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Battle of Tara (980 AD)

The Battle of Tara was a Medieval age battle between the Irish and Norse that took place in Ireland in 980.


On one side there was a Norse army from the Kingdom of Dublin supported by troops from the Hebrides, which was commanded by a son of Olaf Cuaran named Ragnall. The other side was led by Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill, who had recently come to power as head of the southern Uí Néill. The latter's force consisted of troops from his home province of Meath (the Kingdom of Mide), probably with strong support from troops from Leinster and Ulster. The battle ended in a devastating defeat for the Norse of Dublin. Olaf abdicated and died in religious retirement in Iona. Dublin was besieged by the victorious Máel Sechnaill, who forced it to surrender slaves and valuables, as well as give up all its prior claims to Uí Néill held territory. In the following decade, Dublin was more or less under the control of Máel Sechnaill and the southern Uí Néill. The Battle of Tara is regarded as a far more decisive defeat for the Norse of Dublin than the later, and much more famous, Battle of Clontarf. Olaf Cuaran was the last of the great Norse kings in Ireland, and following him the Kingdom of Dublin was never of the same status as before.