The Siege on Knocklong Hill / Forbhais Droma Dámhgháire

In the year 250 AD, midway through his reign as High King of Ireland, Cormac Mac Airt leads his army from the Hill of Tara into Munster to collect extra taxes by force.

Cormac is warned by his Druids that his claims are unjust and that his army will be slaughtered. He ignores all advice.

The Siege of Knocklong describes the journey of Cormac and his army southwards. Cormac travels with his five Druids; Ceathach, Cith Mór, Céacht, Crotha, Cith Rua.

Cormac sets up his camp at Droim Dámhgháire (Knocklong) and Fiacha sets up at Ceann Chláire (Glenbrohane).

Fiacha Moilleathan, King of Munster, and the Munstermen resist Cormac’s claims.

The siege lasts over a year and includes five battles between the opposing armies. When the battles fail to bring the Munstermen to submission,Cormac’s druids dry up all sources of water in the area, and the siege begins.

This act nearly drove the Munstermen to death. Fiacha turned to the powerful Munster druid Mug Ruith for aid. He restored the water. The Munstermen regain their strength and with Mogh Ruith’s help, they defeat Cormac and drive his army out of Munster.

Fiachu and the Munstermen defeat Cormac and his Northern army at Knocklong.

Forbhais Droma Dámhgháire

It had been prophetised by Aonghus that a disastrous cattle disease would occur during the reign of Cormac Mac Airt.
The year of the Cattle disease Cormac collected all his taxes and tributes due from the five provinces of Ireland. This amounted to almost 900 cows. He distributed the tribute generously.
When his own herds died from the disease, he had no provisions for his own people. Cormac would have no revenue until the following year. It would be an unfit king who could not provide hospitality for his people.
Cormac decided to ask the men of Munster for more tribute and taxes. Fiachra at Cnoc Rafann, (close to Cahir) and the men of Munster assembled and decided they would not pay the tribute.

They knew that Cormac would not accept this offer and they prepared for Cormac’s army to invade Munster.
Fiachra called on the fighting men of Munster to gather together at Ceann Chláire/ Ceann Abhrat / Sliabh Riabhach/Glenbrohane mountain, for the defence of Munster.
Cormac collected an army from three provinces and prepared to invade Munster.

Cormac called his druids to examine the omens for the expedition. He had five chief druids, Ceathach, Cith Mór, Céacht, Crotha, Cith Rua.
They examined the omens and told Cormac that the invasion of Munster would be a disaster for him.

The fairy queen Báirinn Bhláith Bhairche, promised to give him five fairy druids to help in his expedition to Munster, Colpa and Lorga, Eirge, Eang and Eangain.
Cormac was delighted and set out on his expedition.

The Decision to invade Munster

The Druids

The Book of Lismore, 1480, contains the only written record of the story of “The Siege of Knocklong”. It was discovered hidden in the walls of Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford in 1814.

It had been prophetised by Aonghus that a disastrous cattle disease would occur during the reign of Cormac Mac Airt.

The year of the Cattle disease Cormac collected all his taxes and tributes due from the five provinces of Ireland. This amounted to almost 900 cows. He distributed the tribute generously.
When his own herds died from the disease, he had no provisions for his own people. Cormac would have no revenue until the following year. It would be an unfit king who could not provide hospitality for his people.

Cormac decided to ask the men of Munster for more tribute and taxes.
His reasoning was that there were five provinces in Ireland and two of those were in Munster, but taxes were collected from only one province. Also, a Munsterman, Fiachra’s brother, had killed Cormac’s father in the Battle of Ma Mucraimhe and Cormac would seek compensation for his death from Fiachra, King of Munster. Fiacha’s father was killed on the same day in the same battle.

Cormac sent messengers to Fiachra at Cnoc Rafann, close to Cahir to ask for tribute. The men of Munster assembled and decided they would not pay the tribute, but that they would assist Cormac, the High King of Ireland, in his hour of need, by giving cattle.

Again Cormac demanded the tribute and compensation for the death of his father.
Again the Munstermen refused to pay tribute but offered assistance.

They knew that Cormac would not accept this final offer and they prepared for Cormac’s army to invade Munster.
Fiachra called on the fighting men of Munster to gather together at Ceann Chláire/ Ceann Abhrat / Sliabh Riabhach /Glenbrohane mountain, for the defence of Munster.

Cormac collected an army from three provinces and prepared to invade Munster.

Cormac realised that this would be the time of disaster that Aonghus had prophetised.

Cormac called his druids to examine the omens for the expedition.
He had five chief druids, Ceathach, Cith Mór, Céacht, Crotha, Cith Rua.

They examined the omens and told Cormac that the invasion of Munster would be a disaster for him.
Cormac was warned by the Druids that his claims were unjust and that the army would be slaughtered.
He ignored all advice.

The fairy queen Báirinn Bhláith Bhairche, promised to give him five fairy druids to help in his expedition to Munster, Colpa and Lorga, Eirge, Eang and Eangain.
Colpa and Lorga, could kill all warriors in single combat and no-one could injure them.
The three women druids Eirge, Eang and Eangain who were equal to a hundred warriors. They took the form of three brown sheep. No-one could escape from them alive.

Cormac was delighted and set out on his expedition. The army would not return for a year, a month and a week.

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