Thus began a great religious and cultural period for the country.
About 95 percent of the Republic's population is Roman Catholic; most of the rest are Protestant.
Over 25 percent of Northern Ireland's population is Roman Catholic; about 23 percent is Presbyterian; about 18 percent belong to the Church of Ireland; the rest are members of other churches or of no stated denomination. Patrick came to Ireland and introduced the Gaels to Christianity.
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.
Due to the great famine caused by the crop failure of Ireland's staple food—the potato—millions died or emigrated.
The second half of the nineteenth century saw increased nationalistic demands for self-government and land reform, most notably in the activities of the Home Rule Movement under the leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell.The rising was a military failure and had little support among the public.However, the harsh response of the British government and particularly its execution of the rising's leaders won many over to the cause.In 1641 the Irish allied themselves to the Stuart cause; however, after the defeat and execution of King Charles I in 1649 Cromwell and his Puritans devastated much of Ireland, massacred thousands, and parceled out vast tracts of land to their soldiers and followers.Hoping to regain some of their property, the Catholic Irish sided with the Catholic James II of England but their fortunes further declined when James was defeated by William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.The entire island, with a total area of 32,595 square miles, is a little larger than the state of Maine.