Emerald Isle’s complicated History from the Stone Age to the Medieval Ages

In Stone Age there were people constructing tombs with stones which can be found today.

I’ve visited two of them. First of all Newgrange which was a „must“ when I visited Ireland for the first time in 2013. Then, a year later I visited a more pitoresque little one in the west of Ireland. 


In Bronce Age it was the time of the Kelts who dominated there – and as goods from  the Eastern Sea to the Mediterranean Sea were found there. The Romans conquered England,  but hadn’t any interest in the ‚cold‘ Hibernia as they called Ireland. Nevertheless. The sea helped to maintain contact to England – and perhaps even to conquer some parts of Wales perhaps?

Christianity arrived. The Romans vanished and left a gap. Knowledge got lost. The dark Medieval Ages. But not so in Ireland. Monasteries there were built and the focus of trade and learning. People from mainland Europe came over to Ireland to learn.

Nowadays the impressing ruins can be visited. I was lucky to get a glimpse of Devenish in autumn 2013 and I loved visiting Glendalough in spring 2016. It was quite intense to walk in between the gravestones and the ruins of this big monastery.

In the 12th century the Vikings came. As murderers and thiefs at first, but then as settlers. They founded the cities of Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork and Limerick – as far as I remember.

At that time at Ireland the hundreds of small kingdoms had transformed to four or five bigger ones (Ulster in the north, Leinster and Meath in the east, Munster and Connacht in the west) with a high king above all, but little power.

Tara, this stone will cry out when the new High King will touch it. I tried. But it didn’t work 😉

In the 12th century the king of Leinster changed this and took power, Brian Boru. He managed, but after he died Ireland there was war for power all over Ireland.

When I visited the ‚Book of Kells‘ for the second time there was an exhibition about Brian Boru in the old library, but didn’t understand what history was told. Now I know more.


One of them was Dermait. About him I read lately. I have told about him and what happened (it’s written in German). You can read more about Dermait here, if you are interested.

So the mighty Norman English King Henry II received Ireland from the pope and was accepted as Lord by the Irish Kings. And the Normans lived at Ireland from now on as well – and reigned it.

The Normans built the stone castles. I am not sure if they have built this two which I visited in 2014 as well, but nevertheless they are great and I wanted to show them to you:

The population got multicultural at this time, didn’t it? Well, they all will become Irish 🍀 one day – but till the Plague came in the mid of the 14th century the Norman’s saw themselves superior to the barbaric Irish – the Gaelic ancestors of the Kelts and the Vikings. The Norman’s power was broken.


End of 15th century the remaining Normans didn’t feel real English any more. Ireland had become their home as well. At this time the English king decided to take full power over Ireland again – and people of Ireland didn’t want to give it to him.

I think this is the time when another book about Irish History started: ‚The Rebels of Ireland‘

It was the time of Henry VIII and the Irish (ancestors of the Gaelic and the Normans together) fought for staying catholic and to keep their Ireland to themselves.

The Medieval Ages are over but fights should continue…



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