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Dál Fiatach

dal fiatach
Dál Fiatach refers to a dynastic-grouping and the name of their territory, which was located in the medieval over-kingdom of Ulaid, located in modern eastern Ulster, Ireland They were the predominant ruling dynasty for most of Ulaid's history


  • 1 Description
  • 2 Tribes
  • 3 Pedigree variations
    • 31 Further alternatives
  • 4 See also
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 References


The Dál Fiatach are claimed as being descended from Fiatach Finn mac Dáire, a legendary King of Ulaid and High King of Ireland, and are thought to be related to both the Voluntii and Darini of Ptolemy's Geographia They are also perhaps more directly related to the pre-historic Dáirine, and the later Corcu Loígde of Munster Kinship with the Osraige is also supported, and more distantly with the Dál Riata

The Ulaid, of which the Dál Fiatach at times were the ruling dynasty, are further associated with the so-called Érainn The Dál Fiatach claimed kinship with the legendary Cú Roí mac Dáire and the Clanna Dedad12

The Dál Fiatach are considered by scholars to be the true historical Ulaid < Uluti, but after the fortunes of the dynasty declined in the 7th century, the legendary heroes of the Ulster Cycle were in fact claimed as ancestors by the rival and unrelated Dál nAraidi or Cruthin, claiming for political reasons to be the "true Ulaid" themselves and descendants of Rudraige mac Sithrigi through Conall Cernach The legendary Ulaid, a people presumably related in some way to the ancestors of the Dál Fiatach, although this is not clearly preserved in the later genealogical traditions, are sometimes called the Clanna Rudraige However, rather than contesting the quite false claims of the Cruthin to their ancient glory, the Dál Fiatach appear to have chosen to stress their kinship with the Clanna Dedad of Munster, fearsome rivals of the Clanna Rudraige Thus with their own ancestors appropriated by the Dál nAraidi, the Dál Fiatach apparently had no choice but to transform themselves into descendants of their nearest kin they could remember3 While kinship with the Dáirine and/or Clanna Dedad Érainn is not contested by scholars, it can be assumed the early generations of the Dál Fiatach pedigree are quite corrupt This is also true for the pedigree of the Dáirine and Corcu Loígde Their natural kinship with the Munster dynasties can only be reconstructed in studies of Ptolemy's Ireland and by linguistics

Every known king of Dál Fiatach became King of Ulster Ulaid, but they did not monopolise the kingship as the Dál nAraidi supplied a number of powerful kings Among the more influential Dál Fiatach kings were:

  • Muiredach Muinderg d 489
  • Báetán mac Cairill d 581
  • Fiachnae mac Demmáin d 627
  • Bécc Bairrche mac Blathmaic d 718
  • Fiachnae mac Áedo Róin d 789
  • Niall mac Eochada d 1063,4

A junior branch of the Dál Fiatach ruled Lecale, the peninsula south of the Dál Fiatach capital, Dún Lethglaise modern-day Downpatrick Dún Lethglaise itself, already the royal centre of the Dál Fiatach would become a prestigious monastic site In later times, from the 9th century, Bangor, originally controlled by the neighbouring Dál nAraidi, became the main religious site patronised by the kings


Below are a list of some of the tribes that were part of or claimed descent from the Dál Fiatach:

  • Dál mBuinne, also known as the Muintir Branáin located near Moylinny, County Antrim An Ulaid tribe, their name is preserved in the medieval deanery of Dalboyn5
  • Leth Cathail, an offshoot of the Dál Fiatach, located in and around the modern barony of Lecale, County Down5
  • Uí Blathmaic, whose territory was located in the northern part of the barony of Ards and part of Castlereagh Their name was preserved in the medieval deanery and county of Blathewyc5
  • Uí Echach Arda, based in the Ards peninsula
  • Mac Duinnshléibhe, meaning "brown mountain", anglicised as MacDonlevy, Dunleavy, MacAleavey amongst other variations6
  • Ó hEachaidh, meaning "son of Aghy", Anglicised variants include Haughey, MacGaughey, MacGahey, Hoey and Hoy Also recorded as a Mac name as well as a branch of the Mac Duinnshléibhe67

Pedigree variationsedit

  • Sen mac Rosin
    • Dedu mac Sin a quo Clanna Dedad
      • Íar mac Dedad
        • Dál Riata, etc
      • Dáire mac Dedad / Dairi Sirchrechtaig / Dáire Doimthech
        • Cú Roí mac Dáire
          • Lugaid mac Con Roí
          • Fuirme mac Con Roí2
            • Fiatach Find
              • Dál Fiatach
        • Dáirine
          • Corcu Loígde
      • Conganchnes mac Dedad
      • Conall Anglonnach mac Dedad
        • Conaille Muirtheimne
    • Eochaid Echdach/Echach mac Sin8
      • Deitsin/Deitsini
        • Dlúthaich/Dluthaig
          • Dáire/Dairi
            • Fir furmi9
              • Fiatach Finn9 / Fiachach Fir Umai10
                • Dál Fiatach

Further alternativesedit

A third fourth pedigree is given in Rawlinson B 502 at ¶689: Fiatach Find m Dáre m Forgo a quo Dál Fiatach rí h-Érenn iii co torchair la Fiachaich Fidfholaid m Feradaich

Dáire mac Forgo is listed as an early king of Emain Macha at ¶1481: Dáre m Forgo m Feideilmid m h-Uamunchinn m Corráin m Caiss m Argatmáir As Feideilmid is also the father of Fachtna Fáthach according to this particular scheme, Forgo is thus an uncle of Conchobar mac Nessa Elsewhere Fachtna is a son of Cas, son of Rudraige mac Sithrigi a quo Clanna Rudraige, son of Sithrig, son of Dub, son of Fomor, son of Airgetmar

However, Forgo Forggo also appears as an ancestor of Deda mac Sin at ¶1696: Dedad m Sin m Roshin m Triir m Rothriir m Airnnil m Maine m Forggo m Feradaig m Ailella Érann m Fiachach Fir Mara m Óengusa Turbich Temra

A Forgo later appears in the line of the historical kings of Dál Fiatach as the father of Muiredach Muinderg:11 Eochu m Ardgair m Matudáin m Áeda m Eochucain m Áeda m Echdach qui habuit filios xii m Fíachnai m Áeda Roín m Béce Bairche m Blaithmeic m Máile Coba m Fíachnai Duib Tuile m Demmáin m Cairill qui credit Patricio m Muiredaigh Mundeirg m Forgo m Dallaín m Dubthaig m Miennaig m Ludgach m Óengusa Find m Fergusa Dubdhétaig Móen ingen Chuind Chétchthaig máthair na trí Fergus a ndochersat i cath Crinna m Imchado m Findchado m Fíatach Find a quo Dál Fíatach m Fir furmi m Dáiri m Dlúthaig m Deitsini m Echach m Sín m Rosin m Treín m Rothrein m Rogein m Arndil m Mane Mair m Forgo

See alsoedit

  • Dáire
  • Ulaid
  • Erainn
  • Hoey
  • Haughey
  • McCaughey
  • McNulty


  1. ^ Rawlinson B 502 ¶937:  Dál Fiatach insin de clainn Con Ruí m Dáire m Dedaed a cóiciud Con Ruí la Mumain is ass bunad in Dáil Fhiatach-so
  2. ^ a b Dobbs 1921, pp 330–1
  3. ^ With variations, the preceding scenario has been the mainstream view in Irish scholarship for a century It is discussed by MacNeill in 1911 and 1921, and then most fully by O'Rahilly in 1946, devoting a chapter to it in his famous EIHM, pp 341–52 It is further elaborated by Byrne 1973/2001 and accepted by Charles-Edwards 2000
  4. ^ Benjamin T Hudson, 'Niall mac Eochada d 1063', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 18 April 2008
  5. ^ a b c d Walsh, Dennis "Ancient Uladh, Kingdom of Ulster" Ireland's History In Maps Retrieved September 2015  Check date values in: |access-date= help
  6. ^ a b c Bell, Robert 2003 The Book of Ulster Surnames The Blackstaff Press pp 60–91 ISBN 978-0-85640-602-7 
  7. ^ a b Keating, Geoffrey 1983 Keating's History of Ireland Irish Genealogical Foundation ISBN 978-0-686-44360-5 
  8. ^ Rawlinson, Laud
  9. ^ a b Laud
  10. ^ Rawlinson
  11. ^ from Laud, ed Meyer, pp 336–7


  • Byrne, Francis John, Irish Kings and High-Kings Four Courts Press 2nd revised edition, 2001
  • Charles-Edwards, Thomas, Early Christian Ireland Cambridge University Press 2000
  • Connolly, SJ, The Oxford companion to Irish history Oxford University Press 2nd edition, 2007
  • Dobbs, Margaret E, The History of the Descendants of Ir, in Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 13 1921: 308–59; continued in Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 14 1923: 44–144
  • Dobbs, Margaret E, Side-lights on the Táin age and other studies Dundalk: WM Tempest 1917
  • Duffy, Seán ed, Atlas of Irish History Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 2nd edition, 2000
  • MacNeill, Eoin, Celtic Ireland Academy Press 1981 reissue with new intro and notes by Donnchadh Ó Corráin of original Martin Lester Ltd edition, 1921
  • MacNeill, Eoin, "Early Irish Population Groups: their nomenclature, classification and chronology", in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy C 29 1911: 59–114
  • Meyer, Kuno ed, "The Laud Genealogies and Tribal Histories", in Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 8 1912: 291–338
  • O'Brien, Michael A ed with intr by John V Kelleher, Corpus genealogiarum Hiberniae DIAS 1976 / partial digital edition: Donnchadh Ó Corráin ed, Genealogies from Rawlinson B 502 University College, Cork: Corpus of Electronic Texts 1997
  • O'Rahilly, Thomas F, Early Irish History and Mythology Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 1946
  • Pokorny, Julius "Beiträge zur ältesten Geschichte Irlands 3 Érainn, Dárinne und die Iverni und Darini des Ptolomäus", in Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 12 1918: 323–57 alternative brighter scan
  • Thurneysen, Rudolf, "Tochmarc Cruinn ocus Macha", in Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 12 1918: 251–4
  • The Kingdom of Ulster by Dennis Walsh

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