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

Section 19


Maoilseachlainn, son of Maolruanuidh, son of Donnchadh, son of Domhnall, son of Murchadh, son of Diarmaid, son of Airmeadhach Caoch, son of Conall Guithbhinn, son of Suibhne Meann, son of Colman Mor, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland sixteen years. Arog, daughter of Cathal, son of Fiachraidh, king of Feara Cul, was the mother of this Maoilseachlainn.

When the Lochlonnaigh had been banished by Maoilseachlainn, as we have said, and by the nobles of Ireland, the Fionnlochlonnaigh took counsel together in Norway as to how or by what means they might obtain a footing in Ireland in the hope of attaining to the mastery of Ireland once more. The plan they adopted was to get ready three leaders, who were brothers and of the noble blood of Norway, with a view to sending them with a fleet to Ireland on pretence of trading, and with many desirable commodities and many valuable jewels to bestow on and sell to the men of Ireland, in order to secure peace and alliance with them; so that they might thus deceitfully get a hold on the country and harass it once more. The Polycronicon refers to this affair thus: After the death of Turgesius there came from the regions of Norway seeking for peace and on the pretext of trading three brothers, Amhlaoibh, Sitric and Iomhar to this island with their followers, and by the consent of the Irish who were fond of ease they set in order or built three seaports for their own residence, namely, Port Lairge, Ath Cliath and Luimneach. And after that, as the companies who came with them increased, they often made sudden attacks on the natives. {Post obitum Turgesii de Noruaegiae partibus, quasi sub pacis intuitu et mercaturae exercendae praetextu, tres fratres Amelanus, Cyracus et Iuarus cum sua sequela in hanc insulam appulerunt, et de consensu Ibernorum otio deditorum, maritima loca occupantes, tres civitates, viz., Waterfordiam, Dubliniam et Limericum construxerunt; qui tamen numero succrescentes contra indigenas frequenter insultabant.}’’


From these words it is to be inferred that it was by the deceit of these three leaders the Fionnlochlonnaigh from Norway found an opportunity once more of depredating Ireland. And they grew in strength once again in Ireland for two reasons. The first of these reasons was the abundance of help they got from Norway in soldiers and ships time after time; and the second reason was the disagreement and the constant dissension that existed among the Gaels themselves at that time, and in which they mutually spent much of their force. And, moreover, they were accustomed to give free quarters man for man to the Lochlonnaigh, whence came to pass that these obtained sway once more in Ireland, and that they held the Gaels once again in servitude from this time till the death of Brian, as we shall show from the annals of Ireland in the following narrative.

While the Fionnlochlonnaigh were harassing Ireland in this manner a large fleetful of Dubhlochlonnaigh came from Dania or Denmark to Ath Cliath, and they plundered the coast of the country and slew many people; and thereupon the Fionnlochlonnaigh assembled to meet them, and a battle was fought between them at Linn Duachuill where the Fionnlochlonnaigh were defeated and a thousand of them were slain; and the Dubhlochlonnaigh in consequence obtained great sway in Ireland. And soon after this Amhlaoibh, son of the king of Lochloinn, came to Ireland to become chief ruler of the Danes or Dubhlochlonnaigh, and he imposed a rent-tax on a great number of the men of Ireland.

It was about this time that Olchobhar, son of Cionaoth, king of Munster, died, also Flaithnia, bishop of Biorar, and Cormac, bishop of Latrach Briuin, and Niall, son of Giollan, this latter having lived thirty years without food or drink. It was about this time that a great assembly or convention of the men of Ireland was held at


Rath Aodha mic Bric under Maoilseachlainn, king of Teamhair, and Etgna, comhorba of Patrick, to make peace between the men of Ireland, and it was there Cearbhall, king of Osruighe, made submission to the comhorba of Patrick.

It was there also that Maolguala, son of Donnghal, king of Munster, and Cearbhall, king of Osruighe, made peace with Leath Cuinn. After this the people of Normandy stoned to death Maolguala, king of Munster. It was about this time that Maoilseachlainn, king of Ireland, fought the Battle of Drom Damhuighe, wherein he wreaked great slaughter on the Lochlonnaigh of Ath Cliath; and Domhnall, son of Ailpin, king of the Picti, died. Soon after this Maoilseachlainn, king of Ireland, died.

Aodh Finnliath, son of Niall Caille, son of Aodh Oirndighe, son of Niall Frasach, son of Fearghal, son of Maolduin, son of Maoilfithrigh, son of Aodh Uairiodhnach of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland sixteen years. Gormflaith, daughter of Donnchadh, son of Domhnall, was mother of Aodh Finnliath, and Maolmuire, daughter of Cionaoth, son of Ailpin, king of Alba, his wife, mother of Niall Glundubh.

It was in the reign of Aodh Finnliath that the following events took place, to wit, Conchubhar, son of Donnchadh, half-king of Meath, was slain by Amhlaoibh, son of the king of Lochloinn at Cluain Ioraird. After that this Amhlaoibh went with a numerous host of Lochlonnaigh to Foirthren in Alba, and pillaged and plundered the Picti and carried off hostages from them. It was about this time that Aodh Finnliath, king of Ireland, fought a great battle against the Lochlonnaigh of Loch Feabhail, and took away with him forty heads severed from the bodies of their leaders after he had slain twelve thousand of their number; and he robbed and plundered the fortress, spoiling it both of cattle and treasure. Soon after this Conall, bishop of Cill


Scire, died; and the dun of Amhlaoibh, king of Lochloinn, was burned in Cluain Dolcain by the son of Gaoithin and by the son of Ciaran, son of Ronan; and they slew a hundred leaders of the Lochlonnaigh. After that Amhlaoibh plundered and spoiled Ard Macha, and slew a thousand Gaels and took much wealth and a large tribute therefrom. It was about this time that Ceannfaolaidh, son of Moichthighearn, who was thirteen years of age, died, and Donnchadh son of Dubh dha Bhuireann, held the sovereignty of Munster fourteen years; and a battle was fought between the Picti and the Dubhlochlonnaigh in which many of the Picti were slain. After this Rudhruighe, son of Moirmhinn, king of Britain, came to Ireland, fleeing from the Dubhlochlonnaigh, and the relics of St. Columcille were brought from Alba to Ireland to save them from the same people.

It was about this time, according to Cormac son of Cuileannan, that Lorcan son of Lachtna, was king of Thomond; and when the Dal gCais possessed only Thomond, the northern side of the palace of Cashel from the extreme corner to the door belonged to them; and they had twelve cantreds of land to share among them, to wit, from Leim Chon gCulainn to Bealach Mor in Osruighe and from Sliabh Echtghe to Sliabh Eibhlinne, and it was they were in the van of the Munster host when going to meet the enemy, and in the rear when returning from them, as Cormac son of Cuileannan says in this stanza:

    1. They are first marching into the enemy's country,
      They are last when returning,
      Through the greatness of their valour in every adversity,
      This it is that distinguishes the Dal gCais.
Aodh Finnliath, king of Ireland, died at Drom Ionascluinn in the district of Conall; and Tighearnach, son of Muireadhach, bishop of Drom Ionasclainn, died at this time.

Flann Sionna, son of Maoilseachlainn, son of Maolruanuidh, son of Donnchadh, son of Domhnall, son of


Murchadh, son of Diarmaid, son of Airmeadhach Caoch, son of Conall Guithbhinn, son of Suibhne Meann of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland thirty-eight years. Lann, daughter of Dunghal, son of Fearghal, king of Osruighe, was the mother of Flann, son of Maoilseachlainn.

It was in the reign of Flann Sionna, king of Ireland, that the following events took place. For this king plundered and wasted all Munster and carried off captives therefrom. It was in his reign too that Domhnall, son of Muireigen was slain by his own companions, and Fiachna, son of Ainbhioth, son of Aodh Roin, who was king of Ulster for one year, and Donnchadh, son of Dubh dha Bhuireann, king of Munster, died. It was about this time that Cill Dara and Cluain Ioraird were plundered by the Lochlonnaigh; and Flonn Sionna, king of Ireland, convened the fair of Taillte; and Dubhlachtna, son of Maolguala, son of Donnghal, who was king of Munster seven years, died; and Sitric, son of Iomhar, was slain by a party from Normandy; and Aidheit, son of Laighneach, who was king of Ulster, was treacherously slain by his own companions; and Ard Macha was wasted by the Lochlonnaigh of Loch Feabhail, and there they seized on Cumuscach, king of Ulster, and Aodh mac Cumuscaigh, his son; and Domhnall, son of Constantin, king of Alba, died.