King Malachy Mor

Malachy Mor, Monarch of Ireland, flourished from 980 to 1022, the rival, and afterwards the tributary of Brian Borumha. He succeeded to the nominal sovereignty of Ireland in 978, two years after Brian became King of Munster. He married Maelmaire, sister of Sitric, the Danish King of Dublin; and after the death of his father, his mother married Olaf, a renowned warrior of the same nation. The early part of Malachy's reign was spent in constant contentions with Brian and other Irish chiefs, and with his connexions, the Northmen. Upon more than one occasion he inflicted severe defeats on the latter, carrying away 2,000 hostages, jewels, and other valuables, and "freed the country from tribute and taxation from the Shannon to the sea;" and

"wore the collar of gold,
Which he won from her proud invader."

In 982 he invaded Thomond and rooted up and cut to pieces the great tree at Magh-Adhair [now Moyry Park, in the County of Clare], under which Brian and his ancestors of the Dalcassian line had been crowned, and where for generations they had received the first homage of their subjects. Eventually Brian and Malachy had to lay aside their feuds and unite against the common enemy, and in the year 1000 they defeated the Northmen at Glenmama, near Dunlavin, in the County of Wicklow, as is related in the notice of Brian Borumha. In 1002 Brian, whose power had been gradually increasing, marched to Tara, deposed Malachy, and assumed the supreme sovereignty. Malachy not only submitted, but appears to have entered into Brian's plans for the government of the country, and helped him in his operations against the Northmen.

After the battle of Clontarf and Brian's death, 23rd April 1014, Malachy again assumed the supreme authority in Ireland. His energy in following up the struggle refuted the calumny that he secretly favoured the Northmen in the fight. He reigned nine years after Brian's death, and is mentioned as the founder of churches and schools; but the annals of the time show that the latter years of his life were passed chiefly in plundering expeditions in various parts of the island, and murderous contentions with the chiefs who owed him a nominal allegiance. Malachy died at Croinis (Cormorant Island), in Lough Ennel, near Mullingar, in 1023. A month before he had defeated the Northmen of Dublin at Athboy.


134. Four Masters, Annals of Ireland by the: Translated and Edited by John O'Donovan. 7 vols. Dublin, 1856.

144. Gaedhil with the Gaill, Wars of the, or the Invasions of Ireland by the Danes: Rev. James H. Todd, D.D. (Master of the Rolls Series.) London, 1867.

171. Ireland, History of, from the earliest period to the English Invasion: Rev. Geoffrey Keating: Translated from the Irish, and Noted by John O'Mahony. New York, 1857.

263. O'Briens, Historical Memoir of the: John O'Donoghue. Dublin, 1860.