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The downfall of John de Courcy

1206 - The fall of John de Courcy. Battle ensues between Normans, Irish, Norse Irish and Norse in a confusing tangle very typical of Ireland at the time. I was originally going to write this about the battle of Dundrum but on reading the sources I’m now not sure it happened there after all. De Courcy was the first Norman or “English” man to invade and conquer Ulster, which in the late 12th Century was called Ulaidh, and was a territory covering only what is now covered by the modern Counties of Antrim and Down. John did this largely as a private enterprise, his only authorization from his supposed Lord (Henry II of England) coming from a throwaway comment made at Christmas in 1176, which the King may possibly have even made in jest. De Courcy’s real intentions quickly became clear as he began acting like a King in his own right. He styled himself “princeps Ultoniae”, built castles and administered his own justice. He even started minting his own coins (one pictured below). Needless to s…

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