The Later Middle Ages

1350 to 1540

For much of the later Middle Ages Ireland, as a country, was left pretty much to govern itself. The English crown, preoccupied, under Edward III and Henry V with wars in France, and in the fifteenth century with the struggle of power between the Houses of Lancaster and York, had little time for Irish affairs. The part of the country directly under English control shrunk to the few counties round Dublin. This is the period of Irish history know as the Gaelic Revival. It is one characterised by the return of feudal power of the great Irish earldoms, by the construction of elegant tower houses and the building of abbeys and friaries for the benefit of the local populations. From 1477 to 1540 Ireland was ruled, with one brief interval when Sir Edward Poynings came to Dublin between 1494 and 1495, by the powerful Anglo-Irish house of the Fitzgeralds, Earls of Kildare.

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