Please note that the TimeRef website is currently being redesigned.
Please note that the TimeRef website is currently being redesigned. This page shows what the rest of site will eventually look like.
Murchadha, Diarmait mac (King of Leinster)
r Dermot. Dermot was the King of Leinster, an area of eastern Ireland. He was in conflict with Tighernan O Ruairc, another ruler in the region. In 1166 Dermot was defeated by Tighernan and exiled to England. Dermot needed help if he was to retake his homeland and so he approached Henry II. Henry did not want to get directly involved but allowed Dermot to raise an army from the Welsh and English people he could find to help him. The most important person Dermot found to help him was Richard de Clare 'Strongbow', the Earl of Pembroke. Strongbow agreed to help in return for Dermot's daughter's hand in marriage and to rule Leinster after Dermot's death. The medieval historian Gerald of Wales described Dermot as 'He was tall of stature and stout of build. A man of warlike spirit and a brave one in his nation, with a voice hoarse from shouting in battle. One who preferred to be feared rather than to be loved, who put down the nobles and raised up the lowly, who was a tyrant to his own people and hated by strangers. His hand was against every man and every man's hand was against his'.
Dermot, the King of Leinster in eastern Ireland, was defeated in battle by Tighernan O Ruairc, another ruler in the region. Dermot was exiled and went to Normandy and the court of Henry II of England to ask for assistance in retaking his lands. Henry gave Dermot permission to find a willing army from either England or Wales and so Dermot approached Richard de Clare, the Earl of Pembroke who agreed to help in return for several demands. These demands were Dermot's daughter's hand in marriage and to rule Leinster after Dermot died.
Some the men promised to assist Dermot in Ireland landed at Bannow with the sons of Nesta. The poorly protected Irish warriors were no match for the armoured knights and archers that arrived from Wales. By the end of the year Leinster fell and Dermot once again became the King. After his victory Dermot was not satisfied with just ruling Leinster but wanted to become High King of Ireland. To fulfil his ambitions he had to wait for the arrival of Strongbow, the Earl of Pembroke, for that to be a possibility.
The agreement between the Earl of Pembroke and Dermot, the King of Leinster, was that if the Earl helped the King retake Leinster the Earl would become the ruler of Leinster when Dermot died. When the king died in the spring of 1171 the agreement fell apart due to the lack of support from Dermot's tribesmen. The tribesmen elected a nephew of Dermot's as the new king instead.
Selection of references used:
1. H.W.C.Davis, England under the Normans and Angevins, 1949