This essay focuses on the political, economic, and cultural history of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is written for the participants in Stanford Travel/Study’s program, Ireland: Food, Culture, and Politics, March 28-April 8, 2022.
I begin with ancient and medieval Ireland (7000 BCE-1170 CE) – original settlement, Celtic conquest, and Viking influences. I next look at British Ireland (1170-1921) and review Anglo- Norman settlement, English crown colonization, and the causes and impacts of the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849). For independent Ireland (1921-present), I ask how Irish politics evolved and why Ireland had slow economic growth until 1973 and then became Europe’s fastest-growing economy. In 1921, Northern Ireland chose to remain part of the UK instead of joining independent Ireland. In the final part of the essay, I examine political and economic transitions in Ulster during the past century, focusing especially on the Troubles (1969-1999) – the violent struggle between Protestant unionists and Catholic republicans. I append a time line, a bibliography for Ireland, and a description of sites that I visited in Ireland.
Ancient and Medieval Ireland, Settlement of Ireland, Early Christian Ireland, Viking Incursions in Ireland, Norman and British Ireland, Anglo-Norman Ireland, Colonial Ireland, Ireland in the United Kingdom, Irish Free State and Republic of Ireland, Irish Free State and Ireland, Republic of Ireland – Political Evolution, Republic of Ireland – Economic Transformation, Northern Ireland, Protestant Province, The Troubles, Autonomy, Brexit,