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Full text of "The history of Ireland : from the earliest period to the present time : derived from native annals, and from the researches of Dr. O'Donovan, Professor Eugene Curry, the Rev. C.P. Meehan, Dr. R.R. Madden, and other eminent scholars, and from all the resources of Irish history now available"

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Allen County PoHic library 
Ft Wayne, Indiana 








M A ]{ T IN HA V V. R T Y. 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1SG7, 

By Thomas Fakrell & Sox, 

In the Clerk 8 Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District 


TN presenting to his countrymen in America a new History op^ 
-■- Ireland, the publisher desires to call attention to its marked and 
superior excellence as a history, and the number, beauty, and ele- 
gance of its illustrations, maps, etc. The author stands prominent 
among Irish scholars^f the present day, and he has devoted to his 
work the labors of years in searching and examining into the archives 
of Irish history, in presenting a clear and reliable narrative of events, 
and in arousing and sustaining that patriotic love of their native land 
which characterizes Irishmen wherever they may dwell. Mr. liav- 
erty is a ripe scholar ; he discusses the varied topics before him in a 
philosophical spirit. Out of the myths and romantic traditions of early 
days, he extracts the essential, important truth ; and availing himself 
of the valuable researches of living scholars and students of Irish 
history, he gives his readers a most interesting and attractive work 
in a style of eloquent and lofty-toned love for his native country and 
its good name in the world. 

There needs no commendation for such a work as this, at this day. 
Iiishmen are world-noted as patriots and lovers of the soil which gave 
them birth. Irishmen are always deeph' interested in the story of 
tlie wrongs which their land has suffered from foreign oppression and 
outrage, as well as in the glorious record which Ireland's annals pre- 
sent of noble heroes, statesmen, poets, and philanthropists, for cen- 
tury upon century past. 


The publisher, therefore, is certain that he has done a good work in 
presenting this History of Ireland to his countrymen in the attractive dress 
in which it now appears. He has spared no expense in this undertaking ; he 
appeals unhesitatingly to the volume itself in proof of his zeal and devotion in 
order to render it in every respect worthy of the subject of which it treats. 
And he confidently looks for the "extensive support of all those who would keep 
alive the flame of patriotism in their children's hearts, and would furnish their 
homes and their firesides with the latest, best, and most complete Histonj of 
Ireland which is to be found in the English language. 


New York, May 1871. 


rpHE work here brought to a close was undertaken witli a view to 
-^ supply an impartial History of Ireland, according to the present 
advanced state of knowledge on the subject. The labors of such 
eminent Irish scholars as Dr. O'Donovan and Professor Curry have 
opened to us new sources of information, and the researches of these 
and other learned and indefatigable investigators have, of late years, 
shed a flood of light upon our history and antiquities ; but the knowl- 
edge thus developed was still unavailable for the general public ; and 
it remained to collect, in a popular form, materials scattered through 
the publications of learned societies, and the voluminous pages of our 
native annals ; buried in collections of state papers, and in the cor- 
respondence of statesmen ; or concealed from the world in the Gov- 
ernment archives. We have been enabled to avail ourselves of a 
mass of important original documents derived from the last-mentioned 
source ; but with what success the task of converting aU these copious 
materials to the object of producing a popular History of Ireland has 
been performed in the present volume, the reader must judge : we 
can only say that no pains have been spared to accomplish it con- 

To identify the ancient topography of the country with the eventa 
of its history is important and interesting; and the invaluable in- 
formation accumulated bv Dr. O'Donovan in his annotations to the 


Annals of the Four blasters, and collected by him for the Ordnance 
Survey, has been freely employed for that purpose in these pages. 

The narrative has been interrupted as little as possible v^^ith discus- 
sions of controverted points, and the space has not been unnecessarily 
encumbered with extraneous matter. The authorities rehed on have 
been sufficiently indicated in the marginal references, but the Author 
here desires to express his deep obhgations to Dr. O'Donovan, Pro- 
fessor Eugene Curry, the Rev. C. P. Meehan, Dr. Wilde, Dr. R. R. 
Madden, and J. T. Gilbert, Esq., for the invaluable information they^ 
have kindly afforded him. in addition to that which he derived from 

their published works. 





The first inhabitants of Ireland — Whence they came — Supposed date, about B. C. 2500 — Colonj of Partha. 
Ion — Whole colony perished in a pestilence, about B. C. 2300 — Ireland a waste for thirty years — Colony of 
Nemedius — Occupied Ireland about two hundred years — Great Pestilence — The Fomorian pirates — Who 
were the Fomorians? — Wanderings of Nemedians — The Firbolgs arrive from Greece — Theory as to the 
origin of the Firbolgs and Damnonians^New Invaders — 'The Tuatha de Dananns — Conquer the Firbolgs — 
Nuad of the " Silver Hand" — Killed in battle by Balor of the " Mighty Blows" — Another version of the 
Tuatha de Dananns' invasion — Lugh Lamhfhada reigns forty years — Public games and fair — Pagda Mor 
next king — Reigned eighty years — Other kings of this race — Bardic annals — The Lia Fail, or Stone of 
Destiny — Its final resting-place — Ogma, inventor of occult writing — Orbsen, or Manauan, and Maclir — Note 
from Doctor O'Donovan, O'Flaherty, etc .- 9 


The Milesian Colony — Opinions of modern writers respecting — The Duan Eireannach, or Poem of Ireland — 
Wanderiugs of the Gadelians under Niul, son of Fenius, from Scythia into Egypt, etc. — Adventures of Sru, 
son of Esru — Reaches Sjiain — Founds a city called Brigantia — Voyage of his son Ith to Ireland — Ith's death — 
Expedition of the sons of Miledh or Milesius — Size and force of the expedition — Date of their arrival in 
Ireland — Contests with the Tuatha de Dananns — Battle of Teltown in Meath — Division of Ireland by Here- 
noB — 5Lo «i.'o. To*. Heremon, reigns fifteen years — Visit of the Cruithnians, or Picts, to Ireland, at this 
date^Vener»ble Bede's account of their origin — The traditions of very little value 16 


Questions as to the credit of the Ancient Irish Annals — Tighernach of Clonmacnoise's statements — How far 
doubts ought really to exist — The main facts reliable — Defective and improbable Chronology — Difficult 
to credit it — The test of Science applied— Good results — Theories on the Ancient Inhabitants of Leland - 
Where did they come from? — Authorities referred to — Intellectual qualities of the Firbolgs and Tuatha de 
Dananns— Superiority of the latter — Movements of various sorts of the Tuatha do Dananns — Workers in 
mines, builders of tumuli, et«. — Keltic origin doubtful — O'Flaherty 's Ogygia quoted — A Scytliian origin 
claimed in the Irish traditions 21 


The Milesian sovereigns of Ireland, one hundred and eighteen in number — Characteristics of their reigns - 
Irial or Faidh the prophet — Struggles with the Firbolg tribes — Tiernmas, B. C. 1020 — Idol worship— Tho 
Crom-Cruach in MaghSlecht — Paganism of tho Ancient Irish — Death of Tiernmas — Marks of his reign — 
Social progress and civilization — The Feis Teavrach or Triennial Parliament of Tara — Instituted about B. C. 
1300 — Members of this assembly or parliament, its meetings, etc. — Long reigns of Irish kiiigs — Ciml)aeth 
B. C. 710, and his two brothers— Queen Macha — Curious story— Foundation of Emauia palace — Ugony the 
Great — New division of Ireland — Famous pagan oath — Ugony's death — Cattle murrain, B. C. 200 — Eochy, or 
Achy, r&<livide8 tho country— Maeve or Maude, queen of Connaught — Romantic history— Wars of Connaughi 
and Uliiter — Bardic romance* — Origin of some of the worst ills of Ireland 2S 



Pagan kings of Ireland, continued — Creevan Nianair — Incursions into Britain — Rich spoils obtained — Pro- 
jected Roman invasion of Ireland — Hard lot of the jilebeian races — Revolt determined on — The Attacotti 
or Aitheach-Tuatha massacre of Milesian nobles — Carbry, the Cat^Headed, elected king — His son Morann's 
course — New troubles — 'I'uathal Teachtar, the legitiuuite— His proceedings — Felimy Rechtar. or the Law- 
Maker — Conn of the Hundred Battles — Wars of Conn and Owen or Eugene the Great — New division of 
Ireland— The battle of Magh Leana— Defeat and death of Eugene — Conary the Second — The three Carbrys — 
The Dalriads ; first Irish settlement in Alba -or Scotland — Oiliol Olum, king of Munster — Outbreak of Lewy, 
surnamed MacCon — The famous Irish Legion— Glorious reign of Cormac MacArt — Efforts in behalf of civili- 
zation — Loses an eye, and abdicates — Carbry Liffechar — Bloody battle of Gavra, A. D. 284 — Finn MacCuaU 
and the Fenian Militia— Macpherson's literary forgeries — The three Collas — Destruction of Emania palace — 
Domestic tragedy — Niall of the Nine Hostages — Inroads of the Scots or Irish into Britain — Dathy and his 
exploits — Patrick, son of Calphum, brought to Ireland as a captive from Gaul — Blessed fruits 33 


Civilization of the pagan Irish — Its extent and value— Their knowledge of letters— Superior advancement 
and preparation for Christianity — St. Patrick said to have given " alphabets" to some of his converts — The 
Ogham Craev, or secret virgular writing — Religion of the pagan Irish, difficult to determine -Numerous 
theories — The Brehnn Laws — The Tanaisteaclit or Tanistry, the Law of Succession — Its provisions — Gavail- 
kinne or Gavel kind, law in regard to Inheritance and Division of property — Tenure of land, a tribe or 
family right — Rights of clanship — Reciprocal privileges of the Irish kings — The law of Eric or Mulct — 
Hereditary offices — Fosterage — Its obligations and sanctity 46 


Social and intellectual state of the pagan Irish, continued — Weapons and implements of flint and stone — 
Celts or stone dishes^Working in metals — Bronze swords, gold ornaments, etc. — Pursuits of the Primitive 
Races — Agriculture, extensively carried on — Houses of the Ancient Irish — Materials of building — Raths or 
earthen inclosures — Cahirs or stone inclosures and forts — Cranoques or stockaded islands in a lake — Canoes 
and Curachs — Sepulchral monuments— Extensive in number and size — Cromlechs, what they were — Games 
and amusements — Music, its touching character — Ornaments, evidence of luxury, etc. — Ce4ebrated pagan 
legislators and poets — The Bearla Feine, etc— Language of Ancient Ireland — Value and importance of its 
study, etc 53 


Christianity in Ireland before St. Patrick's days— Traditions— Pelagius and Celestius— St. Palladius sent by 
Pope Celestine — Doubts as to St. Patrick's birth-place — His parentage— His captivity— His escape— His 
vision — His studies — His consecration — How Christianity was received in Ireland — Date of St. Patrick's 
arrival — First conversions — Unique glory— Visits Tara— Interviews with King Laoghaire— Description of 
the scene — Invocation Hymn — Effects produced — Visits Tailtin, where the games were celebrated — Stays a 
week — St. Patrick's journeys in Meath, Connaught, Ulster, Leinster, and Munster — Many years thus occu- 
pied — Destruction of Crom-Cruach and other idols— St, Secundinus or Sechnail— St. Ficch— King ^Engus— 
CaroticuB, British prince and pirate — Foundation of the See of Armagh— Death of St. Patrick— Length of 
his life and labors 59 


♦■^vil History of Ireland during St. Patrick's life— The Seanchus Mor, or Great Book of Laws, A. D. 438— King 
Laeghaire'i oath and death — Reign of OilioU Molt, son of Datlii, A. D. 4.')!) — Branches and greatness of the 
Hy-Niall race — Reign of Lugaidh or Lewy — Foundation of the Scottish kingdom in North Britain — Falsifi 
cation of the Scottish iVnnals by Macpherson and others- -Progress of Christianity and absence of persecu 


tion— The first Order of Irisli saints— Great Ecclesiastical schools — Aran of the saints, or lona of Ireland— 
St. Brigid — Her high origin, great labors, success, humility, etc — Great House of Kildare, or Church of the 
Oak — Death of St. Brigid, A. D. 525 — Monastic tendency of the Primitive Church— iMuircheartaeh MacEarca, 
the first Chriiitian king of Ireland, A. D. 504 — Succeeded by Tuathal Maelgarbh, grandson of Cairbre, per 
Becutor of St. Patrick, A. D. 538 70 


first visitation of the Buidhe Clionnaill, or Great Pestilence, A. D. 543— Terrible eflfects of this plague — Reign 
of Diannaid, son of Kerval — His character and reign — Tara cursed and deserted — Reasons why — Account 
of St. Columbkille's ediicatiun, learning, sanctity, miracles, etc. — Anoints Aidan, king of Scots — Animosity 
of King Diarmaid towards St. Columbkille — Origin of his ill-feeling — Battle of Cuil-Dremni, or Cooldrevny — 
Death of Diarmaid, A. D. 5G5 — Reign of Hugh, son of Ainmire — Foundation of lona, through St. Columb- 
kille's influence — The Great Convention of Drumceat, or meeting of the States, A. D. 573 — Battle of Dun 
bolg — Curious stratagem — Hugh .\inmire killed by Bran Dubh, king of Leinster — Deaths of Saints — Per. 
petual feuds of the northern and southern Hy-Nialls— Great Battle of Magh Rath or Moyra — Congal and his 
foreign helpers defeated, A. D. G34 — Second visitation of the Buidlio Chonnaill — Continued ten years, and 
swept away two-thirds of the people — Finnachta Fleadhach, the Hospitable, A. D. 673 — Remits to Leinster 
the Borumean tribute — Egfrid, the Saxon, invades Ireland — Bede's account quoted — St. Adamnan's pious 
labors 78 


Tho Primitive Church in Ireland — Its monastic schools and communities celebrated — Vast numbers of monks, 
anchorites, etc. — Missionary character of the Irish church — St. Columbanus, father of foreign missions — His 
life and labors — Preaches in Gaul, A. D. 590 — Enmity of Theodoric and Brunehault, his queen dowager — 
Columbanus founds great monastery at Bovium or Bobbio, A. D. 613 — Letter to Pope Boniface — Its tone, 
etc.— Death at Bobbio, A. D. 615, aged 72— St. Gallus, or Gall— Death, A. D. 64.5— The Aidan and the church 
of Lindisfarne — St. Colnian — The Paschal or Easter Controversy — National prejudices of the Irish — Sectarian 
misrepresentation as to St. Patrick's preaching — Synod of Old Leighlin — Saint Cummian — Letter to the 
Synod, A. D. G30 — The famous Conference at Whitby — St. Colman and Island of Innisbofin — St. Adamnan — 
Visits the court of Alfred the Great — " The Law of the Innocents," or the law not to kill women — Cause 
which led to passing the law — St. Adamnan's death, A. D. 704 — Irish saints on the Continent — The Frigid- 
ian, St. Molua, St. Degan, St. Livinus, St. Fiacre, St. Fursey, St. Dicuil, St. Kilian — St. Cathaldus, patron 
of Tarentum — His brother, St. Donatus — St. Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne, died A. D. 687— St. Maccuthe- 
nus — St. Sedulius, the Younger— At Rome, A. D. 721 — St. Virgilius — Saints Foiian and Ullan — St. FridolLn, 
the Traveller — Clemens and Albinus — Dongal — St. Donatus — Irish missions to Ireland — John Scotus 
Erigena — His character 87 


Christian Antiquities of Ireland — Testimonies on the subject of Ireland's pre-eminence for sanctity and learning — 
Authorities given— The Culdees ; who were they ?— Professor Curry's note quoted— The Cele De or Colidei— 
Hereditary transmission of church ollices — Lay bishops, abbots, priors, etc. — Comhorbas or successors — 
Herenachs or Wardens — Tarmon lands of the monasteries — Doctrines, practices, etc., of the Irish church in 
accord with that of Rome— Peculiarities in discipline — Materials used in building churches — Damliags or 
stone churches — Duirachs or oratories — Cyclopean masonry — Tho Round Towt;r8 of Ireland — Remarkable 
Btructures — Beds of saints. Holy Wells and Penitential Stations 103 


Character of Irish History in the seventh and eighth centuries— Internal wars and feuds — Piety of some Irish 
kings— Renewed wars for tho Leinster Tribute— Terrible and bloody battles Rumann, called tlie Virgil of 
Ireland — Death, A. D. 747 — Foundation of monastery of TaUaght, near Dublin, A. D. 760, by St. Maelruain— 
St. Aengus the '"uldac— St. Colgu and Alcuin— Early Irish Prayer Book— Signs and prodigies at this period— 


The Lavchomart or " clapping of hands" for fear and terror — The Lamhchomart or fire from Heaven - First 
appearance of the Danish pirates — Chara-iter of these sea-rovers — Tlieir barliarism and Inhumanity — Their 
plunderings and desecration — Heroic resistance of the Irisli — Turgesius goes to Ireland, A. D. 81o — Domestic 
wars — Felim, king of Cashel — Plunderer and robber — Died, A. D. 84o — Malachy I., king of Meath — Kills 
Turgesius— llassacre of the Danes — Retaliation of the Northmen, A. D. 851 — Danish settlements in Water- 
ford and Limerick — Irish allies of the Danes — Hugh Finnliath — Battle of Lough Foyle— Cormac MacCui- 
lenran, king and archbishop of Cashel, A. D. 896— Curious history— Niall Glundubh - Succeeds Flann, A. D. 
914 — Muirkertaeh, sou of Niall, succeeds his father — Callaghan of C^ashel, king of Munster— Muirkertach's 
Circuit of Irelaud- Killed, A. D. Oil at Ardee — Danish power in Ireland Ill 


Sequel of the Danish wars — Limits of the Danish power in Ireland — Hiberno-Danish alliances — Danish expedi- 
tions from Ireland into England, A. D. 91C, 925, 937 — Conversion of the Danes to Christianity— Consecration 
of Dano-Irish bishops — Subdivision of territory in Ireland— Injurious eflFects— Alternate succession — Progiesa 
and pretensions of the kingdom of Munster — Brian Borumha or Bora— Treacherous murder of his brother 
Mahon at a banquet — Brian avenges his death— Accession of Malachy II., the Great, A. D. 979 — His victories 
over the Danes -Intestine wars — Feuds between Brian and Malachy — Defeats of the Danes — Deposition of 
Malachy — Character of Brian's reign — Defection of Brian from Malachy — Brian's piety and wise laws — 
Institution of Surnames — Preparations for war, A. D. 1014, by the Danes, who determine to overrun Ire- 
land — The famous Battle of Ci.ontarf — Immense preparation and power of the Danish force— DeiaUs of 
the battle — Fierce and bloody contest - Brian killed in battle — The Danes routed — Consequences of tha 
battle — Danish power reduced to almost nothing 125 


State of Learning in Ireland during and after the Danish Wars— Eminent Churchmen, Poets, and Antiquaries — 
Tighernach and Marianus Scotus— Irishmen Abroad in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries— The Monks of 
the Middle Ages — Causes of Ignorance and Disorganization — Donough O'Brien in Rome — Turlough O'Brien — 
Progress of Connaught — Wars of the North and South of Ireland— Destruction of the Rrianan of Aileach — 
The Danes after Clontarf— Invasion and Fate of King Magnus— Relations with England— Letter ot Pope 
Gregory VII — Murtough O'Brien and the Church — Remarkable Synods — Abuses in the Irish Church — Num- 
ber of Bishops — St. Bernard's Denunciations — Palliations — St. Malachy — Misrepresentations — Progress of 
Turlough O'Conor— Death of St. Celsua 143 


St. Malachy— His Early Career — His Reforms in the Diocese of Connor — His Withdrawal to Kerry — His Gov- 
ernment of the Church of Armagh — His Retirement to Down— Struggle of Conor O'Brien and Turlough 
O'Conor — Synod at Cashel — Cormac's Chapel — Death of Cormac MacCarthy — Turlough O'Conor's Rigor to 
his Sons— Crimes and Tyranny of Dermot MacMurrough — St. Malachy's Journey to Rome- Building of 
Mellifont — Synod of Inis-Padraig — The Palliums— St. Malachy's Second Journey and Death — Political State 
of Ireland — Arrival of Cardinal Pai)aro— Synod of Kells — Misrepresentations Corrected — The Battle of Moin- 
Mor — Famine arising from Civil War in Mimster — Dismemberment of Meath — Elopement of Dervorgil — 
Battle of Rahin — A Naval Engagement— Death of Turlough O'Conor, and Accession of Roderic— Synod of 
Mellifont — Synod of Bri-Mic-Taidhg — Wars and Ambition of Roderic — St. Laurence O'Toole— Synod of 
Clane— Zeal of the Irish Hierarchy — Death of O'Loughlin — Roderic O'Conor Monarch — Expulsion of Dermot 
MacMurrough — Great Assembly at Athboy 156 


The Akolo-Norman Invasion.- Derraot'a Appeal to Henry II— His Negotiations with Earl Strongbow and 
others — Landing of the first English Adventurers in Ireland- Siege of Wexford — First Rewards of the 
Adventurers— Apathy of the Irish — Incursion into Ossory — Savage Conduct of Dermot — His Vindictiveness — 
Shameful Feebleness of Roderic — The Treaty of Ferns — Dermot aspires to the Sovereignty — Strongbow'i 


Preparations for his Expedition — Landing of his Precursor, Raymond le Gros— Massacre of Prisoners by the 
English — Arrival of Strongrbow, and Siege of Waterford — Marriage of Strongbow and Eva— March on Dub- 
lin—Surprise of the City— Bratal Massacre — The English Garrison of Waterford cut off— Sacrilegious Spolia- 
tions by Dermot and the English— Imbecility of Roderic — Execution of Dennot's Hostages — Synod of 
Armagh— English Slaves, nefarious custom — Horrible Death of Dermot MacMurrough 170 


Beign of Hensy II.— Difficulties of Strongbow— Order of Henry against the Adventurers— Danish attack on 
Dublin— Patriotism of St. Laurence— Siege of Dublin by Roderic— Desperate state of the Garrison— Their 
Bravery and Success— FitzStephen Captured by the Wexford People— Attack on Dublin by Tiernan 
O'Roiirke— Henry's Expedition to Ireland— His Policy— The Irish Unprepared— Submission of several Irish 
Princes — Henry fixes his Court in Dublin— Bold Attitude of Roderic — Independence of the Northern Princes — 
Synod of Cashel— History of the Pope's Grant to Henry— This Grant not the Cause either of the Invasion or 
its Success— Disorganized State of Ireland- Report of Prelates of Cashel, and Letters of Alexander Ill- 
English Law extended to Ireland— The " five bloods"- Parallel of the Normans in England and the Anglo- 
Normans in Ireland — Fate of the Irish Church — Final Arrangements and Departure of Henry 181 


Reign of Henkt U., coNTrKinsD.— Death of Tiernan O'Rourke and treachery of tlie Invaders— Strongbow-s 
Expedition to Offaly, and Defeat— The Earl called to Normandy— His S|)eedy Return— Dissensions among 
the Anglo-Normans— Raymond's Popularity with the Anny- His Spoliations in Offaly and Lismore— His 
Ambition and Withdrawal from Ireland— An English Army cut to pieces at Thurles— Raymond's Return 
and Marriage— Roderic's Expedition to Meath— The Bulls Promulgated— Limerick Captured by Raymond- 
Serious Charges against him— His Success at Cashel, and Submission of O'Brien— Treaty between Roderic 
and Henry II— Attempt to Murder St. Laurence O'TooIe— Death of St. Gelasi us— Episode of the Blessed 
Cornelius— Raymond le Gros in Desmond— Hostile Proceedings of DonneU O'Brien— Death of Strongbow— 
His Character— Massacre of the Invaders at Slane— De Courcy's Expedition to Ulster— Conduct of Cardinal 
Vivian— Battles with the Ulidians— Supposed Fulfilment of Prophecies— The Legate's Proceedings in Dub- 
lin— De Cogan's Expedition to Connaught, and Retreat— John made King of Ireland— Grants by Henty to 
the Adventurers yj^ 


Rbion op Hentit II., CONCLUDED. Reiqn OP RicHARD I,— Reverses of De Courcy in the North— Feuds of 
Desmond and Thomond— Unpopularity of Fitz.\delm with the Colonists— Irish Bishops at the Council of 
Lateral!- Death of St Laurence OToole— His Charity and Poverty— De Lacy suspected by Hi'nrv II— 
Death of Milo de Cogan-Arrival of Cambrensis— Death of Hervey of Monntmaurice— Roderic Abdicates 
and Retires to Cong— Archbishop Comyn— Exactions of Philip of Worcester— Prince Jolm'a Expedition to 
Ireland— His Failure and Recall— English Mercenaries in the Irish Service— Singular Death of Hugh de 
Lacy— Synod in Christ Church— Translation of the Relics of SS. Patrick, Columba, and Brigid to Down- 
Expedition of De Courcy to Connaught— His Retreat— Death of Henry II.— Death of Conor Moinmov, and 
Fresh Tunmlts in Connaught— Last Exploits and Death of Donnell More O'Brien— Dissensions in the Eng- 
Ush Colony— Successes of Donnell MacCarthy— Death of Roderic O'Conor— His Character— Foundation of 
Churches, etc.— The Anglo-Irish and the "mere" Irish 208 


Rkion op .Joirn.- Renewed Wars of Cathal Carragh and Cathal Crovderg— Tergiversation of William de Burgo. 
and Death of Cathal Carragh at Boyle Abbey— Massacre of the English Archers in Connaught— Wars in 
Ulster— Fate of John De Courcy— Legends of the Book of Howth— Death and Character of William de Bur- 
go— Tumults and Rebellions of the English Barons— Second Visit of King John to Ireland— Alarm of the 
BiTons- Submiiision of Irish Princes— Independence of Hugli O'Neill Division of the English Pale into 


Counties — Money Coined — Departure of John — The Bishop of Norwich Lord Justice — Exploits of Cormac 
O'Melaghlin and Hugh O'Neill — War in the South — Catastrojihe at Athlone — Adventures of Murray O'Daly, 
the Poet of Lisaadill — EcdesiasticaJ Occurrences 220 


Reign of Hesrt III. — Extension of Magna Charta to Ireland — Return of Hugh de Lacy — Wars between De 
Lacy and Earl Marshall — Surrender of Territory to the Crown by Irish Princes — Connaught granted by 
Henry to De Burgo — Domestic Wars in Connaught — Interference of the EngLisli — Famine and Pestilence — 
Hugh O'Conor Seized in Dublin and Rescued by Earl Marshall — His Retaliation at Athloue — Death of Hugh, 
and Fresh Wars for the Succession in Connaught^Felim O'Conor^English Castles in Connaught Demol- 
ished — The Islands of Clew Bay Plundered — Melancholy Fate of Earl Marshall— Connaught Occupied by 
the Anglo-Irish— Divisions and War in Ulster^Felim O'Conor Proceeds to England — Deaths of Remarkable 
Men — Expeditions to France and Wales — The Geraldines make War at their own Discretion- Rising of tha 
Young Men in Connaught^Submission of Brian O'Neill — Battle of Creadrankille and Defeat of the Eng- 
lish — Death of FitzGerald and O'Donnell — Domestic War in the North — Battle of Downpatrick — Wars of 
De BuTgo and FitzQerald — Defeat of the English near Carrick-on-Shannon— General View of this Reign. 228 


Reion op Edward I. — State of Ireland on the Accession of Edward I. — Feuds of the Barons — Exploits of Hugh 
O'Conor — Fearful Confusion in Connaught — Incursion from Scotland, and Retaliation — Irish Victory of Glen- 
delory — Horrible Treachery of Thomas De Clare in Thomond — Contentions of the Clann Murtough in Con- 
naught— English Policy in the Irish Feuds — Petition for English Laws — Characteristic Incidents — Victories 
of Carbry O'Melaghlin over the English— Feuds of the De Burghs and Geraldines — The Red Earl — His great 
Power — English Laws for Ireland— Death of O'Melaghlin — Disputes of De Vescy and FitzGerald of Offaly — 
Singular Pleadings before the King — A Truce between the Geraldines and De Burghs — The Kilkenny Par- 
liament of 1295 — Continued Tumults in Connaught — Expeditions against Scotland — Calvagh O'Conor — 
Horrible Massacre of Irish Chieftains at an English Dinner-table — More Murders — Rising of the O'Kellys — 
Foundation of Religious Houses 243 


Reion op Edwaud II. — Piers Gaveston in Ireland— Fresh wars in Connaught — Tlie Clann Murtough — Civil 
Broils in Thomond — Feud of De Clare and De Burgo— Growth of National Feelings — Invitation to King 
Robert Bruce — Memorial of the Irish Princes to Pope John XXII. — The Pope's Letter to the English King — 
The Scottish Expedition to Ireland— Landing of Edward Bruce — First Exploits of the Scottish Army — Pro- 
ceedings of Felim and Rory O'Connor— Disastrous War in Connaught — The Battle of Athenry — Siege of 
Carrickfergus — General Rising of the Irish — Campaign of 1317— Arrival of Robert Bruce — Arrest of the Earl 
of Ulster — Consternation in Dublin — The Scots at Castleknock — Their March to the South — Their Retreat 
from Limerick— EtTects of the Famine — Retreat of the Scots to Ulster — Robert Bruce Returns to Scotland — 
Liberation of the Earl of Ulster — Battle of Faughard, and Death of Edward Bruce — National Prejudices. 252 


Beion of Edward III. — Position of the different Races — Great Feuds of the Anglo-Irish — Mnrder of Berming- 
ham, Earl of Louth — Creation of the Earls of Ormond and Desmond — Counties Palatine — Rigor of Sir An- 
thony Lucy — Murder of the Earl of Ulster — The Burkes of Connaught Abandon the English I^anguage and 
Customs — Sacrilegious Outrages — Traces of Piety — Wars in Connaught — Crime and Punishment of Tur- 
lough O'Conor — Proceedings in the Pale — English by Birth and by Descent — Ordinances against the Anglo- 
Irish Arist<K;racy — Resistance of the latt<;r — Sir Raljjh Ufford's Harshness and Death — Change of Policy and 
its results — The Black Death — Administration of the Duke of Clarence — His Animosity against the Irish — 
The Statute of Kilkenny — Effects of that Atrocious Law— Exploits of Hugh O'Conor — Crime Punished by 
the Irish Chieftains— Victories of Niall O'Neill— Difficulties of the Government of the Pale— Manly Conduct 
of the Bishops — General Character of this Reign 265 



Keiqn op Richaud n.— Law against Absentees— Events in Ireland at the Opening of the Reign— Partition of 
Connaught between O'Conor Don and O'Conor Roe— The Earl of Oxford made Duke of Ireland — His Fate — 
Battles between the English and Irish — Richard II. Visits Ireland with a Powerful Army — Submission of 
Irish Princes— Hard Conditions— Henry Castide's Account of the Irish— Knighting of Four Irish Kings- 
Departure of Richard II. and Rising of the Irish — Second Visit of King Richard— His Attack on Art MacMur- 
rough's Stronghold — Disasters of the English Army — MacMurrongh's Heroism — Meeting of Art MacMur- 
rough and the Earl of Gloucester— Richard Arrives in Dublin — Biid News from England — The King's 
Departure from Ireland — His unhappy Fate — Death of Niall More O'NeUl, and Succession of Niall Oge — 
Pilgrimages to Rome — Events Illustrating the Social State of Ireland 277 


Reigns of Hknrt IV. and Henkt V.— State of the English Pale— The Duke of Lancaster in Ireland— Defeats 
of the English — Retaliation — Lancaster again Lord Lieutenant — His Stipulations — AflFairs of Tyrone — Pri- 
vateering — Com])Iaints from the Pale — Accession of Henry V. — Sir John Stanley's Government — Rhyming 
to death — Exploits of Lord Furnival — Reaction of the Irish — Death of Art MacMurrough Kavanagh — I'eath 
of Murrough O'Conor, or Offaly— Defeat of the O'Mores— Petition against the Irish — Persecution of an Irish 
Archbishop — Complaint of the Anglo-Irish Commons — State of Religion and Learning 286 


Reigns of Henry VI., Edward IV., Edw^vrd V., and Richard III. — State of Ireland on the Accession of 
Henry VI. — Liberation of Donough MacMurrough — Incursions of Owen O'Neill — His Inauguration— Fam. 
ine — The " Summer of Slight Acquaintance" — Distressing State of Discord — Domestic War in England at 
this Period — Dissensions in the Pale — Complaints against the Earl of Ormond — Proc(«dings of Lord FWni- 
val — Pestilence — Devotedness of the Clergy -The Duke of York in Ireland — His Popularity — Confesses his 
Inability to Subdue the Irish— His Subsequent Fortunes and Death in England — Irish Pilgrimages to Rome 
and St. James of Compostella- Munificence of Margaret of OflFa'.y — Her Banquets to the Learned — The But 
lers and Geraldines take opp<isite sides in the English Wars - Popular Government of the Earl of Desmond — 
He is unjustly Executed — Wretched Condition of the English Pale — Fatal Feuds and Indifference of the 
Irish, and Contemporary Disorders in England — Atrocious Laws against the Irish 2l\3 


Reign op Henry VII.— Forbearance of Henry VII. towards the Yorkists in Ireland— The Earl of Kildare con- 
tinues Lord Dei)uty — Arrival of Lambert Simnel — His Cause Espoused by the Lords of the Pale — Coronation 
of Simnel in Christ's Church— His Expedition to England — Defeat of Simnel's Anny at Stoke — Pardon of 
his Adherents — Loyalty of Waterford — First use of Fire-arms in Ireland— Murder of the Earl of Desmond — 
Arrival of Sir Richard Edgecomb — .Another Mock Prince — Disgrace of the Earl of Kildare — His Quarrel w ith 
Sir James Ormond — Perkin Warbeck at Cork — Sir Edward Poynings Arrives in Ireland as Governor — The 
Parliament of Drogheda ; Poynings' Act — The Earl of Kildare Attainted and sent Prisoner to England — His 
Vindication before Henry VII. — Returns as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland — Further Adventures of Warbeck — 
His last Visit to Ireland — His Execution — Transactions of the Native Princes during this period — The battle 
of Knocktow— Death of Hugh Boo O'Neill 303 


Ukiqn op Henby VIII. — Accession of Henry VIH.- Gerald, Earl of Kildare, still I^ord Deputy — His last Trans- 
actions and Death — Hugh U'Donnell visits Scotland and prevents an Invasion of IrelanjI— Wars of Uie 
Kinel-Connell and Kinel Owen — Proceedings of the new Earl of Kildare — The Earl of Surrey Lord Lieu- 
tenant — His Opinion of Irish Warfare — His Advice to the King about Ireland — His Return — The Earl of 
Ormond succeeds, and is made Earl of Ossory — Wars in Ulster- Battle of Kuockavoc — Triumph of Kildare — 


Vain attempts to reconcile CNeill and O'Dounell — Treasonable correspondence of Desmond — Kildare again 
in difficulties — Effect of his Irish popularity— Sir William Skeffington Lord Deputy — Discord between him 
and Kildare — New Irish Alliance of Kildare — His fall — Reports of the Council to the King — The Schism in 
England — Relwllion of SUken Thomas— Murder of Archbishop Allen— Siege of Maynooth — Surrender of 
Silken Thomas, and arrest of his Uncles— Their cruel fate— Lord Leonard Gray in Ireland— Destruction of 
O'Brien's Bridge — Interesting events in Offaly — Desolating War against the Irish — Confederation of Irish 
Cliiefs— Fidelity of the Irish to their Faith— Rescue of young Gerald FitzGerald— Extension of the Geraldine 
League — Desecration of sacred things — Battle of Belahoe — Sulimission of Southern Chiefs — Escape of young 
Gerald to France — Effects of the " Reformation" on Ireland — Servility of Parliament — Henry's insidious 
policy in Ireland— George Brown, first Protestant Archbishop of Dublin— His character— Failure of the 
new creed in Ireland — Terrible spoliation 6f the Irish by the Lord Justice— Submission of Irish Princes — 
Their acceptance of Englisli titles and surrender of Irish ones — Henry VIII. made King of Ireland — Sub- 
mission of Desmond— First native Irish Lords in Pariiament— Execution of Lord Leonard Gray— O'Neill 
surrenders his territory and is made Earl of Tyrone — Murrough O'Brien made Earl of Thomond — Confisca- 
tion of convent lands — Effect of the policy of concession and corruption 315 


Reign op Edward VI. and Mary. — Accession of Edward VI. — Somerset's government — War of Extermina^ 
tion in Leix and Offaly — Fate of O'More and O'Conor — Rising of O'Carroll — Successes of the Lord Deputy 
Bellingham — The adventurers Bryan and Fay — Rebellion of Calvagh O'Donnell against his father— Power 
of the Northern Chiefs curtailed— Instance of Bellingham 's firmness— Intrigues and changes in the Irish 
Government — Exploits of the Scots in Ulster — War between Ferdoragh and Shane O'Neill— French emis- 
saries in Ulster— Failure of the efforts to establish the new religion in Ireland— Zeal and firmness of Arch- 
bishop Dowdall — Conference at St. Mary's Abbey— Plunder of Clonmacnoise — Accession of Queen Mary — 
Her efforts to restore religion — Her ditHoulties in England — Injustice to her character — The work of restora- 
tion easy in Ireland — Her kind disposition to Ireland frustrated — Affecting incident — Strife in Thomond — 
Continued war with the Scots in Ulster— Shane O'Neill defeated by Calvagh O'Donuell 341 


Beign of Elizabeth.— Religious pliancy of Statesmen and fidelity of tlie people— Shane O'Neill— Acts of the 
Parliament of 15'59 — Laws against the Catholic religion— Miserable condition of the Irish Church — Discord 
in Thomond — Machinations of Government against Shane O'Neill — Capture of Calvagh O'Donnell by the 
latter — War with Shane — Defeat of the English — Plan to assassinate the Tyrone Chief— Submission of 
Shane, and his visit to the Court of Elizabeth — His return, further misunderstanding, and renewed peace 
with the Government — O'Neill defeats the Scots of Clannaboy — Feud between the Earls of Ormond and 
Desmond — The latter wounded and captured at Affane— The Earl of Sussex succeeded by Sir Henry Sid- 
ney — Renewed war in Ulster — O'Neill invades the English Pale — Defeated at Derry — Burning of Derry and 
withdrawal of the English garrison— Death of Calvagh O'Donnell— O'Neill defeated by Calvagh 's successor, 
Hugh — His disastrous flight, appeal to the Scots, and murder— His character — Visitation of Munster and 
Connaught by Sidney — Sidney's description of the State of the country — Uis character of the great nobles — 
Baae policy of the Government confessed by him — His energy and severity — Arrest of Desmond — Commence- 
ment of serious troubles in the South — Position of the Catholics— Sir James FitzMaurice — Parliament of 
1569— Fraudulent elections — Attainder of O'Neill — Claims of Sir Peter Carew — Rebellion of Sir Edmund 
Butler- Sidney's military expedition to Munster — Sir John Perrott Lord President of Munster, and Sir 
Edward Fitton President of Connaught — Renewed war in the South — Rebellion of the Earl of Thomond — 
Rebellion of the sons of the Earl of Clanrickard — Battle of Shrule — The Castle of Aughnanure taken — Siege 
and Capture of Castlemaine— Submission of Sir James FitzMaurice— Attempted English settlements in 
Ulster — Horrible Massacre of the Irish in Clannaboy — Failure and di-atli of the Earl of Essex — Sir Henry 
Sidney makes another visitation of the South and West — Sir William Drury President of Munster, and Sir 
Nicholas Malby in Connaught — Illegal Tax, difficulties iu the Pale — Career and death of Rory Oge O'More — 
Tlie massacre of Mullaghmast 350 



Beign op Elizatjeth, coNTratJED.— Plans of James FitzMaurice on the Continent— Projected Italian expe. 
dition to Ireland— Its singular fate— FitzMaurice lands with some Spaniards at Sraerwick— Conduct of tlie 
Earl of Desmond — Savage treatment of a bishop and priest— The insurgents scattered— Murder of Davells 
and Carter— Tragical death of James FitzMaurice— Proceedings of Drury and Malhy— Catholics in the royal 

ranks — Defeat of tlie royal army by John of Desmond at Gort-na-Tiobrad — Death of Sir William Drury 

Important battle at Monasteranena— Defeat of the Geraldines— Desmond treated as a rebel— Hostilities 
against him— Sir Nicholas Malby at Askeaton— Desmond at length driven into rebellion— He plunders and 
burns Toughal— The country devastated by Orniond— Humanity of a friar— James of Desmond cajitured 

and executed — Campaign of Pelham and Ormond in Desmond's country — Capture of Carrigafoyle castle 

Other castles surrendered to the Lord Justice— Narrow escape of the Earl of Desmond— Insurrection in 
Wicklow— Arrival of Lord Gray— His disaster in Glenmalure— Landing of a large S])ani3h armament at 
Sniei-wick harbor— Lord Gray besieges the foreigners- Horrible and treacherous slaughter in the Fort Del 

Ore — Savage barbarity of Lord Gray and his captains — Butchery of women and children near Kildimo 

Rumored plot in DubUn— Arrest of the Earl of Kildare and others— Premature executions— Forays of the 
Earl of Desmond— Melancholy end of John of Desmond- The FitzMaurices of Kelly in rebellion— Battle of 
Gort-na Pisi— The Glen of Aherlovv— Desperate state of Desmond— His murder— His character— MikI policy 
of Perrott — The Parliament of 1585 — Composition in Connaught — Plantation of Munster — Brutal severity 
of Sir Richard Bingham in Connaught 377 


Reign of Elizabeth, contiktibd.- Affaire of Ulster— Hugh, Earl of Tyrone— His visit to Elizabeth— His 
growing power— Complaints against him- Sir Hugh O'Donnell— Capture of Hugh Roe ODonnell ; cunning 
device— Sir William FitzWilliam Lord Deputy— The Spanish Armada— The wrecks on the Irish coast- 
Disappointed avarice of the Lord Deputy— He oppresses the Irish chiefs— Murders MacMahon— Hugh Geimh- 
leach hanged by Hugh O'Neill, who then revisits London, excuses himself to Elizabeth, and signs terms of 
agreement— O'Neill returns to Ireland, and refuses to give his sureties until the government should fulfil its 
engagements— Hugh Roe's first escape from Dublin Castle, and his recapture— Fresh charges against Hugli 
O'Neill— He carries off and manies the sister of Marshal Bagnal— Brian O'Rourke hanged in London— Hugh 
Roe'8_ second escape -Affecting incidents— His adventures and return to Tirconnell— Drives off an English 
party— His father's abdicatiop, and his own election as Chieftain- -He assails Turlough Luineach, and com 
pels him to resign the chieftaincy of Tyrone to Hugh O'Neill— An English sheriff hunted out of Fermanagh- 
Rebellion of Maguire— Enniskillen taken by the English— Irish victory at the Ford of the Biscuits, and 
recapture of Enniskillen— Sir William Russell Lord Deputy— Hugh O'Neill visits Dublin -Bagnal's charges 
against him— Vindication of his policy— Fiagh MacHugh O'Byrne and Walter Riavagh FitzGerald— Arrival 
of Sir John Norris— Hugh O'Neill rises in arms— Takes the Blackwater Fort— Protracted negotiations- 
War in Connaught ; succ^'sses of O'DonneU— Bingham foiled at Sligo, and retreats— Differences between 
Norris and the Deputy- Bingham disgraced and recalled— Fresh promises from Spain— Interesting events 
in Connaught— Proceedings of the Leinster insurgents— Ormond appointed Lord-Lieutenant— Last truce 
with O'Neill— Hostilities resumed in Ulster— Desperate plight of the Government— Great Irish victory of the 
Yellow Ford— Onnond repulsed in Leix— War resumed in Munster, etc 402 


RwoN OF Elizabeth, concluded.— The Earl of Essex Viceroy— His Incapacity— His fruitless expedition to 
Munster— O'Conor Sligo besieged at Colloony— Sir Conyers Clifford marches against O'Donnell— Total defeat 
of the English at the Curlieu mountains, and death of Clifford— Essex applies for reinforcements— His march 
to the Lagan-His interview with O'Neill-IIis departure from Ireland, and unhappy fate— O'Neill's expe- 
dition to Munster— Combat and death of Hugh Maguire and Sir VVarham Sentleger— Arrival of Lord Mount- 
joy as Deputy— O'Neill returns to Ulster— Presents from the Pope and the King of Spain— Capture of 
Ormond by Owny O'More— Sir George Carew president of Munster— His subtlety— His plots against the 
Sugaae Earl and his brother— Capture of Glin Castle, and general submission of Desmond— Death of Owny 
O'ilure — Barbarous desolation of the country bv the Denutv — The son of th« 'ate Fjir' of DnanionH aum •/. 


Ireland — Failure of his migsion— Retribution on a traitor (note) — Docwra's expedition to Lough Foyle — 
Defi-ctions from the Irish ranks — Predatory excursions of Red Hugh O'Donnell -Jlountjoy's expeditions 
against O'Neill — Complicated misfortunes of the Irish — Niall Qarv besieged in the monastery of Donegal by 
Hugh Roe— Arrival of the Spaniards at Kinsale— They are besieged by Mountjoy and Carew— Extraordi- 
nary march of O'DonncU, and mustering of the Irish forces to assist them — Battle of Kinsale, and total rout 
of the Irish army— Departure of Red Hugh O'Donnell for Spain— Surrender of Kinsale, and departure of the 
Spaniards— Deplorable state of the Irish— Dreadful famine— Siege of Punboy Castle— Flight of O'Sullevan — 
L of O'Neill— Death of Elizabeth 431 


Reign of Jambs I. — The Irish submit to James, as a prince of the Milesian race, and suppose him to be friendly 
to their creed and country — They discover their mistake — Revolt of the Southern towns — Hugh O'Neill and 
Rory O'Donnell accompany Mountjoy to England — Title of Earl of Tirconnell created — Religious character 
of the Irish wars — Suspension of Penal Laws under Elizabeth — Persecution of the Catholics by James — 
Remonstrance of the Anglolrish Catholics — Abolition of Irish laws and customs— O'Neill persecuted — In- 
veigled into a sham plot — Flight of Tyrone and Tirconnell to Rome — Rising of Sir Cahir O'Doherty — His 
fate, and that of NiaU Garv O'Donnell and others— The confiscation and plantation of Ulster — The Corpora- 
tion of London receives a large share of the spoils — A Parliament convened after twenty-seven years — 
Creation of boroughs— Disgraceful scene in the election of Speaker — Secession of the recusants — Prototyi)o 
of the Catholic Association — Treatment of the Catholic Delegates by the king — Concessions — Act of Pardon 
and Oblivion— Unanimity of the new Session of Parliament — Bill of attainder against O'Neill and O'Donnell 
passed— First general admission of the Irish under English law — Renewed persecution of the Catholics — 
The king's rapacity — Wholesale confiscations in Leinster— Inquiry into defective titles — Extension of the 
inquiry to Connaught — Frightful system of legal oppression 455 


Reion of Charles I. — Hopes of the Catholics on the accession of Charles, and corresponding alarm of the 
Protestants — Intolerant declaration of the Protestant bishops — The " graces" — The royal promise broken — 
Renewed persecution of the Catholics — Outrage on a Catholic congregation in Cook-street — Confiscation of 
Catholic schools and chapels— Government of Lord Went worth or Strafford — He summons a Parliament— 
His shameful duplicity — The Commission of " Defective Titles" for Connaught — Atrocious six)liation in tlu 
name of Law — Jury-packing — Noble conduct of a Gal way jury — Their punishment— Plantation of Ormond, 
etc. — Fresh subsidies by an Irish Parliament— Strafford raises an army of Irish Catholics — He is impeached 
by Parliament — His execution— Causes of the great insurrection of 1641 — Threats of the Puritans to extir- 
pate the Catholic religion in Ireland — The Irish abroad — Their numbers and influence — First movements 
among the Irish gentry — Roger O'More — liord Maguire — Sir Phelim O'Neill — Promises from Cardinal Riche- 
lieu — Officers in the king's interest combine with the Irish gentry — Discovery of the conspiracy — Arrest of 
Lord Maguire and MacMahon— Alarm in Dublin — The outljreak iu Ulster — Its first successes — Proclamation 
of Sir Phelim O'NeiU— Feigned commission from the king — Gross exaggeration of the cruelties of the Irish — 
Bishop Bedell and the remonstrance from Cavan — The massacre of Island Magee — The fable of a general 
massacre by the Catholics refuted — Proclamations of the lords^justices — The Catholic nobility and gentry of 
the Pale insulted and repulsed — Scheme of a general confiscation — Approach of the northern Irish to the 
Pale — They take Mellifont and lay siege to Drogheda — Sir Charles Coote's atrocities in Wicklow -Efforts of 
the Catholic gentry to communicate with the king — Outrages of troopers — The gentry of the Pale compelled 
to stand on their defence — Meeting on the Hill of Crofty — The lords of the Pale take up arras— The insur- 
rection spreads into Munster and Connaught — Royal proclamation— Conduct of the English Parliament — 
The insurrection general— Seige of Drogheda raised — The battle of Kilrush — The general Assembly, etc. . 466 


Rkion of Charueb I.. CONCLUDED. — The arrival of Owen Roe O'NciU — He assumes the command of the Irish 
army in Ulster- Conduct of the Scots in Ulster — Lord Lieven's opinion of Owen Roe— Colonel Preston's 
arrival in Wexford with officers and arms — Position of the lords-justices — State of the belligerents in Con- 
naight and Munster — Opening of the General Assembly — Outline of their proceedings — Constitution of the 


Supreme Council — Appointment of generals, &c.— Levy of money and soldiers — Remittances from the Con- 
tinent — Establishment of a Mint — Progress of the war— Overture from the king to the Confederates — Hos- 
tile conduct of Ormond — Gallant defence of Ross— Preston defeated near Ross — Conference with the Royal 
Commissioners at Trim— Remonstrance of grievances — Obstacles to negotiation— Success of the Confeder- 
ates—Death of Lord Moore— Capture of Colonel Vavasour — Foreign envoys— Arrival of Father Scaramjii — 
Divisions in the Supreme Council — Disgrace of Parsons — Treaty of Cessation signed — Its rejection by the 
Puritans — The Scots in Ulster take the Covenant — Bravery of the Irish soldiers sent into Sc^itland for the 

king Ormond appointed Lord-Lieutenant — His negotiations with the Confederates — Catholic and Protestant 

deputations to the king— Infringement of the Cessation of the Scots— Abortive expedition of Castlehaven 
against Monroe — The king's impatience for a peace in Ireland — Orniond's prevarication — Renewed hor.tilities 
in the south and west — Death of Archbishop O'Kealy — Mission of Glamorgan— His secret treaty with the 
Confederates — Mission of the Nuncio Rinuccini — His arrival in Ireland — Reception at Kilkenny — Renewed 
discussion of the peace question— Arrest of Glamorgan — Division among the Confederates — Treaty ot peace 
Bigned by Ormond — Not approved by the Nuncio — Siege of Bunratty— Battle of Benburb— Increasing oppo 
sition to the peace — Ormond's visit to Munster — Glamorgan joins the Nuncio's party— Dublin besieged by 
the Confederates— Given up to the Parliamentarians— Ormond leaves Ireland — Dissensions in the Assembly— 
Battles of Dungan Hill and Knocknonos — O'Neill takes arms against the Confederates — Ormond returns — 
The peace of 1649 — Departure of the Nuntio — Prince Rupert's expedition 494 


t'RosrwElx. — State of parties aft-^r ire i«Rtli of Cliarles I. — (XNcUl's services sought by Ormond and by the Par- 
liamentarians — Ormond and I>»cliiquin take the field — Drogheda and other towns surrender to the latter — 
Siege of Dublin by Ormond— Great defeat of the royalists at Rathraines— Arrival of Cromwell— Siege of 
Drogheda — Horrible massacre— Wexford betrayed to Cromwell— Frightful massacre of the inhabitanis — 
Death of Owen O'Neill — Ross surrendered — Siege of Waterford— Courageous conduct of the citizens — The 
siege raised — The Southern garrisons revolt to Cromwell — Wretched position of Ormond — Meeting of the 
bishops at Clonmacnoise — Their declaration — Kilkenny surrendered to Cromwell — Siege of Clonmel — Heroic 
self-devotion of the Bishop of Rosa — Surrender of Cionmel — Cromwell embarks for England — Death of Ileber 
MacMahon — Meeting of the bishops at Jamestown — Ormond excommunicated — The king subscribes to the 
covenant — New general assembly — Ormond retires to France, and the Marquis of Clanrickard becomes Lord 
Deputy — Negotiations with the Duke of Lorraine — Limerick besieged by Ireton — Valor of Henry O'Neill- 
Limerick betrayed to the besiegers — Barbarous executions — Death of Ireton — Surrender of Galway — Clan- 
rickard accepts terms and leaves the kingdom — Wholesale confiscation and plunder — Horrible attempts to 
exterminate the people — Banishment to Connaught and the West Indies — Execution of Sir Phelim O'Neill — 
Atrocious cruelties — Oliver proclaimed Lord Protector — Henry Cromwell in Ireland — Death of Oliver — Pro- 
ceedings of the Royalists^The Restoration 527 


Reion op Chahles it. — Hopes of the Irish Catholics at the Restoration— Their grievous disappointment— An 
Irish Parliament convoked after twenty years — Discussions on the Act of Settlement in Ireland and Eng- 
land — The Act passed— Establishment of the Court of Claims — Partial success of the Irish Catholics— Con- 
sequent indignation and alarm of the Protestants — Rumored conspiracies — Blood's |)lot— The Act of ex- 
planation—Provisions of the Act grossly unjust to Catholics— The Irish Parliament desire to make them 
more so — The Irish remonstrance— Synod of the clergy in Dublin — English prohibitory laws against tho 
importation of Irish cattle — General disaffection— Alarming rumors — Oppression of the Catholics — Recall of 
Ormond — Lord Berkley s administration— Catholic Petition of Grievances — Colonel Richard Talbot — Com- 
mission of Inquiry — Great alarm i)roduccd by it among the Protestants and New Interest -Recall of Lord 
Berkley and appointment of Lord Essex — Violent address of the English Parliament — Increased oppression 
of the Catholics— Restoration of Ormond— The Popish Plot— Arrest of Archbisho]) Talbot— Proclamations 
against the Catholics— Puritan attempts to raise a rebellion in Ireland— Arrest of Archbishop Plunkett — 
Frightful demoralization and perjury— Memoir of Dr. Plunket (nntf) — Uis martyrdom— Turn in tho tide of 
pemecutiou — Irish writers of the seventeenth century — State of the Irish — Death of Charles 11 555 



Reign of James II.— Temper of parties in Ireland at the Accession of James H.— Hopes of the Catholics and 
alarm of the Protestants— Clarendon Lord-lieutenant. — Refusal to repeal the Acts of Settlement — ('olonel 
Richard Talbot created Earl of TircouneU, and appointed to the command of the army in Ireland— Succeeds 
Clarendon as Lord-Lieutenant- Numerous Catholic appointments — Alarming rumors — Increased disaffection 
of the Protestants — Birth of the Prince of Wales — William Prince of Orange invited to England — The League 
of Augsburg — William's dissimulation— His arrival at Torbay— James deserted by his English sulyects apd 
obliged to fly to France— Disloyal Associatipn of the Protestants of Ulster— The Protestants in general refuse 
to give up their arras — The Rapparees — Irish troops sent to England, and the consequence — Closing the gates 
of Derry— The Irish alone faithful to King James— He lands at Kinsale and marches to Dublin— Siege of 
Derry — The town relieved and the siege raised — Conduct of the Enniskilleners — James's Parliament in Dub- 
lin — Act of Attainder — Large levies of the Irish- Landing of Schomberg — He encamps at Dundalls and 
declines battle with James — Battle of Cavau — William lands at Carrickfergus — Marches to the Boyne — 
Disposition of the hostile forces — The Battle of the Boyne— Orderly retreat of the Irisli — Flight of King 
James — He escapes to France — William marches to Dublin — Waterford and Duncannon reduced — Gallant 
defence of Athlone by the Irish — Retreat of the Wllliamite army under Douglass — WUliam besieges Limer- 
ick — Noble defence of the garrison — The English ammunition and artillery blown up by Sarsfield — The city 
stormed — Memorable heroism of the besieged — William raises the siege and returns to England — Arrival 
of St. Ruth — Loss of Atlilone— Battle of Aughrim and death of St. Ruth— Siege and surrender of Qalway — 
Second siege of Limerick — Honorable capitulation — The Irish army embark for France 5G9 


From the teeaty of Limkriok to the Declaration of Independence. — State of Ireland after the de- 
parture of the brigades — The Articles of Limerick violated— The Catholics reduced to a deplorable condi- 
tion — Disposal of the forfeited estates — William HI. and his Parliament at issue — Enactment of penal lawr 
in Ireland — Mol}neux's " case stated" — Destruction of the Irish woollen manufacture — Death of William- 
Intolerance of the Protestant colonists — Penal laws of Queen Anne's reign — The sacramental test — Attempts 
to extirpate the Catholics — The Palatines (note) — Accession of George I. — Rebellion in Scotland in Wl5 — 
Profound tranquillity in Ireland^Rigorous executiou of the penal laws — Contests between the English and 
Irish Parliaments — The latter deprived of its independence — BUI for more effectually preventing tue growth 
of Popery— Rise of the patriots in the Irisli Parliament — Dean Swift. — Woods' half-pence — jiitraordinary 
excitement — Frightful state of public murals — Cardinal Wiseman on the fidelity of the Irish (note) — Acces- 
sion of George II. — An address from the Catholics treated with contempt— Primate Boulter— Caarter scliools 
established to proselytize the Catholic children — Converted Papists suspected — Distress ana emigration — 
Fresh rigors against the Catholics — Proposed massacre — The great Scottish rebellion of 1V45— Lord Ches- 
terfield in Ireland — Disputes in the Irish Parliament about the surplus revenue — The patriots weakened by 
the corrupting policy of the Government — First movements of the Catholics — First Catholic committee — 
Discountenanced by the clergy and aristocracy — Thurot's expedition— Accession of George III. — The White, 
boys — The Hearts-of Oak and Hearts-of-Steel Boys — Efforts of tlie patriots against the pension list — Execution 
of Father Sheehy— Lord Townsend's administration — The Octennial Bill— The Irish Parliament struggles 
for independence — Outbreak of the American war, and attempts to conciliate Ireland — Refusal to receive 
foreign troojjs — The volunteers — Great distress and popular discontent — Mr. Grattan's resolution of inde- 
pendence — Conduct and resolution of the volunteers — The Dungannon resolutions — Legislative independence 
of Ireland voted — New measures of Catholic reUef — Influence of the volunteers 623 


From the Dect,abation of Independence to the Union. — Sliort-comings of the volunteer movement — 
Corruption of the Irish Parliament — The national convention of delegates at the Rotunda- -The Blsnop of 
Derry — The Convention's Reform Bill — Bill reji^cted by Parliament- The convention dissolved and the fate 
of the volunteers sealed — The Commercial Relations Bill — Orde's propositions — Great excitement in Parlia- 
ment — Mr. Pitt's project abandoned— Popular discontent — Disorders in the South — The Right- boys— The 
feud of the Peep-o'-day-boys and Defenders— Frightful atrocities of the former — The Orange Society -The 


regency question — Political clubs — Ferment produced by the French Revolution — The Catholic committee — 
Theobald Wolfe Tone— Formation of the Society of United Irishmen — Their principles— Catholic Relief 
Bill ot 1793 — Trial of Archibald Hamilton Rowan — Mission of Jackson from the French Directory — His 
conviction and suicide— Administration of Earl FitzWilliam— Great excitement at his recall— New organiza- 
tion of the United Irishmen— Their revolutionary plans— Wolfe Tone's mission to France— The spy system — 
Iniquitous proceedings of the Government — Efforts to accelerate an explosion— The Insurrection and Indem- 
nity acts — The Bantry Bay expedition— Reynolds the informer — Arrest of the Executive of the United 
Irishmen — Search for Lord Edward Fitzgerald — His arrest and death — The insurrection prematurely forced 
to an explosion — Free quarters, torturings, and military executions — Progress of the insurrection — Battle of 
Tara- Atrocities of the military and the magistrates — The insurrection in KiUIare. Wexford, and Wicklow — 
Successes of the insurgents — Outrages of runaway troops — Siege of New Ross — Retaliation at ScuUabogue — 
Battle of Arklow — Battle of Vinegar Hill — Lord Cornwallis assumes the gtvernment — Dispersion and sur 
render of insurgents— The French at Killala— Flight of the English— The insurrection finally extinguished— 
The Union proposed — Opposition to the measure — Pitt's perfidious policy successful — The Union carried. 6G3 


Catholic Emancipation— Two Yeaeb op the Union.— Influence of the Union measures upon politics- 
Deception of the English Government — William Pitt and King George III. — Course of Lord Cornwallis^ 
Michael Dwyer in the mountains of Wicklow — Alarm as to French invasion — Catholic emancipation — Views 
of the King and William Pitt — Pitt resigns— Cornwallis also — Addington ministry — General state of the 
country — Military force in Ireland — Debates in Parliament as to martial law and suspension of habeas 
corpus— Pence of Amiens— EffJjrts of United Irishmen in Paris— Lord Redesdale succeeds Earl of Clare — 
Relief of disaliilities sought by Presbyterians and Catholics— Lord Castlereagh's statements on the subject — 
Extracts from his letter to Mr. Addington — Apprehensions of a renewed invasion by the Frencli — Fears as 
to Indand — Military force in the country — Outbreak in Limerick and Tipperary — Need of raising militia and 
yeomanry — ^Doubts as to numbers to be sent by the French, and the effect produced 708 


iNsimnErTioN under Robekt Emmet. — Early life, family, and education of Robert Emmet — Visits the con- 
tinent — Joins the United Irishmen in Paris— Fate of Colonel Despard's conspiracy — Emmet returns to Dub- 
lin — His labors, resources, and hopes — Contrivances in his country-house and in Dublin— His confidants and 
coworkers — .Michael Dwyer and his adventures— Emmet's expectations — Reasons for hastening the insur- 
rection—Plans of Emmet — Remarkable address of the Provisional Government " to the people of Ireland " — 
On the day appointed, few come forward to join in the outbreak — Events of the evening of July 33d— Cruel 
murder of Lord Kilwarden — Course of the authorities — Emmet's flight — Arrested — Russell arrested and 
executed — Trial of Emmet — Speech of Plunkett — The prisoner's eloquent address to the court — Executed 
the next day— Numerous arrests and imprisonments ... 714 


Lord Hardwicke's Administration— Policy op Pitt and Fox — Catholic Petition. — Suspension o{ habeas 
corpus act — Martial law— Investigation into the state of Ireland called for — Pitt again in power — Disap- 
pointment of the Catholics — Agitation in Ireland — Great meeting in Dublin Position of England — Debate 
on renewing habeas corpus suspension act — Arguments advanced — Catholics determined to appeal to Parlia- 
ment— The petition in full— .\ction in the House of Lords — Fox in the House of Commons— Strong vote 
against t'lie petition— State of affairs — Death of William Pitt—" The ministry of all the talents" — Revival o{ 
spirit among Catholics — Dis]>ute8 as to the " Catholic committee" — Duke of Bedford Lord-Lieutenant — Cora- 
plaints as to his administration — Disturbances in Ireland — " The Threshers," and their lawless course — 
Death of Fox— Meetings in Dublin — Petition drawn up — The Maynooth grant— Course of the ministry in 
favor of the Catholics— I/ud Ilowick's bill— Opiiosition of the king— Bill withdrawn— Ministers dismissed- 
" No Popery cabinet" formed — Prospect in the future 7!tt 



Proghess of Affairs — Dtjke of Richmond's Administration. — Opposition of tlie king — Presentation of 
Catholic petition postponed — Duke of Kiclimond Lord-Lieutenant— Insurrection act — Sir Arthur Wellesley — 
State of Ireland — The veto question — Course of tlie Catholics — Agitation renewed — Meeting in Dublin — 
Oriinge lodges and doings — English Roman Catholics on veto question — Grattan's efforts — Government 
policy — Question of the veto in 1810 — Catholic committee's circular — Extracts from — Movement for repent of 
the Union — Meeting in Dublin— O'Connell's speech — Convention act enforced against Catholic committee — 
Proceedings of Government — "Aggregate meetings" — Petition to prince regent proposed— Catholic board 
organized^Mr. (Sir Robert) Peel, chief secretary in Ireland — His policy and acts — Famous Parliamentary 
debate in 1812 — Position of Ireland at this date — Earnest working for the cause — The prince regent said to 
be in favor of the Roman Catholic claims— Hopes and expectations excited— Ministry denounced— Protestants 
roused — Feelings and views manifested — Various acts of outrage in Ireland — The state of things adverse to 
Catholic claims — Mr. Perceval assassinated — Result in general 744 


Leadership of O'Conneli,— Emancipation Effected.— State of affairs at this date— Grattan's emanciiation 
bill — Canning's clauses — Opinions in Ireland as to the veto — O'Connell's course — Speech at aggregate meeting 
in Dublin — Prosecution of Maghee — Outrages in Ireland — Severe measures resorted to — Petitions — Veto 
question- — Inquiries into the state of Ireland— Distress, discontent, etc. — O'Connell's statement as to veto 
question— George IV. and his queen — Plunkett's motion — The king's visit to Ireland — Wellesley Lord- 
Lieutenant — Whiteboys and Cajitain Rock's men— Their excesses and cruelties — Famine audits terrors — 
Help afforded by England— Wellesley insulted in Dublin Theatre — Moral degradation of witnesses— Tithe 
composition act — State of education in Ireland — Use of the Bible in schools — The Catholic association in 
1823 — Its power and influence — Catholic rent — Association suppressed — New one formed — O'Connell's 
threat — Sir F. Burdett's resolution — O'Connell's activity and influence — Canning's ministry and death — 
March of events— O'Connell elected for County Clare — Test and corporation acts repealed — Wellington's 
and Peel's policy — Measures adopted — Emancipation carried — O'Connell in the House — Seat denied him — 
Re-elected, and victory at last complete 756 


Ireland's Intellectual and Moral Position.— Ireland distinguished for brilliant orators, poets, writers, 
etc. — Her contributions to literature and science — Her Burkes, ()rattans, Currans, Edgeworths, etc. — Tno.MAS 
Moore, the poet pnr excellence of Ireland— Birth and educa ion — Visits America — Duel with Jeffrey — Mar- 
riage — His " Irish Melodies" — " Lalla Rookh." and biographical and historical works — Receives a pension of 
£300— Death, in 1852, and character— Thomas DA\^s, a poet and jirose writer of note— Connected with the 
" Nation"— Object of this journal^Daviss labors— D.-ath in 1845— Extracts from his literary and historical 
essays — Father M.\thew — Birth and education — Becomes a priest — Labors among the poor in and around 
the city of Cork— Enters on the terajierance movement — Marvellous effects of his labors — Visits other cities 
with great success — Goes to England — Thence visits the United States — Returns to Ireland, and dies in 
1850 — Beneficial results of his life and career — Statements of Mr. Smyth on Father Matthew'! 
temperance — All honor to his name 1 


O'Connell in Parliament, and Ireland's Struggles. — Position and influence of O'Connell in Parliament^ 
Death of George IV. — Succeeded by William IV. — Excitement aT)Out reform — Change of ministry — Marquis 
of Anglesea Lord-Lieutenant— Decides against public meetings for repeal — O'Connell and others arrested, 
tried, and convicted, but not sentenced — Reform-Bill introduced into Parliament — O'Connell's activity, i)o)>u- 
larity, and demands — Reform Bill carried in 1832 — Not much satisfaction to Inland — .Vgitation on the 
subject of tithes — Abolition of ten bishoprics, etc. — Earl Grey's coercion bill— .\gitation not elopix'd — Dia 


cussion in Parliament on the Repeal question— The "Experiment" proposed and attempted to be carried 
out — Of no real benefit — Orange lodges and other societies suppressed — Bills for reform of municipal corpora- 
tiouB, for poor-laws, for abolition of -tithes, etc., 1S3(> — Mr. Nichols' Report on the condition of tlie poor in 
Ireland — Lord John Uussell's bill — Passed in ISJIS — Result — O'Connell's labors for years — Death of William 
rV. — Accession of Queen Victoria — Expectations— Demands in behalf of Ireland — Keforra in Irish corporar 
tions — Good results -Lord Fortescue Lord-Lieutenant — His policy — Repeal Association formed in 1840 — 
O'ConneU Lord-Mayor of Dublin — Petition of city corporation for repeal of the Union — " Monster meetings" — 
Immense gatherings — Bold language of O'Connell and Bishop Higgius — Government pre])aration8 — Meeting 
»t Mullughmast— One appointed to be held at Clontarf— Forbidden by the Lord-Lieutenant— O'ConneU and 
gix others arrested, tried, and convicted — Sentence and imprisonment, 1844 — III effects upon O'Connell — His 
views as to using force in carrying forward repeal — The " Young Ireland" party — O'Connell's sickness and 
death, 1847 - Estimate of his character and career — Determination of the British Government — Macaulay's 
expressions — Eidogy on O'Coimell — ^The potato rot or disease — Terrible famine in Ireland^Maynootli 
endowment, 184.5 — Queen's Colleges — Denounced by the Catholic hierarchy — Catholic University founded- 
Oovernment eiforts to relieve distret^s — Bill for constructing public works so as to employ the poor— Tlio 
famine of 184(i-7 — Poor-law amended — Large contril)utions for relief — Private benevolence — Sad picture of 
tlie state of the country — Places for relief— Extensive emigration — Increased for years — Diminution of popu 
lation between 1841 and 1851 777 


rm O'Brien'b iNstmnEcxroN — MoitE recent Histoht and Phookess. — The "Young Ireland" party and 
the " Irish Confederation" — VViUiara Smith O'Brien — His co-workers, Meagher, Mitchell, and others — Tha 
year 1848 a year of revolutions- O'Brien in Parliament — Goes to Paris — Sympathy of the French— O'Brien 
prosecuted for sedition — Jury not agreed— Set at liberty — Mitchell transported— Condition of the country — 
Affray at Dolly's Brae — Action now resolved upon by O'Brien, Duffy, O'Gorman, etc. — Measures of Govern- 
ment — O'Brien's movements — March from Enniscorthy — Encounter with the police near Ballingar — The 
contlict, and result — O'Brien and others arrested, tried, and condemned — Sent to Australia — Proposal 
to abolish lord-lieutenancy — Eviction of small farmers and tenant-rights — Mr. Crawford's bills — "Irish 
Tenant-league" — Further attempts at legislative settlement of the question — General face of the country 
improved— Ireland's share in the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1831 — Exhibition in Cork in 18.53 — Earl 
of Eglintoun Lord-Lieutenant — Political excitement - Aggregate meeting in Dublin — Right Rev. Dr. C'ullen 
presides— Resolutions ado|ited— Proposal of Mr. Gladstone, chancellor of the exchequer, to impose the income- 
tax on Ireland — His statements and views -Two weeks' debate— Speeches and arguments of the opposition — 
The Government plan supported by a majority of 71 — The result — Ecclesiastical affairs brought under dis- 
cussion — Opposition to, and complaints of, the establishment — National system of education — Discussion in 
Parliament — Ekrl Derby's speech — Testimony of a Catholic writer respecting the schools, the books used, 
etc. — Mr. Dargan's public-spirited efforts to inaugurate the Industrial Exhibition of 1853 — The building, 
contents, etc. — Opening of the Exhibition by Earl St. Germans — Visit of her majesty Queen Victoria to 
Ireland — Her presence at the Exhibition — Results hoped for 7U6 


E Fenian BnoTHEnnooD — Ireland's Present Position and Prospects — Hope for the Futttre. — 
Activity and zeal of the Irish patriots — The Fenian Brotherhood — Origin and purpose of this association— Its 
scientific organization — First Fenian Cimgress at Chicago, 180.'!- Second Congress at Cincinnati, January, 
1865 — Third Congress in Philadelphia, September, 18fi5 — Reorganization, steps taken of various kinds, etc. — 
Course of the British (Jovernment- Martial law proclaimed in Ireland— James Stephens, the Head Centre 
of the whole Brotherhood, arrested— His escape from prison— Visits the United States— The Queen's speech, 
February, 1806 — Suspension of the haheax corpux act — .John Bright's views— S. Mill's remarks— Fenian 
invasion of Canada — Mortifying failure— Course pursued by the President of the United States — Criticized 
by the Irish patriots — Lord Derby's thanks to the United States Government — Fenians tried and condemned 
in Canada — McMahon and Lynch sentenced to be hung — Mr. Seward's interposition — P'icitement among 
the Irish— Stephen's speech at meeting held at Jones's Wood, New York— His bold announcement- 
Opposition to the Fenian movement by bishops and priests of the Catholic Church— Extracts from a Cath- 


olic paper on this subject — Meeting of Fenians in New York, November, 18G0— Resolution and ai-Te»l 
adopted — Fatiier Vauglian's 8i)irited review of " English misrule in Ireland" — The rising in Ireland rei- 
ported as having been entered upon at the close of November, 1800— Spirit and tone of the English press — 
Threats of retaliation on the part of the Fenians — Fixed resolve of the British Government — Force nnaer 
Stephens in Ireland — Sympathy in various quarters— Warren's address to Irishmen in America — Extracts 
from an Irish New York journal on the position of affivirs and the prospects of success — Condition of tiangs 
at the close of 1800 — Views and ojiinions of eminent Irishmen and Englishmen on the questions at iMue — ■ 
What has been done for the people's good — What remains to bo done — Ml despcrayidum — IrelaDJ must 
be free 80» 




The First Inliabitants of Ireland. — The Colonies of Parthalon and Nemedius.- 
or Belgians.— The Tuatha do Dananns.— The Legend of Manar 

-Tlie Fomorians.— The Firbclgs 
in Mac Lir, &c. 

ACCORDING to the ancient clironi- 
cles of Ireland, the first inhabitants 
of this country was a colony who ar- 
rived here from Migdonia, supposed to 
be Macedonia, in Greece, under a lead- 
er whose name was Parthalon, about 
300 years after the D"eluge, or, according 
to the chronology adopted by the Four 
Masters, iu the year of the world 2520. 
Some ftxbles are related of persons hav- 
ing found their way to Ireland before 
tlie Flood, and also of a race of people, 
who lived by fishing and hunting, having 
l)een found here by Parthalon (or Par- 
ralaun, as the name is pronounced) ; but 
these are rejected by our ancient annal- 
ists as unworthy of credit, and merit no 
attention. It is said of Parthalon that 
he fled from his own country, Avhere he 
had been guilty of parricide; that he 
landed at Inver Scene, now the Ken- 

* Or, as some think, the river Corrano, in Kerry, 
f The place in which this catastrojihe happened was 
tUled S<-iut-ma!/h-Ei(!t'i.E(!mi; or " The Old Plain of the 

mare river," accompanied by his three 
sons, their wives, and a thousand fol- 
lowers ; that he was the first who clear- 
ed any part of Ireland of the primeval 
woods which covered it ; that certain 
lakes, namely, Lough Con and Lough 
Mask, in Mayo, Lough Gara, on the bor- 
ders of Roscommon and Sligo, two 
others which cannot now be identified 
by their ancient names, and Lough Cuan, 
or Sti'angford Lough, in the county of 
Down, were first formed during the 
period of his colony; that he died in 
the plain in which Dublin now stands, 
thirty years after his landing; and that, 
in the same plain, in a. m. 2820, that is, 
300 years after their arrival, his entire 
colony, then numbeiing 9,000 persons, 
perished by a pestilence, in one week, 
leaving the oountiy once more without 

Flocks of Edair," a name which it received in after-tlnie« 
from an Irish chieftain, from whom the Ilill of Ilowth wm 

ralli'd Bon-Edair: and it cxtcndt'd from that hill to the 


It is said that Ireland remained waste 
for thirty years, until the next colony, 
which also came from the southeastern 
part of Europe, or the vicinity of the 
Euxine Sea, led by a chief called Neme- 
dius, or Neimhidh (pronounced Nevy)^ 
ari'ived here, and occupied the country 
for about 200 years. The annals record 
the names of the raths or forts which 
were constructed, and of the plains 
which were cleared of wood during this 
period ; and they also mention the erup- 
tion, during the same time, of four lakes, 
namely. Lakes Derryvarragh and Ennell 
in "VVestmeath, and two others not iden- 
tified. Nemedius, with 2,000 of his fol- 
lowers, were carried off by a pestilence 
in the island of Ard-Neimhidh, now the 
Great Island of Barrymore, near Cork ; 
and the remnant of his people, who ap- 
pear to have been engaged in constant 
conflicts with a race of pirates called 
Fomorians, who infested the coast, were 
at length nearly annihilated in a great 
l)attle with these formidable enemies, 
A. jr. 3066. They attacked and demol- 
ished the principal Fomorian strong- 
hold, called Tor-Conainn, or Conang's 

base of the Dublin mountains, and along the banks of 
the LiflFey. , 

The memory of this event is preserved in the name of 
the village of Tallaght (Tamleacht), which signifies " the 
plague monument," from Tamh, a plague, and Leacld, a 
monument ; and in Irish books this place is sometimes 
called Tamleacht Muintir Parthaloin, or "the plague 
monument of Partholan's people," to distinguish it from 
other plague monuments, also called Tamleachts, in 
other parts of Ireland. (See O'Donovan's " Four Mas- 
tiTs," and Doctor Wilde's "Report on- Tables of Deaths," 
ill the Census of 1851.) The pestilence which swept away 
Parthalon's colony was the first that visited Ireland, and 
le Hiid to have been caused by the corrupting bodies 

Towei-, in Tory island, on the north- 
west coast of Donegal ; but succor hav 
ing arrived by sea to the pirates, the 
battle was renewed on the strand, and 
became so fierce that the combatants 
suffered themselves to be surrounded by 
the rising tide, so that most of those 
who did not fall in the mutual slaughter 
were ingulphed in the waves.* Three 
captains of the Nemedians, with a hand- 
ful of their men, survived, and, in a few 
years after, made their escape from Ire- 
land, with such of their countrymen as 
chose to follow their fortunes. One 
party, under Briotau Maol, a grandson 
of Nemedius, sought refuge in the neigh- 
boring island of Albion, in the north- 
ern part of which their posterity remain- 
ed until the invasion of the Picts, many 
centuries after ; and that island, as some 
will have it, took the name of Britain 
from their leader, and not from the fiib- 
ulous Brutus. Another portion of the 
refugees passed, after many wanderings, 
into the northern parts of Europe, 
where they became the Tuatha de Da- 
nann of a subsequent age ; and finally, 
the third party of the scattered Neme- 

of the dead slain in a battle with the people called 

* Who these Fomorians were, who are so often men- 
tioned in Irish history, is a matter of speculation. They 
are said by some of the old annalists to have been Afri- 
can pirates of the race of Ham ; but O'Flalierty thinks 
they were Northmen, or Scaudinarians. Some mmiern 
writers will have it that they were Phoenicians; but 
their name implies in Irish that they were sea-robbers, 
and it is remarkable that their memory is preserved in 
the Irish name of the G iant's Causeway, which is Cloghan- 
na-Fomharaigh, or the causeway or stepping-stones of 
the Fomorians. (See O'Brien's Diet.) The Fomorians 
are by some called the aborigines of Ireland. 



diaus made tlieir way, under their chief, 
Simon Breac, another grandson of Ne- 
medius, to Greece, where they were 
kept in bondage, and compelled to carry 
burdens in leathern bags, whence they 
obtained the name of Firbolgs or Bag- 

For a long interval — 200 years, say 
the bards — after the great battle of 
Tory island, we are told that Ireland 
remained almost a wilderness, the few 
Nemedians who were left behind hav- 
ing retired into the interior of the coun- 
try, where they, nevertheless, were 
made to feel the galling yoke of tlie 
Fomorians, who were now the undis- 
puted masters of the coast ; but at the 
end of the interval just mentioned, the 
island was restored to the former race, 
although under a different name. The 
Firbolgs having multiplied considerably 
in Greece, resolved to escape from the 
bondage under which thej^ groaned, and 
for that purpose seized the ships of their 
masters, and proceeding to sea, succeeded 
in making their way to Ireland, where 
they landed without opposition (a. ji. 
3266), and divided the country between 
their five leadei's, the five sons of Deala, 
each of whom ruled in turn over the 
entire island. The names of these bro- 
thers were, Slainghe, Rury, Gann, Gea- 
nann, and Seangann ; and from the first 
of them the river Slaney, in Wexford, 
is said to have derived its name. It 
v/ould appear that there were several 

*From Fir, "men," and holff, wliicli in Irish means a 
"leathern hnp;." 
t The Irish name of Leiniter was somcliniea written 

trilies engaged in this e.xpeditiou, al- 
though all belonged to the same race. 
Thus, one section of them, called Fir- 
Domhnan, or Damnonians, landed on 
the coast of Erris, in Mayo, where they 
became very powerful, giving their 
name to the district, which has been 
called, in Irish, larras-Domhnan, that is, 
the western promontory or peninsula of 
the Damnonians; while another tribe, 
distinguished by the name of Fir-Gail- 
lian, or Spearmen, landed on the eastern 
coast, and from them some will have it 
that the province of Leinster has been 
so named. f 

Such is the account of the origin of 
the Firbolgs and Damnonians, given by 
the bardic annalists; and of this and 
similar I'elations, which we find in our 
primeval history, we may remark in 
general that, however they may be en- 
veloped in fable, we have sufficient rea- 
son for believing them to be founded in 
historic truth ; and that they are not 
lightly to be set aside, where nothing 
better than conjecture can be substitu- 
ted. The favorite modern theory is, 
that the Firbolg colony came into this 
country from the neighboring coasts of 
Britain, and that they were identical in 
race with the peoj)le of Belgic Gaul, and 
with the Belgoe and Dumnonii of South- 
ern Britain. Then ai'ises the question, 
were these Belga? Celts, or were they of 
Tuetonic or Gothic origin? To this we 
can only answer that the Irish authorities 

Coige Qaillian ; Coige being the word for a fifth part, or 
one of the five provinces ; but it ia more generally caUod 
Laij;liin, a word which signifies a spear or javelin. 


are explicit iu stating that the Fii'bolgs 
were of the same race with subsequent 
colonies, who were confessedly Celtic, 
and this seems to be the generally re- 
ceived opinion.* 

The Belgae, or Firbolgs, had only en- 
joyed possession of the countiy for 
tliirty-seven years, according to the 
chronology of the Four Masters, or for 
eighty years, according to that of 
O'Flaherty, when their dominion was 
disputed by a formidable enemy. The 
new invaders were the celebrated Tua- 
tha de Dananns, a people of whom such 
strange things are recounted, that 
modern writers were long uncertain 
whether they should regard them as a 
purely mythical race, or concede to 
them a real existence, all Irish anti- 
quaries, however, adopting at present 
the latter alternative. The arrival of 
the Tuatha de Dananns took place in 
the year of the world 3303, the tenth 
year of the reign of the ninth and last 
of the Firbolgic kings, Eochy, son of 
Ere. The leader of the invaders was 
Nuadhat-Airgetlamh, or Nuad of the 
Silver Hand, and their first proceeding 
on landinc; was to burn their own fleet. 

* In tlie Irish version of Nennius, published for the 
Irish ArchjEological Society, the Firbolgs are termed 
Viri Bullorum, which, as the learned editor, Dr. Todd, 
remarks, might afford a derivation for the name not 
previously noticed ; the word Dullum, in the Latinity 
of the middle ages, signifying, according to Du Cange, 
/?rtc«ZMOTp«stom, a shepherd's staff. In the additional 
notes to that publication, by the Hon. Algernon Herbert, 
many curious suggestions are made about these and the 
other ancient inhabitants of Ireland, all which specula- 
tions show how exceedingly vague and meagre is the 
information that can be gleaned about these primitive 
iT/5tP, and liow uncertain are the theories wliich have 

in order to render all retreat impossi- 
ble. According to the su])erstitious 
ideas of the bards, these Tuatha de Da- 
nanns were profoundly skilled in magic, 
and rendered themselves invisible to 
the inhabitants until they had penetra- 
ted into the heart of the country. In 
other words, they landed under cover 
of a fog or mist ; and the Firbolgs, at 
first taken by surprise, made no regular 
stand, until the new-comei's had march- 
ed almost across Ireland, when the two 
armies met face to face on the plain oi 
Moyturey, near the shore of Lough 
Corrib, in part of the ancient territory 
of Par try. Here a battle was fought 
in which the Firbolgs were overthrown, 
with "the greatest slaughter," says an 
old writer,-)- "that was ever heard of in 
Ireland at one meeting." Eochy, tho 
Firbolg king, fled, and was overtaken 
at a place in the present county of Sligo, 
where he was slain, and where his cairn, 
or the stone-heap raised over his grave, 
is still to be seen on the sea-shore; 
while the scattered fragments of his 
army took refuge in the northern isle of 
Aran, Rathlin island, the Hebrides, the 
Isle of Man, and Britain. ;{: 

been formed about them. Of the Firbolgs, however, as 
we shall hereafter see, we find frequent mention in what 
all admit to be authentic periods of Irish history ; and 
their monuments, and even their race, still exist 
among us. 
t Connell Mageoghegan's "Annals of Clonmacnoise." 
I Book of Leacan, fol. 277 ; quoted in the Ogygia, Part 
iii.,c. 9. 

The site of this battle is sometimes called Moyturey of 
Cong, from its proximity to that town, and "it is still 
pointed out," says Dr. O'Donovan (Four Masters, vol. L 
p. IG), "in the parish of Cong, barony of Kiim.iino, 
and county of Mayo, to the right of the road as you go 



The victorious Nuadhat lost Ws hand 
in this battle, and a silver hand was 
made for him by Credne Cerd, the artifi- 
cer, and fitted on him by the physician, 
Dieucecht, whose son, Miach, improved 
the work, according to the legend, by 
infusing feeling and motion into every 
joint of the artificial hand as if it had 
been a natural one. Hence the surname 
which the king received. The story 
may be taken as an illustration of the 
surgical and mechanical skill which the 
Tuatha de Dananns were believed to 
possess: and we are further told, that 
for the seven years during which the 
operation was in progress, a temporary 
king was elected, Breas, Avhose father 
was a Fomorian, and whose mother was 
of the Tuatha de Dananns, having been 
chosen for the purpose. At the end of 
that period Nuadhat resumed the au- 
thority; and in the twentieth year of 
his reign, counting from this resumption, 
he fell in a battle fought with the Fo- 
morians, who took the field at the iusti: 
gation of their countryman, the deposed 
king, Breas, and were aided also, we 
may suppose, by the Firbolg refugees. 
This battle was fought at a place called 
Northern Moyturey, or Moyturey of the 
Fomorians; and its name is still pre- 
served in that of a townland in the 
barony of Tirerrill, in the county of Sli- 
go, where several sepulchral monuments 

from Cong to the village of tlie Neal. From the monu- 
ments of tills battle still remaining, it is quite evident that 
groat numbers were slain." The cairn of the Firbolg 
king, Eocliy, is on the shore near Ballysadare, in the 
county of Sligo; and, although not high above the 

still mark the site of the ancient battle- 
field. Nuadhat was killed in this con- 
flict by Balor "of the mighty blows," 
the leader of the Fomorians, who is de- 
scribed in old traditions as a monster 
both in barbarity and strength, and as 
having but one eye. Balor himself was 
killed in the same battle by a stone cast 
from a sling by his daughter's son, Lugh 
Lamhfhada, or Lewy of the long hand, 
in revenge for some of his crimes. 

We have here followed the generall}' 
received account of the fate of the Fir- 
bolgs in the Tuatha de Danaiin invasion ; 
but there is another version of it given 
in an ancient Irish manuscript'"'' which 
is much more consistent with subse- 
quent history. According to this latter 
account, the battle of Southern Moytu- 
rey resulted in a compromise, rather than 
in such a defeat as thatmentioued above; 
and although the Firbolg king was slain, 
another leader of the same peoj^le, named 
Srang, was still at the head of a con- 
siderable force ; and, after some nego- 
tiations, a partition of the country was 
agreed to, Srang and his people i-etain- 
ing Connaught, and the Tuatha de Da- 
nanns taking all the remaindei*. Mac- 
Firbis, iu his tract on the Firbolgs, 
seems to say that an account of the 
afl:air to some such effect existed ; and 
unless it be admitted, it is impossible 
to account for the firm footinc: which 

strand, it is the popular belief that the tide can never 
cover it. 

*The author is indebted to Professor Eugene Curry 
for the purjwrt of this tract, which appears to have 

esciped the attention of our other Irish scholars. 


we find these people all along holding 
in Ireland, and for their position at the 
Milesian epoch, when they were at first 
received as allies by the invaders, and 
were afterwards, for centuries, able to 
resist them in war. Nor is this account 
inconsistent with the statement that 
many of the Fii'bolgs repaired, on the 
arrival of the Tuatha de Dananns, to 
the islands mentioned above. 

Lugh Lamhf hada, the slayer of Balor, 
succeeded Nuadhat as king of Ireland ; 
and the fact that he was of Fomorian 
origin, on his mother's side, and a 
Tuatha de Danann on that of his father, 
as well as a like mingling of races in 
the person of Breas, the first king of 
the Tuatha de Dananns, led to the con- 
clusion that an affinity existed between 
the two races, and afford an argument 
to O'Flaherty, who held that both ra- 
ces were Northmen, or Danes.* Lugh 
reigned forty years, and instituted the 
public games, or fair, of the hill of Taill- 
tean, now Teltown, near the Blackwater, 
in Meath, in commemoration of his 
foster-mother, Taillte, the daughter of 
]\Iaghmor, a Spanish, or Iberian king, 
and wife of Eochy, son of Ere, the last 
of the Firbolg kings, after whose death, 
in the battle of Southern Moyturey, she 
married a Tuatha de Danann chief, and 
undertook the fostering, or education, of 
the infant Lewy. This celebrated fair, 
at which various sj^orts took place, con- 
tinued to be held until the twelfth cen- 
tury, on the 1st of August, which day 

»Ogygia, part i., p. 13. 

is still called, in Ii-ish, Lugh-Xasadh, or 
Lugh's fail- ; and vivid traditions are yet 
preserved of the pagan form of mari-iage. 
andancient sports, of which the old latli 
of Teltown was the scene.f 

Lewy, having been killed by Mac- 
Cuill at Caendruim, now the hill of Uis- 
neach, in Westmeath, was succeeded by 
Eochy Ollathair, who was surnamed the 
Dagda Mor (the Great-good-fire), the 
son of Ealathau. The Dagda reigned 
eighty yeai's, and having died from the 
efl:*ects of a wound inflicted 120 years 
before at the battle of Northern INIoy- 
turey, with a poisoned javelin, by Kath- 
len, the wife of the Fomorian Balor, he 
was interred at the Brugh, on the Boyne, 
the great cemetery of the east of Ireland 
in the pagan times. His monument is 
mentioned in ancient Irish manuscri])ts 
as one of those vast sepulchral mounds 
which are at this day objects of wonder 
and intei'est on the banks of the Boyne, 
between Drogheda and Slane. 

A. M. 3451. — Dealboeth, the son oi 
Ogma, succeeded, and was followed 
by Fiacha ; after whom three brothers, 
named MacCuill, MacCeacht, and Mac- 
Greine, the last of the Tuatha de Da- 
nann kings, reigned conjointly for thir- 
ty years, each exercising sovereign au- 
thority in succession for the space of 
one year. The real names of the 
three brothers, according to an old po- 
em quoted by Keating, w^ere, Eathur, 
Teathur, and Geathur, and they were 
called, the fii'st, MacCuill, because he 

f Sec Wilde's Boyno and Blackwater, p. 150. Ogrgin, 
part iii., c. 13 and 56. 



worshipped the hazel-tree ; the second, 
MacCeacht, because he worshipped the 
plough, or rather, encouraged agricul- 
ture ; and the third, MacGreine, because 
lie made the sun the object of his devo- 
tions. The old bardic annalists, who, 
with a gallantry peculiar to their coun- 
try, derive most of the names of places 
from celebrated women, tell us that the 
wives of these three kings were Eire, 
Banba, and Fodhla, three sisters who 
have given their names to Ireland ; and 
they add that the country was called 
after each queen during the year of her 
husband's administration; and that if 
the name of Eire has been since more 
generally applied, it was because the 
husband of qu^en Eire was the reigning 
king when the Milesians arrived and 
conquered the island. The names of 
Banba and Fodhla are fi'equently giv- 
en to Ireland in all the ancient Irish' 

Before we leave the Tuatha de Da- 
nanns, whose sway continued for 197 
years— from a. ji. 3303 to a. m. 3500— 
we may mention two or three remark- 
able circumstances connected with the 
accounts of that ancient people. By 
them the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny, 
on which the Irish kings were crowned 
in subsequent ages, was brought into 
[reland. This stone was said to emit 
mysterious sounds when touched by the 

♦ Dr. Petric, in liis History and Antiquities of Tara 
Hill, controverts this account of the Lia Fail, and employs 
some learned, though not conclusive, arguments to show 
that that celebrated relic of pagan antiquity is the pres- 
ent pillar-stone over the "Croppies' Grave" in one of 
the grrat ratlis of Tara. O'Flalicrty (Ogygia, p. 4.-).) 

rightful heir to the crown ; and when 
an Irish colony invaded North Britain, 
and founded the Scottish monarchy 
there in the sixth century, the Lia Fail 
was carried thither to give more solem- 
nity to the coronation of the king, and 
more security to his dynasty. It was 
afterwards preserved for several ages in 
the monastery of Scone, but Avas carried 
into England by Edward I., in the year 
1300, and deposited in Westminster 
Abbey, and is believed to be identical 
with the large block of stone now to be 
seen under the coronation chair.* 

Ogma, one of the Tuatha de Dananii 
princes, is said to have invented the 
Ogam Craove, or occult mode of writing 
by notches on the edges of sticks or 
stones; and Orbsen, another of them, 
is celebrated as the mythical protector 
of commerce and navigation. He was 
commonly called Mananan^ from the 
Isle of Man, of which he was king, and 
MacUr, son of the sea, from his knowl- 
edge of nautical affairs. He was killed 
in a battle in the west of Ireland by 
Ullin, grandson of King Nuad of the 
Silver Hand, and was buried in an 
island in the large lake, which from him 
was called Lough Orbsen, since cor- 
rupted into Lough Corrib, the place 
where the battle was fought l)eing 
still called Moyculleu, or the ])]ain of 

thinks the Stone of Destiny was not carried to Scot- 
land until A. D. 850, when it was sent by Hugh Finnliath, 
king of Ireland, to his father-in-law, Keneth MiicAlpinc, 
wlio finally subjugated the Picts. 

t Pr. ODonovau, in a note on the Tuatha db Dauanns 
(Four M.istrrs, veil. i.. p. 'i\), says: — "In Mageoghegan '« 




The Milesian Colony.— Wanderings of the Gadelians.— Voyage of Itli to Ireland.— Expedition of the Sons of 
Miledh, or MUesius. — Contests vdih the Tuatha de Dananns. — Division of Ireland by Heremon. — The Cruith- 
nians, or Picts. 

THE old annalists preface the account 
of the Milesian invasion of Ireland 
by a long story of the origin of that 
colony, and of its many wanderings, by 
land and sea, for several hundred years, 
until it arrived in Ireland from Sj^ain. 
There is no part of our primitive history 
that has been so frequently questioned, 
or which modern writers so generally 
reject as fabulous, as these first accounts 
of the Milesian or Gadelian race ; yet 

translation of the Annals of Clonmacnoise it is stated 
that 'this people, Tuathy DeDanan, ruled Ireland for 
197 years ; that they were most notable magicians, and 
7\-ould work wonderful things by magick and other dia- 
bolicale arts, wherein they were exceedingly well skilled, 
and in these days accompted the chiefest in the world in 
that profession.' From the many monuments ascribed 
to this colony by tradition, and iu ancient Irish histori- 
cal tales, it is quite evident that they were a real people ; 
and from their having been considered gods and magi- 
cians by the Gaedhil, or Scoti, who subdued them, it 
maybe inferred that they were skilled in arts which the 
latter did not understand. Among them was Danann, 
the mother of the gods, from whom Da chicJi Danainne, 
a mountain in Kerry (the Pap Mountain), was called ; 
Buanann, the goddess that instructed the heroes in mili- 
tary exercises, the Minerva of the ancient Irish ; Badhbh, 
the Bellonaof the ancient Irish ; Abhortach, god of music 
Ned, the god of war ; Nemon, his wife ; Manannan, the 
god of the sea ; Diancecht, the god of physic ; Brioghit, the 
goddess of poets and smiths, &c. It appears from a very 
curious and ancient Irish tract, written in the shape of 
a dialogue between St. Patrick and Caoilte MacRonain^ 
that there were very many places in Ireland where the 
Tuatha de Dananns were then supposed to live as sprites 
or fairies, with corporeal and material forms, but endued 
with immortality. The inference naturally to be drawn 

they are so mixed up with our authen- 
tic history, and so frequently referred 
to, that they cannot be passed over in 
silence. We, therefore, give an outline 
of the narrative, chiefly as we find it re- 
lated in the Duan Eireannach, or Poem 
of Ireland, Written by Maelmura of 
Othain, one of the most ancient of our 
authorities for the Milesian tradition.* 
We are told in this poem that Feni- 
us Farsaidh came out of Scythia to 

from these stories is, that the Tuatha de Dananns lin 
gered in the country for many centuries after their sub- 
jugation by the Gaedhil, and that they lived in retired 
situations, where they practised abstruse arts, which in- 
duced the others to regard them as magicians It 

looks very strange that our genealogists trace the pedi- 
gree of no family living for the last thousand years to 
any of the kings or chieftains of the Tuatha de Dananns, 
while several families of Firbolgic descent are mentioned, 
asinHy-Many, and other parts of Connaught. (SeeTribes 
and Customs of Hy-Many, pp. 85-90; and O'Flaherty's 
Ogygia, part iii., c. 11.") 

Manannan MacLir is described in Cormac's Glossary as 
"a famous merchant of the Isle of Man, and the best 
navigator in the western world." Dr. O'Donovan (Four 
Masters, vol. iii., p. 533, note) says : " There exists j. tra- 
dition in the county of Londonderry that the spirit of 
this celebrated navigator lives in an enchanted castle in 
the tuns or waves of MagUligan, opposite Inishowen, and 
that his magical ship is seen there once every seventh 

. * Maelmura of Othain (now Fahan, in Donegal) died 
A. D. 884, and the historical poem referred to above was 
printed, for the first time, in the Irish version of Nennius, 
published in 1848 by the Irish Archaeological Society, 
with copious notes by the Kev. Dr. Todd, S. P. T. C. D., 
and by the Hon. Algernon Herbert. 



Nembrotli (Nimrod), and tliut, some 
time after " the building of the tower 
(of Babel) by the men of the world," 
Nel, or Niul, the son of Feuius, who 
possessed a knowledge of all the lan- 
guages then spoken by mankind, left his 
father and. travelled into Egypt, where 
the fame of his learning came to the 
ears of Forann (Pharaoh), who gave him 
his daughter Scota in marriage. Niul 
had a son named Gaedhuil Glas, or 
Green Gael ; and we are told that it is 
from him the Irish have been called 
Gaedhil (Gael), or Gadelians, while 
from his mother is derived the name of 
Scoti, or Scots, and from Fenius that of 
Feni, or Fenians. The iwem goes on to 
say that after Forann, pursuing the peo- 
ple of God, was drowned in the sea 
Romhuir (Red sea) the people of Egypt 
were angry with the children of Niul 
for having declined to render any assist- 
ance in the pursuit ; and that the latter, 
through fear of being enslaved as the 
Israelites had been, seized the deserted 
ships of Pharaoh, and in the night-time 
passed over the Red sea, " the way they 
knew," by India and Asia, to Scythia, 
their own country, over the surface of 
the Caspian sea, leaving Glas, dead, at 
Coronis (probably Cyrene, in the Lybian 
sea), where they halted for a period. 

* This name is j ust before written Qacdhiul Glas ; and, 
in general, tliero appears to bo no fixed orthography for 
those ancient Irish names. 

f Sometimes ■written, in Irish MSS., Tipmdfane, that 
Is, the Well of Fenius. 

tThe Slievo IlilB, so often mentioned in Irish MSS., 

wero the Riphoan mountains, but It is by no means easy 

to determine what was the position of these. That they 


After some time, and with some vari- 
ations in the different accounts, we find 
Sru, son of Esru, or Asruth, son of Gadheal 
Glas,* acting as leader of the descend- 
ants of Niul, and proceeding to the isl- 
and of Taprabaiia (Ceylon)f and Slieve 
RiifijJ until he settled in "fiery Gol- 
gatha," or Gaethligh, a place which is 
variously supposed to be Gothia, or Ga- 
latia, or Gethulia; and again, in two 
hundred years after, that is, according to 
O'Flaherty, about the time of the de- 
struction of Tro}', Brath, the son of Dea- 
gath, or Death a, and nineteenth in de- 
scent from Fenius, led a fresh expedition 
from this last-named place to "the north 
of the Avorld, to the islands, ploughing 
the Tarrian sea (Mediterranean or Tyr- 
rhenian) with his fleet." He passed by 
Creid (Crete), Sicil (Sicily), and the 
columns of Hercules, to " Espain, the pe- 
ninsular ;" and here he conquered a cer- 
tain territorj', his son, Breogan, or Bre- 
gond, succeeding him in the command. 
The city which our wanderers built in 
Spain was called Brigantia, believed to 
be Betanzos, in Gallicia; and, from a 
lofty tower erected on the coast, by 
Breogan, it is said that his son, Ith, dis- 
covered Eri, or Ireland, " as far as the 
land of Luiinnech (as the country at the 
mouth of the Shannon was called), on a 

were situated in some part of the vast region anciently 
called Scythia is tolerably certain, and the probablo 
opinion is that they were the Ural mountains in Russia ; 
but they are sometimes set down in old maps as occupy- 
ing the place of the Carpathian moimtains, and even of 
the Alps, and the vague accoimts wo have of them 
would answer for any range of moimtains in northi'rn 



winters eveuing."* Itli apjiears to 
liave been of an adventurous spirit, and 
no doubt discovered the coast of Ireland, 
not from the tower of Breogan, which 
was impossible, but after having sailed 
thither in search of the land, which, 
according to the traditions of his race, 
the children of Niul -were destined to 
possess. He landed at a place since 
called Magh Ithe, or the Plain of Ith, 
near Laggan, in the county of Donegal ; 
and having been taken for a spy or 
pirate, by the Tuatha de Dananns, was 
attacked and mortally wounded, when 
he escaped to his ship and died at sea.f 
The remains of Ith were carried to 
Spain by his cre^v, now commanded by 
his sou Lugaid, who stimulated his kins- 

* Tlio lion. Algernon Herbert, in one of the additional 
notes to the Irish Kenuius, shows how tliis legend of 
Ireland having been seen from the tower of Betanzos (the 
ancient Flavium Brigantium) may have arisen from pas- 
sages of Orosius, the geographer, where mention is made 
of a lofty Pharos erected on the coast of Spain, " ad specu- 
lum Britannice," "for a watch-tower in the direction of 
Britaui ;" and where again, describing the coasts of Ire- 
land, the -writer says "procul spcctant Brigantiam, Gal- 
licito civitatem," &c. — " they lie at a distance opposite 
Brigantiam, a city of Qallicia," &c ; the words " specu- 
lum" and " spectant" having apparently led to the ab- 
surd notion that the coast of Ireland was visible from 
the tower. See also Dr. Wilde's communication to the 
Royal Irish Academy on the remains of the Pharos of 
Corunna, which he believes to have been the tower of 

f AVTioever attempts to trace on the map of the world 
the route ascribed in the text to the ancestors of Mileeius, 
will find himself seriovisly puzzled. In all the accounts 
of these peregrinations two distinct expeditions are al- 
I uded to, one by the east and north, and the other westerly, 
that is, through the Mediterranean sea and the Pillars 
of Hercules. The latter is intelligible enough, but the 
former would imply a passage by water, from south to 
north, through the central countries of Europe. The 
Nemedians and Tuatha de Dananns would also appear 
to have i^asscd freely in their shijis between Greece, or 
Si-ythia, and the northern seas, without going through 

men to avenge his death ; and such, ac- 
cording to the chroniclers, was the prov- 
ocation for the expedition which fol- 
lowed. Accordingly, the sons of Gol- 
1am (who is more generally known l)y 
his surname of Miledh, or Milesius), the 
son of Bile, son of Breogan, and hence the 
nej^hew of Ith, manned thirty ships, and 
prepared to set out for Inis Ealga, as 
Ireland was at that time called. Mile- 
sius himself, Avho was king of Spain, or 
at least of the Gadelian province of it, 
and who in his earlier life had travelled 
into Scythia, and performed sundry ex- 
ploits there, had died before the news 
of the death of Ith arrived; and his 
wife Scota, the second of the name we 
have yet met in these annals, went with 

the Straits of Gibraltar. Some get rid of tliis difficulty 
by treating the whole story as a fable founded on the 
Argonautic expedition and its river-ocean ; but even 
that famous legend of classic antiquity stands itself in 
need of explanation ; and with that view it has been 
suggested that the Baltic and Euxine seas were at some 
remote period connected, and that the vast, swampy 
plains of Poland were covered with water. A connected 
series of lakes may thus have extended across the conti- 
nent of Europe from north to south ; and the lagtmes 
along the present northern coast of the Black sea may 
indicate what their appearance had been. Traditions ol 
many of the physical changes which have taken place 
from time to time in the surface of Ireland, since the 
universal Deluge, such as the eruption of rivers, and the 
formation of new lakes and inlets of the sea, are pre- 
served in the Irish annals ; and it is probable that the 
Greek traditions of Deucalion's Deluge, and the theories 
respecting the eruption of the Euxine into the Archi- 
pelago, and of a channel between the ocean and the 
Mediterranean through ancient Aquitaiue, may refer to 
a period when the ship Argo, and the barques of the de- 
scendants of Kiul, might have passed from the shores 
of Greece to the Hyperborean seas tlirough the heart ol 
Sarmatia, as indicated above. — (See "A Vindication of . 
the Bardic Accounts of the Early Invasions of Ireland, 
and a Verification of the Eiver-ocean of the Greeks." 
Dublin, 1852. Also the Dublin University Magazine for 
March, 18o2.) 



her six sons .at the head of the expedi- 
tion. Some of the accounts mention 
eight sons of Milesius, but the names 
given in Maelmura's poem are Donn, or 
lleber Donn, Colpa, Araergin, Ir, Heber 
(that is, Heber Finn, or the fair), and 
Heremon. Lugaid, the son of Ith, was 
also a leader of the expedition, and the 
names of several other chiefs are given; 
and it is probable that the principal 
portion of the Gadelian colony in Spain 
sailed on the occasion. 

A. M. 3500. — It was in the year of the 
world 3500, and 1700 years before 
Christ, according to the Four Masters, or 
A. M. 2934, and b. c. 1015, according to 
O'Flaherty's chronology, that the Mile- 
sian colony arrived in Ireland. The 
liardic legends say the island was at first 
made invisible to them by the necro- 
mancy of the inhabitants ; and that 
wlien they at length effected a landing 
and marched into the country, the Tua- 
tl\u de Dananns confessed that they 
were not prepared to resist them, having 
no standing army, but that if they 
Mgain embarked, and could make good 
a landing according to the rules of war, 
the country should be theirs. Amergin, 
who was the ollav or learned man and 
jndge of the expedition, having been 
aj)pealed to, decided against his own 
people, and they accordingly re-em- 
])arked at the southern extremity of 
Ireland, and withdrew "the distance of 
nine waves" fi-om the shore. No sooner 
had they done so than a terrific storm 
commenced, raised by the magic arts of 
rlio Tuatha de Dananns, and the J\[ile- 

sian fleet was completely scattered. 
Several of the ships, among them those 
of Donn and Ir, were lost off dift'erent 
parts of the coast. Heremon sailed 
round by the northeast, and lauded at 
the mouth of the Boyne (called Inver 
Colpa, from one of the brothers who 
was drowned there), and others landed 
at Inver Scene, so called from Scene 
Dubsaine, the wife of Amergin, who per- 
ished in that river. In the first battle 
fought with the Tuatha de Dananns, at 
Slieve Mish, near Tralee, the latter were 
defeated ; but among the killed were 
Scota, the wife of Milesius, who was 
buried in the place since called from 
her, Glen-Scoheen, and Fas, the Avife of 
Un, another of the Milesians, from whom 
Glenofaush in the same neighborhood 
has its name. After this the sons of 
Milesius fought a battle at Tailtinn, or 
Teltown, in Meath, where the three 
kings of the Tuatha de Dananns wei-e 
killed and their people completely 
routed. The three queens, Eire, Fodhla, 
and Banba, were also slain ; women 
having been accustomed during the 
pagan times in Ireland to take part per- 
sonally in battles, and in many instances 
to lead the hostile armies to the fight. 
Among the Milesians killed in this bat- 
tle, or ratlier in the pursuits of the Tua- 
tha de Dananns, were Fnad (from whom 
Slieve Fuad in Armagh, a place much 
celebrated in Irish history, has derived 
its name), and Cuailgne, who was killed 
at Slieve Cuailgne, now the Cooley 
mountains, near Carlingford, in thd 
county of Louth. 



After the battle of Teltown the Mile- 
sians enjoyed tLe undisturbed posses- 
sion of the country, and formed alliances 
witli the Firbolgs, the Tuatha de Da- 
nanns, and other primitive races, but 
more especially with the first, who 
aided them willingly in the subjugation 
of their late masters, and were allowed 
to retain possession of certain territories, 
where some of their posterity still re- 
main. Heremon and Heber Finn di- 
vided Ireland between them ; but a dis- 
pute arising, owing to the covetousness 
of the wife of Heber, who desired to 
have all the finest vales in Erin for her- 
self, a battle was "fought at Geashill, in 
the present Kings county, in which 
Heremon killed his brother Heber. In 
the division of Ireland which followed, 
Heremon, who retained the sovereignty 
himself, gave Ulster to Heber, the son 
of Ir; Munster to the four sons of Heber 
Finn ; Connaught to TJn and Eadan ; 
and Leiuster to Crivann Sciavel, a 
Damnonian or Firbolg. The people of 
the south of Ireland in general are 
looked upon as the descendants of He- 
lper; while the fixmilies of Leinster, many 
of those of Connaught, the Hi Nialls of 
Ulster, cfec, trace their pedigree to 
Heremon. Families sprung from the 
sons of Ir are to be found in dififerent 
parts of Ireland ; but of Amergiu, the 
jioL't and ollav, little is said in this dis- 
triluition of the land. He is mentioned 
as having constructed the causeway or 

* The above etymology of Tara is evidently legendary ; 
and aciording to Corniac's Glossary, quoted by O'Dono- 
w.n (Four Masters, vol. i., p. 31), the name, which in 

tochar of Inver Mor, or the mouth of 
the Ovoca in Wicklow. 

The wife of Heremon was Tea, the 
daughter of Lugaid, the son of Ith, for 
whom he Tepudiated his former wife 
Ovey, who followed the expedition to 
Ireland, and died of grief on finding 
herself deserted ; and it was Tea who 
selected for the royal residence the hill 
of Druim Caein, called from her Tea- 
mur or Tara — that is, the mound of 
Tea.* In the second year of his reign 
Heremon slew his brother Amergin in 
battle, and in subsequent conflicts others 
of his kinsmen fell by his hands ; and 
having reigned fifteen years, he died at 
Rath-Beothaigh, now Rathveagh on the 
Nore, in Kilkenny. 

About the period of the Milesian in- 
vasion the Cruithnigh, Cruithnians, or 
Picts, so called, according to the gener- 
ally received opinion, from having their 
bodies tattooed, or painted, are said to 
have paid a visit to Ireland previous to 
their final settlement in Alba, or Scot- 
land. Having no wives, they obtained 
Milesian women in marriage; that is, 
according to some accounts, they mar- 
ried the widows of those who had been 
drowned with Heber Donn in the expe- 
dition from Spain, making a solemn 
compact that, should they succeed in 
conquering the country they Avere about 
to invade, the sovereignty should de- 
scend in the female line. The Cruith- 
nians were of a kindred race with the 

Irish is Teamhair, merely signifies a hill commanding 
a pleasant prospect. 



Scots or Irish, and for many centuries 
dwelt as a distinct people in tlie eastern 
part of Ulster, where some of their de- 
scendants were to be found at the time 
of the confiscations under James I. ; but 

the confused traditions about the visit 
of a Pictish colony at the same time 
with the children of Milesius are pro- 
perly treated as apocryphal.* 


Questions as to the Credit of the Ancient Irish jVnnals.— Defective Chronology.— Tlie Test of Science applied.- 
Theories on the Ancient Inhabitants of Ireland.— Intellectvial Qualities of Firbolgs and Tuatha de Dananns - 
Monuments of the latter People. — Celts. 

HAVIXG thus for followed the' 
bardic chroniclers, or seanachies, 
it is right to pause awhile to consider 
what amount of credit we may place in 
them ; and in the next place, what are 
the opinions of those who reject their 
authority. A judicious and accomplish- 
ed Irish annalist, Tighernach, Abbot 
of Clonmacnoise, who died so early as 
A. D. 1088, has said that all the Scottish, 
that is, Irish, records previous to the 
reign of Cimbaeth, which he fixed at the 
year b. c. 305, are doubtful; and Ave 
have, therefore, good authority, inde- 
pendent of internal evidence or of the 
opinions of modern writers, for placing 
on them but a modified reliance. We 

* Bede (Ilist. Eccl., lib. i., c. 1) gives the following 
account of the origin of the Picts : — " When the Hritons, 
beginning at the south, had made themselves masters of 
the greater part of the island, it happened that the nation 
of the Picts, from Scythia, as is reported, putting to sea 
In a few long ships, were driven by the winds beyond 
the shores of Britain, and arrived on the northern coast 
of Ireland, where, finding the nation of the Scots, they 
begged to be allowed to settle among them, but could 

not succeed in obtaining their request The Picts, 

accordingly, sailing over into Britain, began to inhabit 

must be careful, however, not to can-y 
our doubts too far. These ancient rec- 
ords claim our veneration for their great 
antiquity, and are themselves but the 
channels of still older traditions. Wi'i- 
tings which date from the first ages of 
Christianity in Ireland refer to facts 
upon which all our pre-Christian his- 
tory hinges, as the then fixed historical 
tradition of the country; and the closest 
study of the history of Ireland shows 
the impossibility of fixing a period pre- 
vious to which the main facts related 
by the annalists should be rejected as 
utterly ftibulous. There is no more 
reason to deny the existence of such 
men as Heber and Ileremon, and, there- 

the northern parts thereof Now the Picts had no 

wives, and asked them of the Scots, who would not con- 
sent to grant them on any terms than that, when any 
difficulty should arise, they should choose a king from 
the female royal race, rather than from the male ; which 
custom, as is well Known, has been observed among the 
Picts to this day." See, for ample details about the 
Cruithnians or Picts. and for all the traditions relative 
to their intercourse with Ireland, the annotations to the 
Irish Nennius. 


fore, of II iMilesian or Scottish colony, 
tlian tliere is to question the occur- 
rence of the battle of Clontarf ; and the 
traditions of the Firbolgs and Tuatha 
de Danauns are so mixed up with our 
wiitten histoiy, so impressed on the 
monuments and topography of the 
country, and so illusti'ated in the char- 
acteristics of its population, that no man 
of learning who had thoroughly studied 
the subject would now think of doubting 
their existence. But, as we have said, 
it is for the main facts that we claim 
this credence. These facts are, of 
course, mixed up with the quaint ro- 
mance characteristic of the remote ages 
in wdiich they were recorded, and the 
chief difficulty, as in the ancient history 
of most countries, is to trace out the 
substratum of truth beneath the super- 
incumbent mass of fable. 

Tlie chronology of the pre-Christian 
Irish annals is obviously erroneous, but 
that does not affect their general au- 
thenticity. They were compiled for the 
most part from such materials as gen- 
ealogical lists of kings, to whose reigns 
disputed periods of duration were at- 
tributed ; and those who, in subsequent 
ages, endeavored to form regular series 
of annals out of such data, and to mal 
them synchronize with the history of 
other countries, were unavoidably liable 
to error. The Four Masters, adopting 
the chronology of the Se2:»tuagint and 
the Greeks, accordinsc to which tlie 

world was 5,200 years old at the birth 
of our Savioui', refer the occurrences 
of Irish history, previous to the Chris- 
tian era, to epochs so remote rfis to ex- 
pose the whole history to ridicule ; 
while O'Flaherty, endeavoring to arrive 
at a more reasonable computation, and 
taking for his standard the system of 
Scaliger, which makes the age of the 
world before Christ some 1250 years 
less, reduces the dates given by the 
Four Masters by many hundreds of 
years; but the degree of antiquity 
which even he allows to them surpasses 
credibility. Thus, according to the au- 
thor of the Ogygia, the arrival of the 
Milesian colony took place 1015 years 
before the Christian era ; that is, about 
260 years before the building of Rome, 
making it synchronize with the reign of 
Saul in Israel ; while, according to the 
Four Masters, that event occurred more 
than six hundred years earlier ; that is, 
many centuries before the foundation 
of Troy, or the Argonautic expedition ; 
and yet, at that remote period — sixteen 
hundred years, according to one compu- 
tation, and at least a thousand, accord- 
ing to another, before Julius Caesar 
found Britain still occupied by half-sav- 
age and half-naked inhabitants — we are 
asked to believe that a regular mon- 
archy was established in Ireland, and 
Avas continued through a known succes- 
sion of kings, to the twelfth century !* 
A chronology so improbable has 

• Charles O'Connor, of Balenagar, says, in liis Dj 
Uitions on the History of Ireland, that tlie Milesian ; 

sion cannot havt 
year B. c. 700. 

been muoli earlier or later than the 



li.aturally -weakened the credibility of 
our older annals; but neither bardic 
legends nor erroneous computations 
can destroy the groundwork of truth 
which we must recognize beneath them. 

The ancient Irish attributed the ut- 
most importance to the truth of their 
historic compositions, for social reasons. 
Their whole system of society — every 
question as to the rights of property — 
turned upon the descent of families and 
the principle of clanship ; so that it can- 
not be supposed that mere fables would 
lie tolei'ated instead of facts, where 
v^very social claim was to be decided 
ou their authority. A man's name is 
scarcely mentioned in our annals with- 
out the addition of his forefathers for 
several generations, a thing which rarely 
occurs in those of other countries. 

Again, when we arrive at the era of 
Christianity in Ireland, we find that our 
ancient annals stand the test of verifica- 
tion by science with a success which not 
only establishes their character for truth- 
fulness at that period, but vindicates the 
records of preceding dates involved in 
it. Thus, in some of the annals, natural 
ph(;nomena, such as eclipses, are record- 
ed, and these are found to agree so ex- 
actly Avith the calculations of astronomy. 

* For observations on tlie comparison of the entries of 
eclipses in the Irish annals with the calculations in the 
great French work, I' Art de verifier let Dates, as a test 
and correction of the former, see O'Donovan's Introdac- 
tion to the Annals of tho Four Masters, and Doctor 
Wilde's Report on the Tables of Deaths in the Census of 
1S51, where the idea of the comparison has been fully 
carried out. Thus, in tho Annals of Innisfallen wo find, 
" A. D. 445, a solar eclipse at the ninth hour." This is 
the first eclipse mentioned in the Irish annals, and it 

as to leave no room whatever to doubt 
the general accuracy of documents found 
in these particulars to be so correct, at 
least for periods after the Christian era.* 
Now, coming to the theories of Irisli 
origins entertained by those who reject 
the authority of the old annalists either 
wholly or on this particular point ; it is 
certain, according to them, that Irelanel 
has invariably derived her population 
from the neighboring shores of Britain, 
in the same way as Britain itself had 
been peopled from those of Gaul. It 
was thus, they tell us, that the Belg^e, 
or Firbolgs, the Damuonians, and the 
Dananns came successively into Erin, as 
well as, in after times, that other race 
called Scots, whose origin seems to set 
speculation at defiance. Navigation 
was so imperfectly understood in those 
ages, that such a voyage as that from 
Spain to Ireland, especially for a numer- 
ous squadron of small craft, is treated 
with ridicule. The knowledge of navi- 
gation, Avhich all admit the Greeks, and 
Trojans, and Phoenicians to have pos- 
sessed, is not acceded to the early col- 
onies of Ireland ; but it is argued that 
as people spread naturally into adjoin- 
ing countries visible from those whence 
they proceeded, so it is only reasonable 

agrees with the calculated date in I'Art de verifier Ics 
Dates, where the corresponding entry is, " A solar eclipse 
visible in northwestern Europe, July 20th, at half-past 
five, A. M.'' And again, in the Annals of Tigernach, 
"A. D. GG4. Darlvness at the ninth hour on the Calends ol 
May ;" while in the French astronomical work already 
quoted, there is noticed for that year, "A total eclipse of 
the sun, visible to Europe and Africa, at half i»Bt three, 
P.M., l.'^tof May." 


to suppose that Ireland received inhabit-- 
ants from the coasts of Wales or Scot- 
land, from which her shores could be 
plainly seen, rather than from Thi-ace or 
jMacedon, or even from Spain. Similar- 
ity of names, also, comes to the aid of 
this theory; for it seems probable 
enough that the Belgse and Dumnonii 
of Southern Britain were the same race 
with those bearing almost identically 
the same names in Ireland. As to the 
name of Scots, it was never heard of 
before the second or third century of 
the Christian era, when it was given to 
the tribes who aided the Picts in har- 
assing the people of South Britain, and 
their masters, the Romans. There is no 
Ii-ish or any other authority of an older 
date for the application of the name of 
Scots to the people of Erin. Irish wri- 
ters themselves suggest that sciot., a dart 
or arrow, may have been the origin of 
the word Scythia ; and with more prob- 
ability might it have been that of the 
name Scoti, or Scots, as applied to men 
armed with weapons so called ; and 
once the name, from this or any other 
cause, came to be applied to the natives 
of Ireland, it is easy, we are told, to im- 
agine how the Irish bards built upon it 

* Fiacli's hymn, admitted to be the composition of a 
disciple of St. Patrick, refers to the Milesian traditions of 
ihe Irish ; and among the authorities most frequently- 
quoted by Keating, O'Flaherty, and other old writers, on 
the period of the Tuatha de Danauns, Firbolgs, and the 
Milesian colony, on account of their works being still 
preserved, are Maebnura of Fathan, who died A. D. 884 ; 
Eochy O'Flynn, who died A. D. 984 ; Flan Mainistreach, 
who died A. D. 1030 ; and ClioUa Kevin, who died A. D. 
1073 ; all of whom related in verse the written and oral 
traditions received by themselves from preceding ages. 

a fine romance, deriving it from an im- 
aginary daughter of King Pharaoh, and 
perhaps borrowing from it also the idea 
of claiming for their nation descent from 
Scythia, the region, at that time, of fobu- 
lous heroism. These theories give wide 
scope to the imagination, and would sub- 
stitute for the traditions of the old annal- 
ists conjectures quite as vague and in- 
conclusive, however ingenious and learn- 
ed they may be.* 

It is generally agreed that the Fir- 
bolgs, or Belgians, were a pastoral peo- 
ple, inferior in knowledge to the Tuatha 
de Dananns, by whom, although the 
latter were less numerous, they were 
kept in subjection. It is also admitted 
that the Tuatha de Danann race were 
superior in their knowledge of the use- 
ful arts and in general information to 
the Gadelian, or Scottish colony, who, 
however, excelled them in energy, cour- 
age, and probably in most physical qual- 
ities. To their intellectual superiority 
the Danann colony owed their character 
of necromancers, as it was natural that 
a rude and ignorant people at that age 
should look upon skilled workmanship 
and abstruse studies as associated with 
the supernatural. 

Shortly after the establishment of Christianity in Ireland, 
the chronicles of the bards were replaced by regular an 
nals, kept in several of the monasteries, and from this 
period wc may look upon the record of events in our his- 
tory as, morally speaking, accurate. The statement of 
Mr. Moore, and of others of his school, that the primitive 
traditions of Irish liistory were fabricated to please a fall- 
en nation with delusions of past glories, is monstrously 
absurd. They were in existence, and were cherished by 
the people, ages before the fallen circumstances which 
Mr. Jloore contemplates. 


It is probable that l)y the Tuatha de 
Dananns mines were first worked iu Ire- 
land ; and it is generally believed that 
they were the artificers of those beauti- 
rully shaped bronze swords and spear- 
heads that have been found iu Ireland, 
and of which so many fine specimens 
may be seen in the museum of the Royal 
Irish Academy. The sepulchral monu- 
ments,^lso, of this people evince extra- 
ordinary' powers of mind on the part oi 
those by whom they were erected. 
There is evidence to show that the vjxst 
mounds, or artificial hills, of Drogheda, 
Knowth, Dowth, and New Grange, 
along the banks of the Boyne, with sev- 
eral minor tumuli in the same neighbor- 
hood, were erected as the tombs of Tua- 
tha de Danann kings and chieftains; and 
as such thejr only rank after the pyra- 
mids of Egypt for the stupendous efforts 
which were required to raise them.* 

As to the Firbolgs, it is doubtful 
whether there are any monuments re- 
maining of their first sway in Ireland ; 
but the famous Dun Aengus and other 
great stone forts in the islands of Aran 
are well-authenticated remnants of their 
military structures of the period of the 

» See Dr. Petrie's " History of Tara IliU, " and Dr. 
Wilde's " Beauties of the Boyne and Blackwater." 

f In the Book of MacFirbis, written about the year 
IGoO, it is said that " every one who is black, loquacious, 
lying, tale-telling, or of low and grovelling mind, is of the 
I'irbolg descent ;" and that " every one who is fair-lmired, 
of large size, fond of music and horse-riding, and practises 
the art of magic, is of Tuatlia de Danann descent." See 
these passages quoted by Dr. Wilde in an ethnological 
disquisition on these ancient races, founded on the 
licculiarities of human crania discovered under circum- 
stances that identify them as belonging to the two races 

Christian era, or thereabouts. That the 
Tuatha de Dananns were not a warlike 
people appears from the ti-adition of 
their remonstrance against the first land- 
ing of the Milesians, when they admitted 
that they had no standing ai'niy to resist 

Again the question" is raised, were 
these Firbolgs, and Tuatha de Dananns, 
and Gadelians, all Celts? And, in re- 
ply, it must be said that the term Celt, 
or Kelt, as it is more correctly pro- 
nounced, was unknown to the Irish 
themselves ; that the word is of classic 
origin, and was probably as indefinite 
as most geograjihical names and dis- 
tinctions at that period appear to have 
been. Finally, it is suggested that in 
all probability none of the immigra- 
tions into Ireland were unmixed, ami 
that the first population of the isl- 
and was composed of Celtic, Slavonic, 
and Teutonic races, mixed up in dif- 
ferent proportions. A Scythian origin 
is claimed for all in the Irish tradi- 
tions, in which all are traced to Jajihet, 
the son who received the blessing, and 
through him to the cradle of our 

respectively. " Beauties of the Boyne and Blackwater," 
pp. 213, 239. 

I O'Flaherty, in the first part of the Ogygia, gives the 
following as the results of his researches about the origi- 
nal inhabitants of Ireland : — That the first four colonies 
came into Ireland from Great Britain ; that t'artholaa 
and Nemedius, descendants of Gomar by Riphat, came 
from Northern, and the Firbolg colony from Southern 
Britain ; that these races spoke difTerent languages ; that 
the Tuatha de Dananns were the descendants of the Ne. 
medians, who, after snjourning in Scandinavia, returned 
int') Xortli Britain, and thenee, in the lapse of lime, into 




Tlie Kings of Ireland.— Lrial the Prophet. — Tiernmas. — Crom-Cruach ; the Paganism of the Ancient 
Irish. — Social Progress. — The Triennial Assembly or Parliament of Tara. — Cimbaeth. — Queen Macha. — 
Foundation of Emania. — Ugony the Great. — New Division of Ireland.— Pagan Oath. — A Murrain. — Maeve, 
Queen of Connaught. — Wars of Connaught and Ulster. — Bardic Romances. 

FROM the conquest of Ireland (b. c. 
1700*) by the sons of Gollamli, or 
Milesius, to its conversion to Christian- 
ity by St. Patrick (a. d. 432), one hun- 
dred and eighteen sovereigns are enu- 
merated, Avhose sway extended over the 
whole island, independent of the petty 
kings and chieftains of provinces and 
particular districts. Of this number, 
sixty were of the race of Heremon, 
twenty-nine of the posterity of Heber 
Finn, twenty-four of the line of Ir, three 
were descended from Lugaid, the son 
of Ith, one was a plebeian, or Firbolg', 
and one was a woman. The history of 
their reigns is, to a great extent, made 
up of wars either among different 
branches of their own race or against 
the Firbolgs and others ; but numerous 
events are also recorded which mark 
the progress of civilization, such as the 

the north of Ireland ; that the Dananns being subdued 

by the Scots, the Firbolgs, under the latter, again flour- 
ished in Ireland, and enjoyed the sovereignty of Con- 
naught for several ages ; that the Fomorians, whether the 
aborigines of Ireland or not, were not descendants of 
Cliam, nor from the shores of Africa, but from that coun- 
try whence the Danes, in after ages, invaded Ireland ; and 
finally, that the Firbolgs .ind Tuatha do Dananns had 
frequent intercourse with each other before the conquest 
of Ireland by the latter. 

clearing of plains from woods, the enact- 
ment of laws, the erection of palaces, 
&c. The breaking forth of several 
rivers and other natural phenomena are 
mentioned, and a great number of le- 
gends are related, many of them curious 
specimens of ancient romance. 

lrial, surnamed Faidh, cr the Pi'oph 
et, son of Heremon, began the struggle 
against the Fomorians and Firbolgs, the 
latter of whom kept the Milesian armies 
occasionally occupied for centuries after. 
The tribes of Firbolgs most frequently 
mentioned are the Ernai and the Mar- 
tinei, the former of whom are described 
in one place as holding the present 
county of Kerry, and the latter the 
southern portion of the county of Lim- 
erick ; and in the reign of Fiacha Lav- 
rainne, who was killed in the year b. c. 
1449, the Ernai are stated to have been 

* We continue to employ the chronology of the Four 
Masters, simply turning the years of the world into the 
corresponding years before Christ, as being more intel- 
ligible ; but the reader will observe that, as already 
stated, no reliance is to be placed on these dates untU 
wo arrive within a few centuries of the Christian era. 
All the computations at this early period are equally 
uncertain ; and .we insert the dates merely for the sake 
of method, to mark the order of events, the relative dura- 
tion of reigns, &c. 


routed ia battle oa a plain where Lough 
Erne, go called from them, subsequent!}' 
flowed oyer the slain. Irial Faidh died 
an Magh Muai, whicli is supposed to be 
the plain near Knock Moy, a few miles 
from Tuam, after clearing a great many 
extensive plains and erecting several 
forts during the ten years of his reign. 

B. c. 1620. — Among' the early Mile- 
sian kings a prominent place is assigned 
to Tiernmas, who is said to have been 
the first to institute the public worship 
of idols in Ireland. The notion which 
we can form of the paganism of the 
ancient Irish is extremely obscure. Ow- 
ing to the scanty information which -the 
old manuscripts afford us on the subject, 
every one who has written about it has 
had ample scope for his own favorite 
theory, and some of these theories have 
been advanced with scarcely a shadow 
of foundation. We shall revert to this 
subject again, and for the present shall 
refer only to the worship of Crom- 
Cruach, the chief idol of the Irish, which 
stood in Magh-Slecht, or the Plain of 
Adoration, in the ancient territory of 
Breifny.* This idol, which was covered 
with gold, was said to represent a hide- 
ous monster, and its name implies that 
it was stooped, or crooked, and also 
that it was black, for it is sometimes 
called Crom-Duv. It was surrounded 
by twelve smaller idols, and was de- 
stroyed by St. Patrick, who merely 

* The village of Ballymagauran and the island of 
Port, in the present county of Cavan, are situated in the 
plain anciently called Magh-Slecht. The idol stood near 
a nvcr caUe'l Gathard, and St. Patrick erected a church 

stretched forth towards it, from a dis- 
tance, his crozier, which was called the 
Staff of Jesus. It is probable that Tiern- 
mas only erected the rude statue, and 
that he found the worship prevailing in 
the country, and handed down, it may 
be, fi-om the earliest Milesians ; but, at 
all events, he was punished for his idol- 
atry by a terrible judgment, having 
been struck dead, with a great multi- 
tude of his people, while prostrate be- 
fore Crom-Cruach, on the Night of Sa- 
vain, or All Hallow Eve. Tiernmas 
reigned seventy-seven, or, according to 
others, eighty years ; and it was under 
him that gold was first smelted in Ire- 
land, in the district of Foharta, east of 
the river Liftey, and that goblets and 
brooches were first covered with gold. 
According to Keating, it was he who 
first ordered that the rank of persons 
should be distinguished by the number 
of colors in their garments: thu.s, the 
slave should have but one color, the 
peasant two, the soldier three, the 
keeper of a house of hospitality four, 
the chieftain of a territory five, the 
ollav, or man of learning, six; and in 
the clothes of kings and queens seven 
colors were allowed. This regulation is 
attributed by the Four Masters to the 
successor of Tiernmas, and the rule is 
also somewhat differently stated.f 

In the reign of Enna Airgeach, n. c. 
1383, silver shields were first made at 

called Donoghmore in tlie immediate vicinity of the 
jjlace. (See O'Donovan's notes at reign of Tighemmos, 
Four Masters, A. M. riG>")(l.) 

■f The Scottisli plaid is traced to this early origin. 



Airget-Ross, or the Silver Wood, on the 
banks of the I'iver Nore. They were 
given, together with horses and chariots, 
to the heroes and nobility. King Mone- 
mon, who died of plague, b. c. 1328, first 
caused the nobility to wear chains of 
gold on their necks, and rings of the 
same metal on their fingers. Deep 
wells were first dug in the reign of Fia- 
cha Finailches, by whom the town of 
Ceanannus, or Kells, was founded, b. c. 
1200. Four-horsed chariots were first 
used in the time of Roiachty, who was 
killed by lightning at Dun Severick, 
near the Giant's Causeway, b. c. 1024. 
Stipends, or wages, were first paid to 
soldiers, and probably to other persons 
in public emploj'iuents, in the reign of 
Sedna lunarry, b. c. 910 ; and silver 
coin is stated to have been first struck 
in Ii-eland, at the silver works of Air- 
get-Ross, in the reign of Enda Dearg, 
who, with many others, died of plague, 
at Slieve Mish, b. c. 881. 

But the greatest step in social prog- 
i-ess at that remote period of Irish his- 
tory was the institution of the Feis 
Teavrach, or triennial assembly of Tara, 
})y Ollav Fola (Ollamh Fodhla), the 
beginning of whose reign is fixed by the 
Four Masters at the year of the world 
3883, corresponding Avith the year b. c. 
1317. If we suppose the event ante- 
dated even by several centuries, this as- 
sembly would, nevertheless, appear to 
be one of the earliest instances of a 
national convocation or parliament in 
any country. All the chieftains or 
heads of septs, bards, historians, and 

military leaders throughout the country 
were regularly summoned, and Avere 
required to attend under the penalty 
of being treated as the king's enemies. 
The meeting was held in a large oblong 
hall, and the first three days were spent 
in enjoying the hospitality of the king, 
Avho entertained the entire assembly 
during its sittings. The bards give long 
and glowing accounts of the magnifi- 
cence displayed on these occasions, of 
the formalities employed, and of the 
business transacted. Tables were ar- 
I'anged along the centre of the hall, and 
on the walls at either side were suspend- 
ed the banners or arms of the chiefs, so 
that each chief on entering might take 
his seat under his own escutcheon. Or- 
ders were issued by sound of trumpet, 
and all the forms were characterized by 
gi'eat solemnity. What may have been 
the authority of this assembly, or 
whether it had any power to enact laws, 
is not clear; but it would appear that 
one of its principal functions Avas the 
inspection of the national records, the 
Avriters of Avhich Avere obliged to the 
strictest accuracy under the Aveightiest 
penalties. These accounts of the Feis 
of Tara must be taken with due allow- 
ance for the coloring which the more 
ancient traditions on the subject re- 
ceived from the later writere who have 
delivered them to us; but hoAvever 
cautiously we regard them — and no 
student of antiquity Avill now-a-days 
venture wholly to reject them — they 
should satisfy us that the pagan Irish 
wtie acquainted with the art of writing. 



notwitbstauding the opiniou to the con- 
trary of so many moderns, who hold 
that letters were not introduced into 
Ireland before the time of St. Patrick. 

Besides the establishment of the trien- 
nial assembly, Ollav Fola appears to 
have instituted other wise regulations 
for the government of the country. 
Over every cantred, or hundred, he ap- 
pointed a chieftain, and over each town- 
land a kind of prefect or secondary 
chief, all being the servants of the king 
of Ireland. He constructed a rath on 
Tara, called from him Mur-Ollavan, and 
died there, after a useful reign of forty 

A few of the Irish monarchs enjoyed 
very long reigns. Thus, Sirna Selach 
governed Ireland for 150 years ; and in 
a battle which he fought against the 
I'ace of Heber, the Fomorians having 
been brought in to aid the latter, a 
plague fell upon them during the fight, 
and many thousands of his enemies 
perished on the spot. And of king Sla- 
noll (that is, all health) it is related 
that there was no sickness in Ireland 
during his reign ; that he himself died 
without any apparent cause ; and that 
his body remained uncorrupted and 
without changing color for several years 
after his death. 

15. c. 71G. — The reiorn of Cimbaeth 

* The real name of this king was Eochy (pronounced 
Achy), but he is only known by his surname of Ollav 
Fula, that is, the chief poet or learned man (Ollav) of 
Ireland (Fola). 

f The Four Masters assign the beginning ofliis reign 
to \. u. 4-18-1, corresponding with the year B. c. 716. 

brings us to the commencement of what, 
according to Tigernach, may be consid- 
ered as the authentic period of the 
Irish annals.f It is also a remarkable 
epoch for other reasons, and especially 
for the foundation of Emania, the royal 
palace of Ulster. The story of this 
palace is curious. About this period 
there lived three princes, Hugh Roe, or 
the Red ; Dihorba, and Cimbaeth (pro- 
nounced Kimbahe), the sons of three 
brothers, and all three claimed equal 
right to the crown. A contest conse- 
quently arose, which was finally adjust- 
ed by a solemn engagement that they 
should reign in turn for seven years 
each ; and this agreement was strictly 
carried out, until, at the end of his third 
period of seven years, Hugh Roe was 
drowned at Easroe, or Red Hugh's Cat- 
aract,:]: and left a daughter, Macha, sur- 
named Mongroe, or the Red-haired, who, 
when her father's turn to rule came 
round again, claimed it in his stead, and 
made war on the other two competitors 
to assert her right. A battle was fought, 
in which the red-haired lady Avas victori- 
ous ; and Dihorba having been slain, 
Macha arranged the dispute wdth the 
survivor, Cimbaeth, by marrying him 
and making him king. She then, as the 
legend goes, followed the five sons of 
Dihorba into Connaught, ca])tured them 

O'Flaherty fixed it at the year B. c. 352 ; Keating about 
B. c. 4G0 ; and Tigernach at B. c. 303. This diversity 
exemplifies the uncertainty of early Irish chronology. 

J Now Assaroe, or the Salmon Leap, on the river Erne 
at Ballyshannon, where Hugh Roe was buried in th« 
mound now called Mullaghshee. 



by stratagem amoug the rocks of Burrin, 
and compelled them to build her a 
{Kilace, the site of which she herself 
marked out with the bodkin or pin of 
lier cloak, whence the name of the new 
palace, Eamlmin^ which signifies a neck- 
pin. At all events, it was at the desire 
of Mucha, and in the reign of her hus- 
band, Cimbaeth, that the palace of Ema- 
nia, so celebrated in the history of Ire- 
land for many centuries after, was con- 
sti'ucted. This was the resort of the 
Red-branch Knights, and the palace of 
the kings of Ulster for 855 years,* until 
finally destroyed, as we shall see, by 
tlie three Collas. After the deatli of 
Cimbaeth, Macha reigned as absolute 
(pieen of Ireland for seven years, when 
file was slain by her successor, Rachty 
Itidearg, who, in his turn, was slain by 
Ugaine Mor, or Ugony the Great, who 
had lieen fostered by Cimbaeth and 
Macha, and thus avenged the death of 
his royal foster-mother. 

B. c. 633. — Ugony, who reigned forty 
years, is said to have carried his vic- 
torious arms far out of Ireland, so that 
his power was acknowledged "all over 
the west of Europe, as far as Muir-Toir- 
rian," or the Mediterranean sea. He 
divided Ireland among his twenty-five 
children, and exacted from the people 
an oath, according to the ancient Irish 

pagan form, " by the sun and moon, the 
sea, the dew, and colors, and all the 
elements visible and invisible," that the 
sovereignty of Erin should not be ta- 
ken from his descendants forever. This 
mode of binding posterity appears to 
have been a favorite one, as we find it 
again adopted, in the same precise form, 
by Tuathal Techtmar, one of Ugoiiy's 
descendants. The subdivision of Ireland 
into twenty-five parts was preserved for 
300 years.f 

Ugony the Great experienced the 
same fate as nearly all these ancient 
sovereigns, who, with very few excep- 
tions, were slain each by his successor ; 
and among the most remarkable of the 
succeeding princes we find one named 
Maen, better known as Lavry Long- 
seach, or Lowry of the Ships, who, 
having been driven into exile by his 
uncle, Covagh, son of Ugony, lived some 
time in Gaul, and returning thence with 
2,000 foreigners, landed on the coast of 
Wexford, and marched rapidly to the 
royal residence at Dinrye, on the river 
Barrow, which he attacked at night, 
killing the king, his uncle, and thii-ty 
of the nobles, and setting fire to the 
palace, which was burned to the ground. 
He then seized the crown, and having 
reigned nineteen years, was, according 
to the customary rule, killed by his 

* Annals of Clonmacnoise. The remains of the palace 
of Eamliuin, or Emania, is now a very large rath, cor- 
ruptly called the Navan fort, situated about two miles 
west of Armagh. Near the hill is a townland which 
etill bears, in its name of Creeveroe (Craobh-ruadh), or 
the Red-branch, a memorial of the ancient glory of 

the place.— (See Stuart's " Historical Memoirs of Ar- 

t Of Ugony's children twenty-two were sons, and of 
these only two left issue, all who claim to be of the race 
ofHeremron tracing their descent through these two sons 
of Ugonv. 



successor (b. c. 523). Many legends are 
related of this Lowiy of the Ships; 
and it is said that the foreigners who 
came with him from Gaul Tv-ere armed, 
with broad-headed lances or javelins 
(called in Irish lairjhne), whence the 
province of Leinster has derived its 

For some centuries, about this period, 
few events of note are recorded. In 
the reign of Bresail Bodivo (b. c. 200) 
there was a mortality of kiue, so great 
that, according to the Annals of Clon- 
macnoise, " there were no more then 
left alive but one bull and one heifer 
m the whole kingdom, which bull and 
heifer lived in a place called Gleann 
Sawasge," that is, the Glen of the Heifer, 
tlie name of a remarkable valley in the 
county of Kei'ry, Avhere the tradition- is 
still preserved. 

B. c. 142. — Eochy, or Achy, surnamed 
Feyleach (Feidhleach), from a habit of 
constantly sighing, rescinded Ugony 
More's division of Ireland into twenty- 
five parts, and divided the island into 

* This origin of the name is more generally received 
than the similar one mentioned above, when treating of 
the Firbolg immigration. 

■f The return of a number of the Firbolga to Ireland, 
in the time of Queen Maeve, is an interesting fact in our 
liistory. It is staled in a MS. account of the Firliolgs. by 
MacFirbis (for the translation of a portion of which, as 
well as for the identification of the nanu'S that follow, we 
are indebted to Professor Eugene Curry), that the rem- 
nant of that people who continued in the Danish islands 
(the Hebrides) were about this period banislied by the 
Picts, and that they passed over to Ireland, where they 
<)l)tained, upon rent, the lands of Rath-Cealtchair, Kath- 
t'onrach, Ratli C'oiuar, ix., in Mcath. Tlie rent, however, 
was too heavy, and they elojied with all their movables 
over the Shannon, and received from Aiblc (as ho is here 
sailed) and Mealih, the king and queen of that country 

five provinces, over each of which he 
appointed a minor king, tributary to 
himself. To one of these, Tinne, the 
king of Connaught, he gave in marriage 
his daughter Maeve (Meadhbh) or Mab, 
or Maude, celebrated in the old poetic 
chronicles for her beauty and masculine 
bravery, with which, it must be con- 
fessed, she did not combine the quality 
of feminine modesty. She figures as the 
heroine in many of the strange romances 
of the period ; among the peasantiy hei- 
memory has descended to the present 
day as that of the queen of the Fairies 
of Connaught, and in her elfln character, 
although greatly metamorphosed, she 
is immortalized as the queen Mab of 
English fairy mythology. 

After the death of Tinne, Maeve 
reigned alone as queen of Connaught 
for ten years, and then married Oilioll, 
commander of the martial tribe of the 
Gamanradiaus, or Damnonian knights 
of lorras, a Firbolgic sept, also cele- 
brated by the bards as the Clanna 
Morna.f She made him king of Con 

(Connaught), lands running along the coast from Cruach 
Patrick to Loop Head, and embracing the southern parts 
ofGalwayand Roscommon, and all Clare. They were 
called the Clann Umoir on their coming into Ireland en 
this occasion, from Aengus, the son of Umor, who was 
their king. The lands which they received in the west, 
chiefly on the seaboard, continued to beai their names. 
Here are a few of them : — " Aengus, the son of Umor. at 
Dun Aengusa, in Arann ; Cutra, at Loch Cutra (near 
Gort); Cime, at Loch Cime (now Lough Ilacket) ; Adhar. 
son of Umor, at Magh Adhair (poetically for Thomond) ; 
Mil, at Muirbhcach Mil (now Murvagh, near Oranmore); 
Doolach,at DaoilC?); andEndach.hisbrotlier, atTeachan- 
Eandaigh (?) : Bir, at Rinn Beara West (now Rinnbar- 
row, in Lough Dergart, in the Shannon) ; Mogh, nt Inn- 
sibh Mogh (Clew Bay islands): lorgus, at Ceann Boimf 
(Black Head) ; Banne Badanbel, at Laighlinnc (?) ; Con 


nanglit, and survived liini, altbougli lie 
aived to au advanced age. The Con- 
nauglit palace of Cruacbau was erected 
by ber; and in ber time a war wbicb 
lasted for seven years broke out between 
Ulster and Oounaugbt, wben tbe Ga- 
luanradians of lorras Douinan, and tbe 
knigbts of tbe Craev Roe, or Red 
Brancb of Emania,* were arrayed 
against each otber, and performed won- 
derful exploits of valor, queen Maeve 
herself, at tbe bead of ber beroes, dash- 
ing into Ulster witb ber war-cbariots, 
and sweeping tbe cattle of tbe rich fields 
of Louth before ber across tbe Shannon. 
This deed has been celebrated in tbe 
ancient historic tale of tbe Tain lo 
Cuailgne^ or Cattle-spoil of Cooley. 
Tbe bards bave indeed involved tbe 
whole of this period in tbe wildest ro- 
mance, tainted, as migbt be expected, 
by pagan immorality, and darkened by 
deeds of cruelty in warfare, f They 
relate as tbe cause of tbis w^ar a moving 
tale about the fair Deardry and tbe tbr'ee 
sons of Uisneach, and tbe cruelty of 

Connor MacNessa, king of Ulster ; but 
tbe more probable account of tbe mat- 
ter is, that Feargus Rogy, who was 
4riven from Ulster by Connor in one of 
tbeir intestine broils, fled into Con- 
naugbt, and engaged tbe interest, 
togetber witb tbe affections, of Queen 
Maeve, and by ber assistance made in- 
cursions into tbe territory of Connor 
MacNessa. Among tbe cbampions of 
Emania in tbis war were Cucbullainn, 
and Conall Cearnacb ; and among tbe 
Connaugbt beroes were Ceat MacMa 
gacb, tbe brotber of King Oilioll, and 
Ferdia MacDamain, all names of Os- 
sianic celebrity. 

Wben Maeve was considerably more 
tban 100 years old she was treacherously 
killed by tbe son of Connor, in revenge 
for tbe deatb. of bis fatber, wbo was 
slain by Maeve's people; and among 
ber numerous children were tbree, ot 
whom Feargus Rogy was tbe fatber, 
named Kiar, Conmac, and Core, tbe 
progenitors of many of tbe families of 
tbe west and soutb of Ireland. Maeve 

churn (not Concliubliar) on tte Sea, in Inis Meadhain 
(one of tlie Arran islands) ; Lotbrach, at Tulaigli Lotli- 
raigh (?) ; Taman, son of Umor, at Riun Tamain, in Mead- 
raidhe (near Galway) ; Conall Caol, son of Aengus, son 
of Umor, at Camconaill, in Aidhne (now tbe barony of Kil- 
tartan in Galway); Measca, at Loch Measca ^LougU 
Mask); Asal, tbe son of Umor, at Magb Asail, in Mun- 
Bter (plain round Tory Hill, near Croom); Beus Beann, 
son of Umor, tbe poet, &c." 

* Tbat tbe ancient Irish in very remote times had 
certain local orders of knighthood, cannot be denied ; 
and tbe statement tbat Cucbullainn, was admitted 
among the Red-branch Knigbts of Emania at tbe age of 
Beveu, receives a curious illustration from an incident 
recorded by Froissart, wbo relates tbat when four Irish 
kugs were offered tbe honor of knighthood by Richard, 

king of England, they stated tbat it bad been already 
conferred on them, according to tbe custom of their own 
countrj-, when they were but seven years of age. — (Frois- 
sart, vol. iv., chap. Ixiv.) 

f About tbis period popular resentment rose so high 
throughout Ireland against the fileas or bards, for their 
abuse of the numerous privileges which they enjoyed, 
and tbeir perversion of tbe laws, tbat a general outbreak 
against them took place, and they were expeUed, indis- 
criminately, from a great part of tbe country ; but tbe 
tide of excitement was stayed by Connor MacNessa, who 
prevailed on both parties to agree to certain reforms, 
and set the principal fileas to work upon a codification 
of the laws, which was accepted by the coimtry at large, 
together witb the reinstatement of the expelled fileas.— 
(O'Conor's Dissertations, p. 131, ed. of 1812.) 



lived about the comiueiicement of the 
Christian era, her death, according to 
Tigernach, having taken place in a. d. 
70, although, according to the Four 
]\Iasters, she flourished more than a 
century before the birth of Christ. 

This epoch is known in Irish history 
as that of the provincial kings ; and 
strange though it may seem, we have 

to trace to that remote date the origin 
of the worst ills of Ireland — namely, 
the subdivision of territory, and the es- 
tablishment of a sj'Stem of petty inde- 
pendent toparchs, which involved the 
country in perpetual local wars, and 
gradually extinguished every trace of a 
controlling power or central govern- 


Pagan kings of Ireland, continued. — Creevan brings home rich spoils from Britian. — Insurrections of tlie Attacotti 
— Massacre of the Milesian Nobles. — King Carbry the Cat-headed. — Reign of Tuathal Teachtar. — Felimy tlie 
Lawgiver. — Conn of the Hundred Battles. — Wars of Conn and Eugene the Great. — New Division of Ireland. 
— Battle of Moylena. — Conary the Second. — The three Carbrys. — The Dalriads ; first Irish Settlement in Alba 
or Scotland. — Oiliol Glum, king of Munster. — Lewy MacCon. — Glorious Reign of Cormac MacArt. — His Abdi- 
cation. — Carbry Liffechar. — The Battle of Gavra. — Finn SlacCuail and the Fenian Militia. — The three Collas 
-Fall of Emania.— Niall of the Nine Ilostages, &c. 

[Fkosi tub Birth op C'iuust to a. d. 400.] 

■'T^PIERE is a difference of 02:)inion as 
-L to what Irish king reigned at the 
birth of Christ ; for while the Four 
Masters, O'Flaherty, and others assign 
that date to the reign of Creevan Nia- 
nair, the hundred and elevei^tla mon- 
arch of Ireland in O'Flaherty's list, other 
calculations push forward the reign of 
Conary the Great, the fourth pi-eced- 
ing king, to the Christian era, and. make 
Creevan a contemporary of Agricola, the 
Roman governor of Britain. The latter 
king has been fiimous for his predato- 
ry excui"sions against the Britons, from 
one of which he broucfht home several 

"jewels," or precious objects; among 
the rest, " a golden chariot ; a golden 
chess-board, inlaid with a hundred 
transparent gems ; a cloak embroidered 
with gold ; a conquering sword, with 
many serpents of refined, massy gold 
inlaid thereon ; a shield with bosses of 
bright silver; a spear, from the wound 
inflicted by which no one recovered ; a 
sling, from Avhich no erring shot was 
discharged, &c. ;" and after depositing 
these spoils in Dun Creevan,* at Bin 
Edar, he died, as the Four ^Masters have 
it, in the ninth year of Christ. 

It is thousrht to hav^e been about this 

* Dr. Petrto and Dr. O'Donovan think that the Dun jutting rock where the Bailey lighthouse now stand* 

Crimhthuin, or Fort of Creevan, was situated on the at Ilowth. 



time that a certain recreant Irisli chief 
waited on Agricola, in Britain, and in- 
vited him to invade Ireland, stating 
that one Roman legion and a few aux- 
iliaries would be sufficient to conquer 
and retain the island. Agricola saw 
the importance of occupying a country 
so favorably situated, and prepared an 
expedition for the purpose; but the 
project was abandoned for some cause 
not known, probably owing to the 
formidable military character of the 
people of Ireland; and although Brit- 
ain remained a province of the Koman 
empire for centuries after, and the 
natural Avealth of Hibernia was well 
known, foreign merchants being even 
more familiar Avith her ports than with 
those of Britain, still a Roman soldier 
never set hostile foot on her much- 
coveted shores. The Scots of Ireland, 
and their neighbors, the Picts, gave the 
Roman legions quite enough to do to 
defend Britain against them from be- 
hind the ramparts of Adrian and Anto- 

While the Milesians were exhausting 
their strength in internecine wars at 
home, or with incui-sions beyond the 
seas, a large portion of the population 
of Ireland, composed of various races. 

* The passage of Tacitus in which the medittxted 
Roman invasion of Ireland is mentioned is extremely 
interesting. Describing the proceedings of Agricola in 
tlie fiftli year of his compaigns in Britain, he says ; — 
'■ Earn partem Britannise quae Hiberniam aspicit csepiis 
instruxit, in spem magis quam ob formidinem ; siqiiidem 
Hibernia medio inter Britanniam atque Hispaniam sita, 
et Gallico quaeque mari oppnrtuna, valentissimam imperii 
partem magnis invicem u&'bus misciierit. Spatium ejus, 

and with different sympathies, was en- 
gaged upon more peaceable j)ursuits. 
Those Avho boasted of a descent from 
the Scytho-Spanish hero, would have 
considered themselves degraded were 
they to devote themselves to any less 
honorable profession than those of sol- 
diers, ollavs, or physicians ; and hence 
the cultivation of the soil and the ex- 
ercise of the mechanic arts, were left 
almost exclusively to the Firbolgs and 
the Tuatha de Dananns; the former peo- 
ple in particular being still very nlimer- 
ous, and forming the great mass of the 
population in the west. These were 
ground down by high rents, and the 
exorbitant exactions of the dominant 
race, in order to support their un- 
bounded hospitality, and defray the ex- 
penses of their costly assemblies ; but 
this oppression must have caused per- 
petual discontent, and the hard-working 
plebeians, as they were called, must 
have easily perceived that their Gado- 
lian masters were running headlong to 
destruction, and that it only required a 
bold effort to shake off their yoke. It 
would 1)6 curious to know how this 
feeliug developed itself, until it was 
finally acted upon ; or whether the 
popular discontent had .sny connection 

si Britanniae comparetur, augustius, nostri maris insulae 
superat. Solum, ccehimque et ingenia, cnltusque homi- 
num, haud multum a Britannia differuut. Melius aditus 
portusque per commercia et negotiatores cogniti. Agri- 
cola expulsum seditione domestica unum ex regulis gen- 
tis esceperat, ac specie amicitise in occasionem retineba't. 
Saepb ex eo audivi, logione una et moedicia auxiliis de- 
bellari obtinerique Hiberniam posse." — ^Vita Julii Agric, 
c. 24. 



witli the invitation to tlie Roman gen- 
eral just referred to. Of the singular 
and successful revolution which was the 
result we have no accounts but such as 
reach us from a hostile source, and ar* 
colored by undisguised prejudice. Ac- 
cording to these statements, the Ait- 
heach-Tuatha, or Attacotti, as they are 
called in Latin, that is, the plebeians 
and helots of the conquered races, with 
many also of the impoverished Milesians, 
conspired to seize the country for them- 
selves.* For this purpose they invited 
all the .kings and noldes, and other 
leading Milesians, to a grand feast at 
IMagh Cro, the great plain near Knock- 
ma, in the county of Galway ; and to 
provide for a banquet on suck a scale, 
the plebeians spent three years in prep- 
arationSj during which time they saved 
one-third of tkeir earnings, and of tke 
produce of the land. A great meeting 
and a feast seem to have had an irresist- 
ible attraction for the Milesians, who 
accordingly repaired to Magh Cro from 
every part of Erin, and there, after 
being feasted for nine days, they were 
set upon by the Attacotti. and massacred 
to a man. Only three chieftains, say 
the seanachies, escaped, and these were 
still unborn; their mothers, who were 
the daughters of the kings of Alba, Brit- 
ain, and Saxony, having been spared 

* Several races were mixed up in the population of 
Ireland at tlie time of tlie Aitlieacli-Tuatha. Some say 
that their king, Carbry Ciuncoat, was a Scandinavian. 
The TuatharEoluirg who lived at that time in Tyrone 
were a Scandinavian race. 

f Annals of the Four Masters. 

i Flan of Monasterboice synchronizes the reigns of 

in the general butchery, and having 
found means to escape into Albion, 
where the three young princes were 
born and educated. It is plain, how- 
ever, that many others also survived, as 
several Milesian families, not descended 
from these, are subsequently found in 
Ireland. The annals do not say how 
the conspiracy was hatched, and so 
effectively concealed during the many 
years required to bring it to maturity ; 
but after the massacre the Attacotti 
elected as their king, Carbiy, one of 
their three leaders, who through con- 
tempt is called Carbry Cinncait, or the 
cat-headed, from having ears like those 
of a cat. Carbry i-eigned five years, 
during which time there was no rule or 
order, and the country was a prey to 
every misfortune. " Evil was the state 
of Ireland during his reign ; fruitless 
her corn, for there used to be but one 
grain on the stalk ; fruitless her riv- 
ers ; her cattle without milk ; her fruit 
without plenty, for there used to be but 
one acorn on the oak."f In fact, the 
civil war was followed by one of its nat- 
ural consequences, a famine.^ 

A. D. 14. — After the death of Carbry, 
his son, the wise and prudent Morann, 
refused the crown, and advised those 
who pressed it on him to bring back the 
rightful heirs. The young princes w-ere 

Carbry Cinncait and his immediate successor with tlio 
emperors Titus and Domitian. Fifty years before the 
insurrection of tlie Attacotti, Conaire Mor, monarch of 
Ireland, was killed by insurgents at Bruighean-da- 
Dhearg, on the Dothair, or Dodder, a name which Dr. 
O'Donovan believes to be preserved in that of Bohtr na- 
Breena, the road of the Brujghean or fort. 



accordiugly invited Lome from their 
exile ; Faradach Finnfeacbtnacli, or the 
Righteous, the son of Creevan, was 
elected king of Ireland ; and Morann, 
the Just, administered the law during 
his reign, so that peace and happiness 
■were once more restored to Erin. " The 
seasons were tranquil, and the earth 
once more brought forth its fruit." It 
was Morann who made the famous col- 
lar or chain which judges after him 
were compelled to wear on their necks, 
and wliich, according to the legends, 
contracted, and threatened to choke 
them when they were about pronoun- 
cing an unjust judgment. This collar is 
mentioned, in several commentaries on 
the Brehon laws, among the ordeals of 
the ancient Irish, and was used to test 
the guilt or innocence of accused per- 

The Attacotti were now subjected to 
more grievous oppression than ever; 
and on the death of Faradach a fresh 
rebellion broke forth. This time the 
provincial kings were induced to join in 
the outbreak, which resulted (a. d. 56) 
in a desperate battle at Maghbolg, on 
the bounds of the present counties of 
Cavan and Meath, where the monarch 
Fiacha Finfolay was killed. Elim, king 
of Ulstei-, who had joined the plebeians, 
was chosen monarch, and had a troubled 
reign of twenty years, the people lead- 
ing lawless lives, and the very elements, 
as in the former case, being at war with 
the usurper ; but at the end of this in- 
terval Tuathal Teach tar, or the Legiti- 
mate, the son of Fiacha Finfolay, and 

born in exile, returned on the invitation 
of a sufficiently powerful party, and 
slew Elim in battle at Aichill, or the 
hill of Skreen, in Meath, and once more 
brought back prosperity and order to 
the land. (a. r>. 76.) 

A. D. 106. — Tuathal Teachtar reigned 
thirty years, during which time he car- 
ried on a war of extermination against 
the ill-fated plebeians, no fewer than 
133 battles having been fought with 
them in the different provinces. He 
established himself more firmly on the 
throne by exacting from the people a 
similar oath to that of Ugony Mor, 
" by the sun, moon, and elements," that 
his posterity should not be deprived of 
the sovereignty. He cut of from each 
of the other four provinces a portion of 
territory, of which he formed the sepa- 
rate province of Meath, as the mensal 
lands of the chief king ; he celebrated 
the Feis of Tara with great state, and 
held provincial conventions at Tlachta, 
Uisneach, and Tailltinn, in the Momo- 
uian, Connacian, and Ultonian portions 
of Meath, and he imposed on the prov- 
ince of Leinster the degrading Boruwa, 
or cow-tribute, which continued during 
the reigns of forty succeeding monarchs 
of Ireland, being inflicted as an eric, or 
fine, on the king of Leinster, for having 
taken Tuathal's two daughters as wives, 
on the pretence, when he asked the 
second one, that the former wife was 
dead, the death of both being the con- 
sequence.* Tuathal's great power, or 

* The Boruwa, or Leinster cow-tribute, wliicli Wiis 
the cause of uinuruerable wars, was levied everv second 



the oath he exacted from his subjects, 
did not save him from the usual fate of 
the Irish kings, as he was killed in bat- 
tle by his successor, Mai, who, in his 
turn, Avas slain by Tuathal's son, Felimy 
Rechtar, or the Law-maker. Felimy, 
who died a. d. 119, was the son of a 
Scandinavian princess, named Baine, the 
daughter of Seal, king of Finland, and 
this connection shows the intercourse 
that existed between the Scots of Ire- 
land and the Northmen at this early 
])eriod. The great rath of Magh Leav- 
na, in the present county of Tyrone, was 
erected by this princess. . Felimy, the 
Lawgiver, substituted for the principle 
of retaliation the law of eric, or fine. 

A. D. 123-157.— The reign of Conn of 
the Hundred Battles forms one of the 
most remarkable epochs in the ancient 
history of Ireland. His surname suf- 
ficiently indicates the military charac- 
ter of his career, and his heroism and 
exploits are a favorite theme of the 
bards ; but Conn found a formidable 
antagonist in the brave and adventur- 
ous Moh Nuad (Mogh Nuadhat), other- 
wise called Owen or Eugene the Great 
(Eoghan Mor), son of Mogh Neit, king 

year. Its amount is diii!;rently stated, but according to 
Mageoghegan's Annals of Clonmacnoise, it consisted of 
the following items ; " 150 cows, 100 liogs ; 150 coverlets, 
or pieces of cloth to cover beds %\ithal ; 150 caldrons 
with two passing-great caldrons, consisting in breadth 
and deepness five fists, for the king's own brewing ; 150 
couples of men and women in servitude, to draw water 
on their backs for the said brewing ; together with 150 
maids, with the king of Leinster'sown daughter, in like 
bondage and servitude." The tribute was enforced for 
500 years. According to Tigcrnacli, Tnnthiil was killed 
in the last year of Antoninus I'ius, that is, about A. D. 

of Munster, and the most distinguished 
hero of the race of Heber Finn. It 
would appear that tribes of the race of 
Ir,* called Erneans, and of the line of 
Ith,f gradually encroached on the ter- 
ritory of Heber's posterity, the legiti- 
mate possessors of the southern province, 
until they were able to seize the regal 
power, which they continued for some 
time to hold alternately to the exclusion 
of the line of Heber. When Eugeue was 
still in his youth he was compelled to fly 
from his own country, the sovereignty 
of which -was claimed by three princes 
of the hostile races, all of whom he re- 
garded as usurpers; and having repaired 
to his fosterer, Daii-e Barrach, son of 
Cathaire Mor, king of Leinster, from 
whom he obtained such aid as enabled 
him to take the field in the assertion of 
his rights ; and in a short time he drove 
those of the Erneans as would not ac- 
knowledge his authority out of Munster, 
and struck up a temporary alliance with 
the chiefs of the race of Ith. The Er- 
neans appealed to Conn, who embraced 
their cause, and thus a desperate war 
broke out between Eugene and the 
monarch of Ireland, in the course of 

1G9, showing, as usual, an error of the Four Masters in 

* Ir, who was brother of Ileber and Heremon. was 
ancestor of the old kings of Ulster, whose descendants 
settled in various parts of Ireland, as the Magennises of 
Iveagh, O'Connors of Corcomroe and Kerry, O'Loughlins 
of Burren, O'Farrells of Longford, MacRannalls of I.ei- 
trim ; the O'Mores and their correlatives, the seven septs 
of Leix, now the Queen's county ; and all the Conuaught 
septs called Conmaicne. — Du. O'Donovan. 

f Ith, the uncle of Milesiiis, was the ancestor of tho 
O'DriscoIIs, and all their correlatives in the territory of 



which the latter was defeated in ten 
pitched battles, and was so hard pi-essed 
as to be compelled to divide Ireland 
equally with the victorious Eugene; 
the line of division being the chain of 
sand-hills called the Esker Riada, one 
extremity of which is the eminence on 
the declivity of which Dublin Castle 
stands, while its western terminus is at 
the peninsula of Marey, at the head of 
Galway bay. The country to the north 
of this line was called Leatli Cuiun, or 
Conn's half; and all to the south, Leatli 
]\Iogha, or Moh Nuad's half; and al- 
though this division held in reality only 
for a very short time, some say for one 
year, it has ever since been preserved 
by Irish writers, who frequently em- 
ploy these names for the northern and 
southern halves of Ireland. 

Eugene's ambition increased with his 
success, and he hastened to pick another 
quarrel with Conn, complaining that the 
l>rincii:)al resort of shipping was on the 
northern side of Dublin bay, in Conn's 
half, and insisting on an equal division of 
the advantages of the port. This demand 
was indignantly rejected by Conn, and 
both parties again took the field. A 
vivid, but fabulous, account of the brief 
campaign which ensued is given in the 
Irish historical romance of the battle of 

Corca-Luighe (originally coextensive with the diocese of 
Ross in Cork), the MacClancys of Dartry, in Leitriui, and 
other families. — Ihid. 

* Tliis curious tract, which affords much interesting 
information on tlie manners and customs of the ancient 
pagan Irish, althougli its own antiquity is not very great, 
has been translated by Eugene Curry, Esq., M. R. I. A., 
and, with a valuable introduction from that learned Irish 
lillav, publislied by the Celtic Society. Magh Leana, 

Magli Leana.* Eugene in his youth 
had been obliged to fly to Spain, where 
he obtained Bera, the king's daughter, 
in marriage, and he was now, as tlie 
story just mentioned relates, aided by 
an army of Spaniards, commanded by 
his brother-in-law, the Spanish prince 
Frejus. The hostile armies were drawn 
up in view of each other on Magh Lea- 
na; but while an overweening confi- 
dence had made Eugene careles.*, a 
sense of inferiority in point of numbers 
rendered his foe doubly wary. An at- 
tack Avas made by the army of the north 
at the dawn of day, while the southerns 
were yet buried in sleep, and an utter 
defeat and slaughter followed ; Eugene 
and his Spanish ally being killed while 
slumbering in their tents by Goll, the 
son of jMorna, one of the Belgic cham- 
pions of Connaught. Two small hil- 
locks are shown to the present day, 
which are said to cover the ashes of 
the brave and ill-f;\ted Moha Nuad, and 
his Iberian friend. f 

After a i-eign of thirty-five years, and 
in the hundredth year of his age (a. d. 
151), while engaged in making prepa- 
rations for the triennial convention or 
Feis of Tara, Con of the Hundred Bat- 
tles was murdered by Tibraid Tirach, 
king of Ulster, whose grandfather had 

where the battle was fought, is the present parish of 
Moylana, or Kilbride, containing the town of Talljv 
more in the King's county. Tigernach places the divi- 
sion of Ireland between Conn and Eoghan Mor imder 
the date A. D. IGG. 

t One of the acts which have rendered the memory of 
Jloha Nuad famous in our annals, was the saving of liia 
kingdom of Munster from a famine by his foresight in 
providing corn diu'ing years of abundance. 



been slain l)y Conn's father.* His suc- 
cessor and son-in-law, Conary II., is re- 
markable as the father of the three Car- 
bi-ys, the j)rc)genitors of several impor- 
tant tribes. Thus, from Carbry Muse, 
six districts in Munster received the 
name of Muskery, one of these being 
the ]n'esent baronies of Upper and 
Liiwer Oi'mond, in Tipperary ; and an- 
otlier, the bai'ony of Muskery in Cork. 
Carbry Bascain the second, gave his 
name to the territory of Corcabaiscinn, 
in the southwest of Clare ; and thirdly, 
from Carbry Riada (Roigh-f hada,. i. e., 
(if tlie long wrist), were descended the 
Dalriads of Antrim, and the ftiraous 
tribe of the same name in Scotland.f 
This Carbry Riada is mentioned under 
the name of Reuda, by Venerable Bede, 
as the leader of the Scots, who, coming 
fi-om Hibornia into Alba, or Scotland, 

* Conu of the Hundred Battles was tlie ancestor of tlie 
most powerful families of Ireland, as the O'Neills, O'Don- 
nells, O'MelagUUns, Mageogliegans, Maguires, Mac- 
Malions, O'Kellys, O'Conors of Connauglit, O'Dowdas, 
OMalleys, O'Flahertys, &c. 

Cathaire Mor, king of Leinster, and Conn's immediate 
predecessor as monarcli of Ireland, was the ancestor of 
the great Leinster families of MacJIurrough, Kavanagh, 
O'Couor Faly, O'Dempsey, O'Dunn, MacGornian, O'JIur- 
roughou (Murphy), O'Toole, O'Bryne, &c. The Leinster 
fuiuily of MaoGillapatrick, or Fitzpatrick, of Ossory, do 
uot trace their descent to Cathair Mor, but they and all 
the families mentioned in this note aro of the race of 
lleremon, through Ugony Mor. 

f- The territory called Dalriada comprised the northern 
portion of the present county of Antrim, and it is proba^ 
ble that the name Route, applied to a part of the district, 
is a corruption of the ancient word. Tlic name of Dal- 
riada is not to be confounded with that of Dalaradia, also 
called Ulidja, and comprising the southern portion of 
.'Vntrim and the eastern part of the county of Down 
Dalaradia, or Dalaraidh, takes its name from Fiacha 
Araid, a kingof Ulster of the Irian race, and was peopled 
\jy trihes of the lino of Ir, or Riidricians(<'lanna I{»ry\ 

obtained, either by alliance or by con- 
quest, from the Picts, the territoi-y 
which they continued in his time to 
hold ; and as we shall hereafter see, it 
was al)out thi'ee centuries from this 
migration that a fresh colony from the 
Dalriada of Ireland, under Fergus, the 
son of Ere, invaded Scotland, and laid 
the foundation of the Scottish mon- 

In the reign of Oiliol Olum, who was 
at this time king of Munster, a war 
raged, in which this king's step-son, 
Lewy, suruamed MacCon, was the ag- 
gressor. MacCon was the head of the 
descendants of Ith,§ and with him were 
leagued the powerful tribe of the Er- 
neans of Munster, and Dadei-a, the 
Druid of the Ithian tribe of Dairinni ; 
while on the other side were the King 
Oiliol, his numerous sons, and the three 

as they are frequently called from Rury, a kingof Ulster 
of that race ; whereas Dalriada belonged to the race of 
Heremon. A Pictish colony from Scotland settled in 
Dalaradia about a century before the Cliristian era. 

i The earliest mention of the name of Scots is by 
Porphyry, in the third century ; and the first mention of 
the Picts is by Eumenius, about the close of the same 
century. The words of Porphyry are quoted by St. 
Jerome — {Epist. ad Ctcsiphoutan contra Pdnyium.) 
Both Scots and Picts are referred to as nations well 
known at that time ; but then, and for many centuries 
after, the name of Scots was only given to the inhabit- 
ants of Ireland. Some modern writers insist that even 
in the time of St. Patrick the Scots were only, a tribe or 
section of the inhabitants of Ireland, and that the people 
who composed the bulk of the population were those 
called by the Apostle " Hibcrionaces." The territory 
first acquired by the Gaels, or Scots, from the Picts, is 
the present county of Argyle, tlie name of which is con- 
tracted, says O'Donovan, from Airer-Oaeidheal, that is, 
the region or district of the Gaeidliil. 

§ From this MacCon are descended the O'Driscolls, 
and others not reckoned among the Milesian families, as 
thrv hrlc.n- to tin; rollcterid line of Itli. 



Carl)rvs, sons of Couary, moiiarcli of 
I n-land. A l)attle was fought at Ceann- 
I'aviat,'-' ill which several of the leaders 
on l)otli sides were slain, and MacCon 
haviiiL,'- lieen worsted fled to Britain, 
whence he returned in a few years, wdth 
an army of foreigners, and again gave 
battle to his foes on the plain then call- 
ed JMagh Mucrive near Atlienry, Avhere 
he gained a decided victory, the then 
monarch of Ireland, Art the Melan- 
choly, son of Conn of the Hundred 
Battles, together with seven sons of 
Oiliol Olum, fiilling in the conflict.f 
Thus MacCon obtained for himself the 
crown of Ardrigh, or chief king of Ire- 

At this period flourished Cual, or 
Cumhal, father of the hero Finn Mac- 
Cuail, and captain of the renowned 
Irish legion, called the Fianna Eirion, 
or Irish Militia, about which marvellous 
stories are related by the bards and 
seanachies. This famous corps is sup- 
posed to have been organized after the 
model of a Roman legion, and to have 
been intended as a bulwark against 
Roman or othei- invasion. There can 
be no doubt that it was admirably 
trained, and composed of the picked 

men of Erin ; but for its discipline and 
loyalty much cannot be said ; for after 
frequent acts of treason and insubordi- 
nation, the monarch was finally obliged, 
as we shall presently see, to disband it, 
and to call in the aid of other troops to 
effect that object. To the treachery of 
the Fianna Eirinn Keating attributes 
the defeat and death of Art in the bat- 
tle of IVfagh Mucrive. 

A. T>. 227. — Cormac Ulfadha, the son 
of Art and grandson of Conn of the 
Hundred Battles, having removed the 
usurper MacCon, and also another 
usurper of lesser note, named Fergus, 
ascended the throne of Tara ; and his 
reign is generally regarded as the 
brightest epoch in the entire history of 
pagan Ireland. He set in earnest about 
the task of reducing the several provin- 
ces to a due submission to the sover- 
eign ; beginning with the Ulidians, next 
proceeding to Connaught, and subse- 
quently to Munster, with occasional in- 
cursions into all the provinces, gaining 
many victories (although he had some 
reverses in the early part of his career), 
and establishing his authority and laws 
everywhere at the point of the sword. 
In that rude age, means so desperate 

* It is probable that Ceann-ablirat, or Kenfebrat, was 
the mountain now called Seefin, one of the Slieve Riach 
or Castle Oliver group of mountains, on tlie borders of 
the counties of Cork and Limerick. It is frequently 
referred to in the most ancient Irish records, and its 
position is indicated in the Book of Lismore, fol. 207 ; 
and the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick, lib. ui., c. 48. 

f Oiliol Olum, king of Munster, was the son of Jlogh 
Nuadhat, or Eoghan Mor, and son-in-law of Conn of the 
Hundred Battles. Of his numerous progeny of children, 
tlvree are particularly remarkable in Irish family history ; 

first, Eoghan Mor, or Eugene the Great, who must not 
be confounded with his grandfather bearing the same 
title. He was the progenitor of the great old South 
Mimster families called by the genealogists Eoghanachts 
or Eugenians, as the M'Carthys, O'Ponohoes, O'Koefs, 
&c. ; secondly, Cormac Cas, king of Munster, and pro- 
genitor of the Dal Cassians or Thomond families, as the 
O'Briens, M'Mahons, M'Namaras, &c. ; and thirdly, Cian, 
the ancestor of the families comprised under the tribe 
name of Cianachta, as the O'Carrols of Ely O'Carrol, 
O'Meagher, O'Connor of Glengiven, &c. 



may have been necessary to sustain any 
authority at all ; but when Cormac es- 
tablished his sway, he made it subserve 
the cause of civilization and order in 
manner never attempted by any of his 

It is generally admitted that Chris- 
tianity had even then penetrated into 
Ireland, and that its benign influence 
had reached this monarch's mind. Cor- 
mac, it is said, at the close of his life, 
adored the true God, and attempted to 
put down druidism and idol worship. 
It is at all events certain that he en- 
deavored to promote education. He 
established three colleges, one for war, 
another for history, and the third for 
jurisprudence. He collected and re- 
modelled the laws, and published the 
code which remained in force until the 
English invasion, and outside the Eng- 
lish Pale for many centuries after. He 
assembled the bards and chroniclers at 
Tara, and directed them to collect the 
annals of Ireland, and to continue the 
records of the country from year to 
year, making them synchronize with 
the history of other countries, — Cormac 
himself, it is said, having been the in- 
ventor of this kind of chronology. 
These annals formed what Avas called 
the Psalter of Tara, which also contain- 
ed a description of the boundaries of 
provinces, canthreds, and smaller divi- 
sions of land throughout Ireland ; but 
unfortunately this great record has been 
lost, no vestige of it being now, it is 
believed, in existence. 

The magnificence of Cormac's palace 

at Tara was commensurate with the 
greatness of his power and the brillian- 
cy of his actions ; and he fitted out a 
fleet, which he sent to harass tlie shores 
of Alba, or Scotland, until that countiy 
also was compelled to acknowledge him 
as sovereign. In his old age he wi-ote 
a book or ti-act called Tearjusc-na-Rl^ or 
the Institutions of a Prince, which is 
still in existence, and which contains 
admirable maxims on manners, morals, 
and government. There are blemishes 
on his character in the early part of his 
life, such as the employment of assassins 
to free himself from his enemies, and 
some shameful breaches of his engage- 
ments ; but he nevertheless stands forth 
as the most accomplished of the pagan 
monarchs of Ireland. As an instance 
of the barbarous manners against which 
he had to struggle, we read that (most 
probably during one of Cormac's expe- 
ditions to a distant locality) his own 
father-in-law, Dunlong, king of Leinster, 
made a descent upon Tara, and for some 
cause which is not mentioned, massa- 
cred all the inmates of a female college 
or boarding-school, consisting of thirty 
young ladies of noble rank, whom some 
writers suppose to have been druidesses, 
with their three hundred maids and at- 
tendants. Cormac avenged this atro- 
city by causing twelve dynasts or nobles 
of Leinster, who had been engaged in 
the massacre, to be executed, and by 
exacting Tuatlial's Boarian tribute, with 
an additional mulct, from the province. 
Cormac, in the thirty-ninth year of 
his reign, having had his ey(! thrust 


out with a spear by Aengus, son of 
Fiacha Suihe, brother of Conn of the 
Hundred, Battles, abdicated, in com- 
Dliance with a law which required that 
the king should have no personal blem- 
ish, and retired to a philosophical re- 
treat ; but not until he had inflicted 
chastisement on the tribe whose head 
had thus maimed him.* He "died (a. d. 
266) at Cleiteach (near Stackallan 
Bridge, on the south bank of the 
Bo3^ne), the bone of a salmon having 
choked him, through the contrivances 
of the Druids, as it was thought, for his 
having abandoned their superstitions 
for the adoration of the true God. 

A. D. 268. — Carbry, son of Cormac 
MacArt, and surnamed Liffechar, from 
having been fostered on the banks of 
the Liffey, was engaged during his 
reign in a desperate war with Munster 
" in defence of the rights of Leinster," 
and it Avas this quai-rel which led to the 
battle of Gavra Aichill, celebrated in 
Irish bardic story. 

Finn MacCuail, and his Clanna Ba- 
iscne, or legion of Finian Militia, were, 
as we have said, but unsteady supporters 
of the sovereign ; and that illustrious 
warrior having been assassinated by a 
fishei-man on the banks of the Boyne, 
whither he had retired in his old acre. 

* It was on tliis occasion that Cormac expelled the 
tribe of the Deisi, the descendants of Fiacha Suihe, bro- 
ther of Conn of the Hundred Battles, from the territory 
which they held near Tara, now the barony of Deece, in 
the coimty of Meath ; and it was only after a lapse of 
some years that these people, afterwards so frequently 
mentioned in Irish history, settled do-mi in that territory 
of Munster, part of which has since borne their name, 
viz., the present baronies of Deci-es in the comity of Wa- 

the king took the opportunity to dis- 
band the Finian Militia, while the lat- 
ter, instead of submitting to the mon- 
arch's commands, repaired to his enemy, 
Mocorb, son of Cormac Cas, king of 
Munster, and made an offer of their 
services, Avhich was readily accepted. 
Carbry, upon this, applied for succor to 
Aedh, the last of the Domnonian kings 
of Connaught, who sent a battalion of 
his heroic militia, the Clanna Morna, 
the deadly enemies both of the Clanna 
Baiscne and of the Munster princes. 
Such were the rival military tribes who 
fought to mutual extermination in the 
bloody battle of Gavra (a. d. 284). 
Oisin, the warrior-poet, son of Finn 
MacCuail, celebrated the deeds per- 
formed on the occasion in verses which 
tradition has preserved for more than 
fifteen hundred years. Oscar, the son 
of Oisin, met Carbry in the fight, and 
fell iii the terrific single combat which 
ensued between them. But Carbry did 
not fare better; for, while exhausted 
with fatigue and covered with wounds, 
he was met by his own kinsman, 
Semeou, one of the tribe of Foharta 
which had been expelled into Leinster, 
and fell an easy prey to his ven- 
geance.f Thus ended the wild hero- 
ism of Finn, the son of Cual, and 

terford. The principal families of this tribe are the 
O'Brics, O'Phelans, O'Mearas, and O'Keans. of Hy- 
Folay, &c. 

I The tribe of the Foharta were the descendants of 
Eochy Finnfothart, uncle of Art, son of Conn of the Hun- 
dred Battles, and who had been expelled by Art from 
Meath. They obtained lands in Leinster, and gave their 
name to the territories forming the baronies of Forth 
in Wexford and Carlow. 



of bis companions in arms, whose < 
ploits were long the favorite theme of 
the Irish bards, by whom they were 
embellished with such fables and exag- 
gerations, as have- removed them al- 
most wholly into the region of mythol- 
ogy and romance.* 

A. D. 322. — Fiacha Sravtinne, son of 
Carbry Liffechar, after reigning thirty- 
seven years, was slain by the three Col- 
las, the sons of his brother, Eochy Doiv- 
len ; but when the eldest brother, Colla 
Uais, had occupied the throne four 
years he was deposed and expelled, to- 
gether with his brothers and a few fol- 
lowers, into Scotland, by Muireach 
Tirach, King Fiacha's son, who subse- 
quently reigned as Ardrigh thirty years. 
In a short time the three Collas return- 
ed, and were reconciled to their cousin. 
King Muireach Tirach, who supplied 
them with means to gratify their rest- 
less ambition ; whereupon they entered 
Ulster with an army composed partly 
of auxiliaries from Counaught, and de- 

* The reader will at once be reminded by tlic names 
in the text of Macpbcrson's famous literary forgeries, tlie 
object of which was to rob Ireland of her Ossianic heroes 
and transfer them to the soil of Scotland. The cheat, 
however, was exploded a great many years ago. It is 
well known that Macpherson merely collected some of the 
traditional poems, which had been preserved by the 
Gaelic peasantry of the Scottish Highlands as well as in 
Ireland ; and that partly by translation and partly by 
imitation of these remains, and without any attention to 
chronological order or correctness, but with iimumerablo 
perversions of sense, he composed those pretended trans- 
lations of the poems of Ossian, which, for somo time, 
enjoyed such wonderful celebrity, and which might 
always interest the world as curious and beautiful pro- 
ductions, if they had not been utterly spoiled by the taint 
of forgery and falsehood. Finn MacCuail was married 
BucccBsivcIy to two daughters of the monarch Cormac 
MacArt ; Ailvc, the second, having been given to him 

feating the Ulster king in battle, in the 
present barony of Farney, in Monaghan, 
sacked and burned his palace of Emania, 
— the Emania of Queen Macha, and of 
the Red-branch knights — and seizing a 
large territory for themselves, circum- 
scribed the kingdom of Ulster within 
much narrower limits than before. This 
event took place in the year 331 ; and 
the territory thus seized by the three 
Collas, and from which they expelled 
the old possessors, that is, the Clanna 
Rory, or descendants of Ir, was called 
Orgialla, or Oriel, and comprised the 
present counties of Louth, Monaghan, 
and Armagh .f 

A. D. 378. — Under this date we read 
of one of those domestic tragedies which 
savor of a somewhat more advanced 
age of civilization and intrigue. Eochy 
Muivone, the son of Muireach Tirach, 
had two queens, one of whom, Mongfinn, 
or the Fair-haired, of the I'ace of Heber, 
had four sons, the eldest of whom, 
Brian, the ancestor of the O'Conoi-s of 

after Graine, the former, had eloped with his lieuten- 
ant, Diarmod O'Duivne. Gavra Aicldll, where the 
battle was fought, is believed by Dr. O'Donovan (Ann. 
Four Mast., vol i., p. 120, n. b), to have been contiguous 
to the hill of Skreen, near Tara, in Meath. The name 
is preserved in that of Gowra, a stream in the parish of 
Skreen, which receives a tribute from the well of Neam- 
hnach, on Tara Hill, and flows into the Boyne at Ardsal- 
lagh. The publications of the Ossianic Society have 
lately made the world familiar with many of the 
poems and legends about Finn MacCuail and his 

f Colla Uais, the oldest of the brothers, was the ances- 
tor of the MacDonuells, MacAllisters, and MacDugalda 
of Scotland ; Colla Mean, of the ancient inhabitants of 
the present district of Cremorne, in Monaghan ; and 
Colla Dachrich, the youngest, of the MacMuhons of 
Monaghan, the Maguircs of Fermanagh, the O'nanlons 
and MacCanns of Armagli, &c. 



Conuauglit, was her favorite, and, in 
order to hasten his elevation to the 
throne, she poisoned her brother Cree- 
van, -who had succeeded Eochy ; but, as 
the annalists observe, her crime did not 
avail her, for Creevan was succeeded, 
not by her son Brian, but by Niall of 
the Nine Hostages, the son of her hus- 
))aud Eochy by his former wife ; and 
none of her descendants attained the sov- 
ereignty, except Turlough More O'Con- 
nor, and his son Roderick, the unhappy 
king who witnessed the Anglo-Nor- 
man invasion of Ireland. The wretched 
Mongfiun tasted of the poisoned cup 
herself, to remove her brother's suspi- 
cious, and thus sacrificed her own life as 
well as his.* 

A. D. 379. — Niall, surnamed Naoi 
Ghiallach, or of the Nine Hostages, the 
ancestor of the illustrious tribe of Hy- 
Niall, or O'Neill, was one of the most 
famous of the pagan monarchs of Ire- 
land, 1_)ut his energies appear to have 
been wholly devoted to his hostile ex- 
peditions against Albion or Britain, and 
Gaul. In the history of those countries 
we find evidence enough of the fearful 
ravages inflicted in these expeditions. 
The Scots (or Irish) were as formidable 
at that time as the Northmen were in a 
subsequent age. Their incursions -were 
the scourge of all western Europe. Ac- 
cording as Rome, in her decay, became 
unable to protect her outlaying prov- 
inces, these terrible Scots, with their 

Pictish allies, plundered and laid waste 
the rich countries thus abandoned by 
the Roman eagle. The Britons were 
unable to make any stand against them. 
The Roman walls, when the Roman 
garrisons were removed, ceased to be 
any barrier; and while the Dalriadic 
and Pictish armies poured into Britain 
through the wide breaches made in the 
walls of Antoninus and Severus, the 
seas from north to south swarmed with 
the fleets of the Irish invaders. For a 
while Britain was wholly subdued, and 
we know from the Britons' own account, 
in their sad petition to Rome for aid, to 
what a miserable plight they were re- 
duced, flying for shelter to woods and 
morasses, and fearing even to seek for 
food, lest their hiding-places should be 
discovered by the ruthless foe. It was 
to resist these Irish invaders that Brit- 
ain was obliged to become an Anglo- 
Saxon nation. Yet, of the transactions 
of that eventful period our Celtic annals 
contain only the most meagre record. 
We know from other sources that Chris- 
tian missionaries had at that time al- 
ready penetrated into Ireland, but our 
annals pass over their presence in 
silence ; and it is to the verses of the 
Latin poet Claudian that we must refer 
for the fact that troops were sent by 
Stilicho, the general of Theodosius the 
Great, to repel the Scottish hosts, led 
by the brave and adventurous Niall.f 
Durins: the three successive reigns of 

* Creevan died in the SUev, c 
" mountain of the king's death," now tlie Cratlo 
mountains in the county of Clare near Limerick 

t At the time of the Scottish incursions into the Ro- 
man provinces, an important part was played by tho 
people called Attacotti. a word which is lielieved to be a 


Creevan, Niall of the Nine Hostages, 
and Dath)'-, our annals record no re- 
markable domestic -wars; but of the 
first of these three kings we are told 
f.hat in his short reign he brought over 
numerous prisoners and hostages from 
Scotland, Britain, and Gaul; of the 
second, it is recorded that he was slain 
by Eochy, the son of Enna Kinsellagh, 
" at Muir-n-Icht, the sea between France 
and England," supj^osed to be so called 
from the Portus Iccius of Cajsar, near 
the modern Boulogne ; Avhile Keating 
says that it was on the banks of the 
Loire he was treacherously killed by 
the above-named domestic enemy, who 
had found his way thither in the ranks 
of Niall's Dalriadic allies from Scot- 
land.* Finally, of Dathy it is related 
that he was killed by lightning, at 
Sliev Ealpa, or the Alps, and that his 
body was Carried home by his soldiers. 

corruption of their Irish name of Aitheach-Tuatha. 
Some tribes of this great Firbolg race, in the covirse of 
the frequent wars waged against them in Ireland, settled 
in Scotland, not far from the Roman wall, and became 
active participators in the depredations of the Scots and 
Picts. Numerous bodies of them, who are supposed to 
have deserted from their allies, were incorporated in 
the Roman legions, and figured in the Roman wars on 
the continent at that period. 

One of the passages of Claudian, referred to above is 
that in which the poet says : 

" Totam cum Scotus leruem 
Slovit, ct infesto spumavit reniige Tethys." 

That is, as translated in Gibson's Camden : 

" When Scots came thundering from the Irish shores. 
And the ocean trembled, struck with hostile oars." 

* This great monarch (Niall) had fourteen sons, of 
whom eight left issue, who are set down in the following 
order by O'Flaherty (Ogygia, iii. 85):— 1. Leaghaire, 
from whom are descended the O'Coindhealbhains, or 
Kendellans, of Ui Leaghaire ; 2. ConiiU CrimUthainne, 
ancestor of the O'Melaghlius ; 3. Fiacha, a quo, the 

and interred at Kathcroghan, in Con- 
naught, under a red pillar stone. How 
this Irish king, in the year of our Lord 
428, penetrated to the foot of the Alps 
with his armed bands, traversing Eu- 
rope, as Rollo did long after him, his- 
tory does not particularly tell us, but 
it records enough about the devastating 
inroads of the Scots to satisfy us of its 

Dathy, although not the last pagan 
king, was the last king of pagan Ire- 
land, and after him we read no more 
in the Irish annals of plundering expe- 
ditions into foreign countries. It was 
probably in the last descent of his pre- 
decessor, Mall of the Nine Hostages, 
upon Armoric Gaul, that the youth 
Patrick, son of Calphurn, was, together 
with bis sisters Darerca and Lupita, first 
carried, among other captives, to Ire- 
laud. Holy prize ! thrice happy expe- 

Mageoghegans and O'JIolloys ; 4. Maine, o guo, O'Cah- 
arny, now Fox, O'Breen, and Magawly, and their correla- 
tives in Teffia. AU these remained in Meath. The 
other four settled in Ulster, where they acquired exten- 
sive territories, — viz., 1. Eoghan, the ancestor of O'Neill, 
and various correlative families ; 2. Conell Qulban, the 
ancestor of O'Donuell, &c. ; 3. Cairbre, whose posterity 
settled in the barony of Carbery, in the now county of 
Sligo, and in the barony of Granard, in the county of 
Longford ; 4. Enda Finn, whose race settled in Tir Enda, 
in Tirconnell, and in Kenel-Enda, near the hiU of Uis- 
ncach, in Westmeath. — O'Dokovan. 

f Abbe M'Geoghegan mentions a curious corrobora- 
tion of this event. He says (page 94, Duffy 's ed.) :— " The 
relation of this expedition of Dathy agrees with the 
Piedmontese tradition, and a very ancient registry in th 
archives of the house of Sales, in which it is said that 
the king of Ii-eland remained some time in the Castle of 
Sales. I received this account from Daniel O'Mulryan, 
a captain in the regiment of Mountcashel, who assured 
me that he was told it by the Marquis de Sales, at the 
table of Lord Mountcashel, who had taken him prisoner 
at the battle of Maraeilles." 



dition ! Irishmen may well exclaim ; for 
.although the conversion of their coun- 
try to Christianity, in common with the 
rest of Europe, was an event that could 
not have been delayed much beyond 
the time at which it took place, who- 
ever had been its apostle, it is impossi- 
ble for any one who has considered, 
with Catholic feelings, the history of 
religion in Ireland, not to be impressed 

with the conviction that this country 
has been indebted in a special manner, 
under God, to blessed Patrick, not only 
for the mode in which she was con- 
verted, but for the glorious harvest of 
sanctity which her soil was made to pro- 
duce, and for the influence of his inter- 
cession in heaven from that day to the 


Civilization of the Pagan Irisli.— Their Knowledge of Letters.— The Ogham Craev.— Their Religion.— Tlie Brelion 
Laws.-Tanistry.— Gavel-kind.— Tenure of Land.— Rights of Clanship.— Reciprocal Privileges of the Irish 

Kings. — Th» Law of Eric. — Hereditary OfEces. — Fosterage. 

T'^T'E have thus succinctly, but care- 
' ' fully, analyzed the entire pagan 
history of Ireland ; and before we pro- 
ceed further, it is right to consider some 
interesting questions which must have 
suggested themselves to the reader, as 
we went along. As, for instance, what 
kind of civilization did the pagan Irish 
enjoy? what knowledge of arts and 
literature did they possess ? what was 
the nature of their religion? what is 
known of their laws and customs? 
what monuments have they left to us ? 

That the first migrations brought 
with them into this island at least the 
germs of social knowledge, appears to be 
indisputable; and although these were 
not developed into a civilization of arts 
and literature, like that of Rome or 
Greece, still, the social state which they 

did produce was far removed from bar- 
barism, in the sense in which that term 
is usually understood. We have ample 
reason to believe, not merely that Ire- 
land in her days of paganism had reach- 
ed a point relatively advanced in the 
social scale, but that Christianity found 
her in a state of intellectual and moral 
preparation superior to that of most 
other countries. How. otherwise indeed 
should we account for the sudden lustre 
of learning and sanctity, by which it is 
confessed she became distinguished, al- 
most as soon as she received the Gospel, 
and which surely could not have been 
so rapidly produced among a people so 
barbarous as some writers would have 
us believe the Irish to have been before 
their conversion to Christianity ? 

While Ireland, isolated and iudepen- 



dent, had her own indigenous institu- 
tions, and her own patriarchal system 
of society, Britain and Gaul lay in sub- 
jection at the feet of Korae, of ^yhose 
arts and matured organization they thus 
imbibed a knowledge. It is true, that 
Avhat Celtic Britain thus learned she 
subsequently lost in the invasions of 
Saxons and Scandinavians, and that it 
was Koman missionaries and a Norman 
conquest that again restored to her the 
arts of civilization ; but this civilization 
it was, derived from Rome in the days 
of her decline, and modified by the bar- 
baric elements on which it was ingraft- 
ed, that created the centralized power, 
and sent out the mailed warriors, of the 
feudal ages, and that gave to Anglo- 
Noi'man England the advantages which 
she enjoyed, in point of arms and disci- 
pline, in her contest with a country 
which had derived none of her military 
art or of her political organization from 
Rome. This connection with Imperial 
Rome, on the one side, and its absence 
on the other, were quite sufficient to 
determine the destinies of the two coun- 
tries. But the state of a people seclu- 
ded from the rest of the world, whose 
curious and interesting history we have 
been tracing for a thousand years or 
more before the history of Britain com- 
mences, and whose copious and expres- 
sive language, and domestic and mili- 

* See the remarks on this subject in Dr. G'Donovan's 
elaborate Introduction to liia Irish Grammar ; in which, 
by quoting the opinions of Fatlicr Innes and Dr. OBrien, 
without txpressing disst'nt. he seems to grant that the 

tary arts, and costume, and laws, were 
not borrowed from any exotic source, is 
not to be held in contempt, although 
unlike what had been built up else- 
where on the substructui-e of Roman 
civilization. Hence, if it be idle to 
speculate on what Ireland, with her 
physical and moral advantages, might 
have risen to ere this in the career of 
mankind, had her fiite never been link- 
ed with that of England, it is, on the 
other hand, unjust to argue as English 
writers do, as to her fortunes and her 
progress, from the defects of her primi- 
tive and unmatured institutions, or from 
the prostrate state of desolation to 
which centuries of warfore in her strug- 
gle with England and her own intestine 
broils had reduced her. But here we 
are anticipating. 

St. Patrick, according to the old 
biographers, gave " alphabets" to some 
of those whom he converted, and this 
statement, coupled with the facts that 
we have no existing Irish manusci-ipt 
older than his time — nor indeed any so 
old — and that our ordinary Irish char- 
acters, although unlike Roman printed 
letters, are only those of Latin MSS. of 
the fifth and sixth centuries, have led 
some Irish scholars to concede too easily 
the disputed point, that the pagan Ii-ish 
were unacquainted with alphabetic 
writing.* The Ogham Craev, or secret 

Iriah liud 

before St. Pi 

lie also virgular i 

quotes, without comment, Charles OConor of Belanagar, 
10, in fiis introductory disquisition to the Ogj-gia Vin- 
dicated, abandons the whole story of the Milesian colony, 
&c., but holds that the pagan Irish had the Ogham, or 



virgular writing, formed by notches or 
marks along the arnos edges of stones, 
i<v jm-ci-s of timber, or ou either side of 
any st<^m line on a plane surface, was 
only ap]»lifab]e to brief inscriptions, 
such as a name on the head-stone of a 
gi-ave : and the pagan antiquity of even 
this rude style of alphabet has been dis- 
puted by some ;* but innumerable pas- 
sages in our most ancient annals and 
liistoric poems show that not only the 
Ogham, which was considered to be an 
occult mode of writing, but a style of 
alphabetic characters suited for the 
preservation of public records, and for 
general literary purposes, was known in 
Ireland many centuries before the intro- 
duction of Christianity. This fact is so 
blended with the old historic traditions 
of -the country, that it is hard to see 
how the one can be given up without 
abandoning the other also. There are 
indisputable authorities to prove that 
the Latin mode of writing was known 
in Ireland some time before St. Patrick's 
ai-rival, as there were unquestionably 
Christians in the country before that 
time, and as Celestius, the Irish disciple 
.'•f the heresiarch Pelagius, is stated to 
have written epistles to his family in 
Iicland, at least thirty years before the 
preaching of St. Patrick; but we go 

further, for we hold, on the authority 
of Cuan O'Lochain, who held a distin- 
guished position in this country in the 
beginning of the eleventh century, that 
the Psalter of Tara did exist, and was 
compiled by Cormac MacArt in the 
third century, and consequently that 
the pagan Irish possessed a knowledge 
of alphabetic writing at least in that 

One of the questions with reference 
to the pagan inhabitants of Ireland, ou 
which it is most difficult to arrive at a 
satisfactory conclusion, is the nature of 
their religion. The Tuatha de Da- 
nanns are said to have had divinities 
who presided over different arts and 
professions. We have seen that Tiern- 
mas, a Milesian king (a. m. 3580), was 
the first who publicly practised the wor- 
ship of Crom Cruach. It is quite prob- 
able that he was the first who set up 
rude idols for adoration in Ireland, but 
Crom Cruach is referred to as a divinity 
which the Milesians had always wor- 
shipped.;]: That a superstitious venera- 
tion was paid to the sun, wind, and ele- 
ments, is obvious from the solemn forms 
of oath which some of the Irish kings 
took and administered; and that fires 
were lighted, on certain occasions, for 
religious purposes, is also certain ; but 

• Tlic Oglinm inecriptions found in the cave of Dunloe, 
in Kerry. derUl.-dly of a dote anterior to Christianity, 
nuRht to be conclusive on tliis point. 

\ Thr passage from Cuan O'Lochain's poem referring 
to th.- ■• Pxalt.r of Tara," wiU bo found in Petrie's " His- 
tory of Tara Hill." 

} Tho riocA-oir, or golden stone, from which Qogher 
in Tyrone is snid to take its name, would appear to have 

been another of the ancient Irish idols. Cathal Magiiire, 
compiler of the " Annals of Ulster" (A. D. 1490), is quoted 
in tlie '• Ogygia," part iii., c. 23, as stating that a stone 
covered with gold was preserved at Clogher, at the 
right sideoftlie church entrance, and that in that stone 
Kermand Kdstcu/i, the principal idol of the northeru 
parts, was worshipped. 



beyond these and a few othei- facts, we 
liave nothing on Irish authority to 
define the reh'gious system of our pagan 
ancestors. They had topical divinities 
wlio pi-esided over hills, rivers, and par- 
ticular localities, but there is no men- 
tion of any general deity recognized by 
the whole people, unless the obscure, 
and not very old references to a god 
Beall, or Bel, be understood in that 
sense ; nor is there any trace of a pro- 
pitiatory sacrifice used by them. Their 
druids combined the offices of philoso- 
phers, judges, and magicians, but do 
not appear to have been sacrificing 
priests, so far as the mention of them 
to be found in purely Irish authorities 
would lead us to conjecture.* Th 
writings transmitted to us by the 
ancient Irish were not composed foi 
the use of strangers, and hence the 
scantiness of their information on sub- 
jects which must have been well known 
to those for whom they were written. 
Tile religion and customs of the Celts 
of Gaul were minutely described by 
Caesar; but whether his desci'iptiou of 
the druidical religion of that country 
was applicable to the Irish druids and 
their form of worship, we have no cer- 

* From drai, or draoidh, a druid, comes the word 
draoidheacht (pronounced dreeaeht), the ordinary Irish 
term for magic or sorcery. O'Reilly says (" Irish Wri- 
ters," p. Ixxix.) that druidism cannot be proved to have 
been the ntligion of tin; pagan Irish, from the use of the 
word drai, which means only a sage, a magician, or a sor- 
cerer ; and he shows that Morogh O'Cairthe, a Connaught 
writer, who died a. d. 1007, is called by Tigernach " Ard 
draei agus ard Ollamh." "chief druid and oUav." The 
word may come from the Greek ^put, or the Irish dair, 
an oiik. 

tain authority to enable us to judge. 
On this subject a great deal is left to 
conjecture, and the result is that we 
have had the wildest theories pro 
pounded, with the most positive asser- 
tions about fire Avorship, pillar temples, 
budhism, druids' altars, human sacrifi- 
ces, and sundry strange m3'steries, as if 
these things had been accurately set 
forth in sonae authentic description of 
ancient Ireland; whereas the fact is 
that not one word about them can be 
discovered in any of the numerous Ii'ish 
manuscripts that have been so fully 
elucidated up to the present day. 

The laws of the ancient Irish formed 
a vast body of jurisprudence, of whicli 
only recent researches have enabled the 
world to appreciate the merits. Several 
collections and revisions of these law^ 
were made by successive kings, from 
the decisions of eminent judges, and 
these are what are now known as the 
Brehon laws.f 

One of the most peculiar of the 
ancient native laws of Ireland was that 
of succession, called tanaisteacht, or tan- 
istry. This law was a compound of 
the hereditary and the elective princi- 
ples, and is thus briefly explained by 

t The labors of the Brehon Law Commission are still 
in progress as this History is going to press, and their 
result will throw, no doubt, a great deal of light upon 
the ancient customs and manners of Ireland. To tlio 
enlightened views and persevering exertions of the Rov. 
Dr. Graves, F. T. C. D., so ably sustained by the Kev. 
Dr. Todd, the counlrj- is indebted for obtaining this com- 
mission from the government ; and to the great Irish 
learning of Dr. 'Donovan and Professor Eugene Curry, 
for carrying out its object successfully. 



Professor Curry :*—" There was no in- 
variable rale of succession in the Mile- 
sian times, but according to the general 
tenor of our ancient accounts the eldest 
son succeeded the father to the exclu- 
sion of all collateral claimants, unless it 
happened that he was disqualified by 
some pei-sonal deformity, or blemish, or 
by natural imbecility, or crime ; or un- 
less (as happened in after ages), by 
parental testament, or mutual compact, 
the succession was made alternate in 
two or more families. The eldest son, 
being thus recognized as the presump- 
tive heir and successor to the dignity, 
was denominated tanaiste, that is, minor 
or second, while all the other sons, or 
persons that were eligible in case of his 
failure, were simply called righdhamhna, 
that is, king-material, or king-makings. 
This was the origin of tanaiste, a success- 
or, and tanaisteacht, successorship. The 
tanaiste, had a separate maintenance 
and establishment, as well as distinct 
privileges and liabilities. He was in- 
ferior to the king or chief, but above 
all the other dignitaries of the State. 
From all this it will be seen that tauis- 
try, in the Anglo-Norman sense, was 
not an original, essential element of the 
law of succession, but a condition that 
might be adopted or abandoned at any 
time by the parties concerned ; and it 
does not appear that it was at any time 
univei-sal in Erinn, although it prevailed 
in many parts of it. It is to be noticed 

• IntrodncUon to the battle of MagU Lcana, printed 
or tLa Celtic Society, Dublin, 1855. 

also, that alternate tanaisteacht did not 
involve any disturbance of property, or 
of the people, but only effected the 
position of the person himself, whether 
king, chief, or professor of any of the 
liberal arts, as the case might be ; and 
that it was often set aside by force." 

The j^rimitive intention was, that the 
inheritance should descend " to the old- 
est and most worthy man of the same 
name and blood," but practically this 
Avas giving it to the strongest, and fam- 
ily feuds and intestine wars were the 
inevitable consequence. 

As tanistry regulated the transmission 
of titles, offices, and authority, so the 
custom of gavel-kind (or gavail-kinne), 
another of the ancient institutions of 
Ireland, but which was also common to 
the Britons, Anglo-Saxons, Franks, and 
other primitive people, adjusted the 
partition and inheritance of landed pro- 
perty. By gavel-kind the property was 
divided equally between all the sons, 
whether legitimate or otherwise, to the 
exclusion of the daughters ; but in addi- 
tion to his own equal share, which the 
eldest son obtained in common with his 
brothers, he received the dwelling-house 
and other buildings, which would have 
been retained by the father or kenfine, 
if the division were made, as it fre- 
quently was, in his own lifetime. This 
extra share was given to the eldest bro- 
ther as head of the family, and in con- 
sideration of certain liabilities which he 
incurred for the security of the family 
in general. If there were no sons, the 
property was divided equally amouf^ 



the next male lieirs of the deceased, 
whether uncles, brothers, nephews, or 
cousins ; but the female line, as in the 
Salic law, was excluded from the inher- 
itance. Sometimes a repartition of the 
lands of a whole tribe, or ftimily of sev- 
eral branches, became necessary, owing 
to the extinction of some of the 
branches; but it does not appear that 
any such confusion or injustice resulted 
fi'om the law, as is represented by Sir 
John Davies and by other English 
lawyere who have adopted his account 
of it.* 

The tenure of land in Ireland was es- 
sentially a tribe or family right. In 
contradistinction to the Teutonic, or 
feudal system, which vested the land in 
a single person, who was lord of the 
soil, all the members of a tribe or fam- 
ily in Ireland had an equal right to 
their proportionate share of the land 
occupied by the whole. The equality 
of title and blood thus enjoyed by all 
must have created a sense of individual 
self-respect and mutual dependence, 
that could not have existed under the 
Germanic and Anglo-Norman system of 
vassalage. The tenures of whole tribes 
were of course frequently disturbed by 
war ; and whenever a tribe was driven 
or emigrated into a district where it 
had no hereditary claim, if it obtained 

* See Dissertation on the Laws of the ancient Irish, 
written by Dr. O'Brien, author of the Dictionary, but 
published anonymously by Vallencey in the third num- 
ber of the " Collectanea do Reb. Hib." In correction of 
what is 8tat<:d above, we may incntiou, on the authority 
of Mr. Curry, in default of any male issue daughters 

land it was on the j^aymeut of a rent to 
the king of the district; these rents 
being in some instances so heavy as to 
compel the strangers to seek for a home 
elsewhere. f It is within the memory 
of the present generation how the popu- 
lation of a large territoiy in the High- 
lands of Scotland continued to hold by 
the ancient Irish clannish tenure, and 
were dispossessed and swept from the 
land, on the ground that the English 
system gave the owner the right to re- 
move them. 

The dignity of Ardrigh, or monarch 
of Ireland, w'as one rather of title and 
position than of actual power; and was 
always supported by alliances with 
some of the provincial kings to secure 
the respect of the others. It Avas thus 
that the chief king was enabled to as- 
sert his will outside his own mensal 
province or kingdom of Meath ; but, in 
process of time, the kings of other pro- 
vinces as well as Meath became the 
monarchs. There was a reciprocity of 
obligations between the several kings 
and their subordinate chieftains; the 
superiors granting certain subsidies or 
stipends to the inferiors, while the latter 
paid tributes to support the magnifi- 
cence or the military power of the for- 
mer.J It sometimes happened that the 
succession to the sovereignty was alter- 

finfe, or Cean-fine, used above, was only applied to the 
heads of minor families, and never to any kind of chief- 
tains. — See Four Must., vol. iv., p. 1147, note f. 

f Vide supra, page Ul, note. 

X These mutual privileges and restrictions, tributes 
and stipends, whether consisting of bondmen or bond- 

vcre iiUowcd a life-interest in property. The term Ken- | maids, cattle, silver shields, weapons, embroidered cloaks^ 



nate between two families, as that of 
Munster was between the Dalcassians 
aiiJ the Eugenians, both the posterity 
of Oiliol Oluui ; but this kiud of suc- 
cession almost always led to war. 

Xone of the ancient Irisli laws has 
been so n)uch decried by English wri- 
tei's as that of eric, or mulct, by which 
crimes, including that of mur.der, were 
punished by fines; these writei's for- 
getting that a similar law existed among 
their own British and Anglo-Saxon an- 
cestors. Punishment of murder by fine 
also prevailed under the Salic law ; so 
that if the principle be abhorrent to our 
ideas at the present day, we know, at 
least, that it existed in other countries 
at the same remote period in which it 
was acted upon in Ireland.* It is not 
generally known that in cases of mur- 
der the eric might be refused by the 
friends of the deceased, a'nd punishment 
by death insisted on ; yet such was the 

refections on visitations, drinking-horns, corn, or con- 
tributions in any other sliape, will be found set down in 
the Leabhar na g-Ceart, or Book of Eights, edited for 
the Celtic Society by Dr. O'Donovan. AJthougli a com- 
pilation of Cliristian times, being attributed to St. Benig- 
nus, the disciple and successor of St. Patrick, it describes 
the customs of the kings of Ireland as they existed in 
llie ages of paganism. 

• Sec the laws of Athelstan ; Ilowell Dda's Leges Wal- 
Uca ; tlie Salic law, and other authorities quoted in Dr. 
O'Brien's Dissertation, already referred to, pp. 394, &c. 
The law of eric was abrogated before the English inva- 
sion, in the senate held by the Irish clergy, and Mor- 
tough More O'Brien, king of Munster and monarch of 
Ireland, A. D. 1111. 

case. The law of eric was, therefore, 

All offices and professions, such as 
those of druid, brehon, bard, physician, 
cfec, were hereditary ; yet not absolutely 
so, as others might also be introduced 
into these professions. Among the re- 
mai'kaT>le customs of the ancient Irish 
those concerning fosterage prevailed, up 
to a comparatively recent period, and 
the English government frequently 
made stringent laws against them, to 
prevent the intimate friendships which 
sprung up between the Anglo-Irish 
families and their "mere" Irish fos- 
terers.f It -was usual for families of 
high rank among tbe ancient Irish to 
undertake the nursing and education 
of the children of tlielr chiefs, one royal 
family sometimes fostering the children 
of another ; and the bonds "which uni- 
ted the fosterers and the fostered were 
held to be as sacred as those of blood.;}; 

f Fosterage and gossipred, as well as intermarriages, 
with the native Irish, was declared to be treason by the 
Statute of Kilkenny, 40th Ed. III., A. D. 1367. 

J Giraldus Cambrensis, who rarely says a kind word 
of the Irish, observes, with an il-natured reservation, 
" That if any love or faith is to be found among them, 
you must look for it among the fosterers and their foster- 
children." — Top. Rib. Bist. 3, ch. 23. Stanihurst says, 
the Irish loved and confided in their foster-brothers 
more than their brothers by blood : " Singula illis cre- 
dunt ; in eorum spe requiescunt ; omnium conciliorum 
sunt maxime conscii. CoUactanei etiam eos fidelissime 
et amantissimfe observant." — De Rd. Sib., ^p. id. See 
also Harris's Ware, vol. ii., p. 72. 





Social and Intellectual State of the Pagan Irish, continued. — Weapons and ImplemeB.s of Flint and Stone. — Celts. 
— Working in Jletal.— Bronze Swords, &c. — Pursuits of the Primitive Races. — Agriculture. — Houses. — Ratlis. 
— Cahirs. — Cranogues. — Canoes and Curaclis. — Sepulchres. — Cromlechs. — Games and Amusements. — Music. 
— Ornaments, &c. — Celebrated Pagan Legislators and Poets. — The Bearla Peine, &c. 

IN some compartments of the Museum 
of the Royal Irish Academy the vis- 
itor will see beautifully shaped swords, 
spear-heads, aud javelins of bronze; and 
in others he will find a great variety of 
weapons and tools composed of flint and 
stone, from the rudely formed stone celt 
and hammer, and the small chip of flint 
that served for an arrow-head, to the 
finely fashioned barbed spear-head of 
the latter material, and the highly pol- 
ished and well-shaped celt of hard stone. 
Both classes of objects belong to the 
pre-Christian ages of Irish history ; and 
the questions arise — what time elapsed 
between the use of the one and of the 
other ? or what races employed each ? 
or were both kinds of materials in use 
among the inhabitants Of Ireland simul- 
taneously, and from their first arrival in 
the island ? The ancient annalists as- 
sure us that at least the Tuatha de Da- 
nann colony were acquainted with the 
use of metal when they first came to 
Ireland; and this account is now so 
generally received, that wherever bronze 
weapons are found in sepulchral mounds 
with human remains, tlie latter are 

looked upon as those of the Tuatha de 
Danann race. Making every allowance, 
however, for the amplifications of the 
bards, and for the gradual progress 
which the arts must have made among 
all primitive races, we may take it for 
granted that the early inhabitants of 
Ireland employed such materials as flint 
flakes and stone in the construction of 
their weapons and iustrumeuts for cut- 
ting; and stone, timber, and sun-baked 
earthenware, for domestic uses; first, 
perhaps, exclusively, and to a greater 
or less extent for a long time after the 
use of metals became familiar, — as the 
latter material luust have been scarce 
for many ages, while the former were 
always at hand, and required compara- 
tively little skill in their adaptation. 

That the Irish became expert work- 
ers in metal at a very early period there 
can be no doubt, several specimens of 
their skill, besides bronze weapons, be- 
ing preserved in the great national col- 
lection of antiquities just referred to. 
The occupation of smith, Avhich includ- 
ed that of armorei', ranked next to the 
learned professions among them ; aud at 



Airgatros or the Silver^^-ood* forges and 
smelting works for tlie precious metals 
were established, where silver shields, 
which an Irish king presented to his 
chieftains or nobles, long before the 
Christian era, M-ere made; and where, no 
doubt, some of those costly gold torques, 
and other ornaments of the same metal 
that enrich our museum, and, that were 
worn by the pagan Irish princes and 
judges, Avere so skilfully manufactured.-]- 
The early inhabitants of Ireland were, 
like most primitive races, more devoted 
at fii-st to nomadic than to agricultural 
pursuits ; but while they contented 
themselves in the latter, for a long time, 
with the cultivation of only so much 
grain as served for their immediate 
wants, in the former they were restrain- 
ed within certain bounds, as each tribe 
and family had only an allotted portion 
of land over which they could allow 
their flocks and herds to range. In 
process of time the population became 
so multiplied, and the resources of agri- 
culture so important, that almost every 
available spot would appear to have 
been cultivated ; and we now see traces 

* Now Rathveagh, on the River Nore, in Kilkenny. 

t The quantity of gold ornaments that have been dis- 
covered in Ireland is almost incredible. In digging for 
a railway cutting in Clare, in the year 1855, a hoard of 
these ancient treasures was found, worth, it is said, 
alxjut £2.000 as bullion. They are frequently found in 
almost every part of Ireland, and besides the number 
accumulated in the Museimi of the Royal Irish Academy, 
many are also to be seen in the windows of goldsmiths' 
•hops, and unknown quantities of them have found their 
way into the crucible. "We know enough," observed 
the Rev. Dr. Todd, in his inaugural address as Presi- 
dent of the Royal Irish xVcademy, in 185G, " to be assured 
that the use of gold rings, and torques, and circlets, muat 

of the husbandman's labor on the tops 
of hills, and in other places in Ireland 
that have ceased to be under cultivation 
beyond the range of the oldest tradi- 
tion. Between the periods when those 
mountain tracts, now covered with 
heath or moss, were made to produce 
the annual grain-crop, and those far 
remoter ages Avhen the first colony be- 
gan to clear some of the impenetrable 
forests covering the surftice of the then 
nameless island of Erin, there must have 
been a vast interval and many phases 
of society — pastoral Firbolg, mechan- 
ical Tuatha de Danann, and warlike Scot 
or Gael, occupied the stage ; yet to all 
of these our old annals, with the ancient 
historical poems which serve to illus- 
trate them, seem to be tolerably faith- 
ful guides, showing us the hosts of rude 
warriors going to battle with slings, 
and w^ith stone disks for casting, as well 
as the serried array of glittering spears, 
and the gold and silver breastplates, 
and the embroidered and many-colored 
cloaks of the later, yet still pagan, 
times. J 

The houses of the ancient Irish were 

have been a characteristic of some of the aboriginal set- 
tlers of Ireland. Wliere did this gold come from? 
There is no evidence of any trade at so early a period 
between the natives of Ireland and any gold-producing 
clime. Geology assures us that there are no auriferous 
streams or veins in Ireland capable of supplj-ing so very 
large a mass of gold. It follows, then, that some tribe 
or colony who migrated into this country must have car- 
ried these ornaments on their persons." 

I See a minute description of the weapons and do- 
mestic implements used by the ancient Irish, so far as 
they Were composed of stone, earthen, or vegetable 
materials, in the first part of the Catalogue of Antiqui 
ties in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy, by \V 



constructed for the most part of wood, 
or of hurdles and wicker-work plastered 
with tempered clay, and thatched with 
rushes. This use of timber for building 
was so genei'al, that even the churches 
for a long time after the introduction 
of Christianity were usually constructed 
of planed boards, which was desci'ibed 
by Venerable Bede, in the eighth cen- 
tury, as a peculiar Scottish (that is, 
Irish) fashion ;* building with stone and 
cement being regarded as a Roman cus- 
tom, and too expensive to be under- 
taken by the first Christian monks in 

These wooden or hurdle houses Avere 
surrounded by strong fences of earth 
or stone, of which great numbei-s are 
yet to be found in every part of the 
island : althou^jh all traces of the actual 

R. Wilde, Esq. Those peculiar objects, called Celts — 
not from the name of the people, but from the Latin 
word celtis, a chisel — still puzzle the antiquaries to de- 
fine their use. Proft'ssor Curry has communicated, from 
the Book of Ballymote and other ancient Irish manu- 
scripts, an account (published at pp. 73, 74, of the Cata- 
logue) of the manner in which the Lia Miledh or " war- 
rior's stone" — whether that be the celt, or the round, flat, 
sharp-edged disk, of which there are some specimens in 
the Museum — was used in battle. The following legend- 
ary account is one of the three or four examples given : 
" In the record of the battle of the Ford ofComar, near 
■^ore, in the county of Westmeath, and which is sup- 
posed to have occurred in the century before the Chris- 
tian era, it is said that, ' there came not a man of Lobars 
people without a broad, green spear, nor without a 
dazzling shield, nor without a LiugJUamha-laich (a 
champion's hand stone), stowed away in the hoUow cav- 
ity of his shield. . . . And Lobar carried his stone like 
each of his men ; and seeing the monarch, his father, 
standing in the ford with Ceat, son of Magach, at one 
side, and Conuall Cearnach at the other, to guard him, 
he grasf.ed his battle-stone quickly and dexterously, .vnd 
threw it with all his strength, and with unerring aim, at 
the king, his father ; and the massive stone passed with 
SL swift rotatory motion towards the king, and despite 

dwellings have disappeared, owing to 
the perishable nature of the materials 
of which they consisted ; unless in some 
^Qw places, where small stone houses, 
now called cloghauns, with beehive 
roofs, are still preserved. The inclo- 
sures were generally circular, but some- 
times oval or polj'gonal ; and when they 
surrounded the habitations of chiefs or 
other important persons, or were sit- 
uated in places exposed to hostile incur- 
sions, they were double or triple, the 
concentric lines of defence being sepa- 
rated by dikes. An earthen inclosure 
of this kind is usually called a rath, 
or lios ; and one of stone, a cathair (pr. 
cahir), or caishal ; both being vulgarly 
called Danish forts, or simply forts. 
The stone forts are attributed by some 
antiquaries to the Firbolgs, at least in 

the efforts of his two brave guardians, it struck him on 
the breast, and laid him prostrate in the ford. The 
king, however, recovered from the shock, arose, and 
placing his foot upon the formidable stone, pressed it 
into the earth, where it remains to this day, with a third 
part of it over ground, aud the print of the king's foot 
visible on it.' " 

* Thus, when St. Finian of lona becaine bishop of 
Lindisfarne, he "built a church fit for his episcopal see, 
not of stone, but altogether of sawn wood, covered with 
reeds, after the Scotic fashion (More Scuttornm.)" Bede, 
Eccl. Hist, iii., c. 25. The extensive use of timber for 
building can be no matter of surprise when we lecollect 
that Ireland was, at the time, abundantly supplied with 
primeval forests ; and among the trees which seem to 
have been most numerous, and of course indigenous, 
were the oak, pine, fir, birch, and yew. It is not long 
sincealarge portion of some old English and continental 
towns consisted of wooden houses ; and it will be long ere 
the method of constructing houses of wood be abandoned 
in America. There is mention of a " pillared house" (ttiire- 
adoig) in a poem quoted by Tigernach. under the year 
GOl, and attributed by him to Caillach Laighncach, 
who wrote in tlie time of Hugh Allan, in the early 
part of the 8th century. (See Four Mastere, vol. i., p 



those parts of Ireland where that people 
v.-ere longest to be found as a distinct 
]-nce, as in the western province; and 
the (^irthen forts are supposed to have 
l)ren the- work of the Milesians. Most 
proliaMy both races employed indiffer- 
ently such materials as were most con- 
venient to tlieir hand. Of tlie earthen 
intrenchments, the w^alls have, in the 
lapse of centuries, been so washed into 
the dikes as partly to efface both; while 
in innumerable cases the hand of the 
agriculturist has been more ruthless 
than that of time, in obliterating these 
vestiges of our ancestors.* 

Another kind of fortified retreat or 
dwelling used by the ancient Irish was 
that called a cranogue, or stockaded 
island, generally situated in some small 
lake, where a little islet or bank of 
gravel was taken advantage of, and by 
being surrounded with stakes or other 
defences, was made a safe retreat for 
either the lawless or timid. In the vicin- 
ity of these cranogues are often found 
the remains of -canoes, or shallow flat- 
bottomed boats, cut out of a single tree. 
The boats used by the Irish on the sea- 
coast w^ere chiefly those called curraghs 
or coracles, which were composed of a 
fi-ame of wicker-work, covered with 
skins. Boats of this type, save that 
pitched canvas has been substituted 
for the hides, are still used on the 

* Among tlie most remarkable of the caishels or 
stone forts, are Don Aengus, Dun Conchum, and otlier 
duns of the Isles of Aran, Staigue Fort in Kerry, and 
the Grianan of Aileach, in Donegal ; and of the earthen 
'orts, some of the most celebrated are the royal ratlxs of 

coast of Clare, in the islands of Aran, 
and in some few other j^laces in Ire 

Fi'om the dwellings of the ancient 
inhabitants we naturally turn to their 
sepulchral remains, of which there are 
different kinds. The most frequent are 
the mounds or tumuli, called barrows in 
England, which were common to all 
ancient nations who interred their dead. 
They varied in -size according to the 
importance of the individual over whose 
remains they were raised, and in some 
instances they assumed the dimensions 
of considerable hills ; as those of New 
Grange and Dowth on the banks of the 
Boyne. Of these vast tumuli, which 
there are good grounds for regarding 
as the tombs of the Tuatha de Danann 
kings, the most famous is that of New 
Grange, with its long gallery, and lofty, 
dome-shaped chamber ; and it may be 
observed that in any of those mounds 
that have been examined, sepulchral 
chambers, or kists, have been invariably 
found, and frequently human remains. 
Monuments composed of stone-heaps 
are called leachts or earns, but many of 
these latter are modern, and are mere 
cenotaphs or memorials of an accidental 
or violent death. 

The monuments called cromlechs, 
which are met in Wales and Brittany 
as well as in Ireland, and which belong 

Tara Hill, Emania, Croghan, and Tailtin, and the great 
rath of Mullaghmast ; but there are few districts of Ir» 
land in which several remains of this character are rot 
to be found. 



unquestionably to pagan times, have 
Leen popularly regarded as druids' al- 
tars ; but the correct opinion, founded 
on ancient Irish authorities, that they 
were intended for sepulchral purposes, 
is now generally received ; and it is 
])robable that they may have been in 
some cases the chambers of sepulchral 
mounds, from which the covering of 
earth has been removed. The examina- 
tion of a tumulus, opened in May, 1838, 
in the Phoenix Park, near Dublin, would 
seem to confirm this opinion ; as the 
internal chamber, in which two human 
skeletons were found, was covered with 
a large, flat stone, in every respect like 
a cromlech.* 

Chess was a favorite game of the 
Irish from very early times, but it is 
uncertain whether the rules of the play 
weie the same as those known to 
luoderns. In all ages the Irish were 
passionately fond of their own sweet, 
heart-touching, and expressive music, 

* These monuments are invariably referred to in old 
Irish writings as sepulchres ; and in later ages they 
were called leahacha nafeinne, or the beds (i. e., graves) 
of the Fenians — the term cromlech being a recent impor- 
lation into the Irish language, and still quite unknown 
to the Irish-speaking population. It is not unusual at 
present to combine the two hypotheses by calling these 
mysterious remains altar-graves. For a great deal of 
valuable research about the cemeteries and sepulchres 
of tho pagan Irish, and in particular about the liill-mon- 
uments near the Boyne ; and also for imiiortant and 
authentic information touching the manners of the 
jirimitive races of Ireland, the reader is referred to Dr. 
Petrii^'s learned Essay on Tara Hill. 

t Giraldus Camlircnsis (Tup. I/ib., dist. in., c. 11), de- 
scribing the performance of the Irish harpers, pays them 
the following tribute : — "In musicis instrumentis com- 
mendabilem invenio istius gentis diligentiara ; in quibus 
prae omni natione quam vidimus, incomparabiliter est 
instructa." " The attention of tliis people to musical 

and possessed both stringed and wind 
instruments ; and a number of bards or 
musicians, who sometimes played in 
harmony, but generally accompanied 
their songs with instrumental music 
singly, were always in attendance at 
the feasts of the chiefs and public en- 
tertainments.f The gold ornaments 
which are still preserved, the crowns of 
gold, worn, at least in some instances, 
by the Irish kings, and the accounts 
given by the bards of their " high 
drinking-cups of gold," and other ob- 
jects of luxury, would show that a cer- 
tain amount of splendor had been at- 
tained in the rude society of even the 
pagan ages of Ireland. 

The names of several persons who 
had distinguished themselves as poets 
or legislators in Ireland, in the time of 
paganism, are still preserved, as well as 
some of the compositions attributed to 
them. Among those most remarkable 
in the latter class were Ollav Fola, by 

instruments I find worthy of commendation ; their skill 
in these matters being incomparably superior to that of 
any other nation I have seen." He then goes on to com- 
pare the Irish music with that of the Welsh, to which 
he was accvistomed, describing the former as rapid and 
precipitate, yet sweet and pleasing, while the latter is 
slow and solemn. He was amazed at " the rapidity of 
execution," "the intricate arrangement of tho notes," 
and " the melody so hannonious and perfect" ■which 
Irish music displayed ; and was struck with the per- 
formance of the Irish musicians, who knew liow " to 
delight with so much delicacy, and sootlic so softly, that 
the excellence of their art seemed to lie in concealing 
it." Such was tho impression which the music of Ire- 
land could produce on the soul even of an enemy seven 
hundred years ago. Warton (History of English Poo- 
try) says ; — " Even so late as the eleventh century the 
practice was continued among the AVelsh bards of 
receiving instructions in the bardic profession from Ire- 



whom the Feis of Tara was instituted ; 
Cimbaeth, and other kings of his period ; 
Moran, the chief judge of Ferach, the 
Fair and Just, at the close of the first 
century ; and, above all, Cormac, son of 
Art, who has left us a tract or book of 
" Eoyal Precepts," and who, about the 
middle of the third century, caused the 
Psalter of Tara to be compiled. 

Of the pre-Christian bards or poets 
we have a tolerably large list, in which, 
selecting the most remarkable names, 
we find Amergin, brother of Heber and 
Heremon, to whom three poems still 
existing are attributed ; Congal, the son 
and poet of King Eochy Feilach, who 
flourished a. m. 505S ; and just before 
the Christian era a whole group of poets, 
among whom were Adhna, chief poet 
of Ireland, Forchern, and Fercirtne, the 
author of the Tlraicaclit na n-Eigeas^ or 

* Vide O'ReiUy's Irish Writers. 

\ Of the social and political system which prevailed 
among the ancient Irish, a distingmshed authority on 
Irish historical matters, thus writes : — " Of our society, 
the type was not an army (as in the feudal system) but 
a family. Such a system, doubtless, was subject to 
many inconveniences. The breaking up of all general 
authority, and the multiplication of petty independent 
principalities, was an abuse incident to the feudal system ; 
it was inherent in the very essence of the patriarchal or 
famUy system. That system began as the feudal system 

primer of the learned ; while towards 
the close of the third century flourished 
Oisin, and at the beginning of the fifth 
century Torna Eigeas, or Torna the 
Learned* Men like these would not 
have been produced in an entii-ely un- 
civilized state of society. The noble 
language of ancient L-eland had already 
in their time attained a high degree of 
perfection, being most copious in primi- 
tive roots and expressive compounds; 
and the productions that are attributed 
to the writers enumerated above, are 
written in a dialect which would be al 
most wholly unintelligible to the best 
Irish scholars for centuries past, wei'e 
it not for the very ancient glosses that 
accompany them, which glosses can 
themselves be understood by those few 
only who are profoundly skilled in the 
Irish manuscripts.f 

ended, with small independent societies, each with its 
own separate centre of attraction ; each clustering round 
the lord or the chief; and each rather repelling than at- 
tracting all similar societies. Yet the patriarchal system 
was not without its advantages. If the feudal system 
gave more strength to attack a foreign enemy, the pat- 
riarchal system secured more happiness at home. The 
one system implied inequality among the few, and 
slavery among the many : the other system gave a feel- 
ing of equality to all."— (The Very Rev. Dean Butler'i 
Introduction to Clyn's Annals, p. 17). 




Irish Clu'istians before St. Patrick.— Pelagius and Celestius.— The Mission of St. Palladius.— St. Patrick's 
birth-place — his parentage — his captivity — his escape — his vision— his studies — his consecration. — How 
Christianity was received in Ireland. — St. Patrick's arrival. — The first conversions. — Interviews with King 
Laeghaire. — Visits Tailtin. — The Apostle's journeys in Meath, Connaught, Ulster, Leinster, and Munster. — 
Destruction of Crom Cruach. — St. Secundinus. — St. Fiach. — Caroticus. — Foundation of Armagh. — Death of 
St. Patrick. 

Contemporary Sovereigns and Eoentt. — Popes : St. Celestine and St. Sixtus III. — Theodosius the Great, Emperor of tho 
East.— Valentinian III., Emperor of the West.— Attila, King of the Huns.— Genseric, King of the Vandals.— Clovis, son of 
Pliurainond, King of the Franks. — Britain abandoned by the Romans (a. d. 423), and tlie aid of the Saxons invited. — Gen- 
eral Council of Ephesus (a. d. 431). St. Augustin died (a. d. 431). 

(A. D. 400 TO A. D. 500.) 

THAT Christianity had found its 
way into Ireland shortly before 
the ])reaching of St. Patrick appears to 
l)e Leyond doubt, although the manner 
in which it was introduced, and the ex- 
tent to which it had spread, are matters 
of mere conjecture. The neighboring 
island of Britain had, long before this 
period, received the light of faith 
through its Roman masters; and it is 
probable that there was sufficient inter- 
course between the two countries to 
enable some few of the natives of Ire- 
land to become acquainted with the 
Christian religion. It is, moreover, pro- 
bable that these few isolated Chris- 
tains were confined to the south of Ire- 
land, and that there was no bishop in 
the country until St. Palladius was 

sent there by St. Celestine. Frequent 
mention is made in Irish records and 
Lives of saints of four bishops having 
been in Ireland before St. Patrick's ar- 
rival, namely, St. Ailbe of Eraly, St. 
Declan of Ardmore, St. Ibar of Begery, 
and St. Kieran of Saigir ; but it never- 
theless appears extremely probable that 
these holy prelates were not the pre- 
decessors of St. Patrick in the Irish 
mission, although they may not have 
been his disciples, or have derived their 
authority from him.* 

It is not denied that some Irishmen 
eminent for holiness, and who flourished 
on the continent about this time, had 
received the light of Christianity either 
at home or abroad, before St. Patrick's 
preaching. St. Mansuetus, the first 

• Dr. Lanagan (Eccl. Hist, of Ireland, chap, i.) has tion of the above-named four bishops having preceded 
controverted with his usual learnmg tho received no- St. Patrick's mission. 


bishop of Toiil, iu Lon-aine, and St. 
Sedulius, or Sbiel, the author of some 
beautiful chuich hymns still extant, 
were of this number. The fact that 
Celestius, the chief disciple of the here- 
siarch Pelagius, was a Scot or Irishman, 
shows that Christianity was known in 
this island previous to St. Patrick. Be- 
fore falling into heresy, Celestius resided 
in a monastery either in Britain or on 
the continent, and thence, as has been 
already stated, addressed to his friends 
in Ii-eland some religious essays or epis- 
tles that were highly lauded at the 
time.* As to Pelagius, it is generally 
admitted that he was a Briton, and that 
the Latin form of his name was but the 
translation of his British name of Mor- 
<5an. He was a lay monk, taught school 
at Rome, and imbibed from Rufinus, a 
Syrian priest, and disciple of Theodorus 
of ]\Iopsuesta, the errors of that here- 
siarch on grace and original sin. 

While the great apostle of Ireland 
was yet preparing himself for the mis- 
sion to which tended all the aspirations 
of his heart, his friend St. Germain of 
Auxerre, under whose guidance and in- 
struction he had placed himself for 
some years before his consecration, 
was sent, together with Lupus, another 
missionary, by Pope Celestine into Brit- 
ain, to expel the Pelagian heresy from 
the church in that country, and it is 
conjectured that St. Patrick accom- 
panied them on that mission. It is 

* QennaiUus de Script. Eccl., c. 44. The native coun- 
try of Celestius is alluded to by St. Jerome in the Pro- 

also supposed, that it was in conse- 
quence of information obtained during 
that British mission on the destitute 
state of Ireland for want of Christian 
preachers, that St. Palladius, archdeacon 
of Rome, was immediately after (a. d. 
431) sent by St. Celestine to Ireland as 
a bishop " to those believing in ;" 
namely, to the few scattered Christians 
we have alluded to ; and to propagate 
the faith in that country. This mission, 
however, was unsuccessful. Palladius 
was repulsed by the people of Leinster 
and their king Nathi, and after erecting 
three small wooden churches, he em- 
barked to return to Rome, and was 
driven by a storm on the coast of Scot- 
land, where he died after having made 
his way as far as Fordun. 

In entering upon an account of St. 
Patrick's life and mission, we are met 
at the threshold by a controversy about 
his birth-place. St. Fiech, a disciple of 
St. Patrick, and bishop of Sletty, wrote 
a metrical account of the apostle's life, 
known as Fiech's hyrnn, in which he 
states that the saint was born at Nem- 
thur, which name a scholiast, who is 
believed to have been nearly contempo- 
rary with Fiech himself, explains by the 
name Alcluith, a place well known to 
the ancient Irish, and which became 
the Dunbritton or Dunbarton of mod- 
ern times. The old traditions of Ire- 
land point to this locality, or to some 
spot in its vicinity, as the birth-place 

legomena to the first and the third books of his Com- 
mentaries on Jeremias. 



of St. Patrick, and such was the idea 
received by Ussher, Colgan, Ware, and 
other eminent antiquaries of their times. 
Alcluith, at the time of St. Patrick's 
birth, was within the territory of Brit- 
ain, tlie Picts being then on the north 
side of tlie Clyde, and by all the old 
authorities we find the saint called a 
Briton. Some statements assigning 
Wales or Coi'nwall as the birth-place of 
the Irish apostle, and others calling him 
a Scot, that is, an Irishman, are easily 
shown' to have been erroneous; but 
another old tradition, which makes him 
a native of Armorica, or Brittany, has 
been of late generally received, and Dr. 
Lanigau has employed a great deal of 
learning and ingenuity to establish its 
accuracy. In his " Confession," St. Pat- 
rick says he was born at " Bonaven of 
Tabernia," which names it is impossible 
to identify as connected with any places 
in Britain or Scotland ; while Dr. Lani- 

gan argues 

with great probability that 

Bonaven is the present town of Bou- 
logne (Bononia,) in that part of ancient 
Belgic Gaul which had at one time the 
sub-denomination of Britain, and which 
was also a part of the territory called 
Armorica, a word signifying in Celtic 
" the Sea Coast." The name Tabernia 
he shows to have been changed into 
the modern one of Terouanne, a city 
whence the district in which Boulogne 
is situated took its name.* 

One thing quite cei'tain is, that St. 

Patrick was in various ways intimately 
connected with Gaul. His mother, Con- 
chessa, is distinctly stated to have been 
a native of Gaul, being, according to 
some traditions, a sister or niece of St. 
Martin of Tours ; and from Gaul, Pat- 
rick, when a youth of sixteen years of 
ao-e, was carried captive into Ireland, in 
a plundering expedition of Niall of the 
Nine Hostages. His father was Cal- 
phurnius, a deacon, the son of Potitus, 
a priest, and their rank was that of 
Decurio, or member of the municipal 
council, under the Roman law. These 
men had entered into holy orders after 
the death of their wives, as it was not 
unusual at that time to do ; or, as is 
stated to have occurred in the case of 
Calphurnius, the husband and wife 
separated voluntarily, and entered into 
religion. The apostle received in bap- 
tism the name of Succath, which is said 
to signify "brave in battle," and the 
name of Patrick or Patricius was con- 
ferred on him by St. Celestine as indi- 
cative of his rank. 

There are various opinions as to the 
year of St. Patrick's birth, the most 
probable being that he was born in 
387, and that in 403 he was made cap- 
tive and carried into Ireland. Those 
who hold that he was born at Alcluith, 
or Dunbarton, account for his being 
made captive in Armorica by supposing 
that his ftither and family had gone 
into Gaul to visit his friends of Con- 

* There is. another theory not worth mentioning, ac- 
cording to wliich St. Patrick was born at Tours ; the 
word Nemthur being explained as " Heavenly Tours." 

See Mr. Patrick Lynch's Life of St. Patrick. Dr. Lani- 
gan is the only writer who explains all the names men. 
tioned as applicable to his theory of Boulogne. 


chessa. Be that as it may, the holy 
youth when carried into Irehand was 
sold as a slave in that part of Dala- 
radia comprised in the county of An- 
trim, to four men, one of whom, named 
Milcho, bought up their right from 
the other three, and employed the saint 
111 attending his sheep, oi-, as some say, 
his swine. His sufferings were very 
great, as he was exposed to all the in- 
clemency of the weather in the moun- 
tains; but he himself tells us that it 
was in this suffering he began to know 
and love God. He performed all his 
duties to his harsh master with punctu- 
ality, yet he found a great deal of time 
for prayer, and was in the habit of pray- 
ing to God a hundred times in a day, 
and as many times at night, and that in 
the midst of frost and snow. After six 
yeai-s spent in this bondage, he was 
warned in a vision that the time had 
come for him to depart, and that a ship 
was ready in a certain poi't to take him 
to his own countiy. He i-ose up accord- 
ingly, and leaving Milcho, he travelled 
two hundred miles to a part of Ireland 
of which he had pi'eviously known 
nothing, and here he found the ship 
that had been indicated to him ready 
to sail. He was first rudely repulsed 
by the master of the vessel, but was 
at length taken on board, and after a 
voyage of three days reached shore, 
but only to find himself in a desert 
countiy, where the whole party were 
on the point of dying of hunger, until, 
through the prayers of Patrick, food 
was obtained ; and ultimately, after a 

journey of twenty-eight days, he reach- 
ed his native place. 

It is stated that St. Patrick suffered 
a second captivity, but of this little is 
known, except that it lasted for only 
sixty days; and Ave are led to con- 
clude that about this time he resolved 
to enter the ecclesiastical stale, and for 
that purpose went to study in the fa- 
mous college or monastery of St. Mar- 
tin, near Tours, — subsequently, when 
thirty years of age, placing himself un- 
der the direction of St. Germain of Aux- 
erre. In or about this period the saint 
had a remarkable dream or vision, in 
which a man named Victoricius appear- 
ed, to present him with a large parcel 
of letters, one of which was inscribed, 
"The voice of the Irish ;" and while read- 
ing it, St. Patrick thought he heard the 
cries of a multitude of people near the 
wood of Foclut, in the district now 
called Tirawley, in Mayo, saying: "We 
entreat thee to come, holy youth, and 
walk still amongst us." The saint's 
mind had been previously filled with a 
love of the Iiish, and a desire for their 
conversion, and this vision fixed his at- 
tention more earnestly on that object. 

There is some obscurity in this part 
of the Lives of the apostle, as he is rep- 
resented as spending a great many 
yeai's in study and religious retreat in 
Italy, and in some islands of the Med- 
iterranean, especially Lerins ; while, ac- 
cording to other accounts, he was con- 
stantly with St. Germain ; but the 
probability is that he Avas all the time 
acting under the guidance of that illus- 



trious mastei-. At length, after much 
preparation, about the year 431, and 
within some veiy l)rief space after the 
departure of St. Palladius on his mis- 
sion to Ireland, St. Pati'ick visited 
Rome, accompanied by a priest named 
Segetius, who was sent with him by St. 
Germain to vouch for the sanctity of 
his character and for his fitness for the 
Irish mission ; and having remained a 
shoi-t time, ami I'eceived the approba- 
tion and benediction of the holy pon- 
tiff, St. Celestine, tlien within a few 
weeks of his death, oui- apostle retui'ned 
to his friend and master, St. Germain, 
at Au.\ei-re, and thence to the noith of 
Gaul, wiiei'e, news of the death of St. 
Palhidius being received aVjout the 
same time, Pati'ck immediately was 
consecrated bishop by a certain hoi}' 
])relate named Amato, in a town called 
EI)ovia; Auxilius, Isei'ninus, and other 
disciples of St. Patrick receiving cleri- 
cal oi-ders on the same occasion. The 
apostle and his companions sailed forth- 
with for Biiton, on their way to Ire- 
land, where they ari-ived safely (a. d. 
4o'2), in the first year of the pontificate 
of St. Sixtus III., the successor of St. 
Celestine, and in the fourth year of the 
reign of Laeghaire,* son of Niall of the 
Nine Hostages, king of Ireland. 

Ireland, in its reception of the Chris- 
tian religion, presents an example unique 
in the history of nations. " While in all 
other countries," observes an eloquent 

* Tliis name, called in Latin Lagariua, is pronounced 
u if written Lerey. 

f Moore's History of Ireland, toI. i., p. 203. 

writer, " the introduction of Christianity 
has been the slow work of time, has 
been resisted by either government or 
people, and seldom effected without 
lavish effusion of blood, in Ireland, on 
the contrary, by the influence of one 
zealous missionary, and with but little 
previous preparation of the soil by other 
hands, Christianity burst forth at the 
first ray of apostolic light, and with 
the sudden ripeness of a northern sum- 
mer at once covered the whole land. 
Kings and princes, when not themselves 
among the ranks of the converted, saw 
their sons and daughtei-s joining in the 
train without a mui-mur. Chiefs, at vari- 
ance in all else, agreed in meeting be- 
neath the Christian banner; and the 
proud druid and bard laid their super- 
stitions meekly at the foot of the cross ; 
nor, by a singular blessing of providence 
— unexampled, indeed, in the whole his- 
tory of the Church — was there a single 
drop of blood shed, on account of reli- 
gion, through the entire course of this 
mild Christian revolution, by which, in 
the space of a few yeai-s, all Ireland 
was brought tranquilly under the do- 
minion of the Gospel."f 

It is strange that even the glorious 
distinction thus referred to was made a 
charge against Ireland by a Chi'istian 
writer; Giraldus Cambrensis asserting 
that " there "was not one among them 
found ready to shed his blood for the 
church of Christ.''^ "Whether the soil 

X Topograpliia Hiberniie, dist. iii., c. 28. Cambrensis 
holds the unenviable position of being at the head of the 
list of the British calumniators of Ireland. 



of Ireland was capable of producing 
martyrs after ages showed ; but it must 
be observed that Christianity was not 
established in Ireland altogether with- 
out resistance, some of the pagan Irish 
having shown an inveterate hostility to 
its progress, and several attempts having 
been made on the life of St. Patrick 

St. Patrick first landed at a place 
called Inver De, which is supposed to 
he the mouth of the Bray river, in 
Wicklow; but having been repulsed 
by the inhabitants, he returned to his 
ship, and sailing towards the north, 
landed on the little island of Inis-Pat- 
rick, near Skerries, off the north coast 
of Dublin, where he made a short stay 
for the pui'pose of refreshing the crew 
and the companions of his voyage. He 
then resumed his voyage, and proceeded 
as far as the coast of the present county 
of Down, where, entering Strangford 
Lough, he landed in a district called 
Magh-inis, in the present barony of Le- 
cale. On the appearance of the strangers 
an alarm was raised that pii-ates had ar- 
rived, and Dicho, the lord of that place, 
came at the head of his people ; but the 
moment he saw the apostle he perceiv- 
ed that he was no pirate, and he invited 
the saint and his companions to his 
house, where, on hearing the true re- 
ligion announced, he and all his family 
believed and were baptized. This was 
the first fruit of St. Patrick's mission in 

• O'Donovan's Four Masters, an. 433 (note). 

The apostle celebrated the Divine 
Mysteries in a barn belonging to Di- 
cho, which was henceforth used as a 
church, and was called Sabhall Padru- 
ic, or Patrick's Barn, a name that has 
been still preserved in that of Saul. 
A church and monastery were after- 
wards founded there, and the place al- 
ways continued to be a favorite retreat 
of St. Patrick's. 

After a stay of a few days with 
Dicho, the apostle set out by land for 
the habitation of his old master, Milcho, 
who resided somewhere near Slieve Mis, 
in the present county of Antrim, then 
part of the territory called Dalaraida, 
in a portion of which dwelt a tribe of 
the Cruithnians, or Picts. Milcho's 
heart was hardened* and rather than 
allow St. Patrick to approach his house, 
he set fire to it in a fit of passion, and 
was himself consumed in its ruins, to- 
gether with his family, except, as some 
say, a son and two daughters, who 
subsequently became converts and em- 
braced a religious life. 

St. Patrick returned to Saul, and the 
next important event we meet is his 
journey by water, in the early part of 
the next year (a. d. 433), southward, 
to the mouth of the Boyne, where he 
landed at a small port called Colp, and 
thence set out, through the plain of 
Bregia, in the direction of the royal 
palace of Tara. On his way thither, 
he stayed a night in the house of a re- 
spectable man named Seschnan, who 
was converted and baptized, with his 
whole family, one of his sons receiving 



from the apostle the name of Benignus, 
as iutlicating the gentleness of his man- 
ners. This hol}^ youth attached him- 
self from that moment to St. Patrick, 
and became famous in the history of 
the Irish Church as St. Benan, or Be- 
nignus, the successor of the apostle in 
the primatial see of Armagh. 

The next day was Holy Saturday, 
and St. Patrick, on reaching the place 
now called Slane, caused a tent to be 
erected, and lighted the paschal fire 
about night-fall, preparatory to the cel- 
ebration of the Easter solemnity. It so 
happened that the princes and chief- 
tains of Meath were at this time assem- 
bled at Tara, with King Laeghaire, for 
the purpose of holding a pagan festival, 
Avhich some writers suppose to have 
been that of Beltinne, or the fire of Bal 
or Baa], as the kindling of a great fire 
formed a portion of the rites ;* and as 
it was contrary to the law to light any 
fire, on that occasion, in the surround- 
ing country until the fire from the top 
of Tara hill was first visible, the king 
became indignant on seeing the flame 
which the saint had kindled, and which 
his druids, who had, no doubt, ascer- 
tained who it w^as that had come into 
their neighborhood, told him would 
cause the destruction of his and their 
])()wer if not immediately extinguished. 

* Dr. O'Conor (Rer. Hib. Scrip, vol. 1) labors to show 
that tliis festival was that of Beltinne or Bealtaine, and 
Dr. Petrie, in his Essay on Tara Hill, appears to adopt 
that view ; but Dr. O'Donavan, in his remarks on the 
division of the year among the ancient Irish, in the in- 
troduction to tlie Book of liights, proves tliat there i.s no 

Accordingly, Laeghaire, with his druids, 
chieftains, and attendants went to ascer- 
tain the cause, and, on approaching the 
place, ordered the apostle to be brought 
before him, having first given directions 
that no one should rise, or show the 
stranger any mark of respect. When 
St. Patrick with his attendant priests 
appeared, notwithstanding the king's 
mandate. Ere, the son of Dego, rose to 
salute him, and was converted; and 
this Ere was subsequently bishop of 
Slane, where his hei-mitage is an object 
of interest to the present day. The re- 
sult of the interview was an invitation 
to the saint to come next day to Tara, 
for the purpose of holding a discussion 
with the magi or druids; the king 
secretly resolving to place men in am 
bush who would murder the Christain 
missionaries on the way. 

The scene which passed next morning 
— Easter Sunday — in the royal rath of 
Tara, was one on which it is impossible 
to reflect without a lively interest. The 
king, conscious of the treacherous prep- 
arations which he had ordered to be 
made along the road, could hardly have 
expected to see the strangers come, but 
was nevertheless seated in barbaric state 
in the midst of his satraps and nobles 
to receive them. St. Patrick, on his 
side, was not unaware of the pagan per- 

authority for this opinion, and that in fact the fire of 
Beltinne was always lighted at the hill of Uisneach, in 
Westmeath. The festivitj' which Laeghaire was cele- 
brating was probably that of his own birth-day, ag 
is stated in the Life of St. Patrick in the Book of Lis- 



fidy practised against Lira, but placing 
his confidence in the protecting power 
of God, and chanting a solemn Irish 
hyran of invocation,* which he com- 
posed for the occasion, he advanced at 
the head of his priests in processional 
order, along one of the five ancient 
roads that led to the top of the royal 
hill, where he arrived unharmed. The 
old authorities describe the appearance 
of the saint as characterized by singular 
meekness and dignity. He was always 
clothed in white robes, and on this oc- 
casion he wore his mitre, and carried 
in his hand the crozier called the staff 
of Jesus.f Eight priests who attended 
him were also robed in white, and along 
with them came the youthful Benignus, 
the son of Sechnan. Thus, confronted 
with the monarch and his druids, and 
objects of wonder to the pagan assem- 
bly, stood the illustrious apostle and 
his train of missionaries, come from afar 
to plant Christ's religion in Ireland. 
Here, as on the evening before, it had 
been arranged that no mark of honor 
should be shown to him ; but, as on the 
previous occasion, there was one found 
to disobey the tyrant's instructions, — 
Dubtach, the arch poet, or head of the 

* Tliig liynin is preserved ia the celebrated Liber Hym- 
norum, a MS. in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, 
and whicli Ussher pronounced to liave been a thousand 
years old in his time. It is published with a translation 
and notes by Dr. Petrie, in his Essay on the History and 
Antiquities of Tara Hill, pp. 57, &c., of the Academy's 
Edition. This hymn, which is -m-itten in the Bearln- 
Feine, or language of the Brehon Laws, is a singular 
relic of ecclesiastical antiquity, and Dr. Petrie describes 
it as " the oldest undoubted monument of the Irish Ian 
guage remaining " 

bards of Erin, rising, and paying his 
respects to the venerable stranger. 
Dubtach was the first convert that day. 
St. Patrick became greatly attached to 
him, and his name is afterwards men- 
tioned with honor. 

Having soon silenced the druids in 
argument, the saint expounded the doc- 
trines of Christianity to the monarch 
and his assembly, and made many con- 
verts; but notwithstanding some state- 
ments to the contrary, it appears cei'tain 
that Laeghaire himself was not among 
these, but remained an obstinate pagau 
to the last. It is stated with more 
probability that the queen was con- 
verted on this occasion; and it also 
appears that St. Patrick made so favor- 
al)le an impression even on Laegliaire, as 
to obtain from him permission to preach 
wherever he chose, on condition that he 
did not disturb the peace or deprive 
him of his kingdom. 

From Tara St. Patrick repaired next 
day to Tailtiu, where the public games 
were commencing, and where he had an 
opportunity of preaching to a great as- 
semblage of people, including, most pro- 
bably, those whom he had met the day 
before at Tara ; and he remained for a 

f This crozier is said to hare been given to St. Patrick 
while secluded in an Island of the Mediterranean, by 
some mysterious person who received it, for that pur]K)se, 
from our Lord himself. The staff of Jesus was burned, 
along with several other sacred relies of the greatest 
antiqmty, among the rest, a statue of the Blessed Vir- 
gin, in High-street, Dublin, in the year 1538, by order 
of George Brown, the first Protestant Archbishop of 
Dublin. — (See Ware's Annals ■ Daltou's Archbishops, 



week, making many converts. Oa this 
occasion he Tvas repulsed and his life 
threatened by Carbry, a brother of 
King Laeghaire; but another of the 
royal brothers, uamed Conall Creevan, 
was shortly after converted, and at his 
desire the apostle founded the church of 
Donough Patrick in Meath.* 

Such was the commencement of St. 
Fati'ick's mission, in which he continued 
to labor with unremitting zeal for more 
than thirty years. We shall not at- 
tempt to follow him through the intri- 
cacies of his many journeys into every 
part of Ireland, or to enumerate the 
number of churches which rose up every- 
where in his track, and the multitude 
of holy j)astor3 Avhom he prepared by 
Iiis instructions and placed over them. 
The diversity of accounts given by his 
hiogi'aphers and by other old authorities 
has involved the subject in much ob- 
scurity, which is increased by eri'oneous 
dates and doubtful topograpliy ; and to 
enter minutely into it would be impos- 
sible in a work of this nature. 

The apostle preached for some time 
in the western part of the territory of 
Meath, and on this occasion proceeded 

* According to the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick, every 
cluircU in Ireland of which the name begins with Don- 
ow/A was founded by that apostle: and they were so 
calleJ because the saint marked out their foundations on 
a Sunday, in Irish Domhiuich. {Trias Thnum., p. 14G.) 
The Conall mentioned al)ove became a great friend of 
the apostle's ; but when he wished to enter the church 
as au ecclesiastic, St. Patrick told him that his vocation 
was to be a military man, adding that although he was 
not to be a churcliman ho would bo a defender of the 
Church ; and the holy prelate thereupon marked on 
Conall's shield the figure of a cross with his crozier, and 

as far as Magh Sleaghta, in the present 
county of Cavan, where the idol Crom 
Cruach was worshipped, and by his 
prayers caused the destruction of that 
abomination and of the smaller idols by 
which it was surrounded. He then set 
out for Connaught, and when near Rath 
Cruaghan, he met at a well, whither 
they had come in patriarchal fashion to 
perform their ablutions, the princesses 
Ethnea and Fethlimia, daughters of King 
Laeghaire, Avho were there under the 
tuition of certain druids or magi, and 
who acquired from the saint at that 
meeting a thorough knowledge of the 
truths of religion, and subsequently took 
the veil in a nunnery which he estab- 
lished.f He then traversed almost 
every part of Connaught, preaching, as 
he did on all occasions, with the sanc- 
tion of miraculous power, converting the 
people, and founding churches. He 
fasted during a Lent on the mountain 
in Mayo then called Cruachan Aichle, 
or Mount Eagle, and since known as 
Cruach Patrick. In the land of Tiraw- 
ley \ he converted and baptized the 
seven sons of King Amalgaidh, together 
with twelve thousand i:)eople ; this oc- 

the shield was ever after called Sciath-IiacMach, or tho 
shield of the crozier. (Trias Thaum., 142 ; also Jocelyn, 
c. 138.) Dr. O'Donovan says this is the earliest authentic 
notice he has found of armorial bearings in Ireland. 

f St. Patrick tells us in his "Confession" that a great 
number of women embraced a religious life in Ireland, 
notwithstanding the harsh opposition which they often 
encountered from their unconverted parents. 

X Tirawley (Tir-Amhalghaidh) was so called from the 
jVmhalghaidh or Awley, son of Fiachra, son of Eochy- 
Muivone, and king of northern Connaught, whose sons 
were converted by St. Patrick on this occasion. 


currence taking place uot far from the 
wood of Foclut, whence the voices in- 
viting him to Ireland appeared to come 
in the vision which he had in Gaul. 
After seven years thus spent in Con- 
naiight, he passed by a northern route 
hito Ulster, and there made many con- 
verts, especially in the present county 
of Monaghan ; meeting, however, as was 
also the case in Connaught, several re- 
pulses, accompanied sometimes with 
danger to his life. 

Returning into Meath, St. Patrick 
appears to have appointed, about this 
time, his nephew, St. Secundinus, or 
Sechnal, who was bishop of the place 
which has been called after him Dom- 
nach-Sechnail, or Dunshaghlen, to pre- 
side, during his own absence in the 
southern half of Ireland, over the north- 
ern churches, the see of Armagh not 
having been yet founded.* The apos- 
tle then directed his steps southward, 
and visited several parts of Leinster, 
making numerous converts, and laying 
the foundations of churches wherever 
he went. He placed his companions, 
bishops Auxilius and Isserninus, the 
former at Killossy, near Naas, and the 
latter at Kilcullen, both in the present 
county of Kildare. In the territory of 
Hy-Kinsellagh, comprising parts of the 
counties of "Wexford, Kilkenny, and 
Carlow, he visited his friend, the poet 
Dubtach, who introduced to the saint 
his disciple, Fiech, who was "already 

* See the interesting account of St. Seclinal, and the 
hyvan wliicli he composed in honor of St. Patrick, in the 

acquainted with Christianity, and was 
admitted into the ecclesiastical state by 
the apostle. 

This Fiech was subsequently the 
holy bishoj) of Sletty, in the Queen's 
county, with jurisdiction over all Lein- 
ster, and to him the famous metrical life 
of St. Patrick, known as FiecK-s Hijmn^ 
is attributed. He was the first Lein- 
ster man who was raised to the epis- 

A. D. 445. — After passing through Os- 
sory, where he converted great num- 
bers of people, and founded many 
churches, St. Patrick entered Munster, 
and bent his steps towards the royal 
city of Cashel, whence King Aengns, 
the son of Natfraich, who had already 
obtained a knowledge of Christianity, 
came forth to meet him, receiving him 
with the utmost veneration. At this 
king's baptism an incident occuri-ed 
which is often mentioned as an interest- 
ing example of fortitude. The pastoral 
staff which the saint carried terminated 
at the bottom in a spike, by which he 
could fasten it erect in the ground, and 
it appears that on this occasion he 
planted it inadvertently on the king's 
foot, which it penetrated. Aengus boi'e 
the wound without the slightest move- 
ment, supposing that it was a part of 
the ceremony, and being, no doubt, ani- 
mated at the moment with an ardent 
feeling of devotion. This good king, in 
the course of a long reign, afforded ma- 

first fasciculus of the Liher Hymnorum, edited by the 
Rev. Dr. Todd for the AichEeological and Celtic Society. 




terial aid to tbe cause of religion in tliis 
part of Ireland.* 

The apostle spent seven years in 
jMunster, visiting various parts of Or- 
mo.ud and the territories corresponding 
with the present counties of Limerick, 
Keriy, Cork, Waterford, and Tipperarj^ 
receiving everywhere vast multitudes 
into the fold of Christ. A great num- 
Ler of people from Corca Baiscin, the 
southwestern part of Clare, crossed the 
Shannon in their curaghs, or hide-cov- 
ered boats, when the saint was on the 
southern side, in Hy-Figeinte, and were 
baptized by him in the waters of that 
mighty river; and at their entreaty the 
apostle then ascended a hill which com- 
manded a view of their country, and 
gave his benediction to the whole terri- 
to]'y of the Dalcassians.f 

It was probably during St. Patrick's 
stay in Munster, that a British prince, 
Caroticus, who, although nominally a 
Christian, was a pirate and a very wick- 
ed man, made a descent on the south- 
eastern coast of Ireland, and carried off 
a number of Christian captives who had 
just received baptism, for the purpose 
of selling them as slaves to pagans in 
Noi-th Britain. This outivage elicited 
from the saint a j)astoral, or circular 
epistle, still extant, in which he pro- 

* Dr. Lanigiin Ciilculatcs with much probability that 
Aengus had not yet succeodod his I'atlier at the time of 
his baptism, and that he was, therefore, only tanLste, or 
heir apparent, of Munster; he was, at all events, still 
very young at the time of St. Patrick's visit. 

f There can be no doubt that the hill from which the 
apostle gave his blessing to the territory of Thomond, 
01 Clare, is that now called Cnoc Patrick, near Foynes 

nounced excommunication against Ca- 
roticus, and stigmatized him with the 
odium which he deserved. We may 
also presume that it was about the time 
of his return from Munster, and while 
visiting a territory now comprised in 
the King's county, that a certain pagan 
chieftain named Failge formed a plan 
to murdei'' the apostle, which, coming 
to the knowledge of Odran, the saint's 
charioteer, this good man managed to 
change seats with St. Patrick, and thus 
received the fatal blow that was in- 
tended for his master. Odran was the 
only martyr who suffered death for the 
faith at the hands of an Irishman, dar- 
ing the conversion of this countiy from 

About the year 455, St. Patrick 
founded the see of Armagh, and the 
remaining years of his life he passed 
between that city and his fjivorite re- 
treat of Saul, in the county of Down, at 
which latter place he died, according to 
the Annals of Ulster, the Four Masters, 
Ussher, Ware, and Colgan, on the 17th 
of March, a. d. 493, but accoi'ding to 
the very ably argued inference of Dr. 
Lanigan, in a. d. 465. The duration of 
his mission in Ireland was, according to 
this latter opinion, thirty-three years, 
while, according to the former, it would 

Island. The local traditions are quite positive on the 
subject ; and it answers, besides, the conditions of situ- 
ation and purpose, and is the only hill in view of Clare 
with which the name of St. Patrick is associated. In 
the prose Life of St. Sinanus, translated by Colgan from 
the Irish, its site is particularly described, but butli 
there and in the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick, it is called 
the Ilill of Findine, a name now obsolete. 



have lieen alxnit sixty years, ami liis 
age, which tlie old authoi-it.ies represent 
as 120 years, is reduced to 78 years by 
Dr. Lanigan's process of reasoning. His 
i>l)sequies continued for twelve da3'S, 
(lining which the light of innumerable 
tapeis seemed to turn night into day, 
and the bishops and priests of all Ire- 
huid congregated together on the occa- 
sion. A fierce contest ensued between 
the people of Down and Armagh for 
the possession of his sacred remains, 
Init it was finally settled by his body 

being deposited in Down, while a 
poi-tion of the holy ]-elics were con- 
veyed to his metropolitan church of 

Thus was the feitli planted in Erin 
by St. Patrick, and from that day to 
the present it has never failed. In this 
respect Ireland has been exempt from 
the changes which so many other coun- 
ti'ies have undei-goue ; and a large and 
interesting portion of our liistory will 
relate to the sti'uggles which that stead- 
fastness entailed upon her. 


'ivil History of Ireland during St. Patrick's Life. — The Seancliu8 Mor. — King Laeghaire's Oath and Death. — 
Heign of OilioU Molt. — Branches and Greatness of the Hy-Niall Race. — Reign of Lughaidh. — Foundation of 
the Scottish Kingdom in North Britain. — Falsification of the Scottish Annals. — Progress of Christianity and 
absence of Persecution. — The First Order of Irish Saints. — Great Ecclesiastical Schools. — Aran of the Saints 
— St. Brigld. — Her great Labors. — Her Death. — Monastic tendency of the Primitive Church. — Muircheartach 
Mac Earca and Tuathal Maelgarbh. 

(A. D. 433 TO A. D. 538). 

FEW events are recorded in the civil 
history of this country during the 
l)eri()d of St. Patrick's mission; the 
uKJst remarkable being the revision of 

* Each of the events in the life of our Apostle, briefly 
narrated in the text, has been made a subject of discus- 
sion among antiquaries and hagiologists ; but we have 
given what we deemed the most reasonable results with- 
out the arguments. Nor have we entered into the con- 
troversy respecting the existence of other saints of the 
same name, as Sen-Patrick, or Patrick Senior, who was 
venerated on the 2-lth of August ; or the Abbot Patrick, 
who was buried and subsequently venerated at Glaston- 
bury ; or St. Patrick of Auvergne. Whether some of 
the acts of one of these saints mav have been attributed 

the laws of Ii'eland, and the compilation 
of the Seanchu-s Moi\ or great book of 
laws, in the year 438. The annalists 
say that three kings, three Chi'istian 

to another of them, would involve an inquiry unsuited to 
our pages. It is enough that the identity of our Ajiostle 
and of the leading events of his life have been establish- 
ed beyond the reach of all doubt. Those who would euter 
more deeply into the subject, are referred to Colgan's 
T)-ias Thaumaturga ; Messingham's FloHlegium ; O Sul- 
livan's Decas Pati-iciana ; Harris's Ware's Irish Bishops ; 
Lanigan's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland ; Keating's 
History of Ireland ; Mageoghegan's History of Ireland ; 
Lynch 's Life of St. Patrick ; Petrie's History of Tara 
mil, &c., &c. 



bishops, of whom St. Patrick was one, 
and three bai'ds or antiquaries, con- 
ducted this revision ; bub this account 
is obviously a poetic figment.* It is 
probal)le that as soon as the Christian 
religion began to prevail extensively in 
Ireland, a modification of the ancient 
pagan laws became necessary ; and aL 
that St. Patrick himself, assisted by a 
converted bard, may have laid the 
foundation of such revision, his name 
being subsequently employed to give 
it a sanction ; but it is plain that the 
apostle did not sit on a committee for 
the purpose with pagan kings, even if 
his authority had been so recognized at 
the time assigned for the event.f Frag- 
ments of the Seanchus Mor are still pi-e- 
served in the manuscript library of 
Trinity College, and in the British 
IMuseum, and the entire work is known 
to have existed at least as late as the 
12tli or 13th century. 

It has been erroneously stated by 
some old writers that St. Patrick puri- 
fied the annals as well as the laws of 
li-eland ; and this probably led to the 
assertion that "he destroyed a large 
number of the druidical books which 
had been delivered to him. O'Flaherty 
gives this statement on the authority 
of the eminent antiquary, Duald Mac- 
Firbis, and mentions it to account for 
the ignorance in which we are left of 
ti.e religion of the pagan Irish ;;]; but 

» This conclusion may be justly disputed, as St. Pat- 
rick nect'ssarily associatid with pagans in many transac- 
tions of that time. Dairo was still a pagan when he 
bestowtd Ard-Macha on the apostle long aftcrwiu-ds. 

nothing has been discovered in the 
writings of MacFirbis to justify O'Flali- 
erty's reference to his authority. 

King Laeghaire waged war against 
the Leinster men to enforce payment of 
the Borumean tribute, and in the year 
453 he is said to have gained a battle 
over them; but this success was fol- 
lowed, in A. D. 457, by a defeat at Ath- 
dara, on the river Ban-ow, where he 
was made prisoner, being afterwards 
liberated on sweai'ing by " the sun and 
moon, water and aii-, night and day, sea 
and land," that during his life he would 
not again demand the tribute. This 
was the old pagan oath ; and from its 
use, as well as from other circumstances, 
it is concluded that Laeghaire had not, 
up to that time, embraced Christianity. 
In the next year, regaixUess of his en- 
gagement, he made an incursion into 
Leinster, and carried off a prey of cattle 
for the tribute; and as he was struck 
dead by lightning, or died in some sud- 
den manner while returning home, the 
bards say that he was killed by the sun 
and the elements for breaking the outli 
which he had taken on them. 

A. D. 459.— Oilioll Molt, son of Dathi, 
and who had been king of Connaught,§ 
succeeded as monarch, and, according to 
the Four Mastei-s, celebrated the Feis, 
or gi-eat feast and convocation of Tara, 
in 463, and again in 4(;5, which is ju'ob- 
ably a double entry of the same event, 

t Petrie's " Tara Hill," p. 70. 
I Ogygia, part iii., c. 30, p. 219. 
g Ogygia, part iii., c. 93, p. 429. 



as tLese meetings were not held so fre- 
quently. Nothing certain is known of 
the religion of this prince, but it is pre- 
sumed that he lived and died a pagan, 
as his successor certainly did. 

Two men, remarkable as the ances- 
tors of some of the most celebrated clans 
mentioned in subsequent Irish history, 
died in this reign, namely, Conall Gul- 
ban, and Eoghan, sons of Niall of the 
Xine Hostages; the former of whom 
was the ancestor of the Kinel-Connell, 
or I'ace of Conall, that is, of the O'Don- 
nells and their correlative families in 
Tii'connell ; whilst from the latter are 
descended the Kinel-Owen, or O'Neills, 
and some other families of Tyrone. 
All of the race of Niall come under the 
great tribe-name of Hy-Niall; but the 
illustrious fiimilies we have mentioned, 
that is, the O'Neills and O'Donnells, 
descendants of Eoghan and Conall Gul- 
ban, are styled the northern Hy-Niall, 
to distinguish them from the southern 
Hy-Niall, who were descended from 
Conall Creevainu, another son of Niall 
of the Nine Hostages, as the O'Melagh- 
lins, &c., who were located in Meath. 
Of Conall Gulban, who received his 
sui-name from Benbulben, formerly 
called Ben Gulban, in Sligo, where he 
was fostered, and whose exploits rank 
Avith those of the Ossianic heroes, the 
annalists tell us that he was slain by 

* " This Aenglius, wlio was the first Christian king of 
Munster, is the common ancestor of the families of Mac 
Cartliy, O'Keeffe, O'CaUaghan, and O'Sullivan."— O'Don- 
ovan ; Foiir Masters, anno, 489 (note). , 

The Four Miisters record the death of St. Patricli 

the " old tribes of Magh Slecht," that 
is, by descendants of the Firbolgs who 
occupied the district in the present 
county of Cavan where the idol Crom 
Cruach was Avorshipped, while he was 
returning from a predatory excursion 
with a great prey of horses ; and they 
say that Eoghan died of grief for his bro- 
ther and was buried at Eskaheen in In- 

A. D. 478. — Oilioll Molt, after a reign 
of twenty years, was slain in the battle 
of Ocha, by Lughaidh or Lewy, the son 
of Laeghaire, who was too young at his 
father's demise to compete for the suc- 
cession, and who now obtained the 
crown by the aid of a strong confederacy 
of provincial kings and toparchs. The 
battle of Ocha forms an epoch in this 
period of Irish history, and took place, 
according to the Annals of Ulster, a. d. 
482 or 483. Lughaidh died an inveter- 
ate pagan, having, after a reign of 
twenty-five years, been killed by a 
thunderbolt while uttering, some blas- 
phemy at the sight of a chui'ch erected 
by St. Patrick, at a jjlace called Ach- 
adhfarcha, or the field of lightning, near 
Slane. In his reign, Aengus, the good 
king of Munster, and his queen Eithne 
were killed in battle, at a place now 
called Kellistou, in the county of Car- 
low ;* and St. Ibar, of Beg-Eriu, one of 
the four bishops who are said to have 

under the date of 493, adding that he was then 123 years 
old ; that he had erected 700 churches, consecrated 700 
bishops, and ordained 3,000 priests. Dr. Laui^ran, how- 
ever, shows very clearly that no reliance is to be placed 
on these dates and numbers. 



been in Ii-elaud before St. Patrick, died 
A. D. .500. 

A. D. 503. — The foundation of the 
kingdom of Scotland by a colony from 
Ireland, is set down by most cbronolo- 
gists under this date.* It has been al- 
I'eady mentioned in the reign of Conaire 
II., towards the close of the second cen- 
tuiy of the Christian era, that a colony 
of Scots was led into Alba or Albany 
by Carbry-Riada, from whom the Dal- 
riads both of Antrim and Scotland took 
tlieir name. Notwithstanding the op- 
position of the Picts, they still retained 
theii- footing in their new territory, but 
did not receive much aid from Ireland 
until the period at which we have now 
arrived. At this time, however, after a 
defeat by the Picts, who drove them 
fi-om the country, a strong force of the 
Iiish Dalriads, under the leadership of 
Loarn, Aengus, and Fergus, the three 
sons of Ere, son of Eochadh Muinram- 
liair, invaded Alba, and gradually sub- 
jugating the -Picts, established the Scot- 
tish monarch)^ Muircheartach or Mur- 
tough, who succeeded Lughaidh as king 
of Ireland, wa-s a relative of the sons of 
Ere, his mother being Erca, the daughter 
of Loarn ; and he stimulated the adven- 
turers in their enterprise ; as some say. 

* Tlie event is entered by the Pour Masters at the 
yiar 498 ; but Dr. O'Donovan shows from the authority 
of'Tigliernach and r)f Flan of Monastcrboico, that the true 
date of the Dalriadic invasion was most probably A. D. 


t Ofxygia, i)art i., j). 45. 

J Ireland was known by many names from very early 

ages. Thus, in the Celtic it was called Inis-Fail, the 

isle of.destiny ; Inis-Eal<ra, the noble island ; Fiodli-Inis, 

the woody island ; and Eire, Fodhla, and Banba. By the 


sending the Lia Fail, cr stone of destiny, 
to Scotland, in order that his kinsman, 
Feargus, might be crowned upon it with 
all the traditional solemnity.f It is re- 
markable that the present reigning fixm- 
ily of England owes its right to the 
throne to its descent, through the Stuart 
family, from these Irish Dalriads. From 
that people also North Britain derives 
its name of Scotia or Scotland ; a name 
which, from the first mention we find of 
it in the third century, was, for several 
hundred years, exclusively applied to 
Ireland ; w^hile, on its being at length 
given to the country acquired by the 
Scots in Alba, Ireland was still for a 
long time called Scotia Magna, to dis- 
tinguish it from the lesser Scotland, and 
its people termed Hibernian Scots, those 
of the latter country being called Allja- 
nian or British Scots.J The Scottish 
colony in Britain was at first confined 
to the Western Highlands, now called 
Argyle, and to the islands; and it was 
only in the year 850 that the Picts were 
finally subdued by Keneth MacAl])iii, 
who was the first king of all Scotland, 
and who removed the seat of power to 
Scone, in the southern part of that 

On the subject of this settlement of 

Greeks it waa called lerne, probably from the vernacular 
name of Eire, by inflection Erin; whence also, no doubt, 
its Latin name of Juverna; Plutarch calls it Ogygria, or 
the ancient land ; the early Roman writers generally 
called it Hibernia, probably from its Iberian inhabitants, 
and the later Romans and mediaival writers, Scotia and 
sometimes Ilibernia ; and finally its name of Ireland 
was formed by the Anglo-Normans frOra its native 
name of Eire. 



the Scottish race in North Britain, one 
of the most remarkable impostures ever 
attempted in the history of any country 
^yas successfully practised, and passed 
current for several centuries. The origi- 
nal records of Scotland were wholly 
destroyed by Edward I. of England, 
when he overran that country in the 
year 1300, for the purpose, if possible, 
of oblitei'ating by their destruction the 
nationality of the people : but before 
the close of the same century a new ac- 
count of the history of Scotland was 
given to the world ; a long series of 
Scottish kings, who never had any ex- 
istence, being coined to fill up an inter- 
val of some hundred years before the 
time of Fergus, the son of Ere, men- 
tioned above. The first name on the 
spurious list was also Fergus, and the 
real person of that name was, therefore, 
called Fei'gus II. ; and in support of the 
fictitious catalogue a great many state- 
ments were invented, and were adopted 
by subsequent Scottish historians. Fi- 
nally, Macpherson, the forger of Ossian, 
carried the fraud so far, although it had 
been rejected by the Scottish antiquary. 
Father Innes, as to assert that North 
Britain was the original Scotland, and 
Ireland only the colony, with no title 
to the name of Scotia, and consequently 
that all the ancient saints and celebra- 
ted persons who are called Scots by 
foreign writers, were really natives of 
the modern Scotland. It may be ea- 
sily imagined that such an assumption, 
put forward in the face of the most 
positive evidence, and repeated liy 

scores of able writers, century after cen- 
turjr, almost up to the last generation, 
was very provoking to Irish historians, 
and that an angry and protracted con- 
troversy was the result. All that has 
])een written on the subject is now, 
however, so much waste-paper, as the 
ancient fraud has been long since aban- 
doned, and the true history of the rela- 
tion between the two counti-ies is re- 
ceived in Scotland as well as in Ire- 

From the meagre records of the civil 
history of the period, we turn with 
pleasure to the accounts of the great 
religious change which was then pass 
ing in Ireland, and which was entirely 
independent of the course of civil events 
While pagan kings still ruled at Tara, 
surrounded by their di-uids, and still 
upheld at least the semblance of theii 
ancient superstition, Chiistian bishops 
were preaching in every coi-ner of the 
land ; Christian churches, although ol 
humble dimensions, everywhere appear- 
ed ; monasteries and nunneries sprung 
up in many places; Christian schools, 
which were destined in a little while 
to shed a lustre on all Europe, began 
to fill with students ; and above all, a 
host of saints, who became the wonder 
of after ages, diffused throughout Ireland 
an odor of holiness. To this age 1)6- 
longed the first and most perfect of the 
three orders of Irish saints, mentioned 
in the old catalogue published by Us- 
sher and Father Fleming, and whose 
characteristics are desciubed in the pro- 
phetic vision which St. Patrick is said 


by some of liis biographers to have 
had, when IieLand first appeared to the 
apostle as if enveloped in a flame, then 
the mountains only seemed to be on 
fire, and finally there was only a glim- 
mering, as it were, of lamps in the val- 
leys. All the disciples and attendants 
of Sf. Patrick have obtained places in 
the calendar of the ancient Irish Church ; 
and it is probable that almost all those 
who I'eceived ordination at his hands, 
or who first ministered in the Church 
of Ireland, have merited the same hon- 
or; so intense was the devotion with 
which the Irish people opened their 
Avhole hearts to the faith of Christ, and 
so abundant was the grace which flowed 
ever3'where from the preaching of their 
great apostle. Nor should it be forgot- 
ten as a proof of the existence of a hu- 
manized state of society in Ireland, not- 
withstanding its feuds and wars, that 
tliis great movement was allowed to 
advance without any attempt on the 
part of the pagan princes to impede it 
by persecution. It is argued, indeed, 
that if there had been any thing very 
gross or sensuous in the paganism of 
the Irish, as in that of other nations, 
the triumph of Christianity among 
them would not have been so easily 

Among the great ecclesiastical schools 
or monasteries founded in Ireland about 
this time, were those of St. Ailbe of Em- 
ly, of St. Beuignus of Armagh, of St. 
Fiech of Sletty, of St. Mel of Ardagh, 
of St. Mochay of Antrim, of St. Moc- 
theus of Louth, of St. Ibar of Beg-Eriu, 

of St. Asicus of Elphin, and of St. Cl- 
ean of Derkan. To this same fifth cen- 
tury, which Colgan calls the golden age 
of the Irish church, belongs the founda 
tion of the celebrated monastic institu- 
tions of Aran of the Saints, by St. End a, 
or Eudeus. This holy Archimandrite, 
who was of a noble family of Oriel, 
obtained the island of Aranmore, at the 
entrance to Galway bay, from Aengus, 
the king of Munster, through the inter- 
position of St. Ailbe, and founded there 
those primitive communities who lived 
in groups of monastic cells or cloghans, 
of which the traces are still to be seen 
in many parts of the island. Aran, 
the lona of Ireland, became for the 
next couple of centuries the resort of 
several of the Irish saints, and of holy 
men from other countries, who repair- 
ed to it for the pui-pose of practising 
extreme penitential austerities; and an 
ancient biographer of St. Kieran, found- 
er of Clonmacnoise, described it as a 
place in which there lay the remains of 
"innumerable saints, unknown to all 
save Almighty God alone." 

Of St. Ailbe, the great bishop of 
Eraly, it is related that after many 
years of arduous labor in converting 
the people from paganism, and. estab- 
lishing the Church in his diocese, he was 
about to retire into solitude, and to fly 
for that purpose to Thule, or Iceland, 
when he was respectfully coerced Ijy 
King Aengus to remain in Ireland, 
where he died in 525. 

But of all the Irish saints of the first 
century of Christianity in this countrv 



the highest position, next to that of St. 
Patrick himself, is unanimously yield- 
ed to St. Brigid. This extraordinary 
woman belonged to an illustrious race, 
being lineally descended from Eochad, 
a brothel- of Conn of the Hundred Bat- 
tles, monarch of Ireland in the second 
centiii-y, and was born about the year 
453, at Fochard, to the north of Diin- 
dalk, where her parents, although a 
Leinster family, and therefore belong- 
ing to Leath Mogha, or the southern 
part of Ireland, were then sojourning. 
As she was remarkable for sanctity 
from her childhood, it is possible that 
she had become known to St. Patrick, 
by whom her biographers say she was 
baptized. She received the veil from 
St. Maccaille, in one of the earliest con- 
vents for religious women founded in 
Ireland, and her zeal for establishing 
nunneries was exercised throughout her 
life with wonderful results. She trav- 
elled into various parts of Ireland for 
this purpose, being invited by many 
bishops to found religious houses in 
their dioceses: and at length the peo- 
ple of Leinster became jealous of her 
attention to the other provinces, and 
sent a deputation to her in Connaught 
entre?iting her to return, and offering 
land for the purpose of founding a large 
uunner}'. This was about the year 
480, or shortly after; and it was then 
that she commenced her great house of 
Kildare, or the Church of the Oak, 
which soon became the most famous 
and extensive nunnery that has ever ex- 
isted in Ireland. A bishop -was appoint- 

ed to perform the pontifical duties con- 
nected with it, an humble anchorite 
named Conlaeth being chosen for that 
office ; and the concourse of religious 
and pilgrims who flocked to it from all 
quarters, soon created in the solitude a 
city which became the chief town of all 
Leinster. The vast numbers of young 
women and pious widows who thronged 
round St. Brigid for admission into her 
convent, present a singular feature in a 
country just emerging from paganism ; 
and the identity of that monastic and 
ascetic form which Christianity, in all 
the purity and fervor of its infancy, 
thus assumed in Ireland, as in all other 
countries, with the form which it has 
continued to retain, in all ages, in the 
Catholic Church, must strike every stu- 
dent of history. St. Brigid has been 
often called " The Mary of Ireland ;" a 
circumstance which shows, not that the 
primitive Irish Christians confounded 
her with the Mother of Our Lord — a 
silly mistake which some modern wri- 
ters have thoughtlessly attributed to 
them — but that they felt that the most 
exaggerated praise which they could be- 
stow upon their own great saint was to 
compare her with the Blessed Virgin.* 
One of the most distinguishing virtues 
of St. Brigid was her humility. It is 
related that she sometimes attended the 
cattle on her own fields ; and whatever 
may have been the extent of the land 
bestowed upon her, it is also certain 

* See first part of the Liber Hymnorvm, edited by Dt, 
Todd for the Archaeological and Celtic Society. 


that a principal source of subsistence 
for her nuns was tlie alms whicli she re- 
ceived. The habit of her oi'der was 
white, and for centuries after her time 
her rule was followed in all the nun- 
neries of Ireland. 

The Four Masters record the death of 
St. Brigid at the year 525 ; and accord- 
ing to Cogitosus, one of her biogra- 
phers, her remains were buried at the 
side of the altar, in the Cathedral 
Church of Kildare, and not, as some 
late traditions have it, in the same 
tomb with the ajDOstle of Ireland in 

During the first years of the sixth 
century the galaxy of holy j^ersons 
whose sanctity shed such effulgence on 
tlie dawn of Christianity in Ireland was 
gradually disappearing, to be succeeded 
b}' the no less brilliant constellations of 
the second and third centuries of the 
Irish Church. Many of the venerable 
bishops who had received consecration 
from the hands of St. Patrick were still 

alive, and had the happiness to see the 
religion of Christ on the throne of Tara, 
and firmly established in all the prov- 
inces. Muircheartacii MacEarca, who 
succeeded Lughaidh, the son of Laeg- 
haire, a. d. 504, was the first Christian 
monarch of Ireland. He was, however, 
engaged in perpetual warfare, fought 
several bloody battles with the Lein- 
ster men to enforce that most oppressive 
and unjust of imposts, the Borumean 
tribute, and ultimately was drowned in 
a butt of wine, into which he had thrown 
himself to escape from the flames of his 
house at Cletty, near the Boyne. De- 
scended fi-om Niall of tlie Nine Host- 
ages, by his son Eoghan, he belonged to 
the race of northern Hy-Nialls, but on 
his death (a. d. 528) the crown revert- 
ed to the southei-n Hy-Nialls, in the per- 
son of Tuathal Maelgarbh, grandson of 
Cairbre, by whom St. Patiick had been 
persecuted. Tuathal reigned eleven 
years, and was killed treacherously by 
the tutor of his successor. 




First Visitation of the Buidlie Clionnaill. — Reign of Diarmaid, son of Kerval. — Tara cursed and deserted. — As 
count of St. Columbkille. — Persecution of the Saint by Diarmaid. — Battle of Cuil Dremni. — Foundation tf 
lona. — Reign of Hugh, son of Ainmire., — Convention of Drumceat. — Battle of Dunbolg. — Deaths of Saints. — 
Feuds of the Northern and Southern Hy-Nialls.— Battle of Magh Rath.— The Second Buidhe Chonnaill.— Re 
mission of the Borumean Tribute. 

o'oni!<fmpffra/7 £»««<«.— The Justinian Code promulgated, A. D. 529.— Tlie Flight of Ma , .. _ _ 

' ~ - ~. - ■ inity._Co„qi,es(, of Q.j,,i i,y ti,e jTruuks.— Kingdom of tile VanJUa 


ilislied.— The Sax 
L. D. 532.— The Vi 

. D. 622.-Tii 

t converted to Clir 
gotlis in Spain. — The Lombarda 

(The Sixth and Seventh Centuries.) 

A TERRIBLE and mysterious pes- 
tilence marks the year 543 as an 
epoch in our history, " an extraordinary 
universal phigue," as the old annalists 
express it, " liaving prevailed through- 
out the world, and swept away the no- 
blest third part of the human race." This 
plague is called in the Irish annals B!e- 
fed, or Cro7n Chonnaill, or Buidhe Clion- 
vaill, names implying a sickness which 
pi'oduced yellowness of the skin, resem- 
bling in color stubble or withered stalks 
of corn, which in Irish were called Con- 
ncdV^ It appears to have been general 
thi-oughout Europe, originating in the 
East ; and in Ii-eland, where it prevail- 
ed for about ten years, it was preced- 
ed by dearth, and followed by leprosy. 
Several saints and other eminent per- 

* See the accounts of this pestilence collected from an- 
cient records by Dr. Wilde in his Report on the Tables 
of Deaths in the Irish Census for 18.51, where he gives. 

sons wei'e swept off by this plague in 
Ireland ; St. Berchan of Glasnevin, also 
called Moblii Clarineach, or Movi of the 
Flatfiice, and St. Finnen of Clonaixl, 
who, fi'ora the multitude of holy per- 
sons among his discijiles, was called the 
pi-eceptor of the saints of Ireland, be- 
ing among its first victims. 

Diarmaid, son of Feargus Ken-val, of 
the southern Hy-Niall race, was Ard- 
righ of Ireland during thrs period, hav- 
ing succeeded Tuathal Maelgai-bh, in 
538, and reigned at least twenty years. 
He is highly praised by some Irish wri- 
ters for his spirit of justice, but this 
quality was not unaccompanied by 
faults, and his reign is marked by sever- 
al misfortunes. Notwithstanding the 
pestilence which was desolating the 

on the authority of Mr. Eugene Curry, as above, the first 
explanation that has been afforded of the name of the 



country, domestic wars and dissensions 
were not suspended. Diarraaid waged 
war against Guaii-e, king of Connaugbt, 
probahly to enforce payment of a trib- 
ute; although it is stated that the mon- 
arch's object was to chastise Guaire for 
an alleged act of injustice, Avhich is 
quite inconsistent with the character 
for piety and fabulous generosity which 
this latter king bears in Irish history. 
Diai'maid was the last king who resi- 
ded at Tara. He held the last feast 
or convention of t"pe states there in the 
year 554: ; and shortly j^fter that date, 
owing to a S'j'.epin malediction pronoun- 
ced on the place by St. Rodanus of Lo- 
thia, in T.iiperary, in punishment for 
tlie viultuiou of the saint's sanctuary by 
the king, the ro3-al hill was deserted. 
No subsequent king dared reside there, 
Imt each selected his abode according 
to tile dynasty to which he belonged. 
Thus, the princes of the northern Hy- 
Niail family resided in the ancient for- 
<;ress of Aileach, near Deny; and the 
southern liy-Niall kings lived at one 
time at the Rath, near Castlepollard, 
now called Dun-Turgeis, from having 

* KL-neth O'Hartigan, who died in 975, described the 
Hill of Tara as even then a desert, overgrown with grass 
and weeds. Among the ancient remains which have 
Ijni'n identified by Dr. Petrie on the royal hill of Tara, 
by the aid of such venerable Irish authorities as the 
Dinnseanchus, the poems of Cuan O'Loeliain and others, 
are — the Rath na liiogh, or rath of the kings, which 
embraces within its great external circumvallation the 
ruins of the house of Coriiiac, the rath called Foradh. 
and the Mound of the Hostages ; the Hath of the Synods, 
near which were the Cross of Adamnan, and the Mound 
of Adamnan, the latter being now effaced; the Teach 
Michuarta, or great banqueting hall ; the Mounds of the 
IlcruinLS. or women-soldiers: the Rath of Graine, the 
fcalhle^:s wife of Fmn MacCoul ; the Triple Mound of 

become the residence of the Danish 
king Turgesius, and sub'^-quently at 
Dun-na-Sciath, on the margin of Lough 
Ainninn, now Lough Ennell, near Mul- 
lingar. Thus, thirteen hundred yeai-s 
ago, the royal raths of Tara were con- 
demned to desolation, although, even 
yet, their venerable traces have not 
been eflr;^ced from the grassy surfiice of 
the hill.* 

The crowning misforttnie of Dlar- 
raaid's reign appears, however, to have 
been his hostility to St. Columbkille, 
and the unhappy consequences result- 
ing from it; and this subject leads us 
to an account of one of the most illus- 
trious persons of whom we read in the 
histoiy of Ireland. 

St. Columba, or, as he is gener;dlv 
called, Columbkille, that is Coliimba-of 
the-church, was born in Gartan, a wild 
district of the county of Donegal, abdut 
the year TjIS or 521, and was connected 
with the royal families of Ireland and 
British Dalriada.f On leaving his tns- 
terage), Colutnl)a oomineiiced his stud- 
ies at Movill, at the head of SMrmgf .i-,l 
Lough, where he became a pupil nf tin- 

Nesi, the mother of Conor MacNesa ; the rath of king 
Laeghaire, in which St. Patrick preached ; and the Will 
of Neavnach, the stream of which turned the first wa- 
ter-mill, erected by Cormae MacArt, in the third centu- 
ry. — {S<e PtUiea Enmiy on the History tiiid Antiq>iilits 
of Tnrn Hill.) 

f St. Columba's father, Fedlime, was the grandson of 
Conall Gulhan, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, and 
(Ijy his mother Erca) grandson of Loam, one of the sons 
of Ere, who planted the Dalriadic colony in Scothiufl 
and the saint's mother, Ethnea, was descended from Ca 
thair Mor, king of Irehtnd, A. D. 120, and was thus of the 
royiil race of Leinster. Such being the saint's parentage 
and connections, it is no wonder that his name sliouid b« 
mixed up in the state affairs of liis time. 



fjunous bishop St. Finnian ; aud from 
this seminary, when in deacon's orders, 
he proceeded to Leiuster, where, after 
lemaining some short time with an old 
bard named German, he entered the 
monastery or college founded by anoth- 
er St. Fiuuian at Clouard. Thence he 
|)rnct'eded to the monastery of Mobhi 
Claraiiiach at Glas Naoidhen, the pres- 
ent Glasnevin, near Dublin ; but this 
community being broken up by the 
pestilence, which carried off its princi- 
])al, in 544, he returned to the north, 
having previously been ordained priest 
]>y the bishop of Cloufad. Already 
Cohimba was distinguished, not only 
for talent and learning, but for extra- 
ordinary sanctity; and some miracles 
are said to have been performed by 
him before this time. In 545 or 546 
lie founded the monastery of Doire- 
Chalgaigh, the Deny of modern times, 
and about the year 553 laid the foun- 
dation of his great monastery of Darn- 
liagli, now Durrow, in the King's coun- 
ty, the chief house of his order in Ire- 
land.* The battle of Cooldrevny, 
which is popularly said to have taken 
jilace on his account, as we shall pres- 
ently see, was fought, according to the 
Annals of Ulster, in 561 ; and two years 
after, Ijeing then forty-two years of age. 

* The name Doire signifies an " Oak wood" (Rohore- 
tnm), and that of Darmhagh signifies the " Plain of the 
Oak," Campus Roborum, as Bede (Hist. Eccl., Lib. iii. c. 
i) translates it. 

f Bode and the Saxon chronicle say that lona belonged 
to the Picts when St. Columba came there. 

t When he first went to announce the faith to the 
Pictish king Brudc, he was refused admission to the 
interior of the ro\-al fort ; but at the saint's command 

he left Ireland, accompanied by twelve 
chosen disciples, for the island of Hy, or 
lona, which was given to him by his 
relative, Conall, the king of the Allia- 
uian Scots,f and which became the seat 
of one of the most celebrated monastic 
institutions of Northern Europe, and the 
head of his order. From this St. Co- 
lumba proceeded on missionary jour- 
neys with his monks into the country 
of the Picts, whom he converted to 
Christianity.;]: Innumerable miracles 
are related of him, and even without 
these marks of divine favor, the ac- 
count which is left to us by his biogra- 
pher, St. Adamnan, of his singular ho- 
liness and many exalted qualities, is 
sufficient to enrol his name on the cal- 
endar as that of a great saint. St. Co- 
lumba is regarded as the apostle of both 
the Picts and Scots of North Britain- 
although the latter had brought with 
them some knowledge of Christianity 
from Ireland, and he has shared with 
St. Patrick and St. Brigid the honor of 
being the joint patron of his native 
country. lona for a long time furnished 
missionaries and bishops for many parts 
of Britain, and its monks took a lead- 
ing part in the conversion of the Sax- 
ons, supplying the Saxon Church with 
many prelates and priests, for at least 

the gates miraculously flew open, and the king, filled 
with wonder at the event, came forth to receive him 
and was converted by his preaching. It is a remarkable 
circumstance, noticed more than once in the lives of the 
saint, that when he preached to the Picts he employed 
an interpreter to explain his words, thus showing that 
the Picts and Scots were not identical in race aud did 
not speak the same languaga 



a couple of centuries. This relation 
between pastors and their spiritual 
children produced the friendly feeling 
of the Irish towards the Saxons of 
which Venerable Bede makes mention ; 
and when the Christian Britons, in their 
hati-ed of their Saxon conquerors, re- 
fused to preach Christianity to them, 
or hold any communion with them after 
their conversion, their Scottish or Irish 
neighbors willingly performed that 
Christian duty for them. Aidan, king 
of the Scots of Britain, came to St. 
Columba in lona to be inaugurated; 
and the saint having received instruc- 
tions from heaven in a vision to perform 
the ceremony, anointed and blessed 
him ; this being the first recorded in- 
stance, not only in these countries, but 
in Euroi')e, of the Christian ceremony 
of anointing kings at their inaugura- 
tion. In Ireland, forms handed down 
from pagan times remained still in use, 
while the kingdom of the Scots in Al- 
bion, commencing under Christain aus- 
pices, was more suited for a new order 
of things.* 

As to the quarrel with the king of 
Ireland and the battle of Cooldrevny, 
various cii'curastances are related by 
the old annalists, which show a degree 
of animosity against the saint on the 
part of the king. It is stated that St. 
Columbkille copied a portion of the 
sacred Scripture from a book "which 
had been lent to him l)y St. Finnen, 

♦ See Adamnan's Life of St. Columba, edited for the 
Archaeological and Celtic Society, by Dr. Reeves of Bal- 
lymena. Also Colgan'a Trias Thanmaturga. 

without having the permission of the 
latter to do so. At that time a book 
was a most important object, and a 
discussion arising on the subject, King 
Diarmaid was chosen arbitrator, and 
decided against St. Columbkille, giving 
the copy as well as the book to St. Fin- 
nen, and assigning, as a ground for his 
unjust judgment, the maxim that "the 
calf should follow the cow." Another 
opportunity of showing Diarmaid's ill- 
feeling towards Columba presented it- 
self about the same time. At the last 
assembly at Tara, already mentioned, a 
dispute took place between Curnan, a 
son of the king of Connaught, and an- 
other person, in which the latter was kill- 
ed. Curnan fled for refuge to Columb- 
kille, but Diarmaid dragged him from 
his sanctuary, and, notwithstanding the 
intercession of the saint, got him instant- 
ly put to death. It is said that St. Co- 
lumba upon this threatened the king 
with the vengeance of his relatives, the 
Hy-Nialls of the north ; but this is 
scarceljr j^i'obable, as the saint endeav- 
ored to effect his escape, which Diar- 
maid tried to prevent, ordering the 
frontiers of Meath to be watched. Co- 
lumba first retired to Monasterboise. 
and then made his way across the hills 
into Oriel; and with the provocation 
which, had been offered, it must have 
been easy to stir up the hot blood of 
the warlike clans of Tirconnell, Tyrone, 
and Connaught. St. Columba may 
only have related what occurred, and 
then prayed for the success of his friends 
when they went to battle. IMoreover, 



IS Cooldrevny, or Cuil-Dremni, the site 
of tlie battk, was in Carbuiy, to the 
north of SLgo, the very position of 
the armies would show that Diarmaid 
Avas all through the aggressor. This 
king's ideas of religion may be conjec- 
tured from the fact that he had druids 
in his camp, and trusted to th,eir magic 
for success ; but he was vanquished, with 
a slaughter of 3,000 of his men, Avhile 
the army which was protected by the 
prayei's of St. Columba came off with 
scarcely any loss.* A lai-ge number of 
the clergy of Meath were induced by 
the representations of Diarmaid to hold 
a synod at Teltown for the purpose of 
excommunicating St. Columba; but St. 
Brendan of Birr, St. Finnian of Moville, 
and- other eminent ecclesiastics who 
were present, protested against their 
proceedings, and the object of the syn- 
od was not cari'ied out. It is said that 
battles were fought about the year 580 
or 587, in which St. Columba also felt 
an interest ; but the allusions to them 
are very obscure. His departure from 
Ireland was voluntary, and he returned 
there some years after to attend the con- 
vention of Drumceat, and to visit his 
house of Burrow, and St. Kiaran's fa- 
mous monastery of Clonmacnoise. He 
died in lona, about the year 597 (the 

* After this battle the copy of St. Finnen's book was 
restored to St. Columba. 

" This manuscript," says Dr. O'Donovan, " which is a 
copy of the Psalter, was ever after known by the name 
of CatMch (Praeliator). 

"It was preserved for ages in the famOy ofO'Don- 
nell, and has been deposited in the Museimi of the 
Boyal Irish Academy, by Sir Richard O'DonneU, its 

Four Masters erroneously have it 592), 
in the 77th year of his age .and the 
35th year of his pilgrimage to that 

On the death of Diarmaid, who was 
killed (a. d. 565) by Black Hugh, a 
prince of the Pictish race of Dalaradia, 
against whom both the northern and 
southern Hy-Nialls waged w^ar, Ireland 
was ruled by two kings, reigning joint- 
ly, as frequently happened in subse- 
quent times. 

After some short and unimportant 
reigns, Aedh, or Hugh, son of Ainmire, 
came to the throne, and reigned twen- 
ty-seven years. By him was summoned, 
in 573, the great convention of Drum- 
ceat, the first meeting of the States of 
Ireland held after the abandonment of 
Tara.f The leading members of the 
clergy attended, and among them wa.s 
St. Columbkille, who came from lona 
for the purpose, accompanied by a 
great number of bishops and monks; 
the saint, although a simple priest, tak- 
ing precedence of all the prelates of 
North Britain, in his capacity of Apos- 
tle or founder of the Church in that 
country. The king was friendly to St. 
Columba, being of the same family, but 
some of his court had little welcome 
for the saint, and a mob was employed 

present owner." — (Four Masters, an. 555, note, and an. 
1497, note.) 

t The namo of Drumceat is translated dorsum Cete— 
" The Whale's Back." The place where the synod, or 
convention, was held was a long mound in Roe Park, 
near Newtown Limavaddy, now called the Mullagh, 
and sometimes Daisy-hiU. — (Ordnance Surrey of Lon- 



to insult bis clergy. Partl)^, however, 
through the veneratiou in which he 
was held, and partly by the terror of 
the Avouders which it pleased God to 
work by his hands among the rude 
people whom he taught, the saint in- 
duced King Hugh and his convention 
to decide as he recommended. One of 
the points to be settled concerned the 
relations between the Scottish colony 
of Alba (of which the king Aidan, St. 
Columba's friend, was present) and the 
mother country ; and the saint, foresee- 
ing the wars to which this matter would 
give rise, prevailed on the king of Ire- 
land to abandon his claims against Al- 
l)a, thus establishing the independence 
of the Scottish colony, and severing 
it forever from the mother country. 
Another question related to the im- 
mense number of bards, or, according 
to others, of idle, worthless persons un- 
der the name of students, with which 
the country was incumbered. The 
king wished to get rid of them alto- 
gether by a sweeping measure ; but 
St. Columba induced him to adopt the 
wiser and more moderate course of 
merely dii»inishing their number, and 
limiting it for the future by certain 

A. D. 594. — Hugh Ainmire, while en- 
deavoring to enforce that perpetual 
j)lague of ancient Ireland, the Leinster 
tribute, Avas killed in battle at Dun- 
l)o]g,'* or the fort of the bags, a place so 

* Now Dunboyke, near Hollywood, ia the county of 
Wicklow.— O'DONOVAN. 

called from a memorable circumstance 
connected with it. Bran Dubh, then 
king of Leinster, finding his army on 
this occasion unequal to that of the 
monarch in point of numbers, had re- 
course to stratagem, and entering 
Hugh's camp disguised as a leper, he 
sj^read a report that the Leinster men 
were prepared to submit, and were in 
fact coming with provisions and pres- 
ents for the king's army. In the dusk 
of the evening a vast number of bul- 
locks laden with leathern bags were 
seen approaching, and the drivers be- 
ing challenged by the sentinels, an- 
nounced that they were coming with 
provisions for the army of the king of 
Ireland ; and this statement bearing out 
the story of the pretended lepei-, they 
were allowed to enter the camp, and to 
deposit their burdens without furtlier 
inquiry until morning. Each bag, how- 
ever, contained an armed man, and in 
the course of the night the chosen band 
thus introduced into the camp fell upon 
their enemies, and the slaughter lasted 
until morning, when the monarch was 
killed by Bran Dubh himself, and the 
remnant of his army put to flight. 
Thus was the Borumean tribute for- 
feited for that occasion. In the year 
597 the annalists mention "the sword- 
blows of Bran Dubh in Bregia," show- 
ing that he had carried hostilities into 
the territory of Meath ; but in four 
years after we find him ci-ushed by the 
combined power of the Ily-Niall races 
at the battle of Slaibhre, where he was 
defeated ; and after tlie battle he was 



treacherously killed by one of his own 
tribe, the herenach, or hereditary war- 
den of Senboth-Siue.* 

The Irish annals, about this time, i-e- 
cord the deaths of several holy persons. 
Thus, St. Brendan of Birr died in 571 ; 
St. Brendan of Clonfert, who in his 
seven years' voyage in the Western 
Ocean is believed to have been the first 
European discoverer of America, died 
at Enach Duin, or Annadown, near 
Lough Corrib, in the county of Galway, 
in 577 ; St. Canice, or Cainnech, to whom 
Kilkenny owes its origin and its name, 
died in 598 ; St. Kevin of Glendalough, 
who is said to have reached the age of 
120 years, died in 617. 

The Hy-Niall dynasty had now for a 
long time enjoyed the sovereignty of 
Ireland, but as the northern and south- 
ern branches of the race were almost 
constantly engaged in wars against each 
other, their broils lowered the position 
and weakened the power of the mon- 
arch. In process of time the southern 
Hy-Malls, or Meath femily, fell greatly 
in the estimation of the country, while 
of the northern Hy-Nialls it must be 
said, that whatever were the faults of 
some of their princes, they always main- 
tained a character for the most chival- 
rous bravery. About this time, two 
kings who ruled the island jointly were 
murdered by Conall Guthviu, a prince 
of the southern Hy-Nialls ; and the in- 
dignation of the countiy was so excited 

\ Now Tcmpleslianbo, at tlie foot of Mount Leinster, 
in Wexford. 

by the crime, that his family was ex- 
cluded from the throne of monarch for 
several generations. Congal Caech, king 
of Ulidia, of the Rudrician line, also 
drew upon himself public abhorrence by 
the crime of murder. He killed the 
reigning sovereign, Suivne Meann (a. d. 
623), and was vanquished in the battle 
of Dunkeheru, the following year, by 
Suivne's successor, son of Hugh Ain- 
mire, and obliged to fly into Britain, 
where he remained nine yeare, and 
where he ingratiated himself so well 
with Saxons, Britons, Picts, and Alba- 
nian Scots, as to secure their aid against 
his countrymen. 

Congal began (a. d. 634) the fotal 
game of introducing foreign auxiliaries 
into Ireland, and of showing them the 
weakness to which factions Avere ca- 
pable of reducing his native country. 
It so happened, however, that in this 
instance there was no weakness dis- 
played. Donnell, the reigning monarch 
of the northern H3''-Mall race, was able 
to muster an army capable of meeting 
the invading force together with Con- 
gal's own Ulidians, and in the battle 
whicb ensued, and which was renewed 
for six successive days, Congal's com- 
bined forces were almost annihilated 
and he himself slain, so that the rem- 
nant of his foreign auxiliaries found it 
difficult to escape back to their respec- 
tive countries. This was the great bat- 
tle of Magh Eath, or Moyra, in the 
county of Down, one of the most fa- 
mous and important conflicts men- 
tioned in the ancient annals of Ire- 


land.* St. Adamnau laments the part 
wliicli Donuell Breac, then the king of 
the Albanian Scots, took in that war, 
combining as he did with foreigners to 
invade the country of his ancestors, and, 
by breaking the bond between them, 
paving the way to future calamities for 
both countries. 

A. D. 656. — This year commenced the 
second visitation of the Hiddlie, Clioii- 
naill, which had ravaged the country a 
little more than a hundred years before, 
and which on the present occasion is 
said to have swept away two-thirds of 
the whole population. It was ushered 
in by a total eclipse of the sun the pre- 
ceding year ; and as at its former visit, 
it continued for about ten years, making 
its .appearance about the beginning of 
August each year. After the year 667, 
this sickness is not again mentioned in 
the Irish annals. An improbable fable 
is related by some annalists to account 
for this visitation. It is said that the 
population had become so dense that 
food enough could not be produced by 
the entire soil of the country ; and that, 
apprehending a famine, the rulers in- 
vited the clergy to meet together and 
pray that the lower class, or " inferior 
multitude," might be thinned, lest all 
of them should starve. The dis2)leasure 
of heaven was intimated through an 
angel, and the pestilence was sent to 
sweep away the higher as well as the 
lower classes. The two joint mouarchs 

♦ Soo tlie ancient historic tale of tlio Battle of Magh 
Riitli, translatid and edited by Dr. O'Donovan, for the 
Iri^ili ArcIia;ological Society, 1843. 

of Ireland, the kings of Ulster and 
Munster, and many other persons of 
rank, were among its victims; and we 
read also that it carried off several ab- 
bots and holy personages, as St. Fechin 
of Fobhar, St. Ronan, St. Aileran the 
Wise, St. Crouan, St. Manchan, St. Ul- 
tan of Clonard, and others. Another 
St. Ultau, bishop of Ardbraccan, col- 
lected the infants who had been tle- 
prived of their mothers by the plague, 
and caused them to be fed with milk 
through the teats of cows, cut off for 
the purpose. This is the first instance 
we have of an hospital for orphan chil- 
dren founded in Ireland. Venerable 
Bede describes the ravages of the pes- 
tilence at the same time in Britain, and 
in doing so bears most interesting testi- 
mony to the learning, enlightened gen- 
erosity, and hospitality of Ireland. He 
says: — "This pestilence did no less harm 
in the island of Ireland. Many of the 
nobility and of the lower ranks of the 
English nation were there at that time, 
who, in the days of bishops Finan and 
Colman, forsaking their native land, re- 
tired thither, either for the sake of 
divine studies, or of a more continent 
life. The Scots (that is, the Scoti of 
Ireland) willingly received them all, 
and took care to supply them with food, 
as also to furnish them with books to 
read, and their teaching, gratis."f 

Finnachta Fleadhach, or the Hosj^i- 
table, who began his reign in the year 

t All the authorities on this pestilence are collected 
by Dr. Wilde, in his Report on tlxo Tables of Deaths, 
pp. 49, &c., Census of 1851. 



673, rendered Lis name memorable by- 
yielding to tlie 23rayers and representa- 
tions of St. Moling, and remitting tbe 
Borumean tribute, whicli lie had just 
succeeded in forcing from the Leinster 
men in a bloody battle. After this act 
of piety and generosity we are not sur- 
prised to find, by the Annals of Ulster, 
that Finnachta in the same year (687) 
al)dicated, and embraced a religious life. 
In the year 684 an army sent by Egfrid, 
the Saxon king of Northumbria, made 
an unexpected and unprovoked descent 
on the Irish coast, and laid waste the 
ricli lands of Bregia, that is, the terri- 
to!y extendhig between the Liffey and 
the Boyne, sparing neither churches nor 

* Bede tlius describes the event : — " In tbe year of 
GUI' Lord's lucaruation G84, Egfrid, king of tlie North- 
umbrians, sending Berctus, his general, witli an army 
into Ireland (Hiberniam) miserably wasted that inoffen- 
sive nation, which had always been most freindly to the 
English (nation! anglorum semper amicissimam) ; inso- 
much that in their hostile rage they spared not even the 
churches or monasteries. The islanders, to tlie utmost 
of their power, repelled force with force, and imploring 
the assistance of the Divine mercy, prayed long and fer- 
vently for vengeance ; and though such as curse cannot 
possess the kingdom of God, it is believed that those who 
were justly cursed on account of their impiety did soon 
after suffer the penalty of their guilt from the avenging 
hand of God ; for the very nest year that same king, 

rashly leading his army against the Picts was 

drawn into the straits of inaccessible mountains, and 

monasteries in their sacrilegious plun- 
der, and carrying off a great number of 
the inhabitants as slaves to Britain. 
Venerable Bede denounces and laments 
this act of rapine, and attributes the 
defeat and death of King Egfrid, the 
following year, in an expedition against 
the Picts, to the just vengeance of heav- 
en for this aggression.* St. Adamnan, 
the celebrated abbot of lona, went on 
a mission into Northumbria, on the 
death of Egfrid, to reclaim the captives 
who had been taken from Ireland the 
preceding year. He Avas received ^\ ith 
great honor, performed many miracles, 
and liis application was granted with- 
out difficulty.f 

slain, with the greater part of his forces, in the fortieth 
year of his age, and the fifteenth of liis reign." — Eccl. 
Ilist., lib. iv., c. 20. 

f The dates of several of the events mentioned in this 
chapter are thus fixed in the Leabhar Breac, or Speckled 
Book, an Irish MS. preserved in the Royal Irish Acad- 
emy : — " 03 years from the death of Patrick (493) to the 
death of Bridget, in her 70th year (.'533) ; 30 years from 
the death of Bridget to the battle of Cuil Dremni (5.59) ; 
35 years from the battle of Cuil Dremni to the death of 
CoIumbkUle, in the 7Gth year of his age (59-t) ; 40 years 
from the death of ColumbkiUe, to the battle of Moira 
(037) ; 25 years from the battle of Moira to the (second) 
Buidho Chonaill (003, reeie 008); 25 years from the 
Buidhe Chonaill till Finachta, son of Maelduin, son of 
Aedh Slaine, remitted the Boru to Moling (087)." 



3 Primitivo Cburcli in Ireland. — Its Monasticism. — Its Missionary Cliaracter. — St. Columbanus, Ws liifo and 
Labors. — Foundation of Bobbio. — His Letter to tlie Pope. — Unity with Rome. — St. Gallus. — St. Aidau and 
tlie Cliurcli of Lindisfarne. — St. Colman. — The Paschal Controversy. — National Prejudices of the Irish.— Sec- 
tarian Misrepresentation.— Synod of Old Leighlin. — Saint Cummian. — Conference of Whitby. — Innisbofin. — 
Saint Adamnan. — "The Law of the Innocents." — Saint Frigidian. — Saint Degan. — Saint Livinus. — Saint 
Fiacre. — Saint Fursey. — Saint Dicuil. — Saint Killian. — Saint Sedulius the Younger. — Saint Virgilius. — SS. 
Foilan and Ultan. — Saint Fridolin "the Traveller." — Clemens and Albinus. — Dungal. — Donatus. — Irish Mis- 
sions to Iceland. 

SCARCELY was Ireland tborougli- 
ly converted to Christianity, when, 
as already observed, great monastic 
schools began to spring u-p in various 
jiarts of the country. The most cele- 
brated of them, after that of Armagh, 
were Clonard, in Meath, founded early 
in the sixth century by St. Finau, or 
Finian; Clonmacnoise, on the banks of 
the Shannon, in the King's county, 
founded in the same centuiy by St. 
Kiaran, called the Carpenter's Son ; 
Bennchor, or Bangor,* in the Ards of 
Ulster, founded by St. Comgall in the 
year 558 ; and Lismore, in Waterford, 
founded by St. Carthach, or Mochuda, 
about the year 633. These, and many 
other Irish schools, attracted a vast 
concourse of students, the pupils of a 
single school often numbering from one 
to three thousand, several of whom 
came from Britain, Gaul, and other 

* This celebrated monastery and school, of which all 

that now remains is the churchyard, was situated on the 

south Bide of Lough Laigh (Stagnura Vituli), now Bil- 


countries, drawn hither by the reputa- 
tion for sanctity and learning which 
Ireland enjoyed throughout Europe. 
The course of instruction embraced all 
branches of knowledge as it then exist- 
ed, and more especially the study of 
the Holy Scriptures; and as the stu- 
dents w^ere not only taught, but sup- 
ported gratuitously, their numbers be- 
came so burdensome to the country — 
whose hospitality indolent laymen often 
abused, under the pretext of seeking 
after knowledge — that legislation on 
the subject became necessary so early 
as the synod or convention of Drum- 
ceat (a. d. 575). 

The number of monasteries, the ex- 
tent to which religious education was 
carried^ but, above all, the fervor which 
characterized the early ages of the Irish 
Church, had the effect of filling Ireland 
with holy ascetics, living either in com- 

fast Lough, in the coimty of Down, and must not 
be confounded witli the place of the same name in 




munities or in total solitude; so that 
scarcely an island round the coast or in 
the lakes of the interior, or a valley, or 
any solitary spot, could be found which, 
like the deserts of Egypt and Palestine, 
was not inhabited by fervent coenobites 
and anchorites. In the lives of some of 
these holy persons who thus peopled 
the wild tempest-beaten rocks round 
the Irish coast, it is not unusual to read 
of others again who were found occa- 
sionally tossed on the waves in the 
frail boats of that period, " seeking," as 
the phrase was, "for a desert in the 
ocean ;" and when, at length, they came 
to a resting place on earth, they only 
looked upon it as their " locus re-sur- 
vectionh^'' — the place where their ashes 
should await the day of the resurrec- 
tion. It was an age of simplicity and 
fervor, and may, well be called the 
golden age of Ireland; for while bar- 
barian swarms were inundating Europe, 
each Avave of desolation plunging the 
nations over which it passed in social 
chaos and demoralization, Erin was en- 
gaged in prayer and study, and the 
general gloom of Euroj)e only made 
her light shine the more brilliantly by 
the contrast, and enhanced her glorious 
distinction as the " Island of Saints." 

As soon as religion had been thus 
matured by sacred study in the schools, 
and by divine contemplation and peni- 
tential discipline in the cloisters and in 

* The Scottisli colony in Nortli Britain, owing to vari- 
ous causes, does not appear to have devoted much atten- 
tion either to religion or learning for a long time after 
this period ; and hence arc tlio unfounded assumptions 

the cells and caves of anchorites, it 
quickly assumed a more active devel- 
opment, for which the Irish mind ex- 
hibited an equally happy adaptation. 
We refer to the missionary career of 
the Irish Church, which dates from the 
time of St. Columbkille. A few Irish- 
men prior to that epoch were engaged 
in the diffusion of Christianity in other 
countries, but it was only then that the 
missionary duty may be said to have 
been taken up by them with a steady 
and organized zeal. We have seen how 
St. Columba himself preached Christian- 
ity to the Picts. For that purpose he 
often crossed from lona into Albion ; 
and passing the Dorsum Britannice, or 
Grampian Hills, accompanied by his 
monks, travelled into the northern re- 
gions of that country. After his death 
(a. d. 59Y), his institution of lona, and 
his other monasteries in those parts, 
continued to be supplied Avith Scottish 
monks from Ireland, who were the or- 
dinary missionaries of the Picts and 
British Scots ;* their mission being ex- 
tended still further south, when they 
were invited into Northumberland in 
G35 by king Oswald, and founded there 
the diocese and Columbian monastery 
of Lindisfarne. 

The great father, however, of Irish 
foreign missions into countries beyond 
Britain, was St. Columbanus.f This il- 
lustrious saint was a native of Leinster, 

of Dempster, and modern Scotch writers, in claiming all 
the celebrated Scots of those early agca as their own 
countrymen, the more absurd. 

\ The name of this saint is sometimes ^vrittcn Colum- 



and was of noble extraction. He was 
born about the 3'ear 539, studied under 
St. Comgall in Bangor, and, according 
to the most probable account, left Ire- 
land in the year 589, accompanied by 
twelve other monks, for Gaul, passing 
thiough Britain, where he made only a 
Ijrief stay. The former country being 
then in the possession of the Franks, 
we may call it by its modern name of 
France. Here our Scottic missionaries 
having penetrated into the territory 
which formed the kingdom of Burgun- 
dy, then ruled by King Thieiiy, or 
Theodoric, tlaey (a. d. 590) founded 
the monastery of Luxovium, or Liix- 
euil, in the midst of a forest at the foot 
of the Vosges, where St. Columbanus 
established the rigid discipline of his 
native country, as he had received it 
from his master, St. Comgall. The 
fame of our countryman's sanctity soon 
spread to a distance, and the concourse 
of those who came to join his order, or 
to seek instruction, was so great that 
he was obliged, in a short time, to es- 
tablish another monastery, to which he 
gave the name of Fontaines. Religion 
having been totally neglected under 
the barbarian sway of the Franks, the 
active zeal and rigorous life of the Irish 
monks strangely contrasted with the lax 
and torpid Christianity of all classes of 
the jjopulation by whom they were sur- 
rounded ; and in denouncing the preva- 
lent vices, our saint did not spare those 

ba ; and lio lias been often confounded, especially by 
foreign writers, with tlio great Apostle of the Picts and 
founder of lona 

of King Theodoric himself or of his de- 
moralized coui't. This zeal drew upon 
him the wrath both of the king and of 
the evil-minded queen dowager, Brune- 
hault, and St. Columbanus became an 
object of relentless persecution. The 
privileges originally conceded to his 
monasteries were withdrawn, and his 
rule for excluding the laity from the 
interior of the cloisters having given 
offence, the king went himself, accom- 
panied by a retinue of nobles, to in- 
trude forcibly into the sacred inclo- 
sures. Having penetrated some dis- 
tance, however, Theodoric became ter- 
rified at the prophetic denunciation of 
the saint, and desisted, contenting him- 
self with ordering St. Columbanus to 
leave the country, and permitting only 
the Irish and British monks to accom- 
pany hira. 

A. D. 610. — The heroic Scot refused 
to leave his beloved monks unless torn 
from them by force ; whereupon a com- 
pany of soldiers were sent to carry out 
the tyrant's orders, and St. Columl)anu3 
was dragged from his cloister at Lux- 
euil, where he had spent twenty years, 
and conveyed with those monks who 
were allowed to share his fortunes as 
far as Nantes, where an attempt to 
ship them off to Ireland having been, 
as it would seem, miraculously frustra- 
ted, they were permitted to go at large. 

St. Columbanus then repaired to the 
court of Clothaire, king of Soissons, by 
whom he was entertained in the most 
friendly manner. Thence he passed 
through the territory of Theodobert, 



king of Austrasia, who, altliongli the 
brother of Theodoric, treated our saint 
with the utmost kindness and distinc- 
tion ; and ascending by the Rhine into 
the country now called Switzerland, he 
there found that the population, who 
were Alenianni, had relapsed into idol- 
atry, and that the Christian churches 
were converted into temples for idols. 
St. Columbanus preached here in differ- 
ent places, and sojourned for a year at 
Breo-eutz, at the southeastern extrem- 
ity of the lake of Constance, where he 
left one of his Irish disciples, St. Gallus, 
or Gall, who was then sick, setting out 
himself with the remainder of his com- 
panions for Italy. 

A. D. 613. — In the third year after 
his expulsion from the Vosges, St. Co- 
lumbanus arrived at Milan, where he 
was received in the kindest manner by 
Agilulph, king of the Lombards, and 
his accomplished queen, Theodolinda. 
He was permitted to choose a site for 
a monastery, and selected for that pur- 
pose a place in the Apennines called 
Bovium or Bobbio, where he founded 
a great monastery, and built near his 
church an oratory dedicated to the 
Blessed Virgin. By this time his 
friend Clothaire had become king of 
all France, having seized the domin- 
ions of Theodoric after the death of the 
latter, who had only just before slain 
his brother Theodobert and taken his 
kingdom. St. Columbanus was there- 
upon pressingly invited by Clothaire to 
return to Luxeuil ; but he declined, and 
contented himself with trausmittinc: his 

advice for the government of his old 
monasteries, where his rule continued 
to be strictly adhered to. 

St. Columbanus found Northern Italy 
in a state of schism, owing to a theo- 
logical controversy, known as that of 
the " Three Chapters ;" and he was pre- 
vailed on by King Agilulph to write to 
Pope Boniface on the subject. The free 
tone of this epistle, so consistent with 
the unflinching character of the man, as 
well as with the spirit of those rude 
times; and also our saint's unaltered 
adhesion to the mode of computing 
Easter, and to the form of liturgy which 
he had learned in his own-country, and 
which had been introduced there by 
St. Patrick, are particularly dwelt on 
by those who wish to draAV a distinction 
between the religion of the ancient Irish 
and that of Rome ; but the attempts 
to show any such distinction are utterly 
fruitless. The discrepancies on points 
of discipline were only such as might 
have existed without detriment to the 
unity of the Church ; and St. Columba- 
nus, as well as every other Irish eccle- 
siastic who visited the continent of 
Europe in those early ages, found him- 
self in the most perfect unison in matters 
of faith with the Church of Rome, that 
is, with the Universal Christian Church 
of that age. St. Columbanus told the 
Pope, " that although dwelling at the ex- 
tremity of the world, all the Irish Avere 
disciples of SS. Peter and Paul, receiv- 
ing no other than the evangelical and 
apostolical doctrine ; that no heretic, or 
Jew, or schismatic, was to be found 



among them, but that they still clung to 
the Catholic faith, as it was first deliv- 
ered to them by his (the Pope's) pre- 
decessors, that is, the successors of the 
holy apostles; that the Irish were at- 
tached to the chair of St. Peter, and that 
although Rome was great and renowned, 
it was only on account of that chair it 
was so with. them. Through the two 
apostles of Christ," he added, " you are 
almost celestial, and Rome is the head 
of all churches, as well as of the 
world." * 

St. Columbanus died at Bobbio, on 
the 21st of November, 615, at the age 
of 72 years; and his memory is still 
highly venerated both in France and 
Italy. In the latter country his name 
is preserved in that of a small town in 
the district of Lodi, called from him S. 
Colombano. Fi'om his writings it is 
obvious that he was acquainted with 
Greek and Hebrew, besides being an 
accomplished scholar in other respects ; 
and as he did not leave his own coun- 
try until he was about fifty years of 
age, and was afterwards occupied con- 
stantly in active duties, we may infer 
that he acquired all his knowledge in 
the schools of Ireland.f 

We have seen that Gallus or Gall, 

* Tlie letters and other WTitings of St. Cohunbanus 
that have been preserved may be seen in Fleming's 
Uullectanen, and in the BMiotheca Patrum, torn. 12, 
ed. 1G77. Some of them are published in UssUer's 

t The Benedictines, in the JEst. LUteraire dc la 
France, say : — '■ The light which St. Columbanus dis- 
seminated, by his knowledge and doctrine, wherever he 
presented himself, caused a contemporary writer to com- 
paro him to the sun in his course from east to west ; and 

one of the disciples of St. Columbanus, 
was left in Helvetia, being prevented 
by sickness from accompanying his mas- 
tei-. He was an eloquent preacher, and 
being acquainted with their language, 
a dialect of that of the Franks which 
he had acquired in Burgundy, he evan- 
gelized the Alemanni, and is called their 
apostle. He died on the IGth of Octo- 
ber, about the year 645, in the 95th 
year of his age ; and over his ashes rose 
a monastery which became the nucleus, 
first of an important town, and then oi 
a small State, with the rank of a princi- 
pality, called after the holy Irish monk. 
It was not until the year 1798 that the 
abbey lands of St. Gall, as the territory 
was called, were aggregated to the 
Swiss Confederation as one of the can- 
tons. The old abbey church is one of 
the chief attractions jn the city of St. 
Gall, and for the Irish traveller there 
are many objects of interest there in the 
relics of his ancient national literature 
and piety, and in the various associations 
with his country. The life of St. G:ill 
was written by Walafridus Strabus, a 
writer of the ninth century. 

A. D. 635. — Meanwhile St. Aidan, a 
monk of lona, chosen by his brethren 
as a missionary for Northumbria, on the 

ho continued after his death to shine forth in numerous 
disciples whom ho had trained in learning and piety." 
See also Muratori, AnnaU di Ilal., ad an. G13, where ho- 
describes the monastery of Bobbio as one of the most 
celebrated in Italy ; Fleury, Hist. Eccl., Liv. xxxvii., and 
all writers who have treated of the religious and literary 
history of Europe during the period in question. The 
life of St. Columbanus was written by louas, an Irish or monk, the contemporary of some of the saint's 



invitation of King Oswald, who had 
been for some time a refugee in Ireland, 
converted the Saxons of that country 
to Christianity, and established the see 
of Liudisfarne, of which he was the first 
bishop. He was accompanied by many 
of his countrymen on this mission, A 
monastery of the Columbian order was 
founded at Liudisfarne, and Irish mas- 
ters were also obtained to instruct the 
children of the Northumbrian nobles in 
the rudiments of learning. St. Aidan, 
A. D. 651, was succeeded by St. Fintan 
or Finan, another Irishman and monk of 
Hy, who sent missionaries to preach the 
Gospel to the Middle and East Angles, 
and consecrated as first bishop of the 
former, and also of Mercia, Diuma, an 
Irishman, who was succeeded by an- 
other Irishman, named Kellach. St. 
Fintan, who died about the year 660, 
was succeeded, as bishop of Liudisfarne, 
by his countryman St. Colman ; so that 
the church of the northei'u Saxon king- 
doms was for a long time, at that period, 
almost wholly in the charge of Irish 
ecclesiastics. Colman was deeply in- 
volved in the controversy about the 
celebration of Easter, which had for 
some time been a subject of anxious dis- 
cussion in Ireland and Britain ; and as 
the question holds a prominent place in 
the history of the Irish Church of that 
age, it is necessary to enter into a brief 
explanation of it here. 

It must be premised that a wide dif- 
ference existed between the practice 
with regard to Easter as upheld so long 
in Britain and Ireland, and that which 

formed a matter of dispute some cen- 
turies before with the churches of the 
East. A question arose in the very in- 
fancy of Christianity, whether the Chris- 
tian Pasch should be solemnized, like 
that of the Old Law, on the fourteenth 
day of the moon which falls next after 
the vernal equinox, whatever day of 
the week that might be; or whether 
it should not always be observed on a 
Sunday, the day which our Lord had 
consecrated by His resurrection. The 
former practice was invariably disap- 
proved of in the Western Church, and 
was condemned in the Council of Nice 
(a. d. 325) ; and a few churches of Mes- 
opotamia, which persisted in it, and 
which were besides infected with Nesto- 
rianism, were consequently pronounced 
heretical. This constituted the Quarto- 
deciman heresy; but in the Catholic 
Church there still remained some ob- 
stacles to uniformity in the computa- 
tion of Easter. Thus, while at Alexan- 
dria, which had the best astronomers, 
the cycle of nineteen yeai's was employ- 
ed for ascertaining the moon's age, the 
old Jewish cycle of eighty-four years 
continued to be received for a long time 
at Eome ; and a difference of opinion 
also prevailed as to whether Easter-day 
should be held on the fourteenth of the 
moon when it fell on Sunday, or on 
the next succeeding Sunday ; but these 
and some other details were finally ad- 
justed between Kome and the principal 
churches of the East; the main point 
thus settled being that the fourteenth 
day should under no circumstances be 



taken for Easter. General harmony 
now prevailed on the subject tbrough- 
out Europe and the East, when it was 
found that the insulated Scottish (that 
is, Irish) Church still adhered to the old 
practice that had been introduced by 
St. Patrick, and that, apparently quite 
unaware of the discussion on the subject 
which had foi-raerly agitated the rest of 
the world, and had been long since dis- 
posed of, the Irish clei'gy still celebra- 
ted Easter on the fourteenth day, if 
that day happened to be Sunday, and 
were only acquainted with the anti- 
quated cycle of eighty-four years which 
St. Patrick had been taught to use in 
his time, both in GaUl and Rome, but 
which had been since laid aside for a 
computation of greater scientific ac- 

Veneration for the customs of their 
. fathers has always been a characteristic 
of the Scottic race. In this case they 
held on to the tradition of the great 
saints who planted Christianity in their 
country, and enriched it with their vir- 
tues, and no arguments could for a long 
time convince them that a usage sancti- 
fied by Patrick, Brigid, and Columb- 
kille, was erroneous. They were cer- 
tainly guilty of obstinacy, and for that 
they deserve no praise. It is amusing 
to observe how little weight either 

* It is a remarkable fact that thus, some two hundred 
yi-ars after tlie xircaching of St. Patrick, no point of dif- 
fi.-rence could bo found between the faith and discipline 
of the Church of Ireland and tlie faith and discipline of 
the Cliurch of Home, except this sliglit one of the com- 
putation of Easter, and tliat of tlie tonsure, or mode of 
Bha.ving the heads of the monks ; a pretty conclusive 

science or authority had with them 
against the tradition Avhich they held 
from those whom they loved and ven- 
erated ; but there cannot be a greater 
perversion of the truth than to pretend 
that this usage of the Irish Church in- 
dicated an Eastern origin, or an essen- 
tial negation of conformity with Kome, 
seeing that that very usage had been 
brought from Rome itself. This point 
is important, as gross misrejiresentatiou 
has been practised on the subject. Per- 
fect uniformity, even in matters of disci- 
pline, was desirable ; and a diversity of 
practice, from which it often followed 
that while some were still observing 
the fast of Lent, others in the same 
community or household were chanting 
the alleluias of Easter, was most objec- 
tionable ; but the Irish and their breth- 
ren of Britain could not be brought for 
some time to yield up an old custom 
for the sake of uniformity in such mat- 
ters; while on the other hand, their 
adhesion to that custom did not exclude 
them from the unity of the Catholic 
Church, or prevent some of its warmest 
advocates, such as St. Columbanus, who 
wrote a strong letter on the subject to 
St. Gregoi-y, from ranking as saints in 
the Roman martyrology.* 

A. D. 630. — This year, in consequence 
of an admonitory letter from Pope 

evidence that whatever the religion of Rome was in the 
sixth and seventh centuries, such was also the religion of 
Ireland found to be at the same period ; and it is humili- 
ating to find some writers at the present day so blinded 
by sectarianism as to assert the contrary, and to prctind 
that the religion which St. Patrick brought into lrelan<l 
was not the religion of the Western Church ! 



Honoi-ius I., a synod was held by the 
Iiisli clergy at Lena or old Leighlin, to 
consider the jiascbal question. St. Lase- 
rian advocated the Roman practice, and 
St. Fintan Munnu, the Irish one ; and 
both, it will be observed, are saints of 
the Catholic Church'. It was decided 
that messengers should be sent to Rome 
to consult " the head of cities," and the 
ecclesiastics so deputed brought back 
word, after three years' absence, that 
the Roman discipline was that of the 
whole world. From the date of this 
announcement (633), the new Roman 
cycle and rules for Easter were received 
in the southern half of Ireland, embra- 
cing with Munster the greater part of 
Leinster, and part of Connaught. The 
attachment of the Columbian monks 
to the old practice still retarded the 
adoption of the correct one in the north- 
ern half of Ireland ; and it was nearly a 
century after when the wrong method 
of finding Easter was finally abandoned 
by the community of Hy. St. Cum- 
mian, who belonged to the Columbian 
order, embraced the Roman custom at 
the synod of G30, and addressed a learn- 
ed epistle to the abbot and monks of 
Hy, in vindication of himself, and of 
the practice of the Universal Church ;* 
and a few years after the cleigy of Ul- 
ster addressed a letter to the Holy See, 
which was received there a little before 
the death of Pope Severinus, and was 
replied to by the Roman clergy while 

* This celebrated letter is published in Ussher's Si/l- 
loge ; and its style and the learning it disjJays arc 

the see was vacant ; but the admonition 
of these latter on the Easter cpiestion 
appears to have had no effect upon their 
Scottish correspondents. 

Such was the state of the controversy 
when it was renewed with increased 
vehemence in Northumbria, at the time 
(a. d. 664) that Colman succeeded Fi- 
nau in the see of Lindisfarne. A con- 
ference was held that year at "Whitby, 
at which kings Oswin and Alcfrid pre- 
sided ; St. Wilfrid, a learned Saxon 
bishop, advocating the Roman obser- 
vance, and St. Colman with the Irish 
clergy supporting their own national 
practice, while St. Ceadda, bishop of 
Mercia, and an adherent of the Scots, 
acted as interpreter between the par- 

The proceedings of this conference 
were most interesting, and resulted in 
a decision against St. Colman's usage ;- 
the kings and the bulk of the assembly 
declaring in fiivor of St. Wilfrid, St. 
Colman consequently resigned the see 
of Lindisfarne, and taking with him 
all tlie Irish and about thirty of the 
English monks of his establishment, 
he withdrew to the remote island of 
Inuisbofin, or the " island of the white 
cow," off the western coast of Ireland, 
where he founded a monastery for 
his Irish monks, building another 
shortly after for his English followers 
on the plain of Mayo, called on that 
account Mayo-of-the-Saxons. He liim- 

liiglily creditable to the venerable Irish ecclesiastic by 
whom it was %vritten. 


self resided in Innisbofin, imtil his deatb, 
in the year G76 * 

A. D. 684. — It was related at the 
close of the preceding chapter how Eg- 
frid, king of Northumbria, sent an army 
on a piratic excursion into Ireland, to 
gratify, as it is believed, his private re- 
sentment; his brother Alfred having 
sought refuge in Ireland from his 
treachery, and been hos2:)itably receiv- 
ed there.f The next year, or the fol- 
lowing <me, Alfred succeeded him on 
the throne ; and it was then (a. d. 685 
or 686) that St. Adamnan, the ninth 
abbot of Hy, who is celebrated not 
only for his sanctity, but as the accom- 
plished biographer of the great St. Co- 
liimba, was sent into England to recov- 
er the caj^tives and property of which 
Ireland had been plundered. Adam- 
nan's mission to the friendly court of 
Alfred was most successful; and he 
appears to have repeated his visits 
there more than once in after years. 
This holy and learned abbot was one 

* Venerable Bede (Ec. Hist., b. iii., chap. 2.5) gives a 
detailed account of the important conference of Whitby. 
Describing, in the following chapter, the departure of 
St. Coluian and the Irish monks from Lindisfiirne, he 
pays them the following tribute, which may be received 
as applicable to the Irish monks in general of that 
period : " The place which he (Colman) governed, shows 
how frugal he and his predecessors were, for there were 
very few houses besides the church found at their de- 
parture, indeed no more than were barely sufficient for 
their daily residence : they had also no money, but only 
some cattle ; for if they received any money from rich 
persons they immediately gave it or the poor ; there 
being no need to gather money to provide houses for 
the entertainment of the great men of the world ; for 
such never resorted t o the church except to pray and 

hear the word of God For tho wTiole 

care of those teachers was to serve (Jod, not the world— 

of the most strenuous promoters of the 
new paschal computation, Avhicli he suc- 
ceeded in introducing into the northern 
parts of Ireland, although his own mon- 
astery of Hy persisted in declining it 
for some years longer. In the year 
697, he proceeded to Ireland from Hy, 
and took j^art in a synod or legislative 
council, held at Tara, which place, al- 
though it had ceased to be a royal resi- 
dence, was still occasionally used as the 
seat of legislation. On this occasion 
he procured the enactment of a law, 
which was called the Canon of Adam- 
nan, or the " Law of the Innocents," and 
sometimes " the law not to kill women." 
It was usual amongst the pagan Irish, 
as we have seen, for women to go with 
the men to battle ; but as we generally 
read of one woman being killed by 
another, it is probable that the female 
combatants of opposite armies encoun- 
tered each other. This barbarous cus- 
tom may have fallen partially into dis- 
use after the conversion of the country 

to feed the soul, and not the stomach." And again (b. 
iii., chap. 27) — "During tho time of Finan and Colman, 
many nobles and others of the English nation were liv- 
ing in Ireland, whither they had repaired either to cul- 
tivate tho sacred studies, or to lead a life of greater 
strictness. Some of them soon became monks ; others 
were better pleased to apply to reading and study, go- 
ing about from school to school through the cells of the 
masters ; and all of them were most cheerfully received 
by the Irish, who supplied them gratia with good books 
and instruction." 

f Alfred and Oswald were not the only foreign princes 

ho had been sheltered in Ireland; Dagobert II., king 

of Austrasia, having, in his youth, lived for fifteen years 

(63.5 to G70) in the monastery of Slane on tho Boyno, 

hither he had been sent on the death of his father by 

Grimoald, mayor of the palace. 



to Christianity, altliougli we are not 
told that such was the case; but there 
was certainly uo law against it, or any 
to exempt women from attending host- 
iugs in warfare until the time of St. 
Adamnan; and a characteristic inci- 
dent is i-elated in the Leabhar Breac, 
and the Book of Lecan, to account for 
that saint's interference in this matter. 
It happened, according to the storj?, 
that Adamnan was travelling one day 
through the plain of Bregia, Avhile yet 
a young man, with his mother, Ronait, 
on his back, when they saw two armies 
engaged in conflict. The mother of 
Adamnan observed a woman with a 
sickle plunged into the breast of anoth- 
er woman, and thus dragging her about 
the field ; and horrified at the spectacle, 
she exacted a solemn promise from her 
son that he would obtain a law to ex- 
empt women from warfare. Adamnan 
did not lose sight of the injunction of 
his parent, and it is likely that he em- 
ployed his influence, as soon as it was 
powerful enough, to introduce the law 
in question.* He celebrated Easter, 
according to the canonical computation, 
in the northern half of Ireland, in the 
year YOS, and died the following year; 
and it Avas reserved for a Northum- 
brian monk, named Egbert, to In-ing the 
community of Hy to uniformity on this 
point, in the year 716, a hundred and 
fifty years, according to Bede, after the 

* This law protected women and children against the 
barbarities of war, and hence it was called the lex iiuio- 
ccntium, or law of the innocent or weak. The assembly 
in which it was enacted was held in the " Rath of the 

controversy on the subject had com- 
menced in these countries. 

Returning to those Irish saints who, 
by their virtues and learning, spread 
the fame of their native land into for- 
eign countries, we shall only enumerate 
the more celebrated of them. St. Fri- 
gid ian was bishop of Lucca for twenty- 
eight years in the sixth century, and his 
memory is still held in great veneration 
in that part of Italy. Of St. Molua, or 
Lugld, it was said by the great Pope 
St. Gregory, that his monastic rule was 
like a hedge which reached to heaven. 
St. Degan travelled to Rome early in 
the seventh century, at the commence- 
ment of the paschal controversy, and 
embraced the canonical mode of compu- 
tation. St. Livinus, an Irish bishop, 
erroneously called archbishop of Dub- 
lin, sufl^ered martyrdom in Flanders, in 
the year 633, and his memory has al- 
ways been vener^ed in that country, 
whither he had gone to preach the Gos- 
pel. Some beautiful verses, written by 
him in good classic Latin, have been 
preserved. St. Fiacre, who flourished 
in the year 622, erected a monastery in 
honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in a 
forest near Meaux, in France, and the 
fome of his sanctity rendered the pil- 
grimage to his tomb or hermitage so 
popular, that his name was given to the 
hackney coaches of Paris, of which so 
many were employed in conveying the 

Sj-nods," on Tara Hill, near which rath, according to the 
Dinnseanchus, was the Lathrach Pupaill Adarmuiin, 
or " Site of the tent of Adamnan." 



citizens tliitlier. St. Fursey, who died 
ill the year 648, founded a monastery 
ill England, and another at Lagny, in 
France ; and his disciples, St. Foilan, 
St. Gobban, and St. Diciiil, were the 
companions of his labors in those coun- 
tries. St. Arbogast, an Irishman, was 
consecrated bishop of Strasburg in 646. 
St. Kilian, the illustrious apostle of 
Franconia, was martyred with his two 
companions, in the year 689. This 
great saint, faithful to the spirit of the 
Irish Church, would not commence his 
mission among the pagans of Wurtz- 
burg, although he saw its necessity, un- 
til he had gone to Kome to obtain the 
sanction and blessing of the Pope. Two 
other saints of the same name flourish- 
ed on the continent, one a discij)le of 
St. Columbanus, and the other abbot 
of St. Mai'tin's monastery at Cologne. 

To this period belongs the illustrious 
patron of the metropolitan city of Ta- 
rentum, St. Cathaldus, whom some old 
continental writera erroneously sup- 
posed to have flourished in the second 
century. He was a native of Munster ; 
was first a student, and then a professor 
at Lismore, where he is said to have 

* The life of St. C.itlialdus was written in prose by 
Bartholomeo Moroni, of Tarentum, and in verso by his 
brother, Bonaventiira. Ilis acts, written by others, are 
also extant. See them collected by Colgan, AA. SS. 
Hib. at the 8th of March ; and a great deal concerning 
him in Ussher's Primordia, pp. 302, &c., folio edition. 
Tko poetic lifo of St. Cathaldus describes in beautiful 
language the conllux of students from different parts of 
Europe to the school at Lismore. 

t Colgan, Ussher, Ware, and Harris, make St. Cutli- 

bert an Irishman, but there does not appear to be any 

Irish autlmrity for the story of his birth related in the 


erected a church in honor of the Blessed 
Virgin ; and as that renowned seminary 
was not founded until the year 633, it 
must have been some years later, pei-- 
haps about 650, when he left Ireland. 
Eeturning from a pilgrimage to Jeru- 
salem, he passed through Tarentum, and 
having performed some miracles as he 
approached the town, he was received 
by the inhabitants with veneration, 
unanimously chosen as their bishop, and 
continued to govern the diocese with 
great zeal for many years. His brother, 
St. Donatus, probably travelled Mith 
him, as we find that he was bishop of 
Lecce, another city of the kingdom of 
Naples, and both are said to have lived 
for many years as hermits near a small 
town now called San Cataldo.* 

St. Cuthbert, the celebrated bishop of 
Lindisfarne, who died in the year 687, 
was, according to many distinguished 
authorities, an Irishman, but it is at 
least certain that he was educated l)y 
Irishmen.f St. Maccuthenus, who died 
about this time (a. d. 698), composed a 
hymn in praise of the Blessed Virgin. 
St. Sedulius, the younger, assisted at a 
council held in Rome, in the year 721, 

life quoted by Colgan from Capgrave. Professor Eugeuo 
Curry, in a note addressed to the author, says, " St. Cuth- 
bert's name is not to bo found in the lists of Irish Saints 
preserved in the Books of Leinster, BaUymote, Lccan, 
M'Firbis, or tho Calendar of the Four Masters ; but it 
does appear in wliat is called the Martyrology of Tam- 
lacht, copied by Father Michael O'Cleary. In this he is 
set down, at March 20th, as Cubrichta Saxonis, of Inis 
Menoc; .and in tho Festology of Aengus Cdo Do, Inis 
Menoc, or rather luis Mcdcoit, is explained as an island 
on the north coast of Little Britain (recti; Great Britain), 
in whicli St. Aedau lived." 



during tlie pontificate of Gregory II., 
and was sent on an ecclesiastical mission 
from Eorae into Spain, being previously 
consecrated bishop of Oreto in that 
country. On his arrival in Spain, in or- 
der to show his claim to the regard 
and attention of the people, he wrote a 
book to prove that, being of Irish birth, 
he was consequently of Spanish descent, 
thus satisfactorily showing bow fixed 
the traditions of the Milesian colony 
were at that early age on the minds of 
Irishmen.* It is generally admitted 
that there were two Irish saints of this 
name: the elder Sedulius, called the 
Venerable, Avho flourished in the fifth 
century, and is celebrated for his sacred 
poetry, still used in the church offices ; 
and the younger Sedulius, just men- 
tioned, who wrote commentaries on 
some portions of the Scriptures. 

Few of these ancient Irish mission- 
aries have excited more interest than 
St. Virgilius, who is called "Ferghil the 
Geometer," in the Irish annals, and Soli- 
vagus, or, the " solitary wanderer," by 
Latin writers. He startled Europe by 
his scientific opinions in the eighth cen- 
tury, teaching that the earth was a 
sphere, and consequently that there 
were antipodes ; but it is utterly false 
that, as some say, he was persecuted by 
the Church for this opinion. This re- 
markable Irishman set out from his own 
country, where he had been abbot of 
Aghaboe, in Ossory ; and on his arrival 
in France he was graciously received 

Harris's Ware's Irish Writers, p. 47 

by Pepin, then mayor of the palace, and 
afterwards king of France. Our saint 
next travelled into Bavaria, about the 
year 745, and while on the mission at 
Saltzburg, a theological question arose 
between him and St. Boniface, a bishop 
whose jurisdiction extended to that 
place. The latter required that bap- 
tism, which had been administered in 
an uugrammatical form of words, should 
be repeated, and St. Virgilius held the 
contrary opinion, which is the correct 
one. The question was referred to Pope 
Zachary, who decided with St. Virgilius. 
But soon after a complaint was for- 
warded to the Sovereign Pontift' against 
the distinguished Irishman, accusing 
him of teaching that there was another 
world under this one, inhabited by men 
who were not of the race of Adam, and 
who consequently were not redeemed 
by Christ. That St. Virgilius gave a 
satisfactory explanation in answer to 
the charge is obvious, as in 756 he was 
appointed bishop of Saltzburg by Pope 
Stephen II. and King Pepin, a sufficient 
proof that his character was not stained 
by any blemish in the eyes of these high 
authorities. This Irish saint died at 
Saltzburg in the year 785, after a visi- 
tation of his vast diocese, which included 
Cariuthia. He obtained his philosophi- 
cal knowledge in the schools of his na- 
tive land, as did also St. Dicuil, another 
Irishman, Avho about the close of the 
eighth century wrote a treatise, "De 
mensura orbis terrse," describing the 
then known world, upon the authority 
of the earlier geographers and of the 



commissiouers apj^ointed by the em- 
peror Theoclosius to measure the prov- 
inces of the Roman empire.* 

Even then Irehmd was famed in for- 
eign countries for its sweet and ex- 
pressive music ; and we find that saints 
Foilan and Ultan, the brothers of St. 
Fursey, were invited along with other 
Irishmen, by St. Gertrude, daughter 
of Pepin and abbess of Nivelle, in 
Brabant, to instruct her community 
in sacred psalmody. These holy men 
erected a monastery at Fosse, near Ni- 
velle, and the religious houses at both 
places were considered to be Irish. St. 
Ultan also became the first superior of 
the monastery of St. Quintin, near Pe- 
ronne, and lived until about the year 

St> Fridolin, " the Traveller," the son 
of an Irish king, founded monasteries 
in various parts of France, in Helvetia, 
and on the Rhine. He flourished about 
the close of the seventh and the com- 
mencement of the eighth century'-, and 
his memory has been preserved with ven- 
eration in many parts of the continent. 
A little later flourished Albuin, called 
also by the Saxon name of Wittan, or 
White, who preached the Gospel in 
Thuringia, or Upper Saxony, and was 
appointed by the pope bishop of Bura- 
burgh, near Fritzlar, in the year 7-11. 

About a year after Charlemagne had 
become sole monarch of France — that 
u, A. D. V72 — two remarkable Irish- 

* This ancient geographical treatise was published, 
with a critical dissertation and copioua notes, by M. Le- 
tronne, in Paris, A. D. 1814. 

men made their appearance in his terri- 
tories. Their names were Clemens and 
Albinus; and the method which they 
adopted to attract attention is related 
as a curious sample of the manners of 
the times. Observing that commerce 
of one kind or other occupied the peo- 
ple, they went about announcing that 
they had wisdom to sell, and thus col- 
lected crowds to hear their instructions. 
Their fame soon reached the ears of the 
great monarch, who was just then intent 
on the intellectual improvement of his 
people. He sent for them ; entertained 
them for some time in his palace, and 
then placed them over two public 
schools whick he founded, commit- 
ting that of Paris to Clemens, and one 
founded at Pavia, in Italy, to his com- 
panion, Albinus. The names of these 
two eminent Irishmen were subse- 
quently thrown partly into the shade 
by that of Alcuin, a Saxon, who, accord- 
ing to the custom of the age of taking 
Roman names, assumed the name of 
Albinus Flaccus. Alcuin arrived in 
France several years after our country- 
men, Clemens and Albinus ; he aftbrded 
great assistance to Charlemagne in his 
eftbrts to revive learning, accompanied 
him for the purpose of teaching a school 
of nobles in his palace, and has been 
rendered famous by his correspondence 
with the emperor and Avith other illus- 
trious persons of his time. Charle- 
magne, however, patronized all the 
learned foreigners Avhom he could at- 
tract to his court, and, while he lived, 
repaid Avith his friendship and sup 



port tlie two IrisLmeii we have men- 

A few years after Albinus, Dongal, 
another Irishman, and one of the most 
learned men of his time, was appointed 
professor of the school of Pavia by- 
King Lothaire. He is celebrated, among 
other things, for an epistle which he 
wrote to Charlemagne on the two solar 
eclipses of 810; for a valuable gift of 
books, some of them relating to seculai* 
literature, which he made to the mon- 
astery of Bobbio; and for a work in 
defence of the use of sacred images in 
churches, against Clodius of Turin. St. 
Donatus, an Irishman, who flourished in 
the middle of the same (ninth) centu- 
ry, was made bishop of Fiesole, in Ita- 
ly, and his disciple, Andrew, who had 
accompanied him on a pilgrimage to 
Home, was deacon of the same church.f 

Turning, finally, towards the north, 
we find that Irish monks were not only 
the first Christians, but most probable 
the first inhabitants, of the inhospita- 
ble region of Iceland, which they called 
Thule, or Tyle. Dicuil, who, as we 

* The Monk of St. Gall, wlio wrote the life of Cliarle- 
magno in the ninth century, and who is believed to 
have been the celebrated Notkerua Balbulus, makes 
particular mention of Clemens and Albinus as " Scots of 
Ireland." Muratori, Annali di Italia, anno 781, refers 
to the learning aud teaching of Albinus in Italy. See 
Lanigan, Ware, &c. Guizot omits all mention of them 
in his History of Civilization ; he and some other modern 
writers, who have only glanced at the subject, having 
confined their attention to Alcuin and his disciples. 

\ To Donatus, the holy bishop of Fiesole, wo are in- 
debted for the graceful tribute to Ireland contained in 
the well-known lines : — 

Finibus occiduis describitur optima tellus, 

Nomine et antiquis Scotia scripta libris. ' 
Insula dives opum gemraarum, vestis, et auri : 

have seen, flourished iu the latter part 
of the eighth and beginning of the 
ninth century, states that thirty years 
before he wrote his geograj)hical woi'k, 
he had got an account of Thule from 
some ecclesiastics who had been so- 
journing there ; and when, in the latter 
part of the ninth century, the pagan 
Norwegians planted a colony in Ice 
land, the Irish monks, who fled on 
their arrival, left behind them sundry 
memorials of their religion, such as 
Irish books, small bells, and pastoral 

The above circumstance is related by 
various Icelandic writers, who add that 
these Irish monks were called ^^rt_p«-5 
by the Norwegian settlers. When the 
first effort was made to introduce 
Christianity among the pagan colonists, 
two Irishmen, who are called Ernulph 
and Buo by their Icelandic biographer, 
Arngrim Jonas, were the missionaries ; 
and another old Icelandic writer, Ara 
Multiscius, mentions an Irishman named 
John, in his enumeration of early Ice- 
landic bishops. :t 

Commoda corporibus acre, sole, solo. 
Melle fluit pulchris, et lacteis Scotia campis, 
Vestibus, atque armis, frugibus, arte, viria. 

In qua Scotorum gentes habitare merentur, 
Inclyta gens hominum, milite, pace, fide. 
X Some accoimt of Ernulph and Buo is given in Col- 
gan's AA: SS. Hib., Feb. 3 and 5. Ara Multiscius 
(Sclicdce de Islandia, cap. 2) relates how, in the first years 
of Harold Harfagro, who became king of Norway A. D. 
885, Ingulph, the first Norwegian, fled into Iceland, and 
was soon followed by so many of his countrymen that 
it was feared Norway would be left desert, and he says : — 
•' At that time Iceland was covered with woods, and there 
were then in it Christian men whom the Norwegians cull 
papas ; and these, being unwiUing to i 



In the preceding account of the Irish 
saints and schoLars of those early ages, 
we have omitted the name of one most 
remarkable Irishman, who could scarce- 
ly be placed in the same category with 
any of those whom we have mentioned. 
This was the celebrated John Scotus Eri- 
geua, or "the Irishman," who flourished 
in the middle of the ninth century, and 
whose extraordinary learning and ec- 
centric genius filled Europe with amaze- 
ment. John was not an ecclesiastic, 
•nor was he a sound theologian. He 
mingled divinity with Platonic philoso- 
phy, and fell into the wildest errors 
about the nature and attributes of the 
Deity, grace and jiredestiuation, the 
future state of reward and punishment. 

tlieas, went away forthwith, leaving behind them Irish 
books, and small bells, and (pastoral) staffs ; whence it 
was easy to perceive that they were of the Irish na- 
tion." This is told in somewhat similar terms in the 
Laiidnainaboc, quoted by Johnston, Antiq. Celto-Scand., 
p. 14. 

* Of this singular man Tennemann says ; — " John 
Scotus, an Irishman, belonged to a much higher order 
(than Alcuin) ; a man of great learning, and of a philo- 
sophical and original mind ; whose means of attaining 

and other subjects ; and some of his 
books were condemned by the Church. 
He resided chiefly in Paris, where he 
taught philosophy, and was on terms of 
friendship with the emperor Charles 
the Bald, at whose desire he translated 
the supposed works of Dionysius the 
Areopagite from Greek into Latin. He 
was the first who combined scholastic 
and mystic theology ; and notwithstand- 
ing his pantheistic and other errors, he 
is said to have led an exemplary life. 
He died in France some short time be- 
fore the year 875 ; and no other school- 
man of his age attracted so much notice, 
or was the object of such diversity of 
opinions, both during his life and in 
after acres.* 

to such superiority we are ignorant of. His acquaint- 
ance with Latin and Greek, to which some assert he 
added the Arabic ; his love for the philosophy of Aristo- 
tle and Plato; his translation, exceedingly esteemed 
throughout the West, of Dionysius the Areopagite; 
his liberal and enlightened (heretical) views respecting 
predestination and the Eucharist; all these entitle 
Mm to bo considered a phenomenon for the times in 
which he lived." — Hist, of Philosophy, p. 215 .(Bolm e 




istiaii Antiquities of Ireland. — Testimonies on the suljject of Ireland's Pre-eminence for Sanctity and Learning. 
— Tlie Culdecs. — Hereditary Transmission of Church Offices. — Lay Bishojis and Abbots. — ComUorbas and 
Herenachs. — Termon Lands. — Characteristics of the Primitive Church in Ireland. — Inference therefrom. — 
Peculiarities in Discipline. — Materials used iu building Churches. — Damliags and Doireachs. — Cyclopean 
Masonry. — The Round Towers. — Saints' Beds, Holy Wells, and Penitential Stations. 

A T the risk of trenching on the du- 
-^-^ ties of the ecclesiastical historian, 
the preceding chapter has been extend- 
ed beyond its due proportion ; yet 
the object in view — namely, that of 
exhibiting the aspect of Christian Ire- 
land, as it was presented to Europe in 
the centuries preceding the Danish in- 
vasion — has been but imperfectly ac- 
complished. Our list of the illustrious 
Irishmen who spread the fame of their 
country for learning and holiness into 
foreign lands, is far from being com- 
plete, and the subject is on the whole 
little more than glanced at. But even 
this slight sketch will show that there 
is sufficient ground for what has been 
so often said about the eminent posi- 
tion which Ireland once held in rela- 
tion to the other countries of Christen- 
dom. That pre-eminence i.s no idle 
dream — no creation of the national im- 
agination. It is as much a reality as 
any other fact in the range of history, 

* Marianus Scotus ; Chronicon. ad an. 074 Ussher 
remarks that the saints of this period might be grouped 
into a fourth order of the Irish saints. 

and may be, assuredly, a legitimate 
source of national pride. During the 
period which extended from the in- 
roads of the barbarians iu Europe in 
the sixth century, to the partial revival 
of education and mental energy under 
Charlemagne, in the ninth, this island 
was unquestionably the retreat and nur- 
sery of learning and piety, and the centre 
of intellectual activity. An old writei 
speaks of Ii-eland having been at this 
time reputed to be full of saints.* 
Venerable Bede informs us that num- 
bers were daily coming into Britain 
from the country of the Scots (Ire- 
land), preaching the Word of God 
with great devotion.f " What shall I 
say of Ireland," says Eric of Auxerre, 
a Fi-ench writer of the ninth century, 
" which, despising the dangers of the 
deep, is migrating, with almost her 
whole train of philosophers, to our 
coasts ?" J Thierry, after describing 
the poetry and literature of ancient 

f Eccl. Hist., Lib. iii., chap. 
t Letter to Charles the Bald, 



Irelaud as perhaps tlie most cultivated 
of all Western Europe, adds that Ire- 
land "counted a host of saints and 
learned men, venerated in England 
and Gaul, for no country had furnished 
more Christian missionaries, uninflu- 
enced by other motives than pure zeal 
to communicate to foreign nations the 
opinions and faith of their own land."* 
Testimonies of ancient and modern wri- 
ters to the same eftect might be multi- 
plied indefinitely, all representing (in 
the words of Dr. Lanigan) the migra- 
tion which took place at that period 
from Ireland, as a swarm of holy and 
learned men, by whom foreign nations 
were instructed and edified. f 

Then, as to the resort of foreigners to 
Ireland for the purposes of education, 
and of leading a life of greater perfec- 
tion, Ave have also copious and conclu- 
sive evidence. St. Aengus the Culdee, 
in his litany written at the end of the 
eighth century, invokes the intercession 
of many hundreds of saints, Romans, 
Italians, Egyptians, Gauls, Germans, 
Britons, Picts, Saxons, and natives of 
other countries, who were buried and 

* IBst. do la Conquete de I'Angleterre, Liv. x. 

f Stephen AVTiito (Ajxjlogia, p. 24) thus sums up tho 
hibora of tho Irish saints on tho continent : — " Among 
tho names of saints ■(\'hom Ireland formerly sent forth, 
there were, as I have learned from tho trustworthy 
writings of the ancients, 150 now honored as patrons of 
places in Germany, of whom SO were martyrs ; 45 Irish 
patrons in tho Gauls, of whom G were martyrs ; at least 
30 in Belgiiun ; 44 in England ; 13 in Italy ; and in 
Iceland and Norway 8 martyrs ; besides many others. " 
" Ono singular and extraordinary fact may be noted 
hero," observes the lato Kcv. Dr. Kelly (Camb. Ever., 
Tol. ii., p. C53), " namely, that to foreign sources almost 
exclusively are we indebted for a knowledge of those 

venerated in Ireland, and whom he 
divided into groups, chiefly according 
to the localities of Ireland in which they 
had sojourned and died. The lives of 
St. Patrick, St. Kieran, St. Declan, St. 
Albeus, St. Euda, St. Maidoc, St. Senan, 
St. Brendan, and other Irish saints, fur- 
nish testimonies to the same eftect.;]; 

Camden, in his description of Ireland, 
says : — " At that age our Anglo-Saxons 
repaired on all sides to Ireland as to a 
general mart of learning. Whence we 
read, in our writers, of holy men, that 
' they went to study in Ireland ;' Aman- 
datus est ad di-sdiMnam in HiherniamP 
We are told that three thousand stu- 
dents at a time attended the great 
schools of Armagh alone, and that many 
of these had come from other countries ; 
but after making due alloAvance for ex- 
aggeration in such statements as this, 
we have still an overwhelming mass of 
evidence to show that Ireland was, in 
those remote ages, a nursery of saints 
and scholars; and such being her ac- 
knowledged character so soon after re- 
ceiving Christianity, it would be, to say 
the least, rash to deny that she had 

Ii'ish saints. From oar native annals wo could not know 
even tlieir aames, with very few exceptions, such a.s St. 
Virgilius, &c., &c." 

It -has been calculated that tho ancient Irish monlis 
had 13 monastic foundations in Scotland, 12 in England, 
7 in France, 13 in Annoric Qaul, 7 in Lotharingia, 11 in 
Burgimdy, 9 in Belgium, 10 in Alsatia, 16 in Bavaria^ 
in Italy, and lo in Rhetia, Helvetia, and Suevia, be- 
sides many in Tliuringia, and on the left margin of the 
Rhine, between Gucl.lrrs and Alsatia. 

X Dr. Petrie ( /■.''. ■ ■; ; ' .1 r.-hiUrttire of Ireland, p. 
133) gives an ii: ■ , . . ;' m ■ stone which marks tho 
grave of the " ^^^ v. n i; •;:,:i:;^," near the church of SL 
Brecan, in the great island of Aran. 



made any progress previously iu the 
march of civilization.* 

We have now a few words of explan- 
ation to offer on some points of interest 
relating to our ecclesiastical antiquities, 
before we resume our civil history. 

Tlie question, Who were the Culdees ? 
is one that has been often asl^ed, and 
upon which many serious errors have 
Ix'en current. These errors seem to' 
have originated in Scotland, the ancient 
history of which country is a tissue of 
anachronisms and fabrications. It has 
been asserted tliat the Culdees were an 
order of priests or monks Avho taught 
Chi'istianity and ruled the Church with- 
out bishops, in North Britain and Ire- 
laud, before the time of St. Palladius 
and St. Patrick, — a fallacy which was 
embraced with avidity by the Scottish 
Presbyteriims. But this notion was sub- 
sequently modified, especially after Dr. 
Ledwich had promulgated his false and 
silly statements on the subject; audit 
was then pretended that Culdees was 
only another name for the order of 
monks founded by St. Columbkille; 
that they were married men ; that their 
religion was pure, compared with that 
of Rome ; that they rejected the author- 
ity of the Pope, together with much 
more to the same effect.f This is sim- 
2>ly a mass of groundless and shameful 
falsehood, without one word of truth, 

* Dr. Johnson, in a letter addressed to Charles 
O'Conor, of Belanagar, dated 1777, alluding to the 
period of Irish history which he wished to see devel- 
oped, writes : — " Dr. Leland begins his history too late ; 
tho ages which deserve an exact inquiry are those times, 

or the slightest authority of antiquity to 
support it. As to the fanciful theory of 
the Culdees having been founded Ijy 
St. Columbkille, Dr. Lanigan % correctly 
observes that " in none of the lives of 
that saint, nor in Bede, who very often 
treats of the Columbian order and 
monks, nor in the whole history of the 
monastery of Hy (loua) and its depend- 
encies, does the name of Culdees or 
any name tantamount to it ever once 
occur," a circumstance which, as he 
justly concludes, "would have been im- 
possible, had the Culdees been Colum- 
bians or members of the order or con- 
gregation of Hy." 

The true character of the Culdees 
may be gathered from the' following 
note upon them, with which the author 
has been favored by that profound 
Irish scholar, Professor Eugene Curry, 
of the Catholic University. " The Cul- 
dees," says Mr. Curry, " as far as I have 
been able to trace them, were to be 
found in Ireland since St. Patrick's time, 
as the Tripartite Life of the apostle , 
mentions that one of them attended him 
in his visit to Munster ; that his name 
was Malach Brit, and that his church 
was subsequently built in the north- 
eastern angle of the southern Decies — 
namely, Cill Malach. They appear to 
have been originally mendicant monks, 
but had no communities until the mid- 

for such there were, when Ireland was the school of tho 
West, the quiet habitation of sanctity and learning." — 
BosweU's Life of Johnson. 

f Ledwich's Antiquities, p. 113, &c. second edition. 

X Hist. Eccl., chap, xxxi., sec. 1 



die of the eighth century, when St. 
Maeh-uan, of Tamlacht (Tallaght, near 
Dublin), drew up a rule for them in 
Irish. Of this rule I have an ancient 
copy, which I am now preparing for 
publication. Aengus Cele De was for 
some time in Maelruan's establishment, 
and was a priest, but he does not ap- 
pear to have before that belonged to 
any community of Culdees. They had 
a separate house at Clonmacnoise, a. d. 
1031, of which Conn-na-mbocht (Con- 
of-the-poor) was head ; but these were 
lay monks of the order, as was their 
prior or economist, Conn, who, it ap- 
pears, was the first that collected a herd 
of cows for them there. Iseal Ciarain 
(their house at Clonmacnoise) was not 
founded at this time, but very long 
before, and the Cele De were attached 
to the church as lay monks. They are 
often mentioned in the Brehon laws as 
the recipients of certain unappropriated 
church dues or income ; and they were 
at Armagh down to the year 1600, but 
appear to have been masons, carpenters, 
and men of other trades ; all laymen, bujt 

From these facts it is clear that the 
Cele De (servants of God), called in 

♦ Dr. Lanigan has collected a great deal of matter 
about the Culdees in the first six sections of chap. xxxi. 
of Ills Ecclesiastical History ; hut he was wrong in sup- 
posing them to be secular clergy or canons. Dr. Reeves, 
a Protestant clergyman.'in his copious and learned anno- 
tations to Adamnan's Life of St. Columba (p. 3G8), says, 
tho Celodei " had no particular connection with this (the 
Columbian) order, any more than had the Deoradhs, or 
the other developments of conventual observance ; and 
in a foot-note he adds, that " Culdee is the most abused 
term in Scottic Church history." Dr. O'Donovan {Four 

Latin Keledei, and afterwards corruptly 
Colidei, were religious persons resem- 
bling very much members of the ter- 
tiary orders of St. Dominic and St. 
Francis, in the Catholic Church at the 
present day, or one of the great relig- 
ious confraternities of modern times. 
Their society was widely spread in 
Scotland, and was known in Wales about 
the same time ; and it is scarcely neces- 
sary to add that their religious princi- 
ples were identical with those of the 
Universal Church at that period.* 

The hereditary, or clannish principle, 
prevailed from a very early age in the 
transmission of ecclesiastical offices and 
property in Ireland, and became in 
course of time a fruitful source of 
abuses. Bishoprics, abbacies, and other 
benefices were thus, as it were, entailed 
on particular families, whether those of 
the founders or of local chiefs, so that 
on the failure of clergymen in these 
families or clans, laymen of the same 
families were invested with the titles 
and emoluments of the offices, while ec- 
clesiastics of the projDer order were 
delegated to perform the clerical func- 
tions belonging to them. Hence, we 
hear of laymen as nominally archbish- 

Masters, an. 1479, note I) says, " Cele De is often used as 
if it were a generic term applied to Calibites, or religious 
persons in general, and this is the sense in which Giral- 
dus Cambrensis used Colidei. From all that ho says 
about them no one could infer that they were any thing 
but Calibitesoi lay-monks. Tho term was, however, used 
in a restricted sense in Archbishop Ussher's memory, 
and applied to tho priests, ' qui choro inservicntes divina 
celebrabant oiEcia.' The Scotch historians have \vritten a 
vast deal of intolerable nonsense about tho Culdees of the 
Columbian order, but they are entirely beneath c 



ops and bishops, and also as abbots 
and prioi-3 of monasteries ; that is, wbo 
enjoyed the emoluments, temporalities, 
and privileges of these offices, and who, 
not being in holy orders, may have been 
married men. This custom often led to 
intolerable confusion; and it has been 
seized by some modern writers, either 
ignorant of its nature, or too anxious to 
make it answer their own prejudices, for 
the purpose of showing that the clergy 
were not bound to celibacy in the Irish 
Church. A more intimate knowledge 
of Irish authorities has, however, shown 
these wi'iters that this was a grievous 
mistake, as every one who had studied 
the history of the Irish Church with a 
judgment unwai-ped by sectai'ian bias 
must have known. In no single in- 
stance does it appear that the marriage 
of any one in priest's orders was ever 
tolerated in the Church of Ireland. 

The holders of the higher ecclesias- 
tical offices, whether clerics or laymen, 
were, in the original foundations, called 
comhorbas, or successors. Thus, the 
archbishop of Armagh was comhorba 
of Patrick ; the archbishop of Tuam, or 

*Dr. Reeves, in a note on "Hereditary Abbacies" 
(Vita S. Colomb., p. 335), says : " Tlie Book of Armagh 
gives us a most valuable insight into the ancient econo- 
my of the Irisb monasteries, in its account of the en- 
dowment of Trim. In that church there was an ccclc~ 
siastica progenus, and a jjJeMts progenies, a religious 
and secular succession ; the former of office in spirituals, 
the latter of blood in temporals, and both descended from 

the original grantor The iineal transmission of 

the abbatical office, which appears in the Irish annals, 
towards the close of the eighth century, probably had its 
origin in the usurpation of the plcbilis progenies connect- 
ed with the various monasteries of the functions of the 
ecdenastica progenies, which would bo the necessary re- 

of Connaught, as he was often called, 
was comhorba of Jarlath; the abbot 
of Hy was comhorba of Columbkille ; 
the abbot of Aran was comhorba of 
Enda, <fec. The lands belonging to a 
church or monastery were rented or 
administered by an official, called a 
herenach, or airchinneach ; that is, a 
warden who originally dispensed the 
profits of the lands for the support of 
the church and the relief of the poor. 
After a time the herenachs were all lay- 
men. The office was genei'ally heredi- 
tary in the family or sept of the founder: 
but if the sept could not agree in the 
election of a herenach, or if the sept oi 
family became extinct, then the bishop 
and clergy elected one under certain 
conditions, the herenach being in such 
a case the tenant of the church lands 
for a stipulated rent or contribution. 
Herenachs were numerous, and were to 
be found in every part of Ireland.* 

The office of comhorba (or, as the 
name is often corruptly written, corba, 
corbes, or corbanus) was essentially 
different from that of herenach, and 
was originally one of dignity and juris- 

sult of the former omitting to keep up the succession of 
the latter. In each case the tenant in possession might 
maintain a semblance of the clerical character by taking 
tonsure and a low degree of orders. This is very much 
what Giraldus Cambrensis states concerning the Abba- 
teslaici of Ireland and "Wales (Itincrar. ii., 4.)" Dr. 
Reeves proceeds to explain on this ground the rec- 
ognition, in the Canons of St. Patrick, of the relation 
of the "Clericus et uxor ejus" (Canon G) ; and it is to 
bo hoped that after this candid expression by so emi- 
nent a Protestant divine of the result of his researchea 
on this subject, wo shall hear no more of the mon- 
strous falsehood about married abbots, &c., in the Irish 



diction ; and, altliougli Colgan says that 
in bis time (the lYth century) very few 
of the comhorbas were in holy orders, 
the contrary was certainly the case in 
the middle ages. "When ecclesiastical 
dignities and benefices were held by 
men not in the proper orders, the ton- 
sure or one of the minor orders was 
usually conferred, so that the holders 
were entitled to be called clerics. 

The lands belonging to churches or 
monasteries were called Tarmon, or Ter- 
mon lands, that is, lands of sanctuary 
or refuge ; and their termini^ or bounds, 
were defined by terminal crosses or 
other distinguishing objects. Hence, 
such names as Terraonfechan, Termon- 
finean, Termonderry, <fec., to be met 
with in some parts of Ireland.* 

In such literary monuments as re- 
main to us of the primitive Irish Church 
formal expositions of doctrine are not to 
be expected. Where no diversity of 
creed was thought of, such expositions 
were not required: formularies of be- 
lief having been generally drawn up 
by the Church to oppose the erroneous 
teachmg of sectaries. Of the religion 
of the early Lish Christians, however, 
we have written, as well as other mon- 
uments in abundance, which show that 
it was strongly marked by all the most 

* For explanations of tlio offices and terms mentioned 
atove, Bee CoIgan"s Ti-iaa Thaum., pp. 8, 293, C30 ; 
Harris's Ware, vol. ii., p. 234 ; Lanigan, vol. iv., p. 80. 
Throughout the Four Musters the term comhorba is 
rendered "successor." It is derived from the words 
comh and forb/i, signifying tlie possessor of the game land 
or patrimony. Dr. O'Donavan explains the term Airch- 
inncaeh (Ercnach) as signifying the hereditary ^Varden 

characteristic features of Catholic Chris- 
tianity. From the conversion of the 
country by St. Patrick, the Irish Chris- 
tians were devoted to monastic disci- 
pline. They practised celibacy, made 
long fasts, rose at night for prayer, lay 
on penitential beds of stone, and, in 
fact, habitually exercised all those aus- 
terities which Catholic ascetic writers 
have in all ages commended. They 
adored the Holy Eucharist, which they 
called the Body of Christ ; they believ- 
ed in the gift of miracles remaining in 
the Church, and, indeed, in the very fre- 
quent recurrence of miraculous inter- 
vention ; they invoked the intercession 
of the saints, and venerated their relics ; 
they prayed for the dead; instituted 
festivals in honor of the saints, and of- 
fered up the Mass on those festivals; 
they made very frequent use of the sign 
of the cross, and erected numerous pub- 
lic crosses ; finally, they acknowledged 
Rome, as St. Columbanus wrote, to be 
" the head of all churches ;" and as St. 
Cummian wrote, they looked to Rome 
"as children to their mother." In a 
word, they showed themselves to be 
identical in faith with all the other mem- 
bers of the Western Church, during 
the same ages.* 

The diiference about the computation 

of a church (Four Masters, an. 601, ncte). The tenants 
of church landa were called Tcrmoners. 

f For evidence on all these points, we need only refer 
to Adamnan's Life of St. Columba, which high Protes- 
tant authority has pronounced to Tjo " perhaps the most 
valuable monument of that institution (the Irish Church) 
that has escaped the ravages of time" (Reeves), and " the 
most complete piece of such biography .hat all Europe 



of Easter, which caused so much con- 
troversy in Ireland and Britain for a 
century and a half, has been fully ex- 
plained in the jDreceding chapter. Be- 
sides this, there was a peculiarity in the 
form of the Irish tonsure. Thus, while 
the Greek monks shaved the whole 
head, and the Roman monks only the 
srown, leaving a circle of hair all round, 
the Irish monks and clerics shaved or 
clipped the front part of the head from 
ear to ear. One mode of sha\'ing the 
head appears quite as harmless as the 
others, but the subject was, nevertheless, 
made one of warm debate at the synod 
of Whitby, by St. Wilfrid, and other 
Saxon converts, who strenuously advo- 
cated the Roman custom, and the Irish 
monks ultimately abandoned their own 
method. From such disputes as these, 
and from any peculiarities of the Irish 
liturgy, which were only such as have 
been tolerated in various ancient Cath- 
olic liturgies, nothing can be more ab- 
surd than to argue that the primitive 
church of Ireland was not united in 
faith with the other churches in the 
communion of the see of Rome. 

Hewn timber, wattles, and earth were, 
as we have seen, the ordinary building 
materials used for the dwellings of the 
ancient Irish ; and we have the author- 
ity of Venerable Bede, and of some of 

the oldest lives of Irish saints, for the 
fact that these materials were also em- 
ployed in the construction of their 
churches and oratories in the seventh, 
eighth, and ninth centuries. We are 
told by St. Bernard that such contin- 
ued to be the case, even in the time of 
St. Malachy, in the twelfth century; 
but there is also evidence enough to 
show that churches were frequently 
built in Ireland of stone and cement, 
even from the time of St. Patrick. As 
characteristic examples of the oldest 
style of our ecclesiastical architecture 
still in good preservation. Dr. Petrie, in 
his learned work on that subject, in- 
stances the monastic establishment of 
St. Molaise, on Inishmurray (Inis Muir- 
eadliaigh), in the bay of Sligo, erected 
in the sixth centmy ; that of St. Bren- 
dan, on Inishglory, off the coast of Erris, 
in Mayo, of the beginning of the same 
century ; and that of St. Fechin, on 
High Island, off thd coast of Conuema- 
ra, erected in the seventh century ; and 
to these he elsewhere adds, as remains 
of the sixth century, some of the ora- 
tories and cells of the Isles of Aran, in 
Galway bay. In all these examples 
we find that mortar was only used in 
the churches ; the houses or cells of the 
abbots and monks being invariably 
built of dry stone, without any kind of 

can boast of, not only at eo early a period, but even 
tliTougb tbe whole middle ages" (Pinkerton). Also to 
various other lives of Irish saints, which the learned 
Usshcr and others have shown to belong to the sixth, 
seventh, and eighth centuries ; to the portions of the 
Liber Ilymnonun edited by the Rev. Dr. Todd ; to the 
Antiphouarium Bcnchorenae, a monument of the sev- 

enth century ; to ancient monumental inscriptions ; 
to various passages of the Brehon Laws, and other 
authorities yet impubliahed ; and, indeed, to all that 
is most venerable in the written and monumental 
antiquities of Ireland, to which the scope and limits of 
this work vriU only allow us to make this general ref 

;yi'aL! f^Fr'i :|iiJ)y nj- 


-:*^fe ■■.^^' 



cement, and in that style of masonry 
vrliicli antiquaries call cyclopeau, or Pe- 
lasgic, like the primitive stone houses 
and military structui'es of the Firbolgs, 
which" we have already noticed. The 
cells were generally circular or oval, 
with dome-shaped roofs, constructed, 
not on the principle of the arch, but 
Ijy the gradual overlapping of the 
stones; and the cluster of cells, with 
their oratory, were surrounded by a 
thick wall of the same rude cyclopean 

At various periods between the sixth 
and twelfth centuries (some of them still 
later, but the greater number, perhaps, 
in the ninth and tenth centuries), were 
erected those singular buildings, the 
round towers, which have been so envel- 
oped in mystery by the arguments and 
conjectures of modern antiquaries. It is 
only in recent times that people have 
thought of ascribing to these towel's any 
other than a Christian and ecclesiastical 
Qi'igiu; but of late years a variety of 
theories have been started about them, 
and they have been alternately made- 
fire-temples and shrines of other kinds 
of pagan worship, anchorites' cells, or 
places for penitential seclusion, and 
beacons. The real uses of the Irish 
round towers, both as belfries and as 
ecclesiastical keeps or castles, have been 
satisfactorily established by Dr. Petrie, 

* Tho stone churches wcro called damliags, from dom 
or domnach, a church, and liag a stono. Thus, from the 
damliag of St. ICianan, who was consecrated bishop by 
St. Patrick, and who died in tho year 4'JO, Duleek„ in 
Meath, has derived its name. Tho oratories, or smaller 

in his important and erudite work on 
the ecclesiastical architecture of L'e- 
land. For this twofold purpose they 
were admirably adapted. In a woody 
country, such as Ireland was in remote 
times, they may also have been useful 
as beacons, and may, moreover, have 
served as watch-towers. In fine, the 
wants and tastes of the country led to 
the adoption of a peculiar style in their- 
structure, as we find to have been the 
case in most old Christian countries, 
where some local singularity in the de- 
sign and structure of church towers is 
sure to attract the traveller's attention, 
although it might be now difficult to 
determine what circumstances led to 
the local adoption of each peculiarity. 
The style of our ancient round towei-s 
seems to have been peculiar to the 
Irish or Scottish race. These build- 
ings were well contrived to supply the 
clergy with a place of safety for them- 
selves, the sacred vessels, and other 
objects of value, during the incursions 
of the Danes, and other foes ; and the 
upper stories, in which were four win- 
dows, were perfectly well adapted for 
the ringing of the largest bells then 
used in Ireland. We must refer to Dr. 
Petrie's work for an exposition of the 
principal theories that have been start- 
ed about these round towei-s, and for 
the arguments in support of the true 

churches, were called duirachs (duirtluficTia), a name 
wliich, as some think, implies that they were construct- 
ed of oak, although many of thorn also were built of 
stone and mortar. 



explauatioii of their use; but this much 
may be added here, namely, that the 
closest study of Irish antiquities leaves 
no doubt whatever that the principle 
of the arch, and the use of lime ce- 
ment — both of which are to be foimd 
in the round towers — cannot be traced 
in any Ii'ish remains which eithe.r histori- 
cal evidence or popular tradition as- 
cribes to a period anterior to the intro- 
duction of Christianity.* 

Those sacred remains called by the 
Irish peasantry " saints' beds," may 
have been, in some instances, the j^eni- 
tential stone beds used by the ancient 
ascetics ; while others of them were, no 
doubt, the graves of the holy persons 
after whom they have been called. 
Some of these places, now frequented 
by the peasantry for the purposes of 
prayer, were unquestionably the peni- 

* Qoban Saer, to wliom tradition points as the arelii- 
tect of some of the Round Towers, flourislied early in tlie 
seventh century, and was the son of Turvi, from whom 
Traigh Tuirbi, on the north coast of Dublin, takes its 
name. Of what race Turvi was is not known, but lie is 
supposed to have been descended from the Tuatha de 
Dananns, who are said to have left Tara with Lewry of 
the Long Hand, A. M. 2704, according to the chronology 
of the Ogygia. He was, at all events, not of Milesian 
descent. The round towers built by Goban, were, accord- 

tential stations of the ancient monas- 
teries, or were at some time resorted to 
by the Irish saints for prayer, fasting, 
and mortification. Such places were 
the Skellig Mihil, on the coast of Ker- 
ry ; Crunch Patrick, in Mayo ; and the 
island of St. Patrick's Purgatory, in 
Lough Dearg; and many spots from 
which veneration has thus been pre- 
served by the popular traditions, such 
as these saints' beds and holy wells, 
were consecrated in distant ages by 
some I'elations with the blessed ser- 
vants of God. It is not necessary here 
to consider the question whether or 
not they merit our respect as memori- 
als of the primitive saints of Ireland, 
and whether it be better to regulate 
the popular devotion which they in- 
spire, rather than condemn them as ob- 
jects of superstition. 

iug to tradition, those of Kilmacduach, Killala, and 
Antrim. See Petrie's Roxmd Towers, p. 385, &c., second 
edition, in which the Dinnsenchus is quoted on the sub- 
ject. Adamnan's Life of St. Columba mentions, accord- 
ing to the general acceptation of the word, the erection 
of a round tower (monasterii rotundi) in the sixth 
century ; and passages are quoted by Dr. Petrio (pp. 
390, &c.) from the Irisli annals, showing the erection of 
round towers in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth cen- 




aiaracter of Irish History in tho Seventh and Eighth Centuries.— Piety of some Irish Kings.— Renewed Wars 
for the Leinster Tribute.— The Poet Eumann.— Foundation of TaUaght.— St. Aengns the Culdee.— St. Colgu 
and Alcuin.— An Early Irish Prayer-book.— Signs and Prodigies.— The Lavchomart.— First Appearance of 
the Danish Pirates.— Their Character.— Their Barbarism and Inhumanity.— Heroic Resistance of the Irisli.— 
Tixrgesius.- Domestic Wars.- Felim, King of Cashel.— Malachy I.— Danish Settlements in Watcrford and 
Limerick.— Irish Allies of the Danes.— Cormac MacCuilenan.- Niall Glundubh.— Muirkertach and Callaghan 

Contemporary Sovereigns and Events.— A. d. 800, Charlemagne crowned emperor of the West.— 827, Dissolution of the Saxon 
heptarchy ; Egbert sole king of England.— 872-900. Alfred the Great ; Danish invasions of England.— 850, Final 
gation of the Picts by Kenneth, king of the Soots of Albany.— 921, The Moors victorious in Spain.— 932, Eollo, the Nor- 
man, founds the Duchy of Normandy.— 987, Hugh Capet, king of France.- 995, the Danegelt, or Iand-ta.x, paid in EMg- 
land to the Danes. 

(The eighth, ntnth, akd first half of the tenth CENTtmrES.) 

"O ESUMING the thread of our civil 
-^*^ history, we may glide rapidly over 
the events which intervene between the 
commencement of the seventh century 
and the epoch of the Danish invasions 
— the next era of great importance in 
our annals. During that interval, com- 
prising a couple of centuries, the facts 
recorded are sufficiently numerous, but 
the details are meagre, and rarely afford 
a clew to the motives of the actors, or to 
the causes or consequences of events. 
The obituaries of ecclesiastics, eminent 

• As to this frequent recurrence of petty wars, we 
must recollect that other countries present similar blood- 
stained annals in the same ages. The wars of the Saxon 
heptarchy were as numerous as the contemporary ones of 
the Irish pentarchy. Writing of Northumbria in the 
eighth century, Lingard says that " it exliibited succes- 
sive instances of treachery and murder, to which no 
other country, perhaps, can furnish a parallel." Its kings 
were engaged in perpetual strife ; and Charlemagne pro- 

for learning or holiness, and for their 
exalted po.sitiou in the Church, occupy 
a leading j^lace in the chronicles of the 
times. The demise of kings, chieftains, 
and tanists, is also set down with fidelity ; 
dearths, epidemics, and portentous phe- 
nomena, are duly recorded ; and these, 
with the brief mention of battles, which 
would indicate an almost perj^etual war- 
fare between the several provinces, and 
between different districts of the same 
province, make up the staple of the 
venerable annals of the period.* With 

nounced them to be "a perfidious and perverse race, 
worse than pagans." The English Saxons seem to have 
fallen at this epoch into a state of utter demobilization ; 
so much BO that their ovnx historians affirm that tho 
crimes of both princes and people had drawn down upon 
them the merited scourge of tho Danish wars. See tho 
testimonies of Henry of Huntingdon, and others, to this 
effect, collected by Mr. MacCabe, in his Catholic History 
of England, vol. ii. chap. 1. 



all their liereditaiy feuds there was still 
mixed up a spirit of primitive chivalry. 
As a general rule, human life was safe 
except in the field of battle ; and their 
pitched battles were usually prearrang- 
ed, sometimes for a year or more, both 
as to time and place; so that both 
parties had an opportunity to collect 
their forces, and the conflict which en- 
sued was a fair trial of strength. Sev- 
eral Irish kings, at this period, were 
remarkable for piety, and not a few of 
them ended their days in religious 
houses; and the same pages which 
record the carnage of battle, often show 
that distinguished saints were then 
dwelling in our monasteries and ancho- 
rites' cells. With such living examples 
in the midst of them, the people cannot 
have been destitute of piety and moral- 
ity ; and in the picture which that rude 
age presents we find a beautiful illus- 
tration of the way in which religion 
stood between society and barbarism, as 
it did at that time throughout Europe 
in general. 

The pious generosity of Finachta, in 
relinquishing his claim to the Leinster 
tribute^ at the prayer of St. Moling 
(about 687) was of little avail, as most 
of his successors waged war to renew it. 
The monarch Congal, of the race of 
Conal Gulban, scourged Leinster with 
his armies, either for this purpose, or, as 
some say, to avenge the death of his 
grandfather, Hugh, son of Ainmire, 
who was slain in the battle of Dunbolg. 
Congal died suddenly, in the year 708 ; 
and by liis successor, Fergal, of the 

Cinel-Eoghain branch of the Hy-Nialls, 
Leinster was "five times wasted and 
preyed in one year." In one of these 
inroads (a. d. 772) a great battle was 
fought at the celebrated hill of Allen, 
in the county of Kildare, when Fergal, 
and the chiefs of Leath Cuinn brought 
21,000 men into the field, and the Lein- 
ster men could only muster 9,000. The 
latter, however, made up by their bra- 
very for the disproportion of their num- 
bers, and the slaughter which followed 
was terrific, the total amount of slain 
on both sides being seven thousand 
men, among whom was Fergal, king of 
Ireland. The annalists attribute the 
defeat of the northerns to the denuncia- 
tions of a hermit who upbraided the 
king with violating the solemn engage- 
ments of his predecessor, Finachta, by 
endeavoring to reimpose the Borumean 

In a battle fought in 730, between 
the men of Leinster and Munster, 3,000 
of the latter were slain ; and imniedi- 
ately after another invasion of Leinster 
by Hugh Allen, king of Ireland, and 
the Hy-Nialls of the north, took place, 
when, in a battle fought at a place now 
called Ballyronan, in the county of Kil- 
dare, the monarch, and Hugh, son of 
Colgan, king of Leinster, met in single 
combat. The latter was slain, and the 
Leinster army almost wholly extermin- 
ated.* It is added that the people of 
the north rejoiced in thus wreaking 

* Four Masters, A. D. 
the Annals of Ulster, is 

Tlie date of this battle, in 



their vengeance on the Leinster men, 
nine thousand of whom fell in the car- 
nage that day. 

While recording these battles, the 
annals tell us that Beg Boirche, king of 
Ulidia (a. d. 704), "took a pilgrim's 
staff, and died on his pilgrimage ;" that 
Flahertach, king of Ireland, having re- 
tired from the sovereignty in 729, em- 
braced a monastic life, and died at 
Armagh in 760 ; that Donal, son of 
Murchad, after a reign of twenty years 
as king of Ireland, died on a pilgrimage 
in lona, in 75S* (7G3) ; and that his 
successor, Niall Frassagh, retired from 
the throne in 765 (770), and became 
a monk at lona, where he died in 778, 
and was buried in the tomb of the Irish 
kings in that island. Two or three of 
the next succeeding monarchs are also 
mentioned as remarkable for their re- 
pentance and religious preparation for 

In the year 742 (747) died Ilumann, 
son of Colman, whom the annalists de- 
scribe as an " adept in wisdom, chronol- 
ogy, and poetry," and who, in the Book 
of Ballymote, is called the " Virgil of 
Ireland." We mention him on account 
of a remarkable fact, namely, that he 
corajiosed a poem for the Galls, or for- 
eigners, of Dublin (Ath Cliach), and, 
by a ruse, contrived to get well paid for 
it in pinginns, or pennies ; whence we 

* The events about tliis period are all antedated four 
or five years by tbe Four Musters ; the dates given by 
Tigliemacli being proved to be correct. 

f Cambrensis Eversus, cap. is. 

X See some account of Kumaiin, quoted in Petrio's 
Ecclesi<i3tk((l Architecture of Ireland, pp. 303, &c. The 

may conclude that, as the Danes had 
not yet visited Ireland, the foreigners 
in question were Saxons, of whom great 
numbers were then in this country.']; 
It is added, in the account of Rumann, 
that a British king named Constantine, 
who had become a monk, was at that 
time abbot of Kahen, in the King's 
county ; and that at Cell-Belaigh, which 
appears to have been in the same neigh- 
borhood, there were " seven streets" of 
these foreigners. We know that, at 
the same period, Gallen, in the King's 
county, was called " Galin of the Brit- 
ons," as Mayo was "Mayo of the 
Saxons," on account of the monasteries 
of those nations founded there. 

The monastery of Tamlacht, or Tal- 
laght, nea.r Dublin, was founded in the 
year 769, by St. Maelruain ; and in the 
lifetime of the founder, St. Aengus the 
Culdee, the femous Irish hagiologist, 
flourished there. St. Colgu, suruamed 
the wise, lector of Clonmacnoise, and 
who appears to have been the tutor of 
many eminent Irish and foreign scholars, 
died about the year 791. By him was 
written the first prayer-book which we 
find mentioned in the Irish annals. It 
was called the "Besom of Devotion" 
(Scuaip-chrabhaidh), and Colgan said 
he had a copy of it, which he describes 
as a collection of very ardent prayei s 
in the shape of litanies, and as a woi-k 

Galls having first refused any remuneration for the 
poem, Rumaua said ho would expect two pinginns from 
every good man, and would bo content with ooe from 
each bad one. The result was, that all of them sought 
to be placed in the former category. 



Iji-eathiug fervent piety and elevation 
of the soul to God.* Up to the close 
of this century we find the great abbey 
of Peronne, in France, founded about 
two centuries before by St. Fursey, still 
supplied with abbots from Ireland, and 
the city itself called, in the Irish an- 
nals, Cahii'-Forsa, or Fursey's city. 

Portentous signs and prodigies are 
frequently mentioned in the Irish annals 
at this period, such as showers of blood, 
and the darkening of the sun or moon, 
or the moon appearing as blood. In 
the reign of Niall Frassach there hap- 
pened a dreadful famine ; the monarch 
humbled himself, and in answer to his 
prayei-s there fell showers of sdver, 
honey, and wheat. Hence his surname 
of Frassach, signifying " of the showers." 
M'Curtin, who wrote about a century 
ago, says that in his time some of the 
coin made of the celestial silver was still 
preserved. As we approach the coming 
of the Danes the portents become more 
frequent and alarming. Eclipses of the 
sun and moon, pillars of fire in the sky, 
dragons seen in the air, and fleets of 
ships sailing through the clouds, filled 
the people with gloomy forebodings. 
In the year 767, and again in 799, oc- 
curred certain teriible fits of j)anic feai'. 

* Acta SS. Hib. p. 379, n. 9. Alcuin calls St. Colgu 
" master," and addresses Mm witli great affection and ven- 
eration in a letter wMcli is printed in Usslier's Sylhge. 

\ The annals mention a terrific storm -n-ith thunder 
ind lightning, which occurred on the eve of St. Patrick's 
day, A. D. 799 ; and by which a thousand and ten per- 
sons were killed on the coast of Corcabaiscin, in Clare ; 
ind the island of Fitha (believed to bo Inis-caerach, or 
Mutton island, opposite Kilmurry-Ibrickan, on that 

which are called in the annals Lavcho- 
mart, or the " clapping of hands," " so 
called," say the Four Masters, " because 
terrific and horrible signs appeared at 
the time, which were like unto the signs 
of the Day of Judgment, namely, great 
thunder and lightning, so that it was 
insufierable to all to hear the one and 
see the other. Fear and horror seized 
the men of Ireland, so that their reli- 
gious seniors ordered them to make two 
fasts, together with fervent prayer, and 
one meal between them, to protect and 
save them from a pestilence precisely at 
Michaelmas. Hence came the Lamliclio- 
mart^ which was called the fire from 
heaven." f 

The first descent of the Danish pirates 
on the coast of Ireland is mentioned thus 
by the Four Masters under the year 
790: "The burning of ReachrannJ by 
the Gentiles, and its shrines broken and 
plundered." England had been visited 
by them a few years earlier, and they 
did not again appear on the Irish coast 
until 793, when another party of them 
plundered and burned the church of St. 
Patrick's Island, near Skerries, on the 
Dublin coast, and carried off the shrine 
of St. Dochanna, committing other dep- 
redations on the sea-board of Ireland 

coast) was partly submerged and divided into three isl- 

X The island of Rathlin, on the coast of Antrim, and 
that of Lambay, in the bay of Dublin, were both 
anciently called Eechreinn, or Reachrann. The latter 
is the one here referred to. Tho date of the event, ac- 
cording to the Annals of Ulster, is 793 ; according to 
Tighernach, 793 ; and according to O'Fhiherty'B calcnla. 
tion, 795. 



and Scotland. Henceforward their 
visits were repeated at shorter inter- 
vals, but for many years they came in 
small detached parties, apparently not 
acting in concert, but for the sole pur- 
pose of plunder, and without any view 
to a permanent settlement. 

The people, popularly known in our 
history as Danes, comprised swarms 
from various countries in the north of 
Europe, from Norway, Sweden, Zea- 
land, Jutland, and, in general, from all 
the shores and islands of the Baltic, 
who, compelled by their inhospitable 
soil to depend chiefly on the sea for a 
livelihood, devoted themselves, from an 
early period, to the adventurous and 
lialf-savage life of pirates or sea-rovers. 
In the Irish annals they are variously 
called Galls, or foreigners; Geiuti, or 
Gentiles ; and Lochlanni, or inhabitants 
of Lochlann, or Lake-land, that is, Nor- 
way ; and they are distinguished as the 
Finn Galls, or White Foreigners, who 
are supposed to have been the inhabit- 
ants of Norway; and the Dubh Galls, 
or Black Foreigners, who were probably 
the people of Jutland, and of the south- 
ern shores of the Baltic Sea. A large 
tract of country, north of Dublin, still 
retains the name of the former. By 
English writers they have been called 
Ostmen and Vikings, and are known 
by the generic terms of Northmen or 
Scandinavians. They are scarcely heard 

* According to English writers, tho butchery of chil- 
dren was a common practice with the Northmen in their 
first des<-ents ; their soldiers made a .sport of flinging 
infants from the point of one spear to another, so ag to 

of in history until about the time their 
cruel depredations were first inflicted 
on southern nations, and long after that 
period they continued utterly illiterate, 
and seemed quite impervious to the 
light of Christianity. Their bold, ad- 
venturous, and ruthless spirit in the 
pursuit of jiillage ; the command of the 
ocean which their habits and numbers 
gave them; the combination in which 
they soon learned to act in their plun- 
dering excursions ; the fierce barbarity 
with which they treated their victims ; 
and, above all, the disunited and feebld 
state in which they found those coun- 
tries upon which they preyed, gave 
them foi-midable advantages. Thus, for 
upwards of two centuries were they a 
scom-ge of the most fearful kind to Brit- 
ain and Ireland, and to some of thii 
maritime countries of Southern Europe. 
They were characterized by unparallel- 
ed daring, perseverance, and inhuman- 
ity. They seemed to have no tie of 
common humanity with those who feH 
into their power. With them there was 
no mercy for captives. At least such is 
the character which they receive from 
contemporary Saxon and French his- 
torians, for the Irish writers do not de- 
pict the atrocities of the Danes in the 
same colors, although the vivid tradi- 
tions preserved even to the present 
day iu Ireland show that their cruelties 
must have been appalling.* 

show their dexterity in catching the writhing bodies ir. 
midair; and one of tlio Vildug chiefs, described na a 
"brave pirate," received a nickname for hi3 humanity 
in opposing this revolting pastime. See the authorities 



But the plunder and desecration of 
cliurches and monasteries, and the 
slaughter of ecclesiastics, were the favor- 
ite ex^Dloits of these fierce pagans. Their 
descent upon any j^oint was sure to be 
signalized by this sacrilegious rapine, 
lona, or I-Columbkill, was laid waste 
by them in YOT, and again in 801, when 
sixty-eight of its clergy and laity were 
massacred ; the monastery of Inishmur- 
ray, off the coast of Sligo, was sacked 
and burned by them in 802, when they 
also penetrated into Roscommon; and 
in succeeding years, as these incursions 
became more frequent, all the religious 
houses of Ireland were subjected in 
their turn to the same process of devas- 
tation, and sometimes repeatedly within 
the same year. Armagh, with its ca- 
thedral and monasteries, was plundered 
by the Danes four times in one month ; 
and in Bangor, 900 monks, with their 
abbot, were massacred by them in one 
day. " As few things of any value," 
observes a late writer, " could have sur- 
vived such conflagrations, the mere 
wantonness of barbarity alone could 
have tempted them so often to repeat 
the outrage. The devoted courage, how- 
ever, of those crowds of martyrs who 
still returned undismayed to the same 

on these and many otlier atrocities of the Danes quoted 
in Sharon Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons, vol. i. ; 
and in MacCabe's Catholic History of England, vol. ii., 
in which latter work tho reader will find some just ani- 
madversions on Laing's " Chronicle of the Kings of Nor- 
way," in which Mr. Laing seems to like tho northern 
pirates all the better for their paganism and fierceness, 
and attributes the easy conquest by them of the English 
SaxoiB to the effect upon tho latter of " Romish supcr- 
etition and church influence." 

spot, choosing rather to encounter suf- 
ferings and death than leave the holy 
place untenanted, presents one of those 
affecting pictures of quiet heroism with 
which the history of the Christian 
Church abounds."* 

Dismayed, at first, and confounded 
by the assaults of the fierce and merci- 
less invaders, who appeared at the same 
moment at several points, and the time 
and place of whose return could never 
be calculated, it was some time before 
the Irish made any regular stand against 
them. They soon, hoAvever, rallied from 
their panic, and discovered that their 
mysterious foes were as vulnerable as 
other men. "When parties of the Danes 
landed unexpectedly, and were engaged 
in their Avork of pillage, a force was 
generally mustered in the neighborhood 
to resist them, and in innumerable in- 
stances the marauders were successfully 
attacked and driven back with slaughter 
to their ships. But these partial de- 
feats had no efifect on the desperate 
energies of the Northmen, AAdio always 
returned in greater numbers the folloAA'- 
ing year ; and who, from their command 
of the sea, had their choice on all occa- 
sions of a landing-place, running up by 
the rivers into the heart of the country. 

* Moore's History of Ireland, vol. ii., p. 30. The ap- 
pearance of some mysterious preacher is thus referred to 
in the Irish Annals under the year 806 (811) :— " In this 
year the Ceile-Dei (euldee) came over the sea with dry 
feet, without a vessel ; and a written roU was given him 
from heaven, out of which he preached to tho Irish, and 
it was carried up again when the sermon was finished. 
This ecclesiastic used to go every day southwards across 
the sea, after finishing his exhortation." 



and constructing fleets of small craft on 
the lakes in the interior, whence they 
were able, at any moment, to devastate 
the surrounding country. 

The annals tell us that the foreigners 
were slaughtered by the men of Um- 
hall, in Mayo, in 812 ; by Covach, lord 
of Loch-Lein (Killarney), in the same 
year; by the king of Ulidia, and by 
Carbry, lord of Hy-Kinsella (south Lein- 
ster), in 827 ; by the men of Hy-Figeinte, 
in the west of Limerick, in 834, tfec, but 
these and many similar defeats were of 
no avail, other parties of the adven- 
turers being at the very same moment 
victorious at several points.* After some 
twenty or thirty years Lad been con- 
sumed in these desultory attacks, the 
Danes determined on a more extensive 
scheme of invasion, and, combining their 
forces under one commander, fitted out 
large fleets for the purpose; but un- 
fortunately, while the enemy were thus 
carrying out their plans for the subju- 
gation of Ireland, the Irish princes and 
chieftains were wasting the energies of 
the country in wars among themselves, 
so that no combined eftbrt against the 
common foe was ever even thought of. 

Hugh (Aedh) surnamed Oirduigh, or 
the legislator, son of Niall Frassach, of 
the northern Hy-Niall race, became 
monarch of Ireland in 793, and com- 
menced his reign by desolating the 
l)rovince of Meath, then turning his 
arms against Leinster, which he devas- 

* Eginhart, the historian of Charlemagne, clearly 
refers to the defeat of the Norsemen in Mayo, in 812, in 
the fgllowing passage : — " Classis Nordmannonun Iliber- 

tated twice in one month. When sum- 
moned to one of these sanguinary forays, 
the archbishop of Armagh and his 
clergy protested against the monstrous 
impropriety of the ministers of peace 
being obliged to attend their war-host- 
ings. Such had hitherto been the cus- 
tom ; but Hugh now consented to leave 
the question to the decision of a holy 
and wise man called, from his know- 
ledge of canon law, Fohy (Fothah) of 
the Canons ; and the latter immediately 
prepared a statement, or essay, on the 
subject, the result being that ecclesias- 
tics were henceforth exempted from the 
duties of war in Ireland. 

A. D. 817. — Hugh Oirdnigh, after a 
reign of twenty-five years, was succeed- 
ed by Conor, who reigned fourteen 
years, during which period the Danish 
power was placed on a firm footing in 
many parts of Ireland, under a chief 
known in these countries as Tuirges, or 
Turgesius, but who cannot be traced by 
that name in any Scandinavian chroni- 
cles. He came to Ireland in 815, and 
fortified himself at Rinuduin, on the 
west side of Lough Ree, an expansion of 
the Shannon in Roscommon. All this 
time L-eland was laid waste as much by 
domestic wars as by the exactions, pil- 
lage, and burnings of the jSTorthnien. 
While the latter were engaged in plun- 
dering Louth and some other districts, 
the men of Munster were at the work of 
plunder in Bregia, and Conor, the king 

niam, Scotorum insulam, aggreesa, commisso prselio cum 
Scotis, parte non modica Nordmanuorum interfecti, 
turpiter fugiendo domum reversa est." 



of Ireland, instead of defending any of 
these ten-itoi-ies, was himself busy plun- 
dering Leinster to the banks of the river 

A. D. 831.— Niall Caille, son of Hugh 
Oirdnigh, on assuming the now almost 
nominal sovereignty of Ireland, led an 
army against the Danes, whom he de- 
feated at Derry, but his efforts were 
soon paralyzed. While the country was 
a scene of devastation from north 
to south — her people prostrate and 
hemmed in by foreign foes who ex- 
tracted the marrow of the land — Felim 
(Feidhlimidh), king of Cashel, of the 
race of the Eoghauachts of South Mun- 
ster, thought it a favorable opportunity 
to assert his own right to a share in the 
spoils. This selfish prince accordingly 
mustered an army and marched into 
Leinster to levy tribute, reviving the 
ancient claim of Eoghan Mor. The 
country must have been already little 
l^etter than a wilderness, yet lie found 
some work left for iire and sword ; and 
went on in his career of plunder through 
the length of Ireland, till he reposed 
for a year in the primatial city of Ar- 
magh, having previously taken hostages 
from the unhappy monarch Niall, and 
from the king of Connaught. The an- 
nals of Innisfallen boast, on this account, 
that he was king of all Ireland. He 
also stopped at Tara; and on his re- 
turn to the south, plundered and laid 

* There is a romantic story told of tlie manner in 
wliich Melouglilin got Turgesius into his power. It is 
said tliat lie pretended to give Ms daughter to the pi- 
rate chief, but sent with her fifteen young men disguised 

waste the termon lands of Clonmacnoise, 
" up to the church door ;" but he only 
survived this sacrilege one year, and 
died in 845, on his return to Munster. 
It does not appear from any ancient 
authority that this man's parricidal 
arms were ever once turned against the 

A. D. 843. — At this gloomy period 
appeared Meloughlin (Maelseachlaiun) 
or Malachy, king of Meath, and mon- 
arch of Ireland, whose bravery and 
ability materially helped to save his 
country. His first exploit, while yet 
only king of Meath, was to get the ty- 
rant Turgesius into his power, and 
make him pay the penalty of his atro- 
cities by drowning him in Lough Owel, 
in Westmeath.* This success was the 
signal for a general onslaught upon the 
foreigners in every part of Ireland. 
The people rose simultaneously, and 
either massacred them in their towns, 
or defeated them in the field ; so that 
with the exception of some few strong- 
holds, like that of Dublin (which they 
had seized in 836), the land of Ireland 
was freed from the Northmen. Wher- 
ever they could escape they sought ref- 
uge in their ships, but only to return 
in more numerous swarms than before. 

A. D. 846. — Meloughlin being now 
monarch of Ireland, defeated the Danes 
at Farragh, near Skreeu, in Meath, 
slaying 700 of them ; while, in the 

in female attire, who seized the tyrant and slew his at- 
tendants. This tale, however, only rests on the authori- 
ty of Qiraldus Cambrensis, and is rejected by Irish his. 



same year, Oldiovar, the successoi" of 
Felira iu Munster, aided by the Lein- 
ster men, inflicted another defeat, and a 
loss of 1 ,200 men on the Danes in Kil- 
dare. The foreigners suffered some 
further losses in that year, although 
they had at this time got some traitor- 
ous Irishmen into their ranks ; and the 
following year, Meloughlin, assisted by 
Tighernach, lord of Lough Gower (near 
Dunshaughlin), plundered the Danes in 
their stronghold of Dublin. 

A. D. 849. — Two contending parties 
now appeared among the Danes them- 
selves. The Dubh Galls, or "Black 
Gentiles," made a descent upon Ireland 
with a fleet of seven score ships, and 
assailed the Finngalls at different points, 
making an immense slaughter of them, 
and sacking their fortresses, so that the 
power of the white foreigners was quite 
crushed, until a reinforcement arrived 
to them in a fleet of one hundred and 
sixty sail (a. t>. 850), when the conflict 
was renewed. The battle which ensued 
l)etween them lasted three days and 
as many nights ; and victory at length 
deciding in favor of the Black Galls, 
their opponents abandoned their ship- 
ping and fled inland. Next year, how- 
ever (S51),we find that all the foreign- 
ei's in Ireland submitted to one chief- 
tain, Amlaff, son of the king of Loch- 
lann, or Norway, and that the Danish 
power was thus once more consolidated. 

* In one of the earliest of tlie alliances alluded to 
above, Kinna (Clneadli), lord of Cinnachta Breagli, iu 
tlie cast of Meath, rebelled, with a Gentile force at his 
back, against Meloughlin, and, in the course of his dep- 
redations, burned the oratory of Trcvet (Treoit), with 

Amlaff lived in Dublin, and his brothers 
Sitric and Ivar fixed themselves, the for- 
mer in "Waterford, and the latter in 
Limerick; which towns, previously 
places of some note, were soon raised 
to considerable importance as Danish 
stations and commercial depots. An op- 
pressive tax was now levied . on the 
country by the Danes, in lieu of their 
previous system of predatory exactions, 
which, nevertheless, was not yet wholly 

Notwithstanding this tyranny and 
rapine on the one side, and indomitable 
resistance on the other, some symptoms 
of amalgamation between the Norse- 
men and natives are now visible, so 
that we begin to hear of the Dano-Irish, 
who partly adopted the Irish customs, 
and even the Irish language. During 
the remaining hundred and sixty years 
that the Northmen continued in Ireland 
on a hostile footing, we find them con- 
stantly in alliance with some recreant 
Irish chieftains, who aided them in their 
wars, both in Ireland and England, and 
availed themselves, in their turn, of 
their help to avenge private quarrels." 
The strangers, however, still continued 
inveterate heathens, and several persons 
who were put to death by them about 
this time are styled martyrs by the Irish 
annalists, intimating that they were slain 
for the sake of the Christian religion. 

A. D. 857. — A ffreat meeting of the 

two hundred and sixty persons who had sought refuge 
in it ; but, in the following year, he was captured by the 
monarch, and drowned iu the river Nanny (AingeJ 
which flows through his own district. 



cliieftains of Ireland, witli the archbish- 
op of Armagh and other distinguished 
ecclesiastics, was collected this year by 
Meloughlin, at llathugh, iu Westmeath, 
" to establish peace and concord among 
the men of Ireland." Two chiefs who 
had been in temj)orary league with the 
Danes tendered their allegiance to the 
king on the occasion ; namely, Kervall, 
or Carroll, lord of Ossory, and Mael- 
gualai, king of Munster, the latter of 
whom was soon after stoned to death 
by the Danes. The first result of this 
meeting was a movement against the 
Hy-Nialls of the north, in which the 
monarch was aided by the other four 
l^rovinces; and Hugh Finuliath, chief 
of the northern Hy-Nialls entered, in 
consequence, into au alliance with Am- 
laff, the Danish king of Dublin, and 
with his aid overran the territory of 
Meath. Three years later (860) the 
brave and magnanimous Meloughlin 
died, after a reign of sixteen years. 

In the reign of this king the Irish 
historians mention an embassy from 
the king of Ireland to the emperor 
Charles the Bald, to inform him of the 
victories gained over the northern 
pirates, and to ask permission for the 
Irish monarch to pass through France 
on an intended pilgrimage to Rome. 
The name of Ireland was long before 
this time familiar in France; and it 
would even appear, from the statement 

* Abbo MacGooglicgan, History of Ireland, p. 213. — 
Tlio alliance between France and Ireland is said to have 
continued up to tho English invasion ; but Scottish 
writers, as in bo many other instances, erroneously ap- 

of Eginhart, the secretary and historian 
of Charlemagne, that the Irish kings 
had acknowledged that great monarch 
as their feudal lord.* 

Hugh Finnliath succeeded Melough- 
lin, and although we saw him just now an 
ally of the Danes, it was only a tempo- ' 
rary necessity that made him such, for 
no sooner had he established his author- 
ity by exacting submission and hostages 
from the chiefs of the several territories, 
than he directed his arms vigorously 
against the invaders, on whom he in- 
flicted several discomfitures. The first 
of these was iu 864, at Lough Foyle, 
where, after a sanguinaiy battle, the 
heads of twelve score Danes were piled 
in a heap before him ; and again, two 
years after, he gained a decisive victory, 
with a band of one thousand men, over 
five thousand Danes and rebel Irish, at 
Cill-ua-nDaighre.f This battle, and 
other exploits of Hugh Finnliath, were 
favorite themes of the bards ; and some 
beautiful Iiish verses, quoted by the 
Four Masters in recording his death in 
the year 8V6, show with what feelings of 
enthusiasm this chivalrous Irish prince 
was regarded by his contemporaries. 
He was married to the daughter of the 
celebrated Kenneth MacAlpine, who 
conquered the Picts, and who became 
first sole king of Scotland, about the 
year 850 ; and after Hugh's death that 
lady married his successor, Flanu, sur- 

propriato to their own country this incident of Irish 

f Probably Kiladerry, in the county of Dublin.— 



named Sinna, or of the Sliannon, the son 
Meloughlin, and chief of the southern 

The monotonous tale of wars in which 
the several provinces are wasted and 
plundered by the Irish themselves, or 
by the Danes, or by Danes and Irish 
acting in concert, is varied during the 
long reign of Flann Sinna by two or 
three episodes, one of which, relating to 
the brief and eventful career of Cormac 
MacCuilennan, king and archbishop of 
Cashel, is worthy of particular men- 

A. 1). 896. — From a life of peace, de- 
voted to the advancement of religion 
and the cultivation of literature, this 
holy prelate was taken, in one of the 
sudden political changes of the times, 
and compelled to ascend the throne of 
Munster, as chief of the Desmond sept 
of the Eoghanachts. To his horror, the 
good prelate found himself all at once 
involved inextricably in war. The ter- 
ritory of his friend, Lorcan, king of 
Thonioiid, was threatened with invasion 
by the king of Conuaught, and repeated 
inroads were made about the same time 
into his own territories, as far as Lim- 
erick, by Flann, the monarch, who Avas 
in leagile with the men of Leinster. To 
make matters worse, his chief adviser or 

* In tlio reign of Ilugli (801), tlio Danes bethought 
themselves of opening the vast seiiulchral mounds of 
the Tuatha de Dananns, along the Boyne, in search of 
plunder. The caves under the great tumuli of New 
Grange, Knowth, Dowtli, and Drogheda, were thus ex- 
amined by them, we are not told with what success ; but 
the record of the event is of interest in Irish antiquities, 
as fixing the sepulchral characti'r of these remarkable 

minister, Flahertach, abbot of Innis- 
cathy, who was also of the royal family 
of South Munster, was a man, according 
to all accounts, of a violent and obsti- 
nate temper, and of a disposition better 
suited to the field of battle than to the 
cloister. Impelled by the advice of this 
hot-headed counsellor, and by the cir- 
cumstances in which he was placed, 
Cormac made two campaigns against 
the combined forces of Connaught, 
Leinster, and Meath, in both of which 
he was victorious. In the first the en- 
gagement took place on the old battle- 
ground of Moy Lena, in the King's 
county ; and in the second, Cormac's 
army marched as far as Roscommon, 
and was supported by a fleet of small 
vessels on the Shannon. These wars 
seemed so for just and inevitable ; but 
they were followed by one of a more 
questionable kind. According to some, 
this latter war was undertaken at the 
instigation of Flahertach, and the chiefs 
of Munster, to enforce the tribute im- 
posed on Leinster, as part of Leath 
Mogha in the days of Conary the Great; 
the same for which Felim laid Avaste 
the lauds of Leinster some time before ; 
but others assert that it was only in- 
tended to protect the abbey of Monas- 
tereviu, founded by Evinus, a Munster 

monuments. — See note of Dr. O'Donovan in the Four 
Masters, ad an., and the arguments founded by Dr. 
Petrio on the fact in his " Essay on Tiira Hill." 

f Keating (Hist, of Ireland, part 2) has preserved from 
an ancient tract, now lost, a curious account of the reiga 
of Ckjrmac, and details of the battle in which he lost his 
life. — See Dr. Lynch's Latin translation of this accoimt, 
Four Matters, vol. ii. p. 50 1, note b. 


saint, on tlie confines of Leinster, and 
which the king of Leinster had now 
seized for his own people. Be this, how- 
evei', as it may, Cormac was utterly 
opposed to this war. He referred the 
subject to a council of the chiefs, but 
their voice being unanimously for war, 
he made the necessary arrangements to 
carry out their wishes, at the same time 
that he tried sundry expedients to pre- 
vent hostilities. The men of Leinster 
were equally reluctant to go to battle, 
and sent ambassadors with very fair 
propositions, which the obstinacy of 
Flahertach and of those who agreed 
with him caused to be rejected. Cor- 
mac was grieved at this perversity, but 
was obliged to let things proceed. He 
foretold his own death, and made his 
will, beq-ueathing a number of valuable 
objects to Armagh, Inniscathy, and 
other chiirches and abbeys. He en- 
deavored to conceal his forebodings 
from the soldiers, that they might not 
be dispirited : but the men had no con- 
fidence in their cause or theii" numbers ; 
several fled before the battle, and many 
more at the beginning of the conflict ; 
and when the combined forces of Lein- 
ster, Meath, and Connaught, with Flann 
at their head, met the small army of 
Munster, the victory was not long un- 

* The Annals of the Four Masters, whose chronology 
ia generally followed in this history, unless when tho 
contrary is stated, are here ante-dated five years, and 
the date of the death of Cormac was consequently 908. 
Cormac MacCuilennan has left a valuable Irish glossary, 
and is said to have been the compiler of the Psalter of 
Cashel. The number of scholars and eminent church- 
men whose deaths are recorded in the Irish annals at 
this period, show that all the wasting warfare and bar- 

certain. Cormac was killed, his horse 
rolling over him down the side of a de- 
clivity, rendered slippery by the blood 
of the slain ; and a common soldier, dis- 
covering his body, cut off the head, and 
presented it to Flann, who only bewail- 
ed the death of so good and learned a 
man, and blamed the indignity with 
which his remains had been treated. 
Six thousand of ^the men of Munster, 
with a great number of their princes 
and chieftains, fell in this battle, which 
was fought (a. d. 903) at a place called 
Bealagh Mughna, now Ballaghmoon, 
in the county of Kildare, two or three 
miles north of the town of Carlow. Fla- 
hertach, who led one of the three divi- 
sions in which the Munster army was 
marshalled, survived the battle, and 
after some years spent in penance, be- 
came once more minister, and ultimately 
king of Munster, but entertained calmer 
views as he advanced in life.* 

■ A. D. 913. — Flann in his old age had 
the afiliction to see his two sons, Don- 
ough and Conor, rebel against him ; but 
Niall, surnamed Glundubh, or of the 
Black-Knee, son of Hugh Finnlaith, the 
northern Hy-Niall chief, led an army 
against them, and compelled them to 
give hostages for their submission to 
their father. Flann died the following 

barities of the Danes, had not been able to extirpate 
piety or learning from the land of Erin. Among the 
distinguished names which wo thus find, may be men- 
tioned those of Maelmura of Fahan, who died in 885, 
and who has been already referred to in these pages as 
one of the oldest of the ancient poetic chroniclers of Ire- 
land whoso productions stiU survive ; and Suivne, an- 
chorite and scribe of Clonmacnoise, whose death occurred 
in 887. 



year (914), after a reign of tliirty-eight 
years, and was succeeded by tlie chival- 
rous Niall Glundubb. About this time 
fresh forces of Northmen poured into 
Irejand, and they established an in- 
trenched camp at Ceann Fuait (now 
Confey, near Leixlip), whence they sent 
out parties to pillage the country to a 
considerable distance. The spirit of 
unanimity which the men of Ireland ex- 
hibited on the occasion was cheering. 
A Munster army gained a victory over 
the Danes near the frontier of the 
southern province ; and the gallant 
Niall Glundubh, notwithstanding the 
strong poa'tion which the foreigners 
then held in and around Dublin, was 
resolved to assail them in their princi- 
jial fastnesses; but this attempt, al- 
though bravely made, was unsuccessful. 
In an assault on the Danish camp at 
Ceann Fuait, in 915, the Irish army was 
repulsed with great slaughter ; and two 
years after the Irish received a disas- 
trous defeat at Cill-Mosamhog or Kil- 
mashoge, near Rathfarnham, where they 
pressed upon the Northmen close to 
tlieir stronghold of Ath-Cliath.* Here 
Niall, with several Irish chieftains, fell, 
and his loss was bewailed long after by 
the bards in verses full of pathos and 
lioauty. His reign was unfortunately 
h)o short for him to render his country 
the services for which his noble and 
heroic spirit so well fitted him. 
Donough, sou of Flann Sinna, succeed- 

* Tlie true date of this battle is 910, the Annals of the 
b'our Masters, which have it under 917, being at this 
period two years antedated. 

ed, and began his reign under favorable 
auspices, by slaughtering a great num- 
ber of the Danes in Bregia; but he 
passed the remainder of it in compara- 
tive obscurity, one of the acts recorded 
of him being the slaying of his brother 
Donal treacherously. Godfred, the 
Danish chief of Dublin, plundered Ar- 
magh (a. d. 919), sparing the oratories 
with their Culdees ; and from this clem- 
ency some infer that he had embraced 
Christianity, but we have no positive 
authority on the subject. 

Two remarkable men, strongly con- 
trasted in many points, now appeared 
on the scene in Ireland. These were 
Muirkertach, son of Niall Glundubh, 
next heir to the throne, and Callaghan 
of Cashel (Ceallachan Caisil), the king 
of Munster. The northern chieftain 
was a man of heroic and generous spirit, 
willing to sacrifice every personal feel- 
ing for his country. Twice did he find 
himself arrayed in arms against the 
worthless monarch Donough, but, as 
the annalists express it, " God pacified 
them ;" or, in other words, Muirkertach 
was induced to yield for the sake of 
peace. Hitherto the Danish invaders 
had met no enemy so formidable as him 
in Ireland. Callaghan of Cashel was 
also renowned for heroism in war, but 
the love of country was no element in 
his character. The hereditary feud of 
the south and north was, in his mind, as 
strong an incentive to war as all the 
ravages of the heathen Danes ; and we 
find him sometimes acting in concert 
with these plunderers, and souietimes 



against them. In the year 934, Cal- 
laghau, with his Muuster army, pillaged 
Clonmacnoise a few months after it had 
suffered the same treatment from Am- 
laff and the Danes of Dublin; and again, 
iu 937, he invaded Meath and Ossory 
iu concert with the foreign enemy, lay- 
ing waste the country without mercy. 
Two years after, Muirkertach took hos- 
tages from the men of Ossory and the 
Deisi, and forthwith Callaghan entered 
then- territory and punished them for 
this act of compulsory submission to the 
Hy-Niall chieftain. 

A. D. 939. — Muirkertach, having re- 
turned from an ex])edition against the 
Norsemen of the Hebrides, resolved to 
strike a desperate blow against the Dan- 
ish power in Ireland, and to bring those 
who had acted with the enemy into 
submission to the monarch ; and accord- 
ingly he set out, with an army of one 
thousand chosen heroes, on his famous 
circuit of Ireland. He commenced by 
carrying off, from Ath Cliath, Sitric, 
brother of Godfred, then king of the 
Danes, as a hostage, and proceeded on 
his march to the south. The men of 
Leinster mustered to oppose his prog- 
ress, and assembled overnight in Glen- 
Mama near Dunlaven, through which 
liis route lay ; but as soon as they saw 
the northern warriors by the light of 
morning, they prudently retired, and 
MiiiikcM-tacli marched onto Dun-Aillinn 
near uM Kilcullen, where he took Lor- 

* Connacan Eigeas, poet of Ulster, and the friend and 
counsellor of Muirkertach, celebrated this " circuit of Iri^ 
land" in a poem which has been published by the 

can, king of Leinster, and fettered him 
as a hostage. The army of Munstei 
was next in readiness to give battle to 
the warrior band; but they eithei 
thought better of it, and determined to 
surrender their king, Callaghan ; or, ac 
cording to other authorities, Callaghan 
himself requested them rather to give 
him up than to fight the Hy-Nialls. 
The king of Cashel was accordingly 
taken and put in fetters as Lorcan had 
been. Muirkertach then marched to- 
wards Connaught, when young Con- 
or, son of Teige of the Three Towei-s, 
king of that province, presented himself 
as a hostage, and was carried off, but 
not fettered. The son of Niall finally 
returned to Aileach with all his royai 
hostages, and having spent five months 
there in feasting, he handed them over 
to Donough the monarch, as his liege 

The heroic Muirkertach, called by 
our annalists " the Hector of the West 
of Europe," was slain by Blacaire, son 
of Godfred, king of the Danes, at Ar- 
dee, in Louth (941), in less than two 
years after this triumphant progress ; 
and about ten years later (952), we find 
recorded the death of his old foe, Cal- 
laghan of Cashel, who had been per- 
mitted to return to his kingdom. This 
latter prince, who is celebrated in the 
romantic chronicles of the time, was tlie 
ancestor of the O'Callaghans, MacCar- 
thys, and O'Keeflfes. 

ArchcBological Society of Ireland in the first volume 
their Miscellany, 1841. 



Donougli, the feeble monarcli of Tara, 
was succeeded iu 942, after a reign of 
twenty-five years, by another nominal 
chief king, Congallacb, who, having fall- 
en into a Danish ambuscade, in 954, 
was in his turn succeeded by Donnel 
O'Neill,* son of Muirkertacb. 

The power of the Danes had greatly 

increased at this period, and was exer- 
cised with as much barbarity as evei", 
and the victories gained over thorn liy 
the Irish were comparatively few. But 
we have now arrived at an important 
epoch in the history of these Danish 
wars, which shall be developed in the 
next chapter. 


Sequel of tho Danisli Wars. — Limits of the Danish iwvrer in Ireland. — Hiberno-Danisli Alliances. — Danish Expe- 
ditions from Ireland into England, &c. — Conversion of the Danes to Christianity. — Consecration of Dauo-Irish 
Bishops. — Subdivision of Territory in Ireland. — Alternate Succession. — Progress and Pretensions of Mimster. 
— Brian Borumha. — Episodo of his Brother's Murder. — Malachy II., Monarch of Ireland. — His victories over 
the Danes. — Wars of Brian and Malachy.— Deposition of Malachy. — Character of Brian's Reign. — His Piety 
and Wise Laws. — TuE Battle op Clontaef. — Death of Brian. — Consequences of tho Battle. 

[From the middle of the tenth to the beqinntng op the eletenth Century.] 

THE Danes never obtained the do- 
minion of Ireland as they did that 
of England ; nor was there consequent- 
ly any Danish king of Ireland such as 
England had in her Canute or Harold. 
The first really formidable impression 
made by the Norsemen on L'eland was 
at the opening of the ninth century, 
when Cambrensis and Jocelin mention 
the viking Turgeis, or Turgesius, as 
kiiifr of Ireland. These writers also 

* This is one of the first instances we meet of an he- 
reditary surname in Ireland. It was assumed from 
Donal's grandfather, Niall Qlundubh. 

t Tile Danes were called Africans, or Saracens, in the 
inrdieval romances. 

t Colgau ( Tnai. Thaum., note on cap. 175, of Joceliu's 
Life of St. Patrick), says : — " Neither Qildas Moduda, 
nor John O'Dugan, in the catalogue of the kings of Ire- 

make some obscure allusion to Gur- 
mundus, the son of an African prince 
as a conqueror of Ireland ;f but this 
latter personage would appear to be 
purely fabulous, and the Irish annals 
clearly show that Turgesius never could 
have been justly styled king of Ire- 
land.J Indeed, the authority of the 
Northmen in Ireland could not at any 
time be said to have extended beyond 
the ground occupied by their marauding 

land, nor the Four Masters in tho same catalogue or in 
the Annals, nor any other writer of Irish liistory, native, 
or foreign either, as far as I know, before Giraldus Cam- 
brensis, enumerates Ciurmuudus or Turgesius among 
the kings of Ireland, althougli they make mention of 
Turgesius and other Normans as having, in S36 and tho 
following years, disturbed tho peace of [hat country by 
continual battles, and spoliations, and incursions." 



armies. The Irisli did not, like the 
Saxons, attempt to purchase peace fi-om 
the Danes by money, but fought with 
desperate resolution in defence of them- 
selves and their property, and generally 
made the northern freebooters pay dear- 
ly for the spoils they took. The latter 
were, however, permitted to establish 
themselves along the coast in Dublin, 
Wexford, Waterford, Youghal, Cork, 
and Limerick ; and when some of 
these strongholds were occasionally ta- 
ken by the Irish, the Danish inhabit- 
ants nevertheless purchased safety on 
easy terms. In these important sea- 
ports they became transformed from 
pirates to merchants, occupying small 
districts in their neighborhood for pur- 
poses of agriculture, and keeping up 
well-trained armies to levy black-mail 
in the interior. Sometimes they re- 
ceived such overthrows that the Irish 
annalists describe them as wholly driv- 
en from the country ; but they invaria- 
bly reappeared in greater force and 
with greater ferocity than before ; and 
it is obvious that the expulsion was not 
on those occasions complete. 

Thus, by degrees, did the Northmen 
become, as it were, a part of the recog- 
nized population of the country. They 
formed alliances, and made themselves 
indispensable as allies to one or other 

* This battle is celebrated in verse in the Saxon ckroni- 
:le; but on tlie death of Athelstan ia 941, Amlaff re- 
turned to England and became king of Northumbria. 
Edgar, one of Athelstan 's successors, in a charter dated 
at Gloucester, 904, boasts of having subdued " a great 
part of Ireland witli its most noble city of Dublin," as 
well as " the Kingdoms of the Islands of the Ocean, with 

of the Irish toparchs in every local 
quarrel. By their assistance the kings 
of Leinster were frequently able to re- 
sist the demands made for tribute both 
by the monarch and by the kings of 
Cashel. Sometimes the Danish chiefs 
of Dublin or Waterford left Ireland 
with their entire forces, apparently 
abandoning the country, for the pur- 
pose of making descents on England or 
Scotland, and in these excursions they 
were occasionaly aided by Irish allies. 
In 916 there was an expedition by the 
Danes of Waterford against Alba, or 
Scotland, of which Constantine was then 
king, and the invadei-s were beaten. 
Again, in 925, the Danes are said to 
have left Dublin for six months; and 
in 93Y they once more abandoned Dub- 
lin, led by Amlaff, or Olave, king of the 
Danes of Dublin and of the islands, and 
with numerous Irish auxiliaries invad- 
ed England. Constantine of Scotland, 
whose daughter was married to Amlaff, 
was this time an ally of the Northmen, 
who were also supported by the Welsh 
or Britons ; but they were defeated by 
Athelstan, king of England, in the 
memorable battle of Brunanburgh in 

The period of the conversion of the 
Danes to Christianity cannot be fixed 
with precision ; but the general opinion 

their fierce kings ; but as far as Ireland is concerned 
there is no ground whatever for the assertion, unless 
some defeat inflicted by Edgar on the Danes, not alluded 
to in our annals, be referred to. The charter is publish- 
ed in tJssher's SyUoge, p. 131. See also Ware's Anti- 
quities, p. 14 (London, 1714). 



is, that those of Dublin became Chris- 
tians about the year 948, a date which 
is assigned to the foundation of St. 
INIary's Abbey, on the north side of the 
Lifl'ey.* Whatever time the change took 
])lace, the annals do not indicate any 
mitigation of cruelty on the part of the 
Danes to mark the period. In the very 
year in which the Danes of Dublin are 
said to have been converted, they burned 
tlie belfry of Slane, while filled with ec- 
clesiastics and others, who had sought 
refuge there with some precious relics, 
among which was the staff of the holy 
founder, St. Ercf At a later period it 
was usual for the Danish bishops of 
Dublin and Limerick to be consecrated 
Iiy the archbishops of Canterbury, 
wliose jurisdiction they acknowledged, 
so little was there of the community of 
Christian charity ■ between them and 
theii' fellow-Christians in Ireland. 

While matters were proceeding thus 
with the Danes in Ireland, the native 
political system of the Irish themselves 
was producing its worst fruits. An un- 
limited subdivision of territory was 
taking place, and the number of inde- 
pendent dynasts multiplying according- 
ly. The time had passed away when 
the division of the island into five prov- 
inces could be said to hold good. 
There were kings of North and South 

* The death of an abbot of Clonmacnoiso named Conn- 
vaoli, said to bo one of the Finngalls, is mentioned in 
our nnnals so early as 800 ; and tlio Danish chief God- 
frril, wlio "sjiared the oratories and ('uldees of Ar- 
nmgli" in Oil), is conjectured by some to have been a 
t'hristiau ; but not ujKin sufficiint grounds. 

f Among the persons burned in tlie tower was Coen- 

Munster, besides independent lords of 
various territories in the southern prov- 
ince. Connaught was divided among 
two or three independent princes. Lein- 
ster, the battlefield of all the provinces, 
was at this time almost constantly in al- 
liance with the Danes. Bregia Avas able 
to rebel against Meath, of which it was 
only a portion. The Hy-Nialls of tlie 
north were subdivided into Kinel-Con- 
nell and Kinel-Owen. The former of 
these were excluded from the sovereign- 
ty since the death of Flahertach in 700 ; 
and the dignity of monarch alternated 
from that time with tolerable regularity 
between the Kinel-Owen branch and the 
southern or Meath branch of the race of 
Niall of the Nine Hostages. The Uli- 
dians, or i^eople of eastern Ulster, had 
their own king, and were rarely on ami- 
cable terms with their Hy-Niall neigh- 

If the principle of alternate succession 
worked smoothly enough between the 
northern and southern houses of Hy- 
Niall, there was still no cordiality ])e- 
tween them. One branch when in au- 
thority frequently devastated tlie terri- 
tory of the other, to obtain hostages or 
enforce payment of tribute. But when 
the southern Hy-Niall, or Meath branch, 
was in possession of the crown, there was 
generally a palpable inferiority of power 

eachair, prefect of the school of Slane, whom Colgan 
(Trills Thaum. p. 219) believes to have bei.'n Probus, 
one of the biographers of St. Patrick. The event affords 
an illustration of one of the uses to which the Irish bel- 
fries or round towers were applied — namely, as places 
of retreat in time of war. No trace of the Blano t<iwer 
is now vi.sible. 



displayed. Meath did not possess the 
resources of men, nor her princes often 
the vigorous activity and heroism which 
characterized the Iviuel-Owen. 

For some time the kingdom of Mun- 
ster had been gradually attaining the 
importance to which its extent and re- 
sources entitled it. It suffered, to this 
time, less from war than any of the 
other provinces, and was thus rising not 
only within itself, but relatively by rea- 
son of the greater injury which the 
others underwent. The time had, there- 
fore, arrived for its kings to reassert 
the old claim to the sovereignty of 
Leath Mogha, a claim which was the 
real cause of all the recent wars be- 
tween Munster and Leath Cuinn ; which 
served as a pretext for the aggressions of 
Felim, Cormac MacCuilennan, and Cal- 
laghan Cashel; and which was now 
about to rouse the energies of a more 
eminent man, whose career we are ap- 
proaching — namely, Brian Borumha or 

The sovereignty of Munster was to 
have alternated between the two great 
tribes of the Dalcasslans, or North Mun- 
ster race, and the Eoganachts, or race 
of South Munster; the former, as we 
have seen, descended from Cormac Cas, 
and the latter from Eoghan Mor, both 
sons of Oiliol Olum. But this rule was 
not observed; and for a long interval 

* The sumamo of BorumJui, or Boraimhe, is usually 
Bupposud to have been given from the tributes which 
Brian exacted ; but its most probable derivation is from 
Boromha, now Bcal-Borumha, an ancient fort on the 
Bliannon, about a mile north of Brian's palace of liin- 

the jwovincial crown was monopolized 
by the chiefs of Desmond, or South 
Munster. Cormac MacCuilennan wish- 
ed to correct this injustice, although 
himself of the Eoganacht, or Eugenian 
line; and his friend Lorcan, king of 
Thomond, did succeed to the crown of 
Munster, or rather of all Leath Mogha, 
after two intervening Eugenian reigns. 
On the death of Lorcan, his son Ken- 
nedy (Cineidi) contested, in 942, the 
succession with the Eugenian prince, 
Callaghan Cashel, but yielded in a chiv- 
alrous spirit, and co-operated with him 
in some of his wars against the Danes 
and others. This Kennedy was the 
father of the illustrious Brian Borumha. 
Mahon, the eldest son of Kennedy, 
successfully asserted his right to the 
crown of all Munster in 960, and per- 
formed many heroic exploits against 
the Danes of Limerick, and against the 
Connaught men, who had invaded Tho- 
mond. In his wars he was gallantly 
aided by his brother Brian, who distin- 
guished himself for deeds of valor from 
his youth. Mahon's brilliant career 
filled his hereditary rivals of South Mun- 
ster with envy and alarm, and a plot 
against his life was formed, a. d. 978, by 
Maelmhuaidh, or MoUoy (ancestor of the 
O'Mahonys), king of Desmond, Dono- 
van (ancestor of the O'Donovans), lord 
of PIy-Figeinte,f and Ivor, king of the 

cora, or the present KiUaloe. — Four Masters, vol. ii., p. 
1003, n. e. 

\ This important territory comprised the western part 
of the county of Limerick, and extended somewhat into 
the counties of Cork to the south, and Kerry to the west 


AlkiLj^ iS'Q) 



Danes, of Limerick ; this last-named per- 
son having, it is said, suggested the 
tieacherous scheme. Mahou was invit- 
ed to a banquet at the house of Dono- 
van, at Bruree on the Maigue, and the 
bijhop of Cork, with several others of 
the clergy, were induced to give him a 
solemn guarantee for his safety. He 
accordingly went, but was immedi- 
ately seized by a band of Donovan's 
armed men, who handed him over to 
Molloy, who with a strong party lay in 
wait in the neighborhood; and next 
morning, in violation of the sacred 
pledge that had been given to him, he 
was basely put to death, a sword being 
plunged into his bosom.* Brian took 
amjile vengeance on the murderers of 
his brother. He slaughtered the Danes 
of Limerick in several battles,f slew the 
treacherous lord of Hy-Figeinte, and 
finally overthrew JMolloy, who was 
killed in a battle at Ballagh Leachta, 
the scene of the murder, l)y Brian's son, 
Morough, then only fifteen years of age. 
Brian, on this, became king of both 
Munsters, and a few years later was 
acknowledged king of all Leath Mogha. 
A. T>. 979. — A battle was fought this 
3 ear near Tara, in which the Danes of 
Dublin and the Islands were defeated 
with terrible slaughter, by Malachy, or 
jVIaelseachlainn, the king of Meath. 

The rivers Maigue and Morning Star appear to have 
formed its boundary to tlie cast as the Shannon did to 
the nortli. 

* This crime was perpetrated at a hiU called Ballagh 
Leachta, which, according to some accounts, was at 
Redchair, on the confines of Limerick and Cork, but ac 
cording to another authority, was in the vicinity of Slac 


Ragnal or Randal, son of Amlave, the 
Danish king of Dublin, was slain, with 
a vast number of his trooj^s, and Am 
lave himself, soon after the defeat, went 
on a pilgrimage to lona, where he died 
broken-hearted. Dounell O'Neill, son 
of Muirkertach, the monarch of Ireland, 
also died this year, after a reign of 
twenty-four years, and was succeeded 
by the king of Meath, Malachy II., some- 
times styled the Great. 

A. D. 980. — Flushed with success after 
the battle of Tara, Malachy, immedi- 
ately on his accession to the sovereignty, 
marched against the Danes of Dublin, 
laid siege to the city, which he captured 
after being three days before its walls, 
and liberated two thousand Irish pris- 
onei's whom he found there, including 
the king of Leiuster, besides taking a 
large amount of rich spoils. It was 
stipulated that all the race of Niall 
should be henceforth free from tribute to 
the foreigners; and Malachy issued a 
proclamation declaring every Irishman 
then in bondage to the Danes released 
from captivity. 

Unfortunately, this auspicious com- 
mencement of Malachy's reign Avas soon 
marred by the bane of ancient Ireland 
— intestine wars. The successes and 
pretensions of the enterprising king of 
Munster excited the monarch's jealousy. 

room, in Cork. See note by Dr. O'Donovan, Four Mas- 
ters, an. 974 (rests 970). 

•f One of these battles was fought (a. d. 977) on Inis 
Cathy, where Brian made a fearful slaughter of the 
Danes ; and he followed up this success by driving them 
from all the other islands of the Shannon. 



Brian's claim to the sovereignty of Leath 
Mo"-ha was, in fact, an imperative call 
to arms. Malacby accordingly entered 
the territory of the Dalcassians (a. d. 
981), and, while laying waste the coun- 
try, caused the great oak-tree of Magh 
Adhair,* under which the kings of Tho- 
mond were inaugurated, to be taken up 
by the roots and destroyed. This was 
an unnecessary outrage, not easily to be 
foi-given, and showed tlie bitterness by 
whicb Malachy was animated. 

The annals of the period present a 
chequered enumeration of plundering 
excursions, in which no party seems to 
have been free from blame. On various 
occasions Malachy showed his resent- 
ment against Brian. He sent a hostile 
army into Leinster in defiance of bim, 
but this act was followed by a treaty, in 
which Brian's claim as king of Leath 
Mogha was admitted. Recalled from 
one of his forays by the reviving power 
of the Danes, Malachy again (a. d. 989) 
led an array against Dublin, defeated 
the Danes in battle, and laid siege " for 
twenty nights" to the Danish citadel, 
reducing the garrison to such straits 
tliat they were obliged to drink the 
salt water which they could procure 
when the tide rose in the river. At 
length he accepted terms, the Danes, m 
addition to former tributes, undertaking 
to pay him, annually on Christmas night 
during his reign, an ounce of gold for 
every garden attached to a dwelling in 

Dublin. A few years later, Malachy 
and Brian were again at war, the latter 
being now, as far as we can judge, the 
aggressor ; for, while the monarch was 
engaged in Connaught, Brian sent an 
army up the Shannon in boats and made 
an inroad into Meath, burning the royal 
rath of Dun Sciath. Upon this, Ma- 
lachy, recrossing the Shannon, marched 
towards the south, burned Nenagh 
(Aenach-Tete), plundered all Ormoud, 
and defeated Brian himself in battle 
(a. d. 994). He then marched once 
more against the Danes of Dublin, car- 
rying away, among other spoils, the ring 
or chain of Tomar, a Scandinavian chief, 
who was killed, a. d. 846, in the battle 
of Sciath Neachtaiu, near Calstleder- 

Three years after these events (a. d. 
997 according to the Irish annals, but 
A. r». 998 according to our modern com- 
putation), we find Malachy and Brian, 
with the men of Meath and Munster, 
acting in conjunction, "to the great joy 
of the Irish," as the annalists tell us, 
and attacking the Danes of Dublin, 
whom they plundered of a great por- 
tion of their wealth. The following 
year the two kings gained an impor- 
tant victory over the Danes, who were 
led by Harold, son of Amlave, at Glen 
Mama, a valley near Dunlaven, iu 
Wicklow, where Prince Harold was 
slain. The Irish army then marched 
to Dublin, where they remained for a 

• This is a place now called Moyre, near Tullagh, in 
the county of Clare. It derives its name from a Firbolg 
chief, Adhar, fide supra, p. 31, note. 

I Tills exploit is the theme of Moore's popular melody, 
' Let Erin remember the days of old," &c. 



week, buruecl tte citadel, expelled Sit- 
ric, sou of Aralave, the Danish king, 
and took a number of prisoners and a 
large quantity of gold and silver. Af- 
ter so many defeats the Danish power 
must have been in a very feeble state ; 
indeed, it only required unanimity, 
vigoi', and foresight, on the part of the 
Irish princes, to ex^Del all the Northmen 
from Ireland; but short-sighted policy 
still prevailed, and the tribute ob- 
tained from the Danes, together with 
the wealth brought by their merchants 
into the country, now made them ob- 
jects of avarice rather than fear to the 
native kings. 

A. D. 999 (1000).— This year is re- 
markable for the revolution which de- 
posed Malachy,and raised Brian Borum- 
ha to the dignity of monarch of Ireland 
in his stead ; but the accounts of the 
disputes between these two kings are 
so distorted by provincial partisanship 
that we can do no more than guess at 
the truth. The southern annalists rep- 
resent Malachy as quite incapable of 
ruling Ireland, and Brian as only yield- 
ing to the solicitations of the other Irish 
princes in assuming the reins of govern- 
ment. They speak of general councils 
of the nation, and of a year's grace 
given in vain to Malachy to retrieve his 
credit. But the authentic annals of 
the Four Masters have not one word 
about all this, which, besides, is incon- 
sistent with the active career of war 
and victory which we have seen Mala- 
chy thus far pursue. The character of 
Brian is popularly described as fault- 

less; and if the unprejudiced mind 
finds it difficult to acquit him altogeth- 
er of ambition and usurpation, still the 
use to which he converted the power 
he acquired, and the benefits, though 
transitory, which redounded from it to 
his country, to religion, and to civili- 
zation, may palliate faults not very 
heinous in themselves, considering the 
spirit and circumstances of the age in 
which he lived. 

In the year last referred to the Four 
Masters say that Brian collected an army, 
composed, in addition to his own Dal- 
cassians and the men of Munster in 
general, of the forces of South Oon- 
naught, Ossorjr and Leinster, and of 
the Danes of Dublin, and marched 
against Malachy, with whom he is not 
stated to have had any cause of quarrel 
on this occasion. The Danish contin- 
gent, consisting of cavalry, dashed ahead 
into Bregia, to enjoy the first-fruits of 
the plunder, but they were encountered 
by the monarch himself, and cut oif al- 
most to a man. This sturdy reception 
which indicated no want of vitality or 
the part of Malachy, had its due effect, 
and Brian's invading army returned 
home without fighting or pillaging ; 
but some assert that Malachy made 
concessions, and that Brian, though 
sure of victory, did not urge a battle. 
"This," say the northern annalists, 
" was the first turning of Brian and the 
Connaught men against Malachy."" 

* Dr. O'Donovan, in tho Annals of tho Four Masters, 
vol. ii., p. 742, note d, observes on this passage, that Ti- 
ghernncli, wUo lived very near tlio period, calls Brian's 


Nest year a Munster army commit- 
ted some depredations in Meatb, and 
was compelled to relinquish its plun- 
der. But the star of Malacby had 
waned, and, seeing that the feeling of 
the country was favorable to his rival, 
he submitted to his fate. Hence, when 
Brian, Avith an army composed partly 
of Danes, marched the following year, 
A. D. 1001 (1003 of the common era), 
to Athlone, Malachy gave him hosta- 
ges, or in other words, surrendered to 
him the crown of Ireland.* At the 
same time Brian received the hostages 
of Connaught; and then with a com- 
biaed force, a section of which was led 
by Malachy himself, who followed Bri- 
an's standard as one of his lieges, he 
proceeded northward to bring Ulster 
into subjection. The northern Hy-Ni- 
alls, were not, however, yet prepared 
to acquiesce in the revolution ; and 
Hugh, son of Donuell O'Neill, heir ap- 
parent to the sovereignty, with other 
nortliern chieftains marched out to op- 
pose him, but the armies having met at 

opposition to Malachy " turning tlirough guile or treach- 
ery :" and in a preceding note he remarks : — " Dr. O'Bri- 
en, in his Law of Taiiistry, and others, assert that Mael- 
seachlainn resigned the monarchy of Ireland to Brian 
because he was not able to master the Danes ; but this 
is all provincial fabrication, for Maelseachlainn had 
the Danes of Dublin, Meath, and Leinster completely 
mastered, until Brian, whose daughter was married to 
Sitric, Danish king of Dublin, joined the Danes against 
him. Never was there a character so historically ma- 
ligned as that of Maelseachlainn II. by Munster fabrica- 
tors of history." 

* Mr. Moore (Hist, of Ireland, vol. ii., p. 101), says : 
" Tlie ready acquiescence with which, in general, so 
violent a change in the polity of the country was sub- 
mitted to, may be in a great degree attributed to the 
example of patience and disinterestedness exhibited liy 
the immediate victim of this revolution, the deposed 

Dundalk (Dun Dealgan) separated 
without fighting, chiefly, as we ai-e led 
to suppose, from Brian's unwillingness 
to shed the blood of his countrymen. 
It was some years, indeed, before he suc- 
ceeded in reducing the Hy-Nialls of the 
north to submission; but in 1010 he 
compelled the Kinel Eoghain and the 
Ulidians to give him hostages, and in 
the following year he took the lord of 
Kinel Connell prisoner, and carried 
him to his palace at Kincora.f Hith- 
er he also conducted other refractory 
princes, and he at length succeeded in 
reducing the numerous petty kings and 
dynasts, whose mutuals quarrels and 
aggressions were the curse of Ireland, 
into complete subordination. This led 
to that happy state of tranquillity and 
obedience to the laws which the bards 
have illustrated by the well-known fa- 
ble of a beautiful lady carrying a gold 
ring on a white Avand, and passing un- 
molested though the land. 

What Brian had effected for his own 
province of Munster, before he became 

Malachy himself. Nor, in forming our estimate of this 
prince's character, from a general view of his whole 
career,. can we well hesitate in coming to the conclu- 
sion, that not to any backwardness in the field, or want 
of vigor in council, is his tranquil submission to the 
violent encroachments of his rival to be attributed ; but 
to a regard, rare at such an imripe period of civilization, 
for the real interests of the public weal, and an unwil- 
lingness to risk, for his own personal views, the explo- 
sive burst of discord which, in so inflammable a state of 
the political atmosphere, a struggle for the monarchy 
would, he knew, infallibly provoke." 

f The name Ceann Coradh signifies the Head of the 
Weir, and the site of this celebrated fortress and palace 
of Brian Borumha is comprised in the present town of 
Killaloe, that is, Cill Dalua, or the Church of St. Lua or 
Molua, a saint of the seventh century. 



mouarch of Ireland, he now, as far as 
possible, did for the whole country. 
He restored monastferies and. schools 
destroyed by the Danes ; caused the 
desecrated churches to be rebuilt and 
consecrated, and founded new ones; but, 
among the latter, the only ones men- 
tioned by name are those of Killaloe 
and Iniscealtra. He built the round 
tower of Tuanigrcine (Tomgrany) in the 
present county of Clare ; erected new 
forts and strengthened old ones ; en- 
couraged commerce and promoted learn- 
ing and piety. On visiting Armagh, at 
the commencement of his reign, he laid 
an offering on the principal altar there 
of twenty ounces of gold — a large 

* Oa tliis visit to Armagli in 1004, Brian got his secre- 
tary, Maelsutliaiu {Caleus-pcrcnnis) to write in his pre- 
sonc:", in the Book of Armagh, a confirmation of certain 
dues to that church, which had been paid since the time 
of St. Patrick ; and in tlie entry, which still exists, Brian 
is etyled Imperatoris Seotorum. On this occasion ho 
encamped for a week in the great fort of Emania the 
ancient palace of tlie kings of Ulster. 

f The most ancient account, says Dr. O'Douovau, of 
tlio fact of Brian first establishing surnames, is found in 
a fragment of a MS. in the Library of Trinity College, 
Dublin (H. 3, IG), supposed to be part of MacLiag's Life 
of Brian Borumha, in which the following passage oc- 
curs : — " It was Brian that gave out seven monasteries 
both furniture, and cattle, and laud ; and thirty-two 
Cloictheachs (or Round Tower belfries) ; and it was by 
hini the marriage ceremony was confirmed (made bind- 
ing) : and it was during his time that surnames were 
first given, and territories were allotted to the sur- 
names, and the boundaries of every territory and cantred 
were fixed." The following is the origin of some of these 
surnames: — Tho MacCarthys of Desmond, from Car- 
thach, who was slain in 1015 ; the Fitzpatricks, or Mac- 
Gillapatricks of Ossory, from Gillaphadarig, lord of Os- 
sory, who was slain in 995 ; O'Phelan, from Faelan, lord 
of the Deisi, whose son Donnell was one of those by whom 
the aforesaid Gillaphadarig was killed ; ilacMurrough 
of Leinster, from Murchadh (son Diarmaid, son of Mael- 
na-mbo, king of Leinster), who died in 1070 ; MacNa- 
mara of Thomond, from < 'imiara (dog of tho sea), who 

amount at that period — and niad^ gen- 
erous presents for the support of our 
religion in other churches.* 

Among the useful laws which Brian 
instituted was one for fixing surnames. 
Before this time (a. d. 1002) a few sur- 
names, as that of O'Neill, were coming 
into use ; but from Brian's reign they 
became imperative, and each family 
selected the name of some distinguished 
ancestor, which, with the prefix Mac or 
0, ".son," or "grandson," was to be 
thenceforth the family name. With few 
exceptions, the ancestors thus clioser. 
were men who flourished in the tentli, 
or the beginning of the eleventh, cen- 

flourished in 1074 ; O'Brien of Thomond, from Brian 
Borumha ; OCallaghan of Desmond, from Ceallachan, 
who flourished in 1093, and was the fourth in descent. 
from Ceallachan CaisU, king of Munster, and common 
ancestor of the MacCarthys ; O'Conor of Counaught, 
from Conchobhar, or Conor, king of Connaught, who 
died in 974 ; O'Conor of Corcomxoe, from Conor who 
was slain m 1003 ; O'Conor Kerry, from Conor, whose 
gr.andson, MacBeatha, was slain at Clontarf ; G'DonneU 
of Tirconnell, from an ancestor who flourished in 950 ; 
O'Donoghue of Kerry, from an ancestor who flourished 
in 1050 ; O'Donovan, from Donovan, king of Hy-Fidh- 
gcinte, slain by Brian Borumha in 97(5 ; O'Dowda of 
Mayo, from an ancestor in S7C ; O'Dugan, or Duggan of 
Fermoy, from Dubhagan, killed at Clontarf ; OTIcyne, or 
Hynes of Galway, from Eidhin, whose grandson was 
killed at Clontarf ; O'Kelly of Hy-Many, from an ancestor 
who flourished in 874 ; O'Madden of Hy-Many, from Jla- 
dudhan, slain in 1008 ; O'Mahony of Desmond, descended 
from Kian (son of MoUoy, who was present at ClontarO ; 
O'Mclaghlin of Meath, from JIaelseachlain, or Malachy 
II., king of Ireland ; O'MoUoy of the King's county, from 
an ancestor in 1019 ; O'Neill of Tyrone, frftm Niall Glun- 
dubh, king of Ireland, in 919 ; O'Quin of Thomond, from 
Niall O'CuJnn, slain at Clontarf; O'Rourke of Brefl'ny, 
from Ruarc, son of Tighcarnan, who died in 893 ; O'Sulli- 
van of Desmond, from Suillevan, about 050 ; and O'Toole 
of Leinster, from Tuathal, son of Ugairc, who flourislicd 
in 935. — (Chief y from Kitsays, by Dr. (y Donovan, on 
Irifh 7iam(S.) Surnames were generally introduced 



A. D. 1013. — Sucli is tlie glowing pic- 
ture drawn by Irish historians of the 
vic'toi'ies, wise government, and many 
virtues of Brian Borumha ; but the 
interval of tranquillity which he had 
created was brief, and the odium of 
violating it is cast upon Maelmordha 
MacMurrough,* who, through the as- 
sistance of the Danes, had some years 
previously usurped the throne of Lein- 
ster. It is said that this prince received 
some offence from Brian's son Murrough, 
at the court of Kincora, and that in 
order to be revenged he stirred up his 
allies, the Danes of Dublin, to acts of 
aggression. Be the cause what it may, 
a storm was raised, which, though short, 
was the most serious in its results that 
Ii-eland had yet witnessed. The Danes 
and Leinster men commenced it (a. d. 
1013) by an inroad into Meath, where 
they were routed by Malachy, who is 
then said to have solicited the assist- 
ance of Brian, but unsuccessfully;, and 
it w^as only after another conflict near 
Ben Edar, or Howth, in which Malachy 
lost his son, Flann, and two hundred 
men, that the venerable hero of Kin- 

throughout Europe in tbe tentli, eleventh, and twelfth 
centuries. The custom of the Irish was not to take 
names or titles from places, as ia other countries ; but, 
on the contraiy, to give the family names to the .ands 
or seigniories they- held. See Ogygia Vindicated, p. 
170 ; Four Masters, vol iii. p. 90, n. p. 

* This king was the ancestor, not of the MacMur- 
roughs or Kavanaghs, as some suppose, but of the 
O'Beirnes of Leinster. His sister, Gormliath, was first 
the wife of Amlave the Dane, by whom she had Sitric, 
king of Dublin ; and she then became the second wife of 
Brian Borumha, who soon after repudiated her ; and, 
according to the Niala Saga, in which she is called the 
beautiful Kormloda, it was she who, in revenge, stirred 

cora became sensible of the menacing 
nature of the new outbreak. Brian now 
sent an army under his son, Morough, 
into Leinster to make reprisals, and they 
plundered the country " from Glenda 
lough to Kilmaiuham (Cill-Maigh- 
neann);" and later in the year he him- 
self marched at the head of a consider- 
able force to the vicinity of Dublin, 
where he remained encamped for three 
months ; but the enemy not venturing 
out, he returned to the south about 
Christmas, contenting himself with 
plundering the territ-or] of the traitor 

A. D. 1014. — Meanwt lie, the Danes 
had been making extrao; dinarj^ prepar 
ations for war. Envoys ^ ere despatched 
for aid into Norway, th. Orkneys, and 
the Baltic Islands; and the foreigner; 
gathered, as the annals 'ell us, "frou 
all the west of Europe." i\^ was re^.-i'o 
sented that an opportuuiv) offered, fo:. 
obtaining complete possessie ,\ of Irei^.-uo'.. 
and great numbers of the diking.', ar 
cordingly came with their faiu\l:';'j \o. 
the purpose of taking up their re3)'Aeacc 
permanently.f At this momei/t the 

up the northern sea-kings against Brian, and brought 
about the battle of Clontarf. 

f In the chronicle of Adcmar, monk of St. Kparchius 
of Anguoleme, quoted by Lanigan from Labbe (Nova 
Bibl. MSS. torn. 2, p. 177), it is stated that the Northmen 
came at that time to Ireland with an immense fleet, 
conveying their wives and children, with a view of ex- 
tirpating the Irish and occupying in their stead " that 
very wealthy country in which there were twelve citie3_ 
with extensive bishoprics and a king, and which had its 
own language and Latin letters, and was converted by 
St. Patrick," &e. Labbe thinks the Chronicle was writ- 
ten before 1031, in which case the writer was contempo- 
rary with Brian Borumha, and the document the oldest 



same people were effectually making 
themselves masters of England. Sweyn 
was proclaimed king of England in 
1013, and Canute the Great became un- 
disputed monarch of England in 1017; 
so that it is little wonder if, flushed with 
a career of such triurnph elsewhere, the 
Danes should have reckoned with cer- 
tainty on finally obtaining the coveted 
soil of Ireland, on which they had now 
had a j^artial footing for two hundred 
years. A thousand Northmen, encased 
in ringed armor from head to foot, came 
under the command of Anrud and Car- 
lus, sons of the king of Norway ; Sigurd, 
son of Lodar, earl of the Orkneys, ar- 
rived at the head of a powerful band ; 
and a numerous fleet of the northern 
vikings was under the command of their 
admiral, Brodar, who, according to Scan- 
dinavian accounts, was an apostate from 
Chi'istianity, a great blasphemer, and an 
adept in magic. Neither was the king 
of Leinster idle, for he mustered all his 
fighting-raen, to the number, it is said, of 
9,000; and the Danes of all Ireland were 
prepared to strike a desperate blow for 
tlie recovery of their former power. 

Brian could not have been aware of 
the full extent of these preparations; 
yet he, too, was resolved to make a gal- 
lant effort, and collected a considerable 
army, chiefly from the south and Avest. 
The year was ushered in with depreda- 
tions by the Danes and Leinster men in 
Meath and Bregia, and a challenge from 

as Dr. Lanigan thinks, in which the name of Irlanda is 
apx>lic(l to tliis country. 
* Claain Tarbh, the lawn or meadow of the bulls. 

Maelmordha to Brian to meet him with 
his army on the spacious plain of Moy- 
nealta, or, rather, on that part of it 
called Clontarf.* 

The Irish army arrived about the 
middle of April, a. d. 1014, at their 
usual camping ground of Kilmainham, 
which extended on both sides of the 
Liftey, and comprised the land now 
called the Phcenix Park ; and Brian 
detached a body of his Dalcassians, un- 
der his son Donough, to devastate Lein- 
ster, which was unprotected in the ab- 
sence of Maelmordha and his army. 
The Danish admiral, Brodar, with his 
auxiliaries, entered Dublin bay on 
Palm Sunday, the 18th of April, and 
Donough's movement having been com- 
municated to Maelmordha by some 
traitor in Brian's camp, it was resolved 
that the battle should be hastened while 
the Irish army was weakened by his 
absence. According to a Danish legend, 
Brodar had been informed by some 
pagan oracle that if the battle took 
place on Friday Brian would fall, al- 
though victorious, while if it were 
fought on any other day of the week 
all his assailants would be slain ; and it 
is said that the Danes therefore resolved 
to make the attack on Good Friday. 

The exact site of the battle seems to 
be tolerably well defioed. In Dr. 
O'Conor's edition of the Four Masters 
it is called " the battle of the fi.shing 
weir of Clontarf ;f and the weir in 

f Cai/i Coradh Cluana tarbh — which Dr. O'Conor 
erroneously translates, " Praiium luroieum Cluan 




question was at the mouth of the Tolka 
01- Tulcainn, Avhere Ballybough bridge 
now stands. It also ajipears that the 
pi'incipal destruction of the Danes took 
pLace when in their flight they endeav- 
ored to cross the Tolka, no doubt at 
the moment of high water, when num- 
bers of them were drowned ; it is ex- 
pressly stated that they were -pursued 
^Ylth. great slaughter " from the Tolka 
to Dublin." We may, therefore, pre- 
sume that their lines extended along 
the coast, with their left wing resting 
on the little river just mentioned, and 
protected by the marshes which then 
covered the low ground between that 
and the mouth of the Liffey; while their 
right wing extended in the direction of 
Dollymount ; the newly-arrived Danish 
fleet being anchored either at Howth oi- 
iu the rear of the army. 

Tlie Danish and Leinster forces, num- 
bering together about 21,000 men, were 
disposed in three divisions, of which the 
first, or that nearest to Dublin, was com- 
posed of the Danes of Dublin, under 
their king, Sitric, and the princes Dolat 
and Conmael, with the thousand mailed 
Norwegians under the youthful warriors 
Carlus and Anrud. The second, or cen- 
tral division, was composed chiefly of 
the Lagenians, commanded by Mael- 
mordha himself, and the princes of Of- 
faly and of the territory of the Liflfey ;* 
and the third division, or right wing, 
was made up of the auxiliaries from the 

* The Annals of Clonmacnoise Bay tte O'Mores and 
O'Nolans did not join the other Leinster septs at Clon- 

Baltic and the Islands, under Brodar, 
admiral of the fleet, and Sigurd, son of 
Lodar, earl of the Orkneys, together 
with some auxiliaries tVom Wales and 

To oppose these the Irish monarch also 
marshalled his forces in three corps or 
divisions. The first, composed chiefly 
of the diminished legion of the brave 
Dalcassians, was under the command of 
his son Morough, who had also with 
him his four brothers, Teige, Donnell, 
Conor, and Flann, sons of Brian, and 
his own sou, Turlough, who was Init 
fifteen years of age. In this division 
was placed Malachy, with his contin- 
gent of a thousand Meath men ; and 
here we may refer to the dishonorable 
charges made against this deposed king 
by all the southern chroniclers, who as- 
sert that he was the traitor who had 
apprised Maelmordha of Donough's de- 
parture from the camp with a large 
detachment of the Dalgais into Leinster 
and that on the morning of the battle 
he withdrew his troops from the Irish 
lines, and remained inactive throughout 
the day. This unworthy conduct is so 
inconsistent with the whole career of 
Malachy that the charge has been re- 
jected by Mr. Moore in his History of 
Ireland, and by Dr. O'Donovan in his 
notes to the Four Masters ; yet we 
believe it has not been imputed to him 
without sufiicient grounds, and that 
more recent researches will be found to 
establish the fact that Malachy made 
overtures to Teige O'Kell}', the com- 
mander of the Connaught army, to 


abandon Brian on the eve of the battle. 
Malachy's sympathies were Meathian 
rather than national, and, considering 
the provocation which he had received 
from the man who usurped his crown, 
■we may find some excuse for him in the 
circumstances ; even admitting, what ap- 
pears to be the fact, that he held aloof 
with the army of Meath during the 
early pai't of the fight. We shall pres- 
ently see that before the close of the 
day he made amends for the morning's 
dereliction of duty. 

Brian's central division comprised the 
troops of Desmond, under the command 
of Cian, son of Molloy (ancestor of 
O'Mahony), and Donnell, son of Duv- 
davoran (ancestor of O'Donoghoe), both 
of the Eugenian line ; together with the 
other septs of the south, under their 
respective chiefs, viz. : Mothla, son of 
Faelan, king of the Desies ; Muirker- 
tach, son of Anmcha, chief of Hy-Lia- 
thain (a territory in Cork) ; Scaunlan, 
son of Cathal, chief of Loch Lein, or 
Killarney ; Loingseach, son of Dunlaing, 
chief of the territory of Hy-Conall Gav- 
ra, comprised in the present baronies of 
Upper and Lower Connello, in the 
county of Limerick ; Cathal, son of 
Donovan, chief of Carbry-Eva (Keury, 
in the same county) ; MacBeatha, chief 
of Kerry Luachra ; Geivennacb, son of 
Dugan, chief of Fermoy ; O'Carroll, king 

* The Danes were Ijetter equipped in tho battle than 
tlicir antagonists, and the fame of their ringed and 
scaled armor was spread far through Ireland. In an 
Irish legend of the time, tho Banshee, Ecvin of Craglea, 
Is represented as endeavoring to keep OTTartagan from 
the fight hv reminding him that while the (laels were 

of Eile ; and, according to some accounts, 
O'Carroll, king of Oriel, in Ulster. 

The remaining L'ish division, which 
formed the left wing opposed to the 
great body of the newly-arrived for- 
eigners in the Danish right wing, was 
composed mainly of the forces of Con- 
naught, under Teige O'Kelly, king of 
Hy-Many ; O'Heyne, or Hynes, king of 
Hy-Fiachra Aidhna; Dunlaing O'Har- 
tagan; Echtigern, king of Dal Aradia, 
and some others. Under the standard 
of Brian Borumha also fought that day 
the Maermors, or great stewards of 
Lennox and Mar, with a contingent of 
the brave Gaels of Alba. It would even 
appear, from a Danish account, that 
some of the Northmen who had always 
been friendly to Brian fought on his 
side at Clontarf. Some other Irish chief- 
tains besides those enumerated above 
are mentioned in the Innisfallen Annals, 
as those of Teffia, &c. A large body of 
hardy men came from the distant mari- 
time district of Connemara; many w^ar- 
riors flocked from other territories, and, 
on the whole, the rallying of the men 
of Ireland in the cause of their country 
on that memorable occasion, as much 
as the victory which their gallantry 
achieved, renders the event a proud and 
cheering one in Irish history. It is sujv 
posed that Brian's army numbered 
about twenty thousand men.* 

only dressed in "satin shirts," the Danes were enveloped 
in "coats of iron." But the Irish battle-axes wore bet 
ter than any defi-nsivo armor. Cambrensis tells us that 
these terrible weapons were wielded by the Irish with 
one hand, and thus descended from a greater height and 
with greater velocity, " so that neither tho crested hel 



The Danes having resolved to fight 
on Good Friday, contrary to the wishes 
of Brian — who was unwilling to dese- 
crate that day with a scene of carnage, 
and who also desired to await the re- 
turn of his son Donough — and the re- 
spective armies being marshalled as we 
have described, the venerable Irish mon- 
arch appeared on horseback' at break of 
day, and rode along the lines, animating 
the spirits of his men. While he grasped 
his sword in the right hand, he held a 
crucifix in the left, and addressing the 
troops, reminded them of all the tyran- 
ny and oppression of the hateful enemy 
who stood against them ; of all their 
sacrilegious outrages; their church-burn- 
ings and desecration of sacred relics; 
their murders and plunder, and innu- 
merable perfidies. "The great God," 
he continued, "hath at length looked 
down upon our sufferings, and endued 
you Avith the power and the courage 
this day to destroy forever the tyranny 
of the Danes, and thus to punish them 
for their innumerable crimes and sacri- 
leges, by the avenging power of the 
sword ;" and raising aloft the crucifix, 
he exclaimed, " was it not on this day 

met could defend the head, nor the iron folds of the 
armor the body. Whence it has happened, even in our 
times," he continues, " that the whole thigh of a soldier, 
though cased in well-tempered armor, has been lopped 
off by a single blow of the axe, the limb falling on one 
side of the horse, and the expiring body on the other." 
Besides these broad axes, which were exceedingly well 
steeled, the Irish, according to Cambreasis, used short 
lances and darts, and they were " very dexterous, be- 
yond other nations, in slinging stones in battle, when 
other weapons failed them." Top. Hib. dist. 3, cap. 10. 
Their swords were ponderous, of great length, and edged 
only on one side. Harris's Ware, vol. ii., p. 163. 

that Christ himself suffered death for 
you ?" 

He then gave the signal for action, 
and the venerable king Avas about to 
lead his Dalcassian phalanx to the 
charge, but the general voice of the 
chieftains compelled him to retire into 
the rear, and to leave the chief com- 
mand to his son Morough.'* 

The battle then commenced, " a spir- 
ited, fierce, violent, vengeful, and fu- 
rious battle, the likeness of which was 
not to be found in that time," as the 
old annalists quaintly describe it. It 
was a conflict of heroes. The chieftains 
engaged at every point in single com- 
bat, and the greater part of them on 
both sides fell. The impetuosity of the 
Irish was irresistible, and their battle- 
axes did fearful execution, every man 
of the ten hundred mailed warriors of 
Norway having been cut doAvn by the 
Dalcassians. The heroic Morough per- 
formed prodigies of valor throughout 
the day. Ranks of men fell before 
him ; and hewing his way to the Dan- 
ish standard, he cut down two success- 
ive bearers of it Avith his battle-axe. f 
Two Danish leaders, Carlus and Con- 

♦ The age of Brian, according to the usually received 
accounts, was eighty-eight, and that of Morough sixty- 
three ; but the date (941) given for the birth of Brian, 
in the Annals of Ulster, -would make his age at the bat- 
tle of Clontarf only seventy-three ; and Dr. O'Donovau, 
who thinks that to be the true account, conjectures that 
his son Morough was no more than forty-three years of 
age. Morough's son Turlough was a youth of only fif- 
teen years. 

f This achievement is mentioned in tho Danish ac- 
count of the battle, in which Morough is called Ker. 

n»)rr>Hem wore 

by a 1 ^^'houi Iv- mitl gi 
■rook But the chiei 
s the mains to be rei 
u the I rate admiral, sex 


now ;ii;- 
to wax 

fatigue, but who with tl 

arras, and died ewor 



mael, enraged at this success, rushed on 
him together, but both fell in rapid 
succession by his sword. Twice, Mor- 
ough and some of his chiefs retired to 
slake their thirst and cool their hands, 
swollen from the violent use of the 
sword and battle-axe, and the Danes, 
observing the vigor with which they 
returned to the conflict, succeeded by a 
desperate eflbrt in filling up the brook 
which had refreshed them. Thus the 
battle raged from an early hour in the 
morning, innumerable deeds of valor 
being performed on both sides, and 
victory appearing still doubtful, until 
the third or fourth hour in the after- 
noon, when a fresh and des2:)ei'ate effort 
was made by the Irish ; and the Danes, 
now almost destitute of leaders, began 
to waver and give way at every point. 
Just at this moment the Norwegian 
prince, Anrud, encountered Morough, 
^vho was unable to raise his arms from 
fatigue, but who with the left hand 
seized Anrud, aud, shaking him out of 
his armor, hurled him to the earth, 
while with the other he placed the 
point of his sword on the breast of the 
prostrate Northmen, and leaning on it 
plunged it though his body. While 
IVIorough, however, was stooping for 
this purpose, Anrud contrived to in- 
flict on him a mortal wound with a 
dagger, and the Irish warrior fell in 
tlie arms of victory. This disaster had 
not the effect of turning the fortune of 
the day, for the Danes and their allies 
were in a state of utter disorder, and 
along their whole line had commenced 

flying towards the city or to their ships. 
They plunged into the Tolka at a time 
when the river must have been swollen 
with the tide, as great numbers were 
drowned. The body of young Tur- 
lough was found after the battle " at 
the weir of Clontarf," with his hands 
entangled in the hair of a Dane with 
whom he had grappled in the pursuit. 

But the chief tragedy of the day re- 
mains to be related. Brodar, the pi- 
rate admiral, seeing the route general, 
was making his way through some 
thickets with only a few attendants, 
when he came upon the tent of Brian 
Borumha, left at that moment without 
his guards. The fierce viking rushed 
in and found the aged monarch at 
prayer before the crucifix, which he 
had that morning held up to the view 
of his troops, and attended only by a 
boy, Conaing, the son of his brother 
Duncuan. Brian, however, had time 
to seize his arras, and died sword in 
hand. The Irish accounts say, that he 
killed Brodar, and was only overcome 
by numbers; but the Danish version 
in the Niala Saga is more probable, 
and in this Brodar is represented as 
holding up his reeking sword and cry- 
ing : — " Let it be proclaimed from man 
to man that Brian has been slain by 
Brodar." It is added on the same au- 
thority that the ferocious pirate was 
then hemmed in by Brian's returning 
guards, and captured alive, and that he 
was hanged upon a tree, aud continued 
to rage like a beast of prey until he 
was eviscerated ; the Irish soldiers thus 



taking savage vengeance for the death 
of their king, Avho but for their own 
neglect would have been safe. 

To this period of the battle may be 
applied the statement of the Four Mas- 
ters to which we have already alluded, 
namely, that the foreigners and Lein- 
ster men "were afterwards routed by 
dint of battling, bravery, and striking, 
by Maelseachlainn (Malachy) from Tul- 
cainn (the Tolca) to Ath-Cliath (Dub- 
lin)." According to the account insert- 
ed in the Dublin copy of the Annals 
of Inuisfallen, thirteen thousand Danes 
and three thousand Leinster men fell in 
the battle and the flight, but this is a 
modern exaggeration. The authentic 
Annals of the Four Masters say, that 
•' the ten hundred in armor were cut 
to pieces, and at least three thousand 
of the foreigners slain ;" the Annals of 
Ulster state that seven thousand of the 
Danes perished by field and flood ; the 
Annals of Boyle, which are very an- 
cient, count the mimber of Danes slain 
in the same way as the Four Masters 
do ; so that, in all probability, the Ul- 
ster Annals include the Leinster men in 
their sum total of the Danish side. The 
loss of the Irish is also variously stated, 
but it cannot have been much less than 
that of the enemy. Ware seems to 
doubt whether the Irish had a decided 
victory, and mentions a report that the 

Danes rallied at the close of the battle ; 
but the doubt which he raises merits 
no attention, seeing that even the Da- 
nish accounts admit the total rout, and 
tlie great slaughter of their own troops. 
The Scalds of Norway sang dismal 
strains about the conflict, which they 
always call " Brian's Battle ;" and a 
Scandinavian chieftain, who remained 
at home, is represented as inquiring 
from one of the few who had returned, 
what had become of his men? and re- 
ceiving, for answer, " that all of them 
had fallen by the sword !" A contem- 
porary French chronicler describes the 
defeat of the Noi'thmen as even more 
sanguinary than it really was, stating 
that all of them were slain, and that a 
number of their women threw them- 
selves in despair into the sea.* 

According to the Annals of Ulster, 
and other Irish authorities, there were 
among the slain on the side of the ene- 
my, Maelmordha, son of Murchadh, king 
of Leinster; Brogovan, tanist of Hy- 
Falgia ; Dunlaing, son of Tuathal, tan- 
ist of Leinster; Donnell O'Farrell, king 
of the Fortuaths of Leinster; Duvgall, 
son of Amlave, and Gillakieran, son of 
Gluniarn, two tanists of the Danes; 
Sigurd, son of Lodar ; Brodar, w^ho had 
killed Brian; Ottlr Duv; Suartgar: 
Duncha O'Herailv; Grisane; Luimni 
and Amlave, sons of Lagmainu, &c. 

* Ademar's Clironicle, as quoted above. This -writer 
adds, what we know to be au error, that the battle last, 
ed three days. The preceding details of the battle of 
Clontarf are collected from the Annals of Innisfallen, 
and other Southern authorities, quoted by O'Halloran, 

Keating, &c. ; the Annals of the Four Masters with 
O'Donovan's annotations ; the Mala Saga, as given 
mth a Latin version in Jolmstone's Antiquitatcs Cdto 
Scandicw; and other sources. 



Among the slfiiu, on the IrisU side, 
besides Brian, his son Morough, and 
his grandson Turlough, are mentioned 
Conaing, son of Doucuan, Brian's 
nephew ; Cuduiligh, son of Kennedy ;. 
Mothhx, lord of the Desies ; Eocha, chief 
of the Claun ScannLiin ; Niall O'Cuinn* 
— the three latter being the king's aides- 
de-camp or companions — Teige O'Kel- 
ly; Mulroney O'Heyne; Gevnach, son 
of Dugan ; MacBeatha of Kerry Luach- 
ra, ancestors of the O'Conors-Kerry ; 
Dounell, lord of Corcabaiscin ; Dun- 
laing O'Hartagan; the great stewards 
Mar and Levin (Lennox), and many 
others. The annals add that Brian 
and Morough both lived to receive the 
last rites of the church, f and that their 
remains, together with the heads of Co- 
naing and Mothla, were conveyed by 
the monks to Sord Columb Cille 
(Swords), and from thence, through 
Duleek and Louth, to Armagh, by 
jNLaelmuire (servant of Mary) the Coarb 
of St. Patrick ; and that their obsequies 
was celebrated for twelve days and 
nights with great splendor by the cler- 
gy of Armagh; after which the body 
of Brian was deposited in a stone coffin 
on the north side of the high altar in 
the cathedral; the body of his son be- 
ing interred on the south side of the 
same church. The remains of Turlough, 
and of several of the other chieftains, 
were buried in the old church-yard of 
Ivilmainham, commonly known as " Bui- 

* Ancestor of tho O'Quinns of Thomond, of whom 

the earl of Dunraven is the present head.— O'Donovan. 

f Marianus Scotus thus records the death of Brian in 

ly's Acre," where the shaft of an ancient 
Irish cross still marks the spot. 

The day after the battle, Donough, 
son of Brian, arrived with the spoils of 
Leinster, and met his brother Teige 
with the surviving L-ish chieftains and 
the remains of their victorious army. 
He made rich presents to the clergy of 
Armagh, and to those of other church- 
es ; and about Easter Monday the camp 
broke up, and the chiefs with their re- 
spective forces took each the road to- 
wards his own territory. It is related 
that while the Dalcassians were on their 
mai'ch home through the territory of 
Ossory, MacGillapatrick, the prince of 
that country, attempted to oppose their 
progress and demanded hostages; but 
the sons of Brian, with their shattered 
battalion, prepared to give him battle ; 
and the Dalcassians are said to have af- 
forded on the occasion a memorable 
example of heroism. The wounded 
warrioi's were tied to stakes in the 
front ranks, each wounded man be- 
tween two of his sound companions ; 
but the men of Ossory, appalled by so 
desperate a preparation for resistance, 
or moved by some more honorable feel- 
ing, refused to fight against such an 
enemy, and the heroes of Thomond were 
allowed to proceed in peace. 

Soon after we read of fresh instances 
of discord in the southern province. 
The two Desmonian chiefs, Cian and 
Donnell, son of Duvdavorau, fought 

his chronicles; — "Brian, king of Hibernia, slain 
Good Friday, the 9th of the Calends of May (April 23 
\rith hia mind and hii hands t iruod towards God." 



after their return from Cloutarf, and 
the former, wlio was celebrated by the 
bards for his beauty and stature, was 
sLiiu, together with some chiefs who 
were on his side ; while the following 
year (1015), Donuell, who asserted his 
claim to the throne of all Munster even 
on the day after the battle of Clontarf, 
led an army to Limerick, where he was 
encountered and slain by the two sons 
of Brian, Donough and Teige. 

Meanwhile Malachy resumed the au- 
thoi'ity of monarch with the tacit con- 
sent of the Irish chiefs, and by his fre- 
(juent and successful attacks on the 
Danes of Dublin, and his onslaughts 
on the 23eople of Leiuster and of other 
ten-itories, in the assertion of his sover- 
eignty, he proved that he still jjossessed 
energy enough to rule the country. A 
mouth before his death he gained an 
important victory over the Danes of 
Dublin, at Athboy, or the Yellow 
Ford of Tlachta, in Meath, and died a. d. 
1022, in Cro Inis, an island of Lough 
Ennel in Westmeath, opposite the fort 
of Dun Sciath, which had been his res- 
idence; having reigned eight years af- 
ter the battle of Clontarf, and reached 
the seventy-third year of his age. 

The Annals of Clonraacnoise state 
that Malachy " was the last king of Ire- 
hind of Irish blood that had the crown : 

* Cuan O'Loclian -was killed by the people of Teffia, 
in the year 1024, and it is added in the Annals of Kil- 
roiian " that his murderers met tragical deaths, and that 
their bodies were not interred until the wolves and 
birds had preyed upon them ;" moreover, it was said, 
that their posterity were known by an offensive odor ; 

but that there wei-e seven kings after 
without crown, before the coming of 
the English." Two of these kings, 
however, were acknowledged by the 
whole of Ireland. An interregnum of 
twenty years followed the death of 
Malachy, during part of which interval 
the country is stated, in some of the 
old annals, to have been governed by 
two learned men, "the one," say the 
Annals of Clonmacnoise, " called Cuan 
O'Lochan, a well learned temporal 
(lay) man, and chief poet of Ireland ; 
the other, Corcran Cleireach (the 
Cleric), a devout and holy man, that 
was anchorite of all Ireland, and whose 
most abiding was at Lismore. The 
land was governed like a free state, 
and not like a monarchy by them." * 

As to the Danes, their power, though 
not annihilated in the battle of Clon- 
tarf, was so crushed by that memorable 
victory that they never after attempted 
hostilities on a lai-ge scale in Ireland, 
and were content to hold their position 
chiefly as merchants in Dublin, and the 
other ports already occupied by them. 
Their inability to avail themselves of 
the shattered and distracted condition 
in which Ireland remained for a long 
time after that bloody conflict is the 
best proof of the fearful amount of loss 
which they there sustained. 

being what the Irish called a " poet's miracle," that j survived him many years. 

is, a punishment drawn down by the malediction of a 
poet, or for an injury inflicted on a poet. Several of 
these "poetic miracles" are mentioned in the Irish an- 
nals of the middle ages. Three of the compositions of 
Cuan O'Lochan are mentioned in O'Heilly's Irish Writ- 
(p. To) as stUJ existing. His colleague, Corcran, 




State of Learning in Ireland during and after the Dauisli Wars. — Eminent Churchmen, Poets and Antiquaries. — 
Tighernach and Marianus Scotus. — Irishmen Abroad in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries. — The Monks of 
the Middle Ages. — Causes of Ignorance and Disorganization. — Donough O'Brien in Eome. — Tarlough 
O'Brien. — Progress of Connaught. — Wars of the North and South of Ireland. — Destruction of the Grianan of 
Aileach. — The Danes after Clontarf — Invasion and Fate of King Magnus. — Relations with England. — Letter 
of Pope Gregory VII. — Murtough O'Brien and the Church. — Remarkable Synods. — Abuses in the Irish Church. 
— Number of Bishops, — St. Bernard's Denunciations. — Palliations. — St. Malachy. — Misrepresentations. — Pro- 
gress of Turlough O'Conor.— Death of St. Celsus. 

Contemporary Sovereigns and Etienis. —Vopti Gregory YU., from 1073 to 1035.— Henry I'V., Emperor of the West, diec 
1106.— Sii.xnn line restored in England uuder Edward tlie Confessor, 1042.— England conquered by the Normans, 1066.- 
Philip the Fair, Khig of France, 1059. 

The eletekth Centuey aito first THiBTy teaes op ' 

DURING the long reigu of yvav .ind 
rapine which prevailed from the 
first coming of the Danes into Ireland 
till their great overthrow at Clontarf, 
and the gloomy period of domestic dis- 
organization which followed, it would be 
Httle wonder if learning had quite dis- 
appeared from this country. That such, 
however, was not the case, we have am- 
ple proofs in the frequent obituaries of 
men described in our authentic annals 
as eminent for learning as well as piety 
during that dreary lapse of ages ; in the 
constant revival of plundered monaster- 
ies and schools, which these chronicles 
record ; and in the number of distin- 
guished Irishmen who still continued 
to flourish in France, Germany, and 
other parts of the continent. It 

would be easy to make out a tol- 
erably long list of the men who thus 
vindicate their age and country, from 
the charge of barbarism, but a few 
names will sufiice for our purpose. 

Beginning with the tenth century, 
which "modern writers generally style 
the " darkest of the middle ages," we 
might commence our list with Cormac 
MacCuilennan, whose career has been 
already described in the proper place. 
We might also enumerate, among other 
names already mentioned, those of Cor- 
macan Eigeas, the chief poet of Ulster 
in the time of Muirkertach O'Neill, 
whose memorable circuit he celebrated ; 
and of the lector Probus or Coenachair 
the biographer of St. Patrick, who was 
burned by the Danes in a round tower 



at Slane. A little before tliis time, 
wLeu the monastic institutions had been 
destroyed, and with them learning and 
relio-ion almost wholly extinguished in 
England, a few Irish monks settled at 
Glastonbury, and for their support be- 
gan to teach the rudiments of sacred 
and secular knowledge* One of the 
earliest and most illustrious "of their 
pupils was the great St. Dunstan, who, 
under the tuition of these Irishmen, be- 
came skilled in philosophy, painting, 
music, and other accomplishments, a 
proof that education had made consid- 
erable progress among the Irish monks. 
St. Cadroe, the son of a king of the Al- 
banian Scots, was at the same time in 
Ireland, studying in the schools of Ar- 
magh, where he acquired a knowledge 
of arithmetic, astronomy, natural his- 
tory, &c. And the name of Trian Sax- 
on, then applied to one of the quarters 
of that city, shows that thus, long be- 
fore the English invasion, it must have 
been frequented by a large number of 
Saxon students.f St. Maccallin, an 
Irishman, flourished in France at the 
same period, as did also another, St. 
Columbanus, an Irish saint, whose 
memory has been preserved Avith great 
veneration in Belgium. In the same 
century Duncan, an Irish bishop, taught 
in the monastery of St. Remigius, at 
Rheims, and wrote, for the use of his 

* These were tlie " viri sanctissimi, pr^cipufe Hiber- 
nici," of whom Camden writes, who, in process of time, 
received a salary from the king and educated youth in 
piety and the liberal arts. " They embraced a solitary 
life that they might devote themselves more tranquilly 
to sacred literature, and by their austerities they accus- 

students, some works, of which two, on 
the liberal arts, and geography, are still 

At home, poetry, especially as applied 
to history, was a favorite pursuit. Ken- 
neth O'Hartagan, who died in 975, is 
described as a famous poet of Leath 
Cuinn, and many of his compositions 
are to be found in Irish MS. collections. 
Eochy O'Flynn, who died in 984, has 
left us several historical poems of merit. 
He is frequently quoted as an authority 
for accounts of the early colonists of 
Ireland; having on these subjects em- 
bodied in his verses traditions of an age 
much older than his own. The names 
of MacLiag, the secretary of Brian Bo- 
rumha; and of Cuan O'Lochan, one of 
the co-regents of Ireland, have been al- 
ready introduced in these pages; and 
following up the list of those who be- 
long to this class, we have Flann Main- 
istreach, the abbot of Monasterboice, 
who died in 1056, and GioUa Keevin, 
who died in 1072 ; both famous as bar- 
dic chroniclers, many of whose produc- 
tions still survive. 

The most accurate and judicious of 
our ancient annalists was Tighernach 
(Tieruach), abbot of Clonmacnoise, who 
wrote the Annals of Ireland from the 
reign of Cimbaeth, that is, from about 
the year before Christ, 305, to the 
period of his death, in 1088, His com- 

tomed themselves to carry the cross." — Brit. p. 193, 
London, 1600. Glastonbury, according to Camden, was 
anciently called " the first land of the saints in Eng. 

f Annals of the Four Masters, ad. an. 1093 ; Colgau, 
Trias Thaum. 



piliition, -vvliich is partly in Latin and 
]iartly in Irish, evinces a familiarity 
with Greek and Eonian writers that is 
highly creditable to the Irish monk of 
that age. 

It is remarkable that contemporary 
with this eminent domestic chronicler 
another Irishman, celebrated in the 
same department of literature, flour- 
ished abroad ; the fomous Marianus 
Scotns — -whose great chronicles are the 
most perfect composition of the kind 
which the middle ages produced — hav- 
ing died in 1086, two years before his 
countryman Tighernach. National vani- 
ty induced some Scottish writers to 
claim Marianus as their countryman, 
but without a shadow of foundation.* 
The name is the usual Latin form of 
Maelmuire, " the servant of Mary," a 
name then common in Ireland; and 
there is reason to believe that the fa- 
mous chronographer w-as first a monk 
of Clouard, in Meath. Having gone, as 
many learned Irishmen did in his time, 
to Germany, he first entered the Irish 
convent near Cologne, but subsequently 
became a recluse at Fulda, and was 
finally sent by his superiors to Metz, 
whei'e he died. The existence of such 
men as IVIarianus Scotus and Tigher- 
nach, in the eleventh century, are facts 

■■' See the autliorities on this point eoUected by Lani- 
gan, vol. iii., pp. 447, 448, nnd iv., pp. 5, 7, 8. AVTien 
Heury IV. of England urged the authority of Marianus 
lu support of his claim to the crown of Scotland, as Ed- 
ward 1. liad done before, the Scottish States replied that 
the writer wa.s a Hibernian not an Albanian Scot. Ma- 
rianus is the first who is known to have applied the 
came of Scotia to the modern Scotland, which was pre- 

of great importance for their age and 

When St. Fingen, an Irishman, who 
succeeded the Albanian Scot, St. Cad- 
roe, as abbot of the monastery of St. 
Felix, at Metz, was also invested, in 991, 
with the government of the monastery 
of St. Symphorian in that city, it was 
ordered by the bishop that none but 
Irish monks should be admitted into 
this latter house, while they could be 
found ; but when these failed the monks 
of other nations might be received.f 
The monastery of St. Martin, on the 
Rhine, near Cologne, was made over to 
the Irish for ever, in 975 ; and several 
other monasteries, either wholly or 
partially occupied by Irish monks, such 
as those of Erfurt, Fulda, &c., are known 
to have existed at that period in Ger- 
many and the Netherlands. Some 
Irishmen were associated with a com- 
munity of Greek monks established at 
Toul, in France, by the bishop, St. 
Gerard, and are stated to have joined 
them in the performance of the Church 
service in the Greek language. J 

St. Dunchadh, abbot of Clonmac- 
noise, who died at Armagh, in 988, and 
was held there in great veneration, is 
said by Tighernach to have been the 
last of the Irish saints who resuscitated 

vionsly only called Alba, an appellation which, in this 
form, or in that of Albuinn, or Albainn, lias ever 
been the only Celtic name for North Britain. 

■f Sco a copy of the original diploma to that effect, pub- 
lished by Colgan, with the acts of St. Fingen in the AA. 
SS. Hib. p. 258. 

X This curious fact is mentioned by the Benedictines 
in their Histoirc Lileraire. 



the dead.* St. Aedli, or Hugh, lector 
of Ti-evet, in Meatb, died at Armagb, in 
1C04, after affording for many years a 
bright example of holiness of life ; and, 
under the date 1018, is recorded the 
death of St. Gormghal of Ardoilean, the 
remains of whose humLle oratory and 
cloghau cell are still to be seen on that 
rocky islet, amid the surges of the At- 
lantic, off the wild coast of Counemara.f 
Did we not bear in mind the fact, that 
such men as these — and many others 
like them might be enumerated — lived, 
and taught, and, prayed at that period, 
we would be apt, in wading through 
the chaos of war and anarchy which the 
chronicles of the tenth and eleventh 
centuries present, to think that it was 
indeed the age of utter darkness and 
barbarism, which some writers unjustly 
represent it to have been.* 

Whether ignorance and vice pre- 
vailed on the continent to a greater ex- 
tent before Charlemagne, or after that 
great monarch's reforms became obliter- 
ated in the tenth century, is a matter 
of discussion. In the former case they 
were produced by the deluge of bar- 
barism from the north and east, and 
they resulted in the latter from the 

* In the Acts of St. Dunchadh it is stated that the mir- 
acle of restoring a dead chUd to life was jierfonned 
through his prayers. AA. SS. Hib. Jan. 10. 

•|- St. Gormghal is called " chief anmchara of Ireland.' ' 
The word aamchara means "spiritual director," and is 
not to be confounded with angcore, " an anchorite or re- 

X It may be well to remind some readers, that war, 
rapine, and social confusion make up the great bulk of 
the history of other countries as well aa that of Ireland, 
durJDf; the a^cs of which we are here treating. In those 

rank growth of the feudal system with 
its abuses. 

In Ireland disorganizing agencies, 
analogous though not identical nor con- 
temporary, were in operation. Thus, 
although Ireland was not conquered by 
barbarians, the Danish wars — which 
raged without intermission for two cen- 
turies — were well calculated to produce 
the same ruinous results; and if the 
feudal system did not exist, one equally 
pregnant with political mischief pre 
vailed. The numerous small and inde- 
pendent principalities into which the 
island was parceled out were perpetu- 
ally engaged in mutual strife. They 
formed -daily new complications ; and 
as they increased in strength a central 
controlling power became more and 
more impracticable, and if raised up oc- 
casionally by force of arms, required 
incessant recourse to the same violent 
means to enforce even a formal recogni- 
tion of its authority. Such, unhappily, 
was the state of things which prevailed 
without amelioration from the death 
of Malachy II. to the coming of the 
English in the latter part of the twelfth 

Donous'h, son of Brian Borumha, hav- 

turhulent times, the sole conservators of human know- 
ledge as well as of religion in Christendom (for we ex- 
cept the Arabs), were the much abused monks; and 
those who vmgratefully blame these for having kept all 
knowledge to themselves, forget that this was not the 
monks' fault. The laity were too intent upon war and 
other pursuits, and despised learning too much to devote 
attention to it ; and the alternative was, the preserva^ 
tion of literature by ecclesiastics, or its final estino 



iug, by the defeat of tlie Desmonians, 
Jind subsequentlj^ by the death of his 
Ti rother, Teige (who was in 1023 treach- 
erously slaiu, at his instigation, by the 
people of Ely O'Carroll), obtained the 
undisputed sovereignty of Munster, 
marched an army northward, and took 
the hostages of Meath, Bregia, Os- 
sory, and Leinster. This was a step 
towards asserting hig claim to the sov- 
ereignty of all Ireland ; but his contem- 
porary, Derjuot MacMael-na-mbo, king 
of Leinster, had a suj^erior title to that 
honor* Donoiigh assembled a meeting 
of the clergy and chieftains of Munster 
at Killaloe, in the year 1050, to pass 
laws for the protection of life and pro- 
perty, against which outrages had been 
rendered more frer[ueut in consequence 
of a dearth which then prevailed ; and 
in 1063, being defeated in battle by his 
nephew Turlough, son of Teige, who 
was aided by the forces of Connaught 
and Leinster, he went on a pilgrimage 
to Rome, where he died the following 
year, after doing penance for the crime 
of implication in his brother's murder. 
It is stated that he took with him to 
Rome the crown of Ireland, probably 
the same which had been worn by his 
father, and that he presented it to the 
pope ; and it is added, but not on good 

* Connell Mageoghegan, in liis tranBlation of the An- 
nals of Clonmacnoise, A. D. 1041, sars : — " Tlio kings, or 
cliicf monarchs of Ireland, -n-ure reputed to l)o absolute 
(supreme) monarclis in this manner : if he were of Leigh- 
Con, or Con's halfo in deale, and one pro\-inco in Leath- 
Moye, or Moy's halfe in dealo, at his command, he was 
coumpted to bu of sufficient power to be king of Taragli, 
or Ireland ; but if the party were of Leatli-Moyo, if he 

authority, that this crown was given by 
Pope Adrian to Henry II., on the oc- 
casion of that king's invasion of Ire- 

Turlough O'Brien now became the 
most potent among the Irish princes, 
and on the death of Dermot MacMael- 
na-mbo, who was killed in battle to- 
gether with a number of his allies or 
vassals, the Danes of Dublin, by the 
king of Meath, in 1072, the Dalcassian 
king was regarded as his successor in 
the rank of monarch of Ireland. Tur- 
lough proceeded to assert his authoiity 
by exacting hostages from the other 
kings ; but in 1075 he received a check 
from the men of the north, at Ardee 
At this time theMacLoughlius,a branch 
of the Hy-Nialls of Tyrone, reigned at 
Aileach, and the O'Melaghlins in Meath. 
The former retained their traditional 
character for indomitable bravery, and 
could rarely be compelled to admit the 
supremacy of any southern i^rince. 

The power of Connaught had of late 
made considerable advances under the 
O'Conors ; and Rory, or Eoderic O'Con- 
or, its present king, having evinced an 
aspiring disposition, Turlough O'Brien 
was resolved to humble him, and for 
that purpose led a powerful army into 
Connaught, in 1079, plundered the 

could not command all Leath-Moyo and Taragli, with 
the lordshipp thereunto belonging, and the province of 
Ulster or Connaught (if not both) ho would not be 
thought sufficient to be king of all. Dcrmott MacMoy- 
lenemo cou'd command Leath-Moye, Meath, Connaught, 
and Ulster, and therefore, by the judgment of all, he 
was reputed sufficient monarch of the whole" (of Ire- 



connti'y as far as Croagli Patrick, and 
expelled Rory from Lis kingdom. Next 
year lie led an army to Dublin, where 
the people of Meath, who were accom- 
panied by the successor of St. Patrick, 
bearing the staff of Jesus, made their 
submission to him; and he appointed 
his son, Murtough, lord of the Danes of 
Dublin, a position which had some time 
before been held by a prince of Lein- 
ster. As to Rory O'Conor, after carry- 
ing on several petty wars successfully, 
he at length (1012) fell into the hands 
of the O'Flaherties of West Conuaught, 
who always resisted the authority of 
the O'Conor family, and was by them 
treacherously blinded, the barbarous 
practice of that age being to put out 
the eyes of cajjtive princes, in order to 
unfit them to command. 

Turlough O'Brien* was succeeded by 
his son Murtough, who subsequently 
became king of all Ireland ; but in the 
mean time that honor devolved upon 
another prince ; for in 1090 a great 
meeting took place between Donuell, 
sou of MacLoughlin, king of Aileach; 
Murtough O'Brien, king of Cashel; 
Donnell O'Melaghliu, king of Meath ; 
and Rory O'Conor, king of Connaught, 
besides other princes ; and it was agreed 
tliat the king of Aileach should be ac- 
Icnowledged lord paramount, and host 
ages were accordingly delivered to him 

* A ludicrous story is told by the Four Masters of the 
remote cause of Turlough O'Brien's deatli. It is said 
tliat after an old enemy, Conor CMelaghlin, king of 
Meatli, had been killed, and his remains deposited at 
Clonmacnoise, Turlough ordered the head of tlie dead 
man to be taken away ibrcibly from the church and 

as such by the other kings and chief- 

The peace thus brought about was, 
however, of short duration, if indeed 
there were any tranquil interval at all ; 
for the provinces not only continued at 
war with each other, but were split up 
by internal divisions; and more than 
once, about this time, the church 
threw itself into the breach between 
opposing armies, and caused a truce to 
be made. A pestilence raged in 1095, 
and a great part of the following year 
was spent in fasting and Avorks of chai'- 
ity, in order to avert a mysterious 
scourge from heaven which the nation 
believed to be impending. Donnell 
O'Loughlin and the Clann O'lSTeill 
invaded the Ulidians in 1099, and 
there is an account of a decisive cav- 
alry battle between them, in which 
the latter Avere defeated; while Mur- 
tough O'Brien had some trouble in 
contending with the Connaught men on 
one side, and with an insurrection of 
his own relatives, the sons of Teige 
O'Brien, on the other. 

But the great struggle was between 
the south and the north, and Murtough 
directed all his resources and his great 
military ability to the one object of 
establishing his own power as monarch 
of Ireland. Twice— in 1097 and 1099 
— did the archbishop of Armagh and 

brought to him. While feasting his eyes on that grim 
object, a mouse issued from it, and leaped into his 
bosom, and tliis gave him such a .sliock that he became 
ill, his hair fell off, and he remained in bad health from 
tlial time (1073) until deaUi, in 108G. 



the clergy of Ireland interpose between 
the two armies, Avben foce to face, to 
avert the threatened blow; but Mur- 
tough was not to be diverted from his 
purpose. In 1100 he brought a fleet, 
chiefly composed of Danish ships, to 
Derry, but O'Loughlin succeeded in 
destroying them ; and the following- 
year (1101), a twelve-months' truce 
which the clergy had negotiated having 
expired, Murtough led a powerful army, 
composed of liostings from all the other 
provinces, to the north, and devastated 
the whole of Inis Eoghain, without 
meeting any opposition. He demolished 
the palace or stronghold of the north- 
ei-n Hy-Nialls, " called the Grianan of 
Aileach,* in revenge for a similar act of 
hostility inflicted on O'Brien's palace of 
Kincora, by O'Loughlin, sevei'al years 
before ; and to raze it the more effectu- 
ally, he commanded that in every sack 
which had been used to carry provi- 
sions for the army, a stone of the de- 
molished building should be placed, 
that the materials of it might be con- 
veyed to Limerick. JNIurtough next 
took hostages of Ulidia and returned to 
the south, having made the entire cir- 
cuit of Ireland, as the annals tell us, in 
si.K weeks, Avithout encountering any 
army to dispute his progress. 

The reader has observed that the 
overthrow of the Danes at Clontarf by 
no means implied their expulsion from 

* Tlie remains of this celebrated strongliold are still 
visible on tbe summit of a small hill in the county of 
Donegal, about four and alialf miles N. W. of the cit 
:. f Londonderry, and are called OreenanEly. — Ordnance 
Uttrcey vf Londonderry. 

Ireland. They still continued to hold 
Dublin and the other maritime cities 
previously occupied by them ; but 
chiefly in the capacity of merchants. 
Their subsequent predatory inroads 
were few; one of the last being in 
1031, when they burned the great 
church of Ardbraccan, in Meath, to- 
gether with 200 persons who had 
sought refuge in it, and carried off 200 
more as captives. Afterwards these 
acts of aggression on their part were 
rare. The Danes of Dublin sent, at 
different times, expeditions against their 
countrymen in Waterford and Cork, 
which shewed that they had ceased to 
co-oi:)erate as a nation ; and at length 
tlieir lords or kings were occasionally 
expelled by the Irish, and Irish princes 
substituted for them.f 

The Northmen, nevertheless, had not 
yet abandoned their old idea of con- 
cpiering Ireland. Godfrey Crovan took 
possession of Dublin and part of Lein- 
stei', f )r a time, and a new expedition 
was set on foot by Magnus, king of 
Norway, after he had subdued the 
Danes of the Orkneys and of tlie Isle 
of Man, about the year of 1101. It is 
related in the Chronicle of Man, that 
Magnus sent his shoes to Murtough 
O'Brien, king of Ireland, commanding 
him, in token of subjection, to cany 
them on his shoulders, in his house on 
Christmas day. The news of so iuso- 

f It -n-ould appear that in the beginning of the 
eleventh century Ireland gave a king to Norway, in the 
person of Harold (iillo, who was an Irisluuan. See Pr 
Latham's KdU and Northmen. 



lent .1 message roused the indignation 
of the Irish ; Ijut Murtougb, according 
to tLis very improbable story, enter- 
tained the Norwegian ambassadors 
sumptuously ; told them he would not 
only carry their master's shoes, but eat 
them rather than that one province of 
Ireland should be laid waste by an in- 
vasion ; and having complied with the 
haughty demand of the barbarian, dis- 
missed his messengers with rich presents. 
The report made by the ambassadors 
only strengthened the desire of Magnus 
to obtain a footing in Ireland. He made 
a truce of one year with king Murtough, 
the hand of whose daughter he obtained 
in marriage for his son Sigurd ; but all 
his ambitious projects were frustrated 
the following year (1103) ; for, on land- 
ing to explore the country he and his 
party were cut off by the Ulidians, af- 
ter some hard fighting, and his remains 
were respectfully interred near St. Pat- 
rick's church, in Down.'" 

We meet many instances of inter- 
course with England during the period 

* Mr. Moore (Hist, of Ireland, vol. ii., p. 137) contrast- 
ing the resistance -wliicU the Danes encountered in Ire- 
land, with the ineffective efforts made against them in 
England, says : — " The very same year (that of the bat- 
tle of Clontarf), which saw Ireland pouring forth her 
assembled princes and clans to confront the invader on 
the sea-shore, and there make of his myriads a warning 
example to all future intruders, beheld England un- 
worthily cowering under a similar visitation, her king 
a fugitive from the scourge in foreign lands, and her 
nobles purchasing by inglorious tribute, a short respite 
from aggression ; and while, in the English annals for 
this year, we find little else than piteous lamentations 
over the fallen and broken spirit both of rulers and peo- 
ple, in the records of Ireland the only sorrows which 
appear to have mingled with the general triuiniih are 
those breathed at the tombs of the veteran monarch and 

of which we have been lately treating. 
Driella, daughter of earl Godwin and 
sister of Editha, the queen of Edward 
the Confessor, was married to Donough 
O'Brien, the Irish king ; and during the 
rebellion of Godwin and his sons against 
king Edward, Harold, one of the sons, 
afterwards king of England, took refuge 
in Ireland. He remained during a win- 
ter with his brother-in-law, Donough, 
who gave him, on his return to Eug- 
and, nine ships to aid him in his enter- 
prise. The Irish lent assistance in sev- 
eral other feuds of the Anglo-Saxons at 
this period. Lanfranc, the great arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, appears to have 
directed a watchful eye towards the 
Church of Ireland. He heard of irregu- 
larities of discipline, which gave hira 
much uneasiness, and as he was in con- 
stant intercourse with the Danish bish- 
ops of Ireland, who had gone to him for 
consecration and promised obedience to 
him, the accounts which he received 
were sure not to diminish the evil. Lan- 
fra-uc wrote an earnest epistle on the 

the numerous chieftains who fell in that struggle by his 

And William of Newbury, an old English historian, 
who was born in the year 113G, candidly says : — " It is a 
matter of wonder that Britain, which is of larger extent, 
and equally an island of the ocean, should have been 
so often, by the chances of war, made the prey of for- 
eign nations, and subjected to foreign rule, having 
been first subdued and possessed by the Romans, then 
by the Germans, afterwards by the Danes, and lastly 
by the Normans ; while her neighbor, Hibernia, inacces- 
sible to the Romans themselves, even when the Orkneys 
were in their power, has been but rarely, and then im- 
perfectly, subdued ; nor ever, in reality, has been brought 
to submit to foreign domination, till the year of our 
Lord mi."— Berum Angl. 1. 3. c. sxxi. 



subject to king Turlougli O'Brien, ad- 
dressing liim as tlie king of Ireland, and 
lauding his virtues as a Christian prince 
in flattering and encouraging terms. 
The great Pope Gregoiy VII. also hon- 
ored king Turlough with a letter, pub- 
lished, as well as the last-mentioned one, 
in Ussher's Sylloge, and addressed him 
as "The illustrious king of Ireland." 
It is stated in Haumer's Chi'onicle that 
William Rufus obtained from Turlough 
O'Brien a quantity of oak timber for 
the roof of Westminster Hall, and that 
the trees cut down for the purpose grew 
on Oxmantown Green, then in the north- 
ern suburbs of Dublin, but now form- 
ing part of the city. A deputation of 
the nobles of Man and other islands 
waited on Mwrtough O'Brien, and soli- 
cited him to send them a king, and he 
accordingly sent his nephew, Donnell, 
who, however, was soon expelled on ac- 
count of his tyranny ; while another 
Donuell O'Brien, his cousin, was, at the 
same time, lord of the Danes of Dublin. 

Among the high qualities which 
marked the character of Mur tough 
O'Brien were his attachment to re- 
ligion and his generosity to the church. 

In the year 1101 he summoned a 
meeting of the clergy and chiefs of 
Leath Mogha, to give due solemnity to 
an act of extraordinary munificence — 
namely, that of granting the city of Cas- 
hel-of-the-kings for ever to the religious 

* It is said tlmt Gilbert, bishop of Limerick, and first 
legate apostolic in Ireland, presided on this latter occa- 
sion ; but although Dr. Lanigan holds the contrary opin- 
ion, it has been conjectured with great probability that 

of Ireland, free from all dues and from 
all lay authority — a grant, say the an- 
nalists, "such as no king had ever made 
before." The words in which the gift 
is recorded would seem to imply that 
the royal city was given to the monas- 
tic orders exclusively. 

In 1111 a s)'nod was convened at 
Fidh-Aengussa, or Aengus's Grove, de- 
scribed by Colgan as near the hill of 
Uisneach, in Westmeath. It was at- 
tended by .50 bishops, 300 priests, and 
3,000 other ecclesiastics; and also by 
Murtough O'Brien, king of Leath ]\Iog- 
ha, and by the nobles of his provinces. 
Among the heads of the clergy wei'e 
St. Celsus, or Ceallach, archbishop of 
Armagh, and Maelmuire, or Marianus 
O'Dunain, archbishop of Cashel, who is 
styled " most noble senior of the clergy 
of Ireland ;" the object of the synod be- 
ing " to institute rules of life and man- 
ners for clergy and people." Thei'e is 
also mention of a synod of Rathbreasaii 
held about this time, the particular year 
not being specified, nor the place identi- 
fied by its ancient name.* The abuses in 
matters of discipline which had grown 
out of old customs, and which the se- 
cluded position of Ireland had gradual- 
ly allowed to extend themselves, had 
begun to give much uneasiness at this 
time in the Irish Church. One of these 
abuses was the excessive multij^licatiou 
of the episcopal dignitj'-, owing to the 

the synods of Fidh-Aengussa, or rather Fidh-mic-Aen- 
gussa, and Kathbreasil are ono and the sjime — Eccl. 
Hist, of Ireland, chap, xxv., sec. xiii. ; also Dr. Eelly'a 
edition of Camtjrcntis Eccnus, vol. iii pp. DO and 783. 



custom of creating cliorepiscopi or rural 
bisliops ; and a principal object of the 
synod or .synods in question was to limit 
the numljer of prelates and define the 
bounds of dioceses. It was decided that 
there should be but twenty-four bishops 
and archbishops : that is, twelve in the 
northern and twelve in the southern 
half of Ireland ; but this regulation was 
not carried out for some time. The dio- 
cese of Cash el, as well as that of Ar- 
magh, was, at that time, fully recognized 
as archiepiscopal, and the successor of 
St. Jarlath was sometimes called arch- 
bishop of Connaught, although the 
formal recognition of the see of Tuam 
as an archbishopric did not take place 
until several years after. 

Besides the practice of unnecessarily 
multiplying bishops, which was one that 
had been abolished in other churches 
centuries before this time, the more 
serious abuse prevailed in Ireland of al- 
lowing laymen to intrude themselves 
into church dignities, and to assume the 
title and revenues of bishops. These 
men, as we have already explained when 
treating of coarbs or comorbans, were 
obliged to transfer to ecclesiastics, regu- 
larly ordained and consecrated, the 
functions of the sacred olBces which 
they usurped. Vie have no reason to 
believe that the practice was a general 
one ; but we are told that in the church 
of Armagh there was a succession of 
eight lay and married intruders usurp- 
ing the title of St. Patrick's successors. 
The father was succeeded by his son, 
and the highest dignity in the Irish 

church was treated as a mere temporal 
inheritance. Some other corruptions of 
discipline liad also crept in ; such as the 
practice of consecrating bishops witliout 
the assistance of moi-e than one prelate ; 
and some irregularities in contracting 
marriage within prohibited degrees of 
kindred and affinity, and also in the 
form of marriage. But on these subjects 
our principal source of information is 
St. Bernard's Life of St. Malachy ; and 
it is now universally admitted that as 
the illustrious abbot of Clairvaux knew 
nothing about Ireland or its usages, ex- 
cept what he learned from a few Irish- 
men who described to him partial or 
isolated abuses, and was besides an 
unsparing and zealous denouncer of all 
corruptions, he allowed his horror of 
everything that infringed upon the 
sanctity of religion to carry him too far 
in his description of the state of religion 
and morals in Ireland as they were 
found there by his friend St. Malachy. 

The history of the Irish Church dur- 
ing the twelfth century, into which we 
have now entered, is replete with the 
deepest interest. The abuses which 
cast over it a temporary shade are to 
be deplored ; but in the lives of such 
illustrious men as St. Celsus, St. Ma- 
lacliy, St. Gelasius, and St. Laurence 
O'Toole, we find an abundant source of 
consolation. These holy men were raised 
up at a favorable moment to crush the 
evil, and under Providence they re- 
stored to the Church of Ireland much 
of its pristine lustre. 

When St. Malachy undertook the 



care of the diocese of Connor, be found, 
it is true, a most deplorable i-elaxatiou 
of discipline prevailing; but it would 
be no wonder if the perpetual warfare, 
in Avhich that and some other portions 
of Ireland were more especially involved 
during that turbulent period, had quite 
disorganized society. The monstrous 
abuse, too, of tolerating laymen in the 
see of St. Patrick, and that on the mere 
right of inheritance, may well have 
filled such a mind as that of St. Bernard 
with inexpressible grief and horror ; yet 
such was the effect of usage upon men's 
opinions, that we find these very lay 
intruders mentioned by our annalists — 
themselves ecclesiastics — without any 
mariced condemnation, and generally as 
having performed exemplaiy peuance 
before their death. We may, therefore, 
seek for some charitable palliation of 
the usage in the insolence of the few 
powerful families who, in that rude age, 
were guilty of the usurpation.* St. An- 
selm, the great archbishop of Canter- 
bury, in his correspondence with the 
prelates of the south of Ireland, and 
with king Murtough O'Brien, in the 
years 1095 and 1100, although he evin- 
ces extreme anxiety for the interests of 

♦ This abuse was not confined to Ire'.and. A canon 
of the Council of London was framed against a precisely 
Bimilar abuse in 1125 ; a!ld in the time of Cambrcnsis 
there were lay abbots in Wales who took all the real 
property of the monasteries into tlielr own hands, leav- 
ing the clcrg}' only the altars and their dues, and placing 
children or relatives of their own in tho church for the 
purpose of enjoying even these. — Itin. Cambr., b. c. 4. 

t See this corespondence printed in Ussher's Syllogc. 

X The former of those charges is the mere suggestion 
of sectarian bias, without any foundation. Thus it is 

religion, indicating that there were some 
irregularities to be reformed, still com- 
pliments the king on his excellent ad- 
ministration, and passes a high eulogium 
upon those bishops of whom he seems 
to have had any knowledge, namely, 
those of the southern dioceses.f We 
may, indeed, from this and many other 
circumstances, conclude, that the evils 
of which St. Bernard so eloquent!}^ 
complained, were at least not so general 
as his denunciations would imply, and 
did not continue for any lengthened 
period. It should be also observed 
that they have reference solely to mat- 
ters of discipline and morality, and by 
no means to faith or doctrine. So that 
we must be on our guard against two 
very grievous misrepresentations of 
which the Irish Church of the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries has been the ob- 
ject; fii-st, that there was some devia- 
tion from the faith of the Catholic or 
Roman Church in Ireland at that time; 
and, secondly, that the moral disorders 
which it must be admitted did exist, 
were general, or continued down to the 
time of the English invasion. J 

Resuming our civil history, and pass- 
ing in silence over a number of petty 

falsely pretended that it was St. Slalachy who actually 
brought the Irish church into communion with Rome, 
and that this arrangement was only made effective by 
Cardinal Paparo at the Synod of Kells in 1152. The 
other charge has been made by various writers who 
took it up at second-hand, and were actuated by un- 
friendly feelings towards Ireland. Dr. Milner, in par- 
ticular, in his work on Ireland fell into the injurious er- 
ror of supposing tliat tho English on their arrival liero 
found the abuses of wluch St. Bernard complained \itll 
a century before still prevalent. 



wars, in which many districts, especially 
in the centre of Ireland, were desolated, 
we find that Murtough O'Brien was 
seized with illness, which in 1114 com- 
pelled him to retire from active life. 
His brother, Dermot, an ambitious man, 
took the opportunity to declare himself 
king of Munster ; but this act recalled 
fi'om his retreat Murtough, who, al- 
though reduced by age and sickness to 
the appearance of a skeleton, put him- 
self at the head of his army, caused his 
unnatural brother to be made prisoner, 
and marched once more into Leinster 
and Bregia. This, however, was a last 
and feeble effort. He was obliged to 
relinquish the kingdom to his brother; 
and retiring into the monastery of Lis- 
more, where he embraced the ecclesias- 
tical state, he died in 1119. His old 
competitor, Donnell O'Loughlin, sur- 
vived him two years, and in 1120 led 
an army in defence of the king of Meath 
against the forces of Connaught ; when 
feeling his end approach, he retired into 
the Columbian monastery of Dei-ry, and, 
after penitential exercises, died there 
the following year, in the 73d year of 
his age. It is remarkable that, although 
the power of his southern rival was, at 
least for many years, more extensively 
recognized than his, still O'Loughlin 
receives the title of king of Ireland 
more generally fi'om the annalists; so 
much did the legitimate principle weigh 
with the Irish in favor of the ancient 
royal house of Hy-Niall. The contest 
between these two princes was never 
regularly fought out; for even in 1118, 

the last time they confronted each other 
at the head of their respective armies, 
St. Celsus, archbishop of Armagh, with 
the crozier of St. Patrick, interposed, 
and brought about a truce. 

Two other princes who had played 
important parts in Irish affairs alsc 
closed their career in an exemplary 
manner about this time. These were 
Rory O'Conor, who had been king of 
Connaught, but who having been blind- 
ed by the O'Flaherties many yeai's be- 
fore, entered into religion in the mon- 
astery of Clonmacnoise, and died there 
in 1118 ; and Teige MacCarthy, king of 
Desmond, who died at Cashel, in 1124, 
after affording many proofs of earnest 

A new set of characters now appear 
on the stage of Irish history. Of these, 
the leading part was taken by Turlough 
or Turdelvach O'Conor, son of the 
above-mentioned Rory, who found a 
clear stage for his ambition, and made 
rapid strides in raising himself to the 
sovereignty of Ireland. He plundered 
Thomoud as fiir as Limerick in 1116, 
when Dermot O'Bi'ien was able to make 
but a feeble resistance, trying to avenge 
himself by an inroad into Connaught 
during Turlough's absence. In 1118, 
Turlough O'Conor, aided by Murrougli 
O'Melaghliu, king of Meath, and Hugh 
O'Rourke, lord of Breffny, led an army 
as fin- as Gleann-Maghair (Glanmire), 
near Cork, and divided Munster, giving 
Desmond to MacCarthy, and Thomond 
to the sons of Dermot O'Brien, and car- 
rins:' off hostafres from both. He eu- 


If) 5 

deavored to crush the power of O'Briea 
by exalting that of the Eoghanachts or 
Desmoniaa family, who had been ex- 
cluded since the time of Briau Borumha. 
He then marched without delay to 
Dublin, and took hostages from the 
Danes, from Ossory, and from Leinster, 
liberating Donnell, son of the king of 
Meath, whom the Danes held in captiv- 
ity. The following year he scoured the 
Shannon with a fleet, hurled the royal 
palace of Kincora into the river, " both 
stones and timber," and remained there 
some time with his numerous allies, of 
Ossory, Leinster, and Dublin, consuming 
the pi'ovisions of Munster. These ex- 
treme acts of sovereign authority, or 
rather of unresisted aggression, were fol- 
lowed by others, such as the expulsion of 
his late ally and father-in-law, Murrough 
O'Melaghlin, from Meath, in 1120; the 
wholesale plundering of Desmond, from 
Traigh Li (Tralee) to the termon, or 
sanctuary land of Lismore, in 1121 ; and 
the giving of the kingdom of Dublin, as 
it was called, to his own son, Conor, in 
1126; all the intermediate time being 
devoted to various acts of hostility 
which it is needless to enumerate. 
" There was," say the annalists, " a great 
Btorm of war throughout Ireland, in gen- 
eral, so that Ceallach (St. Celsus) suc- 
cessor of Patrick, was obliged to be for 
one month and a year absent from Ard 
Macha, establishing," or rather endea- 

• He is called St. Cormac by Lynch. — CanJtrenm 
Ecenus, cliap. xsi. 

f Bishop Maelcolum O'Brolchan of Armagh, who died 
la IVi'i, in the reputation of sanctity, and who is usu- 

voring to establish, "peace among the 
men of Ireland, and promulgating rules 
and good customs everywhere among 
the laity and clergy." 

In 1127, Turlough O'Conor led his 
forces, both by sea and land, to Cork, 
and driving Cormac MacCarthy from 
his kingdom, divided Munster into 
three parts. Cormac retired to Lismore, 
where it is supposed by some that he 
assumed holy orders, being a prince of 
a religious disposition ;* but being 
urged to leave his retreat he resumed 
the reins of government on Turlough's 
Avithdrawal, and his brother, Donough, 
who had been placed on the throne by 
that king, fled to his patron in Con- 
naught, with 2,000 followers. 

At length (1128) a year's truce be- 
tween Connaught and Munster was 
made by St. Celsus ; and the following 
year that holy archbishop, worn out by 
his austerities and indefatigable labors 
in the cause of religion and peace, al- 
though onl}' fifty years of age, died at 
Ardpatrick, in the southern part of the 
present county of Limerick, where he 
was on his visitation ; and his remains, 
having been conveyed to Lismore, were 
interred there in the cemetery of the 

In the year 1129 the great church of 
Clonmacnoise was robbed of several 
objects of value, among which was a 
model of Solomon's Temple, presented 

ally descriljed as the suffragan or coadjutor of St. Colsua, 
had been, no doubt, one of the acting bishops who 
officiated for the lay iutrudera during their incum- 



by a prince of Meatb, and a silver 
chalice plated with gold, and beautiful- 
ly engraved with her own hand, by a 
sister of king Turlough O'Conor. The 
enumeration of the articles stolen affords 
an illustration of the taste and luxury 
displayed by Irish princes in objects of 
domestic use or ornament, and of the 
accomplishments of an Irish princess. 
The robber was a Dane of Limerick, 
who haviucr been arrested while at- 

tempting to escape from the countiy, 
was hanged for the crime the following 

Having now approached the eve of 
the most eventful epoch of Irish history, 
that of the Anglo-Norman invasion, we 
shall reserve for the next chapter a 
summary of the events which may ex- 
plain the circumstances, moral and 
political, in which the country was 
found on that occasion. 


St. MfJacliy. — Ilis Early Career. — His Reforms in the Diocese of Connor. — His Witlidrawal to Kerry. — His 
Government of tlie Cliurcli of Armagh. — His Retirement to Down. — Struggle of Conor O'Brien and Turlough 
O'Conor.— Synod at Cashel.— Cormac's Chapel.— Death of Cormao MacCarthy.— Turlough O'Conor's Rigor to 
liis Sons. — Crimes and Tyranny of Dermot MacMurrough. — St. Malacliy's Journey to Rome. — Building of 
Mellifont. — Synod of Inis-Padraig. — The Palliums. — St. Malachy's Second Journey and Death. — Political 
State of Ireland.— Arrival of Cardinal Paparo.— Synod of Kells.— Misrepresentations Corrected.— The Battle 
of Moin-Mor. — Famine arising from Civil War in Munster. — Dismemberment of Meath. — Elopement of Der 
vorgil.— Battle of Rahin— A Naval Engagement.— Death of Turlough O'Conor, and Accession of Roderic— 
Synod of Mellifont.— Synod of Bri-Mic-Taidhg.— Wars and Ambition of Roderic— St. Laurence O'Toole.— 
Synod of Clane. — Zeal of the Irish Hierarchy. — Death of O'Loughlin. — Roderic O'Conor Monarch, — Expulsion 
of Dermot MacMurrough. — Great Assembly at Athboy. 

Conlimporarj/ Sovereigns.— Fopos: Innocent II., Celestine II., Lucius II., Eugenius III., Anastiisiu 
Kings of England : Stephen, 1135, Henry II., 1154.— King of France : Louis VIL, 1137. 

(A. D. 1180 TO A. D. 1108). 

ST. CELSUS, or Ceallach, the arch- 
bishop of Armagh, although a 
member of the ursurping family, was 
deeply impressed with the enormous 
irregularity of making the see a family 
inheritance; and desired by his will 
that St. Malachy should be chosen his 
successor. This latter holy personage 

(whose name in Irish was Maelmaedhog 
O'Morgair) was known to St. Celsus 
from his youth. He belonged to a 
noble fiimily, although it is believed 
that his father filled the office of lector, 
or professor, in the school of Armagh. 
The account of his early training under 
the abbot Imar O'Hagan, of Armagh, 



shows that sufficient resources for the 
pious and enlightened education of 
youth had still survived the past cen- 
turies of foreign invasion and domestic 
tumult in Ireland. "While yet a young 
man he undertook the restoration of 
the famous monastery of Bangor, of 
which only a few crumbling ruins then 
remained, the abbey lands being pos- 
sessed by a layman who enjoyed the 
title of abbot. St. Malachy associated 
with himself a few religious men, and 
having constructed a small oratory of 
timber, they entered into the true spirit 
of monastic life. Soon, however, this 
tranquil existence was interrupted by 
his election as bishop of Connor ; and 
the episcopal duties which he was com- 
pelled to assume were of the most ardu- 
ous nature, as he found his diocese in a 
deplorable state of disorder. In fact, 
little more than the traces of religion 
were left among the people; but St. 
Malachy went zealously to Avork, and 
by God's blessing, and the assistance of 
his little community of monks, who ac- 
companied him from Bangor, he soon 
succeeded in restoring discipline and 
reviving religion among his flock. 
Scarcely had he effected this happy 
result when war destroyed the fruits of 
his labor. Some hostile prince invaded 
the territory, and St. Malachy, driven 
from his diocese, repaired, with 120 
monks, to the territory of Corraac Mac 
Carthy, king of Desmond, whose friend- 
sliil) he had acquired in the monaster}^ of 
Lismore where he was at the time that 
Cormac made it his retreat on beiuc: 

driven from his kingdom by Turlough 
O'Conor. The withdrawal of St. Ma- 
lachy to Munster took place some short 
time after the death of St. Celsus at 
Ardpatrick in 1129 ; and as soon as the 
death of that holy prelate was known 
in Armagh, a layman, named Muirker- 
tach, or Maurice, claimed the see as his 
inheritance, and, by the aid of his pow- 
erful clan, got himself proclaimed suc- 
cessor of St. Patrick, and maintained 
himself in the sacrilegious usurpation. 
This Maurice was son of Donald, the 
predecessor of St. Celsus, and grandson 
of Amalgid, another of the nominal 
archbishops, or comorbans.* 

In the year 1132, bishop Gilbert, of 
Limerick, apostolic delegate, and bish- 
op Malchus, of Lismore, assembled sev- 
eral bishops and chieftains, who went 
in a body to St. Malachy, in the mon- 
astery which he had erected at Ibrach,f 
in Munster; and partly by entreaties 
in the name of the clergy and people, 
partly even by threats of excommunica- 
tion, compelled him to leave his re 
treat and assume the government of 
the church of Armagh, on the condi- 
tion, however, that he might retire 
when he had restored order in the 
diocese. For the next two years a 
melancholy schism prevailed; the in- 
truder still persevering in his occupa- 
tion of the see with its revenues, and 
St. Malachy performing the functions 
of archbishop without venturing into 

* This family belonged to the royal house of Oriel, 
■f Supposed by Dr. lianigan to be Ivragh, in Kerry, 
part of Cormack MacCarthy's kingdom. 



the city, lest a tumult should take 
place, and human life be sacrificed. 
Consi:)iracieg against his life were 
formed, but he was providentially de- 
fended against them; and, at length, 
in 1134, the usurper died, after, as it 
Is stated, giving tokens of sincere re- 
pentance. Another intruder, however, 
arose in the person of one Nlell, or Ni- 
gellus. Against this man popular feel- 
ing became so strong, that he was 
obliged to fly; but he contrived to 
take with him St. Patrick's crozier and 
that apostle's book of the Gospels, and, 
by the aid of these venerable relics, he 
continued for a while to impose on 
some persons, with the pretence that 
he Avas the rightful successor of St. 

Ecclesiastical discipline having been 
restored, and the independence of the 
church vindicated in Armagh, through 
the indefatigable zeal of Malachy, that 
holy pontifl; made a visitation of Mun- 
ster in 1136; and the following year 
he resigned the primatial dignity, 
which, after another attempt of Nigel- 
lus, as some annalists say, to intrude 
himself, was conferred on Gelasius, or 
Gilla MacLiag, " the son of the poet," 
then abbot of the great Columbian 
monastery of Derry,f St. Malachy, 
himself, being installed as bishop of 
Down, Avhich had previously been 

* The Four Masters, an. 1135, say : " Maelmaedhog 
Ua Morgair (St. Malachy), successor of Patrick, pur- 
chased the Bachall-Isa (staff of Jesus), and took it from 
its cave on the 7th day of the month of July." Whence 
it appears, that NigeUus extorted a sum of money for 

united to his old diocese of Con- 
noi', over which another prelate now 

Returning to Turlough O'Conor, 
whom we left extending his sway Avith 
little impediment to his ambition, since 
the death of his northern rival, Don- 
nell O'Loughlin, we find him, at length, 
receiving a serious check from Conor 
O'Brien, who had succeeded his father, 
Dermot, on the throne of North Mun- 
ster. Conor O'Brien, in 1131, carried 
off hostages from Leinster and Meath, 
and defeated the cavalry of Connaught ; 
and the following year he sent a fleet 
to the coast of Connaught, destroyed 
the castle of Bun Gaillve, or Galway, 
and i^lundered West Connaught. In the 
former of these years the men of the 
north also invaded Connaught ; and in 
1133, Conor O'Brien and Cormac Mac 
Carthy made an incursion there, on 
both which occasions Turlough O'Con- 
or was glad to make a year's truce 
with his opj3onents. 

A synod of the bishops and clergy 
of Munster was held in Cashel in 1134, 
to celebrate, with special pomp, the 
consecration of a church just erected 
there by Cormac MacCarthy. This 
was the building now so well known 
as Cormac's Chapel, on the rock of 
Cashel, one of the most beautiful speci- 
mens of Romanesque architecture in 

its restoration. The death of that wretched man is re- 
corded in the year 1139. 

f The name of tliis prelate appears as St. Gelasius in the 
JIarty rology of Marianus Gorman, and his life is publish- 
ed by Colgan in the Acta. SS. Mib. at the 27th of March 



these countries, and the erection of 
which has been erroneously ascribed 
to Cormac MacCuilennan in the tenth 
century.* Cormac MacCarthy was, 
in 1138, treacherously killed in his 
house by Turlough, son of Derniot 
O'Brien, and by the two sons of the 
O'Conor Kerry. 

Turlough O'Conor is described by 
our annalists as a stern vindicator of 
justice ; but the justice of that age was 
not very refined in its judgments. For 
some offence, the nature of which we 
are not told, he caused the eyes of his 
son, Aedh, or Hugh, to be put out, in 
113G ; and the same year he cast Rod- 
eric, or Rory (Ruaidhri), another of his 
sons, into prison. It would appear that 
Roderic was liberated chiefly through 
the interference of the clergy ; but seven 
years later he was again imprisoned by 
his inexorable father, "in violation of 
the most solemn pledges and guaran- 
tees." On this latter occasion the pre- 
lates and clergy, with the chieftains of 
Conuaught, finding all their entreaties 
to obtain his liberation in vain, held a 
public fast at Rathbrendan, praying 
heaven to mollify the father's heart, 
but it was not until the following year 
that Roderic was released from his fet- 
ters. Murrough O'Melaghlin, king of 
Meath, was seized at the same time 
with Roderic in spite of solemn guar- 
antees, but was set at liberty through 
the interference of his sureties, who 

* See Dr. Petrie'g Ecclesiastical Architecture, &c. pp. 
290, &c., where tlie question whether Cormac MacCar- 
thy were a biahop as well as Jung is discussed. 

conveyed him into Munster, and his 
territory was given by Turlough to 
his own son, Conor, who was killed the 
following year by the men of Meath as 
a usurper. No tie or obligation was 
now allowed by Turlough O'Conor to 
stand in the way of his caprice or am- 

Dermot MacMurrough, or Diarmaid- 
na-Gall, that is, Dermot of the foreign- 
ers, as he is often called, the infamous 
king of Leinster who betrayed his 
country to the English, now appears 
on the scene, and, from the commence- 
ment, his ill-omened career is marked 
by crime. In the year 1135, according 
to Mageoghegan's Annals of Clonmac- 
noise, he took the abbess of Kildare 
from her cloister, and compelled her to 
marry one of his men, at the same time 
killing 170 of the people of Kildare 
who attempted to prevent the sacri- 
legious outrage. After being involved 
in various feuds in the interval, he en- 
deavored, in 1141, to crush all resis- 
tance to his tyranny by a barbarous 
onslaught upon the nobles of his jjrov- 
ince. He killed Donnell, lord of Hy- 
Faelain, and Murrough O'Tuathail; 
put out the eyes of Muirkertach Mac 
Gillamochalmog, lord of Feara Cual- 
ann, or AVicklow, and killed or blinded 
seventeen other chieftains, besides ma- 
ny of inferior rank. 

Conor O'Brien died in 11-12, at Kil- 
laloe, after rigid jienance, and was suc- 
ceeded by his brother Turlough, who 
commenced his reign by a war with 
Turlough O'Conor, and an invasion of 



Leinster * In 1144, O'Conor and O'Bri- 
en held a peace conference, but their 
truce did not extend beyond a year; 
and in 1145 the Four Masters intro- 
duce a long catalogue of predatory in- 
cursions in every part of the country, 
by the expressive words, that this year 
Ireland was made "a trembling sod." 
The O'Loughlins of Tyrone were at 
war with their neighbours, the Ulidi- 
ans ; a deadly feud was carried on be- 
tween Meath and Breffny; O'Conor 
and O'Brien were engaged in hostili- 
ties; and Teffia and other territories 
were also scenes of bloodshed and de- 

In the midst of these tumults, the 
church endeavored to carry on its ac- 
tion — internally, by the promotion of 
discipline and morality, and externally 
by efforts, often fruitless, for the res- 
toration of peace. It had long been a 
favorite project with St. Malachy to 
obtain from the Holy See a formal rec- 
ognition of archi episcopal sees in Ire- 
land, by the granting of palliuras. For 
that purpose he proceeded to Rome 
shortly after he had become bishop of 
Down ; and as the fame of his sanctity 
and zeal had gone before him — a char- 
acter which his mortified appearance 
was well calculated to sustain — he was 
received with every mark of love and ven- 
eration by the reigning pontiff, luno- 

* Wlien Turlougli O'Brien invaded Connauglit in 
1143, he cut down the Euaidh-Bheithigli, or red birch 
tree of Hy-Fiachra Aidhne, which was probably one of 
those trees under which the Irish kings were inaugura- 
ted ; like tlie Bile Maighe Adhair, of Thomond, which 

cent II. The Pope, descending from 
his throne, placed his own mitre on the 
head of the Irish saint, presented him 
with his own vestments and other re- 
ligous gifts and appointed hira apostol- 
ic legate, instead of Gilbert, bishop of 
Limerick, who was then a very old 
man. When St. Malachy, however, 
asked for the palliums, the Holy Fath- 
er prudently observed that that was a 
matter of great moment, and that the 
demand should have come from a syn- 
od of the Irish church, which should, 
he suggested, be held for that purpose. 
After a stay of one month, visiting the 
holy places in Rome, St. Malachy set 
out on his return to Ireland ; having, 
both going and returning, paid visits 
to the great St. Bernard, at Clairvaux, 
and laid the foundation of that friend- 
ship which forms so remarkable an in- 
cident in the lives of both these emi- 
nent saints, and in the history of the 
Irish Church. 

On his arrival in Ireland, St. Malachy 
set earnestly about his favorite mission 
for the more regular organization of 
church affairs. By virtue of his lega- 
tine powers he held local synods in sev- 
eral places, and travelled on foot all 
through Ireland. He rebuilt and re- 
stored many churches that had, in vari- 
ous parts of the country, been destroyed 
by the Danes, or fallen into decay dur- 

Avas destroyed by Malachy II. in 918 ; and the tree of Craev 
Tulcha (now C'reeve, near Glenavy, in Antrim), under 
which the kings of Ulidia were inauguarated, and which 
was destroyed by Donnell O'Loughlin, in 1099. 



ing the constant wars of those times. 
In 1142, he founded, near Drogheda, 
the famous Cistercian abbey of Melli- 
font, which was liberally endowed by 
O'Carroll, king of Orghial (Oriel), and 
was supplied with monks from Clair- 
vaux, whither St. Malachy had sent 
some Irishmen to be trained for the 

The synod from which the formal 
application for the palliums emanated 
was convened by St. Malachy as legate, 
and Gelasius as primate, in 1148. It 
was held in Inis-Padriag, or St. Patrick's 
Island, near Skerries,f and was attended 
by fifteen bishops, two hundred priests, 
and several other ecclesiastics. After 
three days spent in the consideration 
of other matters, the synod treated of 
the palliums on the fourth ; and, al- 
though unwilling that St. Malachy 
should again leave Ireland, the assem- 
bled clergy consented to his departure 
on this occasion, as it was known that 
Eugene III., Avho had been a Cistercian 
monk, was visiting Clairvaux, and that, 
therefore, St. Malachy would not have 

* St. Bernard's letters to St. Malacliy on this subject 
are printed in Usslier's Sylloge. On tlio occasion of 
buUding the church of this monastery, some wrong- 
headed person opposed St. Malachy'a plan, urging that 
the undertaking greatly exceeded the means at his dis- 
posal ; that none of them would ever see the work com- 
pleted ; that a wooden oratory in the old Irish fashion 
would suiBcc, and that it was wrong to introduce the 
customs of other countries, even in the shape of fme 
architecture for God's house, adding : — "we are Scots, 
not Frenchmen." The saint persevered successfully, 
and the objector's prophecy was only verified in himself, 
as he died before a year, and did not see the work fin- 

\ The Synod was held in the island above mentioned, 

and not at Holm Patrick, on tlie mainland, as Dr. Lani- 


to travel farther than France to see the 
sovereign pontiff. The saint set out 
immediately on his journey ; but hav- 
ing been detained some time in Eng- 
land, owing to a i')rohibition issued by 
King Stephen against bishops leaving 
the country, he found on arriving at 
Clairvaux, that the Pope had returned 
to Rome. St. Malachy was not permit- 
ted to carry out his cherished project ; 
he was seized with his death-sickness 
four or five days after his arrival at 
Clairvaux, and exjaired there, on the 
2d of November that year (1148), at- 
tended by St. Bernard, and surrounded 
by a number of the abbots and religi- 
ous of the order. J 

All this time a fierce warfare was 
carried on among the chieftains of the 
north, but the primate brought about 
a meeting between them at Armagh, in 
the latter part of 1148, and arranged 
terms of peace, to which they bound 
themselves on the crozier of St. Patrick ; 
the chieftains of Oriel, Ulidia, and the 
other northern territories, giving host- 
ages to Muirkertach, Murtough, or 

gan supposes ; the monastic establishment not having 
been transferred to the latter place until some time be- 
tween 1213 and 1228. Archdall, Monast. HU). p. 

X The festival of St. Malachy was transferred from 
2d of November, the day of his death, to the following 
day, owing to the commemoration of All Souls, which 
would interfere with its due solemnization. This illus- 
trious man is admitted to have been one of the greatest 
saints not only of the Irish but of the universal Church. 
His life, by St. Bernard, which is an important authority 
in our ecclesiastical history, was written not later than 
the year 1151 ; and ho was solemnly cammized in 1190 
by Pope Clement III. We may here remark that the 
pretended prophecy about the Popes, formerly attrilmtej 
to St. Malachy, has been long rejected as aprocryplial. 



Maurice O'Louglilin, king of Tyrone, in | 
token of submission. O'Loughlin pro- 
ceeded to Dublin the following year, 
accompanied by O'Carroll, when Dermot 
MacMurrough also paid homage to him, 
and peace was established in that part 
of Ireland. In 1150, the hostages of 
Connaught were brought to O'Loughlin, 
without a necessity for any hostile de- 
monstration, and his sovereignty was 
thus acknowledged by all Ireland, with 
the exception of the southern pro- 

Murrough O'Melaghliu, king of 
Meath, having by his crimes incurred 
general odium, was anathematized by 
the primate, and expelled from his 
kingdom by the monarch, O'Loughlin, 
who divided Meath into three parts, 
giving one to Turlough O'Conor, king 
of Connaught, another to O'Rourke of 
Breffny, and the third to O'Carroll of 
Oriel. Immediately after this, Tur- 
lough O'Brien, king of Munster, led an 
army to Dublin, where he received the 
submission of the Dano-Irish ; and he 
was proceeding to avenge a defeat 
which some of his subjects had received 
shortly before from the men of Breffny 
and Oriel, when O'Loughlin marched 
from the north to the aid of the latter, 
and the forces of Leath Cuinn and 
Leath Mogha met at Dun Lochad 
near Tara, but the Dano-Irish inter- 
fered, and arranged a year's truce be- 
tween them. 

A. D. 1152. — Cardinal John Paparo 
arrived in Ireland about the close of 
1151, bringing the palliums which had 

been solicited by St. Malachy ; and the 
following year was rendered memorable 
by the national council of Ceananus, or 
Kells, at which these insignia of the 
archiepiscopal dignity Avere confered. 
The palliums were for the archbishops of 
Armagh, Cashel, Tuam, and Dublin, the 
two latter sees being then for the first 
time regularly created archbishoprics; 
although, as already stated, we find the 
bishops of Tuam often styled archbish- 
ops long before that period. Dissatis- 
faction was felt in other parts of Ireland 
that this honor should be conferred on 
Dublin and Tuam, and it is stated that 
some of the Irish prelates remained 
away from the council on that account. 
The bishops who attended ■ were those 
of Armagh (St. Gelasius) ; Lismore 
(Christian, the Pope's legate for Ire- 
land) ; Cashel (Donald O'Lonergan) ; 
Dublin (Gregory) ; Glendalough ; 
Leighlin ; Portlargy, or Waterford ; 
the vicar-general of the bishop of Os- 
sory ; the bishop of Kildare ; the vicar- 
general of the bishop of Emly; the 
bishops of Cork, Clonfert, Kerry, Lime- 
rick, Clonmacnoise, East Connaught, or 
Roscommon; Lugnia, or Achonry; 
Conmacne Hy Briuin, or Ardagh ; Kin- 
el Eoghain ; Dalaradia, or Conor ; and 
Ulidia, or Down. Cardinal Paparo pre- 
sided, and about 300 clergy of the 
second order, and monks, were also 
present. The suffragan sees for each 
metropolitan were named ; several laws 
against simony, usury, and other abuses, 
were framed : and the payment of tithes 
for the support of the church was or- 



dained. This was the first introduction 
of tithes into Ireland ; but they were 
not enforced until after the English in- 
vasion. This synod of Kells is one 
of the incidents of Irish history which 
have been most frequently misrepre- 
sented by English historians, and by 
Irish Protestant Avriters, who pretend 
to trace to it the connection of Ireland 
with Rome, or the establishment of 
" Popery," as they call it, in this coun- 
try ; but how utterly unfounded such 
an inference is we need not impress 
upon the unpi-ejudiced reader, who has 
followed with us the thread of our his- 
tor}^ thus far.* 

While the heads of the Church were 
thus occupied a civil war raged in Mun- 
ster. Turlough O'Brien was, in 1151, 
dejjosed by Teige, another son of Der- 
mot O'Brien, and the aid of Turlough 
O'Conor being solicited by Teige, the 
king of Connaught speedily availed 
himself of the opportunity to carry 
desolation into the southern province. 
O'Conor's forces were joined by those 
of Dermot MacMurrough ; and they 
plundered Munster before them, as the 
annalists say, until they reached Moin 

* We could not expreas ourselves more to the purpose 
on tills subject than in the words of Moore : — " It is 
true," observes this writer, "from the secluded position 
of Ireland, and still more from the ruin brought upon 
nil her religious cstablisliments during the long period 
of the Danish wars, the intercourse with Rome must 
have been not unfrequently interrupted, and the pow- 
ers delegated to the prelate of Armagh, as legatus natus, 
or, hy virtue of Ids office, legato of the Holy See, may, in 
such intervals, have served as a substitute for the direct 
exercise of the Papal authority. But that the Irish 
Church has ever, at any period, been independent of the 

Mor,f where they encountered the Dal- 
cassian army, under Turlough O'Brien, 
returning from the plunder of Des- 
mond ; and a dreadful battle was fought, 
in which the men of North Munster suf- 
fered a fearful slaughter, leaving 7,000 
dead upon the field, and among them sev- 
eral of their chieftains. This terrible 
sacrifice of life is attributed to the ob- 
stinate bravery of the Dalcassians, who 
would never either demand quarter or 
fly from the field of battle. On this 
occasion Turlough O'Brien was banish- 
ed, and Turlough O'Conor assumed the 
sovereignty of Munster ; his son, Rode- 
ric, making another raid into Tho- 
mond, and carrying fire and sword as 
far as Cromadh, or Croom, in Lime 

A. D. 1152. — O'Conor led a second 
army into Munster this year, and divid- 
ed the country, giving Desmond to the 
sou of Cormac MacCarthy, and Tho- 
mond to Teige and Turlough O'Brien ; 
and the annalists say that both Tho- 
mond and Desmond had now suftered 
so fearfully from their mutual wars, 
that a dearth followed, and that the 
peasantry were dispersed into Leath 

spiritual power of Rome, is a supposition which the 
whole course of our ecclesiastical history contradicts. 
On tho contrary, it has frequently been a theme of 
high eulogium upon this country, as well among for- 
eign as domestic writers, that hers is the only national 
Church in the world which has kept itself pure from 
tho taint of heresy and schism." — lliatort/ of Ireland 
vol. ii., p. 190. 

f Dr. O'Donovan (Four Masters, an. 1151, note), sug- 
gests, with great probability, that this may have been 
the place now called Moanmore, in the parish of Emiy 
county of Tipperary. 



Cuiun, after many of tliem liad perished 
by the famiue. 

This year, also, Meath was dismem- 
bered by the monarch, O'Loughlin, 
aided by Turlough O'Conor, Dermot 
MacMurrough, and other princes. From 
Clonard westward was given to Mur- 
rongh O'Melaghlin, who had been 
formerly deposed, and from -the same 
point eastward to Murrongh's son, 
Melaghlin. Tiernan O'Rourke, lord of 
Breffny, was also dispossessed of his 
territory by this host of confederated 
princes ; and at the same time another 
mortal injury was inflicted on him, his 
wife, Dervorgil (Dearbhforgaill), being 
carried off by MacMurrough the king 
of Leinster. 

The time and other circumstances of 
this abduction have been strangely dis- 
torted by historians to give a coloring 
of romance to the account of the Eng- 
lish invasion, with which it cannot have 
had the least connection. It occurred, 
according to our authentic annals, in 
1152, and Dermot's flight to England, 
and invitation to the invaders, did not 
take place till 1166. Dervorgil was at 
the former of these dates forty-four 
years of age, and her paramour sixty- 
two. She was shamefully encouraged 
by her brother, Melaghlin O'Melaghlin, 
just then made lord of East Meath, to 

* The Four Masters relate, under the year 1128, that 
n sacrilegious attack ■n'as mado on St. Celsus by this 
Tigheaman G'Ruarke and his people, who robbed the 
primate and killed one of his clergy ; and that Conor 
MacLoughlin, then lord of Cinel Koghain, sent his 
cavalry, -who attacked and defeated the cavalry of 
O'Ruarke, ai)d killed many of his partisans. 

abandon her husband, who appears to 
have treated lier harshly before that, 
and to have deserved little sympathy 
as a hero of romance.* On leaving 
O'Rourke, she took with her the cattle 
and articles which formed her dowry ; 
and the following year, when she was 
rescued from MacMurrough by Tur- 
lough O'Conor, and restored to her 
family, the same cattle and other pro- 
perty were also restored. It is probable ' 
that she did not reside again with her 
husband, but retired immediately to 
Mellifont, where she endeavored by 
charity and rigid penance during the 
remainder of a long life, to expiate her 

A. D. 1153. — The monarch, Murtough 
O'Loughlin, espoused the cause of Tur- 
lough O'Brien, and led an army towards 
the south, to reinstate him in his terri- 
tories. Teige O'Brien, the usurper, and 
his ally, Turlough O'Conor, marched 
to oppose the northern army ; but be- 
fore their forces could form a junction, 
near Rahin, in the King's county, 
O'Loughlin, by a rapid movement with 
two battalions of picked men, encoun- 
tered Teige O'Brien's small force, which 
he cut to pieces. Turlough O'Conor 
was then glad to retreat into Con- 
naught by Athlone ; and while his son, 
Roderick O'Conor, with a portion of 

f Dervorgil performed many acts of generosity to the 
Church ; and in 11G7 erected a chapel for the convent 
of nuns at Clonmacnoise. She died in 1193 at the ven- 
erable age of 85, and her brother died of poison, at Dur 
row, m 1155 



his army, was preparing to encamp, 
O'Loiighlin, with liis northern heroes, 
poured in upon them unexpectedly, 
and, slaughtering great numbers, put 
the rest to flight. 

A. D. 1154. — Turlough O'Conor now 
collected all the ships of Dun Gaillve, 
Conmacna-mara, Umhall, or the O'Mal- 
leys' country, Tir-Awley and Tir-Fia- 
chrach, in northern Connanght, and 
with this fleet, which was under the 
command of O'Dowda, he plundered 
the coasts of Tir-Couaill, and luis Eog- 
hain. To meet this aggression, Mur- 
tough O'Loughlin hired ships from the 
Gall-Gael or Scoto-Danes, of the He- 
brides, from Ara, Ceanntire, Manainn, 
or Man, and " the borders of Alba in 
general ;" and the fleet thus mustered 
was commanded by MacScelling, a 
Dano-Gael. The two fleets engaged 
near Inis Eoghain, and fought with des- 
perate fierceness. A great number of 
Connaught men, with their admiral, 
O'Dowda, were slain, but the victory 
was nevertheless on their side; the 
foreign ships being completely shat- 
tered, so that their crews were, for the 
most part, obliged to abandon them, 
and, as many as could, to escape on 
shore. MacScelling came ofl:' with the 
loss of his teeth. 

Hostilities between O'Loughliu and 
O'Conor were still carried on by land, 
and the corn-croj^s of a great part of 
Connaught were destroj^ed by the for- 
mer in the harvest of this year; but 

* SjTiods, or rather mixed conventions, had become 
very frequent about tliis time, being often, as in this case, 

two years after (1156), Turlough 
O'Conor closed his turbulent career in 
death, and Murtough O'Loughlin then 
became the unopposed monarch of Ire- 
land ; his claims to that honor, pre- 
viously, having been sturdily contested 
by the king of Connaught. Turlough 
died in the sixty-eighth year of his age, 
and reigned over Connaught fifty years. 
He distributed, by his will, a large 
amount of gold and silver, with many 
cows and horses, among the churches 
of Ireland, and was buried beside the 
altar of St. Kieran at Clonmacnoise. 
His son, Roderic, succeeded as king of 
Connaught, and began his ill-ftited 
reign by imprisoning three of his 
brothers, one of whom he blinded. 
During this time Ulidia, Meath, Breft'- 
ny, and Leinster were all disturbed by 

A. D. 1157. — A synod, which was at- 
tended by the primate, the bishop of 
Lismore, who was legate, and seventeen 
other bishops, and at which there were 
also present the monarch, with tht 
kings of Ulidia, Oriel, BreS"ny (Tier- 
nan O'Rourke), and a great number of 
the inferior clergy and nobility, togeth- 
er with a multitude of the people who 
assembled to witness the proceedings, 
was held this year iu the abbey of Mel- 
lifont.* The primate having solemnly 
consecrated the abbey church, the lay 
princes consulted with the bishops on 
the conduct of Donongh O'^Ielaghlin, 
prince of Meath, who had become the 

attended by lay princes for the purpose of consulting 
on measures for the general management jf the state. 



common pest of the country. He was 
the friend and ally of Dermot Mac- 
Murrougb, by whose aid he had usurped 
the kingdom of Meath ; just before the 
assembling of the synod he murdered 
Cu-ulla O'Kynelvan, a neighboring 
chief, in violation of solemn guaran- 
tees ; and in an old translation of the 
Annals of Ulster he is called a " cursed 
atheist." This bad man was according- 
ly excommunicated by the clergy, and 
sentence of deposition being then pro- 
nounced against him by the king of 
Ireland and the other princes, his 
brother, Dermot, was made king of 
Meath in his place. At this synod the 
monarch, O'Loughlin, granted " to God 
and to the monastery of Mellifont" the 
lands of Finnavar-na-niughean, a town- 
land on the south side of the Boyne, 
opposite the river Mattock, together 
with one hundred and forty cows and 
sixty ounces of gold. O'CarroU, prince 
of Oriel, also presented the monastery, 
on the same occasion, with sixty ounces 
of gold ; and Dervorgil, the wife of 
0'K.ourke, presented as many ounces, 
together with a golden chalice for the 
altar of Mary, and cloth, or sacred 
vestments, for each of the other nine 
altars of the church. 

A synod of the clergy was convened 
the following year (1158) at Bri-mlc- 
Taidhg, near Trim, and was attended 
by the legate and twenty-five other 
bishops. Derry was on this occasion 
erected into an episcopal see ; Flaher- 
tach O'Brolchain, the abbot of St. Col- 
umbkille's monastery, there, being con- 

secrated the first bishop. The bishops 
of Connaught, while proceeding to this 
synod, AA'ere intercepted and plundered 
by the soldiers of Dermot, king of 
Meath, on crossing the Shannon, near 
Clonmacnoise, and two of their atten- 
dants were killed. They therefore re- 
turned to Connnaught, and held a 
synod of their own province in Eos- 

Roderlc, king of Connaught, exhib- 
ited great activity, and spared no pains 
to attain the position which his father, 
Turlough, had held, aud to divide the 
sovereignty of Ireland with O'Loughlin. 
While the latter was engaged in Mun- 
ster, in 1157, expelling Turlough 
O'Brien (whom he had formerly sup- 
ported) from Thomond, and dividing 
Munster between Dermot, son of Cor- 
mac MacCarthy, as king of Desmond, 
and Conor, son of Donnell O'Brien, 
whom he made king of Thomond, Ro- 
derlc O'Conor led an army to plunder 
and lay waste Tyi'one, and, as soon as 
O'Loughlin had left the south, proceed- 
ed thither to reinstate Turlough 
O'Brien. MacCarthy promised Roderlc 
a conditional submission; that is, in 
case O'Loughlin should not be able to 
support him against Roderlc. An of- 
fensive and defensive league was en- 
tered into between O'Conor and Tier- 
nan O'Rourke; and their combined 
forces, with a battalion of the men of 
Thomond, marched in 1159, into Oriel, 
as far as Ardee, when they were met 
by Murtough O'Loughlin with the army 
of Kluel Connell and Klnel Eoghain, 



and of the north in general. A battle 
ensued, in wlaich the Connauglit men 
and their allies were defeated with 
great slaughter ; and the northern army, 
after returning home in triumph, sub- 
sequently entered Connaught and de- 
vastated a great portion of that coun- 

During the next two years commo- 
tion and disorder reigned in various 
parts of Ireland. An insurrection of 
the Kinel Eoghaiu was put down by 
O'Loughlin, with the aid of the men of 
Oriel and Ulidia ; and a fresh partition 
was made of Meath. In the latter part 
of llGl a general meeting of the clergy 
and chieftains of Ireland took place at 
Dervor, in Meath, when all the other 
princes gave hostages to Murtough 

A. D. 1162.— The Irish Church, fertile 
in saints, now presents to us another of 
the most illustrious of her sons, in the 
person of St. Laurence O'Toole (or, as 
his name is called in Irish, Lorcan 
O'Tuathal), who was chosen this year 
to succeed Greine, or Gregory, the 
Danish archbishop of Dublin. This 
great saint, whom patriotism as well as 
religion endears to the hearts of Irish- 
men, belonged to one of the noblest 
families of Leinster, whose patrimonial 
territory, of which his father was chief- 
tain, was called Ily-Muirahy, a district 
nearly conterminous with the southern 

* The true position of Hy-Muireadhaigh (Hy-Muira- 
liy, or Ily-Marray), the ancient territory of the O'TooIes, 
Is shown by O'Donovan, in a valuable note to the Four 
Msaters, a. d. 1180. Tlio mountain district of Imailc, in 

half of the present county of Kildare.* 
In his youth he entered the monastery 
of St. Kevin, at Glendalough, of which 
he was chosen abbot when only twenty- 
five years old ; and even after his eleva- 
tion to the episcopacy — a dignity which 
he most reluctantly accepted — he con- 
tinued to practice all the austerities of 
monastic discipline. His predecessors 
in the see of Dublin had been conse- 
crated by the archbishops of Canter- 
bury, to whose jurisdiction they sub- 
jected themselves; but this external 
authority was not resorted to in his 
case, as he was consecrated by St. Gela- 
sius, successor of St. Patrick. St. Lau- 
rence O'Toole was one of twenty-six 
prelates, who, with a large number of 
abbots and inferior clergy, attended a 
synod held at Clane, in Kildare, the 
year of his consecration.. At this synod 
the college of Armagh was virtually 
raised to the rank of a university, as it 
was decreed that no one who had not 
been an alumnus of Armagh should be 
appointed lector or theological profes- 
sor in any of the other diocesan schools 
of Irelaud. 

The extraordinary energy displayed 
at this period by the hierarchy and 
clergy of Irelaud, in restoring discipline 
and promoting reforms, must soon have 
produced the most salutaiy effect on 
society, and raised the country to its 
just position among nations; but, un- 

Wicklow, -was not occupied by them nntil after the Eng 
lish invasion, when they were driven from their origi- 
nal territory. 



happilj^, their efforts were about to be 
interrujDted and frustrated. Eveu then 
the scheme was hatched which was so 
soon to crush all these generous ten- 
dencies, and extinguish for centuries 
every native germ of social progress.* 

Sundry wars and hostile inroads oc- 
curred about this time, presenting no 
peculiar feature; but in the year 1166 
a fatal outrage was committed by the 
monarch, O'Loughlin, on Eochy Mac- 
Dunlevy, prince of Dalaradia. One of 
the petty ware, so usual at that period, 
having been arranged between these 
two princes the preceding year, a 
peace was ratified by the successor of 
St. Patrick and some of the neighboring 
chieftains. Urged, however, by some 
new feeling of exasperation, from what 
cause we are not told, O'Loughlin came 
suddenly upon, the Dalaradian chief, 
put out his eyes, and killed three of 
his principal men. This savage aggi-es- 
sion so provoked the princes who had 
been guarantees for the treaty, that 
they mustered an army, composed of 
choice battalions of the men of Oriel, 
Breffny, and Conmacue, under the com- 
mand of Donough O'Carroll, and 

* The rcbmlding of the great cliurcli of Derry, des- 
troyed by fire many years before, was completed, in 
1164, by Flaliertach O'Brolchain, bishop, and formerly 
abbot of Derry, with funds which he had collected in 
the course of a mission that he had imdertaken through 
a part of Ireland for that purpose. The primate had 
also, about this time, made a visitation of Ireland to col- 
lect funds for rebuilding the religious establishments of 
Armagh destroyed by fire in 1150. The contributions 
■which the primate received in his visitation of Tyrone 
on this occasion, were a cow from every biatach or far- 
mer, a horse from every cliieftaiu, and twenty cows 
from the liing ; and when Flahertach O'Brolchain made 

marched to the north. At Leiter Luiii, 
a place in the present barony of Upper 
Fews, county of Armagh, and then 
part of Tir Eoghaiu, they encountered 
O'Loughlin, who, although he had but 
a few troops, gave battle. In the fierce 
contest which ensued the Kinel Eog- 
haiu were defeated, and the monarch 
himself slain ; and thus fell Murtough 
O'Loughlin, who, of all the Irish kings 
since the days of Malachy II. had the 
most unquestionable right to the title 
of monarch of Ireland. 

A. D. 1166. — Roderic O'Conor lost no 
time in getting himself recognized as 
sovereign, on the death of O'Loughlin ; 
and this appears to have been a mere 
matter of j^arade in his case, as there 
was no serious opposition to his claim. 
He first led an army to Easrua, in Done- 
gal, and took the hostages of Kinel 
Connell. Thence he marched across 
Ireland to Dublin, being joined on the 
way by the men of Meath and Teflia, 
and he was there inaugurated with 
more pomp than any Irish king had 
ever been before. This was, indeed, the 
first solemn act in which we see Dublin 
treated as a metropolis, and on this oc- 

a visitation of the same territory to repair his monastery, 
he obtained a horse from every chieftain, a cow from 
every two biatachs, a cow from every three freeholders, 
the same from every four viUains, and twenty cows 
from the king. He also got a gold ring of five ounces, 
Ids horse and his battle axe, as a personal gift from the 
king (Murtough O'Louglilinl. A "wonderful castle' 
was buUt this year (1164) by Roderic O'Conor, at Tuani, 
but as the castle of Galway, and other similar strong- 
holds, had been erected in Connaught long before, the 
term " wonderful" must have been applied rather on 
account of the strength of the building than of its 



casion Roderic paid the Dauo-Irisli of 
that city a stipend in cattle, aud levied 
for tLeiu a tax of 4,000 cows ou Ireland 
at large. 

From Duljlia be proceeded to Drog- 
heda (Droicbeat-atha), where O'Carroll 
and the men of Oriel paid homage, and 
gave him hostages. Attended by a 
great hosting of the men of Connaught, 
Breffuy, and Meath, he marched back 
to Leinster, advancing into Hy-Kinsella, 
where Derraot INIacMurrough gave him 
hostages ; and submission was made in 
a similar form by the various chiefs of 
Leinster and Ossory, aud of North and 
South Munster. 

By the death of the late monarch, 
Dermot MacMurrough was deprived of 
his only supporter ; and on the accession 
of Roderic — the firm ally of his old ene- 
my, O'Rourke — he saw what his fate 
must inevitably be. According to the 
friendly authority of Giraldus Cambren- 
sis, this prince was destested by all. 
Equally hateful to strangers and to his 
own people "his hand was against 
every man, and every man's hand 
against him." He accordingly prepared 
for the worst by burning his castle of 
Ferns, and soon saw his fears realized 
by the approach of an army conducted 
by Tiernan O'Rourke, and composed of 
the men of Breffny and Meath, of the 
Dano-Irish of Dublin, and of the chiefs 
of his own kingdom of Leinster. A pre- 
cipitate flight was his only resource, and 
while he sought refuge in England his 
kingdom was given to another member 
of his fiimily. 

A. D. 1167. — A great assembly of the 
clergy and chieftains of Leath Cuinn, 
or the northern half of Ireland, was 
convened by Roderic, at Athboy, in 
Meath. Among those who attended 
were the primate; St. Laurence O'Toole, 
archbishop of Dublin ; Catholicus 
O'Dufty, archbishop of Tuam ; and 
the chieftains of Breffny, Oriel, Ulidia, 
Meath, aud Dublin. Thirteen thousand 
horsemen are said to have assembled 
on this occasion ; and the meeting, from 
its magnitude, has been supposed by 
some, although incorrectly, to have been 
a revival of the ancient Feis of Tara. 
It has been also remarked how sadly 
this display of the resources, and awak- 
ening of the olden glories of the coun- 
try, contrasted with the fatal circum- 
stances of the moment ; and how little 
the men then congregated at Athboy 
could anticipate the ruin which was 
just about to come upon themselves and 
upon their nation ! Several useful regu- 
lations, affecting the social and religious 
interests of the people, were adopted 
on this occasion, and the convention 
tended matei-ially to promote respect 
for the laws, and to give eclat to the 
commencement of the new sovereign's 

Roderic, with a large army composed 
of contingents fi'om every other part of 
Ireland, entered the territory of Tyrone 
(Tir-Eoghain) and divided it between 
Niall O'Lougliliu and Hugh O'Neill, 
giving to the former the country lying 
to the north of Slieve Gallion, in the 
present county of Londonderry, and to 



the latter the territory south of that 
mountain. This might he considered 
as the last act of undisputed sover- 
eignty exercised by a native king of 
Ireland. Roderic was a man of parade, 
not of action, and totally unfit for the 
emergency in which the unhacpy des- 

tiny of Ireland had placed him. No 
monarch of Ireland, up to his time, was 
ever more implicitly obeyed, or could 
command more numerous hostings of 
brave men ; yet in his hands all this 
power was miserably worthless and in- 



Dermot's Appeal to Henry U. — His Negotiations with Earl Strongbow and others. — Landing of the first English 
Adventurers in Ireland. — Siege of Wexford. — First Rewards of the Adventurers. — Apathy of the Irish. — In- 
cursion into Ossory. — Sa%-age Conduct of Dermot. — His Vindictiveness . — Shameful Feebleness of Roderic. — 
The Treaty of Ferns. — Dermot aspires to the Sovereignty. — Strongbow's Preparations for his Expedition. — 
Landing of his Precursor, Raymond le Gros. — Massacre of Prisoners by the English. — Arrival of Strongbow, 
and Siege of Waterford. — Marriage of Strongbow and Eva. — March on Dublin. — Surprise of the City. — Brutal 
Massacre. — The English Garrison of Waterford cut oflf. — Sacrilegious Spoliations by Dermot and the English. 
— Imbecility of Roderic. — Execution of Dermot's Hostages. — Synod of Armagh. — English Slaves, nefariona 
custom. — Horrible Death of Dermot MacMurrough. 

(A. D. 11G8— 1171.) 

MEDITATING vengeance against 
the country from which he was 
compelled to fly in disgrace, the fugi- 
tive king of Leinster arrived at Bristol, 
where he learned that Henry II., to 
whom he had determined to apply for 
aid, was absent in Aquitaine. Thither 
he immediately proceeded ; and having 
at length found the English king, he 
laid before him such a statement of his 
grievances as he thought fit. He of- 
fered to become Henry's vassal, should 
he, through his assistance, be reinstated 
in his kingdom, and made the most ab- 
ject protestations of reverence and sub- 

mission. Henry lent a willing ear to 
his statement, and must have been for- 
cibly struck by this invitation to carry 
out a project which he himself had long 
entertained, and for which he had been 
making grave preparations many years 
before. That project was the invasion 
of Ireland. As his hands were, how- 
ever, just then full of business — for he 
was engaged in bringing into submis- 
sion the proud nobles of the province 
in which he then was, while at home 
the resistance of St. Thomas a Becket, 
who would not suffer him to trample 
on the rights of the church with impu- 



nity, was become daily more irksome — 
he could not occupy himself personally 
in Dermot's aifairs, but gave him let- 
ters patent, addressed to all his sub- 
jects — English, French, and Welsh — 
recommending Dermot to them, and 
granting them a general license to aid 
that prince in the recovery of his tei'- 
ritory by force of arms. 

A. D. 1168. — With this authorization 
Dermot hastened back to Wales, where 
he gave it due publicity, but for some 
time his efforts to induce any one to es- 
pouse his cause were unavailing. At 
length, he was fortunate enough to find 
some needy military adventurers suited 
to his purpose. The chief of these was 
Richard de Clare, commonly called 
Strongbow (as his father, Gilbert, also 
had been), from his skill with the cross- 
bow. This man, who was earl of Pem- 
broke and Strigul, or Chepstow, being 
of a brave and enterprising spirit, and 
of ruined fortune, entered warmly into 
Dermot's design. He undertook to 
raise a sufficient force to aid the king 
of Leinster in the recovery of his king- 
dom, for which Dermot promised him 
his daughter, Eva, in marriage, and the 
succession to the throne of Leinster. 
Two Anglo-Norman knights, Maurice 
FitzGerald and Robert FitzStephen, al- 
so enlisted themselves in the cause of 
Dermot. These men were half-broth- 
ers, being the sons of Nesta, who had 
been first the mistress of Henry I., then 
the wife of Gerald of Windsor, gover- 
nor of Pembroke and lord of Carew, to 
whom she bore the former of these ad- 

venturers, and finally the mistress of 
constable Stephen de Marisco, who was 
the father of Robert FitzStephen. 
These knights were men of needy cir- 
cumstances, and Dermot promised to 
reu^ard them liberally for theii servi- 
ces, by granting them the city of Wex- 
ford with certain lands adjoining. 
Such were the obscure individuals by 
whom the first introduction of English 
power into Ireland was planned and car- 
ried out. 

The year was now drawing to a 
close, and Dermot MacMurrough, re- 
lying on the promises which he had 
obtained, ventured back to Ireland, 
and remained, during the winter, con- 
cealed in a monastery of Augustinian 
canons which he had founded at Fl-i'us 
There is some uncertainty as to the 
date of the first landing of the Anglo- 
Normans in Ireland ; and it may also 
be doubted, whether some of the pro- 
ceedings of Dermot and his foreign 
auxiliaries, mentioned obscurely in the 
native annals, occurred previous to the 
arrival of FitzStephen, and the surren- 
der of Wexford, in May, 1169, or were 
identical with those recorded after that 
time. Thus it is stated, that early in 
the year a few of Dermot's Welsh aux- 
iliaries arrived, and that with their aid 
he recovered possession of Hy-Kinsel- 
lagh ; but that this movement on his 
part was premature, and that at the 
approach of a force, liastily collected by 
Roderic O'Conor and Tiernan O'Rourke, 
a battle in which some of the Welsh 
were killed, having been fought at Cill 



Osnadh, now Kellistown, in the county 
of Carlo\v, Dermot, who only wanted 
to gain time, made a hypocritical peace 
with the monarch, giving him seven 
hostages for ten cantreds of his former 
territory. It is added, that he gave a 
hundred ounces of gold to O'Kourke, 
as an atonement for the injury he had 
formerly inflicted on him ; but all this 
seems to be only a confused version of 
some of the events which Ave are now 
about to relate in order, on the author- 
ity of Giraldus Cambrensis and Mau- 
rice Regan.* 

A. D. 1169. — According to the most 
probable account of the first Anglo- 
Norman descent, Robert FitzStephen, 
with 30 knights all his own kinsmen, 
60 men-at-arms, and 300 skillful arch- 
ers, disembarked in May, this year, 
at Bannow,f near Wexford. One of 
the knights was Hervey de Montemar- 
isco, or Mountmaurice, a paternal un- 
cle of earl Strongbow ; and the next 
day, at the same place, landed Maurice 
de Prendergast, a "Welsh gentleman, 
with 10 knights and 60 archers. Der- 
mot, on receiving notice of their arrival, 
marched with the utmost speed to join 
them with 500 men, being all that he 
could then muster; and with the joint 
force, he proceeded immediately to lay 

* The authority referred to as tliat of Maurice Regan 
is a metrical narrative -written by as anonymous Nor- 
man rhymer from the oral account ■which he received 
from Regan, the secretary and " Lattimer," or interpre- 
ter, of Dermot MacMurrough. An old translation into 
English, by Sir George Carew, was published in Harris's 

\ Cuananbbainbh, "the creek of the sucking pigs." 

siege to the town of Wexford, the in- 
habitants of which were Dauo-Irish. 
The first assault was repelled with 
great bravery, the inhabitants having 
previously set fire to the suburbs, that 
they might not afford a cover to the 
enemy ; but when the Anglo-Normans 
were preparing to renew the attack 
next morning, the townspeople deman- 
ded a parley, and terms of capitulation 
were negotiated by the clergy; Der- 
mot, though with great reluctance, con- 
senting to pardon the inhabitants on 
their returning to their allegiance. In 
the first day's assault eighteen of the 
English had been slain, and only three 
of the brave garrison. FitzStephen 
burned the shipping which lay before 
the town ; and it is said that he des- 
troyed also the vessels which had con- 
veyed his own troops from England, to 
show that they were resolved never to 
retreat. The lordship of the town was 
then, according to the contract, made 
over to him and to FitzGerald, who had 
not yet arrived, and two cantreds of land, 
lying between the towns of Wexford 
and Waterford, were granted by Der- 
mot to Hervey of Mountmaurice.J 

Dermot now conducted his allies to 
Ferns, where they remained inactive for 
three weeks, without molestation, and 

The place of FitzStephen's debarkation is caUed Bagan. 
bum by the Anglo-Irish historians. 

I This land is comprised in the present baronies ol 
Forth and Bargie, county of Wexford, and was the first 
place in Ireland colonized by the English. The isolation 
of its inhabitants for centuries after that time, and the 
peculiarities of manner and language, of which the rem 
nant is still preserved among them, are well known facts 



indeed without appearing to excite any 
attention on tlie part of king Roderic 
and tlie other Irish princes. This ap- 
athy of the Irish, which appears to us 
so unaccountable, and which was so 
Lamentable in its consequences, jDartly 
arose, no doubt, from the insignificance 
of the invaders, in j^oint of numbers. 
Never did a national calamity, so 
mighty and so deplorable, proceed 
from a commencement more contempti- 
ble than did the English occupation of 
Ireland. The Irish were accustomed 
to employ parties of Danish mercena- 
ries in their feuds. They had also 
mixed themselves up more than once 
in the quarrels of the Welsh ; and they 
looked upon MacMnrrougli's handful 
of Welsh and Normans as casual auxil- 
iaries who came on a special duty and 
would depart when it was performed. 
The Irish annalists expressly state that 
the monarch, with a number of subor- 
dinate princes and a large army, en- 
tered Leinster at this very time, aud 
"went to meet the men of Munster, 
Leinster, and Ossory," but " set nothing 
by the Flemings," as the first party of 
the invaders are called in these records.* 
As to Roderic, he showed no fore- 

* Four Masters, A. D. 1169. No English or Anglo- 
Irisli authority makes any mention of these Flemings ; 
yet, obseyres Dr. O'Donovan, certain analogies as -neU 
as the existence of an ancient Flemish colony in Pem- 
brokeshire, whence the first adventurers came, would 
show that the Irish annalists had some grounds for the 
application of the name. 

f Tho annalists say that this year (11C9), "Eory 
O'Conor granted an (increase of) pension of ten cows 
yearly, from liimself and his successors, to tho lector 
(chief master) of Armagh (seminary), in honor .)f Pat- 

sight or prudence, no energy of char- 
acter or real bravery, and no regard 
for the interests of Ireland as an inte- 
gral nation, throughout the Avhole of 
this most fatal crisis in his country's 
fortunes. About this time he celebra- 
ted the fair of Tailtin, when the con- 
course assembled was so great that the 
horsemen are said to have been spread 
over the tract of country from Mullach 
Aiti, now the hill of Lloyd, west of 
Kells, to Mullach Tailtin, a distance of 
about six and a half miles ; yet, while 
this display of numbers was made with- 
in a couple of days' march, Dermot, 
with his handful of foreign auxiliai-ies, 
was permitted to overrun tlie province 
of Leinster, and to brave the anger of 
the imbecile monarch.f 

Emboldened by the inactivity of his 
enemies, Dermot resolved to act on the 
offensive; and as he had a cause of 
quarrel with MacGilla Patrick, prince 
of Ossory, wlio, actuated bj^ a feeling 
of jealousj^, had put out the eyes of 
Enna, a son of MacMurrough's who was 
in his power as a hostage, he determined 
to make him the first object of his ven- 
geance. J Between the forces of his 
province and the garrison of Wexford, 

rick, to instruct tho youth of Ireland and Alba in liter- 

i The barbarous custom of blinding was a mode of 
punishment common to other nations at that period. 
It was indeed only three or four years before the lime 
at which we have arrived when Henry II., king of Eng- 
land, took vengeance on the people of Wales by causing 
the children of tho noblest families of that country, 
whom he held as hostages, to be treated in the samo 
manner ; ordering the eyes of the males to be rooted out, 
and the ears aud lips of the females to bo amputated. 



Dermot was enabled to muster 3,000 
men, but bis principal reliance was on 
bis foreign friends, in wbose ranks be 
cbiefly remained; and tbe Wexford 
men were so bated and distrusted by 
bim, tbat tbey were not allowed to en- 
camp at nigbt witb tbe rest of tbe 
armj^. Tbus Dermot marcbed into Os- 
sory, wbere tbe inbabitants made a 
brave stand ; but after a good deal of 
figbting, baving been decoyed from a 
strong i^osition into one wbere tbey 
were exposed to tbe Norman cavalry, 
tbey were ultimately defeated, and 
tbree bundred of tbeir beads were piled 
up before Dermot as a tropby of vic- 
tory. Tbis ferocious monster is said to 
bave leaped and clapped bis bands witb 
joy at tbe sigbt ; and Cambrensis adds 
tbat be turned over tbe beads in tbe 
gbastly beap, and tbat recognizing one 
of tbem as tbe bead of a man to wbom 
be bad particular aversion, be seized it 
by botb ears, and witb brutal frenzy 
bit off tbe nose and lips of bis dead en- 
emy. Sucb is tbe character wbicb we 
receive of tbis detestable tyrant, even 
from contemporary English authori- 

Koderic, awakening at length to a 
sense of tbe duty wbicb devolved on 
him, convened a meeting of the Irish 
princes at Tara, and, in obedience to 
tbe summons, a large army was mus- 
tered ; while Dermot, who bad already 
carried desolation through a great por- 

Hence, -wlien we read of such tortures in Irisli Ustory, 
we are not to conclude that they were indicative of any 
peculiar barbarity. More than two hundred years after, 

tion of Ossory, became dismayed at the 
first symptoms of preparations against 
him, and. baiting with bis English 
friends in tbeir career of havoc, return- 
ed to Ferns, and hastily entrenched 
himself there. Scarcely, however, bad 
the Irish army assembled, when dissen- 
sions broke out in its ranks, and on 
marching as for as Dublin, Roderic 
thought fit to dispense witb tbe services 
of MacDunlevy of Ulidia, and of O'Car- 
roll of Oriel, Avho accordingly drew off 
their resj^ective contingents, and re- 
turned home. Still the monarch ar- 
rived before Ferns with an army suffi- 
cient to annihilate the small force which 
be found collected there round Der- 
mot ; for it must be observed, that on 
the news of an Irish army being in the 
field, the king of Leinster was aban- 
doned by a great number of bis Irish 

The conduct of Koderic on this occa- 
sion lamentably illustrates the weakness 
of bis character. Instead of proceeding 
at once to crush tbe dangerous foe, or in- 
sisting on the unconditional submission 
of Dermot, be entered into private ne- 
gotiations, first witb FitzStephen, and 
then witb Dermot ; endeavoring to in- 
duce tbe former to abandon tbe king 
of Leinster, and to return to bis own 
country, or to detach tbe latter from 
his foreign allies, and bring bim to an 
humble admission of his allegiance. 
Sucb attempts showed tbe feebleness of 

in tbe reign of Henry IV., this barbarous practice pre 
vailed in England, and it was necessary to make a 1ft v^ 
against it— Hume, c. 18. 



his councils, and only excited the con- 
tempt of both FitzStephen and Derraot. 
Roderic's overtures -were therefore re- 
jected with disdain, and preparations 
were made on both sides for battle. We 
cannot now judge how far the strength 
of the position occupied by the enemy 
justified the reluctance of the Irish 
monarch to attack; but we find him 
again endeavoring to avert the neces- 
sity of fighting by further treating with 
the perfidious Dermot, so that it was 
Roderic, and not the besieged, who ap- 
peared to supplicate for peace. At 
length terms were agreed on, Roderic 
consenting to give the full sovereignty 
of Leinster to Dermot and to his heirs, 
on his own supremacy being acknow- 
ledged ; and Dermot on the other part, 
giving his fevorite son, Conor, as a host- 
age to the monarch, and binding him- 
self solemnly by a secret treaty to bring 
over no more foreign auxiliaries, and to 
dismiss those now in his service, so soon 
as circumstances Avould permit him to 
do so. 

About this time Maurice de Pren- 
dergast withdrew from Dermot, with 
his followers, to the number of 200; 
and finding that his departure from 
Ireland was prevented, he offered his 
services to the king of Ossory. This 
defection alarmed Derraot, and enabled 
his enemy, MacGilla Patrick, to make 
some reprisals ; but Maurice soon aban- 
doned the latter also, and returned for a 
short time to Wales. 

Dermot, who only desired to gain 
time, soon betrayed the insincerity of 

his consessions to Roderic ; for Maurice 
FitzGerald having in a few days after 
arrived with a small party of knights 
and archers at Wexford, he hastened to 
meet his new ally, regardless of his 
treaty, and, with this addition to his 
force, marched to attack Dublin, Avhich 
had thrown ofi:' its allegiance to him, 
and was then governed by Hasculf Mac- 
Turkill, a prince of Danish descent. 
The territory around the city was soon 
laid waste in so merciless a way, that 
the inhabitants were obliged to sue for 
peace ; and the king of Leinster having 
glutted his revenge, accepted their sub- 
mission, for the purpose of being free 
to lend assistance to Donnell O'Brien, 
prince of Thomond, who had married a 
daughter of Dermot's, and half sister of 
Eva, and had just then rebelled against 
the monarch, Roderic. This opportu- 
nity of weakening the power of the lat- 
ter was, to the vindictive king of Lein- 
ster, too gratifying to be neglected ; and 
Dermot felt so elated by repeated suc- 
cesses, that he was no longer content 
with his position as a provincial prince, 
but set up a claim to the sovereignty of 
Ireland, which he grounded on the 
right of an ancestor. In this ambitious 
aim he was encouraged by his English 
auxiliaries ; and in a consultation with 
FitzStephen and FitzGerald, it was 
resolved that a message should be sent 
immediately to Strongbow, pressing 
him to fulfill his engagements, and to 
come to their aid with as little delay as 

A. D. 1170. — Strongbow on his part 



felt himself in a difficult position. He 
could no loHger act upon Henry's let- 
ters patent, Dermot being now reinstat- 
ed in bis kingdom ; and a new sanction 
being necessary to authorize a hostile 
expedition to Ireland, he repaired to 
Normandy, where the English king 
then was, to solicit his permission. 
Henry, who was naturally jealous and 
suspicious, and entertained a particular 
aversion to the ambitous earl of Pem- 
broke, in order to rid himself of his 
importunity, gave him an equivocal an- 
swer, which Strongbow pretended to 
understand as the required permission. 
He thereupon returned to Wales, set 
about collecting men with all possible 
diligence, and sent Raymond le Gros 
with ten knights and seventy archers 
as his advanced guard. This party 
landed at a small rocky promontory 
then called Dundolf, or Downdonnell, 
near Waterford, and being joined by 
Hervey of Mountmaurice, they con- 
structed a temporary fort, to enable 
them to retain their position until 
Strongbow should arrive. The citizens 
of "Waterford, aided by O'Faelain, or 
O'Phelan, prince of the Deisi, and 
O'Ryan, of Idrone, sent a hastily col- 
lected force to dislodge the invaders ; 
but through the bravery of Raymond, 
aided by accident, the besieged were 
not only able to defend themselves, but 
effectually to rout the undisciplined mul- 

* Tho Euglish, on their landing, liad, it appears, 
swept off a largo number of cattle from the surromiding 
country, and placed them in the outer enclosure of their 
camp ; and these, terrified by the noise of tho battle, 

titude who came against them, killing, 
it is said, 500 men, and taking seventy 
of the principal citizens prisoners.* 
Large sums of money were offered to 
ransom the latter, but the English, as 
some sajT, swayed by the sanguinary 
counsel of Hervey of Mountmaurice, re- 
jected these offers; and for the purpose 
of striking terror into the Irish, brutally 
massacred the prisoners by breaking 
their limbs, and hurling them from the 
summit of the precipice into the sea. 
This atrocity was a fitting prelude to 
the English wars in Ireland ; but most 
historians vindicate Raymond le Gros 
from the stigma which it cast upon the 
English arms. 

In the mean time Strongbow had as- 
sembled his army of adventurers and 
mercenaries at Milford, and was about 
to embark, when he received a perempt- 
ory order from Henry forbidding the ex- 
pedition. What was to be done ? His 
hesitation, if any, was very brief, and 
he adopted the desperate alternative of 
disobeying his king. He accordingly 
sailed, and with an army of about 1,200 
men, of whom 200 were knights, landed 
near Waterford on the 23d of August, 
the eve of St. Bartholomew's day. Here 
he was immediately joined by his friend 
Raymond le Gros, who had been then 
three months in Ireland ; and the very 
next day he proceeded to lay siege to 
Waterford. The citizens displayed 

and rushing furiously out through the Irish assailants, 
spread confusion in their ranks, of which their enemy 
took deadly advantage. 



great heroism in their defence, find 
twice repulsed the attempts of the as- 
saiLants. At lengtli a Large breach was 
made in the wall by the fall of a house 
which projected over it, and which 
came toppling down when the props by 
which it had been supported were cut 
by Raymond's knights; and the be- 
siegers pouring into the city made a 
dreadful slaughter of the inhabitants. 
A tower in which Reginald, or Gille- 
maire, as the Irish annalists call him, 
a lord of Danish extraction, and O'Phe- 
lan, prince of the Deisi, continued to 
defend themselves, was taken; and 
these two brave men were on the 
point of being massacred by their piti- 
less captors, when Dermot MacMur- 
rough arrived, and for the first and 
only time we see mercy exercised at 
his request. The carnage of the now 
unresisting inhalntants was suspended. 
Dermot expressed great exultation at 
the arrival of earl Strougbow, and in- 
sisted upon paying him at once his 
promised guerdon. He had taken his 
daughter, Eva, with him for that j^ur- 
pose ; the marriage ceremony was hasti- 
ly performed, and the wedding cortege 
passed through streets reeking with the 
still warm blood of the brave and un- 
happy citizens. 

Immediately after the nuptials of 
Strongbow and Eva, Dermot and his 
allies set out on a rapid march to Dub- 
lin, leaving a small party to garrison 
Waterford. Roderic had collected a 
large army and encamped at Clondal- 
Ivin near Dublin ; and Ilasculf, the gov- 


ernor of that city, encouraged by their 
presence, revolted against Dermot. 
Hence the haste of the confederate 
army to reach Dublin ; and as they 
proceded along the high ridges of the 
Wicklow mountains in order to escape 
the fortified passes by which their 
march would have been impeded in the 
valleys, they arrived under the walls of 
Dublin long before their presence there 
could be calculated on. This rapid 
movement, and the now formidable ar- 
ray of the Auglo-Normau armj^, filled 
the citizens with consternation, and re- 
course was had to negotiation ; the il- 
lustrious archbishop of Dublin, St. Lau- 
rence O'Toole, being commissioned to 
arrange terms of peace wnth Dermot. 
While the parley, however, Avas still 
proceding in Strongbow's camp, two of 
the English leaders, Raymond le Gros 
and Milo de Cogan, regardless of the 
usages of civilized warfare — though 
some say the time for the conference 
had expired — led their troops respec- 
tively against the weakest or most neg- 
lected parts of the fortifications, and 
obtained an entrance. The inhabitants, 
relying on the negotiations which were 
going forward, were quite unj")repared 
for this assault, and flying panic-strick- 
en, were butchered in the most merci- 
less manner. We may conceive the hor- 
ror with which St. Laurence, hastening 
back to the city, found its streets filled 
with carnage. He exposed his life in 
the midst of the massacre, endeavoring 
to appease the finy of the soldiers ; and 
subsequently he had the bodies of the 



slain collected for decent burial, inter- 
ceded for the clergy of the city, and 
procured the restoration of the books 
and ornaments of which the churches 
had been jjlundered. 

Eoderic would appear to have had 
some skirmishes with the enemy for 
two or three successive days previous 
to this, and then to have withdrawn 
with his large but ill-organized army ; 
but the Irish annalists, in mentioning 
the transaction, accuse the citizens of 
Dublin of bad faith, probably for refu- 
sing to act in concert with the Irish, or 
for endeavoring to make a peace for 
themselves; and they also allude to a 
conflagration produced in the city by 
lightning, which, no doubt, added to 
the panic. " As a judgment upon 
them," say the Four Masters, "Mac- 
Murrough and the Saxons acted treach- 
erously towards them, and made a 
slaughter of them in their own fortress, 
in consequence of the violation of their 
word to the men of Ireland." Hasculf 
and a number of the principal citizens 
made their escape in ships, and repaired 
to the Hebrides and Orkneys; and 
Eoderic, without striking a blow, 
drew off his army into Meath to sustain 
O'Rourke, to whom he had given the 
eastern portion of that territory. About 
the same time the English garrison, 
which had been left in Waterford, was 
attacked and defeated by Cormac Mac- 
Carthy, king of Desmond, but we are 
not told of :niy consequence which re- 

The government of Dublin Avas now 

entrusted to Milo de Cogan ; and Der- 
mot, with his allies, marched into Meath, 
which they ravaged and laid waste with 
an animosity perfectly diabolical. Tne 
churches of Clonard, Kells, Teltown, 
Dowth, Slane, Kilskeery, and Desert- 
Kieran, were plundered and burned, 
and, as a matter of course, the towns 
or villages which surrounded them 
were not treated with greater mercy. 
This predatory incursion was extended 
into Tir Briuin, or the country of the 
O'Rourkes and O'Reillys in Leitrim and 
Cavan ; and although the monarch him- 
self appears to have avoided all collision 
with the enemy, we are told that at last 
a portion of the latter were twice de- 
feated in Breifny by O'Rourke. Don- 
nell, prince of Bregia, who had been 
deposed by Roderic, sided with Mac- 
Murrough, as did also Donnell's adher- 
ents among the people of East Meath, 
and some of the men of Oriel.* 

Alarmed at these events, Roderic 
foolishly imagined that he could arrest 
the progress of Dermot by threatening 
him with the death of his hostages. 
He accordingly sent ambassadors to re- 
monstrate with him for his perfidy in 
breaking his engagements, and for his 
unprovoked aggressions, and to an- 
nounce that if he did not withdraw his 
army within his own frontier, and dis- 
miss his foreign auxiliaries, the heads of 
his hostages should be forfeited. Der- 
mot treated this menace with derision. 
As far as we can judge of his character, 

■ Four Masters. 



he would have preferred the gratification 
of Lis revenge to the lives of all his 
children, liad tLey been at stake. And 
he sent back word to Roderic that he 
would not desist until he had fully as- 
serted his claim to the sovereignty of 
all Ireland, and bad dispossessed Rod- 
eric of his kingdom of Conuaught in- 
to the bargain. 

There is a difference of opinion as to 
whether Roderic fulfilled his threat. 
Cambrensis, a contemporary writer, in- 
forms us that he did. Keating says 
that he would not expose himself to so 
much odium as the execution of the 
hostages would entail ; but the Four 
Masters, who are a much better author- 
ity, and would not have made the state- 
ment without sufficient grounds, say 
that " the three roj^al hostages" were 
put to death at Athlone. These were 
Conor, the sou of Dermot ; his grand- 
son (the son of Donuell Kavanagh) ; 
and the son of his foster-brother, 
O'Caellaighe. The act was cruel, but 
in it Roderic did not exceed his strict 
right ; and the same year Tiernan 
O'Rourke put to death the hostages of 
East Meath, which had rebelled against 

Giraldus Cambrensis* furnishes some 
interesting particulars of a synod held 
at Armagh about the close of this year 
(1170). It appears from it that there 
prevailed in England a barbarous cus- 
tom of selling children as slaves, and 
that the Irish were the principal pur- 
chasers in that abominable market. 

ffib. Erpug. i. 18. 

There are other authorities also to 
show this nefarious practice was preva- 
lent in England ; the twenty-eighth 
canon of the council of London, held in 
1102 having been enacted for its i')ro- 
hibition.f The custom of buying 
English slaves was held by the Irish 
clergy to be so wicked, that, after 
deliberating on the subject, the synod 
of Armagh pronounced the invasion 
of Ireland by Englishmen to be a just 
judgment upon the country on account 
of it; and decreed that any of the 
English who were held as slaves in 
Ireland should immediately be set free. 
It was a curious and characteristic 
coincidence that an Irish deliberative 
assembly should thus by an act of hu- 
manity to Englishmen, have met tlie 
merciless aggressions which the latter 
had just then commenced against this 

A. D. 1171. — In the midst of his am- 
bitious and vindictive projects, Der- 
mot MacMurrough died at Ferns, on 
the 4th of May, 1171. His death, 
which took place in less than a year 
after his sacrilegious church-bnrnings in 
Meath, is described as accompanied by 
fearful evidence of divine displeasure. 
He died intestate, and without the sac- 
raments of the church. His disease 
was of some unknown and loathsome 
kind, and was attended with insuflfera- 
ble pain, which, acting on the natural- 
ly savage violence of his temper, ren- 
dered him so furious that his ordinary 
attendants were compelled to abandon 

f WUkins' Consilia, : 

also Howel, p. 



liim ; and Lis body became at once a 
putrid mass, so that its presence above 
ground could not be endured. Some 
historians suggest that this account of 
his death may have been the invention 
of enemies ; yet it is so consistent with 
what we know of MacMurrough's char- 
acter and career, from other sources, as 
to be nowise incredible. He reached 
the age of eighty-one years, and is 
known in Irish history as Dinrmaid-na- 
Gall, or Dermot of the Foreigners. 

On the death of Dermot, earl Strong- 
bow, regardless of his duty as an Eng- 
lish subject, got himself proclaimed 
king of Leinster ; and as his marriage 
with Eva could not under the Irish 
law confer any right of succession, he 
grounded his claim on the engagement 
made by the late king, when he first 
agreed to undertake his cause. As 
this was the first step in the establish- 
ment of English power in Ireland, it 
is well the reader should bear in mind 
the way it was efifected. There was 
here no conquest. The only fighting 
which the invaders yet had was with 

the Dano-Irish of Wexford, Waterfoi-d, 
and Dublin ; and against these, as well 
as in their predatory excursions, the 
Anglo-Normans acted in conjunction 
with their Irish allies in Leinster. 
They can hardly be said, so far, to 
have come in collision with an Irish 
army at all, and most certainly, as Le- 
land observes, "the power of the na- 
tion they did not contend with." " The 
settlement of a Welsh colony in Lein- 
ster," as the same historian, notwith- 
standing his strong anti-Irish preju- 
dice, continues, " was an incident 
neither interesting nor alarming to 
any, except, perhaps, a few of most 
reflection and discernment. Even the 
Irish annalists speak with a careless 
indiflference of the event;" but "had 
these first adventurers conceived that 
they had nothing more to do but to 
march through the land, and terrify a 
whole nation of timid savages by the 
glitter of their armor, they must have 
speedily experienced the eftects of such 
romantic madness."* 

Leland's History of Ireland, b. i., chap. i. 





Difficulties of Strongbow.— Order of Henry against the Adventurers.— Dauisk attack on Dublin.— Patriotism of 
St. Laurence.— Siege of Dublin by Roderic- Desperate state of tbe Garrison.— Their Bravery and Success.— 
FitzStephen Captured by the Wexford People. — Attack on Dublin by Tiernan O'Rourke. — Henrys Expedi- 
tion to Ireland.— His Policy.— The Irish Unprepared.— Submission of several Irish Princes.— Henry fixes his 
Court in Dublin.— Bold Attitude of Roderic— Independence of the Northern Princes.— Synod of Cashel.— 
History of the Pope's Grant to Henry.— This Grant not the Cause either of the Invasion or its Success.— Dis 
organized State of Ireland.— Report of Prelates of Cashel, and Letters of Alexander HI.— English Law 
extended to Ireland. — The "five bloods." — Parallel of the Normans in England and the Anglo-Normans in 
Ireland. — Fate of the Irish. Church. — Final Arrangements and Departure of Henry. 

(A. D. 1171 AJO) 1173.) 

T?ORTUNE thus seemed iu many 
-*- respects to favor Strongbow and 
his band of Anglo-Norman and Welsh 
adventurers, yet their position was one 
of considerable embarrassment. The 
king of England was jealous of their 
success, and indignant at the slight 
which they had put upon his authority. 
He was also annoyed at finding his own 
designs against Ireland anticipated by 
men who were likely to become insolent 
and troublesome ; and he accordingly 
(a. d. 1171) issued a peremptory man- 
date, ordering every English subject 
then iu Ireland to return within a cer- 
tain time, and prohibiting the sending 
thither of any further aid or supplies. 
Alarmed at this edict, Strongbow dis- 
patched Raymond le Gros to Henry 
with a letter couched in the most sub- 
missive terms ; placing at the king's 

disposal all the lands which he had ac- 
quired in Ireland. Henry was at the 
moment absorbed in the difficulties in 
which the murder of St. Thomas k Bec- 
ket — if not at his command, at least 
at his implied desire, and by his myr- 
midons — had involved him, and he 
neither deigned to notice the earl's let- 
ter, nor paid any further attention to 
the Irish affiiir for some time ; so that 
Strongbow, still tempting fate, contin- 
ued his course without regarding the 
royal edict. To add to his difficulties, 
his standard was deserted by nearly all 
his Irish adherents, on the death of 
Dermot, which took place soon after 
the date of the royal mandate ; and 
during his absence from Dublin that 
city was besieged by a Scandinavian 
force, which was collected by Ilasculf, 
in the Orkneys, and conveyed in sixty 



ships, under tlie command of a Dane 
called John the Furious. Milo de Co- 
gan, whom Strougbow had left as gover- 
nor, bravely repulsed the besiegers, but 
was near being cut off outside the east- 
ern gate, until his brother Kichard came 
to his relief with a troop of cavalry, 
whereupon the Norwegians were de- 
feated with great slaughter, John the 
Furious being slaiu, and Hasculf made 
captive. The latter was at first reserved 
for ransom, but on threatening his cap- 
tors with a more desperate and success- 
ful attack on a future occasion, they 
basely put him to death. 

The great archbishop of Dublin, St. 
Lorcan, or Laurence O'Toole, whose 
llustrious example has consecrated Irish 
patriotism, perceiving the straits to 
which the Anglo-Normans were re- 
duced, and judging rightly that it only 
required an energetic effort, for Avhich 
a favorable moment had arrived, to rid 
the country of the dangerous intruders, 
went among the Irish princes to rouse 
them into action. For this purpose he 
proceeded from province to province, 
addressing the nobles and people in 
spirit-stirring words, and urging the 
necessity for an immediate and com- 
bined struggle for independence. Emis- 
saries were also sent to Godfred, king 
of the Isle of Man, and to some of the 
northern islands, inviting co-operation 
against the common enemy. 

Earl Strongbow, becoming aware of 
the impending danger, repaired in haste 
to Dublin, and prepared to defend him- 
self; nor was he long there when he saw 

the city invested on all sides by a 
numerous army. A fleet of thirty ships 
from the isles blocked up the harbor, 
and the besieged were so effectually 
hemmed in that it was imj^ossible for 
them to obtain fresb supplies of men or 
provisions. Eoderic O'Conor, who com- 
manded in person, and had his own 
camj) at Castleknock, was supported by 
Tiernan O'Rourke and Murrough O'Car- 
roll with their respective forces, aud St 
Laurence was present in the camp ani- 
mating the men, or, as some pretend, 
though very improbably, even bearing 
arms himself The Irish chiefs, relying 
ou their numbers, contented themselves 
with an inactive blockade, and for a 
time their tactics promised to be success- 
ful; the besieged being soon reduced 
to extremities from want of food. Strong- 
bow solicited a parley, and requested 
that St. Laurence should be the medium 
of communication. He offered to hold 
the kingdom of Leinster as the vassal 
of Roderic ; but the Irish monarch re- 
jected such terms indignantly, and re- 
quired that the invaders should imme- 
diately surrender the towns of Dublin, 
Wexford, and Waterford, and under- 
take to depart from Ireland by a certain 
day. It is generally admitted that under 
the circumstances, the propositions of 
Roderic were even merciful, and for a 
while it was probable that they would, 
however unpalatable, be accepted. 

At this crisis, Donnell Kavanagh, 
son of the late king of Leinster, con- 
trived to penetrate in disguise into the 
city, and brought Strongbow the iutel 



iigence that bis friend FitzSteplien was, 
together with his family and a few fol- 
lowers, shut up in the Castle of Carrig, 
near Wexford, where he was closely 
besieged, and must, unless immediately 
relieved, fall into the hands of his exas- 
perated enemies. This sad news drove 
the garrison of Dublin to desperation ; 
and at the suggestion of Maurice Fitz- 
Gerald it was determined that they 
should make a sortie with their whole 
force, and attempt the daring exploit of 
cutting their way through the besiegers. 
To carry out this enterprise. Strong- 
bow disposed his men in the following 
order ; Raymond le Gros, with twenty 
knights on horseback, led the van ; to 
these succeeded thirty knights under 
Milo de Cogan ; and this body was fol- 
lowed by a third, consisting of about 
forty knights, commanded by Strong- 
bow himself and FitzGerald; the re- 
mainder of their force, said to consist 
only of 600 men, bringing up the rear. 
It was about three in the afternoon 
when this well organized body of des- 
perate men sallied forth ; and the Irish 
army, lulled in false security, and ex- 
pecting a surrender rather than a sortie, 
was taken wholly by surprise. A 
great number were slaughtered at the 
first onset; and the panic which was 
produced spreading to the entire be- 
sieging army, a general retreat from 

* Leland supposes tliat the Irish annalists passed over 
tlio whole of this transaction in silence ; but the Four 
Masters mention the siege, and their version is as fol- 
lows : — " There were conflicts and skirmishes between 
them" (i. c. the besiegers and besieged) " for a fortnight. 

before the city commenced ; so that 
Roderic, who with many of his men was 
enjoying a bath in the Liftey, had some 
difficulty in eflfecting his escape. The 
English, on their side, astonished at 
their own unexpected success, returned 
to the city laden with spoils, and with 
an unlimited supply of provisions.* 

Strongbow once more committed the 
government of Dublin to Milo de Cogan, 
and set out with a strong detachment 
for Wexford to relieve FitzStephen ; 
but after overcoming some difiiculty in 
the territory of Idrone, where his 
march was opposed by the local chief- 
tain, O'Regan, he learned on approach- 
ing Wexford that he came too late to 
assist his friend. Carrig Castle had al- 
ready fallen, and it is said that the Wex- 
ford men were not very scrupulous on 
the occasion in their treatment of foes 
who had proved themselves sufiiciently 
capable of treachery and cruelty. The 
story is, that FitzStephen and his little 
garrison were deceived by the false in- 
telligence that Dublin had been cap- 
tured by the Irish army, that the Eng- 
lish, including Strongbow, FitzGerald, 
and Raymond le Gros, had been cut to 
pieces, and that the only chance of 
safety was in immediate surrender ; the 
Dano-Irish besiegers undertaking to 
send FitzStephen with his family and 
followers unharmed to Ensjland. It is 

O'Conor then went against the Leinster men to cut 
down and burn the corn of the Saxons. The earl and 
Milo afterwards entered the camp of Leith Cuinn, and 
slew many of the commonaity, and carried off their pio- 
visions, armor, and horses. ' 



added, that the bisliops of Wexford and 
Kildare presented themselves before 
the castle to confirm this false report 
by a solemn assurance ; but this circum- 
stance, if not a groundless addition, 
would only show that a rumor, by 
which the bishops themselves had been 
deceived, jirevailed about the capture 
of Dublin, a thing not at all improba- 
ble. False news of a similar kind is 
sometimes circulated even in our own 
times. At all events, the stratagem, if 
it was one, succeeded ; and FitzStephen 
on yielding himself to his enemies was 
cast into prison, and some of his follow- 
ei's were put to death. Scarcely was 
this accomplished, when intelligence 
arrived that Strongbow was approach- 
ing, and the Wexford men, finding 
themselves unable to cope with him 
single-handed, and feai-ing his ven- 
geance, set fire to their town, and 
sought refuge with their prisoners in 
the little island of Beg-Erin, whence 
they sent word to the earl that if he 
made any attempt to reach them in 
their retreat they would instantly cut 
off the heads of FitzStephen and the 
other English prisoners.* Thus foiled in 
his purpose, Strongbow with a heavy 
heart directed his course to Waterford, 
and immediately after invaded the ter- 

* Regan, or the Norman rlij-mer, relates an honor- 
ftblo trait of Maurice do Prcndergast on tliia occasion. 
Tlie Welsh knight undertook to bring the king of Os- 
Rory to a conference, on obtaining the word of Strong- 
bow and O'Brien that he should be allowed to return in 
safety. Understanding, however, during the conference, 
that treachery was about to be used towards MacGilla 
Patrick, he rushed into the earl's presence, " and Bware 

ritory of Ossory, in conjunction with 
Donnell O'Brien. 

During the earl's absence, Tiernau 
O'Rourke hastily collected an army of 
the men of Breffny and Oriel, and 
made an attack on Dublin, but he was 
repulsed by Milo, and lost his son 
under the walls. With this exception, 
no attempt was made to molest the 
invaders at a period Avhen they could 
have been so easily annihilated; and 
intestine wars were carried on among 
the northern tribes, and also between 
Connaught and Thomond, as if there 
had been no foreign enemy in the coun- 

Strongbow, on the other side, learnt 
at Waterford, from emissaries whom he 
had sent to plead his cause with Henry, 
that his own presence for that purj^ose 
was indispensable, and he accordingly 
set out in haste for England. He found 
the English monarch at Newnham in 
Gloucestershire, making active prepara 
tions for an expedition to Ireland. 
Henry at first refused to admit him to 
his presence ; but at length suftered 
himself to be influenced by the earl's 
unconditional submission, and by the 
mediation of Hervey of Mountmaurice ; 
and consented to accept his homage 
and oath of fealty, and to confirm him 

by the cross of his sword that no man there that day 
should dare lay hands handes on the kyng of Ossery." 
Having redeemed his word to the Irish prince by con- 
ducting him back in safety, and defeated some of 
O'Brien's men whem they met on the way with the 
spoils of Ossory, he spent that night with MacQilla 
Patrick in the woods, and returned next day to the 



iu tlitj possession of his Irish acquisi- 
tions, with the excejition of Dublin and 
the other seaport towns and forts, 
which were to be surrendered to him- 
self. He also restored the earl's Eng- 
lish estates, whicli had been forfeited 
on his disobedience to the king's man- 
date ; but, as it were to mark his dis- 
pleasure at the whole proceeding of the 
invasion of Ireland by his subjects, he 
seized the castles of the Welsh lords to 
punish them for allowing the expedition 
to sail from their coasts contrary to his 
commands. It is probable tliat in all 
this hypocrisy and tyranny were the 
king's ruling motives. He hated the 
"Welsh, and took the opportunity to 
crush them still more, and to garrison 
their castles with his own men. These 
events took place not many months 
after the murder of St. Thomas a Beck- 
et, and it is generally admitted that the 
king's expedition to Ireland, if not pro- 
jected, was at least hastened, iu order 
to withdraw public attention from that 
atrocity, and to make a demonstration 
of his power before the country at a 
moment when his name was covered 
with the odium which the crime in- 

Henry II., attended by Strongbow, 
William FitzAdelm de Burgo, Humphry 
de Bohen, Hugh de Lacy, Robert Fitz- 
Bernard, and other knights and noble- 
men, embarked at Milford, in Pem- 
brokeshire, with a powerful armament, 
and landed at a jjlace, called by the 
Anglo-Norman chroniclers, Croch — pro- 
bably the present Crook — near Water- 

ford, on St. Luke's da}-, October 18th, 
A. D. 1171. His army consisted, it is 
said, of 500 knights, and about 4,000 
men-at-arms ; but it was probably much 
more numerous, as it was transported, 
according to the English accounts, in 
400 ships. 

Henry assumed in Ireland the plaus- 
ible policy which seemed so natural to 
him. He j)retended to have come rath er 
to protect the people from the aggres- 
sions of his own subjects than to acquire 
any advantage for himself; but at the 
same time, as a powerful yet friendly 
sovereign, to receive the homage of vas- 
sal princes, and to claim feudal juris- 
diction in their country. It is impossible, 
of course, to reconcile pretences so in- 
consistent in themselves ; but they serv- 
ed the purpose for which they were 
invented. He put on an air of extreme 
affability, accompanied by a great show 
of dignity, and paraded a brilliant and 
well-discijilined army with all jiossible 
pomp and display of power. 

The Irish, on the other hand, seemed 
at a loss what to think or how to act. 
An event had occurred for which they 
were not pyrepared by any parallel case 
in their history. They neither under- 
stood the character nor the system of 
their new foes. Perpetually immersed 
in local feuds, they had not gained 
ground either in military or national 
spirit since their old wars with the 
Danes. The men of one province cared 
little what misfortune befel those of 
another, provided their own territor}' 
was safe. Singly, each of them had 



been hitherto able to cope with such 
foes as they were accustomed to ; but 
where combined action could alone 
suffice there was nothing to unite them ; 
they had no sentiment in common — no 
centre, no rallying j^rinciple. 

MacCarthy, king of Desmond, was the 
fii'st Irish prince who paid homage to 
Henry. Marching from Waterford to 
Lismore, and thence to Cashe], Henry 
was met near the latter town by Donnell 
O'Brien, king of Thomond, who swore 
fealty to him, and surrendered to him 
his city of Limerick. Afterwards there 
came in succession to do homage, Mac- 
Gilla Patrick, prince of Ossory, O'Phe- 
lan, prince of the Deisies, and various 
other chieftains of Leath Mogha. All 
were most courteously received ; many 
of them were of course not a little daz- 
zled by the splendor of Henry's court 
and his array of steel-clad knights; some 
were perhaps glad to acknowledge a 
sovereign powerful enough to deliver 
them from the petty warfare with which 
they were harassed and exhausted ; but 
none of them understood Anglo-Norman 
rapacity, or could have imagined that 
in paying homage to Henry as a liege 
lord they were conveying to him the 
absolute dominion and ownership of 
their ancestral territories. 

So well was it known in Ireland that 
Henry disapproved of the invasion of 
that country by Strongbow and the 
other adventurers, that the people of 
Wexford, who had got FitzStepheu 
into their bauds, pretended to make a 
merit of their own exploit, and sent a 

deputation to Henry on his arrival to 
deliver to him the captive knight as 
one who had made war without his 
sovereign's permission. Henry kept uj:) 
the farce by retaining FitzStephen for 
some time in chains and then restored 
him to liberty. 

From Cashel Henry returned to 
Waterford, and thence proceeded to 
Dublin, where he was received in great 
state, and where a temporary pavillion, 
constructed in the Irish foshion of twigs 
or wickerwork, was erected for him out- 
side the walls,* no building in the city 
being spacious enough to accommodate 
his court. Here he remained to pass 
the festival of Christmas, and such of 
the Irish as were attracted thither by 
curiosity were entertained by him with 
a degree of magnificence and urbanity 
well calculated to win their admiration. 
Among the Irish princes who paid theii 
homage to the English king in Dublin, 
were O'Carroll of Oriel, and the veteran 
O'Rourke ; but the monarch Roderic, 
though thus abandoned by his oldest and 
most j^owerful ally, the chief of Breffny, 
as he had been already by so many 
others of his vassals, still continued 
to maintain an independent attitude. 
He collected an army on the banks of 
the Shannon, and seemed resolved to de- 
fend the frontiers of his kingdom of Con- 
naught to the last ; thus regaining by 
this bold and dignified demeanor some 
at least of the esteem and sympathy 

* " Near the cliurcli of St. Andrew, on the southern 
side of the ground now known as Dame street." —OH 
bc7-rs Eist. of Dublin, vol. ii. p. 258. 



wbicli by his former weakness of char- 
acter he had forfeited. Heniy, whose 
object appeared to be not fighting, but 
parade, did not march against the Irish 
monarch, but sent De Lacy and Fitz- 
Adelm* to treat with him ; and Roderic, 
on his own so ver^gnty being recognized, 
was, it is said, induced to pay homage 
to Henry through liis ambassadors, as 
it was customary in that age for one 
king to pay to another and more potent 
sovereign. "We have no Irish authority, 
howevei', for this act of submission ; and 
as to the northern princes, they still 
withheld all recognition of the invader's 

A. D. 11T2. — At Henry's desire, a syn- 
od was held at Cashel in the beginning 
of this year. It was presided over by 
Christian, bishop of Lismore, who was 
then apostolic legate, and was attended 
by St. Laurence O'Toole, of Dublin, 
Catholicus O'Duffy, of Tuam, and Do- 
nald O'Hullucan, of Cashel, with their 
suffragan bishops, together with abbots, 
archdeacons, &c. ; Ralph, archdeacon of 
Landaff, and Nicholas, a royal chaplain, 
being present on the part of the king. 
It was decreed at this synod that the 
prohibition of marriage within the can- 
onical degrees of consanguinity and af- 
finity should be more strictly enforced ; 
that children should be catechised before 

the church door, and baptized in the 
fonts in those churches appointed for 
the purpose ; that tithes of all the pro- 
duce of the land should be paid to the 
clergy; that church lands and other 
ecclesiastical property should be exempt 
from the exactions of laymen in the 
shape of periodical entertainment and 
livery, &c. ; and that the clergy should 
not be liable to any share of the eric or 
blood fine levied on the kindred of a 
man guilty of homicide. There was also 
a decree regulating wills, by which one- 
third of a man's movable property, 
after payment of his debts, was to be 
left to his legitimate children, if he had 
any ; another third to his wife, if she 
survived ; and the remaining third for 
his funeral obsequies.f 

These decrees constitute the boasted 
reform of the Irish Church introduced 
by Henry II. It will be observed that 
they indicate no trace of doctrinal error 
to be corrected, or even of gross abuse 
in discipline, unless it be the too general 
use of private baptism, and the celebra- 
tion of marriage within the prohibited 
degrees, which at that time extended to 
very remote relationships. But the 
subject of this synod leads us to an 
incident of the Anglo-Norman invasion 
of Ireland, which has been a fertile 
source of controversy — namely, the so- 

* This name is variously written Aldelm, Andelm, 
and Adelm. 

f Tlie decrees of this synod refer solely to matters of 
9(jp!esiastical law, or church temporalities ; and the im- 
munity which they grant in one case to the clergy, as 
well as the setting apart of a portion of each testator's 

property for the church, or for the " good of his soul," aa 
it was generally expressed, were usages which existed 
in Ireland before the coming of tlie Anglo-Normans. As 
to tithes, they had also been introduced by the Irish 
synod of Kells. See the observations on this subject in 
Dr. Kelly s Cumbrensii Ecersus, vol. ii., p. 5-16, &c., note. 



ealled subjection of Ireland to the do- 
rainiou of the king of England, by the 
bulls of Adrian IV. and Alexander III. 

The temporal power exercised by the 
popes in the middle ages opens up a 
question too general for discussion here. 
It is enough for us to know that modern 
investigation has removed much of the 
misrepresentation by which it was as-- 
sailed. Irrespective of religious con- 
siderations, we see in the Eotnau pon- 
tiffs of that period the steadfast friends 
of order and enlightenment ; in their 
power tlie buhvark of the oppressed 
people against feudal tyranny, of civili- 
zation against barbarism ; and we should 
consider well the circumstances under 
which they acted, and the received 
opinions of the age, before we condemn 
fhese vicegerents of Christ for proceed- 
ings in which their authority was in- 
voked in the temporal affairs of nations. 
If this authority was sometimes per- 
verted to their own purposes by ambi- 
tious kings, or its exercise surreptitious- 
ly obtained, that was not the fault of 
the poj^es nor of the principle ; as we 
shall find illustrated in the case Ave are 
now about to consider. 

Nicholas Breakspere, an Englishman, 
was elected pope under the title of Adri- 
an IV., December 3d, 1154, and Hen- 
ry II., who had come to the throne of 
England about a month earlier, sent 
soon after to congratulate his countrv- 

* From an obscure expression used by a contemporary 
writer in the Saxon Chronicle under the date of 10S7, 
!>. may be inferred that even William the Conqueror had 
come idea of invading Ireland ; as it is said that tliat 

man on his elevation. This embassy 
was followed by another insidious one, 
the object of -which was to represent to 
the pope that religion and morality 
were reduced to the lowest ebb in the 
neighboring island of Ireland ; that so- 
ciety there was torn to pieces by fac- 
tions, and plunged in the most barbar- 
ous excesses ; that there was no res- 
pect for spiritual authority; and that 
the king of England solicited the sanc- 
tion of his Holiness to visit that un- 
happjr country in order to restore dis- 
cipline and morals, and to compel the 
Irish to make a I'espectable provision 
for the church, such as already existed 
in England. This negotiation, which 
indicates how- long the idea of invading 
Ireland Avas entei-tained by the English 
king,* was entrusted by Henry to John 
of Salisbury, chaplain to Theobald, 
archbishop of Canterbury, who urged, 
according to an opinion then received, 
that Coustautiue the Great had made a 
donation of all Christian islands to the 
successor of St. Peter ; that, therefore, 
the pope, as owner of the island of Ire- 
land, had the power to place it under 
the dominion of Henry ; an.d that he 
was bound to exercise that power in 
the interests of religion and morality. 

A hostile authority confesses that 
" the popes were in general superior to 
the age in which they lived ;"f but we 
have no right to expect that, on a sub- 

liiug, " if he had lived two years longer would have 
subdued Ireland by his prowess, and that without a 
battle ;" that is, that the terror of his name would bava 
been sufficient. i Koscoo, " Leo X." 



ject of this temporal and iDolitical nature, 
they should have been so far in advance 
of the ideas of their times as to antici- 
pate the political knowledge and dis- 
coveries of subsequent ages. We must 
also recollect that, however exaggerated 
the statements made to Adrian about 
Ireland may have been, they were not 
wholly without foundation. It is not 
consistent with human nature that so- 
ciety should not have been disorganized 
more or less by the state of turbulence 
iu which we know, from our authentic 
history, that this country was so long 
jDlunged at that period. It was precisely 
the period when the moral character of 
Ireland had suffered most in the estima- 
tion of foreign nations. St. Bernard's 
vivid picture of the vices and abuses 
against which St. Malachy had to strug- 
gle, in one part of Ireland, had only just 
then been presented to the world. St. 
Malachy was not long dead, and his re- 
forms were less known than the abuses 

* Tlie following is tlie bull of Pope Adrian, as trans- 
lated by Dr. Kelly from tbe Vatican version, publisbed 
liy Lynch in tlie Cambrenais Eoereus, (voL ii., p. 410, ed. 
of ISoO) :— 

"Adrian, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his 
most dear son in Christ, the illustrious king of the Eng- 
lish, greeting and apostolical benediction. 

" The design of your Greatness is praiseworthy and 
most useful, to extend the glory of your name on earth 
and to increase the reward of your eternal happiness in 
neaven ; for, as becomes a Catholic prince, you intend to 
extend the limits of the Church, to announce the truth 
of the Cliristian religion to an ignorant and barbarous 
people, and to pluck up the seeds of vice from the field 
of the Lord, while, to accomplish j'our design more 
effectually, you implore the counsel and aid of the 
Apostolic See. The more exalted your views and the 
greater your discretion iu tliis matter, the more confi- 
dent are our hopes, that witli the help of God, the result 
wUl be more favorable to vou ; because whatever has its 

which had so loudly called for them. 
The recent efforts of the Irish prelates 
and clergy to restore discipline in the 
church, and piety and morals among the 
people, had only begun to produce their 
effects. Vices may have been as prev- 
alent in other countries, but this did not 
render Ireland stainless. In fact, al- 
though Pope Adrian IV. had been him- 
self the pupil of a learned Irish monk, 
named Marianus, at Paris, and had other 
sources of information on the subject, 
we are not to wonder that he should 
have formed a low estimate of the state 
of religion and morals in Ireland, and 
lent a credulous ear to the exaggerated 
representations of Henry's emissary. 
Little knowing the mind of the ambi- 
tious king, he, therefore, addressed to 
him his memorable letter, or bull, Avhich 
was accompanied by a gold ring en- 
riched with a jirecious emerald, as a 
sign of investiture.* 

The importance of this bull in our 

origin in ardent faith and in love of religion, always has 
a prosperous end and issue. Certainly it is beyond a 
doubt (and thy nobility itself has recognized the truth 
of it), that Ireland, and all the islands upon which 
Christ, the sun of justice, has shone, and which have 
embraced the doctrines of the Christian faith, belong of 
right to St. Peter and the holy Roman Church. We, 
therefore, the more willingly plant them with a faithful 
plantation, and a seed pleasing to the Lord, as we know 
by internal examination, that a very rigorous account 
must be rendered of them. Thou hast communicated 
to us, our very dear son in Christ, that thou wouldst 
enter the island of Ireland, to subject its people to obe- 
dience of laws, to eradicate the seeds of vice, and also to 
make every house pay the annual tribute of one penny 
to the Blessed Peter, and preserve tho rights of the 
Clmrch of that hand whole and entire. Receiving your 
laudable and pious desire with the favor it merits, and 
granting our kind consent to your petition, it is our 
wish and desire that, for the extension of the limits of 



history lias been monstrously exagger- 
ated. It can have had little, if anj^, 
influence on the destinies of Ireland. 
After the bull had been obtained on a 
false pretence, and to give a color to an 
ambitious design, a council of state was 
held in England to consider the pro- 
jected invasion; but partly through 
deference to his mother, the empress, 
who was opposed to it, and partly from 
the pressure of other affairs, the project 
was for the present abandoned by Hen- 
ly, and the papal document deposited 
in the archives of Winchester. Thir- 
teen years after we Lave seen Dermot 
MacMurrough at the feet of Henry, im- 
ploring English aid. A few years more 
pass away, and we behold the English 
monarch making a triumphant progress 
through Leinster, and receiving the sub- 
mission of the kings of Desmond and 
Thomond, and Ossory, and Breffny, and 
Oriel, if not that of Eoderic himself; 
yet, not one word is breathed, all this 
time, about the grant from Adrian IV. 
We Lave no ground for supposing that 
the existence of that errant was even 

the Church, the checking of the torrent of vice, the cor- 
rection of morals, the sowing of the seeds of virtue, and 
the propagation of the religion of Christ, thou shoiddst 
enter that island, and there execute whatever thou shalt 
think conducive to the honor of God and the salvation 
of that land, and let the people of that land receive thee 
vrith honor, and venerate thee as their lord, saving the 
right of tlie Church, which must remain untouched and 
entire, and the annual payment of one penny from each 
house to Saint Peter and the holy Church of Rome. If 
then thou wishest to carry into execution what thou 
hast conceived in thy mind, endeavor to form that 
people to good morals ; and botli by thyself and those 
men whom thou hast proved duly qualified in faith, in 
words, and in lifj, let the Church of that country be 
fidorned, let the religion of the faith of Christ be planted 

known to the Irish prelates, ^vho, fol- 
lowing the example of their respective 
princes, also paid their homage, and 
assembled at the call of Henry in the 
synod of Cashel ; nor does one word 
about it appear to have transpired 
among the clergy or people of Ireland 
until it was promulgated, together with 
a confirmatory bull of Alexander HI., 
at a synod held in Waterford in 1175, 
some twenty years after the grant had 
been originally made, and when the 
success of the invasion had been an 
accoinplisLed fact. Some Irish Listori- 
ans have questioned the authenticity of 
Pope Adrian's bull ; but there aj^pears 
to be no solid reason for doubt upon 
the subject.* Others, like Di-. Keating, 
assign, as a ground for the right assumed 
by the pope, a tradition that Donough, 
son of Brian Borumha, had made a 
present of tLe crown of Ireland to the 
reigning pontiff, when he went on a 
pilgrimage to Rome about the year 
1064; but this story merits no atten- 
tion. The equally fabulous donation of 
Constantine the Great, even if it had 

and increased, and all that concerns the glory of God 
and the salvation of souls be so ordained by thee, that 
thou mayest deserve to obtain from God an increase of 
thy everlasting reward, and a glorious name on earth 
in all ages. Given at Rome, &c., &e." 

* See this point ably handled by Br. Lanigan, Eccl. 
Hist., vol. iv. p. 1C4, &c., also the notes and illustrations 
of the Macarim Excidium, p. 345, &c. Adrian's bull ap- 
pears in the BuUarium liomanum, though Alexander's 
buU does not. It was inserted by Radulfus of Diceto, a 
contemporary -writer, in his Ymagines EistoHarum, and 
was published by Cardinal Baronius from a Codex 
Vaticanus. It was recited by the Irish princes in their 
remonstrance to John XXII., in the reign of Edward II., 
and appears in the Scoti-Chronicen of John of Fordun, 
and in other old writers. 



been made, could not have included 
Ireland, to wliicli the power of the 
Roman empire never had extended. 
Irish Catholic historians have always 
been sufficiently free in their animad- 
versions on the "English pope," as 
Adrian IV. is styled, for his grant ; but 
a consideration of the real circumstan- 
ces, as we have endeavored to explain 
them, would show how unwarrantable 
such severity has been. The character of 
that pontiff Avas altogether too exalted 
to afford any ground for supposing that 
he acted from an unworthy motive. 
We have no reason to think that his 
intentions were other than the religious 
ones he expresses, or that they were not 
wholly opposed to the ambitious views 
of the English monarch ; and we know 
how utterly the conditions si^ecified in 
the bull were disregarded in the Anglo- 
Norman invasion and subsequent gov- 
ernment of Ireland. Some show of ful- 
filling these conditions was necessary, 
and hence the pretended reform of the 
Irish Church, which the synod of Cashel 
was summoned to effect. We have 
enumerated the decrees of that synod 
to show in what the reform consisted. 
The prelates assembled at Cashel, and 
who acted only from a sense of duty, 
joined in a report or wrote letters for 
transmission to the then pope, Alexan- 
der III., and it would appear that what- 
ever faults were laid to the charge of 
the Irish were, in this document or 
documents, neither diminished nor ex- 
cused. The Archdeacon of Llandaff ac- 
companied this report by a more ample 

one, in which the representat-Ions as to 
the vices of the people, the power and 
magnanimity of the king, and the salu- 
tary effect which his authority had al- 
ready produced, were no doubt highly 
colored. Just as Adrian's letter had 
been granted to Henry before that 
prince's vicious character was developed, 
and before he had begun to wage war 
on the church in England ; so had the 
same unprincipled and hypocritical mo- 
narch contrived to expiate his crimes in 
the eyes of the pope, and to exhibit 
himself as an humble son of the church 
before Alexander was called upon to 
interpose in his favor. Hence, appeased 
by the king's submission, which was the 
humblest and seemingly the most con- 
trite possible, and with the bull of his 
predecessor, Adrian, and the reports he 
had just received from Ireland before 
him, the sovereign pontiff was induced 
to confirm the former grant. At the 
same time he issued three other letters, 
dated September 20th, one addressed 
to Henry himself, approving of his 
proceedings ; another to " the kings 
and princes of Hibernia," commending 
them for their " voluntary" and "pru- 
dent" submission to Henry, admonish- 
ing them to preserve unshaken the 
fealty which they had sworn to him. 
and expressing joy at the prospect of 
peace and tranquillity for their country, 
" with God's help, through the power 
of the same king." The third letter 
was addressed to the four archbishops 
of Ireland and their suflVagans ; and in 
it the pope refers to the information 



M'bicli he hnd received fi'om "other 
reliable sources," as well as from their 
communications relative to "the enor- 
mous vices with which the Irish people 
were infected ;" he designates that 
people as "barbarous, rude, and ig- 
norant of the divine law;" rejoices at 
the improvement which had already- 
begun to manifest itself in their man- 
ners; and exhorts and commands the 
prelates to use all diligence in promot- 
ing and maintaining a reform so happi- 
ly commenced, and in taking care that 
the fidelity plighted to the king should 
not be violated.'" Such is the history 
of those famous papal grants, of which 
sectarian industry^, as well as wounded 
national feelings, has greatly magnified 
the importance and misrepresented the 

Besides the synod of Cashel, which 
was convoked for ecclesiastical purpo- 
ses, a council was held about this time 
at Lismore, in which it was decreed that 
the laws and customs of England should 
be introduced into Ireland, for the use 
of the British subjects settling there. 
The native Irish, however, still lived 
under their own laws and traditional 
usages; but the protection and benefits 
of English law were extended in process 
of time to five Irish septs or families, 
who in the law documents of the peri- 
od are called the " five bloods." These 
were the O'Neills of Ulster, the O'Me- 
laghlins of Meath, the O'Conors of Con- 

* These three letters, which escaped the attention of 
preceding Irish historians, are pubUshed in Mr. O'Cal- 
laghan's Macarm Excidium, p. 225, ct acq., and again 

naught, the O'Briens of Thomond, and 
the MacMurroughs of Leinstei-. It Avas 
several hundred years later, namely, 
in the reign of James I., when English 
law Avas extended to Ireland in general, 
and even then it was found necessary 
to modify it for the purpose of adapta- 

Henry made a new grant of the 
principality of Leinster to Strongbow, 
subject to the feudal condition of hom- 
age and military service. He aj)point- 
ed Hugh de Lacy justiciary of Ireland, 
and granted him the territory of Meath, 
to be held by similar feudal service. 
A large territory in the south of Ire- 
land was conferred about this time on 
FitzGerald, the ancestor of the earls of 
Desmond ; and thus was commenced, on 
a large scale, that wholesale confiscation 
by which the land of Ireland was taken 
indiscriminately from its ancient pos- 
sessors, and granted, without any show 
of title, to the Anglo-Norman adven- 
turers. This was only a repetition of 
what had taken place in England itself 
on the conquest of that country by Wil- 
liam the Norman. The Saxons in- 
curred the contempt of their invaders 
from the facility with which they suf- 
fered themselves to be subdued, and 
their property was everywhere confis 
cated ; so that the Saxon element in the 
English character aflfords, historically 
speaking, no ground for national boast- 
ing. The descendants of the plunder 

from another source in the Appendix to that learned anJ 
laborious work. 



ers, equally riipacious, found a new field 
for spoliation in Ireland, and carried 
out their old system there with a total 
disregard of both mercy and justice. 
Subduing a territory generally signified 
among the ancient Irish only a transi- 
tory act of plunder or the exacting of 
hostages. With the Anglo-Normans of 
the days of Henry 11. and of after times, 
to obtain superiority of power in a 
country, whether by conquest or other- 
wise, signified, on the contrary, the com- 
plete transfer to themselves of every 
foot of laud in the country, and the 
plunder, and, if possible, extermination 
of its ancient population. 

Nor did the Church of Ireland fiire 
better than the laity, notwithstanding 
the provision of Pope Adrian's bull, 
that it should be preserved intact and 
inviolate. Giraldus Cambrensis, des- 
cribing what he witnessed himself, and 
certainly without any friendly leaning 
towards the Irish, says : — " The misera- 
ble clergy are reduced to beggary in 
the island. The cathedral churches 
mourn, having been robbed by the 
aforesaid persons (the leading adventu- 
rers) and others along with them, or 
who came over after them, of the lands 
and amj^le estates, which had been for- 
merly granted to them faithfully and 
devoutly. And thus the exalting of 
the church has been changed into the 
despoiling or plundering of the church." 
And again he confesses that " while we 
(the Anglo-Normans) conferred nothing 
on the church of Clirist in our new prin- 
cipality, wo not only did not think it wor- 

thy of any important bounty, or of due 
honor; but even, having immediately 
taken away the lands and possessions, 
have exerted ourselves either to muti- 
late or abrogate its former dignities 
and ancient privileges."'"' 

Besides the princely rewards bes- 
towed on Hugh de Lacy, as already 
mentioned, he was also appointed lord 
constable ; Strongbow is supposed to 
have borne the dignity of lord marshal ; 
the ofiice of high steward or seneschal 
was conferred on Sir Bertram de Ver- 
non ; and Sir Theobald Walter, ances- 
tor of the earls of Ormonde, was ap- 
pointed to the then high ofiice of king's 
butler, whence his descendants derived 
their family name. By the creation of 
these and other offices, the king organ^ 
ized a system of colonial government 
in Ireland. 

Intercourse Avith England having 
been for a long while interrupted by 
tempestuous weather, Henry, while at 
Wexford, whither he had removed from 
Dublin, at length received alarming in- 
telligence, to the efifect that an investi- 
gation relative to the murder of St. 
Thomas h Becket was proceeding by 
the pope's orders in Normandy, and 
that if he did not speedily appear there 
to defend himself, his dominions were 
threatened with an interdict. He ac- 
cordingly prepared to depart from Ire- 
land without waiting to complete his 
arrangements there, and sailed on Eas- 
ter Monday, April 17th. On landing 

* Ilib. Expng., as quoted by Dr. Lanigan. Ecd. Hitt. 
vol. iv. p. ^50. 



the same day iu Wales, lie went as a 
pilgrim to St. David's church, and thence 
hastened to Normandy, where he hum- 
bled himself in the presence of the pa- 
pal legates and of the bishops and bar- 
ons; sparing no humiliation to purge 
himself of his crimes in the eyes of the 
sovereign pontiff, who thus, as we have 
already seen, became reconciled to him. 
The city of Dublin was granted by 
Henry to the inhabitants of Bristol, 
and Hugh de Lacy left as governor, 
with Maurice FitzGerald and Robert 
Fitz Stephen to assist him, each of the 
three having a guard of twenty knights. 
The city of Waterford waa given in 

charge to Humphry de Bohen, who 
had under him Robert FitzBeruard 
and Hugh de Guudeville, with a com- 
pany 'of twenty knights ; while Wex 
ford was committed to William Fitz- 
Adelm, whose lieutenants were Philip 
de Hastings and Philip de Breuse, with 
a similar guard. Henry also ordered 
strong castles to be built Avithout delay 
in these towns ; and thus after a six- 
months' stay in Ireland, did he aban- 
don that unhappy country as a prey to 
a host of greedy, upstart adventurers, 
whom he enriched with its spoils, that 
they might have an interest in defend- 
ing their common plunder. 



Death of Tiernan O'Rourke and treachery of the Invaders.— Strongbow's Expedition to Offaly, and Defeat.— The 
earl called to Normandy. — His speedy Return. — Dissensions among the Anglo-Normans. — Raymond's 
Popularity -nith the Army. — His Spoliations in Offaly and Lismore. — His Ambition and ■Withdrawal from 
Ireland. — An English Army cut to pieces at Thurles. — Raymond's Return and Marriage. — Roderic's Expe- 
dition to Meath. — The BuUs Promulgated. — Limerick Captured by Raymond. — Serious Charges against him. 
— His Success at Cashel, and Submission of O'Brien. — Treaty between Roderic and Henry II. — Attempt to 
Miuder St. Laurence O'Toole.— Death of St. Gelasius.— Episode of the Blessed Cornelius.— Raymond le Qros 
in Desmond. — Hostile Proceedings of DonneU O'Brien. — Death of Strongbow. — His Character. — Massacre of 
the Invaders at Slane.— De Courcy's Expedition to Ulster.— Conduct of Cardinal Vivian.— Battles with the 
UTidians.- Supposed Fulfilment of Prophecies.— The Legate's Proceedings in Dublin De Cogan's Expe- 
dition to Connaught, and Retreat.— John made King of Ireland.— Grants by Henry to the Adventurers. 

(A. D. 1173 TO A. D. 1178.) 

/^'ROURKE, to whom the territory without remonstrance to the eucroach- 

^-^ of East Meath had been given by ments of Hugh De Lacy ; who, by no 

the monarch, Roderic, on the expulsion other title than that which he obtained 

of the usurper O'IMelaghlin, called Don- from the king of England, claimed the 

nell of Bregia, in 1169, did not submit whole of the ancient kingdom of INIeatL 



as liis property ; aud a conference was 
arranged between them shortly after 
the departure of Henry. The interview 
took place at Tlachtgha, now the Hill 
of Ward, near Athboy, and it was set- 
tled that the two chieftains should meet 
alone and unarmed on the summit of 
the hill. The Irish prince had left the 
party of foot soldiers by whom he was 
escorted at some distance from the foot 
of the hill ; but De Lacy came attended 
by a small band of well-mounted knights 
in armor, who tilted around the hill and 
on its side ; but while displaying, as it 
were, their skill with lance and buckler, 
were intent upon a more serious game. 
Maurice Fitzgerald, whose nephew, Grif- 
fith, Avas in command of thia guard, also 
accompanied De Lacy. Wo are told by 
Giraldus that this Griffith dreamt the 
preceding night that O'Rourke would 
attack his master; that the movements 
of the mounted troop were consequently 
directed to gU3.rd against such a con- 
tingency ; and that the dream was, in 
fact, on the point of being fulfilled, as 
they saw O'Rourke beckon to his men 
to approach, and then raise a battle-axe 
to strike De Lacy. The chiefs having 
met without arms, we should have been 
told where O'Eourke found the battle- 
axe. It is said that De Lacy fell twice 
in his endeavors to escape — a circum- 
stance not much to his credit, consider- 
ing that his antagonist was a very old 

* Tho Four Masters, under the year 1175, say that 
" Man us OJIelaghlin, lord of East Meath, was hanged by 
tho English after they had acted treacherously towards 
him at Trim ;" and it appears that some writers have 

man. The arm of the interpreter was cut 
off by a blow from O'Rourke's battle- 
axe aimed at De Lacy, and it was only 
then, forsooth, that the knights rushed 
to the rescue, cut down O'Rourke, and 
slaughtered the party of Irish infantry, 
who were coming to their prince's aid. 
As related thus by their own historian, 
the story indicates a premeditated act 
of treachery on the part of the Anglo- 
Normans ; and the Four Masters are, we 
may be sure, justified in saying that 
O'Rourke was treacherously slain by 
Hugh De Lacy and Donnell O'Rourke, 
his own kinsman, who was probably 
the interpreter alluded to. He was be- 
headed, and his remains conveyed igno- 
miniously to Dublin, where his head 
was placed over the gate of the fortress, 
and his body gibbeted with the feet 
upwards on the northern side of the 
city. The English account adds, that 
the head, after this insulting treatment, 
was sent into England to Henry. Thus 
perished the brave and unfortunate 
Tiernan O'Rourke, after a long and 
eventful career.* 

About this time Strongbow led an 
army of 1,000 horse and foot into Of- 
filly, to lay waste the territory of 
O'Dempsey, who had refused to attend 
his court ; and meeting with no opposi- 
tion, he spread desolation wherever he 
came. Returning, however through a 
defile, lad'ii with spoils, he was set 

confounded this act of treachery with that mentioned 
above. Mooro charges MacGeoghegan with an in- 
tentional error on this subject; but unjustly, for Ware 
and Cox had fallen into the same mistake before him. 



U150I1 in tLe rear by O'Dempsey, who 
had been collecting his adherents, and 
who gave the English a serious over- 
throTV, slaying several of their knights, 
and among them yovmg Robert De 
Quiucy, who had only just been married 
to Strongbow's daughter by a former 
marriage, with whom he had obtained a 
large territory in "Wexford as a dowry. 
Befoi-e he could take any step to repair 
this defeat, the earl received an order 
from Henry to attend him with a rein- 
forcement of men in jSI'ormandy, where 
the king was endeavoring to make head 
against a formidable league entei'ed into 
against him by his own sons. The 
prompt obedience of Strongbow on this 
occasion was commended and rewarded 
by Henry; but as the Irish chieftains 
had begun to repent of their hasty and 
humiliating submission, and disunion 
had appeared in the Anglo-Norman 
ranks in Ireland, the king thought it 
better to send the earl back, and in 
doing so invested him with the rank of 
viceroy, and granted to him, in addition 
to his other possessions, the city of 
Waterford, and a castle at Wicklow. 

A. D. 1173. — A jealousy had arisen 
between StrongboAv's uncle, Hervey of 
Mountmaurice, Avho held chief com- 
mand in the army of Ireland, and 
his lieutenant, Raymond le Gros. The 
latter was the favorite of the soldiers, 
who presented themselves in a body 
before the earl on his return, and threat- 
ened that if Raymond did not get the 
command, they Avould either abandon 
thff country or go over to the Irish. 

Strongbow was compelled to yield to 
their mutinous demand, and Raymond, 
who understood their wishes and was 
willing to indulge them, led them forth 
to plunder the Irish, They first marched 
into the centre of Oflfaly, and having 
ravaged that territory, they next en- 
tered Munster, and proceeded as far as 
the ancient town of Lismore, which, as 
well as the surrounding districts, was 
also abandoned to their merciless spolia- 
tion. Of the immense quantity of plun- 
der collected, a large portion was placed 
on board some boats which had just 
arrived at Lismore from Waterford, for 
conveyance to the latter city. The 
convoy was attacked at the mouth of 
the river by a squadron of small vessels 
sent for the purpose by the Ostmen of 
Cork, but after a sharp conflict the 
latter were defeated, and the booty was 
carried off in triumph. MacCarthy, 
prince of Desmond, was coming to the 
aid of his subjects of Cork, when Ray- 
mond, with a strong body of cavalry, 
encountered him on the waj^, and fortune 
again favored the Anglo-Normans, who 
drove before them 4,000 cows and sheep 
along the coast to Waterford. Upon 
this, Raymond, w^hose ambition rose 
Avith his success, demanded of Strong- 
bow his sister, Basilia, in marriage, 
and the appointment of constable and 
standard-bearer of Leinster, that is, the 
civil and military command of that 
province, Avhich had been held by the 
earl's son-in-law, De Quiucy; but the 
haughty request Avas rejected, and Ray- 
mond retired in discjust to Wales, 




where Lis father had died about this 

A. D. 1174. — On the departure of 
Raymond, the command of the army 
once more devolved on Hervey, by 
whose advice an expedition, with Strong- 
bow himself at its head, was undertaken 
against Donnell O'Brien. This cam- 
paign was disastrous to the English. 
The earl, finding that he had a more 
powerful army than he expected to 
contend with, sent to Dublin for rein- 
forcements, which were to meet him at 
Cashel; but, according to the Anglo- 
Norman accounts, these fresh troops, 
which, say they, consisted of the Ostmen 
of Dublin in the English service, were 
set upon by O'Brien in their march, 
and while overcome by sleep at their 
quarters, were cut off almost to a man, 
400 of them having been slaughtered 
nearly without resistance. This account 
is framed to conceal the disgrace of the 
defeat; but the Irish annalists give a 
different version. They say tliat king 
Roderic marched to the aid of the king 
of Thomond, and that the English on 
hearing of his arrival in Munster solici- 
ted the assistance of the Ostmen of 
Dublin, who obeyed the summons, and 
made no delay till they came to Durlas 
of Eliogarty, the modern Thurles. Here 
they were attacked by Donnell O'Brien, 
with liis Dalcassians, who were sup- 
ported by the battalions of West Con- 
naught and of the Sil-Murray, or 
O'Conor's country, and, after hard 

■ The Four Masters say tliat Donnell Kavanagli, who 
3 BO called from Kilcavan, near Oorcy, in Wexford, 

fighting, the English (or, rather, Ost- 
men) were defeated, seventeen hundred 
of them according to the Four Masters, 
or seven hundred, according to the annals 
of Innisfallen — which is probably the 
correct number — having been slain in 
the battle. Strongbow fled, Avith the 
few men who remained, to Waterford, 
where — or as some say, in the Little 
Island near that city — he shut himself 
up in a state of deep affliction. 

This success over the invaders was a 
signal to the Irish chieftains in general 
to throw off the foreign yoke. Even 
Donnell Kavauagh set up a claim to his 
father's territory ,"■'' and Gillamochalmog, 
and other Leinster chiefs Avho had been 
in alliance with the English, revolted. 
The loss of their properties and tlie 
system of military rapine to which their 
country was subjected, drove them to 
this course. At the same time Roderic 
O'Couor, with a numerous army, invaded 
Meath, causing the Anglo-Norman gar- 
risons to fly in trepidation from the 
castles which they had erected at Trim 
and Duleek. In this emergency Strong- 
bow had no resource but to send to 
Raymond le Gros in Wales, inviting 
him to return speedily with all the 
troops he could raise, and promising 
him the hand of Basilia and the offices 
which he had demanded. Raymond 
joyfully obeyed this summons, and 
arrived in Waterford Avith the least 
possible delay, accompanied by a force 
of thirty knights, all of his own kin- 

where lie was fostered, was treacherously slain, in 1175, 
by O'Foirtdicrn and O'Nolau. 



dretl, 100 meu-at-arms, and 300 arcliei'S. 
This succor was most timely, as the 
Ostmeu of Waterford were meditating 
a massacre of the Anglo-Normans, which 
was actually carried into execution after 
Strougbow and his immediate followers 
had left the city to accompany the 
newly-arrived force to Wexford. From 
the Annals of Innisfallen it would ap- 
pear that this massacre, in which 200 
of the Anglo-I^ornian garrison "fell, took 
place immediately after the battle of 
Thurles, but the more consistent ac- 
count is that just given ; and it happened 
that a number of the garrison escaped 
into Reginald's tower, from which they 
were subsequently able to recover pos- 
session of the city, compelling the Ost- 
men to submit to severe terms. 

The nuptials of Basilia and Raymond 
were celebrated with great pomp and 
rejoicings at Wexford, but in the midst 
of the festivities news of Roderic's ad- 
vance almost to the gates of Dublin was 
received, and the next morning the 
bridegroom was obliged to march with 
all the available troops towards the 
north. Accustomed only to desultory 
warfare, the Irish were always content 
with the success of the moment, and 
rarely thought of following up a blow ; 
so that Roderic's army, satisfied with 
the destruction of a few of the enemy's 
strongholds, and with the devastation 
of the territory, had already broken up, 
and each detachment had withdrawn to 
its own district before Raymond could 
arrive ; although it is said the latter fell 
on the rear of some of the retiriu;^ 

parties and cut off 150 men. Hugh 
Tyrrel, Avho had been left by de Lacy 
in command of the castle of Trim, Avas 
now ordered to restore the forts which 
the Irish army had demolished ; and 
thus Roderic's expedition ended like 
any ordinary foray. 

A. D. 1175. — In this posture of affairs 
Henry II. thought it high time to try 
the effect of the Papal bulls, which, 
although mentioned already in connec- 
tion with the events of a preceding 
year, noAV came, for the first time, to 
the knowledge of either the clergy or 
the people of Ireland. For this purpose 
he commissioned William FitzAdelm 
and Nicholas, prior of Wallingford, to 
carry these documents to Ireland, where 
they were publiclj'- read at a synod of 
the bishops convened for the occasion 
at Waterford ; but how the bulls were 
received, or what effect they produced 
at the moment, we are not told. 

For the twofold j)urpose of gratifying 
the insatiable rapacity of the soldieiy 
and of taking revenge on Donnell 
O'Brien for the defeat at Thurles, Ray- 
mond led an army against Limerick, 
which was captured through the gallant 
conduct of his nephews and himself in 
fording the Shannon, and was then 
abandoned to carnage and plunder. 
But on the return of FitzAdelm and 
Nicholas of Wallingford, they repre- 
sented to Henry that these sanguinary 
exploits of Raymond's led to the disor- 
ganization of the army, and to outbreaks 
and resistance on the part of the Irish. 
I The soldiers, they said, were converted 



info mere rapacious marauders, and the 
liastility of the Irish rendered doubly 
inveterate ; while, to make the complaint 
more serious, it was stated that the 
popular general had formed a plan to 
usurp, by the aid of the army, the 
dominion of the island. This report 
emanated from Hervey, who detested 
Raymond ; but there can be no doubt 
that a great portion of it was strictly 
true, although the last-mentioned charge 
was probably malicious and unfounded. 
Commissioners were immediately des- 
patched by the king to bring Raymond 
before him in Normandy ; but at this 
juncture, and when Raymond seemed 
most desirous to obey the summons in 
order to vindicate his character, news 
arrived that the ever-active king of 
Thomond had laid siege to Limerick, 
where the Anglo-Norman garrison could 
not long hold out. Strongbow ordered 
an army to march from Dublin to their 
lelief, but the men refused to move un- 
less their favorite general was put at 
their head. The royal commissioners 
were consulted, and, by their advice, 
Raymond Avas once more placed in com- 
mand, and marched towaixls Limerick 
with a force consisting of neai-ly 300 
cavalry, of whom fourscore were heavy 

* Although tho signature of St. Laurence was one of 
those attached to the treaty of Windsor, Dr. Lanigan 
does not seem to think he was identical witli " Master 
lyaurence," Roderic's chancellor. — (Eccl. Hist., chap, 
xxix., sec. ix.) It is probable that the good archbishop 
Imd gone to England, on business connected with his 
diocese ; and it was on tliis occasion, while proceeding 
one day to celebrate mass in tlio cathedral of Cantor- 
bury, where he was received with great veneration by 
tho monks, that a madman who had heard a groat deal 
of his sanctiiy, and tliought it would be a good action to 

armed, and 300 archers, a lai-ge body of 
L'ish infantry under the princes of Ossory 
and Hy-Kinsellagh joining them on tlie 
route. At the approach of this army, 
O'Brieik, raised the siege, and took up a 
position in a pass near Cashel, where he 
hoped to intercept their march. The 
prince of Ossory, seeing his Anglo- 
Norman allies, as he thought, hesitate 
in the face of the enemy, addressed them 
menacingly, and told them that if they 
allowed themselves to be vanquished 
they would have to fight against the 
men of Ossory as well as against those 
of Thomond. Meyler FitzHenry led 
the vanguard, and forced the pass, and 
the Thomond army was routed with 
considerable slaughter. 

The result of this defeat was the sub- 
mission of O'Brien, and some negotia- 
tions on the part of Roderic with 
Raymond. But the L-ish monarch, 
instead of treating definitively with a 
subordinate, sent ambassadors to Henry 
IL himself, and in September, 1175, 
Cadhla or Catholicus O'Dufi'y, arch- 
bishojD of Tuam, Concors, abbot of St. 
Brendan's of Clonfert, and the illustri- 
ous archbishop of Dublin, who is here 
called "Master Laurence, his chancel- 
lor,"* proceeded to England as his 

confer on him the crown of martyrdom, attempted to 
kill him at the foot of the altar, by striking him on the 
head with a huge club. The monks, in great alarm, 
believed that the holy archbishop was mortally woimded, 
but he desired them to wash the woimd on his head ■ 
with some water, over which he had previously said the 
Lord's Prayer and made the sign of tlie cross, and he was 
immediately healed and enabled to go through the sacred 
ceremonies. The king, who was then at Canterbury, 
condemned the intended assassin to be hanged, and St. 
Laurence had great difficulty in obtaining his pardon. 



plenipotentiaries. A council was held 
at Windsor, witliin the octave of 
]\Iichaelmas, and a treaty was agreed 
on, the articles of which were to the 
effect that Roderic was to be kiflg under 
Henrj-, rendering him service as his 
vassal ; that he was to hold his heredi- 
tary territory of Connaught in the same 
way as before the coming of Henry into 
Ireland; that he was to have jurisdic- 
tion and dominion over the rest of the 
island, including its kings and princes, 
whom he should oblige to pay tribute, 
through his hands, to the king of 
England ; that these kings and princes 
were also to bold their respective 
territories as long as they remained 
faithful to the king of England and 
paid their tribute to him; that if 
they departed from their fealty to the 
king of England, Eoderic vras to judge 
and depose them, either by his own 
power, or, if that were not sufficient, 
by the aid of the Anglo-Norman 
authorities; but that his jurisdiction 
should not extend to the territories 
occupied by the English settlers, which 
at a later jieriod was called the English 
Pule, and then comprised Meath and 
Leinster, Dublin, with its dependent 
district, "Waterford, and the countiy 
thence to Dungarvan. The annual trib- 
ute required from the Irish was a 
merchantable hide for every tenth head 
of cattle killed in Ireland; and the 
princes who gave hostages were, besides, 
for feudal service, to give jiresents of 
Irish wolf-dogs and hawks ; any of the 
Irish who had fled from the territories 

occupied by the English bai-ons were to 
be at liberty to return and to reside 
there in peace ; and the king of Con- 
naught might compel any of his own 
subjects to come back from the other 
territories, and to remain quietly in his 

The terms of this remarkable treaty 
fix the nature and extent of the power 
which Henry II. claimed in Ireland. 
Nothing was added to it to the extent 
of territory within which the dominion 
of the king of England was acknowl- 
edged. He was I'ecognized as a superior 
feudal sovereign ; but, as we have al- 
ready remarked, the Irish princes did 
not conceive that by these new relations 
the fee-simple of the soil was transferred 
to Henry. So far, the territory over 
which his actual dominion extended, 
seems to have been almost unresistingly 
yielded up to him ; but, as if to compen- 
sate for the fatal apathy with which 
this intrusion was allowed to take place, 
every further encroachment was resisted 
by the Irish of that and of subsequent 
times with manful and desperate en- 
ergy. Thus, not only was the English 
colony long circumscribed within its 
first limits, which comprised less than a 
third of the island, but it became 
after a few reigns much more re- 
stricted ; while throughout the rest of 
the country the Irish language, laws, 
and usages prevailed as they had 
hitherto done. Yet we constantly 
hear of the " conquest" of Ireland by 
Henry II. 

As the first exercise of his authority 



luider the treaty, Henry appointed an 
Irishman named Augustin to the then 
vacant see of Waterford, and sent him, 
under the care of St. Laurence, to receive 
consecration from- the archbishop of 
Cashel, as his metropolitan. This act 
was intended as a concession to the 
Irish clergy. 

The venerable primate, Giolla Mac- 
liag, or St. Gelasius, as he is called by 
Colgan, died in the year 1173, at the 
patriarchal age of eighty-seven years. 
He did not attend the synod of Cashel 
in 1172, although he went on a visitation 
of Connaught, and presided at a synod 
of that province the same year, on which 
occasion three churches were conse- 
crated. He, however, paid his respects 
to Henry II. in Dublin, and the circum- 
stance of his having in his train a white 
cow, on the milk of which he chiefly 

* Very soon after hia consecration as arcUbishop, 
Conor or Conctobbar MacConcoille proceeded, on the 
affairs of liis diocese, to Eome, and was supposed to have 
died tliere, his death being recorded in the Irish chron- 
icles as having occurred in Rome in 1175 or 117G. It 
appears, however, that the holy prelate had left Rome, 
where he was treated with great distinction by Pope 
Alexander III., and that hastening towards his own 
afilicted country, he had got on his return as far as Sa- 
voy, where he fell sick, and died in 117G, in the monas- 
tery of St. Peter of Lemenc, near the city of Chambcrry. 
The sanctity of his manners and of his death inspired 
both the monks and the people with singular veneration 
for his memory. Several miracles are recorded as hav- 
ing been perfonned at his shrine, from the time imme- 
diately following his death down to a very recent date, 
and his festival is annually celebrated there, with great 
solemnitv, on the 4th of June, the anniversary of his 
death. By providential circumstances, the fact of this 
veneration for an ancient arclibishop of Armagh, in a 
distant country, was brought to tho knowledge of the 
jircsent distinguished successor of St. Patrick, tho Jlost 
Uov. Dr. Dixon, while visiting Rome in IS'ti, to bo pres- 
ent at the declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate 

subsisted, is mentioned by Cambrensis. 
He was succeeded in the see of Armagh 
by Conor MacConcoille, previously ab- 
bot of the church of SS: Peter and Paul 
in that city, and who has recently 
become familiar to Irish readers as the 
Blessed Cornelius, under circumstances 
of an interesting character.* Among 
other remarkable Irish ecclesiastics who 
closed their career about this time, was 
Flahertach O'Brollachan, comharb of 
St. Colurabkille, and first bishoji of 
Deny, a man eminent for his learning 
and liberality. He died in 1175, having 
resigned his see some years before and 
retired to his monastery ; and from 
his time the ancient Columl)ian order 
would seem to have almost wholly 
given way to the coutineutal religious 

On the overthrow of O'Brien, near 

Conception. His Grace directed his homeward route 
through Chamberry, obtained some of the relics of his 
sainted predecessor for his own ancient church of Ar- 
magh, and, on his return, wrote a very interesting book^ 
in which all the facts relating to this subject, so full 
both of historical and religious interest, are detailed. 
[Sec " The Blessed Cornelius ; or, some tidings of an 
archbishop of Armagh who went to Rome in the 12th 
century, and did not return," &c. By tho Most Rev. 
Joseph Dixon, archbishop of Armagh. Dublin: James 
Duify .] The Irish name of Conchobhar, now pronounced 
Conor, soimded to foreign ears like the French word 
Concord, which is tho name by which this holy Irish 
prelate has been known in Savoy. It has been tradi- 
tionally Latinized Cornelius. The circumstances con- 
nected with the Blessed Cornelius afford n striking 
illustration of the veneration paid in foreign countries 
to Irish saints, whose names have almost dropped from 
the memory of their own. 

f A holy person, whose name appears in the Irish 
Calendars as St. Gjlda-Mocliaibeo, and who is praised 
for superior learning, and wisdom as well as piety, died 
the preceding year. He was a contemporary of St. Mal- 
achy, and was abbot of tho Augustinian Canons Regular 



Casbel, ia 1175, Eayiuoud was invited 
into Desmond by Dermot MacCarthy, 
to aid him in j^utting down the rebel- 
lion of his son Cormac. The invitation 
was eagerly accepted. Dermot was re- 
instated, and he rewarded Kaymond 
with the district in Kerry of which 
Lixnaw is the centre, where his young- 
est son, Maurice, became the founder of 
the family of Fitzmaurice,* while the 
troops returned to Limerick, glutted 
with i^lunder. MacCarthy was again 
assailed by his unnatural son, and cast 
into prison ; but, while there, he found 
means to procure the death of the rebel 
Cormac, whose head was cut oflf. The 
Anglo-Normans, as we shall see in the 
sequel, sided with equal readiness with 
a son against his father, or with a father 
against his son. They only sought pay 
and plunder, and increase of territory 
for themselves. 

The Irish Annals, under the date of 
1175, accuse Donnell O'Brien of sundry 
acts of aggression. Donald MacGilla- 
patrick, son of the prince of Ossory, was 
slain by him, and he also slew the son 
of O'Conor of Corcomroe, a Thomond 
prince ; and put out the eyes of his own 
relatives, Dermot, son of Tiege O'Brien, 
and Mahon, son of Turlough O'Brien, 
in their house at Castleconnell, the 
death of Dermot following from the 
outrage. Upon this Roderic O'Connor 
marched into Muuster, and expelled 

Donnell O'Brien from Thomond, which 
he laid waste. It has been suggested 
that this expedition was undertaken by 
Roderic in compliance with the terms 
of his treaty with Henry; but it was 
only the course which his duties as 
monarch, even without that treaty, re- 
quired him to adopt. As to the expul- 
sion, it was of short duration. 

A. D. 1176. — While Raymond was 
still at Limerick, earl Strongbow died 
in Dublin ; and as it was important, in 
the precarious state of the colony, to 
keep his death a secret until some one 
adequate to fill his place should be at 
hand, his sister Basilia sent an enigmati- 
cal message to Raymond, stating that 
"her great tooth, which had ached so 
long, had fallen out," and begging him 
to return to Dublin with all possible 
speed. Raymond understood the mes- 
sage, and perceived that not a moment 
was to be lost ; but he could not afford 
to leave a garrison behind in Limerick, 
and how was he to abandon a place 
which had cost so dearly? In this 
emergency he applied to Donnell 
O'Brien, whom he solicited to take 
charge of the city as one of the king's 
barons ! The mockery of a formal sur- 
render of trust was gone through ; but 
as the last man of the Anglo-Norman 
garrison had recrossed the Shannon, 
they saw the bridge broken down be- 
hind them, and the city in flames in 

of SS. Peter and Taul, Armagli ; and in the Bame year, 
1174, in recorded tlio death of Flann O'Qorman, chief 
lecturer of Armagh, "a learned sage, versed in sacred 
and profane philosophy ;" and who is said to have spent 

twenty-one years studying in France and England, and 
twenty years in the direction of the schools of Ireland. 

* The Marquis of Laudso'VTne is the present repro. 
sentativo of this family. 



four different points. English historians 
have accused O'Brien of perfidy for this 
act ; but the mock trust could have de- 
ceived uo man. It was an insult which 
the warlike prince of Thomond was not 
likely to brook; and, in destroying 
Limerick, he said it should never again 
be made a nest of foreigners.* 

On Raymond's arrival in Dublin the 
obsequies of earl Strongbow were per- 
formed with great solemnity. St. Lau- 
rence, as archbishop of Dublin, presided 
at the ceremony ; and the remains were 
deposited in the Cathedral Church of 
the Holy Trinity, now Christ's Church. 
Strongbow's celebrity has been entirely 
due to his fortuitous position. He pos- 
sessed none of the qualities of mind 
that constitute a great man. Even his 
eulogist, Cambreusis, states that he 
formed no plans of his own, but exe- 
cuted those of others. ' To the Irish he 
was a rapacious and a merciless foe. The 
native annalists call him "the greatest 
destroyer of the clergy and laity that 
came to Ireland since the time of Tur- 
gesius;" and they attribute his death, 
which was caused __by an ulcer in his 
foot, to a judgment of heaven.f He 
died about the 1st of May, according to 
some authorities, and about the last of 
that month, according to others ; and 
left, by his wife Eva, daughter of Mac- 
Murrough, an infant daughter, Isabel, 
who was heiress to his vast possessions, 
and was afterwards married to William 

Marshal, earl of Pembroke. Strouo-bow 
founded and richly endowed a priory 
for the knights of St. John of Jerusalem, 
at Kilmainham, near Dublin. 

As soon as Henry II. received notice 
of the earl's death, he appointed William 
FitzAndelm seneschal, or justiciary, with 
John de Courcy, Robert FitzStephen, 
and Milo de Cogan as coadjutors, and a 
suitable number of knights to serve as 
a guard for each. Raymond, who was 
still an object of jealousy and suspicion 
to the king, hastened to Wexford to 
meet the new viceroy, and surrendered 
to him, with good grace, the authority 
which he had temporarily held. It is 
said, that on seeing Raymond approach 
at the head of a numerous and brilliant 
staff of knights, all of his own kindred, 
and with the same arms blazoned on 
their shields, FitzAdelm vowed that he 
would check that pride and disperse 
those shields; and even to that early 
period is traced the origin of the jeal- 
ousy so often exhibited by the British 
government, in after times, towards the 
illustrious family of the Geraldines, of 
which Raymond was a member. 

Meanwhile a disaster befel the in- 
vaders in Meath. The Hy-Niall prince, 
MacLoughlin, with the men of Kinel- 
Owen and Oriel, attacked the castle of 
Slane, which was held for De Lacy by 
Richard le Fleming, and from which it 
was usual to send parties to plunder the 
neighboring territories. The garrison 

* The Four Masters state that he recovered Limerick f Annals of Innisfallen, and Annnlij of the Feu. 
by siege, but this is evidently a mistake. | Masters. 



and inmates, to tlie number of five liun- 
dred, were all put to the sword ; and 
til is act of vengeance so terrified the 
adventurers, that next day they aban- 
doned three other castles which they 
had erected in Meath, namely, those of 
Kells, Galtrim, and Derrypatrick. 

A. D. 1177. — FitzAdelm's administra- 
tion soon became unpoj)ular with the 
colony. Whether his jDolicy was dic- 
tated by king Henry himself or not, it 
is certain that he was now decidedly op- 
posed to the system of military plunder 
and aggression which had hitherto been 
the only principle recognized by the 
Anglo-Normans in Ireland. He dis- 
countenanced spoliation, and was open- 
ly accused of partiality to the Irish. De 
Courcy, one of his aids in the govern- 
ment, became so disgusted with his in- 
activity, that he set out, in open defiance 
of the viceroy's prohibition, on an expe- 
dition to the north, having selected a 
small army of 22 knights and 300 sol- 
diers, all picked men, to accompany 
him. It is said that he obtained a con- 
ditional grant of Ulster from Henry II., 
though by what right the grant was 
made it would be difiicult to determine, 
as the northern princes had never given 
the English king even a colorable pre- 
tence for dominion over them. John 
De Coui'cy was a man of great stature 
and enormous physical sti'ength ; to 
which qualities he added great courage 
and daring, with military ardor and im- 
petuosity fitted for the most desperate 
enterprise. By rapid marches he arrived 
the fourth day at Downpatrick, the chief 

city of Uladh or Ulidia, and the clangor 
of his bugles ringing through the streets, 
at the break of day, was the first inti- 
mation which the inhabitants received 
of this wholly unexpected incursion. In 
the alarm and confusion which ensued 
the people became easy victims; and 
the English, after indulging their rage 
and rapacity, entrenched themselves in 
a corner of the city. Cardinal Vivian, 
who had come as legate fi'om pope 
Alexander III. to the nations of Scot- 
laud and Ireland, and who had only 
recently arrived from the Isle of Man, 
happened to be then in Down, and was 
horrified at this act of aggression. He 
attempted to negotiate terms of peace, 
and proposed that De Courcy should 
withdraw his army on condition that 
the Ulidians paid tribute to the English 
king ; but any such terms being sternly 
rejected by De Courcy, the cardinal en- 
couraged and exhorted MacDuulevy,* 
the king of Ulidia or Dalaradia, to de- 
fend his territories manfully against the 
invaders. Coming, as this advice did, 
from the pope's legate, we may judge 
in what light the grant of Ireland to 
Henry II. was regarded by the pope 

Dunlevy returned at the end of a 
week with a large undisciplined force, 
which he had collected in the mean 
time ; and the English took their stand 
in a favorable position outside the town, 
to give him battle. The Irish fought 

* The original name of tlie TJlidian kings was 
O'Haugliy (Uali Eocbadlia), wliicli from Dunslevj 
O'Haugliy became MacDimslevy, or Dunlevy. 



with great bravery, but owing to the 
tumultuary nature of their army, to the 
effect of their former panic, which had 
not yet wholly subsided, and, in a great 
measure also, to the singular personal 
strength and prowess of De Courcy 
himself, who Avas bravely seconded by 
a young man named Eoger le Poer, they 
were vanquished in the conflict. This 
battle was fought about the beginning 
of February, and, on the 24th of the fol- 
lowing June, De Courcy again defeated 
the Ulidians ; one of his knights, who 
was wounded in this second conflict, 
lieiug Armoric de St. Lawrence, ancestor 
of the noble family of Howth. 

A notion prevailed, among both Irish 
and English, that certain prophecies of 
INIerlin and of Saint Columbkille were 
fulfilled in this invasion of Down, and 
while the idea encouraged the latter it 
liad a contrary effect on the former. De 
Courcy assumed that he was "theWhite 
Knight, mounted on a white steed, with 
birds upon his shield," as desciibed by 
the British prophet, and he took care 
that the resemblance should be as per- 
fect as possible. It was also understood 
that he answered the description of the 
" certain poor and needy fugitive from 
abroad," who, according to the words 
ascribed to the Irish saint, was to be 
the conqueror of Down. De Courcy 
carried about with him a book of St. 
Columbkille's prophecies, and turned 
the popular interpretation of them to 
his account. 

Cardinal Vivian, having proceeded to 
Dublin, held a synod of bishops and 

abbots, at which he set forth the obli- 
gation of yielding obedience to the 
authority of Henry, in virtue of tlie 
papal bulls. He was probably induced 
by the English functionaries to take 
this step, as it does not appear that he 
had any commission from the pope to 
do so. On his passage through Eng- 
land, when coming from Eome, he had 
even been treated with much discour- 
tesy, and was not permitted to proceed 
on his mission until he had bound him- 
self by oath to do nothing against the 
king's interests. He was further in- 
duced, at the synod, to grant a general 
leave to the English soldiers to take 
whatever provisions they might want 
on their expeditions out of the churches, 
in which the Irish were accustomed to 
deposit them as in an inviolable sanctu- 
ary; but he required that a reasonable 
price should be paid to the rectors of 
these churches for what might be thus 
taken away. 

The celebrated abbey of St. Thomas 
the Martyr (a Becket), was founded in 
Dublin by FitzAdelm, by order of 
Henry II. The site was the place now 
called Thomas'-court ; and in the pres- 
ence of cardinal Vivian and St. Laurence 
O'Toole, the deputy endowed it with a 
carueate of land called Donore, in the 
Liberties of the city. After the synod 
the cardinal passed over to Chester on 
his way to Scotland. 

MuiTough, one of the sons of Roderic 
O'Conor, rebelled against his fother, 
and, at his solicitation, Milo de Cogan 
was sent by the deputy with a liostiio 



foi'ce into Connauglit, iu direct violation 
of the treaty of Windsor. Roderic was 
then iu lar Connaught, and De Cogan, 
iu his progress, found the country 
abandoned ; the inhabitants having 
burned the houses and fled to their 
woods or mountains, taking with them, 
or concealing in subterranean granaries, 
all their provisions, so that the English 
could find neither food nor plunder. 
Having penetrated as far as Tuara, which 
they found also deserted, the invaders 
were obliged to retrace their steps ; but 
Roderic hastened from the west, j^ressed 
on their rear, and at length came np 
with them, or, as others say, lay in wait 
for them, in a wood near the banks of 
the Shannon, where he defeated them 
with considerable slaughter. The un- 
natural Murrough, who had acted as a 
guide to the English, was made prisoner, 
and being condemned by the Connacians 
with the consent of his father his eyes 
were put out — a punishment which, iu 
the case of this traitor, was too merciful. 
To the credit of the men of Connaught, 
not one of them joined the rebellious 
son on this occasion. 

Iu the course of May, this year (1177), 
Henry II., having previously obtained 
the sanction of pope Alexander HI., as- 
sembled a council of prelates and barons 
at Oxford, and in their presence solemn- 
ly constituted his youngest son, John, 
still only a child, "king in Ireland." 
This step, which was another violation 
of the treaty of Windsor, by conferring 
on John a title recognized as belonging 
to lloderic O'Conor, did not lead to the 

settlement of Irish affairs, which Henry 
may have anticipated from it; nor did 
John ever assume any other title in this 
country but that of lord of Ireland and 
earl of Moreton. 

A new grant of Meath to Hugh de 
Lacy was made out in the joint names 
of Henry II. and John ; and Desmond, 
or, as it was then called, the kingdom 
of Cork, was granted by charter to 
Robert FitzStephen and Milo de Cogan, 
with the exception of the city of Cork 
and the adjoining cantreds, which the 
king reserved to himself. For some 
years after, however, they were able to 
obtain possession of only seven cantreds 
in the neighborhood of the city. In. the 
same way the kingdom of Limerick, or 
Thomond, was granted to two English 
noblemen, brothers of the earl of Corn- 
wall, who declined the dangerous gift. 
It was then given by Henry to another 
baron, Philip de Braosa ; and this new 
claimant, on coming in sight of the city, 
accompanied by De Cogan and Fitz- 
Stephen, with an army to put him in 
possession, was seized with such fear, 
that, notwithstanding the entreaties of 
his confederates, he fled to Cork and 
left the country. 

De Braosa was not a coward, as his 
actions in subsequent years clearly 
proved; but the deteinuination exhi- 
bited by the inhabitants of Limerick, 
who fired their city on his approach, 
that it might not fall into the hands of 
the invaders, inspired him with awe; 
and he had no confidence in his own 
followers, who are said to have been 


. 207 

the scum of society from the "Welsh 
marches. Tlie territory of Waterford 
was granted to Roger le Poer, the an- 
cestor of the le Poers, or Powers ; but, 
as in other cases, the city, with the dis- 
trict immediately adjoining, Avas re- 
served by Henry for himself. 

Grants were also made to other 
hungry adventurers, with total indiflPer- 
ence, as in the case of those already 
mentioned, to the rights of the Irish 
themselves, or to any treaty existing 

* A family connection existed between several of the 
first English invaders, as appears from the following 
account : — Nesta, daughter of Rees ap T\vyder, prince 
of South Wales, had, while mistress of king Ilenry I., a 
son, Henry, who was the fatlier of Meyler arid Robert 
FitzIIenry. While wife (or, as some say, mistress) of 
Stephen, constable of Cardigan, she bore Robert Fitz- 
Stephen ; and, finally, when married to Gerald of 
Windsor, she had three sons : first, William, the father 
of Raymond le Gros, or the Corpulent (who married 
Basilia, Strongbow's sister, and was the ancestor of the 
Graces of Wexford, and of the FitzMaurices of Kerry), 
and of QriiEth ; second, Maurice FitzQerald (ancestor of 
the Geraldines of Kildare and Desmond), who had four 
sons, William, who married Ellen, another sister of 
Strongbow, or, as some say. Alma, a daughter of Strong- 
bow, Gerald, Alexander, and Milo ; and third, David, 
bishop of St. David's. There was another Nesta, the 
daughter, according to some, and tlie grand-daughter, 
according to others, of the former one, and she was 
married to Hcrvey of Mountmaurice, the undo of 
Strongbow. A daughter of the first Nesta was married 
to William de Barri, a Pembrokeshire knight, by whom 
she had four sons, Robert, Philip, Walter, and Gerald, 
the last-named being the well-known chronicler of the 
invasion, Giraldua Cambrensis. The other leading men 

with them, and even without any right 
established by force of arms; so that 
Sir John Davies, the English attorney- 
general of James I., remarked, that "all 
Ireland was, by Henry II., cantonized 
among ten of the English nation ; and 
though they had not gained possession 
of one-third of the kingdom, yet in title 
they were owners and lords of all, so as 
nothing was left to be granted to the 

of the early adventurers, not mentioned among the pre- 
ceding, were: Robert de Bermingham, Walter Bluet, 
Humphrey de Bohuu, William and Pliilip de Braosa, 
Adam Chamberlain, Milo and Richard de Cogan, Ray- 
mond Canteton, or Kantune, Hugh Cantwcll (according 
to Ilanmer), or Gundeville (according to Camden) or 
Hugh Cantilon (according to Cambrensis), John de 
Courcy, Reginald de Courtenay, Adam Dullard, William' 
FitzAdebn de Burgo (ancestor of the Burkes), William 
Ferrand, Robert FitzBernard, Richard and Robert Fitz- 
Godobert, Ra}Tnond FitzHugh, Theobald FitzWalter 
(ancestor of the Butlers), Richard and Thomas le 
Fleming, Adam de Gernemie, Reginald de Glanvil, 
Geoffry de Hay, Philip do Hastings, Adam de Hereford, 
Hugh de Lacy, William Makrell, Gilbert Nangle, or de 
Angulo, William Nott, Gilbert de Nugent, Richard and 
William Petit, Robert, Roger, and William le Poer, 
Maurice and Philip de Prendergast, Purcell, Robert de 
Quiney, or Quincy, John and Walter de Ridclsford, or 
Ridensford, Adam de Rupe, or Roche, Robert de Salis- 
bury, Robert Smith, Almeric de St. Laurence (ancestor 
of the Ilowth family), Hugh Tyrrell, Richard Tuite, 
Bertram de Verdon, Philip Welsh, Philip de Worcester, 
&c., &c. — Vide Giraldus Cambrensis, Camden's Hibernia, 
Hanmer's Chronicle, Harris's HHjcrnica, and the Rev. 
C. P. Meehan's translation of The Gera]dincs. p. 23. 





Reverses of De Courcy in the North. — Feuds of Desmond and Thomond. — Unpopularity of FitzAdelm -with the 
Colonists. — Irish Bishops at the Council of Lateran. — Death of St. Laurence O'Toole. — His Charity and 
Poverty. — De Lacy suspected by Henry 11. — Death of Milo de Cogan. — Arrival of Cambrensis. — Death of 
Hervey of Mountmaurice. — Eoderic Abdicates and Retires to Cong. — Archbishop Comyn. — Exactions of 
Philip of Worcester. — Prince John's Expedition to Ireland. — His Failure and Eecall. — English Mercenaries 
in the Irish Service. — Singular Death of Hugh de Lacy. — Synod in Christ Church. — Translation of the Relics 
of SS. Patriclj, Columba, and Brigid to Down. — Expedition of De Courcy to Connaught. — His Eetreat. — 
Death of Henry H. — Death of Conor Moinmoy, and Fresh Tumults ia Connaught. — Last Exploits and Death 
of Donnell More O'Brien. — Dissensions in the English Colony. — Successes of DonneU MacCarthy. — Death of 
Eoderic O'Conor. — His Character. — Foundation of Churches, &c. — The Anglo-Irish and the " mere" Irish. 

Contemporary Sovereigns and Events. — Popes Lucius III., Urban III., Gregory VIII., Clement III., and Celestine III.- 
King of Fr.ince, Philip Augustus.— Tliird Crusade (llS8-119i). 

(A. D. 1178 TO 1199.) 

TOHN DE COURCY, notwithstand- 
^ ing the prestige of his successes in 
the north, was not invincible. After 
sweeping off, in 1178, a large spoil of 
cattle from Machaire Conaille, or the 
plain of Louth, he encamped, on his 
return to Down, in Gleuree, the vale of 
Newry river, and was there attacked by 
O'Carroll of Oriel, and MacDunlevy of 
Ulidia, and defeated with great slaugh- 
ter. On this occasion he lost 450 men, 
many of whom were drowned in at- 
tempting to cross the river, while the 
Irish had only 100 killed. Some time 
after he went on a plundering excursion 
into Dalaradia, and was defeated by 
Cumee O'Flynn, lord of Hy-Tuirtre and 

Firlee, in Antrim, Avhen, according to 
Giraldus, he escaped from the field on 
foot, with only eleven followers, and 
reached his camp after a flight of two 
days and nights without food. The 
English historians attribute this disaster 
to the number of cattle which he was 
carrying away, and which, being driven 
back upon his ranks by the Irish, caused 
such confusion that his men fell an easy 
prey to the enemy. 

The Annals of Innisfallen mention a 
desolating war which raged this year 
between the Irish of Thomond and Des- 
mond, in which the latter territory was 
so wasted that some of its ancient fami- 
lies, as the O'Donovans, princes of Hy- 



Figeiute, and the O'Collinses, subordi- 
nate chiefs of Hy-Conail Gavra, an 
ancient sub-division of the former terri- 
tory, were driven from their patrimonies 
to seek refuge in the southern parts of 
the present county of Cork. The native 
chroniclers also record internecine quar- 
rels, at the same period, between the 
Irish of Ulster and those of West Meath 
and Offiily, the English acting as allies 
in the ranks of the latter. 

FitzAdelm, as already observed, had 
become so unpopular with the English 
colonists, from his opposition to rapine 
and suspected partiality to the Irish, 
that Henry found it necessary to remove 
him, and aj^pointed De Lacy in his stead, 
with the title of procurator. FitzAdelm 
was, however, made constable of Lein- 
ster; Wexford was entrusted to his 
care, and Waterford to that of Robert 
le Poer. 

A. D. 11*79. — Several Irish bishops 
proceeded this year to Eome, on the 
summons of Alexander III., to attend 
the third general council of Laterau. 
These prelates were — St. Lorcan, or Lau- 
rence, of Dublin ; O'Duffy, of Tuam ; 
O'Brien, of Killaloe ; Felix, of Lismore ; 
Augustine, of Waterford ; and Brictius, 
of Limerick. In passing through Eng- 
land thej were obliged to take an oath 
not to act in any manner prejudicial to 
that country or its king. The j^jope 
treated St. Laurence with special kind- 
ness, appointed him his legate for Ire- 
land, and conferred particular favors on 
the diocese of Dublin, confirming its 
jurisdiction over the suffragan sees of its 

province. There can be no doubt that 
the Holy Father learned, on this occa- 
sion, the unhappy results which had 
followed from the Anglo-Norman inva- 
sion of Ireland. 

A. D. 1180. — Having returned from 
Rome, St. Laurence devoted himself, 
with his accustomed zeal, to his archi- 
episcopal and legatiuo duties; and he 
was particularly strict in punishing the 
lax manners of some of the Anglo-Nor- 
man and Welsh clergy who had come 
over with the adventurers. In the 
course of this year he went to England 
on a mission from Roderic O'Conor, one 
of Avhose sons accompanied him as a 
hostage ; but the English king refused 
either to listen to his i-epreseutations or 
to permit him to return to Ireland, and 
left for Normandy, whither the saint, 
after a few weeks' stay at the monastery 
of Abingdon, in Berkshire, set out to 
follow him. The holy archbishop, how- 
ever, was able to proceed no further 
than Augum, or Eu, on the borders of 
Normandy, in a monastery, at which 
place he fell sick, and died on the llth 
of November, 1180. When asked by 
the monks to make his will, he called 
God to witness that "he had not as 
much as one penny under the sun;" 
and a little before he expired he said in 
Irish, speaking of his unhappy country- 
men, "Alas, foolish and senseless people ! 
What will you now do ? Who will heal 
your differences ? Who will have pity 
on you ?" His charity was unbounded. 
During a famine which i)revailed for 
three years in Dublin, he made extra- 



ordinary sacrifices to relieve the j^oor. 
His spirit of mortification was worthy 
of the primitive saints. His love for 
-his ill-fated country was that of an 
ardent patriot, yet his country's enemies 
were compelled to confess and revere 
his virtues. Several miracles are re- 
corded of him, and he was canonized 
by Honorius ITT., in the year 1226.* 

At this time the power of Hugh de 
Lacy greatly exceeded that of any other 
English baron in Ireland. Giraldus 
observes that " he amply enriched him- 
self and his followers by oppressing 
others with a strong hand ;" yet he was 
less hateful to the Irish than most of 
the other foreigners. He married, as 
his second wife, a daughter of Roderic 
O'Conor, without previously asking the 
permission of Henry II. ; and this alli- 
ance, together with the popularity 
which he enjoyed, excited the jealousy 
of the English monarch, who abruptly 
removed him from the government. 
De Lacy's ready obedience in yielding 
up his ofiice restored him, however, to 
the king's confidence, and he was rein- 
stated in power with Robert, bishop of 
Shrewsbury, as his counsellor, or rather 
as a spy on his pi-oceedings. 

A. D. 1182 — Milo de Cogan, one of 
the most chivalrous of the first adven 
turers, fell a victim this year to the 

* See liis life, by the Rev. John O'Hanlon, of Dublin 
also Surius, quoted by Ussher, in the Sylloge, note to 
Epist. xlviii. " The beautiful church of Eu, in which 
the remains of St. Laurence are preserved, has been 
recently restored, and on the walls of the little oratory 
which marks on the lull over the to-ivn the spot where 
the saint exclaimed, ' lunc est requies mea,' &c., the names 

hostility which the aggressions of the 
English stirred, up in every quarter. 
He was proceeding from Cork to Lis- 
more, accompanied by a son of Robert 
FitzStephen and a few other knights, to 
hold a conference with some of the people 
of Waterford, when he was set upon by 
MacTire, prince of Imokilly, and cut off 
with aP his party. Giraldus says that 
he was invited by MacTire to pass the 
night in his house, and that he was 
treacherously murdered when seated 
with hig knights in a field ; but this 
statement ajDpearing, as it does, in the 
midst of a tissue of slanders, merits 
little credit. The event was a signal 
for a general rising »of the chieftains of 
Munster, and FitzStephen was so close- 
ly besieged by them in the city of Cork, 
that he was on the point of succumbing, 
when his nephew, Raymond le Gros, 
brought succor by sea from Wexford, 
and raised the siege. Richard de Cogan 
brother of Milo, was sent over by Hcury 
to aid FitzStephen in the government 
of Cork, and was accompanied by two 
of FitzStephen's nephews, Philip and 
Gerald Barry.* 

As new adventurers appear, the earl- 
ier ones vanish from the scene. Among 
the latter was Hervey of Mountmaui- 
ice, whose opposition to the more war- 
like Raymond has been so often noticed. 

of several Irishmen are inscribed." (Dr. Kelly's Camh. 
Ecer., vol. ii., p. 648, d.) 

♦ The latter was the oft-quote<5 Giraldus Cambrensis, 
a vain, conceited writer, and compiler of silly fables and 
malicious calumnies about Ireland and her people, 
although his EHicrnia Exptignata is by far the most im- < 
portant record we possess of the Anglo-Norman invasion 


He founded the beautiful abbey of 
Duubrody, in Wexford ; and disgusted, 
as it would seem, with the scenes of ra- 
pine which he had witnessed in Ireland, 
he retired from the strife of the world, 
and became a monk at Canterbury, 
giving to the abbey there a portion of 
the property which he had acquired in 
Ireland. We find De Lacy, in Meath, 
and De Courcy, in Ulster, also founding 
religious houses with a jiortion of the 
plunder which they had unscrupulously 
taken from the native clergy and peo- 
ple of Ireland. 

De Courcy obtained, this year, at 
Dunbo, in Dalaradia, a decisive victory 
over Donnell O'Loughlin and the Kiuel 
Owen, which, for some time, checked 
the heroism, of the northern chieftains, 
and enabled him to strengthen his 
position and overrun the province 
without opposition. 

A. D. 1183. — The Irish annals are 
filled, at this, as at other periods, with 
accounts of feuds among the native 
princes, but such of them as left no 
visible traces on our history we pass in 
silence. The strife which had long 
existed in the family of the unhappy 
monarch, Roderic, broke out now with 
increased violence; and after vain 
efforts, on the part of neighboring 
princes, to settle the differences, even 
at the point of the sword, the wi-etched 
king, according to the annals Kilronan, 
retired this year to the abbey of Cong, 
leaving the kingdom of Connaught to 
his son, Conor Moimiioy. 

A. r>. 11S4.— On the death of St. 

Laurence O'Toole, Henry sent a com- 
missioner to collect the revenues of the 
diocese of Dublin into the royal coffers. 
He then caused a numbev of the Dub- 
lin clergy to assemble at Evesham, in 
Worcestershire, and at his recommen- 
dation they elected John Comyn, or 
Cumming, an Englishman, to the vacant 
see. Comyn proceeded to Rome, and 
was ordained priest, and subsequently 
consecrated archbishop, by pope Lu- 
cius HI., at Veletri. The pope also 
granted him a bull, exempting the dio- 
cese of Dublin from the exercise of any 
other episcopal authority within its 
limits and without the permission of its 
archbishop. This privilege was intended 
as a protection against the power of the 
primate, who could not, at that time, be 
considered as a subject of the English 
king ; and it was the first of a series oi 
acts, upon which the controversy which 
subsequently arose as to the relative 
prerogatives of the sees of Armagh and 
Dublin was founded. The new arch- 
bishop did not come to Dublin until 
118-4, and his presence then was in- 
tended as <i preparation for the ap- 
proaching visit of i^rince John. 

^. T>. 1185. — Henry's suspicions of De 
Lacy were not, it appears, unfounded, 
as that ambitious baron is understood 
to have really aspired to the sovereignty 
of Ireland. He was, therefore, once 
more deprived of the government, in 
1184, and in his stead was sent over 
Philip of Worcester, who eclipsed all 
his i")redecessors by his exactions and 
injustice. This man's first act was to 



resume, for the king's use, lands which 
had been sold to O'Casey by his prede- 
cessor. He levied contributions without 
regard to justice or mercy; and pro- 
ceeding with an army to Ulster, a terri- 
tory which had been hitherto left ex- 
clusively to De Courcy's enterprise, he 
exacted money from all parties, but 
chiefly from the clergy. He was ac- 
companied by a worthy coadjutor, Hugh 
Tyrrel, who stripped the clergy of Ar- 
magh by his extortions, carrying off, 
among other things, their large brewing 
pan, which he was obliged to abandon 
on the way, as the horses which drew, 
it were burned in a stable where they 
halted for the night, and he himself was 
seized with violent griping pains, which, 
in the opinion of his contemporaries, 
were a just punishment for his rapine.* 
This year is memorable for the 
wretclied experiment which Henry 
made to govern Ireland through his 
sou John, a step which proved utterly 
inconsistent with the king's boasted 
wisdom. The young prince, then in 
his nineteenth year, arrived at Water- 
ford from Milford Haven the week 
after Easter, with 400 knights and a 
well-equipped force of horse and foot, 
conveyed in sixty transports. He as- 
sumed simply the title of earl of More- 

* This plunder of tlie dergy of Armagli took place in 
tte course of tlie Lent, and it is probable tliat it was 
then the celebrated crozier of St. Patrick, called the 
Staff of Jesus, was removed from the primatial city to 
Dublin, although it is usually stated that this transfer 
was made by FitzAdelm, who does not appear to have 
exercised any authority in the north. 

t 'When John Vras about to proceed to Ireland, in 
1185, his father applied to pope Lucius III for permis- 

ton and lord of Ireland, although he 
had been invested some years before 
with the nominal rank of king.f tie 
was attended by Gerald Barry, or Cam- 
brensis, as his tutor, and by Eanulph 
de Glanville, justiciary of England ; but 
he was surrounded by a retinue of in- 
solent young Norman courtiers of as 
profligate manners as he notoriously was 
himself The proceedings of the new 
visitors were most inauspiciously com- 
menced. Some Leinster chieftains 
waited upon John, at his arrival, to 
pay their respects, but their costume 
and appearance excited the mirth of 
him and his brainless attendants, who 
treated them with derision, and went so 
far as to pluck their beards. Justly 
incensed at the insults offered them, the 
Irish princes hastily quitted the camp 
and removing their families and follow- 
ers from the territory occupied by the 
English, repaired to Connaught and 
those parts of Munster yet free from 
the foreign yoke, proclaiming every- 
where the insolent treatment which 
they had received, and stirring up their 
countrymen to resistance. 

John and his courtiers pursued their 
mad career, regardless of the storm 
which was gathering. Some Irish septs, 
who had hitherto remained peaceably 

sion to crown tlie young prince, but the Pope declined 
giving his sanction. On the accession of Urban III., at 
the close of the same year, the application was renewed, 
and this time the required leave was granted, and a 
crown, made of peacock's feathers interwoven with gold, 
was sent fi-om Rome by the Pontiff, on the occasion ; but 
John's expedition having in the mean time failed, hia 
Lateuded coronation was abandoned. 



in tlie English territory, were expelled, 
jind driven to swell the ranks of their 
disaffected countrymen, their lands 
being given to the new comers; the 
old Welsh settlers were forced to leave 
the towns and reside in the marches, 
and the early Anglo-Norman colonists 
were harassed with exactions. Castles 
were erected by John's orders at Tip- 
raid-Fachtna, now Til)raglmy, in the 
county of Kilkenny, at Ardfinau, over- 
looking the Suir, in Tipperary, and at 
Lismore; and from these strongholds 
parties were sent to plunder the lands 
of Munster. But the indomitable Don- 
nell O'Brien took the field, and the 
English were defeated by him in several 
encounters. He took the castle of Ard- 
finau, by stratagem, and put the garrison 
to the sword. Several of the bravest 
English knights were cut off in battle : 
Roger le Poer was slain in Ossory, 
Robert Barry at Lismore, Raymond 
FitzHugh at Olechan, and Raymond 
Canton in Idrone. After being deci- 
mated in detail, the remnant of John's 
discomfited army retired to the cities, 
where the men, following the example 
of their captains, indulged in every vice, 
and left the surrounding country ex- 
posed to the incursions of the Irish, who 
destroyed the crops of the colonists. 
The money collected by oppressive exac- 
tions was squandered in dissipation by 
John, while the troops were left unpaid, 
and the whole colony was reduced by 
famine and losses to the very brink of 

Thinojs had been goiiifr on thus for 

several months before king Henry 
became aware of the real state of affairs. 
He then hastily recalled his hopeful 
son, who, on his return to England, 
threw the whole blame of his disasters 
upon De Lacy, whom he represented as 
leagued with the L-ish, and as setting 
himself up for king. It is indeed as- 
serted that De Lacy had at this period 
assumed the title of king of Meath, and 
that he received tribute as such from 
Conuaught, and had got a diadem made 
for himself; but so far from his being 
on friendly terms with the native Irish, 
the territory of Meath was, at this very 
period, invaded by an Irish army, which 
was defeated by William Petit, a feuda- 
tory, or liegeman of De Lacy. Al)0ut 
this time Dermot MacCarthy, king ot 
Desmond, was killed at a conference in 
Cork, by Theobald FitzWalter, the chief 

Parties of the older English adven- 
turers were now in the habit of hii-ing 
themselves as auxiliaries to difierent 
Irish princes, Thus some English aided 
Donuell O'Brien in an inroad which he 
made this year into West Connaught, 
while another party of them served in 
the army of Conor Moiumoy, when he 
retaliated l)y plundering Killaloe and 
pillaging Thomond. "The English," 
say our annalists, on this latter occasion, 
"came as far as Roscommon with the 
son of Roderic, who gave them 3,000 
cows as wases." 

* MacCarthy was not, as Moore says, defeated in battln 
-See Ware's Annals. 



A. D. 1186.— Hugli cle Lacy did not 
live to vindicate himself from the 
charges laid against him by prince 
John. This remarkable man, whom the 
Irish annals describe as the "profaner 
and destroyer of many churches," and 
the " lord (or king) of the English of 
Meath, Breffny, and Oriel; of whose 
English castles all Meath, from the 
Shannon to the sea, was full," was killed 
this year while inspecting the works of 
a castle which he had just completed on 
the site of St. Columbkille's great mon- 
astery of Durrow, in the present King's 
county. He was accompanied by thi'ee 
Englishmen, and was stoojiing to direct 
the operations of the workmen, when a 
young man named O'Meyey, or Meey, 
belonging to an ancient family of that 
country, finding the enemy of his race 
in his power, smote him with a battle- 
axe which he had carried concealed, and 
with one blow severed his head from 
his body, both head and trunk rolling 
into the castle ditch. Fleet as a grey- 
hound, the young man bounded away, 
and was soon safe from pursuit in the 
wood of Killcare; nor did he stop 
until he announced his success to the 
Sinnagh (the Fox) O'Caharny, whose 

* Sir Hugli de Lacy left two sons by his first wife, 
Rosa de Munemene, Walter, lord of Sleatli, and Hugh, 
earl of Ulster ; by his second wife, the daughter of Rod- 
eric O'Conor, he had a son called William Gorm, from 
whom (according to Duald MacFirbis) the celebrated 
rebel. Pierce Oge Lacy of Bruree and Bruff, in the reign 
of Elizabeth, -was the eighteenth in descent, and from 
whom also the Lynches of Galway are descended. AVal- 
ter and Hugh left no male issue, but Walter had two 
daughters, who were married, one to Lord Theobald 
Verdon, and the ether to Geoffry GeneviUe ; and Hugh 

territory of Teffia at one time included 
Durrow; and at whose instigation, the 
annalists say, this perilous exploit was 

Thus perished the most powerful of 
the English invaders; and Henry II., 
who feared or suspected him, did not 
conceal his satisfaction at his death. 
The king's first step, on hearing the 
news, was to order his son, John, to 
return to Ireland and take possession of 
De Lacy's lauds and castles during the 
minority of the late baron's eldest son, 
but the death of the king's third son, 
Geoffry, duke of Bretagne, caused this 
arrangement to be abandoned.* 

Archbishop Comyn held a provincial 
synod this year in the church «f the 
Holy Trinity in Dublin.f This yeai-, 
also, oil the 9th of June, the solemn 
translation of the relics of SS. Patrick, 
Colomba, and Brigid, took place in the 
cathedral of Down. The remains of 
these great saints of the primitive church 
of Ireland were, it is alleged, discovered 
in a miraculous manner in an obscure 
part of that church the preceding year , 
and the permission of the pope having 
been obtained for the purpose, they 
■frere solemnly transferred to one suita- 

had one daughter, Maude, who married Walter de Bur. 
go (grandson of FitzAdelm de Burgo), who became, in 
her right, earl of Ulster. See Four Masters, vol. iii., p. 
75, note ; also, O'Flaherty's lar Cotmavght, p. 30. 

f The synod was opened on the fourth Sunday in 
Lent, and the canons which were adopted at it, and were 
soon after confirmed by Pope Urban III., are, says Har- 
ris, extant among the archives of Christ Church. See 
abstracts of these canons by Harris, in Ware's Bish- 
ops, p. 316; and by Lanigan, Eccl. Hist., ch. xxs., 
sect. 7. 



ble monument, • cardinal Vivian, wbo 
was sent over on the occasion, being 
present at the ceremony. 

A. D. 1188. — Divided and weakened 
by mutual and implacable dissensions, 
the northei'u chieftains were yet able to 
check the foreigners by some serious 
defeats. On one of these occasions a 
strong force of the invaders issued from 
their castle of Moy Cova in Down, and 
were plundering the territory of Ty- 
rone, "\fhen they Avere met at a place 
called Cavan na Crann-ard, or the hol- 
low of the lofty trees, by Donnell 
O'Loughlin, lord of Aileach, and de- 
feated with great slaughter, although 
the brave Irish chieftain himself fell in 
the couflict. The death of this gallant 
chief left De Courcy at liberty to turn 
his arms against Conuaught ; Conor 
Moiumoy, with Melaghliu Beg, of Meath, 
having burnt the English castle of Kil- 
lare in West Meath, and cut off its 
garrison the preceding year. The Con- 
naught chieftains rallied at the call of 
their prince, who also obtained the aid 
of Donnell O'Brien, and Conor Moiu- 
moy was thus able to present such an 
array that De Courcy avoided a col- 
lision with him. The English army 
then marched northward with the in- 
tention of penetrating into Tirconuell, 
and had advanced as far as Easdara, or 
Ballysadere, in Sligo, when they found 
the Tirconnellian chief, Flaherty O'Mul- 
dory, prepared with a sufficient force to 
receive them. De Courcy once more 
made a disgraceful* retreat, having first 
burnt the town, but in crossing the 

Curlieu mountains he was attacked by 
the Conuaught men and the Dalcassians, 
and after suffering considerable loss, 
escaped to Leinster with difficulty. 

A. D. 1189. — The troubled and event- 
ful career of Henry II. was at length 
brought to a close. That profligate and 
ambitious monarch died in France, 
broken-hearted and defeated, cursing 
his rebellious sons with his dying words. 
Some think that it was unfortunate for 
Ireland that the pressure of other cares 
had prevented Henry from devoting 
more attention to the government of 
that country ; and regret that he was 
unable to follow up his invasion by a 
comjjlete conquest. " The world would 
in that case," observes Mr. Moore, 
" have been spared the anomalous spec 
tacle that has been ever since jiresented 
by the two nations: the one, subjected, 
without being subdued ; the other, rulers 
but not masters ; the one doomed to all 
that is tumultuous in independence, 
without its freedom ; the other endued 
with every attribute of despotism ex- 
cept its 230wer."* 

But we cannot sympathize in any 
such vain regret. Divided as the Irish 
were, Henry might have done much to 
exterminate or crush them in detail. 
But that he, or any Englisli king of his 
period, would have governed them with 
justice and moderation, or that tlie 
Irish chieftains would have patiently 
submitted to the wholesale sjioliatiou 
of their country, are h}'i3otheses which 

* History of Ireland, vol. ii., p. 299. 



we cannot make. Had the native Irish 
race been extinct, Ireland would not 
the less have been ruled as a colony 
and for the supposed interests of Eng- 
land exclusively; and the subsequent 
history of the Anglo-Irish will show us, 
that the happiness or tranquillity of 
this country would not have been a 
whit more secure. 

The chivalrous Richard I., occupied, 
during his short reign, with the Cru- 
sades, left Ireland wholly to the man- 
agement of his unprincipled brother, 
John, who does not seem to have given 
himself much trouble about its affairs. 
John api^ointed as lord justice Hugh 
de Lacy, son of the former lord of 
Meath, to the great disgust of John de 
Courcy, who felt himself slighted, and 
retired to Ulster; but the English bar- 
ons were allowed to prey on the Irish 
as best they could, and this they con- 
trived to do effectually by enlisting in 
the service of the Irish princes indis- 
criminately, scarcely any battle being 
fought in which English and Irish were 
not in the armies on both sides. 

Conor Moinmoy, as a just punish- 
ment for his rebellion against his father, 
fell a victim, in 1189, to a conspiracy of 

* Moore and some otlier Irish liistoriaus would make 
it appear, that it was to commemorate a victory on this 
occasion that Cathal Crovderg founded the celebrated 
abbey of Knoc Moy, or Do Colic Victors, in the county 
of Galway ; and Hanmer, Leland, and others after the 
Book of Howth, which Leland only knew as " Lambeth 
MSS.," repeat a romantic story about Sir Armoric St. 
Lawrence, to account for the origin of the same abbey ; 
but Dr. O'Donavan (Four Masters, an. 1218, note q), ex- 
plodcs tlic popular errors on this subject, and shows that 
the name was Cuoc Muaidhe, or the liill of Muaidhe (a 

his own chieftains. He was, however, 
distinguished by courage and generosity, 
and was acknowledged as sovereign by 
the majority of the Irish princes, who 
accepted stipends from him, even the 
unhappy Roderic submitting patiently 
to his usurpation. On his death Con- 
naught was once more plunged into 
domestic strife. Roderic was recall- 
ed, and received homage from severa. 
chiefs; but his brother, Cathal Crov- 
derg (Croibhdhearg), or the Redhanded, 
and his grandson, Cathal Carragh, the 
son of Conor Moinmoy, were rival 
claimants for the sovereignty. The 
attempt to settle the matter by nego- 
tiation proving fruitless, Cathal Crov- 
derg next year established his rights 
either by battle or by the show of 
superior force, there being some ob- 
scurity in our annals as to the manner 
in which the event was brought about.* 
As to Roderic, he went from province 
to province among the Irish chieftains 
and the English barons, soliciting help 
to restore him to the throne of Con- 
naught, but his applications were re- 
jected by all; and he was at length 
recalled by his sept and received the 
lands of Tir Fiachrach Aidhue and 

s name), and that " CoUis Victoria," by which 
the stories in question were suggested, is but a fanciful 
translation of the name, as if it had been Cnoc mbuaidh. 
It may be well to correct another popular error with 
reference to this abbey, viz., the idea that the almost ob- 
hterated frescoes stUl traceable on the walls of the sanc- 
tuary, represent the execution of MacMurrough's son and 
other points of Irish history; the subjects being un- 
questionably those favorite on«s of the mediaeval artists, 
the martyrdom of St Sebastian," the " Three Kings/ 



Kinelea of Anglity, or the O'Sliauglines- 
sy's country, in the southwestern part of 
the present county of Galway. 

A. D. 1192.— The indomitable king of 
Thomond again appears in arms against 
the English, who, with a powerful army 
collected from all Leinster, marched as 
far as Killaloe. Here they were re- 
pulsed by O'Brien and his Dalcassians; 
and at Thurles, in Eliogarty, they were 
completely overthrown by the same 
brave men of Thomond. In the course 
of this expedition the English erected 
the castles of Kilfeakle and Knock- 
grafon, in Tipperary. 

Two years after, the Euglish were de- 
livered by the death of Donnell More 
O'Brien from the most formidable anta- 
gonist whom they had yet met in Ire- 
laud. Brave and liberal, but capricious, 
this prince, as soon as the real intentions 
of the invaders became obvious, was the 
first to break through the formal sub- 
mission which had been made to the 
English king ; and with few and brief 
intervals he continued ever after in 
arms against the enemies of his country. 
About the same time fell two other fa- 
mous Irish chieftains : Cumee O'Flj'nn, 
who had defeated De Courcy at Firlee, 
was slain by the English in 1194; and 
O'Carroll, prince of Oriel, having been 
taken by them the year before, was first 
deprived of his eyes and then hanged. 

The affairs of the English colony were 
at this time any thing but prosperous. 
New_ lords justices followed each other 
in quick succession. Hugh de Lacy was 
succeeded by William Petit, in 1191, 

and he again, the same year, by William, 
earl of Pembroke, and earl marshal of 
England, who had married Isabel, the 
daughter of Strongbow, and obtained 
all the Irish possessions of that noble- 
man. The insolence of this latter gover- 
nor did more to rouse the Irish princes 
to resistance than the spoliation to 
which they had been subjected by 
others, and it was during his adminis- 
tration that Donnell O'Brien, as we 
have seen, so severely chastised the 
invaders in Thomond. Peter Pipard 
succeeded him as lord deputy, and 
was followed by Hamon de Valois, 
who, finding the treasury empty, seized 
without scruple the church property. 
Archbishop Comyn strenuously remon- 
strated, but seeing that the pillage of 
the church went on, and that he could 
obtain no redress from the Irish govern- 
ment, he laid the diocese under an inter- 
dict, and proceeded to England to make 
complaints, which were equally un- 
heeded there. 

Meanwhile the fatal dissensions of the 
Irish princes continued to do the work 
of the common enemy most eftectually ; 
Mur tough O'Loughlin, lord of Kinel- 
Owen, was slain, in 1196, by Blosky 
O'Kane, a subordinate chief ; and E,ory 
MacDunlevy having thereupon raised 
an army, composed partly of English 
and Counaught auxiliaries, marched 
against the Kinel-Owen, but was de- 
feated with dreadful slaughter, on the 
plain of Armagh. The men of the south, 
however, at this moment exhibited a 
brilliant exception to this state of parri- 



cidal warfare. Doiinell M'Carthy, son of 
Dermot, the late king of Desmond, aided 
by the forces of Catbal Crovderg, and of 
Donogh Cairbrach O'Brien, defeated tlie 
Englisli in several battles in the course 
of the year 1196. He destroyed their 
castles of Kilfeacle and Imokilly, for 
some time held possession of the city of 
Limerick, and it is asserted that he re- 
duced the English of Cork to submission. 

The Englisb had also some reverses 
in the north. One Rotsel, or Russel, 
whom De Courcy had left in command 
of a castle at Eas Creeva, or the Salmon 
Leap, near Coleraine, was defeated on 
the strand of Lough Foyle by Flaherty 
O'Muldory, who was now recognized as 
chief of both Kinel-Conell and Kinel- 
Owen. O'Muldory, however, died very 
soon after (in 1197), and Eachmarcach 
O'Doherty, who then assumed the chief- 
tainship of Kinel-Conell, was killed in a 
fortnight after this event, together with 
200 of his people, in a sanguinary en- 
gagement with De Courcy, at the hill 
of Knoc Nascain, near Lough Swilly, in 

A. D. 1198. — This year died the de^ 
posed and unfortunate monarch, Roderic 
O'Conor. If individual misfortune could 
have expiated the fatal imbecility of his 
earlier life, he suffered enous;li to merit 

* Hist, of Ireland, vol. ii., p. 340. It is only fair to 
state that a different estimate of Roderic's character is 
formed by some ; and an accomplished writer has not 
hesitated to describe his efforts against the Norman 
power as heroic and self-devoted, and himself as " a 
great warrior and a fervent patriot." " Brave, learned, 
just, and enlightened beyond his age," writes his ami- 
able apologist, " he alone, of all the Irish princes, saw 
the direful tendency of the Norra;,n inroad. All the 

our fgrgiveness. The unnatural rebel- 
lion of his children, and the irretrievable 
downfall of his country, which lie wit 
nessed, and which a few years before he 
could so easily have prevented, might 
well have broken a more manly heart 
than his. " The only feeling his name 
awakens," oToserves Moore, " is that of 
pity for the doomed country which at 
such a crisis in its fortunes, when honor, 
safety, independence, national existence, 
were all at stake, was cursed, for the 
crowning of its evil destiny, with a rule" 
and leader so utterly unworthy of his 
high calling."* He died at the advanced 
age of 82, after several years spent in pen- 
itential exercises in the beautiful abbey 
which he had founded himself at Cong, 
on the shores of Lough Corrib, and his 
remains were conveyed toClonmacnoise, 
where they v/ere interred at the nortli 
side of , the altar of the great church. 

To the events connected with our 
ecclesiastical history, which have been 
mentioned in the course of this chapter, 
may be*added the building of St. Pat- 
rick's cathedral, in Dublin, by arch- 
bishop Corny n, in 1190 ; the translation 
of a large portion of the relics of St. 
Malachy from Clairvaux to Ireland in 
1194 ;f the building of the cathedrals 
of Limerick and Cashel, and the founda- 

records of his reign prove that he was a wise and power- 
ful monarch." — Diiblin Univerdty Mag. for 'Ma.Tch, 185G. 
The descendants of Roderic, in the male line, have been 
long extinct ; but it is said that the Lynches of Galway 
descend from him in the female line, as also the Lacies 
of Limtu-ick. — Tide supra, page 233, note. 

f For the disposal of the relics of St. Malachy, see the 
Rev. Mr. O'Hanlon's admirable life of that great saint 
chap, xviii. 



tion of several religious houses by Don- 
nell More O'Brien. Several of the 
Dohlest religious foundations of Ireland 
date from this period ; and, if some of 
them were the offeriags made by rapine 
to religion, or were erected by such men 
as Dermot MacMurrough, the fact only 
illustrates one point of distinction be- 
tween the bad men of that age who may 
have founded monasteries, and those of 
the present who do not ; namely, that 
the former were not able, lik« the latter, 
wholly to throw off the trammels of 
faith, to which they, sooner or later, 
repentantly returned, or, at least, offered 
a tribute of recognition.*^" 

Henceforth we shall have to treat of 

* From the list of the Cistercian Abbeys of Ireland 
lireserved in Trinity College library, and published in 
an appendix to Grace's annals (p. 1G9), it appears that 
many of them were founded before the English invasion. 
They appear in the following order in this list, but the 
founders' names, and some of the dates, are added from 
other authorities : — St. Mary's, Dublin (founded by the 
Danes for Benedictines in 948, and reformed to Cistercian 
in 1139); Mellifont, m Louth, by O'Carroll of Oriel, in 
1U3 ; Bective, Meath, by O'Melaghlin, in 1148 ; Baltin- 
glass, Wicklow, bj Dermot MacMurrough, in 1148 or 
1151 ; Boyle, Roscommon, in 1148 ; Slonasternenagb, or, 
de Maggio, Limerick, by O'Brien, in 1148 ; Athloue, 
Roscpmmon, in 1153 ; Newry, Down, by MacLoughliu, 
king of Ireland, in 1153 ; Odomey, Kerry, in 1154 ; 
Inislouuagh, Tippcrary, by Donnell O'Brien, in 1159; 
Fcrmoy, in 1170 ; Maur, in Cork, by Dermot MacCarthy, 
in 1173 ; Inis Samer, Donegal, by Rory O'Canannan, in 
1179 ; Jerpoint, KUkenny, by MacGiUapatrick of Ossory, 
in 1180 ; Middleton, Cork, by the Barrys, in 1180 ; Holy 
Cross, Tipperary, by Donnell O'Brien, in 1181 ; Dun- 
brody, Wexford, by Hervey of Mountmaurice, in 1183 ; 
Abbeyleix, Queen's Co., by Cuchry O'More, in 1183 ; 
Inis Courcy, Down, by John de Courcy, in 1188, as 
restitution for the Irisl abbey of Carraig, destroyed by 
him ; Monastcrevan, Kildare, by O'Dempsey of Offaly, 
in 1189 ; Knockmoy, Gahvay, by Cathal Crovdcrg 
O'Conor, in 1190 ; Grey Abbey, Down, by Alfrica, wife 
of John de Courcy, in 1193; Cumber, Down, in 1198 ; 
Tintern, Wexford, by William Marshall, in IJOO ; Cor- 
0, Clare, by Donat O'Brien, in 110-1 ; Kilcooly, 

two races as constituting the, population 
of Ireland, namely, the Anglo-Irish and 
the " mere Irish." The latter were, with 
certain exceptions, excluded from the 
privileges and protection of the English 
law, and were legally known, even 
during peace, as the " Irish enemy." 
Dissensions were constantly fomented* 
among them by the powerful English 
barons, who thus made them an easy 
prejr, and stripped them gradually of 
their territories ; while the Anglo-Irish, 
especially when residing beyond the 
English Pale, often shared the fate of 
the original Irish, with whom they be- 
came, in course of time, identified in 
language, manners, and interests. 

Tipperary, by Donat O'Brien, in 1300 ; Kilbeggan, 
West Meath, by the Daltons, about 1300; Douske, 
Kilkenny, by William Marshall, about 1300 ; Abingdon, 
or Wothenay, Limerick, by Theobald Fitz Walter, in 
1305 ; Abbeylorha, Longford, about 1305 ; Tracton, 
Cork, by the MacCarthys, about 1305, or 1334 ; Moycos- 
quin, Derry, about 1305 ; Loughseudy, West Meath, 
about 1305 ; and Cashel, Tipperary, by Archbishop Mac- 
Carwell, in 1273. All these Cistercian abbeys were 
dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, except that of Holy 
Cross, and the abbey of Athlone, dedicated to St. Peter 
and St. Benedict. There were, also, minor houses, cells 
to some of the preceding. Archdeacon Lynch enumerates 
about 40 monasteries erected by Irishmen about the 
period of the invasion, several of them being included 
in the preceding list. One was the Dominican house of 
Derry, founded by Donnell Oge O'Donnell, prince of 
Tirconnell, at the request of St. Dominic himself, who 
sent liim two brothers of the order. Vide Camhrensia 
Eccrsus, ii., 535, &c. ; O'SuUivan's Dceas Patriciana, 
lib. 9, c. 3 ; and Lanigan, vol. iv. The last-named 
•writer enumerates the following primitive monastic 
institutions as existing at the close of the twelfth cen- 
tury: — viz., Armagh, Derry, Bangor, Maghbile, or 
Moville, Devenish, Clogher, Clones, Louth, Cloufort, 
Inchmacnerin, Aran Isles, Cong, Mayo, Clonard, KcUs, 
Lusk, Kildare, Trim, Clonmacnoise, Killeigh, Glenda- 
lough, Saiger, Isle of All Saints on Lough Ree, Roscom- 
mon, Ballysadare, DrumclitT, Aghaboe, Lorra, Lismore, 
Molana, Cork, Iniscathy, Inisfallen, &c., &c. 





Renewed Wars of Cathal Carragh and Catbal Crovderg. — Tergiversation of William de Burgo, and Deatli of 

Cathal Carragh at Boyle Abbey. — Massacre of the English Archers in Connaught. — Wars in Ulster. — Fate of 
John de Courcy. — Legends of the -Boolf of Ilowth. — Death and Cliaracter of William de Burgo. — Tumidts 
and Rebellions of the English Barons. — Second Visit of King John to Ireland. — .'Vlarm of the Barons.— 
Submission of Irish Princes. — Independence of Hugh O'Neill. — Divisjpn of the English Pale into Counties. — 
Money Coined. — Departure of John. — The Bishop of Norwich Lord Justice. — Exploits of Cormac O'Melaghlin 
and Hugh O'Neill. — War in the South. — Catastrophe at Athlone. — Adventures of Murray O'Daly, the Poet of 
Lissadill.— Ecclesiastical Occurrences. 

Contemporary Sovereigns and Siients. — Pope Innocent III. — King of France, riiilip Augu.stns. — Emperor of Germany, 
Frederick II. — King John resigned bis dominiona to the Pope, and did homage for tliem, 1213. — Magna Charta signed at, 1215.] 

(A. D. 1199 TO A. D. 121G.) 

ONE of the first acts of Jobu, on 
ascending the throne of England, 
in 1199, was to appoint Meyler Fitz- 
Heniy chief governor of Ireland. At 
that time a fierce war Avas raging in 
Connaught between the rival factious of 
the O'Conor fjimily. Cathal Carragh, 
son of Conor Moinmoy, engaged the 
services of William Burke, or De Burgo, 
better known to the reader as William 
FitzAdelm, and of the English of Lim- 
erick, and by their aid he expelled 
Cathal Crovderg, and re-established 
himself on the throne of Connauffht. 

* The collateral Hy-NiaU branch of MacLoughlin 
(sometimes also called O'Loughlin), which had taken its 
name from Lochlainn, the fourth in descent from NiaU 
Qlundubh, and had given two distinguished monarchs 
to Ireland, disappears in the books of genealogy with 

The expelled prince enlisted the sym- 
pathy of Hugh O'Neill, who had recent- 
ly appeared as chief of Tyrone, and had 
distinguished himself both in 1198 and 
1199, by successes against De Courcy 
and the English of Ulster.* Cathal Crov- 
derg and Hugh entered Connaught with 
an army, but finding their force inade- 
quate, commenced a retreat, when they 
were overtaken at Ballysadare* in Sligo 
by Cathal Carragh and his English auxil- 
iaries, and routed with great loss ; O'Heg- 
ny, then chief of Oriel, being among the 
slain in the northern army. 

Muircheartach, or Murtough MacLoughlin, monarch of 
Ireland, who was slain 1166. With the Hugh mentioned 
above, called Aedh Toinleasc, the CNdlla resume their 
sway as chiefs of Tyrone. 



Catlial Crovderg next succeeded in 
securing the aid of Jolinr de Courcy and 
of young De Lacy, and marched with a 
strong English force as far as Kilmac- 
duagh, where Cathal Carragh and the 
Connacians gave them battle. Cathal 
of the Red Hand was once more un- 
fortunate, and his army was defeated 
with such slaughter that only two out 
of five battalions, of which it consisted, 
escaped, and these were pursued as far 
as the peninsula of Rinn-duiu, or Rin- 
down* on the shore of Lough Ree, 
where they were hemmed in and many 
of them killed, others being drowned in 
endeavoring to cross the lake in boats. 

Meyler, the lord justice, now marched 
against Cathal Carragh, and plundered 
Clonmacnoise ; and Cathal Crovderg, 
undaunted by his former losses, resolved 
to try the expedient of detaching De 
Burgo from the side of his 'enemj^, and 
of purchasing his services for himself. 
The result proved that he calculated 
rightly on the mercenary character of 
the Anglo-Norman. The English barons 
recognized no principle in these wars 
but their own interest, and were only 
too glad to help the Irish in extermi- 
nating each other, while at the same 
time they could aggrandize and enrich 
themselves. Crovderg proceeded to 
Munster, where, by large promises, he 
purchased the aid of De Burgo, and 
obtained also that of MacCarthy of 
Desmond. Some of our annals state 
that a war raged about this very time 

* This point is now called St. John's, and contains the 
magnificent ruins of a castle built in 1237, by Qeoffry 

between the O'Briens and the Desmond 
families, and that William de Burgo 
with all the English of Munster joined 
the former ; but the contest to which 
this account refers did not interfere 
with that between the O'Conors, and 
most probably followed it. 

A. D. 1201. — Cathal Crovderg, with 
William de Burgo, the sons of Donnell 
O'Brien and Fineen or Florence Mac- 
Carthy, and their respective forces, 
marched from Limerick to Roscommon, 
where the army took up its quai'tei-s in 
the abbey of Boyle. Every part of the 
sacred precincts was desecrated by the 
soldiery, and nothing was left of the 
abbey but the walls and roof, even 
these being partially destroyed. De 
Burgo had begun to suri'ound the mon- 
astery with an entrenchment, when 
Cathal Carragh arrived, and sevei'al 
skirmishes took place between the two 
armies, in one of which Cathal Carragh 
himself, having got mixed up with some 
retreating soldiers, was slain in the 
melee. This event decided the struggle ; 
Crovderg's Munster auxiliaries were dis- 
missed to their koines, and Cathal and 
De Burgo repaired to the abbey of 
Cong, where they passed the Eastei', 
having first billeted the English archers 
through Counaught for the purpose, as 
some accounts express it, of "distraining 
for their wages." The Four Mastei's 
say that De Burgo and O'Flaherty of 
West Connaught entered into a con- 
spiracy against Cathal the Red Handed, 

Mares, or De Marisco. — See Dr. Petrie'a account of it i 
the Irish Penny Journal, pp. 73. &c. 


which the latter timely discovered ; and 
that De Burgo having then demanded 
the wages of his men, the Connacians 
rose upon them and killed 700 of them. 
The Annals of Kilronan, however, ex- 
l^lain the event differently, for they say 
that a rumor got abroad in some mys- 
terious manner to the effect that De 
Burgo was killed, and that by a simul- 
taneous impulse the whole population 
rose and slew all the English soldiers 
who were dispersed among them. De 
Burgo then demanded an interview with 
Cathal, but the latter avoided seeing 
him; and the Anglo-Norman, whose 
rapacity was foiled for once in so fearful 
a manner, set off for Munster with such 
of his men as had escaped the massacre. 
Three years after he took ample ven- 
geance by the plunder of the whole of 
Connaught, " both lay and ecclesi- 

Ulster during this time was a scene 
of constant warfare between the Kinel- 
Connell and the Kinel-Owen, and of 
domestic strife among the latter. Hugh 
O'Neill was deposed and Conor O'Lough- 
lin substituted ; but the former appears 
to have been restored in a few years, 
after some sanguinary conflicts. 

A. D. 1204. — This year exhibited, in 
the downfall of John De Courcy, one of 
the many instances of retribution with 
which the history of the first English 
settlers in Ireland is filled. It is said 
that De Courcy incurred the anger of 
John, by openly speaking of him as a 
usurper, and as the murderer of the 
young prince Arthur, the rightful heir 

to the crown of England; but at all 
events the " Conqueror of Ulidia" was 
proclaimed a rebel, and his old enemies, 
the De Lacys, were ordered to deprive 
him of his lands, and seize his person. 
The English army of Meath, therefore, 
marched against him, and he was driven 
to seek protection from the Irish of 
Tyrone. It would appear that he was 
ultimately captured at Downpatrick, 
after a long siege, and sent to London, 
where he was confined in the tower for 
the remainder of his life. The Book of 
Howth relates how he was treacherously 
taken on Good Friday, when unarmed 
and engaged in his devotions in the 
church-yard of Downpatrick ; how he 
seized a wooden cross and slew thirteen 
of his assailants on that occasion ; how 
De Lacy punished, instead of rewarding, 
these persons who had betrayed their 
master by indicating when he might be 
found without arms ; how De Courcy 
was afterwards liberated from the tower 
to fight a French champion, who fled 
from the lists on beholding him ; how 
he then showed his strength by cleaving 
a helmet and coat of mail with his sword ; 
how John thereupon pardoned him, and 
granted him the privilege which he 
asked for himself and his successors, to 
remain with his head covered in the 
royal presence ; and how, by some mys- 
terious agency, he was prevented from 
returning to Ireland; but it is needless 
to say that all this is mere fiction, al- 
though it has been mixed up with real 
history by Hanmer, and subsequent 
Irish historians, on no better authority 



tban that repertory of Anglo-Irish le- 
gends the Book of Howth. As to Hugh 
De Lacy, who was then lord justice, he 
was rewarded by John with the pos- 
sessions of De Courcy and the title of 
earl of Ulster.* 

The same year our annals record the 
death of the famous William FitzAdelm 
de Burgo, the ancestor of the Burke 
family in Ireland. Giraldus Cambrensis 
describes him as a man addicted to many 
vices; bland and. crafty ; sweet-tongued 
to an enemy, and oppressive to those 
under him : as a man full of wiles, and 
concealing enmity under a smooth ex- 
terior. The Four Masters state that he 
died unshriven, and of some disgusting 
disease, in punishment of his sacrilegious 
plundering of churches ; but other old 
writers, as Duald MacFirbis, and the 
translator of the Annals of Clonmac- 
noise, endeavor to vindicate his char- 

About this period the utmost disor- 
ganization prevailed among the English 
barons in Ireland, their mutual feuds 

* Nothing authentic is known of the fate of Sir Jolm 
Do Courcy, save that he fell into the hands of De Lacy, 
who took him by the king's orders, and that he was 
confined in the tower of Loudon. His wife, AfFrica, 
daughter of Godfred, king of the Islo of Man, died A. D. 
119;3, and he left no male issue ; the MacPatricks or Do 
Courcys of Cork, who claim descent from hira, being 
possibly the descendants of his brother who was kUled 
during Sir John's lifetime. The privilege claimed by 
the barons of Kinsale, as De Courcys, to wear their hats 
in tlio presence of royalty is only supported by modern 
practice suggested by tlie above-mentioned h'gend. — 
See the subject amply discussed by Dr. O'Donovan, 
Four Masters, vol. iii., pp. 139-14-1 note n. 

f Giraldus, who was prejudiced against FitzAdelm, 
Bays he was: — "Vir corpulentus, tarn staturos quam 
ficlunB — vir dapsilis et curialis Iiubellium 

being as capricious and sanguinary as 
any which we have had to lament 
among the native Irish. In 1201, 
Philip of Wigornia, or Worcester, and 
William de Braose, laid waste a great 
part of Munster in their broils. King 
John sold to the latter for four thou- 
sand marks the lands of the former and 
of Theobald Walter; but Walter re- 
deemed his own for five hundred marks, 
and Philip re-entered upon his by force 
of arms. A few years later, the tables 
are turned, and De Braose appears as a 
defeated rebel, flying from the countiy, 
and his family falling into the hands of 
the tyrant John, who barbarously caused 
his wife and his son to be starved to 
death in Coi'fe castle. J Geoffrey Mares, 
orDeMarisco,also rebelled, and Munster 
was once more laid waste by contending 
English armies. Confusion w:as worse 
confounded by the rebellion of the De 
Lacys, between whom and Meyler a 
bloody civil war was - waged, until 
"Leinster and Munster," as our annals 
say, " were brought to utter destruc- 

debellator, rcbellium blanditor ; indomitis domitus, 
domitis iudomitus ; hosti suavissimus, subdito gravissi- 
mus : nee illi formidabilis, nee isti fidelis. A'ir dolosus, 
blandus, meticulosus, vir vino Vcnerique datus, &c." — 
nib. Exp., ii., cap. xvi. The Annals of Kilronan mention, 
under the date of 1203, the erection of a castle at Meelick. 
on the Shannon, in the eastern extremity of the present 
county of Galway, by William Burke, who had been 
previously seated at Limerick, and the English of 
Mimster, and that in constructing the castle they fillcil 
up a church with stones and earth. This would appear 
to liave been De Burgo 's only occupation of territory in 
Connaught, although he is called the conqueror of that 

t On returning from Ireland, in August, 1210, John 
took with him the captives, Maude, wife of William de 
Breusa, or Braose, and her son, the father having somo 



tion." Cathal Crovderg and O'Brien 
of Tliomond aided the lord justice, 
Mej^ler, in besieging Limerick and re- 
ducing De Burgo to subjection. Some 
of the English fortified themselves in 
their castles, and plundered the country 
indiscriminately like highwaymen, as we 
find one Gilbert Nangle to have done 
until he was obliged to fly from Ireland. 
A. D. 1209. — Dublin having been des- 
olated by pestilence, was partly re- 
peopled from Bristol, to which city the 
Irish metropolis had been capriciously 
granted by Henry 11. The new colo- 
nists not understanding, as it would 
seem, the actual state, of society in Ire- 
land, were in the habit of resorting on 
holidays for amusement to Culleu's 
Wood, in the southern suburbs. A 
great number were thus assembled on 
Easter Monday, this year, when a party 
of the Irish septs of O'Byrne and 
O'Toole, who had been deprived of 
their patrimonies, and forced into the 
the mountains of Wicklow by the Eng- 
lish, poured down upon them, and cut 
to i^ieces some three hundred men. 
The citizens of Bristol repaired the loss 
by a fresh supply of colonists, but for 
hundreds of years after. Black Monday, 
as it was called, was commemorated as 

time before having escaped to France. Tliey were com- 
mitted to Corfe Castle, in the Isle of Purbeck, wbere, by 
the king's orders, they were confined in a room, with a 
sheaf of wheat and a piece of raw bacon for their only 
pro\-isions. On the eleventh day their prison was opened 
and both were foimd dead, in a sitting posture, the 
mother between her son's legs, with her head leaning 
on his breast. In the last pangs of hunger she had 
gnawed her son's cheeks, probably after his' death. 
When William de Braose heard the tragical end of his 

a festival by the citizens, who paraded 
in arms on the field of slaughter, and 
made a show of challenging the Irish 
enemy to the fight. 

A. D. 1210. — While matters were go- 
ing on thus in Ireland — England, all 
this while lying under the spiritual 
horrors of an interdict, or deprivation 
of the sacraments, and the king himself 
under a sentence of excommunication in 
punishment of his sacrileges and his 
contumacy against the church — John 
resolved to visit his Irish dominions for 
the purpose of restoring order there. 
Some of the oppressive exactions, under 
which the unhappy Jews groaned in 
this tyrant's reign, were levied for the 
expenses of this expedition. He landed 
at Crook, near Waterford, on the 20th 
June, this year, with a numerous and 
well-equipped army, which was con 
veyed in 700 ships. The presence of 
the king, with so powerful a force, 
struck awe into his rebellious sub- 
jects, and produced an immediate calm 
throughout the land. The De Lacys 
fled to France at his approach.* Others, 
like De Braose, followed their example. 
As to the Irish, they were, in fact, not at 
war with the English government at 
that moment, and as many as twenty 

wife and son, he died in a few days. Such is the ac- 
count given by a contemporary Flemish writer, who 
appears to have been in the service of John. — See 
Wright, History of Ireland, vol. 1., p. 129. 

* One of the crimes Avith which the De Lacys were 
charged was the murder of Sir John Do Courcy, lord of 
Rahcny and Kilbarrack, near Dublin, a relative of the 
famous earl of Ulster, says Ware (Annals, an. 1213). 
See O'Donovan's note on the De Courcys, quotfld 

Divisioisr Gf counties. 


Irish chieftains are said to have done 
homage to him during his stay in this 
country. He proceeded to Dublin, and 
thence to Meath, where Cathal Crov- 
derg made his submission to him.* In 
compliance with the king's summons, 
Hugh O'Neill also repaired to the royal 
presence ; but departed without agree- 
ing to any terms of submission. He 
aj:)23ears to have encamped with a 
numerous force near the English camp, 
and on leaving carried off considerable 
spoils from the neighboring country. 
John took Carrickfergus Castle, after a 
short siege, from De Lacy's people, and 
placed a garrison of his own there ; and 
the king of Connaught, who had accom- 
panied him with a great retinue, then 
returned home. Shortly after, John 
was at Rathguaire, now Rathwire, near 
Kinnegad, in West Meath, and Cathal 
Crovderg again came, bringing four 
hostages, but not his son, whom it 
appears he had promised to bring, and 
whom John was to have taken under 
his special charge. 

There being no military operations 
to occupy the king, he set about intro- 
ducing English laws and customs into 
Ireland. He divided Leiuster and 
Munster into twelve shires or counties, 
namely, Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Uriel 
(Louth), Catherlough (Carlow), Kil- 

* Catbal Croydorg, appears to have entered into terms 
with Meyler FitzIIcnry a few ycara beforo this, and to 
have consented to yield two parts of Connaught to the 
English king, retaining the third part as his feudatory, 
and paying for it an annual sum of one hundred marks. 
The Close rolls contain an entry of the letter, in which 
John expresses his satisfaction to Meyler at tliisarrange- 

keuny, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Lim- 
erick, Kerry, and Tipperary ; but, as Sir 
John Davies observes, "these counties 
stretched no further than the lands of 
the English colonists extended. In 
them only were the English laws pub- 
lished and put into execution ; and iu 
them only did the itinerant judges make 
their circuits, and not in the countries 
possessed by the Irish, which contaiijed 
two-thirds of the kingdom at least." f 
John also caused sterling money to be 
coined in Ireland of the same standard 
as that of England, and took his de- 
parture from this country iu the last 
week of August, leaving as lord justice, 
John de Gray, bishop of Norwich, the 
man whom he wished to make arch- 
bishop of Canterbury in spite of the 
pope, and who was thus the cause of his 
quarrel with the Holy See. 

The remaining events of our history 
during John's reign are not of much 
importance, and have uo relation to the 
memorable transactions of which Eng- 
land was at that j)eriod the scene — the 
final submission of John to the pope, 
his war with the barons, the granting 
of the magna charta, &c. Cormac, head 
of the ancient Meath ftxmily of O'Me- 
laghlin, wrested Delvin,'in West Meath, 
from the English, and carried on -i long 
war with them and their auxiliaries; and 

ment. On John's arrival at iVaterford, in 1210, Don- 
ough Cairbreagh O'Brien, son of DonncU More, made his 
submission, and received a charter for Carrigogonnell 
and the lordslup thereto belonging, for which ho was to 
pay sixty marks. 

f Tavis' Hist. Tracts, p. 03. 



Hugli O'Neill of Tyrone, and Donnell 
O'Donuell of Tyrconuell, having settled 
their old differences, co-operated in beat- 
ing the English on two or three occa- 
sions. The castle erected by the Eng- 
lish at Caol Uisge, on the Erne, was 
captured by them, and its commandant, 
MacCostello, slain ; and Hugh O'Neill 
burned the castle of Carlingford and 
slaughtered its garrison. 

A. D. 1215. — In the south, we are 
told by the Annals of Innisfidlen, that 
a war in which the English took part, 
as usual, on both sides, and which was 
probably fomented by them, raged be- 
tween the two brothers, Dermot and 
Cormac Finn MacCarthy, princes of 
Desmond ; and that the result was the 
acquisition by the English of an enor- 
mous increase of territory in that quarter, 
where they fortified themselves by the 
erection of about twenty strong castles 
in Cork and Kerry. 

The " English bishop," as De Gray is 
called, built a bridge of stone over the 
Shannon at Athlone in 1210 (1211), 
and erected a castle there on the site of 
one which had been built by Turlough 
More O'Conor in 1129 ; but one of the 
towers, when just finished, fell and 
crushed beneath its ruins Eichard Tuite, 
the most powerful of the English barons 
since the departure of the De Lacys, 
together with his chaplain and seven 
other Englishmen. The outworks of 
the castle extended into the sanctuaries 
of St. Peter and St. Kiernan, and the 
Irish attributed the catastrophe to this 

The Four Masters, under the date of 
1213, relate a story which curiously 
illustrates the manners of the period. 
Donnell More O'Donnell, lord of Tir- 
connell, sent a steward named Finn 
O'Brallaghan into Connaught to collect 
a tribute which he claimed in the north- 
ern portion of that province. One of 
the first places which the steward vis- 
ited was the house of the poet, Murray 
O'Daly, at Lissadill, in Sligo ; and being 
a coarse, ignorant fellow, he began ta 
wrangle with the poet, who, enraged at 
his conduct, seized a battle-axe and 
killed him on the spot. To escape the 
anger of O'Donnell, the poet fled to 
Clanrickard in the present county of 
Galway, whither he was pursued by the 
angry prince of Kinel-Connell, so that 
Mac William (that is, Eichard Burke, 
son of the late William de Burgo) was 
obliged to send him to seek refuge else- 
where. Thus was the unfortunate 
O'Daly compelled to fly to Limerick, 
and thence to Dublin, and finally to 
Scotland ; O'Donnell pursuing him with 
an army, besieging towns, and plunder- 
ing the country to compel the inhab- 
itants to surrender the fugitive. In his 
last asylum O'Daly found time to com- 
pose three poems in praise of O'Donnell, 
which soothed the anger of the latter, 
and procured the poet's pardon. In one 
of these poems he complains that the 
cause of the hostility against him was 
very small indeed, namely, the killing 
of a clown who had insulted him ! 

Cadhla, or Catholicus O'Dufly, the 
venerable archbishop of Tuam, a con- 



temporary of St. Malachy and St. Lau- 
rence O'Toole, died at an advanced age 
in the abbey of Cong, in 1201 ; and the 
same year Jolm de Monte Celio, the 
pope's legate, came to Ireland, and held 
synods at Dublin and Athlone. John 
Comyn, the fii-st English archbishop of 
Dublin, died in 1213, and was interred 
in Christ Church; and his successor 
was Henry de Londres, a great friend 
and adherent of king John's, through 
all his troubles, and who, with William 
Marshall, earl of Pembroke, was among 

* Besides several of the religious houses enumerated 
in tlie note at the end of the last chapter, the following 
Were also founded in Ireland, about the period treated 
of in the present chapter ; viz. : 

The Priory of Kells, in Kilkenny, founded In 1193, by 
GeoflFry FitzRobert, for canons regular of St. Augustin, 
under the Invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary ; the 
Priory of Kilrush, in Kildare, for canons regular, and 
the commandery of St. John and St. Brigid, in Wexford, 
for knights hospitallers, by William Marshall, earl of 
Pembroke ; the Priory of Tristernagh, in West Mcath, 
for canons regular, by Geoflfry Do Constantine, in 1200 ; 

the few on the king's side at Kuuney- 
mead, and signed the magna charta as 
such. Some Irish bishops attended the 
fourth general council of Lateran, in 
1215 ; as Ave find that Dionysius O'Lon- 
ergan, archbishop of Cashel, died at 
Rome that year; that Cornelius O'He- 
ney, bishop of Killaloe, died on his 
return from Rome ; and that the death 
of Eugene MacGillavider, archbishop of 
Armagh, took place in the Eternal City 
the following year.* 

the Priory of Great ConaU, on the bants of the Liffey, in 
I Kildare, for the same, by Meyler FitzHenry, in 1202 ; 
the Priory of Canons Regular, at Inistiogue in Kilkenny 
by Thomas, Seneschal of Loinster, in 1300 ; and the 
Priory of the same order at Newtown, on the north 
bank of the Boyne, by Simon Rochford, bishop of Meath, 
in the same year. Earl Marshall founded tlie Convent 
1 of St. Saviour on the site occupied by the present Law 
' Courts in Dublin, m 1316— it was first held by the Cia- 
: tercians, but was transferred eight years after to the Do 
TTii'mV^^Ti friars. 





Extension of Magna Charta to Ireland. — Return of Hugli de Lacy. — Wars between De Lacy and Earl Marsliall. — 
Surrender of Territory to the Crown by Irish Princes.— Connaught granted by Henry to De Burgo.— Domestic 
Wars in Connaught. — Literference of the English. — Famine and Pestilence. — Hugh O'Conor Seized in Dublin 
and Rescued by Earl Marshall.— His Retaliation at Athlone.— Death of Hugh, and Fresh Wars for the 
Succession in Connaught. — Felim O'Conor. — English Castles jn Connaught Demolished. — The Islands of 
Clew Bay Plundered.— Melancholy Fate of Earl Marshall.- Connaught Occupied by the Anglo-Irish.— 
Divisions and War in Ulster. — Felim O'Conor Proceeds to England. — Deaths of Remarkable men. — Expe- 
ditions to France and Wales. — The Geraldines make War at their own Discretion. — Rising of the Young 
Men in Connaught. — Submission of Brian O'Neill. — Battle of Creadrankille and Defeat of the English. — 
Death of PitzGerald and O'DonneU.— Domestic War in the North.— Battle of Downpatrick.— Wars of De 
Burgo and FitzGerald. — Defeat of the English near Carrick-on-Shaimon. — General View of this Eeign. 

Contemporary Sovereigns and Events.— Vo'^is. : Gregory IX. to Clement IV.— St. Louis IX., king of Fr.ince, died 1270 ; 
St. Domiaick died 1221 ; St. Francis died 1220.— Guelphs and Guibelines in Italy, 1230.- Seventh Crusade, 1218; Eighth 
Crusade, 1268. 

(A. D. 1216 TO 1372.) 

HENRY III., on the deatli of his 
father, John, in 1216, ascended 
the throne, while yet in his tenth year, 
and William Marshall, earl of Pembroke 
and lord of Leinster, Avas appointed 
protector both of the king and kiug- 
dom; Geoffry de Marisco being con- 
tinued in the office of custos, or chief 
governor of Ireland. The great power 
enjoyed by earl Marshall, his intimate 
ties, both of family and property, with 
Ireland, and his wisdom in the manage- 
ment of the state, secured special at- 
tention at court to the affairs of this 
country ; and, accordingly, we find that 
a statement of grievances, made by the 
English settlers, was immediately fol- 

lowed by the transmission to Ireland of 
a duplicate of the magna charta, altered 
in some points to suit the difference of 
circumstances. Legal privileges were, 
however, only conceded to persons of 
English 'descent, and general extension 
of them to the Irish being opposed by 
the barons; although, in individual 
cases, charters of " English law and 
liberty" were granted to some Irish 
who applied for them. 

One of the first acts of the reign was 
the pardon of Hugh de Lacy, aud an 
invitation to him to return to his Irish 
estates; but William Marshall, who 
performed this service for him, having 
died soon after (a. d. 1221), and being 



succeeded by liis son, William, a feud 
arose between De Lacy and the latter, 
wbose father bad obtained some of De 
Lacy's lauds while this nobleman was 
in exile, and all Meath was ravaged in 
the fierce war which raged between 
them. The fact of Hugh de Lacy being 
supported by Hugh O'Neill in this con- 
test, led the L-ish annalists to sujDpose 
that the former had returned to Ireland 
without the king's permission, aud that 
he Jiad joined O'Neill in a war against 
the English. " The English of L-eland," 
they tell us, "mustered twenty-four 
battalions at Duudalk, whither Hugh 
O'Neill and De Lacy came against them 
with four battalions ; and on this occa- 
sion the English conceded his own de- 
mands to O'Neill." In this war Trim 
was gallantly defended by De Lacy 
against William Marshall ; and imme- 
diately after the war, a strong castle 
was erected there. 

About this time died Henry de Lou- 
dres, archbishop of Dublin, and lord 
justice of Ireland, by whom the chief 
part of Dublin Castle was erected.*- 
There is great confusion as to the order 
in which the lords justices then suc- 
ceeded ; the names of William Marshall, 
Geoffry de Marisco, and Maurice Fitz- 
Gei-ald, appearing in a different order, 
accordinc: to different authorities. 

* This English prelate was nick-named " Burn-bill," 
from a very improbable circumstance related of him. 
It 13 said that, having got all the instruments by 
wliich the tenants of the Irish archicpiscopal estates 
held their lands into his hands, on the pretence of 
examining them, he cast them into the firo ; but that 
a tumult thereupon arose which compelled him to 
By, and that ho was subsequently obliged to confirm 

The Anglo-Irish historians tell us 
that several of the Irish chieftains sur- 
rendered their territories to the English 
king, receiving back a portion of their 
lands, for which they j^aid rent as 
tenants of the crown. Thus O'Brien, 
of Thomond, made a formal surrender, 
and received from Henry this year 
(1221) a great part of his own terri- 
tory, for which he was to pay an annual 
rent of one hundred and thirty marks ; 
this desperate course being resorted to 
by the Irish chiefs for the purpose of 
obtaining the protection of government 
against the aggressions of the unprin- 
cipled and rapacious barons. How 
futile, however, their hopes of security 
against wrong were, even purchased by 
such sacrifices, was soon evinced in the 
treatment of the Connacians by Henry 
HI., who, notwithstanding such an ar- 
rangement with Cathal Crovdeig, made 
a grant of the whole province of Con- 
naught to Richard de Burgo, to take 
eftect on the death of Cathal.f 

A. D. 1224. — ^This year, in which an 
awful shower is said to have fallen in 
Conuaught, and to have been followed 
by murrain, Cathal Crovderg, who was 
distinguished not less for the purity of 
his morals than for his valor, died in the 
habit of a grey friar at Knockmoy, oi-, 
as the Annals of Clonmacnoise have it, at 

the tenants' tenures. The story rests on an old tra- 

\ Cos, Leland, &c. Tho Irish annalists make no 
mention of this surrender of their territories by the 
Irish princes. The particulars of the Connaught war, 
which follow in the text, are taken exclusively from 
our native annals, the accounts of it published on Anglo- 
Irish authority being full of error 



TJriola, near the Suck, in Koscommon, 
and bis son, Hugh, assumed the govern- 
iiieut of Connaught ; but the succession 
became the source of a most lamentable 
and desolating war. Henry issued a 
mandate, dated June, 1225, to earl 
Marshal], ordering him to seize the 
whole country of Connaught, as for- 
feited by O'Conor, and to deliver it to 
Richard de Burgo ; but the Irish appear 
not to have been aware of any sucli 
order, or, if they were, to have treated 
it with contempt. Alas ! there needed 
not the mandate of the English king to 
kindle the flame of war on the occasion, 
or to instigate the destruction which the 
infetuated people were too ready to 
execute upon themselves ! 

A. D. 1225. — The claims of Hugh, son 
of Cathal Crovderg, to the crown of 
Connaught, were immediately disputed 
by his cousins, Turlough and Hugh, 
sons of Roderic ; and O'Neill, urged by 
Mageraghty, chief of Sil-Murray, from 
motives of private vengeance, mustered 
a large force and marched into Con- 
naught to assist the two latter princes. 
Upon this all the Connaught chieftains, 
with the exception of MacDermot, of 
Moylurg, and a few minor chiefs, rose 
against Hugh, son of Cathal; and 
O'Neill, having inaugurated Turlough 
at Carnfree,* and paid himself by the 
plunder of Hugh's house at Lough Nen, 
returned with his army to Tyrone, The 
English barons had a large army assem- 

* Tills was the usnal inauguration place of the 
O'Conors, and has been identified by Dr. O'Donovau as 
a Email cairn ot stones and earth near the village of 

bled at this time at Athlone, either for 
the purpose of executing king Henry's 
orders, or of watching the progress of 
affairs in Connaught. To them Hugh, 
the son of Cathal, repaired, and he was 
received with open arms. Most of them 
had already been bountifully rewarded 
by his father or himself for military 
services, and they rejoiced at the present 
prospect of an inroad into Connaught 
under his standard. A strong English 
army, with the lord justice himself at its 
head, and Donough Cairbrach O'Brien, 
and O'Melaghlin, with theu* forces, as 
auxiliaries, besides the forces of Mac- 
Donough and other friends of Hugh, 
now entered Connaught, where, after 
the departure of O'Neill, there was no 
adequate force to oppose them, and the 
enemies of Hugh fled in various direc- 
tions at their approach, carrying off their 
families, cattle, and other movables. 
After some sku-mishing with detached 
parties, Hugh led the English army in 
pursuit of the sons of Roderic, by a 
route which they could not have dis- 
covered themselves, as far as Attymas, 
in the north-east of Mayo, and they 
plundered and depopulated several dis- 
tricts. Numbei'S of fugitives, endeavor- 
ing to effect their escaj^e across Bally- 
more Lough, in the present parish of 
Attymas, were drowned, and the baskets 
of the fishing weire were found filled 
with the bodies of children. " Such of 
them," say the Annals, " as escaped, on 

Tulsk, about three miles S. E. of Rathcroghan, in the 
county of Roscommon. — Four Masters, vol. iii., p. 221, 
note (a). 



this occasion, from the English and from 
drowning, passed into Tirawley, where 
they were attacked by O'Dowda, who 
left them not a single cow." The sons 
of Roderic now resolved to defer any 
further effort until Hugh's English allies 
should have left him ; and some of their 
stauuchest adherents accordingly made 
a feigned submission to Hugh, who soon 
after dismissed the English battalions, 
to whom he delivered, as hostages for 
their wages, several of the Connaught 
chiefs, who were subsequently obliged 
to ransom themselves, while he himself 
remained with his Irish friends to watch 
the O'Flahertys and others, whose fidel- 
ity he with good reason suspected. 

During these hostilities, the English 
of Desmond and Murtough O'Brien, 
one of the Thomond princes, without 
any invitation from Hugh O'Conor, 
made an irruption into the south of 
Connaught, burning villages and slay- 
ing the inhabitants where they could 
be found, and all this only to share in 
the spoils which the lord justice and 
his followers were enjoying in the 
northern part of the province. " Wo- 
ful, indeed, was the misfortune," as the 
annalists exclaim, " which God permit- 
ted to fall upon the best province in 
Ireland at that time ! For the young 
•warriors did not spare each other, but 
preyed on aud plundered each other to 
the iitmost of their power. Women 
and children, the feeble and the lowly 

* Annals of Kilronan and of tlio Four Masters. Dr. 
Wilde thinks "the liot, heavy death-sickness which 
gucceedd to the war and famine, that desolated largo 

poor, j^erislied of cold and famine in 
that war !" 

The respite which ensued was very 
brief. As soon as the main body of 
the English army had left, the Con- 
naught chieftains again revolted, aud 
again Hugh, son of Cathal, was obliged 
to call on the foreigners for help. The 
call was responded to cheerfully and 
without delay ; and well was the 
promptitude of the English rewarded, 
"for their spoil was great, and their 
struggle trifliug." The country was once 
more overrun with armies ; but the sons 
of Roderic were ultimately deserted by 
their adherents, who judged their cause 
to be hopeless, and they sought refuge, 
together with Donn Oge Mageraghty, 
at the court of Hugh O'Neill. 

Year after year the crops had been 
left on the ground all the winter : " the 
corn remained unreaped until after the 
festival of St. Bridget" (the 1st of Feb- 
ruary), " when the ploughing had com- 
menced ;" fearful dearth and sickness 
were the consequence; and, as the 
words of the old chronicles affectingly 
describe it, " the tranquillity which now 
followed was wanting, for there was 
not a church or territory in Connaught 
which had not been destroyed by that 
day. After the plundering aud killing 
of the cattle, people were broken down 
by cold and hunger, and a violent dis- 
temper* raged throughout the whole 
country — a kind of burning disease by 

portions of Ireland at this jieriod, was our Irish ty- 
phvLs."— C€?wu« of Ireland for 1852 ; lieport on Tablet 
of Deaths. 



-.vhicli the towns were desolated, and 
left without a single living being." 

A. D. 1227.— Very soon after the 
events just described — some say in 
1226 — Hugh O'Conor was inveigled 
into the power of his late English allies 
in Dublin ; and under the form of some 
pretended criminal proceedings they 
were about to take away his life, when 
earl Marshall came to his rescue, and 
taking him by force out of the court, 
escorted him safely to Connaught — his 
son and daughter remaining in the 
hands of the English. The king of 
Connaught found an opportunity in a 
week after to retaliate, and he availed 
himself of it without scruple. A con- 
ference between him and William de 
Marisco, son of Geoffry, the lord justice, 
was appointed to take place at the 
Lathach, or slough, to the west of Ath- 
lone. Hugh was accompanied by a few 
chosen men, and William came to the 
rendezvous attended by eight mounted 
knights. As soon, as they met, Hugh 
seized De Marisco, and the other Irish 
chiefs rushing upon his companions, 
overpowered them, one English knight, 
the constable of Athlone, being killed 
in the fray. Hugh then proceeded to 
plunder and burn the market-place of 
Athlone, which had become an En- 
glish garrison ; and in exchange for his 
prisoners he obtained his own son and 

" The cause of killing the king of Connaught," Bay 
Magcoghegan's Annals of Clonmacnoise, " was that after 
the wifo of an Englishman" (who was an attendant in 
the deputy's house) " had so washed his head and body 
with sweet balls and other things, he, to gratifie her for 
her service, kissed her, which the Englishman seeing, 

daughter, and some Connaught chiefs 
whom the English had got in their 

A. D. 1228.— The career of Hugh 
O'Conor was as brief as it was troubled. 
Before the close of 1227, the sons of 
Roderic, to whose side the English had 
turned, once more made their appear- 
ance in Connaught ; Hugh, the younger 
brother, with Richard de Burgo and a 
great army, in the northern districts, and 
Turlough, with the lord deputy, in the 
central plain of Connaught, where they 
erected a strong castle on the peninsula 
of Rindown in Lough Ree. The son of 
Crovderg fled to Tu-connell, but his re- 
ception there was not encouraging ; and 
returning with his family, almost unat- 
tended, he had.a narrow escape from his 
enemies near the Curlieu mountains, his 
wife foiling into their hands, and being 
delivered by them to the English. Next 
year (1228) he and the lord deputy, 
GeofFry de Marisco, were apparently 
reconciled, and he was in the house of 
the latter when an Englishman, inflamed 
with jealousy at an act of levity on 
Hugh's part, rushed ujjon him and slew 
him on the spot.* 

The removal of one competitor for 
the crown of Connaught left the aftairs 
of that unhappy province as complicated 
as ever. The brothers Hugh and Tur- 
lough now struggled against each other 

for mere jealosie, killed O'Conor presently at unawares." 
The murderer was hanged next day by the deputy's or- 
ders. The Four Masters say Hugh " was treacherously 
killed by the English in the mansion of Geoffrey Mares 
(de Marisco), after he had been expelled by the Comia- 





for the prize — so completely had the 
principle of succession, according to the 
Irish law, ceased to be respected. Hugh, 
the younger brother, was supported by 
Richard de Burgo, now justiciary of Ire- 
land, and he was also recognized by the 
majority of the Connaught chieftains 
as their king,' although Turlough had 
been already inaugurated by O'Neill. 
There was also a new competitor in the 
person of Felim, brother of the late 
king, Hugh, son of Cathal Crovderg. 
" An intolerable dearth," say the Four 
Masters, "prevailed in Connaught in 
consequence of the war of the sons of 
Roderic. They plundered churches 
and territories (that is, the property of 
the church and of the laity) ; they ban- 
ished the clergy and ollaves into foreign 
and remote countries, and others of them 
perished of cold and famine." 

A. D. 1229 (or 1230).— The scene in 
Connaught now presents some redeem- 
ing features, although it is still one of 
bloodshed and anarchy. . Several of the 
chieftains declared that they would not 
serve a prince who would keep them in 
subjection to the English ; and Hugh, 
^vho had just received his crown at the 
hands of Englishmen, complied, not un- 
willingly perhaps, with their wishes. 
But this step comes to late, after exaust- 
ing themselves by so much mutual 
slaughter. Hostilities ensue. Richard 
de Burgo enters Connaught with au 
overwhelming force ; desolates a large 
portion of the country; slays, among 
many others, Donn Oge Mageraghty, 
the most indomitable of the chieftains : 

hurls Hugh, son of Roderic, from his 
precarious throne, and proclaims Felim, 
son of Cathal Crovderg, king in his 
stead. Hugh finally seeks refuge with 
Hugh O'Neill, king of Tyrone — a prince 
who had never yielded hostages or tri- 
bute to the foreigners, nor indeed ac- 
knowledged any superior, Irish or En- 
glish, and whose death, in 1230, removed 
another bulwark of Irish independence. 

Thus does this sad and dreary Con- 
naught history proceed. Insane coun- 
sels, hopeless strife, pitiless devastation, 
make up the sickening tale ; while the 
foreign enemj^, who has been goading on 
the infatuated combatants, and aiding 
them in their work of mutual destruc- 
tion, strides in grim triumph over the 
wreck Avhich he and they conspired to 
make, uses the rival princes as puppets, 
and seizes their territories with impuni- 
ty. In 1231 Felim was taken prisoner 
at Meelick, in violation of solemn guar- 
antees, by Richard de Burgo, who had 
two years before made him king ; and 
next year Hugh, sou of Roderic, went 
through the mockery of recognition as 
king of Connaught, although before the 
end of the year Felim was set at liberty 
by the English, and thus placed in a 
position to re-assert his rights. 

A. D. 1233. — ^Felim O'Conor once more 
raised his standard, round which his 
friends soon rallied in suificient numbers 
to enable him to take the field. He went 
in pursuit of Hugh, and in his encounter 
with him slew that prince, together with 
one of his brothers, his son, and many of 
his leading men, both English and Irish. 


He next demolished the castle Bua- 
galvy, or Galway, which had been 
ei-ected the precediug year by Eichard 
de Burgo, and also castle Kirk, on 
Lough Corrib, the Hag'a castle on 
Lough Mask, and the castle of Duna- 
mou on the river Suck, in Eoscommon, 
all of which had been built or fortified 
by the sons of Eoderic and the Euglish. 
A. D. 1235. — Felim's hardihood, how- 
ever, was speedily punished ; for Eichard 
de Burgo entered Connaught with an 
enormous force, and plundered the 
country without mercy. Not meeting 
any resistance, he proceeded to Tho- 
mond, at the instigation of O'Heyne, 
who desired to be revenged on Donough 
Cairbrach O'Brien, and was committing 
great depredations there, when Felim, 
although he could not save his own ter- 
ritory, flew to the aid of his southern 
ally. A pitched battle was fought. 
Their cavalry, archers, and coats of 
mail, gave the English an advantage ; 
and O'Brien, to whose rashness the de- 
feat was partly due, having made peace 
with the invaders, the Connacians re- 
turned home, the English army follow- 
ing close in their rear. Felira now fled 
with his cattle, and all those who chose 
to follow his fortunes, to the north, and 
souglit refuge with O'Donnell of Tircon- 
nel], while the English scoured the entire 
province for spoils. O'Flaherty, who 
had been all along hostile to Felim, 
joined the Euglish (who would other- 
wise have plundered his own territory), 
and conveyed his flotilla of war boats 
from Lough Corrib, by land, to the sea 

at Leenaun, the head of Killery bay. 
With these boats the Euglish, who had 
already marched as far as Achil, which 
they plundered, were enabled to lay 
waste the Insi Modh, or islands of Clew 
bay, in which Manus O'Conor, son of 
Murtough Muimhneach had, with many 
others from the main land, sought re- 
fuge. Numbers were thus slaughtered 
on the islands, but Manus fled in his 
vessels; the O'Malleys, who always 
possessed a numerous fleet, remaining 
inactive spectators of the scene, as they 
were not on friendly terms with him. 
There was not a cow left on the islands, 
and those to whom the cows belouged 
would have been compelled by hunger 
and thirst, say the annalists, to abandon 
them, had they not been themselves 
killed by the English, or carried ofl^ as 
prisoners. After devastating all Umal- 
lia, and taking a prey from O'Donnell 
at Easdara, the English army laid siege 
to the castle held for O'Conor by Mac- 
Dermot on the Rock of Lough Key, in 
Roscommon, and captured it by the aid 
of " wonderful machines ;" but a few 
nights after MacDermot recovered the 
castle by the help of an Irishman, who 
closed the gate against the English 
garrison when they had left on a 
marauding party ; and the fortress was 
then demolished, that it might not again 
fall into the hands of the English. By 
this expedition the English left the 
Connacians " without food, raiment, or 
cattle, and the country without peace, 
the Irish themselves plundering and 
destroying one another ; but they did 



not obtain hostages or submission. Felim 
made peace tbe same year with the lord 
justice, and was left in possession of 
" the king's five cantreds" (or baronies), 
which were probably the mensal lands 
of the kings of Connaught. 

We now turn to an episode in the 
history of the Pale. 

William Marshall, the powerful earl 
of Pembroke, and protector of the realm 
during the king's minority, left at his 
death five sons, all of whom inherited 
in succession his title and estates ; but 
as all died childless, the family became 
extinct in the male line. It is said that 
the father died under the ban of ex- 
communication, inflicted on him by an 
Irish bishop for his plunder of the 
church, and that the sons refused to 
yield up any of the wealth which their 
sire had taken by the sword, whether 
sacrilegiously or otherwise. Be this as 
it may, misfortunes fell heavily upon 
them in the sequel. Earl Richard, one 
of the brothers, having taken a leading 
part in the rebellious proceedings of the 
English barons, was deprived of his 
vast possessions, and, taking up arms, 
he joined the standard of Llewellyn, 
the heroic prince of Wales. He de- 
fended himself successfully against the 
royal troops in one of his own castles ; 
but a most vile and treacherous con- 
spiracy, to which he fell a victim, was 
now formed against him. Maurice Fitz- 
Gerald (the lord justice), Hugh and 
Walter de Lacy, Richard de Burgo, 
Geoffry de Marisco, and in fact all the 
leading Anglo-Irish barons, are said to 

have been led by the English "minister 
into this nefarious plot, the object of 
which was, to inveigle earl Richard to 
Ireland, and to get him by some means 
into the hands of his enemies, the bribe 
offered being no less than the distribu- 
tion among them of all the earl's Irish 
possessions. The plan succeeded so 
well that in 1234 the earl came' to Ire- 
land with a few followers, and took the 
field in the assertion of his rights. He 
recovered some of his own castles, and 
captured Limerick after a siege of four 
days ; but this was all brought about 
to hasten his ruin. A truce was now 
proposed, and a mock conference took 
place on the Curragh of Kildare. At a 
signal given, the great body of his fol- 
lowers suddenly deserted, di-awn off by 
De Marisco, who is called a deceitful 
old man, and who had treacherously 
urged him on from the beginning. 
Seeing that he was betrayed, he took an 
aftectionate leave of his young brothei-, 
Walter, who is described as a youth of 
beautiful mien, and whom he directed a 
servant to conduct from the field ; and 
then, with scarcely any one by him l)ut 
fifteen knights who had accompanied 
him from England, and assailed by 
overwhelming numbers, he continued 
bravely to defend himself; until at 
length, after being unhorsed, a traitor 
from behind plunged a knife into Iiis 
back. He was then conveyed, all but 
lifeless, to one of his own castles, of 
which Maurice FitzGerald was in pos- 
session, and there he expired in the 
midst of his enemies. Thus perished 



" the floorer of the chivalry of his time." 
His sad end, and the base means em- 
ployed against him, excited a strong 
feeling both in England and Ireland ; 
tumults took place in London ; the king 
became alarmed, as it was discovered 
that the royal seal had been employed 
to give sanction to the first suggestion 
of the plan; and Maurice FitzGerald 
repaired to England to clear himself by 
oath from the guilt of the foul trans- 
action. But the affair merits our at- 
tention chiefly as illustrating the char- 
acter of the men who then held in their 
hands the destinies of Ireland. 

A. D. 1236. — A conference was the 
usual mode vpith the unprincipled men 
of that time to get an enemy into their 
power, and Felim O'Conor was invited, 
for that purpose, to attend a meeting of 
the English at Athlone. He came, but 
having received timely intimation of 
their object, he made his escape, al- 
though pursued as far as Sligo, and 
repaired to Tirconnell, his usual asylum 
on such occasions. The government of 
Connaught was then committed by the 
English to Brian O'Conor, son of Tur- 
lough, son of Roderic ; but all the power 
of his foreign patrons was insufficient to 
keep him in the office. Felim returned 
the following year, and took the field 
against his competitors. His first en- 
counter was with the soldiers of the 
lord justice, who were overwhelmed at 
the onset by the impetus of Felim's 
attack ; and Brian's people, seeing the 
English soldiers routed, took to flight 
themselves, and were so dispersed that. 

after that day, none of the descendants 
of Roderic had a home in their ancestral 
territory of the Sil-Murray. Felim 
plundered their lands, and, among other 
deeds of vengeance, expelled Corraac 
MacDerraot, chief of Moylurg, from his 

A. D. 12 38. — About this time we find 
in our annals the significant entry that 
"the barons of Ireland went to Con- 
naught, and commenced erecting castles 
there." The country had been made a 
wilderness, and they had little more to 
do than to enter and take jjossession. 
The expulsion of the O'Flahertys from 
their hereditary territory of Muintir- 
Morroughoe, on the east shores of Lough 
Corrib, to the bogs and mountains west 
of that lake, where they became very 
powerful in after times, (lates from this 
year, but they are styled lords of West 
Connaught, long before this period. 

A. D. 1239. — ^The scene now shifts 
from Connaught to Ulster, where Fitz- 
Gerald, the lord justice, with Hugh de 
Lacy, and others, entered with a large 
army, deposed Donnell MacLoughlin, 
who had succeeded Hugh O'Neill, as 
lord of Tyrcme, and placed Brian O'Neill 
in his stead ; but the former recovered 
his position after a battle fought the 
same year at Carateel. This was the 
game which the English had played so 
successfully in Connaught. In that 
period of disorganization there were 
always half a dozen claimants for the 
chieftaincy in each territory, and it was 
only necessary to pit them against each 
other to secure the ruin of all. 



A. D. 1240. — Wearied with the ag- 
• gressions of Eicliard de Burgo, and 
witli the elements of strife, English and 
Irish, which that nobleman kept con- 
stantly in motion, the unhappy king of 
Connaught proceeded to England, and 
complained bitterly to Henry III. of the 
injustice with which he had to contend. 
The English king soothed him with 
empty honors, confirmed to him the 
five cautreds already mentioned, aild 
soon after wrote to Maurice FitzGerald, 
the lord justice, ordering him "to pluck 
out by the root that fruitless sycamore, 
De Burgo, which the earl of Kent, in 
the insolence of his power, had planted 
in those parts."* 

A. D. 1241.— Donnell More O'Donuell, 
the warlike lord of Tirconnell, who also 
asserted the right of chieftainship over 
Lower, or Northern Connaught, as far 
as the Curlieu mountains, died in the 
monastic habit, among the monks of 
Assaroe, and was succeeded by Melagh- 
lin O'Donuell, who aided Brian O'Neill 
in recovering Tyrone from MacLoughlin, 
the latter chieftain being killed in battle, 
with ten of his family, and several chiefs 
of the Kiuel-Owen. Some other cele- 
brities of Irish history made their exit 
about the same time. Walter de Lacy 
died this year; Donough Cairbrach 
O'Brien, son of Donnell More, lord of 
Thomond, the following year; and the 

* The earl of Kent hero mentioned was Hubert de 
Burgo, who had been chief justice of England. There 
is extant a letter from Felim OConor to Henry III., 
thankinjr him for tlie many favors wliich he had con- 
ferred upon him, aad especially for havin;; written in 

great earl, Eichard de Burgo, the year 
after (1243), while proceeding with 
some troops to join Henry III. in an 
expedition against the king of France. 

A. D. 1245.— The king of England 
being hard pressed in a war with the 
Welsh, summoned, or rather invited, 
the Irish chiefs, and the Anglo-Irish 
barons, to muster round his standard 
in the principality. At this 4ime these 
barons claimed exemption from attend- 
ing the king outside the realm of Ire- 
land, and Henry would appear to have 
conceded the privilege, as, in his writ of 
suramous, he expressly stated that their 
attendance on that occasion should not 
be made a precedent against them. 
Felim O'Conor accompanied the lord 
justice, FitzGerald, on this expedition, 
and was treated with great honor by 
Henry; but FitzGerald incurred the 
king's weighty displeasure by the tardi- 
ness of his attendance, and was conse- 
quently deprived of office ; Sir John, sou 
of Geoffry de Marisco, being appointed 
justiciary in his stead. The English 
army in Wales had suffered a great 
deal, waiting for the Irish reinforcement, 
and. the king's feelings were embittered 
by the subsequent failure of the expedi- 
tion. After this time we find the Ger- 
aldines in Ireland acting independently 
of the royal authority, and making Avar 
and peace at their own di.scretinii. 

his behalf against Walter de Burgo, to liis justiciary 
William Dene ; but this letter, although published in 
Rymer (vol. i., p. 240) uader the date of 1240, must refer 
to a period not earlier than 12C0, when WiUiam Dene 
was justiciary. 



A. D. 1247. — Maurice FitzGerald led 
an army this year into Tirconnell, and 
hy a stratagem, cleverly carried out by 
one of his Irish auxiliaries, Cormac, a 
grandson of Roderic O'Conor, he gained 
a victory at the ford of Ballyshannon 
over O'Donuell, who was slain. A great 
number of FitzGerald's men were, how- 
ever, killed in the fight or drowned. A 
rivalry for the chieftainship of Tircon- 
nell was then promoted between God- 
frey O'Donnell and Rory O'Canannan, 
and in the domestic strife which ensued 
the English Avere able for a while to 
crush the patriotic ardor of the Tircon- 
nellians. Meanwhile another army 
penetrated into Tyrone under Theobald 
Butler, now lord justice ; and the Kinel- 
Owen held a council, at which they 
came to the prudent conclusion, " that 
the English having now the ascendency 
over the Irish, it Avas advisable to give 
them hostages, and to make peace with 
them for the sake of their country." 

A. D. 1248.— Urged by the frightful 
state of oppression under which their 
country groaned, the young men of the 
ancient families of Connaughnas rose in 
arms against the English, devastated 
their possessions, and left them no se- 
curity outside the walls of their castles. 
Turlough, son of Hugh O'Conor, and 
FitzPatrick, of Ossory, entered Con- 
naught, and burned the town and castle 
of Galway, and the O'Flaherties de- 
feated an English plundering- party, 
who had penetrated into Connemara. 
The leader 'of the youthful warriors, 
who thus harassed the invaders in Con- 

naught, was Hugh, son of Felim ; and 
when Maurice FitzGerald a'rnved, in 
1249, with two armies, to avenge the 
English settlers, Felim, dreading the 
storm which his son's rash heroism had 
brpught about his ears, retired, as usual, 
to the north, with his movable proper- 
ty ; and his nephew Turlough accepted, 
at the hands of the English, the ofiice 
of ruler in his stead. N'ext year Felim 
came back with a numerous force, ex- 
jielled Turlough, and was again return- 
ing northward, across the Curlieu moun- 
tains, sweeping off all the cattle of the 
land, when the English, thinking it 
better to make peace on any terms, 
sent after him to offer propositions, and 
restored him to his kingdom. 

Florence or Fineen MacCarthy, who 
had given the English very little rest 
in Desmond, was slain by them this 
year, and, after long and sanguinary 
hostilities, peace Avas restored for a 
while in that quarter. In the north, 
Brian O'Neill, lord of Tyrone, made his 
submission to the lord justice in 1252 ; 
yet, the very next year his territory was 
invaded by Maurice FitzGerald, Avith a 
great hosting of the English, who, how- 
eA^er, were defeated with considerable 

Felim O'Conor held a friendly confer- 
ence in 1255, Avith MacWilliam Burke, 
as Walter, the son of Richard More, and 
chief of the De Burgo family, was styled ; 
and the following year Ilugh, son of 
Felim, who appears to have participated 
in his father's authority at this time, 
met Alan de la Zouch, the justiciaiy, at 



Riun Duiu, aud ratified a peace with 
him. The next year, Felim got a charter 
for his five cantreds. Thus, the English 
always contrived to keep some of the 
Irish princes on their hands, while they 
carried on an exterminating war against 
others, and at this moment their main 
ol)ject was to crush the independence of 
Tircounell. A furious battle was fought 
in 1257, between Godfrey O'Donnell, 
lord of that territory, aud a numerous 
Eoglish army, under the command of 
Maurice FitzGerald, who was once more 
lord justice. The armies engaged at 
Creadran-Kille, in a district to the north 
of Sligo, now called the Rosses. O'Don- 
nell and FitzGerald met in single com- 
bat, and severely wounded each other ; 
and after a fierce and protracted struggle 
the English were defeated, the result 
being their expulsion from Lower Con- 
naught. Godfrey was unable, from his 
wound, to follow up his success ; but he 
demolished the castle which the Eng- 
lish, to overawe the Kinel-Connell, had 
erected at Caol Uisge, now Belleek, on 
the Erne river. 

The deaths of the two chiefs who 
fought so bi'avely against each other, at 
this battle, followed soon after. Maurice 
FitzGerald retired into a Franciscan 
monastery which he had founded at 
Youghal, and, after putting on the habit 
of a monk, departed tranquilly in the 
bosom of religion ; the only stain which 
historians have observed in his character, 
being the part, whatever that may have 
been, which he took in the ruin and 
death of llichaixl, earl Marshall. The 

death of Godfrey O'Donnell was not so 
peaceable. liearing that O'Donnell was 
on his death-bed, from the wound he re- 
ceived at Creadran-Kille, Brian O'Neill 
sent to require hostages from the Kinel- 
Coanell, but the messengers who carried 
the insolent demand, fled the moment 
they delivered their errand, and the 
dying chieftain only auswered it by 
ordering a general muster of his peoj^le. 
He then directed his men to place him 
on the bier which should take him to 
the grave, and to carry him on it at the 
head of his forces. Thus did the Tir- 
connelliau army march to meet that of 
Tyrone. A sanguinary battle was fought 
on the banks of the river Swilly, in Don- 
egal, and victory declared for O'Don- 
nell, whose bier was then laid down in 
the ojDcn street of a village, which, at 
that time, existed at the place now called 
Conwal, near Letterkenuy, and there he 
exj^ired. What a pity that such heroism 
should have been perverted by Irishmen 
to their mutual destruction, while the 
common enemy was driving them from 
the green fields of their forefathers ! On 
hearing of O'Donnell's death, CNeill 
sent again to demand hostages, but 
while the men of Tircounell were de- 
liberating on an answer, a youth only 
eighteen years of age, the son of Don- 
uellMore O'Donnell, having just arrived 
from Scotland, presented himself .in the 
council and was elected chieftain. He 
is called Donnell Oge ia tlie Irish an- 

That O'Neill's pretensions wore not 
without some foundation may be con- 



eluded from the fact, that the same 
year (1259) these transactions took 
place, Hugh, son of Felim, and Teige 
O'Brien, of Thomond, probably with 
other chieftains, met him at Caol Uisge, 
and conferred on him the sovereigTity 
of Ireland — an empty title, it is true, at 
that time* 

A. D. 1260. — The result of the con- 
ference of Irish chiefs at Caol Uisge, 
was that O'Neill and O'Cobor turned 
whatever forces they coiild muster 
against the English, and that a battle, 
in which the Iiish were defeated, was 
fought at Druim-dearg, near Dowu- 
patrick. Brian himself was killed, 
together with fifteen of the O'Kanes, 
and many other chiefs, both of Ulster 
and Conuaught. Cox says, the battle 
took place in the streets of Down, 
and that three hundred and fifty-two 
of the Irish were killed. The English 
were commanded in this encounter by 
the lord justice, Stephen Longespe. 

A. D. 1261.— In the south the English 
were not so fortunate. The Geraldines 
were defeated in Thomond by Conor 
O'Brien, and sufifered fearful loss in an- 
other battle at Kilgarvan, near Ken- 
mare, in which they were defeated by 
MacCarthy; their loss, according to 
English accounts, including Thomas 
FitzThomas FitzGerald and his son, 
eight, barons, fifteen knights, and a 
countless number besides. William 
Deun, the justiciary, Walter de Burgo, 

* Somo Munster liistorians deny that Teige O'Brien 
joined in conferring this distinction on O'Neill. 
\ See note, page 237. 

earl of Ulster, and Donnell Roe, sou of 
Cormac Finn MacCarthy, with several 
other leading men, aided the Geraldines 
in this battle. Nearly all the English 
castles of Hy Conaill Gavra, and other 
parts of Desmond, were demolished by 
the Irish after this victory; and Han- 
mer says, "the Geraldines durst not 
l^ut a plough into the ground in 
Desmond." The next j^ear (1262) an- 
other sanguinary struggle took place 
between the English under Mac William 
Burke and MacCarthy at Mangerton, in 
Kerry, and both sides suffered severely. 
A. D. 1264.— Walter de Burgo (who 
was earl of Ulster by right of his wife, 
the daughter of Hugh de Lacy) and 
FitzGerald now Avaged war against each 
other, and a great j^art of Ireland was 
desolated in their hostilities. The lord 
justice took part against De Burgo, and 
this circumstance drev/ from Felim 
O'Conor the expression of gratitude to 
Henry III. already alluded to.f De 
Burgo, however, succeeded in taking 
all FitzGerald's Connaught castles. To 
such a i^itch did the feuds among the 
Anglo-Irish barons proceed at this 
time, that, in one of them, Maurice 
FitzMaurice FitzGerald, aided by others 
of his fixmily, seized, at a conference, 
the i^ersons of the lord justice and 
other noblemen, and confined them in 
castles until they were released by a 
parliament or council, held in Kilkenny 
for the purpose.;]: 

J For a most interesting illustration of the state of 
society at this turbulent period, we may refer the reader 
to the Anfflo-Nonnan ballad of the " Entrenchment of 



"War and peace continued to alternate 
in rapid succession in Connauglit until 
1265, when Felim O'Gonor died, and 
was succeeded by his son, Hugh, who, 
in the following year, having recovered 
from an illness, during which Connaught 
was trodden under foot by the English, 
mustered a large force, and with re- 
newed energy carried on the war against 
"Walter de Burgo. The lord justice. Sir 
James Audley, alarmed at the formid- 
able rising of the Irish, at length came 
to the aid of De Burgo with an army, 
and some Irish auxiliaries also fought 
under his standard. De Burgo thought 
to patch up a peace in the usual way, 
until a better opportunity to strike 
would offer; but Hugh was a match 
for him in the treacherous diplomacy 
of the time. "When the two armies were 
in the vicinity of a ford near the modern 

New Ross," published in Crofton Croker's '■ Popular 
Songs of Ireland," from Harlcian MSS., 913, in the 
British Museum, with a translation by the gifted Mrs. 
Maclean (L. E. L.), and introductory observations by Sir 
Frederick Madden and Mr. Croker himself. The ballad 
describes how the burgesses of Ne.w Eos9 resolved, in 
the year 1205, to fortify their town with a wall and foss, 
to protect it against the hostile inroads of the contending 
barons ; how a widow, named Rose, first suggested the 
plan, and offered largo contributions to carry it out; 
how the burgesses subscribed liberally for the purpose, 
and, finding that the work proceeded too slowly, labored 
at it with their own hands ; the different professions and 
guilds working in companies with banners flying and 
music playing ; and how the ladies worked on Sundays, 
carrying stones while the men reposed. New Ross, 
which was called by the Irish, Ros-mic-Triuin, appea,rs 
to have been at that time a considerable town. 

* The following account of this transaction is given 
in Conncl Magcoghegau's translation of the Annals of 
Clonmacnoise : — After relating how the carl of Ulster 
(Walter Burke), with the lord deputy, and all the Eng- 
lish forces of Ireland, marched against O'Conor, and 
describing the position of the armies near Ath-Cora- 
Coimell, a ford on the Sliannon, near C'arrick-on-Shannon 

Carrick-on-Shannon, De Burgo proposed 
negotiations ; but Hugh contrived to get 
the earl's brother, "William Oge, into his 
hands before the parley commenced, and 
then treated him as a prisoner, and slew 
some of the English. The earl flew into 
a rage, and an obstinate battle ensued. 
Turlough O'Brien, who was coming to 
the aid of the Connacians, was met be- 
fore he could form a junction with them, 
and slain in single combat by De Burgo ; 
but Hugh's people avenged his death 
by a fearful onslaught, in which great 
numbers of the English were slain, and 
immense spoils taken from them. Wil- 
liam Oge, the earl's brother, was put to 
death after the battle, which was, on 
the whole, a disastrous one to the Eng- 
lish-.* Walter Burke died the following 
year in the castle of Gal way, and Hugh 
O'Connor survived him three years. 

(the name being now obsolete), the annalist proceeds : 

•■ The Englishmen advised the Earle to make peace 

with Hugh O'Connor, and to yeald his brother, WUliam 
Oge mac William More mac William the Conqueror, in 
hostage to O'Connor, duieing the time he shou'd remain 
in the Earles's house concluding the said peace, which 
was accordingly condescended and done. As soono as 
William came to O'Connor's house he was taken, and 
also John Dolphin and his son were killed. When 
tydiug came to the ears of the Earle how his brother 
was thus taken, he took his journey to Athenkip (the 
name, now obsolete, of a ford on the Shannon, near 
Carrick-on-Shannon), where O'Connor behcaved himself 
as a fierce and froward lyou about his prey, without 
sleeping or taking any rest ; and the next day, soon in 
the morning, gott upp and betook him to his arms : the 
Eaglishmen, the same morning, came to the same 
foorde, called Athenkip, where they were overtaken by 
Terlogh O'Bryen. The Earle returned upon him and 
killed the said Terlogh, without the help of any other 
in tliat pressenco. The Connoughtmen pursued the 
Englishmen, and made their hindcrmost part runu and 
break upon their outguard and foremost in such manner 
and foul discomfiture, that in that instant nine of their 
chiefest men were killed upon the bogge about Richai-d 



This long reign was at length brought 
to a close by the death of Henry HI, in 
1272. During its troubled course, the 
feuds of the native Irish among them- 
selves had done more to establish the 
English power in this country than all 
that could be effected merely by Eng- 
lish arms. Above all, the insane and 
deadly contention of the O'Conors was 
most fatal to Ireland. Connaugbt was 
for the first time overrun by the new 
settlers; the first submission was ob- 
tained from the princes of Tyrone ; and 
in the soutb the Geraldines had begun 
to assume the title — as yet an unsub- 
stantial one — of lords of Desmond. 
Henry changed his viceroys frequently, 

ne Koylle (Richard of tlie Wood) and John Butler, -who 
were kUled over and above the said knights. It is 
unknown how many were slain in that conflict, save 
only that a hundred horses with their saddles and 
furniture, and a hundred shirts of mail were left. After 
these things were thus done, O'Connor killed William 
Oge, the Earle's brother, that was given him before in 
hostage, because the Earle killed Terlogh O'Bryen." — 
See Foitr Masters, vol. iii., pp. 408, &c., note. 

* A great many religious houses were founded in 
Ireland during the -reign of Henry III. Among them 
were, a priory of canons regular at Tuam, by the De 
Burgos, about 1220 ; one at Mullingar, in 1227, by Ralph 
le Petit, bishop of Meath ; one at Aughrim, in the county 
of Galway, by Theobald Butler; also the priories of 
BaUybeg, in Cork ; Athassal and Nenagh, in Tipperary ; 
Enniscorthy, St. Wolstan's, Carrick-on-Suir, and St. 
John's, in the city of Kilkenny ; the Cistercian Abbey 
of Tracton, in Cork, by Maurice MacCarthy, in 1224 ; 
the Dominican convent of Drogheda, by Luke Netter- 
Tiile, archbishop of Armagh, in 1224 ; the Black Abbey 
(Dominican) in Kilkenny, by Wm. Marshall, jun., in 
1335 ; the Dominican convent of St. Saviour, Waterford, 
by the citizens, in 1226 ; the Dominican convent of St. 
Mary, in Cork, by Philip Bany, in 1229 ; the convents 
of the same order in Mullingar (A. D. 1237), by the 
family of Nugent : Atheury (1241), by Meyler de Bir- 
mingham ; Cashel (1243), by JIacKelly, archbishop of 

but with little advantage to his Irish 
colony. "With some difficulty he estab- 
lished a free commerce between the 
colony and England ; but his eflforts to 
introduce the English laws into Ireland 
were sternly resisted by his own refrac- 
tory barons. In 1254 he made a grant 
of Ireland to his son Edward, with the 
express condition, that it was not to be 
separated from the crown of England ; 
and, lest the grant might lead to any 
sucb result, he took care to assert his 
own paramount authority by super- 
seding some of the acts done by his sou 
in virtue of his title of lord of Ireland. 
It is generally understood that prince 
Edward visited Ireland in 1255.* 

Cashel ; Tralee (1343), by lord John FitzThomas ; Col- 
eraine (1344), by the MacEvelins; Sligo (1353), by 
Maurice FitzGerald ; St. Mary, Roscommon (1353), by 
Felim O'Conor ; Athy (1357), by the families of Boi(;eles 
and Hogans ; St. Mary, Trim (1363), by Geoff-ry de 
Gcneville; Arklow (1364), by Theobald Fitz Walter ; 
Rosbcrcan, in Kilkenny (1368) ; Youghal (1368), by the 
baron of Ofiiily and Lorrah, in Tipperary (1260), by 
Walter Burke, earl of Ulster ; the Franciscan convents 
of Youghal (1331), by Maurice FitzGerald ; Carrick- 
fergas (1232), by Hugh de Lacy ; Kilkenny (1334), by 
Richard Marshall ; St. Francis, in Dublin (1336) ; Multi- 
farnham, in West Meath (1236), by William Delamer ; 
Cork (1240), by Philip Prendergast ; Drogheda (1240), 
by the Plunkets ; Waterford (1240), by Sir Hugh Pur- 
cel ; Ennis (1240), by Donough Carbreach O'Brien ; 
Athlone (1241), by Cathal O'Conor; Wexford, .ibout 
the middle of the thirteenth century; Limerick, by 
Walter de Burgh ; Cashel, by William Hackett ; Dun- 
dalk, by De Verdon ; Ardfert (1253), by Thomas, lord 
of Kerry ; KUdare (1260), by De Vescy; Clane (1260), by 
Gerald FitzMaurice ; Armagh (1263), by Seanlan, arch- 
bishop of Armagh ; Clonmel (1369), by Otho de Granison , 
Nenagh, by the Butlers ; Wicklow, by the O'Byrnes and 
O'Tooles, and Trim, by the family of Phmket. The Au- 
gustinian convent of the Holy Trinity, in Crow-street, 
Dublin, was founded by the Talbot family in 1359, and 
that of Tipperary, also in the course of this reign. 





State of Ireland on the Accession of Edward I. — Feuds of the Barons. — Exploits of Hugh O'Conor. — Fearful Con- 
fusion in Connaught. — Incursion from Scotland, and Ketaliation. — Irish Victory of Glendelory. — Horrible 
Treachery of Thomas De Clare in Thomond.— Contentions of the Qann Murtough in Connaught.— English 
Policy in the Irish Feuds.— Petition for English Laws.— Characteristic Incidents.— Victories of Carbry O'Me- 
laghliu over the English.— Feuds of the Do Burglis and Geraldincs.— The Red Earl.— His great Power.— 
English Laws for Ireland.- Death of O'Melaghlin.- Disputes of De Vescy and FitzGerald of Offaly.— Singular 
Pleadings before the King.— A Truce between the Geraldines and De Burghs. — The Kilkenny Parliament of 
li:95. — Continued Tumults in Connaught. — Expeditions against Scotland. — Calvagh O'Conor. — Horrible Mas- 
sacre of Irish Chieftains at an English Dinner-table. — More Murders. — Rising of the O'KeUys. — Foundation 
of Religious Houses. 

Contemporary Sovereigns and EvenU. — Popes: Gregory X. died 1276 ; Innocent V. and Adrian V. the same year ; John 
XXL, 1277; Nicholas III., 12S1 ; Martin I>., 1285 ; Honorius IV., 1237 ; Nicholas IV., 1292; Celestino V., 1291; Bouifuce 
VIII., 1003; and Benedict XI., 1304.— King of France, Philip IV. ; Emperor of Germany, Rodolph of Ilapsburg (first of 
the Austrian Family), died 1291.— Kings of Scotland, John Baliol and Kobert Bruce. — Llewellyn Killed, and Wales sub- 
jected to the Power of England, 12S2. — St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure died, 1274. — Albenus Magnus died, 
1282.- Roger B:icon died, 1284.— Uninterrupted Series of Parliaments Commenced in England, 1293.— William Wallace, 
the Scottish hero, executed, 1304. 

(A. D. 1373 TO A. D. 1307.) 

EDWARD I., surnamed Longshanks, 
was proclaimed king on the death 
of his father, Henry III., iu 1272, while 
on a crusade in the Holy Land, and 
until his return to England, in July, 
1274, the government was administered 
by lords justices. The new king's ab- 
sence gave free scope to strife in Ire- 
land ; but in general the movements in 
this country depended but little on the 
course of events in England. Just a 
century had elapsed from the coming 
of the Anglo-Normans into Ireland, and 
their power was scarcely acknowledged 
beyond the limits which it had reached 

in the days of Strongbow. The resist- 
ance to it was, on the contrary, becom- 
ing more formidable ; and the English 
suffered numerous defeats on a smal] 
scale, which showed how easily a com- 
bined action of the Irish might have 
overthrown their settlement, had these 
seriously contemplated any thing more 
than the temporary liberation of their 
respective territories from the foreign 
yoke, or the gratification of enmity by 
some local act of spoliation. The do- 
mestic feuds of the Irish were as rife as 
ever, but the English barons were 
equally prone to strife ; and the o|> 



pressiou and rapacity of the latter did 
more than the turbulence of the former, 
to produce the miserable disorders by 
which the whole country was laid waste. 
No attempt was made to reconcile the 
native race to the new order of things, 
or to consolidate the two races into one 
nation. To supplant or exterminate 
the old Celtic population had all along 
been the policy of the invaders ; and, to 
effect this object, means more diabolical 
than human were resorted to : feuds 
were fomented ; under the pretence of 
crushing rebellion, incessant hostilities 
were kept up"; and by every kind of 
provocation and injustice, national ran- 
cor was perpetrated. Three or four 
times the English monarch urged the 
expediency of extending the laws and, 
constitution of England to the Irish ; 
but this attempt was always sternly 
resisted by the Anglo-Irish oligarchy 
who ruled the country. The barons 
found their account in their own lawless 
and inhuman system of war and raj)ine. 
Hugh O'Conor was at this time the 
most formidable champion of the Irish 
cause, and in 1272 he renewed hostili- 
ties by demolishing the English castle 
of Koscommon. He then crossed the 
Shannon into Meath, Avhere he carried 
desolation as far as Granard, and oh his 
return burned Athlone, and broke down 
its bridge. Two years after, this prince, 
who was son of Felim, son of Cathal 
Crovderg, died, and another Hugh 
O'Conor, grandson of Hugh, the brother 
of Felim, was elected king. His reign 
was short, for in three months he w^as 

slain by a kinsman in the Dominican 
church of Roscommon, and anotlier 
Hugh, soH of Cathal Dall, or the blind, 
son of Hugh, son of Cathal Crovdei'g, 
was chosen his successor. A fortnight 
after, this prince was slain by Tomal- 
tagh Mageraghty and O'Beirne; and 
Teige, son of Turlough, son of Hugh, 
son of Cathal Crovderg, was elected 
king. Such was the state of anarchy in 
which the royal succession was at that 
time involved in Connaught; and it 
became still more complicated in 1276, 
when Hugh Muineagh, or the Munster 
man, an illegitimate and posthumous 
son of Felim, son of Cathal Crovdei'g, 
arrived from Munster, and, by the aid 
of O'Donnell, assumed the ^government 
of Connaught. In the midst of incessant 
contentious he retained his power until 
1280, when he was slain by another 
branch of the O'Conor family. 

Sir James Audley, the lord justice, 
was, accoi'ding to Irish accounts, slain 
by the Connacians, in 1272, although 
the English say he was killed by a fall 
from his horse in Thomond. The same 
year his successor, Maurice FitzMaurice 
FitzGerald, was betrayed by his follow- 
ers, and seized in Offaly by the Irish, in 
whose hands he remained for some time. 
Lord Walter Geneville, recently re- 
turned from the Holy Land, succeeded 
to the office, and during his administi-a- 
tion there was an incursion of the 
" Scots and liedshanks" from the high- 
lands of Scotland; Richard de Burgo, 
with Sir Eustace le Poer, retaliating 
with an Anglo-Irish army, when he 



carried fire and sword iuto the Scottisli 
islands and bigLlands, and smoked out 
or suffocated those who had sought 
refuge in rocks and caverns. 

A. D. 1275. — Our annals mention a 
victory gained this year over the Eng- 
lish in Ulidia, " when 200 horses and 
200 heads were counted (on the field), 
besides all who fell of their plebeians ;" 
l)ut this is believed to be identical with 
a slaughter of the English at Glande- 
lory, now Glanmalure, in Wicklow, 
which is recorded by Anglo-Irish chroni- 
clers about this time. The same year 
the Kinel-Connell and the Kinel-Owen 
Avasted each other's territories by mu- 
tual depredations. 

A. D. 1277. — One of the blackest epi- 
sodes of even that dark age of Irish 
liistor}' was enacted about this time in 
Thomond. Thomas, son of Gilbert de 
Chu-t',=^= and? sou-iu-law of Maurice Fitz 
Maurice FitzGerald, obtained from Ed- 
wavd I. a grant of Thomond, or of some 
considerable portion of it ; the deed by 
which it was secured, by a former Eng- 
lish king, to its rightful owners the 
O'Briens being wholly overlooked on 
the occasion. De Clare had little chance 
of asserting his unjust claim against the 
heroic princes of the Dalgais in the open 
field, and he had recourse to the favor- 
ite English policy of that time. He 
entered into an intimate alliance with 

* Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, was one of the 
lords justices to whom the government of England was 
intrusted, on the accessiou of Edward I, then absent on 
the Crusades. 

\ The Irish annalists say that De C'laro bound him- 
Bolf to Brian Roe O'Brien, by ties of gossiprcd and vows 

Brian Roe O'Brien against Turlough, 
son of Teige Caoluisge O'Brien, another 
competitor for the crown of Thomond ; 
and the latter having been defeated in 
battle, he turned suddenly to the side 
of Turlough, and getting Brian Roe 
treacherously into his hands, put him to 
death in a most inhuman manner, caus- 
ing him, it is said, to be dragged be- 
tween horses until he died. This atrocity, 
it is added, was 2:)erpetrated at the 
instance of De Clare's wife and father- 
in-law.f He then dispossessed the old 
inhabitants of that part of Thomond 
east of the Fergus called Tradry, giving 
the land to his OAvn followers, and 
erected the strong castles of Bunratty 
and Clare. His power was, however, 
short-lived. The sous of Brian Roe 
gained a victory over him the following 
year at Quinn, where several of liis 
people were burned to death in an old 
Irish church, which was set on fire over 
their heads. At another time De Clare 
and FitzGerald were so hard pressed iu 
a pass of Slieve Bloom, as to be com- 
pelled to surrender at discretion, after 
being obliged to subsist some days on 
horse-flesh. The captives were subse- 
quently liberated on undertaking to 
make satisfaction for O'Brien's death 
and to surrender the castle of Ros- 
common. The unprincipled earl next 
(1281) set up Donough, son of the 

of friendship, ratified by the ceremony of mingling their 
blood together in a vessel. In the remonstrance sent 
by the Irish chieftains to jxjpe John XXII., this mur- 
der was referred to as a striking instance of English 



murdered Brian Koe, against Turlongli ; 
but two years after his protege was 
slain by Turlough, who continued in 


in Thomond until his death 

in 1306.* De Clare himself was slain 
by tbe O'Briens in 1286. 

A. D. 1280. — We are again recalled to 
the dissensions in Conuaught, where 
Hugh Muineach, son of Felim, was 
slain in the wood of Dangan, by the 
sept of Murtough Muineach O'Conor, 
one of whom, Cathal, son of Conor Eoe, 
son of Murtough Muineach,f was inau- 
gurated king. This sept, henceforth 
called in the annals the Clann Mur- 
tough or Muircheartaigh, was excessively 
contentious, and kept the province in 
turmoil for many years after.J 

About this time a petition was pre- 
sented to the English king, from what 
he calls " the community of Ireland" — 
most probably from the native Irish 
dwelling in the vicinity of the English 
settlements — praying that the privileges 
of England might be extended to them. 
Edward, who wished to see that object 
effected, issued a writ to the lord justice, 
Ufford, directing him to summon the 
lords spiritual and temporal of the 
" Land of Ireland" — as the English ter- 
ritory in this country was then called — 
to deliberate on the prayer of the peti- 

* These transactions are related in full in the Annuls 
of Innisfallen from the work called Caithreim Thoird- 
hecdb/iaigh, or the Wars of Turlough Brien. 

■)■ Murtough Muineach (Muircheartach Muimhneach) 
was son of Turlough More O'Conor, and brother of 

t Apropos of the feuds which existed this year in 
Connaught, between the O'Conors and MacDermots, au 
Incident is related by Hanmer and Ware, highly char- 

tiou. He insultingly describes the Irish 
or Brehon laws as " hateful to God, and 
repugnant to all justice;" and, inform- 
ing the lord justice that the petitioners 
had offered 8,000 marks for the conces- 
sion which they demanded, urges him 
to obtain the best terms he can from 
them ; stipulating in particular that they 
should hold a certain number of soldiers 
in readiness to attend him in his wars. 
The writ does not appear to have been 
attended to, and no further step seems 
to have been taken in the matter. The 
Irish continued to feel the English law 
only as au instrument of oj^pression, and 
were excluded wholly from its privileges 
— a mode of treatment, as it has been 
justly remarked, wholly different from 
that adopted by the Romans in their 
conquered provinces. 

Among the detached occurrences 
which indicate the character of the 
times, we find that in 1281 a bloody 
battle was fought between the Barretts 
and the Cusacks, at Moyne, near the 
old church of Kilroe, in the barony of 
Tirawly in Mayo. William Barrett 
and Adam Fleming were slain, and 
O'Boyd and O'Dowda, two Irish chief- 
tains, who helped Adam Cusack to gain 
the victory, are described as having 
" excelled all the rest that day in deeds 

acteristic of the spirit of English rule in those days. 
Edward summoned the lord justice, TJfFord, to account 
for his permitting such "shameful enormities," and the 
latter pleaded, through Fulburn, bishop of Waterford, 
whom he had deputed in his stead, '• that in policie, he 
thought it expedient to winke at one knave cutting off 
another, and that would save the king's coffers and pur- 
chase peace to the land ; whereat the king svtiled and 
bid him return to Ireland!" 



of prowess;" yet the very next year 
. O'Dowda was killed by Adam Cusack. 
This year is also remarkable for a battle 
fought at Desertcreaght, in Tyrone, 
between the Kinel-Connell and the 
Kinel-Owen, in which the former were 
defeated, and their chieftain, Dounell 
Oge O'Dounell, slain ; Hugh, his son, 
being afterwards inaugurated in his 
stead. The English of Ulster took part 
with the men of Tyrone. Murrough 
MacMurrough, whom the annalists style 
" king of Leiuster," and his brother Art, 
were taken by the English, and put to 
death at Arklow in 1282; Hugh Boy 
O'Neill, lord of Kinel-Owen, was slain 
by Brian MacMahon and the men of 
Oriel, in 1283 ; Art O'Melaghlin, the 
native prince of Meath, who had de- 
molished twenty-seven castles in his 
wars, died penitently that year ; and in 
the same year a great part of Dublin, 
and the tower and other parts of Christ 
Church were burned, the citizens show- 
ing their piety by restoring the sacred 
edifice before they set about rebuilding 
their own houses after the fire. 

A. D. 1285.— Theobald Butler, with 
some Irish auxiliaries, invaded Delvin 
MacCoghlan, and was defeated at Lum- 
cloon by Carbry O'Melaghlin ; Sir 
William de la Rochelle and other 
English knights being among the slain. 
Butler died soon after at Beerehaven. 
A large army was then mustered by 
lord Geoffry Geueville, Theobald Ver- 
don, and others, and they marched into 

This incident, it will bo observed, is mentioned al- 
st iu the Bame terms as n Bimilar ono in 1272. 

Offixly, where the Irish had just seized 
the castle of Ley. The people of Offidy 
solicited the aid of Carbry O'Melaghlin, 
and he, with his gallant followere, re- 
sponded to their call. The Lish army 
poured down impetuously upon the 
English, who were overthrown with 
great slaughter, and according to the 
English accounts, "Theobald de Ver- 
don lost both his men and horses;" 
Gerald FitzMaurice also falling into the 
hands of the Irish the day after the 
battle, owdng it is said, to the treachery 
of his followers.* The Anglo-Irish ac- 
counts also mention another defeat; oi 
the English about the same year, but 
they add that these losses were followed 
by some compensating successes the next 

A. D. 1286. — The country had been 
for a long period convulsed by the feuda 
of the two great Anglo-Norman families, 
the Geraldines and De Burgos ; but the 
death of Maurice FitzMaurice FitzGer- 
ald and of his son-in-law, lord Thomas 
de Clare, which took place this year, 
turned the scale decidedly in favor of 
the De Burgos. Richard de Burgo, 
earl of Ulster, commonly known as the 
red earl, whose power was so generally 
recognized, that even in ofiicial docu- 
ments his name took precedence of that 
of the lord deputy himself, now led his 
armies through the country almost 
^v'ithout meeting any resistance.f In 
Connaught he plundered several church- 
es and monasteries, and compelled the 

f Tho red earl, who CUs so prominent a place in onr 
history at this early period, was son of Walter do Burgo 



Coniiaciaus to nccompany Lini to the 
uortL, ^vbere he took hostages from the 
Kiuel-Connell and Kinel-Owen, depos- 
ing Donnell O'JSTeill, lord of the Latter, 
and substituting Niall Culanagh O'Neill 
in his stead. He laid claim to the 
portion of Meath which Theobald de 
Verdon held in right of his mother, the 
daughter of Walter de Lacy, and be- 
sieged that nobleman (a. d. 1288) in 
the castle of Athlone, but with what 
result we are not informed. In Con- 
nanght Cathal O'Conor was deposed by 
his brother Manus, and the red earl 
marched against the lattei', who had the 
Geraldines on his side, but the contest 
was not brought to the issue of a 

A.D. 1289.— Carbry O'Melaghlin, who 
is styled, in the Anglo-Irish chronicles, 
"king of the Irish ry of Meath," gave 
great trouble to the English authorities 
at this period ; and overrun as his ter- 
ritory was, by the foreign race, retained 
nevertheless a considerable amount of 
power. An army, composed of the 
English of Meath, under Richard Tuite, 
called the great baron, with Manus 
O'Conor, king of Connaught, as an 
auxiliary, marched this year against 
him, and was defeated in battle ; Tuite, 
Avith several of his adherents, being 
slain. The following year, however. 

first earl of Ulster of that family, son of RieTiard, -svlio 
was called the great lord of Connaught, and was the son 
of William FitzAdelm do Burgo by Isabelle, natural 
daughter of Richard Cosur-dc-lion, and widow of Lle- 
weUyn, prince of Wales. Walter had become etirl of 
Ulster in right of his wife, Maud, daughter of the 
younger Hugh de Lacy. The red carl's grandson, Wil- 

O'Melaghlin — "the most noble-deeded 
youth in Ireland in his time" — -was" 
slain, by his gossip, David MacCoghlan, 
prince of Delviu ; David himself deal- 
ing the first blow, which was followed 
up by wounds from seventeen other 
members of the MacCoghlan family. 
The lord of Delviu now in his turn be- 
came troublesome, and defeated William 
Burke, who had marched against him ; 
but in 1293 he was taken prisoner by 
MacFeorais,* or Bermingham, and put 
to death by order of the red earl. 

A. D. 1290.-1293.— Sir William de 
Vescy, a Yorkshire man, and a great 
favorite of king Edward, having been 
sent over as lord justice, a quarrel appears 
to have immediately sprung up between 
him and John FitzThomas FitzGeralcl, 
baron of Offaly. To such a height did 
their mutual animosity rise, that De 
Vescy charged the baron with being 
" a supporter of thieves, a bolsterer of 
the king's enemies, an upholder of trait- 
ors, a murderer of subjects, a firebrand 
of dissention, a rank thief, an arrant 
traytor," adding, "before I eat these 
words, I will make thee eat a piece of 
my blade." FitzThomas retorted in an 
equally courteous strain ; and both paa*- 
ties having appeared before the king 
with their complaints, maintained their 
respective causes in the royal j^resence 

Ijam, who was murdered in 1333, was the third and last 
of the De Biixgo earls of Ulster. The Burkes of Con- 
naught descend from William, the younger brother of 
Walter, the first earl of Ulster. 

* This name, now pronounced Keorish, was the Irish 
surname assumed by the Berminghams, from Kerce, or 
Piarus, son of Meylt-r Bermingham, thoir ancestor. 



with tirades worthy of Billingsgate ; if 
we may credit tlie annalist Holiuslied, 
who pretends to record the proceedings 
with accuracy. FitzThomas concluded 
his speech with a defiance, saying — 
" wherefore, to justify that I am a true 
subject, aud that thou, Vescy, art au 
arch traytor to God aud my king, I 
here, iu the presence of his highness, 
and iu the hearing of this honorable 
assembly, challenge the combat." The 
council shouted applause ; the appeal 
to single comliat was admitted ; but 
when the day, named by the king, had 
arrived, it was found that De Vescy 
had fled to France. Edward then be- 
stowed on the baron of Offaly the lord- 
ships of Kildare and Kathaugau, which 
had beeu held by his antagonist, ob- 
serving, that " although De Vescy had 
conveyed his person to France, he had 
left his lands behind him iu Ireland."* 
A. T>. 1294 — For some years Kichard, 
the red earl, had been riding rough- 
shod over the necks of the people, both 
within the English territory and out- 
side. He created and deposed the Y>v'm- 
ces of Ulster, plundered Connaught 
more than once, and was mixed up in 
various feuds through the country ; but 
the great accession of power which the 
chief of the Geraldines had acquired, by 
Ills triumph over De Vescy, placed an 
old rival, once more, iu a position to 

* The above mentioned John FitzThomas FitzGer.ald, 
baron of Offaly, was tho common ancestor of the two 
great branches of the Geraldines ; one of his two sons, 
John, the eighth lord of Offaly, being created earl of 
Kildare, aud the other, Maurice, earl of Desmond. — 
See Archdall's Lodr/c's Irish Peerage, vol. i., 03 ; also 

cope with him. FitzThomas seized the 
earl aud his brother, William de Burgo, 
in Meath, and confined them in the cas- 
tle of Ley, an event which threw the 
whole country into commotion ; aud 
immediately after, along with MacFeo- 
rais, he made an inroad into Connaught, 
and devastated the country. The fol- 
lowing year De Burgo was liberated 
by the king's order, or, as Grace says, 
by that of the king's parliament, at Kil- 
kenny ; the lord of Offaly, as the same 
annalist tells us, forfeiting his castles of 
Sligo and Kildare, aud his possessions 
iu Connaught, as a penalty for his ag- 

A. D. 1295. — Sir John Wogan was 
appointed lord justice, aud having, by 
his Avise and conciliatory policy, brought 
about a truce for two years between 
the Geraldines and De Burgos, he sum- 
moned a parliament which met this 
year at Kilkenny. The roll of this 
parliament contains only twenty-seven 
uames, Richard, earl of Ulster, being 
first on the list ; and among the acts 
passed was one revising king John's 
division of the country into counties; 
another provided for a more strict 
guarding of the marches or boundaries 
against the Irish ; by a third a tax w^as 
levied on absentees, to support a mili- 
tary force to defend the colony ; and a 
fourth enacted that private or separate 

O'Daly's Oeraldines, by the Hev. M. Meehan. Tho 
lands which were delivered to FitzThomas on this 
occasion appear to have been the principal subject 
of dispute between him and De Vescy, who claimed 
them in right of his wife, an heiress of the MarshnL 


truces should not be made with the 
Irish, or war waged by the barons, 
without the license of the lord justice, 
or the mandate of the king. Other 
laws restricted the number of retainers 
whom the barons should keep, and en- 
acted other regulations.* 

All this time Connaught and Ulster 
continued to be desolated by fearful 
discord among the Irish themselves ; 
but the narrative would be too monot- 
onous were we to mention each melan- 
choly feud as it is recorded in the faith- 
ful j:)ages of our annalists. The whole 
country was laid waste; neither the 
property of church nor laymen was 
spared; and dearth and pestilence 
stalked through the land. The feuds 
of the De Burgos and the Geraldiues 
were once more arranged, in 1298, and 
among the Anglo-Irish peace for a while 

A. P. 1303. — King Edward's expedi- 
tions against Scotland were attended by 
many of the native Irish, as well as by 
the principal barons of the Pale, with 
their troops. The earl of Ulster and 
John FitzThomas FitzGerald accompa- 
nied the lord justice Wogan on the 
expedition of 1296. It is said that king 
Edward's army, in 1299, was composed 
chiefly of Irish and Welsh. They all 
came in their best array, and were 
royally feasted at Roxburgh castle. 
The Irish also mustered very strong on 

• A statute framed in England, and entitled "an Or- 
dinance for the state of Ireland," was sent over, ia 
1289, to bo acted upon as law in this country; and 
diortly after (in 1293) it was enacted that the treas- 

the expedition of 1303, when the sub- 
jugation of Scotland was temporarily 
effected. Before leaving Ireland on this 
occasion, the red earl created thirty- 
three knights in Dublin castle. On his 
departure for the Scottish wars, lord 
justice "Wogan left as his deputy Wil- 
liam de Ross, prior of Kilmainhara ; but 
the absence of so many of the leading 
men invariably gave occasion to insur- 
rectionary movements; and Leland re- 
marks that at this time "the utmost 
efforts of the chief governor and of 
the well-affected lords were scarcely 
sufficient to defend the province of 

A. D. 1305. — The warlike sept of 
O'Conor Faly, princes of Offalj', had 
for some time shown themselves to be 
among the most dangerous of the " Iiish 
enemies," and the heroic, but hopeless 
struggle, which they continued to sus- 
tain for more thau two hundred years 
after, in their ancestral woods and fast- 
nesses, against the foreign enemy, had 
begun to occupy a prominent place in 
the records of the time. Maurice 
O'Conor Faly, and his brother Calvagh, 
were now the chiefs of the sept, and 
the latter in particular was called '• the 
Great Rebel." At one time he defeated 
the English in a battle in which Meyler 
de Exeter and several others were slain ; 
at another he took the castle of Kildare, 
and burned all the records and accounts 

urer of Ireland should account annually to the exche- 
quer of England — proceedings wliich show that on one 
side, at least, the opinion was then held that Ireland 
might be bound by laws made in England. 



relating to the county. In order to get 
rid of so dangerous a foe, a deed of the 
blackest treachery was resorted to. The 
chiefs of Offaly were invited to dinner 
on Trinity Sunday this year, in the 
castle of Peter, or Piei-ce Berminghani, 
at Carrick-Carbury, in Kildare ; the 
feast proceeded, but at its conclusion, 
as the guests were rising from the table, 
every man of them was basely murdered. 
In this way fell Maurice O'Conor, his 
Ijrother Calvagh, and in all about thirty 
chiefs of his clan. Grace says the mas- 
sacre was perpetrated by Jordan Cumin 
and his comrades at the court of Peter 
Bermingham. This Peter was ever after 
nicknamed the "treacherous baron." Pie 
was arraigned before king Edward ; but 
no justice was ever obtained for this 
most nefarious and treacherous murder.* 
The Anglo-Irish chronicles record 
sevei-al other deeds of blood about the 
conclusion of this reign, such as the 
murder of Sir Gilbert Sutton, in the 
house of Hamon le Gras, or Grace, at 
Wexford; the murder of O'Brien, of 
Thomond ; the slaying of Donnell, king 
of Desmond, by his son ; the slaughter 

* In the Harleian MS., whicli contains the contem- 
porary Anglo-Irish song, on the walling of New Ross, 
already referred to, there is preserved an old ballad 
celebrating the praises of the above-named Pierce 
Bermingham, as a famous " hunter of the Irish ;" he 
was killed in 1308, in battle with the Irish. 

f Amongst the religious houses founded in Ireland, 
in the course of the first Edward's reign, were the 
Dominican convent of KilmaUock, founded by Gilbert, 
son of John FitzThomas, lord of Ofialy, in 1291 ; that of 
Derry, by Donnell Ogo O'DonneU, in 1274 ; and that of 
Rathbran, in Mayo, the same year, by Sir William de 
Burgo; the Franciscan convent of Clare-Galway, by 
John de Cogan, in 1290 ; that of Buttevant, the same 
year, by David Oge Barry ; that of Galway, by Sir 

of the O'Conors, of OflFaly, by the 
O'Dempseys, near Geashill ; the defeat 
of Pierce Bermingham in Meath, and 
the burning of the town of Ballymore 
by the Irish ; the narrow escape of the 
English from defeat in a well-contested 
battle at Glenfell ; and the execution 
of an English knight. Sir David Canton, 
or Condon, for the murder of an Irish- 
man, named Murtough Balloch. The 
O'Kellys, of Hy-Manj^, rose and took 
vengeance on Edmund Butler, for the 
burning of their town of Ahascragh, in 
the east of the present county of Gal- 
way, the English being defeated on this 
occasion with considerable slaughter. 

The coin struck in England in the 
seventh year of the reign of Edward I. 
was made current in Ireland; and in .1 
few years after, the base money called 
crockards and pollards was condemned 
by proclamation. 

The events in our church history 
during this reign are not very impor- 
tant.f The Four Masters and the An- 
nals of Ulster mention the discovery of 
the relics of SS. Patrick, Bridget, and 
Columbkille, at Sabhall, or Saul, in 

WUliam de Burgo, in 129G; and those of Galbally, in 
Limerick, by the O'Briens ; Killeigh, in the King's 
county, by the O'Conors Faly ; and Ross, in Wexford, ■ 
by Sir John Devereus ; the Augustinian convents of the 
Red Abbey in Cork ; Limerick (by the O'Briens) 
Drogheda ; Clonmines, in Wexford (by the Kavanaghs) ; 
and Dungarvan, by FitzThomas, of Offaly ; and finally 
the Carmelite convents of Dublin (Whitefriar-strectl, by 
Sir Richard Bagot ; Ardee, by Ralph Peppard ; Drogh- 
eda, by the inhabitants of the town ; Galway, by the De 
Burgos ; Rathmullin, in Donegal ; Castle Lyons, in 
Cork, by the Barrys ; Kildare, by De Vescy, in 1290 ; 
and Thurles, by the Butler family, about the close of 
the thirteenth century. 


Down, by Nicholas MacMaelisa, arcL- 
bisliop of Armagh, in 1293; whence it 
is clear that our native annalists either 
had not heard of, or did not believe, 

the statement which has already been 
noticed on the authority of Cambrensis, 
of the discovery of these relics in the 
cathedral of Down, in the year 1185. 



I'iers G.ivtston in Ireland. — Fresh "Wars in Connauglit — the Clann Murtougli. — Civil Broils in Tliomond. — Feud 
of De Clare and De Burgo. — GroTrth of Feelings. — Invitation to Bang Robert Bruce. — Memorial of 
the Irish Princes to Pope John XXIf.'— The Pope's Letter to the English king.— The Scottish Expedition to 
Ireland. — Landing of Edward Bruce. — First Exploits of the Scottish Army. — Proceedings of Felim and Rory 
O'Connor.— Disastrous War in Connaught.— The Battle of Athenry.— Siege of Carrickfergus.— General Rising 
of the Irish.- Campaign of 1317.— Arrival of Robert Bruce.— Arrest of the Earl of Lester.— Consternation in 
Dublin. — The Scots at Castleknock. — Their March to the South. — Their Retreat from Limerick. — Effects of 
the Famine. — Retreat of the Scots to Ulster. — Robert Bruce Returns to Scotland. — Liberation of the eail of 
Ulster.- Battle of Faughard, and Death of Edward Bruce.- National Prejudices. 

Contemporary Sovereigns and Eiients.—Po-pa John XXII.— Kings of France: Louis X., Philip V., and Charles IV.— 
King of Scotland, Robert Bruce.— Suppression of tlie Knights Templars, 1312.— AVilliiim Tell flourished, and Switzerland 
became Independent, 1315.— Dante died, 1321. 

(A. D. 1307 TO A. D. 1327.) 

TNDIGNANT at the honors conferred 
-^ by Edward II. on his favorite, Piers 
Gaveston, -who was recalled from ban- 
ishment by that weak-minded prince on 
his accession to the throne, the barons 
loudly expressed their anger and dis- 
gust; and parliament demanded, in a 
peremptory tone, the expulsion of the 
royal minion. Edward made a show of 
compliance, but it was soon discovered 
that the place he had selected for his 
favorite's exile -was Ireland, where, in 

1308, he invested him with the dignity 
of lord lieutenant, accompanying him 
on his journey as far as Bristol. Not- 
withstanding his vices, Gaveston pos- 
sessed some of the qualities of a good 
soldier. In the lists he had shown him- 
self a match for any knight in England, 
and in his Irish office he displayed no 
small amount of energy. He led an 
army against the O'Dempseys of Clan- 
malier, in Leinster, and killed their chief, 
Dermot, at TuUow. He next defeated 



the O'Byrnes, of Wicklow, ani opened 
a road between castle Kevin and Glen- 
dalongh, in that territoiy. He also 
rebuilt some castles whicli the Irish 
had demolished ; but his career in this 
country was brief. Twelve months 
after his arrival he was recalled to 
England by his royal mastei-, and three 
years later was taken prisoner by the 
l)arons, at Scarborough castle, and with 
their sanction beheaded by the earl of 

A. D. 1309. — Connaught still contin- 
ued to be torn by discord. Hugh, son 
of Owen, of the race of Cathal Crovderg, 
was slain this year by Hugh O'Conor, 
surnamed Breifneach, one of the restless 
and ambitious Clann Murtough, and a 
fresh war arose for the succession. Mac- 
William, as the head of the Burkes of 
Connaught, espoused the cause of the 
Cathal Crovderg branch. A conference 
was held near Elphin between him and 
Roiy, Hugh Breifneach's brother, who 
had assumed the title of king of Con- 
naught; but, as often ha2:)pened on 
these occasions, the conference was con- 
verted into a battle, and Rory being 
defeated, was driven beyond the Curlieu 

* Piers Qaveston, though of humble birth, was mar- 
ried to a niece of the king's, that is, to a sister of De 
Clare, earl of Gloucester. De Clare's second wife was a 
daughter of the earl of Ulster ; and De Clare's daughter, 
by a former marriage, was married to the earl of Ulster's 
son. Notwitlistanding these alliances, Gavcston was 
despised and Iiated by the haughty Anglo-Irish barons ; 
and the earl of Ulster, in order to despite him, kept up 
a kind of royal state at Ti-im. — See Grace's Annals. 

t Grace's Annals, p. 50, note k. The principle of ex- 
cluding those of the hostile race, was acted upon in the 
religious cBtablishmcnts of both Irislx and English ; but 
in the former it evinced no little courage on the part of 

mountains. Next year Hugh Breifneach 
was treacherously killed by one Johuock 
MacQuillan, who ■was on bonaght with 
him, and was hired by Mac William 
Burke to commit the murder ; but Mac- 
Quillan himself was slain the following 
year at Ballintubber wdth the same axe 
which he had used in killing the Clann 
Murtough prince. Felira, son of Hugh, 
son of Owen O'Conor, of the race of 
Cathal Crovderg, was now, by the in- 
fluence of his foster-father, Mulrony 
MacDermot, chief of Moylurg, inau- 
gurated king of Connaught Avhile still 
almost in his boyhood ; and was, for 
several years, maintained in his author- 
ity by that clan. 

Sir John Wogan being re-appointed 
lord justice for the third time, sum- 
moned a jDarliament, which met this 
year (1309) at Kilkenny. Some strin- 
gent laws were here made to repress 
robbery, particularly that committed 
by persons of noble birth, and their 
retainers ; forestalling was prohibited ; 
and it is supposed that the law by 
which Irish monks were excluded from 
religious houses within the English 
pale, was repealed on this occasion.-]- 

the defenceless monks. " In the abbey of Jlellifont," 
says Co;;, quoting from a record in the Tower of Lon- 
don, "a regulation was made in 1323 that no person 
should be admitted into that liouse until he had made 
oath that he was not of English descent." Dr. Kelly 
{Ciimh. Ecer., ii., p. 543, note) says, " In 1250, Innocent 
IV. addressed a letter to the archbishop of Dublin and 
the bishop of Ossory, complaining that Irish bishops 
excluded all Anglo-Irish from canonries in their 
churches: ho ordered them to rescind that rale one 
month after the receipt of his letter, on the Christian 
principle that the sanctuary of God should not be held 
by hereditary right. Tliia principle, however, became 



A scarcity prevailed the following 
yeai-, when a crannoc, .or bushel, of 
wheat sold for 20s., and the bakers 
■were dragged on hurdles through the 
streets for using false weights. 

A. D. 1311. — Civil broils raged in 
Thomond betAveen the MacNamaras 
and O'Briens, the former being defeated; 
and subsequently the chieftain Don- 
nough O'Brien was treacherously slain 
by Murrough, son of Mahou O'Brien ; 
but these feuds were thrown into the 
shade by those which prevailed in the 
same province between De Clare and 
William de Burgo, the latter and John 
Fitz Walter Lacy being made prisoners 
at Bunratty by De Clare.* The lord 
justice was defeated in attempting to 
put down a revolt of Sir Robert Verdon ; 
and the O'Byrues and O'Tooles of 
Wicklow menaced the walls of Dub- 

A. D. 1315. — We have arrived at an 
epoch in our historj', memorable not 
only for the importance of its events, 
but for the dawn of an intelligible 
national feeling among the Irish princes, 
and for the first movement which merits 

the exception in Ireland, in all clmrclies and religious 
houses under the English power, down to the Reforma- 
tion ; the contrary principle was enacted as the rule by 
the statute of Kilkenny (of A. D. 1367), which excluded 
all Irish from English churches and religious houses, 
unless they had been qualified by a royal letter of 
denizenship. The effect of this law was to exclude the 
Irish not only from almost all the houses founded by 
the Anglo-Irish, but from a very great number founded 
by themselves, which had fallen under the English 
power. A few years (1515) before Luther began to 
preach his opinions, Leo X. Issued a bull confirming the 
exclusion of the native Irish, even though qualified by 
a royal letter, from St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin; 
und on the same principle, a few years before. Dean 

the name of a patriotic effort to shake 
off the English yoke. The Scots had 
just set a noble example by their suc- 
cessful struggle for national indepen- 
dence. By their glorious victory at 
Bannockburn, on June 25th, 1314, they 
had effectually rid their country of 
English bondage. A strong sympathy 
had been excited in the north of Ireland 
for their cause. In the early days of 
his struggle (1306), Robert Bruce, the 
now triumphant king of Scotland, had 
found shelter and succor in the island 
of Rathlin, on the Irish coast. Some of 
theUlster chieftains subsequently joined 
in an expedition in his aid; but their 
attempt was abortive, for on landing in 
Scotland, they were encountered by the 
English army, and almost all cut to 
pieces. The summons of the English 
king, Avhen mustering an army against 
Scotland, in this wai', was not responded 
to by the native Ii'ish ; and when the 
Scots were triumphant, the Irish of the 
northern province lost no time in ap- 
pealing to them, as a kindred people, 
to help them in ridding themselves of 
the same foreign thraldom, and proposed 

Allen bequeathed charities to the poor, provided they 
were Anglo-Irish. 

■* Connell Mageoghegan, who translated the Annals 
of Clonmacnoise in 1627, appends to the record of the 
last event mentioned above, the foUomng note : — 
"This much I gather out of tlds historian, whom 
I take to be an authentic and worthy prelate of the 
church, that would tell nothing but truth, that there 
reigned more dissensions, strife, warrs, and debates, be- 
tween the English themselves in the beginning of the 
conquest of this kingdome, than between the Irishmen, 
as by perusing the warrs between the Lacies of Mcath, 
John Courcey, earle of Ulster, William Marshall, and 
the English of Meath and Munster, MacGerald, the 
Burkes, Butler and Cogan, may appear." 


to Eobert Brace to make his brother, 
Edward, king of Ireland. 

About this time Donnell O'Neill, 
king of Ulster, with other Irish princes 
of that province, acting in the name of 
the Iiish in general, addressed a me- 
morial, or remonstrance, to the sover- 
eign pontiff, John XXII., setting forth 
the grievances which their country suf- 
fered under the English yoke.* This 
interesting document glances at the 
early history of Ireland, to show the 
right of the Irish to national indej^en- 
dence ; it then refers to the false state- 
ments by which his Holiness's predeces- 
sor, Adrian IV., had been induced to 
transfer the sovereignty of their country 
to Henry II. ; it points out how utterly 
unworthy that impious king was of the 
confidence which pope Adrian had re- 
posed in him — how he had perverted 
the papal grant to his own unjust pur- 
poses ; how he and his successors had 
violated the conditions under which his 
entrance into the kingdom of Ireland 
had been sanctioned ; how the church 
of Ireland had been plundered by the 
English, the church lands confiscated, 
and the persons of the clei-gy as little 
respected as their property ; how vices 
had been imported, and the Irish, in- 
stead of being reformed, dej^rived of 
their primitive candor and simplicity; 
how the protection of the English laws 
was denied to them, so that Avheu an 
Enfrlishman murdered an Irishman, as 

* This memorial would appear to liavo been written 
during tlie period of Brace's invasion, and after the pope 
had been induced li.v the English government to cou- 

frequently happened, his crime Avas not 
punishable before an' English tribunal; 
and how the English clergy trej.ted 
them with shameful injustice by refusing 
to Irish religious admission even into 
the monastic institutions which had 
been founded and endowed by their 
Irish ancestors. The memorial enumer- 
ates some of the atrocities of the Eng- 
lish in Ireland, such as the treacherous 
massacre of the chiefs of Offaly at the 
dinner-table of Pierce Bermingham, and 
the murder of Brian Roe O'Brien by 
Thomas de Clare: and it proceeds: — 
"Let no person, then, wonder if we 
endeavor to preserve our lives and 
defend our liberties, as best we can, 
against those cruel tyrants, usurpers of 
our just properties, and murderers of 
our persons. So far from thinking it 
unlawful, we hold it to be a meritorious 
act ; nor can Ave be accused of pei-jmy 
or rebellion, since neither our fathers 
nor Ave did at any time bind ourselves, 
by any oath of allegiance, to their 
fathers or to them ; Avherefore, Avithout 
the least remorse of conscience, Avhile 
breath remains, aa'c shall attack them in 
defence of our just rights, and never lay 
down our arms until we force them to 
desist." In conclusion, the Irish princes 
inform his Holiness, "that in oi'der 
to attain their object the more sjDeedily 
and surely, they had invited the gallant 
Edward Bruce, to Avhom, being de- 
scended from their most noble ancestors. 

deum the proceedings of the Scots. It makes no allu- 
sion to this condemnation, but adopts a dignified tone 
of justification. 


they had transferi-ed, as tLey justly 
miglit, tlieir own right of royal domin- 

3Ioved l)y the representations con- 
tained in this memorial, iwpe John 
addressed, a few years later, a strong 
letter to Edward III., in which, refer- 
ring to the bull granted hy pope Adrian 
to Henry II., his Holiness says, that " to 
the object of that bull neither Henry 
nor his successors paid any regard, but 
that, passing the bounds that had been 
prescribed to them, they had heaped 
upon the Irish the most rmheard of 
miseries and j)er3ecution, and had, during 
a long peiiod, imposed on them a yoke 
of slavery which could not be borne." 
His Holiness earnestly urges the Eng- 
lish king to adopt a different policy ; 
to reform as speedily as possible, and in 
a suitable manner, the evils under which 
the Irish labored, and to remove their 
just causes of complaint, "lest it might 
be too late hereafter to apply a remedy, 
when the spirit of revolt has grown 
stronger." f 

Eobert Bruce received with avidity 
the invitation of the Irish, as it promised 
a favorable field for the military energy 
and ambition of his brother, Edward, 
who had already begun to demand a 
share in the sovereignty of Scotland. 
An expedition to Ireland was, there- 
fore, prepared as soon as circumstances 
would permit, and on the 26th of May, 

* The original Latin of tliis memorial is preserved by 

Translations of the memorial wiU be found in Ploic- 
dcn'smstoHeainenew,CMrlesO'Con<n-'s Suppressed Jife- 

131.5, Edward Bruce, who was styled 
earl of Cai'rick, arrived off the coast of 
Antrim with a fleet of 300 sail, from 
which an army of 6,000 men was disem- 
barked at Larne — or as some say, at the 
mouth of the Glendun river, in the 
county of Antrim, He was accompa- 
nied by the earl of Moray, John Mon- 
teith, John Stewart, John Campbell, 
Thomas Randolph, son of the earl of 
Moray, Fergus of xVrdossan, John de 
Bosco, tfec. This event filled the coun- 
try with excitement and consternation. 
The Irish flocked in great numbers to 
Bruce's standard, and the Anglo-Irish 
of Ulster were quickly defeated in sev- 
eral encounters. There is great confu- 
sion in the accounts given of the first 
exploits of Edward Bruce in Ireland ; 
apparently not arising from intentional 
misstatement, but from a transposition 
in the order of events by some of the 
old chroniclers. It would appear that 
Dundalk, Ardee, and some other places 
in Oriel were taken and destroyed in 
rapid succession by the invaders, and 
that the church of the Carmelite fi-iary 
of Ardee was burned, with a number of 
the Anglo-Irish who had sought refuge 
in it. The red earl raised a powerful 
army, chiefly in Connaught, and marched 
against Bruce ; and on meeting the lord 
justice, Sir Edmund Butler, with a 
Leinster army, also proceeding against 
the Scots, he told him rather haughtily 

moirs, Taafe's History, and the Abbe Maocoghegan, p. 
323. Duffy's Edition. 

t See tills letter of pope Jolin's in O'Sullivan's Hist 
Cath. Hib., p. 70, Dublin, 1850. 



that be would take the -work upon him- 
self, which, as earl of Ulster, he con- 
ceived it to be his duty to do, and 
would deliver Edward Bruce, dead or 
alive, into the hands of the justiciary. 
The two Anglo-Irish armies, neverthe- 
less, formed a junction somewhere near 
Dundalk. Previous to this, as it would 
ajipear from some accounts, Bruce was 
induced by O'Neill to march northward, 
and to cross the Bann at Coleraine, 
breaking down the bridge after him; 
but this move, whether made at this 
time or subsequent!}'-, Avas found to have 
been a wrong one, and the Scottish 
army was afterwards ferried across the 
river at a more southerly point, by one 
Thomas of Down, who employed four 
small vessels for the purpose. Accord- 
ing to an Irish authority,'"' the earl of 
Ulster's army marched on one side of 
the Bann, and the Scottish army on the 
other, so that the archers on both sides 
could exchange shots; and soon after 
the Scots had been ferried over the 
river, as just mentioned, the English 
army, weakened by the defection of 
Felim, the king of Connaught, who had 
hitherto acted as an auxiliary to the red 
earl, was routed near Connor, and Wil- 
liam de Burgo, the earl's brother, with 
several of the English knights, taken 
prisoners. This battle, according to 
Grace, was fought on the 10th of Sep- 
tember, and Dundalk had been captured 
on SS. Peter and Paul's day, the 29th 

* Annals of Clonmacnoise. 

I See the accounts of these transactions from Mageo- 

gliogan's translation of the Annals of Cloninacnoise, in 


of June. After the battle of Connor, 
the red earl fled to Connaught, where 
he remained for that year without a 
vestige of an army; and a portion or 
the defeated English made their way to 
Carrickfergus, where some of them en- 
tered the castle, and bravely defended 
it against the Scots. Edward Bruce, 
who had already caused himself to be 
proclaimed king of Ireland, left some 
men to carry on the siege of Carrick- 
fei-gus, and marched with the main 
body of his small army towards the 
south. f 

A. D. 1316. — We are now compelled 
to follow our annalists into Connaught, 
Avhere events most disastrous to the 
Irish cause were taking place. Felim 
O'Conor having, as we have seen, ac- 
companied the red earl of Ulster, had 
entered into correspondence with Ed- 
ward Bruce, and consented to hold 
from him his kingdom of Connaught; 
but in the meantime, Rory, son of Ca- 
thal Roe O'Conor, head of the Clanu 
Murtough, had taken up arms and kin- 
dled the flames of war throughout 
Connaught. He destroyed some En- 
glish castles in Roscommon, and sent 
off emissaries to Bruce, who had already 
come to an understanding with Felim, 
and who now authorized Rory to carry 
on war against the English, but not to 
meddle with Felim's lands. Rory lit- 
tle heeded this injunction; and Felim 
found a sufficient excuse to return home 

Ihicr Masters, vol. i 
Annals, pp. 63, &c. 

i., pp. 504, &c., note; also Gruce'i 



to defend his territory figainst the dep- 
redations of the Claun Murtougli chief. 
A series of sanguinary conflicts took 
place between them. Several chiefs 
fell on both sides; and great cattle 
spoils were lost and won. Even Fe- 
lim's foster-father, Mulrony MacDer- 
mot, turned for a while to Rory's side, 
ashamed at seeing himself one of a 
crowd of crest-fallen chieftains at the 
house of the red earl, who had just re- 
turned from his defeat at Connor. The 
result was still doubtful, when Felim, 
early in the present year (1316), mus- 
tered a numerous army, composed part- 
ly of Englishmen under Bermingham, 
and penetrated, in pursuit of Rory, 
through the bogs in the north-east of 
the present county of Galway, by the 
causeway then called Togher-mona-Con- 
nee. Rory, who had been watching 
his movements from the summit of a 
hill, here gave him battle, but was 
slain, and his army routed with terrible 

Felim having thus disj^osed of his ri- 
val, lost no time in fulfiliug his engage- 
ment to Bruce and turned his arms 
against the English. He burned the 
town of Ballyhan, in the east of Mayo, 
and slew De Exeter and De Cogan. 
Co-operating with the chiefs of all the 

* The Qalloglasscs (Qall-Oglach), who were the heavy- 
armed foot soldiers of the Irish, wore an iron head piece' 
and a coat of defence stuck with iron nails, and the 
weapons they carried were a long sword and a broad 
keen-edged axe. The Kerns, or Keherns, were the 
iglit-anued infantry, who fought with darts or javelins, 
and also carried swords and knives. — Hariis' Ware, 
vol. ii., p. 161. Dr. O'Conor, in his suppresed work, 

west of Ireland, including the O'Briens 
of Thomond, he mustered a numerous 
army, with which he marched to 
Athenry, where a large and well- 
armed Anglo-Irish force under William 
de Burgo and Richard Bermingham, 
lord of the town, was entrenched. A 
fierce and desperate battle ensued. 
The coats of mail and the skill of the 
crossbow-men gave the English a great 
superiority; but the Irish, whose best 
soldiers were the Galloglasses,* fought 
with unflinching bravery, and by their 
own accounts lost that day 11,000 men, 
among whom was their gallant and 
youthful king, Felim, then only in his 
twenty-third year. Cox says that 8,000 
of the Irish were slain. Some of the 
ancient families of Connaught were 
almost exterminated, so great was the 
slaughter of the native Irish gentry, 
and it was said that no man of the 
O'Conors was left in all Connaught 
capable of bearing arms except Felim's 
brother. This battle was fought on St. 
Laurence's day, the 10 th of August, and 
was the most sanguinary that had taken 
place since the Anglo-Norman invasion. 
In it the chivalry of Connaught was 
crushed, and irretrievable injury inflict- 
ed on the Irish cause.f 

The Scots seem to have wasted the 

Memoirs of the Life and Wrilings of Charles O'Conor 
of Belanagaer, observes that the English were, at tlie 
battle of Athenry, well .armed and drawn up in regular 
systematic array, and that the Irish fought without 

f A story is told of a young man of the Anglo-Irish oi 
Athenry, named Hussey, who is called by Grace a butch- 
er, going out after the battle to search for the body o.' 


remaiuder of the year 1315 in a fruit- 
less siege of Carrickfergus castle ; hut 
on receiving a reinforcement of 500 
men, on St. Nicholas' day (December 
6 th), Bruce set out on his march to the 
south. His route was apparently by 
the north of Meath, through Nobber 
and Kells to Finnagh in West Meath, 
thence to Granard in Longford, and 
Lough Seudy, where he spent Christ- 
mas. Thence he passed through West 
Meath and part of the King's county 
into Kildare, to Rathangan, Castleder- 
mot, Athy, Rhebau, and Arscoll, where 
he was opposed by Edniond Butler, the 
justiciary, whom he defeated. Pie then 
returned towards Ulster, burning in his 
way the castle of Ley, and passing 
through Geashill and Fowre to Kells, 
his army spreading desolation along its 
I'oute."" At the last-named town, Sir 
Roger Mortimer met him with an army 
of 1 5,000 men, which was put shame- 
fully to flight ; the defeat being attrib- 
uted by the English to the defection of 
some of their men, especially the De 
Lacys. Mortimer fled to Dublin, and 
others made their escape to Trim ; and 
in the mean time, the Irish everywhere 
rose in arms. In the heart of the Eng- 
lish territory the O'Tooles and O'Byrnes 
burnt Arklow, Newcastle, and Bray ; 
and the O'Mores rose in Leix, where, 
however, they were soon after defeated 

O'Kelly, the chief of Hy-Many, and of his meeting that 
chieftain still alive, and killing him under very improb- 
able circumstances. It ia added that ho brought O'Kel- 
ly's head to Berraingham, u-ho knighted Hussey on tlie 
spot, and that the latter subsequently obtained the lands 

with great slaughter by Edmond Butler. 
The Anglo-Irish barons were at length 
thoroughly aroused to the danger of 
their position, and gathering round 
Lord John Hotham, who was deputed 
specially to them on the occasion by 
the king of England, the)'' agreed to 
forego their private quarrels and to act 
together for the defence of the realm. 
Famine had at this time begun to rav- 
age the country, and the Scots felt it 
severely. Edward Bruce retired into 
Ulster, where he exercised all the au- 
thority of a king, holding parliaments, 
deciding causes, and levying supplies, 
without any attempt on the part of the 
English to disturb him. 

As summer advanced, Edward Bruce 
made his appearance once more before 
Carrickfergus, where Thomas Mande- 
ville had succeeded in throwing in re- 
inforcements, and the garrison had been 
thus enabled constantly to annoy the 
Scots in the neighborhood. The siege 
was piv.Iouged until September, when 
king Robert Bruce, finding that his 
brother was not making the progress 
which he had expected in Ireland, came 
over himself; and the operations of the 
besiegers being conducted with fresh 
energy, the garrison at length surren- 
dered on honorable terms, having been, 
in the course of the siege, so hard jiressed 
by hunger, that they ate hides and fed 

of Galtrim, of which his family became barons. Richard 
Bermingham was created baron of Athcnry for his ser- 
vices that day, and the walls of the town were rebuilt 
out of part of the spoils of the Irish. 
* Grace's Annals, p. G7, note u. 



ou the bodies of eight Scots whom they 
had made prisoners. The remainder of 
316 Avas consumed in desultory efforts, 
in which the English gained some ad- 
vantao-es against the Irish in the centre 
and the west, and in one instance 
ao-ainst the Scots, of whom John Logan 
and Hugh Bisset slew 300 in Ulster, on 
the 1st of Novem'ber. 

A. D. 1317. — All parties prepared to 
put forth their utmost strength at the 
commencement of the year. The Scot- 
tish army in Ireland at this time was 
computed at 20,000 men, besides an 
irregular force of Irish ; and with this 
army king Robert Bruce and his broth- 
er crossed the Boyne, at Slane, after 
Shrovetide. They marched to Castle- 
knock, near Dublin, on the 24th of 
February, and took Hugh Tyrrel, the 
lord of that fortress, prisoner, making 
the castle their own quarters. All was 
consternation in Dublin. The Anglo- 
Irish distrusted each other. About 
two months before this, the De Lacys, 
having been charged with treasonably 
aiding the Scots, called for an investi- 
gation, in which they were acquitted, 
and they then gave the most solemn 
pledges of their fidelity ; yet now they 
were actually under Bruce's standard. 
Richard, earl of Ulster, who was far 
advanced in years, and had lost all his 
former energy, Avas also suspected by 

* Before tliis time, the town-walls were carried by St. 
Owen's, or Audoen's, cliurcli, along tlie brow of tlie 
jvigli ground, some 400 feet from the river. The mayor 
and citizens were afterwards compelled to restore the 
clrarch of St. Saviour ; but they received aid from public 
eources to repair the losses by the burnmg of the sub- 

the English. His daughter, Elizabetli 
— or, as some say, his sister — was mar- 
ried to Robert Bruce in 1302, and this 
connection naturally gave ground for 
suspicion against him. When the Scots 
were approaching Dublin, the earl, who 
was living retired in St. Mary's Abbey, 
was suddenly arrested by the mayor, 
Robert de Nottingham, and confined in 
Dublin castle ; seven of his servants 
being killed in the fray at his arrest, 
and the abbey pillaged by the soldiery 
and partly burned down. The citizens, 
led ou by the mayor, acted with a 
frantic spirit, which may be called in- 
trepidity or desperation. To prepare 
for the expected siege, they burned the 
suburbs, and among the rest Thomas- 
street, with the priory of St. John the 
Baptist, which stood there; and the 
populace plundered the monastery of 
St. Mary, and St. Patrick's church, 
which were outside the city. They 
went so far as to demolish the church 
of St. Saviour, on the north side of the 
river, and to use the materials in con- 
structing an outer wall close by the 
river side, along the present line of 
Merchaut's-quay and the "Wood-quay, 
which were then in the suburbs." 

Robert Bruce, learning that Dublin 
was strongly fortified, and judging of 
the determination of the citizens from 
the flames of the burning suburbs. 

urbs, and were forgiven half their fee-farm rent. They 
were also pardoned for the depredations which they 
committed in so urgent a necessity. It has been said 
that the existence of the English government in Ire 
land depended upon the fate of Dublin on this oo- 



whicli he witnessed from a distance, 
tbouglit it better not to risk the delay 
of a siege, to carry on which effectually, 
a considerable army, and shipping to 
cut off supplies by water, would have 
been i-equired. He therefore marched 
towards the Salmon Leap, on the Liffey, 
a locality which had been famous in the 
Danish wars, and having encamped 
there four days, he led his forces to 
Naas, and in succession to Tristle Der- 
mot (castle Dermot), Gowran, and 
Callau, reaching the last-named place 
about the 12th of March. He burnt 
the towns and plundered the churches 
along the line of march, and the English 
chroniclers say that even the tombs 
were opened by the Scots, in search of 
treasure. An Ulster army of 2,000 men 
offered their services to the English 
authorities ; but when the king's banner 
was given to them, they did more harm, 
saj^s Grace, than all the Scots together, 
burning and destroying wherever they 
came. Bruce proceeded as far as Lim- 
erick without meeting any opposition ; 
but learning that active preparations 
were making in his rear — Murtough 
O'Brien, say the Annals of Innisfallen, 
having joined the English* — he re- 
treated by night from castle Connell, 
and on Palm Sunday (March 27th) Avas 
at Kells, in Ossory. Thence he marched 
to Cashel and Neuagh, laying waste, 
with fire and swoi-d, the Enerlish settle- 

* Donough O'Brien, chief of Thomond, who died in 
1U17, was on tho side of Bruce. 

f To this period may be referred an incident related 
in Illustration of the humanity of Robert Bruce. It is 

lid that " while relreatiuj:, iu circumstance 


raents as he passed. All this time his 
army was sorely j^ressed by famine; 
and to tills cause, and his efforts to 
procure food, may be attributed some 
of his marches, which it would be other- 
wise hard to account for.f On the 30th 
of March (Holy Thursday), a well-equip- 
ped Anglo-Irish army, mustering 30,000 
men, marched against Bruce. Thomas 
FitzGerald, earl of Kildare, Ricliard de 
Clare, Arnold Power (Le Poer), baron 
of Donnoil (Dunhill, in Waterford), 
Maurice Rochfort, Thomas FitzMaurice, 
and the Cantetons, took the field with 
their numerous followers on the occa- 
sion : yet this powerful force hung 
round the camp of the half-starved and 
diminished Scottish army without dar- 
ing to attack them, such was the dread 
with which Bruce's name inspired them. 
Sir Roger Mortimer returned from Eng- 
land, as justiciary, and a council was 
held at Kilkenny, to deliberate on their 
position, but no determination was ar- 
rived at. Messengers were despatched 
to explain to the king the desperate 
state of affairs in Ireland ; and in the 
mean time, the English having moved 
towards Naas, Bruce marched to Kil- 
dare, and from thence, in the mouth 
after Eastei', to a wood four miles from 
Trim, where he halted for seven days to 
refresh his men, exhausted by hunger 
and fatigue. On the 1st of May the 
Scots retired to Ulster; and Robert 

difficulty, he halted the army on liearing the cries of a 
poor lavandiero, who had been seized with labor, com- 
manding a tent to be pitched for her, and taking 
measures for her to pursue her journey when she was 
able to travel.— Ty tier, Uid. of Scollaud, vol. ii. 



Bruce, who saw tliat uature itself was 
against liiin, and that the Irish were not 
organized to give the support which he 
expected, returned to Scotland with 
earl Moray, leaving behind his brother 
Edward, who was resolved to maintain 
his position as king of Ireland. 

Famine and pestilence at this time 
devastated both England and Ireland. 
Many of the rich were reduced to 
penurj^, and great numbers of persons 
pei'ished of hunger. Mothers, it was 
said, were known to devour their own 
children. People stole the children of 
others to eat them. Prisoners in jails 
killed and ate new comers sent in among 
them ; and dead bodies were taken from 
the grave to be used for food.'^ 

An order was received from the king 
of England for the liberation of the earl 
of Ulster, but several months elapsed 
and the question had to be debated in 
a parliament held at Kilmainham, before 
the order was complied with, the earl 
giving pledges that he would not re- 
venge himself on the citizens of Dublin. 
The retirement of the Scots to Ulster, 
and Robert Bruce's return to Scotland, 
having relieved the English from their 
chief source of alarm, the justiciary 
directed his efforts asyaiust the Irish 

septs, who had risen in arms in different 
parts of the country, and against whom 
he was, in general, successful. The 
O'Farrells, O'Tooles, O'Byrues, and the 
Irish of Hy-Kinsellagh were subdued 
for the time ; and in the course of this 
year some sanguniiiry battles Avere 
fought in Counaught between the rival 
parties of the O'Conor family. The De 
Lacys were summoned to appear before 
the lord justice: and on their refusal, 
lord Hugh de Custes, or Crofts, was 
sent to them, but they put the envoy to 
death. Mortimer then plundered their 
lands, and they fled, some to Connaught, 
and others to Bruce, in Ulster. One of 
them, John de Lac}^, who had fallen 
into the hands of the justiciary, was 
sentenced to be pressed to death. Two 
cardinals arrived from Rome in England 
to bring about a peace between the 
Scots aud English, but their efforts were 

A. D. 1318. — -Roger Mortimer again 
returned to England, leaving his debts 
unpaid, and Alexander Bicknor, arch- 
bishop of Dublin, Avas appointed justi- 
ciary in his stead. A good harvest 
relieved the country from famine, and 
the hostile armies Avere once more able 
to take the field. Edward Bruce had 

* " The pestilential period of the fouvteontli century," 
says Dr. Wilde, " was, both in duration and intensity, 
tlie most remarkably calamitous in these annals. It 
dates from 1315, and lasted almost without interruption 
for 85 years. It commenced with the foreign invasion 
of the Scots, under Edward Bruce, at a time when the 
country was laboring under the double scourge of 
famine and partial civU war, and its effects were to 
increase the one and to render the other general. 
Epizootics succeeded, followed by small-pox; then 

dearth again, with unusual severity of the seasons, and 
intense frosts, accompanied by the first appearance of 
influenza, and an outbreak of the Barking Mania. Sub- 
sequently appeared the Black Death, the King's Game, 
and the Third Pestilence, portions of the five general 
and fatal epidemics which commenced in the reign of 
Edward III., and the Fourth and Fifth Pestilences in 
the beginning of the reign of Richard 11." — Census of 
Ireland for 1851. l^cihlc of deaths. See also Butler's 
note to Grace's AnnaU. An. 1317. 



at this time, according to some accounts, 
an effective force of three thousand men. 
Scottish historians say he had only two 
thousand besides an irregular force of 
Irish ; and those who make his army 
considerably more numerous, include, 
no doubt, his Irish auxiliaries. He 
marched southwards as far as Dundalk, 
and encamjjed at the hill of Faughard, 
within two miles of that town. Under 
his banner were Philip lord Mowbray, 
Walter lord de Soulis, Alan lord Stew- 
art, the three De Lacys, tfec. The Eng- 
lish array which marched from Dublin 
to encounter this force was commanded 
by lord John Bermingham. Its num- 
l)ers are A'ariously stated, but they were 
probably much larger than that of 
Bruce's efittctive men. The memorable 
Ijattle which ensued, and Avhich resulted 
in the death of the gallant Bruce and 
the overthrow of his army, was fought 
at Faughard, ou the 14th of October. 
John Maupas, an Anglo-Irish knight, 
convinced that the fate of the day de- 
pended on the life of Bruce, rushed 
into the thick of the enemy, and, en- 
gaging with Edward Bruce, slew him ; 
his own body, covered with wounds, 
being afterwards found lying ou that 
of the Scottisli chief* This feat deter- 

* The circumstance is differently related by Lodge, who 
says, " Sir John Bermingham, encamping about half a 
milo from tho enemy, Roger do Maupas, a burgess of 
Dundalk, disguised himself in a fool's dress, and in that 
character entering their camp, killed Bruce by striking 
out his brains with a plummet of lead ; he was instantly 
cut to pieces and his body found stretclicd over that of 
Bruce, but for this service his heir was rewarded with 
40 marks a year." — ArchdalVs Ledge, vol. iii., p. 33. 

f The Four Masters record tho death of Bruce in the 
following terms : — " Edward Bruce, the destroyer of the 

mined the victory at the very outset ; 
and Bermingham, causing the body of 
Bruce to be cut in pieces, sent the head, 
or, as some say, carried it himself, to 
Edward II., and other portions to be 
exhibited in different parts of the 
country. How unlike the chivalrous 
courtesy exhibited by king Eobert 
Bruce to his conquered enemies at 
Bannockburn ! Scottish, historians say 
the body of Gib Harper was mistaken 
for that of Edward Bruce, and that the 
remains of the latter are interred in 
Faughard churchyard, where the peas- 
antry point out his grave ; but the 
other story is more probable ; and Ber- 
mingham, as a reward for Bruce's head, 
obtained the earldom of Louth and the 
manor of Ardee. From the terms in 
which the death of Bruce is recorded 
by the Irish annalists, it is evident that 
their sympathies were not with him. 
They erroneously attribute to the Scot- 
tish invasion the famine and its conse- 
quences, although these calamities were 
at the time universal ; and the old 
Scottish chroniclers throw, ou their 
part, so muck blame on the Irish as to 
show that national j^rejudices and selfish 
views existed on both sides.f 

Bruce's invasion failed in its object. 

people of Ireland in general, both English and Irish, 
was slain by the English through dint of battle and 
bravery, at Dundalk, where also MacRory, lord of tho 
Inse-Gall (Hebrides), MacDonnell, lord of Argyle, aud 
many others of the cliiefs of Scotland were slain ; and 
no achievement had been performed in Ireland for a 
long time before from which greater benefit had accrued 
to tho country than from this ; for during the three 
years and a-half that this Edward spent in it, a uni 
versal famine prevailed to such a degree that men were 
wont to devour one another." 



aud the gleam of hojie which had shoue 
forth for a while rendered the darkness 
that followed more disheartening; but 
the Irish were far from being subdued. 
They seemed, on the conti-ary, to have 
acquired a confidence in their own 
strength which they had not before. 
Feuds prevailed among conflicting sec- 
tions of the English, as well as of the 
Irish. The former suffered some serious 
defeats in Breffny, Ely O'Carrqll, Offaly, 
and Thomond. In Conuaught, after 
many vicissitudes aud great waste of 
human life, Turlough O'Conor, of the 
race of Cathal Crovderg, succeeded, in 
132J:, in establishing his right as king. 
Richard de Burgo, the fomous red earl, 
died in 1326. In England, the wretched 
Edward II., after a long war with his 
rebellious barons — who in the end were 

* Great commotion -was excited among tlie Anglo- 
Irish in 1325, by the prosecution of a respectable woman, 
named Alice Kyteler, for witchcraft, in Kilkenny. She 
had married four husbands, and the last of these, with 
some of her children by former husbands, were her chief 
accusers. She had accumulated enormous wealth, all 
of which was conferred on her favorite son, Robert Out- 
lawe ; and by the aid of powerful friends, among whom 
were some of the civil authorities, she managed to es- 
cape to England. One of her accomplices, named Pe- 
tronilla, of Meath, who confessed her participation in 
several acts of foul and impious superstition, was, in 
compliance with the ideas of the age, burnt as a sorce- 
ress. See Oracc's Annuls ; nlso a Contemporary Nar- 
rative, edited for the Camden Society, by Thomas 
Wright, 1843. 

A university was founded in Dublin, in 1320, by 
archbishop Bicknor, by the authority of a bull of jrope 
Clement v., dated 1310; but the circumstances of the 
times and the want of funds prevented its success. 
Some vestiges of it still remained at the beginning of 
the sixteenth century ; and the jmiversity which Eliza- 

leagued with his profligate queen aud 
her paramour, Roger Mortimer — was 
finally most cruelly murdered, in 1327. 
It was a j)eriod when men's minds 
were unsettled, and their manners de- 
moralized ; and for the first time heresy 
appears to have made some inroads in 
Ireland. One Adam Duff, a Leinster 
man, was, in 1327, convicted of pro- 
fessing certain blasphemous and anti- 
christian doctiines, and being handed 
over to the civil tribunal, was sentenced 
to be burned on Hogges'-green, now 
College-green, in Dublin. About the 
same time, some persons taught heretical 
opinions in the diocese of Ossory, where 
they gained over the seneschal of Kil- 
kenny, and other official persons ; bnt 
their doctrines did not spread among 
the people, and soon disappeared.* 

beth subsequently founded, and which TVaa so amply 
endowed with the confiscated church lands, has been 
regarded by some people as a revival of that institution. 
The number of religious foundations diminishes rapidly 
as we advance. Among those traced to the reign of 
Edward II., are the Franciscan convents of Castle Ly- 
ons, in Cork, founded by John de Barry, m 1307 ; and 
of Bantry, founded by O'SuUivan, in 1320 ; the Augus- 
tinian convent of Adare, in Limerick, founded by John, 
carl of Kildare, 1315 ; that of TuUow, in Carlow, by 
Simon Lombard and Hugh Tallon, in 1312 ; and the 
Carmelite convent of Athboy, in Meath, by William de 
Londres, in 1317. The famous John Duns Scotus, a 
native of Down, in Ulster, died at Cologne in the year 
1308, in the thirty -fourth year of his age. He was a 
Franciscan friar of extraordinary learning, and from the 
acuteness of his mind, was called in the schools the 
" Subtle Doctor." John Clyn, the author of a chronicle 
of great value in Irish liistory, also flourished about this 
time. He, too, was a Franciscan friar, and was the first 
guardian of the convent of Carrick-on-S uir, founded in 





Position of the different Races. — Great Feuds of the Anglo-Irish. — Murder of Bermingham, Earl of Louth. — Crea- 
tion of the Earls of Ormond and Desmond. — Counties Palatine. — Rigor of Sir Anthony Lucy. — Murder of the 
Earl of Ulster. — The Burkes of Connaught abandon the English Language and Customs. — Sacrilegious 
Outrages. — Traces of Piety. — Wars in Connaught. — Crime and Punishment of Turlough O'Conor. — Proceed- 
ings in the Pale. — English by Birth and by Descent. — Ordinances against the Anglo-Irish Aristocracy. — 
Resistance of the latter. — Sir Ralph Ufford's Harshness and Death. — Change of Policy and its results. — The 
Black Death. — Administration of the Duke of Clarence. — His Animosity against the Irish. — The Statute of 
Kilkenny. — Effects of that Atrocious Law. — Exploits of Hugh O'Conor.— Crime Punished by the Irish Chief- 
tains. — Victories of Niall O'Neill. — Difficulties of the Government of the Pale. — Manly Conduct of the I ' 
— General Character of this Reign. 

Contemporary Sovereigns and Events.— Vo-pas: Benedict XII., Clement VI., Innocent VI., Urban VI., Gregory XI.— 
mgs of France: Philip VI. of Vnlois, John II., Charles the Wise.— Kings of Scotland : David II., Edward Baliol, Robert 
iiart.— Gunpowder invented, :330.— Statute of Prfermmire, 1344— Gold first coined in England, 134i.— Order of tlio 
ntcr, 1319.— 'Wickliffe's tenets prop.igatcd, :3G9.— Petrarcli died, 1374. 

{K. D. 1327 TO A. D. 1377.) 

THE decay of the English power in 
Ireland, the narrowing of the 
English Pale, and the fusion of the 
older English settlers, or as they had 
begun to be called, the "degenerate 
English," ■\vith the native population, 
are marked characteristics of the period 
of our history which we have now 
reached. The authority of the crown 
had been declining throughout the two 
preceding reigns ; during Bruce's inva- 
sion it was shaken to its foundation ; 
but the alienation of the Anglo-Irish, 
arising from the impolitic distinction 
made by government between the Eng- 
lish by birth and the English by de- 

scent ; the identification, in some in- 
stances, of the latter with the native 
Irish, and the recovery of large portions 
of their original territories by several 
of the Irish chieftains, are all distin- 
guishing features of the era which 
commences with the reign of Edward 
III. The great Anglo-Irish families had 
become septs. They confederated with 
the Irish against their own countrymen, 
or the contrary, almost indifferently; 
but whether the administration of af- 
fairs was intrusted to them, or to the 
English by birth, it was invariably em- 
ployed for purposes of personal aggran- 
dizement or revenge; and the nativb 



population were still only recognized by 
the government as the " Irish enemy," 
— a legitimate prey for all i:)lunderers. 

A. T>. 1328. — A violent feud broke 
out at the commencement of this reign 
between Maurice FitzThomas, after- 
wards earl of Desmond, assisted by 
the Butlers and Berminghams, and lord 
Arnold Poer, who was aided by the 
great family of the De Burgos. Poer 
called FitzGerald a " rhymer," -and thus 
the quarrel arose; the former was 
forced to fly to England ; his lands, and 
those of his adherents, were laid waste, 
and torrents of blood flowed on both 
sides. Government became alarmed at 
tJie rebellious spirit manifested on the 
occasion, and issued orders for the de- 
fence of the princij^al towns ; but the 
confederates allayed this disquiet by 
protesting that they only required ven- 
geance on their enemies ; and having 
submitted and sued for pardon, a 
council was held at Kilkenny by the 
justiciary, Koger Outlawe, prior of Kil- 
mainham, to consider the case. The 
following year (1329) the justiciary 
effected a reconciliation between the 
parties, and although it was the season 
of Lent, the event was celebrated by 
grand banquets in Dublin, the Geral- 
dines giving their feast in the church 
of St. Patrick. 

A. D. 1329. — Another sanguinaiy fray 
among the Anglo-Irish took place this 
year ; Bermingham, earl of Louth, with 
several of his relatives and followers, to 
the number in all of one hundred and 
sixty, or, as others say, two hundred 

Englishmen, being slaughtered by their 
own countrymen, the Gernons, Savages, 
and others, at Balebragan, now Brag- 
ganstown, in the county of Loath.* 
About the same time Munster witnessed 
another scene of mutual carnage among 
the Anglo-Irish; the Barrys, Roches, 
and others slaying Lord Philip Boduet, 
Hugh Condon, and about one hundred 
and forty of their followers. Mean- 
while several Irish septs were up in 
arms. Lord Thomas Butler was, in 
1328, defeated with considerable loss by 
Mageoghegan in West Meath ; and the 
young earl of Ulster, with his Irish aux- 
iliaries, sustained a great defeat the same 
year from Brian Bane O'Brien in Tho- 
mond. Donnell MacMurrough, of the 
ancient royal stock of Leinster, led au 
army close to Dublin, but he was defeat- 
ed and made prisoner by Sir Henry 
Treherne. This oflacer spared the Irish 
chieftain's life for a sum of £200, and 
Adam Nangle, another Englishman, 
afterwards assisted him with a rope to 
escape over the walls of Dublin castle ; 
but for this kindness Nangle lost his 

James Butler, second earl of Carrick, 
was, in 1328, created earl of Orraoud, 
and in 1330 Maurice FitzThomas Fitz- 
Gerald was created earl of Desmond ; 
Tipperary, in the former case, and Kei-ry 
in the latter, being erected into counties 
palatine. The lords palatine, of whom 
there were now eisfht or nine in Ireland, 

* Among the victims in tliis massacre, were Carroll a 
famous harper, and, as Clyn adds, twenty other harpers, 
his pupils. 



were endowed witli a kind of royal 
power. They created barons and 
knights, erected courts for civil and 
criminal causes, appointed their own 
judges, sheriffs, and coroners, and, like 
so many petty kings, were able to ex- 
ercise a most oppressive tyranny over 
the population of their respective terri- 

A. D. 1330. — The new earl of Des- 
mond at first rendered good service to 
the government by his successes against 
some of the Irish septs in Leinster ; but 
the old feuds between him and the earl 
of Ulster were soon revived, and were 
carried to such lengths, at a time when 
they were in the field against the O'Bri- 
ens, that the lord justice found it neces- 
sary to make both earls prisoners, and 
to commit them to the custody of the 
marshal of Limerick. 

A. D. 1331. — Sir Anthony Lucy, a 
Northumbrian baron, famous for his 
sternness of character, was now sent 
over as justiciary, to curb the arrogance 
and violence of the great Anglo-Irish 
lords. He summoned a parliament in 
Dublin, and adjourned it to Kilkenny, 
owing to the non-attendance of the bar- 
ons. Again his summons was disregard- 
ed ; and, in order to make an example 
of the most powerful, he seized the eai'l 
of Desmond in Limerick, and carried 
him a prisoner to Dublin. Several other 
lords were arrested in a similar manner. 

* At this time the country was suffering severely from 
£amine, and a shoal of large fish, of the whale species, 
which entered Dublin bay on the evening of the 27th 
of June, 1331, and of which two hundred were killed 

and among them Sir William Berming- 
hara, who was confined with his son in 
the keep of Dublin castle, called from 
him the Bermingham tower, and was 
hanged in the course of the following 
year. This nobleman was popular on 
account of his bravery and gallant de- 
meanor ; and the feeling excited by the 
severity of his sentence was probably 
the cause of Lucy's recall, which fol- 
lowed soon after, when Sir John Darcy, 
a more moderate man, was appointed 
to succeed him.* 

A. D. 1333 — A crime, which pro- 
duced immense sensation among the 
Anglo-Irish, and led to some important 
results, was committed this year in the 
north. William, earl of Ulster, called 
the dun earl, grandson of the famous 
red earl, seized Walter, one of the lead- 
ing members of the De Burgo family, 
and confined him in the stronghold 
called the Green castle, in Inishowen, 
where he was starved to death. Wal- 
ter's sister. Gyle, was married to Sir 
Richard Mandeville, and at her instiga- 
tion, it is believed, her brother's death 
was soon after avenged by the murder 
of the dun earl. This latter nobleman, 
who was then only in his twenty-first 
year, was proceeding on a Sunday morn- 
ing towards Carrickfergus, in company 
with Robert FitzRichard Mandeville 
and others, who basely rose against 
him and killed him while he was ford 

by the lord justice and his servants, afforded the poor of 
the city a providential supply of food. The next year the 
dearth continued, and the people were attacked by an epi- 
demic called the Manaes, supposed to have been influenza. 



ing a stream, or, as Grace says, while 
lie was repeating his morning prayers 
on his way to the church, Maudeville 
giving him the first wound. A feeling 
of violent indignation was aroused by 
this outrage, and the people of the 
neighborhood rose spontaneously and 
slew all whom they suspected of being 
abettors of the crime, to the number of 
over 300; so that when the justiciary 
arrived with an army to punish the 
murderers, he found that justice had 
already been vindicated in a fearful 
and summary manner.* The earl's 
wife, Maud, on hearing of the murder, 
fled in terror to England, taking with 
her her only child, a daughter, named 
Elizabeth, then only one year old; and 
the Burkes of Connaught being the 
junior branch of the De Burgo family, 
and fearing that the earl's vast posses- 
sions would be transferred to other 
hands by the marriage of the heiress, 
immediately seized on his Connaught 
estates and declared themselves inde- 
jjeudent of English law, renouncing at 
the same time the English language 
and costume. Sir William, or Ulick,f 
the ancestor of the earls of Clanrickard, 
assumed the Irish title of MacWilliam 
Oughter, or the Upper, and Sir Edmond 

* For many years after it was usual in public pardons 
to make a formaJ exception of all wlio miglit liave been 
inplicated in the murder of the earl of Ulster. 

f The name Vlick, or Uliog, is a contraction of WilUam- 
Or/e, that is, William Junior, or young William. It 
would appear to have been long peculiar to the Burkes 
of Connaught. 

X In 1352, the heiress Elizabeth, then twenty years 
of age, was married to Lionel, duke of Clarence, third 

Albanagh Burke, the progenitor of the 
Viscounts of Mayo, took that of Mac- 
William Eighter, or the Lower Mac- 

A. D. 1334. — Of the crimes we read 
of in the histoiy of that lawless period, 
none indicate more vividly the anarchy 
which prevailed than the sacrilegious 
outrages which are related of the Irish, 
as well as of their opponents. Inces- 
sant war had so degraded some that 
they rivalled the ferocity of wild 
beasts; and, in many instances, the 
natural gentleness, generosity, and pie- 
ty of the Irish character seem to have 
been wholly laid aside. Thus, our an- 
nals relate how a great army of the 
English and Irish of Connaught hav- 
ing marched this year against the Mac- 
Namaras of Thomond, a party of them 
set fire to a church, in which were two 
priests and 180 other persons, and 
did not suffer one to escape from the 
conflagration. It is not said whether 
the party who committed this barbarity 
belonged to the English or the Irish -gox- 
tion of the army ; but a similar outrage, 
three years before, is attributed by the 
Anglo-Irish chroniclers to an Irish sept 
in Leinster, who, they say, burned the 
church of Frej-nstown, now Friends- 

son of king Edward IE!., and that prince was created, 
in her right, earl of Ulster and lord of Connaught, titles 
which thus became attached to the royal family of Eng- 
land ; but he was unable to recover the possessions which 
the Iliac Williams had usurped in Connaught, and the 
government not being strong enough to assert the au- 
thority of the English law on the occasion, the territor- 
ies of the Burkes in that province were allowed to de- 
scend according to the Irish custom. 



town, in Wicklo\v, with a congregation 
of eighty persons and their priest, who 
Tvas clothed in his vestments, and car- 
ried the Sacred Host in his hands. The 
uuhappj^ people in the church asked no 
mercy for themselves, but only that the 
priest might be allowed to depart ; yet 
the infuriated assailants drove him back 
from the door with their javelins, and 
he was consumed with his flock in the 
burning pile. This aj^palllng atrocity 
drew down an interdict from the Pope 
on its perjietrators ; and an army of 
them was soon after cut to pieces or 
driven into the Slauey by the citizens 
of Wexford. Sujoposing, however, these 
statements not to have been the fabri- 
cations of enemies, of which we cannot 
be quite sure, we have, nevertheless, 
ample evidence that religion was not, 
even in those evil days, extinct among 
the bulk of the population. Thus, we 
read that the veteran w\arrior Mulrony 
MacDermot, lord of Moylurg, took the 
habit of a monk in the abbey of Boyle, 
in 1331 ; and that in 1333, Hugh 
O'Donnell, son of the famous Donnell 
Oge, and lord of Tirconnell, died in the 
habit of a Franciscan monk in Inis Sai- 
mer, in the river Erne. Most of the 
Irish chieftains who were not killed in 
battle, are described as dying "after 
the victory of penance ;" and numerous 
pilgrimages, in which the clergy and 
people were united, were made to avert 
calamities which they apprehended. 

A. D. 1338. — Edmond Burke, sur- 
named " na-Feisoge," or " the bearded," 
a younger son of the red earl, was this 

year drowned by his kinsman, Edmond 
Burke, surnamed MacWilliam Eighter, 
who fastened a stone to his neck, and 
immersed him in Lough Mask ; and a 
war followed, in which the partisans 
of MacWilliam Eighter and the Eng- 
lish of Connaught in general, suffered 
enormous losses; Turlough O'Conor 
succeeding, after a sanguinary struggle, 
in driving Edmond Burke altogether 
out of the province. The English 
were, on this occasion, expelled from 
the territories of Leyney and Corran in 
Sligo, and the hereditary Irish chief- 
tains resumed their own lauds there and 
in other parts of Connaught. As for 
Edmond Burke, he collected a fleet of 
shijjs or boats, with which he remained 
for some time among the islands on the 
coast of Mayo, but from these Turlough 
drove him the following year, and 
obliged him to withdraw to Ulster. 

A. D. 1339.— Turlough O'Conor, thus 
far crowned with success, brought ruin 
upon himself by his domestic misdeeds. 
Despising the laws of the Church and 
of society, he put away his wife Der- 
vall, daughter of Hugh O'Donnell, the 
lord of Tirconnell, and married the 
daughter of Turlough O'Brien, the wid- 
ow of Edmond Burke who had been 
drowned in Lough Mask. This act 
alienated from him the Connaught chief 
tains, and after an interval of three 
years spent in constant warfare, he was, 
in 134:2, deposed by the Sil-Murray and 
other septs, and Hugh, the son of Hugh 
Briefneach O'Conor, one of the Clann 
Murtough, chosen kmg in his stead. 


Notwithstanding tliis election, liowever, 
it is stated that when the unhappy Tur- 
lough was killed with an arrow in 1345, 
his son, Hugh, was inaugurated king of 
Connaught after him. 

Keverting to the affairs of the Pale, 
we find that Desmond, who had been 
released from prison on bail in 1333, 
after eighteen months' captivity, re- 
paired to Scotland wdth some troops, 
in obedience to a summons _ from the 
king, and was probably present at the 
decisive battle gained by Edward over 
the Scots at Hallidou Hill ; the famous 
expedition of Edward HI. into Scotland 
on this occasion, having been cloaked 
up to the last moment by a pretence 
that the preparations he was making 
were for a visit to Ireland. Subsequent- 
ly, the earl of Desmond was actively 
engaged against the Irish in Kerry, as 
the earl of Kildare was against the 
O'Dempseys and other septs, in Leinster. 
Twelve hundred of the men of Kerry 
were slain in one battle, in 1339, and 
Maurice FitzNicholas, lord of Kerry, 
who had been fighting in their ranks, 
was taken and confined in prison, where 
he died.* 

A. D. 1341. — Plans which Edward 
had long since formed for breaking 
down the ascendency of the great 
Anglo-Irish lords were now matured, 
and he sent over Sir John Morris, as 
lord deputy, to carry them into execu- 

* This Engljsli knight had, many years before, 
rusUed into tho assize court at Tralee, and killed 
Dermot, heir of the MacCarthy More, while sitting with 
the judge on the bench ; yet the law suffered this crime 
to go unexpiated. 

tion. His first sweeping measure was 
the resumption of all the lands, liberties, 
seigniories, and jurisdictions which eith- 
er he or his father had granted in 
Ireland. Another ordinance recalled 
any remission which had been made by 
himself or his predecessors, of debts 
due to the crown, and decreed that all 
such debts should be levied without 
delay. Other rigorous and arbitrary 
measures were also adopted, but that 
which indicated most clearly the design 
of the king was an ordinance declaring 
that, whereas it had appeared to him 
and his council that they would be 
better and more usefully served in 
Ireland by Englishmen, whose revenues 
were derived from England, than by 
Irish or English who possessed estates 
only in Ireland, or were married there, 
his justiciary should, after diligent inqui- 
ries, remove all such officers as were 
married or held estates in Ireland, and 
replace them by fit Englishmen hav- 
ing no personal interest whatever in 

A. D, 1342. — ^This declaration of the 
royal views and intentions aroused the 
indignation of the proud Anglo-Irish 
nobles, who had been allowed to be- 
come much too powerful before this at- 
tempt was made to humble them. It 
was the first public avowal of a jealous 
distinction between the English by 
birth and the English by descent, and 
was subsequently condemned as a fa- 
tal mistake. To allay the excite- 

f Close Roll, 15 Edward in. Prynne's Collections 
Cox, vol. i., p. 118. 



meut which was produced by it, the 
lord deputy summoued a parliament to 
meet in Dublin, in October; but the 
earl of Desmond and many other lords 
peremptorily refused to attend, and 
held a general assembly, or convention, 
of. their own, at Ki-lkennj^, in Novem- 
ber, where they adopted a long and 
spirited remonstrance to the king, set- 
ting forth the rights which they had 
inherited from their ancestors, their 
claims to the favor and protection of 
the king, and the injustice and unrea- 
sonableness of the ordinances now is- 
sued against them. They complained 
bitterly of the neglect, peculation, fraud, 
and mismanagement of the English of- 
ficials sent over to this country ; enu- 
merated a long catalogue of charges, at- 
tributing, among other things, to the mal- 
administration of those Englishmen, the 
unguarded state of the country, the loss 
of one-third part of the territories which, 
they said, had been conquered by the 
king's progenitors, and were now reta- 
ken by his Irish enemies, and the aban- 
donment to the Irish of the strong cas- 
tles of Koscommon, Kandown, Athlone, 
and Bunratty ; and, in conclusion, they 
prayed that they might not be deprived 
of their free holdings without being 
called in judgment, pursuant to the 
provision of Magna Charta. The king's 
answer to the remonstrants was favora- 
ble on most points; in particular, he 

* " Coyn and livery," was an exaction of money, food, 
and entertainment for the soldiers, and of forage for 
their horses. A tax of a similar kind, under the name 
of bonaght, existed among the Irish, but it was regulated 

confirmed the grants of his predecessors, 
and in the case of lands granted by 
himself, he restored those which had 
been resumed, on security being given 
that they should be surrendered if found 
to have been granted without cause. 
He was just then entering upon a war 
with France, and this circumstance 
suggested the propriety of a more concil- 
iatory policy towards the Anglo-Irish 

A. D. 1344.— Sir Ealph Uflbrd, who 
had married the widow of the mur- 
dered earl of Ulster, was now appoint- 
ed to the oflSce of lord justice, and 
exercised his authority with a harsh- 
ness and rigor that drew upon him 
general odium. His first efforts were 
directed against the power of Desmond. 
Tliat haughty earl refused to attend a 
parliament, called by Uflford, in Dublin, 
and attempted to assemble one of his 
own at Callan, but the new deputy 
soon showed that this game could not 
be played with him. He proceeded to 
Munster with an armed force, seized 
the eaiTs lands, and farmed them at 
rents to be paid to the king. He next 
got possession, by stratagem, of the 
strongholds of Castle-island and Iniskis- 
ty, in Keny, and hanged Sir Eustace 
Poer, Sir William Grant, and Sir John 
Cottrel, who held command in them, 
charging them with the illegal exaction 
of coyn and livery.* The bail which 

by fixed rules, and was part of the ordinary tribute pa'd 
to the chief. Among the Anglo-Irish it became a source 
of the most grievous oppression, without any just meas- 
ure, or any compensating consideration ; and as it 


had been given for the earl, when he 
was liberated in 1333, was dedared to 
be forfeited, and thus eighteen knights 
lost their estates.* Ufford contrived, 
and again by the emploj^ment of strat- 
agem, to get the earl of Kildare into 
his custody ; but the war which he thus 
waged so successfully against the proud 
and powerful aristocracy was cut short 
by his own death, in the mouth of 
April, 1346. Some of his • harshness 
was attributed to the ijersuasion of his 
wife ; and it is said, that this lady, who 
was received like an empress on her ar- 
rival, Avas obliged to retire clandestinely, 
amidst the execrations of the people and 
the clamor of creditors, carrying with 
her the body of her husband, in a lead- 
en coffin, to England. 

The policy of the king towards the 
Anglo-Irish was now modified; the 
severity of UiFord was condemned; 
the earl of Desmond was suffered to 
repair to England to plead his cause 
before the king, and Avas allowed 20s. 
2)6)' diem for his expenses while detained 
there ; the estreated recognizances were 
restored; the Anglo-Irish nobles were 
invited to aid the king in his expedition 
against France, and the earl of Kildare 
earned the honor of knighthood from 
Edward by his gallant conduct at the 
siege of Calais in 1347. Thus, after a 
few years the struggle between the 

pressed heavily upon the English as well as Irish popu- 
lation, it became necessary to prohibit it by stringent 
laws. The earl of Desmond referred to above is said to 
have been the first who introduced this exaction in its 
Anglo-Irish form. See Harris's Ware, vol. i., chap. xii. 

crown and the great lords of the Pale 
ceased for a time, all the lands and jur- 
isdictions of which the latter had been 
for a while deprived being restored. 
Desmond rose to such favor with the 
king that, in 1355, he was entrusted 
with the office of lord justice for life ; 
but he died five months after this honor 
had been conferred upon him, and his 
body was removed from Dublin castle 
to Tralee, where it was interred in the 
church of the Dominican friars. Thus 
ended the career of Maurice FitzThom- 
as FitzGerald, the first earl of Desmond. 
About this time Brien MacMahon 
gained an important victory over the 
English in Oriel, more than 300 of them 
having been slain, according to their 
own historians. In Leinster the colon- 
ists were not allowed much rest by the 
O'Tooles and O'Byrnes, on one side, or 
by the septs of Leix and Ofi^aly on the 
other. Lysaght O'More, chief of Leix, 
took and burned in one night ten Eng- 
lish castles, destroyed Dunamace, and 
expelled nearly all the English fi-om his 
ancestral territory. The MacMurrough 
was also in the field with a large follow- 
ing, as were also O'Melaghlin and the 
Irish of Meath. These latter were de- 
feated by the lord justice, in 1349, with 
the slaughter of several of their chiefs. 
Need we wonder at finding that about 
this time a royal commission was issued 

* According to some accounts, the earl surrendered 
himself to UiTord, and the recognizances estreated as 
mentioned above were those entered into for his libera 
tion on this occasion. 



to inquire why tlie king derived no rev- 
enues from his Irish dominions. 

A. T>. 1348. — This year is memorable 
for the outbreak of the terrible pesti- 
lence called the Black Death. That 
age was, indeed, one of fearful visita- 
tions. Our annals record about that 
period several years of famine from un- 
genial seasons. In 1341, an epidemic, 
called the barking disease, prevailed, 
when persons of both sexes and all ages 
Avent about the country barking like 
dogs. But the most awful of all these 
visitations Was the Black Death.* For 
some years, duiiug which the pestilence 
continued, our annals record few events 
save the deaths of remarkable persons 
^y]lo fell victims to it. Then followed, 
in 1361, another visitation called the 
"King's Game" or second pestilence, 
the exact nature of which is not known, 

* Friar Clyn, who was an eye-witness of its ravages, 
and is believed to have fallen a victim to it himself the 
following year, describes the Black Death in his annals 
under the year 1348, in the following expressive terms : — • 
" It first," he says, " broke out near Dublin, at Howth 
and Dalkey ; it almost destroyed and laid waste the 
cities of Dublin and Drogheda, insomuch that in Dublin 
alone, from the beginning of August to Christmas, 14,000 

souls perished The pestilence deprived of human 

inhabitants villages and cities, castles and towns, so 
that there was scarcely found a man to dwell therein ; 
the pestilence was so contagious, that whosoever touched 
the sick or the dead was immediately affected and died, 
and the penitent and the confessor were carried togeth- 
er to the grave." And after describing the terror it 
jiroduced and the symptoms of the disease, which sliow 
it to have been the real eastern plague, he adds : — " That 
year was beyond measure wonderful, unusual, and in 
many things prodigious, yet was sufficiently abundant 
and fruitful, however sickly and deadly. That pestilence 
was rife in Kilkenny in Lent. Scarcely one ever died 
alone in a liouso ; commonly husband, wife, children, 
and ser\'ants, went the one way — tho way of death." 
See tho authorities on this subject collected by Dr. 

although it was possibly only a return 
of the Black Death ; and in 1370 ap- 
peared the third great plague, which 
lasted for a period of three or foui 
years, and produced a fearful mortality. 
There can be little doubt that this 
series of calamities paralyzed the coun- 
try, and left its marks upon the history 
of the times.f 

A. D. 1361. — Lionel, third son of Ed- 
ward III., and earl of Ulster by right 
of his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of the 
murdered earl, was now appointed to 
the government of Ireland, wnth extra- 
ordinary authority, as lord lieutenant. 
He landed in Dublin on the 15th of 
September, 1360, with an army of 1,500 
men, and evinced from tlie first bitter ani- 
mosity towards the Irish, reviving more- 
over the distinction between the English 
by birth and by descent. A royal man- 

"Wilde, in his important report on the Table of Deaths ; 
Census of 1801. This plague, which originated in the 
east, ravaged the whole of Europe. Dr. Hecker says it 
must have swept away at least twenty-five millions of 
the human race. Stow, in his Clirouicles, says, that in 
Ireland it destroyed a great number of English people 
that dwelt there ; but such that were Irish born, that 
dwelt in tho hill coimtry, it scarcely touched. This, 
observe.o Dr. Wilde, was here called " the first great pes- 
tilence," being the first of tho five remarkable plagues of 
the fourteenth century, three of which occurred in the 
reign of Edward III. 

f During this dreary period the following entry oc- 
curs in the Annals of Clonmacnoise, under the year 
1351, " WOliam MacDonough Mo_i,-neach O'Kelly (chief 
of Hy-Many) invited all tho Irish poets, brehons, bards, 
harpers, gamesters, or common kcarroghs, jesters, and 
others of their kind in Ireland, to his house upon a 
Christmas this year, where every one of them was well 
used during Christmas holidays, and gave contentment 
to each other at the time of their departure, so as every 
one of them was wtU pleased, and extolled William for 
his bounty." 


date had been issued a short time before, 
ordering that no "mere Irishman" 
should be appointed mayor, bailiff, or 
other officer of any town within the 
English dominion; or be received 
through any motives of consanguinity, 
affinity, or other causes, into holy or- 
ders, or be advanced to any ecclesiasti- 
cal benefice or promotion.* But the 
principle of interdiction was carried 
much further by duke Lionel. In a 
war which he had to carry on against 
the O'Byrnes, just after his arrival, 
he issued a proclamation "forbidding 
any of Irish birth to come near his ar- 
my ;" thus excluding from his ranks all 
the old colonists, to their infinite dis- 
gust. After this gross insult a hundred 
of his best soldiers appear to have been 
slain at night in some unaccountable 
manner, whereupon, he abandoned the 
distinction of English by birth and 
English by descent, and summoned all 
the king's subjects to his standard.f 
Subsequently he endeavored to estab- 
lish discipline in the army; expended 
£500 in walling the town of Carlow, 
whither he removed the exchequer, and 
ingratiated himself by other acts with 
the colonists, who granted him two 
years' revenue of all their lands towards 
the prosecution of the war against the 

A. D. 1367. — Having returned to Eng- 
gland in 1364, Lionel was created duke 
of Clarence, and twice in the three fol- 
lowing years he was again entrusted 


with the office of lord lieutenant. In 
the year 1367, during the last period of 
his administration, was held the memor- 
able parliament at Kilkenny, in which 
was passed the execrable act known as 
the " Statute of Kilkenny." It is said 
that Lionel's chief object in his later 
visits to Ireland was to regain the pos- 
sessions usurped by the Burkes of Con- 
naught, and that his failure to attain 
that end was the real cause of the bit- 
terness of the act in question. The fol- 
lowing are the principal provisions of 
this statute : — That intermarriage with 
the natives, or any connections with 
them in the shape of fostering, or gos- 
sipred, should be dealt with and pun- 
ished as high treason ; that any man of 
English race assuming an Irish name, 
or using the Irish language, apparel or 
customs, should forfeit all his lands and 
tenements ; that to adopt the Brehou 
law, or submit to it, was treason ; that 
without the permission of the govern- 
ment the English should not make war 
or peace with the Irish ; that the Eng- 
lish should not permit the Irish to pas- 
ture cattle on their lands, nor admit 
them to any ecclesiastical benefices or 
to religious houses ; nor entertain their 
minstrels, rhymei-s, or news-tellers. 
There were also enactments against 
the oppressive tax of coyn and liveiy, 
against the abuse of royal franchises 
and liberties, and upon some other mat- 
ters; but the principal and manifest 
object of this most tyrannical and insult- 

•f Grace's Annals. 



ing statute was to keep the English aud 
Irish forever separate, and to wage a 
perpetual war against those of the Eng- 
lish race, wlio, holding lauds aud resi- 
ding among the Irish, were necessitated, 
more or less, to adopt the Irish customs 
and laws.* It was impossible to enforce 
sucli a law, and practically it became 
a dead letter ; but the distrust and na- 
tional enmity which it created were 
kept alive, and in the reign of Henry 
VII. (a. d. 1494) it was to a great ex- 
tent revived and confirmed. As to 
duke Lionel, he left Ireland in 1367, 
and died next year in Italy, where he 
had just taken as his second wife the 
daughter of the duke of Milan. 

While the Anglo-Irish Avere strug- 
gling with enemies in the very bosom 
of their colony, and praying by a peti- 
iou to the king for relief from the pay- 
ment of scutage upon the lands of which 
the Irish had deprived them in their 
daily encroachments upon the bounds 
of the Pale,* we see the native chief- 
tains acting in their respective territor- 

* " The result," says the late eminent antiquary and 
liistoriau, Mr. Hardiman, describing the effect of this 
statute, " was such as might be expected. English 
power and influence continued to decrease, insomuch 
that at the closo of the succeeding century they were 
nearly annihilated in Ireland. At the beginning, the 
native Irish, apprehending that the real object of a law 
enacted and proclaimed with so much jwrnp aud ap- 
pearance of authority was to root them altogether out 
of the land, naturally combined together for safety, and 
some of the more powerful chieftains resolved upon 
immediate hostilities. O'Conor of Connaught and O'Bri- 
en of Tliomond for the moment laid aside their private 
feuds, and imited against the common foe. The earl of 
Desmond, lord justice, marched against them with a 
considerable army, but was defeated and slain (captured) 
In a sanguinary engagement, fought A. D. 13G9, in the 

ies without any reference whatever to 
English authorit}', aud without appear- 
ing to recognize its j^resence iii the 
country. Hugh O'Conor, king of Con- 
naught,, and Cathal O'Conor (Sligo), 
led an army into Meath, in 1362, and 
laid waste the English lands, burning 
no less than fifteen churches which had 
been used by their enemies for garri- 
sons; but Cathal died of the plague 
the same year. In 1365, Brian Mac- 
Mahou, lord of Oriel, induced Sorly 
MacDonuell, a prince of the Hebrides, 
to i^ut away his wife, the daughter of 
O'Reilly, and to marry Brian's own 
daughter. Soon after he added anoth- 
er crime to this, by drowning his son- 
in-law, whom he had invited to drink 
wine in his house. The O'Neills, 
O'Donnells, and other Ulster chieftains 
confederated to punish the oftending 
chief; MacMahon was driven froiu 
Oriel, and having returned, was again 
attacked, aud ultimately slain by a gal- 
lowglass of his own followers when 
marching with them against the Eng- 

county of Limerick. O'Farrel, the cliieftain of Annaly, 
committed great slaughter in Meath. The O'MorcB, 
Cavanaghs, O'Byrnes, and O'Tooles, pressed upon Lein- 
ster, and the O'Neills raised tlie red arm in the north. 
The English of the Pale were seized with consternation 
and dismay, and terror and confusion reigned in their 
councils, while the natives continued to gain ground 
upon them in every direction. At this crisis an oppor- 
tmiity offered, such as had never before occurred, of ter- 
minating the dominion of the English in Ireland ; but 
if the natives had ever conceived such a project, they 
were never sufficiently united to achieve it. The op 
portimity passed away, and the disunion of the Irish 
saved the colony." — Statute of Kilkenny, published by 
the Irish Archseological Society, with introduction and 
notes by the late James Hardiman, Esq., M.R.I.A. Dub- 
lin, 1843. Close Roll, 40 Ed. III. Pyrnne, 303. 



lisL. Ilis fate aud that of Turlougli 
O'Conor, already related, show that the 
Irish chieftains, even in that age of 
anarchy, and among men of their own 
order, would not suffer glaring crimes 
to go unpunished. 

Garrett, earl of Desmond, at the 
head of an Anglo-Lish army suifered 
a great overthrow from Brian O'Brien, 
chief of Thomond, in 1369. Garrett 
himself was made prisoner; _his army 
was slaughtered, and Limerick was 
burned by the men of Thomond. ISTi- 
all O'Neill defeated the English, in 

1374, and again gained an important 
victoiy over them the following year 
in Down, slaying several of their 
knights ; but the native septs of Lein- 
ster were not so successful at this time 
in the harassing war which they had 
to sustain against the forces of the 
English government. Melaghlin O'Far- 
rell was slain in 1374. Donough Kav- 
auagh MacMurrough, king of the Irish 
of Leinster, was cut off by stratagem in 

1375. The MacTiernaus were defeated 
the same year, aud Hugh O'Toole, lord 
of Imaile, was killed in 1376. There 
was the usual amount of discord among 
the Irish themselves ; but the broils 
among the English at the same time, 
and especially the sanguinary feuds 
which raged between the different sec- 
tions of the Burkes in Counaught, show 
that the curse of dissension was not 
confined to the native race. 

So difficult aud odious had the task 
of governing Ireland become, that we 
find Sir Eichard Pembridge, the warden 

of the cinque ports, positively refusing 
the office of lord justice, which he was 
ordered to undertake, in 1369 ; and his 
refusal was not adjudged an offence, on 
the ground that the law required no 
man, not condemned for a crime, to go 
into exile, which a residence in Ireland, 
even in so honorable a position, was ad- 
mitted to be. When Sir William de 
Windsor was then appointed to the 
office, he undertook to carry on the 
government for £11,213 Gs. 8d. per 
annum, but Sir John Davies assures us 
that the whole revenue of Ireland at 
that time did not amount to £10,000 
annually in the best years. Previously 
the salary of the lord justice used to be 
=£500 a year, out of which sum he 
should support a certain number ot 
armed men. The subsidies which Ed- 
ward III. was obliged to levy in Ireland, 
not only for the wars in this country, 
but for those in France and Scotland, 
were intolerably oppressive, and were 
exacted from ecclesiastical as well as 
lay property. Kalph Kelly, archbishop 
of Cashel, opposed the collection of one 
of these imposts, as far as it affected 
the church lands in his province, and, 
accomj^anied hj the suffragan bishops 
of Limerick, Emly, and Lismore, dressed 
in their pontifical robes, appeared in 
the streets of Clonmel, and solemnly 
excommunicated the king's commis- 
sioner of revenue, and all persons 
concerned in advising, contributing to, 
or levying the tax. When cited to 
answer for this conduct, the prelates 
pleaded the Magna Charta, which de- 



creed the exemption of cLurch property; 
and althoiigli the cause was given against 
them, no judgment appears to have been 
executed in the case. On the Avhole, it 
may be said of the reign of Edward III., 
that, however brilliant it was in English 
history, it was most disastrous to the En- 
glish interests in this country; and as 
far as Irish interests were concerned, 

Mr. Moore has well observed, that, dur- 
ing it, were laid " the foundations of 
that monstrous system of raisgovern- 
meut in Ireland to which no parallel 
exists in the history of the whole civil- 
ized world ; its dark and towering in- 
iquity having projected its shadow so 
far forward as even to the times immedi- 
ately bordering upon our own. "* 



L.W against Absentees. — Uvenvs »a Ireland at the Opening of the Reign. — Partition of Connaught between 
O'Conor Don and O'Conor Roe. — Tlie Earl of Oxford made Duke of Ireland — His Fate. — Battles between the 
English and Irish. — Richard II. visits Ireland with a Powerful Army. — Submission of Irish Princes — Hard 
Conditions. — Henry Castide's Account of the Irish. — Knighting of Four Kings. — Departure of Richard II. 
and Rising of the Irish. — Second Visit of King Richard — His Attack on Art MacMurrough's Stronghold. — 
Disasters of the English Army. — MacMurrough's Heroism. — Meeting of Art MacMurrough and the Earl of 
Gloucester. — Richard Arrives in Dublin. — Bad News from England. — The King's Departure from Ireland — His 
unhappy Fate. — Death of Niall More O'Noill, and Succession of Niall Oge. — Pilgrimages to Rome. — Events 
Illustrating the Social State of Ireland. 

Coniemporanj 5of««i>is.— Popes : Urban VI., Boiufuce IX.— King of France, Chaiies VI.— King of Scotland, Kobcrt III- 
—Emperor of tho Tiirk.s, Bajazet I. 

D. 1309.) 

RICHARD II., only surviving child 
of Edward the Black Prince, suc- 
ceeded his grandfather, Edward III., as 
king of England, when only in his 
eleventh year, and the government of 
the state was carried on by the young 

* Hist, of Ireland, vol. iii., p. 118. — A curious entry 
on the Exchequer Issue Roll for the year 1370 refers to 
the close of this reign, and has often been quoted as 
f ingiilarly expressive ; it is to the effect that Richard 

king's uncles. One of the first measures 
of his reign relating to Ireland was a 
stringent law against absenteeism, oblig- 
ing all persons who possessed lands, 
rents, or other income in Ireland, to 
reside there, or to send proper persons 

Dere and WlUiam Stapolyn came over to England to 
inform the king how very badly Ireland was governed ; 
and that the king ordered them to be paid ten pounds 
for their trouble. 



to defend their possessions, or else to 
pay a tax to the amount of two-thirds 
of their Irish revenues; those who 
attended the English universities, or 
were absent by special license, being 

A. D. 1380. — Edraond, grandson of 
Roger Mortimer, earl of March, came 
to Ireland with extraordinary powers 
as lord lieutenant. Having married 
Philippa, the daughter of Lionel, duke 
of Clarence, and of Elizabeth, daughter 
of the dun earl, he became in her right 
earl of Ulster ; and several of the native 
Irish princes paid court to him on his 
arrival; among others, Niall O'Neill, 
O'Hanlon, O'Farrell, O'Reilly, O'Mol- 
loy, Mageoghegan, and the Sinnagh or 
Fox. One of the Irish nobles who thus 
visited the earl was Art Magennis, lord 
of Iveagh, in Ulster, Avho, for some 
charge trumped up against him, while 
thus within the grasp of his enemies, 
was seized and cast into prison. This 
act destroyed the confidence not only of 
the Irish, but, as we are told, of many 
of the English, who consequently kept 
aloof from the deputy. Mortimer in- 
vaded Ulster shortly after, destroying 
much property, lay and ecclesiastical, 
and the following year he died in 

A. D. 1383.— Roger Mortimer, the 
youthful son of the late earl, was nomi- 

* In 1380, before the arrival of Edmond Mortimer, a 
number of French and Sjianish galleys retired from the 
English fleet into the harbor of Kinsale, where they 
were attacked by ftio inhabitants, English and Irish, 
400 of their men being killed, and their principal ofS- 
<:crs captured. Holinshed gives this statement on the 

nated in his father's place, his uncle Sir 
Thomas Mortimer, chief justice of the 
common pleas in England, administering 
affairs for him as deputy. In so absurd 
a way was the office of lord justice of 
Ireland disposed of at that time, that a 
grant of it was next made for ten years 
to Philip de Courtney, a cousin of the 
king's, Avho abused his power by such 
gross peculation and injustice, that the 
council of regency had him taken into 
custody and punished for his crimes. 
An army was this year led by Niall 
O'Neill against the English of Antrim ; 
and the following year that j^rince took 
and burned Carrickfergus, and, as the 
annals say, " gained great power over 
the English." 

At this period the country was 
desolated b}^ plague as well as by war 
the fourth great pestilence of the foui 
teenth century having broken out in 
1382; and the ravages of the disease 
may be .traced for some years in the 
numerous obituaries which our annalists 

A. D. 1384. — A fresh source of dis- 
order now arose in Connaught. Rory, 
son of Turlough O'Conor, and last king 
of that province, died, after a stormy 
reign of over sixteen years, and two 
rival chieftains were set up in his place. 
One of these, Turlough. Oge, a nephew 
of the late chief, was inaugurated king 

authority of Thomas Walsingham, but it is not alluded 
to in the Irish or Anglo-Irish chronicles. 

f This pestilence Dr. Wilde suspects to have been a 
visitation of typhus fever. — See Report on TaMe oj 


by O'Kelly of Ily-Mauy, Clanrickard, 
aucl some of the O'Conors ; aud Tur- 
lougli Koe, son of Hugh, sou of Feliui 
O'Conor, the other competitor, was, 
about the same time, installed by 
IMacDermot, of Moylurg, the Clann 
Murtough, and all the chiefs of the 
Sil-Murray. The former was the an- 
cestor of the sept of O'Conor Don (the 
brown), and the latter of that of O'Co- 
nor Roe (the red); and between these 
two branches of the O'Conor family 
and their respective adherents impla- 
cable hostility prevailed for many years 
after. The territory of Counaught was 
divided between them, by which parti- 
tion the ancient power of that province 
was crushed for ever, while the country 
was laid waste by feuds, which seldom 
allowed any interval of re2:)ose. 

A. D. 1385. — In a moment of puerile 
caprice, Richard, who had been heap- 
ing honors upon Robert de Vere, earl 
of Oxford, bestowed Ireland upon that 
young favorite. He created him mar- 
pis of Dublin and duke of Ireland, 
transferring to him for life the sover- 
eignty of that kingdom, such as he 
possessed it himself; and the parlia- 
ment, which confirmed this grant, also 
voted a sum of money for the ftivorite's 
intended expedition to Ireland. Hav- 
ing accompanied De Vere as far as 
Wales, the youthful monarch changed 
his mind, and sending Sir John Stanley 
to Ireland as his deputy, he kept his 
lavorite near himself. Like that of all 
royal minions, the fate of the young 
duke of Ireland was unfortunate. The 

irritated nobles took up arms ; the duke 
of Gloucester, one of the king's uncles, 
joined them, and De Vere, defeated in 
battle, was driven into exile, and died 
in Belgium, in 1396. 

A. D. 1392. — Our annals mention a 
victory gained by O'Conor, of Offaly, 
in 1385, over the English, at the tochar, 
or pass, near the hill of Oroghan, in the 
King's county; and the Anglo-Irish 
chronicles record a battle, in which 
600 of the Irish were slain, in the coun- 
ty of Kilkenny, iu the year 1392. In 
this latter year Niall O'Xeill led an ar- 
my to Dundalk, where he defeated the 
English ; he himself, although far ad- 
vanced in years, killing Seffin White in 
single combat. This year died O'Neill's 
eldest son, Henry, who was distin- 
guished for his justice and munificence, 
but was surnamed, by autiphrasis, Av- 
rey (Aimhreidh) or the Contentious. 
Henry's sons wei'e warlike, and their 
names long occupy a conspicuous place 
in the annals of the northern province. 

A. D. 1394. — Richard having suddenly 
formed a project of visiting Ireland in 
pereon, countermanded the preparations 
whick the duke of Gloucester was ma- 
king by his orders to come to this coun- 
trj'. Ii'eland had become a perpetual 
drain on the royal exchequer. Not- 
withstanding the absentee laws, a great 
number of the Anglo-Irish proprietors 
resided in England, and the power and 
daring of the neighboring Irish septs 
were daily increasing. The king was 
resolved to take into his own hands the 
subjugation of the country; but this 



was not the sole motive for liis expedi- 
tion. He bad just suffered a mortifying 
repulse in German)^ where he hoped to 
be elected emperor, and had also lost 
his queen; and he sought by excite- 
ment and change of scene to heal his 
wounded feelings. Richard landed at 
Waterford, on the 2d of October, with 
an army of 4,000 men-at-arms and 30,000 
archers, which had been conveyed in 
a fleet of 200 ships. This was the lar- 
gest force ever landed on the coast of 
Ireland ; and the Irish, after retiring for 
awhile to their fastnesses, prudently 
judged that resistance to sucli an army 
was Avorse than useless, whereupon their 
chiefs came in considerable numbers to 
yield him homage. Beyond this show 
of submission, however, and a parade 
of his power which gratified his vanity, 
Richard, with his splendid and costly 
armament, effected nothing. No meas- 
ure of justice or conciliation was thought 
of; nothing was done to gain the confi- 
dence and esteem of the Irish, the laws 
of England were not extended to them, 
in fact every law was framed against 
them ; and there was no idea of treating 
them as subjects of the crown, on equal 
terms with the English, or of securing 
to them the possession of such portions 
of their ancient patrimonies as had not 
yet been wrested from them. 

O'Neill and other lords of Ulster met 

* It must have been immediately before this that 
Art MacMurrough, according to tlie Irish annals, burned 
the town of New Ross (Rosmic-Triuin) in Wexford, 
carried off a large quantity of valuable proix;rty, and 
Blew a great number of the English. It was with 

the king at Drogheda, and there did 
homage in the usual form. Mowbraj^, 
earl of Nottingham and lord marshal of 
England, was commissioned to receive 
the fealty and homage of the Irish of 
Leinster ; and on an open plain at Bal- 
ligorey, near Carlow, he held an inter- 
view with the famous Art MacMur- 
rough, heir of the ancient Leinster 
kings, who was at this time the most 
dreaded enemy of the English, and was 
accompanied at this meeting by several 
of the southern chiefs.* The terms 
exacted from these chieftains were that 
they should not only continue loyal 
subjects, but engage, for themselves and 
their swordsmen, that on a certain fixed 
day they would surrender to the king 
of England all their lands and posses- 
sions in Leinster, taking with them only 
their moveable goods, and that they 
would serve him in his wars against 
any other of his countrymen. In re- 
turn for their hereditary rights and 
territories they were to receive pen- 
sions during their lives, and the inher- 
itance of such lands as they could seize 
from the " rebels" in other parts of the 
realm, and for the fulfilment of these 
hard terms they were severally bound 
by indentures and in heavy penalties. 
No less than seventy-five chieftains 
from different parts of Ireland appear 
to have proffered their homage to 

difficulty this chief was pursuaded to offer his sub- 
mission, and when the English had hira in their 
hands there was some attempt made to detain him, 
O'Byrne, O'More, and O'Nolan being finally kept as 
hostages for him. 



Ricbard or bis coniuiissiouer on this 
occasiou ; and it is curious that tlie 
king iu a letter, written at the time, to 
his council iu Euglaud, after classifying 
the population of the English Pale un- 
der the three heads of " wild Irish, or 
enemies," "Irish rebels," and "English 
subjects," admits that the "rebels" had 
been made such by wrongs and Eng- 
lish misrule, and that if not wisely 
treated they might enter the ranks of 
the "enemies," whence he thought it 
right to grant them a general pardon, 
and to take them under his special pro- 
tection.* The council thought the 
king's treatment of the Irish too leni- 
ent, and suggested that he should exact 
large fines and ransoms for the pardons 
which he granted ; but his experience 
taught him otherwise. 

When Sir John Froissart, the French 
chronicler, was, in 1395, at the court 
of Richard II. in England, he met there 
an English gentleman, named Henry 
Castide, or Castile, who told him that 
he had lived for many years iu Ireland ; 
that he had been captured by the Irish 
in a skirmish, but had been well treated 
by the Irish gentleman who took him 
prisoner, and who afterwards gave him 
his daughter in marriage ; that he had 
thus acquu'ed a knowledge of the Irish 
language, and was, on that account, 
employed by king Richard to instruct 
four Irish kings, on whom he desired 
to confer the honor of knighthocrd, iu 

* Proceedings of the Prity Council, edited by Sir 
Harris Nicliolas. 
t The names of the Irislx kings are strangely mcta- 

such things as might be necessary for 
the ceremony. A courtier like Frois- 
sart \vas not apt to favor a people such 
as the Irish were then represented to be, 
nor was his informant prejudiced in 
their favor ; but the details transmitted 
to us through such hands are extremely 
curious. " To tell you the truth," said 
Castide, "Ireland is one of the worst 
countries to make w^ar in or to conquer, 
for there are such impenetrable and ex- 
tensive forests, lakes, and bogs, there 
is no knowing how to pass them. It 
is so thinly inhabited that whenever 
the Irish jilease they desert the towns 
and take refuge in these forests, and 
live in huts made of boughs, like wild 
beasts; and whenever they perceive 
any parties advancing with hostile dis- 
position, and about to enter their coun- 
try, they fly to such narrow passes it is 
impossible to follow them .... And 
no man-at-arms, be he ever so well 
mounted, can overtake them, so light 
are they of foot. Sometimes they leap 
from the ground behind a horseman, 
and embrace the rider (for they are 
very strong in their arms) so tightly 
that he can no way get rid of them." 

Sir Henry then proceeds to relate, 
among other things, how "four of the 
most potent kings of Ireland had sub- 
mitted to the king of England, but 
more though love and good humor than 
by battle or force ;"f how they were 
placed for about a month under his 

morpliosed in tlie orthography of Froissart, but tlioy apv 
pear to have been O'Neill, O'Conor, O'Brien, and Mac 
Jlurrough. — Chron,, booli v., c. G4. Johns' Translation. 



'cave and governance at Dublin, to teach 
tbera the usages of England ; how they 
refused to sit to dinner unless their 
minstrels and attendants were allowed 
Beats with them at the same table, ac- 
cording to the custom of their own 
country; how they at first objected to 
receive knighthood, observing that 
they had been created knights already 
when they were only seven years of age, 
such being the custom of their'country, 
especially with the sons of kings; how 
they ultimately acceded to the wishes 
of king Richard in eveiy thing and were 
knighted by him in the cathedral of 
Dublin, on the feast of Our Lady, in 
March ; and dined that day, in robes 
of state, at the table of king Richard, 
" where they were much stared at by 
the lords and those present, not, indeed, 
without reason, for they were strange 
figures, and differently countenanced 
to the English and other nations." So 
the courtly Sir John reports the words 
of Master Castide, and he adds that 
the success of Richard II. in Ireland on 
this occasion was partly owing to the 
veneration in which the natives held 
the cross of St. Edward, which the 
king embhazoned on all his banners, in- 
stead of his own leopards and fleurs 
de ?/.y. 

A. D. 1 395. — After nine months passed 
in Ireland, chiefly in those displays of 
pomp and pastimes which he so much 
loved, Richard was recalled to England 
by aftViirs of state early in the summer 
of this year, and left young Roger Mor- 
timer, who had been declared heir-pi-e- 

sumptive to the crown, as his viceroy in 
Ireland. Scarcely, however, had the 
king departed, when several of the Irish 
chiefs cast off the allegiance to which 
they had submitted for the moment. 
It would appear that even before he 
left the English suffered partial defeats 
in Offaly and Ely O'Carroll. We ai-e 
told, on English authority, that Sir 
Thomas Burke and Walter Bei-mingham 
slew 600 of the Irish this year, and that 
the O'Byrnes of Wicklow wei'e defeated 
by the viceroy and the earl of Ormond. 
But, on the other hand, MacCarthy 
gained a victory over the English in 
Munster; O'Toole slaughtered them 
fearfully in a battle in 1396, six score 
heads of the foreign foe being counted 
before the chief after the conflict ; the 
earl of Kildare was taken prisoner by 
Calvagh O'Conor of Off'aly, in 1398: 
and the same year the O'Byrnes and 
O'Tooles avenged many of their former 
losses by a victory at Kenlis in Ossory, 
in which young Mortimer was slain and 
a great number of the English cut to 

A. r>. 1399. — King Richard, who had 
of late incurred great popular odium in 
England by his exactions and oppres- 
sion, undertook the mad project of 
another expedition to Ireland ; and set 
out at a moment Avhen his government 
was surrounded by perils at home, 
leaving his uncle, the Duke of York, 
regent in his absence. He once more 
landed at AVaterford with another 
magnificent army, which, like the 
former one, was transported in a fleet 



of 200 ships ; and it is curious tLat on 
this occasion Ave are again iuclebted to 
a French chronicler for an account of 
the royal transactions in Ireland. A 
French gentleman named Creton, who 
was induced to accompany a friend on 
Richard's second expedition, has left us, 
in a metrical account of the last days of 
that unfortunate monarch's reign, some 
highly interesting details of what he 
witnessed in this country.* 

After six days' delay in Waterford 
the king marched to Kilkenny, where 
he remained fourteen days waiting for 
the arrival of the duke of Albemarle, 
who still disappointed him ; but, in the 
mean time, Jariico d'Artois, a foreign 
officer of great tact and bravery, and 
who performed many important services 
for the Euglish, defeated the Irish at 
Kells, in Ossory. On the eve of St. 
John the Baptist, Richard departed 
from the city of St. Canice, victualling 
his army as best he could, and marched 
against MacMurrough, the indomitable 
king of Leinster. The main object of 
the expedition was, indeed, to conquer, 
if possible, this celebrated chieftain, the 
most heroic of the Irish princes of his 
time, who, in a territory surrounded by 
the settlements of his English foes, and 
spite of all the lords justices sent 
against him with armies of mail-clad 
Avarriors and archers, and all the chiv- 
alry of the earls of the Pale, was able 

* See the Histoire du Rny d'AngUterre, Richard; 
translated by the Rev. J. Webb, in the twentieth vol. 
of the ArdiffiologiA : London, 1821. The portion of it 
relating to Ireland was translated long before by Sir 
George Carew, and published in Harris's Ilibcrnica. 

to hold his position as an independent 
king, to keep the Anglo-Irish govern- 
ment in perpetual terror, and to afford 
a rallying point to his oppressed 
countrymen, and an example of pa- 
triotic horoism to the native chieftains 
of all Ii'eland.f MacMurrough's strong- 
hold was in a wood, "guarded by 3,000 
stout men, such, as it seemed to me," 
says the narrator, "were very little 
astonished at the sight of the English." 
The king marshalled his array in battle 
array before the wood, the standard 
being, this time, not St. Edward's gold 
cross on a red field and four white 
doves, but his own three leopards ; and 
the Irish not choosing to leave their 
defences and meet him in the plain, he 
ordered the 'villages in the wood to be 
set on fire, and compelled 2,500 of the 
peasantry to cut a passage for his army 
through the wood. Meanwhile he 
amused himself Avith one of his favorite 
pageants, going through the ceremony 
of knighting his cousin, the duke of 
Lancaster's son, " a fair and puny 
youth, " who was afterwards king 
Henry V. of England, together with 
eight or ten other knights. While 
marching through the passage opened 
for them his army was constantly as- 
sailed both in the van and rear by 
MacMurrough's soldiers, who attacked 
them Avith loud shouts, casting their 
javelins Avith such might " as no haber- 

f See, for an interesting account of this Irish hero 
and his exploits, Mr. T. Darey M'Gee's "Life and 
Conquests of Art MacMurrouglt," in Duffy a Library of 



f^eoii or coat of mail was of sufficient 
proof to .resist their force ; " and who 
were " so nimble and swift of foot that 
like iiuto stags they ran over mountains 
and valleys. " MacMurrough's uncle 
and some others came forward in an 
abject manner to make their submission 
to Richard, who thereupon sent a mes- 
sage to the king of Leiuster himself 
uivitiug him to follow his uncle's 
example, and promising not only to 
pardon him but " to bestow upon him 
castles, towns, and ample territories. " 
The answer of the heroic Art was that 
" for all the gold in the world he would 
not submit himself, but would continue 
to war, and endamage the king in all 
that he could. " This defiant message 
was delivei-ed at a time when king- 
Richard's army was in the utmost 
straits for want of food. The sur- 
rounding country had been ravaged 
over and over, and no provisions were 
to be found. Several men had perished 
of famine, and even the horses were 
without fodder. " A biscuit in one day 
between five men was thought good 
allowance, and some in five days to- 
gether had not a bit of bread ! " At 
length three ships arrived with provis- 
ions from Dublin, the army being 
encamped somewhere near the coast in 
Wexford; but the starving soldiers 
plunged into the sea and rifled the ves- 
sels without waiting for a regular distri- 
bution of food, so that much of it was de- 
stroyed and many lives in the confusion ; 
and the men indulged to intoxication in 
the M'ine which they found in the ships. 

Covered with humiliation, king Rich- 
ard decamped, and marched towards 
Dublin, the Irish hovering on his rear 
and skirmishing with the same j^rovok- 
ing eifect as hitherto ; but soon after 
his departure MacMurrough sent after 
him to make overtures of peace and to 
propose a conference. This filled the 
English camp with delight, and Richard 
gladly commissioned the earl of Glou- 
cester, who commanded in the rear, to 
meet MacMurrough. For this purpose 
the earl took with him a guard of 200 
lances and 1,000 good archers; and 
among the gentlemen who accompanied 
him to see the Irish king was our 
French friend who relates the circum- 
stance : — " From a mountain, between 
two woods, not far from the sea, we 
saw MacMurrough descending, ac- 
companied by multitudes of the Irish, 
and mounted upon a horse, without a 
saddle, which cost him, it was repoi-ted, 
400 cows. His horse was fair, and in 
his descent from the hill to us, ran as 
swiftly as any stag, hare, or the swiftest 
beast I have ever seen. In his right 
hand he bore a long spear, which, 
when near the spot where he was to 
meet the earl, he cast from him with 
much dexterity. The crowd that fol- 
lowed him then remained behind, while 
he advanced to meet the earl near a 
small brook. He was tall of stature, 
well composed, strong, and active ; his 
countenance fierce and cruel." The 
parley was a protracted one, but led 
to no reconciliation. Such terms as the 
earl was empowered to ofi^er were 



h.iiightily spui'iied by MacMurrongh, 
who declared that he would not submit 
to them while he had life. Eichard, on 
hearing the result, " flew into a violent 
rage, and swore by St. Edward he would 
not depart out of Ireland until he had 
MacMurrough in his hands, living or 

Dublin was at that time so prosperous 
that the arrival of the English king, 
with an army of 30,000 hungry men, 
produced no change in the price of pro- 
visions. The duke of Albemarle next 
arrived with his reinforcements, and 
Richard, forming his army into three 
divisions, resolved to renew the war 
against MacMurrough, and at the same 
time offered a reward of 100 marks to 
aay one who would deliver that chief- 
tain to him dead or alive. His own 
fate, however, was nearer at hand than 
tliat of Art MacMurrough. After an 
ominous interruption of news from Eng- 
land for six weeks, owing to stormy 
weather, disastrous accounts reached 
him from that couutry. His cousin, the 
son of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancastei', 
was up in rebellion, and had been joined 
by the barons and a lai-ge portion of the 
population. All his Irish schemes were 
in a moment crushed. The duke of 
Albemarle, in whom he trusted, put 
him on a wrong course. His de2:)arture 
from Ireland was delayed until his 
Welsh friends were scattered, and he 

* Two plaintive quatrains in Norman French, ■written 
by this earl while a prisoner, are printed in Croker's 
popular songs of Ireland, p. 287. Earl Garrett is the 
theme of many legends still prescTvcd in the south of 

only arrived in England to become a 
prisoner. Ultimately he was murdered 
in Pontefract castle; and thus to this 
second ill-omened expedition of king 
Richard to Ireland may be traced the 
fate of that unfortunate monarch, and 
the origin of the war between the houses 
of York and Lancaster, which so long 
continued to deluge England with 

Niall More O'Neill died at an ad- 
vanced age, in 1397, and was succeeded 
by his son, Niall Oge, who chastised 
the O'Donnells for some of their late 
aggressions, and made war upon the 
English so effectually, in 1399, as to 
plunder or expel nearly all of them 
whom he found in Ulster. Garrett, 
fourth earl of Desmond, who died in 
1398, and was called the poet, is de- 
scribed as excelling "all the English 
and many of the Irish in the knowledge 
of the Irish language."* He was a great 
patron of learned men, who, even in 
that age of anarch)', found many friends 
among the Irish chieftains. Thus Niall 
O'Neill, whose death we have just 
mentioned, built a house for the ollavs 
and poets on the site of the famous 
jDalace of Emania, near Armagh. We 
begin at this time to meet frequent 
mention of pilgrimages to Rome. In 
1396, Thadeus O'Carroll, lord of Ely, 
repaired, says an Irish chronicler, to the 
threshold of the apostles on a religious 

Ireland ; according to one of which, his spirit appears 
once in seven years on Lough Qur, in the county of 
Limerick, where he ]>ad a castle. See Faur Masters, 
vol. v., p. 7U1, note. 



pilgrimage ; and, ou his return through 
England, he presented himself, with 
three other Irish gentlemen, O'Brien, 
Gerald, and Thomas Calvagh MacMur- 

rough, of the royal race of Leinster, to 
king Richard, who received them in the 
most courteous manner, and took them 
with him on a visit to the kincr of France. 



State of tlie English Pale. — The Duke of Lancaster in Ireland. — Defeats of the English. — Retaliation. — Lancastei 
again Lord Lieutenant. — His Stipulations. — Affairs of Tyrone. — Privateering. — Complaints from the Pale. — 
Accession of Henry V. — Sir John Stanley's government. — Rhj-ming to death. — Exploits of Lord Furnival. — 
Reaction of the Irish. — Death of Art MacMurrough Kavanagh. — Death of Murrough O'Conor, of Offaly. — 
Defeat of the O'Mores. — Petition against the Irish. — Persecution of an Irish Archbishop. — Complaint of the 
Anglo-Irish Commons. — State of Religion and Learning. 

Coiitemporarij Sovereigns and Events.— Fopes: Innocent VII., Gregory XII., Alexander V., John XXIII., Martin V.— 
King of Franco, Clmrles VI.— King of Scothmd, Eobert III.— Eevolt of Owen Glendower in Wales, 1401.- Death of 
Tamarlanc, tlio Taitar Conqueror, li03.— Cannon first used in England, 1405.— Battle of Azincourt, 1415.— Paper first 
miide of linen rags, 1117. 

(a. d. 1399 TO A. D. 1422.) 

WE have already remarked that 
the reigns of the English kings 
form no epochs in Irish history. In 
England the struggles between the 
crown and the parliament, the conse- 
quent growth of popular liberty, the 
alternate wars and alliances \vith other 
countries, and events of like importance, 
sufficiently distinguish one reign from 
another. In Ireland the scene varied 
but little. It was one of continuous 

* To that territory within which the English retreated 
and fortified themselves when a reaction began to set in 
after their first success in Ireland, we have all along 

strife and warfare ; the only redeeming 
feature being the indomitable heroism 
with w^hich the native Irish not only 
maintained their ground against their 
powerful and rapacious enemies, but 
gradually regained territories that had 
been wrested from their ancestors, and 
even succeeded, as was now the case, 
in levying tribute within the English 

A. D. 1402. — Thomas, the young duke 

applied the name of Pale, although that term did not 
really come into use until about the beginning of tha 
IGth century. In earlier times this territory was called 



of Laucaster, second son of Henry IV., 
was sent over as lord lieutenant, tliongh 
not yet of age, and landed at Bullock, 
near Dalkey. Soon after his arrival, 
Jolm Drake, then mayor of Dublin, 
marched against the O'Byrnes of Wick- 
low, whom he routed at Bray, slaying 
500 ; and as a recognition of this and 
other similar services, the privilege of 
having the sword borne before the 
mayor M'as granted to the city of 
Dublin. John Dowdal, sheriff of Louth, 
was publicly murdered in Dublin, by 
Sir Bartholomew Vernon and three 
other English gentlemen, for which and 
other crimes they were outlawed and 
their estates forfeited; but soon after 
they received the king's pardon and 
had their lands restored. The duke of 
Lancaster remained two years, and left 
as deputy Sir Stephen Scroop, who soon 
after resigned the office to the earl of 
Ormond, but on the death of the latter 
in 1405, the earl of Kildare was elected. 

the English Land. It is generally called Ffine-Ghall 
in the Irisli annals (see Fuvr Masters, v. lG3o, note I,) 
where the term Galls comes to be applied to the 
descendants of the early adventurers, and that of 
Saxons to Englishmen newly arrived. The formation 
of the Pale is generally considered to date from the 
reign of Edward I. About the period of which we 
are now treating, it began to be limited to the four 
counties of Louth, Meath, Kildare, and Dublin, which 
formed its utmost extent in the reign of Henry VIIL 
Beyond this the authority of the king of England 
was a nullity. The border lands were called the 
Marches. Campion describes the Pale as the place 
" whereout they (the English) durst not peepe." The 
Wicklow septs of O'Toole and O'Byrne frequently 
scoured the country as far as Clondalkin, Saggard, and 
other places in the immediate vicinity of Dublin. An 
authority of the reign of Henry VHL complains that 
even the four counties of Dubhn, Kildare, Meath, and 
Uriel, or Louth, were not " free from Irish invasions, 
and wore so weakened, withal, and corrupted, that 

and he was followed in quick succession 
by Scroop, and the new earl of Ormond, 
as deputies to the duke. 

Gillapatrick O'More, lord of Leix, 
defeated the English in battle at Ath- 
duv, in 1404, killing great numbers, 
and taking a large amount of spoils. 
The following year Art MacMurrough 
renewed hostilities by plundering Wex- 
ford, Carlow, and Castledermot ; and in 
1406 the English of Meath were de- 
feated by Murrough O'Conor, lord of 
Offiily, and his son Calvagh. Three 
hundred of the English were killed on 
this occasion. 

A. D. 1407.— This year the English 
avenged some of their recent losses. 
The lord deputy Scroop, with the eails 
of Desmond and Ormond, and the prioi- 
of Kilmainham, led an army against 
MacMurrough, who made so gallant a 
stand that victory for some time seemed 
to be on his side, although it ultimately 
declared for the English. The latter 

scant four persons in any parish wore English habits ; 
and coine and liverie were as current as in the Irish 
counties." — The same authority (a lieport on tht con- 
dition of Ireland in 1513, preserved in the English State 
Paper Office, and printed in the first volume of the 
" State Papers" relating to Ireland) states that but half 
of each of the four counties just mentioned was subject 
to the king's laws, and that " all the comyn PeopUe of 
the said Ilalff Countyes that obcyeth the Kinges Laws, 
for the more part ben of Iryshe Byrthe, of Irvshe 
Habyte, and of Iryshe Language ;" and in enumerating 
the English territories which paid tribute, or " Black 
Rent," to the " wylde Irish," it is stated that the county 
of Uriel (Louth) paid yearly to the "great Oneyir' .£40 ; 
the county of Meath, to O'Conor of Offaly, £U00 ; the 
county of Kildare, to the same O'Conor, £20 ; the King's 
Exchequer to MacMurrough, 80 marks ; busides the 
tributes paid by English settlements outside the Pale to 
their respective Irish chieftains Such was the statu 
of things more than oOO years after the so-called con 



then made a rapid raarcli to Callan, in 
the countj^ of Kilkenny, where they 
came by surprise npou Teige O'CarroU, 
lord of Ely, and his adherents, and slew 
800 of them in the panic which eu- 

Teige O'Carroll, who was killed in 
the fray, was a generous patron of 
learning; and it will be remembered 
that a few years before this time, when 
returning from a pilgrimage, to Rome, 
he was honorably received at the court 
of Richard IL, iu "Westminster. A par- 
liament was held this year at Dublin 
in which the statute of Kilkenny was 
confirmed, but the insolence which 
prompted this 2:)roceeding was soon 
after humbled. 

A. D. 1408. — The duke of Lancaster 
again assumed the reins of government 
in person ; but stipulated that he should 
be allowed to transport into Ireland, at 
the king's exjiense, one or two families 
from every parish in England, that the 
demesnes of the crown should be re- 
sumed, and the laws against absenteeism 
enf(»'ced. Soon after his arrival he 
seized the earl of Kildare in an arbi- 
trary manner, and demanded 300 marks 

* Botli English and Irisli accounts agree as to the 
number of slain, hut the former add " that the sun stood 
still that day for a space, until the Englishmen had 
ridden six miles !" a prodigj- on which the Irish annals 
are silent. 

About this time the first notice of usquebagh, or 
wliiskey, occurs in the Irish annals, -which mention 
that Richard MacRannal, chief of Muintir-Eolais in 
Leitrim, died from drinking soipe at Christmas, in the 
year 1405. Connell Mageoghegan (Ann. of Clon.) play- 
ing upon the name, says " mine author sayeth that it 
was not aqua vitce to him, but aqua 'mortis." Fynes 
Morryson, a writer of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, 

for his ransom. Meanwhile Slac^Iur- 
rough, who had again taken the field, 
was victorious in battle, and O'Conor 
Faly carried off enormous spoils from 
the English in the lands bordering on 
his OAvn territory. The royal duke 
finally left Ireland in 1409, after ap- 
pointing Thomas Butler, prior of Kil- 
maiuham, as his deputy. The latter 
held a parliament in Dublin the follow- 
ing year, when the law against coyn 
and livery Avas further confirmed ; he 
also made an incursion into O'Byrne's 
country, with a force of 1,500 kernes 
or light-armed infantiy, but without 

A. D. 1412. — Tyrone was for many 
years, about this period, a scene of 
contention between different sections of 
the O'Neill family, and the neighboring 
chieftains were generally involved in 
the strife. When Niall Oge O'Neill 
died, in 1402, his son Owen Avas unable 
to enforce his right of succession, and 
Donnell, of the Henry O'Neill branch, 
was recognized as chieftain. In 1410 
Donnell was made prisoner by Brian 
MacMahon of Oriel, Avho delivered him 
up to his enemy, Owen O'Neill, and 

lauds the ustjuebagh or aqtia vitm of Ireland, aa better 
than that of— History of Ireland, vol. ii., 
p. 360. 

f An Act passed in the parliament held in the year 
1411, affords a striking example of the malevolence with 
which the legislature of the Pale was animated towards 
the Irish. It was enacted that none of the "Irish 
enemy" should be allowed to depart from the realm, 
without special leave under the great seal of Ireland ; 
and that any one who seized the person or goods of a 
native thus attempting to depart should be rewarded 
with one-half of the aforesaid goods, the remainder to 
be forfeited to the State. 



through the agency of the latter he was 
transferred to the English, who already 
had iu their hands Hugh, another of 
the Henry O'Neill faction. Hugh made 
his escape from Dublin iu 1412, after 
ten years' imprisonment, and contrived 
to take with him several other captives ; 
among others, his kinsman Donnell. 
This escape created great alarm in the 
Pale, and threw Ulster once more into 
confusion. Seven years later Donnell 
O'Neill was expelled by Owen and the 
other northern chiefs ; and the following 
year we find the earl of Ormoud, then 
justiciary, acting vf'iih. an English army 
against the Ultouians on his behalf. 
Donnell and his Anglo-Irish auxiliaries 
were, however, unsuccessful, and the 
former was then obliged to fly for shel- 
ter to the O'Conors of Sligo. 

A piratical warfare was carried on 
at this period between the Scots and 
the English merchants of Dublin and 
Drogheda. The latter were obliged to 
arm iu their own defence, as govern- 
ment was unable to protect them, and 
they fitted out privateers and plundered 
the Scottish and the Welsh coasts in- 
discriminately. MacMurrough gained 
a victory over the English of Wexford 
in 1413, and the O'Byrnes another over 
those of Dublin the same year. A little 
before this, the sheriff of Meath was 
taken prisoner by O'Couor Faly, and a 
large ransom exacted for him. In fact, 
the state of the English Pale was at this 
time such that it was necessary to re- 

• Prooecdings, &c., of the Prinj Council, edited by 
Sir II. Nicliolas, vol. ii. 

move the prohibition of trading with 
the Irish of the Marches. Permission 
was granted to take Irish tenants on 
the border lands, and licenses were 
given to place English children with 
Irish nurses, and even to intermarry 
with the Irish. The English of Meath 
were obliged to purchase peace from 
the Irish by annual tributes or black 
rent. The English of Louth complained 
that the king's commissioners had bil- 
leted or assessed Eochy MacMahou and 
other " Irish enemies" upon them, and 
that these men were prying into all the 
woods and strong places about the 
country. A petition was presented by 
the commons to the king, complaining 
that even the king's ministers frequent- 
ly committed open acts of spoliation on 
the English subjects.'"' In a word, the 
speaker of the English House of Com- 
mons, Sir John Tibetot, broadly asserted 
" that the greater part of the lordship 
of Ireland (that is, the English territory 
there) had been conquered by the na- 

A. D. 1413. — Henry V. succeeded to 
the crown of England on the death of 
his father this year; but although he 
made his first essay iu arms in Ireland, 
having been knighted when a boy by 
Richard II., in a camp in Wexford, he 
does not appear to have ever taken 
much interest in Irish affiiirs. The Eng- 
lish overthrew the Irish in a battle at 
Kilkea in Kildare ; but in the following 
year they were defeated in Meath by 


Murrougli O'Couor, lord of Offiily, wben 
the baron of Skreen and many of the 
English gentry were killed, and the 
sum of 1,400 marks exacted as a ran- 
som for the son of the baron of Slane, 
who was juade prisoner. Sir John Stan- 
ley, who was now sent over as lord 
deputy, rendered himself odious by his 
cruelties and exactions ; and the Irish 
aunals say that he was "rhymed to 
death" by the poet Niall O'Higgin of 
Usuagh, whom he plundered in a foray, 
and who then lampooned him so severe- 
ly that he only survived five weeks !* 
He is accused of having enriched him- 
self by extortion and oppression, and of 
having incurred enormous debts, which 
his executors refused to liquidate ; and 
it was said that he " gave neither money 
nor protection to clergy, laity, or men 
of science, but subjected them to cold, 
hardship, and famine." 

A. D. U15.— Sir John Tiilbot of Hall- 
amshire, who was called lord Furnival, 
in right of his wife, and was subse- 
quently rewarded for his services with 
the title of earl of Shrewsbury, was sent 

* This was the second " poetic miracle" performed by 
tills Niall O'Higgin by means of his satire and impre- 
cations, the former being " the discomfiture of the 
Clanu Conway tlie night tliey plundered Niall at Clix- 
dann." In the case mentioned above, one of the Anglo- 
Irish, Henry Dalton, took up the bard's cause, and 
plundered " James Tuite and the king's people," giving 
the O'Higgins out of the prey a cow for every one that 
had been taken from them, and then escorting them to 

t The oppressive nature of coyn and livery is thus 
explained in the preamble to the statute (not printed) of 
10 Hen. VII.. c. 4 :— " That of long there hath been used 
and exacted by the lords and gentlemen of tliis land, 
many and divers damnable customs and usages, which 
being called coyn and livery and pay— that is, horse 

to Ireland as loi-d justice at the close of 
1414, and entered on the duties of his 
office with determined energy. Setting 
out on a martial circuit of the borders 
of the Pale, he first invaded the terri- 
tory of Leix, took two of O'More's 
castles, and laid waste the whole of his 
lands in so merciless a way, that that 
chief was obliged to sue for peace, and 
to deliver up his son as a hostage. The 
hardest of his terms was, that O'More 
should fight under the English standard 
against his brother chieftains, as he was 
compelled to do immediately after 
against MacMahou of Oriel, who was 
likewise subdued and compelled to 
yield to similar terms ; so that it was 
said lord Furnival " obliged one Irish 
enemy to serve upon the other." These 
successes, achieved in the space of a few 
months, gained for him the approbation 
of the inhabitants of the Pale ; but as it 
was necessary to revive the exaction of 
coyn and liveiy to support the soldier)^, 
the advantages were more than counter- 
balanced by the losses.f 

A. D. 1416. — No sooner had this 

meat and man's meat for the finding of their horsemen 
and footmen, and over that, 4d. or 6d. daily to every of 
them, to be had and paid of the poor earth-tillers and 
tenants, without any thing doing or paying therefor. 
Besides, many murders, robberies, raj^es, and other 
manifold oppressions by the said horsemen and footmen 
daily and nightly committed and done, which have 
been the principal causes of the desolation and destruc- 
tion of the said land, so as the most part of the English 
freeholders and tenants be departed out of the land." — 
Grace's Annals, p. 1-17, note ; Davis' Discovert/, pp. 143, 
144; also. Printed Statutes, 10 Hen. Vll., cc. xviii. and 
six The exactions of the Irish cliiefs were remodelled 
after the English invasion, and soon became totally 
diffL-rent from those set down in the Book of Rights.— Sec 
O'Donuvan's Introduction to the Book of Ri'jMs, p. xvili. 



foin]idal>le deputy departed to attend 
bis royal master in France, where he 
became the most distinguished of the 
English commanders, than the Irish 
again rose and made ample rej^risals. 
O'Conor Faly took large spoils from the 
Pale's men ; and the invincible king of 
Leinster overran the English settlements 
in Wexford, killing or taking prisoners 
in one day 340 men. The next day the 
English sued for peace and delivered 
hostages to him. This was the last 
exploit of Art MacMurrough Kavanagl). 
That Irish j^rince, the most illustrious of 
the ancient royal line to which he be- 
longed, died in 141Y. Our native annals 
say " he nobly defended his own pro- 
vince against the invaders from his 
sixteenth to his sixtieth year." He was 
distinguished for his hospitality and his 
patronage of learning, as well as for his 
chivalry, and was a munificent bene- 
factor of churches and religious houses. 
He is supposed to have be