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Dervorgilla.

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Dervorgilla
 

(1107-93)

In 1152 Dervorgilla, wife of the brutal Tiernan O'Rourke, king of Breifne was abducted (along with many cattle) by Dermot Mac Murrough, king of Leinster, some say at the behest of her brother, Dennchad Ua mael Sechlainn. This was part of an ongoing power struggle, over the high kinship that had gone to Turlough O'Connor, king of Connacht.

Dervorgilla, has been blamed by many for the Norman invasion of Ireland, which led to centuries of English domination. Some historians contend that early clerical historians used the abduction to cloak The Bull Laudabiliter issued by Pope Adrian IV in 1155 to Henry II inviting him to invade Ireland on a crusade., whose anti female bias is endemic in their religious thinking. Here we set out some of the salient fact about her life, as known.

In 1156, O'Connor died and with the help of Mac Murrough, the king of Ulster, Mac Loughlin became high king of Ireland. This held until ten years later, when Rory O'Connor, (Last native high king of Ireland), overthrew him. Mac Murrough refused to recognize his authority and fled from the country to seek help from King Henry II of England.
Henry allowed Dermot to recruit allies among the Norman barons of Wales, who were his subjects. Chief among these was Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare (Strongbow). In return for Strongbow's help Dermot promised him his daughter Eva in marriage and the succession to the throne of Leinster, overlooking his own son.

Many historian's blame Dervorgilla for the Norman invasion of Ireland, others contend that this is an anti female bias of the Catholic church whose monks (Many of of whom were married) have written the history of Ireland and that much of it is fictional, purely political and religious propaganda. The Book of Rights, Lebor na Cert, compiled c1100 as an inventory for the Synod of Cashel in 1101, to boost the prestige of Muirchertach O'Brien as High King.

Blaming Dervorgilla, overlooks the eighteen years that had elapsed from her abduction in 1152, when she was 46, by the time Mac Murrough invited Strongbow to Ireland in 1170, she would have been 63, and it seems very un-likely that the sexual passions of a lady of her age, could lead to such consequences, in a society that viewed woman as little more than chattels. It also overlooks the political rape of the Abbess of Kildare, by Mac Murrough in c1131. Rape as a weapon has been used from time immemorial and continues to be used to day.

These clerical historians, also omit the fact, (Disputed by some) that it was the Roman church that first instigated the invasion of Ireland, by the Normans under Henry II. In the 'Bull Laudabiliter', issued by Pope Adrian IV (Nicholas Breakspear, the only English Pope), in 1156, this Papal Bull, was an invitation for ' Crusade' against the Irish Church, to impose Cannon law, in this it was successful. But in 1155, Henry had troubles with his brother Geoffrey and declined to invade Ireland, it was only after the murder of Thomas a Becket in December1170, as part of his penance that he agreed to the Welsh Norman invasion. Henry perhaps fearful of the power Strongbow was amassing in Ireland visited the country in October 1171.

Dervorgilla died in 1193 at the grand age of 86 at Mellifont Abbey County Louth.

 
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