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The last High King?


JohnD66

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According to this article by Adrian Martyn, the last credible claimant to the title of High King of Ireland was a character named Fedlimid Ó Conchobair who took advantage of the Bruce invasion to overthrow the De Burgh (Burke) hegemony in Connacht and aspired to be king of all Ireland.

Unfortunately for him and his followers he was crushed at the battle of Athenry in 1316 by the Burkes, The English and their allies.

What would have happened if medieval Ireland had developed into a Gaelic monarchy? Even more intriguing what if, after a successful Bruce invasion it had been part of a confederated joint Irish Scottish-Gaelic monarchy? (The Bruces were not Gaels by origin but did speak Gaelic and would have been comfortable with the notion).

I speculate not for nationalist reasons (as I'm no fan of monarchies) but just intrigued by how subsequent history could have been so different.
 


Hitch 22

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If there had been a Gaelic monarchy things probably wouldn't have been all that different for the common people.
The Gaelic monarchy and the nobility would have probably adopted the feudal system that was adopted across the rest of Europe and there would have been inter-marriage with the monarchs of Spain, France, Germany, England, Scotland and Scandinavia.
Later during the Reformation there might have been religious wars between rival Irish Catholics and Protestant members of a Hibernian Church. Perhaps the Irish monarch and nobles would have become Protestants and the peasants would have remained Catholics and subject to persecution and penal laws?
There might have been a civil war or revolutions like those in other European nations creating a constitutional monarch or eliminating the monarchy.
Ireland might have industrialized sooner and colonized part of Africa or Asia but there might still have been a potato famine and mass emigration to the New World.
During the 20th century we might have participated in WW1 and WW2 and later joined NATO.
Even if we had remained independent we would probably still have had a close relationship with Britain.
European integration post World War 2 would have lead to us joining the European Union or some equivalent.
In this alternate universe we might have a lower house perhaps called Dáil Éireann made up of commoners and an upper house of Gaelic Chieftains while the High King of Ireland living in a royal palace at Tara.
 
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james5001

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Hitch, what you're doing is guessing. Not even informed guessing.
 

Nemesiscorporation

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A better question might be this.

What would have happened if Brian Boru had not been killed at Clontarf and lived another 10 to 15 years?

He could have solidified his role as High King, then invaded Wales and England. That could really have changed things.

Tara could be the biggest city in the British Isles instead of London today.
 

Protestant/Catholic=Irish

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If there had been a Gaelic monarchy things probably wouldn't have been all that different for the common people.
The Gaelic monarchy and the nobility would have probably adopted the feudal system that was adopted across the rest of Europe and there would have been inter-marriage with the monarchs of Spain, France, Germany, England, Scotland and Scandinavia.
Later during the Reformation there might have been religious wars between rival Irish Catholics and Protestant members of a Hibernian Church. Perhaps the Irish monarch and nobles would have become Protestants and the peasants would have remained Catholics and subject to persecution and penal laws?
There might have been a civil war or revolutions like those in other European nations creating a constitutional monarch or eliminating the monarchy.
Ireland might have industrialized sooner and colonized part of Africa or Asia but there might still have been a potato famine and mass emigration to the New World.
During the 20th century we might have participated in WW1 and WW2 and later joined NATO.
Even if we had remained independent we would probably still have had a close relationship with Britain.
European integration post World War 2 would have lead to us joining the European Union or some equivalent.
In this alternate universe we might have a lower house perhaps called Dáil Éireann made up of commoners and an upper house of Gaelic Chieftains while the High King of Ireland living in a royal palace at Tara.
It's sad how this site is used by thousands as a site to educate themselves, share ideas etc.

Instead of people who know what they are talking about really engage with each other about different topics, clowns like you who have absolutely no clue on this matter feel that they are God's gift and should comment, often first, thereby spiralling the thread downwards and mis-informing people at athe same time.

Stop commenting on everything Hitch.
 

Hitch 22

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It's sad how this site is used by thousands as a site to educate themselves, share ideas etc.

Instead of people who know what they are talking about really engage with each other about different topics, clowns like you who have absolutely no clue on this matter feel that they are God's gift and should comment, often first, thereby spiralling the thread downwards and mis-informing people at athe same time.

Stop commenting on everything Hitch.
The OP is speculating about what might have happened if Irish history had been different.

I am speculating too.

Come up with your own speculations.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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Perhaps the Irish monarch and nobles would have become Protestants and the peasants would have remained Catholics and subject to persecution and penal laws?
That would have been doubtful, not the possibility of switching to a form of Protestantism but a difference of religion between ruler and ruled. If you look at the reformation across most of Europe (including Scotland) the process tended to be bottom up with the peasants converting and the nobles then taking on the new religion in order to preserve their loyalty once it reached a critical mass.
 

Hitch 22

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That would have been doubtful, not the possibility of switching to a form of Protestantism but a difference of religion between ruler and ruled. If you look at the reformation across most of Europe (including Scotland) the process tended to be bottom up with the peasants converting and the nobles then taking on the new religion in order to preserve their loyalty once it reached a critical mass.
Fine. Let's imagine that happened then.
Protestants and Catholic would have probably fought for control mirroring what happened in the rest of Europe.
 

Franzoni

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Maybe we might of ended up a republic a lot sooner with the whole country intact.....after all the Brits and the French,two of our nearest neighbours chopped the heads off their Kings and Queens and abolished their monarchies in the 17th and 18th centuries,also the English have a few peasant revolts during the middle ages that tried similar...albiet the English were too superstitious to really reign in the power of Kings until a bit later on when they adopted a constitutional arrangement.........Personally i don't think a Gaelic monarchy would of lasted and eventually some sort of revolution or revolts would of still happened and would of dragged it down........
 

Hitch 22

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Maybe we might of ended up a republic a lot sooner with the whole country intact.....after all the Brits and the French,two of our nearest neighbours chopped the heads off their Kings and Queens and abolished their monarchies in the 17th and 18th centuries,also the English have a few peasant revolts during the middle ages that tried similar...albiet the English were too superstitious to really reign in the power of Kings until a bit later on when they adopted a constitutional arrangement.........Personally i don't think a Gaelic monarchy would of lasted and eventually some sort of revolution or revolts would of still happened and would of dragged it down........
The Irish High Kings would probably still have been at war with the English even if they hadn't invaded in the 12th century.

James IV of Scotland married Margaret Tudor, the daughter of Henry VII as part of a Treaty of Perpetual Peace.

When Henry VII's granddaughter Elizabeth I died without an heir, the great grandson of Margaret Tudor, James VI of Scotland became James I of England.

So it is not impossible that had history been different an Irish King might have inherited the throne of England through similar circumstances and his heirs would have become the Kings and Queens of Great Britain and Ireland.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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The Irish High Kings would probably still have been at war with the English even if they hadn't invaded in the 12th century.

James IV of Scotland married Margaret Tudor, the daughter of Henry VII as part of a Treaty of Perpetual Peace.

When Henry VII's granddaughter Elizabeth I died without an heir, the great grandson of Margaret Tudor, James VI of Scotland became James I of England.

So it is not impossible that had history been different an Irish King might have inherited the throne of England through similar circumstances and his heirs would have become the Kings and Queens of Great Britain and Ireland.
Perhaps, but the union of the parliaments was a different matter entirely, which is where the governance of the countries rested; this came about because of numerous factors:

1. Scotland the relatively strong borderland enemy of England (historically moving border marches).
2.The marriage of Charles I to a Catholic
3. The usurpation of Charles I by Cromwell
4. The Catholic influence in exile of both their mother and French culture on Charles II (openly converted on his deathbed) and James II
5. The usurpation of James II by his daughter Queen Mary and King William
6. The passing of the Scottish act of Union
7. The 1798 Irish rebellion
8. The passing of the Irish act of Union

There are so many factors and possible variables here that led to what we know today as the United Kingdom that it is nearly impossible to predict that it would have simply been repeated had an Irish King taken the place of a Scottish one.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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Fine. Let's imagine that happened then.
Protestants and Catholic would have probably fought for control mirroring what happened in the rest of Europe.
Possible, but very difficult to predict. The big failing of the Reformation in Ireland was the failure to produce a bible in Gaelic. By the time one was produced the counter reformation was in full swing.

That is not to say that had Ireland been independent that one would not have been produced quicker. Of course traditionally Ireland would not have been a place of religious persecution and may have settled into something more accommodating to all denominations such as the Swiss cantons.

A lot of the supposed anti Reformation sentiment in Ireland was as much anti-English, with the exception of the old Norman Lords who remained Catholic and English but later largely blended into Gaelic culture post 1690. In my opinion of a lot of the Catholic = Irish culture came from this group as their main identifying factor in supporting the native Irish later was due to the loss of their power for their religious beliefs.
 

IrishWelshCelt

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I was always under the impression that at the height of his power that Hugh O Neill was considered (by gaelic Ireland at least) as the high king?
 

eoghanacht

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I read one time Queen Elizabeth II is descended from Brian Boru through her maternal line, Elizabeth I, Grace O'Malley and Hugh O'Neill where distant cousins.
 

PeacefulViking

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That would have been doubtful, not the possibility of switching to a form of Protestantism but a difference of religion between ruler and ruled. If you look at the reformation across most of Europe (including Scotland) the process tended to be bottom up with the peasants converting and the nobles then taking on the new religion in order to preserve their loyalty once it reached a critical mass.
I don't think that is correct. My impression is that more commonly the monarch decided that population should convert to Protestantism because it allowed him to get his hand on the wealth of the Church.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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I don't think that is correct. My impression is that more commonly the monarch decided that population should convert to Protestantism because it allowed him to get his hand on the wealth of the Church.
Without the support of the populous and the nobles the Monarch could not hold power. In most cases the the Monarch took on the new denomination once it reach a critical mass among his/her subjects.

In Scotland for example it was the nobles who took the decision to remove Mary Queen of Scotts in favour of her son James whom the saw to it was reared in the Kirk. They in turn had accepted the reformation due to the widespread conversions by John Knox. Where widespread conversions of the general population didn't occur in the highlands the reformation didn't take hold.

The German principalities didn't just jump on the opportunity to break away, but instead changed gradually as the influence of Luther spread amongst their subjects.

The Danish reformation is also considered bottom up by many historians.

I am unfamiliar with the reformation in Sweden where you are from, but there are certainly numerous cases of the reformation being driven by the conversion of the people.
 

Hitch 22

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I read one time Queen Elizabeth II is descended from Brian Boru through her maternal line, Elizabeth I, Grace O'Malley and Hugh O'Neill where distant cousins.
Dermot McMurrough, King of Leinster, was a great great grandson of Brian Boru.
The McMurroughs were related to the O'Neills and to the O'Malleys.
Richard De Clare married McMurrough's daughter Aoife and they had a daughter Isabel De Clare 4th Countess of Pembroke.
Isabel married William Marshall William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke.
Her daughter Eva Marshall married William de Braose.
Among there descendants were Anne Boleyn, the mother of Elizabeth I.
 
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Riadach

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Informative article but I found it quite frustrating to read. Lots of spelling irregularities and inconsistencies/anachronisms, the most glaring being his "Síol Murdaigh", which seems to be completely his own concoction. Síol Muireadhaigh/Síl Muiredaigh. He also edits annalists entries without informing the reader.
 

macnessa

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A better question might be this.

What would have happened if Brian Boru had not been killed at Clontarf and lived another 10 to 15 years?

He could have solidified his role as High King, then invaded Wales and England. That could really have changed things.

Tara could be the biggest city in the British Isles instead of London today.
How could Tara become the biggest city in the British Isles when it isnt in the british isles
 

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