The Mottes and Baileys of Ballinacree
After the death of Brian Boru in 1014 Ireland lacked a central power and there was considerable in-fighting among lesser kings. When Dermot MacMurrough Kavanagh was deprived of his kingdom he invited in foreign mercenaries, Normans, to help him.
They originated in Normandy, France, and had recently conquered Britain. They overran much of Ireland in the following thirty years.
The earliest Normans, who still spoke French, established themselves in hastily made fortifications called mottes, consisting of a mound of earth, flat on top, and crowned with a wooden tower. Around the base of the mound was a half-moon shaped enclosure called a bailey where cattle and supplies were kept. The remains of a number of these can be seen around Ballinacree.