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

Section 29


We read in the chronicle of Hackluite that when Muircheartach O Briain held the sovereignty of Ireland the people of the Isles sent envoys to him to request him to send some one of his kinsmen of the royal blood to rule over the Isles during the nonage of Olanus or Amhlaoibh son of Gothfruidh, who had an hereditary right to be king of the Isles; and Muircheartach sent a nobleman of his own kindred named Domhnall son of Tadhg O Briain to rule over them, and he held sovereignty over them three years, when he began to tyrannise over them, and for this reason the people of the Isles sent him back to Ireland.

We read in the same author that Maghnus, son of Amhlaoibh, son of Aralt, who was king of Norway, sent envoys to Muircheartach O Briain, and sent his own shoes with them, to command Muircheartach to place the shoes on his shoulders; and when the envoys had come into his presence they gave him their message. Muircheartach took the shoes from them and put them on his shoulders; and when the nobles who were with him saw this, they became greatly enraged, and they reproached him for having done this deed. ‘I prefer to do this,’ said Muircheartach, ‘to Maghnus's plundering any province of Ireland.’ After this Maghnus got ready a large fleet and came from Norway to Ireland to injure and ruin that country, and when he had come near Ireland he came to land himself with a wing of the fleet through his great hurry to work havoc; and when they had landed, the inhabitants of the country were in readiness for them; and when Maghnus and his detachment came on land the inhabitants sprang upon them, and Maghnus and his party were slain on that expedition. And when the men of the fleet he had left


behind heard that Maghnus their leader was slain, they returned to Norway.

This Muircheartach O Briain of whom we are treating after he had spent five years in trouble died repentant at Ard Macha, and was buried at Cill Dalua in the principal church.

Toirrdhealbhach Mor, son of Ruaidhri O Conchubhair, held the sovereignty of the greater part of Ireland after Muircheartach O Briain for the space of twenty years. It was in his reign the following events took place. This Toirrdhealbhach built three chief bridges in Connaught, to wit, the bridge of Ath Luain and the bridge of Ath Crochdha on the Sionainn and the bridge of Dun Leoghdha on the Succa. This Toirrdhealbhach made a hosting into Munster and plundered Cashel and Ard Fionain, and when he was marching to spoil Ard Fionain a body of Munstermen came upon the rear of the host and slew Aodh O hEidhin, king of Ui Fiachrach, and Muireadhach O Flaithbheartaigh, king of west Connaught, and many other nobles not enumerated here.

Thereafter this Toirrdhealbhach with a large land and sea force went to Corcach, and set to plunder all Munster; and he divided Munster into two parts, and gave the southern part to Donnchadh Mac Carrthaigh, and the northern half to Conchubhar O Briain, and he took thirty hostages from them both. It was about this time that Cormac's church was consecrated at Cashel in the presence of many clerics and nobles of Ireland, the year of the Lord at that time being 1134. After that Cormac Mac Carrthach, king of Munster, was treacherously slain by Toirrdhealbhach O Briain, that is, his own son-in-law and gossip; and Maolmaodhog, that is Malachias, who was archbishop of Ireland and of Alba, died, the year of the Lord then being 1135. Toirrdhealbhach O Conchubhair with the strength of Connaught, Leinster and Meath, and


of Feara Teabhtha and of O Ruairc's country, made another hosting into Munster, and they made a free circuit of Munster until they reached Gleann Maghair, where they met Toirrdhealbhach O Briain, king of Munster, and the son of Conchuhbar O Briain, and the men of Munster with them. They were three battalions in all. The Battle of Moin Mhor was fought between them and the Dal gCais, and the Munstermen were defeated there and a countless number of them fell. Toirrdhealbhach O Briain was banished to Tir Eoghain, and Toirrdhealbhach O Conchubhair divided Munster between Tadhg O Briain and Diarmaid son of Cormac Mac Carrthaigh.

Soon after this, Toirrdhealbhach O Conchubhair, king of the greater part of Ireland, died, and he was sixty-eight years of age at that time, and he was buried at the high altar of Ciaran at Cluain Mic Nois; and great was the legacy he left to the clergy for his soul's sake, to wit, five hundred and forty ounces of gold, and forty marks of silver, and all the other valuables he had, both goblets and precious stones, both steeds and cattle, clothes, chess and backgammon, bows and quivers, sling and arms, and he himself gave directions how each individual church's share should be given to it according to its rank. It was about this time that Tadhg O Longargain, bishop of Cill Dalua, died.

Muircheartach, son of Niall, son of Lochlann, held the sovereignty of Leath Cuinn and of the greater part of Ireland eighteen years till he fell by the men of Fearnmhagh and by O Briuin. And it was in the seventh year of this man's reign that an assembly and general council of the church of Ireland was convened at Ceanannus na Midhe in the year of the Lord 1152, to set forth the Catholic faith and to purify it and to correct the customs of the people, and to consecrate four archbishops and to give them four pallia. For there had been up to


then in Ireland only two archbishops, to wit, the primate of Ard Macha and the archbishop of Cashel. And those who presided at this council on behalf of the Pope, were Giolla Criost O Conairce, bishop of Lios Mor, and head of the Irish monks, as legate, and a cardinal with him, whose name was John Papiron, for the purpose of making rules and regulations in Ireland, and for doing a thing which Ireland regarded with greater concern that this, to wit, the giving of four pallia. For Ireland thought it enough to have a pallium in Ard Macha and a pallium in Cashel, and particularly it was in spite of the church of Ard Macha and the church of Dun da Leathghlas that other pallia were given besides one to Ard Macha and one to Cashel, as the old book of annals of the church of Cluain Eidneach in Laoighis, which gives a summary of the transactions of this council, explains the matter.

Now, when the council met in session, they made praiseworthy regulations and customs on the occasion of the giving of these four pallia. Here follow the words of the old book of chronicles which was written in Cluain Eidhneach Fionntain in Laoighis.

In the year 1152 from the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, being a bissextile and embolismal year, a famous council was held as Ceanannus in the season of spring about the time of "Laetare Jersualem" Sunday, in which Lord John Cardinal Priest of St. Lawrence in Damascus, presiding over many abbots and priors, on behalf of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and of the Apostolic Lord Eugenius, entirely rooted out and condemned simony and usury, and commanded by Apostolic authority the payment of tithes. He gave four pallia to the four archbishops of Ireland, to wit, to those of Dublin, Cashel, Tuaim and Ard Macha. Moreover, he appointed the archbishop of Ard Macha as primate over the other bishops as was meet.


And this Cardinal John, immediately after the council was over, took his departure, and on the ninth of the calends of April set sail. The following are the bishops who were present at this council, to wit, Giolla Criost O Conairce, bishop of Lios Mor and legate of the Pope in Ireland; Giolla Mac Liag, comhorba of Patrick and primate of Ireland; Domhnall O Longargain, archbishop of Munster; Greine, bishop of Ath Cliath; Giolla na Naomh Laigneach, bishop of Gleann da Loch; Dunghal O Caolluidhe, bishop of Leithglinn; Tostius, bishop of Port Lairge; Domhnall O Foghartaigh, vicar-general to the bishop of Osruighe; Fionn, son of Cianan, bishop of Cill Dara; Giolla an Choimdheadh O hArdmhaoil, vicar to the bishop of Imleach; Giolla Aodha O Maighin, bishop of Corcach; Mac Ronain, comhorba of Breanainn, bishop of Ciarraidhe; Torgestius, bishop of Luimneach; Muircheartach O Maoilidhir, bishop of Cluain Mic Nois; Maoiliosa O Connachtain, bishop of East Connaught; Ua Rudain, bishop of Luighne; Mac Craith O Mugroin, bishop of Conmhaicne; Etras O Miadhchain, bishop of Cluain hIoraird; Tuathal O Connachtaigh, bishop of Ui Briuin; Mureadhach O Cobhthaigh, bishop of Cineal Eoghain; Maolpadraig O Banain, bishop of Dal nAruidhe; Maoiliosa Mac an Chleirigh Chuirr, bishop of Ulidia. On the day before the Nones of March this synod closed in which the bishoprics of Ireland were set in order and determined.

After this council had concluded Domhnall O Longargain, archbishop of Munster, died, and some time after this Muircheartach, son of Niall, who was in the sovereignty of Leath Cuinn and of the greater part of Ireland at that time, died, having been slain by the men of Fearnmhagh and by O Briuin, as we have said above.