When the earl of Pembroke met Henry II at Newnham in Gloucestershire in 1171, in the words of Gerald of Wales he surrendered Dublin (significantly called regni caput), the adjacent cantreds, the maritime towns and castles to the king. ‘As for the rest of the land he had conquered, he and his heirs were to acknowledge that it was held of the king and his heirs.’ Already Mac Murchada had given King Henry ‘the bond of submission and oath of fealty’. Later Mac Carthaig did homage as well as fealty, gave hostages and an annual tribute and ‘voluntarily submitted to the authority of the king of England’, while other Irish submitted and swore fealty. Most significantly, according to Gerald, Ó Conchobair of Connacht Obtained the king’s peace, became dependent for the tenure of his kingdom on the king as overlord, and bound himself in alliance with the king by the strongest ties of fealty and submission’. All in Ireland became the king’s subjects, and Henry’s lordship was accepted by all. It was later confirmed by the pope and publicly proclaimed by his legate, Cardinal Vivian, at a synod in Dublin. From 1171, then, until 1541, when an Irish parliament declared Henry VIII to be king of Ireland, Anglo-Irish relations were governed by one simple fact: the king of England was ipso facto lord of Ireland. Throughout that period the royal style never changed. In all charters and formal letters issuing from his chancery he was Rex Anglie, Dominus Hibernie etc.
It was Gerald of Wales too who first voiced the new reality which faced Ireland after 1171. When he composed a dedication to King John of a new edition of his Expugnatio Hibernica, sometime around 1209, he reminded him that he should not neglect Ireland and wrote that ‘the Irish kingdom was made subject to the English crown, as if through a perpetual indenture and an indissoluble chain’.