Ireland X CVnU Location Thread

Ireland X The Emerald Isle

-- Disclaimer, most information below is - for the most part - from Wikipedia, though ligthly paraphrased and mildly edited --

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Amid the great depths of the Earth's North Atlantic, Ireland - a geopolitical split between the Republic of Ireland (more formally known as "Ireland". The other half of Ireland's governing body being Northern Ireland, a United Kingdom sanctioned land. Itself, Ireland is the second-largest island of any British isle, and second-most populated island of England, standing at a brute six-million, six-hundred-thousand duly charted in 2011. Though later recorded in 2016, the populous-state of Ireland had become a graphing of four-million, eight-hundred thousand lives living in the Republic of Ireland, whilst only one-million, eight-hundred-thousand reside in Northern Ireland.

History

Prehistoric Ireland

During the last glacial period, and until about 10,000 BC, most of Ireland was periodically covered in ice. Sea levels were lower, and Ireland, like Great Britain, formed part of continental Europe. By 16,000 BC, rising sea levels caused by ice melting caused Ireland to become separated from Great Britain. Later, around 6000 BC, Great Britain became separated from continental Europe. The earliest evidence of the human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC, demonstrated by a butchered bear bone found in a cave in County Clare. By about 8000 BC, more sustained occupation of the island has been shown, with evidence for Mesolithic communities around the island.

Sometime before 4000 BC, Neolithic settlers arrived introducing cereal cultivars, domesticated animals such as cattle and sheep, large timber buildings, and stone monuments. The earliest evidence for farming in Ireland or Great Britain is from Ferriter's Cove, County Kerry, where a flint knife, cattle bones, and a sheep's tooth were carbon-dated to c. 4350 BC. Field systems were developed in different parts of Ireland, including at the Céide Fields, that has been preserved beneath a blanket of peat in present-day Tyrawley. An extensive field system, arguably the oldest in the world, consisted of small divisions separated by dry-stone walls. The fields were farmed for several centuries between 3500 BC and 3000 BC. Wheat and barley were the principal crops. The Bronze Age began around 2500 BC, with technology changing people's everyday lives during this period through innovations such as the wheel; harnessing oxen; weaving textiles; brewing alcohol; and skillful metalworking, which produced new weapons and tools, along with exquisite gold decoration and jewelry, such as brooches and torcs.

The Emergence of Celtic Ireland

How and when the island became, Celtic has been debated for close to a century, with the migrations of the Celts being one of the more enduring themes of archaeological and linguistic studies. The most recent genetic research strongly associates the spread of Indo-European languages (including Celtic) through Western Europe with a people bringing a composite Beaker culture, with its arrival in Britain and Ireland dated to around the middle of the third millennium BC. According to John T. Koch and others, Ireland in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-network culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age that also included Britain, western France, and Iberia, and that this is where Celtic languages developed. This contrasts with the traditional view that their origin lies in mainland Europe with the Hallstatt culture.

The long-standing traditional view is that the Celtic language, Ogham script, and culture were brought to Ireland by waves of invading or migrating Celts from mainland Europe. This theory draws on the Lebor Gabála Érenn, a medieval Christian pseudo-history of Ireland, along with the presence of Celtic culture, language, and artifacts found in Ireland, such as Celtic bronze spears, shields, torcs and other finely crafted Celtic associated possessions. The theory holds that there were four separate Celtic invasions of Ireland. The Priteni was said to be the first, followed by the Belgae from northern Gaul and Britain. Later, Laighin tribes from Armorica (present-day Brittany) were said to have invaded Ireland and Britain more or less simultaneously. Lastly, the Milesians (Gaels) were said to have reached Ireland from either northern Iberia or southern Gaul. It was claimed that a second wave named the Euerni, belonging to the Belgae people of northern Gaul, began arriving about the sixth century BC. They were said to have given their name to the island.

The theory was advanced in part due to the lack of archaeological evidence for large-scale Celtic immigration, though it is accepted that such movements are notoriously difficult to identify. Historical linguists are skeptical that this method alone could account for the absorption of Celtic language, with some saying that an assumed processional view of Celtic linguistic formation is 'an especially hazardous exercise'. Genetic lineage investigation into the area of Celtic migration to Ireland has led to findings that showed no significant differences in mitochondrial DNA between Ireland and large areas of continental Europe, in contrast to parts of the Y-chromosome pattern. When taking both into account, a study drew the conclusion that modern Celtic speakers in Ireland could be thought of as European "Atlantic Celts," showing a shared ancestry throughout the Atlantic zone from northern Iberia to western Scandinavia rather than substantially central European.

In 2012, research showed that Beaker-culture immigrants almost eliminated the occurrence of genetic markers for the earliest farmers: they carried what was then a new Y-chromosome R1b marker, believed to have originated in Iberia about 2500 BC. The prevalence amongst modern Irish men of this mutation is a remarkable 84%, the highest in the world, and closely matched in other populations along the Atlantic fringes down to Spain. A similar genetic replacement happened with lineages in mitochondrial DNA. This conclusion is supported by recent research carried out by the geneticist David Reich, who says: "British and Irish skeletons from the Bronze Age that followed the Beaker period had at most 10 percent ancestry from the first farmers of these islands, with other 90 percent from people like those associated with the Bell Beaker culture in the Netherlands." He suggests that it was Beaker users who introduced an Indo-European language, represented here by Celtic (i.e., a new language and culture introduced directly by migration and genetic replacement).

Late Antiquity & Early Medieval Times

The earliest written records of Ireland come from classical Greco-Roman geographers. Ptolemy in his Almagest refers to Ireland as Mikra Brettania ("Little Britain"), in contrast to the more massive island, which he called Megale Brettania ("Great Britain"). In his later work, Geography, Ptolemy refers to Ireland as Iouernia and Great Britain as Albion. These 'new' names were likely to have been the local names for the islands at the time. The earlier names, in contrast, were likely to have been coined before direct contact with local peoples was made. The Romans referred to Ireland by this name, too, in its Latinised form, Hibernia, or Scotia. Ptolemy records sixteen nations inhabiting every part of Ireland in 100 AD. The relationship between the Roman Empire and the kingdoms of ancient Ireland is unclear. However, several finds of Roman coins have been made, for example, at the Iron Age settlement of Freestone Hill near Gowran and Newgrange.

Ireland continued as a patchwork of rival kingdoms; however, beginning in the 7th century, a concept of national kingship gradually became articulated through the idea of a High King of Ireland. Medieval Irish literature portrays an almost unbroken sequence of high kings stretching back thousands of years. Still, modern historians believe the scheme was constructed in the 8th century to justify the status of powerful political groupings by projecting the origins of their rule into the remote past. All of the Irish kingdoms had their kings but were nominally subject to the highKingg. The highKingg was drawn from the ranks of the provincial kings and also ruled the royal Throne of Meath, with a ceremonial capital at the Hill of Tara. The concept did not become a political reality until the Viking Age and even then was not a consistent one. Ireland did have a culturally unifying rule of law: the early written judicial system, the Brehon Laws, administered by a professional class of jurists known as the brehons.

The Chronicle of Ireland records that in 431, Bishop Palladius arrived in Ireland on a mission from Pope Celestine I to minister to the Irish "already believing in Christ". The same chronicle records that Saint Patrick, Ireland's best-known patron saint, arrived the following year. There is continued debate over the missions of Palladius and Patrick, but the consensus is that they both took place and that the older druid tradition collapsed in the face of the new religion. Irish Christian scholars excelled in the study of Latin and Greek learning and Christian theology. In the religious culture that followed the Christianisation of Ireland, Latin and Greek education was preserved in Ireland during the Early Middle Ages in contrast to elsewhere in Western Europe, where the Dark Ages followed the Fall of the Western Roman Empire.

The art of manuscript illumination, metalworking, and sculpture flourished and produced treasures such as the Book of Kells, ornate jewelry, and the many carved stone crosses that still dot the island today. A mission founded in 563 on Iona by the Irish monk Saint Columba began a tradition of Irish missionary work that spread Celtic Christianity and learning to Scotland, England and the Frankish Empire on continental Europe after the fall of Rome. These missions continued until the late Middle Ages, establishing monasteries and centers of learning, producing scholars such as Sedulius Scottus and Johannes Eriugena and exerting much influence in Europe. From the 9th century, waves of Viking raiders plundered Irish monasteries and towns. These raids added to a pattern of raiding and endemic warfare that was already deep-seated in Ireland. The Vikings were involved in establishing most of the major coastal settlements in Ireland: Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Wexford, Waterford, as well as other smaller settlements.

Norman & English invasions

On 1 May 1169, an expedition of Cambro-Norman knights, with an army of about six hundred, landed at Bannow Strand in present-day County Wexford. It was led by Richard de Clare, known as 'Strongbow' owing to his prowess as an archer. The invasion, which coincided with a period of renewed Norman expansion, was at the invitation of Dermot Mac Murrough, King of Leinster. In 1166, Mac Murrough had fled to Anjou, France, following a war involving Tighearnán Ua Ruairc, of Breifne. He sought the assistance of the Angevin King Henry II, in recapturing his kingdom. In 1171, Henry arrived in Ireland to review the general progress of the expedition. He wanted to re-exert royal authority over the invasion, which was expanding beyond his control. Henry successfully re-imposed his authority over Strongbow and the Cambro-Norman warlords and persuaded many of the Irish kings to accept him as their overlord, an arrangement confirmed in the 1175 Treaty of Windsor.

The invasion was legitimized by the provisions of the Papal BullLaudabiliter, issued by Adrian IV in 1155. The bull encouraged Henry to take control of Ireland to oversee the financial and administrative reorganization of the Irish Church and its integration into the Roman Church system. Some restructuring had already begun at the ministerial level following the Synod of Kells in 1152. There has been significant controversy regarding the authenticity of Laudabiliter, and there is no general agreement as to whether the bull was genuine or a forgery. In 1172, Pope Alexander III further encouraged Henry to advance the integration of the Irish Church with Rome. Henry was authorized to impose a levy of one penny per hearth as an annual contribution. This church levy, called Peter's Pence, is extant in Ireland as a voluntary donation. In turn, Henry accepted the title of Lord of Ireland, which Henry conferred on his younger son, John Lackland, in 1185. This defined the Irish state as the Lordship of Ireland. When Henry's successor died unexpectedly in 1199, John inherited the crown of England and retained the Lordship of Ireland.

Over the century that followed, Norman feudal law gradually replaced the Gaelic Brehon Law so that by the late 13th century, the Norman-Irish had established a feudal system throughout much of Ireland. Norman settlements were characterized by the establishment of baronies, manors, towns, and the seeds of the modern county system. A version of the Magna Carta (the Great Charter of Ireland), substituting Dublin for London and the Irish Church for the English church at the time, the Catholic Church, was published in 1216, and the Parliament of Ireland was founded in 1297. From the mid-14th century, after the Black Death, Norman settlements in Ireland went into a period of decline. The Norman rulers and the Gaelic Irish elites intermarried, and the areas under Norman rule became Gaelicised. In some parts, a hybrid Hiberno-Norman culture emerged. In response, the Irish parliament passed the Statutes of Kilkenny in 1367. These were a set of laws designed to prevent the assimilation of the Normans into Irish society by requiring English subjects in Ireland to speak English, follow English customs, and abide by English law. By the end of the 15th century, central English authority in Ireland had all but disappeared, and a renewed Irish culture and language, albeit with Norman influences, was dominant again. English Crown control remained relatively unshaken in an amorphous foothold around Dublin known as The Pale. Under the provisions of Poynings' Law of 1494, the Irish Parliamentary legislation was subject to the approval of the English Privy Council.

The Kingdom of Ireland

The title of King of Ireland was re-created in 1542 by Henry VIII, the then King of England, of the Tudor dynasty. English rule was reinforced and expanded in Ireland during the latter part of the 16th century, leading to the Tudor conquest of Ireland. A near-complete conquest was achieved by the turn of the 17th century, following the Nine Years' War and the Flight of the Earls. This control was consolidated during the wars and conflicts of the 17th century, including the English and Scottish colonization in the Plantations of Ireland, the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and the Williamite War. Irish losses during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (which, in Ireland, included the Irish Confederacy and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland) are estimated to include 20,000 battlefield casualties. Two hundred thousand civilians are expected to have died as a result of a combination of war-related famine, displacement, guerrilla activity, and pestilence throughout the war. A further 50,000 were sent into indentured servitude in the West Indies. Physician-general William Petty estimated that 504,000 Catholic Irish and 112,000 Protestant settlers died, and 100,000 people were transported, as a result of the war. If a prewar population of 1.5 million is assumed, this would mean that the community was reduced by almost half.

The religious struggles of the 17th century left a deep sectarian division in Ireland. Religious allegiance now determined the perception in law of loyalty to the Irish King and Parliament. After the passing of the Test Act 1672, and the victory of the forces of the dual monarchy of William and Mary over the Jacobites, Roman Catholics, and nonconforming Protestant Dissenters were barred from sitting as members in the Irish Parliament. Under the emerging Penal Laws, Irish Roman Catholics and Dissenters were increasingly deprived of sundry civil rights even to the ownership of hereditary property. Additional regressive punitive legislation followed in 1703, 1709, and 1728. This completed a comprehensive systemic effort to materially disadvantage Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters while enriching a new ruling class of Anglican conformists. The new Anglo-Irish ruling class became known as the Protestant Ascendancy. The "Great Frost" struck Ireland and the rest of Europe between December 1739 and September 1741, after a decade of relatively mild winters. The winters destroyed stored crops of potatoes and other staples, and the miserable summers severely damaged harvests. This resulted in the famine of 1740. An estimated 250,000 people (about one in eight of the population) died from the ensuing pestilence and disease. The Irish government halted the export of corn and kept the army in quarters but did little more. Local gentry and charitable organizations provided relief but could do little to prevent the ensuing mortality.

In the aftermath of the famine, an increase in industrial production and a surge in trade brought a succession of construction booms. The population soared in the latter part of this century, and the architectural legacy of Georgian Ireland was built. In 1782, Poynings' Law was repealed, giving Ireland legislative independence from Great Britain for the first time since 1495. The British government, however, still retained the right to nominate the government of Ireland without the consent of the Irish parliament.

Union with Great Britain

In 1798, members of the Protestant Dissenter tradition (mainly Presbyterian) made common cause with Roman Catholics in a republican rebellion inspired and led by the Society of United Irishmen, intending to create an independent Ireland. Despite assistance from France, the uprising was put down by the British and Irish government and yeomanry forces. In 1800, the British and Irish parliaments both passed Acts of Union that, with effect from 1 January 1801, merged the Kingdom of Ireland and the Kingdom of Great Britain to create a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The passage of the Act in the Irish Parliament was ultimately achieved with substantial majorities, having failed on the first attempt in 1799. According to contemporary documents and historical analysis, this was achieved through a considerable degree of bribery, with funding provided by the British Secret Service Office, and the awarding of peerages, places, and honors to secure votes. Thus, the parliament in Ireland was abolished and replaced by a united parliament at Westminster in London, though resistance remained, as evidenced by Robert Emmet's failed Irish Rebellion of 1803.

Aside from the development of the linen industry, Ireland was largely passed over by the industrial revolution, partly because it lacked coal and iron resources and partly because of the impact of the sudden union with the structurally superior economy of England, which saw Ireland as a source of agricultural produce and capital. The Great Famine of 1845–1851 devastated Ireland, as in those years, Ireland's population fell by one-third. More than one million people died from starvation and disease, with an additional million people emigrating during the famine, mostly to the United States and Canada. In the century that followed, an economic depression caused by the famine resulted in a further million people emigrating. By the end of the decade, half of all immigration to the United States was from Ireland. The period of civil unrest that followed until the end of the 19th century is referred to as the Land War. Mass emigration became deeply entrenched, and the population continued to decline until the mid-20th century. Immediately before the famine, the population was recorded as 8.2 million by the 1841 census. The society has never returned to this level since. The community continued to fall until 1961, and it was not until the 2006 census that the last county of Ireland to record a rise in population since 1841 (County Leitrim) did so.

The 19th and early 20th centuries saw the rise of modern Irish nationalism, primarily among the Roman Catholic population. The pre-eminent Irish political figure after the Union was Daniel O'Connell. He was elected as Member of Parliament for Ennis in a surprise result and despite being unable to take his seat as a Roman Catholic. O'Connell spearheaded a vigorous campaign that was taken up by the Prime Minister, the Irish-born soldier, and statesman, the Duke of Wellington. Steering the Catholic Relief Bill through Parliament, aided by future prime minister Robert Peel, Wellington prevailed upon a reluctant George IV to sign the Bill and proclaim it into law. George's father had opposed the plan of the earlier Prime Minister, Pitt the Younger, to introduce such a bill following the Union of 1801, fearing Catholic Emancipation to be in conflict with the Act of Settlement 1701. Daniel O'Connell led a subsequent campaign for the repeal of the Act of Union, which failed. Later in the century, Charles Stewart Parnell and others campaigned for autonomy within the union, or "Home Rule". Unionists, especially those located in Ulster, were strongly opposed to Home Rule, which they thought would be dominated by Catholic interests. After several attempts to pass a Home Rule bill through parliament, it looked confident that one would finally pass in 1914. To prevent this from happening, the Ulster Volunteers were formed in 1913 under the leadership of Edward Carson.

Their formation was followed in 1914 by the establishment of the Irish Volunteers, whose aim was to ensure that the Home Rule Bill was passed. The Act was passed, but with the "temporary" exclusion of the six counties of Ulster, that would become Northern Ireland. Before it could be implemented, however, the Act was suspended for the duration of the First World War. The Irish Volunteers split into two groups. The majority, approximately 175,000 in number, under John Redmond, took the name National Volunteers and supported Irish involvement in the war. A minority, about 13,000, retained the Irish Volunteers' title and opposed Ireland's involvement in the war.

The Easter Rising of 1916 was carried out by the latter group together with a smaller socialist militia, the Irish Citizen Army. The British response, executing fifteen leaders of the Rising over ten days and imprisoning or interning more than a thousand people, turned the mood of the country in favor of the rebels. Support for Irish republicanism increased further due to the ongoing war in Europe, as well as the Conscription Crisis of 1918. The pro-independence republican party, Sinn Féin, received overwhelming endorsement in the general election of 1918, and in 1919 proclaimed the Irish Republic, setting up its parliament (Dáil Éireann) and government. Simultaneously the Volunteers, which became known as the Irish Republican Army (IRA), launched a three-year guerrilla war, which ended in a truce in July 1921 (although violence continued until June 1922, mostly in Northern Ireland).

Partition

In December 1921, the Anglo-Irish Treaty was concluded between the British government and representatives of the Second Dáil. It gave Ireland complete independence in its home affairs and practical freedom for foreign policy. Still, an opt-out clause allowed Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom, which (as expected) it immediately exercised. Additionally, Members of the Free State Parliament were required to swear an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State and make a statement of faithfulness to the king. Disagreements over these provisions led to a split in the nationalist movement and a subsequent Irish Civil War between the new government of the Irish Free State and those opposed to the treaty, led by Éamon de Valera. The civil war officially ended in May 1923 when de Valera issued a cease-fire order.

Independence

During its first decade, the newly formed Irish Free State was governed by the victors of the civil war. When de Valera achieved power, he took advantage of the Statute of Westminster and political circumstances to build upon inroads to greater sovereignty made by the previous government. The oath was abolished, and in 1937 a new constitution was adopted. This completed a process of gradual separation from the British Empire that governments had pursued since independence. However, it was not until 1949 that the state was declared, officially, to be the Republic of Ireland. The land was neutral during World War II, but offered clandestine assistance to the Allies, particularly in the potential defense of Northern Ireland. Despite their country's neutrality, approximately 50,000 volunteers from independent Ireland joined the British forces during the war, four being awarded Victoria Crosses. German intelligence was also active in Ireland. Its operations ended in September 1941 when police made arrests based on surveillance carried out on the key diplomatic legations in Dublin. To the authorities, counterintelligence was a first line of defense. With a regular army of only slightly over seven thousand men at the start of the war, and with limited supplies of modern weapons, the state would have had great difficulty in defending itself from invasion from either side in the conflict.

Large-scale emigration marked most of the post-WWII period (particularly during the 1950s and 1980s), but beginning in 1987, the economy improved, and the 1990s saw the beginning of substantial economic growth. This period of growth became known as the Celtic Tiger. The Republic's real GDP grew by an average of 9.6% per annum between 1995 and 1999, in which year the Republic joined the euro. In 2000, it was the sixth-richest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. Historian R. F. Foster argues the cause was a combination of a new sense of initiative and the entry of American corporations. He concludes the chief factors were low taxation, pro-business regulatory policies, and a young, tech-savvy workforce. For many multinationals, the decision to do business in Ireland was made easier still by generous incentives from the Industrial Development Authority. Also, European Union membership was helpful, giving the country lucrative access to markets that it had previously reached only through the United Kingdom, and pumping massive subsidies and investment capital into the Irish economy. Modernization brought secularisation in its wake. The traditionally high levels of religiosity have sharply declined. Foster points to three factors: Irish feminism, primarily imported from America with liberal stances on contraception, abortion, and divorce, undermined the authority of bishops and priests. Second, the mishandling of the pedophile scandals humiliated the church, whose bishops seemed less concerned with the victims and more concerned with covering up for errant priests. Third, prosperity brought hedonism and materialism that undercut the ideals of saintly poverty. The financial crisis that began in 2008 dramatically ended this period of boom. GDP fell by 3% in 2008 and by 7.1% in 2009, the worst year since records began (although earnings by foreign-owned businesses continued to grow). The state has since experienced a deep recession, with unemployment, which doubled during 2009, remaining above 14% in 2012.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland resulted from the division of the United Kingdom by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, and until 1972 was a self-governing jurisdiction within the United Kingdom with its parliament and prime minister. Northern Ireland, as part of the United Kingdom, was not neutral during the Second World War, and Belfast suffered four bombing raids in 1941. Conscription was not extended to Northern Ireland, and roughly an equal number volunteered from Northern Ireland as volunteered from the south. Although Northern Ireland was largely spared the strife of the civil war, in decades that followed partition, there were sporadic episodes of inter-communal violence. Nationalists, mainly Roman Catholic, wanted to unite Ireland as an independent republic, whereas unionists, mainly Protestant, wanted Northern Ireland to remain in the United Kingdom. The Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern Ireland voted mostly along sectarian lines, meaning that the government of Northern Ireland (elected by "first-past-the-post" from 1929) was controlled by the Ulster Unionist Party. Over time, the minority Catholic community felt increasingly alienated with further disaffection fuelled by practices such as gerrymandering and discrimination in housing and employment.

In the late 1960s, nationalist grievances were aired publicly in mass civil rights protests, which were often confronted by loyalist counter-protests. The government's reaction to confrontations was seen to be one-sided and heavy-handed in favor of unionists. Law and order broke down as unrest, and inter-communal violence increased. The Northern Ireland government requested the British Army to aid the police and protect the Irish Nationalist population. In 1969, the paramilitaryProvisional IRA, which favored the creation of a united Ireland, emerged from a split in the Irish Republican Army and began a campaign against what it called the "British occupation of the six counties".Other groups, on both the unionist side and the nationalist side, participated in violence, and a period known as the Troubles began. Over 3,600 deaths resulted in over the subsequent three decades of conflict. Owing to the civil unrest during the Troubles, the British government suspended home rule in 1972 and imposed direct rule. There were several unsuccessful attempts to end the Troubles politically, such as the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973. In 1998, following a cease-fire by the Provisional IRA and multi-party talks, the Good Friday Agreement was concluded as a treaty between the British and Irish governments, annexing the text agreed in the multi-party negotiations.

Referendums in both parts of Ireland later endorsed the substance of the Agreement (formally referred to as the Belfast Agreement). The Agreement restored self-government to Northern Ireland based on power-sharing in a regional Executive drawn from the major parties in a new Northern Ireland Assembly, with entrenched protections for the two central communities. The Executive is jointly headed by a First Minister and deputy First Minister drawn from the unionist and nationalist parties. Violence had decreased dramatically after the Provisional IRA and loyalist cease-fires in 1994, and in 2005 the Provisional IRA announced the end of its armed campaign, and an independent commission supervised its disarmament and that of other nationalist and unionist paramilitary organizations. The Assembly and power-sharing Executive were suspended several times but were restored in 2007. In that year, the British government officially ended its military support of the police in Northern Ireland (Operation Banner) and began withdrawing troops. On 27 June 2012, Northern Ireland's deputy first minister and former IRA commander, Martin McGuinness, shook hands with Queen Elizabeth II in Belfast, symbolizing reconciliation between the two sides.

Geology & Landscapes

Geology

Emerald Scapes
Emerald Scapes

The island consists of various geological provinces. In the west, around County Galway and County Donegal, is a medium to high grade metamorphic and igneous complex of Caledonide affinity, similar to the Scottish Highlands. Across southeast Ulster and extending southwest to Longford and south to Navan is a province of Ordovician and Silurian rocks, with similarities to the Southern Uplands province of Scotland. Further south, along the County Wexford coastline, is an area of granite intrusives into more Ordovician and Silurian rocks, like that found in Wales.

In the southwest, around Bantry Bay and the mountains of MacGillycuddy's Reeks, is an area of substantially deformed, lightly metamorphosed Devonian-aged rocks. This partial ring of "hard rock" geology is covered by a blanket of Carboniferous limestone over the center of the country, giving rise to a comparatively fertile and lush landscape. The west-coast district of the Burren around Lisdoonvarna has well-developed karst features. Significant stratiform lead-zinc mineralization is found in the limestones around Silvermines and Tynagh.

Hydrocarbon exploration is ongoing following the first significant find at the Kinsale Head gas field off Cork in the mid-1970s. In 1999, economically substantial discoveries of natural gas were made in the Corrib Gas Field off the County Mayo coast. This has increased activity off the west coast in parallel with the "West of Shetland" step-out development from the North Sea hydrocarbon province. In 2000, the Helvick oil field was discovered, which was estimated to contain over 28 million barrels (4,500,000 m3) of oil.

Because Ireland became isolated from mainland Europe by rising sea levels before the last ice age had finished, it has fewer land animal and plant species than Great Britain or mainland Europe. There are 55 mammal species in Ireland, and of them, only 26 land mammal species are considered native to Ireland. Some species, such as the red fox, hedgehog, and badger, are prevalent, whereas others, like the Irish hare, red deer, and pine marten are less so. Aquatic wildlife, such as species of sea turtle, shark, seal, whale, and dolphin, are common off the coast. About 400 species of birds have been recorded in Ireland. Many of these are migratory, including the barn swallow.

Several different habitat types are found in Ireland, including farmland, open woodland, temperate broadleaf, and mixed forests, conifer plantations, peat bogs, and a variety of coastal habitats. However, agriculture drives current land-use patterns in Ireland, limiting natural habitat preserves, particularly for larger wild mammals with higher territorial needs. With no large apex predators in Ireland other than humans and dogs, such populations of animals as semi-wild deer that cannot be controlled by smaller predators, such as the fox, are controlled by annual culling. There are no snakes in Ireland, and only one species of reptile (the common lizard) is native to the island. Extinct species include the Irish elk, the great auk, brown bear, and the wolf. Some previously extinct birds, such as the golden eagle, have been reintroduced after decades of destruction.

Ireland is now one of the least forested countries in Europe. Until the end of the Middle Ages, Ireland was heavily wooded with native trees such as oak, ash, hazel, birch, alder, willow, aspen, rowan, yew, and Scots pine. Only about 10% of Ireland today is woodland; most of this is non-native conifer plantations, and only 2% is native woodland. In Europe, the average woodland cover is over 33%. In the Republic, about 389,356 hectares (3,893.56 km2) is owned by the state, mainly by the forestry service Coillte. Remnants of native forest can be found scattered around the island, in particular in the Killarney National Park.

Much of the land is now covered with pasture, and there are many species of wild-flower. Gorse (Ulex europaeus), a wild furze, is commonly found growing in the uplands, and ferns are plentiful in the more moist regions, especially in the western parts. It is home to hundreds of plant species, some of them unique to the island, and has been "invaded" by some grasses, such as Spartina Anglica. Seaweed flora is that of the cold-temperate variety. The total number of species is 574. The island has been invaded by some algae, some of which are now well established. Because of its mild climate, many species, including sub-tropical species such as palm trees, are grown in Ireland. Phytogeographically, Ireland belongs to the Atlantic European province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. The island can be subdivided into two ecoregions: the Celtic broadleaf forests and North Atlantic moist mixed forests.

Agricultural Impacts

The long history of agricultural production, coupled with modern intensive farming methods such as pesticide and fertilizer use and runoff from contaminants into streams, rivers, and lakes, has placed pressure on biodiversity in Ireland. A land of green fields for crop cultivation and cattle rearing limits the space available for the establishment of native wild species. Hedgerows, however, traditionally used for maintaining and demarcating land boundaries, act as a refuge for native wild flora. This ecosystem stretches across the countryside and acts as a network of connections to preserve remnants of the ecosystem that once covered the island. Subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy, which supported agricultural practices that maintained hedgerow environments, are undergoing reforms. The Common Agricultural Policy had in the past subsidized potentially destructive farming practices, for example, by emphasizing production without placing limits on indiscriminate use of fertilizers and pesticides. Still, reforms have gradually decoupled subsidies from production levels and introduced environmental and other requirements. 32% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions are correlated to agriculture.

Forested areas typically consist of monoculture plantations of non-native species, which may result in habitats that are not suitable for supporting native species of invertebrates. Natural areas require fencing to prevent over-grazing by deer and sheep that roam over uncultivated areas. Grazing, in this manner, is one of the main factors preventing the natural regeneration of forests across many regions of the country.

Economical Divisions

Sanctioned Divisions & Provinces

The Four Provinces
The Four Provinces

Traditionally, Ireland is subdivided into four provinces: Connacht (west), Leinster (east), Munster (south), and Ulster (north). During a system that developed between the 13th and 17th centuries, Ireland has 32 traditional counties. Twenty-six of those counties are within the Republic of Eire, and six are in Northern Ireland. The six counties that constitute Northern Ireland bushed the province of Ulster (which has nine counties in total). As such, Ulster is commonly used as a synonym for Northern Ireland, although the two aren't coterminous. Within the Republic of Eire, counties form the premise of the system of government. Counties Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, and Tipperary are variables into smaller administrative areas. However, they're still treated as counties for cultural and a few official purposes, as an example, postal addresses and by the Ordnance Survey Ireland. Counties in Northern Ireland aren't used for local governmental purposes, but, as within the Republic, their traditional boundaries are still used for casual purposes like sports leagues and in cultural or tourism contexts.

City status in Ireland is determined by legislative or charter. Dublin, with over 1 million residents within the Greater Dublin Area, is that the largest city on the island. Belfast, with 579,726 residents, is that the largest city in Northern Ireland. City status does not directly equate with population size. As an example, Armagh, with 14,590, is that the seat of the Church of Eire and, therefore, the Roman Catholic Primate of All Ireland and was re-granted city status by the Queen of England in 1994 (having lost that status in government reforms of 1840). within the Republic of Eire, Kilkenny, the seat of the Butler dynasty, while not a city for administrative purposes (since the 2001 government Act), is entitled by law to use the outline still.

Current/Consisting Faction(s)

Thee Duke's of Dublin (Shadow Syndicate Subsidiary)

"Your money, your guns, and your cars - are now the property of the Duke's"

Duly dated to be formed back in the late 1800s, the ShadowSyndicate - the international assassin organization created in the Holy Year of 1165 - birthed Thee Duke's of Dublin with the task of the Syndicates principle all-time goal, expand the deathly grasp of the Shadow Syndicate's hand. Selectively chosen, only but a few dozen men were sent to consume - originally Dublin - then Ireland in the Shadow Syndicate's hollow grasp. and they succeeded. Later on - once after dominating all of Ireland's criminal elements - the unknown gang was officially deemed, Thee Duke's of Dublin. Years on, after countless acts of mafia-related activities, Elliot Belrose arose from Dublin's Criminal-Political Strata under the Shadow Syndicate's wing, then soon becoming the youngest Supreme Mentor of the Shadow Syndicate, by the rule of S.S. Legacy. Personally taking the place of Thee Duke's of Dublin's and Shadow Syndicate's rightful leader, Belrose continued acting upon his legacy, expanding the S.S. powers wherever he could and leading Thee Duke's of Dublin criminal dominance however he could.

Precedent street gangsters by look, though unbeknownst Shadow Syndicate trained assassins - Thee Duke's of Dublin work's in both the shadows and broad day. Connected and Untouchable, Ruthless and Determined - the Duke's of Dublin makes it their mission, to feed who needs feeding, motivate those who need motivating, and kill those who need killing.

Rules & Additional Information

  • I'd like to start by saying (as stated above), this thread has a ton of information from the Ireland Wiki Page; though mildly edited.
  • In time, if there's anything that you think should be added to the OP feel free to ask and I'll do so accordingly.
  • If there are any other inquiries that you feel might be of interest, feel free to PM me at Belrose, Damon Ford, and/or William LeBeau.
  • Lastly, a fun time is better than a bad one so have fun!
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The Shadow Syndicate (CVnU Organization/Faction)

The Unseen Blade
The Unseen Blade

Shadow Syndicate

Built upon smoke, blood, and loyalty an unknown force; blade, committed itself into a system of dethroning tyrants, eliminating greed-driven titans, and slitting the throats of self-proclaimed gods. Where power - too much power, laid the Unseen Blade was there to put it to rest. A heavy responsibility weighing upon the shoulders of warrior/assassin alike, the Guild of Guardians arose into the whims of reality. Itself, it held no name. Spans of era's and millenniums, the Brotherhood had finally gained itself an identity within the Holy Year of 1165. A name of no man known to public-eye though forever legend to those of the Creed, المطران الفضي (Translation: The Silver Bishop). rightfully became the First Mentor and Grandmaster of the Saints of Shadows. Though throughout the many millennia of shrouded mystery, the Guild adopted a new name. And when came the new age of revolutionaries, also followed a new era of balance. Within the masquerade of society, prey walked. And predators stalked.

Whenever, wherever they were needed. The Shadow Syndicate intervened.

History

The Birth of the Brotherhood

The Silver Bishop
The Silver Bishop

The Hidden One’s has always been quite the untold story among men, it’s cause. It’s origin. Speculation prodded at the group’s ideologies like ravens, attempting to tear down the very wall the Syndicate so eagerly created. Though as they always had, the Unseen Blade proved their identity - shunning all eyes and resolving loose ends. Only internally was the veil that is the Syndicates origin declared. Within, Assassins thrived on the Silver Bishop’s accomplishments. Paving way for their own. But this inspiration never began with the heart and mind of the Bishop, nor did it begin in the Holy Year of 1165. Instead, the Creed of Cobra became - in the early medieval period of 47 BCE.

It’s founder bore no name, and neither did his apprentices. Throughout history the Brotherhood declared balance amongst every region they stepped upon, and with this influence the Hidden Blade skyrocketed as did its ranks. It was only until the age of The Silver Bishop the Creed adopted itself the identity of the Shadow Syndicate. He fought many wars, المطران الفضي. Victory and loss came to a balance within his judgment among the fellow brotherhood. Like others before him, he became Supreme Mentor. When came immense privileges, also followed the brutal greed of a son he had once thought to lose.

He fought well, المطران الفضي. Though as skilled as he was, his son who had bared the ultimate decade difference between his father prevailed. And rightfully so, his son - Caesar - laid claim to the Shadow Syndicate. Surprisingly so, Caesar didn’t commit to a savage reign of tyranny nor did he abuse the Creed to please his betters, instead he embarked into a new age of assassin.

A New Age of Assassin

A sea of faces - though only one target, predator stalked upon prey - determination cooler than a brisk gale. The moment Caeser arose to the throne of thieves, the Syndicate bent knee for they bow before their newfound Mentor. Alike his father, Caeser led the Creed with great flair, did what his father could not. Where there was a variable to subtract, he executed them from the equation. Unlike his father, Caeser took a more lethal approach to the Syndicate’s common interest. Without a second thought assassin alike executed.

The First Lotus
The First Lotus

Decades of dominance pursued, though as all did, Caeser grew old. And when he finally passed, as did the mantle of mentor. Era’s passed and as did faces, though one stood out. An extraordinary Assassin she was, Ly Nguyễn - a member of the Saigon Brotherhood, revolutionized the art of stealth and efficiency. Deadly and Graceful, Nguyễn became first of many Black Lotus’s - a subsidiary faction amongst the ranks of the Shadow Syndicate. Spending years as teacher and mentor of the Black Lotus’s, Ly earned the title of Mentor of the Saigon Brotherhood. Though her reign over the Saigon Brotherhood ended during late 1972.

The Syndicate itself evolved between the era’s of Nguyễn’s and Caesers rule, the coming and passing of legendary idols and assassins amongst the tales of defectors and great betrayals.

Modern-Day Syndicate

Pierre Évreux, father of Sinister French Society bent a bloodied knee towards none other than Elliot Belrose himself - the future Supreme Mentor of the Shadow Syndicate. Évreux feared no man, though Belrose was no ordinary man. He was a shadow amongst men, a blade in the crowd. And to Évreux, he was a demon. Rightfully so. All of which occurred whilst maintaining title of Mentor of the French Brotherhood.

It wasn’t until the brutal death of Adrian Rioux - the current Supreme Mentor at the time - was Elliot chosen to become Supreme Mentor of the Shadow Syndicate.

Guild System

An international organization whose main focus commits to the wealthy and powerful, various guilds and subsidiaries scatter across the entire world. Assassins laying claim to wherever their deathly grasps can reach, each and every guild holds loyalty to its own mentor/guild-master. Alike others, each brotherhood selects its members very meticulously, though descendants of previous assassins are automatically members of each guild unless decided otherwise. Unless permitted, those who operate in a certain committed region are to proceed within their region. Those who operate in France only work in France unless permitted to take leave and to another region temporarily.

Ranks & Members

The Guild of Guardians
The Guild of Guardians

Itself, the Shadow Syndicate houses and trains the uttermost advanced warriors known to mankind. Each and every member of the Creed are outfitted with garbs that slightly share a semblance to that of an ave. Throughout ranking from bottom-up, assassins are granted a surplus of both bladed and blunt weapons whether their preference. Though the most iconic be their hidden-blade. A weapon whose sole-purpose is to assassinate those in plain-sight, the hidden-blade is granted use at the specific rank of Apprentice. Most if not all Assassins are given training of certain aspects of combat & movement, have it be savate to Freerunning or taekwondo to weight training.

  • Rank One: Novice
  • Rank Two: Initiate
  • Rank Three: Apprentice
  • Rank Four: Soldier
  • Rank Five: Disciple
  • Rank Six: Mercenary
  • Rank Seven: Warrior
  • Rank Eight: Veteran
  • Rank Nine: Master
  • Rank Ten: Assassin I
  • Rank Eleven: Assassin II
  • Rank Twelve: Assassin III
  • Rank Thirteen: Assassin IV
  • Rank Fourteen: Assassin V
  • Rank Fifteen: Master Assassin
  • Final Rank: Mentor - Guild-Master
  • Supreme Mentor of the Brotherhood

Rules

  • First of all, please abide by the regular CVnU Rules.
  • As of now, the Shadow Syndicate does not have a definitive location/HQ, though Sub-Locals are welcome to be made. But first just PM me at Red Jay, Belrose, and/or Damon Ford
  • The Syndicate is a very secretive organization so if your character or NPC or anything of the like is gonna find out about the Creed, please sell it's secrecy.
  • If you wish to join, induct an NPC or anything like that do the same as mentioned and PM me.
  • Abide by the IC Creed Rules whilst IC
  • Have fun!

Rules will be changed due time ;)

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