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Courcy, John de

Courcy, John de (d. 1219). Conqueror of Ulster. De Courcy's parentage is unknown, though he probably came from Somerset. He is said to have visited Ireland in 1171 with Henry II, who promised him Ulster if he could acquire it. Returning in 1176 with a small but well-organized force, he moved north from Dublin and succeeded in gaining the lands east of the Bann. He established a castle and base at Carrickfergus, built other strong points, and strengthened his position in 1180 by a marriage to Affreca, daughter of Gottred, king of Man. From 1185 to 1190 he was justiciar in Ireland. But he had great difficulty in holding his conquests, both against the native Irish and against Hugh de Lacey, a rival Norman colonizer, who was created earl of Ulster by King John in 1205.

J. A. Cannon

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