The recorded history of the Republic of Ireland begins in the 5th century, although references to even earlier tribal inhabitants were made by Roman writers including Julius Caesar, who became aware of its existence after his conquest of Britain. By the 5th century, Christianity was established on the island, and St Patrick arrived around 432 AD, firmly rooting the monastic movement. By the late medieval era, the country was a patchwork of small kingdoms often at war with each other.
The outside world arrived on the island with the conquest of Britain by William of Normandy, with large chunks of land granted to Norman lords after the 1169 invasion. Subjugation to England fuelled the fires of revolt during the early modern period, with Henry VIII’s English Reformation further muddying the waters. Finally, the Irish Roman Catholic population was totally excluded from power and local rebellions became the norm. From the early 17th century, brutal and largely unsuccessful methods were used to persuade Ireland’s people to convert to Protestantism, with the Plantations policy the most damaging.
Religious persecution became the norm, amid growing resentment and hatred of the English by Irish Catholics. Civil war broke out in 1641, resulting in a brief period of Catholic majority rule, after which the land was re-conquered by Oliver Cromwell’s armies and all Catholic Irish-owned lands confiscated. Anti-Catholic repression and struggles with the English Crown characterized the late 17th century, culminating in the Williamite War between deposed King James II of England and King William of Orange. The decisive 1690 Battle of the Boyne saw James defeated, and the Battle of Aughrim a year later smashed any hopes of Irish Catholic landowners. Harsh penal laws were reintroduced by the Protestant elite and, from 1801 to 1922, the island was ruled by London.
You can experience all four seasons in one day if you’re lucky! Because the island is hugged all year round by the warm influence of the Gulf Stream, Ireland is much warmer than other countries that share its latitude. The Gulf Stream also ensures that the Irish coastline remains ice-free throughout winter. Extreme winters are rare, and you’re more likely to encounter a warm glow than a frosty reception, with average winter temperatures of between 40°F/5°C and 46°F/8°C.
Summer temperatures are generally between 60°F/15°C to 70°F/20°C. One thing that is more than probable is rain – that’s what makes our grass so green, so don’t forget to pack your rain gear and a woolly jumper!
The currency is controlled by Ireland’s Central Bank which is found in the city of Dublin, which is the largest and capital city of Ireland. There are different variations of the Pound Sterling notes. The reason behind this is that every bank in Northern Ireland is mandated to issue its own notes. In spite of these differences, the coins have turned out to be similar irrespective of the bank that mints them. When an individual crosses from the Republic of Ireland to Ireland or vice versa, they need to exchange their currency for an acceptable one. Foreign exchange can be done in shops, banks, gas stations, and bureau de change. The exchange is highly dependent on the current exchange rates.