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Early Irish Population-Groups: Their Nomenclature, Classification, and Chronology

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Eoin MacNeill

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    Internet availability
  1. This paper is available in pdf format on
  2. Many manuscripts referred to in this paper, such as the Book of Ballymote (Dublin, RIA, 536 olim 23 P 12) and the Book of Lecan (Dublin, RIA, 535 olim 23 P 2), are available as digitized images on the website of the ISOS Project, School of Celtic, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. (See
    Literature mentioned in the text (selection)
  1. John O'Donovan (ed), Leabhar na gCeart (Book of Rights), (Dublin 1847). [Re-edited as Lebor na Cert by Myles Dillon, ITS 46 (Dublin 1962). His edition is online at CELT in files G102900 (Irish text) and T102900 (his English translation), with further bibliographic details.]
  2. John O'Donovan, Three Fragments of Irish Annals (Dublin 1860).
  3. Eugene O'Curry, Lectures on the manuscript materials of ancient Irish history (Dublin and New York 1861; repr. Dublin 1878; repr. Dublin 1995).
  4. Edward O'Reilly, An Irish-English dictionary : with copious quotations from the most esteemed ancient and modern writers [...] (Dublin 1817, reissued 1821). New edition, with supplement by John O'Donovan (Dublin 1864).
  5. Edmund Hogan (ed): now for the first time published from a manuscript preserved in Clongowes-Wood College (Dublin 1878).
  6. Philip's Handy Atlas of the Counties of Ireland, constructed by John Bartholomew; revised by P.W. Joyce, London 1882.
  7. Henri D'Arbois de Jubainville, Cours de Littérature Celtique (Paris: A. Fontemoing, 1883–1902).
  8. Whitley Stokes, The Tripartite Life of Patrick, with other documents relating to that Saint. Edited with translations and indexes. D.C.L., L.L.D., Rolls Ser. 8vo, London. Part I. cxcix + 267 [8] pp. facs. Part II. 269–676, 1887.
  9. W. M. Hennessy & B. Mac Carthy, Annala Uladh: Annals of Ulster otherwise Annala Senait, Annals of Senat: a chronicle of Irish affairs from A.D. 431 to A.D. 1540. 4 vols. (Dublin 1887–1901).
  10. John Healy, Ireland's ancient Schools and Scholars (Dublin 1890).
  11. Geoffrey Keating, The History of Ireland [...], Part 1, ed. David Comyn, (London: Irish Texts Society 1902).
  12. Eoin MacNeill, 'Moccu, maccu', Ériu 3 (1907), 42–49.
  13. Eoin MacNeill, 'The Irish Ogham Inscriptions: 'notes on the distribution, history, grammar and import of the Irish ogham inscriptions', Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (C), 27 (1908–09), 329–370.
  14. Eoin MacNeill (ed), Duanaire Finn, ITS volume 7 (London 1908).
  15. Alfred Anscombe, 'The Longobardic Origin of St. Sechnall', Ériu 4 (1908), p. 74–90.
  16. Edmund Hogan, Onomasticon Goedelicum: locorum et tribuum Hiberniae et Scotiae; an index, with identifications, to the Gaelic names of places and tribes (Dublin 1910). [A version prepared by the LOCUS project in UCC is vailable online at]
  17. Alfred Holder, Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz, Sprachschatz. 3 vols, Leipzig 1891–1913.
  18. Ernst Windisch (ed), Die altirische Heldensage Táin Bó Cúalnge nach dem Buch von Leinster, in Text und Übersetzung mit einer Einleitung [und Wörterverzeichniss]. Gedruckt mit Unterstützung der kgl. sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften (Leipzig 1905).
  19. Kuno Meyer, Fianaigecht. Todd Lecture Series 16 (Dublin 1910).
  20. Rudolf Thurneysen, Handbuch des Alt-irischen: Grammatik, Texte und Wörterbuch (Heidelberg: Winter 1909).
  21. Eoin MacNeill, 'An Irish Historical Tract dated A.D. 721', Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (C), vol. 28 (1910) 123–48.
    Further reading (selection)
  1. Julius Pokorny, 'Beiträge zur ältesten Geschichte Irlands (3. Érainn, Dári(n)ne und die Iverni und Darini des Ptolomäus)', in Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 12 (1918) 323–57.
  2. John [= Eoin] MacNeill (ed and trans), 'Poems by Fland Mainistrech on the dynasties of Ailech, Mide and Brega', Archivium Hibernicum 2 (1913) 37–99.
  3. Edmund Hogan, 'The Tricha Cét and related land-measures' in PRIA 28 (1928–29) (C), August 1928, 148–235.
  4. Toirdhealbhach Ó Raithbheartaigh (ed), Genealogical Tracts I: Anmand na n-Athachthuath (Dublin 1932) 107–116.
  5. T. F. O'Rahilly, Early Irish History and Mythology (Dublin 1946).
  6. Francis Xavier Martin, 'The Writings of Eoin MacNeill', Irish Historical Studies 6:21 (March 1948) 44–62.
  7. Francis John Byrne, Francis Xavier Martin (eds), The scholar revolutionary: Eoin MacNeill, 1867–1945, and the making of the new Ireland (Dublin 1973).
  8. Paul MacCotter, 'The cantreds of Desmond', Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society 105 (2000) 49–68.
  9. Paul MacCotter, Medieval Ireland: territorial, political and economic divisions (Dublin 2008).
    Internet availability:
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. Eoin MacNeill, Early Irish Population-Groups: Their Nomenclature, Classification, and Chronology in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Ed. [Royal Irish Academy]. , Dublin, Royal Irish Academy (April 1911) volume 29 section C no 4 page 59–109


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Created: Article written by Eoin (=John) MacNeill (d. 1945) (1911)

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Language: [GA] Many group names and quoted text passages are in Old and Middle Irish.
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Language: [GR] A few words and phrases are in Greek.

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Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: E900000-003

Early Irish Population-Groups: Their Nomenclature, Classification, and Chronology: Author: [unknown]


Plural Names

¶1] Among the continental Celts, each distinct population-group bore a plural name, e.g. Haedui. The singular form denoted an individual member of the community, e.g. Haeduus. This system of nomenclature, very general in ancient Europe, might be expected to exist in the oldest Irish traditions. In Ptolemy's description of Ireland, the sixteen peoples named all bear names of this order.

¶2] Most of the names given by Ptolemy lack identification in the native Irish tradition. The absence of these from Irish writings may be accounted for in more than one way. Some of the names may have been inaccurately recorded by Ptolemy. Some may have been corrupted beyond recognition by his copyists. Some may have designated peoples whose identity became forgotten through conquest and dispersion, for there is ample evidence that the period between Ptolemy's time (c. A.D. 150) and the beginning of contemporary records in Ireland was marked by great commotion, involving widespread changes in distribution and relative status of the older elements of the population.

¶3] The Ogham inscriptions, as I have shown in an article on the word Moccu (Ogham mucci) in Ériu, vol. 3, part 1, sometimes record names not only


of persons but of peoples. The people-names, however, chiefly belong not to the class discussed above, but to a subordinate class, as will be seen. It is therefore unnecessary here to consider the question of the earliest date of the extant Oghams. Between Ptolemy and the oldest probable manuscript records in Ireland there is a gap of at least three centuries. The names Scotti and Atecotti, known through Latin writings of the fourth century, are probably of a general application, not designative of special groups. Orosius gives one people-name not mentioned by Ptolemy, the Luceni, whom he places on the southern coast over against Spain; they have not been identified in Irish tradition. (Is Luceni a copyist's error for Iuerni?)

¶4] In Christian Ireland, from the fourth century onward, the plural formula for people-names exists only as a survival. The Ulidian tales, which are held to embody very ancient traditions, assign indeed a prominent part to peoples with plural names, the Ulaid, the Lagin, the Galeoin, the Érainn, but not a more prominent part than to the Connachta, whose name belongs to quite a different order. As the phrase teora Connachta shows, this name, though plural, is the plural not of a word denoting an individual, but of a collective noun. Already in the pre-Christian period such collective nouns have for the most part displaced the older formula, tending to obliterate it largely from traditional memory, since among the hundreds of collective names on record only a small proportion are known to originate from an earlier group bearing a plural name.

¶5] The obsolescence of the earlier order of names is further exemplified in the complete absence, so far as my observation goes, of any instance of the use of the singular to denote an individual. The only approach to such usage in my knowledge is the occurrence of a few names like Cormac Gaileng, Ailill Érann, Mugdorn Dub, etc., for persons who in the genealogical lore stand as eponymous ancestors to the Gailing, the Erainn, the Mugdoirn, etc.

¶6] In the Christian period, the surviving plural names (except in genealogical writings) tend more and more to become dissociated from population-groups, and to attach themselves in ordinary usage to geographical areas, e.g. Laigin, usually meaning the country Leinster, or the people of Leinster, of whom the original Laigin were only one section.

¶7] The following names from Irish MS. sources appear to belong to what may be called the first order, i.e. to the Haedui-type1:

¶8] *Arai, dat. pl. Araib. Middle Irish Ara Thíre, Ara Chliach.


¶9] *Coraind, *Corrind, dat. pl. Corannaib, Correndaib, Windisch, Táin Bo Cuailngi, index. In the Boyne valley, corresponding to Ptolemy's Coriondi. Compare Corcu Cuirnd, Cuirenrige.

¶10] Cruithni, gen. pl. Cruithne, acc. pl. Cruithniu, but in composition Cruithen-tuath, Cruithen- chlár. MacFir Bisigh, Book of Genealogies, R.I.A. copy, p. 54, quotes a poem on the aithechtuatha, with the couplet (eight and seven syllables):

    1. Clann Chathraighe a ccriochaibh Cruithent
      or chin Cairbre Cinn Cait cruaidh.
The correct reading is probably Cruithen, t from the familiar Cruithentuath being added by MacF. or some earlier scribe. The early stem should have been *Qretino-, *Qreteno-, and perhaps the Greek form Prettano- may have been influenced by Brittani. Cruithni, Cruithne, may represent an early secondary formation in -io-, or may be merely a late development like Érnai, Mugdornai. Such a development could arise from acc. pl. Cruithniu, dat. pl. Cruithnib, which would be common to both forms, and even a nom. pl. *Cruithin could easily become Cruithni in transcription.

¶11] Éli, gen. pl. Éle.

¶12] Érainn, gen. pl. Érann (not gen. sg. as in Onomasticon Goedelicum), acc. pl. Érna (= Érnu), dat. pl. Érnaib, = Iérni, Iverni, ‘Hiberni’. Probably a secondary formation from an older *Ivéri, whence *Ivériu, Ériu, Iwerddon. In the Ulidian tales, the Érainn are frequently called Clanda Dedad, and in the genealogies they have, besides Ailill Érann, an eponymous ancestor Iar macc Dedad. The group of tales centring in Conaire Mór are the heroic legend of this race, and Conaire's father is called Eterscél (also Eterscéle) moccu Iair. Macc Iair is a personal name, not an ordinary patronymic: hence the sept-name Ui Maicc Iair and the Ogham Maqi Iari. Windisch (T.B.C. index) cites Iarna as a duplicate form of Érna. We may suppose the double base ér, iar, to have arisen from a coexisting pair iér-, ivér-. Compare Ierne, Ptolemy's Iernos potamos, Iernis polis, contemporary with Iuverna, Iuerna, Hibernia.

¶13] Féni, gen. pl. Féne, as Meyer has shown ( Fianaigecht, p. viii), may be an ancient people-name, not the name of a class as has been supposed.

¶14] *Fothairt, gen. pl. Fothart.

¶15] *Galing, gen. pl. Galeng.

¶16] Galiúin, Galeoin, gen. pl. Galian, Galion.

¶17] Lagin, gen. pl. Lagen.


¶18] Manaig or Monaig, dat. pl. Manachaib, but derivative Manchaig. Compare Manapii.

¶19] Maugdoirn, Mugdoirn, gen. pl. -dorn, acc. pl. -dornu. Compare Ptolemy's Darini.

¶20] Sogain, gen. pl. Sogan. Compare Sograige (?), Corcu Sogain, Corcu Suigin (Sogain here being gen. sg. of the eponym, as in moccu Sogin, Ogham mucoi Sogini).

¶21] Ulaid, gen. pl. Uloth, acc. pl. Ultu. The earlier nom. pl. must have been Uluti or Oluti, and one may surmise that Ptolemy's Ouolountioi, whose location well corresponds to that of the Ulaid around Emain, is a scribal corruption of Oulouti = Uluti, perhaps through the influence of the Latin voluntas.

¶22] Vellabori (Ptolemy), Velabri (Orosius) seems to have left a trace in the place-name Luachair Fellubair (LL 23 a 17). This name occurs in a poem which aims at accounting for the distribution of the peoples said to be descendants of Fergus Mac Roig. Wherever Rudraige, the Ulidian king of Ireland, won a battle, his grandson Fergus planted a colony of his own race.

    1. Cech rói reraig corruadchathaib cen chridenas
      cotgab iar fír roslín Fergus dia fhinichas.
Of these colonies were Ciarraige Luachra (in North Kerry) and Ciarraige Cuirche (Kerrycurrihy barony, co. Cork), and the victories of Rudraige which led to them are thus recited:
    1. Fich cath Curchu cath Luachra laechdu Fellubair
      secht catha i Cliu intochtmad friu i nGlendamain.
Ptolemy clearly indicates the Vellabori as inhabiting the south-western corner of Ireland, and Orosius speaks of the Velabri as looking towards Spain. In the verse cited, we should expect gen. pl. Fellabor = *Vellabron, but the word may be used eponymically in gen. sg. like Dedad in Luachair Dedad, another name for the same district.

¶23] In the absence of examples of the singular, it seems likely that Aidni, Luaigni, Luigni, Uaithni belong to this order rather than to the collectives in -ne.

¶24] Dési is to be classed apart, being the plural of a common noun déis ensemble de vassaux. Aire désa, lord of a vassal tenantry. See D'Arbois de Jubainville, Cours de Littérature Celtique, vol. viii, p. 204. In the story of the migration of the Dési (ed. Meyer, Ériu 3, p. 141), the narrator is at pains to explain (lines 215–219) that the derogatory term dési is not applicable properly to Dál Fiachach, the dominant people of Dési Muman:


¶25] ‘Coica toirgi2 laisna Déisi. A cuic fichet dib tarthatar raind, a cuic fichet aile nach tarthatar ocus is dona toirgib [sin] is ainm Déisi. Ar itt e fil fo deisis ocus dligud ocus bodagas dona flathaib .i. do Dail Fiachach Suigde ocus ni hainm doib-side Déisi.’ ‘The Dési had fifty migrations (i.e. consisted of fifty migratory peoples). Twenty-five got a share (of the conquered land), another twenty-five got no share, and to these migratory peoples the name Dési belongs. For it is they who are under (deisis) vassal-tribute3 and law and bodagas to the rulers, i.e. to Dál Fiachach Suigdi, and Dési is not a name for the latter.’

¶26] The story professes to give a list of the migratory peoples who assisted Dál Fiachach in the campaign. The list names forty-seven peoples, not fifty. The first three are mentioned twice in immediate succession, and so may have been counted as six by the compiler of the list, who doubtless aimed at collecting fifty names and ceased to extend his list when it seemed to reach that number. These migratory bodies are described by a term (loinges, l. 103), indicating that they were already landless. The account of the aithechtuatha, BB 255a, has two lists, of which the first, ending on the line 18, contains 46 names. Most of these correspond to the names in the Dési story, and the list was doubtless extracted from a version of the story. These premisses fully sustain the interpretation of déis given by D'Arbois de Jubainville.

¶27] *Airgéill is given by Hogan on the authority of the index to Stokes's Tripartite Life. The gen. pl. is Airgiall, but the nom. pl. in Middle Irish texts, as noted by me, is only Airgialla. The name seems to be of comparatively late formation, and cannot be classed with the old order of plural people-names.

¶27a] Mac Fir Bhisigh ( Genealogies, p. 54) quotes a poem on the aithechtuatha, which include ‘Absdanaigh for iarthar Erenn, for Luachair Chairbrighe.’ Further it is stated that the ‘Absdanaigh iarthair Erenn’ are of the Fir Bolg. See also Onomasticon Goedelicum Since Cairbrige is said to be an older name for Ciarraige Luachra (perhaps for the territory, from a people supposed to have anciently possessed it), the locality indicated is Luachair in western Munster.

¶28] As in Airgialla, so in several other plural names with o-stem, Middle Irish usage substitutes a strengthened nominative: Araid for *Arai, gen. pl. Arad, acc. pl. Arada; Érna, Érnai for Erain; Fotharta, Gailenga, Mugdorna, Mugdornai. The added syllable is occasionally maintained in gen. pl., e. g. septem genera Gailinga. Compare what has been said above on Cruithni, *Cruithin.


Collective Names

¶29] Already, before the earliest documentary period, a new formula has come into general use, that of collective singular names. Of such names there are five varieties:—

  1. Dál followed by genitive eponym, e.g. Dál Cais.
  2. Corcu followed by genitive eponym, e.g. Corcu Duibne.
  3. Eponym compounded with -rige, e.g. Boonrige.
  4. compounded with -ne, e.g. Cuircne.
  5. Eponym compounded with -acht, e.g. Cianacht.
Loigis (Mid. I. Laigis, modern I. Laoighis, English Leix), gen. sg. Lóigse, may be a sixth variety.

¶30] Until the eighth century, this class of people-names, which I would call the second order, though long established, had not become stereotyped as in later usage. They were to some extent interchangeable. Korku Reti (Adamnan) = Dál Riatai. Corcu Sai (L. Arm.) = Sairige. Dál Musca = Muscraige. Dál nEogain, Dál Cein = Eoganacht, Cianacht. This interchangeable character shows that the different forms were felt to belong to one order or system of nomenclature, which is also proved by the applicability to all of the personal name-formula in moccu (Ogham mucoi, maqi mucoi), which becomes obsolete in the eighth century.

¶31] The eponym is occasionally feminine. From this and other indications, I have formed the opinion that the eponymous ancestor may be a divine or mythological personage. Many of the stories in which the genealogists relate the origin of these early groups bear a strong mythological character.

¶32] Dál is explained by the Venerable Bede, in reference to the Dalreudini (i.e. Dál Réti, Dál Riata), as meaning pars, and this among various senses of the word seems best suited to its usage in people-names: Dál Réti, Réte's division or section of the Érainn. The eponym may be often, if not always, the name of a divine ancestor.

¶33] Corcu (later Corco, Corca) appears as an indeclinable noun.4 A possible connexion with coirce is suggested to me by Professor Marstrander: compare the use of Síl in later group-names, e.g. Síl Muiredaig.
The genealogists, ignoring the obvious fact that Corcu is a common generic term equivalent to Dál, supply an eponymous ancestor Corc for several of the peoples named in this form.


¶34] Dál is found before the following eponyms:—

    {column 1}
  1. Aengusa Musca
  2. Airde
  3. nAisci (Naisci?)
  4. Araidi
  5. Auluim
  6. Oluim
  7. Uluim
  8. Baiscinn
  9. Bardeni
  10. Bairdine
  11. Beccon
  12. Birnd
  13. Buachalla
  14. Buain
  15. Buinne
  16. Bundruini
  17. Cabail
  18. Cabula
  19. Cauala
  20. Cairbri
  21. Coirpri
  22. Cais
  23. Calathbuig
  24. Cathula
  25. Cealtru
  26. Ceata
  27. Céin
  28. Céte
  29. Ceide
  30. Cethirnn
  31. Codaid
  32. Conchubuir
  33. Condad5
  34. Condaid
  35. Condaith
  36. Confinn
  37. Congaile
  38. Conluain
  39. {column 2}
  40. Connaig
  41. Conrach
  42. Corb
  43. Cormaic
  44. Cualni
  45. Cuinn
  46. Cuirb
  47. Cuirc6
  48. Cula
  49. Dairine
  50. Dalláin7
  51. Damail
  52. Didil
  53. Ditil
  54. Druithne
  55. Duach
  56. Duibne
  57. Duluim
  58. Echach
  59. Eogain
  60. Fiachach
  61. Fiatach
  62. Foichidh
  63. Gabla
  64. Gailline
  65. Gella
  66. Idnu
  67. Imdae
  68. nIochair
  69. Luigne
  70. Luigni
  71. Luiscni
  72. Luiscin
  73. Macon
  74. Meacon
  75. Mecon
  76. Maic Con
  77. Mic Con
  78. {column 3}
  79. Maic Cuirp
  80. Maic Néth
  81. Maigin
  82. Maigne
  83. Maignen
  84. Maignenn
  85. Maithe
  86. Maitti
  87. Mathar
  88. Math8 Lego
  89. Math9 Lobha
  90. Mathra
  91. Mathrach
  92. Matrach
  93. Metrach
  94. Maugnae
  95. Mechon
  96. Mochon
  97. Menda
  98. Meandach
  99. Mendad
  100. Mendato
  101. Mendet
  102. Mennaid
  103. Medruad
  104. Mendraide
  105. Messe Corb
  106. Mas Corb
  107. Mes Corb
  108. Messin Corb
  109. Mos Corp
  110. Mocoirp
  111. Mo Dala
  112. Mo Dola
  113. Mo Dula
  114. Moga
  115. Moga Ruith
  116. Muaigh
  117. {column 4}
  118. Mude
  119. Mudine Indae
  120. Mugaide
  121. Mugaidithi
  122. Mugith
  123. Muigid
  124. Muine
  125. Muindi
  126. Muisge
  127. Muith
  128. Musca
  129. Na Cethre nArad
  130. Nat Corp
  131. Niad Corb
  132. Niath Lega
  133. [Niath Lobha]
  134. Nimde
  135. Nuidne
  136. Nuidine
  137. Nuisce
  138. Nuiscidi
  139. nOich
  140. Riatai
  141. Riata
  142. Riada
  143. Ruitne
  144. Runtair
  145. Runtir
  146. Sailni
  147. Seille
  148. Tidil
  149. Tidilli
  150. Tri Conall
  151. nUlad
  152. nUlaim
  153. Uoig
  154. Urcon


¶35] Corcu is found before the following eponyms:—

    {column 1}
  1. Achland
  2. Achlann
  3. Athchlann
  4. Achrach
  5. Acrach
  6. Adain
  7. Adaim
  8. Aengusa
  9. hAibligh10
  10. Ainge
  11. Airtbe
  12. Airtbind
  13. Airtgein
  14. Aland11
  15. Andsae
  16. Aola
  17. Arad
  18. Athrach
  19. Ethrach
  20. Auloim
  21. Auniche12
  22. Bairdni
  23. Baiscinn
  24. Bibuir
  25. Bill
  26. Birn
  27. Bruidhi13
  28. Caela14
  29. Chaelraigi
  30. Caullain
  31. {column 2}
  32. Ce15
  33. Cede
  34. Chéin
  35. Cluain
  36. Choemne16
  37. Coilgenn
  38. Comne
  39. Condlaigen
  40. Condluain
  41. Chroissine
  42. Croisin
  43. Cuilend
  44. Cuirn
  45. Chuirnd
  46. Culla
  47. Dain17
  48. Dálann
  49. Dallan
  50. De
  51. Deala
  52. Dega
  53. Dene
  54. Díne
  55. Dimoena
  56. Doine
  57. Dome
  58. Din
  59. Ditha
  60. Dithechtai
  61. Condithechtai
  62. {column 3}
  63. Druithne
  64. Duib18
  65. Duibe
  66. Duibne
  67. Duibindi
  68. Duibne
  69. Duichne
  70. Duin19
  71. Duithne
  72. Dula
  73. Echlann
  74. Echrach
  75. Ela
  76. Ele20
  77. Ethrach
  78. Echach
  79. Ethach
  80. Eoluim
  81. Faimnia
  82. Fásaigh
  83. Ferai
  84. Fiachach
  85. Fiachrach
  86. Fir Tri21
  87. Irtri
  88. Foche = Oche
  89. Foduib22
  90. Fuindche
  91. Gaola
  92. Iche
  93. {column 4}
  94. Inmend
  95. Inomain
  96. Itha
  97. Laege
  98. Láige
  99. Loegde
  100. Laegde
  101. Laigde
  102. Luigde
  103. Luachra
  104. Luigdech
  105. Luigne
  106. Ma
  107. Maigh
  108. Maighe
  109. Maige Locha
  110. Maigen
  111. Maigne
  112. Maradh
  113. Mogha
  114. Moda
  115. Moncho
  116. Mu Druad
  117. 'Mdruad
  118. 'Mruad
  119. Muichet
  120. Muichi
  121. Muinche
  122. Muinchi
  123. Nechtae

  124. p.67

    {column 1}
  125. Ochland
  126. Oiche
  127. Oche
  128. Oirce
  129. Oircthe
  130. Oirchen
  131. Oircthen
  132. Olchind23
  133. Reti
  134. Riada
  135. Righe24
  136. {column 2}
  137. Rinn
  138. Rinne
  139. Roeda
  140. Roide
  141. Raeda
  142. Raeidhe
  143. Raide
  144. Raighe
  145. Roeada
  146. Ruaid
  147. Ruisen
  148. {column 3}
  149. Sechlaind25
  150. Selcind
  151. Sochlend
  152. Sogain
  153. Suigin
  154. Sodhain
  155. Soilcind
  156. Thede = Dál Céte
  157. Themne
  158. Temrach
  159. Tened
  160. {column 4}
  161. Thened
  162. Tethba
  163. Timine
  164. Tine
  165. Toilgenn
  166. Uais
  167. hUiblig
  168. hUiniche
  169. Ulad
  170. Ulum26

¶36] -rige has dative singular rigiu. Though I have no instance establishing the gender as neuter, still the ending is to be identified with the neuter noun rige ‘kingship’. Hence it would appear that groups of this order originally formed petty states each under its king. Historically, some of these groups are large enough to form several petty kingdoms, while others must have been mere village communities.

¶37] In these compounds rígion = ríge becomes27 -rige. If the eponym retains a second syllable ending in a vowel, -rige suffers syncope, e.g. Nechtarge (eponymous in moccu Nechtae), Osseirge, later by metathesis or analogy, Nechtraige, Osraige. The close correspondence between the territory of Osraige (diocese of Ossory, but anciently also extending much farther westward) and the place assigned by Ptolemy to the Ousdiai makes it likely that the names also are closely associated (Osse -rge = *Osdia-rígion? Should we not expect Uisserge?). When the eponymic element ends in r preceded by a consonant, only one r appears in writing: Gabraige = *Gabrorígion (eponym Fer Dá Gabar), Bibraige = Corcu Bibuir, Odraige also Odorrige. This arises from a usage in spelling, compare gobann, Goibniu.

¶38] In Middle Irish, there is an increasing tendency to substitute -raige for -rige, and the later MSS. show a strong preference for -raide. In the following list add -rige, raige, where the hyphen appears:

    {column 1}
  1. Ai-?
  2. Aib-
  3. {column 2}
  4. Airb-28
  5. Alt-
  6. {column 3}
  7. Allt-
  8. Aman-29
  9. {column 4}
  10. Arb-
  11. Art-

  12. p.68

    {column 1}
  13. Au-
  14. Baen-
  15. Belt-
  16. Bend-
  17. Benn-
  18. Bent-
  19. Bendt-
  20. Bennt-
  21. Bib-
  22. Biurraidh?
  23. Bidb-
  24. Bid-
  25. Blad-
  26. Blath-
  27. Blae-
  28. Blai-
  29. Blod-
  30. Blodh-
  31. Boend-
  32. Boand-
  33. Boind-
  34. Bocc-
  35. Bodb-
  36. Bolg-
  37. Bonand-
  38. Bond-
  39. Bonn-
  40. Bon-
  41. Boon-
  42. Borb-
  43. Brecc-
  44. Bresc-
  45. Brocenn-
  46. Brod-
  47. Brug-
  48. Bru-
  49. Brui-
  50. Cael-
  51. {column 2}
  52. Caen-
  53. Cae-
  54. Cai-
  55. Cailt-
  56. Cairb-
  57. Cair-
  58. Calb-
  59. Cal-
  60. Call-
  61. Carb-
  62. Cas-
  63. Cath-
  64. Cat-
  65. Catt-
  66. Cecht-
  67. Cel-
  68. Cell-
  69. Cerd-
  70. Cer-
  71. Ciar-
  72. Clom-
  73. Cloth
  74. Cnam-
  75. Co-30
  76. Coc-
  77. Coil-
  78. Coen-
  79. Coin-
  80. Coirp-
  81. Coith-
  82. Cond-
  83. Con-
  84. Corb-
  85. Corbet-
  86. Corc-
  87. Corp-
  88. Cort-
  89. Cosc-
  90. {column 3}
  91. Coth-
  92. Crec-
  93. Creg-
  94. Crech-
  95. Crobert-
  96. Crot-
  97. Cuart-
  98. Cuilen-
  99. Cuin-
  100. Cuir-
  101. Cuiren-
  102. Culindt-
  103. Cup-
  104. Cu-
  105. Cur-
  106. Curand-
  107. Cuth-
  108. Dart-
  109. Dub-
  110. E-?
  111. Eigin-
  112. Em-
  113. Emen-
  114. Eoch-
  115. Erc-
  116. Herc-
  117. Fed-
  118. Forb-
  119. Frad- 31
  120. Gab- 32
  121. Gael-
  122. Gail-
  123. Gaman-
  124. Garb-
  125. Geg-
  126. Glas-
  127. Glunn-
  128. Grafimin-
  129. {column 4}
  130. Grac-
  131. Grag-
  132. Graic-
  133. Gran-
  134. Grec-
  135. Greg-
  136. Gregi-
  137. Gruth-
  138. Gub-
  139. Gubt-
  140. Inninn-
  141. Ladh-
  142. Lagh-
  143. Lam-
  144. Lath-
  145. Lat-
  146. Latt-
  147. Luad
  148. Lubart-
  149. Lubut
  150. Luch-
  151. Lud-
  152. Luid-
  153. Luff-
  154. Lug-
  155. Luig-
  156. Lus-
  157. Man-
  158. Mann-
  159. Mas-
  160. Masc-
  161. Maugin-
  162. Mughan
  163. Med-
  164. Meg-
  165. Men-
  166. Mend-
  167. Menn-

  168. p.69

    {column 1}
  169. Molt-
  170. Musc-
  171. Naind-
  172. Necht-
  173. Nechta-
  174. Nos-
  175. Nois-
  176. Noth-
  177. Nud-
  178. Nudh-
  179. Nuidh-
  180. Nut-
  181. Nuth-
  182. {column 2}
  183. Odor-
  184. Od-
  185. Orb-
  186. Osse-
  187. Ossa-
  188. Os-
  189. Pap-
  190. Pab-
  191. Part-
  192. Rath-
  193. Rech-
  194. Ros-
  195. Roth-
  196. Roith-
  197. {column 3}
  198. Sai-
  199. Saith-
  200. Sciath-
  201. Scorb-
  202. Scot-
  203. Sed-
  204. Sem-
  205. Semon-
  206. Snob-
  207. Sob-
  208. Sub-
  209. Sogh-
  210. Sord-
  211. {column 4}
  212. Sort-
  213. Sorth-
  214. Suob-
  215. Tac-33
  216. Taec-
  217. Tec-
  218. Teoc-
  219. Teoch-
  220. Torc-
  221. Trat-
  222. Trad-
  223. Tread-
  224. Treg-
  225. U-

¶39] The suffix -ne, dat. sg. -niu, points to a collective ending -inion. In Middle Irish, when the preceding consonant resists palatalisation, -ne becomes -na. In the following list, doubtless, many names are included which do not denote population-groups, since the suffix has a much wider application. The instances which are known to be people-names are indicated by (k).34

    {column 1}
  1. Mag Aibne
  2. Aidne
  3. Ailbine
  4. Loch Aillinne
  5. Loch Aindinne
  6. Cluain Airdne
  7. Airene
  8. Cul Aisne
  9. Mag Argarni
  10. Belach mBarnini
  11. Bechlarna
  12. Beltine
  13. (k) Blaitine
  14. Blaittine
  15. Blárna
  16. Bogaine
  17. {column 2}
  18. Brefne
  19. Brebne
  20. Brestine
  21. Loch Bricerne
  22. Bruachairne
  23. (k) Buaigni
  24. Buichne
  25. Cabcenne
  26. Cluain Caichne
  27. Cascene
  28. Cúl Caissine
  29. Mag Cargamni
  30. Cattene
  31. Cerne
  32. Dún Cermna
  33. Mag Cétni
  34. {column 3}
  35. Ath Coirthine
  36. Coirtene
  37. Dún Coistinne
  38. (k) Conaille
  39. Aes Conchinne
  40. Mag Conchinne
  41. (k) Conchuburne
  42. Coningne
  43. (k) Conmaicne
  44. Creidne
  45. (k) Cremthanna
  46. Cremthinne
  47. Ard Crimne
  48. Crinua
  49. Ard Cróinne
  50. (k) Tuath Cruadhluinde
  51. {column 4}
  52. Cuairne
  53. Cuerne
  54. Mag Cualgerne
  55. Áth Cuillne
  56. (k) Cuircne
  57. Ros Cuissine
  58. Tráig Culcinne
  59. Daimine
  60. Dáimne
  61. (k) Dáirine
  62. Damhairne
  63. Es Danainne
  64. (k) Delbna
  65. Delmne
  66. Delna
  67. Deoninne

  68. p.70

    {column 1}
  69. Dergne
  70. Dún Detchine
  71. Detnae
  72. Cúl Dreimne
  73. Drebne
  74. Drebine
  75. Dún Dreimne
  76. Mag Drithne
  77. Duichni
  78. Sliab Eblinne
  79. Edne
  80. Eilne
  81. Eilbine
  82. Cúl Emni
  83. Loch Érne
  84. Ernine
  85. Etarbainne
  86. Fertene
  87. Findine
  88. Benn Foibne
  89. Ros Foichne
  90. Foidne
  91. Fuaithniu
  92. Ard Gabreni
  93. {column 2}
  94. (k) Gailine
  95. Gailinne
  96. Gebtine
  97. Gobnine
  98. Goistine
  99. Gratine
  100. Greftine
  101. Gruitini
  102. Domnach Iarlainne
  103. Áth Inroine
  104. Inber Labrainne
  105. Loch Labrainne
  106. (k) Lathairne
  107. Latharna
  108. (k) Ligmuine
  109. Locharna
  110. (k) Luaigni
  111. (k)Luguirne35
  112. (k) Luigni
  113. Mag Luidni
  114. Mairtine
  115. Áth Cliath Mairgene
  116. Áth Liac Margini
  117. Cuan Manainne
  118. {column 3}
  119. Tír Marcceini
  120. Metine
  121. Muscraige Mitaine
  122. Midbine
  123. Cluain Moescnae
  124. (k) Tuath Mochtaine
  125. Tuath Mochthuinne
  126. Dún Muairne
  127. Ailech Muirinne
  128. Nemeni
  129. Glenn Nemthinne
  130. Ochaine
  131. Oichene
  132. (k) Ochmaine
  133. Oicne
  134. Caill Oichni
  135. Oinmine
  136. Ollbine
  137. (k) Plaitine
  138. Raigne
  139. Raimhne
  140. Saidni
  141. Saimni
  142. (k) Saithni
  143. {column 4}
  144. Scédni
  145. Sceinni
  146. Segene
  147. (k) Semaine
  148. Semoni
  149. Semuine
  150. Semne
  151. Cúl Siblinne
  152. Cúl Sibrinne
  153. Dún Sraibtine
  154. Dún Sraiftine
  155. Dún Sraiptine
  156. Taelcoine
  157. Taiblene
  158. Mag Taidcni
  159. Talcainne
  160. Talindi
  161. Cluain Tibrinne
  162. (k) Tretherne
  163. Tuath Uindsinde
  164. Mag Uaidni
  165. (k) Uaithni

¶40] Interchange of formulae:—

  1. Dál Aengusa Musca = Dál Musca = Muscraige
  2. Dál Auluim = Corcu Auloim
  3. Dál Bardeni = Corcu Bairdni
  4. Dál Baiscinn = Corcu Baiscinn
  5. Dál Birnd36 = Corcu Birn = Osraige
  6. Dál Buain = Boonrige
  7. Dál Céin = Corcu Chéin = Cianacht
  8. Dál Céte, compare Corcu Cede
  9. Dál Conchubuir = Conchubuirne37
  10. Dál Conluain = Corcu Condluain
  11. Dál Cormaic = Corcu Cormaic Lagen
  12. Dál Cuinn = Connachta
  13. Dál Cuirb, compare Corbraige
  14. Dál Cuirc, compare Cuircne

  15. p.71

  16. Dál Druithne = Corcu Druithne
  17. Dál Duibne,, compare Corcu Duibne
  18. Dál Echach, compare Corcu Echach
  19. Dál Eogain = Eoganacht
  20. Dál Fiachach = Corcu Fiachach
  21. Dál Luigne = Corcu Luigne
  22. Dál Maigen, compare Corcu Maigen
  23. Dál Maigne, compare Corcu Maigne
  24. Dál Maugnae, compare Mauginrige
  25. Dál Me Druad = Corcu Mu Druad, Corcumruad
  26. Dál Mo Dula, compare Corcu Dula
  27. Dál Moga, compare Corcu Moga
  28. Dál Riatai = Korku Reti, Corcu Riada
  29. Dál Ulad, compare Corcu Ulad
  30. Corcu Bibuir, compare Bibraige
  31. Corcu Cuirn, compare Cuirenrige
  32. Corcu Dálann = Dál Dálann
  33. Corcu Duib = Dubrige
  34. Corcu Loegde, also named Dáirine
  35. Corcu Och(a)e, compare Ochaine
  36. Corcu Luachra = Orbraige Droma Imnocht
  37. Corcu Nechtae, compare Nechtarge, Nechtraige
  38. Corcu Ruisen = Tuath Ruisen
  39. Corcu Sai = Sairige
  40. Corcu Themne = Temenrige
  41. Saithrige, compare Saithne
  42. Semraige, Semonrige = Semaine, Semoni, Tuath Semon

¶41] Of collective names in -acht, I have only three certain instances, all very prominent in history, Cianacht, Connachta, Eoganacht. The plurals Cianachta, Eoganachta are also frequent, especially when more than one subdivision of these groups is in question. Of the singular Connacht I have no example; but the phrase ‘teora Connachta’ shows that here, too, we have a collective noun. These instances may be added to ‘Bibracte’ cited by Thurneysen ( Altirische Grammatik, paragraph 262) in support of his view that the abstract nouns in -acht were originally collectives. Other possible examples are Ailech Esrachtae, Ard Cánachta, Cluain Cuallachta, Crích Cugennachte.

¶42] In my paper on the Moccu-formula ( Ériu, vol. 3), I brought together a number of instances to show that this formula, which was used as a kind of surname until the eighth century, had relation to the people-name, the eponym in the latter being extracted, so to speak, and its genitive preceded by moccu being used to form the surname or gens-name of the individual. I


also showed that moccu in Old Irish was represented by mucoi or maqi mucoi in the Ogham inscriptions, and that the corresponding people-name, where it could be identified, belonged to the class of collective names which I have ventured in this paper to designate as the second order. With a view to testing these deductions more fully, I have brought together all the examples of mucoi and moccu which since then I have been able to collect. The result has been to confirm the deductions of my paper in Ériu. I have found no conflicting instance. In many cases, the corresponding people-name has not yet been discovered; but since it appears fairly certain that the formula always testifies to the existence of an ancient population-group whose name must have embodied the eponym found after mucoi or moccu, I give here the whole list of examples.

¶43] If I am correct in referring moccu Elich to Éli, and moccu Echach (Echdach) to Dál Echach = Fothairt, these instances, together with moccu Baird, appear to indicate that the formula was also applicable in the case of people-names of the first order. The rarity of the instances is a matter of course, considering that but few names of the first order were preserved, and that of these few a number, like Érainn, Lagin, comprised subdivisions of the second order. It is even probable, as Corcu Sogin beside Sogin suggests, that the collective formula could be applied to the older names treated as eponyms.

¶44] Eponyms following MUCOI and its variants in Ogham inscriptions:38

  1. 1. ANAdo
  2. 69. ALLDATO compare Altraige39
  3. 76. BIDANI
  4. 1902 p. 5. BRECI compare Breccraige
  5. 162. CALLITTI compare Cailtrige
  6. 183. CORIBIRI compare Dál Coirpri40
  7. 126. CUNAVALI compare Conaille41
  8. 229. CUNIA
  9. 246. DONmxI42
  10. 18. DOVVINIAS Corcu Duibne43

  11. p.73

  12. 20. DOV
  13. 31. DOVINIA
  14. 32. DOVINIA
  15. 189. GLUNLEGGET
  16. 211. IVODACCA
  17. 214. LITOS
  18. 212. LUGA
  19. 247. LUGUNI compare Dál Luigni44
  20. 1899 p. 427. LUGUNI Luigne45
  21. 1895 p. 359. MACORA
  22. 213. MACORBO op. Dál Mocoirp.46
  23. 223. MaCoRBo
  24. 196. MAQI EURI47
  25. 3. MAQI MEQ [o . . .
  26. 220. MEDALO compare Dál Mo Dala.
  27. 1898 p. 397. MOITINI/ MEUTINI
  28. 208. NETA SEGAMONAS48
  31. 237. ODARREA compare Odrige, Odorrige.49

  32. p.74

  33. 79. QERAI Cerrige, later Ciarraige.50
  34. 160. QRITTI compare Crothraige
  35. 218. ROTTAIS compare Rothraige, Roithrige.51
  36. 198. SOGINI compare Sogain, Corcu Sogain, Corcu Suigin.
  37. 88. TOICAXI
  38. 89. TOICACI
  39. 91. TOICAC
  40. 149. TORIANI
  41. 1903 p. 76. TREnAluGGo
  42. 1896 p. 129. TRENAQITI
  43. 109. TUCACAC52
  44. 107. UDDAMI
  45. 242. VALUVI
  46. 139. VIRAGNI
  47. 243. VIRI QORB

¶45] As applied to contemporaries, the quasi-surnames in moccu become obsolete in the eighth century. The latest instance I have found is that of Luccreth moccu Ciara, the author of a poem commencing Cú-cen-máthair maith in chland, which is found with the Eoganacht genealogy in the Books of Ballymote and Lecan and in Rawlinson B 502. From internal evidence this poem appears to have been composed early in the eighth century. In the Book of Leinster and later documents moccu is misunderstood as an equivalent of macc hui, filius nepotis, and commonly represented by mc. h., m.h., macc ua, etc. Abbreviations in the following list: MD (with date in calendar) = Martyrology of Donegal; LL, BB (with page of facsimile) = Book of Leinster, Book of Ballymote; Ad = Adamnan's Vita Columbae, Reeves, index; Onom = Hogan's Onomasticon Goedelicum; Arm = Hogan's Glossary to Book of Armagh; AU (with year of annal) = Annals of Ulster; SL = Stokes's Lives of the Saints from Book of Lismore, index.

¶46] . Eponyms following Moccu:—

  1. LL 368 Ultan m. h. Aignich; see Eignich below
  2. LL 368 Mo Boe m. h. Aldae53
  3. BB 212 Mo Bhi qui dicitur me. h. Alla
  4. BB 225 Brenaind me. h. Alta54; Altraige

  5. p.75

  6. Brendenus mocu Alti; Altraige
  7. 367 367 changed to 931 on hardcopy by unknown corrector Colman macc Cuansi; compare Corcu Andsae
  8. 368 Odran mc. h. Araide; Dál Araidi
  9. BB 228 Odran me. h. Araide; Dál Araidi
  10. Ad Comgellus mocu Aridi55; Dál Araidi
  11. MD Jun. 7 Mo Cholmocc mac ua Arta; Artraige
  12. BB 225 Colum me. h. Arte; Artraige
  13. LL 359 Nechtan m. h. in Baird56 Longo-Bardi
  14. MD Apl. 22 Neachtain mac ua Baird; Longo-Bardi
  15. MD Aug. 30 Usaille mac ua Baird57; Longo-Bardi
  16. Ériu iv. p. 75 Sechnall macc ui Baird58; Longo-Bardi
  17. BB 226 Colman mc. h. Bairdine59; Dál Bardeni
  18. LL 367 Colman m. h. Bairddeni; Dál Bardeni
  19. LL 356 Mo Cholmoc m. b. Beona
  20. LL 373 Nem m. h. Birn; Dál (or Corcu) Birn60
  21. MD Jun.14 Nem mac ua Birn; Dál Birn (or Corcu Birn)
  22. Onom, p. 197 Cell macu Birn; Dál Birn (or Corcu Birn)
  23. LL 368 Setna Dromma m. h. Blai; Blairige
  24. Onom. Druim mic ua Blae; Blairige
  25. Ad Lugbeus mocu Blai; Blairige
  26. Arm Miliucc maccu Booin; Boonrige, Dál Buain
  27. BB 226 Caindech mc. h. Buachalla; Dál Buachalla
  28. LL 367 Cainnech m. h. Buachalla; Dál Buachalla
  29. LL 368 Oidrine m. h. Buachalla; Dál Buachalla
  30. Onom, p. 197 Cell maccu Buadáin
  31. MD Oct. 4 Fionocc maccu Cha; compare Cairige, Caraige
  32. LL 356 Ecca m. h. Chae; compare Cairige, Caraige
  33. BB 227 Mo Laisi mc. h. Caidi; compare Catrige
  34. LL 368 Mo Lasse m. h. Cáte; compare Catrige
  35. LL 368 Mo Beoc m. h. Cati; compare Catrige
  36. BB 227 Mo Beoc mc. b. Chaiti; compare Catrige
  37. BB 227 Mo Laisi mc. h. Carraigi
  38. LL 368 Mo Lasse m. h. Caisrige
  39. LL 367 Colman mc. h. Chais61; Dál Cais

  40. p.76

  41. BB 226 Column mc. h. Chais; Dál Cais
  42. Ad Mater virorum mocu Ceiin; Cianachta
  43. Ad Chonrii mocu Cein; Cianachta
  44. Ad avia To Cummi mocu Cein; Cianachta
  45. LL 368 Mo Chummae m. h. Chein; Cianachta
  46. BB 227 Mo Chuma mc. h. Chen; Cianachta
  47. BB 226 Comgall mc. h. Cein; Cianachta
  48. LL 327 Comgall m. h. Chéin; Cianachta
  49. LL 327 Findlug m. h. Chéin; Cianachta
  50. BB 227 Fintan mc. h. Chen62; Cianachta
  51. BB 228 Mo Gobboc m. h. Chein; Cianachta
  52. LL 368 Mo Gobboc m. h. Chein; Cianachta
  53. Ad To Channu mocu Fir Cetea; Dál Céte
  54. BB Lucreth macu Ciara; Ciarraige
  55. LL 357 Lucill m. h. Chiara; Ciarraige
  56. MD Jan. 31 Caindeach mac ui Chil; Celrige
  57. BB 227 Fintan mc. h. Chind——
  58. LL 290 Díl mc. hú Chrecga; Creccraige
  59. LL 367 Colman mc. h. Coirtged63
  60. BB 226 Colman mc. h. Coirtged64
  61. LL 355 Cilline m. h. Colla compare Corcu Culla
  62. LL 362 Ultan m. h. Conchobuir65; Dál Conchobuir
  63. AU Obitus Ultain moccu Choncobair; Dál Conchobuir
  64. 662 Ultan moccu Chonchobair quievit; Dál Conchobuir
  65. BB 228 Ultan mc. h. Conchubair; Dál Conchobuir
  66. LL 368 Mo Lasse m. h. Chonna; compare Dál Condad
  67. Arm Ad insolas Maccu Chor; compare Cuirrige
  68. LL 367 Mo Chua mc. h. Choraig
  69. BB 227 Mo Chua mc. h. Choraig
  70. MD Mar. 16 Abban mac ua Corbmaic66; Dál Cormaic
  71. BB 123 Aban maccua Cormaic; Dál Cormaic
  72. LL 357 Abbain m. h. Chormaic; Dál Cormaic
  73. LL 364 Abban m. h. Chormaic; Dál Cormaic
  74. MD Dec. 27 Fiacha mac ua Chorbmaic; Dál Cormaic
  75. AU 663 Baetan moccu Cormaicc; Dál Cormaic
  76. AU 690 Cronan moccu Chualne; Dál Cualni

  77. p.77

  78. MD Feb. 7 Mellan mac ui Cuinn; Dál Cuinn67
  79. MD Sept. 10 Seighin mac ui Chuinn; Dál Cuinn
  80. MD Oct. 9 Aedhan mac ui Chuind; Dál Cuinn
  81. LL 362 Aedan m. h. Cuind; Dál Cuinn
  82. BB 226 Colman m. h. Cuind; Dál Cuinn
  83. LL 367 Colman m. h. Cuind; Dál Cuinn
  84. BB 227 Mo Chua mc. h. Chuind; Dál Cuinn
  85. LL 367 Findlug m. h. Chuind; Dál Cuinn
  86. FM Ultan mac hui Cunga
  87. AU 664 Ultan mac Caunga
  88. Onom moccu Daimene; compare Daimine
  89. Ad Cainnechus mocu Dalon68; Corcu Dalann
  90. BB 226 Caindech me. h. Dalann; Corcu Dalann
  91. BB 227 Mo Laisi me. h. Dartada; compare Dartraige
  92. LL 368 Mo Lasse m. h. Dartada; compare Dartraige
  93. MD May 21 Inis mac ua Dartadha; compare Dartraige
  94. AU 653 Colman epscop moccu Delduib69
  95. LL 367 Colman m. h. Dulduil70
  96. Ad Ercus71 mocu Druidi
  97. LL 362 Neman m. h. Duib; Dubrige, Corcu Duibne
  98. MD Sep. 13 Naomhan mac ua Duibh; Corcu Duibne
  99. MD Apl. 8 Aedhan mac ua Dhuibhne; Corcu Duibne
  100. LL 358 Aedan m. h. Duibni; Corcu Duibne
  101. MD Feb. 20 Colgu mac ua Duineachda; Corcu Duibne
  102. AU 602 Quies Finntain filii nepotis Echdach72; compare Dál Echach
  103. Onom 539 Fintan maccu Echtach; compare Dál Echach
  104. Onom 539 Fintan maccu Echtach; compare Dál Echach
  105. Onom 539 (Fintan) moccu Edagur; compare Dál Echach
  106. BB 228 Ultan mc. h. Eignich; compare Eiginrige
  107. MD Apl. 9 Aedhach73 mac ua Elich; compare Éli
  108. LL 358 Aedach in. h. Elich; compare Éli
  109. LL 362 Finnio m. h. Fiatach; Dál Fiatach
  110. AU 578 Quies Vinniani episcopi me. nepotis Fiatach; Dál Fiatach

  111. p.78

  112. BB 226 Findbarr mc. h. Fiatach; Dál Fiatach
  113. LL 367 Findbarr mc. h. Fiatach; Dál Fiatach
  114. MD Jan. 11 Suibne maccu Ir Tri; Corcu Fir Tri
  115. BB 226 Colman m. h. Forgtech74
  116. LL 367 Colmanm. h. Fortgech 75
  117. LL 364 Mo Cholmoc m. h. Gualae no h. Gáili76
  118. Lecan 455 Eterscel Mor macu Iair77; Érainn
  119. BB 227 Mo Laisi me. h. Imdae; Dál Imde
  120. LL 368 Mo Lasse m. h. Imda; Dál Imde
  121. AU 638 Do Laissi maccu Imde; Dál Imde
  122. BB 227 Mo Chua mc. h. Lapae
  123. LL 367 Mo Chua m. h. Loppae
  124. LL 368 Mo Gobboc mc. h. Laime; compare Lámraige
  125. BB 227 Mo Gobboc in. h. Laime; compare Lámraige
  126. AU 637 Cronan moccu Loegdae; Corcu Loegde
  127. LL 367 Mo Chua in. h. Laigde; Corcu Loegde
  128. BB 227 Mo Chua me. h. Laidgi; Corcu Loegde
  129. BB 228 Mo Rioc me. h. Laigdi; Corcu Loegde
  130. LL 368 Mo-Rióc m. h. Laigde; Corcu Loegde
  131. ? Ad Columbauus mocu Loigse78; Lóigis
  132. MD May 16 Colman mac ua Laoighse; Lóigis
  133. LL 360 Colman m. h. Laigsi; Lóigis
  134. LL 356 Oenu m. h. Laigsi79; Lóigis
  135. LL Oenu in. h. Laigsi; Lóigis

  136. p.79

  137. SL 275 Enna maccu Laigsi; Lóigis
  138. LL 368 Mo Shinu me. h. Lugair; Luguirne
  139. BB 228 Mo Shinu me. h. Lugair; Luguirne
  140. BB 224 Mo Caemo me. h. Lugair; Luguirne
  141. Arm Dubthoch mc. h. Lugir; Luguirne
  142. AU 789 Comotatio reliquiarum Mo Chua moccu Lugedon
  143. Ériu 3, 138 Moccu Luigdech; compare Corcu Luigdech
  144. Arm Muirchu maccu Machtheni; compare Tuath Mochtaine80
  145. MD Jun. 8 Murchu mac ua Maichtene; compare Tuath Mochtaine
  146. MD Jun. 8 Meadhran mac ua Maichtene; compare Tuath Mochtaine
  147. BB 227 Loman mc. h. Maigni; compare Dál Maigin, Maigni
  148. LL 367 Lonan m. h. Maigen; compare Dál Maigin, Maigni
  149. LL 367 Mo Chua m. h. Manche
  150. BB 227 Mo Chua mc. h. Manchi
  151. BB 226 Fintan me. h. Milbae
  152. LL 367 Fintan m. h. Milbai
  153. Ad Lugbeus mocu Min; compare Menraige
  154. Ad Lugneus mocu Min; compare Menraige
  155. BB 228 Mo Shinu mc. h. Muind; compare Menraige
  156. LL 368 Mo Sinu mc. h. Mind; compare Menraige
  157. AU cxxxiii Mosinu Maccumin; compare Menraige
  158. SL 335 Lugna maccu Moga Laim
  159. Ad Laisranus mocu Moie
  160. BB 227 Mo Laisi mc. h. Naithre
  161. LL 368 Mo Lasse m. h. Naratha
  162. LL 356 Mo Lassi m. h. Nechti; Nechtarge, Corcu Nechtae
  163. LL 356 Mo Lasse m. h. Nechtai; Nechtarge, Corcu Nechtae
  164. BB 227 Mo Laisi mc. h. Neachta; Nechtarge, Corcu Nechtae
  165. MD Jan. 19 Mo Laissi maccua Nechte; Nechtarge, Corcu Nechtae
  166. Onom 540 Moccu Necthin
  167. Ériu 3, 138 Moccu Nemongin
  168. MD Jun. 9 Cruimther mac ua Nesse
  169. Ad Oisseneus mocu Neth Corb; Dál Niath Cor
  170. AU cxxxiii. Mo Cuaroc maccu Neth Semon81; Semonrige, Semaine
  171. AU 584 Abb Cluana moccu Nois; compare Noisrige
  172. LL 368 Mo Lóce m. h. Noise; compare Noisrige
  173. BB 228 Mo Locae mc. h. Noise; compare Noisrige

  174. p.80

  175. BB 223 Colman mc. h. Nuadchon
  176. AU 608 Quies Lugdach moccu Ochae82; Corcu Oche
  177. AU 677 Daircill moccu Retai; Dál Riatai
  178. Ad Mailodranus mocu Rin83; compare Corcu Rinn
  179. Ad Erneneus mocu Fir Roide; Corcu Roide
  180. LL 365 Tua m. h. Roida; Corcu Roide
  181. LL 368 Tua m. h. Roda; Corcu Roide
  182. LL 368 Mo Gobboc mc. h. Ruain
  183. BB 228 Mo Gobboc mc. h. Ruain
  184. Ad. Trenanus mocu Runtir; Dál Runtir
  185. Ad. Colmanus mocu Sailni84 Dál Sailni
  186. Ad. Nemaidon (gen.) mocu Sogin; Sogin, Corcu Sogin
  187. AU 548 Finnio moccu Telduib85
  188. LL 367 Finnian m. h. Thelluib
  189. BB 226 Finna mc. h. Tellduib
  190. SL 335 Fidnian maccu Tellaig
  191. MD Feb. 8 Colman mac ui Thealduibh
  192. MD Dec. 12 Colman mac ui Thelduibh
  193. BB 226 Colman mc. h. Tuilduib
  194. Ad Luguid mocu Themne; Temenrige
  195. AU 663 Comgan macu Teimne; Temenrige
  196. MD Feb. 27 Commán macua Theimhne; Temenrige
  197. MD Apl. 8 Luighthighern macua Trato86; Tratraige
  198. LL 359 Luchthigern maccu Tratho; Tratraige

¶47] The collective names do not always appear to contain a personal or ancestral eponym. In Corcu Fásaig, Corcu Luachra, Corcu Maige Locha, Corcu Temrach, Corcu Tethba, the determining word is a place-name, so that these names are referable to a usage in which corcu is still a common noun in general use.

¶48] The eponyms which are found with moccu prove that the eponyms supplied by the genealogists cannot always be accepted as representing an


accurate tradition. Thus the genealogists tell us that the Ciarraige are the descendants of Ciar, son of Fergus MacRoig, but the Ogham form Mucoi Qerai (MS. Moccu Ciara) shows that the true eponym should have been Ciara in Middle Irish. The Artraige are said to descend from a male ancestor Art, while the moccu formula has genitive Arta, Arte. That Corc Duibfind, as ancestor of Corcu Duibne, is a mere fiction of the genealogists would be sufficiently obvious if we had not the Ogham examples of Mucoi Dovinias and the MS. moccu Duibne. Láma, son of Conchobor macc Nessa, is the genealogical ancestor of the Lámraige, but the lists of saints have Mo Gobbóc moccu Laime. Laigsech Cennmór is the genealogical head of the Lóigse; Adamnanus has mocu Loigse. Neachtain [...] a quo Neachtraide, Lecan 453; Nemangein mac Neachtain do Uaithnib diata Neachtraidi, ib.; but moccu Nechti, Nechtai, Nechte, Neachta, and Corcu Nechtae. Fergus Oiche qui et Fogai, BB 169 b, Fergus Fogo, BB 218 c, Focha, ib. is ancestor of Corcu Oche and of S. Mo Lua = Luguid moccu Ochae, AU 608. If the genealogists have not lost the genuine tradition, they must have deliberately substituted masculine for feminine eponyms.

¶49] Adamnanus, in mocu Fir Cetea, mocu Fir Roide, introduces ‘fer’ (‘husband of’) before a feminine eponym. Cp. Conall mac Fhir Cheiti meic Deda meic Sin a quo Dal Ceiti la Mumain, Lecan 455.

¶50] Names in -rige appear sometimes to have the name of an animal for eponym. It is curious if Bibraige (compare Corcu Bibuir) contains the name of the beaver (compare Bibracte), for Dr. Scharff tells me that so far no remains of the beaver are known to have been found in Ireland, though it is known to have existed in Britain. Other instances are Bocc-, Catt-, Con-. Dart- (with moccu Dartada), Gabr-, Gaman-, Luch-, Molt-, Torc-. We cannot assert that the animal, even personified, was regarded as the ancestor, for the adoption of animal names (e.g. Conall Cú, Ailill Molt) was not rare. Moreover, as instances like Ciarraige show, the eponym may really have been a fuller form of the element which is retained in the people-name.

¶51] Some of the collective names appear to be based on the occupations of the people. Thus the Semonrige, Tuath Semon, or Semmuine, i.e. people of rivets, belonged to the coppermining district of the Dési, and the distinctive element in their name was not thought capable of forming an eponym; hence moccu Neth Semon = of the race of the Champion of the Rivets. In Bérre, Béarra, another mining district, were the Cerdraige. With this class of names we may perhaps connect Tuatha Taiden or Fir Taiden, people of mantles, and Fir Bolg, people of leathern bags. That Fir Bolg, commonly used as a name for the older subjugated race or races, was an extension of the genuine name of an historical people may be judged from the instances of Bolgthuath


and Bolgraige in Onomasticon Goedelicum87 All these peoples with what seem to be ccupation-names belonged to the aithechtuatha; and their vassal-rents may have been paid in the products of the industries indicated by their names. Cp. also Corbraige, Corbetrige, Sciathraige, Tuath Chathbarr.


¶52] A third order, arising out of the second or it may be out of the first, and no doubt later in time, consists of sept-names in which the genitive of the eponym is preceded by the word Aui, Ui, ‘grandsons, descendants’, e.g. Ui Néill, Ui Fidgente. Indeed that this class of name belongs to a later fashion of nomenclature than the collective names appears from the fact that, while all the collective names originate in a purely traditional period, the origin of at least a proportion of the early names in Ui can be assigned to the beginning of the documentary period.

¶53] In the genealogies, but not in general usage, there is a partial revival of sept-names in Ui, probably in the eleventh century, perhaps due to professional familiarity with the early nomenclature. In popular usage the only such instance at present known to me is Íbh Laoghaire, which seems to be the surname Ua Laoghaire, dative plural, belonging to a family of the western Muscraige. It is now the name of a district in the west of co. Cork. Surnames in Ua commence to be used in the tenth century: AU 914—Ua Maelsechnaill, 918 Ua Cléirig, 946 Ua Canannáin. As titles, without the fore-name, Ua Ciarda 953, Ua Ruairc 953, 964, 998. Over 40 other such surnames are found in this century. The statement adopted by O'Curry ( Ms. Materials, p. 214) that this usage was established by an ordinance of Brian Boroimhe, apart from the fact that regal decrees of the kind are unknown in Ireland before the Norman Invasion, is thus shown to be without foundation.

¶54] As in the case of the collective names, so in the case of sept-names in Ui, the eponym is sometimes feminine. Cp. Ui Bairrche, Ui Brigte, Ui Duibne (compare Corcu Duibne), Ui Ercae, Ui Ferba (beside Ui Firb), Ui Ochrae, Ui Taisce.

¶55] In my paper on the Irish Ogham Inscriptions, R.I.A. Proceedings vol. xxvii., p. 368, I adopted Barry's view that the Ogham avi points to the sept-ancestor. Of sixteen instances there collected, five appear to be followed by feminine names; in two others the gender is doubtful. Hence apparently the proportion of feminine eponyms for septs named in the Ui-formula was much larger in early times than in the later MS. record.


¶56] I know no instance of a sept-name derived from a female ancestor within the documentary period. Hence I think that the feminine sept-eponyms had a religious, not a genealogical, import. Op. Ui Brigte and ‘Brigit banfile ingen in Dagda’ (BB 34 b 30), Ui Ercae and the forenames Macc Ercae = Maqi Ercias, Dar Erca, Ercavicas.

¶57] In the same paper, p 369, I suggested that ‘Anavlamattias mucoi Maqi Euri [Iari?] avi Axeras’ should be interpreted ‘Anblomaith of the tuath of Macc Iair and of the sept [thereof] Aui Acher.’ The sept-name has since then turned up: ‘Ac Ailill Fland Beacc comraices Hi Aicher & Mec Carrthaich .i. rigda [= rig] Desmuman’, Lecan 454. ‘At Ailill Flann Becc [the pedigrees] of Hui Aicher & the MacCarthaighs, Kings of Desmond, unite.’ The genitive Aicher = Axeras seems to indicate an Irish r-stem outside of the nouns importing the family relation.

¶58] In Dál Niad Corb, to which most of the Christian kings of Leinster belonged, the eponyms of the principal septs appear in the genealogies as sons of Cathair Mór: Ros Fáilge (Ui Fáilge) Dáire Barrach (Ui Bairrche), Bresa Enechglas (Ui Enechglais), Cétach (Ui Cétaig), Fergus Luascán (Ui Luascáin) Crimthannán (Ui Crimthannáin), Eochaid Timine (Ui Timine), Fiachu Ba Aiccid (Ui Baicceda), Dercmossach (Ui Dercmossaig), etc. The instance of Ui Bairrche, mentioned earlier, warns us that we do not stand here on any ground of solid strict historical tradition. Least of all need we expect to find even an approximately true chronology. In Gilla Coemain's reckoning Cathair Mór should have been king of Ireland from A.D. 123 to 149. But in the Synchronism of 721, his reign requires to be placed quite a century later. Even this date appears too early, judged by genealogies.

¶59] The pedigree of Crimthann king of Leinster in St. Patrick's time (c. 450), is traced thus: 1. Cathair. 2. Fiacchu Baiccid. 3. Bresal Belach. 4. Labraid. 5. Enda Cennselach. 6. Crimthann. Allowing three generations to a century, the floruit of Cathair should thus be placed quite at the close of the third century. The Four Masters give 435 as the death-date of Bresal Bélach son of Fiacha Aicidh son of Cathair Mór. AU concurs. The most that can be said is that the majority of witnesses assign Fiachu, ancestor of Ui Baicceda, to the fourth century. In his line sept-names in Ui continue to be formed for several generations. From Labraid son of Bresal Bélach are named Ui Labrada; from Dúnlaing son of Énda Nia son of Bresal, Ui Dúnlainge; from Énda Cennselach son of Labraid, Ui Cennselaig. Hui Maele Tuile, from Mael Tuile son of Ronan s. o. Colmán s. o. Coirpre s. o. Ailill s. o. Dúnlaing, supply a late instance. Mael Tuile should have lived in the latter half of the sixth century. See LL 315 c.


¶60] The chief septs of the Eoganachta are traced to two sons of Ailill Flann Becc; Luguid and Dáire Cerba.

The Genealogical table of the Eoghanachta is reproduced in gentab1.pdf.

¶61] The Eoganacht of Cashel, the suzerain line, do not appear to have taken any sept-name in Ui. The pedigree of Oengus (killed in 489, AU) is given as follows: 1 Ailill Flann Becc, 2 Luguid, 3 Corc, 4 Nat Fróich, 5 Oengus. According to the genealogical account, Ui-names among the Eoganachta arise from ancestors two generations older than Oengus, and continue to arise until an ancestor is reached two generations later than Oengus. The eponyms would appear to date from about the beginning of the fifth until the middle of the sixth century. Of course it is to be borne in mind that a sept-name in Ui is at least two generations later than its eponym, so that with the Eoganachta, septs continued to be named afresh under this formula until the end of the sixth century.

¶62] In Dál Cuinn, the starting-point of all the septs is Cairbre Lifechar. From Fiachu Sraiftine son of Cairbre descend the Ui Néill and the Connacht septs Ui Briúin, Ui Fiachrach, Ui Ailello, and Ui Fergusso. From Eochu Doimlén son of Cairbre descend the Airgialla and Ui Maine.

¶63] In the genealogies, Niall, Brian (Brión), Fiachra, Ailill, and Fergus are sons of Eochu Mugmedoin. Their period is the close of the fourth


century and the beginning of the fifth. Lóiguire son of Niall was king of Ireland at St. Patrick's coming in 432, and died in 462 ( AU). Eogan son of Niall died in 465 ( AU), Conall Cremthainne son of Niall in 480. Nathi son of Fiachra succeeded Niall and preceded Lóiguire as king of Ireland.

¶64] The uncertainty of the genealogical tradition at this period is exemplified by the following counterstatements (Lecan 454):—
‘Sunt qui dicunt Fiachrach [read Fiachra] Brian Maine tri meic Domnaill meic Fiachrach Sraiftini. Sunt qui dicunt tri meic Fhiachrach Fhir Da Giall meic Cairpri Lifeochair .i. na tri Cholla .i. Cotta Uas & Colla Mend & Colla da Crich a n-anmand.’

¶65] The Ui Néill do not subdivide into further septs named in this formula. Under Ui Briún (BB 89) arise Hui Chanann from Cano son of Brión; Hui Du[i]b Dumach from Dull Dumach s. o. Annad s. o. Fothad, s. o. Conall s. o. Brión ; Hui Baeithin from Baeithin s. o. Dui Galach s. o. Brión. Hui Cormaic from Cormac s. o. Fergus Cnoc s. o. Dui Galach. The eponyms in this line belong to the fifth and sixth centuries.

¶66] Under Ui Fiachrach (BB 107) arise Ui Amalgada (Amolngado) from Amolngid s. o. Fiachra; Ui Echach Muaide from Eachaid (recte Eochu) s. o. Nathí s. o. Fiachra; Ui Suanaig were a subsept of Ui Echach, but I have not found their pedigree. Excluding Suanach, the eponyms in this line belong to the fifth century. I have no account of subsepts named in the Ui-formula under Ui Ailello and Ui Fergusso.

¶67] Hence it appears, so far as has been investigated, that in the Connacht and Meath branches of Dál Cuinn, sept-names in Ui arise from eponyms referable generally to the fifth century.

¶68] Airgialla (BB 118): Ui Tuirtre from Fiachra Tort s. o. Erc s. o. Colla Uais s. o. Eochu Doimlén. Hui Echach from Eochu s. o. Feidlimid s. o. Fiachra s. o. Colla Da Chrích. Hui Bresail from Bresal s. o. Feidlimid aforesaid. Hui Sinaig from Sinach, fifth in descent from Feidlimid. Hua Nialláin from Niallán s. o. Fiacc s. o. Feidlimid. Hui Cruind from Crond s. o. Feidlimid. Hui Méith from Muredach Méith s. o. Imchad s. o. Colla Da Chrích. Hui Fiachrach from Fiachra s. o. Erc s. o. Eochu s. o. Colla Uais. Hui Segain from Segán s. o. Tuathal s. o. Feidlimid. Hui Maicc Cairthinn from Macc Cairthinn s. o. Eichen s. o. Fiachra Tort. Hui Maine from Maine Mór s. o. Eochu Fer Da Giall s. o. Domnall s. o. Imchad s. o. Colla Focrich (= Da Crích). Ui Cormaic Maenmaige from Cormac s. o. Bresal s. o. Maine. Hui Duach from Duach (Dui, Daui) s. o. Dallán s. o. Bresal s. o. Maine.

¶69] At 513 ( AU) is recorded the death of Cairpre Daim Argit, king of the Airgialla, s. o. Eochu s. o. Crimthann s. o. Fiac s. o. Daig Duirn s. o. Reochaid


s. o. Colla Da Crích. Colla should have flourished about two centuries earlier, i.e. at the beginning of the fourth century, and this date accords with the time usually assigned for the conquest of Mid Ulster by the three Collas. The eponyms of Ui Sinaig and Ui Duach are two generations farther than Cairpre Daim Argit from the common ancestor, and should belong to the latter part of the sixth century.

¶70] The septs of Dál Cuinn, the Eoganachta, and Dál Niad Corb were predominant throughout nearly all Ireland from St. Patrick's time until the Norman Invasion. Hence one may suppose that their traditions were more minutely recorded in the early MS. period than the traditions of less prominent groups; also that, so far as chronological checks were available, they were more operative in the history of these dominant lines. But it is evident that, even in their case, no anterior limit can be placed to the use of the Ui-formula except to say that it appears to mark a later classification than the collective names.

¶71] The Ui-formula is succeeded by one in which cenél precedes the eponym. This is conspicuous and of early occurrence in the case of the Ui Néill.

¶72] Cenél Conaill, Cenél , Cenél Loiguiri, Cenél nEogain, Cenél Fiachach, Cenél Máini, Cenél nÉndai, Cenél nOengusso take their names from sons of Niall, and their origin therefore from about the middle of the fifth century.

¶73] From sons of Eogan, Cenél Muredaig, Cenél mBindig, Cenél Fergusso, Cenél nOengusso, Cenél nDalláin, Cenél Cormaic, Cenél Feidlimthe, Cenél nAilello, Cenél nEichein, Cenél nIllainn, Cenél nEchach.

¶74] From sons of Muredach, Cenél Feradaig, Cenél Tigernaig, Cenél Moain. From Forggus s. o. Baetán s. o. Muirchertach s. o. Muredach, Cenél Forgusso. Muirchertach died about 530 (533 AU, 527 FM, 531 Chron. Scot.), Baetán in 571 ( AU), and a son of ‘Fergus’88 son of Baetán in 619 ( AU). Hence we may regard the Ceneél formula in the Ui Néill line as based on fifth, sixth, and seventh century eponyms.

¶75] In the Eoganacht line, the symmetrical numbers of 24 sons and 24 daughters are assigned to Oengus s. o. Nat Fróich, (BB 172 b). Eithne Uathach, the woman-chief of the Dési, was mother of three of the sons, and hence their posterity is called Cenél nEithne (sic line 26). From Cennlán sixth in descent from Oengus, is Cenél Cennláin. Cenél Fíngein from


Fíngen, of whose son Maenach, king of Munster, the death is recorded at 661 ( AU). There, as in the genealogies (BB 175), Fíngen's pedigree represents him as fourth in descent from Oengus. Cenél Conaill (BB 176) from Conall eighth in descent from Oengus; and Cenél Caellaide (ib.) from Caellaide s. o. Conall. Cenél Cormaic (ib.), eponym fourth from Oengus. Cenél nDallain (177), eponym third from Eochu Liathán. Cenél mBuiric (ib.), from a son of Eochu. Apparently the eponyms in this group range from the fourth to the eighth century.

¶76] The Cenél formula does not seem to have become customary in Dál Niad Corb. Two instances occur in the genealogy, BB 126 a, Cenél nAengusa and Cenél Croichni. Of Cenél nAengusa we learn only that they belonged to Hui Maenaig. At 127 a 36, it is stated that Cenél Cruaicni (= Cenél Cróichni) were of the Eoganacht.

¶77] Cenél in turn gives way to a number of terms, cland, muinter, sil, slicht, teglach, tellach, used contemporaneously.

¶78] In AU, the earliest contemporary instance of Cland is Cland Chathail, 912. At the obit of Cathal, 734, ‘a quo Clann Cathail’ is of course a late gloss. At 617, muinter (Blatini) and síl (Mescain) are probably common nouns not fixed in the names. The next instances of muinter are Muinter Gerudain, 1159, Muinter Eolais, 1169. Síl Dluthaig 633 ; Síl Cathail, 815. Tellach Dunchadha, 1258; Tellach Echach, 1298 (both indexed under Telach = Tulach). Dúnchad's death, 822 AU. Eochu, his brother (BB 91, cols. 1, 2).

¶79] Clann and muinntear are still used to form sept-names from surnames e.g. Clann Chon Ceanainn, Muintear Mheachair.

¶80] Although, then, there is considerable overlapping in date, there is a quite definite order of succession in the formulae, as exemplified in the following table:

  1. Plural names (origin prehistoric): Laigin -- (unknown) -- (unknown)
  2. Collective names (origin prehistoric): Dál Niad Corb -- Eoganacht -- Dál Cuinn
  3. Sept-names in Ui (partly of historical origin): Ui Cennselaig -- Ui Liatháin -- Ui Néill
  4. Cenél-names (from fifth century mainly): Cenél nAengusa -- Cenél nDallain -- Cenél
  5. Gland, Muinter, etc. (from sixth century): Clann Maelighra -- Clann Chárthaigh -- Clann Cholmáin (Colman died 587)


¶81] We find the term tuath variously handled by modern translators. In the Annals of Ulster, Dr. Mac Carthy regularly gives ‘territories’ as the English of tuatha. Others render tuath by ‘tribe’, a conveniently vague word which covers everything from an ancient subnation like the Ulaid to a comparatively modern sept like Clann Aodha Buidhe. It is true that by a familiar figure of speech, tuath is often used of a territorial area, just as Norfolk, which once meant the North-folk, came to mean the district they occupied. By a different transference of idea, tuath came to signify the laity in contradistinction to eclais the ecclesiastical body or cliar the clergy, and still retains that meaning side by side with the meaning of ‘the country’ in contradistinction to the town. In both cases, tuath represents the ancient native tradition and the native order existing under the Irish civil law dliged tuaithe, whereas the Church lived under its own law, and the towns inherited in a modified form the municipal law of Rome.

¶82] Anciently tuath from *tóta, touta (teuta) appears to have denoted a civil community, a people united under one government, a civitas. In Ireland and Britain such communities retained the early form of kingly rule in an almost patriarchal shape. The petty states of Gaul and Galatia, before their subjugation by Rome, appear to have been for the most part republics, each ruled by a senate. The Irish tuath, then, must at one time have been a petty kingdom, but at the beginning of the documentary period a new order has already widely spread. Powerful families, aristocratic septs, have entered on a career of conquest. The scope of their operations being practically limited to Ireland, — for the only known exceptions are the temporary Irish acquisitions in western Britain and permanent conquest of Scotland by the Dál Riada, — the consequence was the substitution of ascendant dynasties for the older petty states throughout the greater part of Ireland. Thus the dynastic septs of Dál Cuinn, comprising the Ui Néill, Ui Briúin, Ui Fiachrach, and Airgialla, have acquired permanent authority over nearly all the northern half of the island. In Munster, the Eoganacht septs, Ui Fidgente, Ui Liatháin, Ui Echach, etc., and in Leinster, the septs of Dál Niad Corb, especially the Ui Cennselaig, have achieved a like position. All these families have set up many new kingdoms or petty states. Beside these states, and in a position of inferiority marked by the payment of tribute and furnishing of armed forces to them, a considerable number of small peoples remained, enjoying internal freedom under the government of their own dynasties. This is the condition of things described in the Book of Rights, and it will be noted there that, except in the north-eastern province, where the old order was less disturbed,


nearly all the free, i.e., non-tributary, states are known by the names of septs or families, and nearly all the tributary states by collective names or the older plurals.

¶83] In Munster, the free states are Eoganacht Chaisil, Ui Liatháin, Raithliu = Ui Echach Muman, Eoganacht Locha Léin = Ui Coirpri Chruithnecháin, Ui Chonaill Gabra, Ui Coirpri Aebda, Eoganacht Glennamnach,89 Dál Cais. The tributary states are Dési Muman = Dál Fiachach, Muscraige, Dáirine or Corcu Loegde, Ciarraige, Corcu Baiscinn, Arai, Uaithni, Éli, Corcumruad, Corcu Duibne, Orbraige, the Sechtmad.

¶84] In Connacht the free states are: Ui Fiachrach, Ui Briúin, and their subdivisions. The tributary states are: Umall, Grecraige, Conmaicne, Ciarraige, Luigne, na Corca, Delbna, Ui Maine.

¶85] It is to the older groups especially that the term tuath is applied in early usage. Used with the name of a sept, e.g., Tuath Ua nAengusa, as the majority of the instances in Onomasticon Goedelicum clearly show, tuath denotes no longer a people, but a territory. In the list of vassal-communities aithechtuatha (BB 255 a Lecan 354), only two instances, Tuath Ua Cathbarr and Tuath Ua Carra, contain names of septs, and there are alternative readings which omit Ua, perhaps correctly, since Cathbarr seems to be genitive plural. In most of the rest, tuath is followed by a collective name, in some by a plural people-name.

¶86] In Gaul 44 civitates are named by Caesar. Subdivisions of these, or of certain of them, existed and are called by him pagi. He speaks of the pagi of the Helvetii, the Morini, and the Arverni. The Helvetii consisted of four pagi, of which Caesar names two, the pagus Tigurinus and the pagus Verbigenus. He also uses the plural Tigurini of the people of the pagus.

¶87] The fourfold subdivision of a Celtic people is also exemplified by the Galati of Asia Minor. Each of the three nations which formed the confederate republic of the Galati contained four subdivisions which the Greeks called tetrarchíai, and each of these was separately administered under its own chief or tetrarch. Instances occur in Ireland. The Lagin comprise cethri prímsloinnte, Dál Niad Corb, Dál Messe Corb, Dál Corbmaic, and Dál Coirbbri, the four eponymous ancestors being sons of Cú Corb.90 The Arai comprise four divisions na cethri hAraid .i. Tratraidi (recte Toeccraige) & Artraidi & Descert Cliach & Hui Fidban, Lecan 451a.


¶88] The poem Caisil atcondarc ane, H. 3. 17, p. 724, has this quatrain:—

    1. Ceithre Partraighe im Bri Ois,
      ceithre Gailinga o cis Chais,
      ceithre Cianacht cairde cneis,
      ceithre Delbna dal chis Cais.

¶89] A smaller subdivision among the Gauls is known to us by the Latin name vicus. Caesar, who captured a written census among the spoils of the Helvetii, says that this people, numbering in all 368,000, comprised 400 vici, so that each vicus averaged 920 inhabitants. The phrase vicani Segorigienses found in an inscription of the Prussian Rhine-Province, seems to point to a vicus named Segorigion. The Irish equivalent would be Segr(a)ige, which may be actually represented in the late Middle-Irish spelling Sedraige, one of the vassal-peoples named in the Book of Ballymote. Nevertheless, it is hardly likely that the Irish names in -rige and the other collective names of co-ordinate import originated as designations of a population so small as that of the Gaulish vicus. Rather it is fairly obvious that the continental -rigion, which must have once meant a people governed by a king, had degenerated in usage.

¶90] We may probably best regard the Irish group bearing a collective name as corresponding to the so-called pagus among the Gaulish peoples. There are sufficient indications that the collectively-named groups arose as subdivisions of nations bearing plural names. The instances of the Lagin and the Arai have already been noticed.

¶91] The Cruithni in Ireland included Dál Araidi, Conaille, Lóigis, and Sogain. ‘Do Chruithnibh Erenn do Dhál Araidhe na seacht Laighsi Laighen & seacht Soghain Erenn & gach Conuille fil in Erinn’ (Mac F. Genealogies unpaged, evidently a quotation from some early writer).

¶92] The Érainn included Muscraige, Corcu Baiscinn, Corcu Duibne, Dál Riatai, etc.

¶93] The Galeoin comprised three tuatha, Tuath Fidga, Tuath Ochmaine, and Tuath Aithechda.

¶94] The Mugdoirn included Dubraige or Corcu Duib, Papraige, Ciarraige, Sortraige, Artrige, Corcu Inomain, Suobraige. ‘Seacht maic Mugdoirn Duib .i. Dubh a quo Dubhraidhi oc Imleach Corco Duib Papa a quo Papraighi la Creamthanna Ciaro a quo Ciarraidhe Sort a quo Sortraige la Crimthanna a quibus Espoc Ibair mac Luighne Lasar ainm a mathar duna Deisib Art mac Mugdhoirn a quo Artrighe la Ullto Inomon a quo Corco Inomhain la Laighniu de quibus Lochene in sui irero drocaidh Sues dubh a quo Suobraidhe la Mugdornu a quibus Espoc Ethern i nDomnach Mor Maic Laifthi sed cuius filius Mugdorn Dub d'Ulltaib ignoratus (ignoratur).’ BB 110 a 38.


¶95] The Papraige here mentioned and the Partraige are the only known instances of peoples in Ireland whose name has P for initial. Note that the Mugdoirn were of unknown race. The Partraige, too, were regarded as aborigines. ‘Donab Partrigib annso. Partraige in Locha forsata Mag Thuireadh Cunga & Partraige Cheara & Partraige Clainde Fiachrach & Partraige Sleibhe .i. o Cruaith co Loch nOirbsen & Partraige Midhe forsambí Oilill & Meadhbh & do claind Genainn doib.’ H. 3. 17, p. 724. A poem on the same page, already quoted, pretends that they were descended from Art son of Oengus, king of Cashel in the fifth century, but no son of the name is assigned to Oengus in the genealogies. ‘Partraidi Cera, cid re Cloinn Diallaid (la Claind Fiachrach?), ni dib doib, acht is do Sen-Chondachtaib .i. do Chloind Genainn maic Deala maic Loith. Partraidi in Locha, ait ita Mag Tuiread & Cunga, do Cloind Sreing maic Sengaind doib. Partraidi Shlebi .i. o Cruaich co Loch nOirpsen, & do Cloind Conaill Airisin maic Briain doib. Genelach Partraidi annso. Radnall m. Aeda m. Mail Ruanada m. Conaill m. Echach m. Diarmada in Lacha m. Domnaill na Tri Tuath .i. na tri Partraidi m. Setna otait Hi Setna .i. taisich Partraidi m. Conaill Oirisin m. Briain m. Echach Muidmedeoin.’ Lecan 458 a. This genealogy is not authentic. Brian (Brion), being a brother of Niall Noigiallach, must have lived about A.D. 400. Ragnall would accordingly have lived about A.D. 700; but since he bore a name adopted from the Norse, this date is out of the question. Accordingly it is natural to find that the Ui Briuin genealogies, though they mention Conall Oirisen, do not give the pedigree quoted above and do not include the Partraige or their chiefs among the Ui Briuin.

¶96] In the following passage the tuath is regarded as a chief subdivision of a people whose early name was remembered in the plural formula: ‘Attiadso na tuatha asa fail an Gaileoin hi cuigiud Lagen Tuath-Gabair. Teora fodla foraib .i. Tuath Egdha ocus Tuath Ochmain ocus Tuath Aithechda.’ ‘These are the tuatha whereof the Gaileoin in the Fifth of Leinster North of Gabair consist, Tuath Fidga and Tuath Ochmain and Tuath Aithechda.’ (H. 3. 17, p. 740.)

¶97] For variants in the foregoing quotation see Duanaire Finn, Introduction, p. lvii. That Lagin Tuath-Gabair and Lagin Des-Gabair constituted two of the ancient ‘Five Fifths of Ireland’ is clearly the ancient Ulidian tradition as told in Cath Ruis na Ríg, p. 22. The dividing locality was perhaps Gabair Lagen, which seems to be the valley between Sliab Mairge and the Wicklow Mountains, i.e. the southern part of Co. Kildare. Osraige, part of Lagin Des Gabair, anciently extended westward of the Suir. Airmuma, Ormond, i.e. East-Munster, lay to the west of the Suir. Ancient Munster, bounded on the east by the Suir and on the north by the Shannon estuary, was much too small to have included two of the ‘Fifths’, and the ‘Dá


Chúigeadh Mumhan’ must belong to a comparatively late tradition. Hence no doubt the varying accounts of the twofold division of Munster. In one version the dividing line runs north and south, in another east and west. Neither version can be fitted into the story which makes Uisnech in the middle of Ireland the meeting-point of the five Fifths. A synonym for Cóiced Lagen Tuath-Gabair is Cóiced Coirpri Niath Fer. Coirpre is king of Tara and north Leinster in the Ulster cycle, his brother Find being king of south Leinster.

¶98] Keating ( Forus Feasa, ed. Comyn, p. 214) says that tuath is equivalent to tighearnas, and the proverb ‘is treise tuath ná tigherna’ shows that this interpretation is correct — at least as regards later usage. Keating also (ib., p. 112) speaks of a tuath as smaller in extent than a triocha céad. The Glens of Antrim, i.e. the baronies of Upper Glenarm, Lower Glenarm, and Cary, are called seacht dtuatha na nGlinne in nearly modern documents. Each of these tuatha would occupy a square of about five or six miles. But I find no indication that the tuath in early usage at all corresponded to the population of such an area. It was in fact a division of people — not of land — and must have been very variable in extent.

¶99] That the whole population was regarded as made up of tuatha may be inferred from the words of Fiacc's Hymn, ‘tuatha adortais side’, though again the same poem speaks of the Irish as one tuath, ‘for tuaith Hérenn bai temel.’ The former phrase may have reference to a particular worship in each tuath, and that each of them venerated special gods is evident from the oath-formula ‘tongu na tongat mo thuath’, ‘tongu do dia toinges mo thuath.’ This formula also shows that the tuath was the chief population-group with which the individual felt himself to be associated. Further instances of the use of the term follow here.

¶100] ‘Corco Athrach ainm na tuaithi ara fhuil Caisil ocus ise seo a fad .i. o Thibraid Foraind ac Mainistir Uachtair Lamand co Duma nDresa don taib bothuaid do Chnoc Grafand ocus do sil Aimirgin meic Miled Espaine di.’ Lecan, p. 458. ‘Corco Athrach is the name of the tuath on which Cashel is, and this is its extent, from Tipra Foraind at Holy Cross Abbey to Duma Dresa on the northern side of Cnoc Grafann, and it is of the race of Amergen son of Mil of Spain.’

¶101] This is an important passage, confirming the tradition that Cashel was a comparatively late seat of the Eoganachta. Not only was the name of the tuath previously in possession remembered, but this tuath is spoken of as a contemporary people, whose ancestry has to be accounted for. Apparently the territory of this ancient people is still represented by the barony of Middlethird, of which the most northern point is at Holy Cross, and the most southern point near Cnoc Grafann about two miles north of Cahir. All this


territory anciently belonged to the Osseirge or Osraige, since their bounds also extended to Duma Dresa and to Grian = Pallasgreen, co. Limerick, and the story of the Dési settlement represents the Osseirge as having been driven eastward across the river Andobor (Anner). The plantation of the Dési may be regarded as a concomitant of the occupation of Cashel by the Eoganachta. The Dési were settled partly in the baronies of Slieve Ardagh and Iffa-and-Offa East, thus forming, as it were, a buffer-state between the Eoganacht of Cashel and the dispossessed Osseirge.

¶102] Three grades of tuatha can be distinguished in early documents: (1) Soerthuatha, not subject to tributes; (2) Fortuatha, retaining internal autonomy but tributary to an external overking; (3) Aithechtuatha, vassal communities paying rent to local chiefs of free race. Genealogically, the fortuatha were held to be outside of the kindred of the overking and his people, and therefore subject to them; the aithechtuatha were regarded as of unfree race descended from the pre-Gaelic inhabitants.

¶103] The genealogical doctrine, however, must be taken as often expressing political status rather than racial origin. For this fact, which otherwise might be inferred from a study of the genealogies, we have the testimony of Gilla in Chomded Hua Cormaic, a twelfth-century poet (LL 144 a 24): —
‘Failet se muid sain mebair     cummaiscit craeb ngenelaig
totinsma daerchland ic dul     i-lloc saerchland re slonnud
Torrchi mogad mod mebla     ocus dibad tigerna
serg na saerchland étig uath     la forbairt na n-aithechthuath
Míscribend do gné eolais     do lucht uilc in aneolais
nó lucht ind eolais ni ferr     gníit ar múin miscribend.
Six ways there are of special note that confound the tree of genealogy:
intrusion of base stocks usurping the place of free stocks by name;
migrations of serfs, a way of shame; and decay of lords;
withering of the free races, dreadful horror; with overgrowth of the vassal folks;
miswriting, in the guise of learning, by the unlearned of evil intent,
or the learned themselves, no whit better, who falsify the record for lucre.’

¶104] The three discrepant origins — two importing free descent — assigned to the Partraige exhibit one instance, from many that could be cited, of this process of ‘confounding the tree of genealogy.’ By ‘migrations of serfs’ we may understand that, in time of conquest, unfree populations were enlisted among the invading forces and were rewarded with the possession of lands under


free tenure, thus themselves rising to free status. In the very ancient and as yet unprinted story of how Conaire Mór became king of Ireland (BB 139 b), a great army comes unexpectedly to Conaire, who leads them to Tara and is chosen king. Thereupon (140 a 1) ‘gabt(h)air gabail lais dia slogaib’ ‘he makes a settlement of lands for his forces.’ So Eithne, the woman leader of the Dési, gathers a force of every landless people known to her in Ireland (‘nach loinges rofitir Eithne hUathach la Heirind’) for the war of conquest against Ossory, and twenty-five of these peoples obtain a land settlement (‘a cuic fichd dib tarthatar rand’) in the conquered territory ( Ériu 3, p. 138, 140). The right of migration was denied to vassal peoples by their lords, as is indicated in the story of the migration of the Sons of Úmór.

¶105] The following passage (Lecan, 450) indicates a people adscripti glebae: ‘Catraidi ata fogal fuirri (= fodal forru) .i. ata fogail ar aroile dib [is]in Sechtmad aroile dib isna Deisib aroile dib i Cnamros ni lecar asuidi[u] sin ac rig Caisil do gres ised bid.’ ‘The Cattraige are subdivided, i.e. some of them are distributed in the Sechtmad, others of them in the Dési, others of them in Cnamros. They are not allowed [to depart] thence. With the king of Cashel always they remain.’

¶106] The Sechtmad, ‘the Seventh,’ was a tributary state of east Munster, possibly better known by some other name. Its precise location has not been determined by O'Donovan in his edition of the Book of Rights or by Dr. Hogan in Onomasticon Goedelicum. In LL 382, col. 6, Arbura is said to be the ancestor of the Sechtmad, and as he is also ancestor of the chief sept of Dál Coirpri, whose chiefs in later times bore the surname Ua Duibidir, ‘O'Dwyer’, we may fairly identify the Sechtmad with O'Dwyer's country, the two baronies of Kilnamanagh, especially since this territory is not otherwise accounted for in the Book of Rights. See Dr. Hogan's State of Ireland, Anno 1598, p. 208, footnote, where a quotation erroneously speaks of ‘O'Duire, descended from the O'Briens.’ Dál Coirpri was one of the ‘four chief stocks of the Lagin’, and its location, like the traditions of the Dési settlement, bears evidence of the early predominance of the Lagin and Osseirge in the part of Munster now called Co. Tipperary. Cnamros is perhaps identical here with Cnámchoill near Tipperary town. The Cattraige are included among the allies of the Dési in the war against Ossory.

¶107] ‘Atait da chenel deg sochenelach la Gaedealo a se dib a Leith Cuind .i. Dal Cuind Dal Cein Dail nAraide qui et Cruithnig Dal Fiatach qui et Ulaid Dal Riata Dal Nat Corp> qui et Laigin. A se aile a Leith Moga .i. Dal n[E]ogain Dal Fiachach Dal Fiatach Dal Ceide Dal mBardine Dal Cais. Ate sin saerthuatha Erend.’ H. 3. 17, p. 790). ‘The Irish have twelve kindreds of noble race. Six of them in Conn's Half, viz. Dál Cuinn, Dál Céin,


Dál Araidi who are the Picts, Dál Fiatach who are the Ulaid, Dál Riatai, Dál Nat Corp who are the Lagin. Other six in Mug's Half, viz. Dál Eogain, Dál Fiachach, Dál Fiatach, Dál Céte, Dál Barddeni, Dál Cais. These are the free tuatha of Ireland.’

¶108] The foregoing statement is of great antiquity. Apart from the spelling, which has changed in transcription, the few distinctive forms belong to the Old Irish period, and are consistent with even the oldest written usage. Compared with the tenth-century account of the free and tributary states in the Book of Rights, this is evidently much earlier.

¶109] Dál Céin = Cianachta. It may also possibly include Luigne, Gailing, and Saithne, all claiming descent from Tadg son of Cian. In the Book of Rights, these states are tributary to Dál Cuinn, i.e. to the Ui Neill and Ui Briuin, the superior states of Ailech, Meath, and Connacht. In this respect they are on a level with Umall, Grecraige, Conmaicne, Ciarraige Connacht, Delbna, Dési Breg, Cuircne. In the early annals, Cianachta Breg are evidently a very strong state, often hostile to the kings of Meath and Brega. Cp. AU 534, 776, 816, 849, 850.

¶110] The inclusion of Dál Nat Corp (Neth Corb, Niath Corb, Niad Corb) in Conn's Half reflects the traditional claim of Dál Cuinn to the Bórama tribute from Leinster. Dál Niad Corb was the ruling race over Leinster during most of the early documentary period. Leth Moga in the passage cited is synonymous with Munster alone.

¶111] Dál Eogain = Eoganachta. Dál Fiachach was the dynastic people of Dési Muman. I can find no Dál Fiatach in southern Ireland, and take it to be a mistake for Dál Fiachach Éle, also called Corcu Echach (i.e. Fhéchach) Éle. There is frequent confusion between the genitives échach, of Eochu, and [fh]échach, of Féchu, Fiachu, in genealogies, etc. The conventional writing of silent f (f) is not customary before the ninth century. A twofold pedigree of Dál Fiachach Éle = Corcu Echach Éle (Lecan 457) illustrates this confusion: — ‘Genelach Ele Descirt annso. Duineochaich mac Echach Ele cuius frater Cellach m. Dungaile m. Beicci
m. Cermada
m. Bleidine
m. Enna
m. Bresail Milairi
m. Maic Cairthinn
m. Conaill
m. Nendtacair
m. Aililla
m. Echach
m. Feidlimid Rechtmair
Nó Conall
meic Airt
m. Fiachach
m. Neill Naigiallaich

¶112] The most interesting names in the list of the free tuatha of Ireland are Dál Céte and Dál Barddeni. Neither is even mentioned in the Book of Rights. Of the location of Dál Barddeni, we only learn that it was at


Dún Cermna, the Old Head of Kinsale, and there is no indication that this people held any considerable power or territory during the documentary period. Of the habitat of Dál Céte, Dr. Hogan has only been able to find that it was somewhere in Munster, and I am unable to supplement his information. The latest evidence of the contemporary existence of Dál Céte is the name of To Channu mocu Fir Cetea mentioned by St. Adamnan. All this tends to show that the list of twelve free tuatha is of great antiquity, probably not later than the eighth century, possibly even earlier.

¶113] Traditional corroboration of the early celebrity of these two peoples is afforded by the fact that, in the genealogies of the Érainn (the race of Conaire Mór BB 139), which occupy 10 1/2 pages of the Book of Ballymote, the first place is given to the Érainn of Dún Cermna, Dál Barddeni, and Dál Céte. The pedigrees give only three or four generations of the descendants of ‘Cather by whom Dún Cermna was made.’ The accompanying legend says:—
‘En aicme dec do Dail Bairrdene, .i. Sil Aengusa meic Echach meic Bairrdene meic Rigbaird ditat Martene iarna ndilgiund do Leith Cuind ar ba lethrann da Dal Cede & do Dal Bairrdene co sin ar is .x. catha ro mebaig re n-Ernaib for Ulltu & .uiii. catha fri h-Ulltu for Ernu.’ ‘Dál Bardeni (i.e. the race of Aengus son of Eochu s. o. Bairrdene s. o. Rígbard, from whom are the Martene) consisted of eleven septs after their extermination from (or by) Conn's Half, for until then it was an equal division (sc. of Ireland) between Dál Céte and Dál Barrddeni, for it is ten battles that the Érainn won over the Ulaid, and eight battles that the Ulaid won over the Érainn.’

¶114] ‘Dál Araidi qui et Cruithnig. Dál Fiatach qui et Ulaid.’ Cp. BB 170 b 15: ‘. . . na h-Airgialla, {R. 143a 13} Dail nAraigi fri suide anair, ainm ele doib Cruthnich. Hulaith fri suide anair. Ind Ulaich seo tra asbertar. Dal Fiatach indsin, do cloind Con Rai maic Daire maic Deadad a Coiced Con Rai la Mumain, is as a mbunad in Dal Fiatach so qui et Ulaith hodie dicuntur. Is {Ba} dib Aed Ron ocus Fiachna.’ ‘The Airgialla; Dál Araidi to the east of these, another name for them is Cruthnich. The Ulaid to the east of these. These Ulaid, Dál Fiatach they are called, of the posterity of Cú Rúi son of Dáire son of Dedu from Cú Rúi's Fifth in Munster, thence is their origin, this Dál Fiatach qui et Ulaith hodie dicuntur. Of them are Aed Róin and Fiachna.’

¶115] The foregoing passage is from a brief general description of the ruling races of northern Ireland, obviously written by a southern writer. It probably dates from a time not long subsequent to the reigns of Aed Roin and Fiachna his son, who were kings of the Ulaid, and whose pedigree is given under Dál Fiatach. Aed Róin fell in battle with the Ui Néill in 735. With him


was slain Conchad, king of Cuib, i.e. of Ui Echach Cobo, the most prominent sept of Dál Araidi. In Fragments of Irish Annals, an. 732, Conchad is called ‘king of the Cruithni.’ ( AU 734, editor's note.) ‘Fiachnae mac Aedho Roen, rex Ulad, mortuus est’, AU 788.

¶116] The following ‘kings of the Cruithni’ in AU are found in the pedigrees of Dál Araidi: Eochaid Iarlaithe (died 665), Cú Cuaran (died 707), Cathusach son of Ailill (died 748). The genealogist in BB (168 col. 1) makes this Cathusach father of Cú Cuaran who preceded him. The father of Cú Cuaran must have been Cathusach son of Mael Dúin and king of the Cruithni (died 681 ( AU).

¶117] I do not find a genealogy of Dál Fiatach from Cú Rúi or from Dedu, but their descent is traced to Sen, father of Dedu, and thence by the same line as the Érainn, Cú Rúi's people, up to Oengus Tuirmech and the line of Éremon.

¶118] The passage above quoted from BB is followed by a comment of a contradictory character: ‘Ite fir-Ulaich immorro .i. Dál nAraide ota Mael Breasail mac Ailella hi Conall Cernach arisesedar ocus im Iriel Glunmáir i ngenelaich Dal Araide.’ ‘The true Ulaid, however, are Dál Araidi, of whom comes Mael Bressail son of Ailill. In Conall Cernach they originate, and in Iriel Glúnmar, in the genealogy of Dál Araidi.’

¶119] ‘Mael Bresail mac Ailello Cobo, rex Dal Araide, moritur, AU824.’ The text of the passage in BB was probably written between the death of Aed Róin, 735, and the death of Fiachna, 789, or not long after the latter event; the comment during or soon after the reign of Mael Bressail. arisesedar = *ara-sissetar. The relative form ara of air, ar seems obsolescent in the Milan glosses (see Thurneysen, Handbuch 387, 4).

¶120] The Irish Cruithni of Dál Araidi are called Cruithni for the last time in AU at 773 (= 774). Half a century or so later, the claim is set up for them that they are not only Ulaid, descendants of Conall Cernach, but that they are ‘the true Ulaid’, as if in protest against the belief that they are Picts. This claim was extended to all the leading branches of the Pictish race in Ireland (see section 91). Rather, I think, we can trace the claim as originating with another branch, the Conaille.

¶121] The chief section of the Conaille, forming the state of Conaille Muirthemne under their native kings, occupied a territory closely associated with the great hero of the Ulaid, ‘Cú Chulainn Muirthemne.’ It is not surprising that they sought to connect their own tradition with the epic tradition of the Ulaid. Accordingly we find in the genealogies, BB 152, under a section entitled in the margin, De peritia Conaille Murthemne, two conflicting accounts of their descent. Their eponymous ancestor Conall Anglonnach is first described as a son of Dedu, and from the pedigree of their king Cinaed on


the next page it appears that this Dedu is the son of Sen, i.e. the same from whom the Érainn of Munster, Clanda Dedad, trace their descent. But in the first pedigree appended Conall Anglonnach becomes son of Fiacc son of Russ son of Fachtna son of Senchad of the Ulidian hero-group. At the end of the pedigrees of their kings (153, col. 1), many of whose names can be identified in the annals, comes the statement: ‘Do chloind Conaill Cernaich araili dib .i. in rigraid’, ‘Of the posterity of Conall Cernach are some of them, i.e. the royal line,’ in contradiction of the pedigrees that precede. On p. 169 there is a further chapter headed, Genelach Conailli Murtheimni, probably taken from another source. Here the eponymous ancestor is called Conall Casdamail, and he is made out to be seventh in descent from Conall Cernach. Thus, as Gilla in Chomded says, ‘the tree of genealogy is confounded.’ Conall Cernach supplied a tempting eponym to the Conaille, a Pictish race, and having been adopted by them was adopted by other Pictish kindreds, Dál Araidi, the Sogain, and the Lóigse of Leinster (BB 164 a 2).

¶122] Wherever the Ulaid are mentioned in vol. i. of the Annals of Ulster, they are the people of the Dál Fiatach dynasty, quite distinct from Dál Araidi and Conaille, often at war with one or the other. The Ulaid occupied the seaboard of Co. Down. The Picts of Dál Araidi occupied the interior of that county as well as a large part of Co. Antrim.

¶123] ‘Ag Conn tra fogailter (= fodailter) clanda Cuinn ocus it fortuatha Sil Cuind cach aen na berar genilaig [read genelach] co Conn eter naem ocus cleirech amail ata Lugaid [read Luigne] ocus Dealbna ocus Gailinde [read Gailing] ocus Cianachta. Ag Cathair didiu fogailter saerchlanda Laigean ocus it fortuatha coicid Cathair can [read cach] aen na berar co Cathair amail atait secht Laissi [read Lóigsi] ocus secht Fotharta. Ag Ailill Olom fogailter saerchlanda Mumhan: can [read cach] aen na berar genelach go Ailill, it fortuatha Sil Eachach Mumo amail atait Eirna [read Érainn] ocus Ciarraige.’ (H. 3. 17, p. 774.)
‘At Conn the [pedigrees of] Clanda Cuinn are divided, and all [in Leth Cuinn] whose pedigree is not traced to Conn, not excluding even saint and cleric, are fortuatha of the race of Conn, for example the Luigne, Delbna, Gailing, and Cianachta. At Cathair [Mór] are divided the free races of Leinster; all who are not traced to Cathair are fortuatha of Cathair's Fifth, as are the seven Loigsi and the seven Fothairt. At Ailill Olom are divided the free races of Munster; all whose pedigree is not traced to Ailill are fortuatha of the race of Eochu Mumo, as are the Érainn and the Ciarraige.’

¶124] The same statement occurs more briefly in the Book of Lecan, p. 459:—
‘Ag Cund Cetchathach mac Feidlimid Rechtmair fodailter saerclanna Leithi


Cuind ocus it forthuatha [read fortuatha] Sil Cuind acht sin nama. Ac Cathair Mor mac Feidlimid Fhir Urglais fodlas saerclanda Laigen uili ocus it fortuatha Laigin acht sin nama beous. Ag Ailill Olum mac Moga Nuadad fodailter saerclanda na Muman ocus it forthuatha [read fortuatha] acht sin.’

¶125] In the lists of aichechtuatha91 by far the larger part of the names are collectives in Dál, etc. The remainder are in various forms, e.g., Tuath Raisen or Ruisen, Tuath Fer Morc, Tuath mac nUmoir. Two, Tuath Ua Cathbarr and Tuath Ua Carra, exhibit the later nomenclature of septs, but even these have variants omitting Ua.

¶126] Instances occur of the application of the term tuath to population-groups with plural names, not in a vague and general way like tuath Hérenn = the Irish, = God's people, the Israelites, but apparently as a customary and appropriated designation of local groups.

¶127] Bolgthuath: There are two groups so named. Bolgthuath Badbgna of Sliab Badbgna or Bodbgna (Slieve Baune, co. Roscommon), and Bolgthuath Echtge of Sliab Echtge (Slieve Aughty, co. Galway). Cp. Bolgraige, an aithechtuath in Tír Conaill. Mac Fir Bhisigh ( Genealogies, p. 54) quotes among the branches of the Fir Bolg, besides ‘Bolgthuath Bagna for airther Connacht’ and ‘Bolgraighe for criochaibh Conaill’, ‘Fir Bolg for Mhagh Nia Benntraighe’ and ‘Fir Bolg ar Mhagh Luirg.’ As all these names occur in what is evidently a consecutive list of the aithechtuatha of Connacht, the Magh Nia in question is the plain also called Mag Tuired Cunga, at Cong, co. Mayo. It is evident that Fir Bolg (= Bolgthuath, Bolgraige) was the name of a known historical population existing in various parts of Connacht and in north-western Ulster. Its location and its vassal status, importing early conquest, as well as the traditions of its existence in Ireland before the Góedil, show clearly that the Fir Bolg must not be equated with the historical Belgae. The name was extended in the Irish history-legend at an early period so as to denote the whole or main population of Ireland before the Góedil.92

¶128] Cruithentuath: This seems to be a general name for the Picts in Ireland and in Scotland. But it is also used as a special name for the Picts of Dál Araidi, ‘Cú Chuaráin rí Ulad & Cruthentuaithe,’ ( Onomasticon Goedelicum, p. 312 ; for Cú Cuaráin see section 116), and for Tuath Chruithnech, a Pictish vassal people ‘round Cruachain,’ the old capital of the Connachta. There was also a vassal people or rather a scattered population so named ‘in the country of the Ulaid and in Mag Cobo’ and ‘between Sídán Slébe in Chairn and Loch Febal and between Bernas Tíre Aeda and the Bann’ ( Onomasticon Goedelicum 650), these four places


being merely the ancient extremities of the large territory of the Airgialla. Tuath Chruithnech is thus assigned to a region equal to modern Ulster except the counties of Donegal, Antrim, and Cavan.

¶129] Tuath Fer nDomnann or Tuath Domnann, a vassal people throughout Ui Fiachrach and Ui Amalgada in northern Connacht.

¶130] Tuath Fer Morc or Tuath Morcc, a vassal people in Ui Conaill Gabra (in co. Limerick); ‘.i. fir mora batar immon Luachair nDedad thíar.’ (LL 269 a.)

¶131] Tuath Fer Ruisen or Tuath Ruisen (Resen, Raisen), in Cera (bar. Carra, co. Mayo) and from Ath Moga (Ballymoe = Bél Átha Moga, on the river Suck) to the sea. Also Raissin separately, ‘cath Raissen in Connacht’, Onomasticon Goedelicum s.v. raisse (recte Raissin). Cp. also Sliab Raissen or Rusen = Slieve Rushen,93 bar. Knockninny, co. Fermanagh. Cp. Corcu Ruisen.

¶132] Tuath Sen-Érann, a vassal people at Sliab Luachra in west Munster ‘Sen-Erna mor [read Sen-Érainn Móir ?] na Muman ar slicht Heir meic Eibir Find meic Miled Espaine.’ (Lecan 349.)

¶133] These instances, with Corcu Ulad, Dál Ulad, Corcu Sogain or Suigin, Corcu Ele, mucoi Sogini, mocu Sogin, moccu Elich, seem to indicate that the various collective formulae might be applied to ancient peoples named in the plural formula, perhaps chiefly when these had not subdivided into groups bearing collective names.

¶134] Tuatha Forc ocus Iboth: ‘Na tri Fothaid .i. Fothad Aircteach Fothad Cairpteach Fothad Canand. Tri maic Fainche ingine Nair maic Irmora d'Aruib Cliach. Berid Fainche eamnu ter (trí ?) fermacu. D' Ibdachaib di Ulltaib a mbunad .i. da mac94 Irel Glunmair Forc ocus Iboth. Dos-fagaib Rechtaig Rigderg i nAlbain oro (=coro) muigedar catha remhaib consealgadar cricha mara i nAlbain comdar fasa. Giallsat Fir Alban do Rechtaid Rigderg comba ri Erenn ocus Alban. Is de atait Tuatha Forc ocus Iboth allai do lodar iiii. l. fermacaib for longeas tairis anall for gabail ro gabsat Cluchriu ocus ni fortad {fortaat} gabsat crich Maine ocus crich Fiachrach Aidhne gabsat Baisgind a comarbus a seanmathar Uaithne ingean Eachach maic Luchta. Tir ele {nEile} ota Sinaind siar ocus Derc; fo thuaid conadh de anmannaib na mban dingarter a cenel ocus a ngenelaiche ar luidh indara nai go Caela Rigderg .i. Eli conid de gairter Eli luid araile cu Fergus Foltlebur .i. Uaithne conid de gairter Uaithne ocus robadar na ceatraimid95 do claind Uaithne .i. Uaitnia ocus Druithnia ocus Cainnia ocus Decnia. Tri braithri .i. Uaithnia ocus Druithnia ocus Cainnnia.’ Sunt qui dicunt Macnia .i. athair na mac .i. na Fhothad mac Cairbri maic Cormaic maic


Mesi Suad maic Mesin Fuirc maic Mesin Fuircill maic Cairbri maic Iboth. Alii dicunt tri Fothaid .i. tri maic Feidlimthe maic Maic-Niath maic Gnathail maic Erc maic Cairbri Niath Fer maic Feidlimthe Foltcaim. Is de ata Lecht Glind Erc is de ata ro ced no orabi rig-domna bad mo Erc mac Feidlimte .i. i loc ro baite. Huc usque de Salterio Caisil.

Aliter cland Chonaill Chernaich .i. Eogan ocus Oilill ocus Fen Fer Tlachtga Caithnia ocus Druithnia ocus Uaithnia .i. Uaithni Thire ocus Uaithni Cliach quod fortasi uerius. (BB 164b.)

‘The Three Fothads, i.e. Fothad the Silvern, Fothad the Chariot-rider, and Fothad Canann, three sons of Fainche daughter of Nár son of (Fer Mora?) of the Arai of Cliu. Fainche gives birth to three manchildren at one birth. Of the Ibdaig of the Ulaid was their origin, i.e. Forc and Iboth were two sons of Irial Glúnmár. Rechtaid Red-arm leaves them in Alba and they won battles and utterly wasted great territories. The Men of Alba submitted to Rechtaid Red-arm, so that he became king of Ériu and Alba. Hence are the Tuatha Forc and Iboth (on the other side?). They came with four times fifty manchildren on a voyage across from that side to settle on lands. They occupied Cluchri,96 and they no longer dwell there. They occupied the country of (Ui) Maine and the country of (Ui) Fiachrach Aidne. They occupied (Corcu) Baiscinn in succession from their grandmother Uaithne daughter of Eochu son of Luchta. (They occupied) another territory westward from the Shannon and northward from (Loch) Derg. So that by the names of the women are distinguished, their kindreds and their genealogies. For one of them went to Caela Red-arm, to wit Eli, and hence the Eli are named. Another went to Fergus Longhair, to wit Uaithne, and hence the Uaithni are named. And there were four champions (?) of the family of Uaithne, namely Uaithnia, Druithnia, Caínnia, and Decnia. Uaithnia, Druithnia, and Caínnia were three brothers. Sunt qui dicunt Macnia, father of the boys, i.e. of the Fothads, son of Cairbre s.o. Cormac s.o. Mes Suad s. o. Mes Fuirc s. o. Mes Fuircill s. o. Cairbre s. o. Iboth. Alii dicunt, the Three Fothads, three sons of Feidlimid s. o. Macnia s. o. Gnáthal s. o. Erec s. o. Cairbre Nia Fer and Fedelm Foltcoem.97 Hence is [named] Lecht Glinn[e] Erc. Of him it was sung (?), ‘there was no (?) prince of the royal line greater than Erc, Fedelm's son.’ That is, where they were drowned (is the Grave of the Glen of Erc). Huc usque de Psalterio Caisil.’

‘Aliter the children of Conall Cernach, i. e. Eogan and Ailill and Fen Fer Tlachtga (or Fénfer 'Fian-man' of Tlachtga), (also named)


Cathnia, Druithnia and Uaithnia, i.e. (the ancestors of) Uaithni Thíre and Uaithni of Cliu, quod fortasse uerius (est).’

¶135] With Tuatha Forc compare Insi Orc. Tuatha Iboth are doubtless the old traditional inhabitants of the Hebrides, Ebudae Insulae. Ibdaig = *Ebudaci.98 They are said here to be of the Ulaid. Iubdán (= *Ebudagnos) in the Death of Fergus, Silva Gadelica, is king of an oversea country of dwarfs.

¶136] Uaithnia, Druithnia, and Cainnia appear to be artificial eponyms of the Uaithni (hence the baronies of "Owney" in Tipperary and Limerick), Dál Druithne in Ui Maine (‘west of the Shannon and north of Loch Derg’), and Caenraige (hence "Kenry" barony, co. Limerick). These Irish Ibdaig, like the Irish Picts, have Conall Cernach assigned to them as ancestor. Their traditional habitat (Kenry, Owney, Aidni, Ui Maine, Corcu Bascinn seems to correspond with the position of the Auteni or Auteini (= Uaithni?) in Ptolemy's account.

The Tricha Cét = Thirty Hundreds

¶137] The term tricha cét in late usage denotes a certain measure of territory. Keating ( Forus Feasa, ed. Comyn, p. 112) gives the extent of the provinces of Ireland in this measure as follows: Meath proper (an Mhidhe féin), 13; Breagha, 5; Cúigeadh Connacht, including Clare, 30; Cúigeadh Uladh extending southward to the Boyne, (35 or) 36; Cúigeadh Laighean, 31; Cúigeadh Eochaidh (sic), i.e. eastern Minister, 35; Cúigeadh Con Raoi, i.e western Munster, 35. Total 185.

¶138] Keating adds (p. 128) that Ulster at one time contained only 33, the other three having been ceded by Leinster in the time of the Pentarchy (aimsear na gCúigeadhach), i.e. in the Ulidian heroic period. There is evidently a cross-division somewhere; and the total of 185 must be excessive. The Ulster and Leinster fifths meet at the Boyne, so that these provinces must include the five tricha-céts of Brega. Mide, too, i.e. central Ireland exclusive of Brega, is traditionally a province of late origin, and there must be an overlap in its case also.

¶139] The whole account suggests an ancient (perhaps theoretical) division of Ireland into five provincial kingdoms, each fifth (cóiced, cúigeadh) containing thirty-five tricha-céts.

¶140] The thirtieth part of a tricha-cét, says Keating, is a baile or


baile biataigh. Since tricha cét means ‘thirty hundreds’, the baile must represent the hundred. This at once suggests the Germanic hundred and the Latin centuria, as divisions of the people. The original Roman populus contained thirty curiae. The principle of organization appears to have been at once genealogical and religious, each curia having its own rites presided over by a priest called curio. The thirty curiones formed a priestly college of the whole state. Traces of a similar unity of the genealogical and religious principles are also indicated in ancient Ireland (see section 56). The female eponyms in Ireland have their analogue too in the Roman curiae, some of which were said to have derived their names from the Sabine women who were the mothers of the Roman people.

¶141] The Roman centuries, forming the comitia centuriata, were a civil organization on a military basis. This, we shall see, was also the original character of the Irish tricha cét. It denoted not only the civil organization of the people, and the corresponding division of the territory, but also the armed levy of each state.

¶142] There are many ancient statements bearing on this point which still require to be collected. For the present, one passage in Táin Bo Cuailngi will serve as a locus classicus. It occurs at the episode in which Medb takes note of the smart discipline and warlike efficiency of one section of her allies, the Galians of Leinster. Their superiority to her own troops evokes in her mind only a jealous dismay, and she decides to order a treacherous massacre of the Galians. Her Ulster comrade, Fergus, resolutely opposes this design, and threatens to lead the allies against Medb if she persists in it. This argument prevails, and Medb contents herself with separating the Galians into small troops and distributing them throughout the army.

¶143] ‘By the truth of my conscience,’ said Fergus, ‘no man shall do death to them but the man who will do death to me.’ ‘Thou, Fergus, must not say that to me,’ said Medb, ‘for I am strong enough in numbers to slay and overwhelm thee with the thirty-hundred of the Galians around thee. For I have the seven Maines with their seven thirty-hundreds, and the Sons of Magu with their thirty hundred, and Ailill with his thirty-hundred, and I too have a like force. There we are, strong enough to slay and overwhelm thee with the thirty-hundred of the Galians around thee.’

‘It is not fitting to tell me so,’ said Fergus. ‘For I have here the seven petty kings of the Munstermen with their seven thirty-hundreds. There are here the thirty hundred of the best fighting men of Ulster. There are here the best of the fighting men of Ireland, the thirty-hundred of the Galians. I am their security, their guarantee, and their safeguard from the day they left


their own native territory, and by me they will stand on the day thou challengest.’

¶144] The allied forces under Medb thus consisted of nineteen separately organized bodies, each under a local king and each consisting of thirty hundred men. Thirty hundred, in fact, was the traditional complement of the army of a petty state.

¶145] The technical name of the whole levy of 3,000 men was cath. Where the Annals of Ulster (1222) have the entry: ‘ro thinolsat Gaill Erenn cethri catha fichet co Delgain, co táinic Aedh O Neill ocus Mac in Uga cethri catha na n-aghaidh’, the D text says: ‘numerati 24 completa bella, qui faciunt Hibernica numeratione 72 millia armatorum
12 millibus armatorum, numeratione suprascripta.’

¶146] The Irish cath or tricha cét has its exact counterpart in the legio, originally the whole army or normal military levy of the Roman state. The Roman tradition was that under Romulus, i.e. in the earliest times, Rome had but one legion, and this legion numbered 3,000 men, i.e. 100 men from each of the thirty tribes.

¶147] The Romans divided their fighting population into two classes, juniores and seniores. It seems clear that they originally regarded the young men as forming the normal fighting strength of the population, and the older men as forming a reserve which might be called out to meet an emergency. Juventus is an habitual term for the folk of age to serve in arms. Precisely the same usage is found in Irish. In the passage cited above from Táin Bó Cuailngi, the word which I have twice translated ‘fighting men’ is óic = (juvenci) juvenes, juniores, juventus, and numerous examples of this usage could easily be collected.

¶148] As the Romans grew into a great military power, they did not abandon the ancient constitution of their army, but retained and developed it. Instead of expanding their army indefinitely with the growth of their state, they could only think of forming additional bodies on the model of their primitive army of 3,000, and this they continued to do even under the Caesars.

¶149] In the Spartan army, we can trace the same tradition. The army consisted of six mórai, and the móra at one period numbered 500 men, giving a total of 3,000 men. Each of the three Dorian tribes of Sparta before Cleomenes contained ten wbaí, making thirty wbaí in all. In Athens, in the age of Theseus, each fratría contained thirty g[eacgr ]nh.

¶150] ‘The phalanx soldiers in the army of Alexander amounted to 18,000 and were divided
into six divisions, each named after a Macedonian province from which it was to derive its recruits.’99 Each province would thus


correspond to the Irish tricha cét and the army of each province to the Irish cath of 3,000 men.

¶151] The century remained the theoretical basis of the Irish military organization until the final overthrow of the Celtic system at the battle of Kinsale, Christmas Eve, 1601. In the proclamation issued in that year by O'Neill, it is ordered that ‘the constable of the hundred shall have eighty-four men on the strength, allowing an abatement of sixteen men, and this abatement shall be expended as follows: the constable of the hundred shall have the wage of ten men thereof, and the marshal of the territory shall have the pay of five men, and the lord's galloglach shall have the pay of one man.’100

¶152] The facts here brought together appear to establish that the Irish tricha cét, its thirtieth part the baile, and the Irish military organization embodied a tradition common to many peoples of ancient Europe, and going back to a time when these peoples formed one community or a group of neighbouring communities. I trust that this superficial examination may lead to a more thorough investigation at competent hands into the earliest traditional form of the civil and military organization among the various branches of the Indo-European race.

¶153] Keating says that, ‘ according to the ancient record (do réir an tseanchusa), the baile contained 12 seisreacha, and the seisreach 120 acres.’ The word for ‘acre’, acra, is not of Irish origin, and must have replaced some older term. Later on, Keating says that ‘the acre of Irish measure is twice or thrice greater than the acre of the present foreign measure.’ ‘The acre of the present foreign measure’ probably means the Irish ‘Plantation acre’, which is greater than the statute acre in the ratio 196:121. Ireland is said to contain 20,819,928 statute acres, equivalent to 12,853,114 Plantation acres. According to Keating's statement, the 185 tricha-céts should be equal to 7,992,000 acres of (the older) Irish measure. But since his total of 185 is too much by at least 5, probably by more than 5, his total of acres must also be reduced. Moreover, by the statement ‘twice or thrice greater’ we are to suppose, not that Keating was unable or neglected to give a more exact ratio, but that in fact the Irish measure varied according to the nature of the land. The Irish tradition of land-measurement, still by no means obsolete, was based on the quantity of live stock that a given area could support.


Hence no doubt the extent of the tricha cét was variable according to the fertility and population of the district.

¶154] The rise of the great septs, about the commencement of the Christian period in Ireland, must have greatly changed the older political subdivision of the country, sometimes dividing and sometimes combining the more ancient petty states. In some instances the tricha cét appears to have survived as a petty state. In others, it is divided between two distinct political organisations. In others as many as ten tricha céts form the kingdom of a single sept. There may well have been instances in which the early territorial state was split into fragments, though there is a visible tendency down to the seventeenth century, when the baronies of the English regime were marked out, to adhere to remotely ancient territorial delimitations. The following passage (Lecan, 460), describing the territories possessed by Dál Cuinn, is instructive:

¶155] ‘Cland Chuind andso fo Erind .i. Fir Breg ocus Fir Midi ocus Fir Thulach ocus Corco Rocada a n-ingnais a buil do deoradaib acu. Is iadso iadside .i. Luigne ocus Gailenga ocus na Saidne ocus Hui Aeda Odba ocus na scacht nDealbna ocus leth-tricha cét Cuircne ocus leth-tricha chet Teallaig Modaran ocus tricha chet Fear mBile. Cland Chuind .i. fiche baili na Colaman ocus tricha chid101 Fini Gall ocus Airgialla102 imorro seacht tricha chet dec indti103 ocus deich tricha Ceniuil Eogain ocus deich tricha Ceniuil Conaill ocus leith-tricha Ceniuil nEnda ocus leith-tricha Ceniuil nAengusa ocus leith-tricha Fer Tulach ocus deich trichaid cét Breifni ocus deich tricha Hua Maine acht tri tuatha nama .i. Sodain ocus Dal nDruithne ocus Muinter Mail Findain. Sil Muireadaig Muilleathain ocus Sil Briain meic Eachach Muigmedoin in cach du itait ocus in da Chairpri .i. Cairpri Mor Droma Cliab la cloind Fhiachrach meic Echach Muidmedoin ocus Cairpri O Ciarda la Firu Midi. Sil Dathi o clad Chonachla co Codnaich Cloindi Puint. Muinter Murchada cona coibnesaib ocus Cland Coscraig. Fir Umaill cona ngablanaib.’

¶156] ‘Sil Fiachach Suigdi meic Feidlimid Rechtmair .i. Corcortri la Corand i Condachtaib dia mbai Diarmaid Hua Duibne ocus Hui Chuind cona fineadaib .i. uirrig Corcorthri cor dichuirsed cland Taidc meic Cein meic Aililla Ulaim a Mumin ocus is do Corcortri Hui Dobailean scus Hui Duindchaichig ocus Hui Ailella dia roibi Mac Liag .i. in fili. Na Deisi imorro do cloind Fiachach Suigdi .i. deich tricha-cet intib cona fochenelaib i n-egmais Semaine .i. leith-tricha cet ita ar slicht Semuine meic Cechaing meic Celtair Semaine meic Cealtchair meic Uitheochair dia ndeachaid ar cend Cealtchair diaid marbtha


Blai Brugad do Cealtchair tre et na dun ocus na Deisi Breg cen airem andsin. Fir Bili ocus Fir Asail is do cloind Fiachach Suigdi atat.’

¶157] ‘Fotharta dochodur co Laigniu do chloind Echach Find Fuath nAirt meic Feidlimid Rechtmair .i. na .uii. Fotharta in cach baili itait.’

¶158] ‘The following are Conn's race throughout Ireland: Fir Breg and Fir Midi (the men of Brega and Meath), and Fir Thulach and Corcu Roide, apart from what they have of immigrants. The latter are these: Luigni and Gailing and the Saithni and Ui Aeda of Odba and the seven Delbnai and the half tricha cét of Cuircne and the half tricha cét of Tellach Modaran and the tricha cét of Fir Bili.104 The race of Conn, [to resume]: the twenty townlands (hundreds) of the Colamain, and the tricha cét of Fine Gall, and the Airgialla moreover, containing seventeen tricha céts, and the ten tricha céts of Cenél nEogain, and the ten tricha céts of Cenél Conaill, and the half tricha cét of Cenél nÉndai, and the half tricha cét of Cenél nAengusa, and the half tricha cét of Fir Tulach105 and the ten tricha céts of Breifne, and the ten tricha céts of Ui Maini, except three tuatha, namely Sogain and Dál Druithne and Muinter Mail Findáin. The race of Muiredach Muillethan and the race of Brian son of Eochu Muigmedóin wheresoever they are, and the Cairbres, namely Cairbre Mór of Druim Cliab belonging to the Ui Fiachrach maic Echach Muigmedóin and Cairbre Ua Ciarda belonging to the Men of Meath. The race of Dathi from Clad Conachla to Codnach of Cland Puint. Muinter Murchada with their kinsfolk, and Cland Choscraig. The Men of Umall with their branches.’

¶159] ‘The race of Fiachu Suigde son of Feidlimid Rechtmar, namely: Corcu Fir Tri at Corann in Connacht, of whom was Diarmaid Ua Duibne, and the Ui Chuinn with their families, formerly petty kings of Corcu Fir Tri until the race of Tadg son of Cian son of Ailill Aulom from Munster dispossessed them: and of Corcu Fir Tri are the Ui Dobailén and Ui Duinnchaichig and Ui Ailella, of whom was Mac Liag the poet. The Dési, moreover, are of the race of Fiachu Suigde; they, with their under-septs, contain ten tricha céts, not reckoning the Semaine, i.e., a half tricha cét who are descended from Semuine son of Cechang son of Celtar or from Semaine son of Celtchar son of Uithechar106 when the consequence of slaying Blai Brugaid through jealousy in his fort went against Celtchar; and the Dési of Brega are not reckoned therein i.e. in the ten tricha céts). Fir Bili and Fir Asail are of the race of Fiachu Suigde.’


¶160] ‘The Fothairt who went to Leinster are of the race of Eochu Find Fuath nAirt, i.e. the seven Fothairt in every place where they are.’107

¶161] Compared with the account in Keating, the foregoing contemplates a much smaller extent of the tricha cét. Cenél Conaill, Cenél nEogain, and Airgialla comprise 37 tricha céts. These occupy much less than the modern Ulster, as they do not comprise the counties of Antrim, Down, and Cavan. The ancient Ulster of Keating's account, somewhat larger than the modern province, contains only thirty-six tricha céts.

¶162] We can assign a period to the Lecan statement. It is earlier than the Norman occupation of Meath at the close of the twelfth century, and later than the death of Mac Liag in 1016. It is likely that the tricha cét varied according to the population at different periods, and that Keating's account is referable to a time when the country was less populous than in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

¶163] Two modern baronies retain the name tricha, Trough (an Triúcha, Trícha Cét Cladaig), 37,377 statute acres, in co. Monaghan, and Trughanacmy (T. an Aicme), 195,282 statute acres, in Kerry.

¶164] Other instances from Onomasticon Goedelicum are:—

  1. Trícha Baguine = baronies Boylagh and Banagh, co. Donegal.
  2. Cairbri = barony Carbury, co. Sligo.
  3. Trícha cét Cera, apparently somewhat larger than barony Carra, co. Mayo.
  4. Trícha cét Cianachta = ancient kingdom of Cianacht Breg.
  5. Trícha cét Cualnge, perhaps = kingdom of Conaille.
  6. Trícha cét Énna mic Neill = trícha Énna = two baronies of Raphoe, co. Donegal.
  7. Trícha cét Fer nArda = baronies of Corcomroe and Burren, co. Clare = ancient kingdom of Corcu Mu Druad.
  8. Trícha cét Mugdorn, perhaps = barony Cremorne (Crích M.), co. Monaghan.
  9. Trícha cét na nOilén = barony Islands, co. Clare.
  10. Trícha cét na Soillse = barony Lecale, co. Down.
  11. Tricha Eogain = two baronies Inishowen, co. Donegal.
  12. Trícha Luigdech = barony Kilmacrenan, co. Donegal.
  13. Trícha Medónach = barony Barryroe, or part thereof, co. Cork.

¶165] O'Donovan's Supplement to O'Reilly's Dictionary, has: ‘Rig: 'rí rig', rex regulorum, a chief whose authority was recognized by seven petty chieftains.


H. 3. 18, p. 14.’ Rií rig here seems to be an etymological gloss on ruiri = ro + rí. For ‘ chief’ and ‘chieftains’, read ‘king’ and ‘kings’.

¶166] The tradition that suzerainty over seven petty kings conferred a special grade is elsewhere exemplified. Cp. section 143, above, where, besides the sons of Magu who were chiefs of the vassal Fir Domnann, the seven Máines of Connacht are subject to Medb, and in Munster also there are seven uirrig. The earlier and lesser Munster of the Érainn is here implied. In the defeat of the Irish Picts by Ui Néill at Móin Daire Lothair (an. 562 AU), when the Picts lost their territory west of the Bann, their king Aed Brecc is spoken of as leading seven other Pictish kings. In the Book of Rights, Ireland is divided into seven chief kingdoms, whose kings have no suzerain except the king of Ireland. This division seems to represent an ideal rather than an actuality, for as far as one can judge from other evidences, the kings of Osraige, Tuadmuma, Breifne, and Cenél Conaill, perhaps also the kings of Iarmuma (Eoganacht Locha Léin) and Brega, were quite as independent as the seven chief kings in the Book of Rights. In O'Maelconaire's Munster Annals (R. I. A. copy), the kings of Cashel are usually called kings of Cashel and Desmond, indicating that they were not suzerains of west and north Munster. From an early period in the ninth century the Airgialla seem to have admitted the suzerainty of Cenél nEogain: ‘Airgialla .i. daergialla Cenél nEogain rocuirsead fo dairchis iad o cath Leithe Caim amach’ (BB 249 b 15, H. 3. 18, page 580, and see AU 826). Hence perhaps the absence of any statement of tributes due to the king of Airgialla in the Book of Rights. Flann Mainistrech, in his poem quoted by me ( R. I. A. Proceedings, xxvii, C. 6, p. 138), names seven chief kings in his time. Six of these accord with the Book of Rights. For the seventh he omits Airgialla and substitutes Brega. (Cuán Ó Lothcháin, referring to the alleged contents of the Psalter of Tara, says that it tells of ‘seven chief kings of Ireland,’ who are ‘the five kings of the Fifths, the king of Ireland and her high king (subking)’ BB 351 b 3 (orrig is a marginal amendment of airdri). Perhaps the peculiar designation, in Sechtmad, ‘the Seventh,’ applied to one of the petty kingdoms of Munster, had its origin in this way (see section 106)