The Norman Siege of Dublin

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XVI

The Four Masters accuse the people of Dublin of having attempted to purchase their own safety at the expense of the national interests, and say that "a miracle was wrought against them" as a judgment for their selfishness. Hosculf, the Danish governor, fled to the Orkneys, with some of the principal citizens, and Roderic withdrew his forces to Meath, to support O'Rourke, on whom he had bestowed a portion of that territory. Miles de Cogan was invested with the government of Dublin, and Dermod marched to Meath, to attack Roderic and O'Rourke, against whom he had an old grudge of the worst and bitterest kind. He had injured him by carrying off his wife, Dervorgil, and men generally hate most bitterly those whom they have injured most cruelly.

Meanwhile MacCarthy of Desmond had attacked and defeated the English garrison at Waterford, but without any advantageous results. Roderic's weakness now led him to perpetrate an act of cruelty, although it could scarcely be called unjust according to the ideas of the times. It will be remembered that he had received hostages from Dermod for the treaty of Ferns. That treaty had been openly violated, and the King sent ambassadors to him to demand its fulfilment, by the withdrawal of the English troops, threatening, in case of refusal, to put the hostages to death. Dermod laughed at the threat. Under any circumstances, he was not a man who would hesitate to sacrifice his own flesh and blood to his ambition. Roderic was as good as his word; and the three royal hostages were put to death at Athlone.

An important synod was held at the close of this year (A.D. 1170), at Armagh. We have already mentioned one of its principal enactments, which deplored and condemned the practice of buying English slaves from the Bristol merchants. Other subjects shall be more fully entertained when we come to the Synod of Cashel, which was held two years later.