A Letter from Ireland:

A Timeline of Irish Settlers


Ferriters Cove

A history of Irish settlers – and names – in 11 lines (read to the end to see the relevance of the picture above!):

  • 10,000 BC – End of Ice Age – first settlers on island of Ireland arrive.
  • Up until 500BC – Stone and Bronze ages – People like the “Fir Bolg” and the “Tuatha Dé Dannan” lived in Ireland
  • Around 500BC – Arrival of the Celts – who intermarry with people on the island
  • Around 400 AD – Introduction of Christianity – and historical record
  • Around 800s – Arrival of the Vikings – who intermarry with the native Gaels. Start of the “surname system”
  • 1100s Arrival of the Normans – and their surnames – who intermarry with the natives
  • 1600s – Demise of the Gaelic chieftains – English take power and start of major “plantations” of settlers – who bring their surnames
  • 1700s – 1800s – Migration of many Ulster Scots from Ulster to US – and their surnames
  • Mid 1800s – Famine and emigration of many Catholic Irish to US, Canada, UK etc. – with their surnames
  • 1920s – 1940s – Republic of Ireland established
  • 1960 – the population of Ireland reaches it’s lowest point since 1841 – and the population starts to increase

And the relevance of the Picture? This is a picture in the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry – looking down on Ferriters Cove to the left. This is one of the places where the earliest human settlers established themselves in Ireland around 5000 BC – maybe one of YOUR relations!

  • Carolyn H born Oliver says:


  • Sheila Wall says:

    In 1982, my younger sister and I took a trip to Ireland, which we had heard about all our lives. We arrived in Shannon and everyone looked like my father. They must have seen the resemblance too. Later, I found out that his family came from Aglish, near Waterford. I am 2nd generation on both sides–maternal names are Kennelly and Brannelly from Ballinasloe, Galway. Lots of the Walls are “gifted learning disabled”–a cursed genius–very, very bright but can’t initially read.

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