Kingdom of Meath
Meath (//; Old Irish: Mide IPA: [ˈmʲiðʲe]; spelt Midhe in Modern Irish) was a medieval kingdom in Ireland for over 1,000 years. Its name means "middle", denoting the fact that it lay in the middle of the island.
Meath is traditionally said to have been created during the 1st century AD by Tuathal Teachtmhar. The Uí Enechglaiss was an early dynasty who were kings of the region. An ogham stone found south of Slane suggests they originally may have controlled this area in County Meath. They along with the Uí Failge and Uí Bairrche, belonged to the Laigin, but may also be associated with the Érainn.
During the early 500s, they were driven away from their original homeland in Kildare and over the Wicklow Mountains by the Uí Néill, whose sept, the Clann Cholmáin, took their place. The Uí Enechglaiss were later based in and around Arklow well into the historic period, and its ruling dynasty later took the surname O'Feary.
In mediaeval Ireland, the Kings of Mide were of the Clann Cholmáin, a branch of the Uí Néill. Several were High Kings of Ireland. After the collapse of the kingdom in the 12th century, the dynasty of the Ua Mael Sechlainn or O Melaghlins were forced west and settled on the east bank of the Shannon. Bearers of the name were still noted as among the Gaelic nobility as late as the 1690s, though they had lost any real power long before. Melaugh is the more commonly associated name in Ireland today, though it is more often rendered McLoughlin.
Province and diocese
Meath is also considered to have been one of five Provinces (Irish: cúige meaning "fifths") of Ireland, along with the four current provinces of Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. The Diocese of Meath established by the Synod of Rathbreasail in 1111 had boundaries similar to those of the kingdom.
- "Clann Cholmain Kings of Mide 766–1184", page 195–196 in "A New History of Ireland", Vol. IX, ed. Byrne, Martin, Moody, 1984.
- "Irish Leaders and Learning Through the Ages", Paul Walsh; ed. O Muraile, 2004.
- "King James II's Irish Army List", D'Alton, 18??
- Ireland's History in Maps: Ancient Midhe and Brega, the southern Uí Neill
- Ireland's History in Maps: Tribes of Mide & Brega, the Southern Uí Neill, et al: Background on Midhe