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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improbable, that like some other old practices, one or other of
these ceremonies was kept up in Ireland.

(22) We have already seen {Not. 18.) the instances of St.
Finian and St. Senan being sent to the church for baptism. St,
Fursey was three days after his birth baptized by St. Brendan of
Clonfert ( Vit. S. Furs. L.l.c.'S.): St.^ Fintan of Cluain-edneach
on the eighth day by a holy man, and undoubtedly a clergyman, *
who lived in a place called Cliiain-mhic-treoinf Vit. S. Fint. c. 1.):
St. Laurence O'Toole by the bishop of Kildare ( Vit, S. L. c. 2.)
&c. &c. In the 24th and 27th of the canons, called of the synod
of St. Patrick, Auxilius, and Isserninus, it is ordered, that no
strange or newly introduced clergyman do baptize, or offer, i.e. to
celebrate the holy mysteries, without the permission of the bishop.
Hence it is clear, that the right of baptizing was supposed ordi-
narily to belong to the clergy.

§. V. It lias been said that, after the synod was
conckided, the king Henry sent to the Pope certain
letters of all the archbishops and bishops of Ireland


recognizing Henry's power over Ireland. (23) This
much may be admitted, that some time later (24) he
sent to Rome a copy of those wonderful decrees, and
very probably, as may be concluded from the brief
of Alexander III., Cof which hereafter) a certain ac-
count of Irish practices, such as might induce the
Pope to favour his views. After all, said decrees
produced no effect in Ireland, and were disregarded
by the Irish clergy and people, who looked only to
their own ecclesiastical rules, as if the synod of Ca-
shel had never been held. (25) Henry left Dublin
early in February of the same year 1172, and went
to Wexford. Being there he received, about the
middle of Lent, some very pressing news from Nor-
mandy, relative to the affair of Thomas Becket,
which required his departure for that country as soon
as conveniently possible. Accordingly he sailed from
Wexford on the following Easter Monday, (26)
which fell on the 1 7th of April, and arrived on the
same day at Port-Finnan in South Wales. In this
year a provincial synod was held at Tuam by the
archbishop Cadla O'Dubhai ; but nothing is recorded
of its proceedings, except that on this occasion three
churches were consecrated. (27) It must have been
after the synod of Cashel, and probably was assembled
at the time of the primate Gelasius' visitation of Con-
naught. (28) In said year died the holy bishop of
Cork, Gilla Aeda O'Mugin, (29) who had assisted at
the council of Kells. He was succeeded by one Gre-
gory. To the same year are assigned the deaths of
O'Meicstia or O'Meicselbe, bishop of Emly ; (30)
Brigdin O'Cathlan, bishop of Ferns, who is named
after some other bishops of that see, whose precise
times are not known, and who appears to have re-
signed several years before his death; (31) and Ti-
gernach O'Maeleoin of Clonmacnois, (32) who was
rather an abbot than a bishop. Melruan O'Ruadan,
bishop of Achonry, one of the prelates of the synod
of Kells, had died in J17O; and another equally


eminent prelate, Peter O'Mordai, bishop of CJon-
fert, who had been the first abbot of Boyle, was
drowned in the Shannon on the 27th of December,
A. ll?]. Peter O'Mordai was succeeded by Moeliosa
Mac- Award, who held the see only a short time, as
he died in 1173. (S3) About these times, and appa-
rently before the arrival of Henry II. in Ireland,
Donald O'Brian, king of North Munster, erected
the great cathedral of Cashel adjoining Coi-mac's
Chapel, which thenceforth was used as a vestry or
chapter-house. He endowed this church, and granted
lands to the see. (34) To the year 1 173 is assigned
the death of Kinad O'Ronan, bishop of Glendaloch,
who had been one of the witnesses to the foundation
charter of the priory of All Saints in Dublin. (35)
Muredacfo^^'Cohiiaich, who had been bishop of Ki-
nel-eogaih, or Ardsrath, at the time of the council
of Kells, (36) and afterwards bishop of Derry, is said
to have died in the same year, or in the following^ on
the 10th of February. He became bishop of this see
through the resignation, some years earlier, of Flath-
bert O'Brolcan the first ordinary bishop of Derry.
(37) Muredach had been an Augustin Canon, and
was highly esteemed for his learning, humility, and
charity to the poor. He has been called bishop also
of Raphoe ; but this is a mistake, whereas the then
bishop of Raphoe was Gilbert O'Caran. (38)

(23) Hoveden has this story {loc. cit.) ; but Giraldus says no-
thing about such letters, or their having been sent to Rome. Hove-
den absurdly supposed, that these letters were written at Water-
ford. See above Not. 3.

(24) Owing to the tempestuous weather that prevailed during
the winter of 1171 coming 1172, and part of the following spring,
Henry could have no communication with Rome, nor had he any
for some months even with England or his other dominions.

(25) This is plain from Giraldus, who speaking ( Topogr. Hib,
Dist, 3.C. 19.) of the Irish practices followed in his days, several
years after the synod of Cashel, says, that tithe* were not paid,


and that marriages were not contracted, that is, according to the
usage of England, &c. It is true, that elsewhere he mentions a
great alteration for the better, owing to the measures of Henry.
(See above Not. 13.) But this must be taken either as a flourish
in favour of Henry, or may be understood of the state and sys-
tem of the diocese of Dublin as it was under John Comin, an
Englishman, during whose incumbency Giraldus was in Ireland.

(26) Giraldus says, {Hib. exp. L.l. c. 37.) Paschali luce se-
cunda, that is, of the year 1172. Leland, who erroneously
places (B. 1. c 3.) Henry's departure in 1173, had no right to
refer in the margin to Giraldus, who does not there mention A,
1173; while, on the contrary, it is evident from his whole con-
text, that the Easter Monday was in 1172, the year marked also
by Hoveden, and several old writers, as also by Ware (Annals)
Lyttleton, &c. «S:c. Tlie fact is, that Henry must have left
Ireland in 1172, whereas nothing can be more certain than that
he arrived in Normandy in May of that year ; that it was in said
year that he was absolved there by the Pope's legates from the
censures incuiTed in consequence of the murder of Thomas Bec-
ket ; and that he was present at the synod of Avranches, which
met in that year on the 27th of September. (See Fleury, L. 72.
J. 39. seqq.)

(27) Ware, Annals at A. 1172, and Harris, Archbishops of
Tuam at Catholicus O'Dubhai.

(28) See above ^.2.

(29) Ware and Harris, Bishops at Cork, For this worthy
prelate see Chap, xxvii. J. 8.

(30) lb. at Emly. (31) Harris, ib. at Ferns.

(32) Ware and Han-is, ib. at Clonmacnois. I find no proof of
his having been a bishop, except his being called comcrban of St.
Kieran. But he might have been only an abbot ; for St. Kieran had
not been a bishop. And it is much more probable, that this was
the case, because Moriertach O'Moeluidhir, the bishop of Clon-
macnois, who assisted at the synod of Kells, lived until 1188 ; and
there is no necessity for supposing with Ware, that he resigned his
see long before his death.

(33) Ware and Harris, ib.at Achonry and Clonfert.

(34) Ware, Antig. cap. 29. at Cashely and Harris, Archbishops
of Cash el.


(35) See Harris, Bishops at Glendaloch. Compare with Chap,
XXVIII. §. 10.

(36) Not. 100. to Chap, xxvii.

(37) For Flathbert see Chap, xxviii. J. 5.

(38) Ware and Harris, Bishops at Derrij. Hoveden calls
Muredach Mauritius Charcnsis epis. instead of Darensis,

§. VI. The great and truly excellent and holy pri-
mate Gelasius, having returned to Armagh from his
last visitations in Connaught and Ulster, remained
there preparing for eternity, until God was pleased
to call him to himself on the 27th of March A. D.
1 174, in the 87th year of his age after an active and
exemplary incumbency of »^8 years. (39) He was
succeeded by Conchovar or Conor, alias Cornelius,
Mac-Conchailleadh, abbot of the' Augustin Canons
monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul of Armagh, who
went to Rome on some ecclesiastical business, and died
there in 1175. (40) Patrick O'Bainan, who had
been bishop of Connor, and one of the prelates of the
council of Kells, a man highly praised for his sanc-
tity, died in 1174 in the island of Hy, whither he
had retired apparently some years before his death ;
for one Nehemias is mentioned as the actual bishop
of Conor at the time of king Henry's arrival in Ire-
land, that is, in the latter partofll?]. (41) To
the same year 1174 some assign the death of Ethru
O'Miadachain, bishop of Clonard, which others place
in 1173. (42) In some lists of the members of the
council of Kells this prelate is reckoned among them.

(43) In said year 1174 died also Moeliosa O'Con-
nachtain, bishop of East Connaught, that is, I be-
lieve, of the united dioceses of Elphin and Roscom-
mon, who had assisted at the now mentioned council.

(44) This was also the year of the death of a very
holy man, St. Gilda-Machaibeo or Mochaibeo, whose
name has been latinized into Machabeiis, (45) He
was born in 1 10^2, and became in all appearance a dis-
ciple of the blessed Imar, the master and director of


St. Malachy. It is certain that, after having been
for some time a Canon Regular of St. Augustin in
the monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul of Armagh,
he was appointed abbot of it, probably soon after the
death of Imar, which occurred at Rome in 11 31..
(46) There is reason to think, that he did not hold
that situation until his death. (47) He died on the
31st of March, and the Irish hagiologists represent
him as a man of superior piety, learning, and wis-
dom. (48) An illustrious professor of the school of
Armagh, and its chief director, Florence Gorman,
who had studied for twenty-one years in France and
England, and afterwards taught in his own country
for twenty years longer, died about the same time in
the same year. (49)

(39) AA, SS. Vit. S. GeL cap. 30, and Tr. Th.p. 310.
Giraldus says, fHib. exp. L. 1. c, 34.) that Gelasius lived entirely
on the milk of a cow, which used to be driven before him wherever
he went. For entirely read chiefly.

(40) Tr. Th. p. ib. Ware says, (Archbishops of Armagh)
that he died in 1175 or 1176. 1 suppose he had no reason for
adding or 1176, except his thinking, that the old mode of anti-
cipating the Christian era, followed in some Irish annals, was still
continued. But it had ceased to prevail long before these times.

(41) See Tr. Th. p. 501. and Ware and Harris, Bishops at

(42) Ware compared with Harris, ib. at Meath.

(43) See Not. 100. to Chap, xxvii.

(44) Ware and Harris, ib. at Elphin. Compare with Not. 106.
to Chap.xx\ii.

(45) His name is in the Irish calendars, and Colgan treats of
him at 31 March.

(46) See Chap.xxvi. §.15.

(47) We have just seen, that Ware calls Conchovar, who suc-
ceeded Gelasius in the see of Armagh A.D. 1174, abbot of St.
Peter and St. Paul at the time of his being appointed to it. How
then could Machabeus, who survived Gelasius by four days, have
been then abbot, if Conchovar was the real one ? The matter


maybe easily settled by supposing, that, if Ware be right, Macha-
beus had some time previous resigned the abbacy.

(^S) Marian Gorman, his contemporary, styles him, as quoted
by Colgan, a tower of piety and meekness, an ark of wisdom and
science, &c. Others speak of him in a similar manner.

(49) Tr. Th.p. 310.

§. VII. In 1175 Henry II. sent Nicholas, prior
of Wallingford, afterwards abbot of Malmesbury, and
William Fitz-Adelm to Ireland with the bull of
Adrian IV. and the confirmatory brief, which Alex-
ander III. had sent some time before to Henry.
(50) On their arrival a meeting of bishops was held
at Waterford, in which those precious documents
were publicly read. (51) This was the first time
that they were so in Ireland ; and, although Henry
undoubtedly had Adrian's bull in his hands, when he
was in Ireland, he thought it unadviseable to an-
nounce it publicly. He knew, that not only the
whole drift of it, but likewise certain unfounded as-
persions contained in it would have- caused great irri-
tation among both the clergy and laity. But now,
owing to the precarious state of his power in Ireland,
he found himself obliged to recur to the Papal au-
thority, thinking that he might by this means secure
the obedience of the clergy, whom he imagined he
had already brought over in great part to his side by
some of the decrees of his synod of Cashel, and
through whom he expected to counteract the oppo-
sition of the Irish princes and people to his authority.
After his departure there was much fighthig in Ire-
land between the natives and the foreigners. A
grant, which he had made of Meath to Hugh de
Lacy, (52) being contrary to the interests of Tiernan
O'Ruarc, under whose government a considerable
part of that great territory had been placed, gave rise
to a dispute, which was near terminating in open hos-
tilities. To prevent this mischief some friends of
both parties brought about a conference between
O'Ruarc and Lacy. They met some time in 117^>


on a hill not far from Dublin, each accompanied by a
small and equal number of their adherents. But be-
fore the conference was concluded O'Ruarc was
killed by Griffin, a nephew of Maurice Fitzgerald,
who was present and who excited him to this act.
The apology set up by writers of their faction for
this dreadful deed is, that O'Ruarc had previously
aimed a blow against Lacy. Whether this be true
or not, this is not the place to inquire. The head
of O'Ruarc was then cut off, and placed over a gate
in Dublin, and his body hung, with the feet upwards,
on a gallows. In this year Lacy ravaged Annaly, and
killed Donald O'Ferral its king or chieftain. Early
in the following year Strongbow invaded Ophaly,
whose chieftain was O'Dempsy, and burned and
plundered some towns ; but on this occasion he lost
his son-in-law Robert de Quincey, constable of Lein-
ster, who was attacked in a defile by O'Dempsy, and
slain with many of his knights and the loss of the
banner of Leinster. (53)

(50) This brief may be seen in Usher's Sylloge, No. 47, taken
from the genuine and correct text of Giraldus (Hib. exp. L. 2. c. 6.)
Lynch (Cambr, evers. p. 197.) argues from its not being in the
Roman Bullarium, that it is a forgery ; but this and some other
exceptions of his are of as little avail as his arguments against the
autheiiticity of Adrian's bull. It confirms the grant made by
Adrian under the former condition of the payment of the Peter-
pence; and Alexander wishes, that, on eradicating the dirty
practices of Ireland, the nation may through Henry's exertions
become polished, and its church be brought to a better form. He
seems to have known nothing of the state of the Irish church,
except what he heard from the lying accounts of the enemies of
Ireland ; and as to ecclesiastical or other dirt I believe he might in
those times have found enough of it, and I fear more, nearer
home, without looking for it in this country. I dare say he would
have been hard set to meet with, in any equal portion of the Church
of that period, so many excellent bishops as Gelasius, Laurence


O'Toole, Christian of Lismore, Catholicus of Tuam, &c. There
is nothing in the brief concerning any letters or other papers sent
by Irish archbishops and bishops to the Pope; (see above f . 5.)
and the only authority alleged for Henry's right to Ireland is the
Bull of Adrian.

(51) Giraldus {loc. aV.) Ware, Annals at A. 1175. Lyttelton,
&c. &c. I do not understand, why Leland fB. 1. ch. 4-.) places
this meeting of the clergy at Waterford, the arrival of Nicholas
of Wallingford, whom he calls simply JVallingford, and the
reading of Adrian's bull, <S:c. so late as J. 1 177. I am sure
he is wrong ; but I shall not tire the reader with a disputation on
this subject.

(52) The charter of this grant is in Ware's Antiquities^ cap. 27.

(53) Ware, Annals at A. 1172. Lyttelton, B. 4, &c.

§. viiT. In 1173 confederacies were formed in
Ireland for the purpose of driving out the Anglo-
Normans, who dissatisfied with Hervey de Monte
Marisco, whom Strongbow had placed over the army,
after the death of De Quincey, called out for Rey-
mond le Grose as their commander. Strongbow
having. complied with their wish, Ileymond set about
plundering the Desies, took Lismore which he pil-
laged, and sent a great part of his united spoil by
water towards Waterford. The vessels, in which it
was contained, were met at the mouth of the river
Blackwater by a Danish fleet from Cork, and a com-
bat ensued, in which the Danes were worsted. Mean-
while Reyniond defeated a body of the Irish, who
had been sent to Lismore by Dermod Mac-Carthy,
king of Desmond, and then marched to Waterford,
driving along a great number of cattle. Not long
after in a fit of disgust he returned to Wales. (54)
The command of the army now devolved on Hervey
de Monte Marisco, who in the following year, 1174,
wishing to signalize himself, obtained permission
from Strongbow to invade the territories of Donald
O'Brian, king of North Munster. This was granted
to him, and Strongbow himself went to Cashel,


where he expected rehiforcements from Dublin. The
corps under Hervey was attacked all of a sudden,
early on a morning, near Thurles (55) by Do-
nald 0*Brian, and 400 of them, or, according to
another account, (^(i) 700, together with four of
their chief leaders, were put to the sword, while the
remainder fled to Waterford, whither Strongbow
also hastened his return, and shut himself up in the
city as if it w^ere besieged. For the whole country
was, on the news of O' Brian's success, filled with Irish
armies, which withdrew their allegiance from Henry.
Koderic O' Conor soon after entered Meath with a
great force, and ravaged the whole country, which
Hugh de Lacy had parcelled out among his fiiends
and soldiers. Hugh Tirrel, who acted for Lacy,
then in England, finding that he would not be able
to defend the castle of Trim, demolished the fortifi-
cations, burned it, as he did also that of Duleek,
and escaped with his soldiers to Dublin. While the
affairs of the foreigners were in this perilous state,
Reymond was persuaded to return to Ireland, and
arrived with his cousin german Milo, or Meyler,
and 30 other knights, all of his own kindred, besides
100 cavalry and 300 infantry, in the harbour of Wa-
terford at a very critical moment. At that time a ge-
neral insurrection of the Danes of Waterford was
breaking out ; but Reymond was able to rescue
Strongbow from their fury, and conducted him to
Wexford. Afterwards they put to death all the
Anglo-Normans they met with in the streets or else-
where, until at length terms were agreed upon be-
tween them and the garrison. Reymond then
marched towards Meath against Roderic O' Conor,
who hearing of his approach returned to Connaught.
(57) In the succeeding year 1175 Reymond, as-
sisted by Donald prince of Ossory, undertook the
siege of Limerick, in order to enrich his army with
the plunder of that city, and probably in revenge for
the victory gained by Donald O'Briannear Thurles.

l^OL. IV. Q


But it would lead me too far to enter into a detail of
this siege and its consequences.

(54) Ware, ih. at /4. 1173. Lyttelton, ih. &c. &c.

(55) Lyttelton was wrong in placing this battle in Ossory.

(56) Annals of Innisfallen.

(57) Ware, ib. at A. 1174. Lyttelton, &c. &c.

§. IX. While matters were going in this manner,
Henry perceived that it was not an easy task to sub-
due the Irish nation, and, considering the delicate
state of his affairs both in Great Britain and France,
first strove to render their clergy subservient to him
by means of the Papal decrees, which he got read at
Waterford, as we have seen above. He knew, how-
ever, that something more was w^anting to bring over
the laity, and accordingly was anxious to compromise
his disputes with the Irish princes, particularly Ro-
deric O'Conor. Things were managed in such a
manner, that Roderic sent over, to negotiate in his
name with Henry, three ambassadors, Catholicus arch-
bishop of Tuam, Concors abbot of St. Brendan's of
Clonfert, and Laurence his chancellor. They waited
on the king at Windsor about Michaelmas of this
year 1 1 75, and within the octave of that festival a
great council was held there, (58) in which the fol-
lowing articles were agreed upon. Roderic w^as to
be still a king, but as holding under Henry, and
was to retain his hereditary territories as firmly
and peaceably as he had possessed them before Hen-
ry's arrival in Ireland. He was likewise to have un-
der his superintendence and jurisdiction the other
kings, princes, &c. of the rest of Ireland, with the
exception of some parts, and was bound to make
them pay, through his hands, their tribute to the
king of England. These kings &c. were not to be
disturbed as to the possession of their principalities,
as long as they remained faithful to Henry and obe-
dient to Roderic. But in case they failed in either


point, or refused to pay the tribute, Roderic was au-
thorized to judge of their proceedings, and, if requi-
site, to deprive them of their power and possessions ;
and, should his own power not be sufficient for that
purpose, he was to be assisted by the English king's
constable and his other servants and soldiers. The
tribute to be paid by Roderic and the Irish at large
was very trifling, consisting only of a hide for every
tenth head of cattle killed in Ireland. This agree-
ment and the extent of Rodericks power were not,
however, to comprehend all Ireland ; for the king
reserved to himself or to his barons Dublin and its
appurtenances, all Meath and Leinster, besides Wa-
terford and the country thence to Dungarvan in-
cluded. There were some minor articles, which, as
I am not writing a civil history of Ireland, it would
be out of my line to give a detail of. (59) One of
the witnesses to this treaty was St. Laurence O' Toole,
who had come over to England concerning certain
affairs of his church, some time before the arrival of
Rodericks ambassadors. In the same council or as*
sembly Henry exercised the first act of his authority
as to the appointment of Irish bishops by naming to
the see of Waterford, which happened to be then
vacant, (probably by the death of Tostius, who had
assisted at the synod of Kells) one Augustin an Irish-
man, who is styled master^ and whom, as St. Lau-
rence was about returning to Ireland, he sent in his
company to be consecrated by Donald, archbishop of
Cashel. (60) On this occasion the king acted very
judiciously ; 1. by not placing a foreigner over the
church of Waterford ; and 2. by not getting Augus-
tin consecrated in England, but directing him, as
the canons required, to the metropolitan, whose suf-
fragan he was to become.

(58) Hoveden says (at A, 1175.) that the agreement between
the kings Henry and Roderic was made in octavis S. Mickaelis,
which may be understood of the Octave of Michaelmas, that is,



the 6th of October, or of some day within the Octave. The
blundering translator of Ware's Annals at said year has englified
Hoveden's words by 8th of October^ probably not understanding
the meaning of the word Octave, and for Catholicus, S^c, he has the
Catholic bishop of Tunm. Harris (at Archbishops of Tuam,
Catholicus J instead of Concors writes Canthred.

(59) The whole treaty is in Hoveden's Annals at A, 1175. See
also Lyttelton, B, 4.

(60) Hoveden writes ; (ib.J ^^ In eodem vero concilio dedit rex
Angliae magistro Augustino Hybernensi episcojjatiwi Water-

fordiae, qui tunc vacabat in Hybernia. Et misit einn in Hy-
berniam cum Laurentio Diviliniae archiepiscopo, ad consecrandum
a Donato Cassiliensi archiepiscopo"

§. X. It was in the same year 1175, and some
time before the now mentioned assembly was held,
that St. Laurence was near being killed at Canter-
bury. Having gone thither to wait upon the king,
who was there at that time, he was received with
great respect by the monks, and after a night spent
in imploring the suffrages of the martyr St. Thomas

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