Kingdom of Ossory

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Kingdom of Ossory
(Irish) Osraige or Osraighe

c. 150 AD[2]–1185[1]

Ireland c. 900
Capital Kilkenny
Languages Irish
Religion Celtic polytheism
Celtic Christianity
(c. 432-1152),
Roman Catholicism
(c. 1152-present)
Government Monarchy
 -  c. 150 AD Óengus Osrithe
 -  d. 1176 or 1185 Domnall Mac Giolla Phádraig[3]
 -  Kingdom of Ossory c. 150 AD[2]
 -  Disestablished 1185[1]
Dál Birn / Mac Giolla Phádraig
Country Ireland
Parent house Ulaid / Érainn

Kingdom of Ireland titles:

The kingdom of Ossory (Old Irish: Osraige, or Osraighe, modern Irish: Osraí; sometimes misspelled as Ossary) was an ancient tribal kingdom of Ireland inhabited by the Osraige people from the 1st or 2nd century, occupying nearly all the territory of present-day County Kilkenny and the western half of County Laois under the hereditary rule of the Dál Birn dynasts whose medieval descendants assumed the name Mac Giolla Phádraig. Politically, Osraige was the easternmost kingdom within the province or over-kingdom (Irish: Rí ruirech) of Munster from the 5th century until the middle of the 9th century, when it formally seceded and later unofficially merged into greater Leinster through conquest and historical revision. While seen as a buffer state between these two provinces, Ossory rose almost to provincial status in its own right, although its kings never vied for the high kingship. The kingdom of Ossory continued to be a major player in medieval Irish politics through the beginning of the Norman Invasion of Ireland, by which time it fragmented over disputes of royal succession. As a consequence, the portion of Ossory comprising County Kilkenny became allotted to Strongbow and inherited by his eldest daughter, Isabel de Clare, who then married William Marshal in 1189. Although the kingdom collapsed as a result of the invasion, the northern third of the territory, known to history as Upper Ossory, and its hereditary lordship survived intact and remained independent until the reign of Henry VIII when it was formally incorporated into a barony by the same name under the Tudor re-conquest of Ireland.


The ancient Osraige inhabited the fertile land around the River Nore valley, occupying nearly all of what is modern County Kilkenny and the western half of neighbouring County Laois. To the west and south, Osraige was bounded by the River Suir and what is now Waterford Harbour; to the east, the watershed of the River Barrow marked the boundary with Leinster (including Gowran); to the north, it extended into and beyond the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Their tribal name thus became the name of the territory they occupied. The kingdom's 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.[5] Some of the highest points of land are Brandon Hill (County Kilkenny) and Arderin (on the Laois-Offaly border). Historically, the ancient Slige Dala road ran southwest through Osraige from the Hill of Tara towards Munster.[6][7]

The name of the former kingdom survives in the present-day town names of Borris-in-Ossory and Durrow-in-Ossory.

Origins and history[edit]

The tribal name Osraige means "people of the deer", and is traditionally claimed to be taken from name of ruling dynasty's semi-legendary pre-Christian founder, Óengus Osrithe.[8] The Osraige were probably either a southern branch of the Ulaid or Dál Fiatach of Ulster,[9] or close kin to their former Corcu Loígde allies.[10] In either case it would appear they should properly be counted among the Érainn. Some 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.[11]

Ptolemy's 2nd-century map of Ireland places a tribe he called the "Usdaie" roughly in the same area that the Osraige occupied.[12] The territory indicated by Ptolemy likely included the major late Iron Age hill-fort at Freestone Hill and a 1st-century Roman burial site at Stonyford, both in County Kilkenny.[13] The Osraighe themselves claimed to be descended from the Érainn people, although scholars propose that the Ivernic groups included the Osraige.

Several sources indicate that immediately prior to the historical period, the Osraige ceded a swath of southern territory to the incoming Déisi.[14] Soon thereafter following this defeat, the hereditary Dál Birn kings were displaced for a period by the Corcu Loígde of south Munster. The Dál Birn remained in control of their northern territory while Corcu Loígde kings ruled the greater portion of southern Osraige around the Nore valley before the rise of the Eóganachta by the 6th century. The new political configuration, probably the result of an Uí Néill-Eóganachta alliance against the Corcu Loígde,[15] caused a reduction in Ossory's relative status. Yet as a result, by 583 the Ossorians (also referred to in the Fragmentary Annals as Clann Connla) had reclaimed their old patrimony and the Dál Birn returned to power by the last quarter of the 6th century.[16]

Throughout this period, Ireland and Irish culture was almost totally Christianized by the arrival of missionaries from the Britain and continent. Ossory appears to have seen a flourish of early Irish Christian activity. Surviving hagiographic works, especially those relating to St. Ciaran of Saighir, attest that Osraige was the first Irish kingdom to receive a Christian episcopacy even before the arrival of St. Patrick; however some modern scholars dispute this.[17]

Originally granted semi-independent status within the province of Munster, the war-like and victorious rule of king Cerball mac Dúnlainge birthed a dramatic rise in Ossory's power and prestige, and despite a heavy influx of Viking marauders to Ireland's shores, he successfully forced his brother-in-law Ard Ri Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid to grant Ossory fully independent status, thereby officially severing it from Munster in 859.[18][19] By the late 10th century, the hereditary ruling descendants of Ossory after Cerball had adopted the surname Mac Giolla Phádraig. During this period, one king, Donnchadh Mac Giolla Phádraig, successfully conquered neighboring Leinster in 1033 and ruled it until his death in 1039. By the mid-12th century, fighting had erupted within the dynasty and temporarily split the kingdom into warring territories. This occurred just prior to the Norman Invasion of Ireland which commenced in 1169.

The Marriage of Aoife and Strongbow (outside Waterford) by Daniel Maclise. Much of the initial Norman Invasion of Ireland occurred within and around Ossory's borders.

Much of the initial action of the Norman advance played out on the battlefields and highways of Ossory. In 1171, King Henry II of England landed in nearby Waterford Harbour and on the banks of the Suir, secured the submission of many of the kings and chiefs of southern Ireland; including Ossory's main claimant to the throne, Domnall Mac Giolla Phádraig. After the Norman Invasion of Ireland, the famous and formidable William Marshal arrived in Ossory and acquired claims to the land through his marriage to Isabel de Clare. He began the construction the large fortification at Kilkenny Castle and was largely responsible for forcing the Mac Giolla Phádraigs from their southern power base around the River Nore, leaving them entrenched in the remaining northern third of their patrimony, thereafter known as "Upper Ossory". The Butler dynasty later inherited most of southern Ossory and administered it from Kilkenny city as part of the Earls of Ossory, from which County Kilkenny was shired. It is believed by some that a Mac Giolla Phádraig fort first stood on the site of the present Kilkenny Castle.[20] Brian Mac Giolla Phádraig was the first Irish noble to acquiesce under the Tudor policy of surrender and regrant, and his clan's name was anglicised as Fitzpatrick upon his formal submission to Henry VIII of England in 1537. In 1541 The Mac Giolla Phádraig was ennobled as Baron Upper Ossory.[21] Other members of the family were created Earl of Upper Ossory and Baron Castletown, the last of whom, Bernard FitzPatrick, 2nd Baron Castletown, died in 1927, thus marking that Ossorian lineage as one of the oldest known or most continuous dynasties in Western Europe.

Ossorian clans[edit]

The people of Osraige were sometimes collectively referred to as Clann Connla.[22] Over time, as lineages multiplied surnames were adopted. The following clans were the native land-holders before the arrival of the Normans:[23]

  • Mac Giolla Phádraig (Fitzpatrick, Gilpatrick, McIllpatrick, MacSeartha) hereditary Dál Birn lords of Osraige/Ossory
  • Ua Dubhsláine (O'Delany) of Coill Uachtarach (Upper Woods)
  • Ua hÚrachán (O'Horahan) of Uí Fairchelláin (Offerlane)
  • Ua Bruaideadha (O'Brody, Brooder, Brother, Broderick) of Ráth Tamhnaige
  • Ua Caellaighe (O'Kealy, O'Kelly) of Dairmag Ua nDuach (Durrow-in-Ossory), who as asserted by Carrigan, changed their name to Ua Faeláin (O'Phelan, Whelan) below
  • Ua Faeláin (O'Phelan, Whelan) of Magh Lacha (Clarmallagh) (formerly Ua Caellaighe, above)
  • Ua Bróithe (O'Brophy) of Mag Sédna
  • Ua Caibhdheanaigh (O'Coveney, Keveny) of Mag Airbh
  • Ua Glóiairn (O'Gloherny, Glory, O'Gloran, Cloran, ?Glorney) of Callann
  • Ua Donnachadha (Dunphy, O'Donochowe, O'Dunaghy, O'Donoghue, Donohoe, Donagh) of Mag Máil
  • Ua Cearbhaill (O'Carroll, O'Carrowill, MacCarroll) of Mag Cearbhail
  • Ua Braonáin (O'Brennan) of Uí Duach (Idough)
  • Ua Caollaidhe (O'Kealy, O'Coely, Quealy) of Uí Bercháin (Ibercon)
  • Mac Braoin (MacBreen) of Na Clanna
  • Ua Bruadair (O'Broder, Broderick) of Uí nEirc (Iverk)
  • Ua nDeaghaidh (O'Dea) of Uí Dheaghaidh (Ida)

Notable nobility[edit]

Main article: Kings of Osraige

A celebrated king of Osraige (and likely Osraige's most powerful ruler) was Cerball mac Dúnlainge, who ruled Osraige vigorously from c. 846 to his death in 888 and was the direct male progenitor of the late medieval Mac Giolla Phádraig dynasts of Ossory. The Icelandic Landnámabók describes Cearbhall (Kjarvalur) as ruler of Dublin and Earl of Orkney and opens with a list of the most prominent rulers in Viking-age Europe, listing this Ossorian king alongside Popes Adrian II and John VIII; Byzantine Emperors Leo VI the Wise and his son Alexander; Harald Fairhair, king of Norway; Eric Anundsson and his son Björn Eriksson rulers of Sweden; Gorm the Old king of Denmark; and Alfred the Great, king of England.[28] Cerbhall features prominently in the annals and other historical texts, especially in The Fragmentary Annals of Ireland as an archetype of a Christian king who consistently vanquishes his enemies, especially pagan Vikings. In this chronicle, Cerbhall is often shown allying with rival bands of Vikings to defeat them. He was also close enough to the Norse–Gaels that he features under the name "Kjarvalr Írakonungr" in several medieval Icelandic pedigrees through his daughters. Cearbhall was likely the most powerful king of his day in Ireland, even plundering the lands of his brother-in-law the high king, which resulted in the kingdom of Osraige being officially dis-joined from the province of Munster. During his lifetime he is recorded to have even ruled over Dublin (from 872 to 888) and as far as the Orkneys due to his interconnections with his Viking neighbors.

King Cearbhall's descendant, Gilla Pátraic mac Donnchada, was king of Osraige from 976 to 996, and was the source of the patronym Mac Giolla Phádraig. He was an implacable opponent of Brian Boruma in his expansion over southern Ireland.

In 1003, he killed his cousin, king Cellach. In 1016, he killed Donn Cuan mac Dúnlaing, king of Leinster, and Tadc ua Riain, king of Uí Drona.[29] In 1022, he killed Sitriuc mac Ímair, king of Port Lairge (Waterford).[30] In 1026, Donnchad spent Easter with the coarb of Patrick and Donnchad mac Briain.[31] In 1027, he blinded his relative Tadc mac Gilla Pátraic.[32] In 1033, Donnchad also took the kingship of Leinster and held the Fair of Carman to celebrate his over-kingship.[33] In 1039, he led a hosting as far as Knowth and Drogeda.,[34] and he died the same year.[35] 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. King 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.

Saints with Ossory connections[edit]

A public bust of St. Cainneach in Kilkenny City, whose 6th-century church was founded there.
St. Feargal, left Ossory to become bishop of Salzburg, Austria.

The monastic settlements of Saighir, Aghaboe and Kilkenny were planted by Christian saints. The activity of Christian religious leaders under the patronage of the kings did much to increase the learning, literacy and culture within the kingdom.[36] According to his vitae, Saint Patrick traversed Osraige on his route to Munster, preaching, converting, founding churches and leaving behind holy relics and a disciple named Martin.[37] A number of other saints had connections to Ossory, working both within Ireland and abroad in Britain and Europe:

  • St. Ciarán of Saighir "The Elder", himself a scion of the Ossorian ruling Dál Birn lineage is reputed to have evangelized the kingdom before the arrival of St Patrick who also preached there.[38] He founded the church of Saighir from which he evangelized the kingdom. It eventually became the episcopal see of Ossory, and the burial place of its Christian kings. St Ciarán was succeeded by his disciple, St Carthage the Elder. St Ciarán's feastday is March 5, along with St. Carthage and St. Piran. St. Kieran's College in Kilkenny (Ireland's oldest Roman Catholic secondary school) is named after him.[39] (In Cornwall St. Ciarán is identified as one and the same person with Saint Piran, the patron saint of tin miners and all Cornwalll.)[40][41]
  • St. Modomnoc of Ossory traveled there from Wales as a disciple of St. David, and is reputed to have brought Ireland's first colonies of domesticated honeybees.[42] His feast is February 13.
  • St. Nem Moccu Birn, successor to St. Enda of Aran is recorded as having been also of the Dál Birn of Ossory and a kinsmen of St. Ciarán of Saighir.[43] His feast is June 14.
  • St. Gobhan, who was also known for his founding and abbacy of the monastery of Oldleighlin, was also active at a later date in Ossory at Killamery. It would appear that sometime before 633 AD he left his monastery at Oldleighlin, and along with numerous monks journeyed west into the kingdom of Ossory and settled at Killamery. Whether he founded Killamery or merely enhanced it, is disputed; however during his abbacy its fame and importance flourished. The 9th-century book Félire Óengusso, (The Feastology of Oengus), states about him: "of Gobban of Cell Lamraide in Hui Cathrenn in the west of Ossory, a thousand monks it had, as experts say and of them was Gobban."[45]
  • St. Muicin, bishop and confessor, whose feast is celebrated on the 4th March. His name appears under the Irish forms Muicin, Muccin, Mucinne, and, in Latin, as Moginus and Mochinus. According to his pedigree in the Book of Leinster he was of the royal race of Ossory, the Dal Birn ; thus: Muccin, son of Mocha, son of Barind, son of Findchadli, son of Dega, son of Droida, son of Buan, son of Loegaire birn buadhach, son of Aengus Osrithe. Decnait, daughter of Gabrin, [and] sister of Fintan of Cluain-Eidhnech, was Muccin's mother." He was venerated as patron of Mayne, Kylermugh, Kilderry and Sheepstown. He lived in the same period as his uncle, St. Fintan the great founder of Clonenagh, and died in the year 630. He is also commemorated in the Martyrology of Tallaght.
  • The relics of Saint Nicholas are also reputed to have been stolen from Myra by crusading knights, and buried in the south of Osraige near Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny; a stone slab marks this site. This would date from the period immediately following the disestablishment of southern Osraige as a kingdom, while the northern third still remained.
Reputed grave slab of St. Nicholas.

The Mac Giolla Phádraig rulers of Osraige adopted their surname in honour of St. Patrick from their 10th-century ancestor, king Gilla Pátric, and appear to be the only major Irish dynasty to bear a name of saintly derivation. (All others being either minor dynasties or bearing secular names.)

Historic sites[edit]

View of Seirkieran (Saighir).
"St. Ciarán's Chair"; the ancient stone seat in St. Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny City. The stone under the seat is reputed to have been part of the original bishop's throne at Saighir (c. 400) and later Abbey of Aghaboe (c. 950), brought here when the church (or its predecessor) became the cathedral of the diocese.[47]

Some historians have asserted that a pre-Norman fortification existed at the site upon which Kilkenny Castle is built; likely the ancient capital of the kingdom. St. Ciarán is said to have founded the influential monastery of Seirkieran, in present-day Clareen.[48] Saighir was the first episcopal seat within the kingdom and was the burial site of the Kings of Osraige. There, the ruins of a monastic site, earthworks, a holy well, the ruined base of an Irish round tower, a medieval defensive motte, a 19th-century Church of Ireland parish, and numerous early Christian cross-slabs, bases and gravestones can be found.[49][50][51][52] St. Canice founded two important churches in the kingdom, at Aghaboe and Kilkenny. Aghaboe Abbey served as Osraige's second ecclesiastical seat, before it was again relocated to Kilkenny. St Canice's Cathedral in Kilkenny city exhibits well-preserved 9th-century round tower which can be climbed to the top.[53] Jerpoint Abbey, was founded near present-day Thomastown in 1160 by king Donnchad mac Gilla Pátraic Mac Gilla Pátraic as a Benedictine monastery. Twenty years later in 1180, king Domnall Mac Gilla Patraic brought Cistercian monks from nearby Baltinglass Abbey. A well-preserved 30-meter, capless round tower can be seen at Grangefertagh.

A long and well-attested sculptural tradition of stone carving, especially the creation of Irish high crosses developed under the Dál Birn / Mac Giolla Phádraig kings of Osraige.[54] Great examples of this tradition include the fine crosses still preserved at Ahenny and Killamery, amongst other sites.

In 1984, a series of commemorative cast stone panels sculpted by Joan Smith were installed as a facade on the buttress walls of Ossory Bridge which forms part of the Ring Road over the River Nore connecting the N10 from Carlow to Waterford.[55] The facade symbolically depicts the history of the south Kilkenny area from the time of the mythological figure of Oengus Osrithe to the late twentieth century.[56]

Overlap with the Diocese of Ossory[edit]

The Diocese of Ossory (red) as described at the Synod of Ráth Breasail near Ossory's borders in 1111 AD.[57]

The medieval Diocese of Ossory covered much the same region and still to this day provides a very close outline of the kingdom's borders.[58] In the earliest times, the chief church in Osraige was undoubtedly Seir Kieran (County Offaly), the chief church of St Ciarán, but at some time in history it had been eclipsed by Aghaboe (County Laois), chief church of Saint Cainnech, and later moved to Kilkenny, which was also founded by the same saint. 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) and Domnach Mór Roigni (now Donaghmore, County Laois) were also significant ecclesiastical sites.[59]

In literature and culture[edit]

The Osraige appear as the final opponents of their southern neighbours the Déisi in the cycle The Expulsion of the Déisi.[60][61] While portrayed as unconquerable in battle, the Osraige are eventually overcome by the Déisi in the end by magic and treachery and thus cede to them the southern territory between the River Suir and the sea which the Déisi ever-after occupied.

The politics and history of the kingdom are well-attested to in the various Irish Annals in which Osraige is often presented as a major kingdom. Strongly associated with the eleventh-century rule of Donnchad Mac Giolla Phádraig (who reigned as king over Leinster until his death in 1039 AD) are the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland which are famous for their heroic portrayal of the ninth-century Ossorian king Cerball mac Dúnlainge in his many victorious struggles against pagan Vikings in Ireland.[62] The Fragmentary Annals of Ireland were believed to be commissioned by Donnchad Mac Giolla Phádraig as historical propaganda for Osraige's eleventh-century rise to power, and likely influenced the creation of other later pseudo-chronicles such as Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib.[63] Within the Fragmentary Annals, editor and translator Joan Radner has detected a strong focus on Ossorian tradition, especially relating to king Cerbhall mac Dunglange, suggesting the hypothetical Osraige Chronicle as a possible source.[64]

The early twelfth century Irish epic Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib portrays the Dalcassian struggle against Osraige and its brief subjugation by Brian Boru. It records some early Viking activity in and around Osraige[65] and ends with the embarrassing account of the Ossorians seeking to attack the victorious and wounded Dalcassian troops returning after the Battle of Clontarf. The Ossorians are recorded as intimidated when they see the wounded Dalcassian troops tying themselves upright to stakes, and withdraw from outright combat, giving harrassing pursuit instead.[66] Ironically, Radner suggests this chronicle may have been influenced by the earlier eleventh century Osraige Chronicle which lionized king Ceabhall mac Dúnlainge and survives with the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland.[67]

The twelfth-century Banshenchas (literally "women-lore") composed by Gilla Mo Dutu Úa Caiside of Ard Brecáin, recites a number of key Ossorian kings and queens, and others who descend from them.[68]

Nordic literary history records several members of the Ossorian ruling lineage in the sagas. King Cerball mac Dúnlainge himself is listed as "Kjarval, king of the Irish" (Kjarvals Írakonungs) in the Icelandic genealogies recorded within Njal's Saga, and through his daughters is reckoned as an ancestor of several important Icelandic families.[69] His reign is directly referenced in the Icelandic Landnámabók where he is listed as one of the principle rulers of Europe. His daughter, Eithne appears as a type of sorceress in the Orkneyinga saga, as the mother of Earl Sigurd the Stout and the creator of the famed raven banner.[70][71][72] This would make Earl Sigurd of the Orkneys a possessor of Ossorian maternal lineage. Sigurd also appears briefly in St Olaf's Saga as incorporated into the Heimskringla and in the Eyrbyggja Saga. There are various tales about his exploits in the more fanciful Njal's Saga as well as the Saga of Gunnlaugr Serpent-Tongue, Thorstein Sidu-Hallsson's Saga, the Vatnsdæla Saga and in the tale of Helgi and Wolf in the Flateyjarbók.[73][74] He also appears in the Irish propagandistic work Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib as an opponent of Brian Boruma at the Battle of Clontarf, and his death there is recorded in the Annals of Ulster.

The kingdom of Ossory also features prominently in twelfth-century Norman literature. Two works by Gerald of Wales on Ireland, Topographia Hibernica[75] and Expugnatio Hibernica[76] pay special attention to some kings of Ossory, its geography and the Norman battles fought therein. Gerald Cambrensis also writes about a fabulous tale involving the werewolves of Ossory. This legend was repeated in Fynes Moryson's 17th-century writing, Description of Ireland[77] and in a much later book, The Wonders of Ireland, by P. W. Joyce, published in 1911.[78] In addition, Ossory features prominently as a setting for scenes in the Norman-French lay The Song of Dermot and the Earl.[79]

Geoffrey Keating also records much information and tradition about Ossory in his major work, Foras Feasa ar Éirinn (literally "Foundation of Knowledge on Ireland", more usually translated "History of Ireland").[80] After Cogadh Gáedel re Gallaib, his work is a secondary source for Ossory's opposition to the victorious Dalcassian forces returning from the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, as well as the only known source for information about the important Synod of Ráth Breasail which may have occurred on the northern borders of Ossory, near present-day Mountrath in 1111.

The name of the kingdom survives in The Red Book of Ossory; a fourteenth-century register of the Roman Catholic diocese of Ossory, and which is associated with Richard Ledred[81] who was bishop of Ossory, from 1317 to 1360.[82] The book contains copies of documents which would have been important for the administration of the diocese: constitutions, taxations, memoranda relating to rights and privileges, deeds and royal letters, as well as the texts of songs composed by Bishop Ledred.[83] The book now resides at the Church of Ireland RCB Library in Dublin, and has been digitized.[84] The name also survives in the title of the annual Ossory Agricultural Show, a livestock, produce and crafts competition founded in 1898 and patronized by Bernard FitzPatrick, 2nd Baron Castletown and now held in western Coolfin County Laois.[85]

Three ships of the British Royal Navy bore the name Ossory.

A thoroughbred racehorse named Ossory (1885-1889) was owned by the 1st Duke of Westminster.

In 1905, William Carrigan published his authoritative history of the kingdom in The History And Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory in four volumes.

The kingdom of Ossory features as a part of the kingdom of Ireland in the computer strategy-games Crusader Kings and Crusader Kings II, both published by Paradox Interactive.[86][87] Ossory also appears as a kingdom in a map of medieval Ireland from Conquer Club.[88]

The kingdom of Osraige features prominently in several of the Sister Fidelma mysteries, most notably Suffer Little Children (1995) and The Seventh Trumpet (2012) written by Peter Tremayne (the pseudonym for Peter Berresford Ellis).[89]

A black metal band from the US has adopted the name Osraige.[90] They released a split album in 2013 along with Indentured Cervix, and in 2014 released a three-song self-titled demo reel.[91]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Annals of Loch Cé 1185.15
  2. ^ Genealogies from Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson B 502 and the Book of Leinster
  3. ^ Annals of Loch Cé 1185.15, Four Masters 1185
  4. ^ Annals of Ulster 1033.4, Annals of Loch Cé 1033.3, Annals of Tigernach 1033.5
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ The Metrical Dindshenchas, Poem 52. Found online through UCC, CELT, here:
  7. ^ An Analysis of Pre-Christian Ireland Using Mythology and A GIS:
  8. ^ Genealogies from Rawlinson B 502, at CELT, pg 15-16
  9. ^ Byrne, p. 201
  10. ^ Ó Néill, 'Osraige'; Doherty, 'Érainn'
  11. ^ Byrne, p. 163
  12. ^ Ptolemy's map of Ireland: a modern decoding. R. Darcy, William Flynn. Irish Geography Vol. 41, Iss. 1, 2008. Figure 1.
  13. ^
  14. ^ The Expulsion of the Déssi Kuno Meyer, in Ériu; volume 3, Dublin, Royal Irish Academy (1907) page 135–142. Found online through UCC, CELT, here:
  15. ^ Charles-Edwards 2000
  16. ^ Fragmentary Annals of Ireland, FA4
  17. ^ Sharpe, O' Riain, and Sperber
  18. ^ Annals of Ulster 859.3
  19. ^ Fragmentary Annals of Ireland 265, and 268
  20. ^ P. McEvoy; additionally Kilkenny Castle staff
  21. ^
  22. ^ See: The Fragmentary Annals of Ireland (FA4) found online through UCC CELT, here:
  23. ^ For map referencing approximate locations within Ossory for each clan, see:
  24. ^ Fragmentary Annals of Ireland, Annals of Ulster, Annals of the Four Masters
  25. ^ Landnámabók
  26. ^ Cogadh Gaedhel Re Gallaibh (trans. by Todd) pg 297
  27. ^ Landnámabók
  28. ^
  29. ^ AU 1016.6; ALC 1016.4; CS, s.a. 1014; AFM, s.a. 1015
  30. ^ AT 1022.2; CS, s.a. 1020; AFM, s.a. 1022
  31. ^ AI 1026.3
  32. ^ AU 1027.2; ALC 1027.2; AT 1027.2; AFM, s.a. 1027; Ann. Clon., s.a. 1027
  33. ^ AU 1033.4; ALC 1033.3; AFM, s.a. 1033
  34. ^ AT 1039.6; AFM, s.a. 1039
  35. ^ AU 1039.2; ALC 1039.2; AT 1039.7; AI 1039.7 only calls Donnchad king of Osraige; after a long illness, AFM, s.a. 1039; Ann. Clon., s.a. 1039
  36. ^
  37. ^ On the Life of Patrick, in Three Middle-Irish Homilies on the Lives of Saints Patrick, Brigit and Columba. Whitley Stokes (ed), First edition [45 pp.] (100 copies privately printed)Calcutta (1877), pg. 33. Found online through UCC CELT, here:
  38. ^ (This wikisource is partially out-dated.)
  39. ^ St. Kieran's College website:
  40. ^
  41. ^ St. Piran Trust
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  44. ^ The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory, Volume 3 by William Carrigan. p. 437.
  45. ^ Óengus mac Óengobann, The Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee
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  47. ^
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  50. ^ National Monuments Service
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  52. ^ Early Christian Sites In Ireland Database
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  54. ^ Dr. Eamonn Kelly (NMI) lecture, (17 Aug 2014; Kilkenny Castle):
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^ (Keating mistakenly records 1100 as the year of the Synod of Rath Breasaill.)
  58. ^ Downham, "Career", p. 7; Mac Niocaill, Ireland before the Vikings, pp. 3–4.
  59. ^ Downham, "Career", p. 7; Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland, pp. 292–294; Byrne, Irish kings and high-kings, pp. 180–181.
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  67. ^ Joan N. Radner (ed. & trans.) Fragmentary Annals of Ireland (Dublin 1978)
  68. ^ English translation of the Banshenchas by Maighreád ni C. Dobbs (originally published in: Revue Celtique. vol. 47-49) online at:
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  70. ^ See English translation of Orkneyinga Saga online:
  71. ^ Juxtaposing Cogadh Gáedel re Gallaib with Orkneyinga saga, by Thomas A. DuBois. In Oral Tradition Vol. 26, Number 2 (October 2011) p. 286. PDF available here:
  72. ^ Earl Sigurd and the Raven Banner
  73. ^ Muir (2005) p. 28
  74. ^ Thomson (2008) p. 66
  75. ^ Digitized veiw of Topographia Hibernica is available from the British Library, here:
  76. ^ Digitized view of Expugnatio Hibernica is available from the British Library, here:
  77. ^
  78. ^ Chapt. 15, online here: (accessed 1 April 2014)
  79. ^
  80. ^ The History of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating, D.D. . David Comyn (ed), Patrick S. Dinneen (ed), First edition [The first three of four volumes in the series.] David Nutt, for the Irish Texts SocietyLondon (1902–1914) . Irish Texts Society [Comann na Sgríbheann Gaedhilge]. , No. 4; 8 and 9. English translation found online through UCC CLET, here:
  81. ^,_Richard_de_(DNB00)
  82. ^ (accessed 12 March 2014)
  83. ^
  84. ^
  85. ^
  86. ^
  87. ^
  88. ^
  89. ^
  90. ^
  91. ^


  • Byrne, Francis John, Irish Kings and High-Kings, London: Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-5882-8 
  • Carrigan, William. The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory. (Vols. I-V) Dublin: Sealy, Bryers & Walker, 1905. Print.
  • Charles-Edwards, T. M. (2000), Early Christian Ireland, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-36395-0 
  • Doherty, Charles., '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 
  • Lyng, T., The FitzPatricks of Ossory, Old Kilkenny Review, Vol. 2, no. 3, 1981.
  • Mac Niocaill, Gearóid (1972), Ireland before the Vikings, The Gill History of Ireland 1, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, ISBN 0-7171-0558-X 
  • Morris, Henry The Ancient Kingdom of Ossory, The Irish Monthly, Vol. 50, No. 588 (Jun., 1922), pp. 230–236. Published by: Irish Jesuit Province (JSTOR Article Stable URL:
  • Pádraig Ó Néill, 'Osraige', in Seán Duffy (ed.), Medieval Ireland: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. 2005. p. 358
  • Radner, Joan. Writing History: Early Irish Historiography and the Significance of Form, in 'Celtica 23' (1999); p. 312-325

External links[edit]