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Themes Famous People National Parks
Actors/Actresses and Directors Nobel Prize Winners
Anglo-Saxons and Danes Heritage and Nature Places of Interest
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Historic Events Prime Ministers
Artists and Architects Inventors and Scientists Royal Consorts and Heirs
Composers Maps and Documents World Heritage Sites
Explorers and Adventurers Monarchs Writers and Poets


Ireland historically consisted of four provinces; Ulster, Connaught, Leinster and Munster until 1921 when six of the nine counties which make up the province of Ulster were divided off from the south to become Northern Ireland. This partition of the island between the predominantly Protestant north and the Catholic south - the result of events stretching back hundreds of years - would later in the century lead to civil unrest and violence.

Background: 1167-1921
The Troubles

Southern Ireland then became known as the Irish Free State, later Eire and now the Republic of Ireland.

It is made up of twenty-six historic counties.

Historic Irish counties

Approximately three-quarters of a million people can speak Irish Gaelic in Ireland - mainly on the west coast - although it is believed only 120,000 people use the language on a regular basis. It is one of only four Celtic languages that are still spoken today; Scottish Gaelic, Welsh and Breton being the other three. In the 5th century Irish Gaelic spread to Scotland and developed into Scottish Gaelic. It is also the root of the now extinct Manx language which was once spoken on the Isle of Man.

Artists and Architects
Born in Dublin in 1932 the artist and writer Christopher 'Christy' Brown was paralysed from birth with what was later diagnosed to be cerebral palsy. Unable to speak, the only part of his body he could control was his left foot. At the age of five he surprised his family by using a piece of chalk with his left foot to scribble on the floor. Learning the alphabet from his mother he learnt to read and write. By aged ten he had begun to paint with his left foot, winning a national newspaper competition only two years later. Physiotherapy helped his speech and his brothers assisted him in writing his autobiography. My Left Foot was published to critical acclaim in 1954 detailing his struggle with his paralysis in working-class Dublin. In 1989 it was made into a film with Daniel Day-Lewis winning an Academy Award for his genial depiction of the adult Christy (Hugh O'Conor played the young Christy). Brenda Fricker won an Academy Award for playing Christy's mother.

Explorers and Adventurers

Ernest Shackleton was born in 1874 in Kilkea, County Kildare. During an Antarctic expedition in 1914 his ship "Endurance" was trapped and crushed by ice, stranding him and his team. Vowing not to lose any of his men, Shackleton led them across the ice eventually reaching the uninhabited Elephant Island. He then set out in a small boat with a handful of others, sailing over 800 miles to land on the island of South Georgia. From here Shackleton organized the rescue of the rest of his expedition, of which all survived. He died on another expedition in 1922 on South Georgia.

Ernest Shackleton

Famous People

The politician Edmund Burke was born in Dublin in 1730.

Edmund Burke

Society is indeed a contract... it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph.

Heritage and Nature

Heritage of Ireland

Historic Events

Notable Achievements
In 1919 a plane flown by the pilot John William Alcock and the navigator Arthur Whitten Brown crash-landed at Clifden in County Galway, the successful end of the first ever non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The two aviators had taken off from Newfoundland in Canada less than 17 hours before.

John William Alcock

National Parks
In 1932 Killarney National Park became Ireland's first park.

Designated in 1986, Glenveagh National Park is Irelands most northerly park.

The Wicklow Mountains National Park was created in 1991.

Ireland's most recently designated park is Ballycroy National Park.

Burren National Park.

Connemara National Park is in the west of Ireland.

Nobel Prize Winners

Born in Dublin in 1865, William Butler Yeats was the first Irish winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. He died in 1939 in France and was buried there until 1948 when his body was exhumed and taken back to be buried in Drumcliff, County Sligo in Ireland.

William Butler Yeats
Poetry Archive

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book
And slowly read and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep.

When You Are Old (1893)

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree (1893)

The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925 George Bernard Shaw, was born in Dublin in 1856.

George Bernard Shaw

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.
Caesar and Cleopatra (1901)

You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.
O' Flaherty V.C. (1919)

The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969 Samuel Beckett, was born in Foxrock, a suburb of Dublin, in 1906.

Samuel Beckett

All my lousy life I've crawled about in the mud! And you talk to me about scenery!
Waiting for Godot (1955)

Where I am, I don't know, I'll never know, in the silence you don't know, you must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on.
The Unnamable (1959)

The Irish statesman Sean Macbride died in Dublin in 1988. He had been active in the cause of Irish independence, was involved in international human rights and chairman of Amnesty International. In 1974 he had shared the Nobel Prize for Peace with Sato Eisaku.

The physicist E.T.S. Walton was born as Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton in Dungarvan, Waterford in 1903. In 1951 he shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with the English scientist Sir John Cockcroft for their study of alpha particles.

Physiology or Medicine
The German-born biochemist Ernst Boris Chain died in Castlebar, County Mayo in 1979. He had emigrated to England and became a British citizen. In 1945 he had shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with the Scottish scientist Sir Alexander Fleming and the Australian Sir Howard Florey for their work on the discovery and production of penicillin.

Ernst Boris Chain

Places of Interest

Trinity College Dublin obtained a Royal Charter in 1592.

Prime Ministers

Prime Ministers (of Britain)
The Earl of Shelburne, British Prime Minister in 1782-83, was born as William Petty in Dublin in 1737.

Earl of Shelburne

The Duke of Wellington, British Prime Minister from 1828-30 and 1834, was born as Arthur Wesley (later Wellesley) in Dublin in 1769. Although twice Prime Minister he is best remembered for his military service, especially in 1815 when he led the defeat of the French under Napoleon at the decisive Battle of Waterloo.

Duke of Wellington
Duke of Wellington
Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo


World Heritage Sites
The Bend of the the Boyne prehistoric complex was designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1993.

The rocky island of Skellig Michael, home to an early Christian monastery dating from the 7th century, was designated a World Heritage Site in 1996.

Writers and Poets
For Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats see Nobel Prize Winners

The poet Nahum Tate was born in Dublin in 1652. In 1692 he succeed Thomas Shadwell as Poet Laureate and held the post until his death in 1715 when he was succeeded by Nicholas Rowe.

Poets laureate

The author of Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift, was born in Dublin in 1667. He died in the city in 1745 and is buried in St Patrick's Cathedral.

Jonathan Swift

Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.
A Critical Essay upon the Faculites of the Mind (1709)

There is nothing in this world constant, but inconstancy.
A Critical Essay upon the Faculites of the Mind (1709)

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
Thoughts on Various Subjects (1711)

Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, was born as Abraham Stoker in Dublin in 1847.

The playwright and poet Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854.

Oscar Wilde

Poetry Archive

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
Lady Windermere's Fan (1892)

The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.
The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)

James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882. He died in 1941 in Zürich, Switzerland.

James Joyce
James Joyce Centre

His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
Dubliners (1914)

The English-born Victorian poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins, died in Dublin in 1889.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,
the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!
The Windhover (1877)

The poet Cecil Day-Lewis (father of the actor Daniel Day-Lewis) was born in Ballintubbert, County Laois in 1904. He succeed John Masefield as Poet Laureate in 1968 and was himself succeeded by Sir John Betjeman on his death in 1972.

Cecil Day-Lewis

Poets laureate

The writer and author of At Swim-Two-Birds Flann O'Brien was born as Brian O Nuallain in Strabane, County Tyrone in 1911. He died in 1966 in Dublin.

Description of my uncle: Red-faced, bead-eyed, ball-bellied. Fleshy about the shoulders with long swinging arms giving ape-like effect to gait. Large moustache. Holder of Guinness clerkship the third class.
At Swim-Two-Birds - Page 10 (1939)

Description of my uncle: Rat-brained, cunning, concerned-that-he-should-be-well-thought-of. Abounding in pretence, deceit. Holder of Guinness clerkship the third class.
Page 31

Description of my uncle: Bluff, abounding in external good nature; concerned-that-he-should-be-well-thought-of; holder of Guinness clerkship the third class.
Page 92

Description of my uncle: Simple, well-intentioned; pathetic in humility; responsible member of large commercial concern.
Page 215

For Christy Brown see Artists and Architects

Richard Llewellyn died in Dublin in 1983. A novelist and playwright who had also worked in film and journalism and travelled widely, Llewellyn was best known for his first novel, How Green Was My Valley which recounted life in a Welsh mining community.

Yet Conscience is a nobleman, the best in us, and a friend.
How Green Was My Valley (1939)

There must be some way to live your life in a decent manner, thinking and acting decently, and yet manage to make a good living.

My father was a great one for honest dealing, but he never had his reward down here, and neither did my mother.
How Green Was My Valley (1939)

... there is a soreness inside me now to remember Ceinwen as she cried up there on the mountain and the nightingales sang about us, and the firelight was bright upon her, for the fire is out, the nightingales are quiet, and she has gone.
How Green Was My Valley (1939)

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