Saturday, 12 November 2011

John de Courcy Ireland

John de Courcy Ireland Prince of Ulster

Henry II granted the post of justiciar to John de Courcy. A very impressive stronghold can still be seen at Dundrum in County Down and was built by the “Prince of Ulster,” John de Courcy around 1177.

John De Courcy Ireland
Equally in Carrickfergus in County Antrim, a huge castle dominates the sea front and was a huge castle, which provided a strategic entry point to Belfast Lough. John de Courcy was an Anglo-Norman knight who had arrived in Ireland around 1177 and his legacy was that he had built abbeys for both the Benedictines and the Cistercians, and the castles mentioned above.

Inch Abbey close to Downpatrick is one such abbey.  He also destroyed many churches in the North-West of Ireland and devastated Inishowen, Raphoe and parts of County Tyrone. In 1199 King John ordered Hugh de Lacy to wage war on de Courcy and after a fierce struggle de Courcy was captured.

John then made Hugh de Lacy the Earl of Ulster in May 1205. De Courcy did not give up and attacked Dundrum Castle along with Norse soldiers, the same castle that he had once built the defenses for.  They proved to strong for him to beark down and de Courcy was captured and imprisoned to spend the rest of his life in poverty until he finally went to a pilgrmage in the Holy Land.

Existing tenants grew rather irritated with new arrivals from England, and even stranger as rivalry grew from those living in Ireland who were born in England, and those living in Ireland who were born in Ireland, but insisted by right of birth that they were indeed English in every way.

In 1210 John returned to Ireland and began a policy of strengthening English laws, regulated coinage and removed several of his more rebellious barons and confiscated their castles and land.

The De Lacys were forced to flee to France and had to work as gardeners to earn a living.  John also failed to have an agreement with the Northern King O'Neill and the Connacht King O'Conchobair and so he left Ireland in an ongoing state of warfare and wrangling.  When he left Ireland he left John de Grey as Lord Justice.

The cathedrals expanded with English appointed hierarchy in charge, with Armagh being the only main exception. Right through the 13th Century the English lordships continued with land being taken from the Irish and given to the English. These new manors and farms began to dominate the Irish countryside.

You should now read about the Brehon Law Ireland.