10 May 1318 -700 years ago today in Ireland - the Irish Victorious at the Battle of Dysert O'Dea

Catalpast

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700 years ago today in Ireland - the Irish Victorious at the Battle of Dysert O'Dea
10‭ ‬May‭ ‬1318: The Battle of Dysert O'Dea was fought on this day. It took place near near Corofin, Co Clare. The battle occurred during the Bruce Invasion of Ireland.

The Anglo Norman Lord Richard De Clare‭ ( ‬a descendant of Strongbow‭) ‬attacked the Irish chieftain Conor O’Dea, chief of the Cineal Fearmaic people and the ally of King Muircheartach O’Brien of Thomond.

De Clare made the mistake of dividing his army in three in the face of the enemy and he led the van towards Castle Dysert O’Dea‭ – ‬the home of the Irish Chieftain.‭ ‬O’Dea held them at the ford of Fergus and sent messengers out to bring up reinforcements as De Clare charged at his opponents only to be surrounded and cut down by the axe of Conor O’Dea himself.‭

As the rest of the Anglo Norman force came up they waded into the Irish and were on the point of extracting a bloody revenge when‭ ‬Felim O'Connor's troops charged down the hill of Scamhall (Scool) and cut a path through the English to join the battle. De Clare's son then arrived on the scene and was cut down and killed by Felim O'Connor.

As the two forces were locked in this deadly struggle both expected reinforcements to arrive and as King Muircheartach O'Brien’s men galloped onto the scene Conor O’Dea almost lost heart not knowing who they were until he heard the Irish war cries and knew the victory was won.‭ Soon Lochlann O'Hehir and the MacNamaras joined the fight and it was all over for the Anglo Normans who sold their lives dearly and went down fighting.

The power of one of the great Anglo Norman families - the De Clares - was shattered forever.‭ ‬In the wake of this victory King Muircheartach O'Brien advanced upon the environs of Bunratty Castle, home of the De Clare Family to find much of the surrounding dwellings burnt by De Clare’s widow who promptly fled to England. The Castle though held out for a couple of weeks and the Irish completely destroyed it in 1322. The De Clare’s never returned and Thomond west of the Shannon remained under Irish rule until the early 17th Century.‭ ‬It was the greatest Gaelic victory of the Bruce War.
 


mangaire2

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yeah - as a result of Dysert O'Dea, the foothold of the Normans in the region that is now Clare was brief & limited.
it's a fact also, that the region later experienced much less 'plantation' by the 'New English' than just about any other region of the country.
as a result, the region remained more gaelic in customs & outlook than any other region of the country, right up to the 19th century.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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I trust someone will be around on 14 October to celebrate the end of the Bruce War, a far more significant event in the relations of the 'Insular' [*] nations. And even more significant in Scottish affairs:
A Bruce kingship of Ireland would have been strategically extremely valuable for Robert in maintaining pressure on England. But the campaign was essentially an opportunist piece of family imperialism. (David Ross, page 93)
14 October 1318: the Battle of Faughart (though John D'Alton, page 49, would have it popularly called the Battle of Dundalk).

Faughart 'solved' any issue of the High Kingship by killing the last claimant in battle. The King of Tír Eóghain, Domhnall mac Briain Ó Néill, sought aid from Robert Brus (King of Scotland 1306-1329), who himself was doing a decent job against the pushy English. The bonus was for Brus's younger brother, Edward (or, should one prefer it, Edubard, Eideard or Iomhair) to be High King of Ireland. The de Brus brothers, lacking little in ambition, imagined creating a Gaelic alliance against England: Robert as King of Scotland, Edward as High King of Ireland and then invading Wales.

An assembly of the Scots was convened at Ayr (26 April 1315) and Edward was proclaimed Robert's immediate heir. Robert promptly offed to mop up the Western Isles, and Edward took 6,000 Scots to invade Antrim (26 May 1315).

From the start, Edward's venture had mixed fortunes. His best aide was a de Brus nephew, Thomas Randolph, earl of Moray, doing the political business in his name — Randolph's name is second only to Robert de Brus on the Declaration of Arbroath. I'd suggest (based on little more than a very subjective reading) that we can detect Randolph's hand in exploiting the tensions between Richard de Burgh and Edmund Butler. As a consequence, de Brus's Irish War was developing nicely: de Burgh was sorted at the Battle of Connor (10 September 1315) and Butler at the Battle of Skerries (1 February 1316). Even so, no major Irish dignitary outside a small circle of West Ulster acquaintance recognised Edward de Brus as High King.

The de Brus's Irish War came up against ecology: bad harvests of 1315-1317 would be the traumatic moment in c.14th European history were it not for the subsequent Black Death. Consequently, Edward Brus was constantly scrabbling around for supplies, and the entire War devolved into little more than a succession of forays and raids.

Meanwhile Edward II Plantagenet was stirring: he ordered an Irish Parliament (it met in Dublin in October 1315) to unite the Anglo-Irish: it achieved next to nothing. Edward's main support, Roger Mortimer, pulled together a force of Anglo-Irish and native Irish to oppose the advance south of Edward de Brus and Randolph. The two forces engaged at the Battle of Kells (6 November 1315). The de Lacys ratted on their in-law Mortimer, who was defeated, and scurried back to England.

That left Edward de Brus ravaging through the Irish Midlands over the depths of the winter. Militarily, little of great consequence occurred over the next few months. Politically, the significant action was the de Brus faction petitioning Pope John XXII Duèze (Philip V's nominee to the Avignon Papacy-in-exile) to withdraw the Bull Laudabiliter — John XXII (not yet developed into his 'own man') failing to oblige — that Remonstrance acknowledges Edward de Brus, but (wikipedia dissenting) doesn't quite name him as High King.

When the two sides arrive at Faughart, neither is in best shape, but the de Brus faction were severely depleted by the famine winter.

[*] Max Adams, Ælfred's Britain, Forespæc, page 7, has a footnote:
Insular, as an adjective, meaning 'of the Atlantic islands of Britain and Ireland'
That seems, to me, neatly to avoid all the other nominal problems of naming our little archipelago. All three of Adams's books on Early England are informative, readable, and even a bit playful.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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The power of one of the great Anglo Norman families - the De Clares - was shattered forever.‭ ‬In the wake of this victory King Muircheartach O'Brien advanced upon the environs of Bunratty Castle, home of the De Clare Family to find much of the surrounding dwellings burnt by De Clare’s widow who promptly fled to England. The Castle though held out for a couple of weeks and the Irish completely destroyed it in 1322. The De Clare’s never returned and Thomond west of the Shannon remained under Irish rule until the early 17th Century.‭ ‬It was the greatest Gaelic victory of the Bruce War.
Quick frisson ...

I have an suspicion that's where my lot were involved.

What did for the de Clares was not the Battle itself, but a rapid succession of male deaths:
  • Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, was done for at Bannockburn (24 June 1314). With no male heir, that ended the earldom. His estates passed to his three sisters, one of whom was married to Edward II Plantagenet's boy-friend, Hugh Despenser.
  • Richard de Clare, a cousin (and I'd need to clear up the exact relationship), was Lord of Thomond. He fell leading his Munstermen at Dysert O'Dea (10 May 1318).
  • Richard de Clare had a son, Thomas, apparently either new-born or born posthumously, who himself died as an infant.
There then ensued a messy series of Inquisitions until Richard de Clare's two sisters were declared inheritors of the de Clare estates (mainly) in Suffolk, and in Ireland:
  • Maud, widow of Sir Robert de Clifford, another victim of the Bannockburn debacle, and by him mother of four (two sons, two daughters). She then very rapidly re-married Sir Robert de Welles, Warden of the western Marches with Scotland.
  • Margaret, an even feistier item. She first married into the de Umfraville family (Scottish nobility) and within three or four years did very nicely by inheriting his estates. Her second marriage was to Bartholomew de Badlesmere, a professional soldier and royal go-fer diplomat. Badlesmere was appointed Warden of Leeds Castle, and Margaret was in-charge while hubby was away concerting an alliance against Edward II. Queen Isabella dropped in for a visit (this is accounted a deliberate hostile act). Predictably, sparks flew: Margaret refused Isabella access to the Castle, Isabella returned mob-handed. All of which was the build-up to the civil war which would mean Badlesmere got it in the neck and would go to end Edward's reign. After the usual shenanigans about who-owned-what, Inquisitions under Edward III restored numerous English properties to Margaret. Sadly none survived (through the Lacey family) to this indigent poster.
 


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