Ireland's History in Maps (500 AD)
Ireland's History in Maps

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Reference:   Old Irish Kingdoms and Clans -- Old Irish Surnames

The Connachta, Eoghanact and Christian Kingdoms

Gaulish (French) and British missionaries arriving in the 5th and 6th centuries, such as St, Patrick, Palladius, St. Secundinus, St. Iserninus, St. Finnian, St. Enda and St. Auxilius, were to have a dramatic influence on the religious and cultural future of Ireland. They established and gradually strengthened Christianity in Ireland, and helped to establish a 'monastic' hierarchy which played a important role in the creation of churches and monastic schools of learning which were to later have far-ranging impact throughout Europe in the later centuries.

The dominence of the Gaelic septs, at least in the North, was continued throughout the 5th and 6th centuries as reflected in the so-called Ard Ri (high kingship) of Ireland. Eochu Mugmedón, the Ard Ri in the middle 4th century and great-great-great-great-grandson of Conn of the Hundred Battles, had fostered a continued line of Kings for Ireland. From his sons sprang the powerful Ui Niall (Ui Neill), Ui Briuin and Ui Fiachra line of kings of Ireland, Ulster, Midhe and Connacht. His great-grandson Oilill Molt ruled as High King for twenty years, followed by another great-grandson, Lughaidh, who ruled for twenty five years. The high kingship was next held for twenty-four years by Muircheartach, a great-great-grandson of Eochu Mugmedón. The high kingship was to remain in this family for another 500 years.

The ancestors of Oilioll Olum, a 3rd century king of Caisil (Munster), were beginning to show their dominance in southwest Ireland. His ancestors formed a federation of dynasties known as the Eoghanachta, who were to eclipse the Erainn peoples in Munster by the 7th century. Meanwhile the Dal Riata, who had earlier moved out of Munster into the northeast corner of Ireland, extended their kingdom into what is now Argyll in Scotland. At about the same time the Southern Ui Niaill, descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages in Connacht, were making their moves into northern Laigin (Leinster province) as well as into other parts of Connacht. The A.D. battle of Druim Derge was a pivotal Ui Niaill victory which was to push back the northern boundaries of Leinster until the arrival of the Cambro-Normans in 1169.

The Historical Period

By the latter 5th century Ireland officially begins to enter into it's historical period. The events of the day come to be more accepted by modern historians. The early names and location of Irish tribes become clearer. The Irish kingdoms, their chiefs and their genealogies begin to emerge from the mist of 'pre-history'. St. Patrick and others succeed in spreading the new religion and Christian churches and monasteries make their appearance.

Dendrochronologists studying oak trees preserved in Irish bogs discovered what they believe to be a disastrous climate event occuring in the late 530s A.D. It was a described as a disaster of catastrophic proportions, with indications of crop failures and widespread famine around the world. It was during this timeframe when plague spread throughout Europe, that dynasties began to collapse in China, Mexico and elsewhere, and that Christianity began to take a firm hold in Ireland. Within a generation of the climate disaster most of the monasteries that gave rise to the Golden Age of Irish Christianity were already in existence. Among these included the great monasteries of Durrow founded about 543-560 by St. Columba; of Clonmacnoise founded in 545 by St. Ciaran; of Clonfert founded about 547-559 by St. Brendan; of Bangor founded between 552-559 A.D.; and of Iona founded by St. Columba in 563 A.D.

Excerpts from the Annals

458 AD - After Laeghaire, the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, had been thirty years in the sovereignty of Ireland, he died by the side of Caissi, between Eire and Alba, i.e. two hills which are in Ui Faelain; and it was the Sun and the Wind that killed him, because he had violated them.

459 AD - The first year of Oilioll Molt, son of Dathi, son of Fiachra, in the sovereignty of Ireland.

464 AD - Conall Gulban, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages (from whom are descended the Cinel Conaill), was slain by the old tribes of Magh Slecht, he having been found unprotected, and was buried at Fidhnach Maighe Rein, by Saint Caillin, as the Life of the aforesaid saint relates.

465 AD - Eoghan, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages (from whom are descended the Cinel Eoghain), died of grief for Conall Gulban, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, and was buried at Uisce Chain, in Inis Eoghain

465 AD - Crimhthann, son of Enda Censelach, King of Leinster, was killed by the son of his own daughter, i.e. Eochaidh Guineach, one of the Ui Bairrche.

472 AD - Toca, son of Aedh, son of Senach, chief of Crioch Cualann, in Leinster, died.

475 AD - Conall Cremhthoinn, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, from whom are sprung the Clann Colmain, and race of Aedh Slaine, died.

476 AD - The battle of Granard by Eochaidh, son of Cairbre, son of Oilioll, son of Dunlaing, son of Enda Niadh, against the King of Leinster, Fraech, son of Finuchadh, son of Garchu, son of Fothadh, son of Eochaidh Lamhdoidh, son of Mesincorb; and Fraech fell therein.

478 AD - After Oilioll Molt, son of Dathi, son of Fiachra, had been twenty years in the sovereignty of Ireland, he was slain in the battle of Ocha, by Lughaidh, son of Laeghaire, Muircheartach Mac Earca, Fearghus Cerrbhel, son of Conall Cremththainne, Fiachra, son of Laeghaire, King of Dal Araidhe, and Cremhthann, son of Enna Cennsealach, King of Leinster. It was on this occasion that the Lee and Cairloegh were given to Fiachra as a territorial reward for the battle.

479 AD - The first year of Lughaidh, son of Laeghaire, in sovereignty over Ireland.

480 AD - The battle of Granard, in the land of Leinster, between the Leinstermen themselves, wherein Finnchadh, Lord of Ui Cennsealaigh, was slain by Cairbre.

489 AD - Aenghus, son of Nadfraech, King of Munster, fell in the battle of Cell Osnadha fought against him by Muircheartach Mac Earca, by Illann, son of Dunlaing, by Ailill, son of Dunlaing, and by Eochaidh Guineach.

493 - St. Patrick, son of Calphurn, son of Potaide, archbishop, first primate, and chief apostle of Ireland, whom Pope Celestine the First had sent to preach the Gospel and disseminate religion and piety among the Irish, was the person who separated them from the worship of idols and spectres, who conquered and destroyed the idols which they had for worshipping... died at age 122 (!!)

496 AD - The battle of Druim Lochmaighe was gained by the Leinstermen over the Ui Neill.

497 AD - The battle of Inde Mor, in Crioch Ua nGabhla, was gained over the Leinstermen and Illann, son of Dunlaing, by Muircheartach mac Earca.

498 AD - Fearghus Mor, son of Erc, son of Eochaidh Muinreamhair, with his brothers, went to Alba Scotland.

499 AD - The battle of Seaghais was fought by Muircheartach mac Earca against Duach Teangumha, King of Connaught. The cause of the battle was this, viz.: Muircheartach was a guarantee between the King and Eochaidh Tirmcharna, his brother, and Eochaidh was taken prisoner against the protection of Muircheartach. Against the Connaughtmen these battles were gained.

501 AD - The battle of Freamhain, in Meath, was gained against Fiacha, son of Niall, by Failge Berraidhe.

503 AD - After Lughaidh, son of Laeghaire, had been twenty five years in the sovereignty of Ireland, he was killed at Achadh Farcha, being struck by a flash of lightning, by the miracles of God, on account of the insult which he had offered to Patrick. Eochaidh, son of Muireadhach Muindearg, King of Uladh, also died in this year.

504 - The first year of Muircheartach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall, as king over Ireland.

506 AD Illann, son of Dunlaing, King of Leinster, died.

507 AD - The Cinel Fiachach assume control of Uisneach from the Ui Failge. The battle of Druim Deargaighe was gained against Foilghe Berraidhe, by Fiacha, son of Niall. From that time forward the land extending from Cluain In Dibhair to Uisneach belongs to the Cinel Fiachach.

513 AD - The battle of Dedna, in Droma Breagh, by Muircheartach mac Earca, and by Colga, son of Loite, son of Crunn, son of Feidhlimidh, son of Colla Dachrich, chief of Airghialla, where Ardghal, son of Conall Creamhthainne, son of Niall, was slain.

523 AD - Eochaidh, son of Aenghus, King of Munster, died.

525 AD - Ailill, Bishop of Armagh, who was of the Ui Breasail, died.

526 AD - Cairell, son of Muireadhach Muindearg, King of Ulidia, died. Oilill, son of Dunlaing, King of Leinster, died.

527 AD - After Muircheartach, son of Muireadhach, son of Eoghan, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, had been twenty four years in the sovereignty of Ireland, he was burned in the house of Cleiteach, over the Boyne, on the night of Samhain the first of November, after being drowned in wine.

528 AD - The first year of Tuathal Maelgarbh, son of Cormac Caech, son of Cairbre, son of Niall, in the sovereignty of Ireland. In this year was the battle of Luachair Mor between the two Invers, which is called the battle of Ailbhe, in Breagh, by Tuathal Maelgarbh, against the Cianachta of Meath.

531 AD - The battle of Claenloch, in Cinel Aedh, by Goibhneann, chief of Ui Fiachrach Aidhne, where Maine, son of Cearbhall, was killed, in defending the hostages of Ui Maine of Connaught.

535 AD - The church of Doire Calgaigh was founded by Colum Cille, the place having been granted to him by his own tribe, i.e. the race of Conall Gulban, son of Niall. In this year Cormac, son of Ailill, King of Leinster, died. In this year Oilill, Bishop of Armagh, died. He was also of the Ui Breasail.

537 AD - The battle of Sligeach by Fearghus and Domhnall, the two sons of Muircheartach mac Earca; by Ainmire, son of Sedna; and Ainnidh, son of Duach, against Eoghan Bel, King of Connaught. They routed the forces before them, and Eoghan Bel was slain.

538 AD - After Tuathal Maelgarbh, son of Cormac Caech, son of Cairbre, son of Niall, had been eleven years in the sovereignty of Ireland, he was slain, at Greallach Eillte, by Maelmor, son of Airgeadan, who was the tutor of Diarmaid mac Cearbhaill; and Maelmor fell in revenge of it thereof immediately.

539 AD - The first year of Diarmaid, son of Fearghus Ceirrbheoil, in the sovereignty of Ireland.

543 AD - There was an extraordinary universal plague through the world, which swept away the noblest third part of the human race.

544 AD - The battle of Cuil Conaire, in Ceara, was fought by Fearghus and Domhnall, two sons of Muircheartach mac Earca, against Ailill Inbhanda, King of Connaught, and Aedh Fortamhail; and Ailill and Aedh were slain.

546 AD - The battle of Cuilne, in which many of the Corcoiche were slain through the prayers of St. Ida, of Cluain Creadhail. In this year also died Cairbre, son of Cormac, King of Leinster.

547 - The King of Ulidia, Eochaidh, son of Connla, son of Caelbhadh, son of Crunn Badhrai, died. The chief of Teathbha, Crimhthann, son of Brian, died. St. Dubhthach, Abbot of Ard Macha Armagh, died. He was of the race of Colla Uais.

548 - The death of Eochaidh, son of Connlo, King of Ulidia, from whom are the Ui Eathach Uladh.---Tighernach.

Further Reference:
Northern Uí Neill - sons of Niall of the Nine Hostages.
Ancient Mumhan - province of Munster.

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