Ireland History and Culture

Ireland History and Culture



In the 5th century. AD missionaries like Patrick (* 385, † 461) brought the Catholic Church to the Celtic Irish (Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17th). Vikings conquered the island around 800 but were repulsed by the Irish.

From 1171/72 the English ruled for centuries and founded the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” on January 1st, 1801. Poverty and famine (“Great Famine”, 1845–49) strengthened Irish nationalism. In 1905 the independence movement Sinn Féin came into being.

Around 1900 anti-British moods grew. Irish MPs founded a government under Éamon de Valera (* 1882, † 1975) in 1919, but Great Britain did not recognize it. The Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921) ended bloody struggles for independence. Northern Ireland was split off, Ireland made the British Dominion. In 1937 Ireland passed the constitution that is in force today. It left the Commonwealth in 1949 and declared the independence of the republic. Ireland joined the UN in 1955 and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in 1957. 1973 it joined the European Community (EG), where it was able to improve the infrastructure with the help of European structural funds and solve the colonial dependence on Great Britain. Civil war-like unrest (Northern Ireland Conflict, IRA) since 1968/69 in Northern Ireland led to the “Good Friday Agreement” in 1998. From the 1990s onwards, Ireland legalized divorces, abortions and homosexual marriages, joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1999 and became a member of the Eurozone.

The global financial and banking crisis that began in 2007 was overcome when it was included in the EU rescue package in 2013. The party-political landscape changed. After the unsuccessful minority government of Prime Minister Enda Kenny (* 1951; Fianna Fáil), Leo Varadkar (* 1979; since 2017) did not solve the problems (housing shortage, homelessness) either. In 2020, Sinn Féin became the strongest party and for the first time a coalition of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens formed the government. On June 27, 2020, Fianna Fáil boss Micheál Martin (* 1960) was elected as the new prime minister. The United Kingdom and Gibraltar European Union membership referendum under Boris Johnson (* 1964) brings serious problems for Ireland. The backstop clause creates an external EU border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.


According to best-medical-schools, Ireland’s culture is of Celtic origin (Celtic art), influenced by British influences. This is shown by myths and legends like the goblin leprechaun. The wheel cross in cemeteries also reflects Celtic and Christian design language. The shrinking population due to famine and superimposition by other cultures led to the decline of the Irish Gaelic language. In the 19th and 20th It experienced a renaissance in the 19th century and can now be found everywhere in writing and language.

Irish authors have produced world literature: Oliver Goldsmith , who became world famous with his only novel “The Vicar of Wakefield”, the sharp-tongued satirist and author of ” Gulliver’s Travels ” Jonathan Swift or the Dandy and long-term imprisoned lyric poet and playwright Oscar Wilde because of his homosexuality, whose novel ” The Picture of Dorian Gray ” would have been enough to make him famous. No less famous were and are James Joyce (with his works “Ulysses” and “Finnegans Wake”, which are considered to be almost untranslatable and yet translated into dozens of languages) and in particular the Nobel Prize winners George Bernard Shaw (1925), William Butler Yeats (1923), Samuel Beckett (1969) andSeamus Heaney (1995) (Irish literature).

The Irish art with their traditions and customs alive in folk festivals, storytelling and singing competitions, crafts and performing arts and-forming. Jack Butler Yeats (* 1871, † 1957) is considered a national painter because of his depictions of Irish mythology. Harp, fiddle (violin) and tin whistle (brass flute) are attributes of Irish folk music. The formation dance expresses the Irish way of life, dance shows such as Riverdance are successful worldwide. Ireland is most successful at the Eurovision Song Contest. The Wexford Festival Opera is recognized worldwide.

Irish historical dramas, films about child abuse and social problems in the past and present are well known in the film scene.

In addition to traditional sports such as Gaelic football and hurling, rugby, soccer, cricket, golf and equestrian sports are popular. Road bowling, a special kind of ball throwing, is popular regionally.

The Irish language

In addition to Latin and Greek, Irish is another European language that has been handed down in writing (Ogham script). Old Irish language monuments have existed since the 4th century, such as B. the Turin Palimpsest with 29 Irish glosses for the 2nd Peter letter. The rich Irish-language literature of the Celts was passed down orally by bards. The oral tradition was supplemented in the 7th / 8th centuries. Century through the Latin script introduced in the course of Christianization. In the 9th century, when the Vikings invaded the island and settled in the cities, the Irish language came under the influence of the Nordic languages. Irish was lastingly influenced by the Anglo-Norman invasion from 1171 onwards, as several mother tongues have coexisted in Ireland since then. By 1500, Irish developed into a literary language that was decoupled from the spoken language. The Irish dialects came under the influence of English and their use was increasingly reduced. With the English victory on the Boyne in 1690 the way was clear for the Anglicization of Ireland; the use of the Irish language was suppressed. As a counter-tendency, Irish nationalism took hold in the 19th century. Intellectuals made first attempts to revive the Irish language. Around 1900 a “Gaelic League” and an “Irish Literary Theater” in Dublin were founded; from then on the renewal of the Irish language and literature began. With the establishment of the Irish Republic, Gaelic was introduced in schools, where it was more of a foreign language. as it was not taught by native teachers. Since 1972 there has been an Irish radio program again.

World Heritage Sites in Ireland

World Heritage Sites

  • Prehistoric cult and burial site Bend of the Boyne (1993)
  • Skellig Michael rock island with early medieval monastery settlement (1996)

Ireland History and Culture