The History of Ireland - XIV.

XIV.

Conall Caol and Ceallach, two sons of Maolcobha, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, son of Seadna, son of Fearghus Ceannfhoda, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, assumed the sovereignty of Ireland. They reigned together for thirteen years. It was in their reign that Cuanna, son of Cailchin, king of Fearmaighe, that is, Laoch Liathmhaine, died, and this Cuanna was a contemporary of Guaire, son of Colman, and there was a rivalry between them in hospitality and charity; and hence the two jesters, Comhdan and Conall, composed between them this stanza on their rivalry, in which they say:

Everything that is in his hand
Guaire son of Colman bestows,
What each one covets is given him
By the Warrior of Liathmhain.

It was, moreover, in their reign that Raghallach, son of Udaidh, who was king of Connaught twenty-five years, was slain by Maoilbrighde, son of Mothlachan, and by his slaves. It happened thus: this Raghallach was full of hatred and envy towards the son of an elder brother, fearing lest he might oppose him and deprive him of the kingdom of Connaught. Still he found no opportunity of slaying his brother's son, so that he was wasting away through not taking food because of his envy of his brother's son. Moreover, he sent a messenger to his kinsman, asking him to come and see him. As to the kinsman, he understood Raghallach's deceit, and he assembled a company and went to meet his kinsman Raghallach; and as he went into his presence he directed his party to wear their swords unsheathed at their waists, and when Raghallach saw this he said: "It is sad that he whom I love most dearly on earth, and whom I wish to make my heir, trusts me not, though I am at the point of death." Now, when his kinsman heard this he was greatly afflicted at heart, and he came alone next day to see him, and Raghallach's party sprang upon him and slew him. Thereupon Raghallach got up in health on the spot and set to feasting merrily and most pleasantly. But Muireann, that is, Raghallach's wife, inquired of her druid after Raghallach had slain his kinsman whether there was trouble in store for her. The druid said that since Raghallach had slain his kinsman, both their deaths would be speedily brought about by their own children; and, moreover, that it was the child in her womb who would bring about their death. She made this known to Raghallach, and he told her to kill the child immediately after its birth.

Muireann gave birth to a daughter, and put her into a bag with a view to giving her to one of her people, a swineherd, that he might kill her. When the swineherd saw the face of the infant his heart yearned towards it, and he put it in the same bag in which he got it from its mother and took it privately to the door of a pious woman, who was near at hand, and left the bag on one of the arms of a cross that was near the pious woman's house. The pious woman came upon the bag, and when she found the infant in it she loved it greatly and reared it religiously. And there was not in Ireland in her time a more beautiful girl, so that her fame reached Raghallach, and he sent messengers asking her of her nurse. But the nurse did not grant this request. After this she was brought to him by force, and when he saw her he became greatly in love with her and he had her as a concubine. Now his own wife, Muireann, became jealous, and went to the king of Ireland to complain of this deed. And the scandal of this evil deed spread through Ireland, and the saints of Ireland were pained thereat, and Feichin Fabhair came to Raghallach and charged him, and many saints came with him and entreated him to give up this sin. But he did not give it up for them all, though they fasted on his account. However, as a warning to other people of inordinate desires, the saints prayed God that he should not be alive the Bealltaine following, and that he should fall by wicked people, and, moreover, by puny arms and in a squalid spot; and all these things befel him on the approach of Bealltaine. For a wild deer which had been wounded came helter skelter into the island in which Raghallach was, and which he was guarding, and as he saw the deer he laid hold of his javelin and made a cast of it at the animal and pierced it through therewith. The deer swam away from him and he followed it in a skiff, and the deer went some distance from the lake and came upon slaves, who were cutting turf, and they slew the deer and divided it between them. Ragallach came up to them and threatened them for having divided the deer, and asked them to give back the venison. But the slaves resolved to slay the king, and thereupon they attacked him with their oars and other implements, and slew him as was foretold regarding him by the saints. And Muireann, his wife, died through jealousy of her own daughter.

It was about this time that the Battle of Carn Conaill was fought by Diarmaid, son of Aodh Slaine, wherein Cuan, son of Amhalghuidh, who was king of Munster ten years, and Cuan, son of Conall, king of Ui Fidhgheinnte, and Talamonach, king of Ui Liathain, were slain; and it was through the prayer of Ciaran's community at Cluain Mic Nois that Diarmaid won that battle. And when Diarmaid returned to Cluain Mic Nois he bestowed land on that church as altar-land. And the name of that land at this day is Liath Mhanchain, and it was at Cluain Mic Nois that Diarmaid willed that he should be buried after his death. It was about this time that St. Furs a, of the race of Lughaidh Lamha, brother of Oilill Olum, died, and also Moicheallog, the saint, who lived and blessed at Cill Moicheallog; and this saint was of the race of Conaire, son of Eidirsceol. After this Ceallach fell at the Brugh on the Boyne, and Conall Caol was slain by Diarmaid, son of Aodh Slaine.

Blathmhac and Diarmaid Ruanuidh, two sons of Aodh Slaine, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamthainne, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held jointly the sovereignty of Ireland seven years; and it was in their reign that Hossa fought the Battle of Pancti, where fell the king of Sacsa and thirty lords of his people. It was about this time that St. Ulltan died, and Maodhog of Fearna, son of Seadna, son of Earc, son of Fearadhach, son of Fiachraidh, son of Amhalghuidh, son of Muireadhach, son of Carrthann, son of Earc, son of Eochaidh, son of Colla Uais, and Cuimin Foda, son of Fiachna the saint, and Maonach, son of Finghin, king of Munster. Diarmaid Ruanuidh and Blathmhac died of the plague called the Buidhe Conaill.

Seachnasach, son of Blathmhac, son of Aodh Slaine, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamhthainne, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland six years. It was in the reign of this king that the Battle of Feart took place between the Ulstermen and the Cruithnigh, wherein there were many slain on both sides. It was about this time that Baoithin, abbot of Beannchair, died. After this Seachnasach, king of Ireland, fell by Dubh nDuin, of the Cineal Cairbre.

Ceannfaolaidh, son of Blathmhac, son of Aodh Slaine, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamhthainne, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland four years. And it was in his reign that Beannchair was burned, and its community slain by foreigners. And the reason why this place is called Beannchair is this, Breasal Breac, king of Leinster, went with a full host to plunder Alba, and brought much cattle and herds with him to Ireland, and when himself and his host came to land they built a camp in the place which is now called Beannchair, and they killed many of the cows for meat, and many of the cows' horns, or beanna, remained throughout the plain; and hence the place was given the name of Magh Beannchair. And a long time after that, when the holy abbot Comhghall built a monastery in the same place he ordered that it be named from the place in which it was built, and hence it is called the Monastery of Beannchair. Soon after the foreigners had burned this monastery, Ceannfaolaidh, king of Ireland, was slain by Fionnachta Fleadhach, son of Donnchadh, in the Battle of Cealltair.

Fionnachta Fleadhach, son of Donnchadh, son of Aodh Slaine, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland seven years; and in his reign many banquets and feasts used to take place in Ireland, hence he is called Fionnachta Fleadhach. It was, too, in his reign that Colman, bishop of Inis Bo Finne, died, and Fionan, who lived and blessed in Ard Fionain; and this Fionan was of the race of Fiachaidh Muilleathan; and St. Arannan died. It was Fionnachta who won the Battle of Loch Gabhair against the Leinstermen, wherein many of the Leinstermen fell by him. It was in his reign that Ceannfaolaidh, the learned, died, and Dunghal, son of Scannal, king of the Cruithnigh, and Ceannfaolaidh, king of Ciannachta Ghlinne Geimhean, were burned by Maolduin, son of Maoilfithrigh, in Dun Ceitheirn. It was in his reign, moreover, that the British made an incursion into Ireland, according to Beda in the 26th chapter of the fourth book. The leader of the host of the king of Sacsa, whose name was Egberthus, the leader's name being Berthus, came and plundered a large part of Ireland, in the age of the Lord 684. Thus does Beda lament this deed: "Berthus plundered deplorably an inoffensive nation and one ever most friendly to the people or race of Sacsa." And they fought the Battle of Raith Mor in Magh Line, wherein they slew Cumascach, king of the Cruithnigh, together with a large body of Gaels. Moreover, the Britons went thence on an expedition to the Orcades and plundered that island. A company of them also landed in the east of Leinster, and they plundered churches and country districts, and they returned after having committed much spoiling and plundering. Here is a stanza that Adhamnan composed for Fionnachta when he remitted the Boraimhe to Molaing:

Fionnachta, son of Donnchadh,
Remitted much to a saint:
Thrice fifty hundred chained cows,
And each cow with her calf.

Soon after that Fionnachta, king of Ireland, was slain by Aodh, son of Duitheach, and by Conghalach, son of Conaing, at Greallach Doluidh.

Loingseach, son of Aonghus, son of Domhnall, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland eight years. It was in his reign that Adhamnan came from Alba to Ireland to preach, and Moling, of Luachair, died, and Magh Muirtheimhne was plundered by the Welsh. It was in the reign of this king that a great cow-plague existed in Sacsa and in Ireland, and there was a famine for three years in Ireland, so that the people devoured one another there at this time. It was about this time that St. Egberthus went to preach to Alba, and Muireadhach Muilleathan, king of Connaught, died, and the Ulstermen won the Battle of Magh Cuilinn over the Britons, where many Britons fell. It was about this time that Adhamnan, abbot of I, died, aged seventy-seven years, and the Saracens, with a numerous host, laid siege to Constantinople and built a three years' encampment around it. After this they raised the siege. After this Coibhdhean, bishop of Ard Srath, died. Soon after this the Battle of Corann was fought by Ceallach, son of Raghallach, who was king of Connaught for seven years, wherein he slew Loingseach, son of Aonghus, king of Ireland.

Conghal Ceannmhaghair, son of Fearghus Fanad, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland nine years. It was this Conghal who burned all Cill Dara, both church and district. But he himself got a sudden and instant death after this event.

Fearghal, son of Maoilduin, son of Maoilfhithrigh, son of Aodh Uairiodhnach, son of Domhnall, son of Muircheartach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland seventeen years. Ceacht, daughter of Ceallach, son of Maolcobha, king of Cineal Conaill, was this Fearghal's mother. And it was in his reign that Baodan, bishop of Inis Bo Finne, died, and a battle was fought between the Dal Riada and the Britons in the place called Cloch Mhionnuirc, and the Britons were defeated there. It was about this time that Neachtain, king of Alba, expelled a community of monks from Britain for animadverting on his vices.

It was in the reign of this king that there fell the three showers from which Niall Frasach is named, as he was born when these freasa or showers fell; a shower of honey on Fothain Bheag and a shower of silver on Fothain Mhor and a shower of blood on Magh Laighean. It was about this time that the Battle of Almhuin was fought between Murchadh, son of Bran, who was fifteen years king of Leinster, and Fearghal, son of Maolduin, king of Ireland; and the host the king of Ireland brought to that battle amounted to twenty-one thousand, and the host the king of Leinster brought there amounted to nine thousand and eight score chosen warriors as a bodyguard to the king himself when going into the battle. And the king of Ireland was defeated in the battle, and two hundred and sixty-nine of his people were seized with frenzy, and three thousand two hundred of them were slain; and others say that seven thousand of them were slain. The reason why this disaster befel the king of Ireland was that when he was on the point of setting out to fight the Battle of Almhain a party of his followers went to plunder a church called Cillin, and carried off by force the one cow that the solitary hermit of that church had and the hermit cursed the king and his host, and hence they met reverse in battle; and the king of Ireland fell there with many of his people, as we have said above.

Fogharthach, son of Niall, son of Cearnach Sotal, son of Diarmaid, son of Aodh Slaine, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland one year, and fell by Cionaoth, son of Iorghalach, in the Battle of Beilge.

Cionaoth, son of Iorghalach, son of Conuing Currach, son of Conghal, son of Aodh Slaine, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland four years. It was in the reign of this king that the relics of Adhamnan were brought from Alba to Ireland. After that the Battle of Drom Corrain was won by Flaithbhearthach, son of Loingseach, against Cionaoth, son of Iorghalach, where Cionaoth, king of Ireland, fell, and many of his people along with him.

Flaithbhearthach, son of Loingseach, son of Aonghus, son of Domhnall, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland seven years. Muireann, daughter of Ceallach, was the mother of this Flaithbhearthach. It was in the reign of this king, according to Beda, that the Battle of Drom Dearg, in Alba, was fought between Drust and Aonghus, two kings of the Cruithnigh, for the mastery of the country, and Drust and many of his people fell there.

And soon after that was fought the Battle of Murbholg between the Dal Riada and the Picts, that is, the Cruithnigh, wherein many of the Picts were killed. It was about this time that the Battle of Fotharta, in Muirtheimhne, was won by Aodh Ollan and by the clann Neill against the Ultonians, wherein Aodh Roin, who was thirty years king of Ulster, and Conchadh, son of Cuana, king of Cobha, were slain. After this Flaithbhearthach, son of Loingseach, king of Ireland, died at Ard Macha.

Aodh Ollan, son of Fearghal, son of Maolduin, son of Maoilfithrigh, son of Aodh Uairiodhnach, son of Domhnall, son of Muirchearthach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland nine years. Brige, daughter of Orca, son of Carrthann, was mother of Aodh Ollan. It was in the reign of this Aodh that the Battle of Bealach Feile was fought between Munster and Leinster, wherein fell many Munstermen and Leinstermen, together with Ceallach, son of Faolchur, king of Osruighe. It was Cathal son of Fionghaine, king of Munster, who won that battle.

After this Aonghus, son of Fearghus, king of the Picts, routed and defeated the Dal Riada in Scotland, and he plundered and robbed them and burned Dun Creige; and he seized Donnghal and Fearghus, two sons of Sealbhuidhe, king of Dal Riada, and put them in prison. It was about this time that a meeting took place between Aodh Ollan, king of Ireland, and Cathal, son of Fionghaine, king of Munster, at Tir Daghlas, in Urmhumha, where they imposed Patrick's rule and law and tribute on Ireland. Soon after that the Battle of Ath Seannaigh, that is, the Battle of Uchbhadh, was fought between Aodh Ollan, king of Ireland, and Aodh, son of Colgan, king of Leinster, wherein Aodh Ollan, was severely wounded, and wherein fell Aodh, son of Colgan, and Bran Beag, son of Murchadh, half-king of Leinster, together with many Leinster nobles, and nine thousand Leinstermen fell there. After that Flann, son of Cronnmhaol, bishop of Reachruinne, and Cathal son of Fionnghaine, king of Munster, and Aodh Balbh son of Innreachtach, who was the king of Connaught seven years, died; and Aodh Ollan, king of Ireland, was slain in the Battle of Seiridmheadh, that is at Ceanannus, by Domhnall son of Murchadh.

Domhnall, son of Murchadh, son of Diarmaid, son of Airmeadhach Caoch, son of Conall Guithbhinn, son of Suibhne, son of Colman Mor, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamhthainne, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland forty-two years. Ailpin, daughter of Comhghall, of the Dealbhna Mor, was mother of Domhnall, son of Murchadh, king of Ireland. It was in his reign that Colman, bishop of Laosan, was slain by the Ui Turtaire, and Cormac, bishop of Ath Truim, died. It was about this time that the form of a serpent was seen in motion in the air; and Seachnasach, son of Colgan, king of Ui Cinnsealaigh died; and Caitheasach, son of Oilloll, king of the Cruithinigh, was slain at Raith Beitheach by the Leinster-men. It was in the reign of this king that Suairleach, bishop of Fobhar, died, also Osbhran, bishop of Cluain Chreamhuidh.

After that was fought the Battle of Bealach Cro by Criomhthann, son of Eanna, where fell Fionn, son of Arb, at Tiobraid Fhinn, and the Dealbhna were slaughtered around him; and it is from this event that the lake in that place is called Loch an Bhealaigh Chro, and the well that is in the same place is called Tobar Finn. It was about this time that Cumascach, king of Ui Failghe, fell by Maolduin, son of Aodh Beannan, king of Munster, and Aonghus, king of Alba, died; and Mac Coinchearca, king of Osruighe, won the Battle of Bealach Gabhran against Dungal, son of Laidhghein, king of Ui Cinnsealaigh, wherein Dunghal was slain, together with many of the Leinster nobles. And Muirchearthach, son of Murchadh, king of Leinster, died. After this Domhnall, son of Murchadh, first king of Ireland of the clann Colmain, died.

Niall Frasach, son of Fearghal, son of Maolduin, son of Maoilfithrigh, son of Aodh Uairiodhnach, son of Domhnall, son of Muircheartach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland four years. Aithiochta, daughter of Cian O Conchubhair king of Ciannachta, was the mother of Niall Frasach. And the reason why he is called Niall Frasach is that there fell three showers in Ireland when he was born -- a shower of honey on Fothain Bheag and a shower of silver on Fothain Mhor and a shower of blood on Magh Leighean. And frais means a shower. It was in the reign of this Niall that Duibhionnracht, son of Cathal, son of Muireadhach Muilleathan, who was five years king of Connaught, died; and there was an earthquake and a great famine in Ireland, and Dunghal, son of Ceallach, king of Osruighe, died. After that was fought the Battle of Achadh Liag between Ui mBriuin and Ui Maine, where many fell on either side, and Cronnmhaol, bishop of Cill Mhor, and Ailpin, king of the Picts, and Aolgnat, bishop of Ard Breacain, died. Soon after that Artghaile, son of Cathal, went on a pilgrimage to I Columcille, in Alba, and Fearghus, bishop of Daimhliag, died; and at Corann there was a battle fought between Cineal Conaill and Cineal Eoghain, wherein Maolduin, son of Aodh Ollan, king of the Fochla, was victorious, and Domhnall, son of Aodh Muindearg, was defeated and many of his people slain there. After this Niall Frasach, king of Ireland, died in I Columcille, in Alba.

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