Irish scholarship during this period was considerable by any standard. St.Simeon the Stylite was not content to teach advanced mathemetics in the usual manner, but preferred to do it by verse. Virgil of Carnolia insisted that his mathemetical computations proved that the earth, of necessity, must be an orb. Brenden the Navigator immediately set sail to test that theory and, by so doing, added substantially to man's knowledge of geography.
The Norman Invasion
Ireland's centuries of glory, alas, were to come to a bitter end, so intensely unpleasant, in fact, that it is almost without precedent on this earth. While some historians trace the woes of the Irish to the Viking incursions of the 8th and 9th Centuries, history does not support their collective thesis. It is true that the Norsemen were successful enough in their repeated invasions of Ireland to establish permanent settlements attempt of the Vikings to expand their sphere of influence. The coastal settlements were never more than a blemish on the face of Ireland.
It wasn't until the Norman invasion of 1171 that the Celts first tasted the butterness of wholesale military defeat. Ironically, Ireland's downfall was, for all practical purposes, brought about by an Iriahman. It all began after a dissolute brute of a king, Dermot Macmurrough, was chased out of Leinster .....
for ravaging the fair wife of the Lord of Brefny. Tought she apparently did not mind the ravaging, her husband and his clansman did, and Dermoy was forced to flee the country. He ended up in Acquitaine, where he won the favor of Henry II, who seized upon Dermot's grievances as an excuse to utilize a Papal bull of authority over for ravaging the fair wife of the Lord of Brefny. Though she apparently did not mind the ravaging, her husband and his clansman did, and Dermot was forced Ireland that was given to him by Pope Adrian IV, who was the only Englishman ever to sit on the throne of Saint Peter. For the record, his name was Nicholas Breakspeare.
Henry induced two of his barons then residing in what is now Wales, Richard de Clare and Earl Pembroke, the famed "Strongbow" of history texts, to launch an attack on the Emerald Isle. The Normans came on horse and foot, their suits of armor gleaming in the sunlight, their guidons flapping in the coastal breezes and their vast array of modern weaponry combining to form an awesome spectacle. Now it was the Celts' turn to feel the despair attendant to facing a foe with superior arms and greater manpower.
Though the first flush of victory rested easily on the Normans, they found holding onto their conquests quite another matter. While the Celts might have been routed, they displayed a remarkable talent for regrouping quickly. What's more, they also displayed a tenacity of will that let the extravagantly plumed Normans know that the subjugation of Ireland would be no easy task, but rather a long and costly one, paid for in rivers of blood.
Adding to the woes of the conquering Normans, jealousies soon erupted within their ranks. More accurately, Henry II became .....(continued next page)