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  • ID: I71923
  • Name: Diarmait MACMURCHADA
  • Prefix: King
  • Given Name: Diarmait
  • Surname: Macmurchada
  • Sex: M
  • _UID: FAB4EFEFE5E942438E7D9C3E4493561D0E5A
  • Note:
    Diarmait or Diarmaid Mac Murchadha (later known as Diarmaid na nGall or "Diarmaid of the Foreigners"), anglicized as Dermot MacMurrough (1110–1 May 1171), was a King of Leinster in Ireland. Ousted as King of Leinster in 1166, he sought military assistance from King Henry II of England to retake his kingdom. In return, MacMurrough pledged an Oath of Allegiance to Henry, who sent troops in support. As a further thanks for his reinstatement, MacMurrough's daughter Aoife was married to Richard de Clare, the 2nd Earl of Pembroke and a Cambro-Norman lord, known as "Strongbow". Henry II then mounted a larger second invasion in 1171 to ensure his control over Strongbow, resulting in the Lordship of Ireland.

    Mac Murchadha was born around 1110, a son of Donnchadh mac Murchada, King of Leinster and Dublin. His father's grandmother Dervorgilla was a daughter of Donnchad, King of Munster and therefore she was a grand-daughter of Brian Boru.[1] His father was killed in battle in 1115 by the Dublin Vikings that were ruled by his cousin Sigtrygg Silkbeard, and was buried in Dublin along with the body of a dog, considered to be a huge insult.

    Mac Murchada had two wives (as allowed under the Brehon Laws), the first of whom, Mór Uí Thuathail, was mother of Aoife / Eva of Leinster and Conchobhar Mac Murchadha. By Sadhbh of Uí Fhaoláin, he had a daughter named Órlaith who married Domhnall Mór, King of Munster. He had two legitimate sons, Domhnall Caomhánach (died 1175) and Éanna Ceannsealach (blinded 1169).

    King of Leinster: After the death of his older brother, Enna mac Donnchada mac Murchada, Dermot unexpectedly became King of Leinster. This was opposed by the then High King of Ireland, Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair who feared (rightly) that Mac Murchadha would become a rival. Toirdelbach sent one of his allied Kings, the belligerent Tigernán Ua Ruairc (Tiernan O'Rourke) to conquer Leinster and oust the young Mac Murchadha. Ua Ruairc went on a brutal campaign slaughtering the livestock of Leinster and thereby trying to starve the province's residents. Mac Murchadha was ousted from his throne, but was able to regain it with the help of Leinster clans in 1132. Afterwards followed two decades of an uneasy peace between Ua Conchobhair and Diarmaid. In 1152 he even assisted the High King to raid the land of Ua Ruairc who had by then become a renegade.

    Mac Murchada also is said to have "abducted" Ua Ruairc's wife Derbforgaill (English: Dervorgilla) along with all her furniture and goods, with the aid of Dearbhforghaill's brother, a future pretender to the kingship of Meath. It was said that Dearbhforghaill was not exactly an unwilling prisoner and she remained in Ferns with MacMurrough, in comfort, for a number of years. Her advanced age indicates that she may have been a refugee or a hostage. Whatever the reality, the "abduction" was given as a further reason for enmity between the two kings.

    Church builder: As king of Leinster, in 1140-70 Dermot commissioned Irish Romanesque churches and abbeys at:

    Baltinglass - a Cistercian abbey (1148)
    Glendalough
    Ferns (his capital - St Mary's Abbey Augustinian Order)
    Killeshin
    He sponsored convents (nunneries) at Dublin (St Mary's, 1146), and in c.1151 two more at Aghade, County Carlow and at Killculliheen in County Kilkenny.

    He also sponsored the successful career of churchman St Lawrence O'Toole (Lorcan Ua Tuathail). He married O'Toole's half-sister Mor in 1153 and presided at the synod of Clane in 1161 when O'Toole was installed as archbishop of Dublin.[2]

    [edit] Exile and return
    Dermot MacMurrough.In 1166, Ireland's new High King and Mac Murchadha's only ally Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn had fallen, and a large coalition led by Tighearnán Ua Ruairc (Mac Murchadha's arch enemy) marched on Leinster. Ua Ruairc and his allies took Leinster with ease, and Mac Murchadha and his wife barely escaped with their lives. Mac Murchadha fled to Wales and from there to England and France, in order to have King Henry II's consent to be allowed to recruit soldiers to bring back to Ireland and reclaim his kingship. On returning to Wales, Robert Fitzstephen helped him organize a mercenary army of Norman and Welsh soldiers, including Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, alias Strongbow.

    In his absence Ruaidhrí Ua Conchobhair (son of Mac Murchadha's former enemy, High King Toirdhealbhach) had become the new High King of Ireland. Mac Murchadha planned not only to retake Leinster, but to oust the Uí Conchobhair clan and become the High King of Ireland himself. In 1167 he quickly retook Dublin, Ossory and the former Viking settlement of Waterford, and within a short time had all of Leinster in his control again. He then marched on Tara (then Ireland's capital) to oust Ruaidhrí. Mac Murchadha gambled that Ruaidhrí would not hurt the Leinster hostages which he had (including Mac Murchadha's eldest son, Conchobhar Mac Murchadha). However Ua Ruairc forced his hand and they were all killed.

    Diarmaid's army then lost the battle. He sent word to Wales and pleaded with Strongbow to come to Ireland as soon as possible. Strongbow's small force landed in Wexford with Welsh and Norman cavalry and took over both Waterford and Wexford. They then took Dublin. MacMurrough was devastated after the death of his son, Domhnall, retreated to Ferns and died a few months later.


    The Marriage of Aoife and Strongbow (1854) by Daniel Maclise, a romanticised depiction of the union between Aoife and Richard de Clare in the ruins of Waterford.Strongbow married Dermot's daughter Aoife of Leinster in 1170, as she was a great heiress, and as a result much of his (and his followers') land was granted to him under the Irish Brehon law, and later reconfirmed under Norman law. The marriage was imagined and painted in the Romantic style in 1854 by Daniel Maclise.

    The scholar Áed Ua Crimthainn was probably Diarmait's court historian. In his Book of Leinster, Áed seems to be the first to set out the concept of the rí Érenn co fressabra, the "king of Ireland with opposition", later more widely adopted. This described Diarmait's ambitions and the achievements of his great-grandfather Diarmait mac Maíl na mBó.

    Later reputation In Irish history books written after 1800 in the age of nationalism, Diarmaid Mac Murchadha was often seen as a traitor, but his intention was not to aid an English invasion of Ireland, but rather to use Henry's assistance to become the High King of Ireland himself. He had no way of knowing Henry II's ambitions in Ireland. In his time, politics was based on dynasties and Ireland was not ruled as a unitary state. In turn, Henry II did not consider himself to be English or Norman, but a French Angevin, and was merely responding to the realities on the ground.

    Gerald of Wales, a Cambro-Norman historian who visited Ireland in 1185 and whose uncles and cousins were prominent soldiers in the army of Strongbow, repeated their opinions of Mac Murchadha:

    "Now Dermot was a man tall of stature and stout of frame; a soldier whose heart was in the fray, and held valiant among his own nation. From often shouting his battle-cry his voice had become hoarse. A man who liked better to be feared by all than loved by any. One who would oppress his greater vassals, while he raised to high station men of lowly birth. A tyrant to his own subjects, he was hated by strangers; his hand was against every man, and every man's hand against him."

    After Strongbow's successful invasion, Henry II mounted a second and larger invasion in 1171 to ensure his control over his Norman subjects, which succeeded. He then accepted the submission of the Irish kings in Dublin in November 1171. He also ensured that his moral claim to Ireland, granted by the 1154 papal bull Laudabiliter, was reconfirmed in 1172 by Pope Alexander III, and also by a synod of all the Irish bishops at the Synod of Cashel. He added "Lord of Ireland" to his many other titles. Before he could consolidate his new Lordship he had to go to France to deal with his sons' rebellion in 1173.

    Ua Conchobhair was soon ousted, first as High King and eventually as King of Connacht. Attempting to regain his provincial kingdom, he turned to the English as Mac Murchadha had before him. The Lordship directly controlled a small territory in Ireland surrounding the cities of Dublin and Waterford, while the rest of Ireland was divided between Norman and Welsh barons. The 1175 Treaty of Windsor, brokered by St Lawrence O'Toole with Henry II, formalized the submission of the Gaelic clans that remained in local control, like the Uí Conchobhair who retained Connacht and the Uí Néill who retained most of Ulster.

    Dermot's male-line descendants such as Art Mac Art continued to rule parts of Leinster until the Tudor conquest of Ireland in the 16th century. Today they live on with the surname "MacMurrough Kavanagh" at Borris in Co. Carlow and at Maresfield, East Sussex, being one of the few surviving "Chiefs of the name".[4] The currently recognized chief of the name is William Butler Kavanagh, The MacMorrough Kavanagh, Prince of Leinster (b. 1944)

    Through his daughter Aoife, Dermot is also an ancestor of a great number of historically-famous people, including George Washington, Marie-Antoinette, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Robert Emmet, Charles Darwin and Winston Churchill.

    More notably he is the ancestor (through Aoife's granddaughter Eva Marshal and her daughter Maude who married Roger Mortimer) of the kings of England Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, and all kings from Henry VIII onwards. There are other notable descents from Aoife's daughter Isabel de Clare such as that of Katherine Mortimer, Aoife's great-granddaughter, who married Thomas de Beauchamp 11th Earl of Warwick, and was therefore an ancestor of the Earls of Warwick and Kings of England from Edward IV onwards (with the exception of Henry VII).


    From Encylcopedia Britannica Online article titled: "Dermot Macmurrough:"

    "Irish Diarmaid Macmurchada...Irish king of Leinster whose appeal to the English for help in settling an internal dispute led to the Anglo-Norman invasion and conquest of Ireland by England.

    "After succeeding to the throne of his father, Enna, in 1126, Dermot faced a number of rivals who disputed his claim to the kingship. He established his authority by killing or blinding 17 rebel chieftains of northern Leinster in 1141. In 1153 he abducted the wife of Tiernan O'Ruark, king of Breifne (modern counties of Leitrim and Cavan).

    "A bitter feud ensued, and in 1166 Dermot was driven from Ireland. King Henry II of England then granted the exiled ruler permission to enlist the aid of several Anglo-Norman lords of south Wales, notably Richard de Clare, 2nd earl of Pembroke. Returning to Leinster in 1167 with an advance party of Anglo-Normans, Dermot established a foothold there. Pembroke arrived in August 1170, and Dermot then helped the invaders capture Dublin. Dermot married his daughter Eva to Pembroke, and at Dermot's death Pembroke succeeded as ruler of Leinster."
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52
  • Birth: 1100 in Leinster, Dublin, Ireland
  • Death: 1 MAY 1171 in Ferns, County Wexford, Ireland 53



    Father: Donnchad MACMURCHADA b: BET 1070 AND 1085
    Mother: Orlaith ingen O'BRAENAIN b: ABT 1090

    Marriage 1 Mor O'TOOLE b: 1114 in Castledermot, County Kildare, Ireland
    • Married: ABT 1140 in Lough Carmen, Wexford, Leinster, Ireland
    Children
    1. Has Children Aoife "Eva" MACMURROUGH b: 1141 in Leinster, Ireland
    2. Has No Children Domhnall MACMURROUGH-KAVANAGH
    3. Has No Children Urlachan

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