Ireland in 1300 showing maximum extent of Hiberno-Norman control

From the 12th century onwards, a group of Normans invaded and settled in Gaelic Ireland. These settlers later became known as Norman Irish or Hiberno-Normans. They originated mainly among Anglo-Norman families from England and Wales, were loyal to the Kingdom of England, and the English state supported their claims to territory in the various realms then comprising Ireland. During the High Middle Ages and Late Middle Ages the Hiberno-Normans constituted a feudal aristocracy and merchant oligarchy, known as the Lordship of Ireland. In Ireland, the Normans were also closely associated with the Gregorian Reform of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Over time the descendants of the 12th-century Norman settlers spread throughout Ireland and around the world, as part of the Irish diaspora; they ceased, in most cases, to identify as Norman or Anglo-Norman.

The dominance of the Norman Irish declined during the 17th century, after a new English Protestant elite settled in Ireland during the Tudor period. Some of the Norman Irish—often known as The Old English—had become Gaelicised by merging culturally and intermarrying with the Gaels, under the denominator of "Irish Catholic". Conversely, some Hiberno-Normans assimilated into the new English Protestant elite, as the Anglo-Irish.

Some of the most prominent Norman families were the FitzMaurices, FitzGeralds, Burkes and Butlers. One of the most common Irish surnames, Walsh, derives from the Normans based in Wales who arrived in Ireland as part of this group.

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