Jack's Short Irish History: The First Few Millennia

June 8, 2019

Yes, I had to look up and confirm the exact definition of millennium (1000 years versus “a h*#% of a long time”) and the correct form and spelling of the plural. My goal for this blog (besides improving my vocabulary and spelling) is to list about two dozen events/places/people that are important to Irish history up to the time of Christopher Columbus. Consequently this blog is VERY brief considering the time span. I’ve tried to include many of the locations that we have visited on our tours, and some of the people associated with those places. For now this is a date ordered list with a very short description of each item (and a link if I can find a good one). Someday I hope to create an “Irish History Timeline” as a graphic…. That's for a later day.


Here's the list:




3200 BC            Newgrange and Howth - Passage tombs North of Dublin in the Boyne Valley. These were built 500 years before the pyramids and Newgrange is thought to be the largest structure at that time. An excellent day tour is available from Dublin for guests who want to extend their stay.



3000 BC            Céide Fields - One of the stops on our Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) tour. Archeological sight that shows the first cooperative farming in Ireland. It is distinctive because of the rock walls preserved under a bog. Yes, the Irish have been making rock walls for almost 5000 years.



1100 BC             Dún Aonghasa (Dun Aengus) - A Cliff Fort (versus a Ring Fort) on the island of Inishmore. A stop on our Authentic Ireland tour. IMHO one of the best views in Ireland.


~200                   Celts(Celt Migration to Ireland) - Settlers/Invaders from Europe. They didn’t exactly “invade”; It was more like they “wandered into town” and stayed. They are responsible for the origins of the distinctive art of Ireland.


430-460            St. Patrick - Traditionally credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, not true, but definitely spread the christian faith in Ireland.


484-578            Saint Brendan the Navigator - An Irish Monk who likely discovered North American well before Christopher Columbus.


400-800           Initial Spread of Christianity - Yes, this starts before St. Patrick.




~550               Founding of Clonmacnoise and Glendalough Monastaries - Two of the larger Ecclesiastic Communities of Ireland. During this pre-city/town era, these were the largest gatherings of humans in Ireland. Both are popular visitor destinations today.


 795-900            Viking Era - Marauding Vikings are at least partially responsible for the decline of the Ecclesiastic Communities. Of course golden religious objects would be a big draw for pillaging bands of Vikings. Modern DNA analysis implies that the Vikings stayed and intermarried much more than perviously thought. They also brought the first cities/villages to Ireland, Dublin and Waterford.


841                     Founding of Dublin - There was probably a settlement before this time, but the Vikings brought walls (wooden) and house structures (also of wood).


976 -1014           Brian Boru High King - The High King of Ireland who united the whole island under one ruler


1169-1260          Anglo Norman Conquest of Ireland - This started with Strongbow’s alliance with Dermot MacMurrough  and the occupation never really ended until the early twentieth century. The early Normans intermarried with the Irish and eventually became “more Irish than the Irish”. 


1110-1171           Diarmuid MacMurrough (Dermot MacMurrough) - Deposed Irish king of Leinster who became an ally of Strongbow to regain his kingdom.


1170                    Strongbow (Richard de Clare) arrives in Ireland - Anglo Norman leader of a band of mercenaries from Wales and England. He was “invited” by Dermot MacMurrough and eventually married his daughter, Aoife.  


1145-1188           Aoife MacMurough - Daughter of Diarmuid MacMurough. She married Strongbow (Richard de Clare) to seal the alliance with her father…. and the fate of Ireland.



1232                    Founding of Galway by Richard de Burgh -  Recruited fourteen other Anglo-Norman families to settle Galway (after evicting the Irish across the river to the Claddagh)


1250                    Founding of Athenry by Meiler de Bermingham - The de Berminghams built a castle at a strategic point along the Clarinbridge River, now Athenry.


1477                   Christopher Columbus visits Galway - The Irish claim he learned of the “New World during his visit to Galway and the West of Ireland.


1492                   Columbus discovers America 







See You In the Pub!


      Jet Lag Jack
















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