What's in Irish Soda Bread

The history of Ireland is deeply moving and pays tribute to anyone who studies it. The "Green Island" in the Atlantic is geographically divided and politically divided to this day: into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

Settlement of Ireland began as early as 10,000 BC. By the Tuatha de Danaan and Firbolgs. 400 BC The first Celts set foot on the island. They came from the north of France from the Gael people. The Irish language and culture are of Celtic origin. The customs of the Celts belong to a bygone era, but the wisdom of the Celts is legendary and is cultivated in many places.

One person is closely linked to the culture and religion of Ireland: Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in the fourth century in Wales or Scotland, the date and place of his birth are unknown. He came to Ireland as a slave and, after many years of hardship, fled on a ship. He wandered through Europe for seven years. He studied the teachings of Christ in a French monastery. In Rome, Patrick was elected bishop in 432 and charged with converting Ireland to the Christian faith. Using a three-leaf clover - the symbol of Ireland - he declared the Trinity to the Irish people. During his lifetime, the ambitious Patrick was not always favored. Nevertheless, many legends surround him. The Irish have been celebrating St. Patrick, their patron saint, on March 17th since 1737.

Ireland was spared from the great Roman power. Instead, Vikings invaded the country. They attacked Irish monasteries with preference and built the first settlement on Irish soil in the winter of 840/841: Dublin. Major Irish cities such as Limerick, Waterford and Wexford were settlements and trading centers for the Vikings. The invasion of the Vikings meant a cultural and economic boom for Ireland, especially the sea trade flourished. The Irish never valued the presence of the Scandinavian pirates. It was not until the 11th century that Ireland finally defended itself against the Nordic band of fighters. It was not until 1014 that the Irish high king Brian Boru succeeded in breaking free against the Vikings in the Battle of Clontarf.

In the middle of the 12th century the Normans invaded Ireland and conquered large parts of the country. At the end of the 12th century, the English crown occupied the east coast of Ireland and declared it English territory. The oppression by the English brought the Irish bitter poverty, economic backwardness and famine. The strict legal enactments of the English crown in 1695 noticeably aggravated the situation of the Catholic Irish. The Irish rose against the English. The uprising from 1796 to 1798 clearly affected the English domination. Ireland was then recognized as part of the Kingdom of England. Both churches were "forcibly married" and England loosened the reins on Ireland's Catholics.

The Great Famine 1845 - 1849: crop failures, famine and epidemics

A potato mushroom, which completely destroys the tissue of the potato plant, almost completely wiped out Ireland's potato harvest in 1845. The farmers therefore took some of their seed potatoes to alleviate the terrible famine of the Irish. But the next year the potato mushroom expanded and destroyed the new crop. For four more years the fungus destroyed the crops. Thousands of people died of hunger and disease, a total of two million Irish. By 1920 five million Irish had left their homeland.

The English landowners were better off on Irish soil. They had sufficient reserves and enjoyed the protection of the English government to survive the bad harvests. The abandoned Irish lands were a welcome addition to the English peasants. But that's not all: the large English farmers diligently exported their agricultural products and watched Ireland starve to death.

In the 19th century Ireland embarked on a long road to independence, marked by debates, conflicts, armed conflicts, civil war-like conditions and bloody defeats by the English. Those who want to get to know the “Green Island” can experience Irish history up close.