Dermod MacMurrough

From An Illustrated History of Ireland by Margaret Anne Cusack

« start... Chapter XIV. ...continued

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In the meantime domestic wars multiplied with extraordinary rapidity. Dermod Mac Murrough, the infamous King of Leinster, now appears for the first time in the history of that country which he mainly contributed to bring under the English yoke. He commenced his career of perfidy by carrying off the Abbess of Kildare from her cloister, killing 170 of the people of Kildare, who interfered to prevent this wanton and sacrilegious outrage. In 1141 he endeavoured to crush the opposers of his atrocious tyranny by a barbarous onslaught, in which he killed two nobles, put out the eyes of another, and blinded [9] seventeen chieftains of inferior rank. A fitting commencement of his career of treachery towards his unfortunate country!

In 1148 a temporary peace was made by the Primate of Armagh between the northern princes, who had carried on a deadly feud; but its duration, as usual, was brief. Turlough O'Brien was deposed by Teigue in 1151. He was assisted by Turlough O'Connor and the infamous Dermod. The united armies plundered as far as Moin Môr,[1] where they encountered the Dalcassian forces returning from the plunder of Desmond. A sanguinary combat ensued, and the men of north Munster suffered a dreadful slaughter, leaving 7,000 dead upon the field of battle. This terrible sacrifice of life is attributed to the mistaken valour of the Dal-Cais, who would neither fly nor ask quarter.

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[9] Blinded.—In 1165 Henry II. gratified his irritation against the Welsh by laying hands upon the hostages of their noblest families, and commanding that the eyes of the males should be rooted out, and the ears and noses of the females cut off; and yet Henry is said to have been liberal to the poor, and though passionately devoted to the chase, he did not inflict either death or mutilation on the intruders in the royal forests.

[1] Moin Môr.—Now Moanmore, county Tipperary.


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