In the final years of the 13th century, Ireland settled into a few years of relative calm after what had been a period of chaos, war and famine known as “the time of disturbance” in 1295.
Famine had been more frequent through the late 13th century. They were usually caused by bad weather which resulted in poor harvests. Such poor harvests in turn resulted in less work at the harvest, something many peasants depended on. However in 1299 the weather was unusually good, improving the harvest and it appears labourers took advantage of the increased demand for work.
On May 3rd 1299 a parliament discussed a few items including the worrying issue facing the nobility
” having heard a complaint of the communities of divers counties, for that servants, ploughmen, carters, threshers, and other their servants refuse to serve about the services for which they were accustomed to serve, on account of the fertility of the present year”
Peasants in the medieval period worked for fixed wages or alternatively many had to work a specific amount of days which for the lands they rented. It appears across Irleand in 1299 in several counties they now tried to renegotitae these conditions.
This is not going to end well.
‘The Corn Harvest’ by Bruegel.