It’s time to update one of the oldest clichés in Irish history, according to the organisers of an international conference in Trinity College Dublin marking the 850th anniversary of Anglo-Norman invasion.
May 2019 is the 850th anniversary of the first landing in Co Wexford in 1169 of a small group of Anglo-Norman adventurers enlisted by the king of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada (Dermot MacMurrough). Their arrival marks the start of the Anglo-Norman Invasion of Ireland. Those fond of complaining of ‘800 years of British oppression’ will now have to update their mantra by fifty years.
Professor of Medieval Irish and Insular History Sean Duffy commented: “Within two years of the arrival of this small group Anglo-Norman adventurers Henry II would become the first reigning English monarch to set foot on Irish soil. In what was arguably the single most formative event in Irish history, King Henry formally brought the island under the lordship of the English Crown, a constitutional relationship that endures to the present day in the case of Northern Ireland.”
“It is no exaggeration to say that the central dynamic of Irish history, and Ireland’s complicated connection with England, over the course of the last eight and a half centuries originates in the 1169 Invasion. This was also a significant moment in world history—the beginning of European expansion and colonisation which eventually spread across the world”.
To mark the 850th anniversary of this foundational moment in Irish and British history, Trinity College Dublin’s Department of History will host the National Conference on the history of the invasion. Invasion 1169 runs from Thursday, May 2nd to Saturday May 4th, is open to the public and free of charge.
At the event, world experts from the fields of Irish history, Anglo-Norman history and archaeology as well as Gaelic, Latin and French literary scholars, will share the latest findings in historical research on the 1169 Invasion to re-evaluate the significance of the invasion and the impact it had on Ireland.
Assistant Professor in Medieval History Peter Crooks added: “As Brexit threatens to impose new barriers between Britain and Ireland, this conference traces the origins of our complicated relationship back to its beginning. The conquest and colonisation that followed the 1169 invasion transformed the island, shaped the identity of its peoples and ushered in closer contact with Britain.”
“We still feel the reverberations of 1169. Ireland is an English-speaking country today, ultimately, because of the introduction of the language with the 1169 invaders. It is a common law country because the first generations of English settlers brought the common law of England with them, including the framework of rights established by Magna Carta. Ireland has one of the world’s oldest parliamentary traditions because parliament appeared there almost immediately upon its emergence in Plantagenet England.”
- ‘What did the Normans ever do for us? From boom to bust: the Lordship of Ireland and the European commercial revolution, Bruce Campbell, Queen’s University Belfast
- ‘Between Christ and Caesar: Monasticism and the Invasion’, Colmán Ó Clabaigh, Glenstal Abbey
- ‘An accident waiting to happen: Intellectual, literary and religious culture on the eve of the invasion’, Elizabeth Boyle, Maynooth University
- ‘History Ireland Hedge School: 850 Years of Oppression?’
- Conquest and Colonisation, Immigration and plantation, Seán Duffy, Trinity College Dublin
- ‘Colliding Cultures, The emergence of the Hiberno-English literary tradition’, Caoimhe Whelan, Trinity College Dublin
- ‘Ireland and empires of the twelfth-century world’, David Bates, University of East Anglia
The National Conference on the history of the invasion, Invasion 1169, runs from Thursday, May 2nd to Saturday May 4th. It is open to the public and free of charge. Full programme and registration details are available here: https://www.tcd.ie/medieval-history/invasion1169/
Image: The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife by Daniel Maclise