Friday, March 22, 2013

Decendents of Brian Boru

Brian Boru (c. 941 – 23 April 1014, Old Irish: Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig; Middle Irish: Brian Bóruma; modern Irish: Brian Bóroimhe) was an Irish king who ended the domination of the High Kingship of Ireland by the Uí Néill. Building on the achievements of his father, Cennétig mac Lorcain, and especially his elder brother, Mathgamain (McMahon), Brian first made himself King of Munster, then subjugated Leinster, making himself ruler of the south of Ireland. He is the founder of the O'Brien dynasty.
Reign of his brother, Mathgamain (McMahon)
In 964, Brian's older brother, Mathgamain, claimed control over the entire province of Munster by capturing the Rock of Cashel, capital of the ancient Eóganachta, the hereditary overlords or High Kings of Munster, but who in dynastic strife and with multiple assassinations had weakened themselves to the point they were now impotent. Earlier attacks from both the Uí Néill and Vikings were factors. This situation allowed the illegitimate (from the Eóganacht perspective) but militarized Dál Cais to attempt to seize the provincial kingship. However, Mathgamain (McMahon) was never fully recognized and was opposed throughout his career in the 960s and 970s by Máel Muad mac Brain, a semi-outsider from the Cashel perspective but still a legitimate Eóganacht claimant from far south Munster. In addition to Máel Muad, the Norse king Ivar of Limerick was a threat and may have been attempting to establish some overlordship in the province or a region of it himself, with the Cogad Gaedel re Gallaib even asserting he actually achieved this until routed by Mathgamain in the celebrated Battle of Sulcoit in 967. This victory was not decisive however and eventually there grew up a brief alliance of sorts between Mathgamain (McMahon), Máel Muad and others to drive the Norse "soldiers" or "officials" out of Munster and destroy their Limerick fortress in 972.[7] But the two Gaelic claimants were soon back to fighting and the fortuitous capture of Mathgamain in 976 by Donnubán mac Cathail allowed him to be effortlessly dispatched or murdered by Máel Muad, who would now rule as king of Cashel for two years.

But the Dál Cais remained a powerful force and Brian quickly proved to be as fine a commander of armies as his brother. After first dispatching the already much weakened Ivar in 977, he challenged Máel Muad in 978 and defeated him in the fateful Battle of Belach Lechta, after which all the Eóganachta were no longer viable at the provincial level and Brian and the Dál Cais now enjoyed the overlordship, although not the traditional kingship of the province, which was based on lineage.

Either soon before or soon after his victory over Máel Muad, Brian routed Donnubán and the remainder of the Norse army in the Battle of Cathair Cuan, there probably slaying the last of Ivar's sons and successor Aralt. He then allowed some of the Norse to remain in their settlement, but they were wealthy and now central to trade in the region, with a fleet of great value.

Cian, the son of his brother Mathgamain's sworn enemy Máel Muad, later became a faithful ally of Brian and served under him in a number of campaigns.

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