Irish History – a brief introduction

Ref: C2422817

Do you have Irish ancestry? If so why not learn a little about Irish history? But it's not just as simple as just being Irish. You could be descended from Gaels, Vikings, or Normans, even the English. You could be an O'Donoghue (Donovan) or Cagney (Ó'Caingne), an O'Rourke or McManus, or a Walsh or a Barry, even a Stack (an Old English derived name). And then there's the impact of the English, who were in Ireland (not always all of it) for nearly eight hundred years. The English were the last invaders (although actually most of the first 'English' invaders were Welsh Normans). But again, it's not that simple: there were the Old English and later the New English. As part of the latter, we will look at the destructive impact of the Tudors on Gaelic society. In week three we'll look at the British Penal Laws against the Irish and in week four the role Irish culture played in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in facilitating (southern) Irish independence.

Course aim

The course is an introduction to Irish history. It covers four main themes: invasion and assimilation, Gaelic society, the Penal laws and the role played by Irish culture in facilitating independence.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Distinguish some Gaelic, Viking and Norman names.
  • From the Vikings, place those groups who invaded Ireland in chronological order.
  • Identify some elements of Gaelic society.
  • Understand the impact of the Penal Laws
  • Assess the role of culture in facilitating Irish independence.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Some background knowledge of Irish history would be useful, but not essential. The course is online but you should bring a pen and a pad to write notes. You will also have to have Zoom on your computer, but this can be downloaded easily and for free

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Irish History – a brief introduction


This course is funded by the Greater London Combined Authority but is also open to residents of other areas.

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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