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Gar,"* and finally the utter destruction of Kincora,t the palace of the Momonian kings, were among the first and chief results of this invasion. Nor was Murkertach slow in retaliating the aggression; but, sailing with a numerous fleet of boats up the Shannon, he proceeded, in wanton imitation of the heathen warfare of the Danes, to despoil all the churches upon the isles and along the shores of the lakes. Then, carrying his arms also into Leinster, and making himself master of that province and of Dublin, he, for the second time, supplanted Godfred in the government of the city, and, compelling him to dy from the kingdom, took upon himself the joint sovereignty of Leinster and Dublin.
As it soon became manifest that, between two such active competitors, so nearly balanced in territorial power, military talents, and resources, there was but little chance
of a speedy termination of the contest, measures were taken for an amicable 1090.
arrangement of their differences, and a convention was held by them on the banks
of Lough Neagh, near a spot venerable as the site of an ancient Druidic monument, where the two princes, pledging themselves by most solemn oaths" upon the relics of the saints of Erin," and " by the crosier of St. Patrick," agreed to divide the kingdom of Ireland between them;=the southern half, or Leath Mogh, to remain under the dominion of Murkerlach, and the northern, or Leath Cuinn, to be subject to the power of O'Lochlin. Besides the two contracting parties themselves, there were also present at this meeting Maoleachlan, prince of Meath, and Roderic O'Connor, king of Connaught; and it is stated, as bearing on the question of supremacy, then at issue, that to O'Lochlin all the other princes present, including Murkertach himself, delivered hostages in token of fealty and submission.|| Whatever conclusions, however, may have been drawn from this homage, as recognising in the blood of the Tyrone Hy.Niells a paramount claim to the sovereignty, will be found to be neutralized by a similar concession, on the part of O’Lochlin, in the course of the very same year, when the two rivals, notwithstanding their late solemn pledges of peace, having come again into collision, the fiat of fortune was pronounced in favour of Murkertach, and the head of the Hy-Niells was forced, in his lurn, to proffer fealty and deliver hostages. I
Not to pursue any farther the details, as monotonous as they are revolting, of the long and fierce struggle between these ambitious rivals, suffice it to say that the contest was continued by them, with equal fury and the like ebb and flow of success, through the next eight and twenty years; and that while they, in their more exalted regions of power, were thus dealing havoc around them, all the minor dynasts of the land each in his own little orbit of misrule, was pursuing a similar career of discord and devastation, making the whole course of affairs throughout the country one constant succession of blood and rapine, such as, even in the dry, uncoloured records of the annalist, it is sufficiently heart-sickening to contemplate ;-if, indeed, the recital be not rendered more shocking by that tone of cool and official statement, in which such horrors are, as mere matters of course, commemorated and chronicled.
In the midst of this constant storm of warfare, the Church, though herself but too much infected with the same combative spirit, presented also, from time to time, the only check, or breakwater, by which the onset of regal violence could be moderated or turned aside.
One of the occasions of this sort of interference occurred in the year 1099, when 1099.
Murkertach, having with a large and threatening force marched into Ulster, was
met, near the mountain Fuad, by the Hy-Niell, at the head of his Ultonians, and the two armies, front to front, were waiting for the signal to engage, when the primate of Armagh, interposing between them, succeeded by his remonstrances in preventing an appeal to arms. ** In several other instances where these two kings were, in like manner, on the point of commencing a combat, the meditation of the vicar of St. Patrick produced the same calming effects; and the truces concluded on such occasions were in general intended to continue in force for a year.
There can be little doubl that the temporal power attained by the Church, in the
* IV. Mag. ad an 1088.
1 The name of this celebrated palace, or fortress, is spelled indifferently Kincora, Ceancora, or Cancora, and its site is thus described by Seward, Topograpke Hibern. “ Cancora, a rath or castle, near Killaloe, in county Clare, province of Muuster. The only remains now visible of this ancient royal palace are the ramparts and fusse of the rath."
Mag. ad an. 1089. $ Inisfall. (Cod. Bodleian.) ad an 1074 (æræ com. 1090.)
IV. Mag. 1030.“ En itaque (says Dr. O'Connor) dominium O'Niallorum Septentrionalum, i. e. Tironensium, de tota Hibernia jure hereditario à principibus Hibernis recognitum seculo ximo," &c. In the very next page to this boast of the supremacy of the Hy. Niells is recorded the submission of the Hy-Niells to the blood or Brian in their turn.
TIV Mag. 1090.
middle ages, conduced, by the check which it opposed to the encroachments of kings, to advance considerably the cause of civil and political liberty.* But in Ireland, where, owing to the disorder that had so long prevailed as well as to the decline of discipline and dignity in the Church itself, the power of the spiritual arm was far less strong than in most other countries of Europe, this useful barrier against the self-willed violence of kings and dynasts was in a great measure wanting. Frequently, indeed, even those public and solemn oaths by which, under the very eyes of their spiritual directors, these warriors pledged themselves to preserve peace towards each other, were, on the first opportunity of conflict, forgotten and violated.
It will be found that most of the great impulses given to the course of human affairs, whether for good or for evil, have been the direct consequences of reaction ;, and the usurpation, in those times, of temporal dominion by ecclesiastics, was but a counter-abuse to that of the numerous lay princes and nobles who had been so long intruding themselves into the possessions and privileges of the Church. To such an extent did this latter abuse prevail in Ireland that the bishopric of Armagh, the great primatial sec of the kingdom, was for no less than two hundred years in the possession of one powerful family; during a great part of which period, the succession passed through the hands of lay usurpers, who, retaining regular bishops to act for them, as suffragans, continued to enjoy the church livings themselves. Thus, while the clergy of other countries were ambitiously extending the range of their jurisdiction, and aiming at honours and possessious beyond their due sphere, those of Ireland, on the contrary, lowered from their true station, found themselves despoiled of emoluments and dignities legitimately their own; nor was it till so late as the twelfth century that, chiefly, as it appears, through the indignant expostulation of a foreign ecclesiastic,t attention was drawn to this gross abuse, and the succession to the see of St. Patrick was brought back into a pure and legitimate channel.
That notwithstanding all this, there, must still have been preserved among the people of this country—a people once so conspicuous throughout Europe for their piety-a strong and pervading religious feeling, however imbued with the general darkness of the times, and allowed to run wild for want of culture and discipline, is sufficiently apparent on the very face of our native annals, even in this dim and agitated period. The number of pious and, according to the standard of their age, learned ecclesiastics who are recorded in the annals of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries as passing their whole lives in works of devotion and charity, among the ruins of once flourishing monasteries, could not but cherish, in the popular mind, a fond remembrance of the early saints of the land, and keep alive, like the small spark beneath the embers, some remains of the faith of better days.
It is also to be considered that, though but too many of the native princes were seen to tread in the steps of their heathen invaders, and, with far worse than heathen rage, to apply the torch to the temples of their own worship, there were among the monarchs a few who, towards the close of their tempestuous careers, sought, in the humble garb of penitents, the sheltering bosom of the Church. Among the warmest promoters of ecclesi. astical interests was reckoned the monarch Murkertach, who, in the year 1001, having convoked a great assembly of the people and clergy, made over by solemn donation to the Church, that seat of the Momonian kings, the city of Cashel, dedicating it to God and St. Patrick.t
Soon after this munificent act of piety,="such an offering," say the Four Masters, " as never king made before,"—we find him, with the inconsistency but too often abservable in the acts of such pious heroes, taking revenge, in cold blood, upon his great rival, O' Lochlin, for the destruction of Kincora by the latter near twenty years before. Invading Ulster with a large force, and leading his troops into the peninsula of Inisowen, where stood the palace of the royal Hy.Niells, called Aileach, or the Eagle's Nest, he, in bitter remembrance of the fate of Kincora, razed that structure to the ground, and devastated also the greater number of the churches in its neighbourhood. It is added that he
• Sue, for some admirable remarks to this effect, an able article in the Edinburgh Review, No. 52. “On the Constitution of Parliament," written, it is generally supposed by Mr. Allen. | St. Bernard.
Inisfall. ad ann. 1001.
This celebrated fortress, of which remains are still existing, was situated in the county of Donegal on the summit of a small mountain which rises from the southern shore of Lough Swilly. A detailed description of this remarkable historical monument, wbich still bears the name of the Grianan of Aileach, will be found in the Ordnance Survey of the County of Londonderry. The result of the inquiries of the ingenious author of the account referred to is as follows:-“ Be this as it may, the notices of Aileach preserved in the authentic annals, and historical poems, as well as the Lives of Saints and genealogical tracts, show that it was the seat of the kings of the northern portion of Ireland, as Tara was of the southern, from a period considerably antecedent to the introduction of Christianity down to the close of the 12th century."
gave orders to his soldiers not to leave in the palace of Aileach a single missile stone, but to carry them all away to Limerick; in reference to which circumstance a distich of those times is cited, saying, “Let not the Congregations of Saints hear what has reached the ears of the Congregations of Warriors,—that all the stones of Alichia were heaped on the packhorses of the angry king."
During the period comprised in the reigns of Murkertach and his predecessor, Turlough, Ireland was more than once threatened with invasion from the shores of Norway and the Isles, and under leaders whose fame for prowess had inspired a general terror of their arms. One of these chiefs, named Godred Crovan, said to have been the son of Harold the Black, of Iceland,* succeeded in possessing himself of Dublin and a great part of Leinster; having also previously reduced so low the naval power of the British Scots, that no shipbuilder among them durst use more than three bolts in the construction of any vessel. It seems probable, however, that this Northman's possession of his con. quests in Ireland was but temporary, and that the notion of his having reigned for sixteen years in Dublin, arose from a confusion between him and a Danish ruler of Dublin, named Godfred, who died in the year 1075.
The other assailant, by whom for a time this country's independence seemed to be threatened, was the powerful Norwegian king, Magnus, who was also ruler over the Hebrides and the Isle of Man; and as may be collected from Scandinavian as well as from Irish authorities, entertained seriously the project of adding Ireland also to the number of his conquests. The marriage of his son, Sigurd, whom he had then newly appointed king over ihe Isles, with the daughter of the Irish monarch, Murkertach, formed, as it appears, a part of the policy by which he hoped to effect his object; and this event, according to the northern chroniclers, took place some time in the years 1098 and 1099, while the Norwegian king was wintering in the Western Isles. According to our own annals, however, it was not till A. d. 1102, that this prince commenced his operations by a hostile descent upon Dublin, where he was met, on his landing, by a large army of the natives; but no action thereupon ensuing, a pacific arrangement was forthwith entered into, in consequence of which Murkertach bestowed his daughter's hand on the son of Magnus, presenting himn, at the same time, with many rare and costly gifts. In the following year, the Irish monarch having violated, as we are told, bis engagements,ll Magnus, with a fleet of fifteen ships, invaded this country; but being, with a part of his force, inveigled into an ambuscade by the natives, he was attacked by them in great numbers, his retreat to his ships cut off, and himself killed in the action. This invader was buried, says the chronicler of Man, in the church of St. Patrick, at Down.
The desire manifested by the king of Norway for an alliance by marriage with the family of Murkertach, is not the only proof we possess of the consideration in which this monarch was held by contemporary princes. Not to dwell on the alleged application to him from the nobles of Man, requesting him to send them some member of his family to be their ruler,—an occurrence which in reality, as we have shown, took place in the reign of his predecessor, Turlough,-it is certain that, at the time of the rebellion against Henry the I. by Robert de Belesme, earl of Shrewsbury, that nobleman's brother, Arnulf de Montgomery, who was then in Wales collecting forces, despatched an envoy to king Murkertach, to solicit the hand of his daughter in marriage. I By such a request was generally understood, in those times, a desire for military as well as matrimonial alliance; and Arnulf himself is said by the Welsh chroniclers to have passed over to Ireland, for the purpose of receiving both the hand of the lady, and the aids and supplies for the
Chronic. Man. ad ann. 1047. Langebek proposes to read here" Harold the Black of Ireland," conceiving Godfred to have been an Irish Dane descended from that Anlaf who was defcated by Athelstane, at the battle of Brunanburgh. See his Schema Agnationis to this effect. As a farther confirmation of this supposition, he finds in the name Crovan a similitude to many of our Irish names. "Ad hæc cognomen Crovan idiotismum Hiberiæ prodere videtur; ibi enim homines cognominatos Conellan, Callean, Brogan, &c. invenimus."
† By Seiden, in his Mare Clausum, this law, respecting the construction of the vessels, is explained, as merely signifying that Crovan, by his dominion over those seas, had contined within certain limits the naval power of the Scots. A similar explanation of the passage has been given by the learned Murray of Gotten. gen.-Nov. Comment. Gotting, toni. ini. p 2.
1 " Ann. ab Incarnat. Dom. 1098. Magnus Olavi Noricorum regis filius contra Irenses insurrexit et clas. sem LX navium, supra illos navigaturus, preparavit...... Hic filiam regis Irlandæ uxorem duxerat. Sed quia rex Irensis pactiones quas fecerat non tenuerat, Magnus rex stomachatus filiam ejus remiserat. Bellum igitur inter eos ortum est."-Orderic. Vital. The chronicler here, as Langebek remarks, has mistakenly made Magnus himself the husband of the liish princess instead of his son Sigurd. The Welsh chronicler, Caradoc, is more accurate. “ Magnus," he says, "returning to the Isle of Man, which he had got by conquest, built there three castles, and then sent to Ireland to have the daughter of Murckart to his son, which being obtained, he created him king of Man."- Ad ann. 1100.
IV. Mag. ad ann, 1102.
Chron. Man *** Arnulph, Earl of Pembroke, sent Gerald, his steward, to Murckhart, King of Ireland, desiring his daughter in marriage, which was easily granted."— Caradoc, ad ann. 1100.
rebellion, furnished by her father. Such aid, afforded by Murkertach to the rebel subjects of Henry I., would seem inconsistent with the feelings of devotedness towards that monarch, which William of Malmesbury attributes to the Irish king.* This historian owns, it is true, that Murkertach assumed, for a short time, a tone of defiance against the English; but adds that, when threatened with restraints upon his commerce and navigation, he returned to his former state of composure: "For what,” says the monk of Malmesbury, “could Ireland do, if the merchandise of England were not carried to her shores?"-a proof that the intercourse between the two countries, before the time of the English invasion, was far more frequent and habitual than is in general supposed.
Among the circumstances adduced to prove the friendly terms on which he stood with neighbouring princes is especially recorded the gift of a camel" of wonderful magnitude," which he received from the King of Albany.t
A few years after, in a desperate encounter with his rival, Mac-Lochlin, on the plains of Cobha, in Tyrone, Murkertach sustained a severe defeat, from which he
1103. seems never after to have entirely recovered ;t-his own imprudence, 'in detaching a portion of his army to lay waste and reduce the territory then called Dalaradia, having so far diminished and divided his force as to enable the enemy to reap an easy triumph. The victorious return of the northern Hy-Neills to their royal fortress, carrying away with them the royal pavilion and standards, the stores of pearls and other precious treasures, of which they had despoiled the Momonians, is dwelt on with more than usual detail by the annalists of Ulster, and the Four Masters; while in the Annals of Inisfallen, the accustomed partiality to the cause of Munster is allowed to prevail, and the rich display of spoils by her conquerors is passed over in sullen silence.
For several years after this great victory, no event of any importance is recorded of Murkertach or his rival. From time to time we find the interposition of the spiritual authority called in to prevent them from breaking out into actual hostilities;f and, on more than one occasion, the pious and able Archbishop Celsus succeeded in averting a conflict between them when brought face to face, at the head of their respective armies, in the field.
In the year 1114, Murkertach was seized with an attack of illness so violent as to incapacitate him, for the time, from managing, in person, the affairs of his kingdom;ll and a chance of succession was thus opened to his ambitious brother, Dermot, of which that prince eagerly took advantage, and had himself proclaimed king of Munster. In the following year, however, an amicable understanding appears to have been entered into by the two brothers; and the monarch, finding his malady continue, and being desirous of passing the remainder of his days in seclusion and devotion, resigned the royal authority into Dermot's hands, and took holy orders in the monastery of Lismore. There, after two or three years of humbling penitence, he died A. D. 1119, and was interred in the church of Killaloe, to which he had been always a munificent benefactor. His warlike competitor in the government of the kingdom, Domnal Mac Lochlin, survived him but two years, devoting also his last days to devotion and penitence in the monastery of Derry.
The affairs and transactions of the Church during the long period comprised in this double reign, though as usual mixed up, as they actually occurred, with most of the secular interests and passions of the time, I have thought it convenient, for the sake of clearness, to reserve for separate consideration. It has been seen that though, at this period, the Northmen inhabiting the three cities of Dublin, Waterford, and Limerick, looked to Canterbury as their primatial see, and derived from thence the consecration of their bishops, the ancient Church of the kingdom acknowledged no such jurisdiction; and that though, in some few instances, Irishmen were consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, they were, in all such cases, natives who had been appointed bishops by the Danes, and whose dioceses were situated in Danish cities. I
* "Eum (Murkertach) et successores ejus quos fama non extulit, ita devotos habuit noster Henricus, ut nihil nisi quod enm palparet scriberent, nihil nisi quod juberent, agerent. Quamvis feratur Murchardum, nescio qua de causa, paucis diebus inflatius in Anglos egisse; sed mox pro interdicto navigio et mercimonio navigantium, tumorem pectoris sedasse - Quantum enim valeret Hibernia, si non adnavigaret merces ex Anglia ?-Gul. Malmesb. de Reg. Angl., lib. v.
f " Amicitiam quoque cum Albaniæ rege coluit a quo camelum 'miræ magnitudinis' dono recepit."Gratian. Lucius.
IV. Mag. ad ann. 1103.
" That illness of the king," says the annalist (Inisfall.,) "was the cause of many and great calamities, of battles and deeds of guilt, of devastations and massacres, of violations of churches and of the sanctuaries of the saints of Erin; and all these evils continued as long as that inalady of the King of Erin lasted."
1 In remarking on an assertion of Campion, that persons appointed to sees in Ireland were always directed to the Archbishop of Canterbury to be consecrated by him, Usher shows that such was not the case with the bishops of all Ireland; this practice being peculiar, he says, " to the Ostman strangers that possessed the three cities of Dublin, Waterford, and Limerick. For these being a colony (continues Usher) of the Norwe. gians and Livonians, and so countrymen to the Normans, when they had seen England subdued by the Coo. queror, and Normans advanced to the chief archbishopric there, would needs now assume to themselves the name of Normans also, and cause their bishops to receive their consecrations from no other metropolitan but the Archbishop of Canterbury; and forasmuch as they were confined within the walls of their own cities, the bishops which they had made bad no other diocese to exercise their jurisdiction in, but only the bare circuit of those cities."-Discourse on the Religion, &c. &c. What is said bere of Normans being advanced to the chief archbishoprics is not allogether irue-both Lanfranc and Anselm having been natives of Italy.
That the distinguished prelates, Lanfranc and Anselm, who held in succession the see of Canterbury during this period, took a strong interest in the ecclesiastical affairs of Ireland, appears from their correspondence, still extant, with some bishops of their own ordination in this country, as well as with two of its most able and enterprising sovereigns, Turlough and Murkertach.* In a letter from Lanfranc to the former of these princes, of which some notice has already been taken, complaints are made of the prevalence, in Ireland, of certain abuses and uncanonical practices, some of them relating merely to points of discipline, but others more serious in their consequences, as affecting the purity and strictness of the
matrimonial tie. For the purpose of correcting these abuses, the primate recommended to Turlough, that an assembly • of bishops and religious men should be convoked, at which tne king and his nobles would attend, and assist in exterminating from the country these and all other bad practices which were condemned by the sacred laws of the Church.”+
It has been well remarked that the tone of this letter is wholly inconsistent with the notion assumed by some writers, of a jurisdiction vested in the see of Canterbury over the concerns of the Irish church ;f as here, on points relating not merely to discipline, but affecting Christian morals, and in which, therefore, the primate was more than ordinarily interested, he uses no language that in any degree savours of authority, nor issues any orders to the Irish bishops and clergy (as would have been his duty, had he conceived that he possessed the power) to assemble and act upon an occasion which appeared to him of such great and pressing importance.
In the course of a short time, the two other Danish cities, Waterford and Limerick, became also episcopal sees: and the first bishop of the former city, whose name was Malchus, was chosen (as appears from the Letter of the electors to Anselm) by the fol. lowing personages,—the King Murkertach, the Bishop of Cashel, Bishop Domnald, and the Prince Dermod, or " duke," as he is styled, brother of the king. Notwithstanding that Murkertach, as ruler of the south of Ireland, included Waterford among bis subject territories, the wish of the Danish inhabitants of this city to be connected, in spirituals, with the Normans of England, was, in the case of Dublin, complied with; the king himself, as has just been stated, joining the clergy and inhabitants in the letter addressed on this occasion to Anselm, requesting him to consecrate their new bishop.
To this practice, followed by the Danish towns, of requiring ordination from Canterbury, the city of Limerick presents an exception, in the instance of its first bishop, Gillibert;—this zealous prelale, who appears to have been an Irishman,ll having been already a bishop when placed over Limerick. From letters, still extant, which passed between him and Anselm, we learn that they had been acquainted with each other at Rouen ; and Gillibert, in writing to the archbishop, says, “I send you as a little token, both of my poverty and affection, twenty-five small pearls, ** the best, though worthless, that I
* In Murkertach's answer to Anselm (Syllog., epist. 37,) be returns his best thanks to that prelate for remembering in his prayers a sinner like himself, and likewise for the friendly aid and intervention, which (as far as was consistent with his higli dignity) he had afforded to Murkertach's son in-law, Arnulf de Mont. gomery.-"Quanı magnas vobis grates (Domine) referre debeo; quod, sicut mihi relatum est, meinoriam mei peccatoris in continuis vestris peragis orationibus; sed et genero meo Ernulfo auxilio et interventione (quan. ium fuerat dignitati vestræ fas) succurristi."
† “ Episcopos et religiosos quosque viros in unum convenire jubete, sacro eorum conventui præsentiam vestram cum vestris optimalibus exhibete, has pravas consuetudine omnesque alias quæ a sacris legibus inprobantur, a regno vestro exterminare studete."-Vet. Epist. Hib. Sylloge, Epist. 27.
Camden is one of the writers by whom this mistaken notion is sanctioned :-" Before this period," he says (meaning before the year 1142,) " the bishops of Ireland were always consecrated by the archbishops of Canterbury, by reason of their primacy in that kingdom." He then enumerates instances of such consecration, which, however, are all confined to the Danish cities.
§ On the return of Malchus from England, after bis consecration, he and the Danes of Waterford built the Cathedral of the Blessed Trinity, now called Christ Church.-" See Smith's Hist. of Waterford, chap. 4.
|| Lanigan, chap. 25. $ 9. A tract written by Gillibert, called " De Statu Ecclesiæ," and giving an account of a painted image of the Church which he had made, will be found in Usher's Sylloge, ep. 30. Among the various utensils for the service of the church, which, according to the rules laid down in this treatise, were to be consecrated by the bishop. is mentioned the Judicial Iron, an instrument of purgation, or trial, the use of which was common among the Saxons and Danes, and most probably, from this
mention of it by Gillibert, prevailed also in Ireland. Ib. ep. 31.
o "Quoniam autem olim nos apud Rothomagum invicem cognovimus."-Syllog. ep. 32.
**" Munusculum paupertatis meæ et devotionis transmitto, xxv. margaritulas inter optimas et viliores; et rogo ne sitis immemor mei in orationibus vestris."-of the pearls found in the lake of Killarney, a writer in the Philosophical Transact. (vol. xviii.) says:-"I myself saw one pearl bought for 50s, that was valued at 401.