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Síl Conairi

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The Síl Conairi Sil Chonairi, Conaire or "Seed of Conaire" were those Érainn septs of the legendary Clanna Dedad descended from the monarch Conaire Mór,1 son of Eterscél Mór, a descendant of Deda mac Sin, namely the Dál Riata, Múscraige, Corcu Duibne, and Corcu Baiscinn2

The Dál Riata, presumably settling in far northeastern Ulster in the prehistoric period, would famously go on to contribute to the founding of the Kingdom of Alba or Scotland and be responsible for the Gaelicisation of that country The most celebrated Royal Family of Scotland, the House of Dunkeld, described themselves as the "seed of Conaire Mór" as late as the twelfth century3 Conaire Mór is thus an ancestor of the modern British Royal Family through the House of Dunkeld According to tradition, the last king in the 'direct' male line from the Clanna Dedad and Síl Conairi was Alexander III of Scotland d 19 March 1286

Although an earlier, prehistoric Gaelic presence in Scotland has long been noted by scholars, two early Kings of the Picts suggested to be from the Dál Riata, and who may have been instrumental in the further Gaelicisation of Pictland, were Bridei IV of the Picts and his brother Nechtan mac Der-Ilei

The remaining Síl Conairi would settle and/or remain in Munster, where, although retaining their distinctive identity, they would be overshadowed at first by their Corcu Loígde / Dáirine kinsmen, but later reject them in favour of the Eóganachta and be instrumental in the rise to power of that dynasty The Múscraige became the chief vassals and facilitators for the Eóganachta and their mesne king was regarded as more or less equal in status to the three or four regional kings under the Cashel overlordship4 A late and unexpected king of Munster from the Múscraige was Flaithbertach mac Inmainén d 9445

The Corcu Duibne are renowned for their ogham inscriptions, with over one third of all Irish inscriptions found in their region6 Both they and the Corcu Baiscinn were renowned as sailors The latter were eventually absorbed into the Kingdom of Thomond under the O'Brien dynasty

The birth, life, and fall of Conaire Mór are recounted in the epic tale Togail Bruidne Dá Derga7 Two distantly related tales of more interest to genealogists are De Síl Chonairi Móir8 and De Maccaib Conaire9 In these he is confused with his descendant or double Conaire Cóem, father of Na Trí Coirpri "The Three Cairbres", namely Coirpre Músc, a quo the Múscraige and Corcu Duibne, Coirpre Baschaín, a quo the Corcu Baiscinn, and Coirpre Rígfhota Riata, a quo the Dál Riata


  • 1 The Three Cairbres
  • 2 See also
  • 3 Notes
  • 4 References

The Three Cairbresedit

See alsoedit

  • Senchus fer n-Alban
  • Kings of Tara


  1. ^ Dobbs 1917, p 9
  2. ^ Byrne, p 63
  3. ^ Chadwick, p 121
  4. ^ Charles-Edwards, pp 542 ff
  5. ^ Byrne, pp 204, 214
  6. ^ MacNeill 1909, p 334
  7. ^ for editions, translations, commentary, etc, see Togail Bruidne Dá Derga
  8. ^ Lucius Gwynn, "De Síl Chonairi Móir", in Ériu 6 1912: 130–43 Summary by Dan M Wiley
  9. ^ Lucius Gwynn, "De Maccaib Conaire", in Ériu 6 1912: 144–53 Summary by Dan M Wiley


  • John Bannerman, Studies in the History of Dalriada Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press 1974
  • Edel Bhreathnach ed, The Kingship and Landscape of Tara Dublin: Four Courts Press for The Discovery Programme 2005
  • Francis John Byrne, Irish Kings and High-Kings Four Courts Press 2nd revised edition, 2001
  • Hector Munro Chadwick, Early Scotland: the Picts, the Scots and the Welsh of southern Scotland Cambridge University Press 1949
  • Margaret E Dobbs, Side-lights on the Táin age and other studies Dundalk: WM Tempest 1917
  • Thomas Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland Cambridge University Press 2000
  • Eoin MacNeill, "Early Irish Population Groups: their nomenclature, classification and chronology", in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy C 29 1911: 59–114
  • Eoin MacNeill "Notes on Irish Ogham Inscriptions", in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 1909 pp 329–70
  • Kuno Meyer ed, "The Laud Genealogies and Tribal Histories", in Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 8 1912: 291–338
  • Michael A O'Brien ed with intro 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
  • T F O'Rahilly, Early Irish History and Mythology Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 1946
  • Julius Pokorny, "Beiträge zur ältesten Geschichte Irlands 3 Érainn, Dárinne und die Iverni und Darini des Ptolomäus", in Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 12 1918: 323–57

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