August 28, 2003

Irish Timeline

Ireland is one of those places I’ve always vaguely wanted to know more about. I never really understood what the IRA and all the bombings were in regards to. I knew Northern Ireland was disputed somehow, but the particulars were beyond my scope of knowledge.

The Emerald Isle, the Potato Famine, and Saint Patrick are terms in almost every American’s vocabulary. Yet even Irish Americans don’t always know the history of Ireland’s problems with England. A friend is 100% Irish American and a history buff to boot…but he couldn’t shed much light on the issue, either. The topic was never brought up in any great depth in my history courses...Irish history was always discussed as it affected American history.

So I did a little research and compiled a timeline regarding the issues between Ireland and England.

12th century: England begins invasions of Ireland, eventually establishing a feudal system on Ireland. There is now a British absentee landlord class and an impoverished Irish peasantry.

1700s: England attempts to impose Protestantism on mostly Catholic Ireland, resulting in Irish rebellions.

1800: The Act of Union unites England and Ireland, creating the United Kingdom.

1800s: The British crown starts populating the six counties of Ulster in northeastern Ireland with Scottish and British settlers. The north becomes industrialized and Protestant. The south remains agricultural and Catholic.

1840s: A famine strikes Ireland, resulting in greater discontent with British rule. Many who survive emigrate.

1858: The Fenian movement forms in Ireland and amongst Irish Americans. The group seeks Irish independence by force. Rebellions are suppressed by England.

1870: Parliament passes the First Land Act to help Irish tenants buy land.

1886: The First Home Rule Bill, meant to allow Irish self-government, fails to pass in Parliament.

1893: The Second Home Rule Bill passes in the House of Commons but is defeated by the Lords.

1905: Sinn Fein (“we ourselves”) forms under Arthur Griffith. The group seeks economic and political independence from England.

1912: The Third Home Rule Bill is introduced to Parliament, passing the House of Commons. Northern Ireland fears dominance by the south and the threat of civil war becomes a real possibility. The Lords exclude Ulster (northern) Ireland from the Home Rule Bill. Unrest keeps the Bill from taking effect.

1916: The failed Easter Monday Rebellion sets off several years of guerrilla warfare under Sinn Fein member Michael Collins and the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

1920: The Government of Ireland Act passes in Parliament. Separate legislatures are set up for the north and south. Ireland keeps representation in the Parliament. Ulster accepts the act and becomes Northern Ireland. The south refuses the legislation.

1922: The south becomes the Irish Free State (later the Irish Republic), led by Arthur Griffith.

1927: Sinn Fein becomes the political wing of the IRA.

1939-1945: Both Irish governments outlaw the violent and pro-German IRA, and it becomes an underground entity.

1969: The IRA splits into an official wing that decries violence and a “provisional” wing that performs terrorist bombings and other acts. Violence continues through the 1990s.

1998: The Good Friday Agreement is approved as a peace settlement for Northern Ireland. It is designed to heal divisions between Catholics and Protestants. The power-sharing government is approved by voters in both the north and south.

If you have something to add to this, please do! That’s what the comments section is for. Thanks!

Posted by Jennifer at August 28, 2003 05:39 AM


Congratulation on the new digs. Great look.

One of my hobbies is historical research and one of my focal points has been Irish and English history from 1500 to 1700. I have accumulated over 6,000 pages of research for a project I plan to publish sometime in the future. I'll write to you off-line with some of the boring details if you're interested.

Again, congrats on your move!

Posted by: Bob Whaley at August 28, 2003 06:18 AM

Quick move! Are you going to import all of your old stuff into this new one?

Posted by: Ted at August 28, 2003 07:14 AM