The conquest of ireland Essay

This essay has a total of 2023 words and 9 pages.

The conquest of ireland




THE CONQEST OF IRELAND:
ENGLISH IMPERAIALISM UNDER HENRY II

















THE CONQEST OF IRELAND:
ENGLISH IMPERAIALISM UNDER HENRY II

In 1155 Pope Adrian IV issued a significant bull that changed the history of Ireland and
England forever. The papal bull issued gave Henry II, King of England (1154-1189), the
right to conquer Ireland . Ireland has gained and lost as a result of English rule. It
was rewarded with a stronger Church and a more centralized government. It lost some of
its cultural values and customs, as well as its own system government for example; its
clan-based hierarchy was removed.

Henry II’s control of Ireland was not solely based on the word of Adrian IV, there were a
number of nobles who made it possible. One of the most important was Dermot MacMurrough,
the king of Linster (an Irish city-state). Linster held in its bounds the main port city
between Ireland and England. Being the King of Linster MacMurrough had control over trade
and all other maritime activities of Ireland while he was king. Because of their close
proximity, trade, and other maritime activity MacMurrough and Henry II developed a close
relationship . Shortly after Adrian IV issued the bull, MacMurrough went to Henry II
asking for help because he had been banished from Ireland his other Irish nobles. Henry
II saw the weak Irish government and the internal quarrels that it created as an
opportunity to act on the bull issued to him and agreed to help MacMurrough. Henry II
wrote a letter to MacMurrough upon hearing his request for assistance; it is the best
evidence of such sentiment.

"Henry, king of England, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, to all his
liegemen, English, Normans, Welsh, and Scots, and to all other nations subject to his
dominion, Sendeth, greeting, Whensoever these our letters shall come unto you, know ye
that we have received Dermitius [Dermot], prince of Leinster, unto our grace and favor,
-Wherefore, whosoever within the bounds of our territories shall be willing to give him
aid, as our vassal and liegeman, in recovering his territories, let him be assured of our
favor and license on that behalf."

What fallowed was the first stepping-stone in Henry II occupation of Ireland. MacMurrough
was searching for two things after his expulsion from Ireland, the recovery of his power
and prestige. This is most evident in his bolstering when he received a letter from
Bernard of Claurveaux , and his willingness to give Linster to Henry in return for a
smaller fiefdom of his own, if Henry II would lend him the necessary troops to return and
conquer the city. The stipulation Henry gave to MacMurrough was, that the power of the
bull was now in full effect and Ireland owed allegiance to the King of England. The
troops that Henry II provided MacMurrough were not quite sufficient enough so MacMurrough
solicited the help of a Welshmen by the name of Strongbow, in return for his daughter’s
hand in marriage as well as succession to the throne.

Armed with English and Welsh troops MacMurrough returned to Ireland where he was
victorious not only in claming his old territory Lenster its capital Dublin, and Wexford,
as well as all port cities on the islands coast, but Limerick, an inland city state ruled
by MacMurrough’s son-in-law.

Dermot MacMurrough then did something surprising, he signed a truce with the archbishop of
Dublin in order to secure that territory. This was surprising because of MacMurrough
known hatred for the city of Dublin and its people. However, he had able to make
concessions to them in order to ensure he would still have land to give Henry II when his
quest for expansion was over in addition to the territories he wanted for himself. After
signing the truce with the Archbishop of Dublin, MacMurrough appointed Milo de Cogan as
constable. Cogan, a soldier in the army thrown together by MacMurrough and Strongbow, was
largely responsible for the taking of Dublin. MacMurrough then turned the army north
and proceeded to take Meath, in order to expand his lands and settle a personal vendetta
with the O’Rourke clan.

In the meantime Henry II was in France trying to further his political power. He had
relied on others to establish the English rule in Ireland. However, in 1171 King Henry
was forced to go Ireland after receiving word that there had been resistance to
MacMurrough and Strongbow’s efforts to establish English rule. Upon his arrival there was
quick submission to the King by the rabble-rousers and the nobles. In the six months
that King Henry was in Dublin he was able to put together a working centralized government
with ties to the outlying counties. MacMurrough and Strongbow had been unsuccessful in
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