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High Kings of Ireland

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Many Irish families can trace their lineage back to a particular sept of Irish High Kings, through surname if not generation by generation. The English invasions led to the destruction of specifics, so generally only surname info is available prior to the 1800s.

"Medieval Irish historical tradition held that Ireland had been ruled by an Ard Rí or High King since ancient times, and compilations like the Lebor Gabála Érenn, followed by early modern works like the Annals of the Four Masters and Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, purported to trace the line of High Kings. The corpus of early Irish law does not support the existence of such an institution, and scholars now believe it is a pseudohistorical construct of the eighth century AD, a projection into the distant past of a political entity that did not become reality until Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid in the ninth century. The traditional list of High Kings of Ireland is thus a mixture of fact, legend, fiction, and propaganda. The individuals appearing prior to the fifth century AD are generally considered legendary, and the application of the title to individuals before the ninth century is considered anachronistic." (Wikipedia)

Nevertheless, the traditional genealogies of the High Kings have been preserved. The most common link to the kings of Ireland for people in western Europe is through the marriage of Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke (ca. 1130 - 1173) to Aoife, daughter of Diarmait II, King of Leinster.

Important Note: There are different, sometimes conflicting, sources for the genealogies of the High Kings. See individual profiles for more information. Please respect the work other people have put in, and do NOT remove relationships without ample discussion.

This project replaces the Kings of Ireland Merge Project.

Objective

The goal of this project is to resolve duplicates, standardize naming conventions, and ensure the quality of the profiles in the family trees of the High Kings. This project includes all of the legendary, semi-historical and historical High Kings of Ireland. The provincial kings in Ireland have or will have separate projects.

Key Profiles

High Kings of Ireland

Fir Bolg High Kings

  • Slainge
  • Rudhraighe
  • Gann and Geannan
  • Sengann
  • Fiacha Cennfinnian
  • Rinnan
  • Foidhbhgen
  • Eochaidh

Tuatha de Danaan High Kings

(Euhemerized deities)

  • Bres
  • Nuadha
  • Lugh
  • Eochaidh
  • Dealbhaeth
  • Fiacha
  • MacCuill, MacCeacht, and MacGreine

Milesian High Kings

Goidelic High Kings

Semi-Historical High Kings

  • Oilioll Molt 459-478
  • Lughaidh mac Lóegairi 479-503
  • Muircheartach mac Ercae 504-527
  • Túathal Máelgarb 528-538
  • Diarmait mac Cerbaill 539-558
  • Domhnall and Fearghus 559-561
  • Eochaidh and Baedan 562-563
  • Ainmuire mac Sétnai 564-566
  • Báetán mac Ninnedo 567
  • Áed mac Ainmuirech 568-594
  • Áed Sláine and Colmán Rímid 595-600
  • Áed Uaridnach 601-607
  • Máel Coba mac Áedo 608-610
  • Suibne Menn 611-623
  • Domnall mac Áedo 624-639
  • Cellach and Conall Cael 640-656
  • Diarmait and Blathmac 657-664
  • Sechnassach 665-669
  • Cenn Fáelad 670-673
  • Fínsnechta Fledach 674-693
  • Loingsech mac Óengusso 694-701
  • Congal Cennmagair 702-708
  • Fergal mac Máele Dúin 709-718
  • Fogartach mac Néill 719
  • Cináed mac Írgalaig 720-722
  • Flaithbertach mac Loingsig 723-729
  • Áed Allán 730-738
  • Domnall Midi 739-758
  • Niall Frossach 759-765
  • Donnchad Midi 766-792
  • Áed Oirdnide 793-817
  • Conchobar mac Donnchada 819-833
  • Niall Caille 833-846 or Feidlimid mac Crimthainn 836-841
  • Turgesius of Norway, The Tyrant

Historical High Kings

  • Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid 846–860
  • Áed Findliath 861–876
  • Flann Sinna 877–914
  • Niall Glúndub 915–917
  • Donnchad Donn 918–942
  • Congalach Cnogba 943–954
  • Domnall Ua Néill 955–978
  • Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill 979–1002
  • Brian Bóruma 1002–1014
  • Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill (restored) 1014–1022
  • Corcran Claireach and Conn O Lochlain
  • Donnchad mac Briain (with opposition) died 1064
  • Diarmait mac Maíl na mBó (with opposition) died 1072
  • Toirdelbach Ua Briain (with opposition) died 1086
  • Domnall Ua Lochlainn (with opposition) died 1121
  • Muirchertach Ua Briain (with opposition) died 1119
  • Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair (with opposition) died 1156
  • Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn (with opposition) died 1166
  • Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (with opposition) died 1186
  • Brian Ua Neill (with opposition) 1258-1260
  • Edubard a Briuis (Edward Bruce) (with opposition) 1315-1318

Related Projects

  • Jobath, said to have been the ancestor of the Irish High Kings was a son of Javan, son of Japtheth, son of Noah. His line connects to the Biblical Tree Project.
  • Scota, the mother of Érimón, is said to have been a daughter of an Egyptian Pharoah. Details vary, but her line connects to the Pharaohs of Egypt Merge Project.
  • Tea-Tephi / Tamar-Telphi, the wife of Érimón, is said to have been a daughter of .Zedekiah, King of Judah. Her line connects to the Biblical Tree Project.

Naming Conventions

See Naming Conventions.

For this project we prefer Gaelic spellings first, followed by English spellings, all separated by /. For example: Duach Laidrach / Dui Ladrach.

Keeping in the tradition of the "Big Tree", the surname field is always left blank until surnames are actually used - in Ireland, that would be the eleventh century.

Please remember that Gaelic uses the genitive form for names. If a person's father was Domnall, the correct form for that person's surname will be mac Domnaill or ingen Domnaill. In this example Domnaill is the genitive form of Domnall. If you aren't familiar with using genitives in Gaelic, the best practice is to leave the name intact.

Dating

The two primary sources for the legendary High Kings use different sets of dates for them. Annals of the Four Masters begins the reign of Eber Finn and Érimón in 1700 BCE, while Foundation of Knowledge begins their reigns in 1287 BCE. Project members have not yet settled on a standard approach to the problem.

How to Participate

See Projects.

If you would like to contribute to this page, please contact the Project Manager or one of the Project Collaborators.

Sources

Primary Sources

  • Lebor Gabála Érenn (Book of the Taking of Ireland), 11th century
  • Forus Feasa ar Erinn (Foundation of Knowledge on Ireland), Geoffrey Keating, ca. 1634
  • Annala Rioghachta Éireann (Annals of the Four Masters), 17th century compilation of older documents

Secondary Sources

  • Irish Kings and High Kings, John Francis Byrne (Dublin 1973). Probably the most accessible and reliable modern source.
  • Irish Pedigrees: or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation, John O'Hart (Dublin 1887-88). Almost all amateur genealogy on the Irish kings derives directly or indirectly from this very popular book.

Electronic Sources

  • MedLands. A genealogical presentation of the kings of Ireland, with citations to original sources. This is the preferred reference for the historical kings.
  • The Monarchs of Ireland. Eddie Geoghegan's heraldry site has a convenient genealogical summary of the High Kings. As with all secondary sources, it should be used with caution.
  • List of High Kings of Ireland. Wikipedia's list of the High Kings of Ireland. As with all secondary sources, it should be used with caution.
  • List of Irish Kings. Gateway to Serving History's lists of Irish kings, including the High Kings, the kings of provinces, and other local kings.
  • Irish Genitives. A guide for forming genitive forms of Gaelic names.

Sources for Other Irish Kingdoms