Divided Ireland

Justin McCarthy
Chapter III | Start of Chapter

Ireland then became divided into four sections. By far the largest was made up of those Irish who held out against the invaders, and whose nearest approach to a pacific condition was that state of sullen, indomitable opposition which only waits for an opportunity to attempt a new uprising. Next came the Chiefs and their followers who submitted to Norman rule because they saw no means of getting rid of it, and were ready to accept any advantages it might bring. These two sections were always in more or less open hostility. Then came the Norman settlers, who were constantly increasing because of the attractions held out to them by royal grants of land. Finally, there were the Danes at the sea-ports, whose first desire was to be allowed to carry on their occupations without disturbance, and who were ready, if occasion tempted, to offer their services to that section of disputants from whom they might expect the greatest benefit. The Norman Barons built castles and strongholds wherever they settled, ruled the people after the feudal fashion, and were their own law-makers. The estate of a Norman Baron was something very like a fortified camp, and his jurisdiction was limited only by the amount of armed force he could command. Everywhere outside these limits was the Celtic population, lying in wait for any chance of recovering the soil from the invaders.