Loarn mac Eirc

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Loarn mac Eirc was a legendary king of Dál Riata who may have lived in the 5th century. He was buried on Iona.[1]

The Duan Albanach and the Senchus Fer n-Alban and other genealogies name Loarn's father as Erc son of Eochaid Muinremuir. Loarn appears in Irish traditions as 'King of Alba' in the eighth- to twelfth-century tale "Of The Miracles of Cairnech Here" in the Lebhor Bretnach, the Irish version of the Historia Brittonum, and in the tenth- to twelfth-century legendary and mythological tale Aided Muirchertach mac Erca. In these tales, mac Erca spends time with Loarn, his uncle, before murdering him by setting him aflame. Loarns main significance is as the eponymous ancestor of Cenél Loairn, a kindred whose name is preserved in Lorne.

Cenél Loairn[edit]

The descendants of Loarn, the Cenél Loairn, controlled parts of northern Argyll around the Firth of Lorne, most probably centred in Lorne but perhaps including the islands of Mull and Colonsay, Morvern and Ardnamurchan; the boundary to the east was the Druim Alban mountain ridge that separated Dál Riata from Pictland. The chief places of the kingdom appears to have been at Dun Ollaigh, near Oban and Dunadd near Crinan;[2] the chief religious site may have been on Lismore, later the seat of the High Medieval bishop of Argyll.

Descendants of Loarn[edit]

Several kings of Dál Riata were members of the Cenél Loairn, and thus claimed descent from Loarn :

In High Medieval times the Mormaers of Moray claimed descent from Loarn:[3]


  1. ^ J. M. P. Calise, Pictish sourcebook, Greenwood Press, 2002.
  2. ^ Bannerman, John "The Scots of Dalriada" in Menzies (1971). p. 68
  3. ^ Chadwick, Hector Munro (2013). Early Scotland: The Picts, the Scots and the Welsh of Southern Scotland. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. p. 96. ISBN 978-1107693913. Retrieved 13 March 2019.


  • Bannerman, John, Studies in the History of Dalriada. Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, 1974. ISBN 0-7011-2040-1
  • Pestano,Dane, King Arthur in Irish Pseudo-Historical Tradition - An Introduction. Dark Age Arthurian Books, 2011. ISBN 978-0-9570002-0-9
  • Broun, Dauvit, The Irish Identity of the Kingdom of the Scots in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. Boydell, Woodbridge, 1999. ISBN 0-85115-375-5
  • Menzies, Gordon (ed) (1971) Who are the Scots: A search for the origins of the Scottish nation. BBC.
  • Woolf, Alex, From Pictland to Alba, 789-1070 Edinburgh University Press, 2007.