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Ireland

When, in the year 833, Nial III. received the usual homage and hostages, which ratified his title of Ard-Righ, the northern invasion had clearly become the greatest danger that ever yet had threatened the institutions of Erin. Attacks at first predatory and provincial had so encouraged the Gentile leaders of the second generation that they began to concert measures and combine plans for conquest and colonization.

This would seem to be the proper place to point out the peculiarities in arms, equipment, and tactics, which gave the first Normans those military advantages over the Irish and Dano-Irish, which they had hitherto maintained over the Saxons, Welsh and Scots.

The closing years of the reign of Edward II. of England were endangered by the same partiality for favourites which, had disturbed its beginning. The de Spensers, father and son, played at this period the part which Gaveston had performed twenty years earlier. The Barons, who undertook to rid their country of this pampered family, had, however, at their head Queen Isabella, sister of the King of France, who had separated from her husband under a pretended fear of violence at his hands, but in reality to enjoy more freely her criminal intercourse with her favourite, Mortimer.

On the last day of January, 1547, Edward, son of Henry, by Lady Jane Seymour, was crowned by the title of Edward VI. He was then only nine years old, and was destined to wear the crown but for six years and a few months. No Irish Parliament was convened during his reign, but the Reformation was pushed on with great vigour, at first under the patronage of the Protector, his uncle, and subsequently of that uncle's rival, the Duke of Northumberland.

Midway in the reign we are called upon to contemplate, falls the centenary of the first invasion of Ireland by the Northmen. Let us admit that the scenes of that century are stirring and stimulating; two gallant races of men, in all points strongly contrasted, contend for the most part in the open field, for the possession of a beautiful and fertile island.

The campaigns of 1168 and 1169 had ended prosperously for Dermid in the treaty of Ferns. By that treaty he had bound himself to bring no more Normans into the country, and to send those already in his service back to their homes.

While the grand experiment for the separation of the population of Ireland into two hostile camps was being matured in England, the Earls of Kildare and Ormond were, for four or five years, alternately entrusted with the supreme power. Fresh ordinances, in the spirit of those despatched to Darcy, in 1342, continued annually to arrive. One commanded all lieges of the English King, having grants upon the marches of the Irish enemy, to reside upon and defend them, under pain of revocation.

The death of Edward VI. and the accession of the lady Mary were known in Dublin by the middle of July, 1553, and soon spread all over the kingdom. On the 20th of that month, the form of proclamation was received from London, in which the new Queen was forbidden to be styled "head of the church," and this was quickly followed by another ordinance, authorizing all who would to publicly attend Mass, but not compelling thereto any who were unwilling. A curious legal difficulty existed in relation to Mary's title to the Crown of Ireland. By the Irish Statute, 38. Hen.

Nial IV. (surnamed Black-Knee) succeeded his father-in-law, Flan of the Shannon (A.D. 916), and in the third year of his reign fell in an assault on Dublin; Donogh II., son of Flan Siona, reigned for twenty-five years; Congal III. succeeded, and was slain in an ambush by the Dublin Danes, in the twelfth year of his reign (A.D. 956); Donald IV., in the twenty-fourth year of his reign, died at Armagh, (A.D. 979); which four reigns bring us to the period of the accession of Malachy II.

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