Brian Boru was an Irish Monarch who liberalized access to the High Kingship of Ireland (Cosgrove 1). He did this by conquering the UI Neil dynasty which for close to five hundred years had exclusive access to the highest political authority in Ireland (Cosgrove 1) During his reign as the high king of Ireland; Brian made several contributions to the Irish Identity. One of those contributions was in the way in which the Irish people were named. Brian gave an ordinance which required that every family and clan to have a surname (Cosgrove 1). It is through this surname that members of the same family or clan were to be identified with. He made this directive with the sole purpose of ensuring that the Irish people were able to preserve their history and genealogy (Hannan 1). Brian himself led by example and established his own Surname O'Brian which was later to be used by his descendants for centuries long after his death (Hannan 1). It is therefore not surprising that O'Brien is considered by many historians as the oldest Irish name that is still in use today.
Before the reign of Brian Boru, many Irish people did not have surnames. The lack of surnames made it very difficult for the Irish people to keep track of their genealogies. As people became many and drifted apart, it became very easy for relatives to find themselves marrying each other (Hannan 1). However, the introduction of surnames by High King Brian in the eleventh century went a long way in giving the Irish people an Identity (Hannan, 1). With surnames, the Irish people were now able to locate where they came from accurately. It also became very easy to identify very close family members and by doing so maintaining kinship ties even after moving away from home. The use of Surnames also played an important role in preserving Irish names; it is therefore not surprising that Irish names are among the oldest names in the world.
The use of surnames gave the Irish people a culture of attaching prefixes to the names of their young ones. The Oldest prefix is 'O' and is believed to have been in use since the 11th century when High King Brian gave the ordinance that all Irish people be given surnames that corresponded to their families or clans (Carey 1). Names that were popular during this period were O'Brien, O'Connor, and O'Sullivan. The Prefix 'O' meant "the grandson of" (Carey 1).
Later, a new prefix "mac" was introduced, and it was used before names to mean "Son of "(Burdess 1). The Irish of the 12th century now had two prefixes which they could use on their name. "Mac" for the son and "O" for the grandson. This was, however, to change once the English conquered and established their rule in Ireland. Irish names were banned, and all people were required to have English names by law. Queen Elizabeth 1 even decreed that people especially those who used O'Neil as their surname were to be punished by death (Burdess 1). Most Irish names were as a result dropped in favor of the English names.
The Irish people were finally able to use their indigenous names in the nineteenth century freely. However, due to the many years of neglect, the correct system of naming children was forgotten, and people ended up intermixing prefixes. Some names which originally had the 'O' prefix was given the 'Mac' prefix, others like Murphy even lost their prefix altogether (Burdess 1). Although these changes occurred, it is important to note that the Irish people were at least able to use their original names. Some names like O'Brien and O'Neil which were used in the 11th century are still popular today (Burdess 1).
The relationship between Ireland and England can be dated back to the 1600s when the English colonized Ireland (Tanaiste 1). From then on, there has been a bitter-sweet relationship between the two countries which has often resulted in periods of prosperity and doom in equal measure. The unification of the two regions into one kingdom in 1801 is a good example of the times when the Irish and the British work together (Tanaiste 1). However, misunderstanding always occur and often result in ugly confrontations between the two opposing sides. Good example is the 1918 to 1921 period of war between Ireland and England which led to the establishment of the Irish Free State (now known as the Republic of Ireland) (Tanaiste 1). During the secession, Northern Ireland opted to remain in the United Kingdom, and this has a catalyst of greater cooperation between the two countries. For example, it is due to the mutual interest of the two countries in Northern Ireland that led to the establishment of the Anglo-Irish treaty whose major aim is to foster greater cooperation between the two countries in matters of mutual interest (Tanaiste 1). The existence of a common travel area and a bilateral trade agreement are good examples of the greater cooperation between the two countries. Ireland, as a sovereign country has developed its independent relationships with other countries in the world. A good example of this relationship is its active membership in the European Union, a continental body which Britain has already exited from.
In 2010, Ireland's economy shrank by 22% of the size it was in 2008. This was as a result of the economic turmoil that the country was passing through which resulted in massive unemployment and huge government debts (Shmuel 1). The country, however, implemented some austerity measures which included higher taxes and reduced social spending to save the economy from near collapse. These measures propelled the country into a recovery path that saw it reduce its deficit to 1.5 percent in 2015 and grow its economy by 7.5 during the same year. Irish was finally succeeding economically (Shmuel 1). To manage this success, Ireland lowered its corporate tax to 12.5 percent to make it attract more foreign direct investments (Shmuel 1). It has also diversified its economy in order to cushion the country from adverse effects which may result from a slowdown in one of the major economic sectors of the country.
Burdess, Neil. "A Dozen Things You Might Not Know About Irish Names." The Irish Times, 2016, https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/a-dozen-things-you-might-not-know-about-irish-names-1.2842791. Accessed 24 Sept 2018.
Carey, Glen. "Looking For The Story Behind Your Irish Name?". Irishcentral.Com, 2017, https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/ancestry/top-300-irish-surnames-explained-part-ii. Accessed 24 Sept 2018.
Cosgrove, Neil. "Brian Boru, The Only True Ard Ri Of Ireland." Pearl River Ancient Order Of Hibernians, 2010, http://praoh.org/brian-boru-the-only-true-ard-ri-of-ireland/. Accessed 24 Sept 2018.
Hannan, Gerard. "The Transformation Of Brian Boru." Irish Media Man, 2018, https://irishmediaman.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/the-transformation-of-brian-boru/. Accessed 24 Sept 2018.
Shmuel, John. "How Ireland Pulled Off An Economic Miracle That Rivals China, India." Financial Post, 2016, https://business.financialpost.com/investing/global-investor/how-ireland-pulled-off-an-economic-miracle-that-rivals-china-india/. Accessed 24 Sept 2018.
Tanaiste, Simon. "British Irish Relations Past Present And Future - Department Of Foreign Affairs And Trade." Dfa.Ie, 2018, https://www.dfa.ie/news-and-media/speeches/speeches-archive/2018/january/british-irish-relations-past-present-and-future/. Accessed 24 Sept 2018.
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