To keep the Irish subservient and powerless the English enacted a series of brutal penal laws, which succeeded so well that eighteenth century Catholic Ireland was economically and socially wasted.

The Catholic Emancipation Act followed in 1829 chiefly due to the activities of the Irish politician Daniel O'Connell.

During the 1830s and 1840s a new nationalist movement, Young Ireland, arose.

Though home rule was finally passed in 1914, it was deferred because of the onset of World War I.

On Easter Monday in 1916 a small force of Irish nationalists rebelled in Dublin against British rule.

By the close of the medieval period many of the Anglo-Norman invaders had been absorbed into the Gaelic population.

English kings traveled to Ireland on several occasions to effect order and increase allegiance to the Crown.

Thus began a great religious and cultural period for the country.

While the rest of Europe was swiftly declining into the Dark Ages, Irish monasteries—preserving the Greek and Latin of the ancient world—not only became great centers of learning, but also sent many famous missionaries to the Continent.

About 95 percent of the Republic's population is Roman Catholic; most of the rest are Protestant.