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

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long into the sea. (92) In the course of the same
year 1170, Strongbow landed near Waterford on the
23d of August, with about 1200 men, 200 of whom
were knights. (93) Without waiting for a junction
with Dermod's forces, or even with those of Ray-



mond, whicli were still In the fort, he attacked Wa-
terford, and, thoucrh twice repulsed, took it by storm
on the 25th. The inhabitants were dreadfully
slaughtered, and on his taking also a tower, in which,
among others, were Reginald prince of the Water-
ford i3anes, and O'Faolain, they were condemned to
death, but saved through the intercession of Der-
mod, who came up with Fitz-Stephen and others just
after the victory. Not many hours afterwards Eva,
(94) a daughter of Dermod, was, according to a
former stipulation, married to Strongbow, and they
were publicly delared heirs to king Dermod. But
on intelligence being received that Dublin and its
governor Hasculph had shaken off all obedience to
Dermod, he and Strongbow hastened to march to
that city, leaving a garrison at Waterford. Pro-
ceeding by mountainous and bye ways they arrived
under the walls of Dublin, and at length, owing to
the bravery of Milo de Cogan and Raymond, got
possession of it ; Hasculph and many others having
escaped to ships lying in the harbour, and sailed to
the Northward. Before the taking of the city St.
Laurence O'Toole had been negociating with the
besie^'ers for good terms for his flock, and after their
entrance exerted himself as far as he could for their
protection. Amidst the dreadful massacre and plun-
dering of the city he exposed himself in all direc-
tions, dragged the palpitating bodies of the slain
from the hands of the enemies, and got them buried.
Such persons as survived he relieved in every possi-
ble manner. At great risk he obtained that the
clergy might remain in their situations, and re-
covered from the pillagers the books and ornaments,
which had belonged to the churches. (95)

(90) Smith (Histori) of Waterford, p. 99.) calls this place
Dundronc. I do not find a place of this name. Perhaps it was
the now Duncannon fort. At any rate it was oii the co. Wexford
side of the Suir.


(91) This Idrone must not be confounded with the Idrone of
the now county of Carlow. Smith (^ib.) says, that it was a part
pf Ossory, i, e. a part near the Suir.

(92) Lord Lyttleton bitterly exclaims against this barbarous act
of iniquity.

(93) The date of this arrival marked by Ware, O'Flaherty, and
Lyttleton is A. 1170. Leland has 1171 ; but I think he was

(94) Keating fBooIc 2. ;;. 110.) calls her Aoife.

(95) Vita S Laurentii, cap. 18.

§. XIV. At this time Roderic 0*Conor was in
Connaught, whither he had been oWiged to repair
for the purpose of defending his hereditary territories
against the aggressions and devastations of Donald
0*Brian. After the fall of Dublin Dermod and
Strongbow, leaving the government of the city to
Milo de Cogan, marched into JVJeath, then under
the administration of O'Ruarc, and into Breffny,
CRuarc's own principality, which countries they
rav^aged, committing incredible barbarities on the
inhabitants. Roderic was so incensed at these pro-
ceedings, that he sent messengers to Dermod with
a letter, in which upbraiding him with his perfidy
and perjury in having violated the agreement entered
into between them, he required of him to desist
from his measures and send back the foreigners, and,
in case of his refusal, threatened to send him the
head of his son, whom be held as a hostage. To
this Dermod replied, that he would neither dismiss
the foreigners, nor cease in his pursuits until lie
should become monarch of all Ireland. Some say,
that Roderic, on receiving this insolent answer, ac-
tually executed his threat ; but this is denied by
others. (96) About this time a general synod of
the Irish clergy was held at Armagh, in which, after
much deliberation concerning the arrival of the fo-
reigners in Ireland, it was unanimously declared,
that this misfortune was a judgment of God on ac-



count of the sins of the people, and particularly be-
cause they used to buy English persons from mer-
chants, robbers, and pirates, and reduce them to
slavery, and that it would appear, that they in their
turn were to be enslaved by that nation. For the
English people, while their kingdom was still firm,
were, through a common vice of the nation, accus-
tomed to expose their children for sale, and, even
before they were in any want or distress, to sell tlieir
own sons and relatives to the Irish. It might there-
fore be probably supposed, that for this enormous
crime the purchasers deserved the yoke of slavery,
in the same manner as the sellers had been treated
already (in consequence of the Norman conquest of
England). It was therefore decreed, and unani-
mously ordered by the synod, that ail the English
throughout Ireland, who might happen to be in a
state of slavery, should be restored to their original
liberty. (97) Dermod and Strongbow, after their
expedition in Meath and BrefFny proceeded to Lein-
ster, and expelled from their territories O'Conor of
Ophaly and Fitzpatrick of Ossory. Then, as winter
was coming on, Dermod returned to Ferns, and
Strongbow to Waterford. Meanwhile the king,
Henry II. became jealous of the progress of Strong-
bow, and, among other measures taken to put a stop
to it, issued an order, that all his subjects, who had
gone to Ireland, should return before the following
Easter. But Strongbow found means to appease
him, and was allowed to remain with his troops in

(96) Keating (ib. p. 111.) states, that Roderic, although highly
provoked at Dermod's insolence, yet on mature reflection abstained
from putting the hostage to death.

(97) 1 have taken this remarkable narrative from Giraldus, (Hib'
exp. L. I. cap. 18.) adding only the few words within the paren-
thesis, which I think necessary for understanding his meaning.
His text is, as follows : "His itaque complctis, convocato apud


Ardmachiam totius Hiberniae clero ; et super advenarum in insu-
lain adventu tractato diutius et deliberato ; tandem communis om-
nium in hoc sententia resedit, propter peccata scilicet populi sui,
eoque praecipue quod Anglos olim tarn a mercatoribus, quam a
praedonibus atque pyratis, emere passim et in servitutem redigere
consueverant, divinae censura vindictae hoc eis incommodum ac-
cidisse, ut et ipsi quoque ab eadem gente in servitutem vice reci-
proca jam redigantur. Anglorum namque populus, adhuc integro
eorum regno, communi gentis vitio, liberos suos venales exponere,
et, priusquam inopiam uilam aut inediam sustinerent, filios proprios
et cognatos in Hiberniam vendere consueverant. Unde et proba-
biliter credi potest, sicut venditores olim, ita et emptores tarn
enormi delicto juga servitutis jam meruisse. Decretura est itaque
praedicto Concilio, et cum universitatis consensu publice statutum,
ut Angli ubique per insulam servitutis vinculo mancipati in pristinam
revocentur libertatem." The editors of Ware's Annals in English
make him say, (at A. 1170) that it was concluded by the clergy,
that " God had afflicted the Irish, particularly for their selling
the English taken by pirates t or otherwise" This is a shameful, and,
I am sure, a wilful perversion of Ware's original. What Ware ac-
tually wrote I cannot tell, whereas the part of his Annals, prior to
the reign of Henry VII., v/as not published until many years after
his death ; but this much is certain, that he never wrote what those
editors have here attributed to him ; for he understood Latin very
well, and was too honest to corrupt his authorities. Could he have
said, that the Irish used to sell the English, in direct opposition to
Giraldus, whom he had before his eyes, and who positively states
that they were Englishmen, who used to sell them, and mentions
as the only fault of the Irish, that they were wont to buy them ?
Those editors wished to throw the whole blame upon the Irish,
and to screen the English from the direct charge brought against
that nation ; and this was also their reason for omitting what Gi-
raldus has about Englishmen selling their children and relatives.
He is not the only authority for this nefarious practice ; for it is
mentioned and prohibited in the 28th canon of the council of Lon-
don held under Anselm, A. D. 1102 (ap. Wilkins Concil, S^^c. V,
I. p. 383); " Ne quis illud nefarium negotium, quo hactenus ho-
mines in Angha solebant velut bruta animalia venundari, deince
ullatenus facore praesumat."


§. XV. Dermot died at Ferns on the 4th of May
in the following year I171. (98) It is said, that
his disease was of a horrid and unknown kind, and
that he died in a state of impenitence, as an object
of divine wrath for his many crimes during a long
reign, and for the mischiefs and bloodshed caused
by his tyranny and ambition. Hasculph, the late
governor of Dublin, having during his absence pro-
cured from the Orkneys and other Islands an army
of Norwegians, commanded by John, surnamed the
Furious, entered in this year the LifFey with sixty
ships, and landing the men, attacked the eastern
gate of the city j but after much hard fighting, in
which many were slain on both sides, was repulsed
by Milo de Cogan, owing chiefly to an unexpected
attack on the assailants made by his brother Rich-
ard with a body of cavalry. In this conflict John
was killed, and Hasculph taken prisoner, whom, on
account of a bold declaration of his publicly an-
nounced, Milo ordered to be beheaded, while the
survivors returned to their ships. After this affair
Strongbow, together with Fitzgerald, Raymond, &c.
repaired to Dublin, and was soon after reduced to a
very perilous state. For St. Laurence, who was a
great lover of his country, and had been an eye-
witness of the atrocities committed by the foreigners
on their becoming masters of the city, encouraged
by means of messengers, the king Roderic and other
Irish princes to unite for the total expulsion of these
marauders, andjoined them in applying for assistance
to Godred, the king of Mann, and of other islands.
A short time elapsed before Roderic invested Dub-
lin with a great army, and thirty ships, sent by
Godred, blockaded the harbour. Roderic's plan
was to compel Strongbow and his forces by means of
famine to capitulate and quit Ireland ; and, as the
siege and blockade continued nearly two months,
they were brought to great distress. St. Laurence
was on this occasion employed in arranging terms.


and in the name of the Irish assembly announced to
Strongbovv and his people, that it was required,
that they should give up all the places that they oc-
cupied, and leave Ireland on a certain fixed day. (99)
But the Irish, notwithstanding their high demands,
carried on the siege in a very slovenly manner ; and
the besieged, unwilling to submit to their proposals,
availed themselves of their ne":iio:ence to make a
sudden and vigorous sally with a chosen and numer-
ous body of knights, esquires, and infantry, in
which they succeeded even beyond tlieir expectation,
the Irish being taken quite unawares, and through
w^ant of foresight of such a desperate attempt, in a
state of disorder and confusion. Roderic, against
whose quarters the chief attack was made, was then
bathing, and had a very narrow escape. The whole
Irish army suffering great loss, was dispersed, and
the victors returned to Dublin, bringing with them
great spoil of baggage, and particularly of provi-

(98) Ware, Annals at ^4. 1170. Others assign his death to the
dose of ^. 1170. Keatmg (Book 2. p. 112.) has it m May, but
erroneously, I think, of the year 1172. He himself discovers his
error by telling us, that Dermod died in the May next after the mur-
der of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, which he sup-
posed to have occurred in 1171. Now it is well known, that said
murder was committed on the 29th of December, A. D. 1170.

(99) Leiand, History, 8^c. B. 1. ch. 2. See also for St. Lau-
rence's proceedings. Giraldus, Hio. exp. caj). 22, Ware, Annals
at Ay 1171. Ly ttleton, &c. &c.



AiTival of Henry II. in Ireland — several of the
Irish princes submit to him — Synod qfCasheh 'not
attended by the northern bishops — Decrees said
to have passed there — The payment of Feter-
pence never enforced in Ireland — Fabidous story
of the Irish bajjtizing their children "with milk —
Decrees of the Synod of Cashel not observed by
the people of Ireland — Departure of Henry from
Ireland — Provincial Synod of Tuam — Deaths
and succession of several bishops — The Bull of
Adrian IV, and confirmatory Brief of Alexander
III, sent into Ireland by Heury II — Confer-
ence between O'Ruarc and Hugh de lacy —
Murder and bai^barous treatment of the body of
O'Ruarc by the Eriglish-^ Atrocities committed
by the English in various parts of Ireland — The
Knglish defeated by Donald O^Brien — Boderic
O' Conor ravages Meath — Fortifications of Trim
and Duleeh demolished by Hugh Tirrel — Bey-
mond le Grose and Donald prince of Ossory be-
siege Limerick — Treaty of Windsor between
Henry II. and Roderic O' Conor — St. Laurence
O' 7'oole a subscribing witness to this treaty —
Augustin, an Irishman^ appointed bishop of Wa-
terford by Henry — St. Laurence O^ Toole wounded
by a madman, whilst approaching the Altar to cele-
brate Mass in the Chuixh of Canterbury — Death
and succession of other bishops — Friory of St. John
of Jerusalem at Kiknainham founded — Death of
Strongbow — Castle of Slane attacked and demo-
lished by Mac Loghlin — War between De Courcy
and Mac Dunlevy — Synod of Dublin — Founda-
tion of the abbey of St. Thomas at Dublin — Dis-
sensions between Roderic O'Conor and his son —
Connaught invaded by the English — they are
compelled by hunger to retreat, and are attacked


and defeated hy the Conacians — John declared
king of Ireland hy his father Henry II. — Seve-
veral districts in Ireland granted by Henry to
his followers — John De Courcy defeated in Ulster
— Foundatio7i of the Abbey of Rosglas or Mo-
nastereven — Irish bishops who attended the Sd

General Council of LateiYtn- ^S^. Laurence

G* Toole recives a Bidl froin the Pope confirming
the jurisdiction of the see of Dubliii over those
of Glendalogh^ Kildare, Ferns, and Ossory —
Foundation of the Abbey of Ashroe, or Easrue
Several churches buriwd — Hugh de Lacy ap-
pointed Lord Deputy — S^. Laurence O' Toole
exerts himself in reforming the manners of all
ranks of people — goes to England for the pur-
pose of settling a dispute between Henry 11. and
Roderic O^Conor — Henry refuses him permission
to return to Ireland — He passes into France^
takes sick, and dies in the monastery of Augum,
now Eu, at the entrance of Normandy^^Cano-
, nized by Pope Honor ius IIL


Passing over some minor transactions, the detail
of which would be too tedious, and not within my
plan, I now proceed to the arrival of Henry II.,
who landed at Waterford on St. Luke's day, the 18th
of October, A, Z). II71, (i) with an army consist-
ing of 500 knights (2) and about 4000 men at
arms. He remained there for some days, and ap-
peared rather as a protector than an enemy of the
Irish people. During his stay in that city he was
waited upon by Dermod Mac-Carthy, who has been
called by some writers king of Cork, but who should
rather have been styled king of Desmond. Dermod
submitted to him, swore fealty, and giving him hos-
tages promised to pay an annual tribute. It has
been falsely and foolishly said, that all the archbi-


shops, bishops, and abbots oflrelaiid attended Henry
at Waterford, and tendered him their obedience. (3)
The only bishop whom, in all probability, the king saw
there was that of Waterford, whoever he was. Thence
he marched with his army to Lismore, and afterwards
to Cashel, where, or near which city, he was met
by Donald O' Brian, king of Thorn ond, who sub-
mitted to him, and acknowledged himself liis vassal.
About the same time O'Faolain of the Desies, and
Donald Mac-Gilla-Patric of Ossory acted in the
same manner. These princes were well received and
honourably treated by Henry, who soon after pro-
ceeded to Dublin. Here he was waited upon
by Murchard O' Carrol prince of Ergal, Tiernan
O'Ruarc of Breffny, and some other princes, who
also submitted themselves to his supreme authority.
Those of the northern parts of Ulster did not at-
tend, and Roderic O' Conor delayed to imitate the
example of the minor potentates. At length, how-
ever, he agreed to meet, on the borders of his Con-
naught kingdom near the Shannon, Hugh dc Lacy
and William Fitz-Aldelm, who were empowered by
Henry to receive his act of homage, and to treat of
the tribute, which he would have to pay. The mat-
ter ^vas thus settled, and peace was declared between
the two kings. (4) Henry spent the Christmas fes-
tival of 1171 in Dublin, and splendidly entertained
such of the Irish princes and nobles as were in that

(]) This is the year marked by Ware, O'Flaherty, Lyttelton,
Fleury (Hist, Eccl L. 72. §, 37.) &c,&c. Keating (Booh 2. p.
112) has ^. 1172, and so has Leland, B. l.ch. 3. But they
nere mistaken ; and it is clear even from Hoveden, who seems to
favour their opinion, that Henry's arrival was in 1171 ; for he tells
us, that the Christmas day, which Henry spent in Dublin, fell on
a Saturday. Now that was the Christmas day of 1171, not of
1172, in which that festival fell on Monday.


(2) Maurice Regan, as Ware observes, mentions only 400.
Giraldus and Keating have 500.

(3 ) Hoveden, whether the author of it or not, has this lie, and
so has Brompton, the lying abbot of lorval, of whom more here-
after ; but Giraldus has it not. It is not only a lie, but a foolish
one. For how could all the archbishops, bishops, &c. have come
to Waterford time enough to pay their obeisance to Henry ? Or
would Roderic O'Conor, or O'Ruarc have allowed the bishops of
their states to wait upon him ? Next it is certain, that neither the
primate Gelasius nor any bishop of the Ulster province called upon
Henry, at least until he was amved in Dublin. Ware says nothino-
about this fable, nor does Keating ; and it is rejected by Lyttelton
f jBoo^- 4.) and Leland, B, I. ch. 3. Hoveden then, gives a list
(nearly followed by Brompton) of the archiepiscopal and episcopal
sees, which, he says, existed at that time in Ireland, reckoning
them according to the order and dignity of the archiepiscopates,
1. Armagh. 2. Cashel. 3. Dublin. 4. Tuam. His account of
the suffragan sees, which, according to him, were only 28, is quite
incorrect ; for there were at that period not fewer than 34 such
sees. (See Chap, xxvii. §. 15.) And his names for several of
those, which he has, are so strange and unlike the Irish ones, that
it can hardly be guessed what places he meant. Who could un-
derstand what were such sees as Thuensis, Ceneversisy Lucap'
niarensis, Erupolensis, Kinfemensis, Kinlathensis, &c. ? Yet the
soi-disant antiquary Ledwich (Ant. p. 440. seqq,) would fain
prefer this wretched catalogue to any other of our sees at that
time. Any thing was good enough for him, except Irish docu-
ments. I suppose, that the sees mentioned by Hoveden, or
Brompton, are those, which Dr. Milner alludes to, when he con-
fidently tells us, (Additional note to his Letters on Ireland, p. 50.)
" that it was not till the English invasion that the Irish prelates
found themselves enabled to establish regular and canonical limits
to their dioceses and succession among themselves." I wish he
had told us, where he picked up this piece of information. Not to
speak of the synod of Rathbreasil, did he not know, that matters
of this kind had been treated of and settled by the council of

(4) Giraldus pretends, (Hib. cxp. L. I. cap. 32.) that this act
of Roderic virtually subjected all Ireland and its inferior kings and


princes to the power of Henry, inasmuch as he had been the head
of them. This is a false conclusion ; for Roderic was only an
elective and little more than nominal king of Ireland, and the only
consequence of his submission was at most, tliat his hereditary
kingdom of Connaught became feudatory to Henry. No act of
his could be binding on the other kings and princes, no more than>
according to the late Germanic constitution, all Germany, including
the Prussian states, &c. &c. could have been made over by an Em-
peror to a foreign power.

§. II.. Early ill the following year 1172 a synod
was held at Cashel, (5) which met by order of
Henry for the purpose of regulating some matters of
ecclesiastical discipline. It has been said, that all
the archbishops and bishops of Ireland, besides ab-
bots, &c. attended. (6) This is not true ; for in
the first place the primate Gelasius did not appear
there, not because his great age or infirmities pre-
vented him, but because he did not choose to assist
at said synod. (7) And we know that in the same
year Gelasius was able to make a general visitation
of the whole province of Connaught, which he con-
tinued through Ulster, until he returned to Ar-
magh, where he spent the remainder of his life. (8)
Next it is certain, that no suffragan bishop of Ulster
was present at the council of Cashel, (9) except it
may be supposed, that the bishop of Ergall or Clogher
might have attended in compliment to his master
O'Carrol. Donald O'Hullucan of Cashel, St. Lau-
rence of Dublin, and Catholicus, or Cadla, of Tuam
are stated to have assisted at it, together with their
suffragan bishops, besides abbots, archdeacons, &c.
On the part of Henry, and sent by him, there were
Ralph, archdeacon of Landatf, Nicholas his chap-
Iain, and some other ecclesiastics. The president
was Christian, bishop of Lismore and apostolic le-
gate. Were we to believe certain authors, a list was
drawn up of what they were pleased to call enormities
and dirty practices of the Irish, and sealed by Chris-



tian. This is a silly tale of a lying faction; (10)
for, whatever real abuses in matters of church dis-
cipline might have existed in Ireland, they had been
already corrected in various synods, at several of
which Christian had been present. We may judge
of those pretended enormitiesfrom the tenour of the
wonderful regulations proposed to the synod by
Henry's messengers for the reformation of the Irish
church, and afterwards agreed to. According to
one account it was decreed, 1. That children should
be brought to the church and baptized there in clean
water, with the triple immersion, in the name of the
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and that this should
be done by the priests, except in case of imminent
danger of death, in which they may be baptized any
whete, and by any person whatsoever without dis-
tinction of sex or order. 2. It was ordered, that
tithes should be paid to the churches out of every
sort of property ; and 3. That all laymen, who wish
to take wives, should take them according to the
Canon law. (il)

(5) Giraldus places this synod after Henry had received various
Irish princes at Dublin and passed Christmas there. Consequently
he assigns it to A. 1172, But the summons for its assembling
had been issued earlier. Hoveden, amidst other bungling, tells
us, that it was held while Henry was still at Waterford, before he
went to Dublin. (See Rerum Anglican. Scriptores, p. 528.
Frankfort, A. 1601.) This is truly ridiculous ; as if prelates from
various parts of Ireland could have assembled at Cashel during the
short time that Henry was at Waterford, or as if they would have
obeyed his summons before their sovereigns had recognized his


(6) This is insinuated by Hoveden, (ib.) after havmg pre-
viously given the notable list of Irish sees, of which above Not. 3.

(7) Giraldus pretends, {Hib, exp. L.l. cap. 34.) that the ab-
sence of Gelasius was owing to his age and infirmities, but adds
that he afterwards waited on Henry at Dubhn. This is, I am
sure, a fabrication of Giraldus' own; for, had Gelasius done so, it


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 18 of 45)