The Normans

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  • Wicklow history

The Normans Arrive

Courtesy of Wicklow County Libraries

Almost 350 years after the Vikings first invaded Wicklow, the Normans arrived in 1169. Dermot MacMurrough, the Irish King of Leinster, invited the first Normans to Ireland.

He had just been driven out of his kingship by a rival Irish king. But Dermot did not have enough soldiers left to win it back. He decided to look for help from King Henry II of England.

Henry agreed to help Dermot. He told Dermot to ask one of his lords, Richard de Clare, to go to Leinster and fight with Dermot. In return for helping him win back his kingdom, Dermot offered Richard de Clare lands in Ireland, his daugther Aoife in marriage and the Lordship of Leinster on Dermot's death.

Richard de Clare accepted these terms. When he first came to Ireland to help Dermot regain his power, he brought an army of Welsh archers to help with the fighting. This is why he became known as Strongbow.

The area on the east coast of Ireland from south Dublin to Wicklow was known as the territory of Ui Briuin Cualann. When MacMurrough died in 1171, Strongbow became the new King of Leinster and took control of this territory. This made him the first of the Norman rulers in Ireland.