From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Pale or the English Pale comprised a region in a radius of 20 miles around Dublin which the English in Ireland gradually fortified against the wildness of Gaelic Ireland. Throughout the Middle Ages as the land gained in the Norman conquest gradually receded, so Gaelic Ireland expanded.
In the 15th century the Pale became the only real piece of Ireland under the control of the English King's Dublin government and a tenuous foothold for the English on the island of Ireland.
The Pale boundary essentially consisted of a fortified ditch and rampart (the word "pale" has etymological links with palisade) built around parts of the medieval counties of Louth, Meath, Dublin and Kildare, actually leaving half of Meath and Kildare on the other side.
Within the confines of the Pale the leading gentry and merchants lived lives not too different from that of their counterparts in England, except that they lived under the constant fear of attack from the Gaelic Irish.
Pale as a term for an area of restricted settlement also appears outside Ireland: notably in the western portions of Tsarist Russia, once designated as the "Jewish Pale" - see Pale of Settlement.