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A. D.

On the death of the monarch, Tordelvach, his son, Roderic O'Connor, succeeded hiin in the throne of Connaught, while the supreme authority passed, without any contest, into the hands of Murtogh O'Lochlin,* King of Ulster, and was by bim

1136. wielded with a far more decisive and absolute grasp than by any of the titular monarchs who had preceded bim. Though, with the exception of some slight show of rebellion in Ulster, which was without difficulty put down, no resistance was opposed to the new monarch's accession, he wisely anticipated any that might arise by displaying the means he possessed of encountering it; and marching his army through the greater part of Ulster, and likewise of Leinster, received the submission of the different chiefs. By Roderic O'Connor pretensions were, for some time, put forth to, at least, a share in the sovereign power; and, as a leading step towards this object, he demanded hostages from the Kings of Leinster and Munster. But we see here an instance of the constant state of uncertainty in which all the political relations of the country were kept by such endless changing and parcelling out of the supreme power; for it is stated that the King of South Munster, when called upon for hostages by Roderic, declared that he would only consent to give hitn these suretics in case O'Lochlin should not prove 1157. strong enough to defend him if he refused them.t In the same year, as the annalists tell us, a fleet was collected by the King of Connaught, on the Shannon, "such as, for the number and size of the ships, had never till that day been seen."

After some trials, however, of his strength against the monarch, attended with the usual lavish waste of life, Roderic consented to deliver up hostages, and a peace was concluded between them, in the year 1161, when O'Lochlin conceded to his liegeman, in form, the whole of that fifth part of the kingdom, named Connaught; and, at the same time, on a similar act of submission from Dermot, King of Leinster, the possession of this fifth part of the ancient pentarchy was, in like manner, awarded to that prince. Then was it, say the Four Masters, that Murtogh O'Lochlin was King of Erin, without opposi. tion or reluctance. I

In his transactions with the chieftains of his own province, the monarch was far less successful; and a violent contention between him and Eochad, the King of Ulidia, though carried with a high hand by O'Lochlin, at the commencement, proved

1155. ultimately his ruin. The Ulidian prince baving, in revenge for some alleged injuries, overrun and laid waste the royal territory of Dalriada, the monarch, incensed at these proceedings, marched a great army into Úlidia, destroying every thing by fire and sword, except the churches; and having declared Eochad to be dispossessed of his kingdom, carried off the chief nobles of Ulidia to Armagh. Through the mediation, shortly after, of the primate and the Prince of Orgial, Eochad was pardoned and restored to his kingdom; and the Ulidian nobles, on surrendering their children to O'Lochlin, as hostages, were permitted to return home.

To the terms of reconciliation agreed upon between the two kings they had both solemnly pledged themselves, before the altar of Armagh, "on the holy staff of St. Patrick, and the relics of all the saints." Notwithstanding which, in the following year, whether from any capricious return of old hostility, or suspected grounds for new, the monarch caused Eochad to be suddenly seized, and had his eyes put out; while, at the same time, he gave orders that three of the leading chiefs of Dalriada, confidential and devoted friends of the king, should be put to death. Is Familiarized as was the public mind to acts of outrage and cruelty, the total want of assignable grounds for this burst of barbarism caused its atrocity to be more than usually felt. By the prince of Orgial, in particular, who had been one of the guarantees of the treaty, so savage a violation of its engagements was, with the keenest ire, resented and revenged. Raising an army in his own principality, and being joined by the forces of Hy-Bruin and Conmacne, he attacked the monarch, with superior numbers, at Litterluin, 11 a wild tract in the neigh

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at hoc nulli aliæ genti e Borealibus evenit."-De signis Eccles. e. 1. Peter Lombard, in like manner, citing Jonas (in Vil. Sanct. Columb..) says “ De bac gente duo ita reliquit annotata: unum quod absque reliquarum gentium legibus vivat,' alterum quod nihilominus in Christiani vigoris dogmate florens, omnium vicinarum gentium fidem præpolleat.'"

* I have followed Lynch (Cambrensis Eversus.) in exempting this monarch from the list of kings who reigned with resistance or reluctance. * Ut saltem ille ex Hiberniæ regibue Malachiam Secundum secutis rex Hiberniæ citra renitentiam appellari possit.” The Four Masters, however, withhold this distinction from him till the year 1061, calling him, in the interim, King of Erin “co fresabhra." See their annals, ad an. 1 157. Neither Keating nor Ware include him in their list of the kings of Ireland; while Colgan not only admits him to that rank, but passes the following high eulogium upon him :-“Rex Hiberniæ et Hibernorum excellentissimus formæ præstantiâ, generis nobilitate, animi indole et ju rebus agendis prosperilale." | IV. Mag. ad an. 1157.

IV. Mag. ad an. 1161. “Ri Er. dan cen fresabhra Muircert. ua Lachlamn don cur sin." $ IV. Mag. ad. an. 1165.

| Ibid. 1156

Now called the Fews.

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bourhood of Lough Neagh, where, after having seen the flower of his nobility fall around him, O'Lochlin was himself slain. In the course of the reign of this active monarch, who stands distinguished as a muoi.

ficent friend of the Church, there was held some synods at different places, of

which the transactions and decisions belong fully as much to temporal as to 1156.

ecclesiastical history. Thus, at a great synod, * at Mellifont, in the year 1157, convoked for the purpose of consecrating the church of that place, there were present, besides the primate, Gelasiust and a numerous body of the clergy, the monarch himself, and a number of provincial kings. After the consecration of the church, the whole assembly, lay and clerical, proceeded to inquire into some charge brought against Melaghlin, King of Meath; and, on his being found guilty of the alleged offence, he was first excommunicated by the clergy, and then deprived of his principality by the monarch and the other princes.

On this occasion, the king gave, as a pious offering for his soul, to God and the monks of Mellifont, 140 oxen or cows, 60 ounces of gold, and a town-land, near Drogheda, called Finnavair of the Daughters. Sixty ounces of gold were also presented by Carrol, Prince of Oriel, and as many more by Dervorgilla, the celebrated wife of the Prince of Breffny:the fair Helen, to whose beauty and frailty romantic history has attributed the invasion of Ireland by the English. This lady presented, likewise, on that occasion, a golden chalice for the altar of the Virgin, together with sacred vestments and ornaments for each of the nine other altars that stood in the church.

In the year 1158, was held another synod, at a place in Meath, called Brigh-Thaig, at which, after various enactments relating to discipline and morals, it was resolved that Derry should be raised to the rank of a regular episcopal see; and, a few years after, the synod of Clane conferred upon Armagh, more fully than it had ever before been enjoyed by that school, the rank and privilege of a university, by ordering that in future no person should be admitted a Professor of Theology in any church in Ireland, unless he had previously pursued his studies for some time at Armagh. On th eath of Murtogh O'Lochlin, the supremacy reverted to the house of O'Connor;

and Roderic, the son of the monarch Tordelvach, was in a short time recognised 1166.

throughout the country as king of all Ireland. One of bis first measures on his

accession had been to march with a sufficient force to Dublin, and secure the allegiance of the Dano-Irish of that city; over which he then reigned, say the annalists, in more worthy state than ever king of the Irish had reigned there before. From thence, being joined by a considerable number of the inhabitants, he directed his royal progress northward, and received in turn the submission of all the leading chieftains of Leath-Cuinn. Being now recognised through all the provinces as monarch, Roderic assembled a

great convention of the princes and clergy at Athboy, among the number of whom 1167.

were the primate Gelasius and the illustrious St. Lawrence O'Toole. This good

and great man, who was destined to act, as we shall find, a distinguished part in the coming crisis of his country's fate, possessed qualities, both of mind and heart, which would have rendered him an ornament to any community, however advanced in civilization and public virtue. Besides these heads of the clergy, there were also at this meet, ing the Kings of Ulidia and Meath, Tiernan O'Ruarc, Prince of Breffny, Donchad O'Carrol, Prince of Oriel, together with a number of other princes and nobles, attended by their respective forces of horse and foot, to the amount, as stated, of more than 30,000 meo.li

By some modern historians, this great convention at Athboy is represented as a grand and national revival of the ancient Feis, or Triennial Meeting of the States; 9 and it has been remarked-with but too much justice, on such a supposition, -how melancholy was the pride exhibited by this now doomed people, in thus calling up around then the forms and recollections of ancient grandeur, at the very moment when even their ex. istence, as an independent nation, was about to be extinguished for ever. But there is

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• IV. Mag. ad an. 1157. Said by the Four Masters to have been held at Drogheda, but meaning, as is sup. posed, in the monastery of Mellifont, which is near that town.-See Ware (Bishops) at Gelasius.

| The Irish name of this distinguished prelate (for an account of whom see Ware, in loc. citat.) was Gilla Mac

Lieg:

| lv. Mag. ad an. 1162. “Communibus suffragiis sanciretur ne ullus in posterum per totam Hiberniam in aliqua ecclesia ad sacre pagine professionem sive ad Theologiam publicè docendam admittatur, qui non priua Armachanam Scholam sive academiam frequentaverat." Colgan, Trias Thaumaturg:

IV. Mag. ad. an. 1166, "Ro righ ann Ruaidhri ua Concob. feb as onor. e ro righ riamh do Gaoindaibh."

See, for the distribution of this forco under the different princes present at the convention, the Four Mas. tere ad ann. 1167.

• \Xrner, Whitty, &c.

no authority in our native records for such a notion; nor with the exception of the unusually large display of troops on the occasion, does this meeting appear to have, in any way, differed from those other conventions, or synods, which were held, as we have seen, 80 frequently at this period. In the same manner as at all those other meetings, various laws and regulations, relating to the temporal as well as the ecclesiastical affairs of the country, were enacted or renewed; and, so far from the assembly having any claim to the character of a Convention of all the States, it was evidently summoned only for the consideration of the affairs of the northern half of the island; and the only personage from the south, mentioned as having been present at it, was Donchad O'Fealan, Prince of the Desies.

As we have now reached the last of Ireland's monarchs, and are about to enter into the details of that brief struggle which, after so many ages of stormy, but still independent, existence, ended in bringing this ancient kingdom under subjection to the English crown, the reader will be enabled to understand more clearly the narrative of the transactions connected with this memorable event by being made acquainted with the previous lives and characters of a few of the personages who figured most promi. nently on the scene.

The monarch Roderic, who was, at this time, in his fiftieth year, had not hitherto very much distinguished himself above the rest of his fellow-chieftains, in those qualities coinmon, it must be owned, to them all, of personal courage and activity; while in some of those barbarian features of character, those sallies of fierce, unmitigated cruelty, which were, in like manner, but too common among his brother potentates, he appears to have been rivalled but by few. We have seen that by his father, the monarch Tordelvach, he was kept confined for a whole year in chains; and that he was of a nature requiring some such coercion, would appear from his conduct on taking possession of the throne of Connaught, when, with a barbarity, the only palliation of which is the frequency of the crime in those days, he had the eyes of two of his brothers put out,* in order to incapa. citate them from being his rivals in the race of ambition and power. Combining with this ferocity a total want of the chivalrous spirit which alone adds grace to mere valour, it is told of him, that, having got in his power a chieftain of the clan of Suibhne,t he had him loaded with fetters, and, in that helpless state, slew him with his own hand. It is added, as an aggravation of the atrocity, that this chieftain was then under the imme. diate protection of the Vicar of St. Cieran.

While such was the character of the monarch upon whom now devolved the responsibility of watching manfully over the independence of his country, in this its last struggle and agony, the qualities of the prince whose ambition and treachery were the immediate cause of bringing the invader to these shores, were, if possible, of a still more odious and revolting nature. Dermot Mac-Murchad, King of Leinster, the memorable author of this treason, had long been distinguished for his fierce activity and courage in those scenes of turbulence which the state of the country had then rendered familiar. He had, even so early as the year 1140, excited a general feeling of horror throughout the kingdom, by treacherously seizing, at once, seventeen of the principal nobles of Leinster, and having some of the number put to death, while of the remainder he ordered the eyes to be plucked out. Between this prince and Tiernan O'Ruarc,—the Lord of Breffny, a territory in the eastern part of Connaught,--a hostile feeling had early arisen, to which the constant collision of their respective clans and interests gave every day increased bitterness; and, at length, an event, in which Dervorgilla, the fair wife of O'Ruarc, was guiltily involved, raised this animosity to a degree of rancour which was only with their respective lives extinguished.

An attachment previously to her marriage with O'Ruarc, is said to have existed belween Dervorgilla and the King of Leinster; a supposition which, if it be founded, acquits the lady, at least, of that perverseness of nature, which would seem to be implied by her choosing as paramour, her husband's deadliest foe. But, however this may have been,—and there exists but little, if any, authority for much of the romance of their amour-the elopement of the heroine from an island in Meath, to which she had been sent during O'Ruarc's absence on one of his military expeditions, was the plan agreed upon by the two lovers, and which, with the discreditable aid of the lady's brother, Melachlin, they were enabled to accomplish. The wronged husband appealed for redress to the monarch Tordelvach, who, taking up his cause with laudable earnestness, marched an army the following year into Leinster, and having rescued Dervorgilla from

Regnum auspicatus a fratrum excæcatione, malo augurio."- Rer. Hib. Script. tom. 3. DCCLXXXIX. Sweeny.

I IV. Mag. ad ann. 1161.

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bourhood of Lough Neagh, where, after having seen the flower of his nobility fall around him, O'Lochlin was himself slain. In the course of the reign of this active monarch, who stands distinguished as a muni.

ficent friend of the Church, there was held some synods at different places, of

which the transactions and decisions belong fully as much to temporal as to 1156.

ecclesiastical history. Thus, at a great syno),* at Mellifont, in the year 1157, convoked for the purpose of consecrating the church of that place, there were present, besides the primate, Gelasiust and a numerous body of the clergy, the monarch himself, and a number of provincial kings. After the consecration of the church, the whole assembly, lay and clerical, proceeded to inquire into some charge brought against Melaghlin, King of Meath; and, on his being found guilty of the alleged offence, he was first excommunicated by the clergy, and then deprived of his principality by the monarch and the other princes.

On this occasion, the king gave, as a pious offering for his soul, to God and the monks of Mellifont, 140 oxen or cows, 60 ounces of gold, and a town-land, near Drogheda, called Finnavair of the Daughters. Sixty ounces of gold were also presented by Carrol, Prince of Oriel, and as many more by Dervorgilla, the celebrated wife of the Prince of Breffny:the fair Helen, to whose beauty and frailty romantic history has attributed the invasion of Ireland by the English. This lady presented, likewise, on that occasion, a golden chalice for the altar of the Virgin, together with sacred vestments and ornaments for each of the nine other altars that stood in the church.

In the year 1158, was held another synod, at a place in Meath, called Brigh-Thaig, at which, after various enactments relating to discipline and morals, it was resolved that Derry should be raised to the rank of a regular episcopal see; and, a few years after, the synod of Clane conferred upon Armagh, more fully than it had ever before been enjoyed by that school, the rank and privilege of a university, by ordering that in future no person should be admitted a Professor of Theology in any church in Ireland, unless he had previously pursued his studies for some time at Armagh. On the death of Murtogh O’Lochlin, the supremacy reverted to the house of O'Connor ;

and Roderic, the son of the monarch Tordelvach, was in a short time recognised 1166.

throughout the country as king of all Ireland. One of his first measures on his

accession had been to march with a sufficient force to Dublin, and secure the allegiance of the Dano-Irish of that city; over which he then reigned, say the annalists, in more worthy state than ever king of the Irislı had reigned there before. From thence, being joined by a considerable number of the inhabitants, he directed his royal progress northward, and received in turn the submission of all the leading chieftains of Leath-Cuinn. Being now recognised through all the provinces as monarch, Roderic assembled a

great convention of the princes and clergy at Athboy, among the number of whom were the primate Gelasius and the illustrious St. Lawrence O'Toole. This good

and great man, who was destined to act, as we shall find, a distinguished part in the coming crisis of his country's fate, possessed qualities, both of mind and heart, which would have rendered him an ornament to any community, however advanced in civilization and public virtue. Besides these heads of the clergy, there were also at this meet. ing the Kings of Ulidia and Meath, Tiernan O'Ruarc, Prince of Breffny, Donchad O'Carrol, Prince of Oriel, together with a number of other princes and nobles, attended by their respective forces of horse and foot, to the amount, as stated, of more than 30,000 men.ll

By some modern historians, this great convention at Athboy is represented as a grand and national revival of the ancient Feis, or Triennial Meeting of the States; 9 and it has been remarked, - with but too much justice, on such a supposition,-how melancholy was the pride exhibited by this now doomed people, in thus calling up around them the forms and recollections of ancient grandeur, at the very moment when even their existence, as an independent nation, was about to be extinguished for ever. But there is

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1167.

* IV. Mag. ad an. 1157. Said by the Four Masters to have been held at Drogheda, but meaning, as is sup posed, in the monastery of Mellifont, which is near that town.-See Ware (Bishops) at Gelasius.

The Irish name of this distinguished prelate (for an account of whom ste Ware, in loc. citat.) was Gilla Mac Lieg.

1 IV. Mag. ad an. 1162. "Communibus suffragiis sanciretur ne ullus in posterum per totam Hiberniam in aliqua ecclesia ad sacræ pagine professionem sive ad Theologiam publicè docendam admittatur, qui non prius Armachanam Scholam sive academiam frequentaverat."--Colgan. Trias Thaumaturg:

IV. Mag. ad. an. 1166, “Ro righ ann Ruaidhri ua Concob. feb Ab onor. e ro righ riamh do Gaoindaibh." ( See, for the distribution of this force under the different princes present at the convention, the Four Mas. ters ad ann. 1167. 7 Warner, Whitty, &c.

no authority in our native records for such a notion; nor with the exception of the unusually large display of troops on the occasion, does this meeting appear to have, in any way, differed from those other conventions, or synods, which were held, as we have seen, so frequently at this period. In the same manner as at all those other meetings, various laws and regulations, relating to the temporal as well as the ecclesiastical affairs of the country, were enacted or renewed; and, so far from the assembly having any claim to the character of a Convention of all the States, it was evidently summoned only for the consideration of the affairs of the northern half of the island; and the only personage from the south, mentioned as having been present at it, was Donchad O'Fealan, Prince of the Desies.

As we have now reached the last of Ireland's monarchs, and are about to enter into the details of that brief struggle which, after so many ages of stormy, but still independent, existence, ended in bringing this ancient kingdom under subjection to the English crown, the reader will be enabled to understand more clearly the narrative of the transactions connected with this memorable event by being made acquainted with the previous lives and characters of a few of the personages who figured most prominently on the scene.

The monarch Roderic, who was, at this time, in his fiftieth year, had not hitherto very much distinguished himself above the rest of his fellow-chieftains, in those qualities common, it must be owned, to them all, of personal courage and activity; while in some of those barbarian features of character, those sallies of fierce, unmitigated cruelty, which were, in like manner, but too common among his brother potentates, he appears to have been rivalled but by few. We have seen that by his father, the monarch Tordelvach, he was kept confined for a whole year in chains; and that he was of a nature requiring some such coercion, would appear from his conduct on taking possession of the throne of Connaught, when, with a barbarity, the only palliation of which is the frequency of the crime in those days, he had the eyes of two of his brothers put out,* in order to incapa. citate them from being his rivals in the race of ambition and power. Combining with this ferocity a total want of the chivalrous spirit which alone adds grace to mere valour, it is told of him, that, having got in his power a chieftain of the clan of Suibhne,t he had him loaded with fetters, and, in that helpless state, slew him with his own hand. It is added, as an aggravation of the atrocity, that this chieftain was then under the imme. diate protection of the Vicar of St. Cieran.I

While such was the character of the monarch upon whom now devolved the responsibility of watching manfully over the independence of his country, in this its last struggle and agony, the qualities of the prince whose ambition and treachery were the immediate cause of bringing the invader to these shores, were, if possible, of a still more odious and revolting nature. Derinot Mac-Murchad, King of Leinster, the memorable author of this treason, had long been distinguished for his fierce activity and courage in those scenes of turbulence which the state of the country had then rendered familiar. He had, even so early as the year 1140, excited a general feeling of horror throughout the kingdom, by treacherously seizing, at once, seventeen of the principal nobles of Leinster, and having some of the number put to death, while of the remainder he ordered the eyes to be plucked out. Between this prince and Tiernan O’Ruarc,--the Lord of Breffny, a territory in the eastern part of Connaught,-a hostile feeling had early arisen, to which the constant collision of their respective clans and interests gave every day increased bitterness; and, at length, an event, in which Dervorgilla, the fair wife of O'Ruarc, was guiltily involved, raised this animosity to a degree of rancour which was only with their respective lives extinguished.

An attachment previously to her marriage with O'Ruarc, is said to have existed be. tween Dervorgilla and the King of Leinster; a supposition which, if it be founded, acquits the lady, at least, of that perverseness of nature, which would seem to be implied by her choosing as paramour, her husband's deadliest foe. But, however this may have been,—and there exists but little, if any, authority for much of the romance of their amour-the elopement of the heroine from an island in Meath, to which she had been sent during O'Ruarc's absence on one of his military expeditions, was the plan agreed upon by the two lovers, and which, with the discreditable aid of the lady's brother, Melachlin, they were enabled to accomplish. The wronged husband appealed for redress to the monarch Tordelvach, who, taking up his cause with laudable earnestness, marched an army the following year into Leinster, and having rescued Dervorgilla from

Regnum auspicatus a fratrum excæcatione, malo augurio."-Rer. Hib. Script. tom. 3. DCCLXXXIX. 1 Sweeny.

I IV. Mag. ad ann. 1161.

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