1315 First of January on Wednesday and the eighteenth day of the moon, A.D. MCCCXV. Fifth year of the Lunar Cycle; thirteenth year of the Indiction. Common year. E.
Edward son of Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, came to Ireland, landing on the coast of North Ulster with the men of three hundred ships, and his warlike slaughtering army caused the whole of Ireland to tremble, both Gael and Gall. He began by harrying the choicest part of Ulster, burning Rathmore in Moylinny, and Dundalk, and killing their inhabitants. He then burned Ardee and took the hostages and lordship of the whole Province without opposition; and the Ulstermen consented to his being proclaimed King of Ireland, and all the Gaels of Ireland agreed to grant him lordship and they called him King of Ireland.
When Richard Burke, Earl of Ulster, heard that Edward was approaching to attack him he brought together a great army from all sides to Roscommon at first, marching thence to Athlone and obliquely through Meath and Mag Breg, having with him Feidlim O Conchobair, king of Connacht, their numbers being about twenty battalions; and this time the Galls spared not saint or shrine, however sacred, nor churchman or layman or sanctuary, but went wasting and ravaging across Ireland from the Shannon in the south to Coleraine and Inishowen in
p.233the north. And when this mighty column of a single host came marching together into Bregia they saw coming to meet them Edmund Butler, Justiciar of Ireland, with thirty tight battalions; but the Earl would not let him join his assembled force, for he trusted to himself and his own men to expel the Scots from Ireland. That night the Earl lay at Ardee beside Slieve Brey, while Edward Bruce with his Ulstermen and Scots lay at Inishkeen, and next day the Earl followed them up and encamped at Louth. Then William Burke went out to catch Edward and his Scots unawares (?) and a few on each side were killed.
Now Edward and his army moved northwards next day, at the bidding of O Neill and the Ulstermen, till they came to Coleraine and the borders of Inishowen, and they threw down the bridge of Coleraine to hinder the Earl; and he followed them up and encamped opposite Edward and the Ulstermen on the river at Coleraine; and between them they left neither wood nor lea nor corn nor crop nor stead nor barn nor church, but fired and burnt them all. For the two armies were not able to meet and join battle, being parted by the rushing wild deep Bann; yet there was much fighting between them from one side of the river to the other every day.
But when Edward heard how good a man was Feidlim O Conchobair, king of Connacht, he sent men to seek him out covertly and to offer him the possession of Connacht without partition, if he would desert the Earl and maintain his right to that province. And Feidlim listened tolerantly to these proposals and agreed with Edward.
Now Ruaidri son of Cathal Ruad O Conchobair, on seeing Connacht left unguarded, went with a few followers to speak with Edward at Coleraine, travelling across Tirconnell eastwards, and promised to banish the Galls from the lordship of Connacht. And Edward consented after that to his making war on the Galls, provided that he did not commit depredation on Feidlim or trespass on his territory.
This [however] is not how Ruaidri acted. He assembled the men of Connacht and Brefne, together with many gallowglasses, and penetrated to the midst of Sil Murray and the rest of Connacht, and forthwith burned the town of Sligo, Ballymote, the great castle of Kilcolman, Ballintober, Dunamon with its castle, Roscommon, Randoon and Athlone, as well as all the houses which lay on his route. He then demanded [recognition of his] dominion and lordship from Mac Diarmata but got neither
p.235pledge nor hostage from him; but he took pledges and hostages of the rest of the Sil Murray and was made king on Carnfree. After this he remained for some time among them, ravaging every neighbour who was not submissive to him and waiting for tidings(?) of Feidlim and the army which was in Ulster with him.
Feidlim O Conchobair, king of Connacht, when he heard that Ruaidri was returning into Connacht to contest the kingship, understood what his expedition had cost him, and telling the Earl that Ruaidri would gain the day in his absence, he hurriedly left the Earl and came towards Connacht to contest it. And an uneasy journey he found awaiting him, for he suffered raid or attack every day on his way through Ulster and Oriel till he reached Granard and Kilnanawse and the followers of Sean O Fergail, his mother's brother. Here his company was destroyed; and when their booty with their troop had escaped from him he gave leave to the chieftains and sub-kings who had been with him on this ill-sped journey to repair to their own houses and to accept the lordship of Ruaidri, rather than become landless men with himself. For if I regain power you shall be with me; but at all events, since there can be no peace between my foster-father and Ruaidri, we two will remain together for the time that our war lasts.
As for the Earl and William Burke and the other Galls, when they saw that they were not to have the support of Feidlim, and that their own army was in sorry condition, they fell back from Coleraine to Connor Castle. On seeing this the Ulstermen and Scots followed the Earl with all speed to Connor; and on battle being joined between them William Burke and his knights and the two sons of Mac in Miled were captured and the Earl fled without delay till by devious ways he reached Connacht. On his arrival his Gall friends came to him from every hand, hoping that he would support and succour them, and his Gael friends came into his house likewise, chief among whom were Feidlim O Conchobair, king of Connacht, and Muirchertach O Briain, king of Thomond, and Maelruanaid Mac Diarmata, king of the Muinter Mailruanaid, and Gillibert O Cellaig, king of the Ui Maine, who had all been expelled from the country. But when Mac Diarmata saw this throng of deposed kings and exiles
p.237in the one house he was ashamed and swore he would never be reckoned among the deposed kings in any house again, but that he would go by his own action into his own territory, as fortune might grant him; and he put himself under the protection of Tadc O Cellaig, who made a semblance of peace for him with Ruaidri; he to recover his patrimony and to give hostages to Ruaidri mac Cathail.
Aed Ballach son of Magnus son of Conchobar Ruad son of Muirchertach Muimnech was craftily killed by Cathal son of Domnall O Conchobair; and they killed Aed son of Art and Diarmait son of Simon of the Strand in revenge for his having killed their father.
Great raids were made by the sons of Domnall [O Conchobair] on the Clan Murtagh the next day. They killed Magnus son of Magnus and Domnall son of Magnus as they pursued the preys, and Tomaltach Mac Donnchada was captured also by these same people, and after these triumphs they put themselves under the protection of the Galls. When Feidlim heard of these great feats he set off, with a few of his officers, to join the sons of Domnall son of Tadc O Conchobair, namely Ruaidri and Magnus, Cathal and Muirchertach, Donnchad and Seon and all their kinsmen. And on finding them loyal he made great raids, first on Brian O Dubda and then in Airtech, on Diarmait Gall Mac Diarmata, killing many of his men and burning his corn and houses, and another immediately afterwards on the sons of Cathal O Flannacain. The route by which this prey was taken was towards Cara Chula Cuirc, and it was not possible to drive it for the softness of the bog and for the numbers and force of the pursuing party; for it was caught up by the flower of the young soldiers of the Tuatha and the flower of the Clann Chathail and Mathgamain Mag Ragnaill, chieftain of the Muinter Eolais, with his kinsmen and his levies. Now when Mac Diarmata perceived the disorder of the prey on the way to the Cara (Weir), he followed its tracks to Coll Bathar, where he saw that it had been saved and detained. Now that was not what he wished for, but that it should not be left in the hands of its masters; and he glanced wrathfully and banefully at his enemies, holding them in contempt and scorn, though his following was but small compared with them and though he saw the wide flashing fiery throng prepared to crush him in the fight. However, on that field were killed Conchobar
p.239Ruad son of Aed Brefnech O Conchobair, Mathgamain Mag Ragnaill, chieftain of the Muinter Eolais, O Mailmiadaig, chieftain of the Muinter Cerballain, and many nobles of the Muinter Eolais; and he routed every company which was holding back his booty from Feidlim and carried off the prey himself and did not restore it to its lords. That night he reached the Boyle and next day passed northwestwards over the Curlieus to Coolavin and right through Coran into Leyney, where Feidlim with his company was awaiting him.
As for Ruaidri, when he heard that Mac Diarmata had done these deeds and depredations and was gone to join his foster-son, he hastily assembled an army and encamped at Ballymore; and he violated the sanctity of Killaraght, Assylin, the monastery of Boyle and the churches at large, by robbing them of cattle and corn. Moreover Tomaltach son of Muirgius son of Donnchad son of Tomaltach went over to Feidlim with his chieftains and followers. And at this time Diarmait Gall went to Cruachan. At this time also Tadc O Cellaig with his followers came to support Ruaidri son of Cathal, in fulfilment of the guarantee which he gave on behalf of Mac Diarmata, now that Mac Diarmata had broken his covenant with Ruaidri, and they both pursued Fedlim and Mac Diarmata and the chieftains these had with them as far as Leith Luigne and the slopes of Sliab Gam, and in particular to Glenn Fathraim, where they killed many thousand cows and sheep and horses. At that time they stripped women and ruined children and lowly folk, and never within the memory of man were so many cattle, fruitlessly destroyed in one place.
As for Maelruanaid Mac Diarmata, when he heard that Diarmait Gall had established himself in the seat of dignity of his own family and on the Rock of Loch Key, and that he had been sent to be made king at Cruachan, and when his own cows had been slaughtered in Glenn Fathraim, he marched with his household troops and retainers to the Callow of the Rock and, turning his back to the Shannon, he plundered from that river to Cara, where the eraghts of the Three Ciarraige were assembled with their flocks and herds, namely the Western Ciarraige, the Ciarraige of Mag nAi and the Ciarraige of Airtech;
p.241and it is not likely that there was made in that age a fiercer or a more booty-getting attack than this raid. For the whole province shook thereat, and the wife of Diarmait Gall was carried off into captivity, with a few of her ladies, and Diarmait himself never enjoyed happiness or comfort after it. Yet after this raid Fedlim and his foster-father were informed that there were still some cows in Moylurg, and they went looking for them and plundered all the cows and horses they found. Diarmait Gall got warning of their approach this time, but it was of no benefit to him; for though he mustered a mighty pursuingparty the raiders did not relinquish their prey, and the whole of Moylurg was beggared and bare from that time on, for therein was no shelter or protection in church sanctuary or lay refuge, but its cattle and corn were snatched from its altars and given to gallowglasses for the wages due to them.
The township of Dunmore was burned by Ruaidri O Conchobair.
Aughrim in Ui Maine and its castle were burned.
The Cantred of Maenmag was plundered and burned by Tadc O Cellaig.
Fedlim O Conchobair, Mac Diarmata, Tomaltach Mac Donnchada, and the sons of Domnall O Conchobair all put themselves under the protection of the Galls of West Connacht and, half-willing and half-loth, they wasted Tir nEna, Tir Nechtain, Muinter Crechain and Dunmore.
Richard Burke, Earl of Ulster, was a wanderer up and down Ireland all this year, with no power or lordship.
Many afflictions in all parts of Ireland: very many deaths, famine and many strange diseases, murders, and intolerable storms as well.
Aed O Domnaill, king of Tir Conaill, came into Carbury and ravaged the whole district, being advised thereto by his wife, the daughter of Magnus O Conchobair. She herself, with all the gallowglasses and men of the Clan Murtagh that she could obtain, marched against the churches of Drumcliff and plundered many of its clergy.
Sligo cattle was razed by Aed O Domnaill on this occasion, and they got much booty in it.
Tadc O hUicinn, a general master of all arts connected with poetry, died.
Domnall Mag Tigernain, chieftain of Tullyhunco, who used to be called the Saitnech, was killed by Cathal na Taisech (of the Chieftains) O Ruairc.
Amlaib O Fergail died.