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Hy-Tuirtre Trials and Tribulations in a Ulster Kingdom

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from the 10th April 2012

This book is the bringing together of lots of details that exist in many literary sources that enables and facilitates the assembly of the story of the ancient Hy-Tuirtre Kingdom of Central Ulster. The book approaches this subject by referring to historical data which sets the scene for the development of the Hy-Tuirtre Kingdom. Advancing along a time line of some thousands of years helps to chart the demise of the earlier Rudrican Dynasty as overthrown by the Colla Brothers in the early re-settlement of Ulster about 325 A.D.

Building and knitting into their story some of the principle moments of history helps to complete a picture for the Hy-Tuirtre Kingdom. The rise and fall of the Roman Empire and the epic saga of the Brown Bull of Cooley features in the early build up of the Hy-Tuirtre story. Becoming established in their central Ulster homeland the Hy-Tuirtre experience many trials and tribulations over the centuries that follow. Christianity arrived and presented as a great force for advancement of society in the golden age of saints and scholars. The Hy-Tuirtre embraced the new teachings and seen churches and monasteries developed within their territory. When the Vikings came marauding they seen many of the religious sites plundered and destroyed. Continually repositioning their own territory in response to neighboring pressure they did in time find themselves at the front line of the Anglo-Norman expansion.

Relying on many eminent works including those of the Four Masters and the Annals of Ulster facilitates the charting of the development of the Hy-Tuirtre Kingdom as we meet with its leading characters from the year 350 until it was overcome by the ever advancing onslaught of external Anglo-Norman's and internal Gaelic Irish forces from 1170 until 1350. Having lost their place in Irish history as the development of that subject has been addressed mainly by historians seeking to tell the story of their conquering masters, this publication seeks to address the pseudo historical imbalance.

1. Rudrican Dynasty

From the arrival of the Gales Ireland was ruled over by High Kings based at Tara. The Kings of Tara overseen the regional Kings in the provinces who in turn overseen the local tribal Kings and the security of the country was looked after by the Fianna warriors. The country consisted of not less than 150 tribal areas and each of those territories had its own King who paid tribute to the provincial King. Each local Kingship represented on average at one time a populace of between 3 - 4,000 people.(1) The early Gale inhabitants of Ullagh or Ultonia (Derry, Tyrone, Armagh, Monaghan, Louth, Fermanagh and Donegal ) were the Rudrican's and they reigned throughout this territory with the one family line for a period in excess of one thousand years.(2)

The Rudrican's were descendants of ‘Rory’ hence their tribe takes its name from him. His father was Partholan of Greek origin and his mother was Egyptian. They and their followers had become refugees following their expulsion from their own country after the fall of the Greek city Caleadon. Having escaped the war in their sea going galleys to the edge of Europe, Spanish fishermen of the Milesean race told them of a safe place where they could find refuge in the North West Ocean. Taking the advice of the fishermen they sailed their galleys beyond the Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar) into the unknown ocean and eventually landed on Tory Island off the coast of Donegal. Having established themselves on Tory Island they later sailed into the adjoining bay making their way to the Ultonian interior through (Sraigh Ruraigh or Rory's Strand was the old gaelic name for the strand where Lough Erne meets the sea) the mouth of Lough Erne. As these new arrivals advanced inland they did over time replace the Firbolgs who retired towards the west and the northeast corner of Ireland. We are told that from the bay they penetrated upstream where they initially settled on the Island of Inis-Sami. From this island in Lough Erne they did in time carve out a settlement for themselves in West and central Ultonia towards the end of the Bronze Age.(3)

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