This section is from the book "Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, And Superstitions Of Ireland", by Jane Francesca Wilde. Also available from Amazon: Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, And Superstitions Of Ireland.
Joan, whose portions were Wexford, married Lord Valentia, half-brother to King Henry the Third, and the male line failing, the inheritance was divided between two daughters, from one of whom the Talbots, Earls of Shrewsbury, inherit their Wexford estates.
From Sybil, the youngest, who married the Earl of Ferrars. and Derby, descended the Earls of Winchester, the Lords Mortimer, and other noble races. She had seven daughters, who all married Norman lords, so that scarcely a family could be named of the high and ancient English nobility, whose wealth has not been increased by the estates of Eva, the daughter of King Dermot ; and thus it came to pass that Leinster fell by marriage and inheritance, not by conquest, into the possession of the great Norman families, who, of course, acknowledged the King of England as their sovereign ; and the English monarchs assumed thenceforth the title of Lords of Ireland-a claim which they afterwards enforced over the whole country.
The destiny of the descendants of De Lacy and King Roderick's daughter was equally remarkable. They had two sons, Hugh and Walter, who, before they were twenty-one, threw off English allegiance, and set up as independent princes. To avoid the wrath of King John they fled to France, and took refuge in an abbey, where, disguised as menials, the two young noblemen found employment in garden-digging, preparing mud and bricks, and similar work. By some chance the abbot suspected the disguise, and finally detected the princes in the supposed peasants. He used his knowledge of their secret to obtain their pardon from King John, and Hugh De Lacy was created Earl of Ulster. He left an only daughter, his sole heir. She married a De Burgho, who, in right of his wife, became Earl of Ulster, and from them descended Ellen, wife of Robert Bruce, King of Scotland. It is singular that the mother of Robert Bruce should have been descended from Eva, -and his wife from King Roderick's daughter. The granddaughter of Robert Bruce, the Princess Margery, married the Lord High Steward of Scotland, and through her the Stuarts claimed the crown. From thence it is easy to trace how the royal blood of the three kingdoms meet in the reigning family of England. Another descendant of the Earls of Ulster (an only daughter likewise) married Lionel, Duke of Clarence, son of Edward the Third, who, in the right of his wife, became Earl of Ulster and Lord of Connaught, and these titles finally merged in the English crown in the person of Edward the Fourth. From all these genealogies one fact may be clearly deduced, that the present repre. sentative of the royal Irish races of Eva and Roderick, and the lineal heiress of their rights, is Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
The proud and handsome race of Norman Irish, that, claimed descent from these intermarriages, were the nobles,, of whom it was said, " They were more Irish than the Irish themselves." The disposition to become independent of England was constantly manifested in them. They publicly asserted their rights, renounced the English dress and language, and adopted Irish names. Thus Sir Ulick Burke, ancestor of Lord Clanricarde, became MacWilliam Oughter (or upper), and Sir Edmond Albanagh, progenitor of the Earl of Mayo, became MacWilliam Eighter (or lower). Richard, son of the Earl of Norfolk, and grandson of Eva, set up a claim to be independent King of Leinster, and was slain by the English. We have seen that Walter and Hugh De Lacy, grandsons of Roderick, were in open rebellion against King John. A hundred years later, two of the same race, named Walter and Hugh likewise, were proclaimed traitors for aiding the army of Robert Bruce, who claimed the crown of Ireland for his brother Edward, and the two De Lacys were found dead by the side of Edward Bruce at the great battle of Dundalk, where the Scotch forces were overthrown.
Once, even the Geraldines and the Fitzmaurices took prisoner the Justiciary of Dublin, as the Lord-Lieutenant of that day was named. Meanwhile the Irish princes of the West retained their independence ; sometimes at feud, sometimes in amity with the English of the Eastern coast. We read that " the English of Dublin invited Hugh, King of Connaught, to a conference, and began to deal treacherously with him ; but William Mareschall, his friend, coming in with his forces, rescued him, in despite of the English, from the middle of the Court, and escorted him to Con-naught." Both races were equally averse to the domination of the English crown. The Geraldines and Butlers, the De Burghos and De Lacys, were as intractable as the O'Connors of Connaught, or the O'Neils of Tyrone ; even -more so. The Great O'Neil submitted to Elizabeth; but two hundred years later the Geraldines had still to add the name of another martyr for liberty to the roll of their illustrious ancestors.
Frequently the Normans fought amongst themselves as fiercely as if opposed to the Irish. The Earl of Ulster, a De Burgho, the same who is recorded to have given the first entertainment at Dublin Castle, took his kinsman, Walter Burke, prisoner, and had him starved to death in his own castle ; a tragedy which might have been made as memorable as that of Ugolino in the Torre del Fame, had there been a Dante in Ireland to record it. For this act the kinsmen of Walter Burke murdered the Earl of Ulster on the Lord's Day, as he was kneeling at his prayers, and cleft his head in two with a sword.
It was unfortunate for Ireland that her Irish princes were so unconquerable, and that her Norman lords should have have caught the infection of resistance to the crown. Eight hundred years ago the Saxons of England peaceably settled down with the Normans to form one nation, with interests and objects identical.
The Norman conquerors, better fitted, perhaps, for rulers than any other existing in Europe, established at once a strong, vigorous government in England. The Kings, as individuals, may have been weak or tyrannous, but there was a unity of purpose, a sense of justice, and a vigour of will existing in the ruling class that brought the ruled speedily under the order and discipline of laws. Not a century and a half had elapsed from the Conquest before Magna Charta and representation by Parliament secured the liberty of the people against the caprices of kings ; and the Norman temperament which united in a singular degree the instincts of loyalty with the love of freedom, became the hereditary national characteristic of Englishmen. But Ireland never, at any time, comprehended the word nationality. From of old it was broken up into fragments, ruled by chiefs whose principal aim was mutual destruction. There was no unity, therefore no strength.