Everywhere there is water. The famous river Liffey rises in Wicklow, as does the Slaney which flows south to Wexford via Baltinglass. Other rivers like the Dargle, the Vartry and Glencree adorn some of the historic estates and gardens on their passage to the sea. Lough Tay and Lough Dan are linked by the Cloghoge river in a beautiful valley near Roundwood while the Avoca, Ow, Derry and Aughrim rivers adorn the southern valleys. The confluence of the Avonmore and Avonbeg rivers, near Avoca, were immortalised in song by Thomas Moore.The O'Byrnes, O'Tooles and McMurroughs were prominent Gaelic families in Wicklow before the Norman invasion.It was Dermot McMurrough, King of Leinster, who invited the Normans in to help him repossess his territories after Roderick O'Connor, his overlord, banished him from Ireland for acts of aggression against the honour of O'Rourke, a chieftain of Connacht. It was this act which ultimately led to the conquest of Ireland by the English, and influences Irish history up to the present day.
Henry II had, 14 years previously, received a Bull from the English Pope, Hadrian lV, permitting the conquest of Ireland and therein execute "whatever shall pertain to the honour of God, and the welfare of the land". Henry's knights had responded to Dermot's invitation in 1169, and fear that they were assuming too much power here, provoked Henry to come to Ireland in 1171, to establish his power. Names are still extent in the county which show the Gaelic, Viking, Norman and English origin of the people. Wicklow is a derivation of the Viking name, Vykinglo, from the original Norse settlement which was established here in the 8 th/9 th century. It received county status in 1606. The seaport town of Wicklow is also the county town.
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