Battle of Dysert O'Dea
The Battle of Dysert O'Dea took place on 10 May 1318 at Dysert O'Dea
O'Dea Castle
O'Dea Castle is an Irish fortified tower house, loosely described as a castle, at Dysert O'Dea , the former O'Dea clan stronghold, 5 km from Corofin, County Clare just off the R476 road....

 near Corofin, Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. It was part of the Bruce campaign in Ireland. The Norman
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 Richard de Clare
Richard de Clare, Steward of Forest of Essex
Richard de Clare 1st Lord Clare was the son of Thomas de Clare, Lord of Thomond and Juliana FitzGerald.A descendant of Strongbow, he succeeded his older brother, Gilbert, in 1308 as Lord of Thomond. In 1309, and then again between 1312 and 1316, he was sheriff of Cork...

 attacked the Gaelic Irish
Gaelic Ireland
Gaelic Ireland is the name given to the period when a Gaelic political order existed in Ireland. The order continued to exist after the arrival of the Anglo-Normans until about 1607 AD...

 chieftain Conchobhar Ó Deághaidh, chief of the Cineal Fearmaic and ally of Muirchertach Ó Briain
Murtough O'Brien
Murtough O'Brien can refer to:* Muircheartach Ua Briain, , High King of Ireland , 1101-1118* Muircheartach Ó Briain, King of Thomond, King of Thomond, victor in the Battle of Dysert O'Dea...

, but he was defeated.

Precursors to War

The Bruce invasion
Irish Bruce Wars 1315-1318
After his victory at the Battle of Bannockburn, King Robert I of Scotland decided to expand his war against the English by sending an army under his younger brother, Edward Bruce, to invade Ireland. Another reason for the expedition was also the fact that supporters of the exiled House of Balliol...

 of Ireland enabled the outbreak of a number of small wars that had little, if anything, pertaining to the Scots. Perhaps the most notable was the battle at Dysert O'Dea which erupted in Brian Boru
Brian Boru
Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig, , , was an Irish king who ended the domination of the High Kingship of Ireland by the Uí Néill. Building on the achievements of his father, Cennétig mac Lorcain, and especially his elder brother, Mathgamain, Brian first made himself King of Munster, then subjugated...

's old Kingdom of Thomond
Thomond The region of Ireland associated with the name Thomond is County Clare, County Limerick and north County Tipperary; effectively most of north Munster. The name is used by a variety of establishments and organisations located in , or associated with the region...

 in 1318.

Two factions of the O'Brien
The O'Brien dynasty are a royal and noble house founded in the 10th century by Brian Boru of the Dál gCais or Dalcassians. After becoming King of Munster, through conquest he established himself as High King of Ireland...

 clan had been fighting for generations for supremacy in Thomond. Murtough O'Brien, the descendant of Thurlough O'Brien was the rightful King of Thomond. A challenger appeared in the form of Mahon O'Brien, allied with the opposing faction of the family, which paid its homage to Brian O'Brien. This side of the family was allied with the powerful Anglo-Norman Richard de Clare, a descendant of Strongbow
Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke , Lord of Leinster, Justiciar of Ireland . Like his father, he was also commonly known as Strongbow...

. De Clare ruled over much of western Ireland from his castle at Bunratty
Bunratty Castle
Bunratty Castle is a large tower house in County Clare, Ireland. It lies in the centre of Bunratty village , by the N18 road between Limerick and Ennis, near Shannon Town and its airport. The name Bunratty, Bun Raite in Irish, means the 'bottom' or end of the 'Ratty' river. This river, alongside...

, yet the English respected Thomond as a sovereign state and remained outside its borders. However, de Clare's alliance with Mahon O'Brien provided an excuse to invade Thomond. His pale Englishmen
The Pale
The Pale or the English Pale , was the part of Ireland that was directly under the control of the English government in the late Middle Ages. It had reduced by the late 15th century to an area along the east coast stretching from Dalkey, south of Dublin, to the garrison town of Dundalk...

 would meet in a pitched battle against Murtough's Irish in the Battle of Dysert O'Dea near what is now Ennis
Ennis is the county town of Clare in Ireland. Situated on the River Fergus, it lies north of Limerick and south of Galway. Its name is a shortening of the original ....

, County Clare
County Clare
-History:There was a Neolithic civilisation in the Clare area — the name of the peoples is unknown, but the Prehistoric peoples left evidence behind in the form of ancient dolmen; single-chamber megalithic tombs, usually consisting of three or more upright stones...


During this time, Donnchadh, an ally of de Clare, was overwhelmingly defeated in the Battle of Lough Raska
Battle of Lough Raska
The Battle of Lough Raska took place on 15 August 1317 near Corcomruadh Abbey in County Clare. This battle was part of a fight for control of the O'Brien chieftancy and part of the Anglo-Norman wars in Ireland...

 near Corcomruadh Abbey.

Order of battle

When news arrived of his allies' defeat at Corcomruadh, Richard de Clare decided to attack the Gaelic stronghold at Dysert O'Dea. His troops arrived at Ruan
Ruan, County Clare
-See also:* List of towns and villages in Ireland-External links:*...

 on the morning of May 10, 1318, and were divided into three columns. The first division was headed by de Clare's son and marched northwards to Tullach O'Dea in an effort to cut off any help which might arrive from O'Connor of Ennistymon. The second column travelled southwards towards Magowna to quell any support from that direction. The third division was commanded by de Clare himself and marched westwards towards Dysert O'Dea, the home of Conor O'Dea. O'Dea intentionally made his forces look few in number, for some time fighting in retreat, and when de Clare charged for an attack the Anglo-Normans were ambushed. Richard de Clare was felled by an axe and his son was killed by a Feilim O'Connor. The O'Deas were reinforced by the O'Connors who were followed by the O'Briens, O'Hehir and MacNamaras and the English were soon defeated. Following their victory, the Irish marched back to the De Clare settlement, only to find that de Clare's wife had set it aflame, including Bunratty Castle
Bunratty Castle
Bunratty Castle is a large tower house in County Clare, Ireland. It lies in the centre of Bunratty village , by the N18 road between Limerick and Ennis, near Shannon Town and its airport. The name Bunratty, Bun Raite in Irish, means the 'bottom' or end of the 'Ratty' river. This river, alongside...

, and had returned to England.

Over eighty Englishmen of noble birth and many foot soldiers were killed in the battle. The Kingdom of Thomond remained beyond foreign control for over two hundred years, until 1570.

External links


  • O'Dea: Ua Deághaidh: The Story of a Rebel Clan, by Risteárd Ua Cróinín (Richard Cronin), Ballinakella Press, Whitegate, Co. Clare, Ireland, 1992. ISBN 0-946538-07-7.
  • Irish Battles - A Military History of Ireland, by G.A. Hayes-McCoy
    Gerard Anthony Hayes-McCoy
    Gerard A. Hayes-McCoy was an Irish historian born in Galway. He attended University College Galway and served as auditor of the College's Literary and Debating Society in the 1931/1932 academic year...

    , Appletree Press, 1990, ISBN 0-86281-250-X
  • Secret Sights (Years of the Sword) RTÉ television programme transmitted 2006. Richard Cronin recounts the local understanding that a Conor Howard helped to plan and execute the ambush of De Clare and his army at Macken Bridge, Corofin (ref. O'Hivar in the Triumphs of Turlough).
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.