Richard FitzGilbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
born c. 1130
died April 20, 1176, Dublin, Ire.
Known by the name Richard Strongbow
, also called Richard De Clare
invasion of Ireland in 1170 initiated the opening phase of the English conquest.
The son of Gilbert FitzGilbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, he succeeded to his father's estates in
southern Wales in 1148/49. Pembroke had evidently lost these lands by 1168; it was
probably in that year that he agreed to aid Dermot MacMurrough, king of Leinster, who
had been expelled from his kingdom by Rory O'Connor, high king of Ireland. King
Henry II of England (reigned 1154–89) granted Pembroke permission to invade Ireland,
and on Aug. 23, 1170, the earl landed near Waterford. Waterford and Dublin quickly fell to
the Normans. After the death of MacMurrough in May 1171, Pembroke was besieged in
Dublin by O' Connor, but in September his forces broke out and routed O'Connor's army. In
order to prevent Pembroke from setting himself up as an independent ruler, Henry II had
him acknowledge royal authority over his conquests in Leinster. Pembroke helped the king
suppress a rebellion in Normandy in 1173–74, and in return Henry granted him custody of
Wexford, Waterford, and Dublin. By the time Pembroke died, all Ireland had been
committed to his care, but within Ireland his supremacy was recognized only in Leinster.
Called Strongbow as he was a legendary crossbow-er.