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The Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age)

The Palaeolithic was the age of the earliest humans, the Neanderthals who spread out from Africa and inhabited Europe before the Ice Age and their successors and the Cro Magnon Man humans who created the famous cave paintings at Cheddar Gorge in England, Altamira in Northern Spain and Lascaux, Niaux, and elsewhere in France. (more…)

The Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) c.8,000 BCE

Mesolithic hunter-gatherers were the first Irish people known to modern science, leaving traces of their stone tools, middens and base camps throughout the country and following the coastline and river and lake systems in search of food. (more…)

The Neolithic (New Stone Age) (c.6,000 Years Ago)

The Neolithic was the age of the first farmers, the creators of monumental and landscape architecture, whose field -systems have been discovered at Céide in Mayo and who built the great passage tombs of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. (more…)

The Copper and Bronze Ages (c.2,500BCE)

The Bronze Age was Ireland’s “Golden Age” when the new-found mastery of metals produced exquisite Bronze Axeheads and shields as well as precious gold torques and decorated discs including the famed Glenlisheen Gorget. (more…)

The Iron Age (c.800 BCE)

The Iron Age was remembered in later literature as Ireland’s Celtic Heroic Age, the time of Cú Chulainn, Queen Maeve and the old Gods who would be remembered as the Tuatha De Danann. (more…)

Early Christian Ireland (c.431 CE)

Early Christian Ireland was known as the Island of Saints and Scholars. Newly Christian monks created famous monasteries and churches and converted Northern Britain and much of Germany while producing beautiful manuscripts like the Books of Kells and Lindisfarne. (more…)

Viking Raiders (795 – 1014 CE)

From the late eighth to the early eleventh century Ireland was preyed upon by the Vikings; fierce pagan warriors and raiders from the north who founded Ireland’s first cities and opened up trade with the wider world. (more…)

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    Medieval Ireland: Norman Invasion and English Rule in Ireland (1169 CE)

Medieval Ireland: Norman Invasion and English Rule in Ireland (1169 CE)

The Norman Invasion marked the beginning of English Rule in Ireland but also brought great changes with the building of hundreds of earth and stone castles as well as new towns and great new cathedrals. (more…)

Gaelic Revival (Early 1300s onwards)

The fourteenth century saw a new rise in Gaelic power beyond the pale and the re-emergence of native rulers such as the O’Connors and the seafaring O’Flaherties and O’Malley’s of Galway and Mayo. (more…)

Final Destruction of Gaelic Ireland (c.1485 onwards)

The Reformation brought a new bitterness to the struggle between Gaelic and Catholic Ireland and their English rulers. It was an age of war, rebellions and plantation, of the Spanish Armada and Granuaile – Ireland’s Pirate Queen. (more…)

The Great Famine (1845-1853)

A rising population and crushing poverty among the displaced Catholic tenants led to the greatest catastrophe in Irish history – an Gorta Mór when the collapse of the potato crop led to mass starvation and flight across the Atlantic in Coffin Ships. (more…)

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    The Land Movement, the Struggle for Independence and After in Connemara (c.1853-present)

The Land Movement, the Struggle for Independence and After in Connemara (c.1853-present)

Struggles over land led by Parnell and Davitt led finally to independence and the creation of the Irish Free State while a new interest in Irish culture led to a literary revival and government intervention transformed the landscape. However, prosperity remained fragile and the Irish Language continued to decline. (more…)