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 5 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 5 of 45)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

1121, Celestinus (Celsus) Primas archiepiscopatum Dublin accepit.
They are wrong in calling the see of Dublin archiepiscopatum,

(98) Above §.5.

(99) Yet the Danes of Limerick succeeded, after Gillebert's
death, in opposition to that decree, in getting their bishop conse-
crated at Canterbury.


(100) Colgan, quoting the 4 Masters (Tr, TA. p. 309.) calls
"him Grenius, an Irish name with a Latin termination.

(101) This letter is at No. 40 in Usher's Sylloge.

( 102) Domino reverentissimo ac religiosissimo, Radulpho ar-
chiepiscopo Cantuariae, omnes burgenses Dublinae civitatis, cwnc-
tusgue clericorum conventus, &c

§. XVI. These Danish electors were assisted by

an Irish sovereign, who must have been no other than

the one to whom Dublin was then subject. This

sovereign was Tirdelvac or Turlogh O'Conor, who,

from having been originally king only of Connaught,

extended in course of time his dominion over other

parts of Ireland, and became master of Dublin in

the year 1 1 18. (103) He wrote a letter to Henry

I. king of England for the purpose of recommending

a request of the burgesses of Dublin relative to this

matter, in consequence of which Henry, calling him

king of Irelandy directed this note to the archbishop

Ralph : " The king of Ireland has announced to

" me by a brief of his, and the burgesses of Dublin,

** that they have chosen this Gregory to be their

" bishop, and that they send him to you to be con-

" secrated. Accordingly I give you this notice,

" that, complying with their petition, you may perform

*' his consecration without delay." (104) Gregory

was, by order of Ralph, ordained deacon and priest

by Roger, bishop of Salisbury, at a place called

Divisio, on a Saturday the 24th of September, A, D,

1121, and was consecrated bishop by Ralph at

Lambeth on Sunday the 2d of October. Ralph was

attended by Richard bishop of London, Roger of

Salisbury, Robert of Lincoln, Everard of Norwich,

and David of Bangor. On the 24th of said month

Gregory assisted at the consecration of the church

of Tewksbury. (105) His profession of obedience

was in these terms ; ** I Gregory, elected to the

" government of the church of Dublin, which is

" situated in Ireland, and to be consecrated by tliee,


" Reverend father Ralph, archbishop of the holy
" church of Canterbury, and primate of all Britain,
*' do promise that I will observe in every respect
** canonical obedience to thee and all thy successors."
(106) And in fact it appears, that he did so until
the holding of the council of Kells in 1 152, when
Dublin was raised to the rank of a metropolitical see,
of which Gregory became the first archbishop. After
his return to Ireland I meet with no further attempt
to bring Dublin under Irish ecclesiastical jurisdiction,
and Celsus being a man of peaceable disposition,
seems to have acquiesced in the result of Gregory's
appointment. In the year 1122 Celsus lost his suf-
fragan or assistant bishop for the see of Armagh,
Mael Colm (servant of Columha J O'Brolchan, who
died in reputation of sanctity after having spent some
time in pilgrimage at or near Derry. (107) It is
probable, that he was the immediate successor, in that
capacity, of Coencomrach O'Boigill, who died in
1106. (108)

(103) The Annals of Innlsfallen have at ^. 1118. " Turlogh
O'Conor became king of the Danes -of Dublin, having banished
thence Donall Gearr-lamhach (shoi-t-handed) O'Brian, , son of
Murtogh the son of Turlogh O'Brian."

(104) The original of this message is at No. 41 in the Sylloge.

(105) Continuator of Florence of Worcester at A. 1121. and
Han*is, Bishops of Dublin at Gregory. According to Usher (see
above Not. 35.) Gregory's consecration should be assigned to A.
1122. This is contrary not only to the positive statement of the
Continuator, who has it at A. 1121, but, what is of more weight,
likewise to his marking, that the 24th of September fell on a Sa-
turday and the 2d of October on a Sunday. Now these coin-
cidences do not answer for 1122, but they do for 1121, the Do-
minical letter of which was B. Add that Ralph of Canterbury
died on the 19th of October in 1122. Supposing him to have
been sick for some time before his death, it is hard to think that
he was able to^consecrate a bishop in that same month.

(106) Usher's Sylloge towards the end.


(107) 4 Masters op Tr. Th. p. 300. They say, that he ob-
tained the palm of mart}Tdom, but do not tell us how, or on what
occasion. Their calling him bishop of Armagh must be under-
stood, as with regard to some others to whom they give that title,
relatively to his having assisted as suffragan in the government of
the see.

(108) Above f . 12. Colgan [Tr, Th. p. SOO.) would wish to
explain O'Brolchan's having been suffragan to Celsus by observing,
that Celsus then, i. e. in 1122, held two sees, Armagh and Dub-
lin. But we may be sure, that he did not hold Dublin in that
year ; for Gregory was in quiet possession of it. The suffraganship
of Annagh was a circumstance of long standing, and Celsus
thought it adviseable to continue it, were it merely that the diocese
should not be neglected during the periods of his absence.


Great contentions among the Irish princes — Deaths
of several Irish Bishops in the early part of the
\2th century, — Learned men that four ished in
Ireland in the same period — Gormfhlaith Abbess
of Kildare — Several churches plundered and
devastated, — Pious men and ecclesiastics still
continue to pass from Ireland i^ito the continent
— Monastery of St. James at Ratisbon erected by
Irish Monks by the aid of Conor O' Brian, king
of Munster — St. Malachy, or Maolmaodhog
O' Morgair, his birth, education, 8^c. — T'xo
churches erected at Lismore and Qne at Cashel
by Cormac Mac-Carthy, king of Desmond -
Church of St. Peter a?id Paid at Arjnagh conse-
crated by Celsus — Monastery of Ba?2gor re-esta-
blished by St Malachy— St. Malachy consecrated



bishop of Co7i7ior — Death of Celsus Archhishojy
of Armagh — succeeded by Miirchertach or Man-
ricCy idio holds the see for five years^^On the
death of Murchertach Jsigelliis attempts to
take possession of the see of Armagh^ but is
preveiited, and St. Malachy is declared Priniate
— Death of Imar O* Haedhagan, icho had been
St. Malachy^s preceptor — Synod of Cashel un-
der Domnald O'Conaing and the bishops of
Mvnster — Several churches pillaged and de-
stroyed — Deaths of several bishops.


MURTOGH O'Brian was, as we have seen, (1)
dethroned in 1116, and died in 1119. The substi-
tution, in his stead, dF his brother Dermod gave
rise to great wars and desolation throughout all
Leth-mogha. Turlogh O' Conor, king of Con-
naught, availing himself of this opportunity, laid
waste Thorn ond in 1116, and obtained very con-
siderable booty, which he after v/ards presented to
God and St. Flannan, that is, to the church of
KiUaloe. Dermod advanced in said year with an
army into Connaught, but after great slaughter and
loss of military stores, &c. was forced to retreat. (2)
These contests continued with various success,
chiefly in favour of Turlogh, who in 1118 des-
troyed the royal palace of the O'Brians at Cean-
chorra near Killaloe, until the death of Dermod,
which occurred in 1 120, when he was succeeded by
his eldest son Conor O'Brian as king of Munster, the
principality of Thomond, which Conor had held hi-
therto, being given to his brother Turlogh O'Brian
(3) In the following year died Domnald Mac-Lochlin
sovereign of the Northern parts, who had been styled
king of Ireland, (4) Turlogh O' Conor was now be-
come the most powerful prince in Ireland, and hav-


ing burned Cashel and Lismore in 1121, (5) conti-
nued for several years to ravage and harrass Munster,
Leinster, and Meath, until, having humbled also
the princes of Ulster, he obtained hostages from
them, as he had already from those of other parts,
and rose to such pre-eminence that he has been
called king of Ireland. (6) Yet we find, that
during part of his reign Conor O' Brian possessed
great power, and that, besides being sovereign of
Leth-mogha, he claimed hostages and obedience
from all the other princes of Ireland. (7) Conor
lived until 1142, as did Turlogh O'Conor until

(1 ) Chap. XXIV. ^ . 14.

(2) Annals of Innisfallen at A. 1116.

(3) lb. from ^.1116 to 1120. (4) See Chap. xxiv. §, 14.

(5) Annals of Innisfallen at A. 1121.

(6) Colgan observes, { Tr. Th. p. 449.) that Turlogh, or, as in
his affected nomenclature he calls him, Theodoric O'Conor was
one of those Irish kings, who, like Domnald Mac-Lochlin and
others, were styled refragabley inasmuch as their title and claims
to the sovereignty of all Ireland were disputed and opposed by
other kings and princes. See also OTlaherty, Ogyg. Part iii.
cap, 94.

(7) See Annals of Innisfallen at A, 1138 and 1142.

(8) Said Annals at those years. Ware assigns {Antiq, cap. 4.)
Turlogh's death to 1157 by adding a year without necessity
Colgan, following the 4 Masters ( Tr. Th. p. 449.) has it at

§. II. Of Irish bishops, who died in the early part
of this the 12th century, J find besides some already
mentioned, the names of the following. Rigan, of
Dromore, and Cormac O'Mail of Glendaloch died in
1101, (9) Christian O'Hectigern of Clonmacnois in
1103 5 Maclothod O'Hailgenan of Cork in 1107,
and his successor Patrick O'Senbac in IHl ; Mac-
Dongail of Kildare in 1108; Condla O'Flain of

E 2


Leighlin and Mac-mic-Aeducan of Lismore in 1113;
Catasach O'Cnail or O'Conuil of Tnam,^and Kel-
lach O'Coiman of Ferns in 1117. (I O) In the same
year died Anmchad O'Hanmchadha, bishop of Clon-
fert, who was celebrated for liis piety and learning,
(11) O'Ligbai of Emly died in 1 12^, and was suc-
ceeded by Maelmorda Mac-Inclodnai, during whose
incumbency the see was plundered in 11^3, and the
mitre of St. Ailbe, which had been preserved there
for many ages, was burned by the robbers. (12)
Murges O'Nioc, bishop of Tuam, died in 11^8.
(lii^) To these times must be assigned Eugene bishop
of Ardmore, and author of a Life of St. Cuthbert,
if it be true that he w^rote it about A. D. 1 100 ; but
no account remains of the time of his death. (14)

Among the distinguished ecclesiastics and learned
men of those days we meet with Gilla-na-Naomh
O'Dunabhradh, who is called chief professor of Ire-
land, and died in 1101. (15) Mugron O'Morgair,
chief scholastic or principal professor of Armagh, died
in the monastery of Mungret (county of Limerick)
on the 5th of October in 1102. (16) I find nothing
to prove, that he was an ecclesiastic; (17) and he
is stated to have been the father of the gi-eat St. Ma-
lachy, and of Christian, w^ho became bishop of
Clogher. (18) In Il0;3 Murchad O'Flaitheain,
archdeacon of Ardboe and renowned for his wisdom
and erudition, died at Armagh. (19) Cosgrach
O'Cruadin died in 1104; Ferdomnach Dall (blind)
in 1110; and Conor O'Cleri in 1112; they w^ere,
all three, scholastics of Kildare. Q20) Gilla- Patrick
O'Dubratha, scholastic of Killaloe, w^ho is called the
wisest of the Momonians, died in 1110. (21) Mo-
elsuthun, scholastic of Tallagh died in 1125, (^2)
and in 1127 Gilla-criost O'Maoilleau (Malone) ab-
bot of Clonmacnois, a man greatly distinguished for
his wisdom, charity, and sanctity. (23) He had as-
sisted at the synod of Usneach held in 1111, (24)
Moelpatrick 0*Drngan was appointed professor at


Armagh in n07, (25) and became very eminent,
as will be seen hereafter. This list will, omitting
other learned men of these times, be sufficient to
show, that learning was still cultivated as usual.

(9) Ware, Bishops at Dromore^ and Harris at Gleudaloch.

10) See Ware (Latin text) and Harris at the respective sees.
They have (at A/ert^^) among the bishops ofClonard the death
also of Concovar, in 1117, who is cdWeA comorban of Finnian ;
but that title is not sufficient to show, that he was a bishop.

(11) Colgan, A A, SS.j), 206. Neitlier Ware nor Harris makett
fnention of this prelate.

(12) Ware and Harris at F^mly,

(13) Tr. I'h.p, ^08. W\are has not this bishop, but Harris
has, at Tuam.

(14) That Eugene was bishop of Ardmorc is clear from a MS.
collection on the Acts of St. Cuthbert in the Cottonian library
taken out of Irish histories \N2ixe {Writers, \2\h century) states,
that the author calls Eugene bishop of Hardimore, but that, as
he added that it was the see i)f St. Declan, it is plain that he
meant Ardmore. Ware says, that Eugene lived in 1174. If he
meant to insinuate that Eugene wrote about this year, it cannot
be reconciled with what Usher says, {Pr. p. 945.) viz. that said
collection appeared about 1160. Colgan supposed, [A A. SS. p.
674.) that the author was Laurence of Durham, who died in said
year 1 160. Eugene must have written his work before this time, and
Colgan (ib.) assigns the composition of it to about 1100. It might
have been some years later ; but it was, in all appearance, prior
to the council of Kells in 1152, after M'hich there is no mention of
the see of Ardmore in the lists of the Irish bishoprics.

(15) Annals of Innisfallen at ^.1101.

(16) lb. at A. 1102, Colgan ( Tr. Th. p. 299) from the 4 Mas-
ters, and Usher {p. 861) from the Annals of Ulster, which have
at A. 1102; Mug?-07ius O'Mimgair, Armachiae ct totiits Occi-
dentalis Europae lector primaries, multis testibus praesentibus, iii
nonas Octobris vitam feliciter Jinivit." Instead of O' Alorgair, as
in the 4 Masters, they have O'Mungair, which I find also in the
Annals of Innisfallen. His being styled chief lecturer both of Armagh
and of all Western Europe occurs likewise in the 4 Masters, a de-


nomination, which is often found in the Irish annals, a»d under
which not only Ireland was comprized but likewise, at least some
times, the whole of the British islands and perhaps some parts of
the Continent. It does not mean in this case, that Mugron gave
lectures throughout what was called Western Europe, but that he
was the most distinguished of its lecturers.

(17) Colgan makes him a professor of theology, as if there were
no other professors than theological ones ; but the Annals of In-
nisfallen call him professor of literature, while those of Ulster do
not mark over what department he presided.

(18) In the Annals of Innisfallen (ib.) we read that Mugron
was the father of Maelmaodhog and of Giolla-Criost. The former
name, which signifies servant of Maodog ( St. Moedoc of Ferns)
was the real one of St. Malachy, but was latinized, like some
other Irish names beginning with Maol into Mulachias. Giolla or
Giolla-Criost (servant of Christ) has been frequently changed
into Christianusy2is has happened with regard to St. Malachy's bro-
ther, the bishop of Clogher, who is usually called Christian
O'Morgair. O'Flaherty in a MS. note to Tr. Th. j). 299. refers
to Tigernach and the Chronicon Scotorum fad A. 1102.) as
stating, that Mugron was the father of St. Malachy. Colgan
observes f Tr. Th. ib.J that Mugron was a relative of St. Ma-
lachy, who is usually said to have been of the very ancient noble
family of the O'Morgairs, now called O'Dogherty. But from
what we have seen it will follow, that Mugron was more tlian a
mere relative of his.

(19) Tr. Th. ib. Ardboe is in the county of Tyrone, barony
of Dungannon. A monasteiy was founded there by a St. Colman,
but at what period I cannot tell. It was burned in 1166. See
A A, SS. p. 28 and 222,

(20) Tr, Th. p. 630, (21) AA. SS. p. 200.
(22) Tr. Th. p. 632. (23) A A. SS. p. 200.
(24-) See Not. 82. to Chap. xxv.

(25) Usher, p. 861. and Tr. Th. p. 299.

§. ni. Among the holy females of these times the
most celebrated seems to have been Gormlat or
Gonnfhlaith, daughter of Morogh Mac-Maol-nambo
a Leinster prince, and abbess of Kildare, celebrated


for her austerities, who died in 1112. (26) Two
pious princes died during this period/ Roderic
(Rughraidhe) O'Conor in 1118, at Clonmacnois,
where, from Iiaving been king of Connaught, be
entered into holy orders ; and Teige Mac-Carthy,
king of Desmond, at Cashel in 1124 after an exem-
plary course of penitential conduct. (27) Some other
princes also exhibited great proofs of religious feelings
and repentance, especially Murtogh O'Brian ; (28)
but we find terrible oppressions and cruelties per-
petrated in said times by Irish kings or dynasts, who
did not scruple to plunder, devastate, and burn
churches and religious places. For instance, the
church of Ardbraccan was, together with a number
of people therein, burned and pillaged in 1 109 by
the Hy-Briuns, who destroyed also the adjacent vil-
lage. (29) The Dalcassians of Thomond plundered
and laid waste the monastery of Clonmacnois in I 111,
at, it is said, the instigation of Murtogh O' Brian ;
and they, or some other party of Momomians, pil-
laged it again in I llo. (SO) Aedh 0*Rourke and
the Hy-Briuns killed Maelbrigid, abbot of Kells,
and many others on the last Sunday of summer in
1117. (31) We have seen above that Turlogh
O'Conor burned Cashel and Lismore in 1121, and
that Emly was plundered in 1 1 23. Conor O'Lochlin,
an Ulster prince, having marched with a great army
into Meath, amidst other depredations burned in
1 127 the steeple of the church of Trim, in which '^
very considerable number of people was shu<^ ^\P ^^
the time. (32) Thus it appears, that se»^ra] of the
Irish princes and chieftains had imbii^ed the spirit or
the Danes, sparing neither churrJies, nor monasteries,
nor ecclesiastics, according- ^is suited their views ; a
system, which was hel^ ni abhorrence by their an-
cestors, and which often excited them to unite in
defence of their altars against the Scandinavian rob-
bers. This was one of the sad effects of the contests
between various powerful families aspijing to the


sovereignty of all Ireland, and again between divers
members of said families quarrelling among them-
selves for precedency. In these contests the re-
spective parties and their adherents stopped at nothing,
while endeavouring to establish their claims, andhar-
rassed and persecuted without distinction all those,
whom they looked upon as their opponents.

(26) Annals of Innisfallen at J. 1112. and Tr. Th. p. 630,
Morogh, her father was son of Dermod Mac-Maol-na-mbo, the
powerful king of Leinster, who was killed in the battle of Odhba,
A. D. 1072. Morogh died, according to the Annals of Innis-
fallen, in Dubhn in the year 1070.

(27) Annals of Innisfallen at ^. 1118 and 11 24-.

(28) See CAa/>, xxiv. ^. 14.

(29) Annals of Innisfallen at A. 1109. These Hy-Briuns were
probably those of Leitrim or of Roscommon.

(30) 76. at ^.1111. and 1115.

(31) Tr. Th, p. 508. Colgan, in translating the text of the
4 Masters, fell into a ludicrous error by making that day the fes-
tival of St. Cromdubh. But there was no such saint. Cromdubh
was, in all appearance, the same idol as Cromcruack, of which
we have seen, (Not. 45 to Chap, v.) and which was destroyed
by St. Patrick (§. 8. ib.) O'Flaherty observes fMS. note at
Tr. Th. ib.) that the words used by the 4 Masters, among which
is Cromdubh, mean the last Sunday of summer, which was sacred
to St. Patrick as an anniversary commemorating the destruction
of the idol.

(32) Annals of Innisfallen at A. 1127.

§.iv. Pious men and ecclesiastics still continued
to repair froiiv Ireland to the continent. There is
extant a discourse, entitled Itineraria or Exhorta-
toria, by one Dermat, or, I dare say, rather Dermit
or Dermoty who calls hhxvself an Irishman. (33)
Whether he were a clergyman or not, he does not
inform us. He composed it probably somewhere in
Germany ; for he says that in the year of his deliver-
ing it, viz. A, 7). 1117, he had been at Lieo-e, He


addresses his auditors as foreigners to him, and tells
them that, although an Irishman, and a Scot, he
was of the same religion with themselves and a
co-partner in the sacraments of their church and in
their faith. Dermal was then on his way to Jeru-
salem, and from this circumstance took an opportu-
nity of exhorting all those, who looked to the sal-
vation of their souls, to quit the mystical Babylon
and proceed towards the mystical Jerusalem. He
observes, that in said year there appeared strong
signs of the divine wrath, dreadful rains, thunder
storms, and earthquakes -, and that he himself had
seen some persons killed by lightning even in churches
at Liege. He requests the prayers of the people
for himself and Raimbald, an abbot of Liege, who
had treated him kindly and provided him with a
letter of recommendation. This discourse is written
in rather good Latin, and shows that Dermat had
studied the Scriptures, and that, among the Fathers,
he had read, at least, some of St. Augustin's works.
The Irish monks of Ratisbon, after having oc-
cupied for many years the monastery of St. Peter,
(31<) erected a new one within the city, which was
called that of St. James. This was during the pon-
tificate of Calixtus II. (35) and accordingly some
time between the early part of 1 11 9 and the late
one of lli^4. Yet it must have been after 1120,
whereas the person, who enabled them to build the
monastery of St. James, was Conor O'Brian, king of
Munster, who was exceedingly kind to Isaac, (who
had been under Marianas the founder of St. Peter's)
Gervase, and other monks, whom the abbot Dionysius
sent over to Ireland for the purpose of collecting
means towards the forming and establishing of the
new monastery. Conor O' Brian gave them plenty
of money, which, on their return, was laid out in
erecting the noble monastery of St. James. (36)
Yet the house of St. Peter's still continued to exist,
but dependent on the abbot of St. James, who


elected its prior. Dionysius (Doiiogh) was un-
doubtedly the same as Domnus, who is mentioned as
the first abbot of St. James', and as a native of the
South of Ireland. How long he governed that es-
tablishment, or at what time he died, 1 do not find
recorded. His immediate successor was Christianus,
(Gilla-criost) likewise an Irishman from tlie South,
and of the illustrious house of Mac-Carthy. (o?)
Christianus placed Macarius over a monastery found-
ed, or perhaps only enlarged and endowed, at Wurtz-
hurg on a site granted by the bishop Henry, for Irish
monks, as a branch of the house of Ratisbon, and
to which the bishop annexed lands, all under the
name of God and St. Kilian. (38)

(S3) It has been published by Martene and Durand, The^aur^
Nov. Ajiecd, Tom. 1. col. 340. seqq. and begins with these words,
Dermatius natione Hyberniensis. In the body of it he says t
*• Etsi sum Hyberniensisy etsi sum Scoticus" &c.

(34) See Chap. xxv. §. 2.

(35) Life of Marianus, Sfc. cap. 4. ap. Bolland. 9 Febr.

(36) See Gratianus Lucius (Lynch) Cambr. Evers. cap. 21.
where he quotes from Extracts made by Stephen White from a
chronicle of the Irish monks of Ratisbon. Tlie abbot Dionysius
is called Domnus in the Life of Marianus, both names latinized
from Donogh. Conor O'Brian is there stated to have sent Counts
of great nobility and power, cruce signatos i. e. going on the cru-
sade to Palestine, with large presents to Lotharius, that is, I^o-
tharius II. king of Germany and afterwards emperor. It is pro-
bable, that his object in doing so, was to induce Lotharius to be
friendly to his Irish countrymen then in Ratisbon. This corres-
pondence with Lotharius must have been after the erection of
the monastery of St. James, whereas Lotharius did not become
king of Germany until 1125, and also prior to the latter end of
1137, the time of Lotliarius' death.

(37) The Chronicle of the Irish monaster}' &ic. ap. Lj^nch, ib.

(38) Life of Marianus, cap. 5. The BoUandists observe;
that this monastery was established perhaps about 1 1 30, as must
have been the case, if Henry was the same as the bishop Heze-


lin. But, if he was the same as the bishop Embricho, it would
have been later ; for Embricho held the see of Wurtzburg from
1131 until 1147. I have already observed (Chap, -xxv, §.
2.) that there was probably an Irish monastery, at least a small
one, before these times at Wurtzburg.

§.v. This was the period, in which that great

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 5 of 45)