Why did the Romans never conquer Ireland?

Oct 2018
11
Olympia WA, Pacific North West
#1
Since the Romans were so successful in England, why wouldn't they just head on over to Ireland next? Ireland had seasoned warriors but it with their lack of equipment, it couldn't be that hard for a fully fledged legionary army to invade.
 
May 2011
13,452
Navan, Ireland
#2
Why would they want to?
What was worth in Ireland the cost of invasion and then a garrison?

Most likely Rome just traded and if a local tribe caused trouble buy them off support a rival.
 

Mangekyou

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
7,853
UK
#4
I was born in Chester, and spent my formative history years studying much of the local history there. There is many rumours that it was built for an invasion of Ireland, which ultimately never happened. To what end? I don't know. A probable answer is that it wasn't worth the eventual resources, but also could've been the constant change in imperial ambitions and defensive priorities.
 
Nov 2010
6,999
Cornwall
#5
I was born in Chester, and spent my formative history years studying much of the local history there. There is many rumours that it was built for an invasion of Ireland, which ultimately never happened. To what end? I don't know. A probable answer is that it wasn't worth the eventual resources, but also could've been the constant change in imperial ambitions and defensive priorities.
Yes I said earlier one programme showed (Bettany Hughes????, dunno) showed great archeological evidence of trade up the Dee from Ireland. As indeed there was considerable tarde by Rome to southern England before any invasion. It's not always necessary to invade everywhere.

You are undoubtedly right that some Emperors just wanted to conquer everything going, then like another chief exec coming in, someone would think 'what the hell are we doing? Why on earth to we want to send soldiers to Caledonia or Hibernia? Makes no sense'

And as ever money would be a factor.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,391
#6
By the time the Romans were in the neighborhood they also weren't doing much expansion anywhere. The great majority of Rome's conquests occurred during the Republic. Britain and Dacia were exceptions.
 
Mar 2018
323
UK
#7
The only possible reason I can think for the Romans to invade Ireland would be for prestige/glory of the reigning Emperor, or to distract from some debacle at home. But considering how little the average pleb in Rome would know about Ireland (or even the average Senator!) it probably wouldn't do much of that. Agricola supposedly wanted to invade, but try convincing an Emperor to fund and support an invasion of some place on the edge of the world that he's probably never heard of, doesn't know even how big it is, and has nothing valuable to take. Not many Emperors would even think twice about it.
 
Feb 2011
866
Scotland
#8
Same reason they didn't hold Scotland; unwilling or unable to commit the resources to hold large areas of difficult terrain in unfavourable weather which provided insufficient return to cover costs. Holding Ireland wouldn't even provide a bonus in terms of additional security for the existing territories.
 
Likes: Linschoten
Apr 2017
665
U.S.A.
#10
I think I read an article a while back that said they found evidence of a Roman fort in Ireland. It wasn't an occupation fortress, instead it was more like a Roman commerce hub where they would trade with the locals. Could have been used for eventual invasion but they probably got everything of use through trade instead.
 

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