The Bruce invasion of Ireland just happened to coincide with a major catastrophe: the Great European Famine of 1315-17. In this devastating time, thousands died of starvation and many more resorted to cannibalism. There were reports of corpses and even children being eaten as people tried desperately to survive, and the Scots themselves were badly ravaged by hunger.
Robert Bruce tried to salvage the situation, arriving with reinforcements in 1317, but failed to make a decisive impact. The campaign ended ignominiously the following year when Edward was killed in the Battle of Faughart.
The Bruce Invasion is one of the great 'what ifs' of history. If the Scots and Irish had succeeded in driving the English out of Ireland, they would have established a powerful Celtic alliance and England may never have become the dominant power in these islands. But they failed and 700 years on, Ireland and Scotland still live with that legacy. Scotland is still under British rule, and Ireland remains a divided country.
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