Why was England so interested in conquering Ireland?
The anti-English commentary is quite unnecessary.

Interestingly, the first time the English invaded Ireland – in the late 12th century – it was at the express request of an Irish king.  Diarmaid of Leinster had been forced to leave the country and came back to retake his throne with an army made up of Englishmen.  The leader of the army married Diarmaid's daughter and became king of Leinster himself, but he eventually needed assistance from the king of England.  King Henry II was glad to do so, in that in the end he himself controlled the kingdom and assumed the title Lord of Ireland.

Until the time of King Henry VIII in the 16th century, Ireland was ruled essentially as a fief to the king of England.  The English only really controlled the area around Dublin.  Henry, however, named himself king of Ireland (and eventually head of the Church in Ireland), and greatly solidified his rule over the island.  When Oliver Cromwell overthrew the monarchy, he then spent years reconquering, quite brutally, all of Ireland.

Essentially, the Protestant Reformation, and the stalwart fidelity of the Irish people to the Catholic Church, turned the English rule over Ireland into a reign of terror for hundreds of years.  The difference in religion was the basis for the idea of ‘colonizing’ the island with English and Scottish Protestants, which had great success in the northern part of the island.
(07-24-2009, 07:51 PM)Tobri Wrote: Is the soil there good or something or is it simply because England was power thirsty and France was too powerful so they settled for their neighbor? I can't see any other practical reason for England (medieval to empire) to want to own an economically poor Island with inhabitants hostile to foreign occupation. Especially post reformation which like tripled the Irish dislike of England when they shut down the Irish monasteries and suppressed the Church there etc... what benefit did England gain?
Well, after the Reformation, the conversion of the ‘papist’ Irish was reason enough to keep the colony.  By the 19th century, religion had waned in importance but the government had a policy of imperialism.  In an age of expansion, the English were not keen on letting a colony go too easily.  And, in the 20th century, they held on to as much they could, namely Ulster.
(07-24-2009, 11:47 PM)Baskerville Wrote: I mostly know about Englands Tudor era and at that time it was because they were afraid Ireland being Catholic would be a launching pad for a Spanish Invasion . . .
I have often wondered why the Spanish did not try to invade Ireland rather than England in 1588, where they could have conquered relatively easily and enjoyed the support of, say, 98% of the population.

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Re: Why was England so interested in conquering Ireland? - by Schmendrick - 07-25-2009, 12:29 AM

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