North, by Seamus Heaney. Ulster situation continues to deteriorate, with failure of all attempts at reconciliation, power sharing, or coalition. Province edges closer to civil war.
1978 Twelve killed by Provisionals’ fire-bombs in Down restaurant.
1979 Earl Mountbatten and relatives killed in Sligo and eight soldiers killed at Warrenpoint (Down), in August; relaxation of Republic’s ban of contraceptives.
1980 Founding of Aosdána. Brian Friel’s ‘Translations’ performed by Field Day Company, Derry.
1981 Death of Republican hunger-strikers followed by collapse of Provisionals’ strategy of ‘H-block’ protests.
1982 Multiple killings of soldiers at Knightsbridge (July) and Ballykelly, Co. Londonderry (Dec.).
1983 Futile All-Ireland Forum; referendum approves constitutional ban on abortion in Republic.
1984 Irishmen south of the border and nationalists in the North have traditionally called the town and county Derry, its original name. After Scottish and English Protestants settled the area under a charter from James I early in the seventeenth century, they changed the name to Londonderry, in honour of the London company that had organized the so-called Plantation. The newer name is the official one in Northern Ireland and Britain as well as the name recognized by Unionists. In 1984, however, the City Council of Londonderry voted to formally remove London from its name. Partly, perhaps, as a result of this, the name Derry seems to be growing in popularity throughout the community.
1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement at Hillsborough, generating bitter Protestant protest.
1986 Referendum confirms Republic’s constitutional ban on divorce.
1987 Eleven killed before Enniskillen service for Remembrance Sunday.
1989 Fianna Fáil form coalition government for the first time in their history following general election. Their partners are the Progressive Democrats, Charles Haughey remains Taoiseach.
1990 Republic of Ireland reach quarter-finals of the soccer world cup in Italy under the management of Jack Charlton.
1990 Mary Robinson elected seventh President of Ireland, the first woman to hold the office.
1992 Dr. Eamon Casey, bishop of Galway, flees country after it was revealed that he had fathered a child in the course of an affair nearly twenty years previously. The first of a succession of sexual scandals that eroded the authority of the Catholic Church in the course of the decade.
1994 IRA and Loyalist paramilitary groups announce ceasefire.
1996 In the Republic of Ireland, a constitutional referendum to permit civil divorce and re-marriage is carried narrowly.
1996 End of IRA ceasefire.
1997 Following Labour victory in British general election, Dr. Marjorie (Mo) Mowland appointed first woman Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
1997 Fianna Fáil-PD coalition under Bertie Ahern replaces Rainbow coalition (Fine Gael, Labour, Democratic Left) following general election in the Republic.
1997 IRA declare a resumption of the 1994 ceasefire (July).

Source:    The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland, Edited by R.F. Foster; Ireland a Terrible Beauty, Jill and Leon Uris; The MacMillan Atlas of Irish History, Editor Seán Duffy



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Chapter 1

Our Island Home
Symbols of the Four Provinces
Ireland's Internal Divisions in the 19th Century
Maps of Ireland
Chronology of Irish History