Ascall mac Ragnaill

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Ascall mac Ragnaill, also Hasculf Rognvaldsson (died 1171),[1] but surnamed Mac Torcaill or Thorgillsson,[2] was the last Norse King of Dublin. His fortress is believed to have stood on the modern site of Dublin Castle. After the 1171 invasion under Strongbow, Ascall's kingdom was captured by Cambro-Norman mercenaries allied with Dermot MacMurrough. He was forced to flee to the Scottish Highlands, where he raised an army among his relations there. When he returned and attempted to regain his kingdom by force, he was defeated and killed. The Irish annals state that he was killed in battle.

The writings of Giraldus Cambrensis, however, tell a very different story. Allegedly captured on the sands of the harbor while attempting to flee back to his ships, Ascall paid a large ransom in exchange for his release. However, before his release could be finalised, he allegedly told his captors that they had only seen a small fraction of his power and that next season he would return with an even bigger army. The Normans responded by pocketing the ransom and beheading him in the town square.

Today, the Skel(l)son family, from Leicestershire, and whom originated from the Isle of Skye (from the MacAskell clan), claim descent from King Askell Thorkellsson, his uncle, and also King of Dublin. The family originally came from the southwest coast of Norway.


  1. ^ Annals of Tigernach 1171.7; Annals of the Four Masters 1171.17
  2. ^ Annals of Ulster 1171.2 (the translation of this passage, for which see [1], is inaccurate, referring to him as the "son of Torcall".