REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
The forefathers of the present Irish nation were the Gaels. Celtic tribes came to Ireland about 300B.C.Ireland was visited by Roman merchants, but Roman legions conquered only England. They never reached Ireland.
During the 5th- 6th centuries Ireland became the home of high civilization, sending out missionaries to Britain and Europe. Between the 6th and 10th centuries Celtic Ireland was a land of monasteries. Monks developed a written Irish Language and traveled widely as missionaries, founding monasteries in a number of European countries. It was the “golden age” of the Irish Gaels.
The Vikings began to raid and colonize the Irish coast and establish Ireland´s first towns.- Dublin, Wicklow, Arklow… It was in this period, too, that the many small kingdoms were united into four large kingdoms that remain today as Ireland´s 4 provinces: Leinster, Munster, Connaught and Ulster. The power of the Vikings was finally broken when they were defeated by Brian Boru ( the first Irish national hero ) at Clontarf in 1014.
The next invaders were the Anglo- Normans Henry 2, the French- speaking King of England, came to Ireland in 1171, demanding and obtaining the submission of all local rulers to the English Crown. In this way Ireland became “ the first English colony” as Engels put in. And that was the beginning of more than 800-years-long Anglo- Irish conflict.
Irish history between 1500 and 1922 is a long history of Irish resistance to British rule and oppression. There were at least nine major Irish rebellions in the 17 century: The 1641 rebellion was brutally suppressed by Cromwell ( the massacre at Drogheda, 1649 ). It was followed by large- scale confiscation of the rebel´s land. In the Great Famine ( 1845-50 ) 1 ½ million people died of starvation and disease.
The second half of the 19th century was a time of great misery, wholesale evictions and mass emigration, especially to the USA.
The deteriorating situation in Ireland forced the British Parliament in the 1880s to consider a Home Rule Bill. But the Home Rule Act was never put into effect.
A rebellion took place in Dublin at Easter in 1916, when a coalition of political groups led by a socialist, James Connoly, proclaimed Ireland a republic. The rebellion was brutally suppressed after a week´s fighting ( the Easter week )
The beginning of the Irish independence was tragic: A civil war ( 1922- 23 ) broke out between those who accepted the Treaty ( the “ Free Staters “, led by Michael Collins ), anf those who rejected the Treaty ( the Republicans under Eamon de Valera, leader of the radical wing of Sinn Fein ). It was a bitter and destructive war of Irishmen against Irishmen. Collins was killed but his Irish Free State army was victorious.
In 1926 de Valera and his supporters, having given up illegal revolutionary struggle, turned to political action and formed a new political party. Fianna Fail soon became the strongest political party and won a majority of seats in the 1932 election. De Valera became Prime Minister.
In 1937 a new constitution was adopted under which the name of State was changed to Eire. It was proclaimed a sovereign, independent and democratic state.
Ireland Lies in the Atlantic Ocean to west o9f Great Britain, from which it is separated by the Irish Sea, St. George´s Channel ( between ireland and Wales ) and North Channel ( between Ireland and Scotland ). The Republic of Ireland covers 70,282 square kilometres and consists of four provinces ( Ulster,Munster, Leinster, Connaught ) and 26 countries.
The Ireland occupies about five- sixths of the total area of Ireland- the Emeral Isle. The rest of the island- the larger part of the province of Ulster- is occupied by Nothern Ireland.
On the Achill Island in the north-west are the highest cliffs in the British Isles, rising to 600 m above sea level. Dark cliffs, green fertile plains intermingled with brown boglands, a lot of lakes, treeles hills, mild climate with a lot of rain,and sparse population are the characteristic features of the Republic.