Remembering O’Connor Kings Of Centuries Past
Cathal O’Connor or (Cathal Crobhdearg Ua Conchobair in Irish) was the youngest son of the Irish High King Tairrdelbach mac Ruaidri Ua Conchobair, was a King of Connacht.
He was King of Connacht from 1189 to 1199, and was re-inaugurated on the stone at Clonalis c.1201, reigning until 1224. He first succeeded his elder half brother Ruaidri's son Conchobar Máenmaige as ruler of Connacht. Conchobar Máenmaige's son Cathal Carrach then ruled from 1199 to 1202, with Cathal Crobhdearg back in power from then. From his base west of the river Shannon he was forced to deal with the Norman invaders. He was a competent leader despite problems, avoiding major conflicts and winning minor skirmishes. Ua Conchobair attempted to make the best of the new situation with Ireland divided between Norman and Gaelic rulers. His long reign was perhaps a sign of relative success. He had succeeded his elder brother Rory O'Connor the previous King of Connacht. He is the subject, as Cathal Mór of the Wine Red Hand, of the poem A Vision of Connaught in the Thirteenth Century by the 19th-century Irish nationalist James Clarence Mangan.
He founded Ballintubber Abbey in 1215, and was succeeded by his son, Aedh mac Cathal Crobdearg Ua Conchobair. His wife, Mor Ní Briain, was a daughter of King Domnall Mór Ua Briain of Thomond, died in 1218.
In 1224 Cathal wrote to Henry III as Lord of Ireland, asking that his son and heir Od (Aedh) be granted all of Connacht, in particular those parts owned by William de Lacy.
The Wikipedia entry on Conchobar Maenmaige Ua Conchobair states;
“Conchobar Maenmaige Ua Conchobair, son of High King of Ireland Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, was King of Connacht from 1183 to 1189. He was a military commander and opponent of the Norman invasion of Ireland.”
The article later goes on to say that;
“Conchobar Maenmaige is next mentioned in the Annals of Ulster in 1174 in the following terse statement: "The battle of Durlus [was gained] by Domnall Ua Briain and by Conchobur Maenmhaighi upon the people of the son of the Empress (namely, of the king of the Saxons)." The Annals of the Four Masters list his presence at The Battle of the Connors in Hy-Many in 1180.
In 1184 the King of Meath, Art Ua Melaghlin, "was treacherously slain by Dermot O' Brien (i.e. the son of Turlough), at the instigation of the English." Ruaidri supported the O'Melaghlins as he had annexed much of the midlands to Connacht and Art's successor, Melaghlin Beg O'Melaghlin was aided by Conchobar. The armies of Connacht and Meath, led by both men, attacked and destroyed castles in areas conquered by the invaders, the result being "many of the English were slain."
In 1185 war broke out among the Princes of Connacht ("ríogh-dhamhna", literally "king material"), as three contenders for the kingship of Connacht assailed both Ruaidrí and each other. One of them was Connor's own son, Cathal Carragh Ua Conchobair, the other two being Connor mac Cormac Ua Conchobar and Cathal Crobdearg Ua Conchobair. Conchobar appears to have supported his father, but as events of the following year would show he too appears to have become impatient for change and a chance to turn the tide. At any rate, for now, though "the contests between them many were slain," Ruaidrí "and his son afterwards made peace with the other chiefs."
Reconciled, Conchobair and Cathal Carragh burned Killaloe, as well churches as houses, and carried off all the jewels and riches of the inhabitants ... [left Thomond] ... destroyed and pillaged. In this Conchobar commanded Norman allies, who came as far as [from] Roscommon, where Ruaidri gave them three thousand cows as wages.”
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