Dairmait Mac Murchada

Dairmait Mac Murchada    Dairmait Mac Murchada, also known as Dermot MacMurrough, was allied with Murtough MacLochlainn who was acknowledged as High King of Ireland in 1162.  However, Murtough was overthrown in 1166 by Rory O'Connor and his ally Tiernan O'Rourke who seized the opportunity to settle an old score with Dairmait MacMurchada.  Apparently Dairmait had either carried off, kidnapped, or otherwise had an affair with Tiernan's wife about fourteen years earlier.

    Tiernan O'Rourke invaded Leinster, and Dairmait Mac Murchada fled to England in search of allies.  King Henry II accepted Dairmait's allegiance, and gave him permission to recruit among his subjects for an expedition to Ireland.  Dairmait struck a bargain with Richard FitzGilbert "Strongbow" deClare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, who invaded Ireland, married Dairmait's daughter Aoife, and became King of Leinster when Dairmait died in 1171.

    King Henry II, fearful that Strongbow would set up an independent kingdom, came to Ireland to assert his authority over the lands that had been occupied.  The King granted Leinster to Strongbow, Meath to Hugh de Lacy; and most of the Irish Kings quickly recognised Henry as their overlord.  The Norse towns were of vital military and economic importance.  King Henry annexed Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork and Limerick; and left garrisons in all of them.

    Thus, Dairmait Mac Murchada is remembered for having brought the English to Ireland and is generally held in low esteem in Irish History.

His obituary from the Annals of the Four Masters  reads as follows:

Obituary of Dairmait Mac Murchada
Diarmaid Mac Murchadha, King of Leinster, by whom a trembling sod was made of all Ireland, - after having brought over the Saxons, after having done extensive injuries to the Irish, after plundering and burning many churches, as Ceanannus, Cluain-Iraird, &c., - died before the end of a year after this plundering, of an insufferable and unknown disease; for he became putrid while living, through the miracle of God, Colum-Cille, and Finnen, and the other saints of Ireland, whose churches he had profaned and burned some time before; and he died at Fearnamor, without making a will, without penance, without the body of Christ, without unction, as his evil deeds deserved.

See the Annals of the Four Masters at http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T100005B/index.html
Click on Annal M1163 and scroll down to M1171.4, page 1183

Click to return to the Ireland Page, or use your browser's back button.

Click to Contact Robert Sewell

For lots more Irish History, click on the image below:
Irland's History in Maps Link