Best Irish FactsFacts on Ireland and the Irish



Henry IIThe Norman invasion came about as a result of a power struggle between various territorial kings.

In 1102 Murrough O'Brien married one of his daughters to Arnulf of Montgomery.

Arnulf sent Gerald of Windsor to Ireland as his envoy.

In 1134 Diarmuid MacMurchada became king of Leinster.

In 1152 Diarmuid MacMurchada kidnapped Dervilla, the wife of a rival, Tigernán Ó Ruarc, king of Bréifne returning her in 1153.

Tigernán Ó Ruarc’s nickname was Monoculus or One Eye.

In 1155 Pope Adrian IV issued Bull Laudabiliter which granted King Henry II the right to go to Ireland in order to reform the Church.

In 1166 when Rory O'Connor became High King he drove Diarmuid out of Ireland.

Diarmuid sought the help of the Norman King Henry II of England.

Unable to help as he was fighting in France, Henry gave Diarmuid permission to recruit help from the Anglo-Norman nobility.

Diarmuid secured the help of Richard Fitzgilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke.

Diarmuid offered the hand of his daughter, Aoife, in marriage to Richard.

Richard Fitzgilbert de Clare was known as Strongbow.

Strongbow’s followers were known as the Geraldines.

Norman CavalryStrongbow's forces landed at Bannow, Co. Wexford on 1 May, 1169.

The Norman force consisted of 400 men under the command of Robert Fitzstephen who landed at Bannow Bay and 140 men under the command of Maurice Fitzgerald who landed near Wexford town.

Wexford Town was occupied.

On 23 August, 1170, 220 knights and 1,000 men under the command of Strongbow landed at Crook near Waterford.

The combined Norman forces captured Dublin and Waterford.

When Diarmuid died, in May 1171, Strongbow was left as his heir and he therefore gained control of the Kingdom of Leinster.

In 1171 The High King of Ireland, Ruaidhrí Ó Conchobhair, and the Danish King of Dublin, Haskulf, laid siege to Dublin.

The Normans destroyed their camp at Castleknock and dispersed their army.

Fearing a rival Norman State in Ireland, Henry II landed at Crook, near Waterford in 1171.

He was at the head of a large army and he established his headquarters at Dublin.

Henry II was the first King of England to set foot on Irish soil.

The Synod of Cashel was assembled at Cashel, Co. Tipperary at the request of Henry II.

Henry visited Lismore, Co. Waterford before travelling to Cashel and then to Dublin.

The Kings of Leinster, Breifne, Ulster, and Airgialla submitted to Henry in the Church of the Holy Trinity, now Christ Church Cathedral.

The King of Connacht, Ruaidhrí Ó Conchobhair, refused to submit as he also considered himself High King of Ireland.

Ruaidhrí Ó Conchobhair negotiated the Treaty of Windsor with Henry II in 1175.

This partitioned Ireland into an Irish sphere under Ruaidhrí Ó Conchobhair and an English sphere under Henry.

Henry claimed Dublin, Waterford, and Wexford as his personal fiefdom.

The Normans thus failed to conquer the entire country.

Henry granted lordship of Ireland to his son, John.

When John became king he was the first to bear the title, King of England and Lord of Ireland.

This also ensured the permanence of the link between the English Crown and Ireland.

The Normans that stayed in Ireland eventually became known as Anglo-Irish.

They married into the Irish population and adopted Irish ways.

They were said to have become “More Irish than the Irish themselves”.

Many Norman surnames thus became Irish surnames.

Rabbits are not native to Ireland.

The rabbit was introduced to Ireland by the Normans as a source of food.

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