Northern Uí Néill
The Northern Uí Néill is the name given to several dynasties in north-western medieval Ireland that claimed descent from a common ancestor, Niall of the Nine Hostages. Other dynasties in central and eastern Ireland who claimed descent from Niall were termed the Southern Uí Néill; the dynasties of the Northern Uí Néill were the Cenél Conaill and Cenél nEógain, named after supposed sons of Niall: Conall and Eógain. The Northern Uí Néill's over-kingdom in its earliest days was known as In Fochla and In Tuaiscert, both meaning "the North", was ruled by the Cenél Conaill. After the Cenél nEógain's rise to dominance, it became known as Ailech, it is claimed in medieval Irish texts that around 425, three sons of Niall Noígiallach—Eoghan, Conal Gulban, Enda—along with Erc, a son of Colla Uais, his grandchildren, invaded north-western Ulster. The result was the vast reduction in the territory of the Ulaid, with the portion of land taken by the three sons of Niall becoming the kingdom of Ailech; this land was divided between the three brothers as such: Conal Gulban took the western portion and named it Tír Chonaill.
The lack of contemporary evidence has cast doubt on the validity of traditional accounts, with questions raised whether such an invasion took place, as well as whether the invaders belonged to the Uí Néill at all. Despite the questions over the validity of the traditional accounts, these alleged sons of Niall are collectively known by historians as the Northern Uí Néill. From the 8th century onwards sponsored by Áed Allán, a Cenél nEógain king of Tara, Congus, the bishop of Armagh, early Irish historians constructed propaganda to shore up and cement Uí Néill political supremacy along with the ecclesiastical supremacy of Armagh; this involved the ruthless re-writing and doctoring of genealogies, lists of kings and early annals, tracing the current situation as having primacy all the way back into the undocumented 5th century. In tandem, about a dozen peoples became designated within what was called Uí Néill in Tuaiscirt, of which the Cenél Conaill and Cenél nEógain were the most dominant. By the 13th-century, the Cenél Conaill had come to dominance over the original territory of the Northern Uí Néill in County Donegal, sponsored their own history, which incorporated elements from earlier historical revisions.
Known as the Eachtra Conaill Gulbain, "The otherworld adventures of Conall Gulban", it details how sons of Niall Noígiallach, the eponymous ancestor of the Uí Néill dynasties, came forth from Connacht, invaded the north-western territory of the Ulaid, conquering it from the indigenous people, the Dál Fiatach. This territory equated to present-day County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. Here they founded their own over-kingdom and dynasties: the Cenél Conaill and Cenél nEógain,Detailed analysis of maternal ancestries, hagiography and saints’ genealogies, has brought the origins of the Cenél Conaill branch of the Northern Uí Néill into question, with it being claimed that they are most a branch of the Cruithin, linked to the Uí Echach Coba of Iveagh, Conaille Muirtheimne. Adding to the confusion over the true origins of the Cenél Conaill and Cenél nEógain, recent DNA analysis of descendants from both branches shows a common ancestor in the north-west of Ireland dating from around 1,730 years ago.
Niall Noígiallach has been ruled out by historian Brian Lacey as being this ancestor, providing other possible candidates including: Cana mac Luigdech Lámfhata, Dál Fiatach leader of Sentuatha Ulaid. The over-kingdom of the Northern Uí Néill was known as In Fochla, meaning "the North", with the over-king styled as rí ind Fhochlai, the "king of the North", it was divided into several sub-kingdoms. The territory of the Cenél Conaill was called Tír Conaill, meaning "the land of Conall"; the territory Tír Conaill held by the late 16th century, would become the basis for County Donegal. The territory of the Cenél nEógain was called Inis Eógain, meaning "Eógain's island", the name of which survives today as the name of the Inishowen peninsula, their king was styled as rí Ailig, the "king of Ailech", with their base being the Grianan of Aileach at the entrance of the Inishowen peninsula. The Cenél Conaill and Cenél nEógain are assumed to have established lordship over their neighbouring local tuatha.
The Cenél Conaill were the dominant branch, were so from the 6th to late 8th centuries. However throughout the 6th and 7th centuries and the Cenél nEógain are claimed to have been vying over dominance of the over-kingdom. In 734, after a challenge from Áed Allán, king of the Cenél nEógain, the Cenél Conaill over-king of the Northern Uí Néill, the Uí Néill as a whole, Flaithbertach mac Loingsech abdicated. From onwards the Cenél Conaill's dominance started to wane, their rulers would never again attain the status of over-king of the Uí Néill, it was from this point that the lengthy rotation of the kingship of Tara between the Cenél nEógain and Clann Cholmáin of the Southern Uí Néill started. The power of the Cenél Conaill collapsed around the 780s, allowing the Cenél nEógain to advance against them. According to the Annals of Ulster, in 788 the Cenél nEógain as part of a southwards push burned the monastery of Derry, built by the Cenél Conaill in the 6th century; the following year, 789, the battle of Cloítech occurred between the Cenél nEógain, led
Lóegaire mac Néill
Lóegaire Lóeguire, is said to have been a son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. The Irish annals and king lists include him as High King of Ireland, he appears as an adversary of Saint Patrick in several hagiographies. His dealings with the saint were believed to account for his descendants' lack of importance in times. There are several accounts of his death, all of which contain supernatural elements, some of which concern his wars against Leinster; the Irish annals purport to record events in the fifth century, but their reliability is doubtful as such early entries were added in the ninth century or later. The chronology of the annals is suspect as it is believed that this was created retrospectively to match what were believed to be the dates of Saint Patrick with the kings named by Patrick's earliest hagiographers, Muirchú moccu Mactheni and Tirechán. Both writers had Patrick meet with him. Since the annals provided two death dates for Patrick, 461 and 493, Lóegaire's reign was made to fit these, in general the earlier date.
For the date, Lóegaire's son Lugaid appears to have served the same adversary role. In late prehistoric times, beginning in the fifth century, the ancestors of the Uí Néill—descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages—expanded into the east midlands of Ireland, southern Ulster and northern Leinster, at the expense of the previous overlords; the record of the Irish annals unreliable at such an early date, records war between the descendants of Niall and the Leinstermen. Although associated with the conquests in the east midlands, Tirechán's life of Patrick may suggest that Lóegaire's power was centred in Connacht. Patrick is said to have met Lóegaire's daughters near Cruachan, a complex of prehistoric sites associated with the kingship of Connacht in legend and in history. According to king lists, the earliest of, dated on internal evidence to the reign of Fínsnechta Fledach, Niall was succeeded by Lóegaire, in turn followed by a second son of Niall, Coirpre by Ailill Molt, one of the few kings not descended from Niall, Ailill by Lóegaire's son Lugaid.
Lists make Nath Í king between Niall and Lóegaire and omit Coirpre. Given the many problems with the record, the dating of Lóegaire's floruit is imprecise, estimates placing it in the second half of the fifth century, circa 450 to the late 480s. In Muirchú moccu Mactheni's seventh century life of Patrick, Lóegaire is described as "a great king and pagan, emperor of the barbarians". After a number of attempts by Lóegaire and others to kill Patrick, Lóegaire is warned by the saint that he must accept the faith or die. Having taken the counsel of his people, he is baptised; the other early life of Patrick, by Tírechán, has it that Lóegaire remained a pagan in spite of Patrick's miracles. Lóegaire say. "Instead I am to be buried in the earthworks of Tara, I the son of Niall, face to face with the son of Dúnlaing in Mullaghmast". Tírechán, does allow that Patrick converts two of Lóegaire's daughters, Eithne the fair and Fedelm the red; the Vita tripartita Sancti Patricii again portrays a Lóegaire who schemes to kill Patrick.
The lorica of Saint Patrick appears in the Vita tripartita, it protects Patrick from one of Lóegaire's schemes. In this account Lóegaire is not converted by Patrick, is buried in the walls of Tara as his father Niall had wished; the Lebor na hUidre provides a further account of Lóegaire's death. The Bóroma or Bóroma Laigen—cattle tribute of Leinster—is the subject of a number of Middle Irish accounts, its supposed origins are described in Tuathal Techtmar 7 Ríge na hÉrenn, part of a continuation of the Lebor Gabála Érenn, in the Acallam na Senórach. They are placed in the prehistoric past, in the time of Túathal Techtmar, who imposes the tribute of 5000, in other accounts 15000, cattle on the kings of Leinster as the honour price—known as éraic in early Irish law codes—for the death of his daughters; the legendary kings who follow Tuathal attempt to collect the tribute until Coirpre Lifechair's attempt is defeated by the Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Fianna. Lóegaire's attempts to impose the Bórama, according to the accounts, were unsuccessful.
His invasion was defeated by Crimthann mac Énnai, ancestor of the Uí Cheinnselaig, near the River Barrow. Lóegaire was made to swear never again to invade Leinster; this he did, swearing by the sun and moon and sea, day and night, water and air. One account of his death has it, it is that the association with the Uí Cheinnselaig is a addition as other sources say that the king of Leinster who ruled from Naas in Patrick's time belonged to the obscure kindred of Uí Garrchon, part of the Dál Messin Corb. There are several accounts of Lóegaire's death; the Bóroma has him break his oath never again to invade Leinster. When he reaches the plain of the River Liffey near Kildare, the forces of nature on which he swore kill him: the wind leaves his lungs, the sun scorches him, the earth entombs him. Another account has Lóegaire's druids prophecy that he will die between Alba. To avoid this, Lóegaire never goes to sea; this version states that he died between two hills on the Liffey plain, hills named Alba.
It is said that Lóegaire was cursed by Patrick and died of it. Tiréchan's life of Patrick names Eithne the fair and Fedelm the red. Lóegaire's son Lugaid is included in all king lis
Diarmait mac Cerbaill
Diarmait mac Cerbaill was King of Tara or High King of Ireland. According to traditions, he was the last High King to follow the pagan rituals of inauguration, the ban-feis or marriage to goddess of the land. While many stories were attached to Diarmait, he was a historical ruler and his descendants were of great significance in Medieval Ireland, he is not to be confused with the Diarmait mac Cerbaill, son of king Cerball mac Dúnlainge. It is believed that the earliest of the Irish annals which came to make up the lost Chronicle of Ireland were kept as a contemporary record from no than the middle of the 7th century, may be rather older as it has been argued that many late 6th century entries have the appearance of contemporary recording. There is general agreement that the annals are based, in their earliest contemporary records, on a chronicle kept at the monastery on Iona, that the recording moved to somewhere in the midlands of Ireland only around 740. Although it is thus possible that the records of Diarmait's times in the annals are nearly contemporary, the history of the annals is complex and much debated, so that it is uncertain to what extent surviving late annals such as the Annals of Ulster and Annals of Tigernach faithfully reproduce the earlier records.
Diarmait mac Cerbaill was the last to hold the sacral kingship of Tara. He has some title to be ranked as the first Christian high-king of Ireland. Two of his sons bore the Christian name of Colmán, deriving from the Latin Columbanus; this ambivalent character, together with the fact that he was the direct ancestor of the two most powerful dynasties of the Southern Uí Néill, made him an obvious figure for saga and legend. Diarmait was the son of Fergus Cerrbél, son of Conall Cremthainne, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, yet of Niall's own historicity there is little reason to doubt. His descendants quarrrelled incessantly among themselves after the manner of most Irish dynastic families and had no cause to invent a common ancestry, since by unanimous testimony the high-kingship of Tara prior to Niall's days had not been the preserve of any one tribe or family. By the end of the fifth century, however, it was well on the way to becoming so. Niall's sons and grandsons proclaimed their intention of monopolising it to the exclusion of their western cousins by discarding the tribal appellation of Connachta and adopting the dynastic name Uí Néill, nepotes Néill.
As a great-grandson of Niall and his descendants were counted among the Uí Néill, the name meaning "descendants of Niall". The two great Southern Uí Néill dynasties of the midlands were the Síl nÁedo Sláine, kings of Brega in the east, the Clann Cholmáin Máir in Mide with their centre in the heart of modern Westmeath; the former are more prominent in the seventh century, but after the death of Cináed mac Írgalaig in 728 all the high-kings of the Southern Uí Néill come from the Clann Cholmáin except for a brief period between 944 and 956 when the king of Knowth, Congalach Cnogba, restored the high-kingship to the Brega line. It is remarkable that the Síl nÁedo Sláine and Clann Cholmáin derive their origin, not directly from Niall Noígiallach, but from his great-grandson Diarmait mac Cerbaill; the annals date Diarmait's reign as high-king from about 544 to 565. The petty Uí Néill kings of Cenél nArdgail traced their ancestry to an uncle of Diarmait's, but never won the high kingship. Besides Colmáin Már and Áed Sláine, Diarmait had a third son Colmáin Bec, whose descendants, the dynasty of Caílle Follamain, ruled an area corresponding to the baronies of Fore, between Mide and Brega.
Diarmait's immediate origins may arouse some suspicion. In spite of his patronymic the genealogical tradition says that his father's name was Fergus, nicknamed Cerrbél or'crooked mouth', his grandfather Conall son of Niall was nicknamed Cremthainne, to distinguish him from his brother Conall Gulban, ancestor of the Cenél Conaill. The habit of giving the same name to different sons remained common among the prolific Irish princes until the sixteenth century; the Annals of Tigernach record that Diarmait celebrated the Feast of Tara, his inauguration as King, in 558 or 560. The previous King of Tara, according to the earliest lists, was Óengarb, an epithet meaning "extremely rough", presumed to refer to Diarmait's kinsman Tuathal Maelgarb. What followed the inauguration was "a unpropitious reign for so famous a king". Diarmait was defeated at the battle of Cúl Dreimne in 560 or 561; this was the "Battle of the Books" the result of Diarmait's judgement in a dispute between Columba and Finnian of Moville.
Columba, it is said, had secretly copied a book belonging to Finnian, the matter of ownership of the copy had come to be settled by Diarmait, who adjudged in Finnian's favour saying "o every cow its calf and to every book its copy." Columba sought support from his kinsmen among the Cenél Conaill and the Cenél nEógain of the northern Uí Néill who went to war with Diarmait. This is a late tradition, annalistic accounts claim that the battle was fought over Diarmait's killing of Diarmait of Curnán, son of Áed mac Echach, the King of Connacht, under Columba's protection. Following this defeat, Diarmait lost the battle of Cúil Uinsen to Áed mac Brénainn, king of Tethbae in Leinster. Diarmait played no part in the great Uí Néill victory over the Cruthin at Móin Daire Lothair in 563, he was killed in 565 at Ráith Bec in Mag Line in Ulster by Áed Dub mac Suibni, king of the
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The Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia is considered a monarch despite only holding the position for five years at a time. Hereditary succession within one patrilineal family has been most common, with preference for children over siblings, sons over daughters. In Europe, some peoples practiced equal division of land and regalian rights among sons or brothers, as in the Germanic states of the Holy Roman Empire, until after the medieval era and sometimes into the 19th century. Other European realms practice one form or another of primogeniture, whereunder a lord was succeeded by his eldest son or, if he had none, by his brother, his daughters or sons of daughters; the system of tanistry was semi-elective and gave weight to ability and merit. The Salic law, practiced in France and in the Italian territories of the House of Savoy, stipulated that only men could inherit the crown. In most fiefs, in the event of the demise of all legitimate male members of the patrilineage, a female of the family could succeed.
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