The Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel where Brian Boru (Brian Boruma), King of Ireland, was a patron of musicians and poets. The title "poet" in this case may refer to those who maintained the oral histories of the druids. As late as 1539, a treaty between Manus O'Donnell and O'Connor Sligo included satire by the poets and excommunication by the Church as punishments for breaking the treaty.

Brian Boru is credited with driving the Vikings from Ireland. An on line encyclopedia entry about Brian Boru is at

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The Rock of Cashel at the University College, Cork, has a translation to English of the Annals of the Four Masters which describe the death of Brian Boru. The selection below is from what the Four Masters called the year 1013. In our current calendar, this is likely to be the year 1014.


An army was led by the foreigners and Leinstermen into Meath, and afterwards into Breagha; and they plundered Tearmonn-Feichine, and carried off many captives and countless cattle.


An army was led by Brian, son of Ceinneidigh, son of Lorcan, King of Ireland, and by Maelseachlainn, son of Domhnall, King of Teamhair, to Ath-cliath. The foreigners of the west of Europe assembled against Brian and Maelseachlainn; and they took with them ten hundred men with coats of mail. A spirited, fierce, violent, vengeful, and furious battle was fought between them, the likeness of which was not to be found in that time,—at Cluaintarbh, on the Friday before Easter precisely. In this battle were slain Brian, son of Ceinneidigh, monarch of Ireland, who was the Augustus of all the West of Europe, in the eighty-eighth year of his age; Murchadh, son of Brian, heir apparent to the sovereignty of Ireland, in the sixty-third year of his age; Conaing, son of Donncuan, the son of Brian's brother; Toirdhealbhach, son of Murchadh, son of Brian; Mothla, son of Domhnall, son of Faelan, lord of the Deisi-Mumhan;


Eocha, son of Dunadhach, i.e. chief of Clann-Scannlain; Niall Ua Cuinn; Cuduiligh, son of Ceinneidigh, the three companions of Brian; Tadhg Ua Ceallaigh, lord of Ui Maine; Maelruanaidh na Paidre Ua hEidhin, lord of Aidhne; Geibheannach, son of Dubhagan, lord of Feara-Maighe; Mac-Beatha, son of Muireadhach Claen, lord of Ciarraighe-Luachra; Domhnall, son of Diarmaid, lord of Corca-Bhaiscinn; Scannlan, son of Cathal, lord of Eoghanacht-Locha Lein; and Domhnall, son of Eimhin, son of Cainneach, great steward of Mair in Alba. The forces were afterwards routed by dint of battling,


bravery, and striking, by Maelseachlainn, from Tulcainn to Ath-cliath, against the foreigners and the Leinstermen; and there fell Maelmordha, son of Murchadh, son of Finn, King of Leinster; the son of Brogarbhan, son of Conchobhar, Tanist of Ui-Failghe; and Tuathal, son of Ugaire, royal heir of Leinster; and a countless slaughter of the Leinstermen along with them. There were also slain Dubhghall, son of Amhlaeibh, and Gillaciarain, son of Gluniairn, two tanists of the foreigners; Sichfrith, son of Loder, Earl of Innsi hOrc; Brodar, chief of the Danes of Denmark, who was the person that slew Brian. The ten hundred in armour were cut to pieces, and at the least three thousand of the


foreigners were there slain. It was of the death of Brian and of this battle the following quatrain was composed:

  1. Thirteen years, one thousand complete, since Christ was born, not long since the date,
    Of prosperous years—accurate the enumeration—until the foreigners were slaughtered together with Brian.

Maelmuire, son of Eochaidh, successor of Patrick, proceeded with the seniors and relics to Sord-Choluim-Chille; and they carried from thence the body of


Brian, King of Ireland, and the body of Murchadh, his son, and the head of Conaing, and the head of Mothla. Maelmuire and his clergy waked the bodies with great honour and veneration; and they were interred at Ard-Macha in a new tomb.

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