18th January 2019 delivered by Dr Des O'Reilly
Two Norman knights , Robert de Lacy and John de Courcy ventured into east Ulster in the 1170s to establish their own plantations after their leader Strongbow had secured the title of King of Leinster in 1171. The two Norman adventurers initially constructed hilltop fortifications to ensure the safety of their followers from attacks by the native Irish.
These fortifications consisted of huge earthen mounds called mottes topped with a palisade of wooden stakes to protect the people inside and the safety of their accoutrements. The palisades have gone with time but the mounds still dominate the natural landscape in a ring around Belfast. Their location still indicates that the sites chosen were based on security of fording points and important crossroads of the period.