History of Ireland
|Early Christian Ireland|
|Early medieval and Viking era|
|Early Modern Ireland 1536–1691|
|History of Ireland (state)|
|History of Northern Ireland|
The Early Medieval era in Ireland, from 800 to 1166 is characterised by Viking raids, then settlement, in what had become a stable and wealthy country. The history of Ireland begins with the first known settlement in Ireland around 8000 BC when Hunter-gatherers arrived from Great Britain and continental The last Ice Age came to an end in Ireland about 10000 BC. Human occupation of Ireland began about 7000 BC and the earliest humans are believed to have migrated from Prehistory Mesolithic (8000 BC - 4500 BC What little is known of pre- Christian Ireland comes from a few references in Roman writings The history of Ireland begins with the first known settlement in Ireland around 8000 BC when Hunter-gatherers arrived from Great Britain and continental The later medieval period in Ireland (" Norman Ireland " was dominated by the Cambro-Norman invasion of the country in 1171. Early Modern Ireland saw the first full conquest of Ireland by England and its colonization with Protestant settlers from England and Scotland This period in Ireland's history was marked by the dominance of the so-called Protestant Ascendancy. From 1801 to 1922 the whole island of Ireland formed a constituent part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (UK The Republic of Ireland first became an independent state on 6 December 1922 Northern Ireland was established as a distinct region of the United Kingdom on 3 May 1921 under the terms of the Government of Ireland Act 1920. To 1800 The first settlers in Ireland were seafarers who survived largely by Fishing, Hunting and gathering. A Viking is one of the Norse ( Scandinavian Explorers Warriors Merchants, and pirates who raided and colonized wide areas
Early Ireland had an unusual government. The country was divided into many small kingdoms known as tuatha (sing. tuath). At the head of a tuath was ri tuaithe (local king), elected from a ruling lineage or sliocht by all the free men of the tuath. All men who owned land, all professionals, and all craftsmen, were entitled to become members of an assembly, known as a oenach. Each tuath's oenach decided policies, declared war or peace on other tuatha, and elected or deposed their 'kings'. The territory of the tuath was not owned by the king however, but by the free families within it. They owed the king military service and tribute. The tuath was thus a body of persons voluntarily united for socially beneficial purposes, and its territorial dimension was the sum total of the landed properties of its members. About 80 to 100 tuatha coexisted at any time throughout Ireland. Above the tuatha were more powerful provincial kings, or ri ruireach such as the Ui Neill dynasty in Tir Eoghan in the province of Uladh. The Uí Néill ( Irish for descendants of Niall; Uí pronounced 'Ee') were Irish and Scottish Dynasties who claimed descent from Niall Ulster ( Ulaidh ˈkwɪɟɪ ˈʌlˠu / ˈʌlˠi is one of the four provinces of Ireland, in addition to Connacht, Munster and Leinster
This does not mean that Gaelic Irish society was egalitarian. Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning equal) is a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals and have The highest class, kings, were considered nemed or sacred. They could not do manual work, as it was beneath their enech or honour. Because of the election system of succession, there was often violent infighting among the kindred of ruling family or fine over succession issues. Clerics and Poets were also "sacred". Beneath this class were the free men, Boaires who owned the land and at the bottom of the social scale were the unfree class, who had no political rights and who did the labouring work.  The conventions ordering early Irish society were written down in the Brehon Laws, most notably in the Seanchas Mor text, between 600 and 900 AD. Early Irish law refers to the statutes that governed everyday life and politics in Ireland during the Gaelic period.
Ireland was overwhelmingly rural before the Vikings arrived, with very few urban settlements. The monasteries, as well as being centres of prayer and learning, were also important centres of commerce and wealth.
The first recorded Viking raid in Irish history occurred in 795 when Vikings from Norway looted the island of Lambay. A Viking is one of the Norse ( Scandinavian Explorers Warriors Merchants, and pirates who raided and colonized wide areas Norway ( Norwegian: Norge ( Bokmål) or Noreg ( Nynorsk) officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Constitutional Lambay Island ( lies off the coast of north County Dublin, Ireland, north of Ireland's Eye. The annals name the site of this attack as Rechru, a name that could mean either modern Lambay Island or Rathlin. O Corrain, located off the Dublin coast. These early Viking raids were generally small in scale and quick.
These early raids interrupted the golden age of Christian Irish culture starting the beginning of two hundred years of intermittent warfare, with waves of Viking raiders plundering monasteries and towns throughout Ireland. Most of the early raiders came from the fjords of western Norway. They are believed to have sailed first to Shetland, then south to Orkney. Shetland (formerly spelled Zetland, from etland; Old Norse non Hjaltland; Sealtainn is an Archipelago off the northeast coast of Orkney (also known as the Orkney Islands or incorrectly the Orkneys) is an Archipelago in northern Scotland, situated 10 miles (16 km north The Vikings would have then sailed down the Atlantic coast of Scotland, and then over to Ireland. Scotland ( Gaelic: Alba) is a Country in northwest Europethat occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. During these early raids the Vikings also traveled to the west coast of Ireland to the Skellig Islands located off the coast of County Kerry. The Skellig Islands (Na Scealaga are two small steep and rocky islands lying about 16 km west of Bolus Head on the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry County Kerry ( Contae Chiarraí in Irish) is a southwestern county of Ireland. The early raids on Ireland seem to have been aristocratic free enterprise, and named leaders appear in the Irish annals: Saxolb (Soxulfr) in 837, Turges (Þurgestr) in 845, Agonn (Hákon) in 847
Ireland and England were both being raided by Vikings in the early 840s. Turgesius (died 845 (also spelled "Turgeis" was a Viking chief active in Ireland who is said to have conquered Dublin. Glendalough ( is a glacial valley located in County Wicklow, Ireland, renowned for its Early Medieval monastic settlement founded The Vikings were beginning to establish settlements along the Irish coasts at this time and began to spend the winter months there. Vikings started settlements in Waterford, Wexford, Limerick, Cork, Arklow, and Dublin. Waterford ( or Windy fjord;) is a city in Ireland. It is the primary city of the South East region and the fifth largest in the country Wexford (derived from Old Norse Veisafjǫrðr (in some sources spelled "Waes Fiord" – veisa meaning "mudflat stagnant pool" Limerick (pronounced /ˈlɪmrɪk/ Luimneach in Irish) is a city and the county seat of County Limerick in the Province of Munster Cork (Corcaigh is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the island of Ireland 's third most populous city after Dublin and Belfast Arklow ( is a historic town located in County Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland. Dublin (ˈdʌblɨn/ /ˈdʊblɨn or /ˈdʊbəlɪn/, bˠalʲə aːha klʲiəh or cliə(ɸ is both the largest city and capital of Ireland. The archaeological evidence found in Kilmainham, on the western side of Dublin city, is proof of the Viking settlements during this time period in Ireland. Kilmainham ( Cill Mhaighneann in Irish, meaning "St Maighnenn's church" is a suburb of Dublin south of the River Liffey and west of Written accounts from this time (early to mid 840s) show that the Vikings were moving further inland to attack (often using rivers such as the Shannon) and then retreating to their coastal headquarters.
Thorgest (in Latin Turgesius) was the first Viking to attempt an Irish kingdom. Turgesius (died 845 (also spelled "Turgeis" was a Viking chief active in Ireland who is said to have conquered Dublin. He sailed up the Shannon and the River Bann to Armagh in 839 where he forged a realm spanning Ulster, Connacht and Meath which lasted from 839 to 845. The River Shannon ( Sionainn or Sionna in Irish) is at 386 km (240 miles the longest river in Ireland. The River Bann (An Bhanna is the longest River in Northern Ireland, the total length being 80 Miles (129 km) Ulster ( Ulaidh ˈkwɪɟɪ ˈʌlˠu / ˈʌlˠi is one of the four provinces of Ireland, in addition to Connacht, Munster and Leinster In 845, he was captured and drowned in Lough Owen by Máel Sechnaill mac Maíl Ruanaid, King of Mide. Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid (died 27 November 862) was High King of Ireland. In medieval Ireland, the Kings of Mide were of the Clann Cholmáin, a branch of the Uí Néill.
In 848, Máel Sechnaill, now High king, defeated a Norse army at Sciath Nechtain. Arguing that his fight was allied with the Christian fight against pagans, he requested aid from the Frankish emperor Charles the Bald, but to no avail. Charles the Bald ( 13 June 823 – 6 October 877) Holy Roman Emperor (875–877 as Charles II) and King of West Francia
In 852, the Vikings Ivar Beinlaus and Olaf the White landed in Dublin Bay and established a fortress, on which the city of Dublin now stands. Ivar Ragnarsson (died possibly 873 nicknamed the Boneless ( inn beinlausi) was a Danish Viking chieftain (and by reputation also a Berserker Olaf the White was a Viking Sea-king who lived in the latter half of the ninth century CE Dublin (ˈdʌblɨn/ /ˈdʊblɨn or /ˈdʊbəlɪn/, bˠalʲə aːha klʲiəh or cliə(ɸ is both the largest city and capital of Ireland. Olaf the White was the son of a Norwegian king and made himself the king of Dublin. Olaf the White was a Viking Sea-king who lived in the latter half of the ninth century CE This moment is considered by some to be the date for the founding of Dublin, however by 902 the settlement, along with all other Viking settlements in Ireland, had been abandoned. Events Dublin has been abandoned - the end of the Longphort phase - the term used by modern scholars to refer to the earliest period of Viking settlement In 853 the Vikings established themselves at Waterford.
Sometime in the ninth century the Norse established a fortified settlement near the mouth of the Avoca River at Inber Dea, now known as Arklow, Co. The Avoca River drains a substantial part of Victoria, the southernmost state of mainland Australia. Arklow ( is a historic town located in County Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland. Wicklow. Wicklow ( is the County seat of County Wicklow in Ireland. Located south of the capital Dublin on the east coast of the island it has a population The name "Arklow" is derived from the Scandinavian name Arnkell or Arnketill with the word Ló, meaning "low-lying meadow. " Arklow was occupied by at least 836 when the Annals of Ulster record the attack of the heathens of Inber Dea on Kildare. The Annals of Ulster ( Annála Uladh) are a Chronicle of medieval Ireland. Kildare ( Cill Dara in modern Irish, originally derived from Cell Dara in Old Irish meaning "Church of the Oak" is a town in County
A new and more intensive period of settlement in Ireland began in 914 . Events A large Viking fleet arrives in Waterford and a second period of Viking raids begins In this year Waterford was re-occupied, and would become Ireland's first city. Waterford ( or Windy fjord;) is a city in Ireland. It is the primary city of the South East region and the fifth largest in the country Waterford was established by the Viking Regnall, after whom Reginald's Tower, Ireland's oldest civic urban building, was built and named. Waterford is the only Irish city to retain its Viking derived name, meaning Ram fjord or Windy fjord, having originally been called Cuan na Gréine, Harbour of the Sun, by the Irish. Between 915 and 922, Cork, Dublin, Wexford and Limerick were established. Events The Vikings establish a Longphort in Limerick.. Births Deaths Muiredach Mac Significant excavations in Dublin and Waterford in the 20th century has unearthed much of the Viking heritage of those cities. The Battle of Confey also took place at this time near Leixlip, a Viking settlement. The Battle of Confey (or Ceannfuait) was a battle fought between Danish and/or Norwegian Vikings and the Irish king of Leinster Leixlip (/'likslɪp/ Léim an Bhradáin in Irish) is a town in north-east County Kildare, Ireland, east of the midlands of Ireland
The Vikings founded many other coastal towns, and after several generations a group of mixed Irish and Norse ethnic background arose (the so-called Gall-Gaels, Gall then being the Irish word for "foreigners" - the Norse). This Norse influence is reflected in the Norse-derived names of many contemporary Irish kings (e. g. Magnus, Lochlann or Sitric), and DNA evidence in some residents of these coastal cities to this day. A genetics paper in 2006 by Dr Brian McEvoy found that most men with Irish-Viking surnames carried typically Irish genes. Year 2006 ( MMVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. This suggests that Viking settlements may have had a Scandinavian élite but with most of the inhabitants being locals, refugees or outlaws.  The Dublin Vikings built large ships from local timber, one of which was found at Roskilde in Denmark. Roskilde (ˈʁʌskilə is the main city in Roskilde Municipality, Denmark on the island of Zealand. The Kingdom of Denmark ( ˈd̥ænmɑɡ̊ (archaic ˈd̥anmɑːɡ̊ commonly known as Denmark, is a country in the Scandinavian region of northern Europe
The descendants of Ivar Beinlaus established a long dynasty based in Dublin, and from this base succeeded in dominating much of the isle. This rule was ultimately broken by the joint efforts of Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill, King of Meath, and Brian Boru (c. Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill (died 2 September 1022) sometimes called Máel Sechnaill Mór or Máel Sechnaill II, was King of Mide Brian mac Cennétig, called Brian Bóruma, ( c 941&ndash23 April 1014 (Brian Boru Brian Bóraimhe was an Irish king who ended the centuries-long domination 941- 1014) By the late tenth century, Brian Boru, the scion of a relatively obscure tribe from the midwestern part of the island, the Dál gCais, had gained enough influence through political maneuvering and conquest to claim the title of ard righ (high king). Brian mac Cennétig, called Brian Bóruma, ( c 941&ndash23 April 1014 (Brian Boru Brian Bóraimhe was an Irish king who ended the centuries-long domination The Dál gCais (also Dal Cais; d̪ɑːɫ gaʃ were a dynastic group of related Septs located in north Munster who rose to political prominence in the early Boru and his allies defeated a combined Viking/native army at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. The Battle of Clontarf (Cath Chluana Tarbh took place on Good Friday in 1014 (23 April between the forces of Brian Boru and the forces led by the King of Though Boru himself did not survive the battle, the Vikings ceased to be a major power in Ireland and were gradually assimilated into the native populace.
Boru's descendants failed to maintain a unified throne, and regional squabbling over territory led indirectly to invasion of the Normans under Strongbow in 1169. The Normans were the people who gave their names to Normandy, a region in northern France. Richard de Clare 2nd Earl of Pembroke Lord of Leinster Justiciar of Ireland (1130 &ndash 20 April 1176) known as Strongbow, was a
Although the Irish were largely free from foreign invasion for 150 years, interdynastic warfare continued to drain their energies and resources. In 1150, Christian Malone, Abbot of Clonmacnoise, wrote a famous book entitled "Chronicum Scotorum". The Monastery of Clonmacnoise ( Cluain Mhic Nóis in Irish, meaning "Meadow of the Sons of Nós" is situated in County Offaly, Chronicon Scotorum is an Irish chronicle According to Nollaig O Muraile it is "a collection of annals belonging to the 'Clonmacnoise group' covering the period from prehistoric It is a chronology of Ireland from the Flood to the twelfth century.