The Norman Conquest

1171 to 1347

The introduction of Continental forms to the Irish church in 1111 CE  was followed some 60 years later by equivalent changes to the secular power. In 1171 Henry II, the Norman King of England, came to
Ireland to assert his position as the feudal superior of what was to be called 'The Lordship of Ireland'. At that time the Kings of the Irish provinces, with the High King of Ireland, swore their allegiance to the English crown and a period of rule by Britain, which lasted 750 years, began.

The Normans brought a centralised administration to Ireland, supported by superior military power and characterised by the earthen mottes and later stone-built castles that they erected throughout the country. As the Norsemen had done before, they established their capital in Dublin, building Dublin Castle and St.Patrick's Cathedral. Trim Castle in County Meath, built by Hugh de Lacy, deputy for the King in Ireland and the cathedral at Newtown Trim make up another noted centre of their power. Ulster was subjugated by John de Courcy by 1180, whose power was based at Carrickfergus in County Antrim. All over Ireland Norman churchmen were presented to ecclesiastical positions and new Norman monasteries and churches were built. From 1315 when Edward Bruce, the brother of the Scottish King, invaded Ireland, and in 1347, when 'the Black Death', the bubonic plague, arrived in England the exercise of Norman power in Ireland was considerably reduced.

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