The Norman Invasion Of Ireland

Although an important piece of Irish history, the life of the Normans in Ireland was somewhat short-lived (+200 years) in terms of occupation. In saying this, the Norman invasion of Ireland would lead to the English occupation on Irish soil for over 800 years, a reason why this era held importance in Ireland’s history.

The Normans brought many new things to Ireland such as Architecture, languages, such as English and French, and farming ideas just to name a few. As brilliant builders the Normans constructed many castles in Ireland to some of which still stand today, many other lay in ruin.

When did the Normans come to Ireland?

1 May 1169 marked the beginning of the Norman military invasion of Ireland headed by Diarmait Mac Murchada. Without long he had regained the King of Leinster seat and moved onto remove the High King of Ireland, Ruaidri Ua Conchobair. In this battle MacMurrough failed to remove O’Connor from the throne and requested that Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke come to Ireland and assist with his quest.

By 1170 the 2nd Earl of Pembroke (also known as Strongbow) arrived in Ireland with an almighty force of soldiers armed with the latest advanced weaponry found in Europe. With Strongbows unbeatable army it wasn’t long until the Normans had control of Dublin removing the Vikings that already settled in Ireland.

Normans Settle In Ireland

Before long Strongbow married MacMurrough’s daughter, Aoife, and was soon King of Leinster. Other Norman soldiers started settling in Ireland taking to our culture & customs and marrying into Irish families. They even made alliances with clan chieftains helping to fight against other chieftains.

By now King Henry had become very unsettled on how their invasion had developed in what could only been seen as a very confusing state of affairs. Strongbow, A Norman, was now a King in Ireland, his army were becoming more Irish than the Irish, too many battles were taken place but yet England had seen no political or economical return for all their efforts.

To overcome the problem of the Normans fitting into the Irish way of life King Henry II decided to travel to Ireland, this was to be the first time an English King Invades Ireland but the invasion was more of an embarrassment for the English King as some Irish Kings refused to cooperate. Irish resistance was strong in the Northern part of the island so the Normans invaded Ulster but in doing so Irish Chieftains decided to call onto Scotland for help.

Galloglach’s, fierce Scottish fighters, came to Ireland’s call to help fight against the Normans. Edward Bruce also arrived who later became a High King of Ireland. Sadly King Edward was killed and his body cut into pieces and placed in towns across Ireland, a warning to the Irish.