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Flann Sinna

Flann Sinna


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Flann Sinna (r. 879-916 CE) was a High King of Ireland from the Kingdom of Mide (Meath) and a member of the Clann Cholmain, a branch of the Southern Ui Neill dynasty. His name is pronounced “Flahn Shinna” and means “Flann of the Shannon”. He is best known as an effective high king of Ireland who consolidated the power of the Kingdom of Meath while honoring his obligations to other kingdoms, famous for his victory at the Battle of Ballaghmoon in 908 CE, and erecting monuments to commemorate his achievements; most notably the Cross of the Scriptures at the Abbey of Clonmacnoise.

He was an important patron of this religious community and is also responsible for the cathedral (also known as Temple McDermot) and possibly the South Cross still extant at the site. This patronage seems at odds with accounts from the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland (also known as The Annals of the Four Masters, c. 1616 CE) which report that Flann Sinna was responsible for the sack of a number of churches and monasteries throughout Ireland, and this has led to criticism of his reign by later writers.

His patronage of Clonmacnoise is no doubt due to his mother who retired to and was later buried there. Although the ancient sources provide a more or less favorable account of his reign, Flann Sinna clearly faced opposition and twice had to put down a rebellion by one of his sons, revolts by other kingdoms, and faced various other oppositions to his reign.

The Ui Neill & the Kingdoms of Ireland

Flann Sinna ruled as a king of the Connachta Dynasty which claimed descent from the legendary Celtic hero Conn of the Hundred Battles. The Connachta Dynasty is synonymous with the Ui Neill Dynasty; the latter designation only becoming prominent in later usage once the Ui Neill had established themselves. The Connachta genealogy traces its ancestry from Conn to the historical or semi-historical king Niall Noigiallach (Niall of the Nine Hostages) from whom all the other Ui Neill kings descend.

According to legend, Niall and his brothers were out hunting one day when they encountered an old woman by a well. She refused to give them any water unless they each kissed her. Three of the brothers refused and one only gave her a quick peck on the cheek, but Niall kissed her fully on the lips and found her transformed into a beautiful goddess. She rewarded him by granting him kingship of Ireland which would be passed on to his descendants for generations.

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While there is no doubt the Ui Neill who descended from Niall were a powerful dynasty, it is inaccurate to say that they ruled Ireland as traditional kings over the next few centuries. The Ui Neill divided the land between them as the Northern Ui Neill and the Southern Ui Neill, each branch taking turns sending a king to rule from Tara, but there were many smaller kingdoms throughout Ireland at this time which were autonomous or semi-autonomous states.

When a king came to power, he would demand hostages from other kingdoms – those in Ireland and abroad - to encourage compliance. A king who was able to command a large number of these hostages was considered far more powerful than one who was only able to have a few sent to him. Niall's name indicates he was among the most powerful because he held one hostage each from the five provinces of Ireland (Connacht, Leinster, Meath, Munster, and Ulster) and one each from the Britons, the Franks, the Saxons, and the Scots.

Whether Niall ever held such hostages – or if he even existed – is doubtful but the story, as related by later Ui Neill authors, is intended to make clear the dynasty's great legacy and power: just as Niall Noigiallach could command the compliance of so many others, so could his descendants.

The High King of Ireland

The term 'hostages' should not be understood in the modern sense. A hostage in ancient times was an important member of a ruler's family or court who was sent to another monarch as a gesture in ratifying a treaty. A hostage would be well cared for, educated in the culture he or she was sent to, and would eventually be returned safely; unless that hostage's monarch broke the terms of peace or failed to comply with an agreement. Hostages were sent from the smaller kingdoms to those more powerful not only to conclude a peace but also when a new king came to the throne.

Hostages were sent from the smaller kingdoms to those more powerful not only to conclude a peace but also when a new king came to the throne.

The concept of a 'king' should also be understood somewhat differently than in the modern sense. There were many 'kings' throughout Ireland in the 9th century CE but most of them reigned over small areas and had limited power. There were no large cities, towns, or villages in early Ireland, and smaller rural communities were known as raths (wooden huts clustered around a central meeting house and surrounded by earthen walls) while larger fortified communities were called cashels (stone forts). The raths would submit to the lord of whatever kingdom they were in, who ruled from a cashel, and these kings would protect them, lead them in time of war, and participate in public religious rituals.

Scholars Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry elaborate:

Ireland was divided into numerous very small kingdoms which loosely belonged to one or other of the five larger provincial kingdoms of Connact, Leinster, Meath, Munster, and Ulster. Probably there were more than 100 smaller kingdoms in the earlier period and as many as 150 or so by the seventh century. They were known as Tuatha (Tuatha = tribe, or people, or clan) and each was ruled by a ri, or king, who might, if his tuath was very small, be an under-king to a greater ri…This vassalage would generally be marked by the giving of a hostage, or hostages, to the higher king and was often quite voluntary, for it afforded protection for the smaller tuath. (29-30)

The concept of a king evolved from tribal chiefs to lords of a region and then to a single overlord of those lesser kings and princes. This overlord, who is said to have presided over all of Ireland, was the High King. This king was the embodiment of the people, and his coronation is thought to have included a ritual mating with the goddess of the land to ensure fertility and prosperity.

The king of any region in Ireland was supposed to care for his people; the high king was supposed to care for all the people and command their unconditional allegiance. While this may have been true in theory or policy, it was not so in practice; the High King of Ireland only had control over his own territory and had to make the same kinds of treaties with other kingdoms as the lesser kings did with each other. The difference, it seems, is that the high king commanded greater respect owing to his coronation at the Hill of Tara.

The Hill of Tara

Tara was the sacred site associated with the legend of the brothers Eber and Eremon of the Milesians who had divided the rule of Ireland between them peacefully in antiquity; Eber taking the south and Eremon the north. Peace prevailed until Eber's wife wanted the most beautiful three hills in Ireland for herself – and chief among these was the Hill of Tara which belonged to Eremon. Eremon's wife Tea became enraged at the request and the two brothers went to war. Eber was killed and Eremon was crowned king of all Ireland at Tara, thus initiating the tradition of the high king's coronation at that site.

Tara would be developed as a place of assembly for the enacting and reading of laws and for religious festivals under the reign of Cormac MacArt (c. 3rd century CE), considered the greatest of the Irish kings and author of the Brehon Law, but it is clear the site was an important religious and political center long before. The oldest monument at Tara is the Mound of the Hostages, a Neolithic passage tomb, dating from c. 3000 BCE and so named because it was where hostages would be exchanged between kings.

Flann Sinna's Rise to Power

Flann Sinna was born c. 848 CE, the son of one of these kings, Mael Sechnaill mac Maele Ruanaid (r. c. 846-862 CE) of the Southern Ui Neill and the queen Land ingen Dungaile (d. 890 CE) of the Kingdom of Osraige. Mael Sechnaill (also known as Mael Sechnaill I) assassinated anyone who would have stood in his path to power and was crowned King of Tara in 846 CE.

He spent the greater part of his reign battling Viking raiders, while also allying himself to Norse chieftains in warring on other Irish kingdoms, and then using diplomacy and threats of further violence to consolidate his power. Mael Sechnaill's initiatives were so successful that, when he died, he was hailed as High King of All Ireland.

He was succeeded by Aed Findliath (r. 862-879 CE) who married Land ingen Dungaile in keeping with the tradition of a successor marrying the king's widow. Land ingen Dungaile chose to devote herself to a life of piety shortly afterwards and went to live at Clonmacnoise. Aed Findliath then married Mael Muire ingen Cinaeda (d. 913 CE), daughter of Kenneth MacAlpin, King of the Scots. Aed Findliath had opposed Mael Sechnaill and met him in battle while allied to the Norse kings of Dublin. It is possible that Flann took part in these wars but there is no proof, and nothing is known of Flann's youth until he takes the first steps to secure the kingship for himself.

Flann married the princess Gormlaith ingen Flann mac Conaing, daughter of the king of Brega, c. 870 CE. The Kingdom of Brega was important as it held the Hill of Tara, and Gormlaith's father, Flann mac Conaing, was a powerful king. Having established himself in the royal house of Brega, Flann might have been content but his ambition was to reign as high king just as his father had.

As noted, the tradition at this time was for the Ui Neill to alternate the honor of high king between the northern and southern branches. After Aed Findliath of the north, a king would then be chosen from the south. The likely choice would have been Flann Sinna's second cousin Donnchad son of Aedacan, king of Mide, but Flann had other plans. He divorced Gormlaith and married the princess Eithne (d. 917 CE), the daughter of Aed Findliath, thus establishing himself in the house of the high king, and then assassinated Donnchad. When Aed Findliath died in 879 CE, Flann was chosen as High King of Ireland and crowned at Tara.

Flann Sinna's Reign

Flann's first step as high king was to divorce Eithne and marry his step-mother Mael Muire; his second was to demand hostages from the other kingdoms. When the demand was refused by some of these, he followed his father's example and allied himself with Norse-Gaels and other Norse chiefs and attacked the region of Armagh in a show of strength; the other kingdoms then complied and sent hostages to Tara.

Throughout the next 20 years of his reign, Flann would repeat this tactic a number of times as he supported one kingdom's claims against another with the help of Norse allies from Dublin. He also fought the Norse in Ireland, however, and was defeated by them under the leadership of Sichfrith son of Imair (brother and successor of Bardr mac Imair), King of Dublin (c. 883-888 CE), at the Battle of the Pilgrim c. 887 CE.

Flann supported one kingdom's claims against another with the help of Norse allies from Dublin.

Although defeated, Flann's power as king is evident at this time as he was able to raise an army from a number of different kingdoms. Scholar N. J. Higham notes how “the fact that Aed son of Conchobar, king of Connact and Lergus son of Cruinnen, Bishop of Kildare were numbered amongst the Irish dead at this battle indicates that [Flann's] over lordship was recognized far beyond the borders of Mide alone” (93). Flann was clearly ruling as high king of a united country but could not control his own house.

In 901 CE his son Donnchad Donn (from his marriage to Gormlaith) rebelled. Flann blamed this on his son's associates and tracked them to the abbey at Kells, where he slaughtered them. Donnchad was spared and seems to have returned to the role of a dutiful son. Flann's reign continued unchallenged, but it is interesting to note that the annual festival known as the Fair of Tailtiu, honoring the fertility goddess Tailtiu, was held only twice during his reign.

The significance of this is that the fair (also known as the Tailteann Games) was a celebration of unity, and the fact that it was not celebrated suggests strong objections to Flann's policies as high king which may have marginalized some kingdoms. Even when Flann seems to have done his best to keep the kingdoms at peace and in some degree of equality, however, they still found reason to fight amongst themselves.

The Battle of Ballaghmoon

In 908 CE, the king of Munster, Cormac mac Cuilennain (r. 902-908 CE) was encouraged to make war on the Kingdom of Leinster by his advisor Flaithbertach mac Inmainen (d. 944 CE). Flaithbertach claimed that Leinster owed Munster money for chief-rent as they occupied some of Munster's land. Leinster's king, Cerball mac Muirecain, was Flann Sinna's son-in-law and, after refusing any payment to Munster, he called on Flann for aid in defense.

Cormac mac Cuilennain was a highly respected king who was renowned as a scholar and man of piety. Flann had no desire to go to war against him, and Cormac himself did not want a war at all. It had been foretold by omens that, if he launched the attack against Leinster, he would die in battle, but that aside, it was simply not in his nature to be the aggressor. The instigator was Flaithbertach who seems to have sincerely believed that Cormac's honor as king was being slighted by Leinster.

The omens were bad for Munster from the beginning as Flaithbertach was thrown from his horse as the troops assembled. This was taken as a sign by a number of the men who refused to follow their king into battle. Once the two armies engaged, Cormac was thrown from his horse, breaking his neck, and died on the field.

A Leinster soldier found his body and cut off his head, presenting it later to Flann. Scholar Martin Haverty, citing the Annals of Ireland, writes that, far from being pleased, Flann “only bewailed the death of so good and learned a man and blamed the indignity with which his remains had been treated” (122). Over 6,000 men from Munster were killed at Ballaghmoon, but this did not deter other kingdoms from asserting claims which also had to be proven in battle.

Rebellion & Decline

The Kingdom of Breifne rebelled in 910 CE and was defeated. Flann's old home of the Kingdom of Brega revolted in 913 CE, and he responded by razing a number of communities. It is from this period that he gets his reputation as a destroyer of churches. It is unclear whether these churches and abbeys were destroyed as part of a wider campaign or were chosen for particular resonance in the community or were instigators in the revolt.

In 915 CE Donnchad Donn rebelled again, this time in concert with his brother Conchobar. They were defeated, not by Flann, but by his vassal Niall Glundub (r. 916-919 CE), son of Mael Muire and Aed Findlaith of the northern Ui Neill. Flann had defeated Niall in battle at Crossakiel years before and the two had formed an alliance through the marriage of Flann's daughter Gormlaith ingen Flann Sinna to Niall.

In 914 CE, Niall had killed Flann's son Oengus in a battle which may have been a part of the other brothers' rebellion of 915 CE. Flann was certainly an older man at this time but still seems to have been able to effectively put down the rebellions of Breifne and Brega. It is likely he was unable to cope with the rebellion of his own sons and left it to Niall Glundub.

Flann Sinna died of natural causes in May of 916 CE and was succeeded by Niall Glundub as high king. Niall would continue Flann's policies but not nearly as successfully. He marched his armies against the Norse of Dublin in 919 CE and was killed in battle. He was succeeded by Donnchad Donn who was nowhere near the king his father had been. For all his faults, Flann Sinna is remembered as an effective ruler who tried to do his best for his people, and when he died, he was mourned as the High King of a united Ireland.


Flann Sinna

Flann Sinna (engleski: Flann of the Shannon doslovno: Flann od Shannona (847 ili 848 – 25. maj 916) bio je kralj Midea od 877. godine i veliki kralj Irske. Bio je sin Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaida iz porodice Clann Cholmáin, ogranka južnih Uí Néilla. Majka Lann je bila sestra Cerball mac Dúnlaingea, kralja Osraigea.

Flann Sinna
Veliki kralj Irske
Početak pjesme Flann for Érinn (Flann nad Irskom) Máel Mura Othne, iz Velike knjige Lecana (RIA MS 23 P 2), 296v
Vladavina 879–916
Sahranjen/a Clonmacnoise?
Prethodnik Áed Findliath
Nasljednik Niall Glúndub
Suprug/a Gormlaith ingen Flainn, Eithne ingen Áeda, Máel Muire ingen Cináeda
Potomstvo Donnchad Donn, Máel Ruanaid, Óengus, Domnall, Conchobar, Áed, Cerball, Gormlaith, Eithne, Lígach, Muirgel
Otac Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid
Majka Land ingen Dúngaile

Flann je izabran za velikog kralja, odnosno kralja Tare, nakon smrti svog rođaka i poočima Áed Findliatha 20. novembra 879. Flannova vladavina je uglavnom slijedila politiku tadašnjih irskih velikih kraljeva - nametanje danka i uzimanje talaca iz Leinstera, potom pohodi protiv pokrajina Munster, Ulster i Connacht. Flann je u svemu tome bio uspješniji od svojih prethodnika, ali se od vojnih uspjeha više istakao propagandnim aktivnostima, odnosno podizanjem velikih kamenih križeva na kojima je navodio vlastito i ime svojih otaca.

Historičari špekuliraju kako je Flann namjeravao okončati dotadašnju praksu da se na mjestu velikih kraljeva izmjenjuju pripadnici sjevernog i južnog ogranka Uí Néilla, odnosno prijestolje zadržati isključivo za svoje neposredne potomke. Takvi su se planovi međutim izjalovili kada je njegov sin i dezignirani nasljednik Óengus 7. februara 915. ubijen od Flannovog zeta i nasljednika Niall Glúnduba, sina Áeda Findliatha. Ubrzo nakon toga su drugi Flannovi sinovi digli ustanak i Flannov autoritet je kolabirao.


Ireland in the First Viking Age

The Viking Age in Ireland began in 795 with attacks on monasteries on the islands of Rathlin, Innishmurray, and Inishbofin. In the following twenty years raids by Vikings&mdashcalled "Foreigners" or "Gentiles" in Irish sources&mdashwere small in scale, infrequent and largely limited to the coasts. The Annals of Ulster record raids in Ireland in only five of the first twenty years of the 9th century. In the 820s, there are records of larger raids in Ulster and Leinster. The range, size, and frequency of attacks increased in the 830s. In 837, Viking fleets operated on the rivers Boyne and Liffey in central Ireland, and in 839 a fleet was based on Lough Neagh in the north-east, in fact it was exactly where the O&rsquoNeills of Clandeboye Castle now stands today at Edencarrickduff .

The records indicate that the first permanent Viking bases were established in 841, near Dublin and Annagassan. Other fortified settlements were established in the following decades at Wexford, Waterford, Limerick, and Cork. It is in this period that the leaders of the Irish-based Scandinavians are recorded by name. Turgesius, who is made the conqueror of Ireland by Giraldus Cambrensis and a son of Harald Fairhair by Scandinavian sagas, is one of these. He was captured, and drowned in Lough Owel, by Máel Sechnaill in 845. Máel Sechnaill was reported to have killed 700 Foreigners in 848, and the King of Munster , Olchobar mac Cinaeda, killed 200 more, including an earl named Tomrair, the "heir designate of the King of Laithlind".

In 849 a new force appeared, the "Dark Foreigners". Possibly Danes, their activities were directed against the "Foreigners" already in Ireland. A major naval battle fought in Carlingford Lough in 853 produced a victory for the newcomers. In the same year, there arrived another force, the "Fair Foreigners", led by Amlaíb , "son of the king of Laithlind", and Imar. From the 840s onwards, the Framentary Annals of Ireland and the Irish annals recount frequent alliances between the "Foreigners" and Irish kings, especially after the appearance of Amlaíb and Ímar as rulers of Dublin.

The later 860s saw a reduction of activity by the Foreigners&mdashalthough the Annals indignantly report that they plundered the ancient burial mounds at Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth in 863&mdashwith the Dublin forces active in Pictland and in the six months' siege of Dumbarton Rock. Áed Findliath took advantage of these absences to destroy the Viking fortresses in the north of Ireland. Amlaíb left Ireland for good in 871 and Ímar died in 873. With their disappearance, there were frequent changes of leadership among the Foreigners and a great deal of internecine conflict is reported for the following decades.

The making of an Uí Néill kingship of Ireland, of the sort that later kings such as Brian Boruma (Brian Boru), Muircheartach Ua Briain and Tairrdelbach mac Ruaidri Ua Conchobair (Turlough O'Connor) exercised, may owe as much to the threat raised by Feidlimid mac Crimthainn, of the Eoganachta of Cashel (Eóganachta Chaisil), King of Munster, as to the Viking raids on Ireland.

Feidlimid's Munstermen ravaged the length and breadth of Ireland, as far north as the Cenel nEogain heartland of Inishowen. Drawing on the support of the clergy of Cashel as well as his own military might, Feidlimid is said by Munster sources to have made himself King of Tara. Although he was defeated in 841 in battle with Niall Caille of the Cenél nEógain, the High King according to some, Feidlimid's achievements were exceptional. Not since Congal Caech of theDal nAraidi, King of Ulaid in the early 7th century had any king but an Uí Néill one been reckoned King of Tara in any account.

On Niall Caille's death in 846, the kingship of Tara passed to Flann Sinna's father Máel Sechnaill. Feidlimid died in the following year, and Máel Sechnaill proceeded to expand his power by war and diplomacy. What is noteworthy about Máel Sechnaill's expansionism, normal for Irish kings, is not that it happened, but the language used to describe it. The Annals of Ulster refer to Máel Sechnaill's armies, not as the "men of Mide", or of the Clann Cholmáin, but as the "men of Ireland" (an expedition co feraib Érenn is recorded in 858). Alongside this innovation, the terms goídil (Gael), gaill (foreigners) and gallgoídil ( Norse-Gaels ) become more common, along with phrases such as the Gaíll Érenn (the foreigners of Ireland, used to refer to the Norse-Gaels of the Irish coasts). On his death in 862, Máel Sechnaill's obituary titled him "King of all Ireland" ( Old Irish : rí hÉrenn uile).


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Today's Pivotal Person is Flann Sinna, King of Mede from 877 and 'High King of Ireland' from 879 to 916.

In the year 881 a large force of Irishmen marched north from the kingdom of Mide in the midlands to ravage the lands of the Northern Uí Néill. The leader of the force was a distant kinsman of that illustrious family, hailing from a cadet branch known as the Southern Uí Néill that had held sway in Mide for centuries, waging occasional wars against their northern brethren for control of the various under-kings and chieftains that bordered their lands. He also just happened to be the latest 'High King of Ireland', a position of power which had rotated between kings of the Southern and Northern Uí Néill for generations. His name was Flann Sinna, and not only did he have his own household warriors and countrymen with him during that campaign, but he also travelled with a secret weapon, an all too familiar sight upon the Emerald Isle of late. When Sinna marched north that year, he went with hardened mercenaries hailing from distant lands beyond the Sea. He went with Vikings.

Despite how shocking this alliance with the hated invaders might seem at first glance, it was actually a fairly common occurrence for the day. Unlike the later poetic accounts which made the Gaels and the ‘Foreigners’ the bitterest of enemies, going so far as to recast events as a struggle between natives and incomers, usually because of their own nationalistic reasons, in reality, Irish kings often had no qualms about allying themselves with Vikings during the late Ninth Century, tending to view their Irish rivals as far more dangerous than the Norsemen.

By Flann Sinna’s lifetime, Vikings had already been active in Ireland for close to a century, and a permanent fixture within the maelstrom of warring factions for forty years or more. Alliances between the newcomers and native Irish kings were not uncommon, and had happened as early as 850 when Cináed mac Conaing, a sub-king of the Southern Uí Néill had allied himself to a group of them in 850 to ravage the midlands in an attempt to realise his own political goals. This first alliance ended disastrously for Cináed when he was captured by the Southern Uí Néil High King of Ireland, Máel Sechnail, who had him ceremonially drowned in a grisly execution reminiscent of the old pagan ways.

Later, in 859 after the rise of a new powerful force in Dublin in the form of Olaf the White and Ivar, possibly ‘the Boneless’, another rebellious king, this time Cerball mac Dunlainge, of Osraige, rose up with the Dublin Norse to ravage the lands of Máel Sechnail in several raiding missions. The alliance may have even been solidified with marriage. Máel Sechnail’s young son Flann Sinna would have been around ten years old at this tumultuous time, which undoubtedly left a marked effect upon him for the rest of his life.

Though Cerball later came to terms with his overlord and abandoned the Vikings, shrewd as ever, Ivar and Olaf were quick to then ally themselves to Máel Sechnaill's great rival to the north, the king of the Northern Uí Néill, Áed Findliath. Again the alliance seems to have been solidified with a marriage, with Olaf marrying one of Áed’s daughter’s.

Thus Mede Suffered massive invasions by Vikings allied to fellow Irishmen in 850, 859, 861 and in 862, though on both of the latter occasions Máel Sechnaill was able to drive them away with great bloodshed. He died in the next year however and to his families horror, and as tradition dictated, Áed Findliath was elected as the new High King. Just to add insult to injury for the young Flann Sinna, Áed not only began his reign by marrying Máel Sechnaill's widow, Flann's mother, Land, but he captured his rivals successor Lorcan, who was blinded and forced to abdicate.

Áed Findliath’s victory did have another ominous side effect too. Olaf and Ivar, ever wanting to erode away at the powers of the Irish kings, and thriving from chaos, seem to have also switched their allegiances once again to support Áed’s many enemies. Flann meanwhile, though the son of one of Ireland’s greatest ever kings up to this point, and the first with a real chance off unifying the whole island, was relegated to relative obscurity within the politics of his home nation of Mede. He never forgot what had happened though, and like so many Irish kings before him vowed for vengeance against the Northern Uí Néill, by any means necessary.

On the whole the later 860s saw a reduction in Viking activity in Ireland, barring one major attack upon the ancient burial mounds at Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth in 863. By the latter half of the decade Olaf was active in Pictland and Ivar in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms where they both had a hand in ravaging Britain.

Áed Findliath took advantage of these absences to destroy the Viking fortresses in the north of Ireland. Similarly in the south, the Munstermen retook vast swathes of land, pushing the Vikings of the south back to their longphorts in the river systems, and leaving the midlands and hinterlands largely free from large-scale Viking settlement.

Olaf seems to have left Ireland for good in 871 and Ivar probably died in around 873. With their disappearance, the leadership of Dublin descended into chaos as rival factions vied for power. Now that the great unifiers had died, no single all powerful ruler would emerge amongst the Dublin Norse for decades to come. Ushering in a period of forty years often dubbed the 'Forty Years Rest', until they returned in force in 914.

Thus towards the end Findliath’s rule as High King in the 870s, rather than being the outside scourge they were often later portrayed as, Vikings had become an integral part of Irish power politics, now playing the role of mercenaries and sanctioned raiders working on behalf of feuding kings, rather than outright invaders. The vast majority of people alive by this point had never known a time without the ever-present threat of Viking attack. Rather than being seen as outsiders, they were now often seen as potential allies.

Finally, in 879, Áed Findliath died, and as tradition dictated, it was now a king of the Southern Uí Néill’s time to shine. The great council at Tara was called and Flann Sinna, son of Máel Sechnaill, and the King of Mede since 877 was elected as the new High King of Ireland.

Far from even being the rightful king of the Southern Uí Néill however, let alone the High King, the Annals of Ulster reports that Flann usurped his position from his second cousin Donnchad, the reigning King of Mide at the time and head of the Southern Uí Néill. This usurpation may have been supported in part by Flann’s step-father Áed Findliath, who was now also his father-in-law after marrying Áed’s daughter Eithne.

If the Northern Uí Néill had hoped that Flann might be a pawn in their own schemes, they were sorely mistaken. Even though he wasn’t universally accepted by his own kinsmen, his reign as High King began with a customary demand for hostages from the kings of Leinster and the various other kings often subject to the Southern Uí Néill.

Then, just over a year after Áed Findliath’s death, Flann set in motion the plan he’d had in mind since he was a boy. Along with a vast army of Irishmen, he returned the favour to the Northern Uí Néill by marching north along with a host of Vikings to lay waste to the north, most notably sacking the monastic complex at Armagh and making off with thousands of slaves and plunder.

From then onwards Flann Sinna’s reign would be one characterised by consistent bids to unify all of Ireland under his iron grip, more often than not, using Vikings to assist in his goals, likely marrying at least one of his sisters and possibly some daughters to various Norse and Norse-Gael leaders.

After securing the loyalty of Leinster, and various Viking rulers, Flann preceded to launch attack after attack upon the kingdoms of Munster, Ulster and Connacht. Flann’s reign was more successful than most High Kings of Ireland. He may have actually had the intention of abandoning the traditional succession to the kingship of Tara entirely, whereby the Northern and Southern branches of the Uí Néill held the kingship alternately, in favour of a heredity High Kingship in his family alone.

Most notable of all are the propagandistic monumental high crosses he erected all over the land declaring his father and he as High Kings of all Ireland. The description of his son Máel Ruanaid as ‘heir designate of Ireland’, rather than simply Mede heavily seems to suggest this, as does the notable omissions of the traditional Fair of Tailtu that would usually be held annually in order to foster good relations between the various kings of the Uí Néill through feasting, games and marriage proposals. Their non-existence is a good indicator of the bad blood stewing between the various Irish clans at the time. Two other Uí Néill families, the Cenél Conaill and Síl nÁedo Sláine, had already been previously excluded from the High Kingship, and it seems likely that Flann now wanted to exclude the other, the Cenél nEógain, in preference for his own.

The evident lack of loyalty among Flann's own sons however, Donnchad in particular rising up in rebellion against his father on two separate occasions, may have in part prevented any such plans from being realised. These tensions may have been in part as a result of Flann marrying on three subsequent occasions. Though he was undoubtedly attempting to forge powerful foreign allies in doing so, most notably his third wife, Máel Muire, who died in 913, was the daughter of the King of the Picts, Kenneth MacAlpine, it seems to have had the unintended effect of alienating some of his sons.

Flann’s reign wasn’t entirely free from Viking attack either, with a notable defeat at the Battle of Pilgrim in 887 being recorded, along with attacks by Áed Finnliath’s son Domnall. Though these defeats was soon overshadowed by dissent amongst rival factions in Dublin, which would ultimately keep any Viking threat at a minimum for another three decades to come.

By the 890s, events in England may have also had an impact upon the political situation in Ireland. The rise of Wessex under Alfred the Great led to ‘great dissension amongst the foreigners’ according to the Annals of Ulster, and a civil war amongst the Dublin Norse, which ultimately culminated in one of the most notable points in Flann’s reign. The fall of Viking Dublin.

In 902 two of Flann’s sub-kings, his son-in-law Cerball of Leinster and the men of Brega led Máel Finnia succeeded in besieging Dublin and driving the Norse out. This was also a time of tragedy for Flann however as his son and heir described as ‘heir designate of Ireland’, Máel Ruanaid, was locked in a church along with a number of other nobles and burned alive by the men of Connaught.

Despite his seemingly unassailable position as the most powerful king in Ireland, a role he had held for more than two decades, the rest of Flann’s reign would be characterised by wars with his own sons.

In 904, Flann is recorded as breaking into the Abbey of Kells in order to seize his son Donnchad, who had taken refuge there, and subsequently beheading many of Donnchad's associates.

With 905 came new expeditions against Osraige to ensure its continued loyalty now it had a new king, and with 906 came attacks into Munster where much of the land was ravaged. In retaliation the Munstermen raided Connaught and Leinster by land and by sea, and may have actually made some gains.

In 908 the war with the Munstermen came to a head at the Battle of Bellaghmoon, wherein the King of Munster Cormac mac Cuilennáin was killed and Flann and his allies emerged victorious. Far from slowing down his persistent campaigning in his old age, Flann continued to war against his enemies in his continued attempt to bring the rest of Ireland under his control, notably ravaging south Brega and southern Connaught in the 910s.

In December 914 however, Flann’s son Óengus engaged the still powerful Niall Glúndub, the Northern Uí Néill heir to Áed Finnliath, in battle. The result was inconclusive, but by February 915 Óengus, called ‘heir designate of Tara’ in the Annals of Ulster, effectively meaning the heir to the High Kingship, died of his wounds, thus leaving Flann without an heir once more, the second of Flann's designated heirs to die in his lifetime.

By the latter half of 915, disaster struck once more when Flann’s son Donnchad once again rose up in revolt against his father, this time along with another brother, Conchobar. In an especially embarrassing and humiliating moment for Flann, it was only with the aid of Niall Glundúb that the brothers were brought back in line. For the next year of his reign, until his death in May 916, Flann’s remaining authority quickly unravelled. As far as the other kings were concerned, now that Flann’s designated heir was dead, and his other sons proven to be unreliable, only one choice for the High Kingship remained. Despite all of the effort Flann had put into in monopolising the succession within his own family, thus coming close to instituting a national kingship in Ireland comparable to that created by his contemporaries Alfred the Great and Edward the Elder in England, it was obvious that the High Kingship would go to the most capable man for the job, Niall Glúndub who had already been campaigning vigorously in Ulster and Connacht from 913 to 915.

On 25 May 916, after a reign of 36 years, 6 months, and 5 days, Flann Sinna finally died. He was followed as head of Clann Cholmáin and king of Mide by his son Conchobar, and as king of Tara by Niall Glúndub.

In reality, it wouldn’t be either of the branches of the Uí Néill that would succeed in establishing control over the entirety of Ireland, it would be an outsider, a ruler who would break the position of High King entirely close to a century later, a king from Munster. That ruler was Brian Boru.


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About Gormlaith Ingen Flann Sinna

Gormflaith was the daughter of Flann Sinna, High King of Ireland from 879 to 916. Her mother was Gormlaith ingen Flann mac Conaing of Brega.

  • Donnchad Donn, her full sibling.
  • ാngus mac Flann Sinna, died 915.
  • Mพl Ruanaid mac Flann Sinna, killed in 901
  • Donnell mac Flann Sinna, King of Mide 919�.
  • Lígach ingen Flann Sinna, died 923.
  • Conchobar mac Flann Sinna, king of Mide 916�.
  • 쇭 mac Flann Sinna, blinded on Donnchad Donn's orders in 919.
  • Cerball mac Flann Sinna
  • Muirgel ingen Flann Sinna, died 928.

Gormflaith was notable for being the successive queen consort of Munster, Leinster and Tara.

Gormflaith was married first to King Cormac mac Cuilennáin of Munster, who had taken vows of celibacy as a bishop. The marriage was not said to be cosumated. MacShamhran (p. 203) writes "Difficulties relating to this marriage leave it probable that it is a fiction - created when memory of Gormlaith became assimilated to the "sovereignty goddess" who had three husbands."

Cormac was killed at the battle of Bealach Mugna in 908 by an alliance of Flann Sinna of Tara and Cerball mac Muirecáin, King of Leinster. Flann afterwards married Gormflaith to Cerball, who is alleged (according to a text in the Book of Leinster) to have abused her so much that she was forced to return to her father at least once.

MacShamhran writes (p.203) ". the case for accepting as historical her marriage to Cerball is strenthened by a dindshenchas poem in the Book of Leinster, which also presents a different view of their relationship, implying that she was involved in intrigue on his behalf. She is blamed for the deaths of Cellach Carmain, who was an Ui Muirdaig dynast, and his wife Aillenn - apparently rivals of her husband. This circumstance, along with the fact that Cerball had the support of Flann Sinna at Belach Mugna, fits well with a Clan Cholmain-Ui Faelain alliance in the years prior to that battle."

Ó Cróinín (pp.219), citing the poem Cell Chorbbáin (composed shortly after 909), writes: "It states quite categorically that Gormlaith was responsible for the death of Cellach of Carmun and his wife Aillend - 'she laid them in the church ground' (dos-fuc i talmain cilli) and by these actions 'she wrought terrible deeds' (do-ringni gnimu grana). This is clearly referring to a double-murder, and equally clearly, it is implicit that Gormlaith - and, by extension, her husband Cerball? - were involved together in a conspiracy to remove the reigning king of Leinster (here named as Cellach Carmun) and presumably replace him with Cerball." Ó Cróinín goes on to compare the data in the poem with that of Cóic ríg trໜhat to show that "there is something wrong with the Ui Dunlainge succession at precisely this point. . It looks very much as though the struggle for succession . saw several of the Ui Muiredaig line eliminated in the first half of the ninth century, and their names were simply expunged from the record:"

After Cerball's death in 909 Gormlaith married her stepbrother Niall Glúndub, who died in 919. By him she had Muirchertach mac Néill, ancestor to the O'Neill dynasty of the north of Ireland.

The Annals of Clonmacnoise have her becoming poverty-striken after the death of Niall, reduced to wandering from place to place as a poet to survive. This literary tradition, which appears over a century after her death, may be based upon a misreading of her obit in the Annals of Ulster, which instead indicate she died in a convent.

A number of poems of later date are ascribed to Gormflaith in Middle Irish sources, including laments for Cerball and Niall, but not for Cormac.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Muirchertach was the son of Niall Glúndub and Gormlaith, thus his father and both of his grandfathers—Niall's father 쇭 Finnliath and Gormlaith's father Flann Sinna—had been High King of Ireland.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flann's daughter Gormlaith became the subject of later literary accounts, accounted which depicted her as a tragic figure. She was married first to Cormac mac Cuilennáin of the Eóganachta, who had taken vows of celibacy as a bishop. On Cormac's death in battle in 908, fighting against her father, she was married to Cerball mac Muirecáin of the Uí Dúnlainge, who supposedly abused her. Cerball was a key ally of Gormlaith's father. After Cerball's death in 909 Gormlaith married her stepbrother Niall Glúndub, who died in 919. The Annals of Clonmacnoise have her wandering Ireland after Niall's death, forsaken by her kin, and reduced to begging from door to door, although this is thought to be later invention rather than a tradition with a basis in fact.[28]


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About Flann Sinna mac Mael Sechnall, High King of Ireland

Flann Sinna, High King of Ireland (1)

Child of Flann Sinna, High King of Ireland

-1. Donnchad Donn, High King of Ireland+ d. 944 (1)

Flann of the Shannon was King of Mide (877-916) and High King of Ireland (879-916).

Flann was chosen as the High King of Ireland, also known as King of Tara, following the death of his first cousin and stepfather 쇭 Findliath on 20 November 879. Flann's reign followed the usual pattern of Irish high-kings, beginning by levying hostages and tribute from Leinster, and then to wars with Munster, Ulster and Connacht. Flann was more successful than most, but rather than the military and diplomatic successes of his reign, it is his propaganda statements, in the form of monumental high crosses naming him, and his father, as kings of Ireland, which are exceptional.

Flann may have had the intention of abandoning the traditional succession to the kingship of Tara, whereby the northern and southern branches of the Uí Néill held the kingship alternately, but such plans were thwarted when his favoured son ാngus was killed by his son-in-law and eventual successor Niall Glúndub, son of 쇭 Findliath, on 7 February 915. Flann's other sons raised revolts and his authority collapsed.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flann Sinna (847 or 848– 25 May 916), (English: Flann of the Shannon) was the son of Mพl Sechnaill mac Mพle Ruanaid of Clann Cholmáin, a branch of the southern Uí Néill. He was King of Mide from 877 onwards and is counted as a High King of Ireland.

Flann was chosen as the High King of Ireland, also known as King of Tara, following the death of his first cousin and stepfather 쇭 Findliath on 20 November 879. Flann's reign followed the usual pattern of Irish high-kings, beginning by levying hostages and tribute from Leinster, and then to wars with Munster, Ulster and Connacht. Flann was more successful than most, but rather than the military and diplomatic successes of his reign, it is his propaganda statements, in the form of monumental high crosses naming him, and his father, as kings of Ireland, which are exceptional.

Flann may have had the intention of abandoning the traditional succession to the kingship of Tara, whereby the northern and southern branches of the Uí Néill held the kingship alternately, but such plans were thwarted when his favoured son ാngus was killed by his son-in-law and eventual successor Niall Glúndub, son of 쇭 Findliath, on 7 February 915. Flann's other sons raised revolts and his authority collapsed.

Ireland in the First Viking Age

The Viking Age in Ireland began in 795 with attacks on monasteries on the islands of Rathlin, Inishmurray, and Inishbofin. In the following twenty years raids by Vikings�lled "Foreigners" or "Gentiles" in Irish sources—were small in scale, infrequent and largely limited to the coasts. The Annals of Ulster record raids in Ireland in only five of the first twenty years of the 9th century. In the 820s, there are records of larger raids in Ulster and Leinster. The range, size, and frequency of attacks increased in the 830s. In 837, Viking fleets operated on the rivers Boyne and Liffey in central Ireland, and in 839 a fleet was based on Lough Neagh in the north-east.[2]

The records indicate that the first permanent Viking bases were established in 841, near Dublin and Annagassan.[3] Other fortified settlements were established in the following decades at Wexford, Waterford, Limerick, and Cork.[4] It is in this period that the leaders of the Irish-based Scandinavians are recorded by name. Turgesius, who is made the conqueror of Ireland by Giraldus Cambrensis and a son of Harald Fairhair by Scandinavian sagas, is one of these. He was captured, and drowned in Lough Owel, by Mพl Sechnaill in 845. Mพl Sechnaill was reported to have killed 700 Foreigners in 848, and the King of Munster, Ólchobar mac Cin󡻚, killed 200 more, including an earl named Tomrair, the "heir designate of the King of Laithlind".[5]

In 849 a new force appeared, the "Dark Foreigners". Possibly Danes, their activities were directed against the "Foreigners" already in Ireland. A major naval battle fought in Carlingford Lough in 853 produced a victory for the newcomers. In the same year, there arrived another force, the "Fair Foreigners", led by Amla໛, "son of the king of Laithlind", and Ímar. From the 840s onwards, the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland and the Irish annals recount frequent alliances between the "Foreigners" and Irish kings, especially after the appearance of Amla໛ and Ímar as rulers of Dublin.[6]

The later 860s saw a reduction of activity by the Foreigners𠅊lthough the Annals indignantly report that they plundered the ancient burial mounds at Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth in 863—with the Dublin forces active in Pictland and in the six months' siege of Dumbarton Rock. 쇭 Findliath took advantage of these absences to destroy the Viking fortresses in the north of Ireland. Amla໛ left Ireland for good in 871 and Ímar died in 873. With their disappearance, there were frequent changes of leadership among the Foreigners and a great deal of internecine conflict is reported for the following decades.[7]

Mพl Sechnaill mac Maíl Ruanaid

The making of an Uí Néill kingship of Ireland, of the sort that later kings such as Brian Bóruma (Brian Boru), Muircheartach Ua Briain and Tairrdelbach mac Ruaidri Ua Conchobair (Turlough O'Connor) exercised, may owe as much to the threat raised by Feidlimid mac Crimthainn, of the Eóganachta of Cashel (Eóganachta Chaisil), King of Munster, as to the Viking raids on Ireland.[9]

Feidlimid's Munstermen ravaged the length and breadth of Ireland, as far north as the Cenél nEógain heartland of Inishowen. Drawing on the support of the clergy of Cashel as well as his own military might, Feidlimid is said by Munster sources to have made himself King of Tara. Although he was defeated in 841 in battle with Niall Caille of the Cenél nEógain, the High King according to some, Feidlimid's achievements were exceptional. Not since Congal Ch of the Dál nAraidi, King of Ulaid in the early 7th century, had any king but an Uí Néill one been reckoned King of Tara in any account.[10]

On Niall Caille's death in 846, the kingship of Tara passed to Flann Sinna's father Mพl Sechnaill. Feidlimid died in the following year, and Mพl Sechnaill proceeded to expand his power by war and diplomacy. What is noteworthy about Mพl Sechnaill's expansionism, normal for Irish kings, is not that it happened, but the language used to describe it. The Annals of Ulster refer to Mพl Sechnaill's armies, not as the "men of Mide", or of the Clann Cholmáin, but as the "men of Ireland" (an expedition co feraib Érenn is recorded in 858).[11] Alongside this innovation, the terms goໝil (gael), gaill (foreigners) and gallgoໝil (Norse-Gaels) become more common, along with phrases such as the Gaíll Érenn (the foreigners of Ireland, used to refer to the Norse-Gaels of the Irish coasts).[12]

On his death in 862, Mพl Sechnaill's obituary titled him "King of all Ireland" (Old Irish: rí hÉrenn uile).[13]

On Mพl Sechnaill's death, the Uí Néill kingship passed back to the northern branch, represented by 쇭 Findliath, son of Niall Caille. 쇭 began his reign by marrying Mพl Sechnaill's widow, Flann's mother, Land (died 890), daughter of Dúngal mac Cerbaill, king of Osraige. 쇭 had some notable successes against the Vikings, and was active against the Laigin. However, his kingship was not accepted even among the southern Uí Néill. The historical records indicate that six times during his reign, or one year in three, the great Fair of Tailtiu was not held, "although there was no just and worthy reason for this". When 쇭 died in 879, the kingship returned to the southern branch, represented by Flann Sinna.[14]

During the reign of his stepfather, Flann enters the historical record. In 877, the Annals of Ulster record that "Donnchad son of Aedacán son of Conchobor, was deceitfully killed by Flann son of Mพl Sechnaill". Donnchad, the reigning King of Mide and head of the southern Uí Néill, was Flann's second cousin.[15] Flann's marriage to 쇭 Findliath's daughter Eithne may have taken place before he seized power, or soon afterwards.[16]

Flann's reign began with a demand for hostages from the kings of Leinster. In 881, he led an army of Irishmen and "Foreigners" into the north, attacking Armagh.[17] Unlike the later poetic accounts which made the Gaels and the "Foreigners" bitterest enemies, and recast events as a struggle between natives and incomers, Irish kings generally had no qualms about allying themselves with the "Foreigners" when convenient.[18] It is likely that one of Flann's sisters was married to a Norse or Norse-Gael leader. Gerald of Wales offers a typically inventive account of how this marriage came about in his Topographia Hibernica. Gerald claimed that Mพl Sechnaill had granted his daughter to the Viking chieftain called Turgesius, and he had sent fifteen beardless young men, disguised as the bride's handmaidens, to kill the chieftain and his closest associates.[19]

The Annals of Ulster report that Flann was defeated in 887 by the "Foreigners" at the Battle of the Pilgrim. Among the dead on Flann's side were 쇭 mac Conchobair of the Uí Briúin Ai, King of Connacht, Lergus mac Cruinnén, Bishop of Kildare, and Donnchad, Abbot of Kildare. Irish clergymen commonly appear among the named dead in battles of the Early Christian and Viking periods. In that year the Fair of Tailtiu was not held, a sign that Flann's authority was not unchallenged. Flann's defeat at the hands of the "Foreigners" was overshadowed by the signs of dissension among their leaders. That same year, the Annals of Ulster note that "Sigfrith son of Ímar, king of the Norsemen, was deceitfully killed by his kinsman".[20] For the following year, the Annals report an "expedition by Domnall son of 쇭 [Finnliath] with the men of the north of Ireland against the southern Uí Néill", and again in 888 the Fair of Tailtiu was reportedly not held.[21]

In 892, events in England may have had an impact in Ireland, leading to the fall of Dublin (Áth Cliath) to the Irish. The Annals, following a report of the defeat of the Vikings by the Saxons𠅊lfred the Great, King of Wessex, was Flann's contemporary𠅊nnounce "great dissension among the "Foreigners" of Áth Cliath, and they became dispersed, one section of them following Ímar's son, and the other Sigfrith the jarl".[22] Amla໛ son of Ímar was killed in 897, and for 901 the Annals say that the "heathens were driven from Ireland" by the Leinstermen, led by Flann's son-in-law Cerball, and the "men of Brega", led by Mพl Finnia son of Flannacán.[23]

In 901, Flann's son Mพl Ruanaid, described as "heir designate of Ireland", was killed, probably burnt in a hall along with other notables, by the Luigni of Connaught. In 904, Flann broke into the Abbey of Kells in order to seize his son Donnchad, who had taken refuge there, and beheaded many of Donnchad's associates. By this point in time, Flann had been king of Ireland in style for a quarter century.

Flann undertook an expedition against Cellach mac Cerbaill, King of Osraige, in 905, after Cellach had succeeded his brother Diarmait earlier in the year. In the following year, 906, Flann raided into Munster and ravaged much of the land there. Cormac mac Cuilennáin of the Eóganachta of Cashel, King of Munster, with his "evil genius" and later successor Flaithbertach mac Inmainén by his side, raided Connaught and Leinster in retaliation and, according to some annals, defeated Flann. A Munster fleet ravaged the coasts that same year.

Neither spear nor sword will kill him

On 13 September 908, Flann, aided by his son-in-law Cerball mac Muirecáin, and Cathal mac Conchobair, King of Connacht, fought against the Munstermen, again led by Cormac and Flaithbertach, at the battle of Belach Mugna (near Castledermot, County Kildare). The Fragmentary Annals report that many of the men of Munster had not wished to set out on the expedition. This was because Flaithbertach had fallen from his horse at the muster, an event which was taken to be an ill-omen. Flann and his allies subsequently defeated the Munstermen. Cormac, along with Cellach mac Cerbaill of Osraige and many other notables, was killed.

In 910, now without the aid of Cerball, who had died of sickness, Flann defeated the men of Bréifne. In 913 and 914, first Donnchad son of Flann, and then Flann himself, ravaged the lands of south Brega and southern Connaught. In the 914 campaign, the Annals of Ulster report that "many churches were profaned by [Flann]". In December of 914, a battle was fought between Niall Glúndub and ാngus, son of Flann. ാngus died of wounds on 7 February 915, the second of Flann's designated heirs to die in his lifetime.

Later in 915, his sons Donnchad and Conchobar rebelled against Flann, and it was only with the aid of Niall Glundྫ that Flann's sons were forced back into obedience. Niall Glúndub also compelled a truce between Flann and Fogartach mac Tolairg, king of Brega. Niall may also have been acknowledged as Flann's heir at this time. Flann did not long survive, dying near Mullingar, County Westmeath, according to the Prophecy of Berchán, on 25 May 916, after a reign of 36 years, 6 months, and 5 days.

Flann was followed as head of Clann Cholmáin and king of Mide by his son Conchobar, and as king of Tara by Niall Glúndub.

Flann was served by Mพl Mura Othna (died 887), "chief poet of Ireland". In 885 Mพl Mura composed the praise poem Flann for Érinn (Flann over Ireland). This linked Flann with the deeds of the legendary Uí Néill ancestor Tuathal Techtmar. As Máire Herbert notes, Mพl Mura depicts Tuathal as a 9th century ruler, taking hostages from lesser kings, compelling their obedience and founding his kingship over Ireland on force. The high king in Flann for Érinn has authority over the fir Érenn (the men of Ireland) and leads them in war. This is a very different from the way the kingship of Flann's 6th century ancestor Diarmait mac Cerbaill is portrayed in early sources.

A concrete testimony to Flann's claims survives in the high crosses erected at Clonmacnoise and Kinnitty on Flann's orders which name him and his father rí Érenn, "King of Ireland". At the same time, the oratory at Clonmacnoise was rebuilt in stone on Flann's orders.[25]

Flann is credited with commissioning the earliest known cumdach, an ornamented book case, for the Book of Durrow.[26]

Flann Sinna was known to have been married to at least three different women, and his recorded children numbered seven sons and three daughters.

His marriage to Gormlaith, daughter of Flann mac Conaing, King of Brega, a key ally of his stepfather, was probably the first. Known children of this marriage are Donnchad Donn, later King of Mide and of Tara, and Gormlaith.[27]

Flann's daughter Gormlaith became the subject of later literary accounts, accounted which depicted her as a tragic figure. She was married first to Cormac mac Cuilennáin of the Eóganachta, who had taken vows of celibacy as a bishop. On Cormac's death in battle in 908, fighting against her father, she was married to Cerball mac Muirecáin of the Uí Dúnlainge, who supposedly abused her. Cerball was a key ally of Gormlaith's father. After Cerball's death in 909 Gormlaith married her stepbrother Niall Glúndub, who died in 919. The Annals of Clonmacnoise have her wandering Ireland after Niall's death, forsaken by her kin, and reduced to begging from door to door, although this is thought to be later invention rather than a tradition with a basis in fact.[28]

The second of Flann’s known marriages was his union with Eithne, daughter of 쇭 Findliath, dated circa 877. Flann and Eithne’s son Mพl Ruanaid was killed in 901. Eithne was also married to Flannn, King of Brega, by whom she had a son named Mพl Mithig, although whether this preceded her marriage to Flann is unclear. It is likely that Flann divorced Eithne in order to follow the tradition of marrying his predecessor's widow, Eithne's stepmother. Eithne died as a nun in 917.[29]

His third wife, Mพl Muire, who died in 913, was the daughter of the King of the Picts, Cin mac Ailpín. She was the mother of Flann’s son, Domnall (King of Mide 919� killed by his half-brother Donnchad Donn in 921), and his daughter, Lígach (died 923), wife of the Síl n쇭o Sláine king of Brega, Mพl Mithig mac Flannacáin (died 919).[30]

The mothers of Flann Sinna’s sons ാngus (died 915), Conchobar (king of Mide 916� died in battle against the "Foreigners" alongside his brother-in-law Niall Glúndub), 쇭 (blinded on Donnchad Donn's orders in 919), and Cerball are unknown, and likewise his daughter Muirgel (died 928), who was probably married to a Norse or Norse-Gael king.[31]

The alternating succession of the northern and southern Uí Néill to the kingship of Tara would finally break down in time of Brian Boru. It was already under strain before Flann Sinna's lifetime. Two branches of the Uí Néill—the northern Cenél Conaill and the southern Síl n쇭o Sláine— had already been exluded from the succession by the Cenél nEógain and Clann Cholmáin. Many other branches of the Uí Néill had never shared in the kingship.

When Flann's son Mพl Ruanaid was killed in 901, the obituary in the Annals of Ulster states: "Mพl Ruanaid son of Flann son of Mพl Sechnaill, heir designate of Ireland, was killed by the Luigne".[32] The Annals of Ulster are derived from the Chronicle of Ireland, kept at Clonmacnoise, Flann's own monastery, and perhaps compiled in his lifetime.[33]

The description of Mพl Ruanaid as "heir designate of Ireland" suggests to some that Flann planned to keep the kingship in his family, excluding the Cenél nEógain as the Cenél Conaill and Síl n쇭o Sláine had previously been excluded. The evident lack of filial loyalty among Flann's sons, Donnchad Donn being twice in rebellion against his father, may have prevented any such plans from coming to fruition. However, ാngus is called "heir designate of Temair [Tara]" in the notice of his death in 915.[34]

Benjamin Hudson suggested that it was only the vigorous campaigning by Niall Glúndub in Ulster and Connacht from 913 to 915, along with ാngus's fortuitous death, that led to Niall being named Flann's heir.[35] Alex Woolf suggested that Flann had not only attempted to monopolise the succession within his family, but had come close to instituting a national kingship in Ireland comparable to that created by his contemporaries Alfred the Great and Edward the Elder in England from their Kingdom of Wessex.[36]

Later Clann Cholmáin kings were descended from Flann, as was Congalach Cnogba, whose official pedigree pronounced him to be a member of the Síl n쇭o Sláine, the first of that branch of the Uí Néill to become King of Tara in two centuries, and whose last agnatic ancestor to have ruled from Tara was the eponymous 쇭 Sláine, ten generations before. Congalach was closely tied to Clann Cholmáin. His mother was Flann's daughter Lígach, and his paternal grandmother Eithne had been Flann's wife.[37]

Flann's son Donnchad Donn, his grandson Congalach Cnogba, and his great grandson Mพl Sechnaill mac Domnaill, all held the kingship of Tara, Mพl Sechnaill being the last of the traditional Uí Néill high kings.

847 or 848: birth of Flann Sinna 862: death of Mพl Sechnaill 877: Flann kills Donnchad mac Eochocain, becomes King of Mide 879: 쇭 Findliath dies 881: Flann attacks Armagh 888: Flann defeated by the Foreigners at the Battle of the Pilgrim 889: Domnall son of 쇭 Findliath raids Mide 892: many Foreigners leave Dublin c. 900: Cathal mac Conchobair, King of Connacht, accepts Flann's authority 901: the killing of Flann's son Mพl Ruanaid 902: Foreigners leave, or are driven out, of Dublin 904: quarrel between Flann and his son Donnchad 905: Flann attacks Osraige 906: Flann raids Munster, the Munsterman retaliate 908: Flann and his allies defeat the Munstermen and kill their king, Cormac mac Cuilennáin 909: oratory at Clonmacnoise rebuilt in stone on Flann's orders 910: Flann attacks the kingdom of Bréifne 913 and 914: Flann and his son Donnchad raid south Brega, burning many churches 914: battle between Niall Glúndub and ാngus, son of Flann ാngus mortally wounded 915: Flann's sons Donnchad and Conchobar rebel Flann names Niall Glúndub as his heir 916: death of Flann

Taken from Wikipedia Flann Sinna Flann Sinna Overkonge av Irland NavnŸlann mac Maíl Sechnaill Flann av Shannon Fyrstehusœlann Cholmáin Regjeringstid项� Fྍt顇 eller 848 Irland Dྍथ. mai 916 Lough Ennel, WestmeathIrland Foreldre৺r Mพl Sechnaill mac Maíl Ruanaid, mor Flann ingen Dúngaile Ektefelle Gormlaith ingen Flann mac Conaing, Eithne ingen 󁻚, Mพl Muire ingen Cin󡻚 Barnonnchad Donn, Mพl Ruanaid, ാngus, Domnall, Conchobar, 쇭, Cerball, Gormlaith, Eithne, Lígach, Muirgel Flann Sinna (fྍt 847 eller 848, dྍ 25. mai 916) var konge av M fra 877 og overkonge av Irland fra 879 til 916. Niall tilhørte klanen Clann Cholmáin av den sørlige Uí Néill, og var sønn av den tidligere overkongen Mพl Sechnaill mac Maíl Ruanaid. Hans sønn Donnchad Donn ble senere også overkonge av Irland.

Flann ble utvalgt som overkonge av Irland, og så kjent som konge av Tara, etter at hans tremenning og stefar 쇭 Finliath d 20. november 879. Flanns herredømme fulgte den vanlige møsnteret til irske overkonger, med at han først fikk (den symbolske) tittelen og så måtte slåss for reelt herredømme. Han begynte med å kreve gisler og avgifter fra Laigin (Leinster), og kriget så mot Mumu (Munster), Ulaid (Ulster) og Connachta (Connacht). Flann var mer suksessfull enn de fleste, men blir husket ikke først og fremst for sine militære og politiske triumfer så mye for det store antallet keltiske høykors han lot oppføre. Disse monumentale symbolene lot han reise i propagandaøyemed, og det unike med disse korsene er at de navngir ham og hans far som konger av Irland.

Det er mulig at Flann hadde planer om å gå bort fra den tradisjonelle arvefølgen, hvor den nordlige og sørlige greinen av Uí Néill vekslet på å ha tittelen konge av Tara. Om han hadde slike planer ble de forstyrret da hans sønn Angus ble drept av Flanns svigersønn og senere etterfølger Niall Glúndub, sønn av 쇭 Finnliath, den 7. februar 915. Flanns andre sønner gjorde opprør mot ham etter dette, og han mistet kontrollen over kongeriket.

Innhold Flann av Irland Rediger

Cross of the Scriptures fra Clonmacnoise, bestilt av Flann Sinna og oppført i perioden 909�. Foto: Andreas F. Borchert Første gang Flann Sinna nevnes i de irske annaler er i Ulsterannalene i 877. Der står det ઽonnchad sønn av Aedacán sønn av Conchobor, ble svikefullt drept av Flann sønn av Mพl Sechnaill».[1] Donnchad var den regjerende kongen av M og overhode for det sørlige Uí Néill, og ved dette drapet overtok Flann herredømmet her. Da 쇭 Finliath så d i 879 og tittelen konge av Tara gikk tilbake fra det nordlige til det sørlige Uí Néill, var det Flann Sinna som ble konge av Tara og overkonge av Irland.

Hans første initiativ for å få reell anerkjennelse av sitt herredømme var at han krevde gisler, det tradisjonelle tegnet på underkastelse, fra Laigin. I 881 ledet han en hær best๞nde av b irer og norrøn-gælere nordover, og angrep Armagh, Irlands kirkelige (og kanskje også verdslige) maktsentrum i nord. Armagh sto tradisjonelt under beskyttelse av den nordlige greinen av Uí Néill. Det at han allierte seg med norrøn-gælere var ikke uvanlig for irske herskere. De senere tiders framstillinger har tegnet et ensidig bilde av de norrøne som vikinger, fremmede som kom for å plyndre. I siste halvdel av 800-tallet var flere norrøne bosetninger etablert på den irske øya, de norrøne var assimilert i en slik grad at også de fleste kilder kaller dem norrøn-gælere, og de spilte en aktiv rolle i irsk politikk som deltakere i skiftende allianser.

At alliansene skiftet fikk også Flann smertelig erfare, i 887 møtte han de norrøne[2] på slagmarken som motstandere, og led et knusende nederlag. Blant de drepte på Flanns side var 쇭 mac Conchobair, Konge av Connachta og en viktig alliert, og flere geistlige, blant andre b Biskopen og abbeden av Kildare. At geistlige opptrer i tapslistene etter slag i tidlig middelalder i Irland er ikke uvanlig. Det tyder på at skillet mellom det åndelige og verdslige regiment ikke var særlig skarpt, og at de irske munker som i populære fortellinger skildres som forsvarsløse ofre for vikingenes herjinger kanskje ikke var så forsvarsløse likevel.

De norrønes seier fikk ikke store følger, det var splittelse og rivalisering b innad de norrøne og de irske ættene. Samme året forteller annalene at Sigfrith Ivarson, konge av Dublin, blir drept av en slektning. Året etter angrep styrker fra den nordlige Uí Néill under ledelse av 쇭 Finliaths sønn Domnall Flanns omrr rundt M.

I begynnelsen av 890-årene var det hendelser i England som sannsynligvis også påvirket situasjonen i Irland. Alfred den store beseiret danene, og satte med den en foreløpig stopper for videre norrøn ekspansjon i Sør-England. I hvor stor grad den norrøne virksomheten i England, Skottland og Irland var koordinert er omdiskutert. Det er likevel pllende at de irske annalene i 892 først rapporterer om de norrønes nederlag for sakserne (i.e. Alfred), og i neste innførsel beskriver splittelse mellom de norrøne i Dublin. Ifølge annalene blir de spilttet i to fraksjoner, en som følger «Ivarsønnen» og en som følger Sigfrith Jarl. (Om denne Ivarsønnen er Øystein eller Harald er ikke sikkert.) Harald Ivarsson ble drept i 897, og i 901 falt et åpenbart svekket Dublin for et koordinert angrep fra Brega og Laigin, og hedningene ble drevet fra Dublin. Det skulle ikke bli noe norrønt nærvær av betydning i Dublin før etter Flann Sinnas regjeringstid, da de under Sigtrygg Caech igjen tok kontroll over Dublin i 917). Flann Sinnas navn blir ikke nevnt i sammenheng med erobringen av Dublin. Det tyder på at dette skjedde mer som følge av en lokal allianse mellom Laigin og Brega, og ikke at ાt samlet Irland som frigjorde seg fra de fremmedes undertrykkelse» slik noen senere historikere framstiller det.

I 901 ble Flanns sønn Mพl Ruanaid drept, sannsynligvis ble han brent inne sammen med flere andre av Luigni-klanen fra Connachta. Mพl Ruanaid blir i forbindelse med dette omtalt i annalene som «Irlands kongelige arving» (rigdomna n-Erenn).[3]

Flanns sønn Donnchad gjør tydeligvis opprør mot faren i 904. Annalene forteller at Flann vanhelliger oratoriet i abbediet Kells for å få tak i ham, og at mange rundt ham blir halshugd.[4] Det kan se ut som om Donnchad etter et feilslått opprør hadde søkt tilflukt i dette klosteret.

I 905 gjorde Flann Sinna en eksepdisjon mot den nye kongen i Osraige, Cellach mac Cerbaill, som hadde etterfulgt sin bror Diarmait. Året etter herjet Flann i Mumu. Cormac mac Cuilennáin, fra Eóganachta i Caisil, slo imidlertid tilbake og plyndret selv Laigin og Connachta, og Flann måtte trekke seg tilbake.

Et avgjørende slag mellom Flann og hans sørlige rivaler sto 13. september 908 ved Ballymena (i dagens grevskap Carlow. I allianse med Cathal mac Conchobair, kongen av Connachta, beseiret Flann styrkene fra de sørlgie kongedømmene, og b Cormac av Mumu og Cerball av Osraige ble drept. I 910 vant han seier over Breifne.

Flann Sinna hadde et tilsynelatende godt grep om landet nå, og det har vært spekulert om Irland noen gang var så nær å bli samlet under én konge, med arvelig suksesjon, som på slutten av Flann Sinnas regjeringstid. Det kan se ut som om Flanns sønn ാngus var utsett som hans etterfølger, b som konge i Mide og overkonge. Det ville i så fall ha brutt alterneringem mellom det nordlige og sørlige Uí Néill som hadde vært skikken i over hundre år.

I desember 914 sto et slag mellom Niall Glúndub, Flanns svigersønn og leder for Cenél nEogain, og Flanns sønn ാngus. Foranledningen er ikke kjent. ാngus ble hardt såret i slaget, og d 7. februar 915. Resultatet av dette var at Flanns øvrige sønner gjorde opprør mot ham, og Flann måtte få hjelp fra Niall for å beholde makten. Niall tvang også fram en våpenhvile mellom Flann og Brega. Niall ble nå akseptert som Flanns etterfølger, og de facto hadde han nok overherredømmet allerede fra 915. Formelt ble han konge av Tara og overkonge i 916, etter Flanns dྍ.

Flann Sinna d 25. mai 916, ved Mullingar i grevskapet Westmeath. Han ble sannsynligvis grvalagt ved Clonmacnoise. Han var overkonge i Irland i 36 år, seks måneder og fem dager.

Donnchadh Ó Corraín, «Vikings in Ireland and Scotland in the Ninth Century». I: Peritia 1998. Årbok for Medieval Academy of Ireland. issn 0332-1592 pdf Donnchadh Ó Corraín, The Vikings & Ireland pdf Annalene av de fire mesterne AFM Inisfallen-annalene AI Ulster-annalene AU Sekundær litteratur Rediger Byrne, Francis John, Irish Kings and High-Kings. Batsford, London, 1973. ISBN 0-7134-5882-8 Referanser Rediger


The Danish Wars

143. Towards the close of the eighth century the Danes began to make descents on the coasts of Europe. They came from Norway, Sweden, Jutland, and in general from the islands and coasts of the Baltic. They deemed piracy the noblest career that a chief could engage in and they sent forth swarms of daring and desperate marauders, who for two centuries kept the whole of Western Europe in a state of continual terror.

144. Our records make mention of two distinct races of Galls or Northmen: the Lochlanns, i.e. Norwegians and Swedes, who, as they were fair-haired, were called Finn-Galls or White strangers and the Danars or Danes of Denmark, who were called Duv-Galls, Black strangers, because they were dark-haired and swarthy. In modern Irish histories the term "Danes" is applied to both indifferently.

The Finn-Galls or Norwegians were the first to arrive. They appeared on the Irish coast for the first time in 795, when they plundered Lambay Island near Dublin, then called Rechru.

145. From that time forward they continued to send detached parties to Ireland, who plundered and ravaged wherever they came, both islands and mainland, and destroyed many of the great monasteries.

At first they came as mere robbers: then they began to make permanent settlements on several points of the coast, from which they penetrated inland in all directions and wherever there was a religious establishment likely to afford plunder, there they were sure to appear.

About the middle of the ninth century they established themselves permanently in Dublin, Limerick, and Waterford, where they built fortresses.

146. Hitherto there was little combination among the Norsemen but now appeared the most renowned of all their leaders&mdashTurgesius or Thorgils&mdashwho, coming with a fleet in 832, united the whole of their scattered forces. Soon afterwards three other fleets arrived, one of which, sailing up the lower Bann, took possession of Lough Neagh another anchored in Dundalk Bay while the third occupied Lough Ree on the Shannon.

Tergesius established himself for a time in Armagh which he sacked three times in one month and he posted parties at important points on the coast, such as Dublin, Limerick, Dundalk and Carlingford. After committing great ravages in the north, he placed himself at the head of the fleet in Lough Ree and from this central station he commanded a large part of Leinster and Connaught, and plundered those of the ecclesiastical establishments that lay within reach&mdashClonmacnoise, Lorrha and Terryglass in Tipperary, and the churches of Iniscaltra in Lough Derg.

147. Although the Irish made no combined effort to resist the robbers, yet the local chiefs often successfully intercepted them in their murderous raids, and slaughtered them mercilessly. In 838 they were defeated by the Kinel Connell at Assaroe, by the Dalcassians in Clare, and by the Southern Hy Neill in Meath. During the Fair of Roscrea in 845, a great body of the Norsemen marched suddenly on the town, expecting little resistance and plenty of booty. But the people, meeting them as they entered, killed their leader with a great number of the rank and file, and put the party to the rout. But the whole sea continued&mdashas the Irish record expresses it&mdashto vomit floods of foreigners into Erin they still held their grip on the main strongholds of the coast, from which they swept like a whirlwind through the country and wherever they went the track they left after them was a belt of desert.

The career of Turgesius was at last suddenly cut short by the valour of one of the provincial kings. He was taken prisoner in 845 by Malachi king of Meath, who caused him to be drowned in Lough Owel in Westmeath.

This brave prince succeeded to the throne of Ireland in 846, as Malachi I. He followed up his success with great determination and the Danes now suffered many disastrous defeats, not only by this king, but by several of the provincial rulers.

148. Aed or Hugh Finnliath, who succeeded Malachi in 863, routed the Danes in several battles. He was succeeded by Malachy's son Flann Sinna. For 40 years&mdashfrom 875 to 915&mdasha period nearly coincident with Flann's reign, the Danes sent no new swarms to Ireland, and the land was comparatively free from their ravages though those already in the country held their ground in their fortresses along the coast, such as Dublin, Waterford, Limerick, and Lough Foyle. But during this time there were serious wars among the Irish themselves.

149. In the time of Flann Sinna flourished archbishop Cormac Mac Cullenan king of Munster. Very soon after he was crowned king, Munster was invaded and plundered from Gowran to Limerick&mdashin 906&mdashby the monarch Flann and the king of Leinster. Cormac attended by Flahertagh the warlike abbot of Scattery, followed the invaders and defeated the monarch in two battles. But in the year 908 he was defeated and slain in the great battle of Ballaghmoon near Carlow, where 6,000 of the Munstermen fell.

Cormac Mac Cullenan was the most learned Irishman of his time, and was deeply versed in the history, literature, and antiquities of his country. The works written by him have already been mentioned (28).

150. The heroic king Niall Glunduff who succeeded Flann in 916, routed the Danes in several battles. But he was at last defeated by them in a terrible battle fought in 919 at Kilmashoge near Dublin, where fell the king himself with twelve princes and a great part of the nobles of the north of Ireland.

151. Donogh the son of Flann Sinna succeeded Niall, and in the second year of his reign&mdashin 920&mdashhe avenged the battle of Kilmashoge by defeating and slaughtering the Danes on the plain of Bregia north of Dublin.

During the reign of this king flourished Murkertagh of the Leather Cloaks, son of Niall Glunduff. He was one of the most valiant princes commemorated in Irish history, and waged incessant war against the foreigners.

In order to silence all opposition to his succession, he made a circuit of Ireland with a thousand picked men in the depth of winter, A.D. 941, when he knew that his opponents were unprepared to resist. For protection against the wintry weather each man was furnished with a large loose mantle of leather and hence this prince has ever since been known by the name of Murkertagh of the Leather Cloaks. In this expedition he was entirely successful. He brought away the provincial kings or their sons to his palace at Ailech, where he kept them captive for five months, after which he sent them to king Donogh as a testimony of loyalty.

But Murkertagh was not destined to be king of Ireland. He was killed in 943 in an obscure skirmish at Ardee by Blacar the Dane, dying as he had lived, in conflict with the enemies of his country.

152. Malachi II., or Malachi the Great, as he is often called, the most distinguished king that had reigned for many generations, became king in 980. The year before his accession he defeated the Danes in a great battle at Tara where vast numbers of them were slain. Following up his success he marched straight on Dublin, which he captured after a siege of three days, took immense booty, and liberated 2,000 captives.

We shall now interrupt the regular course of our narrative in order to trace the career of the man who was destined to crush the power of the Danes for ever.


(919-944) The Pursuit of Power (pt. 1) The Decline of the O’Neills

This podcast is the start of a fascinating story, full of twists and turns. Over the next three shows we will see the O Neill kingdom who have dominated the first five shows challenged by the Dal Cais (the family of Brian Boru).

Published February 3, 2011 in Irish History Podcasts

This will see many challengers rise and fall as these two families battle it out for supremacy in medieval Ireland.

The show begins with the rule of the O’Neill High King Donnchad Donn who came to power in 919. His life was intertwined with one of the greatest O’Neill warriors Muircherteach Mac Neill, eulogised on his death as “the hector of the west”. Find out how he earned that name and where Brian Boru’s family, the Dal Cais family originated.

Notes- (Contains spoiler to the episode!)

Northern O’Neill The Northern O’Neill kingdom dominated much of Modern day Ulster. It was ruled by the Cenel Eoghan however their rule came was challenged in 943 when the Cenél Conaill King Ruaidrí ua Canannáin .

Southern O’Neill This was a kingdom in the North of modern day Leinster. It was ruled by the Clann Colman who produced the high kings – Donnchad Donn, Flann Sinna and Maelseachnaill I. They were deposed in 944 by Congalach Cnogba and the Síl nÁedo Sláine of Brega.

Donnchad Donn Mac Flann, Son of Flann Sinna and O’Neill High King 919-944. He was ineffective and lived in the shadow of the Northern O’Neill king Muirchertach Mac Neill. After he died a civil war broke out between the Northern and Southern O’Neill.

Muircherteach Mac Neill. King of the Northern O’Neill 937-943. Muircherteach seemed like he was destined to become the greatest O Neill High King after he brought the entire Island into submission through a series of devastating campaigns in the 940’s. He was the son of Niall Glundubh (his name literally means Muircherteach son of Niall). He was unexpectedly killed by the Vikings in 943.

Congalach Cnogba (pronounced con-gal-ack) Congalach was technically Donnchad’s nephew, Donnchad had married his sister into the Síl nÁedo Sláine family* who were kings of Brega. After Donnchad died in 944 Congalach killed Donnchad’s son and became king of the Southern O Neill.

Ruaidrí ua Canannáin (pronounced Ru -ree) King of the relatively obscure Northern O Neill family, the Cenel Conaill. He would become king of the Northern O Neill shortly after Muircherteach mac Neill died in 943.

Dal Cais – The Dal gCais was the name of the clann that produced Cennetig Mac Lorcan, Mathgamáin and Brian Boru, who will dominate the next few episodes. This family would be known later in history as O’Brien (after Brian). They were originally what we would think of as minor nobility, serving on occasion as mercenaries to the O Neill’s (Simms, K. Kings to Warlords p118). Their rise from relative obscurity in the mid 10th century was not unique as some historians have suggested – they were part of a trend in the mid tenth century that saw old dynasties toppled. This also saw Ruairdri Ua Canannan of the Cenel Conaill seize kingship of the Northern O Neill (943) and Congalach Cnogba of the Síl nÁedo Sláine kings of Brega sieze the kingship of the Southern O Neill (944).

Controversy

This episode opens a controversial period in Irish history. The main controversy surrounds the rise of the Dal Cais – the family of Brian Boru. The Dal gCais had far less noble background than the O Brien’s liked to acknowledge. Historians take different approaches to the surviving material. From my research I think that the “break through” of the Dal Cais was in part down to an alliance with the O Neill high king Donnchad Donn. There is a good summary of the arguments in favour of this in Ireland from ancient times to the present by James Lydon and The Prophecy of Berchán: Irish and Scottish high-kings of the early Middle Ages by Benjamin T. Hudson. This is also augmented by the point made by Katherine Simms From Kings to Warlords that the Dal Cais had acted as mercenaries for the O Neills before their meteoric rise in the mid 10th century. It is worth noting however that Donnchad O Corrain the noted Irish medievalist disagrees with this theory.

Finally a source that must be used with great care is the 12th century work An Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib (The war of the Irish and the foreigners). This work is essentially the story of the rise of the Dal Cais and is largely fictitious. It was written in the 12th century in an effort to rewrite the once humble origins of the Dal Cais. This is often cited by internet sources or older historical texts. Great care is needed in using any details in this work as it universally considered among scholars to be propaganda. This is not to say it is not of use – it is a good insight into late medieval Ireland.

*Síl nÁedo Sláine is the correct name of Congalach Cnogba’s family. I do not use this name in the podcast as it is a mouthful being pronounced Sheel – nay-o- Slawna

Primary Sources for the period

Annals of the four masters text here

An Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib Text here (This file is pretty large (35mgs). This translation dates from 1867. The prelude to the actual text would be regarded as completely out dated and factually incorrect in parts.

The Circuit of Ireland by Muircheartach Mac Neill as gaeilge anseo.

Selected Bibliograph of secondary sources

Hudson, B.T. (1996) The Prophecy of Berchán: Irish and Scottish high-kings of the early Middle Ages

Simms K, (1987) From Kings to Warlords

Mac Shamhrain (2002) A The Vikings an introduction

Corrain, D. (1972) Ireland before the Normans

Lydon J, (1998) The Making of Ireland: Ancient Times to the present.

Valante, M. (2008) The Vikings in Ireland

O Corrain, D Nationality and Kingship in Pre-Norman Ireland http://www.ucc.ie/celt/nation_kingship.html

Morris, H The Circuit of Ireland by Muircheartach Mac Neill, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Seventh Series, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Jun. 30, 1936), pp. 9-31

Ó Corráin, D Caithréim Chellacháin Chaisil: History or Propaganda? Ériu Vol. 25, (1974), pp. 1-69

Hogan, J.The Irish Law of Kingship, with Special Reference to Ailech and Cenél Eoghain. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature Vol. 40, (1931/1932), pp. 186-254

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5 famous Irish Kings and Queens

Ireland was ruled by the monarch until the early 20th Century, though Nothern Ireland is still part of a monarchy under the United Kingdom. After 1922, most of Ireland left the United Kingdom to become the Irish Free State.

These five kings ruled Ireland during times of different times in history.

1. Brian Boru

Brian Boru was a deeply religious king, a staunch Christian who was killed on the Good Friday of 1014, during the Battle of Clontarf. He refused to fight saying that he would not spill blood on a Good Friday defending the children of Adam! His son Murchad and grandson Toirdelbach were also killed during the battle. Brian Boru was the last great High King of Ireland and a very good military general. His brother Mahon was the King of Munster and was killed during a battle against the Norsemen. Brian in retaliation killed the king of Limerick, King Imar. During his rule, some of the things that earned him the title Brian of Tributes were because he collected tributes from minor rulers to set up monasteries and libraries and restore those that had been destroyed.

Brian was married twice and he married off his nine children to nobility so that he could strengthen his alliances. Brian is still such an important icon in Ireland, so much so that his harp, the Brian Boru harp is on the Guinness logo and is among things that make him very influential even to this day!

The battle, where Brian met his death at the age of 74, was fought between the High King of Ireland, he, and an alliance of several people King of Dublin, King of Leinster, and Earl of Orkney. When he died, his comrade Mael Sechnaill assumed power instead of his remaining sons.

At the time, Ireland had about 30 kings who went into battle regularly.

2. Mael Sechnaill

Mael Sechnaill succeeded Brian Boru as the High King of Ireland in 976, he secured his kingship during a battle where he defeated Hamlaib Tara, the Hiberno-Norse King of Dublin. He belonged to the clan Cholmain Dynasty, a branch of Uá Néill which had dominated Ireland for generations and monopolized the kingship of Tara, the most prestigious kingship in Ireland at the time.

He is credited with ending slavery of the Irish in England. He, for a long time, opposed Brian Boru and after Brian gained the trust of other Irish kings, Mael had no option but to submit to him.

They agreed to share kingship of Ireland Brian leading the South, while he headed the North. Brian died during the Battle of Clontarf, and Mael retained kingship of both the south and the north and retained it until his death in 1022.

3. Elizabeth I of England

Queen Elizabeth, I was the Queen of England and Ireland from 1588 until her death in 1603. She was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn who was his second wife was also referred to by people as ‘Virgin Queen’ because she often said she was married to her country.

Elizabeth was initially not supposed to be queen. During her time, it was almost impossible to have a girl inherit the throne only boys/ men could be heirs to thrones. She was third in line but her brother Henry VIII’s died only six years after taking the throne and so did her eldest sister Mary after five years.

Her elder siblings had caused chaos in the kingdom. Mary, for example, had ordered the execution of 300 protestants in her bid to return the kingdom into Catholicism and had left the kingdom at war with France. Elizabeth had to work hard to bring some order, and she started by allowing Protestantism and with the help of her advisor William Cecil, she was able to resolve the issues they had with France.

Elizabeth was loved by everyone, she had her father’s charm and successfully led her kingdom wisely. One of the seasons that made her a legend was her win against the Spanish Armada in 1588. She ruled in the 16th Century during the Elizabethan Age or England’s Golden Age, a period when England asserted herself as a political, commercial and artistic power in Europe, and also a very peaceful era. She left a huge impact in administration in politics and religion and demonstrated her prowess in being a shrewd, strategic, and diplomatic leader. She also is known to have been the one who established Protestantism in her country. She ruled the country for 44 years until her death. She had been ruling since she was 25 years old.

4. Flann Sinna

Flann Sinna, the King of Ireland from the Kingdom of Mide is famous for his victory at the Battle of Ballaghmoon in 908 CE after his numerous successes, he is known to have erected monuments in his honor! He was not a stranger to rebellion some opposing his reign, some from other kingdoms, and even got opposition twice from his sons. He was named king after the death of his cousin and stepfather Áed Findliath. His kingship was marred by propaganda even though his military and diplomatic prowess were also outstanding. In his time also, the power of a king was gauged by how many hostages had from other kingdoms, and Flann had many which made him a powerful king.

So how did Flann Sinna get his kingship? Well, legend says that he and his brothers were out hunting when they met a frail old woman who insisted that they should kiss her before she could give them water. While everyone else gave her a peck on the cheek, Flann kissed the woman who then transformed into a beautiful young lady who then granted him the kingship of Ireland!

The Ui Niall Dynasty ruled Ireland for generations, they divided Ireland to Nothern Ui Niall and Southern Ui Niall kingdom where both produced a king in turns to rule the land. While there were other smaller kingdoms, they were either independent or semi-independent.

His authority went down when his favorite son was killed by Áed Findliath’s son Niall Glunúndub who eventually took the throne, and his other sons also revolted against him!

5. Dermot MacMurrough

Dermot MacMurrough is known as the guy who invited England to Ireland. He was the king of Leinster during the 12th Century. He was known to use force and brutality when dealing with his opponents by blinding them, he even blinded and killing 17 of them! He also formed alliances like he did with King Rory O’Connor who at the time was the King of Ireland.

In 1166, MacMurrough was exiled to France by Gaelic Chieftains and since he did not want to lose his kingdom, he approached Court of Henry II of England and he offered to be a vassal and in return, he would get military aid that would help him reclaim his kingdom. He received assistance by giving him an army to Ireland. They surprised the chieftains by defeating them and reclaiming the kingdom. Even though they were constantly attacked, he fought back and did not relent and even captured Dublin and Waterford, taking his opponents by surprise. He remained in a cordial relationship with Henry II and even married his daughter as a form of gratitude and to cement their alliance.

Angelah

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Flann Sinna - History

The Whiteboy movement began in Munster.

The Oakboy disturbances began in Ulster.

A priest, Nicholas Sheehy, was accused of inciting the Whiteboys and was executed. The ' Tumultuous Risings Act' was published.

Steelboy disturbances took place in Ulster.

American statesman Benjamin Franklin visited Ireland.

Catholics would be allowed to swear loyalty to the king without renouncing their faith.

An American privateer, John Paul Jones, raided Belfast Lough twice.

A Catholic Relief Act came out allowing Catholics to take leases for 999 years and inherit like Protestants.

Ireland could now trade with British colonies the same as Britain itself.

Henry Grattan campaigned for Irish independence from the British parliament, and the 1720 act was rolled back.

The second Catholic Relief act allowed Catholics to buy land in most places. Some laws against Catholic clergy and worship were lifted. Meanwhile, Presbyterian ministers were permitted to carry out marriage ceremonies.

After a fight at Markethill, the Protestant Peep o'Day Boys and the Catholic Defenders were formed.

The Whiteboys, now known as Rightboys, caused trouble in Munster.

On the 14th of October, the Society of United Irishmen was founded.

A Catholic Relief Act was passed allowing Catholics to become solicitors and barristers. Intermarriage between Catholics and Protestants became legal.

Hobart's Catholic Relief Act was passed. Catholics could vote but not sit in parliament or become judges.

A Catholic seminary at Maynooth was approved by Act of Parliament.

The Battle of the Diamond between the Peep o' Day Boys and the Defenders led to the foundation of the Orange Society.

The United Irish rising took place in May and June. Theobald Wolfe Tone was captured in November. He was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death, but committed suicide by cutting his throat.

The Union of Great Britain and Ireland came into law on the 1st of January.

Robert Emmet's rising took place in Dublin. He was convicted of high treason and executed.

Michael Dwyer, who had been in revolt in Wicklow since 1798, finally surrendered.

The Christian Brothers were founded at Waterford.

Henry Grattan introduced a Catholic Relief Bill to the UK House of Commons. It was narrowly defeated.

The potato crop failed, causing famine, which was made worse by an outbreak of typhus.

George IV visited Ireland and Dún Laoire Harbour was renamed Kingstown.

The Catholic Association was founded in Dublin on May 12th.

Supporters of Catholic emancipation defeated sitting MPs in counties Waterford, Westmeath, Louth and Monaghan.

Daniel O'Connell became MP for County Clare.

A Relief Act allowed Catholics to enter parliament and hold higher offices of state. This was known as 'Catholic emancipation'.

The 'tithe war'. Police seized cattle in County Kilkenny by way of payment for the tithe violence broke out in June and December.

A Parliamentary Reform Act increased the electorate to 1.2% of the population.

Ireland's first railway opened between Dublin and Kingstown.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland decided to dissolve itself.

Father Theobald Mathew founded the total abstinence movement in Cork.

The Poor Relief Act extended the English poor law system to Ireland. This would allow for workhouses to be set up.

Daniel O'Connell formed the National Association, aimed at repeal of the Union.

O'Connell became lord mayor of Dublin.

The first edition of the Nation paper was published by the Young Ireland group.

O'Connell held 'monster meetings' in favour of repeal.

O'Connell was found guilty of 'conspiracy' but saved from a full year's imprisonment by the House of Lords.


Watch the video: Flan Parisien - Στέλιος Παρλιάρος - Γλυκές Αλχημείες (May 2022).


Comments:

  1. Tusida

    What audacity!

  2. Tristan

    Congratulations, this is just a great thought.

  3. Nikorn

    THERE IS NO FUCK SO IT IS NOT POSSIBLE!

  4. Kwatoko

    I confirm. It was with me too. Let's discuss this issue.



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