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  • ca. 8000 B.C. Earliest known human settlers arrive in Ireland.
  • 2000 B.C. First metalworkers come to Ireland.
  • ca. 700 B.C. Celtic settlement of Ireland begins.
  • ca. A.D. 100 The Gaels arrive in Ireland, naming one of their biggest settlements Dubhlinn.
  • A.D. 432 Traditional date of St. Patrick's return to Ireland as a Christian missionary.
  • 500-800 Ireland becomes one of the largest centers of Christianity in Europe -- often referred to as the "Golden Age."
  • 795 First Viking invasion.
  • 841 Vikings build a sea fort in the area of modern-day Dublin.
  • 853 Danes take possession of the Norse settlement.
  • 1014 Battle of Clontarf. High king of Ireland, Brian Boru, defeats the Vikings.
  • 1167-71 Forces of English King Henry II seize Dublin and surrounding areas.
  • 1204 Dublin Castle becomes center of English power.
  • 1297 First parliamentary sessions in Dublin.
  • 1300s First great plague kills a third of the population of Dublin.
  • 1500s English rule consolidated across Ireland. Henry VIII proclaims himself king of Ireland.
  • 1534-52 Henry VIII begins suppression of Catholic Church in Ireland.
  • 1558-1603 Reign of Elizabeth I. Ireland proclaimed an Anglican country. The "plantation" of Munster divides Ireland into counties.
  • 1591 Trinity College founded.
  • 1607 The flight of the Irish earls, marking the demise of the old Gaelic order.
  • 1641 Irish Catholic revolt in Ulster led by Sir Phelim O'Neill ends in defeat.
  • 1649 Oliver Cromwell invades and begins the reconquest of Ireland.
  • 1690 The forces of King James II, a Catholic, are defeated at the Battle of the Boyne, consolidating Protestant order in England.
  • 1691 Patrick Sarsfield surrenders Limerick. He and some 14,000 Irish troops, the "Wild Geese," flee to the Continent.
  • 1704 Enactment of first Penal Laws. Apartheid comes to Ireland.
  • 1778 The Penal Laws are progressively repealed.
  • 1782 The Irish Parliament is granted independence.
  • 1791 Wolfe Tone founds the Society of the United Irishmen.
  • 1796-97 Wolfe Tone launches an invasion from France, fails, is taken captive, and commits suicide.
  • 1798 "The Year of the French." A French invasion force is defeated at Killala Bay. General Humbert surrenders to Cornwallis.
  • 1801 The Irish Parliament is induced to dissolve itself. Ireland becomes part of the United Kingdom.
  • 1803 Twenty-five-year-old Robert Emmet is hanged after his uprising of fewer than 100 men is a tragic failure.
  • 1829 Daniel O'Connell secures passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act. He is later named lord mayor of Dublin.
  • 1845-c.52 The Great Famine. An estimated two million Irish either die or emigrate, mostly to the U.S.
  • 1848 The revolt of the Young Irelanders ends in failure.
  • 1858 The Irish Republican Brotherhood, a secret society known as the Fenians, is founded in New York.
  • 1866 In an imaginative publicity stunt, a minuscule army of Fenians attempts to invade Canada.
  • 1879 Michael Davitt founds the National Land League to support the claims of tenant farmers.
  • 1879-82 The "land war" forces the enactment of reform. The tenant system unravels; land returns to those who work it.
  • 1886 and 1894 Bills for Home Rule are defeated in Parliament.
  • 1893 The Gaelic League is founded to revive the Irish language.
  • 1904 The Abbey Theatre opens in Dublin.
  • 1905-08 Founding of Sinn Fein ("We Ourselves") with close links to the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
  • 1912 Third Home Rule bill passes in the House of Commons and is defeated by the House of Lords.
  • 1916 Patrick Pearse and James Connolly lead an armed uprising on Easter Monday to proclaim the Irish Republic. Defeat is followed by the execution of 15 leaders of the revolt.
  • 1918 Sinn Fein wins a landslide election victory against the Irish Parliamentary Party.
  • 1919 Sinn Fein, led by Eamon de Valera, constitutes itself as the first Irish Dáil and declares independence.
  • 1919-21 The Irish War of Independence. Michael Collins commands the Irish forces.
  • 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty. Ireland is partitioned. Twenty-six counties form the Free State; the other six remain a part of the U.K. The Free State adopts its first constitution a year later.
  • 1922-23 The Irish civil war, between the government of the Free State and those who opposed the Anglo-Irish treaty. Michael Collins is assassinated by the IRA, who saw the treaty as a sellout.
  • 1932 Eamon de Valera leads Fianna Fáil to victory and becomes head of government.
  • 1937 The Free State adopts a new constitution, abandoning membership of the British Commonwealth and changing the country's official name to Eire.
  • 1939 Dublin is bombed by Germany at start of World War II, but Ireland remains neutral.
  • 1948 The Republic of Ireland Act. Ireland severs its last constitutional links with Britain.
  • 1955 Ireland is admitted into the United Nations.
  • 1963 U.S. President John F. Kennedy visits Dublin.
  • 1969 Violence breaks out in Northern Ireland. British troops are called in.
  • 1972 In Derry a peaceful rally turns into "Bloody Sunday." The Northern Irish Parliament is dissolved, and direct rule imposed from Britain.
  • 1973 Ireland joins the European Community.
  • 1986 The Anglo-Irish Agreement gives the Republic a say in the government of Northern Ireland.
  • 1990 Mary Robinson is elected Ireland's first female president.
  • 1994 The IRA announces a cease-fire, and the Protestant paramilitaries follow suit. Commencement of peace talks.
  • 1995 The British and Irish governments issue "A New Framework for Agreement," and U.S. President Bill Clinton makes a historic visit to Ireland, speaking to large crowds in Belfast and Derry. He is received with enthusiasm in the Republic.
  • 1996 The IRA breaks its cease-fire. An IRA bomb in Omagh kills 29. The North sees the worst rioting in 15 years.
  • 1997 The IRA declares a new cease-fire. Sinn Fein enters inclusive all-party peace talks designed to bring about a comprehensive settlement.
  • 1998 The all-party peace talks conclude with the so-called Good Friday Agreement, later strongly supported in referendums held on the same day in the Republic and the North. John Hume and David Trimble are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • 1999 The implementation of the agreement is blocked by a Unionist demand -- "in the spirit" but contrary to the letter of the Good Friday Agreement -- that IRA decommissioning precede the appointment of a new Northern Ireland executive. The peace process stalls until November, when the new power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive is established.
  • 2000 The IRA issues a statement saying it will decommission its arms. In May, power is restored to the institutions established by the Good Friday Agreement.
  • 2001 David Trimble threatens to resign as Ulster Unionist party leader if the IRA does not decommission as promised. The IRA doesn't; Trimble resigns in June. Following a surge of feeling in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., IRA decommissioning begins.
  • 2002 The peace process continues amid sectarian violence on both sides.
  • 2004 Irish government passes smoking ban in all public indoor spaces. U.S. President George W. Bush arrives for E.U.-U.S. Summit and is greeted with anti-Iraq War protests.
  • 2005 A £27-million bank robbery in Northern Ireland -- thought to be the work of an IRA splinter group -- leads to the withdrawal of the region's entire currency stocks. David Trimble loses his parliamentary seat, but hard-line parties Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) do extremely well. The IRA decommissioning process is officially declared complete, and the IRA disbands as a paramilitary unit.
  • 2007 A power-sharing executive is put into place in Northern Ireland, bringing together lifelong enemies DUP leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.
  • 2008 Ireland's economy begins to crash as the country becomes the first in the E.U. to officially enter recession.
  • 2009 A series of sectarian murders in Northern Ireland threatens the peace process, though virtually all sides unite in condemnation.
  • 2010 British prime minister David Cameron apologized for "Bloody Sunday" -- when British soldiers killed 14 Irish protesters in Bogside, a Catholic neighborhood in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1972.
  • 2011 Longtime ruling party Fianna Fáil is swept out of office on a wave of voter anger, replaced by Fine Gael. New taoiseach Enda Kenny vows to restore Irish economic stability.

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