Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The History of Ireland (Author: Geoffrey Keating)

Section 16


Donnchadh, son of Domhnall, son of Murchadh, son of Diarmaid, son of Airmeadhach Caoch, son of Conall Guithbhinn, son of Suibhne, son of Colman Mor, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamhthaine, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland twenty-seven years, and it was on his pillow he died.

Aodh Oirndighe, son of Niall Frasach, son of Fearghal, son of Maolduin, son of Maoilfithrigh, son of Aodh Uairiodhnach, son of Domhnall, son of Muircheartach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland twenty-four years. Dunlaith, daughter of Flaithbheartach, son of Loingseach king of Cineal gConaill, was the mother of Aodh Oirndighe. And he is called Aodh Oirndighe, for when he was weaned from his nurse's breasts he set to suck his fists as if he were sucking his nurse's breasts; hence he was called Aodh Oirndighe or Aodh Doirndighe.


It was in the reign of Aodh Oirndighe that the Lochlonnaigh first came to Ireland in the year of the Lord 820. And twelve years after that the tyrant Turgesius came to Ireland, and it was Olchobhar, son of Cionaoth, son of Conghal, son of Maolduin, son of Aodh Beannain, who was king of Munster at that time according to certain chroniclers. But the Policronicon where it treats of Ireland in its chronicle says that it was when Feidhlimidh, son of Criomhthann, reigned in Munster that the Lochlonnaigh first came to Ireland. Thus it speaks: From the coming of Patrick to the time of Feidhlimidh, son of Criomhthann, king of Munster, thirty-three kings held the sovereignty of Ireland during the period of the four hundred years that elapsed from the coming of Patrick to Ireland till Feidhlimidh assumed the sovereignty of Munster; and in the time of Feidhlimidh came the Norwegians with their leader Turgesius to conquer that country, (that is, Ireland).{Ab adventu Sancti Patricii usque ad Feilimidii regis tempora 33 reges per quadringentos annos in Hibernia regnaverunt, Tempore autem Feilimidii Noruaegienses duce Turgesio terram hanc occuparunt.}’’

Others say that it was when Airtre, son of Cathal, reigned in Munster, the Lochlonnaigh began to come to plunder Ireland. And in this they are right. However, they did not get a grip of Ireland though they harassed the country. Moreover what the Policronicon states is true where it says that it was in the reign of Feidhlimidh, son of Criomhthann, over Munster that the tyrant Turgesius, who reduced Ireland to slavery, came. True also is the statement of those who assert that the Lochlonnaigh came to Ireland in the reign of Olchobhar over Munster, but the tribe who came hither then were the Dainfhir or Danes from Dania, that is Denmark, and it is these are called Duibhgheinnte or Dubhlochlonnaigh in the old books of the seanchus, while the Norwegians are called Finngheinnte or Fionnlochlonnaigh.

Understand now, O reader, that Lochlonnaigh in Irish is not a specific name for any particular tribe, but


Lochlonnach means a man who is strong at sea; for lonn means strong and loch means the sea; and since the inhabitants of those countries of the north of Europe held for a time powerful sway over Ireland, as we shall hereafter relate, the Irish called them Lochlannaigh, that is men strong at sea, because of the great sway they acquired over the Gaels as we shall show below on the authority of the book which is called Cogadh Gall re Gaedhealaibh. Here follows a short summary of the history.

While Aodh Oirndighe reigned over Ireland and Airtre son of Cathal was king of Munster, the foreigners came to Caoin-inis O bhFathaidh, their number being the manning of sixty ships, and they ravaged the country and plundered and burned Inis Labhrainne and Dairinis; and the Eoghanacht of Loch Lein gave them battle, and therein were slain four hundred and sixteen foreigners. Another fleet bringing Fionnlochlonnaigh, that is Norwegians, came to Ireland the second year of Feidhlimidh son of Croimhthann's reign over Munster, and they ravaged and plundered Inis Teimhin and Beannchair and Cluain Uama and Ros Maolaidh and Sceilig Mhichil. Another fleet came to the north of Ireland and they plundered Beannchair in Ulster and slew its bishop, and its learned people, and they broke the shrine of Comhghall. Another fleet of the same people came to Ui Cinnsealaigh, and they plundered Teach Munna, Teach Moling and Inistiog; and they went thence to Osruighe and they plundered the country; and the Ossorians gave them battle and seven hundred and seven of the Lochlonnaigh fell. Similarly Dun Deargmhuighe and Inis Eoghanain and Disirt Tiobraide and Lios Mor were spoiled by them. They burned and spoiled Ceall Molaise, Gleann da Loch, and Cluain Ard Mobheadhog and Sord Cholum Chille and the Daimhliag Chiarain and Slaine and Cealla Saile and Cluain Uama and Mungairid and the greater number of the churches of all Ireland.


Another fleet of them entered the harbour of Luimneach and spoiled and plundered Corca Baiscinn and Tradruidhe and Ui Conaill Gabhra, and the Ui Conaill gave them battle at Seannaid, and many of the Lochlonnaigh were slain therein, but we do not know the full number. After that Turgesius the tyrant came with a large fleet to the north of Ireland and became ruler of all the Lochlonnaigh that were then in Ireland, and they spoiled all the north of Ireland, and they let the Danair loose on the entire of Leath Cuinn; and they put some of their vessels on Loch nEachach and others in Lughmhuigh and on Loch Ribh, and they plundered Ard Macha thrice in a single month. And Turgesius took possession of the abbacy of Ard Macha, as Columcille had foretold, as he himself says:

    1. A fleet on Loch Ribh,
      The Gentiles will be greatly uplifted;
      Of them will be the abbot of Ard Macha,
      And the tyranny of a despot.

The saints of Ireland foretold that evil would befall Ireland through the pride of their rulers, and through their tyranny, hence the oppression of the Lochlonnaigh came on them in the reign of Airtre son of Cathal over Munster, and of Aodh Oirndighe over all Ireland. And it was with the tyrant Turgesius that the Lochlonnaigh came again to Ireland when Feidhlimidh, son of Criomhthann, was king of Munster; and it was this Turgesius who banished Farannan the primate and his clergy from Ard Macha, as we have said, and he took their place himself, and he was seized by Maoilseachlainn afterwards, who drowned him in Loch Ainninn, as we shall relate below. It was in the reign over Ireland of Aodh Oirndighe that the Lochlonnaigh plundered Inis Phradraig and many of the islands that lie between Ireland and Alba.

It was about this time that Patrick's tribute was imposed on the people of Connaught by Gormghal, son of


Din Dathaidh, and Aodh Oirndighe divided Meath between the two sons of Donnchadh, son of Domhnall, to wit, Conchubhar and Oilill; and I Coluimcille in Alba was burned by the Lochlonnaigh at this time, and Laighin was twice plundered in one month by Aodh Oirndighe, king of Ireland. In the following year, after the Feast of St. Patrick, there were great thunder and lightning in Ireland, which killed one thousand and ten persons, male and female, between Corca Baiscinn and the sea, and Inis Fide burst itself into three parts, and in that place as much land as would support twelve cows was deluged, the sea having come over it.

It was about this time that Aodh Oirndighe, king of Ireland, together with a numerous host went into Leinster to Dun Cuair; and he divided the province of Leinster between two, that is between Muireadhach, son of Ruaraidh and Muireadhach, son of Bran. After that the Lochlonnaigh burned Inis Muireadhaigh. About this time Eochaidh, bishop of Tamhlacht, died; and the Lochlonnaigh wreaked great slaughter on the men of Umhall, on which occasion Coscrach, son of Flonn Abhradh and Dunadhach, king of Umhall, died; and Eidirsceol, son of Ceallach, bishop of Gleann da Loch, and Siadhal, bishop of Ros Commain, died. After that Aodh Oirndighe, king of Ireland, was slain in the Battle of Da Fearta by Maolcanaigh.