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Uniting the Kingdoms? 1066-1603

 
   

England

The Conquest of Ireland, 1169-72

In 1169 a small band of Anglo-Norman adventurers, led by Robert FitzStephen, set sail from Pembrokeshire for Ireland at the invitation of the deposed king of Leinster, Dermot MacMurrough. By 1170 they had defeated MacMurrough's enemies in a series of battles, and restored him to the throne. Other adventurers also quickly seized the opportunity to acquire new lands. The Butlers settled in Ormond, the FitzGeralds in Kildare and the de Burghs in Connaught.

In 1170 Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, nicknamed 'Strongbow', landed at Waterford with additional reinforcements for MacMurrough. De Clare married MacMurrough's daughter, and succeeded to his lands in May 1171.

 

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Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster

 

Maurice FitzGerald

Alarmed at the prospect of independent kingdoms being carved out by his own vassals, King Henry II of England led an expedition to Ireland in the following October to assert his supremacy. To curb de Clare's influence, he established Henry de Lacy as Lord of Meath and appointed him the first governor of the newly established royal lordship of Ireland. Having secured the submission of both Anglo-Norman barons and Irish kings, Henry returned to England.

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Detail from Horseman. By permission of The Board of Trinity College Dublin.
 
Detail from Horseman. By permission of The Board of Trinity College Dublin.