Ireland - the green island
The Republic of Ireland is also called the green island and
extends off the west coast of Britain.
Unlike Northern Ireland, the country has been independent from Great Britain
since 1922 and a member of the EU (European Union) since 1973. Today the
state is one of the wealthy and economically fast growing countries
in Europe. That was not always so.
In the 1990s, unemployment in the country was still over 20% and in the 19th and
early 20th centuries, many Irish had to leave the country - mostly to the USA.
The Irish population has been Catholic since they were Christianized by St.
Patrick in the 5th century. The Irish all over the world celebrate this event
every year on March 17th, St. Patrick's Day.
On May 17, 2011 Queen Elizabeth II visited the country and its capital
Dublin for four days as the first head of state of Great Britain after 100
The last monarch to visit the country was George V (1865-1936) - at the time
still the head of Ireland, whose wars of liberation began with the proclamation
of independence on April 24, 1916 and ended with the end of the 800-year rule of
And on May 23, 2011, the American President Barack Obama and his wife visited
the birthplace of his maternal great-great-great-grandfather - the
350-resident village of Moneygall, from which his
ancestor emigrated to America in 1850 due to economic hardship.
|Name of the country
|Form of government
|Head of state
||President (President of Ireland)
||Island in the Atlantic west of Great Britain
||Amhrán na bhFiann
English: The Soldier's Song
||approx. 4.5 million (Credit:
||almost exclusively Irish
||approx. 87% Roman Catholic, 3% Anglican, 0.8% Muslim
||Irish and English
||Carrantuohill with a height of 1,041m
||Shannon, with a length of 358 km
||The largest lake in the Republic of Ireland is Lough Corrib (200
|International license plate
|Time difference to CET
|International phone code
|Mains voltage, frequency
||230 volts, 50 hertz (There are so-called shaver sockets in Ireland.)
|Internet Top Level Domain (TLD)
Before the year 1000
Around 500 to 400 BC The Celtic tribe of the Gael reached Ireland and
established around 150 small kingdoms. In the 5th century, St. Patrick the
residents of the island, after which numerous monasteries are formed. In the
8th and 9th centuries there were numerous Viking incursions. The Vikings
established themselves on the east coast and founded settlements.
From the year 1000 to 1700
Abbreviationfinder website, in 1014 the Irish triumphed over the Vikings, putting an end to the Viking
invasions. In 1066 the Normans took over power in England with William the
Conqueror and captured large swaths of land in Ireland. From 1155 Normans were
appointed feudal lords in Ireland by King Henry II of England. They founded
monasteries and built cities. In 1172 Henry II was recognized as ruler of
Ireland. The English gained power in Ireland in the 12th and early 13th
centuries, but lost power in the early 14th century. In 1315 the brother of the
Scottish king, Eduard Bruce, invaded Ireland. Norman rule in Ireland came to an
end in the 15th century. The Irish national feeling strengthened.
In 1534 the English King Henry VIII extended his power to the island and in
1541 accepted the title of "King of Ireland". The Irish were politically and
religiously oppressed. This oppression increased under Elizabeth I, the daughter
of Henry VIII. In 1598 the resistance fighter Hugh O'Neill defeated the
English. But as early as 1603 the Irish had to submit to the English again, and
English law was introduced on the island.
In 1608 Scottish and English Protestants settled in the last Gaelic resistance
region. This is where the historical origins of the current Northern Irish civil
The English Lord Oliver Cromwell brutally put down the uprising of the Irish
in 1649. In 1690 there was the battle on the River Boyne, in which two English
kings faced each other. On the Irish side, James II fought against William of
Orange, who won the battle. The English established themselves even more
strongly on the island. From 1691, the English penal code excluded Irish
Catholics from the right to land. English Protestants then took over large parts
of the country and seized political power. Many Irish emigrated to America as a
result. Stricter trade laws made Ireland one of the poorest countries in Europe.
In the 18th and 19th centuries
In 1782 England recognized an independent Irish parliament. However, only
Protestants sat in parliament. They achieved a commercial and constitutional
improvement for Ireland. In the course of the French Revolution, the "United
Irishmen" under Theobald Wolfe Tone demanded the introduction of the Republic of
Ireland. Tone was arrested by the English, committed suicide and went down in
Irish history as a martyr. The Irish Parliament dissolved by itself in 1800
after bribes by the English. From 1801 the Irish had 100 members in the London
Parliament instead of their own parliament. Many large landowners then left the
island, triggering an economic crisis in Ireland. From 1803, secret societies
were founded against the remaining large landowners. The mass movement which
arose because of the Catholic Association founded in 1823, achieved the repeal
of anti-Catholic laws. Catholics could now also move into parliament.
From 1845 to 1851 there was a great famine in Ireland, which claimed around 1
million victims and which further decimated the population after the onset of
In the 20th and 21st centuries
Numerous independence movements against the British occupation were founded
between 1858 and 1916.
Particularly noteworthy is the "Easter Rising" from 1916, which still plays a
major role in the history of the country today. It began on Easter Monday, April
24, 1916, and ended on April 29, 1916.
The British brutally suppressed the attempt at independence and executed 15
leaders of the freedom movement. A ship of the German Empire with weapons and
ammunition had previously been brought up by the British, so that the freedom
fighters were poorly equipped.
After the cruel execution of the leaders of the uprising, the mood in the
population turned massively in favor of the independence movement.
In 1919 the Irish MPs founded their own parliament, proclaimed independence
and established a government. By 1921 the Irish Republican Army (IRA) war of
independence against the British. On December 6, 1921, Ireland became a Free
State within Great Britain.
There was a bloody fight between the Free State opponents against the Irish
government until 1923, in which over 4,000 people were killed.
In 1937 Ireland declared itself sovereign and democratic. A new constitution was
adopted. Ireland remained neutral during World War II. In 1949 Ireland became a
republic and left the Commonwealth. In the Ireland Act, the House of Commons in
London decided in the same year that Northern Ireland should remain part of
Great Britain. In 1955 Ireland became a member of the United Nations and in 1973
a member of the European Community. In 2002 the EURO became the official
currency in the country.
On June 12, 2008, the Irish rejected the Lisbon Treaty with around 53% of the
vote following a referendum. Ireland was the only country where it was decided
by referendum. In the remaining 26 EU member states, the parliaments voted. But
on October 2, 2009, 67.1% of Irish people voted "yes" on another vote - with a
turnout of 58%.
On May 17, 2011 Queen Elizabeth II visited the country and its capital Dublin
for four days as the first head of state of Great Britain after 100 years. The
last monarch to visit the country was George V (1865-1936) - at that time still
as head of Ireland, whose wars of liberation began with the proclamation of
independence on April 24, 1916 and ended with the end of the 800-year rule of