Would a continuing Anglo-Saxon England invade Ireland?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Madeleine Birchfield, Dec 4, 2019 at 2:48 PM.

  1. Madeleine Birchfield waiting for a 32-county Ireland

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    Suppose that Harold Godwinson defeated William of Normandy at Hastings. Would a continuing Anglo-Saxon England invade Ireland as the Normans did in 1169 OTL?
     
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  2. FleetMac Patriotic Scalawag

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    I doubt it, to be honest; up until that point, what relations between A-S England and Ireland that did exist seemed fairly benign (or at least, hardly adversarial) when compared to the Lordship of Ireland period, and given contemporary practices I can’t see that deviating too much without some sort of instigating factor. Even then, it wasn’t until Henry VIII that serious effort towards conquering and subjugating the Irish, with the Hiberno-Normans becoming quickly Gaelicized (“more Irish than the Irish”) in general, occurred.

    Note that a conflict COULD arise between A-S England and Ireland (especially if they develop some sort of rivalry over some geopolitical McGuffin), I just don’t see it as an inevitability. Most of what we know about English relations with its immediate neighbors comes through an filter of Anglo-Norman attitudes and motivations, after all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 5:01 PM
  3. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

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    "More Irish than the Irish" seems to have been a phrase made up by a later Irish nationalist politician, but I agree with the rest of what you said. Most English kings didn't really care about Ireland even after the initial invasion; English control of everywhere outside the Pale had lapsed by the late 15th century, without much effort made to reverse the decline. Ireland didn't have much in the way of either natural resources or strategic interest for the English (except for the possibility of its being used as a staging-post for an invasion of England, although I'd question how realistic that actually was), so absent Henry II's empire-building, I don't think an English invasion is particularly likely.
     
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  4. FleetMac Patriotic Scalawag

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    Meh, it felt like the phrase had some relevance here even despite its historical accuracy...or not. In any case, on top of those factors, there's also the fact that an Anglo-Saxon England surviving 1066 would likely see butterflies in the Briton kingdoms (Gwynedd, Powys, *Strathclyde) that may render that potential invasion from Ireland even less plausible. If there's a string of buffers between the two polities (and that's assuming Ireland either coalesces into a unified and hostile state, or even assuming a unified Ireland would be hostile to England to begin with), it's much less of a threat to worry about since the Irish and Britons didn't really have any tendency to ally with each other.
     
  5. Kaze Well-Known Member

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    They would first deal with the problems of Scotland and Wales first - it might take a long, long time before they decide the Irish would become part of the Empire. The Irish could not survive as independent - unless they have a powerful allay such as France, Italy, or Scotland. But, considering marriages and alliances might change with the new leadership, Ireland might unite under a king who might marry into the English so you might get a union of Kingdoms situation.
     
  6. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

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    I don't know, if Ireland manages to unite before the English start looking that way, I think they'd have a pretty good chance of keeping their independence. It would be harder to find a casus belli if there are no feuding local kings to invite you over, and without a base on the island supporting an invasion would be a logistical nightmare.
     
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  7. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

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    Well, they had vassalized wales, and scotland was regularly paying tribute (or at least it did to Alfred I and his son whose name escapes me at the moment) so it's certainly on the table to establish tribute states in Dublin and Ulster. But, here's the thing: otl england was content with vassals for a while until they revolted. When they revolted, the English outright started conquering them and the plantations came to be to prevent revolts (ironic) so frankly:

    why wouldnt they eventually? If anything it would be easier because scotland may well fall sooner if they dont have an alliance with France, which is entirely likely since Anglo-Saxon England wouldn't have the bad blood with France that Norman England does
     
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  8. DanMcCollum P-WI

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    The plantations are well 600 years after the POD (1066 being the most realistic) and so it really can't factor into this discussion.

    AS England certainly attempted to get tribute from it's neighbors and maybe even claims of fealty (Wales under the Godwinsons being the most prominent example, but it was a part of English-Scottish relations as well). But, except for the case of Wales, there were few attempts to seriously militarily undermine other states. And this wasn't for the Anflo-Saxon period, but extends to Norman and Plantagenet England up til the invasion of Scotland by Edward I (and even he was, at least initially, following the traditional form of getting the Scottish Kong to declare the English long superior. Though it did quickly become more).

    So, following the historical model, it seems as if England would likely play the Irish states agaisnt one another and attempt to establish some form of fealty - likely in the form of a pledge of support and tribute - on the stronger Irish states.

    Should a rebellion occur, there is unlikely to be a massive response because, once again, that was a patter established only after Edward.

    Now, this doesn't mean that AS England can't change it's policy or that it is honorbound to keep doing things the same way as the Harold Godwinson and his predecessors. Bit it's also not helpful to read 17th Century English policy backward or sideways on time.
     
  9. ShortsBelfast Events, dear boy, events

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    See my post in a similar thread back in 2018:-
     
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  10. funnyhat Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it really is about the ruling class. If England is more powerful than Ireland, we can predict that it will eventually try to conquer or vassalize the latter. It may fail, but it will try.
     
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