Ireland, Scotland, & WalesBack to Home - Kings, Nobles, & Warriors

For most of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, the three titles apply to nearly all of the people. Most Kings were noblemen first, and most Warriors worth mentioning became Kings or died trying. After reviewing many of the sources that have been used and assigned, I have selected the most important people from their specific regions based on my opinion. The people will be listed chronologically for the most part, but some deviation will occur.

Navigating Instructions: Click on the person to go directly to where he is mentioned. The person's name will be in bold the first time he is mentioned.

Olaf the White
Brian Borama (Boru)

The raids on Ireland started as early as all the others estimated around 800 or a little before, however it was recorded based mainly on the monasteries being pillaged first. There were little records kept in Scotland and Wales but they seemed to have started around the same time. As for Ireland, the island was divided up into five kingdoms however there was no real control over things so there was no coordinated defense. The Vikings were able to set up Dublin as a fortified camp and this would become a stronghold fought over for many years to come.[1] It became clear pretty quickly to the locals that the Vikings were there to stay.[2] To many, it seemed the Ireland was being overrun and the kings were unable to stop it; until they finally tried. Around 845, we saw some victorious kings emerge defeating the Vikings and driving them back. The Vikings eventually became their own small kingdoms in the area participating and assimilating into the area. They would be involved with local quarrels and alliances and eventually become part of the defense or attacking when more Danish fighters showed up later[3]. One particular leader was Olaf the White who was the son of a Norwegian King. He tookover Dublin and made himself King becoming involved in the life in Ireland. [4]

Most of the early times pre-Viking raids and first phase lack any knowledge of the Kings and warriors. There was mentioning of Mael Sechnaill, King of Tara, who was successful at resisting the Vikings, and Cerball, King of Osraige did the same. There were others mentioned who were also successful, but not much more is known about these leaders and their kingdoms.[5] When we enter the next phase of the Vikings raidings, it is the 10th century. The raidings have picked up again, some being based out of Dublin and other settlements in the other while others come from up the coastline. A huge force apparently arrived at Waterford and with it Ragnall and his kinsman Sitric Caech . Ragnall had already made a name for himself in being involved with the conflicts in Scotland, Wales, and England so his arrival made war with the King of Tara, Niall Glundub. Ragnall ended up not getting much out of the campaign in Ireland, so he left for northern Britain conquering York and Northumbria. Sitric on the other hand managed to defeat the King of Tara and his allies and retake Dublin. The King of Tara, Niall, fell when trying to take Dublin from Sitric.[6]

Ragnall had attacked Scotland and Dunblane on his way to conquering York, and Sitric was hot on his tail. Ragnall would rule York, submitting to Kind Edward. Sitric would succeed Ragnall after his death, and Godfred would succeed Sitric, all still submitting to the English King until Godfred had his own ideas. When Sitric died, Athelstan, the current King of England, took over Northumbria so Godred attempted to beat him to York. This was unsuccessful. So Godfred’s son Amlaib picks up where his father left off. He allied with Constantine, the king of Scotland, and went up against the English king Athelstan and his brother Edmund. This ended with a terrible defeat for Amlaib and he fled back to Dublin. He did get York and Northumbria back after Athelstan died and even gained Danish Mercia however this was all lost after his own death.[7]

Moving ahead a few years, one of the greatest kings of Ireland was Brian Boru (also seen Borama) . After Amlaib died, his successor was another Amlaib who fought for power with Mael Sechnaill. He lost Dublin to him and went away leaving Sechnaill ruler. The new King of Munster, Brian Boru, had a successful building massive fleets and armies. He quickly gained power and divided Ireland with Sechnaill. However when a revolt was coming about out of Dublin from its installed King, Sitric Silkenbeard, Brian took his forces with Sechnaill to fight them. Brian Boru died during the battle but emerged as a hero of Ireland for uniting the Kingdom under one great ruler.[8]

Works Cited
[1] Haywood p.72
[2] Sawyer p. 88
[3] Sawyer p.90
[4] Haywood p. 72
[5] Sawyer p. 89
[6] Sawyer p.97-98
[7] Sawyer p. 98-99
[8] Haywood p. 74 / Sawyer p.101

Haywood, John. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. Penguin Books: London, 1995.

Sawyer, Peter. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings. Oxford Univeristy Press: New York, 1997.
This page was created by Thomas Gandee