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of Dearbhforghaill's brother, a future pretender to the kingship of Meath. It wassaid that Dearbhforghaill wasn't exactly an unwilling prisoner and she remained inFerns with MacMurrough, in comfort, for a number of years.After the death of the famous High King Brian Boru in 1014, Ireland was at almostconstant civil war for two centuries. After the fall of the O'Brien family (Brian Boru'sdescendants) from the Irish throne, the various families which ruled Ireland's four provinces were constantly fighting with one another for control of all of Ireland. Atthat time Ireland was like a federal kingdom, with five provinces (Ulster, Leinster,Munster and Connaught along with Meath, which was the seat of the High King)each ruled by kings who were all supposed to be loyal to the High King of Ireland.
Exile and Return
In 1166, Ireland's new High King and Mac Murchadha's only ally Muircheartach UaLochlainn had fallen, and a large coalition led by Tighearnán Ua Ruairc (MacMurchadha's arch enemy) marched on Leinster. Ua Ruairc and his allies took Leinster with ease, and Mac Murchadha and his wife barely escaped with their lives. Mac Murchadha fled to Wales and from there to England and France, inorder to find King Henry II and plead with him to be allowed recruit soldiers tobring back to Ireland and reclaim his Kingship. (It has been claimed that KingHenry II had in his possession, the Papal Bull laudabiliter, which would entitle Henryto come to Ireland in order to deal with the renegade Christians. However, thispapal bull is only mentioned by Gerard of Wales, and may have been fictitious.)On returning to Wales, he sought the abode of Robert Fitzstephen, who helpedhim organize a mercenary army of Norman and Welsh soldiers to retrieve hiskingship. Among them were Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, aliasStrongbow, who married Mac Murchadha's daughter, Aoife of Leinster, in 1170.In his absence Ruaidhrí Ua Conchobhair (son of Mac Murchadha's former enemy, High King Toirdhealbhach) had become the new High King of Ireland.Mac Murchadha planned not only to retake Leinster, but to oust the Uí Conchobhair clan and become the High King of Ireland himself. He quickly retook Dublin, Ossory and the former Viking settlement of Waterford, and within a shorttime had all of Leinster in his control again.He then marched on Tara (then Ireland's capital) to oust Ruaidhrí. MacMurchadha gambled that Ruaidhrí wouldn't hurt the Leinster hostages which he'd(including Mac Murchadha's eldest son, Conchobhar Mac Murchadha). However Ua Ruairc forced his hand and they were all killed.Diarmaid's army lost the battle. He sent word to Wales and pleaded withStrongbow to come to Ireland as soon as possible. When Strongbow did arrive inWexford, along with his Welsh and Norman cavalry, took over both Waterfordand Wexford. They marched on Dublin. MacMurrough was devastated after thedeath of his son, Domhnall, he retreated to Ferns and died a few months later.