Normans in Ireland
The Normans played an important role in the development of Irish culture and history. During much of the 12th century, the Normans were known as being a distinct people. However, they assimilated into Irish culture within a short period of time, and they would take on a number of characteristics that were Irish in origin. The Normans primarily resided in the eastern part of Ireland, in an area that would be called the Pale. They built a large number of impressive castles in this area, and some good examples that survive to the present day are Dublin Castle and Trim Castle. Both the Normans and Irish mixed their culture and language together.
Many historians now refer to the late medieval age in Ireland as being Norman Ireland. The country had been invaded by the Cambro-Normans in the late 1100s. Before this time, Ireland had a number of wars that occurred between rival kingdoms over who should be given the title of High King. The Normans begin to get involved in this conflict, and they begin to focus their attention on Ireland after their successful conquest of England. The King of England took control of Ireland, and placed the land under his rule, and the Norman barons would go on to capture the territories. While the Normans were successful at first, their powers begin to diminish, especially near Dublin.
The Normans begin to intermix with the Irish society, and they eventually became closely integrated. One of the things that allowed the Normans to take control of Ireland was the petty fighting that occurred between the various kingdoms in the country. The true power resided in the hands of a small group of dynasties that existed in various regions. These dynasties would fight against each other to determine who should be the true rulers of the country.
The northern part of the country was controlled by the Northern Ui Neill, and the southern part of the country was controlled by the Kings of Brega. The Normans are well known for building a number of impressive castles in the regionl, many of these castles still stand today. Ireland has a long history of absorbing those who invaded their country into Irish culture and language. This is something that was true of the Normans, who absorbed much of the Irish language and outlook.
By 1167, Norman forces arrived in Ireland, and the Welsh and Flemings were present with them as well. They were able to capture a number of cities within a short period of time, and King Henry of England feared that a separate Norman state would be created in Ireland that was a rival of England. The word Hiberno-Norman is used to describe the Normans who resided in Ireland. The word Hiberno is used to denote the connection they had with the Irish. The Old English and the Hiberno-Norman are considered by historians to be one and the same, and the term "Old English" was used to describe this group during the 16th century.
Original Authors: Stephen Palmer
Edit Update Authors: RPN
Updated On: 11/04/2007