Uí Maine

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For the Cenél Maini, see Tethbae.
Early peoples and kingdoms of Ireland, c.800

Uí Maine, often Anglicised as Hy Many, was one of the oldest and largest kingdoms located in Connacht, Ireland. Its territory of approximately 1,000 square miles (2,600 km2) encompassed all of what is now north, east and south County Galway, south and central County Roscommon, an area near County Clare, and at one stage had apparently subjugated land on the east bank of the Shannon, together with the parish of Lusmagh in Offaly.

There were two different Ui Maine, the Ui Maine of Tethbae and the Uí Maine of Connacht; these tribes were separated by the Shannon River. The people of the kingdom were descendants of Máine Mór, who won the territory by warfare. Its sub-kingdoms, also known as lordships, included – among others – Tír Soghain, Corco Mogha, Delbhna Nuadat, Síol Anmchadha, and Máenmaige. These kingdoms were made up of offshoots of the Uí Maine dynasty, or subject peoples of different races.

The Uí Maine are among the ancient Irish dynasties still represented today among the recognised Irish nobility and Chiefs of the Name, by the O'Kelly of Gallagh and Tycooly, Prince of Uí Maine and Count of the Holy Roman Empire. The Fox (O'Kearney) may represent the eastern Uí Maine of Tethbae.

Early times[edit]

Máine Mór is said to have established the kingdom around 357 AD, and ruled for fifty years. Before his arrival, the area had been occupied by the Fir Bolg, ruled by King Cian d'Fhearaibh Bolg.

The Uí-Maine were traditionally thought to be descended from Colla da Crioch, one of the Three Collas. Their original homeland was Oirghialla. DNA testing of descendants of William Boy O'Kelly, however, speculates that the Ui-Maine were not descended from the Three Collas.[1]

Early leaders (in order)[edit]

Name Years Ruled Death
Máine Mór 50 years natural death
Breasal mac Maine Mór

son of Máine Mór

30 years natural death
Fiachra Finn

son of Bresal

17 years slain by brother
Connall Cas Ciabhach

son of Bresal

22 years slain
Dallán mac Breasal

brother of Fiachra Finn

11 years mortally wounded then drowned
Duach mac Dallán

son of Dallan

16 years slain by Maine Macamh
Lughaidh mac Dallán

son of Dallan

14 years natural death
Feradhach mac Lughaidh

son of Lughaidh

24 years slain by successor
Marcán 15 years slain with sword
Feradhach mac Lughaidh

son of Feradhach

9 years slain by successor

Main families[edit]

Descendant clans of the dynasty include the Ó Ceallaigh,[2] Ó Madadhan,[2] Ó Neachtáin,[2] Ó Cnaimhín,[2] Ó Domhnalláin, Ó Maolalaidh,[2] and Ó Fallamháin.[2]

Customs[edit]

The Uί Maine was given rewards and treasures such as:

  • A portion of all ‘strongholds and seaport towns in the province’
  • A portion of all prizes and wrecks of the sea
    • This included any wines or goods that had been washed to shore from shipwrecks, etc.
    • It also included whales and fish which became to be known as ‘royal fish’ and were given to only the kings and queens
  • Hidden treasures found underground, all silver and gold mines and other metals
  • They were given a third of any revenues received by the king of Connacht of any other provinces where wrong had been done
  • The revenue (or eric) of killing a person was considered very large and in one document recorded was states as being ‘168 cows’

Along with the privileges that Kings and queens of Uí Maine received, the clans that fought for Uí Maine were also given privileges and rights:

  • Any member of a clan was given a choice to go to battle in Spring or Autumn. Most members that chose not to attend battle spent time maintaining their crops.
  • It was required that "no man of the province is to be taken as witness against these tribes, but another Hy Manian is to bear witness."
  • If the King of Connacht did not pull out or end a battle in 6 weeks or less when fighting in Ulster or Leinster, any member was allowed to return home.
  • "However great may be the accusation brought against them by dishonest people, only one man or one witness is required to dent it or prove it against the other party."
  • Hy Manians that were baptised were to be baptised by the Comharba of St. Bridget. If parents chose not to baptise their children at St. Bridget's because they lived too far away they were required to pay the Comharba a penny.
  • Hy Manians were required to pay a 'sgreaball ongtha' to the Comharba to prepare for death during an illness. This fee was said to be 3 Irish pennies.

Annalistic references[edit]

  • M918.11. A great slaughter was made of the Ui-Maine at Grian.
  • M931.14. Domhnall, son of Gadhra, lord of Luighne, was slain.

Members of Uí Maine Families[edit]

  • Thomas MacNevin
  • Albéric O'Kelly de Galway
  • William O'Kelly Nevin (Irish Republican and Personal Physician to Empress Maria Theresa of the Holy Roman Empire)
  • Edward Kelley, also known as Edward Talbot (11 August 1555 – 1 November 1597), Tudor occultist and self-declared spirit medium who worked with John Dee.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ DNA of the Three Collas
  2. ^ a b c d e f O'Donovan, John. The Hy Many. pp. 143–144.