Timeline & Reading List


Irish Post launched by Brendan Mac Lua and Tony Beatty


Just under 1 million people living in Britain born in Ireland.


Bloodiest year of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Anti-Irish attacks and police raids of Irish clubs in Britain reported in Irish Post.

British soldiers shoot 26 unarmed civil rights demonstrators in Derry, killing 14, on what becomes known as Bloody Sunday (30 January).


Foundation of Federation of Irish Societies (June).

United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland both join the European Economic Community.


Prevention of Terrorism Act becomes law

Rise in anti-Irish attacks in aftermath of Guildford and Birmingham bombings

Guildford Four and Maguire Seven arrested under Prevention of Terrorism Act


British-Irish relations reach new low as Ireland takes United Kingdom to European Court of Human Rights for torture of internees


Economic crisis in Ireland leads to high numbers of youth emigration, peaking at end of the decade

Federation of Irish Societies responds to changing demographics with campaigns on welfare, discrimination, youth and employment


Ten Irish republican prisoners die on hunger strike at the Maze prison


Abortion referendum passes in Republic of Ireland effectively criminalising abortion

Federation campaigns on repatriation of Irish prisoners


Anglo-Irish Agreement signed giving the Republic of Ireland a role in the governance of Northern Ireland in exchange for recognising UK jurisdiction


Irish World newspaper founded by Paddy Cowan, focusing particularly on Irish sport and culture in Britain


First undergraduates and postgraduate studies start at Irish Studies Centre, Polytechnic of North London and Institute of Irish Studies, Liverpool University


Guildford Four released from prison

70,600 emigrate from the Republic of Ireland in total whilst 15,600 emigrate from Northern Ireland to Britain


Mary Robinson becomes first female President of Ireland and lights a candle in her window to recognise the Irish diaspora

Jack Charlton’s Ireland team, featuring 16 British-born Irish footballers, reaches quarter-finals of the World Cup in Italy


Birmingham Six released from prison


IRA bombs in Warrington prompt condemnation by Federation of Irish Societies

Decriminalisation of homosexuality in Republic of Ireland


Riverdance at Eurovision Song Contest popularises Irish dance across the diaspora and enhances perception of Irish culture abroad


Mary Robinson speech in which she says the Irish diaspora “remain, even while absent, a precious reflection of our growth and change, a precious reminder of the many strands of identity which compose our story”

Divorce referendum passes in Republic of Ireland removing constitutional prohibition on divorce


Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement signed


Irish included as ethnicity on UK census for the first time


Financial crash ends ‘Celtic Tiger’ era triggering return to large-scale emigration from Republic of Ireland


Federation of Irish Societies initiates Cuimhne memory loss campaign and Irish survivors in Britain project


Federation of Irish Societies becomes Irish in Britain


Marriage Equality referendum passes in Republic of Ireland, making it the world’s first country to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote


Brexit referendum initiates series of constitutional problems relating to the Irish border


Abortion referendum passes in Republic of Ireland to repeal the Eighth Amendment and remove constitutional ban on abortion


Irish community in Britain plays vital role during Covid-19 pandemic