#OTD in 1210 – King John sails from Dublin for England.

He had landed at Waterford in June and campaigned in Leinster; after a short siege, he captures Carrickfergus, where the de Lacys have made a stand. On 28 July he captures William de Braose and confiscates his lands. Hugh and Walter de Lacy, lords of Ulster and Meath, forfeit their lands but escape to Scotland. John has defeated the hostile Norman magnates and has established relations with various Irish kings. Cathal Crovderg O’Connor, king of Connacht, has fought in John’s army but then quarrelled with him – O’Connor offered his son Aedh to John as a hostage, but Aedh’s mother refused to allow this. The dispute is later resolved.

The public view of King John is that he was a cruel tyrant, the oppressor of his subjects’ liberty and a bit of a bumbling idiot when it came to matters of war. This view is, perhaps, based upon multiple versions of Robin Hood and other modern movie scripts.

Whatever about his first (disastrous) visit to Ireland as an 18 year old, by the time he made his second trip to Ireland in 1210, he definitely knew a thing or two about running a military campaign.

John remained Lord of Ireland throughout his reign. He drew on the country for resources to fight his war with Philip on the continent. Conflict continued in Ireland between the Anglo-Norman settlers and the indigenous Irish chieftains, with John manipulating both groups to expand his wealth and power in the country.

In his anxiety to bring certain of his more troublesome Anglo–Norman barons to heel, King John showed ‘marked favour’ to the native Irish kings, found, as a result, ‘a general readiness among the Irish to accept him’, and went on to develop ‘close relations with their leaders’. Unlike his previous visit in 1185, John’s negotiations with the Irish kings in the summer of 1210 were concluded successfully in his favour and he left Ireland on good terms with them.

The king returned to England in August 1210, leaving John de Gray as lord justice, to whom he committed the task of carrying out his arrangements. During the remainder of his reign, Ireland was comparatively quiet.

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