Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The History of Ireland (Author: Geoffrey Keating)

Section 12


It was in the reign of this Aodh son of Ainmire that Columcille died. Understand, O reader, that the Colum of whom we have been speaking up to this is Columcille son of Feidhlimid, son of Fearghus. But the Red Book of Mac Aodhagan and the sacred history of the saints of Ireland say that many of the saints, male and female, of Ireland bore the same name. For they say that there were twenty-two St. Colums in Ireland, and Columcille was the first Colum of them; and further, it was in commemoration of the sanctity of Columcille that each of them was called Colum. There were twenty-five St. Ciaran's in Ireland, and amongst them were Ciaran of Cluain Mic Nois, and Ciaran of Saighir, and Ciaran of Tiobraid Naoi. There were thirty-two St. Aodhan's in Ireland. There were seven St. Bairrfhionn's in Ireland, and amongst these was Bairrfhionn, or Fionnbharr, of Corcach. And this Fionnbharr was the son of Aimhirgin, son of Dubh Duibhne, son of Ninnidh, son of Eochaidh, son of Cairbre Ard, son of Brian, son of Eochaidh Muighmheodhon, who was king of Ireland. And there were seventeen holy bishops and seven hundred religious in the community of Corcach along with Fionnbharr. There were four St. Baoithins in Ireland, to wit, Baoithin son of Breanainn, Baoithin son of Fionnach, Baoithin son of Alladh, and Baoithin son of Cuanaidh. There were fifteen St. Brighids in Ireland, and amongst them was Brighid, daughter of Dubhthach, of Leinster, who is celebrated throughout Europe; and it is clear that she is of the stock of Eochaidh Fionn Fuath nArt; and that Eochaidh Fionn was brother to Conn Ceadchathach, who was king of Ireland. Here is the testimony of the sacred history of Ireland on this point, as we read in the poem which begins: The sacred history of the saints of Inis Fail:


    1. Brighid, daughter of Dubhthach Donn,
      Son of Dreimhne, son of Breasal Borr,
      Son of Dein, son of Connla, son of Art,
      Son of Cairbre Nia, son of Cormac,
    2. Son of Aonghus Mor, of high dignity,
      Son of Eochaidh Fionn, hated of Art,
      Son of Feidhlimidh Reachtmhar the noble,
      Son of Tuathal Teachtmhar, the excellent.

The following are the fourteen St. Brighids who were in Ireland besides the Brighid spoken of above: Brighid, daughter of Dioma; Brighid, daughter of Mianach; Brighid, daughter of Moman; Brighid, daughter of Eanna; Brighid, daughter of Colla; Brighid, daughter of Eachtar Ard; Brighid of Inis Brighde; Brighid, daughter of Damhar; Brighid of Seanbhoth; Brighid, daughter of Fiadhnat; Brighid, daughter of Aodh; Brighid, daughter of Luinge (or Long?).

It was in the time of Aodh son of Ainmire, of whom we are treating, and of Aodhan son of Gabhran, king of Alba, who was very old at the time, that the Gaels lost Manainn.

It was, moreover, in the time of Aodh son of Ainmire, that St. Cainneach, of Achadh Bo, died, aged eighty-four years; and this Cainneach was of the stock of Fearghus, son of Rogh. It was about this time that Colman Rimhidh fought the Battle of Sleamhain, in which Conall, son of Aodh, was defeated, and the Battle of Cuil Caoil against Fiachaidh, son of Baodan, in which Fiachaidh, son of Deman, was defeated and his people slaughtered.

After that Conall son of Suibhne defeated in battle the three Aodhs in one day, namely, Aodh Slaine, and Aodh Buidhe, king of Ui Maine, and Aodh Roin, king of Ui bhFailghe. It was at Bruighean da Choga he defeated them, as the poet says in this stanza:

    1. Dreadful was the bloody state
      Of the kings of all Ireland,
      Aodh Slaine with a host,
      Aodh Roin and Aodh Buidhe.


Now there was constant dissension between the two Fiachaidhs we have just mentioned, to wit, Fiachaidh, son of Baodan and Fiachaidh, son of Deaman, and through the prayer of St. Comhgall the son of Baodan often got the upper hand; and when the son of Deaman charged the saint with this, Comhgall asked him in turn whether he preferred heaven and to be slain to gaining a victory and living for a time and hell in the end. The son of Deaman said he preferred to gain a victory over his enemy so that his slaughter of them and exploits against them might be recited at general assemblies from age to age. Comhghall disapproved of the choice he made, and the other Fiachaidh chose heaven and defeat in battle, and this he obtained through the prayers of Comhghall.

Indeed every great tribe of the nobles of Ireland had an attendant guardian saint. In testimony of this take the following tribes: For the Tuathalaigh and the Branaigh had Caoimhghin of Glenn da Loch; the Ui Cinnsealaigh had Maodhog of Fearna; the Caomhanaigh had Moling; the siol Mordha had Fionntain of Cluain Eidhneach; the Ossorians had Cainneach of Achadh Bo; the siol gCinneidhidh had Ruadhan of Lothra; the Deise had Deaglan; the clann Briain of Eatharla had Seanna; Gobnuid was for Muscraidhe Mic Diarmada; Colman for Ui Mac Coile; and similarly there was no district or tribe in Ireland without the special protection of a male or female saint, whom they venerated and honoured. But there are other saints more generally known than those we have mentioned, such as Columcille, Finnen of Magh Bile, Ciaran of Cluain, Comhghall of Beannchair, Brighid of Cill Dara, Ailbhe of Imleach, and St. Patrick, as Aonghus Ceile De says in the book which is called Psaltair na Rann. Thus does he speak:

    1. The Ui Neill, all protected by Colum,
      Are not in the shade of a bramble;
      Protected by Finnen of Magh Bile
      Are all the Ultonians;


      The tribes of Connanght are protected by Ciaran,
      Though it be not an equal division;
      The Dal nAruidhe, the noble, the amiable,
      Are protected by Comhghall;
      The Leinstermen are protected by Brighid,
      Fame and riches;
      All Munster, with its produce,
      Is protected by Ailbhe.
      The chief saints of Ireland, with her monks,
      It is their care,
      Whatever path they walk in, to be all under the shield
      Of Patrick.

It was while Aodh son of Ainmire, held the sovereignty of Ireland that Brandubh, son of Eochaidh, son of Muireadhach, son of Aonghus, son of Feidhlimidh, son of Eanna Cinnsealach, was king of Leinster for one year. And he and the Leinstermen slew Aodh son of Ainmire, in the Battle of Bealach Duin Bolg. It is also said that it was the Leinstermen themselves who slew Brandubh in the Battle of Camcluain, or that it was by Saran Saobhdhearg, the airchinneach of Seanbhoth Sine, he fell, as the poet says in this stanza:

    1. Saran Saobhdhearg, noble guide!
      The airchinneach of Seanbhoth Sine,
      'Tis no falsehood, though he was seldom in battle,
      He slew Brandubh, son of Eochaidh.
It was about this time that St. Colman of Eala died.

Aodh Slaine, son of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, son of Conall Creamhthainne, son of Niall Naoighiallach, and Colman Rimhidh, son of Muircheartach Mac Earca, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland. They were six years in joint sovereignty. Mughainn, daughter of Cucharainn, son of Duach, a Connaughtwoman, was the mother of Aodh Slaine; and Eithne, daughter of Breanainn Dall, a Connaughtwoman, was his wife; and she bore him six sons, to wit, Diarmaid, Donnchadh, Maolbreasail, Maolodhar, Comhghall, and Oilill. He was called Aodh Slaine, for it was on the river which is named


Slaine he was born. It was in the reign of this pair that Gregory the Great of Rome sent St. Augustine, the monk, together with a community of holy clerics, to propagate the Catholic Faith in Britain. Colman Rimhidh fell by Lochan Diolmhain. Aodh Slaine was slain by Conall Guithbhinn, son of Suibhne.

Aodh Uairiodhnach, son of Domhnall, son of Muircheartach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland twenty-seven years. Brigh, daughter of Orca Mac Eirc, son of Eochaidh, was the mother of Aodh Uairiodhnach. And he is called Aodh Uairiodhnach, for he was subject to cold fits of pain, and if he owned the wealth of the world he would give it to get a moment's relief. Now uara eidhnigh means readhg fuar, or a 'cold pang', and hence he was called Aodh Uairiodhnach. It was in the reign of this Aodh that Aonghus, son of Colman, fought the Battle of Odhbha, in which Conall Laoghbhreagh, son of Aodh Slaine, fell. And Aodh Uairiodhnach, king of Ireland, fell in the Battle of da Fhearta.

Maolcobha, son of Aodh, son of Ainmire, son of Seadna, son of Fearghus Ceannfhoda, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Naoighiallach, of the race of Eireamhon, held the sovereignty of Ireland four years. Croinseach, daughter of Aodh Fionn, king of Osruighe, was the wife of this Maolcobha, Maolcobha fell by Suibhne Meann in the Battle of Sliabh Bealgadain.