Stoneybatter Street History – Malachi Road

Malachi Road is presumably named after Mael-Seachnaill Mor the High king of Ireland. Mael-seachnaill Mór is the Irish for big or powerful Malachi. Born in 948 Maelseachnaill was a son and grandson of High-Kings, while he went on to become one of the most powerful figures in pre-Norman Ireland. By Mael-seachanill birth his family had long dominated the Southern O’Neill Kingdom (now modern Meath) and alternated the position of high-king between themselves of the Northern O’Neills of Tyrone.

Mael-seachnaill followed in his fathers footsteps and became high king himself in 980 but was immediately challenged by the Vikings at Dublin. In a battle fought at Tara, Mael-seachnaill lead the Southern O’Neills to a great victory. In the years following the battle he successfully gained control over Dublin and in effect ended the Norse as major players in Gaelic Ireland.

Malachi road

Mael-seachnaill’s is best known for his great rivalry with famous King of Munster Brian Boru who challenged him for the position of high-king in the late 10th century. After several years of conflict Mael-seacnaill eventually acknowledged Brian’s authority in 1001. Indeed this was perhaps Boru’s greatest achievement – he was the first to force submission from an O’Neill high-king in centuries.

Over the following decade Mael-seachnaill stayed loyal to Brian, however after 1012 Brian’s authority looked increasingly unstable. Firstly the Northern O’Neill’s revolted which was then followed by a revolt of the Norse of Dublin and the kingdom of Leinster. In 1013 Boru tried to gain control of the situation in three-month siege of Dublin. This failed and in 1014 a major conflict was clearly on the horizon. On Good Friday two great armies, that of Boru and an alliance of Dublin Vikings, the kingdom Leinster and numerous allies from across the isles of Scotland fought a ferocious battle. Although portrayed as Gaelic Irish vs Viking battle this was actually about Boru attempting to reinforce his authority. On the night before battle Mael-seachnaill had arrived to support his ally Brian but left after a conflict broke out in the camp. At the battle of Clontarf Brian was killed and although his forces won the battle they suffered massive casualties.

The victor of the battle was in fact Mael-seachnaill who assumed the high-kingship again after Brian death. He received the support of the support of the king of the Northern O’Neills Flaithbertach Ua Neill and dominated Ireland until his death in 1022. While later historians under played the importance and significance of Mael-seachnaill instead elevating Brian Boru, he was unquestionably one of the most powerful High-Kings in Irish history, indeed arguably as powerful if not more powerful than Boru himself and well deserving of a Street in the area!


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