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"This brief sweep across the centuries of Irish history adopts as its starting point a geographical rather than an historical observation. It is this. We are here concerned with two islands of unequal size and power.
Principally it is the smaller, weaker island, Ireland, on the western edge of Europe, lightly populated and ill-resourced, that concerns us, but we must deal also with the next-door island, Britain: larger, more populous, more advanced and more powerful. These two islands were bound to interact.
When they did, the people in Ireland could be expected, in general, to come off worse."
This article gives an overview of Irish History, starting in the 12th century and continuing up to the 20th century.