Organisation : Waterford County Museum
Article Title : Early Waterford History
Page Title : The O'Faolains & The O'Brics
Page Number : 4
Publication Date : 05 October 2010
Expiry Date : Never Expires
Category : Home

Two Families - The two principal families of the Desii tribe were the O'Faolans - Princes - and the O'Brics - Chiefs - as they are described in the language of O'Heerin's ancient poem:-

"Two mild chiefs, whom I do not conceal,
 Rule over the Desies, which I affirm,
 O'Bric, who enforced all its tributes,
 And also the wise and fair O'Felan."

What a parody it seems for the bard to address them as "mild chiefs," for the strife of smothering, blinding, and killing each other was kept up 'for a century and a-half almost without intermission, from the first fight, 1031, to the time of Dermott M'Murrogh. "In 1031 Murray, the son of Bric slew Diarmid, son of Donal O'Faolan at the battle of Sliabhgua, in the County of Waterford." From the seventh century to the Norman conquest the O'Faolan's take a prominent place in our annals, till we find one of them defending Waterford against Strongbow (Melaghlin O'Faolan), when he was taken prisoner, and the lands which he inherited being confiscated, passed away, henceforth to become know as Gaultier, or the land of the stranger or foreigner.

The tribute of the Prince of the Deceis to the King of Caiseal (Cashel) was typical of a fat and rich country, viz., in peace, 2,000 chosen hogs; 1,000 cows; and in war, 1,000 oxen; 1,000 sheep; 1,000 cloaks; 1,000 milch cows. But the tribute of handing away for ever all claims upon the land of their inheritance to the new ruler, the Anglo-Norman, was much more sweeping, more thorough, and more crushing, being the complete and final plunder which the power of "arms" was capable of accomplishing.

'We have thus briefly traced the history of the brave people known under the names of Dalgais or Desii, whose lot has been so intimately mixed up in days gone by with City and County of Waterford. The starting point of fame as an ancient race in unrecorded time, we have noticed as being amply proved by the existing monoliths, or stone monuments, graven in the ogham character of pre-christian ages, when dates and periods were disregarded as unnecessary contribution to the scant memorials of family history. We have followed them in their love for letters desire of knowledge, which they seem to have inherited through the Scythian origin of their race, as proved by the Irish language, which they spoke, in common with the other early colonists from the far east who populated our land. Viewing them in their internecine strife with their own countrymen from Leinster, or regarding them in the light of saviours of their country when engaged stemming the onward tide of the cruel and barbarous Danes, we cannot fail to admire that bravery, dauntless and invincible, which ever carried their arms to victory, till we at last part with them on the plains of Clontarf, where they achieved, under their former Momonian King, Bryan Borumba, the great victory which is the brightest spot in the whole annals of Irish warfare.


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