After the departure of the Roman legions from Britain in 410, the new era left Britain’s west defenseless against the Irish invasion. There is plenty of evidence – the Irish colonies of the 4th and 5th centuries. A particularly important colony was found in southwestern Wales, in the area currently bounded by Pembrokeshire, Cambratenshire and Cardiganshire (now Daged). The migrants from Leinster stopped there. The smallest colony was in North Wales (Anglesey, Carnarvonshire and Denbyshire, now Gwynedd and Clyde). Irish settlers gave their names to the captured territories. The ruling dynasty of the time in Leinster left its place names on the peninsula of Llane. The name “Port Dinallin” (in Nevin Bay) literally means “Fortifications of the Port of Leinster People”.
Another colony south of Cornwall was founded by Wee Liatine. He may have come from East Cork. Cormac, a tenth-century Irish scholar, bishop and king of Cashel in Tiprereri County, wrote proudly:
The Irish power over Great Britain was great, and Britain was divided into properties and the Irish lived just east of the sea. In Ireland, their houses and royal castles were built there … And they retained their power for a long time, even after the arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland.
Scotland is another example of successful expansion. Although in 83, Agricola won an important victory over the Highland clans, Emperor Domitian forbade him to go to the north of Scotland. Even a weakened Roman resistance prevented Dalriade (Ptolemy from placing it in the north-east of Ireland) from colonizing Scotland. The process, according to Irish legend, began in the third and fourth centuries, but it is impossible to say with certainty. We only know that in the year 563, when the great Irish preacher Columbus arrived in Scotland from the island of Iona, the kingdom of Dalriad expanded: to the east, it had areas populated by pict. And in the 9th century, this dynasty united all Scotland to King Kenneth McAlpin.
One of the consequences of colonization is that the revenues extracted from the new colonies went to the dynastic wars in Ireland itself. Another consequence was the logical romanization of Irish culture, when Irish pirates were put in contact with the remains of a ruined Roman civilization. The ancient oral history of Leinster shows signs of borrowing from Latin – “legion”, “tribune”. The foreigners are the Oghams, who are numerous in the south of modern Ireland. They are also found in ancient stands in Cornwall, southern and northern Wales, and on the Isle of Man. The first written monuments of the Irish language, based on a system of lines and hooks borrowed from the Latin alphabet, are preserved on the stones.
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