The history of Ireland is a fascinating but complicated story involving everyone from the Vikings to Queen Elizabeth. The first settles in Ireland history were the Iron Age Celts from Central Europe, who traveled to the island in the 4th century B.C. Many of their dwellings, artifacts, and architecture can be viewed in Irish museums, as well as the scattered examples that still stand throughout the Dingle Peninsula. It is an eerie feeling to explore a beehive hut or fortress that was one of the first buildings in the history of Ireland. Christianity began spreading throughout the culture and history of Ireland, beginning in 432 with St. Patrick. For the next few centuries, the country was in the golden age of Ireland history.
The beginning of the 9th century brought trouble in the form of numerous armed Vikings, who built settlements in Wexford, Cork, and Dublin. It is from these Viking ancestors that the Irish people received their characteristic bright red hair. Viking kings ruled over Ireland until 1155 when pop Adrian IV granted dominion over Ireland to King Henry II. Beginning with Norman Strongbow’s arrival in Ireland, the epic conflicts between Ireland and England began. Oliver Cromwell arrived in 1649, determined to make Ireland into a Protestant country. His forces ruthlessly killed thousands of men, women, and children, and his violent persecution is one of the most bitterly remembered events in the culture and history of Ireland. One particularly incident involved the burning of a cathedral on the Rock of Cathedral by Cromwell’s forces. Hundreds of Irish Catholics, including women are children, had sought refuge in the cathedral and were subsequently burned to death.
The late 19th century brought the infamous Potato Famine. In a decade, the population of Ireland shrank from 8 million to 6 million, mainly due to starvations, although many citizens decided to emigrate to other countries. With the passing of decades, Ireland history welcomed a new chapter: the Irish Nationalist movement. Many Irish groups fought for Irish independence from Britain, equal rights for Catholics, and land reform. The Easter Rising 1916 marked the climax of nationalist activity, when groups seized several key areas around Dublin and proclaimed Ireland to be a free country. When British squelched the uprising in six days, the leaders were subsequently tried and executed. The Garden of Remembrance in Dublin is decided to these leaders and all people who have fought for Ireland’s independence and freedom. Ireland fought in the War of Independence, and the war ended in 1920. Ireland, as per the peace agreement, was divided into two portions: 26 provinces in Southern Ireland that were independent and 6 in Northern Ireland that are British-ruled. This division is often cited as a major cause of the 30+ years of Troubles that occurred throughout Northern Ireland.
The history of Ireland music is a fascinating one, encompassing pre-Baroque music, Celtic dance songs, present day rock, and much more. In May, visitors can attend one of the more traditional events in Ireland—the Fleadh Nuo. The Fleadh Nuo is the annual festival of traditional Irish music, song, and dance. It takes place in Ennis, County Clare. Attending a music festival is a fabulous way to learn about the culture and history of Ireland. One of the more popular music festivals in Ireland is the Galway Early Music Festival, which also gives tourists a good look at the history of Ireland music. Between old world and new world music events, the history of Ireland music is not a linear one. Irish music, and the country as a whole, often seems timeless.
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