- Written by Seán Ó Séaghdha Seán Ó Séaghdha
- Published: 05 April 2018 05 April 2018
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The meaning and origin of the surname Ó Séaghdha has always been obscure, so when I spied a reference to Séaghdha in an index to Seathrún Céitinn’s 1634 Foras Feasa ar Éirinn (“Foundation of Knowledge on Ireland”), I was interested to see what he was up to. Drowning Vikings it seems.
By the way, the reign of Donnchadh mac Floinn tSionna AKA Donnchadh Donn mac Flainn was from 919 until his death in 944.
Is i ḃflaiṫeas Donnċaḋa mic Floinn tSionna rí Éireann do rinneaḋ na gníoṁa-so síos. Óir is i dtosaċ a ḟlaiṫis do ġaḃ Ceallaċán mac Buaḋaċáin ré ráiḋtear Ceallaċán Caisil ceannas dá ċóigeaḋ Muṁan ar feaḋ deiċ mbliaḋan. Féaċ mar ṫáinig Cinnéide mac Lorcáin go Gleannaṁain i gcoṁḋáil uaisle Muṁan sul do ríoġaḋ Ceallaċán agus do ṁeas Cinnéide teaċt idir Ċeallaċán is ríoġaċt Ṁuṁan. Giḋeaḋ táinig máṫair Ċeallaċán a Caiseal, óir is ann do ċoṁnuiġ rí i ḃfoċair a hoideaḋa coṁorba Pádraig, agus ar dteaċt san gcoṁḋáil di aduḃairt ré Cinnéide cuiṁniuġaḋ ar an dáil do ḃí idir Ḟiaċaiḋ Muilleaṫan is Ċormac Cas fá oiġreaċt Ṁuṁan do ḃeiṫ fá seaċ idir an dá ṡlioċt ṫiocfaḋ uaṫa leaṫ ar leaṫ; gonaḋ da ḟaisnéis sin atá an rann-so ar ḃriaṫraiḃ na mná:
Cuiṁniġ a Ċinnéide ċais,
Dáil Ḟiaċaċ is Ċormaic Cais,
Gur ḟágsad Muṁan do roinn
Go ceart idir a gcaoṁċloinn.
Agus táinig d’aiṫeasc na mná gur léig Cinnéide flaiṫeas Muṁan do Ċeallaċán.
Da éis sin do ġaḃadar Loċlannaiġ Ceallaċán i gceilg, gur ḃeanadar síol nEoġain is Dál gCais amaċ da n-aiṁḋeoin é. Iar mbriseaḋ iomorro iomad caṫ do Ċeallaċán is d’uaisliḃ Muiṁneaċ ar Loċlannaiḃ, agus iar n-a n-ionnarbaḋ as an Muṁain, is í coṁarle ar ar ċinn Sitric mac Tuirgéis fá hardtaoiseaċ orra cleaṁnas do luaḋ ré Ceallaċán, mar atá a ṡiúr féin Béiḃionn inġean Tuirgéis do ṫaḃairt mar ḃainċéile dó, agus saoirse dá Ċúigeaḋ Muṁan do ḃeiṫ aige ó Loċlonnaiḃ gan agra gan éiliuġaḋ ’n-a diaiḋ air, ionnus an tan do raċaḋ Ceallaċán ar a ionċaiḃ féin do ṗósaḋ a ṡeaṫraċ go muirḃfiḋe é féin is an ṁéid d’uaisliḃ Muiṁneaċ do ḃiaḋ mar aon ris; agus do léig cogar na ceilge sin le Donnċaḋ mac Floinn rí Teaṁraċ ar mbeiṫ i ḃfaltanas ré Ceallaċán dó tré gan cíos Muṁan do ḋíol ris, agus uime sin aontuiġis do Ṡitric an ċealg d’imirt ar Ċeallaċán is ar uaisliḃ Muiṁneaċ. Leis sin cuiris Sitric teaċta do luaḋ an ċleaṁnasa ré Ceallaċán agus ar roċtain do na teaċtaiḃ do laṫair Ċeallaċáin is eaḋ do ṫogair mórṡluaiġ do ṫaḃairt leis do ṗósaḋ na mná. “Ní haṁlaiḋ is cóir,” ar Cinnéide mac Lorcáin, “óir ní dleaġair an Ṁuṁa d’ḟágḃáil gan ċosnaṁ; agus is eaḋ is indéanta ḋuit neart sluaġ d’ḟágḃáil ag coiṁéad na Muṁan agus ċeiṫre fiċid mac tiġearna do ḃreiṫ leat do ṗósaḋ na mná.”
Agus is í sin coṁairle ar ar cinneaḋ leo; agus ar dtriall san turas soin do Ċeallaċán an oiḋċe sul ráinig go hÁṫ Cliaṫ, fiafruiġis Mór, inġean Aoḋa mic Eaċaċ inġean ríoġ Inse Fionnġall do ba bean do Ṡitric, créad fá raiḃe ag déanaṁ cleaṁnasa ré Ceallaċán i ndiaiḋ ar ṫuit d’uaisliḃ Loċlonnaċ leis? “Ní ar a leas luaiḋtear an cleaṁnas liom,” ar sé, “aċt ar tí ceilge d’imirt air.”
Beaḋgais an ḃean leis na briaṫraiḃ sin, ar mbeiṫ ḋi i ngráḋ folaiġṫeaċ ré Ceallaċán ré cian d’aimsir roiṁe sin, ón tráṫ do ċonnairc i bPort Lairge é, agus do-ní moiċéirġe ar maidin ar n-a ṁáraċ is téid ós íseal ar an raon ’n-a ṡaoil Ceallaċán do ḃeiṫ ag teaċt; agus mar ráinig Ceallaċán do láṫair beiris sise i ḃfód fá leiṫ é agus noċtais dó an ċealg do ḃí ar n-a hollṁuġaḋ ag Sitric ’n-a ċoṁair ré a ṁarḃaḋ; agus mar do ṁeas Ceallaċán tilleaḋ ní raiḃe sé ar cumas dó óir do ḃádar na maiġe ar gaċ leiṫ don ród lán do scoraiḃ Loċlonnaċ i n-oirċill ar a ġaḃáil. Mar do ṫogair tilleaḋ tar a ais luiġṫear leo-san da gaċ leiṫ air agus marḃṫar drong do na huaisliḃ do ḃí ’n-a ḟoċair, is marḃṫar leo-san mar an gcéadna luċt do na Loċlonnaiḃ. Giḋeaḋ lingid an-trom an tsluaiġ ar Ċeallaċán gur gaḃaḋ é féin is Donn Cuan mac Cinnédiḋ ann, is rugaḋ go hÁṫ Cliaṫ ar láiṁ iad, is ar sin go hArd Maċa mar a raḃadar naoi n-iarla do Loċlonnaiḃ go n-a mbuiḋin da gcoiṁéad.
Dála na druinge do ċuaiḋ as ón gcoinḃlíoċt soin d’uaisliḃ Muiṁneaċ, triallaid don Ṁuṁain is noċtaid a scéála do Ċinnéide agus leis sin ollṁuiġṫear dá ṡluaġ lé Cinnéide do ṫóraiḋeaċt Ċeallaċáin, mar atá sluaġ do ṫír is sluaġ do ṁuir; agus do rinne taoiseaċ ar an sluaġ do ḃí do ṫír do Ḋonnċaḋ mac Caoiṁ rí an dá Ḟearmaiġe, agus do ġaḃ Cinnéide ag cur ṁeisniġ ann aga ṁaoiḋeaṁ air go raḃadar aoinrí déag da ṡinnsearaiḃ i ḃflaiṫeas Muṁan, mar atá Airtre, Caṫal mac Fionġaine, Fionġaine mac Caṫail, Cú gan Ṁáṫair, Caṫal ré ráiḋtí Ceann Géagáin, Aoḋ, Flann Caṫraċ, Cairbre, Crioṁtann, Eoċaiḋ, is Aonġus mac Natfraoiċ. Do ċuir Cinnéide fós deiċ gcéad do Ḋál gCais leis is triúr taoiseaċ ós a gcionn, mar atá Coscraċ Longargán is Conġalaċ, aṁail adeir an laoiḋ: Éirġeaḋ fiċe céad buḋ ṫuaiḋ.
Ag so an rann as an laoiḋ ċéadna ag aiṫḟrioṫal briaṫar Ċinnédiḋ:
Éirġeaḋ ann Coscraċ na gcaṫ,
Agus Longargán laġaċ,
Éirġeaḋ Conġalaċ ón linn,
Mo ṫrí dearḃráiṫre aderirim.
Do ċuir Cinnéide fós cúig céad oile do Ḋál gCais lé Síoda ma Síoda ó ċloinn Ċoiléin ann, agus cúig céad oile do Ḋál gCais lé Deaġaiḋ mac Doṁnaill i n-éagmais a ndeaċaiḋ do ṡluaġ ó ṡaorċlannaiḃ oile Muṁan ann. Do ċuir an dara mórṡluaġ do ṁuir ann agus Failḃe Fionn rí Deasṁuṁan ’n-a ṫaoiseaċ orra.
Dála na sluaġ do ṫír, triallaid as an Muṁain i gConnaċtaiḃ is do léigeadar sceiṁiolta go Muaiḋ is go hIorrus is go hUṁall do ṫionól ċreaċ go foslongṗort Muiṁneaċ; agus ní cian do ḃádar an foslongṗort ag fuireaċ ris na sceiṁealtaiḃ an tan atċonncadar sluaġ deiġeagair ag teaċt da n-ionnsaiġe, agus fá hé a líon deiċ gcéad agus aonóglaoċ ’n-a réaṁṫosaċ; agus mar ráinig do láṫair riafruiġis Donnċaḋ mac Caoiṁ cia hiad an tsluaġḃuiḋean soin. “Dream do Ṁuiṁneaċaiḃ iad,” ar sé, “mar atáid Gaileanga is Luiġne do ċloinn Taiḋg mic Céin mic Oiliolla Óluim agus fir Ḋealḃna do ṡlioċt Dealḃaoiṫ mic Cais mic Conaill Eaċluaiṫ atá ag taḃairt neirt a laṁ liḃ-se tré ċommbáiḋ ḃráiṫreasa ré cur i n-aġaiḋ Ḋanar agus ré buain Ċeallaċáin ríoġ Muṁan díoḃ. Agus atáid trí taoisiġ áġṁara i gceannas an tsluaiġ-se, mar atá Aoḋ mac Dualġusa is Gaileanga uile uime, Diarmaid mac Fionnaċta is Luiġniġ uime, is Donnċaḋ mac Maoldoṁnaiġ ós fearaiḃ Dealḃna ann.” Agus is da ḋearḃaḋ sin atá an laoiḋ seanċusa darab tosaċ an céadrann-so:
Atfuilit sonn clanna Céin,
Agus Dealḃaoiṫ ar aoinréim,
Ag toiġeaċt is an sluaġaḋ,
Is buḋ liḃ-se a n-iommbualaḋ.
Agus is aṁlaiḋ do ḃádar an sluaġ-so .i. cúig céad díoḃ ’n-a luċt sciaṫ is cloiḋeaṁ agus cúig céad ’n-a saiġdeoiriḃ. Triallaid as sin i dTír Ċonaill an sluaġ Muiṁneaċ agus an ḟuireann soin táinig do ċongnaṁ leo mar aon, agus creaċtar an tír leo. Tig Muirċeartaċ mac an Arnalaiḋ d’iarraiḋ aisig na gcreaċ go háiseaċ ar Ḋonnċaḋ mac Caoiṁ; agus aduḃairt Donnċaḋ naċ tiuḃraḋ aċt fuiġeall sásuiġṫe na sluaġ ḋó don ċreiċ. Leis sin tréigis Muirċeartaċ an sluaġ agus cuiris teaċta ós íseal go cloinn Tuirgéis i nArd Maċa ’gá ḟaisnéis dóiḃ an sluaġ Muiṁneaċ do ḃeiṫ ag tóraiḋeaċt Ceallaċáin ar tí a ḃuana amaċ.
Dála ċloinne Tuirgéis triallaid a hArd Maċa naonḃar iarla go n-a sluaġ Loċlonnaċ, is Ceallaċán is Donn Cuan i mbroid leo. Iomṫúsa sluaġ Muṁan triallaid go hArd Maċa is marḃaid a dtarla da gcóir do Loċlonnaiḃ agus ar a ċlos ar n-a ṁáraċ ḋóiḃ Sitric go n-a ṡluaġ do ḋul ré Ceallaċán go Dún Dealgan triallaid ’n-a dtóraiḋeaċt, agus mar do ṁoṫuiṫ Sitric iad ag teaċt i ngar don ḃaile, téid féin is a ṡluaġ ’n-a longaiḃ is Ceallaċán is Donn Cuan leo, agus tig an sluaġ Muiṁneaċ ar imeall na tráġa ar a gcoṁair, agus iad ag agallṁa Loċlonnaċ. Agus leis sin atċíd caḃlaċ mór ag tiġeaċt san ċuan ċuca, agus tugadar Muiṁniġ aiṫne gurab é Failḃe Fionn go n-a ċaḃlaċ do ḃí ann.
Triallais Failḃe go n-a ċaḃlaċ go réimḋíreaċ i ndáil na Loċlonnaċ agus tug uċt ar an luing i n-a raiḃe Sitric is Tor is Maġnus, agus lingis ar bord luinge Ṡitreaca isteaċ agus dá ċloiḋeaṁ ’n-a ḋá láiṁ; agus gaḃais ag gearraḋ na dtéad lé raiḃe Ceallaċán ceangailte don tseolċrann, leis an gcloiḋeaṁ do ḃí ’n-a láiṁ ċlí, gur scaoil do Ċeallaċán is gur léig ar ċláraiḃ na luinge anuas é; agus leis sin tug cloiḋeaṁ na láiṁe clí do Ċeallaċán. Téid Ceallaċán a luing Ṡitreaca i luing Ḟailḃe agus anais Failḃe ag coṁṫuargain Loċlonnaċ gur marḃaḋ tré anḟorlann Loċlonnaċ é, is gur ḃeanadar a ċeann de. Tig Fianġal taoiseaċ da ṁuinntir ’n-a áit san ċoinḃlíoċt soin, is beiris go heasaontaċ ar ḃrollaċ ar Ṡitric, is teilgis iad ar aon tar bord na luinge amaċ, go ndeaċadar go grian, gur báṫaḋ aṁlaiḋ sin iad.
Tig Séaġḋa is Conall dá ṫaoiseaċ oile is beirid ar ḋá ḃráṫair Ṡitreaca, .i. Tor is Maġnus is beirid tar bord na luinge amaċ iad, gur báṫaḋ aṁlaiḋ sin iad a gceaṫrar. Agus mar sin da gaċ fuireann oile do Ġaeḋealaiḃ, lingid ar Loċlonnaiḃ, gur briseaḋ is gur bearnaḋ gur marḃaḋ is gur míoċóiriġeaḋ leo iad, go naċ téarna ḋíoḃ uaṫa aċt beagán do ċuaiḋ tré luas a long as, agus tigid féin is Ceallaċán i dtír ar n-a ḟóiriṫin a hanḃroid Loċlonnaċ aṁlaiḋ sin lé cróḋaċt is lé calmaċt na Muiṁneaċ; agus triallaid as sin don Ṁuṁain mar aon lé Ceallaċán, gur ġaḃ sé ceannas a ċríċe féin arís.
Agus ré dtriall dóiḃ ó Áṫ Cliaṫ don Ṁuṁain do ṫogair Murċaḋ mac Floinn rí Laiġean caṫ do ṫaḃairt dóiḃ tré ṁarḃaḋ Loċlonnaċ ag buain Ċeallaċáin díoḃ. Giḋeaḋ ar ḃfaicsin ċróḋaċta is ċalmaċta na Muiṁneaċ do léigeadar tarsa iad gan caṫ do ṫaḃairt dóiḃ.
It was in the reign of Donnchadh son of Flann Sionna, king of Ireland, that the following events took place. For it was at the beginning of his reign that Ceallachán, son of Buadhachán, called Ceallachán of Cashel, held the sovereignty of the two provinces of Munster for ten years. Now Cinneide, son of Lorcán, came to Gleannamhain to an assembly of the nobles of Munster before Ceallachán was inaugurated, and Cinneide thought to come between Ceallachan and the kingship of Munster. But Ceallachán’s mother came from Cashel, since it was there she dwelt with her tutor, Patrick’s successor, and coming into the assembly she asked Cinneide to remember the agreement that was between Fiachaidh Muilleathan and Cormac Cas that the inheritance of Munster should alternate between their descendants, and this is expressed by this verse on the woman’s words:
Remember kind Cinnéide,
The agreement of Fiachach and Cormaic Cas,
How they left Munster shared
Justly amongst their noble children.
And as a result of the woman’s homily Cinnéide left the sovereignty of Muster to Ceallachán.
After this the Norsemen seized Ceallachán by treachery, but he was rescued by the síol Eoghain and the Dál gCais in spite of them. However, after Ceallachán and the nobles of Munster had defeated the Norsemen in many battles and driven them out of Munster, the strategy decided by Sitric, son of Turgesius, their leader, was to put forward a match with Ceallachán, that is to give his own sister Beibhionn, daughter of Turgesius, to him as wife, and allow him free possession of the provinces of Munster, without retribution or claim from the Norsemen on them; so that when Ceallachán went under his protection to marry his sister, he could be killed along with all the Munster nobles who were with him; and he gave word of this plot to Donnchadh, son of Flann, king of Tara, who had a grudge against Ceallachán for not paying the rent for Munster, and because of that he agreed to Sitric carrying out the plot against Ceallachán and the Munster nobles. Thereupon Sitric sent envoys to tell Ceallachán of the match and when they the envoys came to where Ceallachán was, he was inclined to take a large host with him to marry the woman. “That’s not right,” said Cinnéide, son or Lorcán, “for it would not be just to leave Munster undefended; and what you should do is leave a sizeable force holding Munster and take eighty lords’ sons with you to marry the woman.”
And this was the counsel they decided on, and as Ceallachán was travelling on this journey, the night before he reached Áth Cliath, Mor, daughter of Aodh, son of Eochaidh, daughter of the king of Inis Fionnghall, who was Sitric’s wife, asked why he was making a match with Ceallachán after he had felled so many Norse nobles? “Not for his benefit did I press the match,” he said, “but with a view to practising treachery against him.”
The woman started at these words, since she’d secretly long been in love with Ceallachán since the time she saw him at Port Lairge; and she rose early the next morning and went in secret along the route she thought Ceallachán was coming; and when Ceallachán reached the spot she took him aside and revealed to him the plot that was being prepared by Sitric regarding him and his death; and when Ceallachán thought of returning he could not because the fields on either side of the road were full of bands of Norsemen lying in wait to capture him. As he tried to turn back they sprang on him from every side and killed a group of nobles that were with him, and some of the Norsemen were killed along with them. However, the bulk of the host set upon Ceallachán and he was captured, himself and Donn Cuan, son of Cinnéide, and they were taken as prisoners to Áth Cliath, and from there to Ard Macha, where there were held by nine Norse earls and their companies.
Regarding the band of Munster nobles who escaped this conflict, they travelled to Munster and told the news to Cinnéide and thereupon Cinnéide prepared two hosts to seek out Ceallachán, that is, a land force and a sea force; and he made Donnchadh, son of Caomh, king of the two Fearmaighs, leader of the land force, and Cinnéide began encouraging him, declaring that eleven of his ancestors were kings of Munster, being Airtre, Cathal son of Fionghaine, Fionghaine son of Cathal, Cú gan Mháthair [Motherless Hound], Cathal who was called Ceann Géagáin, Aodh, Flann Cathrach, Cairbre, Criomhthann, Eochaidh and Aonghus son of Natfraoch. Cinnéide also sent ten hundred Dál gCais with him with three leaders over them, namely Coscrach, Longargán and Conghalach, as the poem says: Let twenty hundred go northwards.
Here is the stanza of this poem quoting the words of Cinnéide:
Let Coscrach of the battles go there,
And lovable Longargán,
Let Conghalach from the lake go;
My three brothers I mean.
In addition, Cinnéide sent five hundred more of the Dál gCais with Síoda, son of Síoda of the clann Cuilein, and five hundred more of the Dál gCais with Deaghaidh, son of Domhnall, besides the fighting men that went from other free-born tribes of Munster. The second great force he sent to sea with Failbh Fionn, king of Desmond, as their leader.
As to the land force, they journeyed out of Munster into Connacht and sent skirmishers to Muaidh and to Iorrus and to Umhall to bring cattle to the Munster camp; and not long were the Munster camp waiting for the skirmishers when they saw a well-ordered host coming towards them, and their number was ten hundred with a single warrior in the lead; and as they reached the place Donnchadh, son of Caomh, asked who that company was. “A body of Munstermen,” he said, “namely, the Gaileanga and Luighne of the clann of Tadhg son of Cian, son of Oilill Ólum, and the men of Dealbhna, of the race of Dealbhaoth, son of Cas, son of Conall Eachluaith, who are giving you the strength of their arm in brotherly sympathy in opposing the Danes and rescuing Ceallachán, king of Munster, from them. And there are three valiant leaders at the head of that host, namely Aodh, son of Dualghus, with all the Gaileanga under him, Diamaid, son of Fionnacht, with the Luighnigh under him, and Donnchadh, son of Maoldomhnach, at the head of the men of Dealbhna.” And as a testimony of this is the historical poem that begins with this stanza:
The clann of Cian are there,
And Dealbhaoth all together,
Coming to the call,
And for you they will smite.
And here is how this host was. Five hundrend of them with shield and sword and five hundred were archers. The host of Munster and the company that had come to help them travelled from there to Tír Chonaill and they plundered the country. Muircheartach, son of Arnalaidh, came asking for restitution for the plunder with good will from Donnchadh, son of Caomh; and Donnchadh said they would only give him what remained of the plunder after the hosts had been satisfied. At this Muircheartach left the host and secretly sent messengers to the sons of Turgesius at Ard Macha informing them that the Munster host was seeking Ceallachán and his rescue.
As for the sons of Turgesius, they set out from Ard Mach, nine earls with their Norse host, and Ceallachán and Donn Cuan their prisoners. As for the Munster host, they journeyed to Ard Macha and killed all the Norsemen that came in their way and when they heard on the next day that Sitric and his host had gone with Ceallachán to Dún Dealgan they went in pursuit of them, and when Sitric perceived them coming close to the town, he himself and his host borded his ships and Ceallachán and Donn Cuan with them, and the Munster host came to the edge of the strand facing them and held parley with the Norsemen. And thereupon they saw a large fleet coming into the harbour towards them, and the Munstermen recognized that it was Failbhe Fionn and his fleet.
Failbhe and his fleet proceeded directly to meet the Norsemen and attacked the ship on which were Sitric and Tor and Maghnus, and he leapt on board Sitric’s ship, a sword in either hand; and he set to cutting the ropes with which Ceallachán was tied to the mast with the sword in his left hand until he freed Ceallachán and let him down on the ship’s deck; and then he gave Ceallachán the sword from his left hand. Ceallachán went from Sitric’s ship to Failbhe’s ship; and Failbhe continued to pound Norsemen until he was killed by the greater numbers of Norsemen and they cut off his head. Fianghal, leader to his people, took his place in the conflict, and seized Sitric forcefully by the breast, and threw them both overboard, so that they went to the bottom, so thus were they drowned.
Séaghdha and Conall, two other leaders, came and seized Sitric’s two brothers, i.e. Tor and Maghnus and threw them overboard so that all four were drowned. And similarly with every other company of the Gaels, they leapt on the Norsemen, until they were broken and separated, slain and thrown into disorder, so that there only escaped from them a small number through the swiftness of their ships; and they went ashore with Ceallachán who had thus been rescued from Norse bondage by the bravery and strength of the Munstermen; and they travelled on from there to Munster with Ceallachán, so that he took control of his country again.
And as they were leaving Áth Cliath for Munster Murchadh son of Flann, king of Leinster, thought to give them battle for the killing of Norsemen in rescuing Ceallachán from them. However, when they saw the bravery and strength of the Munstermen, they allowed them to pass without giving them battle.