Irish people

The Irish ( Irish: Muintir na hÉireann, na hÉireannaigh, na Gaeil, English: Irish (people) ) are an ethnic group whose core area in north-western Europe is on the present British Isles. In a narrower sense, so that the residents of the island of Ireland, v. alia, in the Republic of Ireland, but also in the British Northern Ireland meant.


The Irish name is probably derived from the word Érainn, which marked a Celtic tribe who lived in pre-Christian times in Munster.

A synonym used for all keltischstämmigen inhabitants of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man is that of the Gaels (Irish na Gaeil ), which derives from the Old Irish proper name Goídel, which in turn was originally a Welsh foreign denomination of the Irish was ( gwyddel, German robber attacker ).


The majority of the population in the Republic of Ireland are descended from those Celtic tribes (from the 5th century BC) in the British Isles were since the La Tène period established. Therefore, there is an ethnic kinship with the inhabitants of Cornwall, the Manx on the Isle of Man, the Scots and the Welsh, but also the Breton ( Celtic Nations ).

Ireland (Latin Hibernia) was never conquered by the Roman Empire, but had trading links with the Romans, Britain and some of the Celtic Irish were Roman mercenaries.

After 1169 came from the United Kingdom Anglo-Normans to Ireland. They had in the late Middle Ages, the dominance of the island, its core area was around the " pale" area around the city of Dublin. They introduced their own castles the landscape and cityscape, inter alia, of Dublin, Limerick, and laid the foundation for the rule of the British Crown (1171-1541 lordship of Ireland, 1541-1800 Kingdom of Ireland ( personal union of the King of England and Ireland), 1800-1922 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) on the island.

Since the late 16th century ( Ulster Plantation ) is also in the north of Ireland in the province of Ulster a predominantly derived from English and Scots resident population (see Ulster Scots ) (now 1-2 million ). This made ​​the exclusion of ethnic Irish population until the 1990s, the political elite of Northern Ireland.


See also: Patrick of Ireland, Scots Monastery, Book of Kells, the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland and Church of Ireland

The pre-Christian Irish people depended on the Celtic polytheism.

In the early 5th century, the Irish were christianiert of Christians from Roman Britain under the leadership of Patrick. In the early Middle Ages arose in Ireland, a Christian-influenced high culture of monasticism, which is also on the European continent strongly influenced Christianity, so Ireland was referred to with the epithet island of " Saints and Scholars " ( " Saints and Scholars ").

See also: Columba of Iona, Columbanus of Luxeuil, St. Kilian, Virgilius of Salzburg

The seat of the Catholic (and later the Protestant ) Bishop of Ireland was and is traditionally in Armagh in Ulster.

In the late 16th century the supremacy of England dissolved since 1534 of Rome Anglican Protestants began ( Protestant Ascendancy ). Catholicism was largely suppressed, Catholics dispossessed, secularized church property and in 1536 the new Anglican Church, the Church of Ireland assumed. From England and Scotland from Protestants were settled since about 1560 mainly in the north and east, in the tradition today are large parts of the population of Ulster. Some Huguenots from France were in the course of Plantation located in Ireland (see above, Ulster Plantation ). In the early 17th century fled Catholic Gaelic nobility ( Flight of the Earls ) to the Elizabethan conquest of Ireland by England.

Mid-17th century ( 1641-1647 ) attempted the Catholic Irish, parallel to the English Civil War after the uprising of 1641 in a war more autonomy and freedom of religion to gain ( Confederation Ireland). This failed and resulted in the re-conquest of Ireland under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell to 1653rd attempts to bring a Catholic line to the throne ( Battle of the Boyne 1690) failed, as well as the nationalistic Irish Rebellion of 1798 and led to the inclusion of Ireland in the British Empire ( Act of Union 1800).

1829 was the political equality of Catholics (see Catholic Emancipation, Daniel O'Connell ), 1869, the Church of Ireland, the status has been withdrawn as the state church.

1921/22, was the division of the island into an independent, Catholic -dominated south and a Protestant -dominated northern part of which remained in the UK.

The Catholic Church dominated the socio - political structures in the United Kingdom since 1922 the independent Irish Free State ( 1922-1939 ) and then in the Republic of Ireland until well into the 20th century. By 1973, she had a committed by the Constitution " apparent bene position" (special position).

Today the Irish are in the Republic of mostly Roman Catholic ( almost 90%) in Northern Ireland is percentage of Catholics around 45 percent.

In the northeast of the island in the province of Ulster but there is a Protestant, usually Presbyterian or Anglican majority, which has its roots mostly on English and Scottish immigrants from the island of Great Britain returns (55% in Northern Ireland). In Northern Ireland this Anglo- Protestant majority dominated from 1922 to the 1990s, a comparable in a situation of apartheid to the exclusion of the Irish Catholic minority political events (see Northern Ireland Assembly, Troubles, Good Friday Agreement ). In Northern Ireland, the confessional division is crucial for the social situation until now.

The only remaining stronghold of the Church of Ireland in the Republic of Ireland is the region south of Dublin in the northern County Wicklow.


Traditionally speaking, the Irish, the Irish- Gaelic language, a Goidelic language. In early medieval times, with Christianity the Latin language in Ireland, which allowed contact with the peoples of the continent.

After 1169 came through the Anglo - Norman Anglo- Norman Romanesque as the language of elites, which was replaced in the early modern period by English. Parallel to this, the Irish language was still spoken by large sections of the Irish population, in the 18th and 19th century began the decline of the language and the dominance of English.

Today, speak as good as all Irish English as a native language ( Hiberno -English and Mid- Ulster English), but a significant proportion is also the Irish language at least partially powerful (some ten thousand native speakers in the Gaeltachtai in the west of Ireland ( esp. County Donegal County Galway County Kerry, County Mayo, County Cork) ). It is envisaged by the government a revival of Irish.

Common in Ulster is also the Ulster Scots, a variant of English.


See Irish literature, Anglo -Irish literature, Irish Renaissance, Irish Folk

Irish counted since the early modern period, but esp. since the Irish Renaissance in the late 19th and early 20th century, some of the most famous writer in the English language ( and Others Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, John Millington Synge, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney ).

The traditional music of the island of Ireland is called Irish Traditional Music. Known Bands of this style were and are, inter alia, The Dubliners, The Chieftains, The Pogues and The Wolfe Tones, and as a solo artist and a Ronnie Drew, Christy Moore, Paddy Reilly and Sharon Shannon. Rota therefore the style of the music of, inter alia, Enya, Kate Bush and Van Morrison.

A special element of Irish music is dancing. Tap dance, set dance and formation dance are very popular in Ireland and have a long tradition.

In the pop and rock music of the 20th and 21st centuries acquired, inter alia, The Boomtown Rats, Boyzone, Chris de Burgh, The Corrs, Johnny Logan, Snow Patrol and U2 on regional celebrity.


Under celtic or gälischstammigen Irish families are names beginning with O or Mc or Mac, as usual. Ó means son in Irish grandson, Mc or Mac.

Old Anglo- Norman- Irish surnames begin with the prefix Fitz-, which is from Old French fils, son dt derived. Also, wear some Normannischstämmige a de in the last name, indicating the original land ownership.


The Republic of Ireland is now little more than 4 million inhabitants is the only country in Europe that today ( still ) has less population than in the middle of the 19th century, the largest population losses were by the famine of 1740/41 and the Great Famine in Ireland in the mid-19th century due, when 1845-1855 the population through starvation ( 500000-1 million ) and mass emigration ( about 1 million ) of over 8 million to 6.25 million reduced. The biggest losses were going to record in today's northwestern province of Connacht.

But was even apart from Ireland from the late Middle Ages to the late 1980s, a country of emigration and its population increased to 1962 to below 2 million from. Therefore, one can assume that a diaspora of about 80 million Irish -born people in the world today. Large parts of the population esp. the U.S. (about 36 million ), the UK ( approximately 14 million), Canada (about 4 million ) and Australia (approx. 2 million), but also from New Zealand, South Africa and some countries in the Caribbean are of Irish descent. New York City is the largest Irish city in the world. In England, the majority of the population of the city of Liverpool 's Irish stout. Another center of Irish Diaspora in the United States is Boston, Massachusetts. The most famous of Irish descent in the U.S. was probably John F. Kennedy, the first Irish -born and Catholic President of the United States.

Since the 1960s, then was again a slight population increase, which was due to the economic boom of the Celtic Tiger in the 1990s and 2000s. Many Expatriate Irishman returned because of the better economic situation in Ireland.

Today, the island of Ireland has just over 6 million inhabitants.