Internal strife between the Gaelic chieftains, O’Rourke and MacMurrough led to MacMurrough asking the Normans to come to his aid in Ireland. Under King Henry II, the Normans were seasoned warriors, their iron helmets and mail armour making it very difficult for the Norse and Gaelic Irish to defeat them with axes and spears. Gradually the Normans took control of most of the country, building fortified castles not only in existing towns like Dublin and Limerick, but also building new inland towns such as Athlone and Kilkenny. But the Normans conquest was never complete because the English Kings were more concerned with the wars on the continent. The Normans inter - married with the native Irish, symbolised by the marriage of Strongbow to MacMurrough’s daughter Aoife. It is said of the Normans that they became “more Irish than the Irish themselves”.
Edward, brother of Robert Bruce, allies with O,Neills, defeats English and becomes King of Ireland.
Edward Bruce is killed in battle at Faughart, near Dundalk.
By 1300 the Anglo – Normans had colonised much of Ireland. They lived in walled towns and were supplied with provisions by the native Irish who lived outside the walls. Many had married to Gaelic families and adopted the native dress, language and customs. Ireland was at peace and the Norman and Gael lived in relative harmony. The Black Death 1350 had greater impact on towns than on rural areas. Kilkenny for example, lost half its population, and this further weakened the strength of the Normans settlers. In 1366 the English government tried to implement the “statutes of Kilkenny” at the parliament there, a law which would halt the Gaelicisation of the settlers, but this was largely ignored because the English were more involved in other wars and by the 1400 most of the country had been left to its own resources.