Ragnaillt OLAFSDOTTIR, daughter of Olaf SIHTRICSSON and Maelcorcre ingen DUNLAING.
Born 1031 at Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Ranult, was daughter of Olaf Sitricson, King of Viking Dublin (Sitric Silkenbeard's son) and granddaughter of Dunlaing Mac Tuathail, King of Leinster and ancestor of St Lorcan O’Toole.
Married/ Related to:
Cynan ab IAGO
Born 1014 at Aberffraw, Anglesey, Wales, died 39. at Wales, -976 or -975 years
King Iago, had been treacherously slain by his own men in 1039.
1. Gruffydd ap CYNAN o GWYNEDD
Born 55 at Swords County Dublin, Ireland, died 1137 at Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales
Gruffydd ap CYNAN King of Gwynedd was born 1055 in Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. He died 1137 in Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales. Gruffydd married Angharad ferch OWAIN on 1087 in Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales.
_______________________________________________________________________GGruffudd ap Cynan
Gruffudd ap Cynan was born in 1055 AD at Swords County Dublin, son of a Welsh Prince and an Irish Viking mother. His mother, Ranult, was daughter of Olaf Sitricson, King of Viking Dublin (Sitric Silkenbeard's son) and granddaughter of Dunlaing Mac Tuathail, King of Leinster and ancestor of St Lorcan O’Toole. Sictric’s son, Olaf, was married to Maelcorcre (Mael Corcraig), Dunlaing’s daughter. Ranult (Ragnhild) married Cynan ap Iago, Prince of Gwynedd who was excluded from the throne by Gruffudd ap Llewelyn and exiled to Ireland. The family settled on lands in the district of Cloghran in north County Dublin.
Gruffudd was raised initially in Dublin, then fostered to Clare on the West coast. He grew to manhood among the O’Brien overlords and the Viking traders and farmers who had, since before the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, reached an accommodation. Gruffudd’s great grandmother, Slaine, (Sitric’s wife) was a daughter of Brian Boru. The O’Briens had previously controlled lands in Wales and Scotland and, despite their western location, together with their Viking allies engaged in commerce on the Irish Sea. Because of this, and his father’s base on the East coast of Ireland, Gruffudd was kept up to date with developments in his ancestral Wales.
At 20 years of age he returned to Leinster. Over the next two decades Gruffudd mounted four invasions of Wales from his base in Ireland before he eventually regained his principality. Around 1081 his military successes saw him form a friendship with Rys ap Tewdwr of Deheubarth. But soon he was tricked by the Norman barons into a long period of imprisonment in Chester, probably at the behest of William 1. After his escape around 1093 Gruffudd ap Cynan made several attempts with his Irish mercenaries to win back Gwynedd from the Norman barons of William 11 based in Chester and Shrewsbury. He was inadvertently aided in this by none other than King of the Norsemen, Magnus Barelegs, who was patrolling the Irish Sea from his base on the Isle of Man. After Magnus had encountered some local boatmen the following occurred.
'After the king (Magnus Barelegs) had been told through an interpreter what island it was, and who was master, what ravaging had been done, what pursuing, who were the pursuers, he shared their grief, and became angry, and approached the land with three ships. The French, however, fearful like women, when they saw that, fought with their corselets on, and sat on their horses as was their wont, and advanced towards the king and the force of three ships. The king and his force fearlessly fought against them, and the French fell down from upon their horses like fruit from fig trees, some dead, some wounded by the missiles of the men of Norway. And the king himself, unruffled from the prow of the ship, hit with an arrow Hugh, earl of Shrewsbury in his eye, and he fell humped back to the ground mortally wounded from his armed horse, beating upon his arms. And from that incident the French turned in flight, and presented their backs to the arrows of the men of Norway.'
The death of Hugh of Shrewsbury at the hands of Magnus Barelegs in battle on Anglsea, and the death of Hugh of Chester in 1101, gave Gruffudd his opportunity. He eventually established himself as Prince of Gwynedd and succeeded in maintaining an independent position against both Welsh and Norman warlords for the remainder of his life. He paid neither tribute nor hostages to Henry 1 though he met him in 1114 for negotiations. Gruffudd had restored Gwynedd as a military power.
There is no doubt that strong links with Ireland were a great advantage to Gruffudd in his re-establishing himself in Wales. Not alone the short crossing of the Irish sea to a friendly shore and safety, but the military and logistical help that he certainly availed of was from an island not yet under Norman control. Gruffudd’s family ties with the Viking kings of Dublin and the Irish dynasts of Leinster and Clare allowed many doors to open to him as he negotiated support. King Diarmuid O'Brien of Munster is said to have negotiated the use of the Waterford Viking fleet for one of Gruffydd's assaults. Ironically, while his mercenary support from Ireland may not have come cheaply, he did not have to surrender part of his Welsh principality as the price, unlike King Dermot of Leinster in his dealings with the Normans some generations later.
It would seem that Gruffudd's patronage saw Irish harp music take root among north Welsh musicians. About 1600 a Welsh harpist, Robert ap Huw, set down in manuscript form many tunes from the fourteenth century and earlier. These manuscripts still exist and some of the music they contain is believed to originate from Gruffudd's Irish harpists.
Gruffudd, a Christian, eventually retired to a life of piety and contemplation. He had made many bequests to churches both in Ireland and Wales on his death in 1137. The ‘Historia Gruffudd ap Kenan’ or biography of Gruffudd ap Cynan was commissioned by his son Owain Gwynedd and is believed to be the work of an Irish bard or monk. It is certainly unique in Welsh literature of the period.
Under Gruffudd’s rule Gwynedd became a stable base for the revitalisation of Welsh culture and learning and a refuge for troubled Welsh princes. Gruffudd ap Cynan’s sons, in particular Owain Gwynedd, would successfully extend their fathers legacy beyond the borders of Gwynnedd and preside over what is sometimes referred to as a 'golden age' for Wales.
Books on Gruffudd ap Cynan
K.L. Maund (ed.), Gruffudd ap Cynan: A Collaborative Biography (1996)
A Mediaeval Prince of Wales: The Life of Gruffydd ap Cynan, ed. D.S. Evans (1990);
Websites on Gruffudd ap Cynan
Websites on Viking Wales
Source: Leinster Re-Enactment Society
Gruffudd, King of Gwynedd
(Latin: Crufidius; English: Griffith)
Gruffudd became blind in his old age. He died in 1137, and was buried in Bangor Cathedral.
An elegy about him was sung by Meilyr, his pencerdd. (“chief of song or craft”)