Northern Ireland History – a Brief Introduction “History. You either love it or hate it”, or so the saying goes. I happen to be one of the minority who love it. Whether you love or hate history here is the bottom line: you can never really come to understand a place until you begin to understand its history.
In the part on Early, Neolithic History of Northern Ireland you will read about the megalithic monuments, court tombs, dolmens, Newgrange. They are fascinating and mysterious.
Then come the Celts, this famous people with their Celtic language extant to this day. They have left their bright mark on history. They might also be the source of the red hair commonly associated with the Irish.
If you are of western European heritage, chance are you have some Celtic blood flowing in your veins. So read on, it is about your ancestors.
Then you will read about the coming of Christianity, a turning point in the history of Ireland. In all Christendom Ireland became famous for its scholars and sages.
Here, you will get to know some of them. You will read about the Celtic Christians and their great leaders Patrick and Columba. You can also read about the glorious kingdom of Dalriada. Centred in County Antrim, it spread to cover large parts of Scotland and indeed gave Scotland its name.
You can also read about the marauding ancient Vikings who troubled this land for two hundred years, as well as their descendants, the Normans, who stayed even longer.
And if you think you are nearly finished, think again.
You have the coming of the Spanish Armada. It didn’t attack Ireland but several ships sunk along its coasts. Some people believe that shipwrecked sailors who may have settled in Ireland may have affected the genetic matrix of the Irish giving rise to the Black Irish and numerous tales about their origin. The most famous of the Spanish Armada ships lost in Ireland was the Girona which sunk at Lacada Point.
In our Modern Northern Ireland History read about Cromwell and William of Orange, and about the famous Battle of the Boyne that shaped so much of modern Northern Ireland history. It is re-enacted every year on July 13 in the little village of Scarva, and is known as the Sham Fight. Also about the independent thinking Irish clans and the Plantation of Ulster. And when you hear plantation, don’t think of cotton fields.
The Plantation of Ulster was probably the single most influential denominator in shaping Northern Ireland. Intrigued? It is coming soon!
Then there is the Great Potato Famine in three pages: Ireland Before the Famine, the Great Famine itself and the Aftermath. The Great Potato Famine prompted the people to move abroad in great waves of Irish immigration.
We also have a section on famous shipwrecks. The seas around Ireland are very busy sea lanes and have seen their fair share of shipwrecks, from older times to more recent. Their stories are fascinating, but often very sad. We have included information on some of the more famous ones, a small tribute to the countless lives lost at sea.
And finally, the Troubles. An intense conflict, almost like an Irish civil war that left its scars yet from which Northern Ireland is in the process of healing.
Read carefully and, who knows, it is so interesting you might decide to become a history buff like me!