Hardiman's History of Galway

Chapter 3: From the Anglo-Norman Invasion to the year 1484

Arrival of Strongbow and Henry II; Unsuccessful attempt of Roderic O'Conor on Dublin

Chapter 3

From the Anglo-Norman Invasion to the year 1484

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Old map of Galway

The successful invasion of Ireland in the twelfth century, by a few enterprising adventurers, is an event which has long astonished the world. The suddenness and insignificance of the expedition, the easy and unaccountable submission, almost without a struggle, of a numerous and warlike people to a foreign foe, and the vast importance of the acquisition to the crown and kingdom of England justly excited the admiration of mankind. The causes which led to this great and memorable revolution will be found fully detailed in the histories of the times; its effects, which still continue, and which will inlfluence millions yet unborn, are too well ascertained to require any new description: and as neither properly come within the limits of a work of this nature the following pages will, therefore, be confined to the local and provincial transactions which afterwards took place, so far as they could be found to affect, or have any bearing on the history of Galway.

In the year 1171 , Richard Earl Strongbow landed near Waterford, accompanied by William Fitz-Andelm de Burgo, a principal leader in the army, who, after the success of the invaders, was appointed to the chief government of Ireland.r Henry II soon afterwards arrived with an army of 4000 men, and having received the submission of some of the petty princes of Leinster and Munster, and of several of the bishops and clergy, he returned to England. Immediately on his departure, the princes and chieftains who had so recently submitted to his authority, as if on reflection they felt ashamed of the pusillanimity with which they bowed their necks to the yoke of servitude, revolted and commenced hostilities. Roderic O'Conor, king of Connaught and monarch of Ireland, who tamely permitted the encroachments of the English, now, when it was too late, roused from his lethargy, crossed the Shannon with a considerable army, and proceeded towards Dublin, which he invested: but in consequence of the unhappy dissensions which prevailed among his troops, and which, amongst the Irish, were at all times the cause of their ruin, he was defeated, obliged to retreat, and sue for peace. He accordingly dispatched deputies to England, who met the king at Windsor, and there a peace was most solemnly concluded between the two monarchs. Roderic consented to do homage, and pay tribute to the king of England; whereupon he was to hold his kingdom of Connaught, with the title of king, under him, Rex sub eo, and that in as ample a manner as he had done before the comming of the English. Our historians are unanimous in declaring that there never was any treaty more scrupulously adhered to than this by Roderic, while few were ever more flagrantly violated than it afterwards was, by Henry.

Next: First hostile incursion of the Invaders into Connaught, and their defeat (1178)

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