Colmán Rímid

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Colmán Rímid (or Colmán mac Báetáin) (died 604) was an Irish king who is included in some lists as a High King of Ireland. Colmán was the son of Báetán mac Muirchertaig (died 572), also considered to be a high king, and belonged to the Cenél nEógain branch of the northern Uí Néill.[1] He ruled in Ailech from 578 to 602[2] His byname meant "the counter".

The high kingship of Ireland rotated between the Cenél nEógain and Cenél Conaill branches in the late 6th century.[3] He is said to have shared the High Kingship with Áed Sláine. The accession of Colmán and Áed to the high kingship is recorded in the annals in 598[4] They are also listed as kings in the king lists.[5] They are however omitted from the earliest king list, the Baile Chuind (The Ecstasy of Conn), a late 7th-century Irish poem. Fiachnae mac Báetáin of Ulaid may have been effectively king.[6]

In 602 Colmán defeated his Cenél Conaill rival, Conall Cú mac Áedo (died 604) at the Battle of Cúl Sleamna (in Raphoe barony) and Conall was put to flight.[7] Colmán met his death in 604 when he was killed by a kinsman, Lochán Dilmana.[8] The Annals of Ulster state of this:[9]

"Of what value kingship, of what value law; of what value power over princes; Since it is king Colmán the Counter whom Lochan Dithnadha has slain?"

His daughter, or perhaps granddaughter, Fín, was the mother of Aldfrith son of Oswiu.[10] The poet Cenn Fáelad mac Aillila (died 679) was his nephew.[11] His brother Máel Umai (died 610) fought at the Battle of Degsastan where he is said to have killed the brother of King Æthelfrith of Bernicia.

Family tree[edit]

    Báetán mac Muirchertaig
    |                   |           |            |             |
    |                   |           |            |             |
    Colmán Rímid  Máel Umai   Forannán     Fergus        Ailill.
    |                               |            |             |
    |                               |            |             |_______________________________
    ?                         Hui Forannáin   Cenél Forgusa    |                          |
    |                                                          |                          |
    |                                                          Cenn Fáelad mac Aillila    Sabina
    Fín   =   Oswiu of Northumbria                                                       |
          |                                                                               |
          |                                                                               Cuthbert of Lindisfarne


  1. ^ T.M. Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland, Appendix V
  2. ^ he is given a reign of 24 years in the Laud Synchronisms
  3. ^ Charles-Edwards, pg.494-495
  4. ^ Annals of Ulster AU 598.5; Annals of Tigernach AT 596.3
  5. ^ given reigns of 6 years in Laud Synchronisms, 7 years in Book of Leinster
  6. ^ Charles-Edwards, pg.499-500
  7. ^ Annals of Ulster AU 601.3, 602.2; Annals of Tigernach AT 600.2
  8. ^ Annals of Ulster AU 604.1; Annals of Tigernach AT 602.1
  9. ^ Annals of Ulster 604.1
  10. ^ Francis J.Byrne, Irish Kings and High-Kings, pg.260
  11. ^ [1]. Aldfrith of Northumbria and the Irish genealogies. Ireland, C. A., in Celtica 22 (1991].