Donough O'Brien

O'Brien, Donough, King of Munster, son of Brian Borumha, was away plundering during the battle of Clontarf (23rd April 1014), but returning immediately afterwards, although the youngest surviving son of Brian, he assumed command of the Dalcassians, and prepared to return to Thomond. At Mullaghmast Donough and his brother Teige were opposed by his relative Cian, one of the chiefs of the Eugenian line, who demanded that Donough should resign the crown. The difference was adjusted through the intervention of Donald, Chief of the O'Donoghues. The Dalcassians had not proceeded much farther on their way home, when they were attacked by FitzPatrick, Chief of Upper Ossory, who thought the death of Brian a favourable opportunity to renounce his dependency on Munster, and to demand hostages.

According to legend this treachery so enraged Donough's army that even the wounded demanded to be tied to stakes interspersed amongst their comrades, to assist in opposing FitzPatrick's onset. This bold front so intimidated the men of Ossory that they refused to attack, and confined their hostilities to cutting off a few stragglers. Donough had scarcely settled at home when he was obliged to repel the incursions of the neighbouring chiefs.

In 1016 Kincora and Killaloe were demolished by the men of Connaught. Some years later Donough and Teige fought between themselves; the former was defeated, and shortly afterwards, in 1023, procured the assassination of Teige. After Malachy's death, the same year, Donough advanced pretensions to the supreme power in Ireland, and the country was devastated by apparently aimless wars, in which Donough and his nephew Turlough, son of Teige, figured on opposite sides. Eventually Donough was defeated, and, according to the annals of Clanmacnoise, retired to Rome, where he died in 1064.


263. O'Briens, Historical Memoir of the: John O'Donoghue. Dublin, 1860.