From 500 BC to 795 AD the Celts were the exclusive tribe of the island.
They were not the first inhabitants.
But when they arrived they assimitlated with the native people. Most of the Celts were, tall and blond and they learned to work with iron. they lived scattered on farms with high walls around. There were no urban centres and the economic basis of society was cattel rearing and agriculture. The Celts had no central political organisation, but there were many big families, wich they called clans, scattered all over the island.
Sometimes the clans consisted of up to five generations, and all the farmhouses, cows, sheep and fields belonged the clan. In the social life of the celts the druid was very important, who had the purpose of a priest, fortuneteller and magician. Another important person was the poet or bard. As society was non-literate, their function was to pass on history as well was to entertain.
The Romans never came to Ireland and so the celts could keep their own culture, but nevertheless the Celts and Romans artered.
During the fifth century AD Christianity was interoduced, and with Christianity came Latine culture and latine script. Now the bards were not that important any more, because the monks, Patricianus was one of the first monk in ireland (still ST. Patrick?s day), were able to write down Ireland?s history.
At the time the most powerful clan leaders wished to have more power and so eventually they began to rule bigger areas. Politically, Ireland was organized into a number of kingdoms or tuatha, each of it was quite independent under ist elected king (a more powerful clanleader). Groups of tuatha tended to combine, but the king who claimed overlordship in each group had a primacy of honour rather than of juristiction. A division of the country into five groups of tuatha, known as the Five Fifsths occurred at the beginning of the Christian era. These were Ulster, Meath, Leister, Munster and Connaught.
In 795 AD the Vikings invaded and severely reduced the power of the Celts.
At the end of the eighth century broad ships reached the Irish coast, wich were able to resist wild storms. Those ships belonged to the Vikings, Scandanavian people from today?s Norway and Denmark. They sailed upstream and invlicted devastation. The Vikings plundered and destroyed monasteries, and killed all the monks and every Irish person they saw.
In 841 AD the Vikings conquered two harbours, Anagassan and Dublin, and changed them into fortresses, because they had decided to stay on the island forever. The natives did not put up tough resistance (they liked peace and, as there was no big war before, they did not know how to fight! ). The climate was not as bad as in Scandinaia, and the land was much more fertible than the ground at home.
But in the long term the harbour in the north founded by the Norwegian Vikings (Annagassan), could not survive, in contrast to the more southern Harbour, Dublin, founded by Danish ...
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