Constituent country of the ‌United Kingdom
Irish banner 1801–1921 Ulster banner
Flag of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
St. Patrick's Saltire Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Ireland
Map of Ireland
Irish Republic (1916-21) Flag of Ireland
Government Constitutional monarchy
- 1801-1820George III
- 1820-1830George IV
- 1830-1837William IV
- 1837-1901Victoria
- 1901-1910Edward VII
- 1910-1921George V
Lord Lieutenant
- 1801-1921Earl of Hardwicke
January 1, 1801Act of Union
July 23, 1848Rebellion
April 24, 1916Proclamation of the Irish Republic
January 21, 1919Anglo-Irish War
May 3, 1921Government of Ireland Act
December 6, 1921Anglo-Irish Treaty
CurrencyPound sterling
Irish banner Ireland Northern Ireland Ulster banner
Southern Ireland Flag of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland

Ireland became a constitient country of the United Kingdom on January 1, 1801, when the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland were merged into one by the Act of Union.

After the Proclamation of the Irish Republic on April 24, 1916 and the ensuing Anglo-Irish War, the British authorities decided by the Government of Ireland Act on May 3, 1921 to divide the island into two autonomous regions; Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. The republicans didn't accept this solution, but in the compromise Anglo-Irish Treaty on December 6, 1921 the division was upheld with the southern part to be replaced by the Irish Free State.

Government Edit

The executive government of Ireland is vested in a lord-lieutenant, assisted by a privy council and by a chief secretary, who is always a member of the House of Commons and generally of the cabinet. There are a large number of administrative departments and boards, some, like the Board of Trade, discharging the same duties as the similar department in England; others, like the Congested Districts Board, dealing with matters of purely Irish concern.

The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 entirely altered the parliamentary representation of Ireland. Twenty-two small boroughs were disfranchized. The towns of Galway, Limerick and Waterford lost one member each, while Dublin and Belfast were respectively divided into four divisions, each returning one member. As a result of these changes 85 members now represent the counties, 16 the boroughs, and 2 Dublin University-a total of 103. The total number of electors (exclusive of Dublin University) in 1906 was 686,661; 11 3,595 for the boroughs and 573,066 for the counties. Ireland is represented in the House of Lords by 28 temporal peers elected for life from among the Irish peers.[1]

History Edit

In 1800 the Irish parliament passed the Act of Union with Great Britain, and Ireland was an official part of the United Kingdom until 1921. Religious freedom, outlawed in the 18th century, was restored in 1829, but this victory for the Irish Catholic majority was overshadowed by a severe economic depression and the great famine of 1846-48 when the potato crop failed. Millions died, and millions more emigrated, spawning the first mass wave of Irish emigration to the United States. A decade later, in 1858, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB--also known as the Fenians) was founded as a secret society dedicated to armed rebellion against the British. An above-ground political counterpart, the Home Rule Movement, was created in 1874, advocating constitutional change for independence.

Galvanized by the leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell, the party was able to force British governments after 1885 to introduce several home rule bills. The turn of the century witnessed a surge of interest in Irish nationalism, including the founding of Sinn Féin ("Ourselves Alone") as an open political movement.

Nationalism was and is a potent populist force in Irish politics. A home rule bill passed in 1914, but its implementation was suspended until war in Europe ended. Believing the mantra: "England's problem is Ireland's opportunity," and tapping into a mood of Gaelic revivalism, Padraic Pearse and James Connolly led the unsuccessful Easter Rising of 1916. Pearse and the other 1916 leaders declared an independent Irish republic, but a lack of popular support doomed the rebellion, which lasted a week and destroyed large portions of Dublin. The decision by the British military government to execute the leaders of the rebellion, coupled with the British Government's threat of conscripting the Irish to fight in the Great War, alienated public opinion and produced massive support for Sinn Féin in the 1918 general election. Under the leadership of Eamon de Valera, the elected Sinn Féin deputies constituted themselves as the first Dáil. Tensions only increased: British attempts to smash Sinn Féin ignited the Anglo-Irish War of 1919-1921.

The end of the war brought the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921, which established the Irish Free State of 26 counties within the British Commonwealth and recognized the partition of the island into Ireland and Northern Ireland, although this was supposedly a temporary measure. The six predominantly Protestant counties of northeast Ulster--Northern Ireland--remained a part of the United Kingdom with limited self-government. A significant Irish minority repudiated the treaty settlement because of the continuance of subordinate ties to the British monarch and the partition of the island. This opposition led to further hostilities--a civil war (1922-23), which was won by the pro-treaty forces.[2]


  • George III () (January 1, 1801 - January 29, 1820)
  • George IV () (January 29, 1820 - June 26, 1830)
  • William IV () (June 26, 1830 - June 22, 1837)
  • Victoria () (June 22, 1837 - January 22, 1901)
  • Edward VII () (January 22, 1901 - May 6, 1910)
  • George V () (May 6, 1910 - May 3, 1921)

Lord Lieutenant

  • Earl of Hardwicke () (28 March 1806)


British Polities in Ireland


  1. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.)
  2. The United States Department of State - Background Note: Ireland