Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Fragmentary Annals of Ireland (Author: [unknown])

Annal FA 241

FA 241

851 Kl. A royal gathering of the men of Ireland in Ard Macha, between Máel Sechlainn and Matudán, king of Ulaid, and Diarmait and Fethgna with the congregation of Patrick, and Suairlech of Indeidnén with the clergy of Mide.

Annal FA 242

FA 242

854 Indrechtach úa Fínnachta, successor of Colum Cille (and of Diarmait sapientissimus), was killed by Saxon robbers as he was going to Rome, and his sinless blood still remains in the place where he was killed, as a token of the vengeance God took for him on the people who killed him.

Annal FA 243

FA 243

In this year the Norwegian king was invited to Máel Sechlainn to drink, and there was a great feast waiting for him. And the Norwegian king swore to perform everything on his oath. But all the same he did not observe the least thing that he had sworn after he went out of Máel Sechlainn's house, but began immediately to plunder Máel Sechlainn's territories. However, he did not profit by that war.

Annal FA 244

FA 244

852 In this year, moreover, many abandoned their Christian baptism and joined the Norwegians, and they plundered Ard Macha, and took out its riches. But some of them did penance, and came to make reparation.

Annal FA 245

FA 245

852 Kl. Two abbots of Ard Macha, Forannán, bishop and scribe and anchorite, and Diarmait, the wisest of the Irish, rested.

Annal FA 246

FA 246

854 Cerball son of Dúnlang, king of Osraige (Máel Sechlainn's relative by marriage: that is, Cerball's sister, Land, daughter of Dúnlang, was wife of Máel Sechlainn, and moreover Máel Sechlainn's daughter was Cerball's wife) was sent by Máel Sechlainn into Munster to demand hostages after the death of its king, i.e. Áilgenán.

Annal FA 247

FA 247

856 Áed, king of Ailech, the king of greatest prowess in his time, gave


battle to the fleet of the Gall-Gaedil (that is, they are Irish, and fosterchildren of the Norse, and sometimes they are even called Norsemen). Áed defeated them, and slaughtered the Gall-Gaedil, and Áed brought many heads away with him. And the Irish deserved that killing, for as the Norwegians acted, so they also acted.

Annal FA 248

FA 248

855 A raid by Áed son of Niall to plunder Ulaid, but nevertheless he did not accomplish that easily, for the Ulaid routed Cenél Eógain, and Flaithbertach son of Niall and Conacán son of Colmán were slain there, along with many others.

Annal FA 249

FA 249

Almost at this time Rodolb came with his armies to plunder Osraige. Cerball son of Dúnlang assembled an army against them, and gave them battle, and routed the Norwegians. However, a large troop of the defeated people rode their horses up a high hill, and they were looking at the slain around them, and they saw their own people being killed in the manner in which they slaughtered sheep. Great passion seized them, and what they did was to draw their swords and take their arms, and to attack the Osraige so that they killed many of them; nevertheless they were driven back in rout. At Áth Muiceda that defeat was given. Then trouble occurred for Cerball himself there; that is, when the defeat was accomplished, and he was separated from his attendants, a group of the Norwegians came to him and took him captive. But through the Lord's help he was aided: he himself tore his clothes and the fetters that were on him, and he got away from them safely. Great indeed was the massacre that was made of the Norwegians there.

Annal FA 250

FA 250

?851 The Saxons won a battle over the Norsemen.

Annal FA 251

FA 251

At this time the Danes (i.e. Horm with his people) came to Cerball son of Dúnlang, and Cerball assisted them against the Norwegians, since they were afraid that they would be overcome by the stratagems of the Norwegians. Therefore Cerball took them to him honourably, and they were together with him often gaining victories over foreigners and Irish.

Annal FA 252

FA 252

?852 A great slaughter of the Norwegians by the Ciarraige at Belach Conglais, where many were slain by God's will.

Annal FA 253

FA 253

?852 A slaughter of the same heathens, moreover, by the Araid Cliach.


Annal FA 254

FA 254

In the same year the men of Munster sent messengers to Cerball son of Dúnlang, asking him to come with the Danes and the muster of Osraige to relieve and reinforce them against the Norse who were plundering and destroying them at that time. Now Cerball responded to that, and he commanded all the Danes and the Osraige to go to assist the men of Munster, and he was obeyed. Then Cerball proceeded against the Norwegians with a large army of Danes and Irish.

When the Norwegians saw Cerball with his army, or retinue, they were seized by terror and great fear. Cerball went to a high place, and he was talking to his own people at first. This is what he said, looking at the wasted lands around him: ‘Do you not see,’ said he, ‘how the Norwegians have devastated this territory by taking its cattle and by killing its people? If they are stronger than we are today, they will do the same in our land. Since we are a large army today, let us fight hard against them. There is another reason why we must do hard fighting: that the Danes who are along with us may discover no cowardice or timidity in us. For it could happen, though they are on our side today, that they might be against us another day. Another reason is so that the men of Munster whom we have come to relieve may comprehend our hardiness, for they are often our enemies.’

Afterwards he spoke to the Danes, and this is what he said to them: ‘Act valiantly today, for the Norwegians are your hereditary enemies, and have battled among you and made great massacres previously. You are fortunate that we are with you today against them. And one thing more: it will not be worth your while for us to see weakness or cowardice in you.’

The Danes and the Irish all answered him that neither cowardice nor weakness would be seen in them. Then they rose up as one man to attack the Norwegians. Now the Norwegians, when they saw that, did not think of giving battle, but fled to the woods, abandoning their spoils. The woods were surrounded on all sides against them, and a bloody slaughter was made of the Norwegians. Until that time the Norwegians had not suffered the like anywhere in Ireland. This defeat occurred at Cruachan in Eóganacht. Cerball came back home with victory and spoils.

Horm and his people were escorted by Cerball to the king of Temair after that. The king of Temair welcomed him and gave him great honour. Then he went to sea. That Horm was killed later by Rhodri, king of the Britons.

Annal FA 255

FA 255

860 In this year Mac Giallain died after fasting for thirty years.


Annal FA 256

FA 256

853 Kl. Aindle, learned man of Tír da Glas, died.

Annal FA 257

FA 257

853 Carthach, abbot of Tír da Glas, rested.

Annal FA 258

FA 258

853 Áilgenán son of Donngal, king of Caisel, died.

Annal FA 259

FA 259

853 Amlaib, son of the king of Norway, came to Ireland, and the foreigners of Ireland gave him hostages.

Annal FA 260

FA 260

858 Kl. In this year, the twelfth year of Máel Sechlainn's reign, Máel Sechlainn made a large hosting into Osraige and Munster, because the men of Munster had said that they would not give hostages to him; and that was why Máel Sechlainn declared war on them. And Máel Sechlainn had another important reason: Cerball son of Dúnlang, king of Osraige, that man who was worthy to possess all Ireland because of the excellence of his form and his countenance and his dexterity, took great annual tributes from the Laigin territories that he possessed. However, the people who went to collect that tribute, i.e. the stewards of Cerball son of Dúnlang, created great strife in collecting the tribute, and gave great insult to the Laigin. Therefore, the Laigin went complaining to Máel Sechlainn, and told this to him. Máel Sechlainn was seized by rage, and be brought a large muster against Cerball and the Munster men who were assisting Cerball.

Máel Sechlainn and his army then came to Gabrán, and it was at the edge of Gabrán that the other troops were. Although Máel Sechlainn's forces were more numerous, he did not attack them; instead they took a route other than that which was expected, till they reached Carn Lugdach, and there Máel Sechlainn was armed and equipped against all. When the men of Munster saw that, they left their camp and divided their army in two, and the king of Munster, Máel Guala, came against Máel Sechlainn with many horsemen. Cerball and his Danes—those left of Horm's followers who remained with Cerball—had their encampment in a brambly, dense, entangled wood, and Cerball had a great muster there about him. The learned related that Cerball had great difficulty there because Tairceltach mac na Certa practised magic upon him, so that it might be less likely that he should go to the battle; so Cerball said that he would go to sleep then, and would not go to the battle.

The troop which included the king of Munster overcame Máel Sechlainn's men at first. Then his foot-soldiers came up to relieve him (i.e. to relieve Máel Sechlainn and his followers), and they routed the men of Munster and massacred them. Many of their freemen were slain there. The learned relate that the number of the defeated army was twenty thousand.


FA 260

When Cerball heard of that, he decided that hostages should be given to Máel Sechlainn so that his territory would not be devastated; and Máel Sechlainn accepted hostages from him. For Land, daughter of Dúnlang, sister of Cerball, was the wife of Máel Sechlainn.

Máel Sechlainn went to Munster, and he was at Imlech for a month, raiding Munster, so that he took the hostages of Munster from Comar Trí n-Uisce to Inis Tarbna in the west of Ireland. That was the battle of Carn Lugdach. In that battle Máel Cróin son of Muiredach, one of the two kings of the Déissi, was killed. Although Máel Sechlainn did not make this expedition to take the kingship of Munster for himself, it was worth coming in order to kill those Gall-Gaedil who were slain there, for they were men who had forsaken their baptism, and they used to be called Norsemen, for they had the customs of the Norse, and had been fostered by them, and though the original Norsemen were evil to the churches, these were much worse, these people, wherever in Ireland they were.