Donnell O'Loughlin

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XIV

Donnell O'Loughlin died in 1121, in the Monastery of St. Columba, at Derry. He is styled King of Ireland, although the power of his southern rival preponderated during the greater part of his reign. In 1118 Rory O'Connor died in the Monastery of Clonmacnois. He had been blinded some years previously by the O'Flaherties. This cruel custom was sometimes practised to prevent the succession of an obnoxious person, as freedom from every blemish was a sine qua non in Erinn for a candidate to royal honours. Teigue Mac Carthy, King of Desmond, died, "after penance," at Cashel, A.D. 1124. From the time of Murtough O'Brien's illness, Turlough O'Connor, son of the prince who had been blinded, comes prominently forward in Irish history. His object was to exalt the Eoghanists or Desmonian family, who had been virtually excluded from the succession since the time of Brian Boroimhé. In 1116 he plundered Thomond as far as Limerick. In 1118 he led an army as far as Glanmire (co. Cork), and divided Munster, giving Desmond to Mac Carthy, and Thomond to the sons of Dermod O'Brien. He then marched to Dublin, and took hostages from the Danes, releasing Donnell, son of the King of Meath, whom they had in captivity.

The following year he sailed down the Shannon with a fleet, and destroyed the royal palace of Kincora, hurling its stones and timber beams into the river. He then devoted himself to wholesale plundering, and expelled his late ally and father-in-law from Meath, ravaging the country from Traigh Li (Tralee) to the sanctuary lands of Lismore. In 1126 he bestowed the kingdom of Dublin on his son Cormac. In 1127 he drove Cormac Mac Carthy from his kingdom, and divided Munster in three parts. In fact, there was such a storm of war throughout the whole country, that St. Celsus was obliged to interfere. He spent a month and a year trying to establish peace, and promulgating rules and good customs in every district, among the laity and clergy. His efforts to teach "good rules and manners" seem to have been scarcely effectual, for we find an immediate entry of the decapitation of Ruaidhri, after he had made a " treacherous prey " in Aictheara. In the year 1128 the good Archbishop succeeded in making a year's truce between the Connaught men and the men of Munster. The following year the saint died at Ardpatrick, where he was making a visitation. He was only fifty years of age, but anxiety and care had worn him old. St. Celsus was buried at Lismore, and interred in the cemetery of the bishops.