Elements of all these groups formed temporary alliances with one another as it suited them, and the hold of the English government was actually quite tenuous. Few English kings showed any interest in Ireland - Richard II was a very rare exception - and it was no longer even a source of net revenue.
That Richard, Duke of York, was a successful Lieutenant of Ireland is in some ways surprising. He was an aristocrat to his finger tips, and not generally noted for his people skills. If he had strengths they lay in his relative honesty and relative efficiency as an administrator and soldier. York failed miserably the unite the English nobility behind him, and yet he seems to have been well-regarded in Ireland. (In contrast to John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, who was positively hated in the same role.)
York had spent several years in Ireland, and it seems his political skills came to the fore, particularly in his relationships with the great Anglo-Irish families, without whom it was impossible for him to function effectively as Lieutenant. He was also generally successful in the field against the Gaelic Irish, which strengthened his position, and after his flight from England he encouraged or allowed the Irish Parliament to pass legislation which left the country almost, but not quite independent, Henry VI's sovereignty being reduced to little more than a cipher. It was even declared that the introduction of English Privy Seal Letters into Ireland was a breach of the country's liberties. In return the Parliament voted York men and money, and rejected Henry VI's attempts to remove York from office. The duke was not quite King of Ireland, but he was something very close.
In March 1460 Warwick left Calais with a fleet of twenty-six ships and sailed to Waterford to consult with his party leader. The conference quickly moved to Dublin, where an attempt was made to produce a strategy for the invasion of England. The intention was for the landings to be co-ordinated, Warwick in Kent, York in the north. However, for whatever reason, York was delayed, and by the time he arrived home the fighting was over - for the time being.
The next post will deal with Warwick's successful campaign.