Why was England so interested in conquering Ireland?
(07-25-2009, 04:53 PM)Bonifacius Wrote:
(07-25-2009, 03:52 PM)Anastasia Wrote: It has always struck me as odd, though, the antipathy the Normans ( later the English) felt for Irish culture. The Statutes of Kilkenny (1200 or so, haven't checked the exact date in a while) forbid speaking Irish, dancing and music, every cultural feature they could think of. Now I'm not many of these laws completely succeeded, but why try so hard to erase their whole way of life? Why not be content with having conquered the place?


From what I see here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statutes_of_Kilkenny), the Statutes of Kilkenny were not designed to stamp out the Irish language and Irish customs among the Irish.  Rather, they were designed to prevent the "Old English" settlers from "going native."  The goal wasn't to make the Irish language go extinct but to keep the English language and English national identity from going extinct among the *English* already in Ireland.  The Statutes show that national identity was a point of significant strife even then, so I have to modify some of my earlier statements.  The Hiberno-Norman rulers wanted to keep the English settlers under their control and keeping them separate from the Irish would help do this.  They were trying to engage in social engineering of sorts to prevent a natural coalescence.  And one of the Irish leaders protested to the Pope against the rule of the English Crown over England (which started with a papal bull) because of the English abuses. 
I'm sure it was a factor; on the other hand, that purpose could have been achieved by simply forbidding their own people speaking the Irish language, not making it illegal altogether. If you're interested, Edmund Curtis' History of Ireland has some interesting stuff about the Statutes and the change in the legal status of the Irish. Fascinating, really, the origin of the words villain (villein) and churl (ceorl).

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Re: Why was England so interested in conquering Ireland? - by Anastasia - 07-25-2009, 07:25 PM

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