Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
A Chronology of Ireland (Author: Thomas Osborne Davis)


There is much doubt as to who were the first inhabitants of Ireland; but it is certain that the Phoenicians had a great commerce with it. The Firbolgs, a rude people, held Ireland for a long period. They were subdued by the Tuatha de Danaan, a refined and noble race, which in its turn yielded its supremacy to the arms of the Milesians. The dates during these centuries are not well ascertained.

489. B.C. Dr. O Conor, the Librarian of Stowe, fixes this as the most probable date of the Milesian invasion.

489. B.C. Ollamh Fodhla, the Irish Solomon, institutes the Great Feis, or Triennial Convention, at Tara.

489. B.C. thirty-two monarchs are said to have reigned between this sovereign and Cimbaoth, who built the Palace of Emania– an event which the chronologers have used as a technical epoch.

200. B.C. The Scotic colony, which Moore strips of much of its Bardic and Milesian splendour, he assigns this date to.

A.D. 40. Reformation of the Bardic or Literary Order, by Concobar King of Ulster.

A.D. 90. The old population successfully revolt against the Milesians and place one of their own race upon the throne.

A.D. 130. Re-establishment of the Milesian sway.

A.D. 164. King Feidlim, the Legislator. establishes the law of Eric.

A.D. 258. From Con of the Hundred Battles descended the chieftains who supplied Albany, the modern Scotland, with her first Scottish rulers, by establishing, about the middle of the third century, the kingdom of Dalriada in Argyleshire.


A.D. 333. The Palace of Emania destroyed during a civil war.

A.D. 396. Niall of the Nine Hostages invades Britain.

A.D. 387. The birth of St. Patrick.

A.D. 432. St. Patrick Mission to Ireland.

A.D. 436. Dathi, the last of the Pagan monarchs of Ireland succeeded Niall and was killed while on one of his military expeditions, at the foot of the Alps, by lightning.

A.D. 465, March 17, Death of St. Patrick.

.A.D. 554. The last triennial council held at Tara.

A.D. 795. First Invasion of the Danes. The island of Rathlin laid waste.

A.D. 1014, April 23, Good Friday. Defeat of the Danes at Clontarf by Brian Boroimhe.

A.D. 1152. Synod of Kells, here, whatever be the controversy respecting the previous independence of the Irish Church, it is conceded that the supremacy of the Church of Rome was acknowledged. At this council, too, tithes were first sanctioned and introduced to Ireland.

A.D. 1159 Pope Adrian's bull granting Ireland to Henry II.

A.D. 1169, May. First landing of the Normans.

A.D. 1171, October 18. Henry II arrives in Ireland.

A.D. 1172 Synod of Cashel assembled under the authority of Henry II. A Council, called by some a Parliament, held by Henry II. at Lismore.

A.D. 1185. Prince John, Earl of Moreton, twelve years old, is sent over by his father as Lord of Ireland, accompanied by Giraldus Cambrensis as his tutor.

A.D. 1210. King John, at the head of a military force, arrives in Ireland.

A.D. 1216. Henry III. sends over to Ireland the great Charter granted by John.

A.D. 1254. Ireland granted, under certain conditions, by Henry III. to his son Prince Edward.

A.D. 1277. Some of the Irish adjoining the Anglo-Norman counties petition Edward I. for an extension of English laws and usages to them.

A.D. 1295. A Parliament held at Kilkenny by Sir John Wogan, Lord Justice.

A.D. 1309. A Parliament held at Kilkenny by Sir John Wogan. Its enactments on record in Bolton's Irish Statutes.


A.D. 1315. Edward Bruce lands with 6,000 men at Larne in May, invited by the Irish. Crowned near Dundalk.

A.D. 1318. Defeat and death of Bruce at Faghard, near Dundalk.

A.D. 1367. Parliament assembled at Kilkenny by Lionel, Duke of Clarence, at which the celebrated Anti-Irish Statute was passed.

A.D. 1379. The first Act ever passed against Absentees.

A.D. 1394. Richard II lands with an army at Waterford.

A.D. 1399. Richard II's second expedition to Ireland.

A.D. 1463. A College founded at Youghal by the Earl of Desmond. Another at Drogheda.

A.D. 1472. Institution of the Brotherhood of St. George for the protection of the Pale.

A.D. 1494, Nov. The Parliament assembled at Drogheda passed Poyning's Law.

A.D. 1534. First step of the Reformation in Ireland.

A.D. 1536. Nearly total destruction of the Kildare Geraldines. Henry VIII. 's supremacy enacted by Statute.

A.D. 1537. Act passed for the suppression of religious houses.

A.D. 1541. Act passed declaring Henry VIII. King of Ireland.

A.D. 1579. The last Earl of Desmond proclaimed a traitor.

A.D. 1583. The Earl of Desmond assassinated.

A.D. 1586, April 26. Attainder of Desmond and his followers. Forfeiture of his estate, 574,628 Irish acres. Elizabeth institutes the planting system.

A.D. 1592. The Dublin University founded.

A.D. 15951595. Aodh O'Neill's victory at Blackwater, and death of Marshal Bagenal.

A.D. 1603, March 30. Submission of O'Neill (Tyrone) to Mountjoy.

A.D. 1607. Flight of the Northern Earls, Tyrone and Tyrconnell. Consequent seizure by the Crown of the six entire counties of Cavan, Fermanagh, Armagh, Derry, Tyrone, and Tyrconnel (now Donegal), amounting in the whole to about 511,456 Irish acres.

A.D. 1608. May 1 to Sept. Sir Cathair O'Dogherty's rising.

A.D. 1613, May 18. After the creation of fourteen peers and forty new boroughs, a Parliament is assembled to support the new plantation of Ulster by the attainder and outlawry of the gentlemen of that province.

A.D 1616. Commission for inquiring into defective titles.

A.D. 1635. Lord Wentworth's oppressive proceedings to find a title in the Crown to the province of Connaught.


A.D. 1641, Oct. 23. The breaking out of the celebrated Irish insurrection.

A.D. 1642. The Confederate Catholics form their General Assembly and Supreme Council at Kilkenny. ‘Pro Deo, pro rege, et patria Hibernia, unanimes’, their motto.

A.D. 1646, June 5. Monroe totally defeated by Owen Roe O'Neill at Benburb, near Armagh.

A.D. 1649, Aug. 15. Oliver Cromwell arrives in Dublin.

A.D. 1649, Sept. 2, 10, 15. Siege, storming, and massacre of Drogheda.

A.D. 1649, Oct. 1. Siege and massacre of Wexford.

A.D. 1649, Nov. 6. Death of Owen Roe O'Neill at Cloughoughter Castle, Co. Cavan.

A.D. 1650, May 29. Cromwell embarks for England.

A.D. 1653, Sept. 26. The Irish war proclaimed ended by the English Parliament. Act of Grace, ordering the Irish Catholics to transport themselves, on pain of death, into Connaught before 1st of March, 1654.

A.D. 1661. May 8, 1666. Acts of Settlement and Explanation. 7,800,000 acres confiscated and distributed under them.

A.D. 1689, March 12. James II landed at Kinsale.

A.D. 1689, May 7. The Irish Parliament summoned by him.

A.D. 1689, July 20. It met at the Inns of Court.

A.D. 1690, June 14. William III landed at Carrickfergus Bay.

.A.D. 1690, July 1. Battle of the Boyne.

A.D. 1690, Aug 30. The first siege of Limerick under William III raised by Sarsfield.

A.D. 1691, June 30. Athlone taken after a gallant defence.

A.D. 1691, July 12. Battle of Aughrim.

A.D. 1691, Oct. 3. Capitulation and Treaty of Limerick.

A.D. 1692, April 5. The articles agreed upon by the Treaty confrmed by William III.

A.D. 1692, Nov. 3. Lord Sydney's protest against the claim of the Irish House of Commons to the right of ‘preparing heads of bills for raising money’. The beginning of the struggle between the Protestant ascendency and the English Government, which bore national fruit in 1782, but which was crushed in 1800.

A.D. 1695, August. Parliament violated the Treaty of Limerick.

A.D. 1695, August. 7 William III., c. 67. Prohibits Catholic education at home or abroad.

A.D. 1695, August. 7 William III., c. 5. Disarms Papists.


A.D. 1697. 9 William III., c. 1. Banishes Popish archbishops, bishops vicars-general, and all regular clergy, on pain of death.

A.D. 1697. 9 William III., c. 2. An Act ‘to confirm the Treaty of Limerick,’ which directly and grossly violates its letter and spirit. It is fit to remember that in the Irish House of Lords, from which Catholics were excluded, seven spiritual and five temporal peers protested against this infamous legislation.

A.D. 1689. The 9 and 10 William III., c. 40. An Act aimed at the Irish woollen manufacture. Molyneux published his famous Case of Ireland being bound by Acts of Parliament passed in England. This book, by order of the English House of Commons, was burned by the hangman.

A.D. 1704, March 4. The Act to prevent the further growth of Popery, one of the most noted links in the penal chain.1

A.D. 1719, October 17. Representation of the Irish House of Lords against appeals to England.

A.D. 1720. 6 Geo. I. Act passed by the English Legislature to secure the dependency of Ireland.

A.D. 1720. Swift's first Irish pamphlet, A proposal for the universal use of Irish manufactures.2 Prosecuted by Government.

A.D. 1724. Wood's patent to coin half-pence for Ireland, and Swift's successful opposition to the scheme by the Letters of M. B. Drapier. The first time all Irish sects and parties were unanimous upon national grounds.

A.D. 1728. I Geo. II., c. 9, s. 8. The Act disfranchising Roman Catholics.

A.D. 1737. The tithe of agistment got rid of by the Irish gentry, and the chief burden of the tithe thereby thrown on the farmers and peasantry.

A.D. 1743. Lucas rises into notice in the Dublin Corporation.

A.D. 1745, April 30. Battle of Fontenoy.

A.D. 1749. Dr. Lucas is obliged to leave Ireland.

A.D. 1753, Dec. 17. The House of Commons asserts its control successfully over the surplus revenue, in opposition to Government.


A.D. 1756. The first public effort by Mr. O'Connor and Dr. Curry to inspire the Catholics with the spirit of freedom. They succeed with the mercantile body, but are opposed by many of the gentry and clergy.

A.D. 1760. March and April. Mr. Wyse and Dr. Curry revive the scheme of an association to manage Catholic affairs.

A.D. 1761. Dr. Lucas returned as representative of Dublin to the first Parliament of George III.

A.D. 1763. Establishment of the Freeman's Journal by Dr. Lucas, the first independent Irish newspaper.

A.D. 1768. The duration of parliament limited to eight years.

A.D. 1778. First relaxation of the Penal Code, Catholics allowed long tenures of land, &c.

A.D. 1778. The Volunteers first formed. Flood the foremost popular leader.

A.D. 1779. The achievement of Free Trade [i.e., Ireland's right to trade with the colonies, &c.].

A.D. 1782. Ireland's legislative independence won. Grattan's prime.

A.D. 1785. Orde's Commercial Propositions.

A.D. 1789. Debates upon the Regency question.

.A.D. 1790. The formation of the Society of United Irishmen at Belfast. Theobald Wolfe Tone its founder.

A.D. 1792. The franchise restored to the Roman Catholics.

A.D. 1793. The Bar opened to them, &c.

A.D. 1795, Sept. 21. First Orange Lodge formed.

A.D. 1796, Dec. 24. The remnant of the French expedition arrives in Bantry Bay without General Hoche, the commander.

A.D. 1798, May 23. Breaking out of the insurrection.

A.D. 1798, August 22. General Humbert lands with a small force at Killala.

A.D. 1798, Dec. 9. Meeting of the Bar to oppose the projected Union. Saurin moves the resolution, which is carried.

A.D. 1799, Jan. 22. The Union proposed.

A.D. 1799, June 1. Parliament prologued, Government having been defeated by small majorities.

A.D. 1800, Feb. 10. The House of Lords divided, 75 for and 26 against the Union.

A.D. 1800, Feb. 15. The House of Commons divided, 158 for, 115 against the Union.


A.D. 1800, March 17. On this day, the first of the following January was fixed in the Commons for the commencement of the Union.

A.D. 1803. Robert Emmet's insurrection and execution.

A.D. 1810. Great Repeal meeting in Dublin.

A.D. 1813. Important debate on emancipation.

A.D. 1821. George IV. in Ireland.

A.D. 1823. Catholic Association formed.

A.D. 1825. Act passed to put down the Catholic Association.

.A.D. 1828. O'Connell's election for Clare.

A.D. 1829, April 13. Emancipation granted.

A.D. 1831. Education Board formed.

A.D. 1833. Coercion Bill passed by the Whigs.

A.D. 1836, May. Parliament rejects Repeal motion.

A.D. 1838. Poor Law. Temperance Movement.

A.D. 1840. Corporation Reform. Repeal Association formed by O'Connell.

A.D. 1842, October 15. Establishment of the Nation.

A.D. 1843. Monster meetings. Prosecutions. William Smith O'Brien joins the Repeal Association.

A.D. 1844. Verdict against, and imprisonment of Repeal leaders, 12th February, and 30th May. Liberation, 7th September.

The future is ours. For good, if we are persevering, intelligent, and brave; for ill, if we quarrel, slumber, or shrink.