Two Kings of Ireland

On June 24 (or thereabouts), 637, the Battle of Moira was fought by the Gaelic High King of Ireland Domnall II against his foster son King Congall of Ulster in the Woods of Killultagh. It’s thought to be the largest battle ever fought in Ireland.

After establishing a power base in Dalaradia, Congall was recognized as King of Ulster in 627. Unfortunately, his ambition brought him into conflict with Domnall, who was named High King of Ireland in 628. It didn’t take long for the two men to become enemies. They first engaged in battle in modern-day County Londonderry in 629. Congall was defeated and Domnall was left unchallenged. Domnall then turned his attention to other rivals, but in 637, Congall once again challenged his authority and enlisted the help of Domnall Brecc of Dalriada.

King Domnall’s and Congall’s armies were primarily made up of Irishmen, but Dalriada brought with him an army composed of Scots, Picts, Anglo-Saxons, and Welshmen. Details of the battle are few, but it’s said to have lasted a week and only ended with the death of Congall and the flight of Dalriada to the north.

During the 19th century, the bodies of thousands of men and horses were excavated during the construction of the railway line in Moira, proving the immense scale of the battle.



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