•In reply to Michael Twentyman (September 24), patriotism is not xenophobia.
The French Normans did invade England and took it over. England benefited, as they did from the Romans. The Normans brought a money economy and global trading. Building techniques and textile production increased. In 1215, the Norman barons negotiated the Magna Carta with King John: it was the embryo of human rights and democratic government.
Ireland was only a geographical unit until the Normans came and united the country. They built castles and churches and in time became more Irish than the Irish themselves.