is the second largest of the northwestern European islands.
For centuries, Ireland's history has been intertwined
with the history of its eastern neighbor, England. Even
before the first English invasion in the twelfth century,
Ireland had contact with the kingdoms on the isle of Britain.
Ireland was Christianized by an Anglo-Roman, known as
Patrick, and an Irishman, St. Columba, Christianized the
land of the Scots and Picts. For centuries there had been
intermarriage between the Irish, Manx, Scots, and Picts.
In fact, the Scots themselves are a tribe of Irishmen
from Ulster who emigrated. However, in the twelfth century
these interactions between the peoples of the northwestern
islands became more violent: An Anglo-Norman, Strongbow,
invaded Leinster in the name of Henry II of England and
at the behest of King Dermot of Leinster, who had been
deposed. The Anglo-Normans took Leinster, then Meath,
then Munster and Connaught. And they tried to take Ulster.
The greatest irony of Irish history is that the
land that resisted the Anglo-Normans the most successfully
is now the only part of Ireland still controlled by the
English. Of course, the Anglo-Norman invasion was not
complete; they merely built castles throughout the land
to take control bit by bit, piece by piece, and clan by
clan. Using Caesar's great maxim, the Anglo-Normans (and
their English successors) divided the Irish and conquered
them. Before the Irish were conquered though, there were
two centuries in which the Irish converted the Anglo-Normans
into Anglo-Irish. Indeed, the Anglo-Irish became some
of the greatest rebels against the English. During the
sixteenth and the late seventeenth centuries, Ireland
was at war with England. The Irish could not push the
English out of Ireland, but neither could the English
complete their suppression of the Irish.
came Cromwell, the devil's hand in Ireland, who raped
and slaughtered the men, women, and children of Ireland.
Forty years later, the forces of Green, Irish, Catholic
Ireland met the forces of the Orange, Protestant Scots-Irish
and English. The Battle of the Boyne and the subsequent
Battle of Kinsale brought about the Flight of the Earls
in which the Irish clan leaders fled to Spain and France.
The Clan Na Gaul was broken and the lands were parceled
out to "loyalist" and Protestant individuals.
The Irish people lost their right to own land, practice
their religion or even receive an education. Ireland's
mystical forests were cut down in order to ferret out
rebels and to build the famous British navy. The people
were so taxed that all they could afford to eat was a
New World tuber, a potato. Of course, when the Irish potato
crop failed in the 1840s and the other crops were collected
to pay British taxes and land rents, people died. Millions
of Irish died or emigrated. The Irish emigrated all over
the world, many of them went to Canada or the United States,
and the Irish people thrived when they were out from under
1922, the British were forced into recognizing Irish demands
for self-governance of Ireland. Unfortunately, before
granting home rule to Ireland, the British gerrymandered
an artificial border to create an artificial loyalist
territory within Ireland. The British ceded three nationalist
counties of Ulster to the Irish Free State and thus created
a new territory made of nine counties of Ulster that together
had a loyalist population. The British justified British
control of the new Dominion of Northern Ireland by saying
that they needed to insure the safety of the Protestant
loyalist community. Again, Irish history is marked by
irony because the British rule in Northern Ireland has
done nothing to insure the safety of the artificially
created nationalist minority in Northern Ireland.
there are 3 million Irish in Ireland, 1.5 million Irish
in Northern Ireland, and there are an estimated 70 million
Irish worldwide! Though each community of Irish people
may have different accents or traditions, they are all