« ПредишнаНапред »
a union with Ceallachan, chief of South Munster, with the determination of attacking the enemy in Limerick, their strong hold. Ceallachan advanced against the city, at the head of a chosen body of the troops of his own province, under the command of the chieftains Duineachan, O'Sullivan, O'Keeffe, O'Riordan, O'Leahan, and Mac Cuillenan. On his approach to Limerick, he summoned the Danish chieftain to surrender, but the latter replied, that rather than wait for Ceallachan's attack, he would march out and give him battle. This threat was carried into immediate effect, and an action ensued at Sainaingeal, now called Singland, in the east liberties, which has been described in the Book of Munster in most glowing colours. O'Sullivan having addressed his men in an animated speech, the fight began by a discharge of stones from the slings of the light troops, which was followed by flights of arrows, spears, and lances. The heavy armed troops then engaged breast to breast; but notwithstanding the most heroic exertions on the part of the foreigners, they were forced to yield to the superior strength and bravery of their opponents. Amlave, the Danish chief, fell by the hand of Ceallachan, and Moran, styled the son of the King of Denmark, by that of O'Sullivan ; while two other distinguished chieftains were slain by O'Keeffe and O'Riordan. The Danes giving way on the death of their leaders were pursued into the city,
and slaughtered without mercy; but the victors instead of retaining possession of the place, contented themselves with exacting large contributions in gold and merchandize.
Mahon who succeeded Kennedy in the government of North Munster, inherited his father's valour and aversion to the foreigners. By the death of Feargradh, the last King of Cashel, he became sovereign of both the Munster provinces in the year 960, and aided by his brother the celebrated Brian Boiromhe, he was constantly waging war with the common enemy. In 960, Muiris, chief of the Danes of Limerick, united with his countrymen of Cork and Waterford, to crush the gallant brothers. After a number of skirmishes the hostile forces came to an engagement at Sulchoid near Pallas, in the county of Limerick, in which the Danes were totally discomfited with the loss of their general and two thousand men. The remnant of their army fled to Limerick, whither they were pursued by the conquerors, who entered the city where they found immense plunder of jewels, gold, and merchandize of various kinds. But the brave Mahon was soon afterwards seized at the house of O'Donovan of Kenry, by Maolmuidh, chief of the O'Mahonys, and carried to the mountain of Mussin near Macroomp, in the county of Cork, where he was treacherously murdered, probably at the instigation of the Danes whom he had so frequently discomfited.
His brother and successor Brian Boiromhe, exacted ample retribution from the murderers of Mahon. He pursued O'Donovan into the heart of his own territory, totally defeated him and his Danish auxiliaries, and then took vengeance of Maolmuidh, the chief of the O'Mahonys, whom he is said to have slain with his own hand, while his followers put to the sword a great part of the hostile forces, including fifteen hundred Danes. He now resolved on crushing the power of the foreigners in his own immediate territory, and he commenced his operations by landing with twelve hundred men on the island of Inniscattery, from which he expelled the enemy after putting eight hundred of them to the sword; and having taken measures for restoring the decayed churches and monasteries, he sailed up the river, and laid siege to Limerick, which speedily surrendered. Brian, however, seemed more anxious to confine the power of the Danes within due bounds, than to expel them from the country, being probably convinced of the great advantage which his kingdom derived from their spirit of enterprise and extensive commerce. If we can credit our historians, the trade of Limerick must at this time have been very considerable, for they inform us, that the annual tribute of the Danes of this city to the Kings of Munster, was 365 tuns of wine.
Having confided the government of Limerick to Irish magistrates, Brian returned to his palace at
Cin-Corradh near Killaloe, loaded with spoils. But he was not permitted long to remain inactive, for in the year 982, Malachy, King of Ireland, penetrated into Thomond, and besides devastating the country with fire and sword, he cut down the tree at MaghAdhair, under whose branches the Kings of North Munster were accustomed to be inaugurated. To avenge these injuries and insults Brian again took the field, and obliged Malachy to quit his territories, and bind himself by treaty to abstain from further aggressions. After a reign of twenty-six years over Munster, during which every attempt, whether from the foreign enemy or the neighbouring states, to infringe the independence of his crown, or the rights of his people, was repelled with the most heroic vigour, he was elevated to the Supreme Monarchy of Ireland in his 76th year, by the almost unanimous wish of the whole nation, as the only person capable of effecting their deliverance from the detested yoke of their foreign oppressors, and the scarcely more tolerable miseries of domestic feuds. To these objects his remaining years were unremittingly directed, till he sealed the liberty of his country with his blood in the ensanguined field of Clontarf.*
Donogh, the son of Brian, would probably have
* See the character of this excellent Prince more largely delineated, with an account of the battle of Clontarf, in our first Volume, page 45-49.
succeeded to the Supreme Monarchy, had he not been suspected of contriving the death of his elder brother Teig. His subsequent proceedings are involved in great obscurity. Some writers assert that he reigned over Munster from the time of the battle of Clontarf, in conjunction with his brother Teig, till the year 1023, at which period they fix the murder of the latter, by the people of Ely O'Carroll. Mac Curtin and Warner, on the other hand, state, that this event occurred immediately after that battle, and that it caused him to be so generally detested that he fled to Germany, and became a distinguished general under the Emperor. We find, however, that he was in Ireland soon after the death of the Monarch Malachy, and that he then laid claim to the supreme government, and assumed the title, which was acknowledged. by the southern half of the kingdom, and by some of the districts in the northern portion. But finding a powerful opponent in Turlogh, the son of Teig, who was supported by the King of Leinster, Ireland during forty years was a prey to all the miseries attendant on civil warfare. Donogh devastated Leinster with fire and sword almost to the walls of Dublin. Munster experienced a severe retaliation from the King of Leinster, who twice (in 1058, and 1063) burned the city of Limerick. Inniscattery was plundered, hostages were taken from every part of the country, and the power of