Old Irish Kingdoms and Clans --
Old Irish Surnames
Legend has it that... some of Ireland's greatest legendary kings were in
power about the time of
the close of the 1st century. Tuathal Teachtmhar had ruled 30 years as
king and was claimed to have annexed the territory around Tara to make
Midhe (Meath) the Royal Province. Tuathal's palace was said to be at
Uisneach, a position near the central point of the island. Next came Cathaeir
Mor, from whom descend many of the notable tribes of Laigin [Leinster], who ruled only 3 years
before being subdued by the infamous Conn Cead-Cathach [of the Hundred Battles].
Conn would rule for 35 years and was so named for his prolific tendency to wage war,
not only in Ireland but, some claim, in other parts of the British Isles. From Conn descended the 'Connachta'
which later included the prominent northern tribes of the Northern and
Southern Ui Neill, the Ui Briuin and the Ui Fiachra.
About the year 123 A.D. at Maynooth, Eoghan Mor, also called Mogha Nuadhad,
fought a battle with Conn of the Hundred Battles, Monarch of Ireland.
Resulting from this battle, Mogha compelled Conn to divide Ireland with him
into two equal parts by the boundary of Esker Riada, a long ridge of hills
from Dublin to Galway, the south part he termed his and called it after
his own name, Leath Mogha, or "Mogha's Half of Ireland". The northern
part was called Leath Cuinn, or Conn's Half, further requiring Conn to
give his daughter in marriage to Eoghan's son, Olioll Olum. From
Olioll descended the prominent southern tribes of the Eoghanchta (from
Eoghan Mor II), the Dal gCais (from Cormac Cas) and the Ciannachta (from
Pre-Christian Era Figures and their Genealogies
As mentioned previously, modern historians consider the individuals and events given in pre-Christian times to be a part of Ireland's pre-history. Whether individuals such as Tuathal, Conn and Eoghan (above) were actual historical figures, or not, is a matter of debate, and beyond the intent of this presentation. There are arguments to be made either way, although any 'evidence' to support these arguments seem to rest on the early Irish documents themselves.
Convincing arguments seem to be given for the fictional nature of many pre-Christian genealogies, some of which are taken back to Adam. A general
concensus relates to the creation, or adjustment, of genealogies to suit the political and cultural needs of the era. As an example, a potentially fictitious genealogical connection between the Connachta and the Eoghanact helped to support, in later times, the story of the conquest of the Gael
. Further examples include tribal groups like the Arighialla and the Ui Maine whose power extended into the historical period. An elaborate genealogy was said to have been created for them to ensure they were given an appropriate connection to the dominant Connachta (Gael
), and that they had their rightful place among the Leth Cuinn.
Excerpts from The Annals
56 AD -
Fiacha Finnfolaidh, high King of Ireland is killed. The provincial
kings of the time were Elim, son of Conra, King of Ulster; Sanbh, son of
Ceat Mac Magach, King of Connaught; Foirbre, son of Fin, King of Munster;
and Eochaidh Aincheann, King of Leinster. Elim then ruled until 76 AD.
76 AD -
Elim, son of Conra, after having been twenty years in the sovereignty of
Ireland, was slain in the battle of Aichill, by Tuathal Teachtmhar.
106 AD - Tuathal Teachtmhar, after having been thirty years in the
sovereignty of Ireland, was slain by Mal, son of Rochraidhe, King
of Ulster, in Magh Line, at Moin An Chatha, in Dal Araidhe, where the
two rivers, Ollar and Ollarbha, spring.
110 AD - After Mal, son of Rochraidhe, had been four years king over
Ireland, he was slain by Feidhlimidh Rechtmhar, son of Tuathal
Teachtmhar. Feidhlimidh's mother was later interred in Oirghialla.
119 AD - Feidhlimidh Reachtmhar, after having been nine years in the
sovereignty of Ireland, died.
120 AD - The first year of Cathaeir Mor, son of Feidhlimidh Firurghlais,
in the sovereignty of Ireland.
122 AD - Cathaeir Mor, after having been three years king over Ireland, was slain
by Conn, and the Luaighni of Teamhair, in the battle of Magh hAgha.
123 AD - The first year of Conn of the Hundred Battles as king over Ireland.
The division of Ireland into two parts, between Conn and Eoghan Mor.
157 AD - Conn of the Hundred Battles, after having been thirty five years in the
sovereignty of Ireland, was slain by Tibraite Tireach, son of Mal, son of
Rochraidhe, King of Ulster, at Tuath Amrois.
Source: The Annals
The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland, Annála Ríoghachta Éireann, or the
Annals of the Four Masters as they are commonly known, were compiled
in a Franciscan monastery in Donegal by Michael O'Clery, Cucogry (or Peregrine) O'Clery,
Fearfasa (or Fergus) O'Mulconry and Cucogry (or Peregrine) O'Duigenan (the Four Masters).
Michaels' brother Conary O'Clery, as well as Maurice O'Mulconry, also assisted
in the compilation. They began their work in 1632 and completed it in 1636.
The Four Masters' names in Gaelic were Mícheál [Tadhg] Ó Cléirigh (chief compiler);
Cú Choigcríche Ó Cléirigh (Mícheál's cousin); Fear Feasa O'Maolchonaire; and
Cuchoigríche Ó Duibhgheannáin.
The Annals of the Four Masters was translated by Dr. John O'Donovan in the
19th century. It was published in seven large volumes.
For a more complete text of The Annals, see
Further External Reference:
Conn of the Hundred Battles
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