Gaelic Ireland was a Gaelic political and social order that existed in Ireland from sometime in prehistoric era until the early 17th century. Before the Norman invasion of 1169, Gaelic Ireland comprised the whole island. Thereafter, it comprised that part of the country not under English or at least foreign dominion at a given time. For most of its history, Ireland was a 'patchwork'〔 hierarchy of territories ruled by a hierarchy of kings or chiefs, who were elected by a system known as tanistry. Warfare between these territories was common. Occasionally, a powerful ruler was acknowledged as High King of Ireland. Society was separated into kin groups and, like the rest of Europe, was structured hierarchically according to class. Throughout this period, the economy was mainly pastoral and money generally not used. A Gaelic Irish style of dress, music, dance, sport, architecture and art can be identified, with Irish art later merging with Anglo-Saxon styles from Great Britain developing Insular art.
Gaelic-Irish culture was initially pagan and was mainly based on an oral tradition, although inscription in the ogham alphabet began in the protohistoric period, perhaps as early as the 1st century BCE. The conversion to Christianity accompanied the introduction of literature, and much of Ireland's rich pre-Christian mythology and sophisticated law code were preserved, albeit Christianized. Ireland was an important centre of learning and preserved knowledge during the Early Middle Ages. During this time, Irish monks helped to (re-)spread Christianity along with elements of Gaelic art and culture to Anglo-Saxon Britain and on to non-Christian areas of mainland Europe in the Hiberno-Scottish mission.
In the 9th century, the Vikings began raiding and founding settlements along Ireland's coasts and waterways. These became Ireland's first large towns. Over time, these settlers were assimilated into Gaelic society and became the Norse-Gaels. After the Norman invasion of 1169–71, large swathes of Ireland came under the control of Norman lords. The King of England claimed sovereignty over this territory – the Lordship of Ireland – and over the island as a whole. However, the Gaelic system continued in areas outside Anglo-Norman control. The territory under English control gradually shrank to an area known as the Pale and, outside this, many Hiberno-Norman lords adopted Gaelic culture. There was regular conflict between the Gaels and the Norman settlers.
In 1542, Henry VIII of England declared the Lordship a Kingdom and himself King of Ireland. The English then began to conquer (or re-conquer) the island. By 1607, Ireland was fully under English control, bringing the old Gaelic political and social order to an end.
== Culture and society ==
Gaelic culture and society was centred around the ''fine'' (clan, from Gaelic-Irish clann "children (of the family)"), and the landscape and history of Ireland was wrought with inter-''fine'' relationships, marriages, friendships, wars, vendettas, trading, and so on. Gaelic Ireland had a rich oral culture and appreciation of deeper and intellectual pursuits. ''Filí'' and ''draoithe'' (druids) were held in high regard during Pagan times and orally passed down the history and traditions of their people. Later, many of their spiritual and intellectual tasks were passed on to Christian monks, after said religion prevailed from the 5th century onwards. However, the ''filí'' continued to hold a high position. Poetry, music, storytelling, literature and other art forms were highly prized and cultivated in both pagan and Christian Gaelic Ireland. Hospitality, bonds of kinship and the fulfilment of social and ritual responsibilities were held sacred.
Like Britain, Gaelic Ireland consisted not of one single unified kingdom, but several. The principal kingdoms were Ulaid, Mide, Laigin, Muma (consisting of Iarmuman, Tuadhmhumhain, Deas-Mhumhain, hence the three crowns of Munster), Connacht, Bréifne, In Tuaiscert, and Airgíalla. Each of these overkingdoms were built upon lordships known as ''túatha'' (singular: ''túath'').
Law tracts from the early 700s describe a hierarchy of kings: kings of ''túath'' subject to kings of several ''túatha'' who again were subject to the regional overkings.〔 Already before the 8th century these overkingships had begun to dissolve the túatha as the basic sociopolitical unit.〔
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』