Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
Surviving accounts of Tomrair's demise accord him the Gaelic title erell, making him the first earl noted by Irish sources. In fact, erell is the first Nordic loanword on record. Tomrair is also described as the tánaise ríg of Laithlind, which could mean that he was either an heir or deputy to the King of Laithlind. The accounts of Tomrair's final fall are the earliest annalistic references to the office of tánaise ríg. The precise identity of the King of Laithlind, or even location of Laithlind itself, is uncertain.
An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon in origin, akin to the Scandinavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced by duke (hertig/hertug/hertog). In later medieval Britain, it became the equivalent of the continental count. However, earlier in Scandinavia, jarl could also mean a sovereign prince. For example, the rulers of several of the petty kingdoms of Norway had the title of jarl and in many cases they had no less power than their neighbours who had the title of king. Alternative names for the rank equivalent to "earl/count" in the nobility structure are used in other countries, such as the hakushaku of the post-restoration Japanese Imperial era.
A loanword is a word adopted from one language and incorporated into another language without translation. This is in contrast to cognates, which are words in two or more languages that are similar because they share an etymological origin, and calques, which involve translation.
The context of Tomrair's fall is likewise uncertain. The year after his death, the King of Laithlind is reported to have sent a force of Vikings to contend with Vikings already settled in Ireland. In the years immediately after this, a group of Vikings called Dubgaill are noted to have battled another group called Finngaill. Afterwards in 853, a certain Amlaíb, described as the son of the King of Laithlind is stated to have won the submission of the Vikings in Ireland, and to have gained tribute from the Irish. It is uncertain if the Vikings of Laithlind are to identical to the Finngaill or Dubgaill. In the years that followed, three Vikings appear to have shared the kingship of Dublin: Amlaíb, Ímar, and Auisle. These men could well have been related to each other, and there is reason to suspect that Tomrair was yet another relation as well.
Amlaíb Conung was a Viking leader in Ireland and Scotland in the mid-late ninth century. He was the son of the king of Lochlann, identified in the non-contemporary Fragmentary Annals of Ireland as Gofraid, and brother of Auisle and Ímar, the latter of whom founded the Uí Ímair dynasty, and whose descendants would go on to dominate the Irish Sea region for several centuries. Another Viking leader, Halfdan Ragnarsson, is considered by some scholars to be another brother. The Irish Annals title Amlaíb, Ímar and Auisle "kings of the foreigners". Modern scholars use the title "kings of Dublin" after the Viking settlement which formed the base of their power. The epithet "Conung" is derived from the Old Norse konungr and simply means "king". Some scholars consider Amlaíb to be identical to Olaf the White, a Viking sea-king who features in the Landnámabók and other Icelandic sagas.
Ímar was a Viking leader in Ireland and Scotland in the mid-late ninth century who founded the Uí Ímair dynasty, and whose descendants would go on to dominate the Irish Sea region for several centuries. He was the son of the king of Lochlann, identified in the non-contemporary Fragmentary Annals of Ireland as Gofraid. The Fragmentary Annals name Auisle and Amlaíb Conung as his brothers. Another Viking leader, Halfdan Ragnarsson, is considered by some scholars to be another brother. The Irish Annals title Amlaíb, Ímar and Auisle "kings of the foreigners". Modern scholars use the title "Kings of Dublin" after the Viking settlement which formed the base of their power. Some scholars consider Ímar to be identical to Ivar the Boneless, a Viking commander of the Great Heathen Army named in contemporary English sources who also appears in the Icelandic sagas as the oldest son of the legendary Viking Ragnar Lodbrok by third wife Aslaug.
Auisle or Óisle was a Viking leader in Ireland and Scotland in the mid-late ninth century. He was the son of the king of Lochlann, identified in the non-contemporary Fragmentary Annals of Ireland as Gofraid, and brother of Amlaíb Conung and Ímar, the latter of whom founded the Uí Ímair dynasty, and whose descendants would go on to dominate the Irish Sea region for several centuries. Another Viking leader, Halfdan Ragnarsson, is sometimes considered a brother. The Irish Annals title Auisle, Ímar and Amlaíb "kings of the foreigners". Modern scholars use the title "kings of Dublin" after the Viking settlement which formed the base of their power.
The year of Tomrair's death is remarkable in the fact that the Irish won several battles against the Vikings. Tomrair's eminent standing as a Viking tánaise ríg could indicate that it was his defeat and death that is referred to by a Frankish annal in 848. It is possible that a hoard of Carolingian coins, unearthed at Mullaghboden in the nineteenth century, may have been deposited in the context of Tomrair's defeat. These coins appear to have been looted from Aquitaine only a few years before by Vikings from Vestfold.
A hoard or "wealth deposit" is an archaeological term for a collection of valuable objects or artifacts, sometimes purposely buried in the ground, in which case it is sometimes also known as a cache. This would usually be with the intention of later recovery by the hoarder; hoarders sometimes died or were unable to return for other reasons before retrieving the hoard, and these surviving hoards might then be uncovered much later by metal detector hobbyists, members of the public, and archaeologists.
The Carolingian Empire (800–888), also known as the Empire of the Romans and Franks, was a large Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe during the early Middle Ages. It was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty, which had ruled as kings of the Franks since 751 and as kings of the Lombards in Italy from 774. In 800, the Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III in an effort to revive the Roman Empire in the west. The Carolingian Empire is considered the first phase in the history of the Holy Roman Empire, which lasted until 1806.
Aquitaine, archaic Guyenne/Guienne, is a historical region of southwestern France and a former administrative region of the country. Since 1 January 2016 it has been part of the region Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It is situated in the far southwest corner of Metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It is composed of the five departments of Dordogne, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes and Gironde. In the Middle Ages, Aquitaine was a kingdom and a duchy, whose boundaries fluctuated considerably.
Tomrair may be associated with the "ring of Tomar", an object that was looted from Dublin in 994, along with the "sword of Carlus". These objects appear to have formed part of the royal insignia of Dublin, and may have been symbols of the Uí Ímair dynasty descended from Ímar. At about the same time that the ring appears on record, the Dubliners are described in Irish poetry as the "race of Tomar" and "Tomar's nobles". If these designations are not references to Þór, a Nordic deity, they may refer to Tomrair.
The Uí (h)Ímair[iː ˈiːvˠaɾʲ](listen), or Dynasty of Ivar, was a royal Norse-Gael dynasty which ruled much of the Irish Sea region, the Kingdom of Dublin, the western coast of Scotland, including the Hebrides and some part of Northern England, from the mid 9th century.
Norse paganism, also known as Old Norse religion, is the most common name for a branch of Germanic religion which developed during the Proto-Norse period, when the North Germanic peoples separated into a distinct branch of the Germanic peoples. It was replaced by Christianity during the Christianization of Scandinavia. Scholars reconstruct aspects of North Germanic religion by historical linguistics, archaeology, toponymy, and records left by North Germanic peoples, such as runic inscriptions in the Younger Futhark, a distinctly North Germanic extension of the runic alphabet. Numerous Old Norse works dated to the 13th century record Norse mythology, a component of North Germanic religion.
The Annals of Inisfallen are a chronicle of the medieval history of Ireland. There are more than 2,500 entries spanning the years between 433 and 1450. The manuscript is thought to have been compiled in 1092, as the chronicle is written by a single scribe down to that point but updated by many different hands thereafter. It was written by the monks of Innisfallen Abbey, on Innisfallen Island on Lough Leane, near Killarney in Munster, but made use of sources produced at different centres around Munster as well as a Clonmacnoise group text of the hypothetical Chronicle of Ireland.
The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland or the Annals of the Four Masters are chronicles of medieval Irish history. The entries span from the Deluge, dated as 2,242 years after creation to AD 1616.
The Annals of Ulster are annals of medieval Ireland. The entries span the years from AD 431 to AD 1540. The entries up to AD 1489 were compiled in the late 15th century by the scribe Ruaidhrí Ó Luinín, under his patron Cathal Óg Mac Maghnusa on the island of Belle Isle on Lough Erne in the kingdom of Fermanagh. Later entries were added by others.
The King of Laithlind may be identical to the King of the Foreigners attested by the Irish annals in the following year. According to various annalistic accounts, the said king sent a fleet of one hundred and forty ships overseas to contend with Vikings already settled in Ireland.[note 3] In 851, a contingent of Dubgaill are stated to have arrived in Dublin, where they defeated the Finngaill before overcoming them again at Linn Duachaill. The year after that, the Dubgaill are again reported to have crushed the Finngaill, this time at Carlingford Lough.[note 4] In 853, Amlaíb (fl. c.853–871), the son of the King of Laithlind, is reported to have arrived and Ireland, where the Vikings are stated to have submitted to him, and the Irish are reported to have rendered him tribute.[note 5] Although the annal-entries that report this event are the first specific notices of Amlaíb by name, he may well have commanded the Vikings of Laithlind in the earlier attested conflicts.
Familial relations and rank
Thereafter, Dublin was evidently ruled by three kings: Amlaíb, Ímar (died 973), and Auisle (died 867). There is reason to suspect that the three were brothers. The eleventh-century Fragmentary Annals of Ireland certainly claims that the three were brothers,[note 6] and specifically identifies the father of Amlaíb and Ímar as a man named Gofraid.
The fact that several of Ímar's apparent descendants—the Uí Ímair—repeatedly bore forms of the personal names Albdann, Amlaíb, Auisle, and Ímar, could further be evidence of shared kinship. If Ímar is identical to Ingware (died 869/870?)—a like-named leader of the Viking Great Army in Anglo-Saxon England—other brothers may include Albdann (died 877), and an unidentified Viking commander slain against the West Saxons in 878. The latter two are certainly described as Ingware's brothers by the ninth- to twelfth-century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.[note 7]
Another brother could have been Tomrair himself. In any case, Tomrair could have been a member of the royal family of Laithlind, and specifically related to Amlaíb. The Fragmentary Annals of Ireland assigns Ímar the following pedigree: "Iomhar mc. Gothfraidh mc. Raghnaill mc. Gothfraidh Conung mc. Gofraidh". Although this pedigree may not be accurate, Gofraid, the alleged father of Amlaíb and Ímar, may well have been an historical figure. This man could be identical to the like-named King of Laithlind whose death is recorded by the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland. Although the identity of King of Laithlind is nevertheless uncertain, it is clear that Tomrair was himself a very important man. He is one of the earliest Vikings named by Irish sources.[note 8]
The earliest instance of the Gaelic title erell (later ı́arla) is the account of Tomrair's demise reported by the Annals of Ulster. The term itself, meaning "earl", is derived from the Old Norsejarl, and is the first Nordic loanword on record in Old Irish. The Scandinavian title of jarl referred to a king's subordinate or deputy, a man who held some form of vice-regal authority over a particular region.[note 9]
The historical accounts of Tomrair are the earliest annalistic references to the office of tánaise ríg.[note 10] The precise meaning of this Gaelic title—forms of which are accorded to Tomrair by the Annals of the Four Masters, the Annals of Ulster, the Chronicle of Ireland, and Chronicon Scotorum—is uncertain. One possibility is that it means "awaited one of a king", "heir", "heir designate", "heir-designate", "designated successor", "heir apparent". "heir-apparent of a king", "king designate", or "royal heir". Another possibility is that it means "deputy", "military second-in-command", "representative", "second in command to a king", "second in rank or power", "second of a king", or "second to a king".
Laithlind, and the identity of the Dubgaill and Finngaill
The record of Tomrair's demise is the first notice of the term Laithlind utilised by the Irish annals. The location of the ninth-century Laithlind is uncertain. One possibility is that forms of the word refer to a Viking-controlled region of Scotland, the Northern Isles, the Western Isles, and the Isle of Man. Another possibility is that the term refers to Norway, or else a region within Norway. In later centuries, forms of the term Laithlind came to be replaced by forms of Lochlainn. It is unknown if the two terms originally had different meanings or if they were merely conflated.[note 11] Whatever its true location, the fact that Tomrair is assigned the title tánaise ríg of Laithlind, coupled with the fact that Amlaíb is identified as the son of the King of Laithlind, seems to suggest that Laithlind was regarded as a well-defined kingdom as opposed to an obscure region.
The annal-entries of 848–853 can be interpreted in a variety of ways. On one hand, the accounts may be evidence that the Vikings from Laithlind were the earliest Vikings in Ireland, and that these people reasserted themselves in Ireland after a temporary takeover by the Dubgaill. If correct, Tomrair's demise in 848 may well have been seized upon by the Dubgaill early in the 850s, which in turn precipitated a retaliatory response from the King of Laithlind in the form of an 853 invasion to restore hegemony in Ireland. On the other hand, the annal-entries could instead indicate that the Dubgaill and the Vikings from Laithlind are identical, and that this group of incomers overcame Vikings previously established in Ireland. In either case, it is possible that the terms Dubgaill and Finngaill refer to the order of arrival. As such, the terminology attributed to one group of Vikings—the Dubgaill—may have been a way of distinguishing an incoming group of Vikings from an earlier-established group—the Finngaill.[note 12]
The specific meanings behind the Gaelic terms Dubgaill and Finngaill are uncertain. Literally, the former translates as "Dark Foreigners", whilst the latter translates as "Fair Foreigners". Whilst it is possible that the ninth-century forms of these terms refer to separate ethnicities or cultural groups—such as Danes and Norwegians respectively—the terms may instead refer to political power blocs specific to Britain and Ireland. For example, there is reason to suspect that the term Dubgaill merely denotes Vikings under the leadership of the associates and descendants of Ímar, whilst the term Finngaill refers to an older order of Vikings active in Ireland before the Dubgaill. Although it is possible that Amlaíb and Ímar were related, an alternate possibility is that the men merely came to an accommodation with each other as opposing representatives of the Dubgaill and Finngaill. As such, it is conceivable that Ímar represented the Dubgaill, whilst Amlaíb represented the Finngaill. If correct, Amlaíb's dramatic arrival in Ireland, following the temporary intrusion by the Dubgaill, would seem to have resulted in a period of reconciliation between both parties.
If the accounts of Tomrair, Amlaíb, and the Vikings of Laithlind refer to royal Norwegian intervention in Ireland, it is conceivable that had Tomrair held authority in Dublin, and that the King of Laithlind moved to regain control of the region after his demise. The subsequent actions of the Vikings of Laithlind may have been undertaken in the specific context of recovering control of an important node in their trade network. As such, there is reason to suspect that Viking trading centres such as Dublin were founded by powers in Scandinavia, as opposed to enterprising independent Vikings oversea. The conflict between the Finngaill and Dubgaill could be evidence of competition to control such trade nodes in the region. Such conflict between competing Danish and Norwegian interests in the Irish Sea region could also represent an early phase in the eventual consolidation of royal power in Norway.
The "ring of Tomar"
In time, the Uí Ímair possessed royal power in the Irish Sea region for centuries. There is reason to suspect that this dynasty reinforced its right to rule by way of royal insignia specifically recorded by the Irish annals. For example, when Dublin was invaded by Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill, King of Mide (died 1022) in 994, the seventeenth-century Annals of Clonmacnoise, the Annals of the Four Masters, the fourteenth-century Annals of Tigernach, and Chronicon Scotorum, report that the Irish seized from the Dubliners the "sword of Carlus" and the "ring of Tomar". In 1029, when Mathgamain ua Riacáin is reported to have taken hostage Amlaíb, son of Sitriuc mac Amlaíb, King of Dublin, Mathgamain exacted a remarkable ransom that included the "sword of Carlus". The sword is last noted in 1058, when it was reported in the possession of Diarmait mac Maíl na mBó (died 1072), a man otherwise known to have brought both Dublin and the Isle of Man under his authority by 1060.
The various accounts of the sword and ring reveal that the objects were powerful ceremonial symbols, and important parts of Dublin's royal regalia. Swords and hammers are depicted upon some Anglo-Scandinavian coins. One possibility is that these symbols are identical to the "ring of Tomar" and "sword of Carlus", and are thus symbols of the Uí Ímair. The identities of Carlus and Tomar are nevertheless uncertain. The Gaelic Tomar may be a form of the Old Norse Þór, the name of a divine figure in Nordic mythology. The former is also a variant of the personal name Tomrair, which is in turn a Gaelicised form of the Old Norse personal name Þórir, a name itself derived from Þór.
On one hand, the Tomar of the ring may be the god Þór. It is possible that the eponym of the ring is identical to that of Caill Tomair ("The Wood of Tomar"), a forest seemingly situated north of Dublin, attested in the late tenth century by the Annals of Inisfallen, the Annals of Tigernach, the twelfth-century Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib, and Chronicon Scotorum. The wood has been specifically associated with Þór, and regarded to have been a place of pagan significance in Viking Age Ireland. If the ring was indeed a reference to a heathen cult object, the fact that only the sword is attested in the tenth century could indicate that an association between the dynasty and a pagan item was undesirable.
If the ring does not specifically refer to a pagan god, it could well refer to Tomrair himself.[note 13] Although Irish sources reveal that at least three later Vikings bore the same name, Tomrair was clearly the most eminent of these individuals. Certain notices by the Annals of the Four Masters and the twelfth-century Lebor na Cert—specifically fragments of poetry coeval with the records of the sword and ring—respectively describe the Dubliners as the "race of Tomar" and "Tomar's nobles". If these specific instances do not refer to the pagan deity, it is possible that they refer to Tomrair himself, and reveal that his memory was held in high esteem by the ruling dynasty of Dublin.
The eponym behind the "sword of Carlus" is likewise uncertain. One possibility is that the name refers to the Frankish emperor Charlemagne.[note 14] Another possibility is that Carlus is identical to Carlus mac Cuinn meic Donnchada (died 960). Not only does this man appear to have been the grandson of a High King of Ireland, but he was also slain in Dublin. However, there may be a more likely candidate. Ímar's associate, Amlaíb, is known to have had two sons: one was Carlus, a man slain in 868; another was Oistin, a man slain by the Dubgaill commander Albdann, in 875. The latter Carlus could well be the eponym behind the "sword of Carlus". As such, Tomrair's certain connection with this man's father could be evidence that Tomrair is indeed the eponym behind the "ring of Tomar".
Viking attacks on Irish churches attested by the Annals of Ulster
Recorded reduction in the scale of Viking raids upon the Irish in the 840s.
Irish sources report that the Vikings suffered several remarkable defeats to the Irish in 848. For example, the record of a victory by Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid, with seven hundred Viking dead; the notice of Tomrair's defeat against Ólchobar and Lorcán, with twelve hundred Viking dead; the record of a victory by Tigernach mac Fócartai, with another twelve hundred (or twelve score) Vikings slain; and the record of Vikings defeated by the Eóganacht Chaisil, with five hundred Vikings killed.
News of Irish successes are known to have reached the Frankish court in the following year, as the ninth-century Annales Bertiniani states that the Irish won a great victory against the Vikings, driving them out of their lands, and that the Irish sent an envoy to Charles II, King of the Franks (died 877), in an effort to negotiate an alliance and treaty with the Franks. Although any of the Irish victories of 848 could have inspired a Frankish chronicler to make note of the island, it could well have been Tomrair's eminent status—and his ultimate destruction—that was the true catalyst for this overseas annal-entry. In any case, there is a drastic decline in reported Viking attacks in Ireland after the 840s, and it is evident that the era of ninth-century massed Viking incursions was over for the Irish. By the 860s and 870s, however, the Vikings had turned their attention towards Anglo-Saxon England.
In 1871, a Viking Age hoard of at least eleven Carolingian coins was uncovered at Mullaghboden, near Ballymore Eustace. The hoard appears to have been originally deposited as early as about 847. This could mean that it was hidden by Vikings fleeing the Battle of Sciath Nechtain in 848. The hoard itself appears to have been composed of coins looted from Aquitaine only a few years previous, a haul possibly pillaged by the Viking fleet of Westfaldingi contemporaneously attested by the ninth–eleventh-century Annales Engolismenses. This force was evidently composed of men from Vestfold, a region of eastern Norway evidently under Danish overlordship during the ninth century.
↑ Since the 2000s, academics have accorded Lagmann various personal names in English secondary sources: Thórer,Thorir,Thórir,Tomar,Tomrair erell,Tomrair Erell,Tomrair,Tomrar, and Þórir.
↑ This event is also reported by the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland, and Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib.
↑ Although no other source specifically identifies these three as brothers, the Annals of Ulster reports that Auisle was killed parricidio a fratribus ("by kinsmen in parricide"), whilst the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland casts specific blame upon Amlaíb and Ímar. Nevertheless, this corroboration could stem from the fact that the composer of the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland invented the detailed account of Auisle's demise, and based it upon the accounts of earlier annals.
↑ According to the twelfth-century Estoire des Engleis, this unnamed brother was Ubba. Nevertheless, this identification may have been an assumption by the compiler of Estoire des Engleis, as earlier sources associate Ubba and Ingware together—in accounts of the killing of Edmund, King of East Anglia (died 869)—without identifying the two as brothers.
↑ The first Vikings attested by the Annals of Ulster are Saxolb (died 837),Tuirgéis (died 845), Agonn (died 847), and Tomrair himself. The annal-entries that note these men all concern the record of their violent deaths in the 830s and 840s. The first living Viking named by the Annals of Ulster is Stain (fl. 852) in the 850s.
↑ The Englishearl is derived from the Old Englisheorl. In regard to the title of earl, eorl is a semantic loan from the Old Norse jarl. The native Old English eorl, meaning "brave man", "warrior", "leader", "chief", was otherwise confined to poetic use.
↑ The next record of the position occurs in 1138, when the fourteenth-century Annals of Tigernach reports that Mathgamain Ua Conchobair, King of Ciarraige (died 1138) was tánaise ríg of the Munster.
↑ By the eleventh century, forms of Lochlainn certainly referred to Norway. In the annal-entries outlining the events of 848 and 853, the Annals of the Four Masters and the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland employ forms of Lochlainn instead of the forms Laithlind used by the other sources.
↑ The fact that forms of Laithlind first appear on record in an annal-entry for 848, whilst Vikings are reported in the Irish Sea region since the late 700s, could indicate that the term refers to the newly arrived Vikings as opposed to those already active in the region.
↑ If the ring had pagan connotations, one possibility is that it was an emblem utilised by the goðar, a class of important secular figures and religious leaders in Scandinavian heathen society. If Tomrair was indeed associated with the ring, one possibility is that he was a goði. During the earliest decades of Scandinavian settlement of Iceland, from about 930 to 1030, there appear to have been roughly twice as many goðar who bore personal names beginning with the elements Þor and Þór than those who did not. During the Viking Age, about a quarter of the Icelandic population attested by Landnámabók bore names beginning with these elements. Two particular goðar, a certain Þorgrímr attested by the fourteenth-century Kjalnesinga saga (described as a "great sacrificer"), and a certain Þórólfr attested by the thirteenth-century Eyrbyggja saga, are said to have been devotees of Þór, and to have possessed oath-rings.
↑ Some Anglo-Scandinavian coins bear Carolingian monograms.
Echmarcach mac Ragnaill was a dominant figure in the eleventh-century Irish Sea region. At his height, he reigned as king over Dublin, the Isles, and perhaps the Rhinns of Galloway. The precise identity of Echmarcach's father, Ragnall, is uncertain. One possibility is that this man was one of two eleventh-century rulers of Waterford. Another possibility is that Echmarcach's father was an early eleventh-century ruler of the Isles. If any of these identifications are correct, Echmarcach may have been a member of the Uí Ímair kindred.
Arthgal ap Dyfnwal was a ninth-century King of Alt Clut. He descended from a long line of rulers of the British Kingdom of Alt Clut. Either he or his father, Dyfnwal ap Rhydderch, King of Alt Clut, may have reigned when the Britons are recorded to have burned Pictish ecclesiastical site of Dunblane in 849.
Rhun ab Arthgal was a ninth-century King of Strathclyde. He is the only known son of Arthgal ap Dyfnwal, King of Alt Clut. In 870, during the latter's reign, the fortress of Alt Clut was captured by Vikings, after which the Arthgal and his family may have been amongst the mass of prisoners taken back to Ireland. Two years later Arthgal is recorded to have been slain at the behest of Causantín mac Cináeda, King of the Picts. The circumstances surrounding this regicide are unknown. The fact that Rhun seems to have been Causantín's brother-in-law could account for Causantín's interference in the kingship of Alt Clut.
Blácaire mac Gofraid was a Viking leader who ruled Dublin in the 10th century. He succeeded his brother Amlaíb mac Gofraid as king in 939 after the latter left Dublin to rule Northumbria. In the early years of his reign Blácaire led raids on important Christian sites at Clonmacnoise and Armagh, but repeated attacks by the Irish of Leinster in 943 and 944 led to the sack of Dublin. A year later Blácaire was replaced as King of Dublin by his cousin Amlaíb Cuarán, who had succeeded Blácaire's brother in Northumbria in 941, but had been driven out in 944.
Maccus mac Arailt was a tenth-century King of the Isles. Although his parentage is uncertain, surviving evidence suggests that he was the son of Aralt mac Sitriuc, King of Limerick. Maccus' family is known as the Meic Arailt kindred. He and his brother, Gofraid, are first recorded in the 970s. It was during this decade and the next that they conducted military operations against the Welsh of Anglesey, apparently taking advantage of dynastic strife within the Kingdom of Gwynedd.
Ólchobar mac Cináeda was King of Munster from 847 until his death. He may be the "king of the Irish" who sent an embassy to Frankish Emperor Charles the Bald announcing a series of victories over Vikings in Ireland in 848.
Ivar of Waterford was the Norse king of Waterford from at least 969 until his death in the year 1000, and also reigned as King of Dublin, possibly from 989 to 993, and certainly again for less than a year between 994 and 995, returning after his expulsion from the city in 993 by Sigtrygg Silkbeard, who would expel him for good the next time.
Dubgaill and Finngaill, or Dubgenti and Finngenti, are Middle Irish terms used to denote different rival groups of Vikings in Ireland and Britain. Literally, Dub-/Finngaill is translated as "dark and fair foreigners" or "black and white foreigners", and similarly, Dub-/Finngenti as "dark/black" and "fair/white heathens". Similar terms are found in Welsh chronicles, probably derived from Gaelic usage. The first known use of these terms in the chronicles is from 851, when it is noted that "The Dubhghoill arrived in Ath Cliath [Dublin], and made a great slaughter of the Finnghoill". The terms appear, with various spellings, in entries in Irish annals from the 9th and 10th century, and are also used and interpreted in later historiography.
Amlaíb Cenncairech was a Norse ruler and presumably King of Limerick notable for his military activities in Ireland in the 930s, especially in the province of Connacht and apparently even in Ulster and Leinster. This period, the 920s and 930s, is commonly regarded as the very height of Norse power in Ireland, and was when Limerick essentially equalled Dublin in power.
Tomrair mac Ailchi, or Thormod/Thorir Helgason, was the Viking jarl and prince who reestablished the preexisting small Norse base or settlement at Limerick as a powerful kingdom in 922 overnight when he is recorded arriving there with a huge fleet from an unknown place of departure. His ancestry is uncertain but he evidently did not belong to the Uí Ímair dynasty who only a few years before had reestablished themselves in the Kingdom of Dublin, of which Tomrair, the first King of Limerick, would immediately make himself the chief rival.
Gofraid, King of Lochlann was a key figure in the emergence of Norse influence in Scotland and the likely progenitor of the early Kings of the Isles and of the Uí Ímair that dominated the Irish Sea and environs in the Early Middle Ages. Very little is known of him, including his origins and the nature of his kingdom, although his descendants are well attested in the Irish annals. Speculative connections between these historical figures and characters from the Norse sagas have also been made.
Gofraid mac Amlaíb meic Ragnaill was a late eleventh-century King of Dublin. Although the precise identities of his father and grandfather are uncertain, Gofraid was probably a kinsman of his royal predecessor, Echmarcach mac Ragnaill, King of Dublin and the Isles. Gofraid lived in an era when control of the Kingdom of Dublin was fought over by competing Irish overlords. In 1052, for example, Echmarcach was forced from the kingdom by the Uí Chennselaig King of Leinster, Diarmait mac Maíl na mBó. When the latter died in 1072, Dublin was seized by the Uí Briain King of Munster, Toirdelbach Ua Briain, a man who either handed the Dublin kingship over to Gofraid, or at least consented to Gofraid's local rule.
Bárid mac Ímair was a ninth-century King of Dublin. He was a son of Ímar and a member of the Uí Ímair.
The Battle of Strangford Lough was fought in 877 between two groups of rival Vikings described by the Irish Annals as the "fair heathens" and the "dark heathens". The Annals of Ulster describe "Albann", a figure usually identified with Halfdan Ragnarsson, a leader of the Great Heathen Army, as king of the "dark heathens", and Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib identifies Bárid mac Ímair, King of Dublin as the leader of the "fair heathens". All accounts agree Halfdan was killed in the battle, and Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib adds that Bárid was wounded in it.
Colla mac Báirid or Colla ua Báirid was a Viking leader who ruled Limerick in the early 10th century. He first appears in contemporary annals in 924 when he is recorded as leading a raiding fleet to Lough Ree. He appears in the annals for the second and final time in 932 when his death his recorded. In both of these instances he is titled king of Limerick. Colla's parentage is uncertain; according to one theory he was the son or grandson of Bárid mac Ímair, a Uí Ímair king of Dublin, and according to another he was the son of Bárid mac Oitir.
Ragnall ua Ímair, also known as Ragnall mac Ragnaill, was an eleventh-century King of Waterford. He appears to have ruled as king from 1022 to 1035, the year of his death.
Gebeachan, also known as Gébennach, and Gebechán, was a tenth-century King of the Isles. He seems to have been a subordinate to Amlaíb mac Gofraid, King of Dublin, and is recorded to have fought and died at the Battle of Brunanburh in 937.
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