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1169: Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland

1175: Treaty of Windsor: English king recognised as lord of Ireland

1541: Henry VIII proclaimed king of Ireland

c. 1590: Potato introduced to Ireland

1610: Plantation of Ulster: large numbers of Scottish and English people settle in Ulster

1641: Uprising in Ulster as Catholics try to retake their land; several thousand Protestants killed

1649: Cromwell leads a war of reprisal in Ireland

Large transfers of land to Protestants take place

1690: Battle of the Boyne: James II, supported by Catholics, is defeated by William of Orange, a Protestant champion

1695-1709: Penal Laws passed against Catholics

1740-41: Major famine (between 310,000 and 480,000 deaths)

1778-93: Penal Laws relaxed (1793 Relief Act allows Catholics to vote)

1782: ‘Grattan’s Parliament’: Irish legislature enjoys greater autonomy

1792-1815: High food prices, due to wars with France, encourage shift from grazing to tillage

1798: United Irishmen uprising, supported by France, is crushed in attempt to found independent republic

1800: Act of Union adopted by British and Irish parliaments is effective from 1st January 1801, but Catholic emancipation promised by Prime Minister William Pitt is rejected by George III

1803: 23 July: Uprising led by Robert Emmet fails to achieve independence

1816-17: Partial failure of potato crop, famine

1821: First census: 6.8 million people in Ireland

1822: Partial failure of potato crop, famine

1829: Catholic Emancipation granted after Daniel O’Connell is elected MP

1830-31: Partial failure of potato crop, famine in the west of Ireland

1831: Board of Works established

Census: 7.8 million people (14.3% growth since 1821)

1835: May: Lichfield Compact: O’Connell supports Whigs in return for ‘justice for Ireland’

1838: Irish Poor Relief Act: workhouses to be established; no outdoor relief and no right to relief contrary to Britain

1841: Census: 8,175 million people (5.5% growth since 1831)

August: Robert Peel forms Tory government

127 of the planned 130 workhouses complete (about 100,000 places)

1842: October: launch of the Nation by Charles Gavan Duffy and Young Ireland movement

1843: ‘Repeal Year’: O’Connell pushes for repeal of the Act of Union

8 October: monster meeting at Clontarf cancelled after government ban

1844: May: O’Connell imprisoned for sedition, but charge quashed by Lords in September

Last potato harvest before the blight produces some 15 million tons

1845: 14 February: Devon Report on landlord and tenant relations

30 June: Maynooth’s annual grant trebled by government

9 September: first report of the blight in Ireland

John Mitchel becomes full-time writer for the Nation

31 October: public meeting leads to Mansion House Committee urging immediate action such as a ban on food exports

10 November: Peel secretly orders £100,000 maize to be bought in the USA and shipped to Ireland

About 1/3 of the potato crop is lost

20 November: first meeting of Relief Commission to supervise distribution of food

December: potato prices double in Ireland

2 December: Cabinet unable to agree on repeal of the Corn Laws, Peel resigns

20 December: Peel invited to form a government after Lord John Russell’s failure

1846: February: Protection of Life (Ireland) Bill introduced in parliament

Arrival of American maize in Cork

March: alarming reports from Ireland in British press

5 March: Public works officially launched

7 March: Mitchel denounces export of food from Ireland in the Nation

April: William Smith O’Brien denounces food exports in Westminster; food riots

15 May: food depots open to sell corn

26 June: repeal of the Corn Laws

29 June: Coercion Bill rejected; Peel resigns as prime minister

30 June: John Russell becomes prime minister with the support of O’Connell

Summer: about 700,000 people in public employment schemes

Arrival of American ships with large cargoes of food

July: Whig ministry formed with free traders Charles Wood and Lord Grey

8 July: Trevelyan rejects cargo of maize proposed by Baring

17 July: Trevelyan orders closure of food depots

21 July: Trevelyan orders closure of public works, but desists in face of strong opposition

28 July: Young Irelanders leave Repeal Association

August: Labour Rate Act (relief works to be funded from local rates)

648 local relief committees throughout Ireland

15 August: food depots to close; Relief Commission ends its work

6 September: Lord Lieutenant authorises uncompleted relief works to resume

October: complete failure of potato harvest (less than 3 million tons produced)

Food riots, food convoys attacked

Denis M’Kennedy, a worker on public works, not paid for two weeks, dies of hunger

13 November: Central Relief Committee founded in Dublin by Quakers

December: exceptionally cold winter begins

Harrowing accounts from Skibbereen, Co. Cork, in British press

1847: Workhouse system unable to cope with the crisis

January: over 500,000 people employed in public works

1 January: British Relief Association founded; Count Strzelecki, their representative, travels to Ireland

13 January: first meeting of the Irish Confederation

February: Belgium bans exports of bread

Bentinck’s bill for railway construction defeated in parliament

26 February: Temporary Relief Act (soup kitchens)

8 February: O’Connell’s last speech in Westminster: warns that without relief, a quarter of the population will perish

Late February: 116,000 people in workhouses (of which 63,000 children)

March: Pius ix calls for prayers and funds for Ireland

St Vincent de Paul group established in Kilrush, Co. Clare

Public works gradually wound down

24 March: national Day of Atonement in Britain

27 April: Irish Fever Act

May: St Lawrence river finally melts in Quebec

15 May: O’Connell dies in Genoa

31 May: 40 ships waiting to be cleared at Grosse Ile

8 June: Poor Law Act allows outdoor relief if applicants give up their land (Gregory clause)

Many Poor Law Unions bankrupt

July: about 3 million people fed soup daily by government relief operation

August: Whigs lose seats at general election and form a minority government

Electoral gains by O’Connell’s Repeal Group create bitterness in Britain

September: Poor Law Amendment and Extension Acts take effect

1 October: Soup kitchens closed

Blight less acute but with very little planting done, only 2 million tons produced

2 November: Major Denis Mahon, an evicting landlord, is killed; outrage in Britain

20 December: Crime and Outrage Act (extra troops, regulations on carrying arms tightened)

After quarrel with Duffy, Mitchel leaves the Nation

1848: January: Trevelyan’s ‘Irish Crisis’ published anonymously in the Edinburgh Review

February: 445,000 people receiving outdoor relief

12 February: first issue of the United Irishman founded by Mitchel

27 April: Trevelyan awarded a knighthood for his services to Ireland

16 May: Smith O’Brien and Francis Meagher tried but not convicted

26 May: Mitchel found guilty and transported to Tasmania

June: 834,000 people receiving outdoor relief

1 July: British Association, paying £13,000 a week, runs out of funds

29 July: Young Ireland uprising fails

September: Treasury grants to distressed Unions end

Potato hit by blight, only 3 million tons produced

December: cholera epidemic begins

1849: Queen’s Colleges opened in Belfast, Cork and Galway

May: Rate-in-Aid Act (tax on richer Irish districts to pay for poorer ones)

Poor Law chief commissioner Edward Twisleton resigns

June: Quakers end their work after providing £200,000 relief: ‘the government alone could raise the funds’

July: 784,000 on outdoor relief and 250,000 in workhouses

28 July: Encumbered Estates Act aims at facilitating sale of indebted property; it also accelerates evictions

3-12 August: Queen Victoria visits Ireland

Potato hit by blight, only 4 million tons produced

1850: June: Inspector-General reports that Famine has led to increased crime

Over 800,000 receive indoor relief and 360,000 outdoor relief

Healthy potato harvest, though some localised blight

1851: March: workhouse places expanded to 309,000

Preliminary death figures of census released during Great Exhibition: 2.5 million gap in population between 1846 and 1851

1858-61: John Mitchel’s The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps) is published in various forms, in the USA and the UK

1920: 23 December: Government of Ireland Act partitions Ireland, with 6 counties of the North East obtaining a separate status

1921: 6 December: Treaty ends Anglo-Irish war; the South obtains dominion status, while the North remains within the United Kingdom

1948: 21 December: Ireland officially leaves the Commonwealth and becomes a republic

1956: R. D. Edwards and T. D. Williams edit revisionist volume, The Great Famine

1962: C. Woodham-Smith publishes nationalist account, The Great Hunger

1968: major riots in Northern Ireland lead to a long-lasting conflict

1994: 31 August: IRA ceasefire

1995: Sesquicentenary leads to abundant work on the Great Famine

1997: 31 May: Tony Blair apologises for British government’s role during the Great Famine

1998: 10 April: Peace settlement in Northern Ireland (Good Friday Agreement)

2008: 25 May: first National Famine Memorial Day organised in Ireland

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Bibliographical reference

« Chronology »Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique, XIX-2 | 2014, 241-246.

Electronic reference

« Chronology »Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique [Online], XIX-2 | 2014, Online since 01 May 2015, connection on 20 September 2020. URL:; DOI:

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Licence Creative Commons
Revue française de civilisation britannique est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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