Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Early Irish Population-Groups: Their Nomenclature, Classification, and Chronology (Author: [unknown])

section 3


¶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.