Seantreibh Ghaelach a bhí i nDál gCais, a bhí i mbarr a réime sa 10ú haois ar bhruacha na Sionainne agus an réigiún máguaird sa seanríocht úd, Tuamhain. Glactar leis gur craobh de Dhéisi na Mumhan a bhí ann agus iad síolraithe ó Chormac Cas.

Claíomh Solais Nuada, siombail bhrataí Dhál gCais
Septs of the Dalcassians.png

Bhí Brian Bóramha ar dhuine de na ríthe is cáiliúla a bhí iontu.

StairCuir in Eagar

Origins, Déisi Muman vs. DeirgtineCuir in Eagar

In their own genealogies, the Dál gCais traced their line back to their eponymous ancestor and progenitor Cormac Cas, who is said to have lived in the 2nd to 3rd century. They make him a second son of Ailill Aulom from the Deirgtine, a ríthe na Mumhan and Leath Mhogha more generally, associated in a story with the goddess Áine of the Tuatha Dé Danann during the Scéalaíocht na Ríthe of miotaseolaíocht na nGael. Cormac Cas himself was purported to be the younger brother of Eoghan, founder of the Eoghanachta, who would go on to rule Munster for many centuries. While this was taken on face value for a long time, later Irish scholars came to question its validity, regarding it as a politically motivated fabrication. The Dál gCais were becoming powerful in the 10th century, with Mathún and his brother Brian Bóramha taking the throne in Munster from the Eoghanachta; claiming ancient kinship with their rivals would have boosted their legitimacy.

 
Aerial view of the Sionainn, the area where the Dál gCais grew in power.

It is claimed by current scholarship that the Dál gCais were instead a branch of the Déise Mumhan.[1][2] The Déise Mumhan held a vassal kingship in Munster under the Eóganachta, significant in scope, consisting of what is today Port Láirge and its environs. As time went on branches also emerged around the Sionainn, as part of the Déise Mumhan moved north-westerly between the 5ú and early 8ú century; they were called the Déise Deiscirt and the Déisi Tuaiscirt. It is from later, more northerly branch, which the Dál gCais are said to ultimately find their true ancestors.[1] The first recorded mention of their adoption of the new name Dál gCais specifically is in the Annála Inis Faithlinn for the year 934, which records the death of their king Rebachán mac Mothlai.

The Déise Mumhan themselves are subject of Tairired na nDéssi epic in the Cycles of the Kings, which is set during the time that Cormac mac Airt was Ardrí na hÉireann. The story describes the expulsion of the Dál Fiachrach Suighe; kinsmen of the Connachta and descendants of Fedlimid Rechtmar; from Teamhair, coming to settle in Munster after many battles. Upon becoming the Déisi Muman, one branch then sailed across to an Bhreatain in the 4ú century, coming to rule Ríocht Dyfed. Their presence in Britain may have been initially supported by Magnus Maximus, Impire Rómhánach, as part of a policy of backing Gaeil vassals to be seafaring defenders of the shores of Britain facing the Muir Éireann from pirates.[3] Eoin Mac Néill has pointed out that they were not the only Irish colony in the area, with the Uí Liatháin also powerful.

Ascent to the High Kingship of IrelandCuir in Eagar

The adoption of the name Dál gCais and the ascent of the group to greater power, began to take place during the 10th century with internal political transition.[2] With the death of Rebachán mac Mothlai, the leadership of the Déisi Tuisceart shifted from the Uí Aengusa kindred to their junior relatives the Uí Thairdelbaig.[2] It was during the time of Kennedy,[2] who styled himself rí Tuamhan, that the Dál gCais began to challenge the Eóganachta; though Kennedy was defeated at the Battle of Gort Rotacháin by Cellach Caisil, King of Munster in 944. The actual reason for this sudden surge has been much debated and one frequently discussed thesis is that it was a political scheme of the Uí Néill, intending to use the Dál gCais as proxies to further weaken the power of the Eóganachta.[4]

 
Brian Bóruma, High King of Ireland, perhaps the best known historical figure of the Dál gCais.

Kennedy's children built on their father's achievements. His daughter Órlaith became Queen consort of Ireland, after she married Donagh Donn, a High King of Ireland from the southern branch of the Uí Néill. Mahon became the first Dál gCais to gain the kingship of Munster, after he seized the Rock of Cashel from Molloy of the Eóganachta. Leading up to this he had defeated the Norse under Ivar of Limerick at the Battle of Sulcoit in 968. After Mahon was captured by Donovan in 976 and murdered by Molloy, the Eóganachta returned to the throne at Cashel for two years, but Mahon's younger brother Brian Bóruma, a seasoned military man from the early campaigns, would desire vengeance.

A campaign in 977-78 led to the defeat and death of Ivar, with an engagement at Scattery Island being the most significant. Brian retained the formerly Norse Limerick for its trading power and naval strength. The Dál gCais took back Munster at Belach Lechta the same year, killing Molloy in the process. Ambition saw Brian look next to the territories of Malachy II, High King of Ireland. A closely contested war of 15 years ensued, with the naval ability of the Dál gCais paying off as a truce was called by Malachy in 997, recognising Brian's overlordship of Leath Moga. They became allies against the Norse Dublin and the Laigin who under Máel Mórda, King of Leinster had risen against Brian's claims. The latter were subdued at Glenmama in 999, before rebelling again in 1014 at Clontarf where Norse power in Ireland was finally broken, though Brian died in the process. In the interim, Malachy had passed the High Kingship to Brian in 1002 and he built strong Christian links to Armagh.

After the death of Brian, his two established surviving sons; Donagh and Teague; struggled in an internal Dál gCais rivalry for dominion. While Donagh was High King, many other Irish kings allied against him, including Leinster, Connacht, and Ulster. Deposed in 1063, he fled to Rome, with some sources claiming he granted Pope Urban II the Irish crown, this is controversial, however.[note 1] Teague's son Turlough took up the reins in a lasting alliance with the powerful Dermot Kinsella, King of Leinster. Not a military leader, Turlough was instead a capable politician, the Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib glorifying Brian's feats would be authored during his lifetime. Turlough's son Murtagh would be the last High King from the Dál gCais of the medieval period, reigning between 1101–19. Murtagh attempted to make the Irish kingship more along the lines of European monarchies and was involved in foreign affairs (allying with Arnulf de Montgomery in the Welsh Marches against Henry I, King of England), trying to extend Irish influence beyond internal rivalries.

TagairtíCuir in Eagar

  1. 1.0 1.1 Koch, 2006, lch. 554.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Duffy, 2004, lch. 121.
  3. Davies, 1994, lch. 52.
  4. Rynne, 1967, lch. 230.



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