O Jerusalem

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

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O Ruairc

Bréifne (the Breffny, Brefnie, Brenny, …) was the traditional territory for an early Irish tribal group known as the Uí Briúin Bréifne. Ancestors of the Ua Ruairc sept (O’Rourke, O’Rorke, et al) were among the early leaders of the Uí Briúin Bréifne beginning at least as early as the 8th century C.E. The Bréifne territory included the modern Ireland counties of Leitrim and Cavan and at one point in the 12th century, when Tighernán mór Ó Ruairc was king of Bréifne, it extended from Kells in County Meath to Drumcliff in County Sligo (map at right). By about the 13th century the Bréifne region had split into East and West, the Ó Ruairc kings maintaining lordship over the West (an area in and around County Leitrim). In its history the Bréifne region was considered part of the kingdom of Connacht up until the time of Queen Elizabeth I (circa 1583). At that time it was shired into the modern Counties Cavan and Leitrim, with Leitrim remaining in the confines of the province of Connacht while Cavan became part of Ulster. The Ó Ruairc’s were effectively lords of “Breffny O’Rourke” through the turbulent 16th century.

The Story Begins

Our story begins in 4th century Ireland with Eachu Mugmedón. Eachu was a leading Irish king during that period who is distinguished as the ancestor of the Uí Neill, Uí Briúin and Uí Fiachrach septs, tribal groups who dominated the political scene in Connacht (western Ireland) and northwest Ulster for over eight centuries. Eachu’s son Brión was a King of the province of Connacht. From Brión stemmed the families of the Uí Briúin Bréifne (O’Rourke, O’Reilly, et al), the Uí Bríuin Ai (O’Conor, MacDermot, et al), and the Uí Bríuin Seola (O’Flaherty, et al). From Brión’s brothers and half-brothers descended other noble families of early Ireland, in particular the Uí Néill (Ó Neill, Ó Donnell, et al of Ulster) and the Uí Fiachrach (O Cleary, Ó Dowd, et al of Connacht).

Brión’s son, Duach Galach, was cited by some as a King of Connacht in the 5th century. Sometime over the next three centuries, the descendants of Duach Galach carved a territory in modern counties Leitrim and Cavan known as the Brefni, or Bréifne. Notable among his descendants was Aedh Finn, son of Feargna. There are many later references in Irish history to the O’Ruaircs being of ‘the race of Aedh Finn’. Among Aedh Finn’s descendants included Dub Dothra, son of Donchadha, who was described in the Irish Annals for the year 743 as King of Uí Briúin (and depending on the reference, a king of Conmaicne, and of Bréifne). From this reference some historians believe the Uí Briúin lordship in Bréifne began about the 8th century, while others discount the reference to Conmaicne and Breifne which were included only in the Annals of Tigernach. Dub Dothra’s son Cernach (aka Cernachan) is claimed by a number of sources to be the common ancestor of the O’Rourkes and the O’Reillys, dominant families of the Bréifne region in later times. A son of Cernach, named Sellachan (aka Ceallach), was described as a king of Bréifne in Geoffrey Keating’s History of Ireland. Sellachan was also cited in the medieval genealogies in the Book of Leinster under the sub-heading ‘king of Bréifne’, but does not specifically indicate he was a king of Bréifne. He may have been. (note: Conmaicne was a name for a people or territory which included the southern portion of modern county Leitrim, as well as adjoining parts of county Longford – i.e. Conmaicne Réin, from which the Diocese of Ardagh was formed in the early 12th century).

The Irish Annals record a son of Sellachan (aka Ceallach) by the name of Tighearnán, who is noted as a King of Bréifne in the Irish annals, his obituary dated about the year 888. This Tighearnán had been noted with 12 sons, one of whom was named Ruarc, the ancestor of the Ó Ruaircs (O’Rourke, et al). Ruarc and some of his brothers were noted in the Annals as lords of Bréifne, with Ruarc’s obituary appearing between the years 892-898. For example, Chronicon Scotorum cites that “Ruarc son of Tigernán, king of Bréifne, died.” Also see Early Reference in the Annals. Ruarc and his son Art were apparently men of importance in the province of Connacht (aka Connaught). Art’s son Ferghal (aka Sean Ferghal) was the first of the Ua Ruaircs to become King of Connacht, a milestone event occurring about the middle of the 10th century. As a grandson of Ruarc, Ferghal was among the first Bréifne kings entitled to be called Ó Ruairc (Ó indicating ‘grandson of’, or ‘descendant of’).

Ferghal must have been a powerful warrior since the kingship of Connacht had previously been dominated by the Uí Fiachrach and by other branches of the Uí Briúin (e.g. the Uí Briúin Ái). During his term as king Ferghal led many great battles including raids into the territories of the Uí Néill to the north and to the east (Meath), as well as to the southwest in the province of Munster. Between the years 964-967 Ferghal was defeated in the Boirenn of Corcu Mruad (the Burren of Corcomroe), as noted in the Annals. About the same time his obituary appears in Chronicon Scotorum, ” Fergal ua Ruairc, the Nebuchadnezzar of the Irish, i.e. the king of Connacht, … fell by Domnall son of Congalach, king of Brega (East Meath) and Cnogba (Knowth).” For additional information on Ferghal and the Ó Ruairc kings of Connacht, see Sean Ferghal, the 1st Ó Ruairc

In the early Irish genealogies Ferghal was noted with two sons: Aedh, and Art an caileach. Aedh Ó Ruairc was king of Bréifne until he fell by the hand of Tadhg Ó Conor of the White Steed, a King of Connacht, about the year 1014-1015. His obit. in the Annals notes, “Aed ua Ruairc king of Bréifne and heir designate of Connacht, was killed by Tadc an-eich-ghil, son of Cathal son of Conchobor, king of Connacht, in treachery.” Aedh was likely succeeded over Bréifne by his brother Art an caileach, who was cited in the Annals as king of Bréifne about the year 1020 – “Caileach h-Úa Ruairc, i.e., Art mac Sen-Fergail, rí Brefne.” (note: ‘rí’ was the Gaelic term meaning ‘king’ or ‘lord of’)

Aedh Ó Ruairc (obit. 1014-1015) was noted with a son named Art Uallach (‘the proud‘), sometimes referred to as Art oridnidhe, who was strong enough to regain the kingship of Connacht, becoming the 2nd Ó Ruairc to hold that distinction. About 1030 his chief rival, Tadhg of the White Steed Ua Conchobhair ( Ó Conor), King of Connaught, was slain by the Gott, i.e. Maelseachlainn, grandson of Maelruanaidh, lord of Meath and Cremthainne. Art Uallach Ó Ruairc held the kingship of Connacht from about that time until the year 1046 when his obituary appears in the Annals – ” Art Uallach Ua Ruairc, King of Connaught, was slain by the Cinel-Conaill (ancestors of Ó Donnell), in the second year after his having plundered Cluain-mic-Nois (Clonmacnoise).” The following year Niall Ua Ruairc [Art Uallach's son], king of Bréifne, was slain in Corann (southern c. Sligo) by Aedh Ó Conor of the Gapped Spear (son of Tadhg of the White Steed). Aedh Ó Conor had killed Art Uallach’s son Donchadh Dearg a few years prior to this.

About the year 1067 another son of Art Uallach, also named Aedh Ó Ruairc, helped overthrow Aedh Ó Conor of the Gapped Spear at the battle of Turloch Adnaig. Aedh became the 3rd Ó Ruairc King of Connacht and reigned for about twenty years. His obituary dated in the year 1087 appears in the Annals of Loch Cé – “The battle of Conachail, in the territory of Corann, was gained by Ruaidhri ‘of the yellow hound,’ son of Aedh ‘of the gapped spear’ Ó Conor, over Aedh, son of Art Uallach Ua Ruairc, king of Connacht and Conmaicne. Moreover, Aedh, son of Art Ua Ruairc, was slain.”

The Annals are not silent regarding the lords of Bréifne between the years of the 2nd and 3rd Ó Ruairc kings of Connacht. i.e. between 1046 and 1087. After Niall son of Art Uallach, King of Bréifne, was slain in 1047, Cathal, son of Tighernain (son of Niall, son of Aedh), was noted as a king of Bréifne in 1051, being defeated by an Aedh Ó Ruairc in 1059. The year 1066 recorded the death of Gilla Braite ua Ruairc, king of Bréifne. The Annals of the Four Masters describes this Gilla Braite Ó Ruairc as a son of Domhnall, son of Tighearnan, son of Ualgharg, son of Niall (which appears to be an asynchronism). About the year 1084 appears the obit. of another Ó Ruairc king – “Donnchad mac Airt in Cailech, maic Shen-Fergail h-Úi Ruairc, king of Brefne and East Connacht, fell in battle.” This Donnchadh was described as Donnchadh cael in the genealogies. In 1085 “Ualgharg Ua Ruairc, royal heir of Connaught, died.” Ualgharg appears to have been a grandson of Art Uallach, and possibly a son of Niall who died in 1047.

In 1102 “Domhnall, son of Tighearnan Ó Ruairc, lord of Bréifne and Conmhaicni, and of all Connaught for a time, was slain by the Conmhaicni themselves.” Domhnall, son of Tighearnan, was possibly the grandson of Ualgharg who died in 1085, the genealogies in the Book of Ballymote citing Ualgharg with two sons: Tigernán and Domnall. This Domhnall, son of Tighearnan, was noted as the 4th and last of his family to be called King of Connacht, although the situation appears unclear in the Annals. Ruaidhri ‘of the yellow hound’ Ó Conor was king of Connacht until he was blinded in 1092 by Flaithbheartach Ua Flaithtbheartach. In 1093 the Conmhaicni had killed Ruaidhri Ó Conor’s son Niall. About 1095 (unnamed) Ua Ruairc submitted to Muirchertach (Ua Briain), and the high-kingship of Connachta, save Uí Fhiachrach, Uí Maine and Luigne, was given to him. In 1097 another of Ruaidhri Ó Conor’s sons, Tadhg, had been slain. By 1098 Flaithbheartach Ua Flaithbheartaigh, lord of Sil-Muireadhaigh and West Connaught, was slain. It was during this tumultuous period that Domhnall, son of Tighearnan Ó Ruairc, albeit aided by the powerful Muirchertach Ua Briain, was titled a king of Connacht for a short time.

About the year 1101 “Donnchad son of Art (or Aedh) ua Ruairc, king of Uí Briúin and Conmaicne, and royal heir of Connaught, was killed by Giolla Srònmhaol (‘the bald-nosed lad‘) Ó Ruairc.” Donnchad may have been a son of Aedh, the third Ó Ruairc King of Connacht who died in 1087. Aedh ‘Giolla Srònmhaol’ Ó Ruairc was possibly a nephew or grand-nephew of Donnchad. Giolla Srònmhaol (i.e. Aedh) appears to have been a king of Bréifne and Conmaicne until he was killed in 1122 by Murchadh Ó Maeleachlain and the men of Meath. About 1124 another Ó Ruairc is mentioned, “Gilla Braite Ua Ruairc was slain (drowned) by the Connaughtmen, on Loch mac nÉn.” Loch nÉn is descibed near modern Athlone, Co. Roscommon, and it is possible this Gilla Braite (or Gilla Bruide) was a son of Domnall, the fourth Ó Ruairc king of Connacht.

Tigernan mor O Ruairc

The next King of Breifne had connections with the above Murchadh Ó Maeleachlain of Meath, responsible for the death of Giolla Srònmhaol Ó Ruairc. His name was Tigernan O Ruairc and he was supported by Murchadh as the next King of Breifne about the year 1124. Tigernan was described as a ‘young cousin of the Gilla Strònmael,’ and he married Murchadh O Maeleachlain’s daughter Dearbhforgaill (Dervorgil). The older Irish genealogies place Tigernan as a descendant of Domnall who was one of two known sons of Ualgharg, the royal heir of Connaught who died in 1085. The Book of Leinster appears to show him as a son of Donnchad son of Domnall, son of Ualgarg; while the later genealogical tracts of the Book of Ballymote, MacFirbis’ Book of Genealogies, and An Leabhar Donn cite him as a son of Aedh son of Donnchad son of Domnall. Tigernan reigned as King of Breifne for about 48 years, participating in many great battles which earned him the name Tighearnán Mór (‘the great‘). His exploits are well documented in the Irish Annals.

Tighearnán Mór suffered a setback in the year 1152. Diarmaid Mac Murchadha (Dermot MacMurrough), the King of Leinster (southeast Ireland), with the assistance of the High King of Ireland, Toirdhealbhach Ua Conchobhair (Turlough Mor Ó Conor), invaded Breifne and defeated Tighearnán Mór. On this occasion “they took Conmhaicne from Tighearnán Ua Ruairc and gave the chieftainship to the son of Gilla Braite Ua Ruairc.” To add insult to injury Dervorgil, daughter of Ua Maeleachlainn and wife of Tighearnán Ó Ruairc, was “brought away by the King of Leinster, i.e. Diarmaid, with her cattle and furniture; and he took with her according to the advice of her brother, Maeleachlainn [Ua Maeleachlainn].”

The following year (1153) an army was lead by Turlough Mor Ó Conor, the High King, against Diarmaid Mac Murchadha, King of Leinster, “and took away the daughter of Ua Maeleachlainn (Dervorgil), with her cattle, from him, so that she was in the power of the men of Meath [Ua Maeleachlainn]. On this occasion Tighearnán Ua Ruairc came into his house, and left him hostages.” Later the same year Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn, and the people of the north of Ireland, defeated the men of Munster, Connacht and Leinster. The Annals cite, “After this Ua Lochlainn proceeded with his forces to Loch Aininn (Lough Ennell), and Ua Maeleachlainn came into his house, and left him hostages; and he (Ua Lochlainn) gave him all Meath, from the Sinainn to the sea, and also Ui-Faelain and Ui-Failghe. He gave Ui-Briuin and Conmhaicne to Tighearnán Ua Ruairc, and carried the hostages of both with him…” “Dearbhforgaill, daughter of Murchadh Ua Maeleachlainn, came from the King of Leinster (Diarmaid) to Tighearnán Ua Ruairc again.”

It was in the timeframe of the 1150s the boundaries of many Irish dioceses were set, providing a glimpse of the general extent of the Breifne and Conmaicne regions which were largely controlled by Tighearnán Mór at the time.

Over ten years later, in 1166, “An army, composed of the men of Breifne and Meath, and of the foreigners of Ath-cliath [Dublin] and the Leinstermen, was led by Tighearnán Ua Ruairc into Ui Ceinnsealaigh (in Leinster); and Diarmaid Mac Murchadha was banished over sea, and his castle at Fearna (Ferns) was demolished. They set up as king, Murchadh, the grandson of Murchadh, he giving seventeen hostages to Ruaidhri Ua Conchobhair (the High King), to be sent to Tir Fiachrach Aidhne.” This event led Diarmaid Mac Murchadha to begin recruiting forces from Wales and he returned in 1167 to retake his kingdom of Ui Ceinnsealaigh. Again Diarmaid was defeated, by Ruaidhri Ua Conchobhair and Tighearnán Ua Ruairc, and “Diarmaid Mac Murchadha afterwards came to Ua Conchobhair, and gave him seven hostages for ten cantreds of his own native territory, and one hundred ounces of gold to Tighearnán Ua Ruairc for his eineach.” The latter (eineach) was apparently a payment to Tighearnán on behalf of his “honour”, and possibly relating to the incident of fifteen years prior.

In the the years 1169 and 1170, more forces from Wales and England arrived in Ireland to support Diarmaid Mac Murchadha and his greater ambitions. Tighearnán Ua Ruairc was at the forefront of resistance to this foreign invasion into Ireland, and many battles were fought. In 1170 Diarmaid gave his daughter in marriage to one of the leaders from England, nicknamed Strongbow. The following year Diarmaid Mac Murchadha died, leaving part of his patrimony in Leinster to his son-in-law Strongbow [in violation of Brehon Law]. The political scene in southeast Ireland had reached a turning point with the arrival in 1171 of Henry, King of England, opening the door for further encroachment by the “Saxon Foreigners” within Ireland.

In 1172 Tighearnán Ua Ruairc, “Lord of Breifny and Conmaicne, a man of great power for a long time, was treacherously slain at Tlachtgha by Hugo de Lacy and Donnell, the son of Annadh O’Rourke, one of his own tribe, who was along with them. He was beheaded by them, and they conveyed his head and body ignominiously to Dublin. The head was placed over the gate of the fortress, as a spectacle of intense pity to the Irish, and the body was gibbeted, with the feet upwards, at the northern side of Dublin.”

For over 100 years following this event there was no long-standing Ó Ruairc. The eligible young men of the clan fought one another for the kingship, and the Lords of Breifne changed in quick succession. Aedh Ó Ruairc, son of Gilla Braite, served for a time until 1176, followed by Amlaíb Ó Ruairc, son of Fergal, who died in 1184. Aedh Ó Ruairc, son of Máelsechlann served as chief until his death 1187, he apparently being a grandson of Tighearnán mór. Ualgarg Ó Ruairc, son of Cathal, was noted serving at various times until his death in 1231, followed by Cathal riabach O’Ruairc, son of Donnchadh. The list of Ó Ruairc chiefs included no less than eleven over the next 40 odd years, at a time when Amlaíb O’Ruairc, son of Art son of Cathal riabach came to power. Amlaíb would serve as chief perhaps from perhaps 1275 until his death in 1307, when his cousin Domnall carrach assumed the chieftainship for a short time. Domnall carrach was a son of another Amlaib.

In the early 13th century Niall, great-grandson of Domhnall macTigernáin Ó Ruairc (the 4th and last Ó Ruairc King of Connacht), and some of his descendants, became the lords of Dartry and of Clan Fermaighe (a nothern portion of modern County Leitrim). There was great rivalry between these Ó Ruaircs and those of the main line, the Kings of Breifne, and they regularly attacked one another. In one entry in the annals Ó Raighillighs (O’Reilly) of East Breifne is noted as a lord of Dartry and Clan Fermaighe, an indication perhaps of how far the clan rivalries extended within the kingdom of Breifne. The power of the O’Reillys of East Breifne were in the ascendant from this time forward. With the rise of the O’Reilly in modern County Cavan , the territory referred to as the Breifne became divided into “Breffny O’Rourke” and “Breffny O’Reilly”, the former becoming limited more to the modern County Leitrim vicinity, plus some surrounding areas.

From the mid-13th century into the 14th, the Ó Conor Kings of Connacht greatly influenced the assignment of the Ó Ruairc kings of Breifne. During this period rivalries among the Ó Ruaircs included those of the descendants of Domnall and Donnchadh, grandsons of Ualgharg (died 1085). Among the descendants of Domnall, grandson of Ualgarg (died 1085), two main lines of his descendants also vied for the kingship of Breifne. At the Battle of Athenry in 1316, during the Bruce Invasion of Ireland, a great battle ensued to oppose William de Burgo and the other Anglo-Norman Galls in Connacht. In defeat at this battle were lost many great kings and princes of Connacht, Thomond and Meath including men of the Ui Briuin Breifne, the Ui Maine, Ui Fiachrach and Conmaicne. After this devastating defeat Ualgharg mór Ó Ruairc was king of Breifne, and the years that followed saw great rivalry between the Ó Ruaircs and the Ó Conors of Clan Murtagh.

Ualgharg mór Ó Ruairc, son of Domnall carrach, reigned as king of Breifne from about 1316 until his death in battle with Ruaidri son of Cathal Ó Conchobair (Ó Conor) in 1346. Upon Ualgarg’s death the kingship may have been in dispute between Ualgharg’s brother, Flaithbhertach, and Ualgarg’s eldest son, Aedh bán. Aedh bán defeated Flaithbertach in 1349 and was described as king of Breifne in 1352 when he was slain by Clan Murtagh. Flaithbhertach then held the kingship for a few months in 1352 before his death. Following the death of Flaithbertach, a second son of Ualgarg took his turn as king of Breifne. His name was Tadgh na gCaor (of the Berries) who was responsible for driving out the Ó Conors of Clan Murtagh. His reign lasted until 1376 when he was succeeded by his younger brother Tighearnán mór Ó Ruairc. During Tighearnán’s reign the “sons of Flaithbertach Ó Ruairc were banished from Breifne,” no doubt due to their continued rivalry. Tighearnán mór’s long reign lasted until 1418 when he died at an advanced age.

Tighearnán mór was succeeded by his son Aedh buidhe who quickly died the year following. It was in 1419 that Aedh buidhe’s brother Tadhg was elected in his place by the O’Rourkes from “Slieve-an-ierin West“. However, Art, son of Tadgh na gCaor, son of Ualgharg mór, was elected in opposition to Tadhg from [the men of] “Slieve-an-ierin East“, i.e. by the O’Reillys, the people of Teallach Donnchadha, and the descendants of Melaghlin Mac Rannall. This made sense since the sons of Tadgh na gCaor had their base of power in the southern portion of modern Count Leitrim (in Carrigallen), while the son of Tighearnán mór had their base in the north (in Drumahaire). At this point a great rift had been created and the kingship of “Breffny O’Rourke” became divided between East and West, the dividing point often described as Sliabh An Iarainn (the Iron Mountains, in the middle of co. Leitrim). In effect, “East Breifne O’Rourke” included the area about southern County Leitrim, while “West Breifne O’Rourke” included the northern County Leitrim area. Two of the baronies of modern county Cavan, i.e. Tullyhunco and Tullyhaw, were still considered among the areas included under the watch of the Breifne O’Rourke’s at this time. Refer to this map highlighting the baronies most associated with Breifne O’Rourke.

By 1424 Tadhg, son of Tighearnán mór, received Art son of Tadgh na gCaor’s submission and served as the Ó Ruairc until his death in 1435, at which time the kingship was again divided among East and West. In 1435 Art’s brother Lochlainn Ó Ruairc, son of Tadgh na gCaor, succeeded as king of East Breifne, and Tadhg son of Tighearnán mór had been succeeded by his brother? Donnchadh bacagh as king of West Breifne. In 1445 Donnchadh bacagh died and he was succeeded by his nephew, Donnchadh son of Tighernán óg son of Tighearnán mór. The people of West Breifny proclaimed Donnchadh son of Tighernán óg son Tighearnán mór, the Ó Ruairc, in opposition to Lochlainn, the son of Tadgh na gCaor (of East Breifne). Donnchadh, an ancestor of the O’Rourkes of Carha, would reign as the Ó Ruairc until his death in 1449. He was succeeded by his first cousin, Tighernán óg son of Tadhg son of Tighearnán mór, who was nominated the Ó Ruairc. In 1457-1458 Lochlainn Ó Ruairc, son of Tadgh, of East Breifne was defeated by the Maguires of Fermanagh and the kingship of East Breifne O’Rourke was effectively dissolved, although the Ua Ruaircs continued as large land-holders in this region over the next 200+ years. Tighernán óg son of Tadhg continued his reign as king of Breifne until his death in 1468. The ancestors of Tighernán óg became known as the O’Rourkes of Dromahair, a main branch of the family.

Following Tiernan óg son of Tadhg’s death in 1468, the kingship of Breifne was again in dispute. Tiernan óg’s brother Domnall was elected king of Breifne with support from the Lord of Tirconnell, Aedh Ruadh O’Donnell. This was opposed by the descendants of Tighernán óg son of Tighearnán mór son of Ualgharg (the O’Rourkes of Carha), who unjustly rose up against him; and they themselves, and the people of Carbury, and the Clann-Donough, inaugurate Donnchadh losc, the son of Tighearnán mór. To settle the matter an army was led by O’Donnell and Ó Ruairc in 1470 to go upon the hill of Cruachan-Ua Cuproin (the traditional inauguration site of the Breifny kings) to inaugurate the Ó Ruairc. However, O’Reilly, the English, and the people of Teallach-Dunchadha opposed them at Bel Átha Chonaill (Ballyconnell), and they were prevented from going to Cruachan on that occasion. As the dispute among the O’Rourkes of Dromahair and of Carrha continued, there was also infighting among the families of the last kings of East Breifne O’Rourke, which results in the death of Ualgarg son of Cathal Ballach Ó Ruairc, who was killed in 1472 by Eóghan son of Lochlann Ó Ruairc, an ancestor of the O’Rourkes of Cloncorick in the barony of Carrigallen.

By 1476 Feidhlimidh, son of Donnchadh Ó Ruairc, of the O’Rourkes of Carrha, became king of Breifne. In the year 1500, following the death of Feidhlimidh Ó Ruairc of Castlecar (the stronghold of the Carrha O’Rourkes), Eóghan son of Tighernán óg Ó Ruairc (of the Dromahair O’Rourkes), succeeded as king of Breifne. His reign would last 28 years and it was this Eóghan (Owen) who founded the renowned Franciscan Friary of Creevelea in 1509. At Creevelea, it was said, the Ó Ruaircs of Dromahair “received their education, joined the Order as Friars, or were buried.”

Eóghan (Owen) died in 1528 and was succeeded by his son Brian ballach mór as King of Breifne. In 1536 Brian demolished the stronghold at Castlecar in opposition to his rival O’Rourke clan. About 1540 Brian, noted for his many exploits, alliances and raids, built Leitrim Castle. In 1562 Brian, the last of the ‘Kings’ of Breifne, died. His descendants followed as lords of Breifne for a time and they later united with the other O’Rourke clans against the intruders from England who were transplanted into the region. Most notable was Brian ballach’s son, Brian na múrtha who was later hanged in London for treason against the Queen’s Law in 1591, as well as his grandson Brian óg who distinguished himself on the side of the Gael at the ‘Battle of the Curlews’ during the Nine Years War.

Of the history of the O’Rourkes, it can be said that some of their strongholds were at Dromahair (S.E. of Lough Gill); at Newtowne (on the N.E. shore of Lough Gill, later to have Parkes Castle built over it); at Carha (Caislén an Cairthe, or Castlecar, in the parish of Killasnet, north-central Co. Leitrim) lying between Glencar Lake and Manorhamilton; at Cloch Inse na dTorc (the stone fortress of Boar Island) on Cherry Island in Lough Garadice; at Leitrim Castle (south of Lough Allen); at Tuam Shanshadha (Woodford, next to Lough Garadice); and at Clooncorick a few miles south of Lough Garadice in the parish of Carrigallen.

Other fortifications with O’Rourke connections are said to include Duroy (Dubhshraith), a square Keep lying very near Newtowne castle; a crannog on Glencar [Glenn-Dallain] Lake in Killasnett parish; a crannog on Claen-loch [Lake Belhavel] in the parish of Killarga; the castle of Longfield located two miles south of Newtowngore in Carrigallen parish; a crannog on Lake Fore (Castlefore) in the barony of Leitrim; and perhaps a castle on the river Bonet referred to as Harrison’s Castle on the Ordnance Survey. The inauguration site of the Kings of Breifne was said to be at the hill of Cruachan (Croghan), across the border in County Cavan near Killeshandra.

The long story of the Ó Ruairc lives on in Irish history, although by the late 1800’s not one O’Rourke held land of any consequence in Leitrim. Today the O’Rourke and O’Rorke descendants of the great Ó Ruairc clan, like many of the old Irish clans of Ireland, are still to be found in Ireland but many had also sought their fortune in the other countries of Europe and abroad.

Last Ó Ruairc lords of Bréifne 
This article focuses on the Dromohair branch and the last Ó Ruairc lords of Bréifne.

The chart below was drawn from the early genealogies. It suggests the main lineage of three of the later branches of the Ó Ruairc family, those of Cloncorick, Carha, and Dromohair.  To reference some of the earlier descendants in this chart, click on Ualgharg mór below.

                                          Ualgharg mór (1346)
                   |                                                      |
            Tadhg na gCaor (1376)                                  Tighernán mór (1418) 
 __________________|_                _____________________________________|_________________________________
 |                 |                 |              |                     |                 |              |
Art (1424)     Lochlann (1458)  Tighernán óg    Aedh buidhe (1419)    Tadhg (1435)        Donnchadh    Donnchadh
                  _|_               _|_                       ____________|________        bacagh         losc
                   |                 |                        |                   |        (1445)        (1468)
                Eoghan          Donnchadh  (1449)     Tighernán óg (1468)    Domnall (1468)
   (O'Rourkes of Cloncorick)        _|_                     _|_____________________          
                                     |                       |                    |             
                              Feidhlimidh (1500)          Eóghan (1528)     Brian ruadh (1487)
                 ____________________|_                     _|_    
                 |                   |                       |          
          Eóghan (1488)     Feidhlimidh (1536)      Brian ballach mór (1562)
                          (O'Rourkes of Carha)      (O'Rourkes of Dromahair) 

Eóghan, son of Tighernán óg mac Taidhg Ó Ruairc, was of the O’Rourke’s of Dromahair. He is first noted in the annals in 1488 for the slaying of his cousin Eóghan, son of Feidhlimidh mac Donnchadha, i.e. the son of the ruling Ó Ruairc at that time. The year prior Eóghan son of Feidhlimidh, of the O’Rourkes of Carha, had caused the death of Brian ruadh Ó Ruairc, Eóghan son of Tighernán óg’s brother. Both of these events were a testament of the great rivalry between the O’Rourkes of Carha and the O’Rourke’s of Dromahair. Following the death of Feidhlimidh mac Donnchadha, Eóghan (Owen) would succeed as the Ó Ruairc in the year 1500.

Eóghan (Owen) was noted for commencing the Monastery of Ó Ruairc’s town, at Dromahair, the renowned Franciscan Friary of Creevelea founded in 1509. Eóghan died in

1528, his obituary appearing in the Annals of Connacht:

C1528.8 – O Ruairc, Eogan son of Tigernan, chief ornament of the men of Conmaicne, famous heir of the old Fergal, a pillar of the bounty and magnificence of Western Europe, a wise openhanded very wealthy prince, a man who tamed his neighbours and maintained all stout warfare against border foes, prop of the nobility and endurance of the posterity of Aed Finn son of Fergna son of Fergus, died in the robe of St. Francis after Unction and Penance.

Eóghan was succeeded by his son Brian ballach mór as King of Breifne. In 1536 Brian demolished the stronghold at Castlecar in opposition to the rival O’Rourkes there. About 1540 Brian, noted for his many exploits, alliances and raids, built Leitrim Castle. In 1562 Brian, the last of the ‘Kings’ of Breifne, died, his obituary appearing in the Annals of the Four Master:

M1562.1 – O’Rourke (Brian Ballagh, son of Owen), the senior of Sil-Feargna, and of the race of Aedh Finn, a man whose supporters, fosterers, adherents, and tributaries, extended from Caladh, in the territory of Hy-Many, to the fertile, salmon-full Drowes, the boundary of the far-famed province of Ulster; and from Granard in Teffia to the strand of Eothuile, the Artificer, in Tireragh of the Moy,—who had the best collection of poems, and who, of all his tribe, had bestowed the greatest number of presents for poetical eulogies, died in consequence of a fall; and his son, Hugh Gallda, was installed in his place.

The following is a chart of some of the descendants of Brian ballach mór as noted in the annals and genealogies, with their respective year of death.

                                        Brian ballach mór (1562)
         |                 |           |           |               |                  |                 |
Brian na múrtha(1591)  Maghnus  Tadhg(1560)  Eóghan(1560)  Aedh gallda(1564)  Aedh buidhe(1566)  Tighernán bán
        _|____________________________________________            _|_          _________________________|_  
         |                 |             |           |             |           |                     |
  Eóghan (1589)  Tadhg an fiona (1605)  Art   Brian óg (1604)   Aedh óg    Eóghan mór       Brian ballach óg(1682)
                          _|_                                     _|_         _|_         ___________|____
                           |                                       |           |          |              |
                     Brian ruadh(1641)                           Brian     Eóghan óg   Aedh(1684)  Tighernán(1702)
                                                           Hugh of Kilnagarn

As mentioned in his obit. Brian ballagh was replaced as Ó Ruairc by his son Aedh gallda. Aedh would hold sway only a couple of years before he was killed within his own dominion, as noted below:

M1564.1 – O’Rourke (Hugh Gallda, son of Brian Ballagh, son of Owen) was maliciously and malignantly slain by his own people, at Leitrim, in Muintir-Eolais; after which the whole country closed round Brian, the son of Brian O’Rourke; and it was rumoured that it was for him this treacherous misdeed was committed, though he had no personal share in perpetrating it. Hugh Boy, the son of Brian, son of Owen O’Rourke, another brother, who was younger than Hugh, but older than Brian, called himself O’Rourke by the influence of O’Neill.

Next to follow as Ó Ruairc was Aedh buidhe, brother of Aehd gallda. He was slain by the neighboring Cenel Conaill (the people of O Donnell) at Ballintogher, County Sligo just a couple of years following his election. His obituary alludes to the continued internal struggle for the right to become Ó Ruairc.

M1566.5 – O’Rourke (Hugh Boy, the son of Brian Ballagh) was slain by the Kinel-Connell, at Baile-an-tochair, in order that the son of the daughter of Manus O’Donnell, namely, Brian, the son of Brian, son of Owen (O’Rourke), might enjoy the lordship of Breifny.

Next to serve as as Ó Ruairc was Aedh buidhe’s younger brother Brian na múrtha, son of Brian ballagh. Brian na múrtha would reign as the Ó Ruairc for about 35 years, his term fraught with encroachment by the English, along with the usual raiding and feuding with other Gaelic rivals. Brian was a proud, stubborn man, who unlike some of the other Gaelic lords, was unwilling to compromise with the English, even after being knighted by them in 1578. The English tightened their grip even further when Ó Ruairc country became part of County Leitrim, formed in 1583. Brian would become an outlaw in the eyes of the English. Sentenced of treason he would eventually be taken prisoner, placed in the Tower of London, and hanged in 1591.

M1591.1 – O’Rourke, i.e. Brian-na-Murtha, the son of Brian, son of Owen, was banished, as stated before, into the Tuatha in Tirconnell, where he remained upwards of a year with Mac Sweeny (Owen Oge). After that he passed into Scotland, in hopes of obtaining protection or assistance from the King of Scotland. A party of the Queen’s people, however, took him prisoner, and carried him into England and into London, where he remained for some time in prison, i.e. until the ensuing November Term. The law was urged against him, and he was condemned to death. He was afterwards hanged, beheaded, and quartered. The death of this Brian was one of the mournful stories of the Irish, for there had not been for a long time any one of his tribe who excelled him in bounty, in hospitality, in giving rewards for panegyrical poems, in sumptuousness, in numerous troops, in comeliness, in firmness, in maintaining the field of battle to defend his patrimony against foreign adventurers, for all which he was celebrated, until his death on this occasian.

The next Ó Ruairc of importance was Brian óg na samhthach, son of Brian na múrtha. Among other things, Brian óg distinguished himself on the side of the Gael at the ‘Battle of the Curlews’ in 1599 during the Nine Years War. Brian óg was also forced to flee Breifne, as his father had, ending up in Galway where he passed away at the age of 35.

M1604.1 – O’Rourke (Brian Oge, the son of Brian-na-Murtha, son of Brian Ballagh, son of Owen) died at Galway on the 28th of January, and was buried in the monastery of Ross-Iriala, with the Franciscan Friars. The death of the person who departed here was a great loss, for he was the supporting pillar and the battle-prop of the race of Aedh-Finn, the tower of battle for prowess, the star of the valour and chivalry of the Hy-Briuin; a brave and protecting man, who had not suffered Breifny to be molested in his time; a sedate and heroic man, kind to friends, fierce to foes; and the most illustrious that had come for some time of his family for clemency, hospitality, nobleness, firmness, and steadiness.

The next Ó Ruairc was Tadhg an fiona, a half-brother of Brian óg, who would die at age 28 in Dromahair. Some suspect he may have been poisoned in 1605. With his death the last of the lords of the Dromahair line held sway.

M1605.2 – O’Rourke (Teige, son of Brian, son of Brian, son of Owen), Lord of Breifny, a man who had experienced many hardships and difficulties while defending his patrimony against his brother, Brian Oge; a man who was not expected to die on his bed, but by the spear or sword; a man who had fought many difficult battles, and encountered many dangers, while struggling for his patrimony and the dignity of his father, until God at length permitted him to obtain the lordship, died, and was interred with due honour in the Franciscan Monastery at Carrickpatrick.

Following the death of Tadhg an fiona, his sons Brian and Aedh were declared illegitimate by the English. They ultimately lost their claim to their father’s inheritance. In a Tract on the O Rourkes, written in 1714 perhaps by Father Patrick O Curneen he notes,

the Duke of Buckingham received the manor of Dromahaire; Sir Frederick Hamilton the manor of Baile Hamilton; Grandison the manor of Druim-an-Snamh; the Parsons – Achadh Tamhnuigh, Beal an Atha Moir and An Garbhos (those are three manors); Henry Casto – Maothail; Blundel the manor of Leitrim; Sir George St. George (by marriage) the liberties of Cara; Robert Park the manor of Baile Nua; Seon Mor Mag Raghnaill – Loch an Scuir, Leacaoin, and An Ghrainneach (those are three manors); as well as many other small divisions between Goill and Gaoidhil which are not reckoned here.

The 17th century heralded the virtual extinction of Gaelic civilization as a political entity in Ireland. English law (and manipulation) resulted in taking properties formerly held by ‘rebellious’ or ‘illegitimate’ Irish heirs, and giving them to English settlers or those faithful to the Crown. The Irish uprising of 1641 was followed in the 1650s by wholesale confiscation of remaining Irish Catholic lands. By the end of the century English and Protestant landownership was the rule, especially east of the Shannon.

By some accounts Eóghan óg Ó Ruairc, grandson of Tighernán bán, was the last recognized Chief of his name. In a tract in Celtica it mentions that Eóghan Óg of Dromahair (grandson of Tiernan Ban) and Aedh (Hugh) of Kilnagarn, Dromahair, great-grandson of Hugh Gallda (Tiernan Ban’s half-brother) were rivals for the title of Chief of the O Rourkes. The original tract was written in 1714, probably by Father Patrick O Curneen, poet and historian of the ORourkes. It was translated by Professor James Carney and published in 1950. In the same tract it mentions Eóghan Óg son of Eóghan Mór was judged to be Chief by the ollamháin of the Province of Connacht (Celtica, 1, 1950, page 266)


Chart of the Ó Ruairc Kings of Bréifne
Kings are noted with the approximate ending year of their reign (in brackets)

Fergal (967, Sen Fergal, King of Connacht)                                                          Aedh?
__|________________________________________________________________________________                  _|_
  |                                                                               |                   |
Aedh (1014)                                                          Art an caileach (1031?)     Niall (1000)
__|__________________                                                            _|_                 _|_             
  |                                                                               |                   |
Art oirdnidhe (1046, Art uallach, King of Connacht)                   Donnchadh cael (1084)       Tighernán                             
__|__________________________________________________________________                                _|_
  |                                        |                        |                                 |
Aedh (1087, King of Connacht)     Donnchad dearg (1039)      Niall (1047)                        Cathal (1059)
__|_                                                 _______________|___________________             _|_
  |                                                  |                                 |              |
Domnall                                   Aedh an Gilla Braite (1066)           Ualgarg (1085)   Domnall (1078)
 _|_                                                                   ________________|_______
  |                                                                    |                      |
Aedh (this line from Rawlinson)                                     Tighernán              Domnall 
    ___________________________________________________________________|_       	     _|_
     |                                                                                        | 
  Domnall (1102, King of Connacht)                                                        Donnchad 
    _|____________________________                             _______________________________|________ 
     |                           |                             |                    |                 |
Fergal (1157)        Donnchad Gilla Bruide (1125)      Tighernán mór (1172)    Aedh (1123?)         Niall
  _|______________              _|_                           _|_                  _|_
   |       |                     |                             |                    |
Amlaíb  Domnall (1207)      Aedh (1176)                  Máelsechlann          Cathal liath
(1184)    _|__                  _|_                           _|_                  _|___________________ 
           |                     |                             |                    |                  |
          Art (1210)        Donnchadh óg                  Aedh (1187)          Ualgarg (1231)   Domnall mhatail 
   ________|________            _|____                                  ____________|_                _|_
   |               |             |                                      |           |                  |
Amlaíb (1258)   Art bec      Cathal riabach (1236)              Sitric (1257)     Aedh     Tighernán na corradh
  _|_____________ (1260)        _|___________                                      _|_                _|_
   |            |                           |                                       |                  |              
Conchobar      Domnall                  Art (1275)                           Tighernán (1274)   Conchobar (1257)
buidhe (1273)  carrach (1311)               |__________                                               _|_                  
  _______________|____________                        |                                                |
  |                          |                      Amlaíb (1307)                               Domnall (1259)
Ualgarg mór (1346)    Flaithbhertach (1352)      
  |                      |                          |                     |                                            
Aedh bán (1352)    Tadhg na gCaor (1376)    Gilla Crist (1378)    Tighernán mór (1418)
_________________________|_         ______________________________________|_________________________________
 |                       |           |              |                     |                 |              |
Art (1424)     Lochlann (1458)  Tighernán óg    Aedh buidhe (1419)    Tadhg (1435)        Donnchadh    Donnchadh
                  _|_            ____|___                    _____________|________       bacagh (1445)  losc
                   |                 |                       |                    |                     (1468)
                Eoghan          Donnchadh  (1449)       Tighernán óg (1468)     Domnall (1468)
   (O'Rourkes of Cloncorick)         |                       |                            
                             Feidhlimidh (1500)           Eóghan (1528)
                                     |                       |        
                             Feidhlimidh (1536)      Brian ballach mór (1562)
                           (O'Rourkes of Chartha)     Brian na múrtha (1591)
                                                    (O'Rourkes of Dromahair) 


The earliest portion of the above lineage is reflected in the 12th century Book of Leinster, that is, Ualgarg son of Niall son of Art son of Aedh son of Fergal. The full text suggests that a Tigernan was a son of Donnchad, son of Domnall, son of Ualgarg (above noted). This Tigernan would logically be Tighernán mór, who died in 1172, and this pedigree is also reflected in Francis Byrne’s work, Irish Kings and High Kings.

O’Clery’s 17th century Book of Genealogies, provides a full lineage from Fergal down to Brian na múrtha as follows: [m = "son of "]
Briain na murthadh m Briain ballaigh m Eoghain m Tighernain m Taidhg m Tigernain moir m Ualgairg m Domnaill m Amhlaibh m Airt m Domhnaill m Ferghail m Domnaill m Tigernain m Ualghairg m Neill m Aedha m Airt oirdnighe m Aedha m SenFerghail.

Note on O’Clery: O’Clery erroneously adds an extra Aedha to this pedigree (see strikethrough). Earlier in the same tract, O’Clery shows the same Ualgharg m Neill as a grandson of Airt oirdnighe. This error is also corroborated in the late 14th century Book of Ballymote, and in the 15th century An Leabhar Donn.

Notes on the Kings of Connacht:
The four Ua Ruaic kings of Connacht are noted in the Irish Annals; and in “A poem on the Kings of Connacht” (manuscript sources: MS. Rawlinson B 502 [facs. p. 165]; Z Celt Philol 9 (1913) 461–69). In the translated poem the four are cited as:

  • Fergal son of Ruarc from the Rige, who seized all the country round through battle-rage. (Note: Fergal was a grandson of Ruarc)
  • Art grandson of Ruarc of the royal seat; Art the Fair of the land of Codal. (Note: Art oirdinte, righ Connacht, son of Aedh)
  • Aed son of Art, seized on Sart of lasting valour. (Note: Aedh, righ Connacht, son of Art oirdinte)
  • Domnall son of Tigernan the Silent. (Note: Domnall, rige Conacht, son of Tigernan son of Ualgarg)

(the additional notes attached to the above kings of Connacht are taken from the genealogies of Ballymote, Leabhar Donn, and O’Clery)

Notes on Linea Antiqua and O’Harts Pedigrees:
Both O’Ferral and O’Hart confuse Tighernan, father of Domnall (the last O’Ruairc to be called king of Connacht), with Tighernan Mor who died in 1172. Tighernan Mor could not have had son who died in 1102 with the title of king of Connacht. Compared with earlier genealogies, O’Ferral and O’Hart also confuse Tadhg (son of Tighernán mór who died in 1418) with Tadhg na gCaor.

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“Look out for Satan’s hand!”

Immram Ua Corra (Voyage of the Uí Chorra), an immram or voyage tale dating from the 11th century. Conall Derg Ua Corra and his wife make a pact with the devil in order to secure an heir. Three boys are born on the same night. When they grow up they kill clerics and burn churches, but they repent and embark on a voyage of pilgrimage.

It goes, the prosperous farmer Conall Ua Corra in the province of Connaught had everything to make him happy except that he and his wife had no children to cheer their old age and inherit their estate. Conall had prayed for children, and one day said in his impatience that he would rather have them sent by Satan than not have them at all. A year or two later his wife had three sons at a birth, and when these sons came to maturity, they were so ridiculed by other young men, as being the sons of Satan, that they said, “If such is really our parentage, we will do Satan’s work.”

So they collected around them a few villains and began plundering and destroying the churches in the neighborhood and thus injuring half the church buildings in the country. At last they resolved to visit also the church of Clothar, to destroy it, and to kill if necessary their mother’s father, who was the leading layman of the parish. When they came to the church, they found the old man on the green in front of it, distributing meat and drink to his tenants and the people of the parish. Seeing this, they postponed their plans until after dark and in the meantime went home with their grandfather, to spend the night at his house.

They went to rest, and the eldest, Lochan, had a terrible dream in which he saw first the joys of heaven and then the terrors of future punishment, and then he awoke in dismay. Waking his brothers, he told them his dream, and that he now saw that they had been serving evil masters and making war upon a good one. Such was his bitterness of remorse that he converted them to his views, and they agreed to go to their grandfather in the morning, renounce their sinful ways and ask his pardon. This they did, and he advised them to go to a celebrated saint, Finnen of Clonard, and take him as their spiritual guide. Laying aside their armor and weapons, they went to Clonard, where all the people, dreading them and knowing their wickedness, fled for their lives, except the saint himself, who came forward to meet them. With him the three brothers undertook the most austere religious exercises, and after a year they came to St. Finnen and asked his punishment for their former crimes. “You cannot,” he said, “restore to life those you have slain, but you can at least restore the buildings you have devastated and ruined.” So they went and repaired many churches, after which they resolved to go on a pilgrimage upon the great Atlantic Ocean.

“Señor,” said an old woman, “our sons and our husbands have again fallen into the hand of Satan.” They were near an islet which the sailors called Isla de la Man Satanaxio, or The Island of Satan’s Hand. It appeared that in that region there was an islet so called, always surrounded by chilly mists and water of a deadly cold; that no one had ever reached it, as it constantly changed place; but that a demon hand sometimes uprose from it, and plucked away men and even whole boats, which, when once grasped, usually by night, were never seen again, but perished helplessly, victims of Satan’s Hand.

The extant narrative of Immram Curaig Ua Corra has been transmitted in several versions. The earliest version is that found in the Book of Fermoy, written in the fifteenth century. A second version, found only in manuscripts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, apparently derives from the Book of Lismore, another manuscript of the fifteenth century. A third version in a mixture of prose and verse also survives only in late manuscripts; the beginning of this is now lost and has been replaced in some manuscripts by a fragment of the version apparently deriving from the Book of Lismore. Structural and linguistic evidence suggests that all the versions of Immram Curaig Ua Corra derive from a composite narrative written some time after the mid-twelfth century.

Toirdhealbhach Ua Conchobhair (old spelling: Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair) (1088–1156), anglicised Turlough Mór O’Connor / O’Conor, was King of Connacht (1106–1156) and High King of Ireland (ca. 1120–1156).


A historical and contextual reading of the voyage tale Immram Curaig Ua Corra.

Research on voyage tales in early Irish literature has earlier been centered on unveiling pagan beliefs and traditions beneath an imagined Christian surface. This tendency has rendered textual interpretation based on the voyage tales’ historical context somewhat unchartered territory. The aim of this thesis is, therefore, to read Immram Curaig Ua Corra first and foremostly as a child of its time. Certain signs within the tale as well as external mentions of it places it in the 12th century.

This is a century that proved particularly eventful for the locations mentioned in the text. The tale’s basic setting in the province of Connacht seem likely to be connected to the rise of Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair as king of the province and contender for high-kingship. These contentions resulted in friends and enemies not only outside Toirdelbach’s territory, but also in his most internal circles. One of the king’s contenders to the kingship of Connacht was his own son Ruadhrí, a son from a marriage with a lady from the south Connacht dynasty of Uí Fhiachrach Aidne. The many parallels between Aidnean legends and our voyage tale seem to suggest involvement from authors affiliated with this territory.

The extant tale does, however, seem to contain an inserted sequence in which St Findén of Clonard is portrayed as the main clerical hero, the ’foster-father of Ireland’ of the tale. This suggests that Clonard scribes used an earlier, lost, and possible Aidnean tale as basis for the creation of the extant voyage tale. It seems possible that it was composed in support of Clonard as a reaction to political and social changes which gave the Patrician church of Armagh unprecedented opportunities of influence, at the expense of the traditional monastic bastions.

The high-kingship struggles of the 12th century went on simultaneously with an extensive church reform which replaced the unique, Irish system of monastic units with a diocesan system in conformity with the Roman church. In this process, much power changed hands. Archdioceses were formed in accordance with secular politics – thanks to Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair’s efforts, Connacht got its own primatial see at Tuaim, an event that may explain the prominent role of this city in Immram Curaig Ua Corra.

A contextual reading does, however, also include the more spiritual ideals accompanying the winds of reform. The voyage tale champions the idea that no sin is too grave nor any human too depraved for change to be a realistic possibility. The protagonists of the tale, the three Uí Chorra brothers, goes to war against the Church on behalf of the Devil, whom they perceive as their lord. Their murderous and destructive conduct make the brothers infamous in all of Ireland. The extreme violence of the fictional brothers parallels the exceptionally violent Irish society in the centuries after the Viking wars, during which destruction of holy sites were not uncommon, neither by secular nor ecclesiastical agents. This provides an apt situation for the creation of a tale about diabolical warriors who, by divine providence and ecclesiastical compassion, realise they are fighting on the wrong side of a cosmic war.

Immram Curaig Ua Corra may demonstrate the Irish scribes’ use of re-defined ancient symbolism. One example of this is the tale’s employment of sun symbolism. The dying of the worldly sun gives rise to a sacred dawn, a theme found both in frame story and voyage part.

During the sea voyage of Uí Chorra’s boat the brothers and their additional six crewmembers are taken to islands and visions upon the waves which appear to be tableaus of theological ideas of the time as well as thoughts on the contemporary society. The voyage also shows us that after their rehabilitation, the brothers grow to fill important roles in the Church’s service.

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“Capture their minds and their hearts and souls will follow”

Psychological Operations/Warfare

by Major Ed rouse (Ret)


Psychological Operations or PSYOP are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of organizations, groups, and individuals. Used in all aspects of war, it is a weapon whose effectiveness is limited only by the ingenuity of the commander using it.

A proven winner in combat and peacetime, PSYOP is one of the oldest weapons in the arsenal of man. It is an important force protector/combat multiplier and a non-lethal weapons system.

Psychological Operations (PSYOP) or Psychological Warfare (PSYWAR) is simply learning everything about your target enemy, their beliefs, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Once you know what motivates your target, you are ready to begin psychological operations.

Psychological operations may be defined broadly as the planned use of communications to influence human attitudes and behavior … to create in target groups behavior, emotions, and attitudes that support the attainment of national objectives. The form of communication can be as simple as spreading information covertly by word of mouth or through any means of multimedia.

A psychological warfare campaign is a war of the mind. Your primary weapons are sight and sound. PSYOP can be disseminated by face-to-face communication, audio visual means (television), audio media (radio or loudspeaker), visual media (leaflets, newspapers, books, magazines and/or posters). The weapon is not how its sent, but the message it carries and how that message affects the recipient.

For instance, our American flag, when it goes by in a parade do you feel a sense of pride? How about when you hear our national anthem played? How about “God Bless the USA”, Lee Greenwood’s song which became popular during Desert Storm? Music or sound can be a major factor in motivating emotion if it is associated with the right message. How many of you think about the pottery wheel scene with Patrick Swaytze and Demi Moore in the movie “Ghost” when you hear the theme song “Unchained Melody”?

It has long been said that: “The pen is mightier than the sword”. That is because, if used properly, words can be an inspiration to motivate others. Some examples:

“Remember the Alamo”
“Give me liberty or give me death”
“I regret I have but one life to give for my country”
“Ask not what your country can do for you? Ask what you can do for your country”

 Now for psychological operations to be effective, you must carefully plan your propaganda. You must make sure that you know everything about your enemy and that you are targeting his beliefs and not using your own. For example, at the very beginning of Desert Shield, just after Iraq invaded Kuwait, President Bush referred to Saddam Hussein as being “just like Adolph Hitler”

 For Americans and most of Europe that was an insulting comparison. However, looking at it through the eyes of an Iraqi soldier Adolph Hitler tried to exterminate all the Jews. Iraq has long hated Israel. Hitler drove out the British and French forces that had long occupied the middle east. So with the right propaganda, the comparison could be interpreted that Saddam, like Hitler, hates Israel and wants to keep the western infidel influence from contaminating the middle east. This would be a compliment not an insult.

On the reverse side, knowing your enemy’s beliefs can work for you. For example, remember when Saddam Hussein broadcasted live images of his “Human Shields, the woman and children of westerners that were in Iraq when the war broke out? The Koran, the Moslem bible, states that you can do what you with with your enemy, but that you must not harm his family,(wife and children). Saddam’s actions allowed us to show that he was a coward, hiding behind innocent people and ignoring the Moslem laws he was so quick to say he was defending.

How do you get to know your enemy? Intelligence reports, Area studies, in country research, defectors, native help, and even the enemy prisoners of war all are sources of information. As leaflets were developed during Desert Storm, they were tested on cooperative EPWs (enemy prisoners of war. Some of the recommendations for changes to the leaflet’s illustrations made by these EPWs were: remove any trace of the color red (a danger signal to Iraqis), show Allied soldiers with chin beards rather than clean-shaven faces (beards convey trust and brotherhood in Iraqi culture), and add bananas to a bowl of fruit shown being offered to surrendering Iraqis (bananas are a great delicacy in Iraq). Also, an illustration depicting a surrendering Iraqi thinking of his family back home confused the EPWs. “Thought bubbles” are well-known in Western culture, but virtually unknown to Iraqis. The illustration was dropped.

In a memo written to then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles on 24 October 1953, former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower defined psychological warfare as anything “from the singing of a beautiful anthem up to the most extraordinary kind of physical sabotage.”

Used during peacetime, contingencies and declared war, these activities are not a form of force, but are force multipliers that use nonviolent means in often violent environments. Persuading rather than compelling physically, they rely on logic, fear, desire or other mental factors to promote specific emotions, attitudes or behaviors. The ultimate objective of U.S. military psychological operations is the dissemination of truthful information to foreign audiences in support of U.S. policy and national objectives to convince enemy, neutral, and friendly nations and forces to take action favorable to the United States and its allies.

Now please note that I stated above that Psychological Operations as conducted by the US Military is the dissemination of “truthful” information, not propaganda which is categorized as “white, gray, or black”. Now what is the difference between PSYOP and propaganda? A memorandum prepared by the Chief of Army Field Forces at Fort Monroe, Virginia in September of 1953 briefly explained the difference between “gray” propaganda, messages broadcast with the goal of “avoiding identification,” and “black” propaganda, which involves “attribution to a source other than the true one.”

A more recent set of definitions, reportedly used by former CIA chief William Colby and cited in at least one commercial publication, calls truthfully-attributed and non- attributed messages “white” propaganda, whereas messages falsely attributed to a third party are considered “gray.” The term “black propaganda” is reserved for those materials “planted by the United States but in such as way that it seems to be the product or even an internal document of the target group.” In other words, “black propaganda” is nothing less than a form of intellectual and political subversion.

Historically, the application of psychological operations in one form or another has proven to be almost as essential to the successful waging of war as the use of manpower and weaponry. However, in spite of its long history of successful employment, the potential for using the power of persuasion through psychological operations as a force multiplier to achieve national objectives with a minimum of destruction, has been recognized by only the most perceptive of military leaders and statesmen. Furthermore, it has been since World War II that PSYOP has come into its own as an effective weapon system.

The giant strides made in the area of behavioral sciences, which can now enable us to know and understand why people behave as they do, combined with the development and perfection of mass media communications, have greatly multiplied the capability and value of PSYOP as a means of achieving our own national objectives without needless bloodshed.

An analysis of recent conflicts has demonstrated the value of psychological operations/warfare on and off the battlefield. As a result, military authorities are now beginning to accept the fact that psychological operations is a very special combat weapon…one that every military commander must consider employing, and defending against, if he is to accomplish his mission with minimum losses. This recognition of the important role of PSYOP has resulted in its integration into many training programs and tactical exercises, as well as the consideration of PSYOP employment in all future military operations.

United States psychological operations consist of three distinct types: Tactical PSYOP, Strategic PSYOP and Consolidation PSYOP.

Tactical PSYOP is addressed to a specific enemy combat group, to induce them to perform a specific action that will affect the current or short-range combat situation.

Aimed at a larger audience, Strategic PSYOP is put into effect by a carefully planned campaign against a larger target audience than that toward which Tactical PSYOP is directed.

Consolidation PSYOP’s mission is to assist the civil and military authorities in consolidating their gains, by establishing and maintaining law and order, and by re-establishing civil government in an occupied or liberated area.

All three types of psychological operations – – Tactical, Strategic and Consolidation— can be employed to produce the following desired effects:

    1. Reduce moral and combat efficiency within the enemy’s ranks.
    2. Promote mass dissension within and defections from enemy combat units and/or revolutionary cadre.
    3. Support our own and allied forces cover and deception operations.
    4. Promote cooperation, unity and morale within one’s own and allied units, as well as within resistance forces behind enemy lines.

Now Psychological Operations (PSYOP)is not a new military tactic by any means. There are numerous examples of the use of psychological warfare throughout history. The following are some historical examples which illustrate the attainment of each of these four objectives.

 Perhaps one of the earliest examples of Psychological Warfare was attributed to “Alexander the Great of Macedonia. Alexander had conquered most of the known world during his reign. With each region he conquered he left behind soldiers to keep control of the newly conquered area. Eventually, there came a point when Alexander realized that he had stretched his army too thin and was now in danger of losing to a large opposing force. Alexander’s only option was to retreat and regroup forces with the armies he left behind. However, to do so would certainly incite the opposing force to pursue him and very possibly capture or defeat his now smaller army.

Alexander knew that if he could intimidate the opposing force they would be scared to follow his army. Alexander instructed his armorers to make several oversized armor breastplates and helmets that would fit “giants”, men 7 to 8 feet tall. As Alexander and his forces withdrew during the night they left behind the oversized armor. The oversized armor was of course found by the opposing force who then believed that they had come close to engaging in a battle with giants. A battle that they surely would have lost. The oversized armor coupled with the stories they had heard from travelers of the savagery of Alexander’s army caused enough doubt and fear that they elected not to pursue Alexander’s army.

Sun Tsu, recognized as one of the greatest military tacticians of all times, strongly advocated the use of psychological warfare as a force multiplier.

Sun Tsu wrote that:

To capture the enemy’s entire army is better than to destroy it; to take intact a regiment, a company, or a squad is better than to destroy them. For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy. Next best is to disrupt his alliances by diplomacy. The next best is to attack his army. And the worst policy is to attack cities.

Sun Tzu understood that given the opportunity, an adversary will surrender to a superior commander prior to conflict. In order to have a chance to be that superior leader, PSYOP must be coordinated and included in initial planning and implemented prior to conflict. If hostilities begin, proper PSYOP implementation can end the conflict earlier than otherwise expected. PSYOP is a force multiplier and resource saver.

Mongol leader Genghis Khan was widely known for leading hordes of savage horsemen across Russia and into Europe. While not totally unfounded, the Mongols’ image of total, barbaric domination was greatly enhanced by Khan’s use of PSYOP, deception, operational security (OPSEC), and targeting his adversaries’ decision-making process. “Agents of influence” were sent in advance of his armies to do face-to-face PSYOP, telling of brutality and large numbers in the Mongol army. Khan also used deception to create the illusion of invincible numbers by using rapid troop maneuver, making his army look larger than it really was. He had a network of horsemen called “arrow riders” to communicate quickly with his commanders, and he targeted enemy messengers to prevent enemy commanders from communicating with each other. All these actions caused a weakness in their enemy’s psyche, and the Mongols were feared wherever they went.

World War II

Psychological operations were used extensively by all sides during World War II. Adolf Hitler rose to power by exploiting the dissatisfaction of supporters of the traditional left and right wing parties, by dwelling on the failure of these parties to solve the problems created by the conditions imposed on Germany under the Treaty of Versailles. He then presented National Socialism as the one movement capable of uniting conservative nationalists with international socialists, the professional classes with the working classes in the service of the nation. The speeches he delivered urged national pride and unity and placed the blame for all of Germany’s problems on others. His oratory techniques and use of propaganda gave him a truly hypnotic grip over the German masses. After taking over as dictator, the Germans continued to use propaganda both to unite Germany and to intimidate their enemies.

Radio broadcasts became a major means of passing propaganda to the enemy. Japan used the notorious “Tokyo Rose” to broadcast music, propaganda, and words of discouragement to our allied forces. The Germans used Mildred Gillar, better remembered as “Axis Sally”. The Americans used deception and psychological operations to convince the German high command that the D-Day invasion was not going to be launched at Normandy but at Calais.

However the best and most innovative use of psychological warfare must be attributed to a radio broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). During the period May through September 1940, when the German invasion of England seemed imminent, a regular BBC radio program, easily heard and often listened to by the Germans, began a series of English language lessons for the would-be invaders. These broadcasts of course were presented in flawless German. The British announcer stated the purpose of these broadcasts like this:

“…..and so it will be best if you learn a few useful phrases in English before visiting us. For your first lesson, we take ‘DIE KANALUEBERFAHRT’. The channel crossing.”

“Now, just repeat after me: ‘DAS BOOT SINKT.’ The boat is sinking. The boat is sinking”

“DAS WASSER IST KALT. The water is cold. SER KALT. Very cold”

“Now I will give you a verb that should be very useful. Again, please repeat after me. ICH BRENNE. I am burning. Du Brennst. You are burning. ER BRENNT. He is burning. WIR BRENNEN. We burn. IHR BRENNT. You are burning. SIR BRENNEN. They are burning.”

This was rather crude material: but it proved effective. The phrases about burning in the English Channel seemed to confirm the intensive rumors already being spread by British agents on the continent that the British had perfected an apparatus with which they were going to set fires in the Channel and on the English beaches whenever Hitler launched his invasion. Although not true, the rumors were so well planned and cleverly spread that to this day, many Germans believe them. Documents found after the war confirmed that the German High Command believed that the British had a workable plan to set fire to the English Channel.

Cover and deception operations are complex and intricate affairs, invariably involving many talents, techniques and resources. Perhaps the most ambitious and spectacular cover and deception operation of modern times was the effort of the Allies to convince the German high command that the upcoming Allied invasion of Europe would occur across the beaches near the Pas de Calais, rather than the narrow sand strips and cliffs of Normandy nearly 100 hundred miles away.

Through imaginative employment of psychological operations the Allies created the fictitious “Army Group Patton,” which was poised to strike across the English Channel at the Germans 15th Panzer Army defending the Pas de Calais. This ruse convinced the German strategists and planners that the Allied assault would be spearheaded at the Pas de Calais by an army under the command of Lieutenant General George S. Patton, whom many considered our best combat command. As a result, the heaviest concentration of German combat power in France was positioned at the Pas de Calais, waiting for Patton.

Even after the Allied invasion came at Normandy, Hitler would not allow for the deployment of the 15th Panzer Army from the Pas de Calais. Hitler was still convinced that the Normandy invasion was only a prelude to the real invasion. The 15th Panzer Army waited in vain at the Pas de Calais for nearly seven weeks for Army Group Patton, an invasion that was never to come. General of the Army Omar Bradley later referred to this operation as “the biggest hoax of the war”. As for the German Army, they never fully recovered from the reversals set in motion by their delay in releasing the 15th Panzer Army.

The next example concerns the fourth objective of psychological operations, that is, its use to promote cooperation, unity and morale within friendly units and people as well as within resistance forces behind enemy lines.

During World War II, the very survival of the Soviet Union was due in large part to Stalin;s ability to appeal to and mobilize the emotional patriotism of the Russian people. With his regime reeling under the blows of the German blitz in 1941, Stalin sensed that the ideological abstractions and Communist platitudes, which the Party had driven into the minds of its captive domestic audience since its take over in 1918, were relatively barren and did not have the emotional and spiritual impact necessary to fortify the Russian people for their struggle against Hitler’s armies. Therefore, in one of the most dramatic policy turn-abouts in modern history, Stalin systematically set about identifying his Communist regime with “Holy Russia” (and “Mother Russia”) its ancient heritage and its accompanying symbolism.

The two Russian institutions with the deepest roots in the past, the Army and the Church, were cultivated by Stalin’s propagandists as never before in Soviet history. The historic accomplishments of Russian armies were glorified. The church hierarchy and class distinctions were returned to pre-revolution standards. Even the official newspaper, “PRAVDA,” dropped its Marxist motto, “WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE,” and substituted the openly nationalistic slogan, “DEATH TO THE GERMAN INVADER.” The ensuing struggle became and is still officially known in Soviet history as “The Great Patriotic War”.

Thus we see how even Josef Stalin, one of the most hard-headed dictators of the 20th Century, realized that his conventional military weapons alone, were not enough to meet the challenge of the German armies. In retrospect, we can see that his choice of utilizing psychological operations to augment his conventional military forces, would prove to play a major role in maintaining the survival of his communist regime for so many years.


Having learned the effectiveness of radio broadcasts and leaflets during World War II, the U.S. Army Far East Command’s small Special Projects Branch of the Headquarters G-2 (Intelligence) Division, began radio broadcasts and leaflet drops over the Republic of South Korea immediately after North Korea’s invasion across the 38th Parallel in June 1950. Later during the fall of that year, the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company arrived in South Korea. This unit would serve as the 8th Army’s tactical psychological warfare unit to the end of the war in 1952.

The 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company used both vehicle and aircraft mounted loudspeakers to get their verbal messages across. However, as in previous U.S. wars, leaflets were still the major medium. Korean War leaflets themes center around the “happy POW.” “good soldier-bad leaders,” “surrender and you will be well-treated,” “we can crush you,” and nostalgia for home, family and women.


Psychological Operations were used by both sides. Many G.I.’s may remember the notorious “Hanoi Hannah”, who like “Tokyo Rose” of WW II broadcasted a daily radio program where she played music, coupled with the North’s view of the news and messages of discouragement to our troops.

The Americans countered with their own radio broadcasts, and leaflet programs.

In Vietnam, the United States conducted air attacks against military and military-related strategic targets partly for psychological effect. The principal psychological objective of these attacks was to persuade enemy leaders to negotiate an early end to the conflicts on terms acceptable to the United States.

These air attacks failed to deter the communists from protracting the fighting for over eight years in Vietnam. In addition to the humanitarian and other constraints the United States imposed on its air operations, various conditions and attitudes in the enemy camp diluted the coercive effects of the U.S. strategic attacks. These included the enemy government’s:

  • access to support and sanctuary from external powers, which allowed the enemy to continue fighting even when its indigenous war-related production facilities had been destroyed.
  • strong commitment to the objectives or cause that gave rise to the conflict with the United States.
  • readiness to absorb enormous human and materiel losses.
  • ability to maintain domestic support for the war effort and/or sufficient internal security to suppress any potential opposition.
  • perception that the likely benefits from continued conflict would exceed the costs resulting from the U.S. bombing.

After having already made what it considered to be its maximum feasible concessions in the Vietnam peace talks, the United States resorted to escalation or threatened escalation to bring the negotiations to closure.

Severe U.S. escalation or threatened escalation was required to extract comparatively modest concessions from both enemies. In Vietnam, Washington had to employ massive B-52 and fighter-bomber strikes on Hanoi and Haiphong to force the communists to complete a peace agreement, the key provisions of which they had already accepted.

The communists agreed to terms only after their military forces on the battlefield had been stalemated. Prior to the settlements, the communist forces in Vietnam had mounted major offensives, the defeat of which left them no prospects for immediate further military gains.

Operation Just Cause – Panama

At H-Hour, 1-508th Abn had the mission of securing Ft. Amador, an installation shared by the U.S. and Panama Defense Force (PDF). Because of the need for OPSEC, American dependents could not be evacuated in advance of the attack. This complication, and the requirement to minimize enemy casualties and physical damage, made PSYOP loudspeaker teams, from the 1st Bn, 4th PSYOP Gp, a key asset. The battalion sealed off the PDF portion of Ft. Amador and ensured that all noncombatants were safe. After daylight, the task force set about systematically securing the area. When initial appeals failed to persuade the PDF to surrender, the commander modified the broadcasts. The holdouts were warned that resistance was hopeless in the face of overwhelming firepower and a series of demonstrations took place, escalating from small arms to 105mm howitzer rounds. Subsequent broadcasts convinced the PDF to give up. The entire process allowed Ft. Amador to be secured with few casualties and minimal damage.

The Gulf War

The Gulf War brought a whole new meaning to the use of multimedia in psychological operations. Radio and TV broadcasts, leaflets, and loudspeakers used the themes of Arab brotherhood, allied air power, and Iraqi isolation to induce large numbers of enemy soldiers to desert. One of the most effective tactics involved the dropping of leaflets on a particular unit, informing it that it would be bombed within twenty-four hours and had to surrender to avoid destruction. Over a seven-week period, 29 million leaflets of more than 100 different leaflets were disseminated, reaching approximately 98% of the 300,000 troops.

The 4th PSYOP Group began broadcasting the “VOICE OF THE GULF” radio network on 19 January 1991. It operated continuously through 1 April 1991 with more than 210 hours of live broadcasting and 330 hours of prerecorded programs. A total of 2072 news items were aired along with 189 PSYOP messages. The VOICE OF THE GULF network consisted of a 50 KW AM transmitter located at Abu Ali, Saudi Arabia broadcasting on AM 1134; a 10KW AM transmitter located at Qaisumah, Saudi Arabia broadcasting on AM 1179; a 1KW FM transmitter located at Qaisumah, Saudi Arabia broadcasting on FM 87.5 and two Volant Solo EC-130 aircraft of the 193rd Special Operations Group broadcasting on AM 690 and FM 88.5 and 87.9.

Of course like some of the other big wars, Iraq chose to use a woman, “Baghdad Betty”, to conduct propaganda broadcasts to deter and disillusion their enemy. Unfortunately for Iraq, they forgot that a truly effective psychological warfare program must have the input of highly-qualified clinical psychologists “who specialize in the unconscious dynamics of human behavior and motivation” and who are knowledgeable about the “values and customs of different cultures.” Such expertise is essential to the “selection of a culturally appropriate and effectively persuasive concept and value-based theme” that is the heart of any PSYOP. In one of her first broadcast Baghdad Betty warned the American soldiers listening that while they were in the desert of Saudi Arabia, their wives and girlfriends were sleeping with Tom Cruise, Tom Selleck and Bart Simpson. Now it was ridiculous enough to infer that our wives and girlfriends would be seduced by two movie stars but by their failure to do thorough research on the American culture, Betty lost any chance of credibility by telling our servicemen that a cartoon character was seducing our women back home.

During Desert Storm the 4th PSYOP Group fielded 71 Tactical loudspeaker teams. These teams provided support to USARCENT (both XVIII Airborne Corps and VII Corps), USMARCENT and USSOCCENT. Loudspeaker teams broadcast surrender appeals, harassment and deception tapes. Most loudspeaker teams had Saudi Arabian, Egyptian or Kuwaiti linguists attached to execute live broadcasts as the situation dictated. Loudspeaker teams were also innovatively employed for prisoner control at the EPW camps with broadcasts designed to accomplish prisoner pacification and underscore Military Police authority.

One of the best examples of the successful use of loudspeakers occurred during the Gulf War. The allied coalition effectively isolated, both physically and psychologically, a large element of Iraqi forces on Faylaka Island. Rather then reduce the island by direct assault, a tactical PSYOP team from the 9th PSYOP Battalion, aboard a UH-1N helicopter, flew aerial loudspeaker missions around the island with cobra gunships providing escort. The message told the adversary below to surrender the next day in formation at the radio tower. The next day 1,405 Iraqis, including a general officer, waited in formation at the radio tower to surrender to the Marine forces without a single shot having been fired.

How successful was the US PSYOP campaign in Desert Storm? The International Red Cross reported that nearly 87,000 Iraqi soldiers turned themselves over to coalition forces, most of them clutching the leaflets or hiding them in their clothing. All incidents of surrender were bloodless. Perhaps the best testimony to the effectiveness of PSYOP was given by an Iraqi General when he stated that:

“PSYOP…was a great threat to troop morale, second only to the coalition bombing campaign.”

Thus, psychological operations are coming of age. We saw from historical examples, how Tactical, Strategic and Consolidation PSYOP can cover the short-range, long-range and recuperative phases of warfare, to reduce enemy morale and combat effectiveness; to promote dissension within and defections from enemy ranks; to support cover and deception operations; and to promote unity, cooperation and morale within our own military and those of our allies, and to provide meaningful domestic assistance to less fortunate groups and communities.

Why then , you may ask, has the value of psychological operations taken so long to receive general recognition, and why is it full potential yet to be realized?

Part of the answer to this question was covered earlier in our presentation, when it was discussed that although psychological operations has been utilized by various military leaders over the centuries, it has only been recently with the major advances in behavioral sciences and mass communications that PSYOP has come into its own as an effective weapon system of great potential.

Another part of the answer to this question lies in the attitude of people towards psychological operations. To some, it produces images of government controlled communications/mass media, telling the people only what the government wants them to hear. To others, it raises the horrid specter of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, practicing the technique of the “big lie” which has incorrectly become synonymous with “propaganda”. Still to others, the mere mention of “psychological” operations or warfare invokes visions of “mind control” through some mysterious means of brainwashing.

It should be clear that modern psychological operations, or PSYOP, is none of those things. On the contrary PSYOP is not unlike the public advertising that we are all exposed to wherever we go, every day, through all kinds of mass media. However the negative connotation that some people attach to the word psychological” prevents many people from recognizing the simple truth. Everyone knows that if you do not have a good product to sell, people will not continue buying it, no matter how much you advertise. The same applies to the points of view advertised through the use of psychological operations. Thus we have no reason to fear PSYOP, but we do have ample reason to respect it for what it can do.

By the application of sound PSYOP techniques, through face-to-face communication and mass media communications, we have demonstrated , time and time again, that we can appeal to the intelligence, reason, and emotions of our target audience to get them to think and act as we desire. If these people are shooting at us, we can persuade them to lay down their arms. If they fear us, we can convince them that they have nothing to fear. If they are belligerent and uncooperative, we can show them the value of unity and cooperation. Lastly and most important, the utilization of PSYOP can prevent needless bloodshed, destruction and misery. That is why we say, with conviction, that psychological operations, or PSYOP, is truly a humane weapon.

Today, Psychological Operations are a vital part of the broad range of U.S. political, military, economic and ideological activities used by the U.S. government to secure national objectives. The mission of providing Psychological Operations for the U.S. Military today rests with the U.S. Army’s Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

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The Bigger The Lie, The Easier It Is To Kill

NOTE: New World Order, ‘Illuminati’, the Masonic cult of super rich bankers who control an interlocking network of megacartels. This cult is based in the City of London. Throughout modern history, they have used England, the US, Israel and other countries as puppets.

“Rattle his bones over the stones. He’s only a pauper who nobody owns.”

Hitler, Stalin and Churchill, all had hidden affiliations to the powerful forces behind the New World Order. This should really come as no surprise.


Adolph Hitler’s grandfather was Lionel Nathan de Rothschild. Adolf Hitler’s grandfather ran the Rothschild Bank, the Bank of England, and was the first Jewish MP in British Parliament.

Maria Schickelgruber, Hitler’s grandmother, was a maid in the Rothschild’s Vienna mansion when his father, Alois was conceived. The Rothschilds could only marry within their extended family so they had illegitimate children who functioned as anonymous agents.

Another Theory:

Alois Hitler. Historians have always struggled with the problem of working out who his father was. His mother Maria Schiklgruber was a sewing maid at the Frankenbergers, a rich Jewish Viennese family. She fell pregnant and was sent home, but was supported financially right through Alois’ childhood from an unknown quarter. It was assumed the money came from the Frankenbergers, but the condition of the financial support was her silence as to who the real father was. Later attempts to say that Alois real father was his stepfather, named Hitler, were all about securing promotion with the Customs service, and not true. Adolf was also favoured with financial support when Alois, Maria and Klara, his mother all died quite young. He was later trained in London by the Tavistock Institute using the name Edmund Hitler in 1912. His presence in Britain has always been explained as a visit to relatives. The most likely explanation, given later events, is that Maria was the victim of an occult rape while working at the Frankenbergers, with a visiting Rothschild the perpetrator (Lionel Nathan Rothschild), the family then paying Maria to buy her silence, and later recruiting Adolf to be trained as a British agent at Tavistock.

Before Hitler’s annexation of Austria, the Austrian chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuss, had conducted an investigation into Hitler’s origins. He had discovered that Hitler’s mother had worked for the banker, Salomon Rothschild, in his Vienna residence. Dollfuss had hoped to thwart Hitler’s annexation of Austria by blackmailing him with this information. The dossier containing the dark truth was called the “Fatal File” in the book,”Inside the Gestapo” by Hansjurgen Koehler.

Alois Schicklgruber was the father of Adolph Hitler.


Tavistock has been going for some 500 years since the English Navy took over the drug trade from the Spanish Navy and is a collection of psycho-military training. It was named Tavistock in 1920 when the Second Baron Rothschild gifted the land at 120 Belsize Lane, London, UK NWs SBA.

Adolph Hitler lived in a flat in Toxteth with his married half-brother Alois from November 1912 to April 1913. During this time, Adolph was being brainwashed and trained at the British Military Psych-Ops War School at Tavistock in Devon and in Ireland.


Stalin was trained under his original name in the Tavistock Institute in 1907, five years before Hitler, also to act as a British (One World Government) Rothschild agent. Stalin was also an illegitimate offspring of a Rothschild.  Maurice Ephrussi, the son-in-law of Baron Alphonse de Rothschild fathered Stalin in March of 1878.

Another Theory:

Stalin looks very much like Edmund de Rothschild. Stalin’s mother worked in a laundry in Georgia and Edmond was on a sailing trip passing by, when Stalin was conceived.


Winston Churchill was first cousin with Adolf Hitler’s father. Churchill was the illegitimate son of King Edward 7th and Jenny Jerome Churchill. Edward 7th, was the illegitimate son of Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria, who was the daughter of Nathan Mayer Rothschild.

If this story is correct, claiming secret service sources, that makes Stalin, Hitler and Churchill cousins, all of them descended one way or another from a Rothschild.


Benito Mussolini was well paid as a British agent during World War I.


Because of the Bible’s condemnation of interest among God’s people but permission of interest charged to gentiles, a strange policy developed in Europe historically that Christians were not permitted to swindle each other, but they were permitted to swindle Jews, and vice versa. This is most popularly illustrated in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. This is why, historically, Jews have been associated with banking and money-lending. It has facilitated anti-Semitism and mutual hatred among Jews and Christians. And European Jews have historically used their wealth, as Shakespeare illustrates.



A Planned War

World War II achieved all of the Illuminati’s goals. Germany and Japan were turned into a wasteland. Sixty million people were slaughtered. The Jewish holocaust motivated Jews to establish the Rothschild’s world government headquarters in Israel. Idealists and natural leaders on both sides were slaughtered. Nations were laden with debt. The United Nations rose like a phoenix from the ashes. Hiroshima cast a shadow of terror over the world. The USSR was a superpower and controlled Eastern Europe.

Financing for the newborn Nazi party came from the Bank of England via Switzerland and the Bayreuth Festival was the conduit for the funds. Hitler’s only qualifications to lead Nazi Germany was the fact that he was Austrian; a British secret service agent; and had unlimited funds from the Bank of England.

In the summer of 1940, when the Nazis controlled Europe, and Britain was destitute, Nazi Military Intelligence Chief (Abwehr) Admiral Wilhelm Canaris told Romanian Foreign Minister Michael Sturdza to stay neutral because England would win the war. He also gave this message to Spanish dictator Franco.

Hitler, supposedly the arch enemy of Jewish bankers, acted like he didn’t know the Rothschilds controlled England (and America) when this was common knowledge. If Hitler were for real, he wouldn’t have tried to accommodate these countries. England would have been invaded and conquered before Russia was attacked.

According to Lothar Machtan’s “The Hidden Hitler”(2001), Hitler was a homosexual with a long police record for seducing young men both in Munich and Vienna. These records reached both Russia and England but were never used for propaganda, more evidence that the war may have been a charade.

Hitler was supposed to have died on April 30, 1945.

Newly Released FBI Douments: (9/21/45) Claims to have aided six top Argentine officials in hiding ADOLPH HITLER upon his landing by submarine in Argentina. HITLER reported to be hiding out in foothills of Andes.


Simoni Renee Guerreiro Dias, who wrote Hitler in Brazil – His Life and His Death, claims Hitler was in the area hunting for buried treasure using a map given to him by friends within the Vatican. The Jesuit treasure was in a cave near his adopted home.

Hitler fled to Paraguay, via Argentina, before settling in a small town in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Hitler is said to have used the assumed name of Adolf Leipzig and was known to the 12,000 locals in Nossa Senhora do Livramento as “the Old German”.

An unidentified Polish nun recognized an elderly man due to have an operation at a hospital in Cuiaba in the early eighties as Hitler and demanded he leave – but was reprimanded by a superior who claimed he was there on Vatican orders.

This is the picture that is said to prove that Adolf Hitler did not die in his bunker and escaped to Brazil where he lived to the ripe old age of 95. The man at the center of the controversial claim is pictured, two years before his death in 1984, posing happily with his black girlfriend Cutinga.


In “Hunting Hitler,” Corsi posits Hitler made his way to Argentina with the help of U.S. intelligence agents that had been secretly working with the Nazis since 1943. Allen Dulles, then an agent of the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS, the predecessor agency to the CIA, was communicating secretly with top Nazis from his office in Bern, Switzerland, Corsi said.

“The story Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide was a cover story, designed by U.S. intelligence agents at the end of World War II to facilitate the escape not only of Hitler and Eva Braun, but also of top Nazi war criminals such as Adolf Eichmann who was discovered in 1960 hiding in Argentina,” Corsi argued.

He presents documentary evidence Allen Dulles’ wartime mission in Switzerland included helping Martin Bormann, Hitler’s secretary, to funnel billions of dollars of Nazi ill-gotten financial gain out of Germany and invest in the U.S. and Argentinian stock markets to provide a financial cushion to survive in hiding after the war.

Hidden away in the National Archives, Corsi found a U.S. naval intelligence report written July 18, 1945, by the Naval Attaché in Buenos Aires who notified Washington there was reason to believe U-530 had landed Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun in the south of Argentina before the submarine journeyed on to surrender at Mar del Plata.

Corsi had newspaper reports translated of Hitler and Braun being welcomed by wealthy Nazi sympathizers among Argentina’s large German community. The Germans there had constructed a mansion hidden away in the dense mountain forests of Bariloche to provide the Nazi führer with comfort and security in his elder years.

Corsi writes: In 1943, architect Alejandro Bustillo, at the request of German supporters of Hitler then living in Argentina, designed and constructed an elaborate resort residence for Hitler and Eva Braun, Residencia Inalco, located in a remote area between San Carlos de Bariloce Villa La Angostura, bordering the Nahuel Haupi Lake, outside the city of Bariloche, in the province of Río Negro, Argentina.”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/shocking-evidence-hitler-escaped-germany/#Fu4EyeLfDWEItw7X.99


On July 14, 1933, the Vatican and the Nazi government signed a Concordat, putting their official stamp on an alliance between the Catholic Church and the Nazi Fascist State. In November 1936, the Pope sought to generate an alliance between Hitler, Mussolini and the Vatican by creating a Rome-Berlin Axis.

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California’s Inyo County is home to the highest point in the lower 48, Mount Whitney. This Sierra Nevada peak is just five feet short of measuring 14,500 feet above sea level. Less than 100 miles to the southeast, still in Inyo County, is Death Valley. This depression’s deepest point (near Badwater) lies some 282 feet below sea level. This is the lowest point not just in the 48 contiguous states, but in the whole North American continent.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition from 1804-1806 was the first scientific reconnaissance of the Rocky Mountains. Specimens were collected for contemporary botanists, zoologists, and geologists. The expedition was said to have paved the way to (and through) the Rocky Mountains for European-Americans from the East, although Lewis and Clark met at least 11 European-American mountain men during their travels. Mountain men, primarily French, Spanish, and British, began roaming the Rocky Mountains in 1720. After 1802, American fur traders and explorers ushered in the first widespread Caucasian presence in the Rockies south of the 49th parallel.

The Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado—with a group of soldiers, missionaries, and African slaves—marched into the Rocky Mountain region from the south in 1540. (almost, 300 years before Lewis & Clark)

Brazil / US


Australia / US


China / US

china and usa

Russia / US





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Today I Am Here: May 2, 2014

There is no time better than now, for change. Make things happen, have a dream, a goal, because it is our turn to prosper and understand. It is our time to improve, some would say evolve, some would say being blessed by God. Whatever some would say, we are all capable of improvement, together. Rise up, don’t take it, go to war for good. Because destruction does not win but half the time, max. That is the natural law of life. The living and the memory of the dead. All we have is heart, for strength and courage. Life might be given or received, but chance was given and received, as well. Fight for the better you, fight for the truth in your soul, fight for the dream that you alone can change the world for better. Will is up to you. We fall, we get up. We lose, we play again. We die, we move on. It is what we do today, that has became habit and faith. Stand up and win. If you try, you will win. If you don’t, most certainly, you will lose. We are much more alike as humans than we accept. There is power in humans, that we haven’t even thought of. There are stories of humans flying, and I worry about my bills. We are capable of so much more. We only use 10% of our brain, use 11%. Win. But, there is only one thing, to win, you must save the world, everyday. And everybody in it. If they don’t believe what you believe, learn their way and teach them yours. Then you will both have stronger faith. For faith or will, without understanding will fall over time. Miracles happen everyday, be part of one. Good change, improvement, is going to happen, whether we like it or not. Peace. I know nothing, I am only learning.

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