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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Richard de Clare "Strongbow"

The Marriage of Aoife & Strongbow

Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (of the first creation), Lord of Leinster, Justiciar of Ireland (1130 – 20 April 1176). Like his father, he was also commonly known as Strongbow. He was a Cambro-Norman lord notable for his leading role in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

He was the son of Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Isabel de Beaumont. His father died when Richard was about eighteen years old and Richard inherited the title Earl of Pembroke. It is probable that this title was not recognized at Henry II's coronation.

In 1167, the King of Leinster was deprived of his kingdom by the High King of Ireland - Rory O'Connor (Irish: Tairrdelbach mac Ruaidri Ua Conchobair). The grounds for the dispossession were that MacMurrough had, in 1152, abducted Derbforgaill, the wife of the King of Breifne, Tiernan O'Rourke (Irish: Tighearnán Ua Ruairc). To recover his kingdom, MacMurrough solicited help from Henry II of England.

Dermot MacMurrough left Ireland for Bristol from near Bannow on 1st August, 1166. He met King Henry II in Aquitaine, France, in the Autumn. Henry could not help himself at this time, but provided a letter of comfort for willing supporters of Dermot’s cause in his kingdom. However, after his return to Wales he fails to rally any forces to his standard. Eventually he met the Earl of Striguil (‘Strongbow’) and other barons of the Welsh Marches. MacMurrough came to an agreement with de Clare: for the earl’s assistance with an army the following spring, he could have Aoife, Dermot's eldest daughter in marriage and the succession to Leinster. As Henry’s approval or licence to Dermot was a general one, the earl of Striguil thought it prudent to obtain a specific consent of Henry II to travel to Ireland: he waited two years to do this. The licence he got was to aid Dermot in the recovery of his kingdom of Leinster.

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