Normans In Ireland

To speak of the coming of the Normans to Ireland is slightly misleading. Seeking mercenary help, after being thrown out of his kingdom, King Diarmait of Leinster applied to Henry Plantagenet, the French-speaking ruler of Anjou, who had also through his mother inherited the kingdom of England, for help from one of his vassals. As a result, The Earl of Clare, known as Strongbow, was allowed to collect a contingent of knights and soldiers of fortune, many of them Flemish families who had settled in south Wales, and take them to Ireland. Only when Strongbow seemed about to succeed Diarmait in his local kingdom, did the opportunist Henry Plantagenet come over himself and, through a process of trickery, and with the connivance of the Pope, persuade the other Irish kings to acknowledge him as overlord, with consequences that would change Irish history down the centuries. This subtle and extraordinary story provides the political framework of the family drama told in the 'Strongbow' chapter of Rutherfurd's first Irish book.




 

 

 

Did You Know?
In Manhattan in the early to mid nineteenth century, scores of pigs roamed the streets – about 20,000 of them at peak population in the early 1820’s, a ratio of roughly one pig to every five humans ! Many of them belonged to families. The city was quickly growing in the nineteenth century – in population and wealth disparity. Despite rapid urbanization, non-wealthy New Yorkers continued raising hogs as a means of surviving. A family could always slaughter one of its pigs to feed itself, or sell one of them since pork was a staple of the American diet. Why pigs? Other animals weren’t quite so compatible with urban life. People could let their pigs wander the streets, rummage through trash for the piles of spoiled food that was left out on the street during the day, and count on them to return home in the evening !




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