Kingdom of Ossory
|Kingdom of Ossory
Ireland circa 900
|-||1170–1172||Diarmait Ua Caellaide|
|-||Diocese of Ossory||549|
|Parent house||Ulaid / Érainn|
Kingdom of Ireland titles:
The kingdom of Ossory (Old Irish: Osraige, Irish: Osraí) was an ancient kingdom of Ireland. It formed the easternmost part of the over-kingdom (Irish: Rí ruirech) of Munster until the middle of the 9th century, after which it attached itself to Leinster. Ossory was allied to the powerful Corcu Loígde or Dáirine of Munster for several centuries before the rise of the Eóganachta in the 7th century. The gens is said to have provided a number of pre-historic kings of Munster under the alliance. The new political configuration, probably the result of an Uí Néill-Eóganachta alliance against the Corcu Loígde, caused a reduction in Ossory's relative status. As a result, its kings were obliged to seek their fortunes in Leinster.
The Osraige or "people of the deer" inhabited much of modern County Kilkenny and parts of neighbouring County Laois. To the west and south, Osraige was bounded by the River Suir; to the east, the watershed of the River Barrow marked the boundary with Leinster; to the north it extended into and beyond the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Its most significant neighbours were the Loígsi, Uí Ceinnselaig and Uí Bairrche of Leinster to the north and east and the Déisi, Eóganacht Chaisil and Éile of Munster to the south and west.
In historic times, the territory was first ruled by the Dál Birn, but were displaced for a period by the Corcu Loígde of south Munster. According to the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland by 583 the Dál Birn (also known as Clann Connla) had reclaimed their old patrimony. By the late tenth century the Dál Birn had adopted the surname Mac Giolla Phádraig; which was later anglicised as "Fitzpatrick" upon their formal submission to Henry VIII of England in 1537. It is believed by some (P. McEvoy, N.T., Kilkenny) that a Mac Giolla Phádraig fort first stood on the site of the present Kilkenny Castle. In 1541 The Mac Giolla Phádraig was ennobled as Baron Upper Ossory. Other members of the family were subsequently created Earl of Upper Ossory and Baron Castletown.
Overlap with the Diocese of Ossory
The medieval Diocese of Ossory covered much the same region. In the earliest times, the church at Domnach Mór Roigni (now Donaghmore, County Laois) may have been the chief church in Osraige, but in historic times it had been eclipsed by Aghaboe (County Laois), chief church of Saint Cainnech, since replaced by Kilkenny, and Seir Kieran (County Offaly), chief church of St Ciarán. The record of the Irish annals also points to Freshford, County Kilkenny being of some importance, while archaeological evidence suggests that Kilkieran, Killamery and Kilree (all County Kilkenny) were significant ecclesiastical sites.
A celebrated king of Osraige was Cerball mac Dúnlainge, the direct male progenitor of the Mac Giolla Phádraig dynasts of Ossory, and who also gave his patronymic to the O'Carroll (Ó Cearbhail) family in nearby Éile. He was also close enough to the Norse–Gaels that he features as Kjarvalr Írakonungr in many medieval Icelandic pedigrees through his daughters.
Gofraid mac Arailt, King of the Isles, through his daughter Mael Muire, appears to have been the maternal grandfather of Donnchad mac Gilla Pátraic, the Osraige king of Leinster. Thus the Mac Giolla Phádraigs or Fitzpatricks of Ossory are probably matrilineal descendants of the Uí Ímair. Cerball was an ally of their (probable) founder Ívar the Boneless, the Viking king of Waterford. It is also possible that Donnchad's father, Gilla Pátraic mac Donnchada, was somehow a relation of Ívar the Boneless, who had a son named Gilla Pátraic.
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Scholars believe that the Laigin pedigree of the Osraige is a fabrication, invented to help them achieve their goals in Leinster. Francis John Byrne suggests that it may date from the time of Cearbhaill mac Dúnlainge.
The Osraige were probably either a southern branch of the Ulaid or Dál Fiatach of Ulster, and/or quite possibly close kin to their former Corcu Loígde allies. In either case it would appear they should properly be counted among the Érainn.
- List of Irish kings
- Irish royal families
- Kings of Osraige
- Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond
- Bishop of Ossory
- Charles-Edwards 2000
- Byrne, Irish kings and high-kings, maps on pp. 133 & 172–173; Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland, p. 236, map 9 & p. 532, map 13.
- ) See: HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH From the Renaissance to the French Revolution; Rev. James MacCaffrey, S.J., 1914; VOLUME II, CHAPTER VIII.
- Downham, "Career", p. 7; Mac Niocaill, Ireland before the Vikings, pp. 3–4.
- Downham, "Career", p. 7; Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland, pp. 292–294; Byrne, Irish kings and high-kings, pp. 180–181.
- Byrne, p. 163
- Byrne, p. 201
- Ó Néill, 'Osraige'; Doherty, 'Érainn'
- Byrne, Francis John, Irish Kings and High-Kings, London: Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-5882-8
- Charles-Edwards, T. M. (2000), Early Christian Ireland, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-36395-0
- Charles Doherty, 'Érainn', in Seán Duffy (ed.), Medieval Ireland: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. 2005. p. 156.
- Downham, Clare (2004), "The career of Cearbhall of Osraige", Ossory, Laois and Leinster 1: 1–18, ISSN 1649-4938
- Mac Niocaill, Gearóid (1972), Ireland before the Vikings, The Gill History of Ireland 1, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, ISBN 0-7171-0558-X
- Pádraig Ó Néill, 'Osraige', in Seán Duffy (ed.), Medieval Ireland: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. 2005. p. 358
- "The FitzPatricks of Ossory", T. Lyng, Old Kilkenny Review, Vol. 2, no. 3, 1981.