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the adulterer, together with the dowry and valuable ornaments which she had carried away, replaced her in the care of her relatives in Meath.
This event, the abduction of the wife of O'Ruarc by the King of Leinster, which took place so early as the year 1153, has, by the majority of our historians, been advanced in date, by no less than thirteen years, for the purpose of connecting it with Dermod's expulsion from his kingdom, A. D. 1166, and his consequent flight, as we shall see, into England, to solicit aid from Henry II. The ready adoption of so gross an anachronism, by not a few even of our own native historians, may be cited as an instance of that strong tendency to prefer showy and agrecable fiction to truth, which has enabled Romance, in almost all countries, to encroach upon, and even sometimes supersede, History.
As long as the monarch Tordelvach lived, O'Ruarc was sure of a powerful friend and champion, and one of the last acts of this sovereign's life was to form a league of peace and amity with the Prince of Breffny.* But, as soon as O'Lochlin succeeded to the supremacy, the fortune of Dermot rose into the ascendant,—that prince having espoused warınly his cause; and the very first step of the new inonarch, on his accession, was to march an army into Leinster, in order to secure to his unworthy favourite the full possession of that province. During the whole of this reign, the restless, but now creste fallen, Lord of Breffny had to bear every variety of wrong and insult that a triumphant rival could invent or compass to torment him. But O'Ruarc's turn of iriumph and retribution was now at hand. Roderic O'Connor,
the son of his late powerful protector, still extended to him the hand of alliance 1166.
and friendship;t and the accession of this prince to the throne of Ireland, in the
year 1166, gave signal at once for the triumph of O'Ruarc and the downfall of his rival Dermot. Not all the territorial and personal influence which this latter chief had at different periods attained, now availed him aught against the general odium which a long course of criine had heaped upon his head. A munificent founder of religious houses, he had established in Dublin, in the county of Kilkenny, at Ballinglass, and at bis own residence, Ferns,f many large and most richly endowed monasteries and abbeye, the greater number of which continued to flourish for many centuries, while of some the names and sites may even to this day be traced.
But his cruelty and insolence were remembered far more freshly than his munificence; and the many whom he had trodden down in his prosperity, now took advantage of the turn of his fortune to be revenged. The forces of Breffny, of Meath, of his own kingdom of Leinster, where he had long rendered himself odious by his cruelties, of the Dano-Irish of Dublin, whom he had kept down by the force of his arms,--all these were now eagerly mustered, under the cominand of his inveterate enemy, Tiernan O'Ruarc, and proceeded to invade his territory. Being thus ussailed from all quarters, and de
serted even by his own vassals, Dermot retired at first to Ferns; but, seeing no 1188. hope of being able to stand against his pursuers, he adopted the resolution of seek.
ing for foreign aid, and, having first set fire to the town of Ferns, took flight privately and embarked for England; while, in the niean time, his kingdom was declared to have been forfeited, and another prince of his family was nominated to be its ruler.
In having recourse for assistance to England, it does not appear that Dermot was influenced by any previous concert with Henry II., that prince being absent, at this time, in Normandy, and too deeply engaged in his humiliating and harassing struggle with Becket to afford much thought to any less urgent concerns. It is well known, however, that this ambitious monarch had many years before projected the acquisition of Ireland, and had even provided himself with that sort of sanctified title to it, which, in those days, the spiritual lords of the earth were but too ready to furnish to the temporal,—thus lowering religion into the mere handmaid of earthly ambition and power. This plan had been conceived by him so far back as the year 1155; but having neither a legal right to the possession of Ireland, nor any ground of quarrel to justify an invasion of it, he saw that by no other means could he plausibly attain his object than by masking the
• IV. Mag. ad ann. 1156. | For proofs of the friendship subsisting between Roderic O'Connor and O'Ruarc, sec the Four Masters, at the years 1159 and 1160.
! The names and sites of the religious establishments attributed to him may be found in the List of the Abbeye and Monasteries of Ireland_given in Harris's Ware, chap xxxviii. Among the religious houses founded by him was an abbey, near Dublin, called the Nannery of St. Mary de Hogges, meaning thereby, it is supposed, St. Mary of the Virging the word ogh in Irish signifying a virgin. This establishment was for auns following the rule of St. Augustin, according to the order of Aroasia. ---See Archdall Monast. Hibern. Dermot was also the founder of the priory of All Saints, which stood on Hoggin Green, now called College Green, and on that part of it where Trinity College stands.-Lanigan, chap. xxviii. s. 10.
"The Ostmen of Dublin were overrun and spoiled by Dermot Mac. Murrogh, King of Leinster, who bore greater away over them than any other king bad done for a long time.”-Harris's Annals of Dublin, ad ann. 1162
real motive of his enterprise under a pretended zeal for the interests of morality and religion. With this view he despatched an envoy to Rome, where lately an Englishman, named Breakspear, had, under the title of Adrian IV., been raised to the pontifical throne. The king had previously conciliated the favour of the new pope by sending to congratulate him on his accession; and the request of which his envoy, John of Salisbury, was now the bearer, was such as could not fail to meet with a gracious reception, as, in applying to the pope for leave to take possession of Ireland, Henry acknowledged in him an extent of temporal power such as no pope had ever before thought of assuining; and the address with which Adrian, in his politic answer to the king, repeated and extended this admission, claiming, on the strength of it, a right and jurisdiction, not only over Ireland, but over all other Christian islands, * crowned most worthily this strange and audacious transaction; which presents, in all respects, a perfect instance of that sort of hypocritical prelude to wrong, that holy league for purposes of rapine, between the papal and regal powers, in which most of the usurpations, frauds, and violences of those dark and demoralized times originated.
The permission accorded to Henry by the pope to invade and subdue the Irish for the purpose of reforming them, was accompanied by a stipulation for the payment to St. Peter of a penny annually from every house in Ireland, this being the price for which the independence of the Irish people was thus coolly bartered away. Together with the Bullet containing the grant and stipulation, was sent also to Henry a gold ring, adorned with a valuable emerald, as a token of his investiture with the right to rule over Ireland; and this ring, as we are informed by the bearer of it, John of Salisbury, was, by Adrian's orders, deposited in the public archives.
It has been supposed that Henry, in speculating on the conquest of Ireland, intended that kingdom for the youngest of his brothers, Prince William, for whom no provision had been inade by their late father Geoffry. Whatever might really have been his design, at the time when he sought the papal sanction for his views, other schemes and interests, more pressing, diverted his attention from this object; and among the most urgent was the not very creditable operation of possessing himself forcibly of some terri. tories in Anjou, which his brother Geoffry, had inherited under the will of the late king; a will which Henry himself had sworn to see faithfully fulfilled, -though in utter ignorance, as appears, of the dispositions which it contained respecting his brother. In addition to these various demands on his attention, the opinion of his mother, the Empress Matilda, was decidedly opposed, it is said, to his Irish enterprise; and the Bull was, accordingly, left to repose undisturbed for some years in the archives of Winchester.
Owing to the secrecy, doubtless, with which this singular grant was negotiated, no intimation scems to have reached Ireland of even the existence of such a document, during the whole of the long interval that elapsed between its first grant and the time of its promulgation. Some writers, it is true, have surmised that the Irish clergy were from the first informed of it; and account thereby for the increased activity with which from the date, as they say, of Adrian's Bull, public synods were assembled, and decrees and regulations multiplied, -as if to remove from the Church that stigma of general laxity in morals and discipline which had been made the pretext for so deliberate a design against the independence of the whole country. But it is by no means easy to believe, chat, had any koowledge of this singular document transpired in Ireland, there should bave occurred no allusion or reference to it at any of the numerous synods held throughout the country; nor even the slightest notice taken in any of our native records of a transaction so full of moment to the future destiny of the kingdom.
That Derinot's resolution to apply for aid to England was, in any degree, prompted by a knowledge of the pa pal grant, is by no means necessarily to be implied. Already the proximity of the two islands must not unfrequently have suggested the likelihood of an invasion, at no distant time, from the shores of the larger and more powerful. Up to this period, the tide of incursion appears to have been entirely from the Irish side of the Channel; and, in all the struggles of Wales against English domination, troops were wafled over to her aid in the corachs of her warlike neighbours. In the rebellion of Godwin and his sons against Edward the Confessor, Ireland furnished, as we have seen, men and ships in their cause; and, after the defeat at Hastinge, three sons of the conquered king sought refuge and succour in the same country, and were enabled to fit out from thence a large flect for the invasion of England. On the other hand it appears pretty certain that both William the Conqueror and the first Henry entertained serious thoughts of adding the realm of Ireland to their dominions; and William Rufus, in one of his expeditions against the Welsh, is reported to have said, as he stood on the rocks in the neighbourhood of St. David's, and looked at the Irish hills, that he would " make a bridge with his ships from that spot to Ireland."*
* " Jam Hiberniam et omnes insulas quibus Sol justitiæ Christus illuxit, et que documenta Fidei Chris. Lianæ receperunt, ad jus beati Petri et sacrosanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ (quod iua eiiam nobilitas recognoscit.) non est dubiuin pertinere."
tSome zealous champions, as well of the papacy as of Ireland, have endeavoured, but without any success, to demonstrate that both this Bull, and the Bull of Alexander III. confirming it, are, upon the face of them, rank forgeries. See Gratianus Lucius, loc. citat.; and the abbé Geoghegan's Hist. d'Irlande, tom. i. c. 7. The chief argument of the latter writer is founded on the improbability, as he conceives, that either of these popes could have thought of selecting as an apostle for the reformation of Ireland so irreligious and profligate a prince ag Heury II.“ Voila donc (says the abbe) l'Papôtre, voila le reformateur que le saint Siege auroit choisi pour convertir l'Irlande."
| Gratianus Lucius, on much more convincing grounds, attributes this increased zeal for the reform of ecclesiastical discipline to the examiple and remonstrances of that great luminary of the ancient Irish church, St. Malachy:–Etenim post Hibernos ad bonam frugem a S. Malachia revocatos, sæpe sæpius indicta sunt comitia joulto principum et antistitum numero frequentata."- Cambrens. Evers.
Dermot solicits aid from King Henry.-Receives permission to raise forces in England.
Negotiates with the Earl of Pembroke and others.-Returns to Ireland.- Arrival of Fitz. Stephen.-Surrender of Wexword.—First British settlemer.t in Ireland.- Invasion of Ossory. Arrival of Maurice Fitz.Gerald.—Unworthy conduct of the Monarch Roderic.His negotiations with Dermot and the Foreigners.--Dermot aspires to the Monarchy.Encouraged in his design by the English.- Arrival of Raymond Le Gros.-Barbarous execution of Irish prisoners. -Landing of Strongbow.-His marriage with the King of Leinster's daughter. ---March to Dublin.-Roderic's weakness.-His cruelty.--Remarkable Synod at Armagh.
It has been already stated that Dermot, the dethroned King of Leinster, finding himself an object of general odium in his own country, and without the means of encountering his enemies in the field, took the resolution of applying for succour to England; and the port of Bristol, then most in use for communication between the two islands, was that to which he sailed. On his arrival, however, he learned that the English king, to whom it was his intention to apply for assistance, was at that time in Aquitaine, and thither he accordingly hastened to seek him. Though engaged anxiously then in his protracted and mortifying contest with Becket, and also in breaking the refractory spirit of some barons of Bretagne, over whose territories he had acquired authority, Henry yet listened with politic complacence to the fugitive Irish prince, while he told indignantly of the treatment he had met with from his rebellious subjects, and offered, if restored to his kingdom by Henry's aid, to receive it as a fief, and render him homage as his vassal.
Fully aware of the advantage to be derived, towards the fartherance of his views upon Ireland, not more from the personal alliance and co-operation of a powerful native prince,
* See Leland, book i. chap. i. Girald. Cambr. Itinerar. Cambr. I. ii. cap. i. Instead of citing the words of the original, I shall give the whole anecdote, as rendered by Hanmer, in his Chronicle:—"Cambrensis in his Itinerarie of Cambria, reporteth, how that King William, standing upon some high rocke in the farthest part of Wales, beheld Ireland, and said, 'I will have the shippes of my kingdome brought hither, wherewith I will make a bridge to invade this land.' Murchardt, King of Leynster, heard thereof, and after he had paused a while, asked of the reporter, · Hath the king, in that his great threatening, inserted these words, i it please God ?' 'No.' ' Then,' said he, 'seeing this king putteth his trust only in man, and not in God, I feare not his comming.'"
1." Ad nobilis oppidi Bristolli partes se contulit; ubi etiam occasione navium, quæ de Hibernia eo in portu crebris applicationibus suscipi consueverant, &c." Girald. Cambrens. Hib. Erpug. 1. i. c. 2.
Giraldus says nothing of ihe sixty followers who, according to some writers, accompanied Dermot in his flight; though Leland has carelessly cited him as his authority for the assertion. Considering the circum. stances of his departure, it would seem improbable that he should have taken with him such an escort. We find, however, in Sayer's History of Bristol, the following curious notice :-"One of our MS. Calendars saye, that he (Dermot) came to Bristol in 1168, with sixty friends and attendants, and was here entertained by the ancesiors of the lords of Berkely, that is, by Robert Fitzharding or his family.'" Chap. ix.
According to the English chronicler Bromion, Dermot's first step had been to send over his son into Eng. land, in consequence of which, says Bromtor, he received from thence some trifling aid :-“ Cum autem cito post contra eundem regem ferocissimi totius Hiberniæ populi indignari et tumultuari inciperent, eo quod gentem Anglicanam Hibernia immisisset, illi Angli paucitate sus meluentes, accitis ex Anglia viris inopia laborantibus et lucri cupidis, vires paulatim auxerunt." There is, however, I believe, no authority for this mission of Dermod'ı son in any of our native apnals.
than from the influence such an example would be sure to exercise upon others, Henry saw not, or at least was unmoved by, those better and nobler considerations which would have led a more high-minded man to reject so unworthy an instrument of success. He therefore received without hesitation, the proffered fealty of his new liegeman, and, as the only mode in which he could, at present, forward his object, gave him letters patent, to be employed throughout his dominions, in the following words:-"Henry, King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Earl of Anjou, to all his liegemen, English, Norman, Welsh, and Scotch, and to all the nations under his dominion, sends greeting. As soon as the present letters shall come to your hands, know that Dermot, Prince of Leinster, has been received into the bosom of our grace and benevolence. Wherefore whosoever, within the ample extent of our territories, shall be willing to lend aid towards the restoration of this prince, as our faithful and liege subject, let such person know that we do hereby grant to him, for said purpose, our license and favour."
Having succeeded thus far in the object of his mission, Dermot hastened back, full of hope, 10 England, and repairing once more to Bristol, made every effort,
1168. by causing the letter of the king to be promulgated, and holding forth liberal offers of lands and other rewards, to induce adventurers to take up arms in his cause. All these exertions, however, proved fruitless, and there appeared, for some time, scarcely a chance of success; when, at length, fortune threw in his way the very description of person most fitly qualified, as well by nature as by extrinsic circumstances, to take a lead in, and lend importance to, such an enterprise. Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, surnamed as his father had been before him, Strongbow, was, at this time, at Bristol; and in his brave nature, munificent spirit, and ruined fortunes, combined all that was likely to stimulate as well as adorn a course of warlike adventure. To this nobleman Dermot addressed himself, and, in addition to the temptations opened by the prospect of fame and conquest, offered not only to bestow on him his eldest daughter, Eva, in marriage, but, however inconsistent with the law of the land, to secure to the earl himself the succession to the throne of Leinster, on condition that he would raise for Dermot an efficient body of forces, and, in the course of the ensuing spring, bring them over with him into Ireland.
To these propositions Strongbow assented; and the Irish prince, thus far successful, was also lucky enough, in the town of St. David's, whither he bad removed from Bristol, to engage in his service two young men of high rank, Maurice Fitz-Gerald and Robert Fitz-Stephen, both Normans and maternal brothers (being sons of the beautiful Nesta, mistress of Henry I. ;*) and both fitted, like the Earl of Pembroke, by broken fortunes and political difficulties, to embark in any enterprise, however desperate, which held forth a prospect of speedy relief and change. In consequence of impediments thrown in the way, by Rees ap Gryffyth, prince of that country, who, on some grounds of political difference, not requiring to be here enlarged upon, had kept Fitz-Stephen confined in prison for three years, and was now unwilling to let him escape from his grasp, the negotiation lingered for some time, but, at length, was concluded satisfactorily to all parties;-Dermot pledging himself to give in fee to the two brothers, the town of Wexford and two cantreds of land adjoining; while they, in their turn, engaged to transport into Leinster, in the course of the ensuing spring, a body of English and Welsh forces to aid him in recovering the throne of that kingdom.
Thus precarious and limited were the means, and thus obscure the instruments, by which an invasion so truly momentous in all its consequences was to be accomplished; the prime mover of the whole enterprise being a rude and unprincipled chieftain, of whose existence, probably, the persons he applied to for aid had never even heard till the moment he presented himself before them; and the few adventurers, of any note, whom he contrived to attach to his fortunes, being persons ignorant alike of the country and the nature of the cause with which they connected themselves, but who, broken down, either by misfortune or their own imprudence, at horne, found sufficient in the allurements of lucre alone to supply the place of all other more worthy inducements.
Being thus far assured of foreign aid, the traitor Dermot ventured to return into Leinster, and proceeding privately to Ferns, remained concealed there the greater part
* This lady, who was no less celebrated for her gallantries than for her beauty, after separating from her royal lover, married Gerald, governor of Pembroke and lord of Carew, by whom she had two (or three) sons, and the second of them, Maurice Fitzgerald, was the brave adventurer who now enlisted in the service of the Irish king. His mother, Nesta, aner having been carried off from her husband by a Welsh prince, named Caradoc, became, on Gerald's death, the mistress of the constable, Stephen de Marisco, and by him had a son, Robert Fitz-Stephen, the same who engaged, at this time, in the Irish wars, in company with his balf-brother, Maurice Fitz-Gerald. See for farther notices of this family, Les Montmorency de France et d'Irlande, and also Mr. Sheffield Grace's inte ccount of the Grace mily
of the winter; being harboured, as it is said, with grateful fidelity, by the monks of a monastery for Augustin Canons which he himself had founded.* He must, soon, how. ever, have felt sufficient confidence in his own strength,-being emboldened, most pro
bably, by the arrival of some straggling Welsh followers,—0 emerge from his
concealinent, as we find hiin early in this year taking the field, and regaining 1169.
possession, with the aid of foreign auxiliaries, of that part of his territories called Hy-Kinsellagh. Surprised, at the suddenness of his reappearance, in arms, and attended by foreigners, of whoin rumour, as usual, exaggerated the numbers, the inonareh hastily collected some forces, and, being joined by his faithful ally, Tiernan O'Rvarc, marched into the territory of Hy-Kinsellagh. As this outbreak of Dermot was evidently premature,—none of the Anglo-Norman chiefs with whom he had negotiated having yet made their appearance,-he was able to oppose but a feeble resistance to the attack of the monarch, and, after a skirmish or two, retreated into his woods. In one of these en counters, the son of a petty prince of South Wales, who had been among the foreigners lately arrived, was slain ; and the annals of the day, with the proneness too common among the Irish, to look up to and eulogize strangers, for no other reason but that they are strangers, describe this Welshman, in recording his death, as "the most excellent warrior in all the island of Britain."I
How critical was the state to which Dermot had now reduced himself by his rash and weak movement, may be collected from the terms on which, as a matter of compassion, the monarch and O'Ruarc consented to receive his submission. Renouncing all claim to the government of Leinster, he requested to be allowed to retain only ten cantreds of the province, agreeing to hold this territory in dependence upon Roderic, and giving him seven hostages for his future fealty; while the forbearance of his old enemy O'Ruarc he conciliated by a gift of a hundred ounces of gold. This specious subniission was, of course, but a means of gaining time till the arrival of his expected succours, and in so far warding off the peril to which his rash and premature sally had exposed him.
Though it must be clear that the fate of a nation such as the Irish were, at this period, embroiled and distracted among themselves by an almost infinite division of interests and factions, nor as yet recovered from the effects of a long series of barbarous invasions, which, though not powerful enough to reduce them to subjection, were but too efficient for the purpose of enfeebling and demoralizing them,—though the doom of a people, thus lamentably circumstanced, was sure to be sealed, and perhaps irreversibly, whenever a more civilized foe found footing on their shores, with skill to avail himself of their dis sensions, and a disciplined force to oppose to their rude numbers, yet it must be owned that the almost unresisted facility with which a mere handful of men was allowed to acquire that footing,—the either infatuated or treacherous passiveness with which the first steps of a design so formidable were witnessed,—far outwent even all that might naturally be expected from the weak, degenerate, and disorganized state of the whole kingdom.
That neither the monarch nor any of the other princes were yet aware of the extent of Dermot's designs, or of the powerful patronage, he had secured for himself, appears to be highly probable; though assuredly there were wanting no farther facts to awaken vigilance, if not foresight, than the Hight of the trailor himself from the country, on avowed purposes of revenge, and his sudden reappearance in the field attended by foreign troops. Even then, had the Irish monarch and his liegeman of Breffny but followed up vigorously their first advantage over the fallen renegade, they might have crushed at once the whole base conspiracy, and at least postponed, if not wholly averted, the fatal extinction of their country's dearly bought independence. But it was soon apparent, even to the most infatuated, in what manner the faithless
Dermot had all along designed to requite their weak and ill judged mercy towards 1169.
him. In the month of May, this year, took place the first landing of the Anglo
Normans_in Ireland. The commander of the expedition was Robert FitzStephen, whom Dermot had engaged, as we have already seen, in his service at St.
Ware's Annals. 1 lo noticing the partiality of the Irish for strangers, Peter Lombard accounts for the peculiar exception to this tendency, which he thinks their feeling towards their English neighbours evinces, by the sense of injury which the tyranny of that people has left in their minds, and the consciousness that they themselves are looked down upon by them as only fit to be treated with insult and injustice :-" Quod enim putentur non amare Anglicanam nationem, quicquid est de eâ re. procedit totum ex his fontibus, partim quod servj. tutem putent quæ sub iis est subjectio, partim quod persuasum habeant se ab illis despici et injuriis affici."De Hibernia Commentarius,
I IV. Mag. ad ann. 1167. & Ware, Annals of Ireland, at Henry II. chap. i. Flaherty. Ogygia, part. iii. chap. 94. Respecting the date of this event, there is some difference among our historians; but that which I have given appears to me the most correct.