Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Ad Multos Annos Your Eminence

To His Eminence, Raymond Leo, Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Deacon of S. Agata dei Goti, we wish a very happy birthday!

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Battle of Clontarf, 1014 (Sullivan)

The following is taken from A.M. Sullivan's The Story of Ireland, chapter xiii:


Brian soon became fully aware of the scheme at which the Danes all over Europe were laboring, and of the terrible trial approaching for Ireland. Through all the autumn of that year 1013, and the spring months of the year following, the two powers, Danish and Irish, were working hard at preparations for the great event, each straining every energy and summoning every resource for the crisis. Toward the close of March, Brian's arrangements being completed, he gave the order for a simultaneous march to Kilmainham,[1] usually the camping ground and now the appointed rendezvous of the national forces. By the second week in April there had rallied to the national standard a force which, if numerically unequal to that assembled by the invaders, was, as the result showed, able to compensate by superior valor for whatever it lacked in numbers.

The lords of all the southern half of the kingdom—the lord of Decies, Inchiquin, Fermoy, Corca-Baiskin, Kinalmeaky, and Kerry—and the lords of Hy-Manie and Hy-Fiachra in Connaught, we are told, hastened to Brian's standard. O'More and O'Nolan of Leinster, and Donald, Steward of Mar, in Scotland, continues the historian, "were the other chieftains who joined him before Clontarf, besides those of his own kindred," or the forces proper of Thomond.[2] Just one faint shadow catches the eye as we survey the picture presented by Ireland in the hour of this great national rally. The northern chieftains, the lords of Ulster, alone held back. Sullen and silent, they stirred not. "They had submitted to Brian; but they never cordially supported him."

The great Danish flotilla, under Brodar, the admiral-in-chief, entered Dublin Bay on Palm Sunday, the 18th of April, 1014. The galleys anchored, some of them at Sutton, near Howth, others were moored in the mouth of the river Liffey, and the rest were beached or anchored in a vast line stretching along the Clontarf shore, which sweeps between the two points indicated. Brian immediately swung his army round upon Glassnevin, crossed the Tolka at the point where the Botanical Gardens now stand, and faced his line of battle southward toward where the enemy were encamped upon the shore. Meantime, becoming aware that Maelmurra, prince of Leinster, was so eager to help the invader that he had entered the Danish camp with every man of his following, Brian secretly dispatched a body of Dalcassians, under his son Donagh, to dash into the traitor's territory and waste it with fire and sword. The secret march southward of the Dalcassians was communicated to Maelmurra by a spy in Brian's camp, and, inasmuch as the Dalcassians were famed as the "invincible legion" of the Irish army, the traitor urged vehemently upon his English allies that this was the moment to give battle—while Brian's best troops were away. Accordingly, on Holy Thursday, the Danes announced their resolution to give battle next day. Brian had the utmost reluctance to fight upon that day, which would be Good Friday, thinking it almost a profanation to engage in combat upon the day on which our Lord died for man's redemption. He begged that the engagement might be postponed even one day; but the Danes were all the more resolute to engage on the next morning, for, says an old legend of the battle, Brodar, having consulted one of the Danish pagan oracles, was told that if he gave: battle upon the Friday Brian would fall.

With early dawn next day, Good Friday, 23d of April, 1014, all was bustle in both camps.[3] The Danish army, facing inland, northward or northeast, stretched along the shore of Dublin Bay; its left flank touching and protected by the city of Dublin, its center being about the spot, where Clontarf castle now stands, and its right wing resting on Dollymount. The Irish army, facing southward, had its right on Drumcondra, its center on Fairview, and its extreme left on Clontarf. The Danish forces were disposed of in three divisions, of which the first, or left, was. composed of the Danes of Dublin, under their king, Sitric, and the princes Dolat and Conmael, with the thousand Norwegians already mentioned as clothed in suits of ringed mail, under the youthful warriors Carlus and Anrud; the second, or central division, was composed chiefly of the Lagenians, commanded by Maelmurra himself, and the princes of Offaly and of the Liffey territory; and the third division, or right wing, was made up of the auxiliaries from the Baltic and the Islands, under Brodar, admiral of the fleet, and the earl of Orkneys, together with some British auxiliaries from Wales and Cornwall. To oppose these the Irish monarch also marshaled his forces in three corps or divisions. The first, or right wing, composed chiefly of the diminished legions of the brave Dalcassians, was under the command of his son Morrogh, who had also with him his four brothers, Tiege, Donald, Conor, and Flann, and his own son (grandson of Brian), the youthful Torlogh, who was but fifteen years of age. In this division also fought Malachy with the Meath contingent. The Irish center division comprised the troops of Desmond, or South Munster, under the commander of Kian, son of Molloy, and Donel, son of Duv Davoren (ancestor of The O'Donoghue), both of the Eugenian line. The Irish left wing was composed mainly of the forces of Connaught, under O'Kelly, prince of Hy-Manie (the great central territory of Connaught); O'Heyne, prince of Hy-Fiachra Ahna; and Echtigern, king of Dalariada. It is supposed that Brian's army numbered about 20,000 men.[4]

All being ready for the signal of battle, Brian himself, mounted on a richly-caparisoned charger, rode through the Irish lines, as all the records are careful to tell us, "with his sword in one hand, and a crucifix in the other, exhorting the troops to remember the momentous issues that depended upon the fortunes of that day—Religion and Country against Paganism and Bondage. It is said that on this occasion he delivered an address which moved his soldiers, now to tears, and anon to the utmost pitch of enthusiasm and resolution. And we can well imagine the effect, upon an army drawn up as they were for the onset of battle in defence of "Faith and Fatherland," of such a sight and such an appeal—their aged and venerable monarch, "his white hair floating in the wind, "riding -through their lines, with the sacred symbol of Redemption borne aloft, and adjuring them, as the chronicles tell us to "remember that on this day Christ died for us, on the Mount of Calvary." Moreover, Brian himself had given them an earnest, such perhaps as monarch had never given before, of his resolve, that with the fortunes of his country he and his sons and kinsmen all would stand or fall. He had brought "his sons and nephews there," says the historian, who might have added, and even his grandchildren, "and showed that he was prepared to let the existence of his race depend upon the issue of the day." We may be sure a circumstance so affecting as this was not lost upon Brian's soldiers. It gave force to every word of his address. He recounted, we are told, all the barbarities and the sacrileges perpetrated by the invaders in their lawless ravages on Irish soil, the shrines they had plundered, the holy relics they had profaned, the brutal cruelties they had inflicted on unarmed non-combatants—nay, on "the servants of the Altar." Then, raising the crucifix aloft, he invoked the Omnipotent God to look down upon them that day, and to strengthen their arms in a cause so just and holy.

Mr. William Kenealy (now of Kilkenny) is the author of a truly noble poem which gives with all the native vigor and force of the original, this thrilling "Address of Brian to his Army."

"Stand ye now for Erin's glory! Stand ye now for Erin's cause!
Long ye've groaned beneath the rigor of the Northmen's savage laws.
What though brothers league against us? What, though myriads be the foe?
Victory will be more honored in the myriads' overthrow.  

"Proud Connacians! oft we've wrangled in our petty feuds of yore;
Now we fight against the robber Dane upon our native shore;
May our hearts unite in friendship, as our blood in one red tide,
While we crush their mail-clad legions, and annihilate their pride!

"Brave Eugenians! Erin triumphs in the sight she sees to-day—
Desmond's homesteads all deserted for the muster and the fray!
Cluan's vale and Galtees' summit send their bravest and their best—
May such hearts be theirs forever, for the Freedom of the West!

"Chiefs and Kernes of Dalcassia! Brothers of my past career,
Oft we've trodden on the pirate-flag that flaunts before us here;
You remember Inniscattery, how we bounded on the foe,
As the torrent of the mountain bursts upon the plain below!

"They have razed our proudest castles—spoiled the Temples of the Lord—
Burned to dust the sacred relics—put the Peaceful to the sword—
Desecrated all things holy—as they soon may do again,
If their power to-day we smite not—if to-day we be not men!

"On this day the God-man suffered—look upon the sacred sign—
May we conquer 'neath its shadow, as of old did Constantine!
May the heathen tribe of Odin fade before it like a dream,
And the triumph of this glorious day in our future annuals gleam!

"God of heaven, bless our banner—nerve our sinews for the strife!
Fight we now for all that's holy—for our altars, land and life—
For red vengeance on the spoiler, whom the blazing temples trace—
For the honor of our maidens and the glory of our race!

"Should I fall before the foeman, 'tis the death I seek to-day;
Should ten thousand daggers pierce me, bear my body not away,
Till this day of days be over—till the field is fought and won—
Then the holy mass be chanted, and the funeral rites be done.

"Men of Erin! men of Erin! grasp the battle-ax: and spear!
Chase these Northern wolves before you like a herd of frightened deer!
Burst their ranks, like bolts from heaven! Down, on the heathen crew,
For the glory of the Crucified, and Erin's glory too!"

Who can be astonished that, as he ceased, a shout wild, furious, and deafening, burst from the Irish lines? A cry arose from the soldiers, we are told, demanding instantly to be led against the enemy. The aged monarch now placed himself at the head of his guards, to lead the van of battle; but at this point his sons and all the attendant princes and commanders protested against his attempting, at his advanced age, to take part personally in the conflict; and eventually, after much effort, they succeeded in prevailing upon him to retire to his tent, and to. let the chief command devolve upon his eldest, son Morrogh.

"The battle," says a historian, "then commenced; 'a spirited, fierce, violent, vengeful, and furious battle; the likeness of which was not. to be found at that time,' as the old annalists quaintly describe it. It was a conflict of heroes. The chieftains engaged at every point in single combat; and the greater part of them on both sides fell. The impetuosity of the Irish was irresistible, and their battle-axes did fearful execution, every man of the ten hundred mailed warriors of Norway having been made to bite the dust, and it was against them, we are told, that the Dalcassians had been obliged to contend single-handed. The heroic Morrogh performed prodigies of valor throughout the day. Ranks of men fell before him; and, hewing his way to the Danish standard, he cut down two successive bearers of it with his battle-ax. Two Danish leaders, Carolus and Conmael, enraged at this, success, rushed on him together, but both fell in rapid succession by his sword. Twice Morrogh and some of his chiefs retired to slake their thirst and cool their hands, swollen from the violent use of the sword; and the Danes observing the vigor with which they returned to the conflict, succeeded, by a desperate effort in cutting off the brook which had refreshed them. Thus the battle raged from an early hour in the morning—innumerable deeds of valor being performed on both sides, and victory appearing still doubtful, until the third or fourth hour in the afternoon, when a fresh and desperate effort was made by the Irish, and the Danes, now almost destitute of leaders, began to waver and give way at every point. Just at this moment the Norwegian prince, Anrud, encountered Morrogh, who was unable to raise his arms from fatigue, but with the left hand he seized Anrud and hurled him to the earth, and with the other placed the point of his sword on the breast of the prostrate Northman, and leaning on it plunged it through his body. While stooping, however, for this purpose, Anrud contrived to inflict on him a mortal wound with a dagger, and Morrogh fell in the arms of victory. According to other accounts, Morrogh was in the act of stooping to relieve an enemy when he received from him his death wound. This disaster had not the effect of turning the fortune of the day, for the Danes and their allies were in a state of utter disorder, and along their whole line had commenced to fly toward the city or to their ships. They plunged into the Tolka at a time, we may conclude, when the river was swollen with the tide, so that great numbers were drowned. The body of young Turlogh was found after the battle 'at the weir of Clontarf,' with his hands entangled in the hair of a Dane whom he had grappled with in the pursuit.

"But the chief tragedy of the day remains to be related. Brodar, the pirate admiral, who commanded in the point of the Danish lines remotest from the city, seeing the rout general, was making his way through some thickets with only a few attendants, when he came upon the tent of Brian Borumha, left at that moment without his guards. The fierce Norseman rushed in and found the aged monarch at prayer before the crucifix, which he had that morning held up to the view of his troops, and attended only by his page. Yet, Brian had time to seize his arms, and died sword in hand. The Irish accounts say that the king killed Brodar, and was only overcome by numbers; but the Danish version in the Niala Saga is more probable, and in this Brodar is represented as holding up his reeking sword and crying: 'Let it be proclaimed from man to man that Brian has been slain by Brodar.' It is added, on the same authority, that the ferocious pirate was then hemmed in by Brian's returned guards and captured alive, and that he was hung from a tree, and continued to rage like a beast of prey until all his entrails were torn out—the Irish soldiers thus taking savage vengeance for the death of their king, who but for their own neglect would have been safe."[5]

Such was the victory of Clontarf—one of the most glorious events in the annals of Ireland! It was the final effort of the Danish power to effect the conquest of this country. Never again was that effort renewed. For a century subsequently the Danes continued to hold some maritime cities in Ireland; but never more did they dream of conquest. That design was overthrown forever on the bloody plain of Clontarf.

It was, as the historian called it truly, "a conflict of heroes." There was no flinching on either side, and on each side fell nearly every commander of note who had entered the battle! The list of the dead is a roll of nobility, Danish and Irish; among the dead being the brave Caledonian chiefs, the great Stewards of Mar and Lennox, who had come from distant Alba to fight on the Irish side that day!

But direst disaster of all—most woeful in its ulterior results affecting the fate and fortunes of Ireland—was the slaughter of the reigning family: Brian himself, Morrogh, his eldest son and destined successor, and his grandson, "the youthful Torlogh," eldest child of Morrogh—three generations cut down in the one day upon the same field of battle!

"The fame of the event went out through all nations. The chronicles of Wales, of Scotland, and of Man; the annals of Ademar and Marianus;[6] the saga of Denmark and the Isles, all record the event. The Norse settlers in Caithness saw terrific visions of Valhalla 'the day after the battle.'"[7] "The annals state that Brian and Morrogh both lived lived to receive the last sacraments of the Church, and that their remains were conveyed by the monks to Swords (near Dublin), and thence to Armagh by the Archbishop; and that their obsequies were celebrated for twelve days and nights with great splendor by the clergy of Armagh after which the body of Brian was deposited in a stone coffin on the north side of the high altar in the cathedral, the body of his son being interred on the south side of the same church. The remains of Torlogh and of several of the other chieftains were buried in the old churchyard of Kilmainham, where the shaft of an Irish cross still marks the spot."[8]

[1] The district north and south of the Liffey at this point—the Phoenix Park, Kilmainham, Inchicore, and Chapelizod—was the rendezvous.
[2] "Under the standard of Brian Borumha also fought that day the Maermors, or Great Stewards of Lennox and Mar, with a contingent of the brave Gaels of Alba. It would even appear, from a Danish account, that some of the Northmen who had always been friendly to Brian, fought on his side at Clontarf. A large body of hardy men came from the distant maritime districts of Connemara; many warriors flocked from other territories, and, on the whole, the rallying of the men of Ireland in the cause of their country upon that occasion, as ouch as the victory which their gallantry achieved, renders the event a proud and cheering one in Irish history."—Haverty.
[3] Haverty says: "The exact site of the battle seems to. be tolerably well defined. In some copies of the Annals it. is called ' the Battle of the Fishing-weir of Clontarf:' and the weir in question must have been at the mouth of the Tolka, about the place where Ballybough Bridge now stands. It also appears that the principal destruction of" the Danes took place when in their flight they endeavored to cross the Tolka, probably at the moment of high water, when great numbers of them were drowned; and it is expressly stated that they were pursued with great slaughter 'from the Tolka to Dublin.'" I, however, venture, though with proper diffidence, to suggest that the 'Fishing-weir' stood a short distance higher up the river, to wit, at Clonliffe, directly below where the College of the Holy Cross now stands. For there is, in my opinion, ample evidence to show that at that time the sea flowed over the flats on the city side, by which Ballybough Bridge is now approached, making a goodly bay, or wide estuary, there; and that only about the point I indicate was a fishing-weir likely to have stood in 1014.
[4] Abridged from Haverty.
[5] Haverty.
[6] "Brian, king of Hibernia, slain on Good Friday, the 9th of the calends of May (23d April), with his mind and his hands turned toward God."—"Chronicles of Marianus Scotus."
[7] M'Gee.
[8] Haverty.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

A Memoir of St. Laurence O'Toole

From Dalton's Memoirs of the Archbishops of Dublin (1838, p. 51ff.):

Succ 1162 Ob 1180

Laurence O'Toole the truly illustrious individual who succeeded to this high preferment was the youngest son of the hereditary lord or petty prince of the territory of Imaile the head of one of the septs eligible to the kingdom of Leinster and which maintained the privilege of electing the bishops and abbots of Glendalough even for centuries after that see was de jure united to that of Dublin. His father's principality was situated in the district of Wicklow to which he was also attached in the maternal line his mother having been of the O'Byrnes a family equally revered in the memory of their countrymen. In the depth of the romantic valley of the two lakes which gave name to the see of Glendalough and where the ruins of its little city and cathedral are still traceable there was at this period one of those schools for which Ireland was justly celebrated and within its walls the pious Laurence imbibed the rudiments of his education and the principles of his religion. At the early age of ten his acquirements elevated him considerably above the ordinary class of his contemporaries and the infant ardour of his patriotism so manifested itself that when at that period his father participated in the oppressive hostilities with which Dermot Mac Murrough visited the most worthy of the chieftains of Leinster the heartless tyrant could only be induced to avert the worst inflictions of his cruel power on receiving as a hostage from the father's hands the son of his heart and hopes.

No sooner had Dermot possessed himself of this already celebrated boy than he subjected him to the first lessons of the persecution he was fated to endure and with a fiendish cruelty in thorough consistence with the character which even his Welch allies afterwards attributed to him he is said to have confined his victim in a barren unsheltered spot and only allowed him such a quality and quantity of food as might preserve an existence for tyranny to excruciate. The distracted parent when he heard of his son's sufferings knowing that entreaty would be responded with mockery and increased barbarity by some successful sally from his mountain holds captured twelve of Mac Murrough's soldiers whom he threatened instantly to immolate unless his son was restored to his home. The threat was effective and in the valley of Glendalough Laurence was once more received in a father's embrace. The secluded and melancholy appearance of this scene surrounded as it is by almost perpendicular mountains on all sides but the east where alone it opens like a vast temple of nature to the rising day early marked it as the more peculiar retreat of holiness and must have greatly influenced the determination of the redeemed boy who thereupon again applied himself to his studies in the place where his rudiments were imbibed and ultimately resigning the prospects of his birth and inheritance devoted his great talents to the service of religion and exhibited such eminent proofs of his knowledge devotion purity and high morality that in the twenty fifth year of his age at the importunity of the clergy and people of the district he was advanced to preside over that abbey whose ruins still affect the observer with inexpressible reverence and if not forming the most imposing feature at Glendalough at least powerfully deepen its interest. His charity to the poor at this time is much commemorated especially during a period of remarkable scarcity which miserably afflicted that part of the country during four successive years nor is it to be overlooked that by the rectitude of his conduct throughout this interval of his life he confounded the efforts of calumny and by the firm but merciful superin tendance of the district under his charge converted it from a wicked waste to moral cultivation. The result was to himself as might be expected and when the bishop of the see Gilda na Naomh died Laurence was at once selected by a grateful people to fill the vacant dignity. He however utterly declined this honour wisely and prudently excusing himself by reason of the fewness of his years. Providence reserved him for a more exalted and useful sphere of action and on the death of Gregory Archbishop of Dublin which soon afterwards occurred he was elected the successor a promotion which he would also have declined but was ultimately induced to accept by earnest representations of the good he might thus effectuate. He was accordingly consecrated in Christ Church Dublin in the year 1152 by Gelasius Archbishop of Armagh assisted by many bishops the people offering up the thanksgivings of their hearts and from that period the custom of sending the bishops of the Irish cities which the Danes had occupied to Canterbury for consecration was utterly discontinued.

In the following year Archbishop O'Toole engaged the secular clergy of his cathedral of the Holy Trinity to receive the rule of the regular canons of Aroasia an abbey which was founded in the diocese of Arras about eighty years previously and had acquired such a reputation for sanctity and exemplary discipline that it became the head or mother church of a numerous congregation. The better to recommend this change the archbishop himself assumed the habit of that order which he thenceforth always wore under his pontifical attire and equally submitted himself to their mortifications and rules of living. Although he studiously avoided all popular applause yet his continued charity to the poor could not be concealed. He caused every day sometimes sixty sometimes forty paupers to be fed in his presence besides many whom he otherwise relieved he entertained the rich with suitable splendour yet never himself tasted the luxuries of the table and as frequently as his duties would permit retreated to the scene of his early sanctity where in the cave still shewn as the labour of St Kevin's self inflictions removed from human intercourse he indulged himself in holy thinkings.

In 1167 he assisted at the council which King Roderic convened at Athboy and which in the mixed grades of those who attended it greatly resembled a Saxon Wittenagemote. Thither according to the Annals of the Four Masters came the comorb of Patrick, Catholicus O'Dufly Archbishop of Connaught, Laurence O'Toole Archbishop of Leinster, Tiernan O'Rourke Lord of Brefny, Donough O'Carrol Lord of Uriel, the son of the King of Ulad Dermod O'Melaghlin King of Tara Raynal Mac Raynal Lord of the Danes, Donough O'Faolan Chief of the Desies &c. The complement of the whole so collected was 6000 of Connaught 4000 with O'Rourke 2000 with O'Melaghlin 4000 with O'Carrol and the son of the King of Ulad 2000 with Donough O'Faolan and 1000 with the Danes of Dublin. The political object of this assembly was to obtain more indisputable acknowledgments of the sovereignty of Roderic and to calculate what aid and support he might expect in case of the then expected invasion of Dermot Mac Murrough's auxiliaries. The council did not however separate without passing many good ordinances touching the privileges of churches and clergy and the regulation of public morality and religious discipline Archbishop Laurence also presided as legate at a clerical convocation held at Clonfert in 1170 by commission from the Pope. Upon the first invasion of the Welch adventurers he adhered firmly to the independence of his country and encouraged the inhabitants of Dublin to a vigorous defence against the invaders they however daunted by the martial appearance and disciplined array of Strongbow's forces before their walls entreated the prelate rather to become the mediator of a peace to effectuate which he passed out into the lines of the besiegers but while the terms of surrender were yet under discussion. Raymond le Gros and Milo de Cogan with a party of young and fiery spirits scaled the walls and at once possessed themselves of the city with frightful carnage. The charity of Archbishop O'Toole was eminently exercised on this occasion. At the hazard of his life he traversed the streets of the metropolis protesting against the ruin he could not control snatching the panting bodies from the grasp of the invader he administered to the dying the last consolations of religion to the dead the hasty service of a grave and to the wants and wounds of the wretched survivors all that their necessities could require or his means afford.

In 1171 Hasculph the Danish Governor of Dublin whom the English had expelled from the city arrived in its harbour to reassert his rights with thirty ships in his train and a numerous force commanded by John Wood from the Isle of Man and the islands of the North and described in the Irish Annals as well appointed after the Danish manner with brigandines jacks and coats of mail their shields bucklers and targets round and coloured red and bound about with iron Archbishop Laurence on this occasion considering that much national good might result from opposing the power of the new invaders by that of the old became most zealous in his appeals to the native princes to promote Hasculph's project and his devoted patriotism and the sanctity of his character gave great weight to his exhortations. The people rose in arms to his call collected all their strength surrounded Dublin by land while the Dane occupied the harbour and threatened the hitherto victorious Strongbow with total annihilation From the height of the citadel he beheld with alarm the allied natives at last united in the defence of their country and extending their lines from sea to sea around him Roderic was encamped at Castleknock whence his army extended to the ancient town of Finglas O'Rourke and the petty prince of Ulster mingled their forces along the strand of Clontarf the Lord of Hy Kin selagh occupied the opposite shores of Dalkey while the Chief of Thomond advanced so near as Kilmainham to the walls of the metropolis and even Archbishop Laurence communicated the inspiration of his character to this cause and gliding amidst the ranks of war animated the several septs of his countrymen to the assertion of their common liberties. Within the city were Earl Strongbow Maurice Fitzgerald Raymond le Gros the Achilles of the invasion Milo de Cogan Richard de Cogan and some other chosen chieftains but their scanty soldiery bore a fearful comparison in numbers with the host that were to oppose them and Strongbow in the prudence of necessity withheld them from any encounter that might but reveal their weakness It was the crisis of Ireland's destinies but her monarch was not equal to the emergency. During two months these warriors patiently endured the closest blockade but after that interval a privation of food so grievous that according to Regan a measure of wheat was sold for a mark and one of barley for half a mark threatened the garrison with the most terrific species of death In this emergency rather than pine under the lingering infliction of famine they loudly implored their commanders to lead them against the enemy and afford them at least the glorious consolation of dying on the field of battle In aggravation of their despair and the imminence of their fate came fearful accounts of the state of Fitz Stephen and his followers in Wexford. A council was thereupon held and an ineffectual effort having been made under its direction to obtain favourable terms by negotiation it was resolved without further delay to sally on the besiegers. The garrison was accordingly divided into three companies Raymond le Gros with 200 knights took the vanguard Milo de Cogan with as many more kept the centre and Strongbow with Maurice Fitz Gerald and 200 knights and soldiers composed the rear sufficient numbers being left to guard and secure the city. Early on the following morning when the natives were least expecting an assault the appointed detachments impatiently sallied from the city and falling on the wing of Roderic's army completely broke down any opposition it was able to offer and following up their advantage along the monarch's line slew without mercy even until the fall of night when they returned to the city wearied by their bloody victory but much enriched with spoils and with what was then even more welcome ample stores of provisions Roderic himself narrowly escaped being taken prisoner. The native chieftains fled in every direction and the allies from the isles took to sea without another effort Hasculph himself however was taken prisoner as he was hurrying to his ship and having when brought before the English leader expressed himself in terms deemed unbecoming and certainly imprudent in a captive was instantly ordered to execution Milo de Cogan was thereupon re instated in the government of Dublin and Strongbow marched with his adherents to the relief of Fitz Stephen in Wexford. The political exertions of the archbishop were not however paralyzed by these unexpected discomfitures. With unwearied zeal he still laboured to organize an effective opposition against Strongbow and his followers but the arrival of King Henry the Second at Waterford in the October following with considerable forces having given a new character to the invasion and most of the leading men of Ireland having submitted to him Laurence together with the principal archbishops bishops and abbots of the country repaired to that city and in obedience to the bull of Pope Adrian then for the first time exhibited respectively submitted themselves to him the English king as their temporal lord and ruler. In the Christmas following Archbishop Laurence assisted at the synod convened at Cashel by the king's orders wherein several canons were established for the prevention of marriages within certain degrees of kindred the more solemn administration of baptism the due payment of parochial tithes the immunity of church lands and of the clergy from secular exactions the distribution of the property of deceased persons according to their wishes solemnly avowed before death or an equitable division in case of no such avowal the administration of the last rites to the dying the regulation of burials and the conformity of divine service in Ireland with that of the Church of England while it is very remarkable that notwithstanding the great reform which it was alleged the Irish nation required not only were all the bishops and ecclesiastics who were present on that occasion natives with the exception of three Henry's immediate chaplain and advisers but it was actually not deemed necessary to make any canons at this synod relative to religious doctrine or even the more essential points of discipline and some of the decrees are evidently of a political rather than an ecclesiastical tendency.

About the year 1173 this prelate gave the amiable example not only of Christian forgiveness but yet more of that cordiality with which persons most opposed in politics should concur in the cause of religion and charity and co operating with Strongbow Robert Fitz Stephen and Raymond le Gros undertook the enlargement of Christ Church and accordingly at their own charges erected the choir the steeple and two chapels one dedicated to St Edmund king and martyr and to St Mary and the other to St Laud. He adhered however not the less faithfully to the fallen fortunes of his former sovereign and as zealously but more peaceably endeavoured to uphold them as far as circumstances would now permit. Accordingly in 1175 when Roderic O Conor was reduced to narrow his negotiations and exertions to the sole object of securing the sovereignty of his own province of Connaught he despatched Catholicus Archbishop of Tuam, the Abbot of St Brandan, and Archbishop Laurence styled in the treaty Roderic's chancellor to wait upon King Henry at Windsor where he held his court. There these emissaries concluded that remarkable treaty which is yet extant and in which the contracting parties are both named kings Henry of England and Roderic of Connaught. It was on this occasion Archbishop O'Toole visited the shrine of Thomas a Becket at Canterbury and as the writer of his life says narrowly escaped death from an insane individual who conceived he would do a meritorious action by murdering the prelate and assimilating his fate with that of Becket Accordingly he rushed upon him as he was celebrating mass beat him down and inflicted grievous wounds upon his head. When the archbishop recovered the king on hearing of the circumstance would have punished the attempt by the death of the offender but the archbishop interceded for his life which was spared accordingly.

In 1176 when the remains of Strongbow were deposited in the church he had so lately beautified and enlarged when the proud invader was let down into the grave amidst a population whose homes he had desolated Archbishop Laurence presided at the solemn rites that close the enmities of man and mingle with the better recollections of the dead the hopes and prayers that point to everlasting life yet with what deep reflections must he have witnessed the clay thrown over that cold corse that was once animated with such an adventurous spirit the narrow home of him who was the prominent actor in the catastrophe of a nation whose successful ambition had triumphed over the independence of Ireland subverted its ancient constitution dissolved the privileges of its families confined its monarch within a portion of the remotest province of his former kingdom and erected out of the remainder palatinates and baronies yet in the words of William of Newbridge carried to the grave no part of those spoils he coveted so eagerly in life putting to risk even his eternal salvation to amass them but at last leaving to unthankful heirs all he had acquired through so much toil and danger affording by his fate a salutary lesson to mankind.

In 1177 Cardinal Vivian presided as legate at a council in Dublin where the right of the King of England to the sovereignty of Ireland in virtue of the Pope's authority was further inculcated. There is no positive evidence however that Archbishop Laurence took part in this proceeding although he appears in other transactions conjointly with Vivian during his stay in Ireland. In 1178 he granted and confirmed to the church of the Holy Trinity those of St Michan, St Michael, St John the Evangelist, St Brigid, St Paul and all the profits of the mills which the said church was known to possess without the walls near the bridge and the fishery with the tithes of salmon and of all other fishes on either side of the water course of the Liffey and all the lands of Ratheny, Portrane, Rathsillan, Kinsaly, the third part of Cloghney, the third part of Killallin, Lisluan, Killester, Duncuanach, Glasnevin, Magdunia, St Doulogh's, Ballymacamleib, Cloncoen, Tallagh, Tullaghcoen, Killingincleam, Kiltinan, Rathsalaghan, Tullaghnaescope, Drumhing, Ballyrochaican, half of Rathmihi, Tiradran, Ballyrochan, and Ballymoailph, with all their appurtenances for ever.

In 1179 this archbishop with some other Irish prelates proceeded to Rome to assist at the General Council then held there being the second Council of Lateran. King Henry however before he would permit them to pass through his dominions exacted from them a solemn oath not to prejudice him or his empire in the progress of their mission. On Laurence's arrival at Rome he obtained a bull from thepope confirming the dioceses of Glendalough, Kildare, Ferns, Leighlin, and Ossory to his metropolitical authority and further assuring to his own see its lands and possessions as therein most fully detailed. The Pope also created him legate of Ireland in virtue of which commission according to his biographers he afterwards on his return exercised legatine authority in his native country.

In 1180 according to Hoveden and Benedict he again passed out of Ireland entrusted by the unfortunate Roderic to place that prince's son as an hostage with the English king then sojourning in Normandy as was stipulated in the before mentioned treaty of Windsor. There the archbishop was detained by the king whose displeasure he had incurred as Cambrensis alleges by having through zeal for his country's service made some harsh representations at Rome of the Anglo Irish Government and obtained from the Pope privileges derogatory of the royal dignity. But as all history evinces that this patriotic prelate discharged the duties of his high clerical station in the most exemplary manner and even yielded his political antipathies to the necessities of the times it may be naturally concluded that his remonstrances and authority were only such as justice would warrant and directed against the barbarity of the adventurers of the day.

Such honest representations of the encroachments they would have made in temporal and spiritual property should be fairly considered as so far from violating Laurence's engagement to Henry that in reality the honest interest of the English crown could not be better advanced than by the suppression of the wanton outrages he vainly witnessed It was by the disregard of his expostulations that a host of needy adventurers were endowed in Ireland and a government founded within the pale of that devoted country which was felt only in its power to do injustice.

Well had it been if the consequences of that misrule had died with the tyrants who first perpetrated it Unfortunately however for the generations of ages the acts of those detached and licentious chiefs were permitted to assume the name of English administration and bigotries were engendered and hatreds associated which only the nineteenth century is dissolving Archbishop Laurence lived to see his country the patrimony of strangers but to the last hour of his he laboured to avert the evils of that dispensation and to place a country whose intestine made it incapable and unworthy of independence under the lawful protection of England's not the fickle despotism of alien Palatines the midst however of the ill merited restraints upon him it was too fatally evinced that banishment from his country accelerated his dissolution.

In Normandy the sickness fell upon him and conscious that the hour of his demise was approaching he retired into the monastery of Regular Canons at Eu on the confines of that province anxious to close his life within its peaceful walls and amidst the brethren of his favourite order. Yet even in the sacred reflections of that moment the afflictions of his country lived in his remembrance from his death bed he is recorded as having sent a monk of the fraternity to the camp of Henry to implore peace for Ireland and when some token of assent was given by the King and communicated to the prelate it mingled with the hopes of a dying Christian and he sunk into his last repose on the 14th of November 1180.

Immediately after his burial which took place at Eu King Henry despatched Jeoffrey de la Hay his chaplain into Ireland to seize the revenues of the see which he held over for nearly one year. The remains of Archbishop Laurence were at first placed in a shrine before the altar of the martyr Leodegarius but when the prelate was canonized in 1218 by Pope Honorius the Third they were with great solemnity translated and placed over the high altar where they were long preserved in a silver shrine.

The abbey that was sanctified by his death was on his canonization dedicated anew to him and his festival has continued to be celebrated there yearly with one office of nine lessons as it is also observed in Ireland under the particular sanction of a decree of Pope Benedict the Fourteenth Cherish in your memory says that pontiff addressing the archbishops and bishops of Ireland. Cherish in your memory St Patrick the apostle of Ireland whom our predecessor St Celestine sent to you of whose apostolic mission and preaching such an abundant harvest has grown that Ireland before his time idolatrous was suddenly called and deservedly is the Island of Saints cherish in your memory St Malachy Archbishop of Armagh whose ardour for the conversion of souls St Bernard has depicted in the boldest colouring. He stood forth undaunted in every manner prepared to convert the wolves into sheep to admonish in public to convince in private to touch the chords of the heart boldly or gently as suited the subject. Traversing the country he sought the aspirations which he might turn to the service of the true God neither was he carried by horse but on foot like an apostle he performed his mission. And yet with even more sincerity cherish in your memory St Laurence the Archbishop of Dublin whom born as he was of royal blood our predecessor Alexander the Third in the Council of Lateran selected as his legate apostolic for Ireland and whom Honorius the Third alike our predecessor afterwards canonized whence you may well know what services that saintly man rendered to his flock. But if yet more we were to exhort you to cherish in your memory the very holy men Columbanus, Kilian, Virgil, Rumold, St Gall, and the many others who coming out of Ireland carried the true faith over the provinces of the continent or established it with the blood of their martyrdom we should far exceed the limits of a letter. Suffice it to commend to you to bear in memory the religion and the piety of those that have preceded you and the solicitude for the duties of their station which has established their everlasting glory and happiness.

In reference to his personal appearance St Laurence is represented as having been tall and graceful in stature of a comely presence and in his outward habit grave but rich. His life published by Surius is said to have been written by Ralph of Bristol Bishop of Kildare in the commencement of the thirteenth century and a correct copy thereof is reported to be in Archbishop Ussher's collection in Trinity College Dublin. The biography from which the chief facts above related have been selected was written by a brother of the monastery of Eu and is published in Messingham's Florilegium. It but remains to mention that in the Roman Catholic church St Laurence is the patron saint of the diocese of Dublin.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Mass in Merchants Quay

From Dublin: The City Within the Grand and Royal Canals and the Circular Road by Christine Casey, p. 344 ff:

Merchant's Quay 

1836 by James Bolger. A large and much-rebuilt Franciscan church on a sequestered site behind the riverfront buildings of Merchants' Quay. A Franciscan friary of 1615 on Cook Street served as the first post-Reformation seminary in Ireland. Its chapel was destroyed in 1629, and the friars did not return until 1757 when a house was purchased on Merchants' Quay. Built on the site of an c18 chapel, the curious name derives from an adjacent tavern. In time much of the quayside was acquired and is now occupied by a large Friary of 1900 by W.G. Doolin; Italianate, of granite with three storeys over a blind rusticated arcade. The quayside entrance to the church, which lies on an axis with the N transept, is perhaps Patrick Byrne's design of 1852, though the execution has a later ring to it. It consists of a deep narthex and upper rooms. The three-bay arcaded and pilastered facade is pedimented, with two squashed mezzanine storeys, like a cross between a c17 town palace and a provincial church. Further w, Skipper's Alley leads to the w front of the nave, a thin two-tiered composition adden in 1926 by J.J. O'Hare, Doric below and Composite above with a central pediment, portal and window. On the 1. at the nw angle is a spare granite bell-tower of c. 1930, battered, with angle projections, and crowned by a pedimented temple with columns in antis; probably by J.J. Robinson & R.C. Keefe, who extensively remodelled the church in the 1930s. - SCULPTURE. Above the quayside entrance, St. Francis by Seamus Murphy, and at the corner of Merchants' Quay and Winetavern Street, a bronze figure of the Virgin by Gabriel Hayes, 1955. Like St. Andrew's Westland Row, the plan originally consisted of unaisled nave and transept. here the nave was dwarfed by a vast transept, entered from Cook Street, s, and later also from Merchants' Quay, n. the nave had no direct access until the c20. The Civil Engineer and Architect's Journal of 1844 described it as 'a spacious building but in nothing remarkable for either elegance or judicious arrangement'. After almost two centuries of enlargement and alteration, this still rings true. The church is now arcaded and aisled, with a dome over the crossing, a broad apsidal chancel and a galleried ambulatory. Giant Corinthian polasters on tall pedestals support a continuous entablature and an elliptical vault with semicircular clerestory windows. Uninspired, it looks like bread-and-butter late c19 work by W.H. Byrne & Son. The apse was added in 1924-7 probably by J.J. O'Hare, the aisles in 1930-3, a mortuary chapel at the w end from 1930-9 by Robinson & Keefe and the St. Anthony chapel off the s aisle in 1936-9 by J.V. Downes & B.T. Meehan. Too many cooks spoiled the broth. The most attractive features of the 1930s remodelling are the aisle confessionals, sub-Art Deco with Ionic pilasters and glazed central doors with copper glazing bars and dark irregular glass. - REREDOS, fine white marble figure of the Virgin by John Valentine Hogan. - NARTHEX, Plaque of the Virgin flanked by Ss. Christopher and Joseph, mid-c20 by Eileen Broe. - PAINTINGS. St. Anthony Chapel. Miracles of St. Anthony, six charming Quattrocento-inspired paintings begun in 1938 by Muriel Brandt, who had studied mural painting with Stanley Spencer at the Royal College of Art in London. - Mortuary Chapel. Two paintings, Death of St. Francis (n) and Ascension of Souls from Purgatory, also by Brandt. - STAINED GLASS - Transepts, Nativity (n) and Annunciation, pictorial. Possibly the windows supplied in 1889 by William Martin & Son.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Mass in St. Agnes' Crumlin

St. Agnes' Church, Crumlin, was one of the first great era of suburban Churches in Dublin built under Archbishop Byrne (1921-1940).  The firm of Ashlin and Coleman designed the Church, along with St. Teresa's, Donore Avenue (1922), St. Anne's, Shankill (1931), St. Columba's, Iona Road (1933), and Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mourne Road (begun in 1933, blessed in 1942).

Archbishop Byrne also oversaw the building of the Church of St. MacCullin, Lusk (1922), St. Brigid, Killester (1925), St. Vincent de Paul, Marino (1926), Garrison Church, Arbour Hill, (1927), Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock (1935), and Our Lady of the Rosary, Harold's Cross (begun in 1938, blessed 1940).  In contrast to the Churches that were built under his successors, these were generally stone-built Churches in a very traditional style. 

Temporary Churches were also needed in the new suburbs until a new Church could be built.  As part of this great extension, Archbishop Byrne also blessed a tin Church at Portmarnock and a wooden Church at Kiltiernan.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A Timeline of St. Laurence O'Toole

1128 - Born in Castledermot, Co. Kildare
1154 - Became Abbot of Glendalough to succeed Abbot Dunlaing
1161 - First Native Irish Archbishop of Dublin
1162 - Consecrated Bishop by Galesius, Archbishop of Armagh
1163 - Established the Canons Regular of Arouasia at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity
1166 - Established the Priory of All Hallows of the Canons Regular of Arouasia
1167 - Attended the Council of Athboy
1170 - Presided as Papal Legate at the Council of Clonfert
1171 - Visited Henry II in Normandy, violently attacked processing to Mass
1172 - Attended the Synod of Cashel
1175 - Negotiated the Treaty of Windsor
1176 - Presided at the funeral of Strongbow
1178 - Synod of Dublin presided over by Cardinal Vivian as Papal Legate
1179 - Attended the Third Lateran Council under Pope Alexander III
1180 - Died at Eu in Normandy
1225 - Canonised by Pope Honorius III
1227 - The body of St. Laurence enshrined at Eu