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Timeline of Irish history

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Newgrange passage tomb was built in Ireland during the Neolithic period

This is a timeline of Irish history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Ireland. To read about the background to these events, see History of Ireland. See also the list of Lords and Kings of Ireland, alongside Irish heads of state, and the list of years in Ireland.

Prehistory / centuries: 1st · 2nd · 3rd · 4th · 5th · 6th · 7th · 8th · 9th · 10th · 11th · 12th · 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th · 21st

Mesolithic and neolithic periods

Year Date Event
c. 16,000 BC During the Last Glacial Maximum, Ireland is covered in ice sheets
c. 12,000 BC A narrow channel forms between Prehistoric Ireland and southwest Scotland[1]
c. 10,000 BC Carbon-dating on bear bones indicate the presence of Paleolithic people in County Clare.[2]
c. 8000 BC Mesolithic hunter-gatherers migrate to Ireland
c. 6500 BC Mesolithic hunter-gatherers occupy sites such as that at Mount Sandel in Ulster
c. 4000 BC Agriculture (including the keeping of livestock, and crop farming) has its beginnings in Ireland, at sites such as the Céide Fields in Connacht
c. 3500 BC The Neolithic peoples of the Boyne Valley build a complex of chamber tombs, standing stones and enclosures over a period of hundreds of years. (Newgrange itself is dated to 3300–2900 BC).

Bronze and Iron Ages

Year Date Event
c. 2000 BC Bronze Age technologies start to arrive in Ireland, including the moulding of Ballybeg-type flat axes, and the beginnings of copper mining at Ross Island, Killarney and Mount Gabriel.[3]
c. 500 BC During the Iron Age in Ireland, Celtic influence in art, language and culture begins to take hold.[4]
c. 300 BC Murder of Clonycavan Man, according to radiocarbon dating
c. 200 BC La Tène influence from continental Europe influences carvings on the Turoe Stone, Bullaun, County Galway.[5]
c. 100 BC Additional works expand the site at Navan Fort (Emain Macha), first occupied in the Neolithic period

1st century

Year Date Event
c. 100 AD Construction of a series of defensive ditches between the provinces of Ulster and Connacht

2nd century

Year Date Event
c. 140 AD Ptolemy's Geographia provides the earliest known written reference to habitation in the Dublin area, referring to a settlement in the area as Eblana Civitas

3rd century

Year Date Event
c. 220 AD The Annals of the Four Masters, Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, and other semi-historical (non-contemporary) texts, place Cormac mac Airt as a longstanding High King of Ireland.[6][7] (The Annals date his reign as 226–266, but scholars vary in their assessment of Mac Airt's reign as legend or historical fact)[8][9]

4th century

Year Date Event
c. 300 AD Pollen data records from the late Iron Age indicate a resurgence in human activity after a relatively stagnant period[10]

5th century

Year Date Event
c. 400 Niall Noígíallach is placed by Medieval texts as a legendary Goidelic High King of Ireland (the Annals of the Four Masters dates his reign as 378–405)
431 Palladius is sent as the first bishop "to the Irish believing in Christ" by Pope Celestine I[11][12]
432 According to the Annals of Ulster (and other chronicles), Saint Patrick returns to Ireland.[13]

6th century

Year Date Event
536 A seemingly global climate event (possibly a volcanic winter)[14] causes crop failures[15] and famine in Ireland.
563 Irish monastic influence during the Golden Age peaks with the foundation of monastic schools by Saint Columba and Saint Brendan at Iona and Clonfert.[16] (Saint Columbanus would later set up similar institutions in continental Europe, Fursa in East Anglia and Gaul, Aidan at Lindisfarne. Etc.)

7th century

Year Date Event
664–666 Several sources record a pervasive "yellow plague" on the island.[17][18]

8th century

Year Date Event
795 First Viking raids on Iona, Rathlin Island, and Inishmurray.[16]

9th century

Year Date Event
830 Óengus of Tallaght writes the Martyrology of Tallaght, the Prologue of which speaks of the last vestiges of paganism in Ireland
852 Vikings Ivar Beinlaus and Olaf the White land in Dublin Bay, and establish a fortress close to where the city of Dublin now stands

10th century

Year Date Event
980 The King of Dublin Olaf Cuaran abdicates following defeat at the Battle of Tara to Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill.[19]
988–989 Máel Sechnaill demands (and is paid) "tribute" by the Vikings at Dublin (this tribute date is sometimes recognised as the "foundation date" of Dublin as a city)

11th century

Year Date Event
1014 23 April Defeat of Máel Mórda mac Murchada and Viking forces by the armies of Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf marks the beginning of the decline of Viking power in Ireland.[20]

12th century

Year Date Event
1167 Following exile by Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, Dermot MacMurrough seeks support from Henry II of England to reclaim his Kingship.
1171 Henry II of England lands at Waterford and declares himself Lord of Ireland.
1175 6 October[21] The Treaty of Windsor consolidates Norman influence in Ireland.

13th century

Year Date Event
1216 12 November Great Charter of Ireland issued by Henry III of England.
1252 The Annals of the Four Masters records a summer-time heat wave and drought.[22]
1297 The first representative Irish Parliament (of the Lordship of Ireland) meets in Dublin.[23]

14th century

Year Date Event
1315 26 May Edward Bruce arrives in Ireland and rallies many Irish lords against Anglo-Norman control.
1366 20 April The Statutes of Kilkenny are passed at Kilkenny to curb the decline of the Hiberno-Norman Lordship of Ireland.
1398 Gerald FitzGerald, 3rd Earl of Desmond, mysteriously disappears; Gearóid Íarla is forever afterwards judged to be sleeping in a cave under Lough Gur, waiting to gallop out on his silver-shod horse and rescue Ireland at the moment of greatest need.

15th century

Year Date Event
1472 The Annals of the Four Masters records that the King of England sent an exotic animal (possibly a giraffe) to Ireland.[24]
1490 An earthquake takes place at Sliabh Gamh in County Mayo.[25]
1494 1 December A parliament summoned by Edward Poyning, Henry VII of England's Lord Deputy, passes Poynings' Law, under which the Irish parliament is to pass no law without the prior consent of the English parliament.
1497 The Annals of the Four Masters refers to a famine which "prevailed through all Ireland".[26]

16th century

Year Date Event
1534 11 June Thomas FitzGerald, the 10th Earl of Kildare, publicly renounces his allegiance to Henry VIII of England.
1537 3 February FitzGerald is hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.
1542 The Irish parliament passes the Crown of Ireland Act, which establishes a Kingdom of Ireland to be ruled by Henry VIII and his successors.
1570 25 February Pope Pius V issues a papal bull, Regnans in Excelsis, declaring Elizabeth I of England a heretic and releasing her subjects from any allegiance to her.
1575 May–August The Annals of the Four Masters records a drought, in which no rain fell "from Bealtaine to Lammas" (1 May to 1 August), resulting in disease and plague.
1577 November The Annals of the Four Masters records that the Great Comet of 1577 "was wondered at by all universally".
1579 16 July Second Desmond Rebellion: James FitzMaurice FitzGerald, a cousin of the 14th Earl of Desmond, lands a small force of rebels at Dingle.
1594 The Nine Years' War commences in Ulster, as Hugh O'Neill and Red Hugh O'Donnell rebel against Elizabeth I's authority in Ulster.

17th century

Year Date Event
1607 14 September The Flight of the Earls: The departure from Ireland of Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone and Rory O'Donnell, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell.
1609 Plantation of Ulster by Scottish Presbyterians begins on a large scale.
1641 22 October Irish Rebellion of 1641: Phelim O'Neill leads the capture of several forts in the north of Ireland.
1642 Irish Confederate Wars: The Irish Catholic Confederation is established, under the nominal overlordship of Charles I of England, with its capital at Kilkenny.
1646 28 March The Supreme Council of the Irish Catholic Confederation signs an agreement with a representative of Charles I, which procures some rights for Catholics in return for their military support of the royalists in England.
The members of the Supreme Council are arrested; the General Assembly renounces the agreement with England.
1647 A more favorable agreement is reached with Charles's representative, which promises toleration of Catholicism, a repeal of Poynings' Law, and recognition of lands taken by Irish Catholics during the war.
1690 1 July Battle of the Boyne
1695 The Education Act, one of a series of Penal Laws, is passed in 1695. It prohibits Catholics from sending their children to be educated abroad, and remains in place until 1782.

18th century

Year Date Event
1740 Extreme winters in successive years result in poor harvests, causing a large scale famine in which between 300,000 and 480,000 die.
1760 February Battle of Carrickfergus: A French invasion.
1782 After agitation by the Irish Volunteers, the Parliament of Great Britain passes a number of reforms—including the implicit repeal of Poynings' Law—collectively referred to as the Constitution of 1782.
1796 December Expédition d'Irlande: Attempted French invasion.
1798 24 May Battle of Ballymore-Eustace: A miscarried surprise attack on the British garrison at Ballymore in County Kildare is counterattacked and defeated.
22 August Irish Rebellion of 1798: One thousand French soldiers land at Kilcummin in support of the rebellion.
27 August Battle of Castlebar: A combined French-Irish force defeats a vastly numerically superior British force at Castlebar.
Irish Rebellion of 1798: The Republic of Connacht is proclaimed at Castlebar, in the first United Irishmen rebellion.

19th century

Year Date Event
1801 1 January Acts of Union 1800 comes into effect; the Kingdom of Ireland unites with Great Britain, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
1803 23 July Second United Irishmen rebellion: The Irish nationalist Robert Emmet attempts to seize Dublin Castle.
1829 24 March Catholic Emancipation: The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 is passed, allowing Catholics to sit in the UK Parliament.
1831 3 May Tithe War: A force of one hundred and twenty armed police forcibly takes possession of cattle belonging to a Roman Catholic priest, in lieu of his compulsory tithe to the Anglican Church of Ireland.
1834 17 December Dublin and Kingstown Railway is opened as the first commercial railway in Ireland.
1836 Tithe War: The passage of the Tithe Commutation Act 1836 reduces the amount of the church's tithe and changes the manner of payment, which largely ends the unrest.
1845–1849 Great Irish Famine: A potato blight destroys two-thirds of Ireland's staple crop, leading to an estimated 1 million deaths and emigration of a further 1 million people.[27]
1867 5 March Fenian Rising.
1879-1882 The "Land War," a period of rural agitation for fair rents and free sale of land to liberate Irish peasants from generations of debt and tenancy.
1886 1st Home Rule Bill, also known as the Government of Ireland Bill 1886.
1893 2nd Home Rule Bill, also known as the Government of Ireland Bill 1893.

20th century

Year Date Event
1913 19 August A Dublin businessman, William Martin Murphy, fires forty workers he suspects belong to the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union (ITGWU). A resulting strike and related civil unrest, the Dublin Lockout, lasts from August 1913 to January 1914.
1914 18 September Government of Ireland Act is passed, providing for Irish Home Rule, but its application is simultaneously postponed for the duration of World War I.[28]
1916 24 April Easter Rising: The Irish Republican Brotherhood leads an action which seizes key government buildings in Dublin, and issues the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The Rising lasts til 29 April 1916.
1918 18 April Acting on a resolution of Dublin Corporation, the Lord Mayor convenes a conference at the Mansion House to devise plans to resist conscription.
14 December A general election returns a majority for Sinn Féin.
1919 21 January The First Dáil of the Irish Republic meets and issues a Declaration of Independence from the UK.
21 January Irish War of Independence: Volunteers of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) kill two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary in what is considered to be the first act of the War of Independence.
1921 3 May Northern Ireland is established.
1921 6 December Irish War of Independence: The War of Independence ends when negotiations between the British government and representatives of the de facto Irish Republic conclude with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the creation of the Irish Free State.
1922 28 June Irish Civil War: Bombardment by Michael Collins of Anti-Treaty forces occupying the Four Courts marks the start of the Irish Civil War,
1923 24 May Irish Civil War: IRA Chief of Staff Frank Aiken orders volunteers to dump arms, effectively ending the Civil War.
1925 17 September An election was held for 19 of the 60 seats in Seanad Éireann. Single transferable vote was used, with the entire state forming a single 19-seat electoral district, the largest number of members elected in one contest in Irish history.[29]
1937 29 December The Constitution of Ireland comes into force, replacing the Irish Free State with a new state called "Éire", or, in the English language, "Ireland"
1949 18 April The Republic of Ireland Act abolishes the statutory functions of the British monarch in relation to Ireland and confers them on the President of Ireland.
1955 14 December Ireland joins the United Nations along with sixteen other sovereign states.
1969 August Troops are deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland, marking the start of the Troubles.
1972 March The Parliament of Northern Ireland is prorogued (and abolished later the following year).
1973 1 January Ireland joins the European Community along with the United Kingdom and Denmark.
1973 June The Northern Ireland Assembly is elected.
1974 1 January A power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive takes office, but resigns in May as a result of the Ulster Workers' Council strike; the Assembly is suspended and later abolished.
1985 15 November The governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom sign the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
1990 3 December Mary Robinson becomes the first female President of Ireland.
1995 Ireland enters the Celtic Tiger period, a time of high economic growth which continues until 2007.
1998 April The Belfast Agreement is signed; as a result, the Northern Ireland Assembly is elected, to which powers are devolved in 1999 and a power-sharing Executive takes office.
1999 1 January Ireland yields its official currency, the Irish pound, and adopts the Euro.

21st century

Year Date Event
2015 23 May A 62% to 38% referendum result makes Ireland the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote.[30]


  1. ^ Bradley, Richard (2007). The prehistory of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-521-84811-4.
  2. ^ "Bear bone opens new chapter in Ireland's archaeology". Irish Times. 21 March 2016. Archived from the original on 26 April 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  3. ^ O'Brian, William (2005). Ross Island: Mining, Metal and Society in Early Ireland. Oxbow books. ISBN 978-0-9535620-3-9.
  4. ^ Johnston, Wesley; Abbot, Patrick. "Celtic Ireland in the Iron Age". History of Ireland. WesleyJohnston.com. Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  5. ^ Moody, T.W; Martin, F.X; Byrne, F.J, eds. (1982). A New History of Ireland VIII: A Chronology of Irish History to 1976 - A Companion to Irish History Part I. Oxford Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-821744-2.
  6. ^ Geoffrey Keating, Foras Feasa ar Éirinn 1.42 Archived 2014-03-23 at the Wayback Machine, 43 Archived 2012-10-15 at the Wayback Machine, 44 Archived 2012-10-15 at the Wayback Machine, 45, 46 Archived 2013-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Francis J. Byrne, Irish Kings and High Kings, Four Courts press, 2001, p. 65-69
  8. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1887). "Cormac Mac Art" . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 12. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  9. ^ Welch, Robert (2003). The Concise Oxford Companion to Irish Literature. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780192800800.
  10. ^ Charles-Edwards, Thomas M (2000). Early Christian Ireland. Cambridge University Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0521037167.
  11. ^ Foster, RF (1989). The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-822970-4.
  12. ^ Annals. Annals of Ulster and Annals of the Four Masters. Palladius, having been consecrated by Celestine, bishop of the city of Rome, is sent to Ireland [...] in the eighth year of Theodosius.
  13. ^ Annals of Ulster - U432. Annals of Ulster. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012. Year U432: Patrick arrived in Ireland in the ninth year of the reign of Theodosius the Less and in the first year of the episcopate of Xistus, 42nd bishop of the Roman Church. So Bede, Maxcellinus and Isidore compute in their chronicles.
  14. ^ R. B. Stothers (26 January 1984). "Mystery cloud of AD 536". Nature. 307 (5949): 344–345. Bibcode:1984Natur.307..344S. doi:10.1038/307344a0. S2CID 4233649.
  15. ^ Annals of Ulster - Part 105. Annals of Ulster. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012. U536.3 Failure of bread
  16. ^ a b Duffy, S (2005). The Concise History of Ireland. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 9780717138104.
  17. ^ Annals of the Four Masters - Part 49. Annals of the Four Masters. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  18. ^ Weston Joyce, Patrick (1903). Medicine and Medical Doctors. Longmans. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  19. ^ Ó Corráin, Donnchadh. "Vikings & Ireland" (PDF). Cork, Ireland: University College Cork. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  20. ^ Ó Corráin, Donnchadh (1972). Ireland Before the Normans. The Gill history of Ireland. Gill and MacMillan.
  21. ^ Wikisource - Treaty of Windsor  – via Wikisource. Text reads: This is the agreement which was made at Windsor in the octaves of Michaelmas [October 6] in the year of Our Lord 1175
  22. ^ Annals of the Four Masters – Part 9. Annals of the Four Masters. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012. Great heat and drought prevailed in this Summer, so that people crossed the beds of the principal rivers of Ireland with dry feet. The reaping of the corn crops of Ireland was going on twenty days before Lammas 1 August, and the trees were scorched by the heat of the sun.
  23. ^ Moody, TW; Martin, FX, eds. (1967). The Course of Irish History. Cork, Ireland: The Mercier Press. p. 370.
  24. ^ Annals of the Four Masters - Part 10. Annals of the Four Masters. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012. A wonderful animal was sent to Ireland by the King of England. She resembled a mare, and was of a yellow colour, with the hoofs, of a cow, a long neck, a very large head, a large tail, which was ugly and scant of hair. She had a saddle of her own. Wheat and salt were her usual food. She used to draw the largest sled-burden by her tail. She used to kneel when passing under any doorway, however high, and also to let her rider mount.
  25. ^ Annals of the Four Masters - Part 12. Annals of the Four Masters. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012. There was an earthquake at Sliabh Gamh, by which a hundred persons were destroyed, among whom was the son of Manus Crossagh O'Hara. Many horses and cows were also killed by it, and much putrid fish was thrown up; and a lake, in which fish is now caught, sprang up in the place.
  26. ^ Annals of the Four Masters - Part 13. Annals of the Four Masters. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012. Great famine prevailed through all Ireland in this and the following year, so that people ate of food unbecoming to mention, and never before heard of as having been introduced on human dishes.
  27. ^ Vaughan, W.E; Fitzpatrick, A.J, eds. (1978). Irish Historical Statistics, Population, 1821/1971. Royal Irish Academy. ISBN 978-0901714107.
  28. ^ Cottrell, Peter (2009). The War for Ireland, 1913-1923. Oxford: Osprey. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-1-84603-9966.
  29. ^ ""An exceedingly severe test" - The Irish Senate elections of 1925". ark.ac.uk.
  30. ^ "Ireland becomes first country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote". Irish Times. 24 May 2015. Archived from the original on 20 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.