Front Page Titles (by Subject) Sect. II.—: The still recent Invasion of the Danes. - Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 1
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Sect. II.—: The still recent Invasion of the Danes. - Gustave de Beaumont, Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 1 
Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, ed. W.C. Taylor (London: Richard Bentley, 1839). Vol. 1.
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The still recent Invasion of the Danes.
Ireland, which has suffered so cruelly from conquest, was the last of the European countries conquered. At the time when the savage nations of the north sought countries to invade, Ireland, separated from them by two seas and one large island, long escaped their notice; the Romans disdained it, the barbarians knew it not. Gaul and England had been each stained by three invasions, while the soil of Ireland remained intact. Still, about the middle of the ninth century, the Danes, a people issuing from the forests of Scandinavia, landed in Ireland; they occupied a part of it without much difficulty; but the opposition to them became vigorous and obstinate. After a series of sanguinary combats, and alternations of victory and defeat, these stern conquerors abandoned the hope of founding an empire in the heart of the country, and limited themselves to the occupation of some points on the south and east coast of Ireland.* Dublin, formerly Dyvelin, Wexford, and Waterford, are Danish cities.† Thus, the Irish, who had been sufficiently strong to check the Danes in their invasion, were too feeble to expel them completely; and at the moment when the Anglo-Normans came into Ireland, the Danes remained masters of all the east coast of Ireland, lived in a sort of tacit peace with the Irish, who were contented to see their conquerors confined to a narrow space, with the understood condition that they would not pass its limits.
However this may be, these struggles, maintained for three centuries, had exhausted the country, and increased the weakness of the body politic, already so great.*
The presence of the Danes on the Irish soil at this epoch diminished, for another reason, the strength of Ireland. The Anglo-Normans landed precisely in that portion of the country which was occupied by the Danes; consequently the Danes had to sustain the first shock of the Norman invasion. Now, it is impossible to imagine a more unfortunate circumstance for a country menaced by invaders. On one side the Danes, defending against the Normans a precarious and contested possession, could not display the zeal and devotion of a people summoned to the defence of their country.* On the other side, the Irish, seeing the Anglo-Normans engaged with the Danes, their first assailants, fluctuated between the terror which the new conquerors inspired, and the satisfaction with which they beheld the destruction of an enemy established in their territory.
All these circumstances united, sufficiently show how Ireland, both social and political, must have been weak in resisting the Anglo-Norman invasion.
[*]Under Zurgesius, the Danes for a brief space established their authority over the whole of Ireland.—Tr.
[†]A little before the Anglo-Norman invasion, the Danes these cities declined the jurisdiction of the Irish prelates, and placed themselves under the see of Canterbury.
[*]So weak were the Irish, that the king of the Isle of Man attempted the conquest of their country.—Tr.
[*]The Danes were at first disposed to receive the Normans as fellow-countrymen, but the conduct of Fitz-Stephen in Wexford drove them to resistance.—Tr.