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The Love-Hate Relationship between the English and the Irish

By Edited Nov 12, 2015 1 7

This is an overall view of the history of the English invasion in Ireland and its long lasting effect.

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The situation existing today in Ireland started a long time ago which many people don't realize and know about it.

The love-hate relationship between the English and the Irish began in 1172 when King Henry II became Ireland's overlord.

In the 12th century there were five main kingdoms in Ireland. The problem started when they supposed to chose a High King between the kingdoms of Connaught, Ulster, Meath, Leinster and Munster. The rivalry built up so badly that the King of Leinster asked help from Earl of Pembroke (known as Strongbow). He was a great Norman lord. In exchange he promised his daughter in wedlock. and his kingdom which was her inheritance.

Strongbow conquered Ireland in 1172. He was so successful that King Henry II got jealous of his fame. Strongbow, as promised by the King of Leinster did marry his daughter and inherit the kingdom. King Henry II made Strongbow hand over all his conquests, including his Kingdom of Leinster but not his wife, and set himself up as Ireland overlord.

That is the time when today's trouble really started. The Norman and English settlers tried to introduce their ways. The kingdoms and customs were too deep in the hearts of the Irish people and after all it was their land and country. There were many uprising and troubles. If somebody wanted to cause trouble in England received a great support from Ireland. The Pale, a fortified areas around Dublin were the only place where the English ruled properly.

In the following years the English kings had to subdue the Irish people several time. King John had two attempts. The second time in 1210 was successful. He built the Dublin Castle after that. However, he made fun of the Irish about their old-fashioned clothes and long beards. A loathing against the English king began.

In 1394 Richard II sailed to Ireland and stayed there for eight months trying to keep 'his' Irish subjects down. 80 chiefs paid him homage in Dublin as Lord of Ireland. In spite of this the uprising started again. In spite of that Richard's influence was to remain in introducing the trousers, stirrups and eat at separate tables from their servants.

When the Tudors ruled Ireland sheltered two pretenders or claimants to the throne. Lambert Simnel who was crowned in Dublin as King of England and Perkin Warbeck. King Henry VII introduced the English laws in Ireland and the Irish Parliament had to ask for permission to introduce its own laws.

Henry VIII tried to turn Ireland into Protestant. He dissolution half its monasteries and confiscated the rebels estates. He did not succeed because there was not enough money either to maintain his status as the King of Ireland and a full army to keep discipline.

Elisabeth I had to deal with four rebellions in Ireland. The King of Spain gave his support. Elisabeth sent her favourite the Earl of Essex in 1598 to stop a new rebellion. He lost 1300 English Soldiers in the Battle of Yellow Ford. After that he sided with the rebels and led a rebellion of his own again the Queen. He was executed. In 1603 they managed to crush the revolt and in the same year Queen Elizabeth died.

The Irish people kept on being rebellious under the Stuarts. After revolt of the northern earls in 1609, James I decided to throw off the Irish families of their land in Ulster and replacing them with thousand of English and Scottish Protestants. Settlers from London gave the settlement the name of Londonderry. This was the start of a majority of Protestant living in Ulster.

During a great uprising 3000 English settlers were killed in 1641. Charles I needed a big army to put down the rebellion. The Parliament refused and it caused a confrontation between the King and Parliament. It developed into a civil war and the Irish back Charles. However, when Charles was defeated Oliver Cromwell went to Ireland and wreaked a terrible vengeance. He killed the people of Wexford and Drogheda in 1649 and today his name is detested in Ireland.

Catholicism was always strong in Ireland. It this religion which persuaded the Irish people to side with James II which was dethroned at that time. James II got an army together of French and Irish men to regain his throne. They were defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 by the English king William of Orange. It is this battle which is celebrated by the protestant Orangemen every year.

I do hope I gave a comprehensive account of the history how today's trouble started. I can hear people saying but that it was hundreds of years ago and not worth anymore to kill or to be killed for. To some extent I can see the point but on the other hand this invasion and still occupation should have never happened. As any group of people Irish people love their country and want it to be their own. Not having it occupied by another country and laws put on them. Also the splitting of a country to let people live one side or the other is a good idea but look around the world wherever it was done it never worked for some unknown reason.

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Aug 3, 2010 12:23pm
Thank you for reading my article and think so highly of it. I am very pleased
Aug 19, 2010 5:08pm
A good history. It is true it shouldn't have happened but this needs to be taken in context. England was conquered by the Normans as well. When all this happened there had never been a fully representative democracy anywhere in the world at any point in human history. We should learn from it and move on - to create a future without violence and killing.
Jan 12, 2012 8:02pm
Well said.
Jan 30, 2013 2:42pm
Thank you, Aleo, for your visit and compliment. I am very pleased.
Jan 13, 2012 2:26am
Thank you for your true and wonderful comment. Thank you for your praise. I appreciate it.
Jan 30, 2013 2:41pm
Thank you, oliness, for your visit and comment, I appreciated it very much.
Jan 13, 2012 2:27am
Thank you so much for your wonderful compliment.
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