Kingdom of Dublin

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Vikings invaded the territory around Dublin in the 9th century, establishing the Norse Kingdom of Dublin, the earliest and longest-lasting Norse kingdom in Ireland. Its territory corresponded to most of present-day County Dublin. The Norse referred to the kingdom as Dyflin, which is derived from Irish Dubh Linn 'black pool'. The first reference to the Vikings comes from the Annals of Ulster and the first entry for 841 AD reads: "Pagans still on Lough Neagh". It is from this date onward that historians get references to ship fortresses or longphorts being established in Ireland. It may be safe to assume that the Vikings first over-wintered in 840–841 AD. The actual location of the longphort of Dublin is still a hotly debated issue. Norse rulers of Dublin were often co-kings, and occasionally also Kings of Jórvík in what is now Yorkshire. Under their rule, Dublin became the biggest slave port in Western Europe.[1][2]

Kingdom of Dublin
Maximum extent of Dublin (pink) and other Norse settlements (green) in Ireland
Maximum extent of Dublin (pink) and other Norse settlements (green) in Ireland
Common languagesOld Norse,
Old and Middle Irish
Norse paganism
Roman Catholicism
• c. 853–871 (first)
Amlaíb Conung
• c. 1160–1170 (last)
Ascall mac Ragnaill
• Established
• Norman conquest
CurrencySilver penny
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Lordship of Ireland
Today part ofIreland

Over time, the settlers in Dublin became increasingly Gaelicized. They began to exhibit a great deal of Gaelic and Norse cultural syncretism, and are often referred to as Norse-Gaels.

The extent of the kingdom varied, but in peaceful times it extended roughly as far as Wicklow (Wykinglo) in the south, Glen Ding near Blessington, Leixlip (Lax Hlaup) west of Dublin, and Skerries, Dublin (Skere) to the north. The Fingal area north of Dublin was named after the Norse who lived there.

In 988, Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill led the initial Gaelic conquest of Dublin. As a result, the founding of Dublin is counted by some from the year 988, although a village had existed on the site of Dublin nearly a thousand years earlier.

Coins were minted in Dublin by about 995, and on Mann by about 1025.[3]

In the mid-11th century, the Kingdom of Leinster began exerting influence over Dublin. Though the last king of Dublin was killed by the Norman conquerors of Dublin in 1171, the population of the city retained their distinctiveness for some generations.

Kings of DublinEdit

Ruler Reign Notes
Amlaíb Conung c. 853–871 Co-king; titled "King of the Foreigners" in 863
Ímar c. 857–873 Co-king; titled "King of the Foreigners" in 863; titled "King of the Northmen of all Ireland and Britain" in 873
Auisle c. 863–867 Co-king; titled "King of the Foreigners" in 863
Oistin mac Amlaíb* 873–875 Probable co-king; not explicitly named as king in the annals
Bárid mac Ímair 873–881 Probable co-king; titled "head of the Northmen" in 881
Albann^ 875–877 Claimed Dublin but never ruled
Sichfrith mac Ímair 881–888
Sitriuc mac Ímair 888–893/896 Rulership disputed by Sitriuc Jarl in 893
Sichfrith Jarl^ 893-? Claimed Dublin in 893 but unclear if ever ruled
Glúniarann* ? Not explicitly named as king in the annals; speculated to have succeeded Sitriuc
Ímar ua Ímair ?-902 Driven from Dublin in 902 by native Irish
Dublin abandoned by the Norse from 902 to 917.
Sihtric ua Ímair (a.k.a. Sihtric Cáech) 917–921 defeated Niall Glundub; also king of Jórvík
Gofraid ua Ímair 921–934 grandson of Ímar
Olaf Guthfrithson 934–941 son of Gofraid ua Ímair
Blácaire mac Gofrith 941–945
Sigtrygg (Sitric)[citation needed] 941–943
Amlaíb Cuarán 945–947
Blácaire mac Gofrith 947–948 restored
Gofraid mac Sitriuc 948–951
Amlaíb Cuarán 952–980 restored
Glúniairn 980–989
Ivar of Waterford or Sigtrygg Silkbeard 989–993
Ivar of Waterford 994–995
Sigtrygg (Sitric) Silkbeard Olafsson 995–1036
Echmarcach mac Ragnaill 1036–1038
Ímar mac Arailt 1038–1046
Echmarcach mac Ragnaill 1046–1052
Murchad mac Diarmata 1052–1070
Diarmait mac Mail na mBo 1070–1072
Toirdelbach Ua Briain 1072 Member of the Uí Briain; seized overlordship of Dublin following Diarmait's death; given kingship by the Dubliners in 1072; allowed Dublin to be locally ruled by Gofraid mac Amlaíb meic Ragnaill under his overlordship.
Gofraid mac Amlaíb meic Ragnaill 1072–1075 Member of the Meic Ragnaill (Uí Ímair); ruled under the overlordship of Toirdelbach; expelled from kingship by Toirdelbach in 1075; possibly identical to Gofraid mac Sitriuc, King of the Isles (died 1070).
Domnall mac Murchada 1075 Member of the Meic Murchada (Uí Chennselaig); gained kingship following the expulsion of Gofraid mac Amlaíb meic Ragnaill; may have seized Dublin without the consent of the Uí Briain, or else ruled under their overlordship; died within the year.
Muirchertach Ua Briain 1075–1086 Member of the Uí Briain; installed king by his father, Toirdelbach.
Donnchad mac Domnaill Remair 1086–1089 Member of the Uí Cheinnselaig; seized kingship following death of Toirdelbach; killed in 1089; control of Dublin appears to have been gained by Muirchertach not long afterwards.
Gofraid Crobán c. 1091–1094 Possibly a close relative of Ímar mac Arailt and thus a member of the Uí Ímair; founder of the Crovan dynasty; ruler of the Isles; seized kingship in about 1091 and expulsed by Muirchertach in 1094.
Domnall mac Taidc Member of the Meic Taidc (Uí Briain); possibly installed king by his uncle, Muirchertach, after Gofraid Crobán's expulsion; certainly installed as ruler of the Isles at about this time.
Domnall Gerrlámhach Member of the Uí Briain; possibly installed king by his father, Muirchertach, after Gofraid Crobán's expulsion; certainly held kingship at a later date.
Magnús berfœttr 1102–1103 Ruler of Norway; appears to have seized Dublin in the early twelfth century, having taken Orkney and the Isles before the turn of the century; seems to have intended for his son, Sigurðr, to rule as king of these newly won overseas Norse territories.
Domnall Gerrlámhach Defended Dublin from Leinster attack in 1115; possibly installed king by his father long before battle, immediately before, or immediately afterwards.
Diarmait mac Énna meic Murchada ×1117. Member of the Meic Murchada (Uí Chennselaig); died 1117.
Domnall Gerrlámhach 1117–1118 Seized kingship after Diarmait 's death.
Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair ×1118 Member of the Uí Conchobair; drove Domnall Gerrlámhach from kingship.
Énna Mac Murchada ×1122–1126 Member of the Meic Murchada (Uí Chennselaig); either seized kingship or was installed king by Toirdelbach; reigned under Uí Conchobair overlordship.
Conchobar Ua Conchobair 1126–1127 Member of the Uí Conchobair; installed king by his father, Toirdelbach; deposed in 1126.
Conchobar Ua Briain 1141–1142 Member of the Uí Briain; gained kingship in 1141; died in 1142.
Ottar mac meic Ottair 1142–1148 Member of the Meic Ottair; gained kingship in 1142; slain by the Meic Torcaill in 1148; may not have reigned continuously from 1142 to 1148.
Ragnall mac Torcaill 1144×1146 Member of the Meic Torcaill; styled king on his death in 1146, which could be evidence that his reign interrupted that of Ottar; another possibility is that he was merely a subordinate of Ottar.
Brodar mac Torcaill ×1160 Member of the Meic Torcaill; killed in 1160.
Gofraid mac Amlaíb 1150s or 1160s Member of the Crovan dynasty; ruler of the Isles; held kingship of Dublin briefly at the behest of the Dubliners, although the chronology of his short reign is uncertain.
Ascall mac Ragnaill ×1170 Member of the Meic Torcaill; deposed in 1170; killed attempting to regain kingship in 1171.

^ Disputed * Speculative

Timeline of Kings of DublinEdit

Ascall mac RagnaillGofraid mac AmlaíbBrodar mac TorcaillRagnall mac TorcaillOttar mac meic OttairConchobar Ua BriainConchobar Ua ConchobairÉnna Mac MurchadaToirdelbach Ua ConchobairDomnall GerrlámhachDiarmait mac Énna meic MurchadaDomnall GerrlámhachMagnus BarefootDomnall GerrlámhachDomnall mac TaidcGodred CrovanDonnchad mac Domnaill RemairMuirchertach Ua BriainDomnall mac MurchadaGofraid mac Amlaíb meic RagnaillToirdelbach Ua BriainDiarmait mac Máel na mBóMurchad mac DiarmataEchmarcach mac RagnaillÍmar mac ArailtEchmarcach mac RagnaillSigtrygg SilkbeardIvar of WaterfordGlúniairnAmlaíb CuaránGofraid mac SitriucBlácaire mac GofraidAmlaíb CuaránBlácaire mac GofrithOlaf GuthfrithsonGofraid ua ÍmairSitric CáechÍmar ua ÍmairGlúniarannSichfrith JarlSitriuc mac ÍmairSichfrith mac ÍmairHalfdan RagnarssonBárid mac ÍmairOistin mac AmlaíbAuisleÍmarAmlaíb ConungO'Brien dynastyUí CeinnselaigUí ÍmairUí Ímair

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Downham, Clare (May–June 2009). "The Viking slave trade: entrepreneurs or heathen slavers?". History Ireland. History Publications Ltd. Archived from the original on 9 August 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  2. ^ O'Donnell, Jim (23 April 2013). "The Slave Market of Viking Dublin". Around the World in Eighty Years. Archived from the original on 17 July 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  3. ^ Barrett (2016) p. 4.