By 16,000 BC, rising sea levels due to ice melting caused Ireland to become separated from Great Britain.
These Mesolithic communities lived as hunter-gatherers across the island until about 4000 BC.
For the sovereign state of the same name, see Republic of Ireland.
For the part of the United Kingdom, see Northern Ireland.
However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain.
In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, and was extended during the 18th century.
Some time before 4000 BC, Neolithic settlers arrived introducing cereal cultivars, domesticated animals such as cattle and sheep, large timber building, and stone monuments.