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Irish buildings and our pastIrish Architecture and History

Irish History

Ireland has been populated since c. 7000BC. By 3000BC tribes were building megalithic tombs all over Ireland, those that remain today show a high degree of sophistication.

The Celts arrived around 300BC bringing their own distinctive culture, laws and customs. In the fifth century St Patrick travelled from Britain bringing with him the message of Christianity. As a result a wealth of monasteries sprang up, this attracted the Vikings who came to pillage. They were finally overthrown by Brian Boru in 1014. The next rulers were the Norman’s who brought English rule and order to Ireland. This led to a systematic dispossession of native lands and the plantation of migrants from England and Scotland.

Ultimately the Act of Union of 1800 led to Ireland being governed from London. In 1916 a group of volunteers decided to attempt to overthrow British rule at a time when the British attention was on the Great War. Although this campaign failed it led to a change in public opinion. A bloody civil war was fought between 1919 - 1921.

The resultant treaty of 1921 gave independence to 26 of the 32 counties, the 6 counties in the northeast became known as Northern Ireland, and remained under British patronage.

The Republic of Ireland joined the EEC in 1972 and in 1999 has become of 11 countries to join the EMU.

Northern Ireland saw a period of civil unrest which began in 1969. This was nominally fought between Catholic's interested in reinstating the link with Ireland, and Protestants loyal to the British crown, the security forces and British Army adding to the armed inhabitants of Northern Ireland. A truce and agreement was signed in 1998.

Dublin CastleIrish Architecture

Ireland's architecture mirrors periods of history outlined above. The Normans brought with them a Gothic style that is evident in religious sites such as Mellifont Abbey. Visitors to Ireland are often intrigued by the castles the populate the country. Several of these now offer accommodation, having been fully modernised to today's standards.

Classical architecture came to Dublin in the early 18th century. This is evident today in many of Ireland's finest buildings such as Trinity College, the Bank of Ireland and the Four Courts, all built in the Palladian style.

Dublin's most famed architectural quality is the Georgian area around Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares. Many of these buildings can be visited today, several are hotels and offices.

More humble architecture is also synonomous with Ireland, the thatched cottage, once a poor man's way of keeping his head dry has now passed in folklore. A few examples are maintained around the country, notable examples are to be found in Adare.




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