Unknown.

An ecclesiastical history of Ireland, from the first introduction of Christianity among the Irish, to the beginning of the thirteenth century , Compiled from the works of the most esteemed authors ... who have written and published on matters connected with the Irish church; and from Irish annals an online

. (page 15 of 45)
Online LibraryUnknownAn ecclesiastical history of Ireland, from the first introduction of Christianity among the Irish, to the beginning of the thirteenth century , Compiled from the works of the most esteemed authors ... who have written and published on matters connected with the Irish church; and from Irish annals an → online text (page 15 of 45)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


had been observed long before by Donald O'Neill and the Irish
chieftains in their letter to Pope John XXII. in which they state,
that Adrian had been blinded by his affection for England, An-
glicana affectione,

(17) " Sane Hiberniam et omnes insulas, quibus sol justitiae
Christus illuxit, et quae documenta fidei Christianae ceperunt, ad
jus beati Petri et sacro-sanctae Romanae ecclesiae (quod tua etiam
nobilitas recognoscit) non est dubium pertinere.*' By the words in
the parenthesis the Pope probably meant to hint to Henry, that
also his kingdom of England, as being in an island, belonged to
the Holy see ; and we find, that in the year 1173 Henry declared
himself a vassal of Pope Alexander III. This nonsense of the
Pope's being the head owner of all Christian islands had been par-
tially announced to the world in a bull of Urban II. dated A. 1091,
in which, on disposing of the island of Corsica, he said that the
emperor Constantine had given the islands to St. Peter and his vi-
cars. (See Fleury, L. 64. ^.8.) But Constantino could nor give
what did not belong to him, and accordingly, as Keating argues
(Book 2. p. S. ) could not have transferred the sovereignty of
Ireland to any Pope. Adrian IV. without mentioning Constantine,
laid down a much larger plea, comprizing all islands, whether



CHAP, xxvrir. of Ireland. iGi

they had formed parts of the Roman empire or not. From liii
not appealing to any other right of his over Ireland we see, how
unfounded is the story which some writers have, of the Irish nobi-
!ity having conferred the sovereignty of all their countr)' on
Urban IL in the year 1092. Keating has this fiible (ih. p,
113.) and places the transaction in the time of Donogh O'Brian
lung of Munster, attributing it to their hatred of Donogh.
Yet elsewhere (ib. p. 3.) he says, that the offer of surren-
ilering freland to the Pope was made by Donogh himself.
I have already observed, f Not. 91. to Chap, xxiv.) that Donogh
could not have been empowered to make such an offer, and that
he must have been dead long before the time, to which Keating
assigned it. Then how absurd is it to introduce, as stated in the
other story, the Irish nobility making over the whole island to
Urban II. in 1092; because they hated Donogh and refused to pay
him obedience ? For Donogh had fled from Ireland to Rome in
1064-, whence he never returned ; and in 1092 the king not only
of Munster but of other parts of Ireland, and who has been called
king of Ireland, was Murtogh O'Brian. And supposing even that
Donogh was then living in Ireland, why should the Irish nobility
at large have made either then or at any time such an offer to
Rome ? For Donogh was never king of all Ireland, and in the
€nd was king only of Munster ; and consequently the nobility of
the greatest part qJ Ireland had nothing to do witl\paying or re-
fusing obedience to him. Or will it be supposed, that during the
vigorous reign of the powerful king Murtogh the nobility of Ireland
would have dared to transfer his kingdom to the Pope ? Neither
in any of the Irish annals nor in the ecclesiastical documents of
those times, whether Roman or Irish,- is there a trace to be found
of a transfer of Ireland to Urban II. or to any Pope of that or a
preceding period by either Irish kings or Irish nobility, although the
sly Italian Polydore Virgil, who has been followed by two English-
men, Campion and Sanders, and also by some Irish writers, has
told some bjg lies on this subject. In the letters of Lanfranc and
Anselm, both Apostolic legates, to the kings Turlogh and IVIur-
togh O'Brian, there is not the least allusion to any temporal power
claimed or at all exercised by the Pope in Ireland ; while, on the
contrary, these kings are addressed by them in the most respectfj!
manner indicating, that they considered them la tlie li^ht of
VOL. IV. M



IQQ an ecclesiastfcal history chap, xxviii.

sovereigns as independent as any in the universe. Nor is there a
vestige of that pretended right in the accounts, that we have
of the proceedings of Cardinal Paparo. But what sets the matter
quit^ at rest is, that, if the Popes enjoyed the paramount dominion
of Ireland, Adrian IV. would undoubtedly have alleged it as the
foundation of his title to the granting of Ireland to Henry II; an
argument, which, if it coidd be adduced, would have been infinitely
preferable to that of the ownership of islands in general. I am
therefore astonished, that Dr. O'Conor could have undertaken
( Columhanus Second Letter) the defence of the absurd story
related by Keating, and headed his §. xii. with declaring it not
fabulous. He admits, that Keating*s chronology is wrong; but
yet he does not prove a single part of the nanative, except what
did not require to be proved, viz, that Donogh O'Brian fled to
Rome, for which he refers to Tigemach and the Annals of Innis-
fallen, Ulster, and the 4 JNIasters. By the bye I think he was
mistaken in assigning Donogh's flight to A. D. 1047. ( See Not, 91.
to Chap, XXIV.) But would it follow from Donogh's going to
Rome, that the Irish nobility made over Ireland to the Pope,
which is the main point of Keating's fable, that wanted defence ?
Would it not rather seem, that, having got rid of Donogh, such
of the Irish nobility as did not like to obey him, viz. that of
Munster alone, had no occasion whatsoever to apply to Rome ?
And that they did not is as clear as daylight from the feet, that
after his flight Turlogh O'Brian, his nephew, was immediately,
and without waiting for news from Rome, proclaimed king of
Munster. (See Chap. xxii. J. 11.) Of what use was it for Dr.
O'Conor to refer to Gregory the Seventh's letter to the same Tur-
logh, when king of Ireland, and to that Pope's insinuating a claim
upon his kingdom ? For surely Turlogh was not such a fool as to
give it up to him. (See ?^. J. 14.) Dr. O'Conor seems to reduce
the substance of his whole argumentation to these words at p. 73.
*' What I state is, that Keating gives the tradition and the opinion
of the great mass of the common Irish of his time." Be it so; but
something more than the opinion of the common Irish of Keating's
time would be requisite to prove, that either the Irish nobility or
any Irisli king had transferred the chief sovereignty of Ireland to
Urban II. or to any other Pope of those days. What Keating adds
al)o;it this pretended authority having been exercised in Ireland



CHAP. XXVIII. . OF IRELAND. 163

from the year 1092 down to the time of Adrian IV. is so contrary
to the Irish history of that period, that it is not worth ihe honour
of refutation. Who were the Roman viceroys or governors acting
for the Popes ? Is it because Cardinal Paparo brought palliums
in 1151, and that he presided over a synod in 1152 ? V/hat had
such things to do v.'ith a temporal dominion over Ireland ? As
well might it be said, that the Popes were at that time sovereigns
of every part of the Christian world, to v^'hich they used to send
legates.

How then did these fables originate ? They were not even
thought of until a considerable time after the Anglo-Norman set-
tlers and undertakers had spread themselves throughout Ireland.
The Irish knew nothing about them as late as the year 1316,
in which Donald O'Neill, prince of Ulster, and several chieftains,
&c. wrote their letter of complaint and remonstrance to Pope
John XXII. against the tyranny and cruelties of the English.
This letter may be seen in M'Geoghegan's Histoire (Vlrlandey
Tom. 2. p. 106. soqq. It is strange, that he makes this letter be
written during the reign of Edward III. of England ; for it is cer-
tain, that it was in the reign of Edward II. as is clear from its
having been written, while Edward Bruce and the Scots were in
Ireland, and from the circumstance that the letter or brief ad-
dressed, m. consequence of it, by that Pope to the b'ng of Eng-
land, was written in 1319, and therefore to Edward II. some 3^ears
before the accession of Edward III. On the other hand it could
not have been directed to said pope prior to 1316, that being the
first year of liis pontificate. To return to our subject, the Irish
state in their letter, that from the conversion of the nation by St.
Patrick, and their coming under the spiritual obedience of the
Roman church, until the year 1170 they had sixty-one kings, who
acknowledged no superior in temporals, nullum in temporalibus
recognoscentes super-iorem. They say, that Adrian acted unjustly
without any respect for law or justice, indebitey ordine juris omisso
omnino* Hence it is plain, that they had no idea whatsoever of
any former grant made of Ireland to Urban II. or to any Pope,
In later times it probably occun*ed to some of the Irish that, whereas
their enemies used to allege, in favour df their system of plunder
and extermination, the grant made by Adrian IV. and confirmed
by Alexandei' III., it would not be a bad plan to admit, that said
"^ M 2



164 AN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY CHAP. XXVIII.

Popes had some sort of right to have acted as they did ; for in
ihat supposition, if two Popes had made over Ireland to the Eng-
lish, other Popes would be equally authorized to turn them out
again ; and it gradually began to be believed, that the Popes en-
joyed a paramount jurisdiction over the country. But then a
question arose, how the Popes had acquired it. Some obser\'ed
that, as Donogh O'Brian had gone to Rome, the transfer of do-
minion might have been made by him or by the nobility hostile
to him. Next it was found, that Urban 11. had asserted about
1092 a claim to dominion over islands, and this was considered a
very convenient date for the grant of the sovereignty of Ireland
to the Holy see. Thus those stories were patched up in spite of
chronology or of any authority whatsoever ; and Keating swallowed
them as he did many olhei*s.

(18) " Jure nimirum ecclesiarum illibato et integi'o permanente,
et saJva beato Petro et sacrosanctae Romanae ecciesiae de singulis
domibus annua unius denarii pensione." I need not tell the
reader, that this charge of a denarius, vulgarly called a penny^
was in imitation of the Peterpence, which used for centuries to be
paid by England. As to its origin there and to the then value of
the denarius it is not my business to inquire. Let it suffice to say,
that it was worth a good deal more than our present penny.

(19) John writes CMetalog. L, 4. cap. ult.) ; " Annulum quo-
que per me transmisit (Adrianus) aureum, smaragdo optimo de-
coratum, quo tieret investitura juris in gerenda Hibernia ; idemque
auhuc annulus in curiali archio publico custodiri jussus est."

§. IV. Adrian's bull is of so unwarrantable and
unjustiiiable a nature, that some writers could not
bring themselves to believe that he issued it, and have
endeavoured to prove it a forgery ; but their efforts
were of no avail, and never did there exist a more
real or authentic document. QlQi) It w^as, however,
kept secret until a convenient time should occur for
taking advantage of it. (!2]) Had any knowledge
of it transpired in Ireland, it would undoubtedly
have been mentioned in the synods, that were held
not loiig after it was issued, and particularly in the
great one at Mcllifont of the year 1 157. This synod



CHAP. XXVIII. OF IRELAND. 165

was convoked for the purpose of consecrating the
church of Mellifont, (22) and was attended by the
primate Gelasius, Christian bishop of Lismore and
Apostolic legate, 17 other bishops, and innumerable
clergymen of inferior ranks. There were present
also Murchertach or Murtogli O'Loghlin, king of
Ireland, O'Eochadha, prince of Ulidia, Ticrnan
O'Ruairc, prince of BrefFiiy, and O'Kerbhaill or
Carrol, prince of P^rgall or Oriel. After the con-
secration of the church Donogh O'Melaghiin, prince
of Meath, was excommunicated by the clergy, and
deprived of his principality by the king and the
other princes, his brother Dermod being substituted
in his stead. (2o) On this occasion the king gave
as an offering for his soul to God and the monks of
Mellifont 140 oxen or cows, 60 ounces of gold,
and a town-laud, called Fi!inavair'7ia-7iingen, n^ar
Drogheda. O' Kerbhaill gave also 6o ounces of gold,
and as many more were presented by the wife of
Tiernan O'Ruairc, who was a daughter of the prince
of Meath, that is, a former prince Murchad. She
likewise gave a golden chalice for the high altar, and
sacred vestments, &c. for each of the nine othen-;,
that were in the church. This was the second year
of Murtogh O'Loghlin being considered as king of
Ireland, whereas he succeeded Turlogh O'Conor,
who died in 1 1,36, (24) and was buried in the church
'of Clonmacnois near the altar of St. Kieran, after
having distinguished himself by pious donations.
Murtogh's reign continued until 11(36. (25)

(20) Gratianus Lucius ( Lynch) greatly exerted liimseVi {Cambr.
Evers. cap. 22.) in striving to show, that the Bull is spurious, and
Mac-Geoghegan would fain make us believe the same tiling. It
has not indeed been published in the Bullariiim Romajium, the
editors of which were ashamed of it. But there was a copy of it
in the Vatican library, as is clear from its being referred to by Pope
John XXII. in his Brief to Edward II. of England, written in 1S19,
which Brief is in the Btdlayiuin, and may be seen in Wilkins'



166 AN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY CHAP. XXVIII*

Councils, Vol. 2. p. 491. in Brodin's Descriptio regni Hiherniae
printed at Rome in 1721, and in Mac-Geoghegan's Histoire, &c,
Tom. 2. p. 116. In said Brief the Pope not only refers to Adrian's
Bull or letter by name, but says that he joins to the Brief a copy
of it for the use of the king. And Baronius, who has published
the Bull in his Annales, &c. at A. 1159, (not because he thought
it was issued in that year) tells us, that lie took his copy of it from
a codex Vaticanus. Then we have the testimony oS the very in-
triguer employed in procuring this Bull, John of Salisbury, who
just before the words quoted ( Not prec.) has ; " Ad preces meas
illustri regi Anglorura Henrico II. concessit (Adrianus) et dedi-
Hibemiam jure haereditario possidendam, sicut literae ipsius tes'
tantu7- in hodiermim diem. Nam omnes insulae de jure antiquo,
ex donatione Constantini qui earn fundavit et dotavit, dicuntur ad
Romanam ecclesiam pertinere. Annulum quoque," &c. Lynch,,
having seen this passage, thought that it was supposed to be taken
from the Polycraiiais of John of Salisburj', and then argues, that
it is not in the genuine Polycraticus. But he ought to have known,
tliat it was quoted not from the Polycraticus, but from another of
John's works entitled Metalogicus. Adrian's grant of Ireland to
Henry is expressly mentioned and confirmed by Pope Alexander
HI. in his letter to him of the year 1172. Giraldus Cambrensis,
fDe rebus a scgestis, Part 2. cap. 11- and Hiherni expugn, L. 2.
c, 6.) Matthew Paris ( Historia major, &)C. ad A. 1155 ) and
others give not only an account of said Bull, but the Bull itself;
and Usher states, [Sylloge, not. on No. 46.) that he saw copies of
it in the registers of the dioceses of Dublin and Lismore. What
has been now said is surely more than enough to set aside the
doubts of Lynch or of any other writer.

(21) Keating has {Book 2. ;?, 113 ) an unfounded story about
Henry II. having, on receiving the Bull, sent John of Salisbury
with it to Ireland, and his having read it before the bishops and
principal clergy assembled at Waterford. I am sure that he took
this fable from Stanihurst's third book De rebus Hibernicis, where
it is to be found in consequence of his having followed a corrupt
copy of the Hibernia expugnata of Giraldus Cambrensis, Stani-
hurst has been corrected by his own ne})hew Usher, {Sylloge, Not.
on No. 47.) from whose quotation of Giraldus' genuine text it ap-
pears, that Adrian's Bull was not read at Waterford until after



CHAP. XXVlir. OF IRELAND. l67

Henry had received also the confirmatory letter or brief of Alex-
ander III. and had returned from Ireland. The reason, for which
Henry deferred his expedition to Ireland is stated by Nicholas
Trivet (at A. 1155.) to have been that, when Henry discussed with
his nobles at Winchester the project of conquering Ireland, his
nK)ther opposed it. (See Usher, ib. Not. at No. 46.)

(22) There is an account of it from the 4- Masters (at A. 11 57.)
in Tr. Th. p. 309. and A A. SS. p. 65B and 776. It is mentioned
at the same year in the Annals of Mary's abbey. The 4- Masters
say, that it was held in the monastery of Drogheda, meaning, as
Colgan observes, Mellifont, which is near that town. I do not find
this synod marked in the Annals of Innisfallen, and I suspect that
it has been confounded with that of Kells. Hence, perhaps, we
may discover, why these Annals have placed the synod of Kells at
Drogheda. (Compare with Not. 96. to Chap, xxvii.) Hunis has
(Archbishops of Armagh at Gdusius) a droll thought, as if the
synod of Mellifont might have been a continuation by adjournment
of the one of Kells, in the same manner as the council of Trent
was adjourned different times. Pray, what was tlie multiplicity of
business proposed at the synod of Kells, tliat could require ad-
journments ? We have seen, that the few days, during which it
sat; were fully sufficient for transacting all that it had to do,
which was not a two hundredth part of the matters discussed in
the council of Trent. Besides, it is positively stated, that this
synod or assembly was held for the mere object of consecrating a
church ; and in fact very little more seems to have been done by it.

(23) Harris quotes (ib.) from certain anonymous annals, as the
cause of the sentence passed against Donogh, '^ that the cursed
atheist was excommunicated from the Church for dishonouring
the Comorb (i. e. the primate), the staff of Jesus, and all the
clergy."

(24) See Chap. xxvi. ^. I.

(25) Ware, Antiq. cap. 4^. Colgan, Tr. Th. p.i49. &c.&c.

§. V. Another synod was held in 1158 at a place
in Meath called Brigk-Tkaig or Brigh-mac-Thaidhg,
at which Gelasius and Christian were present, be-
sides several other bishops, consisting in all of 25 or
26 prelates. (26) Many useful decrees, relative to



16S AN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY CHAP. XXVIII^

ecclesiastical discipline and morals, were enacted by
It ; and, after the ordinary business was over, it re-
solved, that Dcrry should be raised to the rank of a
regular episcopal see, and Flathbert O'Brolchan,
abbot of its monastery, was appointed its bishop.
(27) He was constituted also superintendent over
all the abbeys of Ireland, which must be understood
of those only of the Columbian order. (28) There
were no Connaught bishops in this synod ; for such
of them as had set out with the intention of assist-
ing at it were, after having passed Clonmacnois, met
and plundered by some satellites of Dermod O'Me-
laghlin, prince of Meath ; and, two men of their
suite being killed, the bishops returned home. It
seems, that tliey then held a synod of their own in
Roscommon, in which some good regulations were
made. (29) In the same year died a very respecta-
ble prelate, Donall or Donald O'Lonargan, arch-
bishop of Cashel.(SO) He had assisted at the council
of Kelis, and was succeeded by Donald O'Hullucan,
who held the see until 1182. (3l) The great church
of Aghadoe in the now county of Kerry, was finished
in said year, 1158, by AulifFe mor, of the territory
called Na-Cuimsionach, and son of Aongus O'Do-
noghue.(32) The history of the see of Aghadoe is
exceedingly obscure ; and I am not able to deter-
mine, whether it existed or not at this time. It is
probable, that it rose from the monastery of Innis-
fallen, but when I cannot tell. (33) The Cister-
cian monastery of Newry was apparently founded
about this time and richly endowed by Murtogb
O'Loghlin or O'Laughlin, alias Mac-lLaughlm, who
in his charter or deed in favour of it calls himself
king of all Ireland, a title which he could not have
well assumed until the year ] 156. (34) Another
Cistercian house, called of K7/rie Eleison, had been
established in 1154 at Odorney in the now county
of Kerry, and supplied with monks from Magio or
Nenay in the county of Limerick. (35) Two an-



CHAP. XXVIII. OF IRELAND. IgQ

chorets of Armagh, Abel and Gilla-Muredach are
said to have died in 1159. (36) To this year is as-
signed the death of O'Dubery, bishop of Cloyne.
(37) Finn Mac-Kienan, bishop of Kildare, who
had assisted at the council of Kells, died in 1160
at Killeigh in the now King's county, and was
buried there. (3S) At this year I find the death of
Gilla-na-Naomh O'Duinn, chief professor of the
monastery of Inisclothrann in Lough-ree, a cele-
brated iiistorian, poet and orator. (39)

(26) See for this synod Tr, Th. p. 309. and A A. SS. p. 655
and 777.

(27) Compare with Not. 106. to Chap, xxvii.

(28) Surely it cannot be supposed, that Flathbert was placed
over, for instance, the Cisterician abbeys. If we are to believe
Keating, {Book 2. p, 103) Christian, bishop of Lisraore, was then
superior of all the monks of Ireland ; but Colgan observes, {A^.
SS. p, 654f.) that this must be applied merely to the Cistercians,
to whose order Christian had belonged. It must also be remarked,
that Flathbert's jurisdiction could not have been intended as sub-
versive of the rights of the abbot of Hy over the Irish Colum-
bians.

(29) See Harris {Bishops, p. 59 and 467.) from the Annals of
the Prior}' of All-saints at A. 1158.

(30) The Annals now mentioned, and those of Innisfallen at A
1158. The former Annals, as quoted by Ware and Harris,
{Bishops at his name) call him Chief elder ofMunster, a learned
and liberal ma?!, especially to the poor.

(31) Ware and Harris, at Archbishops of Cashel.

(32) Annals of Innisfallen at A. 1158.

(33) I do not find any mention of Aghadoe in Ware or Colgan-
Harris speaks of it (Bishops at Ardfert) for the first time at A.
1588, as if united with Ardfert. It does not occur, as far as I can
discover, in any old catalogue of the Irish sees. There was an
old abbey at Aghadoe, in which Aodh O'Donoghue, a grandson
of AulifFe-mor above mentioned, was buried in 1231. (Archdall
at Aghadoe.) Smith says, {History of Kerry, p. 14-7.) that its
cathedral was dedicated to St. Finnian. This was the St. Finnian,



170 AN ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY CHAP. XXVIII.

surnamed the leper, who founded the monastery of Innisfallen.
According to Smith {ib. j), 67.) the diocese of Aghadoe com-
prized the southern part of Keriy, while the northern part
belonged to that of Ardfert. He adds, that in the Register's books
there is no distinction between the parishes belonging to the re-
spective sees.

(34-) This deed is referred to by Ware, (Antiq. cap. 26- at
County of Down, Newry,) and called a charter of foundation.
It is entitled ChaHa abbatiae de Newry, and may be seen in the
Monast. Anal voL 2. p. 1031.) and in Dr. O'Coners 2. Proleg,
to Re)\ Hib. Script, p. 158. In it the king says, tliat he has
granted and confirmed to the monks serving God in Nyvorcintrac-
ta (Ne^vry) the town-land O'Cormaic, where was founded the
monastery Atherathin, and also those of Enaratha, Crumglean,
Caselanagan, Lissinelle, Croa-Druimfornacta, Sec. &c. together
with their waters, woods, mills, &c. He then speaks of the ab-
bey, as if he were the original founder of it, and states that he
lias taken the monks under his protection ; " Et quia ipsum mo-
nasterium Ybarcintracta (another name for Newry) mera mea
voluntaie coUocavi, ipsos monachos, tamquam. fdios et domeslicos
Jidei, sub proieciione mea suscepi." Among the witnesses, whose
names are signed to this charter, were Gilla-?«^ac-Liag (Gelasius)
archbishop of Armagh; Aed O'Killedy, bishop of Ergall
(Clogher) ; Muriach O'Cofuiy (Muredach O'Cobthaich ) , bishop
of Tireheogain (Ardstraw, see Not. 100. to Chap, xxvii.) ; Me-
lissa Mac In clerig-cuir, bishop of Ultonia (Ulidia or Down);
and Gillacomida O'Caran, bishop of Tirconail (Raphoe). Then
come the names of divers princes and nobles. If the monasteiy
of Newry was founded at the same time that these grants were
made, its foundation could not have been prior to 1156, unless
it might be said, which it wcudd be hard to suppose, that Mur-
togh or Maurice O'Laughlin aisumed the title of king of all Ire-
and before the death of Turlogli O'Conor. In the hypothesis of
these endowments, and the foundation having taken place about
one and the same time, we cannot admit the statement of the
Annals of Marj^'s abbey, which assign the foundation to A. 1153.
Ware had in his Coenobia Cistcrciensia, published in 1626, af-
fixed it to ll^^; but aftenvards, when treating of it in his Anti-



Online LibraryUnknownAn ecclesiastical history of Ireland, from the first introduction of Christianity among the Irish, to the beginning of the thirteenth century , Compiled from the works of the most esteemed authors ... who have written and published on matters connected with the Irish church; and from Irish annals an → online text (page 15 of 45)