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Medieval Genealogy Forum
One of these days I intend to write a book on the Berminghams (Mac Fheorais), hopefully both fiction and non-fiction. But that's pretty ambitious since I have been collecting info, off and on, for a decade. Anyway, I'd have to dig into my disorganized mess, but what I can tell off the top of my head is that Rickard (also Richard or the Irish Risteard) was the son of Piers (also called Pierce, Peter, Piarus, or Fheorais, etc) and grandson of Meiler. Thus, the son of Piers fitz Meiler. I'm not sure when he was born, but of course his big claim to fame was his defeat of the Gaels at Athenry (Ath Na Righ) in 1316. This was primarily against the O'Connors (Ui Conchobair) and their King Felim O'Connor during the Bruce Wars. Rickard and Felim were actually brief allies during the disputed succession of the Connaught kingship, during which Felim fought against his brother Ruardri. They fought side by side and killed and defeated Ruardri, with Rickard being injured in the battle. Only a year later, Felim was warring against de Bermingham. As we know, this did not turn out well for Felim. I'm not sure about Rickard's death, but I thought he had died in a battle in Bermingham lands in the south, probably Knockgraffon near Cashel, Tipperary. Could be wrong on that one. The de Berminghams lived in a constant state of war and fighting. I have seen where Rickard's mother was said to possibly be an O'Kelly (this Irish clan was allied with Rickard against the O'Connors at Second Athenry). Later after Rickard's death, they O'Kellys took much of the Baronry from his son Thomas. I have seen where Rickard married a Gael (have seen the name Fiannula), but not sure which clan she cam from. Perhaps also an O'Kelly (Ceillaigh). Of course, the de Berminghams or Clan Mac Fheorais were much hated by the other English families once they had become so "Hibernicized" already by the late 1200's. I think this is partly the reason that Rickard's cousin John de Bermingham, Earl of Louth, as well as I believe some of Rickard's immediate family were murdered in 1329 at Braganstown (Ballybragan) by his mostly English vassals of Louth. Eventually, the de Berminghams were declared enemies of the Crown, during which time they were actually allied with their old enemies the O'Connors. Ireland has a maddeningly wild and violent history. It is difficult, when first wading into it, to determine who was who. One rule to remember is that the only true allegiance anyone had was to themselves. They constantly switched friends and enemies to further their positions as whichever way the wind blew at the time. Even the Bruce Wars, and the Great Battle of Athenry, which Rickard won, is usually portrayed as Gael against Gall, Irish versus English. In a way it was (in hindsight), but more primarily it was an Irish civil war comprised mostly of personal power plays and ambitions that caused the the greater Irish population to nearly starve to death. Anyway, hope my ramblings were of assistance to you.
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