SCULPTURE BY JAMES McKENNA
This area on the banks of the River Boyne has improved since I last visited but it is still a bit untidy and the plaque has disappeared.
Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill, also called Máel Sechnaill Mór or Máel Sechnaill II (949 – 2 September 1022), was a King of Mide and High King of Ireland. His great victory at the Battle of Tara against Olaf Cuaran in 980 resulted in Gaelic Irish control of the Kingdom of Dublin.
Máel Sechnaill belonged to the Clann Cholmáin branch of the Uí Néill dynasty. He was the grandson of Donnchad Donn, great-grandson of Flann Sinna and great-great-grandson of the first Máel Sechnaill, Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid. The Kings of Tara or High Kings of Ireland had for centuries alternated between the various Uí Néill branches. By Máel Sechnaill’s time this alternating succession passed between Clann Cholmáin in the south and the Cenél nEógain in the north, so that he succeeded Domnall ua Néill in 980. This system had survived previous challenges by outsiders including the kings of Ulster, Munster and Leinster, and the Viking invasions.
In 980, Olav Cuarán, King of Dublin, summoned auxiliaries from Norse-ruled Scottish Isles and from Mann and attacked Meath, but was defeated by Máel Sechnaill at the Battle of Tara. Reginald, Olaf’s heir, was killed. Máel Sechnaill followed up his victory with a siege of Dublin which surrendered after three days and nights. When Maél Sechnaill took Dublin in 980, according to the Annals of Tigernach, he freed all the slaves then residing in the city.