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Article Published February 12, 2002



County Mayo (Ireland): An Outline History
By: Bernard O'Hara and Nollaig ÓMuraíle,
Copyright: Mayo Ireland Ltd.



The Normans

The Anglo-Norman colonisation of Ireland from1169 onwards was one of the most significant events in the development of Ireland. Mayo came under Norman control in 1235. The Norman conquest meant the eclipse of many Gaelic lords and chieftains, chiefly the O'Connors of Connacht, but the invaders soon adopted Gaelic customs and began to marry with the native Irish and became as the phrase has it: 'more Irish than the Irish themselves'. This process of Gaelicisation is best exemplified in the adoption by various Norman families and branches of families of new surnames based on Gaelic-style patronymics. Examples of Mayo surnames today with Norman origins include Barrett, Burke and Bourke, Costello, Culkin, Davitt, Fitzmaurice, Gibbons, Jennings, Joyce, McEvilly, Nally, Padden, Staunton and Walsh. The Normans started numerous towns and developed some existing settlements into towns, as well as organising fairs and markets. They developed roads, bridges, sea-ports and promoted the growth of trade both domestic and foreign as well as improving the agricultural methods then in vogue.

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