Normans becoming more Irish

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  • History: The Full Story



The 14th century in Ireland: The Normans become more Irish


Many Normans began to speak Irish, to marry Irish people, and to take on Irish customs. In 1366, Normans in Ireland were forbidden by their king in England to speak in Irish, to dress like the Irish or to adopt Irish customs. These laws became known as the Statutes of Kilkenny, however they failed to stop Normans from adopting Irish traditions or from marrying into Irish families.



Some powerful Norman Irish families grew up in Ireland such as the Fitzgeralds of Kildare and the Geraldines of Munster. The titles of the most powerful Norman lords included the Earl of Desmond (the Munster Norman lord), the Earl of Ormond, and Earl of Kildare.

Normans and Inheritance

The Normans used English law when it came to inheritance. This meant that the eldest son always was next in line to take over from his father, the Norman Lord. Under Irish law the clan had to agree on the next leader. This meant that there were often quarrels within families. These quarrels were sometimes worsened by the fact that the English government would have supported the oldest son while the clan might have supported a younger son to become leader.