Notable Periods in the History of Irish Literature
Resources / 13/08/2019

Irish Literature in the 12th century During the 12th century, Ireland was divided into a fluid hierarchy of petty kingdoms and over-kingdoms. Power was concentrated in the hands of regional dynasties fighting against each other for the control or more land. One of their number, the King of Leinster Diarmait Mac Murchada (anglicized as Diarmuid MacMorrough) was forcibly exiled from his kingdom by the new High King, Ruaidri mac Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair. Fleeing to Aquitaine, Diarmait obtained permission from Henry II to use the Norman forces to regain his kingdom. The first Norman knight landed in Ireland in 1167, followed by the main forces of Normans, Welsh and Flemings in Wexford in 1169. Within a short time, Leinster was regained, Waterford and Dublin were under Diarmait’s control, and he had Strongbow as a son-in-law, later naming him as heir to the kingdom. This caused consternation to King Henry II of England, who feared the establishment of a rival Norman state in Ireland. He resolved to establish his authority.   Irish Literature in the 14th century The Yellow Book of Lecan, The Great Book of Lecan, The Book of Hy Many, and The Book of Ballymote. It is this manuscript of Irish sagas, law texts, and genealogies, that contains a guide to the ogham alphabet. Much of the information available on ogham has come from this manuscript and…