Patrick arrived on the island of Ireland, in around 432 A.D. and spread the word of Christ there. Study of Latin is known to have spread in the Dark ages, and we have some evidence that there was a golden period, as one can infer from treasures, as the "Book of Kells", that existed before the 9th century AD; during the 9th century, there were intermittent wars with the Viking invaders. (Adapted from, Encyclopedia Ireland, Nation Master.com). As with any invasion in history, this paved way for a new beginning. Though they seemed to have plundered the ancient monasteries, they eventually, helped in laying the foundations of the modern day cities of Dublin, Cork, Waterford, and Limerick.
The settlements from ancient times have been mostly found in the East and the North. This is because, there is almost a semi-circle of mountains, which gives way to the seemingly, unending low central plains. They lend a picture of tranquility to the region, with the ever-present moisture in the air, ensuring the rich pastures. The River Shannon, almost bisecting the island, forms an estuary in the Southwest, and has the city of Limerick, situated near it. In this backdrop, it is easy to understand why Ireland's economy was dependant, for along time, on its farmlands and cheese industry, alongside the fishing hamlets. As one can understand, the very geographical settings of the Southwest and Southeast Ireland, had lent the nation, an untainted, tranquil, rustic hue to its cultural fabric.
The Famine Ruined Economy and Mass Exodus.
The path of history is marked with painful events for the simple rustics of Ireland. The eighteenth century saw the great linen trade of Irish trade expanding its frontiers, and many links established with the American continent. As the research of Maurice .J. Bric, shows in the article Patterns of Irish emigration to America, 1783-1800,
American independence not only redefined political relationships between the old
and new worlds, but it also marked a reorganization of the passenger trade between
Ireland and America.
The Great Irish Potatoe (Blight) Famine (1845-1849), saw nearly an million people dead and another equal number of people immigrating to other countries. And, more tragically, it was said that another half million births were aborted as the direct consequence of hunger. (Adapted from Details, Skibbereen heritage centre, corktourist.com). The Religious Wars involving the Catholic and the Protestant ideoligies, the Struggle for Independence, the Irish Civil War, all saw a painful downturn of economy and a sad state of political affairs. It is reasonablefor one to doubt, then, whether indeed, the tranquility of the region and the rustic simplicity of its people, was a dream
Not so, indeed. The tides have changed the flow and now, and Ireland is now seeing the reversal of this exodus, into its tranquil lap. People of Irish descent and foreigners alike are now seeking Ireland and making it their homes.
The Steady Upward Stride of the Celtic Tiger.
The regularly updated site of 'Nation Master.com' in its "Encyclopedia: Ireland" page states that,
Economic reforms in the late 1980s and considerable investment