High King of Ireland
The High Kings of Ireland were sometimes historical and sometimes legendary figures who had, or who are claimed to have had, lordship over the whole of Ireland for centuries. Medieval and early modern Irish literature portrays an unbroken sequence of High Kings, ruling from the Hill of Tara over a hierarchy of lesser kings, stretching back thousands of years. Modern historians believe this scheme is artificial, constructed in the 8th century from the various genealogical traditions of politically powerful groups, intended to justify the current status of those groups by projecting it back into the remote past; the concept of national kingship is first articulated in the 7th century, but only became a political reality in the Viking Age, then not a consistent one. While the High Kings' degree of control varied, Ireland was never ruled by them as a politically unified state, as the High King was conceived of as an overlord exercising suzerainty over, receiving tribute from, the independent kingdoms beneath him.
Early Irish kingship was sacred in character. In the early narrative literature a king is a king because he marries the sovereignty goddess, is free from blemish, enforces symbolic buada and avoids symbolic geasa. According to 7th and 8th century law tracts, a hierarchy of kingship and clientship progressed from the rí tuaithe through the ruiri to a rí ruirech; each king ruled directly only within the bounds of his own petty kingdom and was responsible for ensuring good government by exercising fír flaithemon. His responsibilities included convening its óenach, collecting taxes, building public works, external relations, emergency legislation, law enforcement, promulgating legal judgment; the lands in a petty kingdom were held allodially by various fine of freemen. The king occupied the apex of a pyramid of clientship within the petty kingdom; this pyramid progressed from the unfree population at its base up to the heads of noble fine held in immediate clientship by the king. Thus the king was drawn from the dominant fine within the cenél.
The kings of the Ulster Cycle are kings in this sacred sense, but it is clear that the old concept of kingship coexisted alongside Christianity for several generations. Diarmait mac Cerbaill, king of Tara in the middle of the 6th century, may have been the last king to have "married" the land. Diarmait died at the hands of Áed Dub mac Suibni. Adomnán's Life tells; the same Threefold Death is said in a late poem to have befallen Diarmait's predecessor, Muirchertach macc Ercae, the reliable Annals of Ulster record Muirchertach's death by drowning in a vat of wine. A second sign that sacred kingship did not disappear with the arrival of Christianity is the supposed lawsuit between Congal Cáech, king of the Ulaid, Domnall mac Áedo. Congal was blinded in one eye by Domnall's bees, from whence his byname Cáech, this injury rendering him imperfect and unable to remain High King; the enmity between Domnall and Congal can more prosaically be laid at the door of the rivalry between the Uí Néill and the kings of Ulaid, but that a king had to be whole in body appears to have been accepted at this time.
The business of Irish succession is rather complicated because of the nature of kingship in Ireland before the Norman take-over of 1171. Ireland was divided into a multiplicity of kingdoms, with some kings owing allegiance to others from time to time, succession rules varied. Kings were succeeded by their sons, but other branches of the dynasty took a turn—whether by agreement or by force of arms is clear; the king-lists and other early sources reveal little about how and why a particular person became king. To add to the uncertainty, genealogies were edited many generations to improve an ancestor's standing within a kingdom, or to insert him into a more powerful kindred; the uncertain practices in local kingship cause similar problems when interpreting the succession to the high kingship. The High King of Ireland was a ceremonial, pseudo-federal overlord, who exercised actual power only within the realm of which he was king. In the case of the southern branch of the Uí Neill, this would have been the Kingdom of Meath.
High Kings from the northern branch ruled various kingdoms in what became the province of Ulster. In 1002, the high kingship of Ireland was wrested from Mael Sechnaill II of the southern Uí Neill by Brian "Boruma" mac Cennédig of the Kingdom of Munster; some historians have called this a "usurpation" of the throne. Others have pointed out that no one had a strict legal right to the kingship and that Brian "had as much right to the high throne as any Uí Neill and... displayed an ability sadly lacking amongst most of the Uí Neill who had preceded him."Brian was killed in the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. Mael Sechnaill II was restored to the High Kingship but he died in 1022. From 1022 through the Norman take-over of 1171, the High Kingship was held alongside "Kings with Opposition". At the time the law tracts were being written these petty kingdoms were being swept away by newly emerging dynasties of dynamic overkings
Munster is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the south west of Ireland. In early Ireland, the Kingdom of Munster was one of the kingdoms of Gaelic Ireland ruled by a "king of over-kings". Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into counties for administrative and judicial purposes. In centuries, local government legislation has seen further sub-division of the historic counties. Munster has no official function for local government purposes. For the purposes of the ISO, the province is listed as one of the provincial sub-divisions of the State and coded as "IE-M". Geographically, Munster covers a total area of 24,675 km2 and has a population of 1,280,020, with the most populated city being Cork. Other significant urban centres in the province include Waterford. In the early centuries AD, Munster was the domain of the Iverni peoples and the Clanna Dedad familial line, led by Cú Roí and to whom the king Conaire Mór belonged. In the 5th century, Saint Patrick spent several years in the area and founded Christian churches and ordained priests.
During the Early Middle Ages, most of the area was part of the Kingdom of Munster, ruled by the Eóganachta dynasty. Prior to this, the area was ruled by the Corcu Loígde overlords. Rulers from the Eóganachta included Cathal mac Finguine and Feidlimid mac Cremthanin. Notable regional kingdoms and lordships of Early Medieval Munster were Iarmuman, Osraige, Uí Liatháin, Uí Fidgenti, Éile, Múscraige, Ciarraige Luachra, Corcu Duibne, Corcu Baiscinn, Déisi Muman. By the 9th century, the Gaels had been joined by Norse Vikings who founded towns such as Cork and Limerick, for the most part incorporated into a maritime empire by the Dynasty of Ivar, who periodically would threaten Munster with conquest in the next century. Around this period Ossory broke away from Munster; the 10th century saw the rise of the Dalcassian clan, who had earlier annexed Thomond, north of the River Shannon to Munster. Their leaders were the ancestors of the O'Brien dynasty and spawned Brian Boru the most noted High King of Ireland, several of whose descendants were High Kings.
By 1118, Munster had fractured into the Kingdom of Thomond under the O'Briens, the Kingdom of Desmond under the MacCarthy dynasty, the short-lived Kingdom of Ormond under the O'Kennedys. The three crowns of the flag of Munster represent these three late kingdoms. There was Norman influence from the 14th century, including by the FitzGerald, de Clare and Butler houses, two of whom carved out earldoms within the Lordship of Ireland, the Earls of Desmond becoming independent potentates, while the Earls of Ormond remained closer to England; the O'Brien of Thomond and MacCarthy of Desmond surrendered and regranted sovereignty to the Tudors in 1543 and 1565, joining the Kingdom of Ireland. The impactful Desmond Rebellions, led by the FitzGeralds, soon followed. By the mid-19th century much of the area was hit hard in the Great Famine the west; the province was affected by events in the Irish War of Independence in the early 20th century, there was a brief Munster Republic during the Irish Civil War.
The Irish leaders Michael Collins and earlier Daniel O'Connell came from families of the old Gaelic Munster gentry. Noted for its traditions in Irish folk music, with many ancient castles and monasteries in the province, Munster is a tourist destination. During the fifth century, St. Patrick spent seven years founding churches and ordaining priests in Munster, but a fifth-century bishop named Ailbe is the patron saint of Munster. In Irish mythology, a number of ancient goddesses are associated with the province including Anann, Áine, Grian, Clíodhna, Aimend, Mór Muman, Bébinn and Queen Mongfind; the druid-god of Munster is Mug Ruith. Another legendary figure is Donn; the province has long had trading and cultural links with continental Europe. The tribe of Corcu Loígde had a trading fleet active along the French Atlantic coast, as far south as Gascony, importing wine to Munster; the Eóganachta had ecclesiastical ties with Germany, which show in the architecture of their ceremonial capital at the Rock of Cashel.
The majority of Irish ogham inscriptions are found in Munster, principally in areas occupied by the Iverni the Corcu Duibne. Europe's first linguistic dictionary in any non-Classical language, the Sanas Cormaic, was compiled by Munster scholars, traditionally thought to have been directed by the king-bishop Cormac mac Cuilennáin; the School of Ross in Munster was one of Europe's leading centres of learning in the Early Middle Ages. Several sports in Munster are organised on a provincial basis, or operate competitions along provincial lines; this includes traditionally popular sports such as hurling, Gaelic football, rugby union and soccer, as well as cricket and others. Munster is noted for its tradition of hurling. Three of the four most successful teams in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship are from Munster; the final of the Munster Senior Hurling Championship is one of the most important days in the Irish GAA calendar. Munster is the only province in Ireland that all of its counties have won an All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.
Traditionally, the dominant teams in Munster football are Kerry GAA and Cork GAA, although Tipperary GAA and Limerick GAA have won All-Ireland Senior Football Championships. Kerry in particular are the most successful county in the history of football. Rugby is a popular game in the cities of Limerick a
Táin Bó Cúailnge
Táin Bó Cúailnge is a legendary tale from early Irish literature, considered an epic, although it is written in prose rather than verse. It tells of a war against Ulster by Connacht queen Medb and her husband Ailill, who intend to steal the stud bull Donn Cuailnge and are opposed only by teenage Ulster hero Cú Chulainn; the Táin is traditionally set in the 1st century in an pre-Christian heroic age, is the central text of a group of tales known as the Ulster Cycle. It survives in three written versions or "recensions" in manuscripts of the 12th century and the first a compilation written in Old Irish, the second a more consistent work in Middle Irish, the third an Early Modern Irish version; the Táin is preceded by a number of remscéla, or pre-tales, which provide background on the main characters and explain the presence of certain characters from Ulster in the Connacht camp, the curse that causes the temporary inability of the remaining Ulstermen to fight and the magic origins of the bulls Donn Cuailnge and Finnbhennach.
The eight remscéla chosen by Thomas Kinsella for his 1969 translation are sometimes taken to be part of the Táin itself, but come from a variety of manuscripts of different dates. Several other tales exist which are described as remscéla to the Táin, some of which have only a tangential relation to it; the first recension begins with Ailill and Medb assembling their army in Cruachan, the purpose of this military build-up taken for granted. The second recension adds a prologue in which Ailill and Medb compare their respective wealths and find that the only thing that distinguishes them is Ailill's possession of the phenomenally fertile bull Finnbhennach, born into Medb's herd but scorned being owned by a woman so decided to transfer himself to Ailill's. Medb determines to get the potent Donn Cuailnge from Cooley to equal her wealth with her husband, she negotiates with the bull's owner, Dáire mac Fiachna, to rent the animal for a year until her messengers, reveal that they would have taken the bull by force if they had not been allowed to borrow it.
The deal breaks down, Medb raises an army, including Ulster exiles led by Fergus mac Róich and other allies, sets out to capture Donn Cuailnge. The men of Ulster are disabled by the ces noínden. A separate tale explains this as the curse of the goddess Macha, who imposed it after being forced by the king of Ulster to race against a chariot while pregnant; the only person fit to defend Ulster is seventeen-year-old Cú Chulainn, he lets the army take Ulster by surprise because he's off on a tryst when he should be watching the border. Cú Chulainn, assisted by his charioteer Láeg, wages a guerrilla campaign against the advancing army halts it by invoking the right of single combat at fords, defeating champion after champion in a stand-off lasting months. However, he is unable to prevent Medb from capturing the bull. Cú Chulainn is both hindered by supernatural figures. Before one combat the Morrígan visits him in the form of a beautiful young woman and offers him her love, but he spurns her, she reveals herself and threatens to interfere in his next fight.
She does so, first in the form of an eel who trips him in the ford as a wolf who stampedes cattle across the ford, as a heifer at the head of the stampede, but in each form Cú Chulainn wounds her. After he defeats his opponent, the Morrígan appears to him in the form of an old woman milking a cow, with wounds corresponding to the ones Cú Chulainn gave her in her animal forms, she offers him three drinks of milk. With each drink he blesses her, the blessings heal her wounds. After a arduous combat he is visited by another supernatural figure, who reveals himself to be Cú Chulainn's father. Lugh puts Cú Chulainn to sleep for three days. While Cú Chulainn sleeps the youth corps of Ulster come to his aid but are all slaughtered; when Cú Chulainn wakes he undergoes a spectacular ríastrad or "distortion", in which his body twists in its skin and he becomes an unrecognisable monster who knows neither friend nor foe. He avenges the youth corps sixfold. After this extraordinary incident, the sequence of single combats resumes, although on several occasions Medb breaks the agreement by sending several men against him at once.
When Fergus, his foster-father, is sent to fight him, Cú Chulainn agrees to yield to him on the condition that Fergus yields the next time they meet. There is a physically and gruelling three-day duel between the hero and his foster-brother and best friend, Ferdiad. Cú Chulainn wins, killing Ferdiad with the Gáe Bolga; the debilitated Ulstermen start to rouse, one by one at first en masse, the final battle begins. To begin with Cú Chulainn sits it out, recovering from his wounds. Fergus has Conchobar at his mercy, but is prevented from killing him by Cormac Cond Longas, Conchobar's son and Fergus' foster-son, in his rage cuts the tops off three hills with his sword. Cú Chulainn enters the fray and confronts Fergus, who makes good on his promise and yields to him, pulling his forces off the field. Connacht's other allies panic and Medb is forced to retreat, she does, manage to bring Donn Cuailnge back to Connacht, where the bull fights Finnbhennach, kills him, but is mortally wounded, wanders around Ireland creating placenames before returning home to die of exhaustion.
County Armagh is one of the traditional counties of Ireland and one of six counties that form Northern Ireland. Adjoined to the southern shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 1,326 km² and has a population of about 174,792. County Armagh is known as the "Orchard County" because of its many apple orchards; the county is part of the historic province of Ulster. The name "Armagh" derives from the Irish word Ard meaning Macha. Macha is mentioned in The Book of the Taking of Ireland, is said to have been responsible for the construction of the hill site of Emain Macha to serve as the capital of the Ulaid kings thought to be Macha's height. From its highest point at Slieve Gullion, in the south of the County, Armagh's land falls away from its rugged south with Carrigatuke and Camlough mountains, to rolling drumlin country in the middle and west of the county and flatlands in the north where rolling flats and small hills reach sea level at Lough Neagh. County Armagh's boundary with Louth is marked by the rugged Ring of Gullion rising in the south of the county whilst much of its boundary with Monaghan and Down goes unnoticed with seamless continuance of drumlins and small lakes.
The River Blackwater marks the border with County Tyrone and Lough Neagh otherwise marks out the County's northern boundary. There are a number of uninhabited islands in the county's section of Lough Neagh: Coney Island Flat, Croaghan Flat, Phil Roe's Flat and the Shallow Flat. Despite lying in the east of Ireland, Armagh enjoys an oceanic climate influenced by the Gulf Stream with damp mild winters, temperate, wet summers. Overall temperatures drop below freezing during daylight hours, though frost is not infrequent in the months November to February. Snow lies for longer than a few hours in the elevated south-east of the County. Summers are mild and wet and although with sunshine interspersed with showers, daylight lasts for 18 hours during high-summer. Ancient Armagh was the territory of the Ulaid before the fourth century AD, it was ruled by the Red Branch. The site, subsequently the city, were named after the goddess Macha; the Red Branch play an important role in the Ulster Cycle, as well as the Cattle Raid of Cooley.
However, they were driven out of the area by the Three Collas, who invaded in the 4th century and held power until the 12th. The Clan Colla ruled the area known as Oriel for these 800 years; the chief Irish septs of the county were descendants of the Collas, the O'Hanlons and MacCanns, the Uí Néill, the O'Neills of Fews. Armagh was divided into several baronies: Armagh was held by the O'Rogans, Lower Fews was held by O'Neill of the Fews, Upper Fews were under governance of the O'Larkins, who were displaced by the MacCanns. Oneilland East was the territory of the O'Garveys, who were displaced by the MacCanns. Oneilland West, like Oneilland East, was once O'Neill territory, until it was held by the MacCanns, who were Lords of Clanbrassil. Upper and Lower Orior were O'Hanlon territory. Tiranny was ruled by Ronaghan. Miscellaneous tracts of land were ruled by O'Kelaghan; the area around the base of Slieve Guillion near Newry became home to a large number of the McGuinness clan as they were dispossessed of hereditary lands held in the County Down.
Armagh was the seat of St. Patrick, the Catholic Church continues to be his see. County Armagh is presently one of four counties of Northern Ireland to have a majority of the population from a Catholic background, according to the 2011 census; the southern part of the County has been a stronghold of support for the IRA, earning it the nickname "Bandit Country" though this is regarded as an untrue media label that has resulted in the vilification and demonisation of the local community. South Armagh is predominantly nationalist, with most of the population being opposed to any form of British presence that of a military nature; the most prominent opposition to British rule was the Provisional IRA South Armagh Brigade. On 10 March 2009, the CIRA claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting of a PSNI officer in Craigavon, County Armagh—the first police fatality in Northern Ireland since 1998; the officer was fatally shot by a sniper as he and a colleague investigated "suspicious activity" at a house nearby when a window was smashed by youths causing the occupant to phone the police.
The PSNI officers responded to the emergency call, giving a CIRA sniper the chance to shoot and kill officer Stephen Carroll. County Armagh is no longer used as an administrative district for local Government purposes. County Armagh ceased to serve as a local government unit in 1973; the county is covered for local government purposes by four district councils, namely Armagh City and District Council, most of Craigavon Borough Council the western third of Newry and Mourne District Council and a part of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council, centred around Peatlands Park. With the proposed reform of local government in Northern Ireland in 2011, County Armagh would have comprised part of two new council areas, Armagh City and Bann District, Newry City and Down. Armagh ceased to serve as an electoral constituency in 1983, but remains the core of the Newry and Armagh constituency represented at Westminster and
Rathcroghan is a complex of archaeological sites near Tulsk in County Roscommon, Ireland. It is identified as the site of Cruachan, the traditional capital of the Connachta, a term used to describe the prehistoric and early historic rulers of the western territory; the Rathcroghan Complex is a unique archaeological landscape with many references found in early Irish medieval manuscripts. Located on the plains of Connacht, Rathcroghan is one of the six Royal Sites of Ireland; this landscape which extends over six square kilometres, consists of 240 plus archaeological sites, sixty of which are protected national monuments. These monuments range from the Neolithic, through the Bronze and Iron Age, to the early medieval period and beyond; these monuments include burial mounds and medieval field boundaries amongst others. The most fascinating of these are the multi period Rathcroghan Mound, the mysterious cave of Oweynagat, the Mucklaghs - a spectacular set of linear earthworks, as well as the Carns medieval complex.
There are many interesting historic references to Rathcroghan recorded in early medieval manuscripts, including the 12th century Lebor na hUidre. Rathcroghan is recorded as the location of one of the great fairs of Ireland, as well as being one of the island's three great heathen cemeteries, it is the location for the beginning and end of a national epic tale – an Táin Bó Cúailnge, the royal seat of Medb, Connacht's Warrior Queen. Rathcroghan possesses an entrance to the Otherworld, described in the medieval period as "Ireland's Gate to Hell", located at Oweynagat; the cave has associations with the pagan festival of Samhain, Halloween, as well as being described as the "fit abode" of Morrigan, a Celtic Goddess of pre-Christian Ireland. According to a Dindshenchas poem, Cruachan was named after Crochen, the handmaid of Étaín, a sídhe maiden reborn as a mortal; when Étaín is brought back to the Otherworld by her original sídhe lover Midir, Crochen accompanies them and on their way to Midir's underground palace they spend some time in a mound known as Síd Sinche.
Crochen is so impressed by this síd. Because of her loyalty to Étaín and her respect to this dwelling, Midir gives it to her and names it in her honour before bringing Étaín to his palace at Bri Leith. At the end of the poem Crochen is mentioned as the mother of Medb; the same poem mentions Cruachan as a royal cemetery: "Listen, ye warriors about Cruachu! With its barrow for every noble couple". Cruachan features in the Ulster Cycle as it was the home of one of its chief characters Queen Medb, she had been given the kingdom of Connacht by her High-King father Eochaid Feidlech who had de-throned the previous king Tindi Mac Conra over an act of treachery. It is unclear if Tindi had ruled the province from Cruachan or if had been built by/for Medb. Another story states that Cruachan had been ruled by the queen's sister, before Medb herself had her killed. Vivid descriptions of the Western capital are given in Fled Bricrenn, this one in Táin Bó Fraích: "Of pine the house was made. There were sixteen windows in the house, a frame of brass, to each of them.
Four beams of brass on the apartment of Ailill and Medb, adorned all with bronze, it in the exact centre of the house. Two rails of silver around it under gilding. In the front a wand of silver that reached the middle rafters of the house; the house was encircled all round from the door to the other." Cruachan features at the start and end of the Táin Bó Cúailgne with the pillow talk in the royal residence, concluding with the fight of the bulls, supposed to have taken place at Rath na dTarbh, one of the largest ring-forts on the site. Aside from the Ulster tales there are not many mythical descriptions of Connacht's main fort with one of the best examples occurring in a Dindshenchas poem on Carn Fráich; this poem deals with two figures of this name, one being the Fráech of Medb's time and one, a Connacht prince preceding Irelands division into Conn's and Eoghan's half, with this section of the poem describing Cruachan as a stone-built fortress. Cruachan seems to have heavy associations with the feast of Samhain, as it was during this time that the Irish believed that the prehistoric graves from before their time opened and their gods and spirits, who dwelt inside, walked the earth.
The emerging of creatures from Oweynagat would be part of this belief. A legend based on this is "The Adventures of Nera", in which the warrior of the title is challenged to tie a twig around the ankle of a condemned man on Samhain night. After agreeing to get some water for the condemned man he discovers strange houses and when he gets him some water at the third house he returns him to captivity only to witness Rathcroghan's royal buildings being destroyed by the spirits, he follows the fairy host to the síd where he meets a woman who tells him that what he saw was a vision of what will happen a year from now unless his mortal comrades are warned. He leaves the síd and informs Ailill of his vision who has the Sidhe destroyed, it is unclear whether what is referred to as the síd is Oweynagat or the mound of Rathcroghan itself. However, it is from Oweynagat; the Ellen Trechen was a triple headed monster that went on a rampage across the country before being killed by Amergin, the father of Conall Cernach.
Small red birds came from the cave withering every plant they breathed on before being hunted by the Red Branch herds of pigs with sim
County Roscommon is a county in Ireland. In the western region, it is part of the province of Connacht, it is the 11th largest Irish county by 27th most populous. Its county town and largest town is Roscommon. Roscommon County Council is the local authority for the county; the population of the county was 64,544 according to the 2016 census. County Roscommon is named after the county town of Roscommon. Roscommon comes from the Irish Ros meaning a wooded, gentle height and Comán, the first abbot and bishop of Roscommon who founded the first monastery there in 550 AD. Roscommon is the eleventh largest of the 32 counties of Ireland by area and the fifth least-populous county in Ireland, it has an area of 984 square miles. Lough Key in north Roscommon is noted for having thirty-two islands; the geographical centre of Ireland is located on the western shore of Lough Ree in the south of the county. Roscommon is the third largest of Connacht's five counties by size and fourth largest in terms of population.
The county borders every other Connacht county – Galway, Mayo and Leitrim, as well as three Leinster counties – Longford and Offaly. In 2008, a news report said that statistically, Roscommon has the longest life expectancy of any county on the island of Ireland. Seltannasaggart, located along the northern border with County Leitrim is the tallest point in County Roscommon measuring to a height of 428 m. There are nine historical baronies in County Roscommon. North Roscommon Boyle. Frenchpark. Roscommon. Castlereagh. Ballintober North. South Roscommon Ballymoe shared with County Galway includes Ballymoe and Glenamaddy. Ballintober South. Athlone. Moycarn. Rathcroghan, near Tulsk, a complex of archaeological sites, the home of Queen Medb, was the seat of Kings of Connacht and to the High Kings of Ireland; this was the starting point of the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or Cattle Raid of Cooley, an epic tale in Irish mythology. The county is home to many prehistoric and British Iron Age ringforts like, Carnagh West Ringfort and Drummin fort.
County Roscommon as an administrative division has its origins in the medieval period. With the conquest and division of the Kingdom of Connacht, those districts in the east retained by King John as "The King's Cantreds" covered County Roscommon, parts of East Galway; these districts were leased to the native kings of Connacht and became the county. In 1585 during the Tudor re-establishment of counties under the Composition of Connacht, Roscommon was established with the South-west boundary now along the River Suck. A "well defined" and "original" fine metal workshop was active in County Roscommon in the 12th century; the Cross of Cong, the Aghadoe crosier, Shrine of the Book of Dimma and Shrine of Manchan of Mohill' are grouped together as having been created by Mael Isu Bratain Ui Echach et al. at the same Roscommon workshop. The workshop has been linked to St. Assicus of Elphin. John O'Donovan and scholar, visited County Roscommon in 1837, while compiling information for the Ordnance Survey.
Entering St Peter's parish in Athlone in June 1837, he wrote, "I have now entered upon a region different from Longford, am much pleased with the intelligence of the people." However, he had major problems with place-names. He wrote, "I am sick to death's door of lochawns, it pains me to the soul to have to make these remarks, but what can I do when I cannot make the usual progress? Here I am stuck in the mud in the middle of Loughs, Turlaghs and Curraghs, the names of many of which are only known to a few old men in their immediate neighbourhood and I cannot give many of them utterance from the manner in which they are spelled." Roscommon is governed locally by the 26-member Roscommon County Council. For general elections, Roscommon forms part of the three-seat Roscommon–Galway constituency. Iarnród Éireann provides Roscommon with freight rail services. Many passenger services to Dublin use Heuston. Athlone is the interchange between the Dublin -- Dublin -- Westport services. There are trains from Sligo on the Dublin–Sligo railway line serving two County Roscommon stations, at Boyle and Carrick-on-Shannon on the line to Dublin Connolly.
Gaelic football is the dominant sport in Roscommon. Roscommon GAA have won 2 All-Ireland Senior Football Championships in 1943 and 1944 and a National Football League Division 1 in 1979 and Division 2 in 2015 and 2018. Roscommon GAA play home games at Dr. Hyde Park. Roscommon has less success in hurling, their main hurling title was the 2007 Nicky Rackard Cup. In order of birth: Charles O'Conor and antiquarian of the O'Conor Don family Matthew O'Conor Don historian born in Ballinagare, Co. Roscommon Arthur French, 1st Baron de Freyne, Member of Parliament and landlord of Frenchpark House Sir John Scott Lillie CB, decorated Peninsular War veteran and political activist in England William Wilde, surgeon and father of Oscar Wilde, born in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon Michael Dockry, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly Thomas Curley, American Civil War colonel and Wisconsin legislator, born in Tremane, near Athleague, Co. Roscommon Henry Gore-Browne, Victoria Cross recipient, born in Co.. Roscommon Luke O'Connor, first soldier t
Medb —later forms Meadhbh and Méabh and Maeve—is queen of Connacht in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. Her husband in the core stories of the cycle is Ailill mac Máta, although she had several husbands before him who were kings of Connacht, she rules from Cruachan. She is the enemy of Conchobar mac Nessa, king of Ulster, is best known for starting the Táin Bó Cúailnge to steal Ulster's prize stud bull. Medb is strong-willed, ambitious and promiscuous, is an archetypal warrior queen, she is believed to be a manifestation of the sovereignty goddess. Medb of Connacht is identical with Medb Lethderg, the sovereignty goddess of Tara, may be linked with the Morrígan, she may be the inspiration for the fairy Queen Mab found in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and other media. In Old Irish and Middle Irish her name is Medb, in early modern Irish Meadhbh or Meaḋḃ, in modern Irish Méabh; this is believed to come from the Proto-Celtic *medu- or *medua, the meaning of her name has thus been interpreted as "mead-woman" or "she who intoxicates".
This is thought to reflect her role as sovereignty goddess. In ancient and medieval Ireland, the drinking of mead was a key part of a king's inauguration ceremony. In myth, a supernatural woman representing the sovereignty of the land chooses a king by offering him an alcoholic drink, thus bestowing sovereignty upon him. However, it is suggested that the name comes from Proto-Celtic *medwa; the name has been Anglicised as Maeve, Mave or Maiv. There are several place names in Ireland containing the name Medb. According to Kay Muhr of the Ulster Place-Name Society, some of these names suggest Medb was an earth and fertility goddess, they include Ballypitmave in County Antrim and Sawel Pitmave in County Tyrone, both in northern Ulster. Other placenames include Maeve's Cairn in County Sligo, Barnavave in County Louth, Boveva in County Londonderry, Knockmaa in County Galway, Meskanmave in County Donegal, Milleen Meva at Rathcroghan in County Roscommon. How Medb came to power in Connacht and married Ailill is told in the tale Cath Bóinde known as Ferchuitred Medba.
Her father, Eochaid Feidlech, the High King of Ireland, married her to Conchobar mac Nessa, king of Ulster, because he had killed Conchobar's purported father, the former High King Fachtna Fáthach, in battle. She bore him a son, but the marriage was a bad one and she left him. Eochaid gave Conchobar another of his daughters, but Medb murdered her while she was pregnant. Eochaid deposed the then-king of Connacht, Tinni mac Conri, installed Medb in his place. However, Tinni regained a share of the throne when he and Medb became lovers. Conchobar raped Medb after an assembly at Tara, war ensued between the High King and Ulster. Tinni challenged Conchobar to single combat, lost. Eochaid Dála of the Fir Domnann, Tinni's rival for the kingship, protected the Connacht army as it retreated, became Medb's next husband and king of Connacht. Medb demanded her husband satisfy her three criteria -- that he be without meanness, or jealousy; the last was important, as she had many lovers. While married to Eochaid Dála, she took chief of her bodyguard, as her lover.
Eochaid discovered the affair, challenged Ailill to single combat, lost. Ailill married Medb and became king of Connacht. Medb and Ailill had seven sons, all called Maine, they all had other names, but when Medb asked a druid which of her sons would kill Conchobar, he replied, "Maine". She did not have a son called Maine, so she renamed all her sons as follows: Fedlimid became Maine Athramail Cairbre became Maine Máthramail Eochaid became Maine Andoe and was known as Cich-Maine Andoe or Cichmuine Fergus became Maine Taí Cet became Maine Mórgor Sin became Maine Mílscothach Dáire became Maine Móepirt The prophecy was fulfilled when Maine Andoe went on to kill Conchobar, son of Arthur, son of Bruide — not Conchobar, son of Fachtna Fathach, as Medb had assumed the druid meant. Medb and Ailill had a daughter, Findabair. Medb insisted that she be equal in wealth with her husband, started the Cattle Raid of Cooley when she discovered that Ailill was one powerful stud bull richer than her, she discovered that the only rival to Ailill's bull, was Donn Cúailnge, owned by Dáire mac Fiachna, a vassal of Conchobar's.
She sent messengers to Dáire, offering wealth and sexual favours in return for the loan of the bull, Dáire agreed. But when a drunken messenger declared that, if he had not agreed, the bull would have been taken by force, Dáire withdrew his consent, Medb prepared for war. An army was raised including contingents from all over Ireland. One was a group of Ulster exiles led by Conchobar's estranged son Cormac Cond Longas and his foster-father Fergus mac Róich, former king of Ulster and one of Medb's lovers, it is reported that it Fergus once. Medb's relationship with Fergus is alluded to in the early poem Conailla Medb míchuru ("Medb has entered evil contract