Irish-Norman Treaty

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XVII

Raymond now led an army to Limerick, to revenge himself on Donnell O'Brien, for his defeat at Thurles. He succeeded in his enterprise. Several engagements followed, in which the Anglo-Normans were always victorious. Roderic now sent ambassadors to Henry II. The persons chosen were Catholicus, Archbishop of Tuam; Concors, Abbot of St. Brendan's, in Clonfert; and St. Laurence O'Toole, styled quaintly, in the old Saxon manner, "Master Laurence." The King and Council received them at Windsor. The result of their conference was, that Roderic consented to pay homage to Henry, by giving him a hide from every tenth head of cattle J Henry, on his part, bound himself to secure the sovereignty of Ireland to Roderic, excepting only Dublin, Meath, Leinster, Waterford, and Dungarvan. In fact, the English King managed to have the best share, made a favour of resigning what he never possessed, and of not keeping what he could never have held. This council took place on the octave of the feast of St. Michael, A.D. 1175. By this treaty Henry was simply acknowledged as a superior feudal sovereign; and had Ireland been governed with ordinary justice, the arrangement might have been advantageous to both countries.

Roderic was still a king, both nominally and ipso facto. He had power to judge and depose the petty kings, and they were to pay their tribute to him for the English monarch. Any of the Irish who fled from the territories of the English barons, were to return; but the King of Connaught might compel his own subjects to remain in his land. Thus the English simply possessed a colony in Ireland; and this colony, in a few years, became still more limited, while throughout the rest of the country the Irish language, laws, and usages, prevailed as they had hitherto done.