Uí Briain, see DÁL CAIS, O'BRIEN.
Ua Briain, Muirchertach (d. 1119), king of Munster, son of Toirrdelbach *Ua Briain. An ambitious ruler, Muirchertach was arguably the most powerful king in Ireland in his day. Already politically active during the reign of his father, he assumed power on Toirrdelbach's death in 1086. Connacht and * Mide proved resistant to his overlordship but he ruthlessly imposed his authority there. Attempts to extend his sway further northwards, however, were less successful, as he faced formidable opposition from the able * Cenél nEógain ruler, Domnall Mac Lochlainn. The Irish Sea region provided Muirchertach with another outlet for his political ambition and the kingdom of Man, in particular, claimed his attention. His outward-looking tendencies also brought him into contact with the church reform movement which he sought to promote at the synods of *Cashel and *Ráith Bressail in 1101 and 1111. Illness in his later years, however, led to his position being considerably weakened by the time of his death in 1119. MNíM
Ua Briain, Toirdelbach, king of Munster 1063-86. Toirrdelbach succeeded in restoring the Uí Briain (see DÁL CAIS) dynasty to the political dominance it had enjoyed during the reign of his grandfather * Brian Bóruma (Boru). Having wrested control of Munster from his uncle Donnchad, with the aid of his ally * Diarmait mac Máel na mBó, he sought to assert his authority in Leinster on Diarmait's death in 1072. Subsequently, he marched on Dublin and installed his son Muirchertach *Ua Briain as ruler there. Assertion of control in Connacht and in the midland territory of * Mide proved more difficult owing to continuous opposition on the part of the Uí Chonchobair (* O'Connors) and Uí Ruairc (* O'Rourkes). Nevertheless, for much of his reign, Toirrdelbach's dominance over the southern half of Ireland was secure. Reflecting this he is termed rí érenn (king of Ireland) in his death notice in the Annals of Ulster. MNíM
Ua Conchobair, Toirdelbach ( Turlough O'Connor) ( 1088-1156), *high king of Ireland. Toirrdelbach became king of Connacht in 1106 and rose to national importance following the fall from power of Muirchertach *Ua Briain in 1114. He spent the period to 1131 asserting power over the other provinces, then suffered setbacks, began to reassert himself in 1138, and from then until 1150, when Muirchertach *Mac Lochlainn began to challenge him for the position, was widely recognized as king of Ireland. He was an innovatory military commander and his reign is notable for the use he made of naval forces and for the construction of *castles and bridges. He deposed other provincial kings and partitioned their kingdoms, and his favourite son Conchobar (d. 1143) was appointed at various stages king of Dublin, Leinster, and Meath. He died in 1156, aged 68, at his fortress at Dunmore, Co. Galway, was buried in *Clonmacnoise, and was succeeded by his son Rory *O'Connor. SD
Ufford, Ralph (d. 1346), *justiciar of Ireland 1344- 6, one of the most vigorous governors of the 14th century whose rule was denounced as oppressive by the Dublin annals. A banneret of Edward III's household, Ufford married c. 1343 Matilda of Lancaster, widow of William de *Burgh, earl of *Ulster. He arrived in Ireland with an English retinue of 40 men-at-arms and 200 archers. Early in 1345 he entered Ulster, deposing Henry O'Neill (éinrí Ó Néill) from kingship and replacing him with Aodh Reamhar O'Neill. Ufford's ties with *absentees and insistence on the letter of the law provoked war with the 1st earl of *Desmond. Later in 1345 he outlawed Desmond, gathered a large army, and seized his castles and lordships; he also imprisoned the earl of *Kildare, by trickery according to the Dublin annals. After his death Edward III rehabilitated the earls, employing them in the justiciarship during the 1350s. RFF
Uí Briúin were a *Connachta dynasty whose eponymous ancestor was Brión (Brian), son of Eochaid Mugmedón and step-brother of * Niall