Gaelic Ireland: Wikis


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Gaelic Ireland is the name given to the period when a Gaelic political order existed in Ireland. The order continued to exist after the arrival of the Anglo-Normans (1169 AD) until about 1607 AD. For much of this period, the island was a patchwork of clann territories and kingdoms known as túatha. These túatha often competed for control of resources and thus continually grew and receded with the fortunes of time.

After the Norman invasion of 1169–71, large portions of Ireland came under the control of Norman lords – this territory was known as the Lordship of Ireland. However, the Gaelic system continued to exist in areas outside Norman control, and the government's power gradually shrank to an area known as The Pale. In 1541 the Kingdom of Ireland was established and the English monarchy began to re-conquer the island. In 1607 this re-conquest resulted in the Flight of the Earls, which marked the end of the Gaelic order.



The Gaelic order in Ireland, rather than a single unified kingdom in the feudal sense, was a patchwork[1] of túatha. These túatha often competed for control of resources and thus continually grew and shrank. Since the 8th century these were nominally subservient to the rule of a High King;[citation needed] however, it was not until the eleventh century, with the high kingship of Brian Boru, that the office of the high king began to resemble a "national" king in a sense similar to that in continental Europe.[citation needed] This process had been steadily moving with the title of high kingship passing between a small number of compact families (O'Brien of Munster, MacLochlainn of the North, O'Connor of Connacht) who intermarried and competed against each other on a national basis.[citation needed] On the eve of the Norman incursion of 1169, the agglomeration-cum-consolidation process was complete and the provincial kingdoms divided and transformed into fiefdoms.



Ruins of the O'Davoren law school at Cahermacnaghten, County Clare.

Gaelic law (collectively known as Fénechas)[2] was originally passed down orally, but was written down in Old Irish during the period 600–900 AD. Most of the laws were developed before Christianisation and are largely secular, but there is some Christian influence. These secular laws existed in parallel, and occasionally in conflict, with Canon law.

Gaelic law was a civil rather than a criminal code, concerned with the payment of fines for harm done (éraic). State-administered punishment for crime was a foreign concept. Although Gaelic law recognized a distinction between intentional and unintentional injury, any type of injury required compensation. The legal text Bretha Déin Chécht goes into great detail in describing compensation based on the location of the wound, the severity, and in some cases the type.[3] The higher one's rank, the higher the compensation they could receive for any harm done. Should the offender be unable to pay, his family would be responsible for doing so.[4] It was rare, but not unheard of, to seek the execution of a criminal rather than compensation.[4]

The law texts show Gaelic society to have been hierarchical. The texts take great care to define social status, the rights and duties that went with that status, and the relationships between each "layer" of society. For example, chieftains had to take responsibility for members of their clann, acting as a surety for some of the actions of members and making sure debts were paid. He would also be responsible for unmarried women after the death of their fathers.[5]

Judges (brithem) in Gaelic society were expected to interpret the written laws and give advice or pass judgement accordingly. Kings would have been able to pass judgement also, but it is unclear how much they would have been able to make their own judgments, and how much they would have had to rely on professionals.[6] However, unlike other kingdoms in Europe, Gaelic kings—by their own authority—could not enact new laws as they wished.[7] Thus they could not be "above the law".


Gaelic Ireland was a tribal society, and each person belonged to a kin-group known as a clann (plural: clanna) or fine (plural: finte). Each clann was a large group of related people—theoretically an extended family—supposedly descended from one progenitor and all owing allegiance to its chieftain, known as a cennfine or toísech (plural: toísigh). Often, clanna are thought of as based on blood kinship alone; however, clanna also included those who were adopted or fostered into the clann, and those who joined the clann for strategic reasons (such as safety or combining of resources). As Nicholls describes, they would be better thought of as akin to the modern-day corporation. The power of clanna fluctuated, and endemic warfare between clanna was a constant affair. Once-powerful clanna could in time decline in stature and be amalgamated into once-smaller ones. How this "merger" would be dealt with would be a matter of negotiation. Many clanna were also divided into a number of sub-groups known as septs, often when that group took up residence outside the original clann territory.

Lineage was based on the practice of tanistry (rather than primogeniture). At an assembly called a tocomra a relative was elected—prior to the death of a leader—to act as his deputy and then his successor.[8] To be eligible for election, one had to share the same great-grandfather as the toísech. This group of electable cousins was called the derbfine, and the elected person was called a tanaiste (plural: tanaistí). The clann system formed the basis of society.

Gaelic society was structured heirarchically.

  • The top social layer was the nobility (nemed), which included kings (), lords (flaith) and chieftains (toísigh).
  • Below that were the professionals (dóernemed), which included skilled poets (filid), judges (brithem), craftsmen, physicians, and so on. Masters in a particular profession were known as ollamh. The various professions—including law, poetry, medicine, history and genealogy—were associated with particular hereditary families.[9] Although most practised only one profession, some exercised more than one. Prior to the Christianisation of Ireland, this group also included the druídecht and fáithe. The druídecht or druids could combine the duties of priest, judge, scholar, poet, physician, and religious teacher,[10][11] while the fáithe acted as soothsayers and clairvoyants.
  • Below that were those who owned land and cattle (bóaire).
  • Below that were serfs (bothach) and slaves (mug). Slaves were typically criminals or prisoners of war.
  • The warrior bands (fianna) generally lived apart from society. A fian was typically composed of young men who had not yet come into their inheritance of land.[12] A member of a fian was called a fénnid and the leader of a fian was a rígfénnid.[13] Geoffrey Keating, in his 17th century History of Ireland, says that during the winter the fianna were quartered and fed by the nobility, during which time they would keep order on their behalf. But during the summer, from Beltaine to Samhain, they were obliged to live by hunting for food and for pelts to sell.[14]

Although quite distinct, these ranks were not utterly exclusive castes like those of India.[10] It was possible for persons to rise or sink from one rank to another. Progessing upward could be achieved a number of ways, such as by gaining wealth, by gaining skill in some department, by qualifying for a learned profession, by displaying conspicuous valour, or by performing some signal service to the community.[10] An example is a person choosing to become a briugu (hospitaller). A briugu had to have his house open to any guests, which included feeding no matter how large the group. To enable the biugu to fulfill these duties, he was allowed more land and privileges,[8] but if he ever refused guests he could lose this status.[15]


The summit of the Hill of Tara.

As mentioned previously, Gaelic Ireland was divided into a large number of clann territories and kingdoms which were called túath (plural: túatha).[8] Although there was no central 'government' or 'parliament', a number of local, regional and national assemblies were held. These combined features of assemblies and fairs.[8]

In Ireland the highest of these was the feis at Tara, which occurred every third Samhain.[8] This was an assembly of the leading men of the whole island — kings, lords, chieftains, druids, judges etc.[8] Below this was the óenach or aenach. These were regional or provincial assemblies open to everyone.[8] Examples include that held at Taillten each Lughnasadh, and that held at Uisnech each Beltaine. The main purpose of these assemblies was to promulgate and reaffirm the laws — they were read aloud in public that they might not be forgotten, and any changes in them carefully explained to those present.[8]

Each túath or clann had two assemblies of its own. These were the cuirmtig, which was open to all clann members, and the dal, (this being the word and pseudo parliamentary origin used later by 20th century Irish nationalist politicians viz. Dáil Éireann), which was open only to clann chiefs.[8] Each clann had an additional assembly called a tocomra, in which the clann chief (toísech) and his deputy/successor (tanaiste) were elected.

Women and children

Relative to other European societies, Gaelic women had more rights than others of the time.[16] Apparently the law on marriage and divorce was wholly pagan, and never underwent any modification in Christian times.[16] However, laws influenced by the church would later disadvantage women. Legally, divorce or separation appears to have been obtained by the wife in equeal measure to the husband.[16] When obtained on her petition, she took away with her all the property she had brought her husband.[16] The legal age of marriage was fifteen for girls and eighteen for boys.[16]

Allusions in Irish literature and Roman comments on marital and sexual customs among the Brythons (described in Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico) and Celtiberians (described in Strabo's Geographica) mention Celtic polyandry (women having marital relationships simultaneously with several men). It is possible that such practices also held true in Ireland at this time.

A type of fosterage was commonplace, whereby (for certain periods of time) children would be placed in the care of other fine members.[16] This may have been used to strengthen familial ties.


Gaels typically lived in small villages, hamlets and ringforts which rarely contained more than 10 to 12 dwellings. These settlements were built close to water supplies and on easily defendable sites such as hills. They tended to be defended by ditches, moats, stone fortification walls and/or earthen ramparts with timber palisades. Some also lived in fortified lake-dwellings known as crannógs. Houses were typically circular with conical thatched roofs and wattle and daub walls.

A 'sanctuary' called a maighin digona surrounded each person's dwelling.[4] Within this the owner and his family and property were protected by law.[4] The maighin digona's size varied according to the owner's rank. In the case of a bóaire it extended as far as he, while sitting at his house, could cast a cnairsech (variously described as a spear or sledgehammer).[4] The owner of a maighin digona could extend its protection to someone fleeing from pursuers, who would then have to resort to legal methods of bringing that person to justice.[4]


Money was non-existent in Gaelic society at this time; instead, livestock and fishing was the main currency and the main source of sustenance. Horticulture was practiced, and crops such as wheat, barley and oats were the most common.


Irish Gaels depicted in a painting from the 1500s.

The common clothing of Gaels consisted of a léine (a knee-length shirt, sometimes dyed with saffron), a brat (a woolen cloak/mantle that may be decorated with tartan (breacán) or other designs), a belt (crios) or brooch (dealg), and sometimes trews (triubhas - a type of tight trousers). Additionally, various types of coats (such as the padded ionar), robes, boots and shoes were worn. There is also evidence of the belted plaid (the precursor to the modern kilt) being worn by the 1500s.

Both men and women grew their hair long and very often braided it. Other hairstyles that may have been popular include the mohawk (as worn by the Irish bog body known as Clonycavan man) and the glib (short all over except for a thick lock of hair towards the front of the head). Gaelic males above a certain age were expected to let their facial hair grow into a beard. It was often seen as dishonourable for a Gaelic man to have no facial hair.

Music and dance


Legendary hero Cúchulainn depicted in battle.

As shown by contemporary sources and Irish literature, clann warfare was commonplace in Gaelic lands. Young Gaelic males organised themselves into small, semi-independent warrior bands known as Fianna (singular: fiann), which engaged in constant training, hunting and raiding during the warmer months. Stories of the Fianna can be found in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology.

Warriors were sometimes rallied into battle accompanied by blowing horns and warpipes. The objective in clann wars was often the theft of enemy cattle (commonly referred to as a Táin Bó in Gaelic literature) rather than the destruction of a particular clann or its settlements. Guerrilla warfare was the norm, as the geography of Ireland at this time consisted mostly of forests, swamps, glens, bogland and river-crossings. Gaelic warfare was centered around the horse and chariot, with cavalry and kern later being introduced. Weapons used were slings, javelins, spears, bows, darts, short swords and axes. Armour was rare as Gaelic warriors considered it cumbersome; instead, most fought semi-naked and carried only a scabbard and a round or oval shield. However, by the 400s, hard leather and even chainmail was worn. It also became common for warriors to wear tight trews, which may have been decorated with the colours or tartan of a particular clann.

Gaelic warriors (and Celtic warriors in general) had a reputation as head hunters. Ancient Romans and Greeks recorded the Celtic custom of decapitating their enemies and publicly displaying the severed heads (for example by hanging them from the necks of horses).[17] According to Paul Jacobsthal, "Amongst the Celts the human head was venerated above all else, since the head was to the Celt the soul, centre of the emotions, as well as of life itself".[18]

List of clanna, túatha and kings

Lordship of Ireland

Norman invasion

Ireland in 1300 showing lands held by native Irish (green) and lands held by Normans (pale).

Since Ireland became Christianized c.500 CE, it had essentially rejected the role of the Papacy in religious matters and paid no tithes to Rome.[citation needed] Pope Adrian IV, the only English pope, had already issued a Papal Bull in 1155 giving Henry II of England authority to invade Ireland as a means of curbing Irish refusal to recognize Roman law. Importantly, for later English monarchs, the Bull, Laudabiliter, maintained papal suzerainty over the island:

There is indeed no doubt, as thy Highness doth also acknowledge, that Ireland and all other islands which Christ the Sun of Righteousness has illumined, and which have received the doctrines of the Christian faith, belong to the jurisdiction of St. Peter and of the holy Roman Church.

In 1166, after losing the protection of High King Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn, the King of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada, was forcibly exiled by a confederation of Irish forces under the new High King, Ruaidri mac Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair. Fleeing first to Bristol and then to Normandy, Diarmait obtained permission from Henry II of England to use his subjects to regain his kingdom. By the following year, he had obtained these services and in 1169 the main body of Norman, Welsh and Flemish forces landed in Ireland and quickly retook Leinster and the cities of Waterford and Dublin on behalf of Diarmait. The leader of the Norman force, Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, more commonly known as Strongbow, married Diarmait's daughter, Aoife, and was named tánaiste to the Kingdom of Leinster. This caused consternation to Henry II, who feared the establishment of a rival Norman state in Ireland. Accordingly, he resolved to visit Leinster to establish his authority.

Henry landed with in 1171, proclaiming Waterford and Dublin as Royal Cities. Adrian's successor, Pope Alexander III, ratified the grant of Ireland to Henry in 1172. The 1175 Treaty of Windsor between Henry and Ruaidhrí maintained Ruaidhrí as High King of Ireland[19] but codified Henry's control of Leinster, Meath and Waterford. However, with Diarmuid and Strongbow dead, Henry back in England, and Ruaidhrí unable to curb his vassals, the high kingship rapidly lost control of the country.[citation needed] Henry, in 1185, awarded his Ireland to his younger son, John, with the title Dominus Hiberniae, "Lord of Ireland". This kept the newly created title and the Kingdom of England personally and legally separate. However, when John unexpectedly succeeded his brother as King of England in 1199, the Lordship of Ireland fell back into personal union with the Kingdom of England.

Gaelic resurgence

Ireland in 1450 showing lands held by native Irish (green), the Anglo-Irish (blue) and the English king (red).

By 1261, the weakening of the Anglo-Norman Lordship had become manifest following a string of military defeats. In the chaotic situation, local Irish lords won back large amounts of land. The invasion by Edward Bruce in 1315-18 at a time of famine weakened the Norman economy. The Black Death arrived in Ireland in 1348. Because most of the English and Norman inhabitants of Ireland lived in towns and villages, the plague hit them far harder than it did the native Irish, who lived in more dispersed rural settlements. After it had passed, Gaelic Irish language and customs came to dominate the country again. The English-controlled area shrank back to the Pale, a fortified area around Dublin. Outside the Pale, the Hiberno-Norman lords intermarried with Gaelic noble families, adopted the Irish language and customs and sided with the Gaelic Irish in political and military conflicts against the Lordship. They became known as the Old English, and in the words of a contemporary English commentator, were "more Irish than the Irish themselves."

The authorities in the Pale worried about the "Gaelicisation" of Norman Ireland, and passed the Statutes of Kilkenny in 1366 banning those of English descent from speaking the Irish language, wearing Irish clothes or inter-marrying with the Irish. The government in Dublin had little real authority. By the end of the fifteenth century, central English authority in Ireland had all but disappeared. England's attentions were diverted by the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) and then by the Wars of the Roses (1450-85). Around the country, local Gaelic and Gaelicised lords expanded their powers at the expense of the English government in Dublin.

Gaelic kingdoms during the period

Following the failed attempt by the Scottish King Edward Bruce (see Irish Bruce Wars 1315–1318) to drive the Normans out of Ireland, there emerged a number of important Gaelic kingdoms and Gaelic-controlled lordships.

  • Connacht. The Ó Conchobhair dynasty, despite their setback during the Bruce wars, had regrouped and ensured that the title King of Connacht was not yet an empty one. Their stronghold was in their homeland of Sil Muirdeag, from where they dominated much of northern and northeastern Connacht. However, after the death of Ruaidri mac Tairdelbach Ua Conchobair in 1384, the dynasty split into two factions, Ó Conchobhair Don and Ó Conchobhair Ruadh. By the late 1400s, internecine warfare between the two branches had weakened them to the point where they themselves became vassals of more powerful lords such as Ó Domhnaill of Tír Chonaill and the Clan Burke of Clanricarde. The MacDermot Kings of Moylurg retained their status and kingdom during this era, up to the death of Tadhg MacDermot in 1585 (last de facto King of Moylurg). Their cousins, the Mac Donnacha of Tír Ailella, found their fortunes bound to the Ó Conchobhair Ruadh. The kingdom of Uí Maine had lost much of its southern and western lands to the Clanricardes, but managed to flourish until repeated raids by Ó Domhnaill in the early 1500s weakened it. Other territories such as Ó Flaithbeheraigh of Iar Connacht, Ó Shaughnessey of Aidhne, Ó Dubhda of Tireagh, Ó Hara, Ó Gara and Ó Maddan, either survived in isolation or were vassals for greater men.
  • Ulster: The Ulaid proper were in a sorry state all during this era, being squeezed between the emergent Ó Neill of Tír Eógain in the west, the MacDonnells, Clann Aodha Buidhe, and the Anglo-Normans from the east. Only Mag Aonghusa managed to retain a portion of their former kingdom with expansion into Iveagh. The two great success stories of this era were Ó Domhnaill of Tír Chonaill and Ó Neill of Tír Eógain. Ó Domhnaill was able to dominate much of northern Connacht to the detriment of its native lords, both Old English and Gaelic, though it took time to suborn the likes of Ó Conchobhair Sligigh and Ó Ruairc of Iar Breifne. Expansion southwards brought the hegemony of Tír Eógain, and by extension Ó Neill influence, well into the border lordships of Louth and Meath. Mag Uidir of Fear Manach would slightly later be able to build his lordship up to that of third most powerful in the province, at the expense of the Ó Ruaircs of Iar Breifne and the MacMahons of Airgíalla.
  • Leinster: Likewise, despite the adverse (and unforeseen) effects of Diarmait Mac Murchada's efforts to regain his kingdom, the fact of the matter was that, of his twenty successors up to 1632, most of them had regained much of the ground they had lost to the Normans, and exacted yearly tribute from the towns. His most dynamic successor was the celebrated Art mac Art MacMurrough-Kavanagh. The Ó Brioin and Ó Tuathail largely contented themselves with raids on Dublin (which, incredibly, continued into the 18th century). The Ó Mordha of Laois and Ó Conchobhair Falaighe of Offaly - the latter's capital was Daingean - were two self-contained territories that had earned the right to be called kingdoms due to their near-invincibility against successive generations of Anglo-Irish. The great losers were the Ó Melaghlins of Meath: their kingdom had collapsed, and despite the near-superhuman martial prowess of Cormac mac Art O Melaghlain, the royal family were now reduced to vassal status, clinging to the east shores of the River Shannon. Meath itself ceased to be a separate province and was henceforth incorporated into Leinster, reducing Ireland's provinces to four.
  • Munster: Despite huge setbacks, the descendants of Brian Bóruma had, by surviving the Second Battle of Athenry and winning the decisive battles of Corcomroe and Dysert O'Dea, been able to suborn their vassals and eradicate the Normans from their home kingdom of Thomond. Their spheres of interest often met with conflict with Anglo-Normans such as the Earls of Desmond and Earls of Ormond, yet they ruled right up to the end of Gaelic Ireland, and beyond, by expedient of becoming the Ó Brien Earls of Thomond. The three MacCarthaigh — MacCarthaigh Mór, MacCarthaigh Riabhach and MacCarthaigh Muscraighe — were, in the case of the latter two, often mere satellites of others, while the MacCarthaigh Mór managed to take advantage of Munster's unusually self-contained character and preserve the kingdom.

End of the Gaelic order

From 1536, Henry VIII of England decided to re-conquer Ireland and bring it under English control. The Fitzgerald dynasty of Kildare, who had become the effective rulers of the Lordship of Ireland in the 15th century, had become unreliable allies and Henry resolved to bring Ireland under English government control so the island would not become a base for future rebellions or foreign invasions of England. To involve the Gaelic chiefs and allow them to retain their lands under English law the policy of surrender and regrant was applied.

In 1541, Henry upgraded Ireland from a lordship to a full kingdom, partly in response to changing relationships with the papacy, which still had suzerainty over Ireland, following Henry's break with the church. Henry was proclaimed King of Ireland at a meeting of the Irish Parliament that year. This was the first meeting of the Irish Parliament to be attended by the Gaelic Irish chieftains as well as the Hiberno-Norman aristocracy.

With the technical institutions of government in place, the next step was to extend the control of the Kingdom of Ireland over all of its claimed territory. This took nearly a century, with various English administrations in the process either negotiating or fighting with the independent Irish and Old English lords. The re-conquest was completed during the reigns of Elizabeth and James I, after several bloody conflicts.

The flight into exile in 1607 of Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone and Rory O'Donnell, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell following their defeat at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 and the suppression of their rebellion in Ulster in 1603 is seen as the watershed of Gaelic Ireland. It marked the destruction of Ireland's ancient Gaelic aristocracy following the Tudor re-conquest and cleared the way for the Plantation of Ulster. After this point, the English authorities in Dublin established real control over Ireland for the first time, bringing a centralised government to the entire island, and successfully disarmed the native lordships.

See also


  1. ^ Whilst Ireland had a single, strong, unifying culture, "patchwork" is a very common way to describe the political arrangement of Gaelic Ireland. For example:
    "After a period of relative quiet, Ireland was again invaded in the twelfth century. This time it was King Henry II and his Anglo-Norman barons from the neighboring island of Britain. The Ireland they found was still a regionalized patchwork of petty kingdoms. Henry set about consolidating the array of separate kingdoms into one kingdom, setting up a governing administration and instituting laws of a feudal society that rested on a hierarchy of authority under his kingship." - Patrick A. Lavin, Celtic Ireland West of the River Shannon
    "In 1023 Donnchad had his half-brother assassinated. He fought his way back to power in Munster, but that was as far as he could go. Brian's kingship of all Ireland has long since ended. He has not created a united kingdom of Ireland. Nor has he brought the Irish people together to fight the Viking outsiders. (Although in later centuries Irishmen came to believe that this is what he had done, and made Brian a national hero). In earlier centuries a few equally successfully Irish kings has claimed, just as Brian did, to be 'high king'. But none had tried to destroy the other kingdoms, and after their death the old pattern of many kingdoms had returned. After Brian's death in 1014 this happened once more. The map of eleventh-century Ireland remained a complicated patchwork quilt of scores of kingdoms. Like the Welsh, the Irish were united by language, law and culture, not by politics." - Mike Corbishley, Kenneth O Morgan, The young Oxford history of Britain & Ireland
    "When John succeeded to the throne in 1199, the lordship of Ireland was annexed to the kingdom of England. His policy was three-fold: to reduce the power of the older baronage in Ireland; to favour the Irish chiefs for policy's sake; and to build up a central government strong enough to override both. But this ambitious scheme failed to live up to expectations, and in the late thirteenth century the lordship of Ireland was 'less a lordship then a patchwork of lordships'." - David George Boyce, Nationalism in Ireland
  2. ^ The Brehon Laws: A Legal Handbook: Chapter I, Laurence Ginnell (1894)
  3. ^ Fergus Kelly, A Guide to Early Irish Law pp. 131 ff
  4. ^ a b c d e f The Brehon Laws: A Legal Handbook: Chapter VII, Laurence Ginnell (1894)
  5. ^ Fergus Kelly, A Guide to Early Irish Law, 13-14
  6. ^ Fergus Kelly, A Guide to Early Irish Law, pp. 23-5, 52
  7. ^ Fergus Kelly, A Guide to Early Irish Law, p. 21-22
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Brehon Laws: A Legal Handbook: Chapter IV, Laurence Ginnell (1894)
  9. ^ Jefferies, Dr. Henry A. "Culture and Religion in Tudor Ireland, 1494-1558". University College Cork. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  10. ^ a b c The Brehon Laws: A Legal Handbook: Chapter V, Laurence Ginnell (1894)
  11. ^ Hutton, Ronald, The Druids (London: HambledonContinuum, 2007) p2
  12. ^ Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Early Medieval Ireland, Longman, 1995, p. 88
  13. ^ Dictionary of the Irish Language, Compact Edition, Royal Irish Academy, 1990, pp. 299, 507
  14. ^ Geoffrey Keating, Foras Feasa ar Éirinn 2.45
  15. ^ Fergus Kelly, A Guide to Early Irish Law, pp. 36-7
  16. ^ a b c d e f The Brehon Laws: A Legal Handbook: Chapter VIII, Laurence Ginnell (1894)
  17. ^ Diodorus Siculus, 5.2
  18. ^ Jacobsthal, Paul. Early Celtic Art.
  19. ^ Malachy McCourt, 2004, Malachy McCourt's history of Ireland By Malachy McCourt, Running Press: "In the Treaty of Windsor, Rory accepted Henry II as the overlord and promised to pay annual tribute gathered from all of Ireland to him. For his part, Rory would remain King of Connaught and High King of all unconquered lands in Ireland."


  • Kelly, Fergus (1988). A Guide to Early Irish Law. Early Irish Law Series 3. Dublin: DIAS. ISBN 0901282952. 

Further reading

  • Duffy, Patrick J.; David Edwards; Elizabeth FitzPatrick, ed (2001). Gaelic Ireland, c. 1250—c.1650: land, landlordship and settlement. Dublin: Four Courts Press. 
  • Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth (2004). Royal inauguration in Gaelic Ireland c. 1100-1600: a cultural landscape study. Studies in Celtic History 22. Woodbridge: Boydell. 
  • Mooney, Canice (1969). The Church in Gaelic Ireland, thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. A History of Irish Catholicism 2/5. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. 
  • Nicholls, Kenneth W. (2003) [1972]. Gaelic and Gaelicised Ireland in the Middle Ages (2nd ed.). Dublin: Lilliput Press. 
  • Simms, Katherine (1987). From kings to warlords: the changing political structure of Gaelic Ireland in the later Middle Ages. Studies in Celtic History 7. Woodbridge: Boydell. 


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