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 21 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 21 of 45)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Becket, prepared at their request to celebrate mass
on the following morning. As he was proceeding
to the altar, dressed in his pontificals, a certain mad-
man, who had heard that he was a holy man, took
it into his head that it would be a good act to give
him the crown of martyrdom and make him another
St. Thomas. Accordingly he seized upon a large
club, and rushing through the crowd, struck him
with all his might a violent blow on the head,
which made him fall near the altar. The monks
and the people much aggrieved thought, that he was
mortally wounded. But after a little time lifting up
his head, the saint called for some water, over
which he said the Lord's prayer, and having blessed
it with the sign of the Cross, desired the wound to
be washed with it. This done, the flowing of the
blood ceased, the wound was healed, and he cele«
brated mass. On the king's ordering that the mad-


man should be hanged, St. Laurence interceded
for him, and with difficulty obtained his pardon.

In this year died at a very advanced age Zvlocliosa
(whom some call Malachy) Mac-Inclericuir, the
immediate successor of the great St. Malachy in the
see of Down, and who was one of the prehites of
the council of Kells. He was succeeded bv Gilla-
domnai (called Gelasius) Mac-Cormac, who died
in the course of said year, and after whom was
appointed another Malachy. (62) In the same, or
in the following year Giilacomida (called also Gil-
*hert) O'Caran was removed from the see of Raphoe
to that of Armagh, in the room of Conchovar Mac-
Conchailleadh, who died at Rome. (63; He was
bishop of Raphoe at the time of the foundation of
the Cistercian monastery of Newry, to the charter
of which he was one of the witnesses, under the
title of bishop of Tir-conail, in which territory Ra-
phoe is situated. He was bishop there also when
Henry II. arrived in Ireland. (64) Fiathbert
O'Brolcan, wlio some years before had resigned the
see of Derry, {p5>) and afterwards retained only
the government of the monastery of Derry, having
refused that of Hy, died in said year 1 \ 7->, and
was buried in that monastery, leaving a great repu-
tation for w^isdom and liberality. He was succeeded
in the monastery by Gelasius O'Branain. [Jo^)

(61) Vit, S. Laurent, cap. 19. The author states, that this
transaction was attested by a person, wlio was present.

(62) Ware and Harris, Bishops at Down.

(63) Above §.6.

(64^) Ware and Harris, Bishops at Armagh and Raphoe,
Gilbert of Raphoe is mentioned in Hoveden's list of Irish sees.
For his signature to the charter of Newry see Not. 34. to Chap.


(65) Above §.5.


(66) Tr. Th.j). 505. and Ware, /hmah at A. 1175, and Bi-
shops at Deny.

§. xr. About these times Strongbow founded a
priory for knights of tlie order of St. John of Jeru-
salem, called at a much later period Knights of Mal-
ta, at Kilmainham near Dublin, which foundation
was confirmed by Henry II. (67) That place had
been anciently called Kill-magneiid from St. Mag-
nend, who was abbot there in the early part of the
seventh century, and who is said to have been a son
of Aidus, prince of Orgiell, who died in 606 (607).
St. Magnend's name is in the Irish calendars at 18
December. (68) Strongbow died about the begin-
ning of June A. D. 1176, and his body was kept
unburied until Reymond, whom his wife Basilea,
sister of Strongbow^, had sent for in all haste, arrived
in Dublin. It was then, under the direction of St.
Laurence O' Toole, solemnly interred in the cathe-
dral church of tlie Holy Trinity, alias Christ-church.
Strongbow left, by his wife Eva, daughter of Der-
mod Mac-Murrogh, a daughter, named Isabel, who
was afterwards married to William Mareschal, earl
of Pembroke. (69) The king, on hearing of Strong-
bow's death, sent over to Ireland, as his deputy or
lieutenant, William Fitz-Adelm, and together with
him John de Courcey, Robert Fitz-Stephen, and
Milo de Cogan, who were to act under him. In the
beginning of September of the same year Maurice
Fitzgerald died at Wexford leaving three sons, Wil-
liam, Gerald, and Alexander. From Maurice are
descended all the noble and illustrious families of
the Fitzgeralds in Ireland. Soon after the death of
Strongbow, and before the arrival of Fitz-Adelm,
Melaghlin Mac-Loghlin, an Ulster prince, attacked
and demolished the castle of Slane, on which occasion
Richard Fleming, the owner or governor of it, w^as,
together with many others, put to the sword, none


of the princes of Ulster at this time recognizing the
sovereignty of the king of England. (70)

To this year II76, and to the first of January,
some accounts assign the death of Malachy O'Brin,
or 0*Byrne, bishop of Kildare. (7I) It is related,
that St. Laurence once ordered him to undertake the
cure of a lady, who was mad and [)ossessed witli an
evil spirit, but that he declined the task, sayin^i'; tliat
he was not of sufficient merit to be able to expel de-
vils. (72) He was succeeded by Nehemias, who
held the sec for about 18 years. (73) In 1 177
Charles O'Buacalla, abbot of Mellifont, became
bishop of Emly, and died in less than a month after.
(74) Who was his immediate })redeccssor is not
known ; for he could not have been O'Meicstia, who
died in 1172. (75) Imar O'Ruadan, bishop of Kil-
lala, or of Hua-Fiachra, died also in 1177» (7^0

(67) Ware, Antir/. cap. 26. at Dublin.

(68) A A. S-S. /?. 584 and 713. Archdall says, {at Kilmaiii'
ham) that Magnend was abbot of Kill-magnend in 606 ; but
Colgan merely states, that this was the year of his Hither 's death.

(69) Ware, Annals at A. 1176.

(70) See Ware, ib. and Lyttleton, B. 5.

(71) See Ware and Harris, Bishops at Kildare. Colgan,
fTr. Th.j). 630.) erroneously calhng him 0^ Brian, places liis
death in 1175, and so do, as Harris observes, the Annals of

(72) Vita S. Laur. cap. 28. Harris pretends, {loc. cit.) that
O'Brin was right in making this excuse, if what historians, as he
pompously calls them, say of him be true. But these historians
of Harris are only Giraldus, (Hib. exjj. L. \. cap. 25.) who is
well known to have told or repeated a great number of falsehoods.
The story is, that, when Fitz-Stephen was in the year 1171 be-
sieged in Carig near Wexford by Donald, an illegitimate son of
Dermod Mac-Morrogh, and the Danes of Wexford, O'Brin, and
O'Hethe, bishop of Ferns, perjured themselves to make Fitz-
Stephen believe, that Dublin was taken by the Irish, and all the
foreigners destroyed, in consequence of which Fitz-Stephen and


liis party surrendered. This is evidently a fable patched up to
apologize for Fitz- Stephen's having given up himself and his gar-
rison, together with the fortress. Ware, treating of this affair,
( Annal. at yJ. 1171) shews, that he did not believe Giraldus,
whose tract he had before his eyes ; for he merely states, without
mentioning any bishop, that the besiegers had spread a report,
that Dublin was taken, and Strongbow and his army there cut to
pieces. In fact, there vvere veiy strong grounds for such a re-
port ; whereas, had Roderic O'Conor and the Irish acted with
more caution and ability, the foreigners then in Dublin might
have been all exterminated. (See Chap, xxviii. f . 15.) Add,
that Ware, giving an account ( Bishops) of those two prelates,
has not a word of that story ; and it was reserved for Harris to
foist the slanderous tale into that honest writer's works.
(73) Ware, Bishops at Kildare. (74) lb. at Emli^,
(75) Above, §. 5. (76) Ware, Bishops at Killala.

§. XII. In the same year 1177 Malachy, the new
bishop of Down, was taken prisoner by John de
Coiircey, but at the request of Vivian, Cardinal
Priest of the title of St. Stephen in Monte Coelio,
was soon after restored to his liberty and see. De
Courcey, wishing to give some employment to the
Anglo-Norman troops, and to provide for their
wants, had, in spite of the deputy Fitz-Adelm's
orders, set out early in this year (77) from Dublin
with a select body of them, joined by some Irish,
and by a quick march of three or four days arrived
unexpectedly at Downpatrick, the capital of Ulidia,
or Ullagh, and at that time an open unfortified
place. Mac-Dunlevy, its king, being unprepared
for this attack, withdrew from the town. Cardinal
Vivian, the Pope's legate for Scotland and the neigh-
bouring islands, and also for Ireland, happened to
be then at Downpatrick, having arrived there a
short time before from the Isle of Mann, and where
he was treated with great respect. He endeavoured
to mediate a peace between Mac-Dunlevy and De
Courcey, and proposed that the latter with his troops.


should quit the country on condition of the former
paying tribute to king Henry. De Courcey being
quite averse to this agreement, the Cardinal, vexed
at his unjust conduct, went to Mac-Dunlevy and
exhorted him to take arms in defence of his territo-
ries. This prince soon collected an army, it is said,
of 10,000 men, and marched to attack the invaders.
De Courcey and his men went out to meet them, and
after a hard fought battle gained a victory. The
Cardinal took refuge in a Church, but was pro-
tected by De Courcey, who also granted him the
freedom of the bishop Malachy, who in the pursuit
of the Ulidians had fallen into the enemy's hands.
After this Vivian went to Dublin, and held there a
a synod of bishops and abbots, in which setting
forth Henry's right to the sovereignty of Ireland in
virtue of the Pope's authority, he inculcated the ne-
cessity of obedience to him under pain of excom-
munication. He allowed the foreigners liberty to
take whatever victuals they might want, in their ex-
peditions, out of the churches, into which, as sanc-
tuaries, the Irish used to remove them ; merely or-
dering, that a reasonable price should be paid for
them to the rectors of such churches. (78) Thus
he atoned for his former attention to Mac-Dunlevy.
While Vivian was in Dublin, William Fitz-Adelm
founded, by order of Henry II. the celebrated abbey
of St. Thomas the martyr (BecketJ for Canons
Regular of the order of St. Victor, near Dublin, on
the site now called Thomas-court, for the good of
the souls of Geoffrey, count of Anjou father of the
king, of the empress his mother, and bis ancestors,
of the king himself and of his sons. Fitz-Adelm
made over to it, on the king's part, in the presence
of the Cardinal and of St. Laurence O'Toole, a
piece of land called Donower or Do?iore, This
abbey became in course of time most splendidly en-
dowed. (79) The synod being ended, Vivian


passed over to Ckester, and soon after returned to
Scotland. (80)

(77) Colgan was hugely mistaken (Tr, Th. p. 108.) in assign*
ing John de Courcey's first arrival in Ireland to A. D. 1185. He
misunderstood a passage of Usher, who says, (Pr, p. 889.) that
Count John came to Ireland in that year. But Usher meant not
John de Courcy, but John, earl of Morton, and son of Henry IL
who was afterwards king John, as appears also from his Tnd.
Chron.ad A. 1185.

(78) See Giraldus, Hib. exp. Z. 2. c. 17. Ware, Annals at A.
1177. Lyttleton, B, 5.

(79) See Ware, ib. and Antiq, cap. 26. at Dublin. Tlie char-
ter for this foundation may be seen, from an inspexinms., in the
Monast. AngL Vol. 2. p, 1039. It is also in Leland's Hislony,
B, 1. ch,6. Archdall (at Dublin, Abbeij of St. Thomas) has
egregiously bungled this business. According to him the abbey
had been founded by Fitz-Adelm as early as A. 1172, and he

^ytells us, that somebody was prior there between 1172 and 1175 ;
and why ? Because that somebody was a witness to a charter
granted by John de Courcy to the prioiy of St. Patiick in Down.
The poor man seems not to have known, that Fitz-Adelm was
not Hemy's deputy in Ireland, and consequently could not have
founded the Abbey of St. Thomas before 1176. And as to
what he says about St. Patrick's of Down, it was not until 1177
that De Courcey had any thing to do with Down, nor until 1183
that he gave the name of St. Patrick to a church in that town.
Then he assigns the grant of Donore to 1178, as if said grant
were not at the time of the foundation of the abbey, or as if St.
Vivian had not left Ireland in 1177 soon after the conclusion of
the synod of Dublin.

(80) Ware, Annals at A. 1177. It is strange, that Usher {hid.
Chron.) assigns to A. 1186 Vivian's synod of Dublin and his re-
turn to Scotland, on occasion of which it has been said, that he
left Ireland less loaded with Irish gold than he wished. For this
was said relatively to his departure in 1177- (See Fleury, L. 72.
J. 59.)

§.xiii. At this time a great dissension prevailed


between Roderic O'Conor and his eldest son Mur-
tach or Morrogh, who fled to DubHn and excited
Fitz-Adehn to make war on his father, offering to
conduct into the heart of Connaught the army to
be employed on this occasion. Although it does
not appear, that Roderic had in any wise violated
the treaty solemnly entered into with king Henry,
or had given any provocation to the English govern-
ment, Fitz-Adelm basely availed himself of that un-
natural son's treason, hoping to add Connaught to
Henry's possessions in Ireland. Accordingly he dis-
patched in said year 1177 Milo de Cogan, with a
considerable army of knights, cavalry, and archers,
who crossed the Shannon, and advanced without
meeting any opposition, as far as Tuam, which, it
seems, they set fire to. (81) Throughout the whole
country they found no provisions, as they were ei-
ther concealed in places where they could not be dis-
covered, or had been carried away or destroyed, the
inhabitants having retired "with their families and
cattle to inaccessible woods or to the mountains.
Cogan and his army were thus reduced almost to
starvation, and forced to set out again for Dublin,
without having gained any advantage ; but on their
return, and after eight days marching in Connaught,
they were attacked in a wood near the Shannon by
Roderic and the Connacians, and suffered consider-
able loss. (82) Murtach was taken in the action,
and the Connacians, not one of whom had joined
him on his entrance into their country, sentenced
him, with the consent of his father, to have his
eyes put out, which was accordingly done. (83)
Some time in May of this year Henry held a par-
liament at Oxford, in which he declared his son
John king of Ireland, having obtained permission
to do so from Pope Alexander III. This is not the
place to inquire into the extent of power or territo-
ries in Ireland, which Henry meant to confer upon
John J but this much I may remark, that Joh» was


not Styled king of Ireland, his title being lord of
Ireland and earl of Morton. (84) Afterwards, nnd
in the same year, he made a grant to Robert Fitz-
Stephen and Milo de Cogan of the kingdom of
Cork, that is, of Desmond, to hold under himself
and his son John, and their heirs, except the city
of Cork and the adjoining cantred, which Henry
retained in his own hands, but of which Fitz-Ste-
phen and Cogan were to have the custody for him.
(85) This grant was of no great service to them ;
for in spite of it they got possession of only a small
part of that kingdom, and two years afterwards were
glad to put up with, between them both, seven cantreds
near the city, while 24 cantreds remained out of their
and Henry's power. (86) A similar sort of grant,
rather nominal than real, was some time after made
of the kingdom of North-Munster by Henry to
Philip de Breuse, who, notwithstanding the king's
writ, and the assistance of Fitz-Stephen and Cogan,
never acquired an inch of it, and got so frightened
that he and his Welchmen thought it their best plan
to return home. (87) And it will be seen, that the
brave Donald O' Brian, who lived for several years
after these times, retained his kingdom until the
day of his death.

(81) A conflagi-ation of Tuam in 1177 is mentioned in the Irish
annals. (See Tr. Th. p. eSi.)

(82) Giraldus pretends, that of Cogan's party only three men
were killed ; but, as Ware observes, the Irish annals give a dijfferent
account of the matter.

(83) Ware, Annals at A.llll, Lyttleton B, 5. Leland, B.

(84) See Ware, ib. and A?itiq. cap. 27. Hoveden and Bromp-
ton have the name king ; but this was not John's real title.

(85) Henry's charter for this grant is in Ware's Aiitiquities,
cap. 21. See also the Annals at A. 1177.

(86) See Giraldus, {Hib.exp. L. 2. c. 18.) and from him Ware,
{locc. cilt.) vfho is copied by Smith, Hhtori/ of Cork, B. 1. ch, 1.


Lyttleton was quite wrong (B. 5.) in supposing that Fitz-Stephen
and Cogan divided between them the whole kingdom of Desmond,
with merely the exceptions mentioned in Henry's charter.

(87) Ware, A?itiq. cap. ^7. and A7inals at A. 1179. Lyttle-
ton, loc, at. and FeiTar, History of Lhnericlc, part 2. ch, 2.

§. XIV. In the following year, 1 178 John de Cour-
cey met with a great check. He had been phmder-
ing the now county of Louth, and was driving thence
a vast number of cattle, when he was met in the
country of Ergall or Oriel by Murtach O'Kervaill
or Carrol, prince of that country, and Mac-Dunlevy
of Ullagh, who attacked him with such success, that,
having lost many of his soldiers, he was obliged to
fiy, attended by only eleven men, for two days and
two nights without food or rest, until he reached his
castle near Downpatrick. He was also unfortunate
in an incursion, which he made into Dalaradia. (^^%)
To this year is assigned the foundation of the Cis-
tercian monastery of Rosalas or Monaster-evan, called
of St. Mary, alias De Rosea valle, by Dermod
O'Dempsy, prince of Ophaly, who richly endowed
it. (89) In this year died on the 8th of May Do-
nald O'Fogarty, bishop of Ossory, who had assisted
at the council of Kells, not as bishop but as vicar
general of that diocese. (90) It is supposed that in
his time the see of Ossory was at Aghaboe, the fa-
mous monastery of St. Cannich or Kenny. (9 1 ) Yet
this is doubtful ; but it is certain, that it v^^as there
in the time of his immediate successor Felix 0*DuI-
lany, who held that see from 1178 to 1202; nor was
it, as far as I can judge, until after 0'Dullany*s
death that it was removed from Aghaboe to Kilken-
ny. (92) In the same year 11 78 died Rugnad
O'Ruadan, bishop of Kilmacduach ; (93) and the
abbey and town of Ardfinnan were plundered and
burned by some English adventurers. (94) About
this time, or before it. Christian, bishop of Lismore,
must have resigned his see ; for we find, that in the


year 1179 it was held by one Felix. Christian re-
tired to the Cistercian monastery of Kyrie eleison at
Odorney in the county of Kerry, where he spent the
remainder of his days. (95) On his resigning the
bishopric it may be naturally supposed, that he gave
up also the apostolic legateship. Felix was one of
the Irish prelates, who assisted in 11 79 at the third
general council of Lateran, for the meeting of which
summonses had been issued by Alexander III. in the
preceding year. They are said to have been six in
all ; viz. St. Laurence of Dublin, Catholicus of Tu-
am, Constantine O'Brian of Killaloe, Felix of Lis-
more, Augustin of Waterford, and Brictius of Li-
merick. On their way through England to Rome
they were obliged to take an oath, that they would
not act in any manner prejudicial to the king or his
kingdom. (96) The Pope treated St. Laurence wdth
much kindness, and gave him a bull, in which, taking
under his protection the church of Dublin, he con-
firmed its rights, its jurisdiction over the suffragan
sees of Glendaloch, Kildare, Ferns, Leighlin, and
Ossory, which he also took under the protection of
St. Peter and the Roman church, and its extensive
possessions in churches, villages, lands, &c. (97)
In this council, or soon after it, and when he was
hear returning from Rome, the Pope appointed him
legate throughout all Ireland. (98) To this year,
1179 some accounts assign the foundation of the
Cistercian abbey of Ashro, or Easrua, alias De Sa-
mario, ne?tr Ballyshannon, by Roderic O'Cananan,
prince of Tir-connel. (99) Great conflagrations of
Armagh, Cashel, Clonfert, Lothra or Lorrah in the
county of Tipperary, and Tuam, are mentioned as
having occurred in said year; (100) but whether
owing to accident or design, I am not able to tell.

(88) Ware, Annals at A. 1178. See also Lyttleton, B. 5.

(89) Ware, ih. and Antiq. cap. 26. at Kildare. He says, that
others place this foundation in 1189. But it could not have been


so late, whereas one of the witnesses to the deed for it was
Donat, bishop of Leighlin, who died in 1185. This deed is in
the Monast, Anglic, Vol. 2. j9. 1031. Monasterevan is supposed
to have derived its name from a monastery, that had been there
under the name of St. Evin. Ware seems to confound it with
St. Evin's monastery of Ross-mac-treoin. But Ros-mac-treoin
was the place now called Old Ross in the county of Wexford
and in the southern part of Leinster, which could not be said of
Monastereven. (See Chap. xiv. ^.3. and ib. Not. 46.) It may
be justly suspected, that the name Monasterevan meant merely
the inonastery near the river (ahhan in Irish), as it was conti-
guous to the Barrow. For I do not find, that there was any mo-
nastery under the name of St. Evin in that part of Leinster, nor
that St. Abban, from whom it has been conjectured that Monas-
terevan got its name, erected one there.

(90) Ware (Bishops at Ossory) thought, that he sat above 20
years. Harris foists in upwards of 26 years, on the supposition
of his having been bishop of Ossory at the time of the council.
But the most correct account makes him at that time only vicar
general. (See Not, 100. to Chap, xxvii.)

(91) Ware (ib.) speaks of the see of Saigir as having been re-
moved to Aghaboe perhaps in 1052, because a church was built
there in that year. This, however is a poor argument, and the mat-
ter is still uncertain.

(92) Ware says, {ib.) that the removal to Kilkenny was made
by O'Dullany ; and in the Census Camerales of Cencius, which
was written before O'Dullany's death, the see is called Cainic.
But from a passage quoted by Usher from a catalogue of the bi-
shops of Ossory {Pr.p 951.) it appears, that the see was still at
Aghaboe, when O'Dullany died. The words are ; " A. D. mccii.
obiit Reverendus pater Felix O'Dulane episcopus Ossoriensis,
cujus ecclesia cathedralis tunc erat apud Aghboo in superiori
Ossoria." Through an error of the press, or probably an over-
sight of Usher, mcii. appears there, and also in the Lid, Chron,
instead of mccii. The name of Cainic (Kilkenny) might have
been introduced into the text of Cencius at a later period. Led-
wich has(^?2^. Sic.p. 510. 2d. ed.) some bungling about two dio-
ceses of Aghaboe and Kilkenny from a Provinciate, which, he
says, was compiled after 1 1 02, because O'Dullany died in that


year, for which, he quotes Usher. Now he might have easily
perceive^!, that 1102 is a palpable mistake, and that Usher had
obsen'cd, (i^*) that the Provinciale, no matter when compiled,
was wTong, and that the sees of Aghaboe and Kilkenny ought
not to be distinguished. Ledwich complains, that Aghaboe was
sunk in Kilkenny through the encroachment of Papal power in
1152, that is, by Cardinal Paparo. But surely the see was not
at Kilkenny until long after 1152, nor at the earliest, even ac-
cording to Ware, until after 1178. What an antiquary of Ireland
and of Aghaboe !

(93) Ware, Bishops at Kilmacduach,

(94<) Archdall at Ardfinnan,

(95) Ware, Bishojys at Lismore, and Antiq, cap. 26 at Kerry,
He makes mention of a bishop, named O'Cerbail, (Carrol) who
died at Lismore in 1167 ; but he could not have been bishop of
that see, whereas Christian was still its bishop at the time of the
synod of Cashel in 1172. (See above §. 2.)

(96) Ware, Annals Bi A. 1179. It has been said, (Fleury, Z.
73. §. 24.) that an Irish bishop, who attended at the council, had
no other income than the milk of three cows. If this be true, he
must not have been one of those now mentioned ; for it cannot
be supposed, that any of their sees was reduced to such poverty.
In fact Hoveden makes mention (at A, 1179) of five or six Irish
bishops, who, besides St.- Laurence and Catholicus, went to the
council, although other accounts reckon in the whole only the six

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 21 of 45)