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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland History Timeline

BC - 455 AD
  • (1200 BC) Colonists built crannogs (islands) in middle of lakes
  • (600 BC) Celts began arriving in Ireland
  • (200 BC) Celtic Ireland divided into 150 miniature kingdoms
  • (100 BC) Gaels arrived in Ireland
  • (150 AD) Ptolemy drew map of Ireland
  • (367) Irish Picts and Saxons attacked Romans, controlled Britannia
  • (455) St. Patrick founded church at Armagh
700s - 1100s
  • (795) Vikings attacked Celtic coastal monasteries
  • (841) Vikings fleets wintered in Dublin
  • (914) Vikings established settlements at Waterford
  • (916) Vikings established settlements at Dublin
  • (920 Vikings established settlements at Limerick
  • (967) Irish and Vikings at war
  • (1014) King Brian Boru killed at Battle of Clontarf, Vikings defeated
  • (1167 - 1169) Normans arrived; 800-year struggle between English and Irish began
  • (1170) Anglo-Norman Earl of Pembroke (Strongbow) arrived to aid Irish king of Leinster; the Pale, a line of fortifications was erected; Irish living outside boundary were deemed barbarians "beyond the pale"
  • (1171) Strongbow became king of Leinster
1200s - 1500s
  • (1297) First Irish Parliament met in Dublin
  • (1348-1351) Black death killed third of population
  • (1366) Statutes of Kilkenny enacted, forbade Irish/English marriages
  • (1394) King Richard II of England arrived Dublin
  • (1515) Anarchy in Ireland due to hardships placed on Irish by Anglo-Irish lords
  • (1541) Henry VIII of England declared himself King of Ireland
  • (1558) Elizabeth I became queen; tried to outlaw Protestantism in Ireland
  • (1562) Elizabethan wars took place in Ireland
  • (1585) Ireland mapped and divided into counties
  • (1595) Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, began rebellion, start of Nine Years War
  • (1598) O'Neill victory at Yellow Ford in Ulster
1600s
  • (1601) O'Neill defeated at battle of Kinsale
  • (1603) James I became King; O'Neill surrendered; English law enforced in Ireland
  • (1606) Scots settled in Ards Peninsula; English confiscated land in Ulster
  • (1641) Catholic-Gaelic rebellion for return of land; English settlers driven out of Ulster; Catholics held 59% of land in Ireland
  • (1649) Oliver Cromwell, England's "Protestant" Lord Protector, landed at Dublin, led expedition into Ireland, killed 2,000 Irishmen, confiscated land and divided among English soldiers
  • (1650) Catholic landowners exiled to Connaught
  • (1656) Over 60,000 Irish Catholics sent as slaves to islands in Caribbean
  • (1661 - 1668) Duke of Ormond ruled Ireland as Viceroy
  • (1688) English revolution began; James II of England deposed
  • (1689) James II attempted capture of Derry, failed
  • (1690) English King William III defeated James at Battle of the Boyne; James fled to France
  • (1695 - 1728) Penal Laws passed against Catholics
1700s - 1800s
  • (1740) Extreme cold, rainy weather resulted in poor potato harvest - "Forgotten Famine"
  • (1798) United Irishmen rebellion against British rule
  • (1801) Act of Union abolished Irish Parliament, created United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
  • (1829) Catholic emancipation passed, Tithe War began
  • (1845-1849) Great Potato Famine resulted in more than one million deaths; mass immigration to the United States occurred
  • (1879-82) Land Wars for the reform of tenancy laws
  • (1886) First Home Rule Bill introduced, proposed separate parliament and government to be set in Dublin; defeated
  • (1893) Second Irish Home Rule bill defeated
1900s
  • (1905) Sinn Fein "we ourselves" political party formed
  • (1912) Third Home Rule Bill introduced, passed; Titanic, built in Belfast, sunk
  • (1914) Home Rule legislation implementation delayed due to outbreak of World War I
  • (1914) Easter Uprising by Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizens Army proclaimed an independent Irish Republic, British crushed uprising - over 400 killed, 2,500 wounded; leaders executed; Irish Republican Army formed
  • (1920) British parliament passed Government of Ireland Act, established two parliaments, Irish Free State in Dublin with twenty-six counties, Provisional Government in Belfast with six counties
1900s continued
  • (1922) Dublin parliament ratified act; Provisional Government remained part of United Kingdom; Free State became independent; Catholics in North opposed, Civil War broke out
  • (1932) Prince of Wales opened new home of Northern Ireland government at Stormont
  • (1968) Government attempted to stop Catholic civil rights demonstration, turned into riots; the tragic era named "the Troubles" began
  • (1969) Irish Republicans split into two wings - Marxist Official IRA and Provisionals
  • (1972) Civil rights demonstration in Derry resulted in British troops opening fire; 14 killed; Northern Ireland parliament suspended; England began direct rule; IRA set 26 bombs in Belfast, 11 killed, 130 injured
  • (1973) Council of Ireland created to allow Republicans role in government; Protestants opposed; violence continued
  • (1974) IRA bombs in United Kingdom killed 28, injured more than 200
  • (1978) IRA bomb in restaurant in Comber killed 12, injured 30
  • (1979) 18 soldiers killed by IRA bomb at Warrenpoint; assassinated Lord Earl Mountbatten
  • (1981) Ten IRA prisoners died during hunger strike
  • (1982) Bomb attacks in London killed 11, wounded 50; Irish National Liberation Army bomb killed 17
  • (1983) IRA bomb at Harrods in London killed six
  • (1985) Anglo-Irish Agreement signed; Irish government received role in Northern Ireland affairs; Unionists objected, agreement not fully implemented
  • (1993) Downing Street Declaration issued; Northern Ireland to decide own future; Sinn Fein offered seat at peace talks
  • (1994) IRA declared cease-fire
  • (1996) Peace talks began; IRA urged to disarm; IRA broke cease fire, violence resumed; bomb exploded at Canary Wharf killed two, caused millions of dollars in damages
  • (1997) IRA announced cease-fire; Sinn Fein joined peace talks
  • (1998) Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement reached; established power sharing assembly, IRA said no to decommissioning; dissidents formed Real IRA; car bomb killed 29 people; Real IRA claimed responsibility
  • (1999) IRA announced it would enter talks about decommission
2000s
  • (2000) Devolution assembly began, then suspended, due to IRA's lack of decommissioning; assembly restored when IRA agreed to put weapons "verifiably beyond use"
  • (2002) Sinn Fein's offices raided by police in investigation of IRA intelligence gathering; IRA suspected of break-in at Castlereagh police headquarters
  • (2005) IRA declared armed campaign over, confirmed all weapons taken out of action
  • (2006) Former senior member of Sinn Fein found dead in Irish Republic; IRA said they had no involvement; Stormont assembly sat for first time since suspension in 2002
  • (2007) On Monday, March 26, 2007, an historic accord was reached. Reverend Ian Paisley, the Protestant leader, and Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein collectively announced that on May 8, 2007, the two hostile groups would form a joint administration, and after years of bloody hostility, finally work together. The British government hailed this as a major breakthrough
  • (2008) Bloody Sunday Inquiry costs reached £181.2m, report not due until second half of 2008
  • (2009) Car bomb abandoned outside Castlewellan, was destined for British Army base at Ballykinler, Oglaigh na hEireann claimed responsibility; two British Army soldiers killed by Real Irish Republican Army; Irish National Liberation Army announced armed struggle was over
  • (2010) Bloody Sunday report published, all killings were unjustified; Constable Heffon seriously injured when bomb exploded under car, dissident republicans blamed for attack; Talks between Sinn Fein and DUP about devolution of policing, justice powers ended

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.