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Second Lieutenant
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May 14, 2010
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Hi, I'm a pretty new player to Paradox games... nonetheless I hope you'll enjoy... my first AAR!


1 - Survive long enough to make this AAR interesting.
2 - Play 'honorably' by maintaining a low BB score.
3 - Expand organically along trade lanes and territorial connection.
4 - Tint gameplay with some character traits (strong enough to be felt, light enough not to lose track of main goals)

Long term goals.
1 - Unite Ireland and form the Kingdom of Ireland.
2 - Unite the Celtic nations - Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany.
3 - Export Irish Culture. (Verily Stout must flow with vast amounts of Whiskey!)
4 - Conquer England, and then some.

The AAR will be written more like a historical account, with scenes juxtaposed occasionally. Game Difficulty and AI Agressiveness are on Medium (I think... I forgot to record it when I started)

Historical: Murchaid Ui Mordha died before his father in the battle of Mide. Soon after his death, his father followed. The Ui Mordhas would endure as Kings of Leinster until Murchaid's grandson, Diarmait Ui Mordha, was ousted by Tigernán Ua Ruairc. Diarmait would return with Norman aid to retake his ancestral lands, only to be betrayed by the English lord Richard de Clare, who supplanted Diarmait to create the first Norman holdings in Ireland.

This AAR explores what happens if Murchaid succeeded his father and become the unopposed High King of Eire.

Per the post by Kuld von Reyn, the piece Brian Boru's March is excellent music to go with this AAR. :)
::: Reign of Murchaid, Táthaigtheóir (Consolidator) :::
01.01 Prelude
01.02 1066 - 1070 :: As we go, Warmongering
01.03 1071 - 1075 :: The Contest for Eire
01.04 1076 - 1080 :: The High King of Eire
01.05 1081 - 1085 :: Peace of the High King
01.06 Interlude
01.07 1086 - 1095 :: The New Dawn of House Abberfraw
01.08 Interlude
::: Reign of Donnchad, Bennachtach (Blessed) :::
02.01 1095 - 1099 :: Eire Discordant
02.02 1099 - 1103 :: Eire Impoverished
02.03 1104 - 1106 :: Eire Enshrouded
02.04 1107 - 1108 :: Eire Besieged
02.05 1109 - 1110 :: Eire Endures
02.06 1110 - 1111 :: Eire Counterattacks
02.07 1111 - 1113 :: Eire Victorious
02.08 1114 - 1116 :: Eire Inherited
02.09 Interlude
::: Reign of Trian, Caisleóir (Builder) :::
03.01 1116 - 1120 :: The Road to Recovery
03.02 1121 - 1123 :: The Fields of Death
03.03 1123 - 1125 :: Galloway
03.04 1125 - 1126 :: Uneasy Peace
03.05 Interlude
03.06 1126 - 1129 :: The Habit of War
03.07 1129 - 1130 :: Lowland March
03.08 1131 - 1132 :: Hebrides March
03.09 1132 - 1133 :: Cornish Crusade
03.10 1134 - 1135 :: Kingdom of the Celts

a. The World in 1095AD
b. The World in 1116AD

( Header image courtesy of public-domain-image.com )
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01.01 Prelude


"Have you heard the news, brother? The bards sing of a new King in England. A Norman, no less," Enna breathed, vapors forming with every breath.

It was a fair morning, a blessed break from the usually bleak winter in these parts. The brothers Ui Mordha, sons of the reigning King of Leinster, have decided to stretch their legs and patrol the outskirts of Dublin. As they await the return of the scouts, Murchaid and his younger brother Enna had taken to waiting by the Old Stones by the road.

"I care little for the Saxons - least not for what they did to our bethren. But this Norman, this William the Bastard, doesn't sound like the kind who will sit on his laurels."

"Aye. Once he settles England, he will surely march on the rest of the isles. He is ambitious; that much is known."

"The princes of Wales and Scotland will-"

"Watch out!!"

A swatch of white dashed across his horse's path. A rabbit? The frightened steed reared. Murchaid seized the reins. Too late. He felt himself slipping from the saddle. Weightless, dread seized his heart.

The ground. Snow and grass raced to meet him.




Murchaid groaned. His head throbbed, but years of warrior training made him check his surroundings even as he recovered. Yet he saw nothing - it was as if he's wrapped in a bright, white fog. "Am I dead?" he breathed, trying to clear his head.

Peace and well met, Murchaid Ui Diarmata, King of Dublin and Mann, eldest son of Diarmat the King of Leinster.

"Who's there?!" practiced hands reached for his sword as he clambered to his feet. "Show yourself!"

Rest easy, King of Dublin, I mean you no harm.

Out from the white a lady appeared, dressed in pale green with flowers in her red hair. As far as he could tell, the voice was hers, yet she uttered no word from her mouth. Many would account her fair, curling red hair with a hint of mischief in her emerald eyes.

"Witch." He points his sword at the woman. "Release me from your spell or I will cut you down where you stand."

Wicca. Hmmm. That's an accusation I've not heard for quite a time. She mused as she circled away from the weapon. No Murchaid, I am no witch to ensorcel kings to their doom. Their spells are a paltry trick to what I do. You are here for some other... purpose.

"You speak in riddles, that much is the same. If you intentions are fair, release me from this-" What does one call this whiteness?

Ah. I the Void disturbs you. Very well-

The lady made no movement, but the white faded, like a morning mist receding, but unnaturally quick. Murchaid made out grass on his feet, then trees appeared a few paces beyond. Then the clearing, the Old Stones. A glint of recognition grew in Murchaid's eyes.

"The fall-"

Yes, this is exactly where you fell. But not exactly when you fell.

That made no sense. "Where's Enna? What have you-" Then he heard it. Marching. Foot on dirt in tandem, the clink of mail and creak of leather. It came from off in the distance, beyond the wall of pines to the south. He shot a glance at her. The lady had turned to the marching too, but made no movement towards the source.

He took a few furtive steps, careful not to make a sound. Something about the woman's gaze suggested caution.

The cold, wet weather had made discretion simple. Concealed by the abundant undergrowth, He caught a glimpse of the road out of Dublin. An army marched eastwards, bearing the banners he did not recognise - a red flag with golden lions. Two? Three? It seemed to change whenever he looked. After the soldiers came the prisoners - gaelic clansmen in kilts numbering the most, sprinkled with native norsemen that looked like they came from settlements from the coast. Many of the clansmen wore the familiar colours of Dubliner settlements in their kilt.

That was all he needed to see. Foregoing as much stealth as he dared, he rushed back to the clearing.

"What happened, witch? Did someone attacked Dublin when I was unconscious? Answer me!"

Surely Enna would have roused the defenders. What about father? Reinforcements from Leinster would take but a few days to come... who were those that march under the lion banner? Bretons? Normans?

You're in Dublin, Murchaid, but not of the same time as when you fall off your horse. This is Dublin of the future. Well, a future, at least. A possible one, out of many. The clarity of which you see these events shows just how likely things will be.

"So some foreign force will raid my city in the future?"

Not just any foreign force; the Normans, under the bidding of the sons of William the Conqueror - that's what they call him, in the future. Heed me, Murchaid King of Dublin - when you return to your time, you will be asked by your father to invade Mide. You must not do that. if you do it, you will die.

"I am no craven."

And nobody says that you are. But in your death, your house will not find a successor strong enough to hold your kingdom. Your grandsons will eventually seek the help of the Norman king to reclaim your lands. But the Normans are cunning, and they will usurp control of the land. The people of Hibernia will suffer under the Norman yoke thence, Murchaid, should you die in Mide.

"And how will my living prevent this otherwise? Does it stop the Normans from attacking when I finally die someplace else?"

It does not. But for now, the living you will know for sure what will happen if you don't do anything about the Normans. A single stalk is easily broken, but a bundle is strong. This is the lesson you must learn - perhaps one all of Hibernia must learn. The only reason that the Normans could make landfall so easily in this future is because the lords of the land are disunited. Unite the land, King of Dublin. Make it strong. For the sake of your children. For the sake of your liegemen's children. For the sake of my children.

"Your children? I don't understand."

But just as she appeared, the lady was fading away. Murchaid lurched foward to grab the woman by the shoulders, but it was too late. All was thin air.

Around him, the white was returning. Too bright to withhold, he closed hs eyes.

You will in time.

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Thanks for the reply! (hope to see more...)

Sounds interesting. Something tells me that woman was Kathleen.

Erm, I'm not able to find any information about any mythological character called Kathleen. The Lady of the Dream is purposedly left ambiguous, but we may see more of her yet! :D
01.02 As we go, Warmongering



Here begins the chronicle of the fortunes of House Ui Mordha. The year was 1066 of our Lord, after the battle of Hastings. Murchaid Ui Mordha was the King (Count) of Dublin, being granted the position by this father and leige the King (Duke) of Leinster. The aged Duke of Leinster would also appoint his second son, Enna, as the Bishop of Osraige.

As Enna was more interested in the practice of religion, Murchaid was by far the favored heir to the Duchy.

Murchaid was nonetheless unskilled in the task of administration, and the coffers of Dublin grow ever so slowly. The situation was not helped by the middling advisors he had in his court - the influential O'Brien family held most of the court positions, with the exception of Spymaster, which was occupied by Murchaid's wife, Tailltiu.

There was also a vacancy for the Diocese Bishop. A request was sent to Roma for one, though there was no reply on the matter yet.

As a mere count riding on his father's reputation, Murchaid had much to do if he was to realise his dream of a united Ireland.



In the spring of 1067, Murchaid's situation changed somewhat when he inherited his father, who died at the ripe old age of 71. The inheritance added Laigin, a relatively rich province on the southeast coast of Ireland, into Murchaid's demesne.

As the new Duke of Leinster, Murchaid wasted no time to invite the independent counties of the island to join him.


Sadly, only the O'Neills of Tir Eoghian, long-time collaborators of Murchaid's father, answered the call. Repeated attempts to seek new vassals and allies were met with only fustration.


While Murchaid pondered his options, news reached Laigin of a rebellion in Lancaster. It would appear that not every English lord was satisfied to serve under a new king. Murchaid watched the rebellion with interest. Perhaps troubles at home would distract William from venturing abroad...



Besides inheriting the lands and the titles, Murchaid also inherited the responsibility of finding spouses for members of his clan. He started by pairing an old relative, Faelan, to an able administrator from Berwick in Albain (Scotland). Scathach Bruce would also take over as Steward, providing much needed guidance over matters of tax collection. Given that Faelan was more than 80 years old, Murchaid's decision was met by the court with some derision.


Faelan died exactly a year after his marriage, leaving behind Amalgein (a son from another marriage) and good Steward Scathach. Scathach was heavy with child at the time. All of Leinster sympathised with the poor widow, and the child who would be born fatherless.


Abroad, Leinster continued to fumble in diplomacy - all attempts to find an ally within Ireland failed. Seeing that he would get no alliance from the local lords on the island, Murchaid finally agreed to an alliance proposal from the Count of Hereford, who - for a wonder - had amicably left King William's control.


By summer, the Lancaster revolt was at an end. Edwin Duke of Lancaster was unable to muster the support of the other lords of the land. The rebels were soon overwhelmed by King William's forces. The fact that Eric's own brother, Morcar Duke of Northumberland, had not joined in the rebellion, and instead recieved ownership of Westmorland (Lancaster's northerly province) after the incident had sparked many a scandalous rumor.


Summer also saw the completion of Murchaid's first investment into his realm - a Forestry was completed in Laigin, able to supply future projects with timber.


At this time, Murchaid decided to place his only son, Donnchad, under his personal guidance. Members of the Court, taking reference from Murchaid's rather modest skills, wondered if this was truely wise, but none dared voice their concerns to the Duke, who doted on his only son.



Robert, son of Faelan Ui Mordha is born. Without her late husband's direction, Steward Scathach decided to raise him in her Scottish ways.



Reminded again of his responsibilities to seek marriage for his clansmen, Murchaid found a mate for Loigsech Ui Mordha, Faelan's grandson through Amalgein. Ingebjorg Sparre from the Norse province of Agder came highly recommended by the barons in Dublin, who maintained ties with kin in the land of Norway. Ingebjorg's skill at diplomacy ensured her a place in Murchaid's court as the new Chancellor.

Sadly, the help of a skilled Chancellor did not improve the many attempts made to vassalise the independent counts of Ireland diplomatically. Dismayed by the poor outcome of diplomacy, Murchaid considered military conquest to bring the rest of the island in line.


The weakest county on the island, the County of Sligo, would be made an example of. Perhaps with Sligo humbled, the other counts would agree to unite with Leinster... Thanks to the vassalization of Tir Eoghain, Murchaid had direct access to Sligo. A host was mustered there as spring turned to summer.


The campaign started in high spirits as the Murchaid enjoyed a hunt with Domnal Count of Tir Eoghian.


On the march to Sligo, news also reached Murchaid that Tir Connail had honored its alliance with Sligo and declared war on Leinster. Unfazed by the threat of this minor lord to his flank, Murchaid pressed on to Sligo.


After a brief battle, Sligo's army scattered and a siege was started to bring the count of Sligo to submission. True to Murchaid's predictions, the army of Tir Connail was reported to have given up the initiative and intended hold a defensive position until Murchaid marched to it.


By the end of summer, with the hillfort capitulating rapidly under the siege, Aedh Count of Sligo surrendered and was made to swear fealty to Murchaid. With Sligo pacified, Murchaid turned his attention towards Tir Connail.



Flushed with their victory at Sligo, Murchaid's men beat the forces from Tir Connail handily. A seige through winter broke the fort there, and the Ruadri Count of Tir Connail was made to swear fealty to Murchaid as well.

Having ventured to conquer one county and returned with two under his belt, Murchaid was contented to sit out the rest of the year to allow his duchy to recover from the war. On the advice of his Court, he decided that Donnchad was to be schooled in the ways of the Court, in the hopes that his heir would become a better administrator than he would ever be.
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Interesting. I will follow this. Ireland must be united to stand against the eventual Norman Invasion. And, theres also the possibility of a Turkish or Fatmid Invasions happenings as well. Good luck.
A solid start. Good to see another Ireland AAR happening. I'll be interested to see how yours turns out considering we seem to have similar goals.

I've been following your AAR too! I would say I'm pretty lucky to inherit Leinster so early. The old man usually doesn't die until at least a few years later, and Murchaid's prestige is so low that he can't do any expansion prior to that (net monthly prestige was negative as Count)

Ooh. An AAR about the infamous MacMurroughs of Leinster and Dublin! I'll have to follow this.

Infamous indeed! Maybe this AAR will provide a happier outcome... I aim to make it so - plus, they actually seemed like they had a shot at uniting the land if Murchaid hadn't died early.

Interesting. I will follow this. Ireland must be united to stand against the eventual Norman Invasion. And, theres also the possibility of a Turkish or Fatmid Invasions happenings as well. Good luck.
Against all invasions, it would seem. Though I don't think I would get anywhere near the Fatimids and the Turks anytime soon. Thanks!

Just a few more to become the High King of Ireland!

Yes! So I bet you'll like the next update...
01.03 1071 - 1075 :: The Contest for Eire



An uneventful year followed Murchaid's successful expedition to the northwest. At court, a Welsh whelp called Gruffydd of Dublin showed exceptional skill in warfare, and was promoted to replace Marshal Domnall, who was suffering from hacking coughs he picked up in the battlefields of Sligo more than a year ago.



In the spring of 1072, a petition to Roma succeeded to confirm Murchaid as the de facto Duke of Ulster, being the lord of two-thirds of that land. This added to his original title as Duke of Leinster. There was much prestige to be gained for becoming the first lord to hold two ducal titles since the days of the great Brian Boru.


Soon after gaining his second ducal title, Murchaid received DunSleibe Count of Ulaid at court. The count was impressed with Murchaid's progress and was convinced that while he couldn't bend to the Duke of Leinster, he could definitely get behind a Duke of Ulster, and hence proposed to recognize Murchaid as liege. The news was met with much jubilation, for Murchaid much prefered to unite the island through peaceful means. A grand feast was held in DunSleibe's honor.


At this time, Murchaid also reaffirmed his alliance with Hereford, which was now ruled by Roger, the old Count William having died of old age.

Having firmly secured his position in the north and west, Murchaid prepared for his next move to unite Ireland. The Duke was clear from the start that to become High King, he would have to contest with the two other duchies - Connacht to the west, and Munster to the south. Murchaid felt that he now had the strength to do this. As fate would have it, the Duchy of Connacht was allied with the Duchy of Munster, and the any war between Leinster with either duchy would embroil all three powers on the island in a 2-way contest for future ownership of Ireland.

With the ownership of Ireland in mind, Murchaid ordered an army amassed in Sligo, ready to march southwards to unseat the Duke of Connacht from his fort in Mayo. War was declared...


...and Munster stood by its ally.


Connacht's army were unprepared and were routed by the more experienced forces from Leinster. The way was clear for a siege on Mayo, and Murchaid's army dug in for winter.



The siege at Mayo lasted 2 months, and by spring Aed Duke of Connacht surrendered ownership of Mayo for peace.

On the southern front, Munster's stroops besieged Laigin, threatening Murchaid's own capitol. Freed from the seige of Mayo, Murchaid urged his men south towards Desmumu, hoping to draw the Duke of Munster away from Laigin.


Murchaid's plan would not be tested, as Toirrdelbach Duke of Munster, seeing that his allied had surrendered, no longer had the stomach to fight. He offered a white peace a few days after the fall of Mayo. Not wishing to exhaust his army further, and lacking the clout to challenge Munster's titles, Murchaid agreed to peace. For now.


As part of the spoils of war, the Dublin O'Briens were awarded the County of Mayo for their loyal service in court. Their younger son Murchaid (sharing the same name as their Duke) would be the new Count.



The bustle of war did not escape the notice of the observant young Donnchad, who questioned his father much after his return from Mayo. As Murchaid explained the campaign and shared his dream of a united Ireland with his son, he impressed on the child that the realm would eventually pass on to him, but only if he was worthy of it. The boy was deeply inspired by his father's confidence in him, and worked Energetically in his studies to prove himself.


The Pope finally responded to Murchaid's repeated requests for a Diocese Bishop. Trian Mac Gillapadraig arrived in court to take up the position.


His lustful nature combined with a dose of skepticism made everyone wonder if he was a good choice for the position, though it would not be wise to openly question the decision of the Pope.

Meanwhile, the tenuous peace in Ireland was never meant to last...
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Murchaid really did avoid Mide. :p
Yup, he really did. :) I'm glad of the way things turned out, nonetheless.

Things seem to be shaping up nicely. It's always a pain to get those last few provinces for the King title. At least you don't have to contend with the other dukes pledging to someone ridiculous like the King of Castille or something.
I find the ridiculous vassalisations much less of a problem with the patch. I was much more concerned that one of the independent lords might actually think they could take on England/France/Scotland all by themselves and get conquered - hence the need to unite Ireland at the brisk pace...
01.04 The High King of Eire



After almost 2 years of peace, Murchaid once again gathered his army, with intention to absorb the remnant of the Duchy of Connacht into Leinster's dominion. Forces gathered at Mayo and Dublin marched to what was left of Connacht in Galway. This time, even Munster abandoned their ally to their fate.

Under the direction of the talented Marshal Gruffydd, Leinster's troops prevailed on the battlefield and the siege of Galway began.


With the last of his strongholds crumbling, Aed O'Connor Duke of Connacht had every reason to hate Murchaid.


But hatred alone cannot stem the tide of fate. 4 months of seige saw the capture of Galway. The once-great Duchy of Connacht was no more.



It was after the victory at Connacht that Marshal Gruffydd first showed signs of extreme stress. Courtiers recounted how he was always jumping at shadows. The more observant also noted that the Marshal was always seen with his sword. None could see any reason to make the man behave as such, and rumors began that the Marshal's brilliance in warfare may come at a sinister cost...


At the turn of winter, the Pope called for the First Crusade to free Jerusalem from the Moslems. As Leinster was so far away from the Holy Land (Murchaid had to buy a new map just to see where it was), Murchaid elected not to go - there were more pressing matters to look to at home.


The duchy's coffers gained much from the many counties that now pay tribute to Leinster - so much so that Murchaid was able to reject a proposal to call for a meeting of the Estates General. Tax revenues were more than sufficient to cover for expenses at this time. The realm became more stable as the result.



As the Crusades raged in the Holy Lands, peace reigned in Leinster. Murchaid's petition to Roma to affirm him as the King of Ireland was successful, and Hibernia now has a High King. There was much joy and the new King decreed a month of festivities.


In the midst of the celebrations, a messenger arrived from the Count of Mide, who offered to recognise Murchaid as his liege. This happy event consolidated all of Ireland under House Ui Mordha, except for Munster.

To comemorate the occasion, Murchaid ordered that his investiture should be conducted in Mide, on the summit of the legendary Hill of Tara, at the fabled Lia Fáil, where the high kings of old were crowned.

All Hail Murchaid, by the Grace of God, The Consolidator, High King of Éire!


Murchaid was not slow to remember those who supported him, and awarded Domnall O'Neill, the Count of Tir Eoghain and the first lord to become vassal, as the new Duke of Ulster. The title of Duke of Leinster would remain in the Royal line as heirloom.

(OOC: You may find that I've changed the color of Kingdom of Ireland from green to emerald-green, which I think fits Ireland better)



Weary of the many failed attempts to invite the Duchy of Munster to become part of his fledging kingdom, Murchaid gave up the plan and resorted instead to force of arms. The young Duke Muidertach (who had succeeded his father since the first brief clash between Leinster and Munster almost 8 years ago) was too overconfident to bend knee. The combined army of the Kingdom was gathered in Osraige, with the plan to capture Desmumu first, then turning northwards to Tuadmumu.


Murchaid met no resistence at Desmumu and the fort quickly fell to the invaders. The enemy's main force had actually slipped into Urmumu and were heading to Laigin - a familiar strategy used by Munster during the Leinster-Connacht war previously. Confident that his men will break the fort there before his own defenses in Laigin could capitulate, Murchaid ordered his victorious troops northwards to Taudmumu.


By mid summer, Munster's army was spent and Muidertach has lost his control over his entire demesne. His own troops were mired at the foot of the fort at Laigin, having failed to break the defenders there. In spite of the overwhelming victory, generous terms were offered to the Duke of Munster - in exchange for peace, Munster would recognise the Murchaid as the one and only High King of Ireland.

At last, the land is united!
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Looks like a good one. I'll keep reading this one.

Thanks for following the AAR!

Well, it seems that Ireland will be united soon.

It's already united! :D

Good... now more. :)

OK! (But actually I'm gonna be a bit busy so we'll see how things go... updates should be at least weekly though)

Always nice to see Ireland get united. Now, time to go after Scotland! :D

I think Scotland's kind of too big to handle for now... how about Wales? ;)