Irish History Podcast

The story of protest in medieval Ireland is a forgotten but fascinating chapter in our history. While forthright and often violent these protests voiced the concerns of ordinary people so often excluded from written records. In this podcast I look at five protests from late medieval Ireland including a water tax in 1244 and Ireland's first recorded strike in 1299. The intriguing stories behind these protests are brought to light for the first time in centuries in this podcast.

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Direct download: Riots_murder_and_the_mob_protest_in_medieval.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:31am EDT

At Easter 1172 Henry II left Ireland, having spent six months on the island. Before departing he conferred the Kingdom of Meath onto the Norman baron Hugh de Lacy. However Meath already a king, in fact it had several. Through most of the 12th century numerous Irish kings had been laying claim to what was one of the oldest territories in Ireland. Naturally when de Lacy tried to claim what Henry II had no right to give him he faced opposition. However nothing is simple and his attempted invasion of Meath took a most unusual direction.

This show also sees Henry II return home to face rebellion not only from his sons but also his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine. This revolt has massive consequences for Strongbow, Hugh de Lacy and the Normans in Ireland who are soon embroiled in one of the bitterest family disputes in history.

You can contact me at www.twitter.com/irishhistory, www.facebook.com/irishhistorypodcast or email at history@irishhistorypodcast.ie

Direct download: 1172-1174_The_Norman_Invasion_X_The_Return_to_War.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:53am EDT

On October 17th 1172 Henry II became the first King of England to set foot in Ireland. Henry had come in the hope to proclaiming himself lord over the entire island. Awaiting him were not just his own Norman subjects who had been fighting in Ireland since 1169 but also dozens of Gaelic kings. How these kings in particular would react to Henry's claims would be crucial. The King however had prepared for all eventualities bringing an army of over 4,000 warriors and even prefabricated siege towers. In the show I look at how Henry was received, why he had come and what a medieval royal visit like this looked like.

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Direct download: Henry_II_in_Ireland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49am EDT

Despite their victory at the siege of Dublin (covered in Part VII), Strongbow and his Normans followers in Ireland are by no means in a secure position. In Wexford their comrade-in-arms Robert FitzStephen is being held prisoner. Meanwhile across Leinster they face widespread opposition. The man who invited them to Ireland Diarmait McMurrough is dead and his brother is hostile to the Normans. Meanwhile the neighbouring king of Ossory, Gillapatrick, is a constant threat. If these aren't enough problems, King Henry II in England is demanding answers as to what is happening in Ireland and decides he will come in person to investigate. This podcast takes us through a hectic three months period in late 1171 as Strongbow tries to stabilise his presence in Ireland but the odds are he will fail....

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Direct download: Norman_Invasion_VIII_The_Arrival_of_Henry_II.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:05am EDT

This podcast sees the Normans suffer a ferocious backlash after their conquests in the year of 1170. A Norse army including beserkers - feared viking warriors - attack Dublin before a vast host lead by the king of Connacht - Rory O'Connor besieges the town. The Norman presence in Ireland hangs by a thread as they lose the few friends they had. This episode also sees tensions ramp between Strongbow and his king back home Henry II who is increasingly fearful Strongbow is about to establish a rival kingdom in Ireland.

At the end of the episode I have an exciting announcement about how you can get more exclusive podcasts on Irish history and how you can have your say over my next book. You can find out more at www.irishhistorypodcast.ie/blackdeath.

Direct download: Norman_Invasion_VII_-_The_Second_Siege_of_Dublin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:19am EDT

After their brutal conquest of Waterford, Diarmait McMurrough and his Norman allies marshaled their forces and marched on Dublin. If the most important town in medieval Ireland fell into their hands it could be a game changer. The claims of Rory O'Connor of Connacht to be Ireland's most powerful king would be in tatters. This scenario set up a major conflict over Dublin as Rory marched west, reaching the town before the Normans and digging in. Listen to the show to find out what happened....

In the show I ask for your feedback on this series on the Norman Invasion @irishhistory on twitter, Irishhistorypodcast on facebook or if email works better you'll find me at history@irishhistorypodcast.ie

Direct download: Normans_VI_-_the_first_siege_of_Dublin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:10am EDT

In the summer of 1170, Ireland stood on a precipice. After the arrival of several hundred Norman mercenaries in 1169 the fortunes of Diarmait McMurrough had changed. He had reconquered his lost power in the kingdom of Leinster and re-established himself as a major player in Irish politics.

However this was only the beginning, a violent prelude to Diarmait’s main ambition. He was still waiting for the main force of his mercenaries lead by the Norman Lord Strongbow to arrive and when they did they in the summer of 1170 they did not fail to make their mark. The arrival of the Norman lord and 1200 men signaled the beginning of a dark period in Irish history fittingly preceeded by the battle of Baginbun in May and then followed by the siege of Waterford in August. These crucial encounters form the basis of this episode.

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Direct download: Normans_5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06am EDT

On May 1st 1169, Robert FitzStephen a Norman Knight from Wales, finds himself on Bannow Strand, Ireland leading 300 Norman mercenaries. Their mission - to restore Diarmait McMurrough, the one time gaelic king of Leinster to power. However both they and Diarmait have much greater ambitions.

With a few days of arriving in Ireland the Normans are outside the walls of Wexford besieging what is one of Ireland's most important medieval towns. Although few know it at the time the Norman conquest is well underway. However its not all plain sailing for the Normans - before this show ends they will face the wrath of Ireland's most powerful king Rory O'Connor. 

 

Direct download: Normans_IV.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:59am EDT

This podcast looks at the first Normans to arrive in Ireland, in a chapter often forgotten by the history books. These mercenaries accompany Diarmait McMurrough who returned to Ireland in 1167  to pave the way for the larger forces of Strongbow. However if these warriors led by Robert FitzGodibert, thought the Gaelic Irish were going to be a pushover they are in for a rude awakening.

They quickly run into the might of Rory O'Connor, perhaps the most powerful Gaelic King in Irish history and things don't go according to plan. Let me know what you thought of the show by contacting me @irishhistory on twitter or irishhistorypodcast on facebook

Direct download: Norman_Invasion_III_-_The_conquest_begins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:48pm EDT

Over the last few weeks Ireland has been rocked by yet another child abuse scandal. Newspaper headlines around the world have reported in disbelief details of how society in Ireland treated unmarried mothers and their children in so called “Mother and Child homes". Child mortality rates reached over 50% in some of these institutions.

While many around the world are understandably astounded as to how a society could be so cruel to children, in Ireland this is only the latest chapter in a long horrific story of institutional abuse that has been emerging over the last two decades. As a light is finally shone into the darkest recesses of modern Irish history, the question of how will Irish society deal with this is increasingly important. It is here where history has a crucial role to play.

For years the dominant narrative around abuse in Ireland was that it took place behind closed doors and that the vast majority of people had no idea it was being perpetrated. However historical research indictaes this is not entirely true. I think if we are to move forward and deal with our dark past we must acknowledge who knew what and why they were powerless to act. In this podcast, based on this article, I am going to look over some of the evidence that indicates there was a widespread knowledge of child abuse in Ireland throughout the 20th century.

Let me know what your thought of the show by contacting me @irishhistory on twitter or irishhistorypodcast on facebook.