In 1166 Ireland was divided into kingdoms. Dermot MacMurrough was the King of Leinster. Fearing that the other kings were going to attack him, he went to England to ask King Henry II for help. King Henry sent the Normans to help the King of Leinster. Dermot MacMurrough made a deal with Strongbow, a Norman Lord. Dermot agreed that if Strongbow helped him defeat the other kings, he could marry his daughter Aoife and he could be the next King of Leinster.
In 1169 the Normans arrived in Bannow Bay Co. Wexford. They quickly took over Wexford town, then Waterford and finally Dublin. The Normans decided to remain in Ireland and little by little took over many parts of Ireland.
Initially they build wooden forts. After a while they started to build stone castles. Norman castles were called Motte and Bailey castles. The Lords and ladies and their families lived in the Keep, this was a house built on top of a small hill. The hill was called the Motte. The motte was surrounded by a deep ditch which was filled with water, this was called a moat.
The bailey was a courtyard in front of the keep where the soldiers and villagers lived and where they kept some animals and grew crops. The entire castle was surrounded by a wall or a fence. Each night they lifted the drawbridge so no one could enter.
For art we made our own motte and bailey castles.