Top 10 most important moments in Celtic history

The Irish are a Celtic people, and Ireland is a Celtic country, one that has had a rich history. The ten most important moments in Celtic history have played an essential role in shaping Ireland into the nation it is today.

Wondering what the most important moments in Celtic history are. We’ve got you covered. Ireland is a country with a very dramatic history containing many significant moments over the centuries which have affected Ireland and forever changed it to the nation we know today.

In this article, we will explore and list what we believe are the ten most important moments in Celtic history.

10. Coming of Christianity – the end of paganism

The coming of Christianity marked the end of paganism.

In 431 AD a bishop called Palladius arrived from Rome to spread Christianity in Ireland. In the coming years, Christianity became the main religion in Ireland and became intertwined with the culture and identity of the country, this brought paganism to an end in the Celtic regions.

9. Norman invasion – the beginning of a new rule

The Norman Invasion marked the beginning of a new rule.

On May 1, 1169, the Normans invaded Ireland and changed it forever. Following Norman invasions successfully repelled rebellions and eventually were successful in bringing Ireland under complete rule.

8. Oliver Cromwell – Ireland’s greatest enemy?

Oliver Cromwell was Ireland's greatest enemy.

The Cromwellian conquest of 1649-1652 was successful in completing the British colonisation of Ireland. Cromwell became renowned for his cruelty and for massacres that he performed in Wexford and Drogheda. 

Not only did the Irish population drop significantly due to murder against his soldiers, but over 50,000 were also shipped out of Ireland into slavery. Cromwell also managed to successfully destroy the native Catholic land-owning classes and replaced them with British colonists.

7. Ulster Plantation – a province forever changed

The Ulster Plantation changed the province forever.

The plantation of Ulster, which occurred between 1609 and 1690, forever changed the culture and identity of Ulster, Ireland’s northern province. The native Irish were forced out of their lands and replaced by colonists mainly from Scotland who were loyal to the British.

6. Irish Civil War – brother against brother

The Irish Civil War is another of the top important moments in Celtic history.

The Irish Civil war between 1922-1923 was caused because of the partition of Ireland and those who agreed to accept the deal for the Irish Free State and those who wished to continue fighting for a 32-county republic.

The war was short but brutal with atrocities committed on both sides as people who once fought together found each other on opposing sides.

5. 1798 Rebellion – organised widescale rebellion

Another of the top important moments in Celtic history is the 1798 Rebellion.

Inspired by the successful rebellions in America and France to British rule in the late 18th century, the United Irishmen led an uprising for freedom from British rule. After three months and some gruelling battles, the rebellion was eventually quashed by Britain. The overall death toll was estimated to be between 15,000 – 50,000. 

While the war was lost, the seeds of revolution had been planted, and the future generations were inspired to rebel once again.

4. Partition of Ireland – a nation divided

The Partition of Ireland is another of the top most important moments in Celtic history.

During the negotiations following the war of independence in 1921, one of the stipulations in the creation of the Irish Free State was that six counties in the north of Ireland would be partitioned and remain under British rule.

This caused a massive divide in Ireland which remains today and led to The Troubles in Northern Ireland decades later.

3. The Easter Rising – a symbolic strike for freedom

The Easter Rising is another of the top most important moments in Celtic history.

The Easter Rising took place between April 24 – April 29, 1916, and took place mainly in different locations across Dublin. After almost a week of fighting, the rebels surrendered. Initially, after the rising itself, the public wasn’t actually very supportive, but over nine days in May 1916, fifteen leaders of the Easter Rising were executed by firing squad.

This retribution by the British led to the men becoming political heroes and martyrs, and the rising was successful in igniting the spark for Irish freedom and the War of Independence which would occur just three years later.

2. The Great Famine – Ireland’s darkest days

Another of the most important moments in Celtic history is the Great Famine.

The years 1845-1849 were arguably the most devastating five years in all of Ireland’s history as the Great Famine began with a potato blight and killed over a million Irish people with disease and starvation. Thanks to death, emigration, and the inaction of the British government, which exacerbated matters, Ireland’s population fell drastically from almost 8.4 million in 1844 to 6.6 million by 1851.

The Irish population to this day has never truly recovered.

1. War of Independence – one of the most important moments in Celtic history

The War of Independence is one of the most important moments in Celtic history.

The Irish War of Independence was fought in Ireland between 1919-1921 between the Irish Republican Army and British Forces. The war eventually concluded in 1921 in negotiations which ended up with the partition of Ireland and Northern Ireland and the establishment of the Irish Free State which would go on to be declared a full and independent Republic in 1949.

That concludes our list of the ten most important moments in Celtic history. If you think any other moments were deserving of a place, please make sure to let us know!

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.

Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

Related Posts


Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Send this to a friend