Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The History of Ireland (Author: Geoffrey Keating)

Section 28


It was also in the time of this Muircheartach that a synod or National Council was convened in Ireland at Raith Breasail in the year of the Lord 1100, according to an old book of annals of the church of Cluain Eidhneach Fionntain in Laoighis, in which are recorded the principal things done at that synod; and Giolla Easpuig, bishop of Luimneach, who was the Pope's legate in Ireland at that time, was president of that council. Now here follow the regulations that were made therein.

Just as twelve bishops were fixed under Canterbury in the south of England, and twelve bishops in the north under the city of York, a similar arrangement was made at the synod of Raith Breasail in Ireland, to wit, twelve bishops in Leath Mogha and twelve bishops in Leath Cuinn and also two bishops in Meath. It was at this synod that the churches of Ireland were given up entirely to the bishops free for ever from the authority and rent of the lay princes. It was there also were regulated the sees or dioceses of the bishops of Ireland. Here is the full number of the bishops of Leath Cuinn: six in the province of Ulster, including the primate; five in the province of Connaught, and two in Meath. And this gives the full twelve bishops of Leath Cuinn excluding the primate. The following are the dioceses of the province of Ulster, to wit, Ard Macha, the see of the archbishop of Ard Macha and primate over the bishops of all Ireland, Clochar, Ard Sratha, Doire, Cuinneire, and Dun da Leathghlas; the sees of Meath, Daimhliag and Cluain Ioraird; the sees of the province of Connaught, namely, Tuaim da Ghualann, Cluain Fearta Breanainn, Conga, Cill Aladh, and Ard Charna; the sees of Munster, Cashel held by the archbishop of Leath Mogha, Lios Mor or Port Lairge, Corcach,


Raith Mhaighe Deisceirt, Luimneach, Cill Dalua, Imleach Iobhair. These were the seven sees which were decreed to Munster at this synod. Five sees in Leinster, Cill Chainnigh, Leithghlinn, Cill Dara, Gleann da Loch, Fearna or Loch Garman. Adding these five sees to the seven sees of Munster they make twelve sees in Leath Mogha. The reason why Ath Cliath is not counted here is that it was not customary with its bishop to receive consecration except from the archbishop of Canterbury in England.

Hanmer states falsely that the archbishop of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the Irish clergy from the time of Augustine the monk until the Norman Invasion. For you will not find that the prelates of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the Irish clergy except in the time of Lanfrancus Ranulphus and Anselmus; and even then the portion of the clergy of Ireland over whom they had jurisdiction were the clergy of Ath Cliath, Port Lairge, Loch Garman and Luimneach who were descended from the remnant of the Lochlonnaigh who were called Normani, and it was through a feeling of friendship for the people of Normandy who sprang from their own race that the prelates of these places gave jurisdiction and authority to the archbishop of Canterbury over them, as is clear from the booklet written by Dr. Ussher, for they considered if there were to be an election by the people between themselves and one of the Gaels who sought the same dignity, that their side would not have an equal chance, as in the election the Gael would have a larger popular vote than any of them.

I think that although the old book does not so state, it was six bishops that were in Munster and six in Leinster, with the archbishop of Cashel over them all as chief prelate of Leath Mogha after the manner of the temporal sovereignty as we have said above in treating of this matter in the reign of Laoghaire.


Here follow the sees or dioceses and their boundaries as they were regulated in this synod of Raith Breasail.

The see of the archbishop of Ard Macha, from Sliabh Breagh to Cuaille Ciannachta and from Bior to the Abhann Mhor.

The see of Clochar, from the Abhann Mhor to Gabhail Liuin and from Sliabh Beatha to Sliabh Largha.

The see of Ard Sratha, from Sliabh Largha to Carn Glas and from Loch Craoi to Beann Foibhne.

The see of the bishop of Doire or Raith Both, from Eas Ruadh to Srubh Broin and from Carn Glas to Srubh Broin.

The see of the bishop of Cuinnire, from Beann Fhoibhne to Torbhuirg, and from Port Murbhoilg to Ollorbha and to Cuan Snamha Aidhne, and from Gleann Riogh to Colbha Gearmainn.

The see of the bishop of Dun da Leathghlas, its boundary is not found in the old book.

The see of the bishop of Daimhliag, from Sliabh Breagh to Carn Duin Cuair and from Lochan na hImrime eastward to the sea.

The see of Cluain Ioraird, from Clochan westward to the Sionainn, and from Iubhar Coillte to Cluain Conaire.

The see of Cluain Fearta, from the Sionainn to Buireann and from Echtghe to the Succa.

The see of Tuaim, from the Succa to Ard Charna, and from Ath an Tearmainn to the Sionainn.

The see of Conga, from Abhann Ui Bhriuin northwards to Neimhtheann, and from Ath an Tearmainn westward to the sea.

The see of Cill Aladh, from Neimhtheann to Eas Ruadh, and from Cill Airdbhile to Sraith an Fhearainn.

The see of Ard Charna or of Ardachadh, from Ard Carna to Sliabh an Iarainn, and from Ceis Chorainn to Iobhar Coilltean. If the Connaught clergy agree to this division,


we desire it, and if they do not, let them divide it as they choose, and we approve of the division that will please them, provided there be only five bishops in Connaught.

The see of the archbishop of Cashel, from Sliabh Eibhlinne to the Siuir and from Cnamhchoill at Tiobrad Arann eastward to Grian Airbh, that is Cros Ghreine.

The see of Lios Mor or Port Lairge, from Mileadhach on the brink of the Bearbha at Cumar na dtri nUisceadh to Corcach, and from the Siuir southward to the sea.

The see of Corcach, from Corcach to Carn Ui Neid, and from the Abhann Mhor southwards to the sea.

The see of Raith Mhaighe Deisceirt, from Baoi Bheirre to Ceann Beara, and from the Feil to Dairbhre.

The see of Cill Dalua, from Slighe Dhala to Leim Chon gCulainn, and from Echtghe to Sliabh Uidhe an Riogh, and from Sliabh Uidhe an Riogh to Sliabh Caoin or Gleann Caoin.

The see of Luimneach, the Maoilchearn eastward, Ath ar Choinne, Lodan and Loch Gair, and the Laitheach Mhor from Aine westward, and Ard Padraig to the south and Bealach Feabhradh and Tulach Leis, the Feil westward and Tairbeart and Cuinche in Thomond, and Crossa in Sliabh Uidhe an Riogh and the Dubhabhann. Whoever shall go against these boundaries goes against the Lord and Peter the Apostle and St. Patrick and his comhorba and the Christian Church. And the Church of Mary in Luimneach is its principal church.

The see of Imleach Iobhar, from Cluain Caoin to the Abhann Mhor, and from Cnamhchoill at Tiobrad Arann to Abhann Ealla.

The see of Cill Chainnigh, from Sliabh Bladhma to Mileadhach, and from Grian Airbh to Sliabh Mairge.

The see of Leithghinn, from Sliabh Bladhma to Sliabh Uidhe Laighean, from Sliabh Mairge to Bealach Carcrach, and from Bealach Mughna to Teach Moling and its termon lands.


The see of Cill Dara, from Ros Fionnghlaise to Nas Laighean, and from Nas to Cumar Chluana Ioraird and to Sleibhte Ghlinne da Loch.

The see of Gleann da Loch, from Grianog to Beig-Eire, and from Nas to Reachruinn.

The see of Fearna or Loch Garman, from Beig-Eire to Mileadhach on the west of the Bearbha, and from Sliabh Uidhe Laighean south to the sea; and if the Leinster clergy agree to this it is our pleasure, provided they have only five bishops.

The blessing of the Lord and of Peter the Apostle and of St. Patrick be on everyone of these twenty-five bishops who shall let no Easter pass without consecrating oil.

And there are many other good decrees of this holy synod which we have not set down here for brevity.

The cross of the comhorba of Peter and of his legate, that is Giolla Easpuig, bishop of Luimneach,

The cross of Giolla Ceallaigh the comhorba of Patrick and primate of Ireland,

The cross of Maoiliosa O Ainmire, archbishop of Cashel,

The crosses of all the bishops and of all the laity and clergy who were at this holy synod of Raith Breasail against whomsoever shall transgress these decrees, and the malediction of them all on whomsoever shall oppose them.