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Norman Invasion of Ireland

Norman Invasion of Ireland

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The Norman invasion of Ireland was a two-stage process, which began on 1 May 1169 when a force of loosely associated Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 knights landed near Bannow
Bannow
Bannow is an area situated in the south of County Wexford, in Ireland. An early Norman town was founded at Bannow. This town has since disappeared for unknown reasons, although the ruins of an early Norman church can still be seen there today . The Norman church is located near the former Island...

, County Wexford
County Wexford
County Wexford is a county in Ireland. It is part of the South-East Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Wexford. In pre-Norman times it was part of the Kingdom of Uí Cheinnselaig, whose capital was at Ferns. Wexford County Council is the local...

. This was at the request of Dermot MacMurrough
Dermot MacMurrough
Diarmait Mac Murchada , anglicized as Dermot MacMurrough or Dermod MacMurrough , was a King of Leinster in Ireland. In 1167, he was deprived of his kingdom by the High King of Ireland - Turlough Mór O'Connor...

 (Diarmait Mac Murchada), the ousted King of Leinster
Kings of Leinster
The following is a provisional list of the kings of Leinster who ruled the Irish kingdom of Leinster up to 1632 with the death of Domhnall Spainnach MacMurrough-Kavanagh, the last legitimately inaugurated head of the MacMurrough Kavanagh royal line...

, who sought their help in regaining his kingdom.

On 18 October 1171, Henry II
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

 landed a much bigger army in Waterford to ensure his continuing control over the preceding Norman force. In the process he took Dublin and had accepted the fealty of the Irish kings and bishops by 1172, so creating the Lordship of Ireland
Lordship of Ireland
The Lordship of Ireland refers to that part of Ireland that was under the rule of the king of England, styled Lord of Ireland, between 1177 and 1541. It was created in the wake of the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169–71 and was succeeded by the Kingdom of Ireland...

, which formed part of his Angevin Empire
Angevin Empire
The term Angevin Empire is a modern term describing the collection of states once ruled by the Angevin Plantagenet dynasty.The Plantagenets ruled over an area stretching from the Pyrenees to Ireland during the 12th and early 13th centuries, located north of Moorish Iberia. This "empire" extended...

.

Background


Pope Adrian IV
Pope Adrian IV
Pope Adrian IV , born Nicholas Breakspear or Breakspeare, was Pope from 1154 to 1159.Adrian IV is the only Englishman who has occupied the papal chair...

, the only English pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

, in one of his earliest acts issued a Papal Bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 in 1155, giving Henry authority to invade Ireland as a means of ensuring reform by bringing the Irish Church more directly under the control of the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

. Little contemporary use, however, was made of the Bull Laudabiliter
Laudabiliter
Laudabiliter was a papal bull issued in 1155 by Adrian IV, the only Englishman to serve as Pope, giving the Angevin King Henry II of England the right to assume control over Ireland and apply the Gregorian Reforms in the Irish church...

since its text enforced papal suzerainty not only over the island of Ireland but of all islands off of the European coast, including England, in virtue of the Constantinian Donation
Donation of Constantine
The Donation of Constantine is a forged Roman imperial decree by which the emperor Constantine I supposedly transferred authority over Rome and the western part of the Roman Empire to the pope. During the Middle Ages, the document was often cited in support of the Roman Church's claims to...

. The relevant text reads:
References to Laudabiliter become more frequent in the later Tudor period when the researches of the Renaissance humanist scholars cast doubt on the historicity of the Donation. But even if the Donation was spurious, other documents such as Dictatus papae
Dictatus papae
Dictatus papae is a compilation of 27 axiomatic statements of powers arrogated to the Pope that was included in Pope Gregory VII's register under the year 1075. Some historians argue that it was written by Gregory VII himself; others argue that it has been inserted in the register at a later...

(1075–87) reveal that by the 12th century the Papacy felt it had political powers superior to all kings and local rulers.

Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III , born Rolando of Siena, was Pope from 1159 to 1181. He is noted in history for laying the foundation stone for the Notre Dame de Paris.-Church career:...

, who was Pope at the time of the invasion, mentioned and reconfirmed the effect of Laudabiliter in his "Privilege" of 1172.

Invasion of 1169



After losing the protection of Tyrone
Tyrone
The name Tyrone can refer to:*County Tyrone, a county in Northern Ireland, roughly corresponding to the ancient kingdom of Tír Eogain*An Earl of Tyrone*A small steam train which runs between Bushmills and the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland-Places:...

 Chief, Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn, High King of Ireland
High King of Ireland
The High Kings of Ireland were sometimes historical and sometimes legendary figures who had, or who are claimed to have had, lordship over the whole of Ireland. Medieval and early modern Irish literature portrays an almost unbroken sequence of High Kings, ruling from Tara over a hierarchy of...

, who died in 1166, MacMorrough was forcibly exiled by a confederation of Irish forces under the new High King, Rory O'Connor. MacMurrough fled first to Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

 and then to Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

. He sought and obtained permission from Henry II of England
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

 to use the latter's subjects to regain his kingdom. Having received an oath of fealty from Dermod, Henry gave him letters patent in the following words:
By 1167 MacMurrough had obtained the services of Maurice Fitz Gerald
Maurice FitzGerald, Lord of Lanstephan
Maurice FitzGerald, Lord of Maynooth, Naas, and Llanstephan) was a major figure in the Norman invasion of Ireland....

 and later persuaded Rhys ap Gruffydd
Rhys ap Gruffydd
Rhys ap Gruffydd or ap Gruffudd was the ruler of the kingdom of Deheubarth in south Wales. He is commonly known as The Lord Rhys, in Welsh Yr Arglwydd Rhys, but this title may not have been used in his lifetime...

 Prince of Deheubarth to release Fitz Gerald's half-brother Robert Fitz-Stephen
Robert Fitz-Stephen
Robert Fitz-Stephen was a 12th century Cambro-Norman soldier, one of the leaders of the Norman invasion of Ireland, for which he was granted extensive lands in Ireland. He was a son of the famous Nest, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, the last king of Deheubarth . His father was Nest's second husband,...

 from captivity to take part in the expedition. Most importantly he obtained the support of the Earl of Pembroke
Earl of Pembroke
Earl of Pembroke is a title created ten times, all in the Peerage of England. It was first created in the 12th century by King Stephen of England. The title is associated with Pembroke, Pembrokeshire in West Wales, which is the site of Earldom's original seat Pembroke Castle...

 Richard de Clare
Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke , Lord of Leinster, Justiciar of Ireland . Like his father, he was also commonly known as Strongbow...

, known as Strongbow.

The first Norman knight to land in Ireland was Richard fitz Godbert de Roche in 1167, but it was not until 1169 that the main body of Norman, Welsh
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 and Flemish
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 forces landed in Wexford
County Wexford
County Wexford is a county in Ireland. It is part of the South-East Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Wexford. In pre-Norman times it was part of the Kingdom of Uí Cheinnselaig, whose capital was at Ferns. Wexford County Council is the local...

. Within a short time Leinster was conquered, Waterford
Waterford
Waterford is a city in the South-East Region of Ireland. It is the oldest city in the country and fifth largest by population. Waterford City Council is the local government authority for the city and its immediate hinterland...

 and Dublin were under Diarmait's control. Strongbow married Diarmait's daughter, Aoife
Eva MacMurrough
Aoife MacMurrough , also known by later historians as Eva of Leinster, was the daughter of Dermot MacMurrough , King of Leinster, and his wife Mor O'Toole .-Marriage:...

, and was named as heir to the Kingdom of Leinster. This latter development caused consternation to Henry II, who feared the establishment of a rival Norman state in Ireland. Accordingly, he resolved to visit Leinster to establish his authority.

Arrival of Henry II in 1171


Henry landed with a large fleet at Waterford
Waterford
Waterford is a city in the South-East Region of Ireland. It is the oldest city in the country and fifth largest by population. Waterford City Council is the local government authority for the city and its immediate hinterland...

 in 1171, becoming the first King of England to set foot on Irish soil. Both Waterford
Waterford
Waterford is a city in the South-East Region of Ireland. It is the oldest city in the country and fifth largest by population. Waterford City Council is the local government authority for the city and its immediate hinterland...

 and Dublin were proclaimed Royal Cities. In November Henry accepted the submission of the Irish kings in Dublin. In 1172 Henry arranged for the Irish bishops to attend the Synod of Cashel
Synod of Cashel
The Synod of Cashel of 1172, also known as the Second Synod of Cashel,The first being the Synod held at Cashel in 1101 was assembled at Cashel at the request of Henry II of England shortly after his arrival in Ireland in October 1171...

 and to run the Irish Church in the same manner as the Church in England. Adrian's successor, Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III
Pope Alexander III , born Rolando of Siena, was Pope from 1159 to 1181. He is noted in history for laying the foundation stone for the Notre Dame de Paris.-Church career:...

, then ratified the grant of Ireland to Henry, ".. following in the footsteps of the late venerable Pope Adrian, and in expectation also of seeing the fruits of our own earnest wishes on this head, ratify and confirm the permission of the said Pope granted you in reference to the dominion of the kingdom of Ireland."

Henry was happily acknowledged by most of the Irish Kings, who saw in him a chance to curb the expansion of both Leinster and the Normans. He then had to leave for England to deal with papal legate
Papal legate
A papal legate – from the Latin, authentic Roman title Legatus – is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic Faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters....

s investigating the death of Thomas a Becket in 1170, and then for France to suppress the Revolt of 1173–1174. His next involvement with Ireland was the Treaty of Windsor
Treaty of Windsor (1175)
The Treaty of Windsor was signed in 1175 in Windsor, Berkshire between King Henry II of England and the High King of Ireland, Rory O'Connor...

 in 1175 with Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair
Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair
Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair , often anglicised Rory O'Connor, reigned as King of Connacht from 1156 to 1186, and from 1166 to 1198 was the last High King before the Norman invasion of Ireland .Ruaidrí was one of over twenty sons of King...

.

However, with both Diarmuid and Strongbow
Earl of Pembroke
Earl of Pembroke is a title created ten times, all in the Peerage of England. It was first created in the 12th century by King Stephen of England. The title is associated with Pembroke, Pembrokeshire in West Wales, which is the site of Earldom's original seat Pembroke Castle...

 dead (in 1171 and 1176 respectively) and Henry back in England, within two years this treaty was not worth the vellum it was inscribed upon. John de Courcy
John de Courcy
John de Courcy was a Anglo-Norman knight who arrived in Ireland in 1176. From then until his expulsion in 1204, he conquered a considerable territory, endowed religious establishments, built abbeys for both the Benedictines and the Cistercians and built strongholds at Dundrum Castle in County...

 invaded and gained much of east Ulster in 1177, Raymond FitzGerald
Raymond Fitzgerald
Raymond FitzGerald , nicknamed Le Gros, was a Cambro-Norman commander during the Norman invasion of Ireland....

 (known as Raymond le Gros) had already captured Limerick
Limerick
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city of County Limerick and Ireland's Mid-West Region. It is the fifth most populous city in all of Ireland. When taking the extra-municipal suburbs into account, Limerick is the third largest conurbation in the...

 and much of the Kingdom of Thomond
Thomond
Thomond The region of Ireland associated with the name Thomond is County Clare, County Limerick and north County Tipperary; effectively most of north Munster. The name is used by a variety of establishments and organisations located in , or associated with the region...

 (also known as North Munster), while the other Norman families such as Prendergast, fitz-Stephen, fitz-Gerald, fitz-Henry and le Poer were actively carving out petty kingdoms for themselves.

In 1185 Henry awarded his Irish territories to his 18-year-old youngest son, John, with the title Dominus Hiberniae ("Lord of Ireland"), and planned to establish it as a kingdom for him. When John unexpectedly succeeded his brother Richard as king
John of England
John , also known as John Lackland , was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death...

 in 1199, the Lordship became a possession of the English Crown.

Subsequent assaults


While the main Norman invasion concentrated on Leinster, with submissions made to Henry by the other provincial kings, the situation on the ground outside Leinster remained unchanged. However, individual groups of knights invaded:
  • Connaught in 1175 and 1200–03, led by William de Burgh
    William de Burgh
    William de Burgh, founder of the de Burgh/Burke/Bourke family of Ireland, d. 1206.-In Ireland:He arrived in Ireland in 1185 and was closely associated with Prince John....

  • Munster in 1177, led by Raymond le Gros
  • East Ulster in 1177, led by John de Courcy
    John de Courcy
    John de Courcy was a Anglo-Norman knight who arrived in Ireland in 1176. From then until his expulsion in 1204, he conquered a considerable territory, endowed religious establishments, built abbeys for both the Benedictines and the Cistercians and built strongholds at Dundrum Castle in County...



These further conquests were not planned by or made with royal approval, but were then incorporated into the Lordship under Henry's control, as with Strongbow's initial invasion.

See also


  • The Song of Dermot and the Earl
  • History of Ireland
    History of Ireland
    The first known settlement in Ireland began around 8000 BC, when hunter-gatherers arrived from continental Europe, probably via a land bridge. Few archaeological traces remain of this group, but their descendants and later Neolithic arrivals, particularly from the Iberian Peninsula, were...

  • Norman Ireland
    Norman Ireland
    The History of Ireland 1169–1536 covers the period from the arrival of the Cambro-Normans to the reign of Henry VIII of England, who made himself King of Ireland. After the Norman invasion of 1171, Ireland was under an alternating level of control from Norman lords and the King of England...

  • William FitzAldelm