Key Events in Irish History

1002 – Brian Boru becomes King of all Ireland.

1560 – Queen Elizabeth I of England declares the Anglican Church (Church of Ireland) to be the official state church of Ireland.

1605 – The Plantation of Ulster is started, bringing many Scots to Ulster to supplant the native Irish and strengthen English rule. These Scots-Irish settlers are primarily Presbyterian.

1619 – The earliest known parish register was begun at the Church of Ireland (Anglican) church in Dublin.

1637 – Presbyterian worship is suppressed by the Church of Ireland.

1674 – The oldest known Presbyterian register begins in Antrim, County Antrim.

1695 – 1728 – Penal laws against the Catholic majority are in force. This means that the Catholic clergy were banished, Catholic parish registers are forbidden, and Catholics are deprived of the right to vote, own property, inherit property, and hold office.

1717- 1775 – A large emigration of Scots-Irish to American begins due to economic pressures and natural disasters. Over 250,000 Scots-Irish emigrate.

1750 – Some Catholic registers begin in urban areas.

1766 – A religious census is taken of all the heads of households in Ireland. The records were later destroyed, however, some transcripts survive.

1772 – 1795 – The Catholic Relief Acts gradually restore the rights taken away by the Penal Laws.

1821 – The first census is taken in Ireland, however this and later censuses are destroyed in 1922. Some fragments may remain for specific areas.

1829 – Irish Catholics become free to practice their religion without persecution, and many parish registers begin.

1823 – 1838 – The Tithe Applotment is taken. It is a tax enacted on all heads of household to support the Church of Ireland, no matter what their religion.

1845 – Civil registration for Protestant marriages begins.

1845 – The Irish potato famine strikes Ireland. One million people die, and more than two million people emigrate to other countries.

1848 – 1864 – Griffith’s Valuation is taken, listing the head of household, and landowner for every piece of property. The valuation is used to support poor law relief.

1864 – Civil registration of all birth, marriages, and deaths begins.

1869 – The Church of Ireland is no longer recognized as the state church of Ireland.

1901 – The census is taken in Ireland. This is the first complete surviving census of Ireland.

1911 – The 1911 census is taken, and survives intact.

1916 – The Irish Rebellion begins, leading to the creation of the Republic of Ireland, a free state, in 1921.

1922 – A civil war causes the creation of the Republic of Ireland (the Irish free state), and Northern Ireland (a part of the United Kingdom). The Public Record Office in Dublin is burned during fighting in the civil war, resulting in the loss of many key Irish records.

Sources: Ireland Research Guide (; Grenham, John, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, Third Edition, Genealogical Publishing Company, 2006.



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