Owned the Land of the Isle of Ireland?
In discussions of Irish history much is often made of the connection of the people
to the Land.
In order to fully appreciate the dynamics of the history of the Isle of Ireland one must
put aside sentiment and focus upon known facts. The question of ownership of the land can become a distraction for those in pursuit of explanation or critical analysis of history.
Clearly the mere fact of being on the land does not convey ownership. Far more important for historians is the concept of the Administrator of the land. Be it by conquest, treaty, revolt, default, sale or other form of transmission the status of Administrator of the land has changed through time.
These changes-for the most part transmissions acknowledged by the partys involved at the time- are cold hard facts and as such they can serve historical analysis well. Their legitimacy is not an issue. Their being is all that matters.
To read more about the concept of Administrator of the land Click here.
To read a survey of Administrators of the Land through history Click here
To return to the Famine pages click here To return to the Irish Studies pages click here
of the land of Ireland
-Bronze Age Megalith Builders- Archeologists have proposed
that the structures are proclamations of the ownership/administration
of the land by groups. Power structures based
-Beaker Folk Conquests- perhaps the first bowmen beaker folk camped in the ruins of the Megalithic structures and perhaps administered the land. These people and or their administration were also not native to the island.
-Bronze Age extended families- The first tribes of the bronze age were not celtic peoples. They administered the land via an extended family- without acquisition of the land via conquest. (although there is no evidence of this substantial fortifications are absent- perhaps the best generalization is that if ever the land was owned by the people by right of inheritance rather than by conquest it was at this time. These people were not "Celtic".
-Iron Age Celts- While the extended families continued the trend was toward acquisition of the land by the conquest of resident unrelated groups by powerful warlords operating out of large and strong fortifications. Although there was no massive invasion the celticization process was foreign to the island. The sentimental claims of celtic or celticly inspired people to any form of original title to the land are completely unfounded.
-Rome- There is new evidence in the form of a Roman fort located north of Dublin that at some time Romans administered at least a small part of the island.
-The Christian Church- by conquest of words or by deeds the Christian church had conquered parts of the Isle of Ireland prior to the coming of Patrick and surely after him their conquest was complete. This church was not controlled by Rome but it was not native to the island.
-The Roman Church- the early church was defeated at the Synod of Whitby by the church based in Rome and administered by Rome. This occurred in the 7th century and long pre-dates any invasion by forces from other British Isles yet it was complete and was by a foreign power- this invasive power still exerts a powerful administrative force today. There is no original or native title to the land which can be claimed by this external and non universal force.
-Vikings- Starting in the 10th century viking raiders settled in and administered parts of the Isle of Ireland
-Others- other groups such as the Ulster Scots have long settled and administered parts of the Island of Ireland.
-Normans- It was only in the 12th century that the first administration from England appeared and this was in the form of Normans who had come of age in Celtic Wales.
By the 12th century Ireland was home to several groups
competing for administration.
Relationship of the Administrator of the Land to the People who live upon
History is in fact written by that dialog. How did negotiations
with the Administrator proceed?
Stubborn rejection of the reality of the position of Administrator
of the Land while considered brave in some circles is in fact harmful to
the dialog and relationship to the Administrator. It is costly in terms
of treasure and in terms of human lives and suffering. While one might
argue that replacement of the Administrator should be a goal it is a goal
which is often informed more by frustration and impatience and perhaps
lust for power and wealth than it is by reason. Its justification must
be built upon and evaluated in terms of the dialog with the administrating