« PreviousContinue »
'Not at all,' said the Norseman, “it is the King Brian.'
Then Brodar turned and raised his battle-axe. But Brian struck him with his sword, inflicting a mortal wound. Brodar staggered under the
but for a moment recovered his balance and brought his axe full on the monarch's head, and both fell to the ground, dead.
Clontarf was a decisive victory; but it was dearly bought by the deaths of Brian and Murrough.
The power of the Danes was for ever broken, but the national development of Ireland was effectually checked.” There was, no man to take Brian's place, no man to maintain a strong central government.
Malachi once more became supreme king in name. But wars between provincial kings soon broke out, and for a century and a half Ireland continued to drift again into a state of disorder and anarchy, until in the twelfth century, another host of foreign adventurers landed in the island to perpetuate the divisions, and distractions of the people.
Joyce 'Short History of Ireland.' 2 Of course Norse settlers still remained in Ireland, and even a Norse king reigned for a time in Dublin ; but all fear of Norse dominion was at an end. Henceforth Norse settlers became Irishmen.
N 1152, Dermot MacMorrough
was King of Leinster. He was
bad and unscrupulous, and ADA had committed many shameful
crimes. At length he aroused the indignation of the country by carrying off Dervorgilla, the
wife of Ternan O’Ruarc, Prince of Brefney. For this offence he was finally dethroned by the Ard-ri, Roderick O'Conor, and driven into exile. Banished from Ireland, MacMorrough sought the help of the English king, Henry II. (1154-1189)."
At that time (1168) King Henry was in Aquitaine. Hither MacMorrough fled. Henry, already anxious to conquer Ireland, readily promised assistance on condition that MacMorrough, if restored to his dominions, would hold
i Date of the king's reign.
Leinster as the vassal of the English king. MacMorrough agreed, and Henry then recommended his cause To all my liegemen, English, Norman, Welsh and Scotch,' saying 'whosoever within the ample extent of our territories, shall be willing to lend aid to this prince as our faithful and liege subject, let him know that we do hereby grant to him for said purpose our licence and favour.' An immediate response was made. Conspicuous among the Norman nobles whose estates lay in Wales, and on the Welsh border, was Richard de Clare, second earl of Pembroke, famous in history by his surname of Strongbow. A true soldier of fortune, with all the martial ardour and adventurous spirit of his race, he readily espoused the cause of the deposed king, and concluded an alliance by which it was agreed that he should marry Eva, Dermot's daughter, and, on Dermot's death, should succeed to the throne of Leinster. The promise of lands induced many Norman knights to lend their swords, and an expedition was quickly organised under Robert Fitz-Stephen and Maurice Prendergast, who, with a force of about 2000 men, including 100 knights and 600 archers, landed at Bannow, near Wexford, in May 1169. Here they were joined by Dermot (who had preceded them) with a native force, and hostilities were immédiately commenced. Wexford was besieged and, after a valiant resistance, captured. Flushed by victory, the invaders next overran Ossory, putting the surrounding country to fire and sword, and finally entrenching them1170]
selves at Ferns. The Ard-ri, who had hitherto remained inactive, now awoke to a sense of the impending danger, summoned the princes
meet him at Tara, and hastily raising an army, marched southwards. He met Dermot at Ferns, and opened negotiations with him. It was agreed that Dermot should be restored to his kingdom on condition that he abandoned his foreign auxiliaries.
But soon after this arrangement reinforcements arrived from England under Maurice Fitz-Gerald, and Dermot broke his word and threw in his lot with the invaders once more. Dermot now impatiently awaited the arrival of Strongbow himself. That daring adventurer, understanding King Henry's jealous temper, had visited Normandy, and asked his permission to conduct in person the invasion of Ireland. Unwilling either to refuse or assent, Henry returned an equivocal answer, so that he could afterwards declare that he had, or had not, given permission, whichever course the current of events might show to be more advantageous to his interests. Strongbow chose to understand Henry's answer in the affirmative, hastened back to Wales, collected and equipped a formidable force, despatched Raymond le Gros with a small detachment to discover and secure a convenient place of disembarkation, and ultimately, in August 1170, landed near Waterford with army of about 3000
On the day after his arrival, by the advice of Raymond, he ordered the assault of Waterford. The Irish fought with desperate
courage, and twice repulsed the enemy's attack; but Norman discipline in the end prevailed, Waterford was taken, and the inhabitants were put to the sword. The marriage of Dermot's daughter Eva and Strongbow then took place; Dermot and his daughter riding, it is said, the blood-stained highways, which were cumbered with the bodies of the dead and dying.
Strongbow now advanced on Dublin, where the Danish king Hasculf reigned. The Irish archbishop, Laurence O'Toole, was sent to offer terms of peace, and a truce was agreed on. But, while hostilities were suspended, Strongbow's followers, Raymond le Gros and Miles de Cogan entered the city at the head of a chosen force, and slaughtered the unsuspecting citizens. Hasculf then fed to the Orkneys, and Strongbow held Dublin. In the following year Dermot died, and the Norman earl was proclaimed King of Leinster. The Irishmen now made a desperate effort to drive out the invader. Dermot's subjects abandoned Strongbow and united with their fellow-countrymen in a combined attack on Waterford, Wexford and Dublin, where the Normans were
At the same time Strongbow was confronted by another difficulty. Henry was deeply offended by his assumption of the royal dignity; he was willing that he should gain fortune and fame, if such were to be procured, as the leader of mercenaries, but he could not brook his establishment of an independent authority, and he issued a proclamation commanding his liege men in Ireland to return
w shut up