Muredach Mor, King of Aileach

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Muredach Mor ( ie the great ) the Hector of the Northern Scoti" as he is called and first christian king of Ireland Muredach, raised a great army in support of his cousin Lewy, son of Leary, who at the time of his father's death was to young to claim the throne of Ireland, which was seized by Olioll Wether, son of Dathi. Joined by Fiachra Lonn; King of Dal Araidhe, and other princes, he gave battle at Ocha, near Tara, to the usurper, whom he routed and slew, A.D 482 after which Lewy ascended the throne. By this victory the race of Niall was firmly fixed on the throne, which they held without a break for over six centuries, the Chiefs of the Northern and Southern Hy Nials generally, though not always, reigning alternately.

Five years later Muredach succeeded Lewy, who was killed by a thunderbolt near Slane, Co Meath. The Annals of Clonmacnoise state that as he was walking in the fields one day in that neighbourhood, he saw a chapel that was dedicated to St Patrick, when he observed to his attendants, this is the church of the clerk that prophecied that none of my father's posterity should inherit the crown of Ireland, he was false. On saying which, a thunder -bolt fell from heaven upon his head, and struck him stone dead. About this time Muredach's grandfather, Loarn Mor, led a colony of Dal Riads from Antrim, and aided by him, founded the Scottish Kingdom of Dal Riada, or Airer Gaedhil ( pron. Airer Gael, or Argyle ) i.e., the territory of the Gaels or Irish, now Argyle..

The original Dal Riada colony planted by Carbery Riada, grandson of Con of the Hundred Battles, was exercised by frequent hostilities from the Picts, and at one period with such good success that they forced almost the whole colony to take flight into Ireland under Eochy Munrevar, great grandson of Carbery, who found a secure retreat for his followers in the Irish Dal Riada in the North of Antrim, till they now, under Loarn, son of Erc, mentioned in the Tripartite Life, and grandson of Eochy, recovered their former possessions, and set up for the first time a regal authority. In less than a century they became sufficiently powerful to shake off all dependence on Ireland, and at lenght overcame the picts, when, about the year 843, the two nations were united under Kenneth Mc Alpin, a descendant of Fergus. When Loarn died, about the year 513, after a reign of ten years, he was succeeded by his brother Fergus, who resolved to be crowned on the inauguration stone of the Irish Kings _ the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny. On this stone, which, according to the early bardic accounts, roared beneath the Irish monarchs, and which was now presented to the Dal Riada by Muredach, Fergus, his grand-uncle, was solemnly crowned, as were his successors for long generations after. Taken first to Dunstaffnage Castle opposite Iona, and afterwards to the Abbey of Scone near Perth, it continued in use till it was carried away by Edward I. of England and transferred to Westminster Abbey.


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