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

Section 32


When Ruaidhri, son of Toirrdhealbhach O Conchubhair king of Connaught and of the greater part of Ireland, saw that Mac Murchadha had broken the peace that had up to then existed between them, he sent envoys to him to reproach him for violating the terms of peace which had been agreed on between them, by his having brought over these foreigners without his own consent or advice. And when the envoys came into the presence of Mac Murchadha they said: ‘Now we know,’ said they, ‘that thou hast neither regard nor respect for thine oaths, nor for thy son whom thou didst give as a hostage for the maintenance of peace; and the king of Connaught, Ruaidhri O Conchubhair, tells thee that if thou wilt not dismiss those foreigners who are with thee, he will send thee thy son's head, and that he will not rest till he has sent thyself a second time to England to banishment and exile.’ Mac Murchadha replied that he would not dismiss the foreigners on the advice of Ruaidhri, and added that he would bring over more foreigners in addition to them, and he would not make peace or agreement with anyone of the Gaels until all Ireland should be his. The envoys returned to Ruaidhri and made known to him Mac Murchadha's answer to them. When Ruaidhri heard what Mac Murchadha had said he became enraged.

But now the fame and renown of these foreigners spread over all Ireland, so that the men of Ireland conceived a horror and dread of them. And tidings from the earl and from these foreigners reached England, and when the king of England heard these tidings he issued a command that neither ship nor bark from any land belonging to himself should go to Ireland, and that no intercourse or exchange should be carried on with that company; and he also commanded those who had gone from England to Ireland to


return under penalty of being disinherited for ever. When the earl saw that his followers were obliged to leave him by reason of the king's proclamation, he and they took counsel together on this matter, and what they resolved upon was to send Raymond de la Gros to the king of England, to point out to him that it was by his own will and consent that the earl and the foreigners had come to Ireland to help one who had promised obedience and vassalage to him, to wit, Diarmaid Mac Murchadha, king of Leinster; and that whatever conquest they had made in Ireland and whatever benefits they had derived from Mac Murchadha they desired to hold subject to his will. Raymond conveyed this statement to the king of England, and it was in Gascony he was at that time; and it was in that year that Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered the fifth day of Christmas, and the year of the Lord at that time was 1171; and it was at the Bealltaine of that year, i.e. the ensuing Bealltaine that Mac Murchadha, that is Diarmaid, king of Leinster, died; and he was buried at Fearna Mor Mhaodhog.

As to the king, he returned to England, and when he had arrived there, he sent one of his people, a knight named Herimont Morti, together with Raymond de la Gros, to Ireland with letters to the earl of Stranguell, commanding the earl to repair to England without delay; and when they had arrived in Ireland, Herimont delivered his message to the earl, and the earl together with Herimont proceeded at once to England, and when he had come into the king's presence he promised that he would give Ath Cliath and Port Lairge and the ports of Leinster to him and to his heirs after him, the remainder of the province of Leinster to go to the earl himself and to his descendants.

Now when they had concluded this treaty between them, the king proceeded to Ireland with a numerous host and put into port at Port Lairge.There came with


him five hundred knights, as well as a large number of horsemen and foot-soldiers, the year of the Lord then being 1172. Now the king remained at Port Lairge after this, and the foreign nobles who were in Ireland before him and the burgesses of Loch Garman came to do him homage and pay him respect. There also came into his presence the king of Corcach, to wit, Diarmaid Mor Mac Carrthaigh, and he pledged himself to submit to him and become his vassal. The king went thence to Cashel and Domhnall O Briain, king of Limerick, went thither to meet him, and submitted to him, as Mac Carrthaigh had done.

After this the king of England placed a garrison of his own in Corcach and in Luimneach. After this the Munster nobles came to him and did him homage and paid him respect in like manner. The king returned to Port Lairge, and the king of Osruighe came to him there and did him homage and paid him respect as the other king's had already done. The king proceeded thence to the town of Ath Cliath, and the Gaels of Leinster came to him there to do him homage and pay him respect.

Now when Ruaidhri O Conchubhair, king of Connaught and of Ireland, heard that his provincial king's and those who paid him rent and tribute, and those to whom he himself gave wages and stipends, had put themselves under the protection of the king of England he judged in his own mind that it would be less an indignity for him to submit to the king of England voluntarily than to do so against his will. And then the king sent two of his people to meet Ruaidhri O Conchubhair, and those who went were Hugo de Lacy and William Mac Aldelmel. Ruaidhri went to meet them to the bank of the Sionainn, and he made peace and friendly alliance with the king in their presence, and he pledged himself to be obedient to him and to pay him respect. Murchadh Mac Floinn, king of Meath, also came to him and gave himself up to him as


all the others had done; so that there was no king or leader or lord in Ireland who did not at that time make submission to the king of England and acknowledge him as their lord.

On the setting in of winter after this, the weather became very cold and dreadfully inclement, so that neither ship nor bark could come to Ireland with news from England to the king until the middle month of spring had come. After this ships came to Ireland, and they brought to the king news from England and from France which did not please him, and above all he was informed that the Pope had sent two cardinals to England to inquire how Thomas of Canterbury had been done to death, and they had said that if the king did not appear in person to give them satisfaction for this murder, they would subject to an interdict both himself and every land that sided with him. Though this was sad news to the king, sadder still for him was the news that reached him afterwards from his son, namely, that his eldest son had taken possession of the English crown in the hope of being able to hold it in spite of his father. An indescribable sadness seized on the king by reason of these tidings. Still he was more affected by the murder of St. Thomas than by all that his children and his people had done against him. Accordingly he summoned to him the nobles of his people to take counsel with them, and he made known to them every danger that hung over him, and the decision they came to was that he should send a large party of his followers before him to England, himself to follow them speedily. They acted accordingly, and the king remained behind to garrison and fortify Ireland.

And when the king thought it time to go to England he left a party to hold the country, to wit, Hugo de Lacy in Meath, together with twenty knights, and, moreover, he granted the fee simple of Meath to Hugo and to his


descendants after him. He also entrusted the keeping of the town of Ath Cliath to Robert Fitz Stephen and Maurice Fitz Gerald, who had with them forty knights and their dependants. In the same way he left William Fitz Aldelmel and Philip de Hastings and Philip de Brus with twenty knights at Loch Garman to guard the town. He also left at Port Lairge Humphrey Bolum and Hugo de Gandeville and Robert Fitz Bearnard with forty knights. After this the king proceeded to England, and when he had come into the presence of the cardinals he said that he would grant them anything they desired as an eiric for the death of St. Thomas though he was not in the secret of his taking off, and for making peace between himself and the king of France with whom he was in conflict at that time.