Highest point
Elevation 179 m (587 ft)
Coordinates 53°00′36″N 6°51′08″W / 53.01000°N 6.85222°W / 53.01000; -6.85222
Translation Broad crown (summit) of Maistiu (Irish language)
Location County Kildare, Ireland

Mullaghmast (Irish: Mullach Maistín), (modern spelling in English is Mullamast[1]) is a hill in the south of County Kildare, Leinster, near the village of Ballitore and near the borders with Wicklow, Laois and Carlow. It was an important site in prehistory, in early history and again in more recent times. It is classed as a National Monument by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.

Legend and prehistory

The Metrical Dindshenchas, or Lore of Places, a Middle Irish collection of poetry purporting to explain the origins of Irish place names, claims that Mullaghmast is named for Maistiu, wife of Dáire Derg, who was killed by the sorcery of the malicious faery Gris, who was in turned killed by Dáire Derg.[2]

A standing stone from Mullaghmast, decorated with a triskele, thought to belong to the very end of the prehistoric period, or perhaps to the early Christian period, is now in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.[3]

Mullaghmast was the royal residence of the Uí Muiredaig kings (later to become the O'Toole family), a sept of the Uí Dúnlainge dynasty of the Laigin.

1578 Massacre of Mullaghmast

The 40 lords of Laois and Offaly and their families were invited to a peace conference by Sir Henry Sidney on or around New Year's Day 1578; Sidney rose and left the unarmed lords and their wives, children and followers, and all except one were killed by Sidney's men, leaving the castle strewn with body parts and drenched in blood. This genocidal killing, reputedly of 400 people including 120 O'Mores, virtually the whole O'More family, emptied the country of authority, allowing for the foundation of the English plantations of the counties that were subsequently named Queen's County and King's County.

From the Annals of the Four Masters:

Monster meeting

Daniel O'Connell 1 October 1843 "a large number, to wit 100,000" present



  2. Gwynn; MacKillop, "Mullaghmast". MacKillop notes that Dáire Derg may be a double of Goll mac Morna.
  3. Mytum, plate XI and p. 73; MacKillop, "Mullaghmast".


  • Gwynn, Edward (1906), The Metrical Dindshenchas, 3, Dublin, pp. 135–139, retrieved 2003-08-13 
  • Lennon, Colm (1994), Sixteenth Century Ireland: The Incomplete Conquest, New Gill History of Ireland, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, ISBN 0-7171-3947-6 
  • MacKillop, James (1998), Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-860967-1 
  • Mytum, Harold (1992), The Origins of Early Christian Ireland, London: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-03258-X 
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