Map of Ireland

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(A.D. 534), and for twenty eventful years bore sway over all Erin. He appears to have had quite as much of the old leaven of Paganism in his composition--at least in his youth and prime--as either Lewy or Leary. He kept Druids about his person, despised "the right of sanctuary" claimed by the Christian clergy, and observed, with all the ancient superstitious ceremonial, the national games at Tailteen. In his reign, the most remarkable event was the public curse pronounced on Tara, by a Saint whose sanctuary the reckless monarch had violated, in dragging a prisoner from the very horns of the altar, and putting him to death. For this offence--the crowning act of a series of aggressions on the immunities claimed by the clergy--the Saint, whose name was Ruadan, and the site of whose sanctuary is still known as Temple-Ruadan in Tipperary, proceeded to Tara, accompanied by his clergy, and, walking round the royal rath, solemnly excommunicated the monarch, and anathematized the place. The far-reaching consequences of this awful exercise of spiritual power are traceable for a thousand years through Irish history. No king after Dermid resided permanently upon the hill of Tara. Other royal houses there were in Meath--at Tailteen, at the hill of Usna, and on the margin of the beautiful Lough Ennell, near the present Castlepollard, and at one or other of these, after monarchs held occasional court; but those of the northern race made their habitual home in their own patrimony near Armagh, or on the celebrated hill of Aileach. The date of the malediction which left Tara desolate is the year of our Lord, 554. The end of this self-willed semi-Pagan (Dermid) was in unison with his life; he was slain in battle by Black Hugh, Prince of Ulster, two years after the desolation of Tara.

Four kings, all fierce competitors for the succession, reigned and fell, within ten years of the death of Dermid, and then we come to the really interesting and important reign of Hugh the Second, which lasted twenty-seven years (A.D. 566 to 593), and was marked by the establishment of the Independence of the Scoto-Irish Colony in North Britain, and by other noteworthy events. But these twenty-seven years deserve a chapter to themselves.




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Map of Ireland