Ireland's History in Maps


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Reference:   Old Irish Kingdoms and Clans -- Old Irish Surnames


In the period between c. 870 and 914, the Vikings appear to have directed their activities in Britain and there was a relative peace in Ireland. The following 25 years beginning in 914 AD were perhaps a highpoint of Viking agression. More permanent Viking settlement began in this period. Initially the Irish were unable to counter these threats, and Niall Glundub, the Cenel nEogain king of Tara, was killed in battle at Dublin in 919. Yet the threat gradually receded by 940's and the Viking rulers were drawn into the Irish political order, so that their military power usually served Irish political ends.

By the middle of the tenth century Norse and Danish Viking coastal settlements and trading ports had been established at Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork and Limerick. These Viking trading towns and their populations were gradually absorbed into the social and political system that surrounded them. The annals frequently make reference to Irish intermarriages and military alliances with the Vikings, as echoed in the famous Battle of Clontarf in 1014 AD with Viking constituents on both sides. By the late 10th century the 'Foreigners' in Dublin [and elsewhere] were not seen as an enemy to be driven back into the sea but as a potential source of wealth and tribute for the Irish chieftains. Claimants to the High Kingship of Ireland soon came to understand that their power would often be gauged by their ability to control the important port of Dublin.

Although the early Vikings, or 'Ostmen', were well-known for their raids on the Irish and the Irish Church, their contributions to Ireland were to have a greater positive impact, This included the establishment of Ireland's first towns, the expansion of its seafaring trade, and the influence on its art.

Within the Irish political scene the power control of the kings of Tara (Ireland) alternated between the Northern and Southern Ui Niaill (Neill) clans. In the 9th century Maelsechnaill (I) of Clann Cholmain began to make forays into Munster attempting to strengthen the Southern Ui Niaill influence, creating enemies rather than allies of the Munstermen. This policy led to a disastrous reaction from Munster by the end of the 10th century, viz. Brian Borumha.

Excerpts from the Annals

860 AD - Maelseachlainn [of the Southern Ui Niaill], son of Maelruanaidh, son of Donnchadh, Monarch of Ireland, died on the thirteenth day of November precisely, on Tuesday, after he had been sixteen years in the sovereignty. He was succeeded by Aedh Finnliath [of the Northern Ui Niaill], son of Niall Caille, in sovereignty over Ireland.

876 AD - After Aedh Finnliath, the son of Niall Caille, had been sixteen years in the sovereignty of Ireland, he died at Druim Inesclainn, in the territory of Conaille, on the 20th day of November. He was succeeded by Flann Sinna [of the Southern Ui Niaill], the son of Maelsechlainn, in sovereignty over Ireland. He was still king in 902.

916 AD - After Flann Sionna had been forty years in the sovereignty of Ireland he was succeeded by Niall Glundubh ("Black Knee"), son of Aedh Finnliath.

919 AD - After Niall Glundubh, son of Aedh Finnliath had been three years in the sovereignty of Ireland he was succeeded by Donnchadh, son of Flann Sinna of the Southern Ui Neill. Niall was slain fighting the Danes at the Battle of Dublin in 919.

944 - After Donnchadh had been twenty five years in the sovereignty of Ireland he was succeeded by Congalach Cnogba, son of Mel Mithig.

956 - After Congalach had been twelve years in the sovereignty of Ireland he was succeeded by Domhnall Ardmacha Ua Niall, son of Muircheartach "na G-Cochaill Criceann" Ua Niall.

Further Viking Reference:
The Vikings in Scotland and Ireland in the Ninth Century (Donnchadh Corrain, PDF file)
The Vikings - at Ireland's Eye
Viking Network Ireland
The Vikings in Ireland - The Viking Network
The Viking Longship

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