This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Conaille Muirtheimne had once formed part of the over-kingdom of the Ulaid, and it remained an ally of it for the greater part of its history. In Lebor na gCeart (the Book of Rights) the Conaille are listed among "The Territories whose King paid Tribute to the Ulaidh." In return, the king of Ulaid owed to "The Heroic King of Muirthemhne - six round goblets full of ale, ten ships from the Hero of Elga, ten steeds and ten brights cloaks."
They are believed to be a branch of the Cruthin. Dubhaltach MacFhirbhisigh stated of them: "To the Cruithne of Ireland belong the Dal Araidhe, the seven Laighsi of Leinster, the seven Soghain of Éire, and every Conaill of Eirinn." For much of its history it was at war with the Airgíalla and the Uí Néill; sometimes even with its Ulaidh allies.
The first member of the dynasty to occur in the sources is Dícuill mac Ossénié which is registered as rex in Vita S. Romani.:218
The last recorded king of Conaille Muirthemhne died in 1081, yet in 1107 Fergus, son of the King of Conaille, was killed in battle by the Uí Breasil Macha", so it seems the kingdom still retained independence. However, the Airgíalla seem to have brought it under their control sometime after this, most probably c. 1130 by Donnchad Ua Cerbaill, king of Airgialla, and it was incorporated into his kingdom.
In 1153 when High King Domhnall Mac Lochlainn " ... plundered ... and burned Conaille."
Eoin MacNeill held the Conaille Muirtheimne to be kin of Ulaid and Érainn, descending from Conall Anglonnach, a son of Dedu mac Sin (MacNeill, pp. 97–8). Their association with the Cruthin appears to be the end result of a series of later inventions.
Geographical description of the kingdom
This description of Conaille Muirtheimne is taken from the article cited below:
- "Until it fell under the control of the O'Carrols in the twelfth century, what is now County Louth was divided between three minor kingdoms. In the south lay that of Fir Arda Ciannacht (whence Ferrard); ... In the east and centre of the present county was the Airgiallan kingdom of Fir Roise, and in the north was that of the Conaille Muirtheimne ... The territory of Conaille Muirtheimne was associated with Mag Muirtheimne, 'the Plain of Muirtheimne' ...the core area of the kingdom appears to have been roughly equivalent to the barony of Dundalk Upper plus the parish of Dromiskin. The regions to the south-west (Louth) and north-east (Cuailgne), i.e., Cooley, were of uncertain or perhaps fluctuating status."
Kings of Conaille Muirtheimne 688-1107
- Uarcraide mac Dícuill mac Osseni, d. 688
- Amalgaid mac Cathasaig, d. 741,
- Fagall (Fallach) Finn mac Oengusa, d. 743
- Foidmenn mac Fallaig/Fallomain, d. 752
- Uargal (Uargalach mac Uachtbrain mac Uarcraide), grandson of Uarcraide, d. 765
- Sluagadach mac Uargalaig, fourth son of Uargal, d. 789
- Fiachain, d. 792
- Spelan mac Sluagadaig, d. 824
- Mael Brigte mac Spelain, d. 869; he and his brother Canannán were taken captive by the vikings in 831; possibly he retired before 850.
- Gairbith mac Mail Brigte, first son of Mael Brigte, d. 878, decapiteted by Uí Echach
- Ciblechan mac Mail Brigte, second son of Mael Brigte, d. 890
- Mael Morda mac Gairbitha, first son of Gairbith, d. 891, decapitated by Cellach mac Flannicáin
- Conglach mac Gairbitha, fourth son of Gairbith, d. 913; in 912 he had killed the son Gairbith of Mael Morda but the next year he was killed by his brother Dommnall
- Dommnall mac Gairbitha, fifth son of Gairbith, d. 914
- Mael Brigte mac Ciblechain, d. 914 in battle
- Spelan mac Congalaig, probably son of Conglach mac Gairbitha, d. 923, killed by treachery and perhaps by his own people
- Crongilla mac Cuilennain, d. 937, is the first son of the third son Cuilennain of Mael Brigte
- Mac Etig mac Cuilennain, d. 951 is the third son of Cuilennain mac Mael Brigte
- Cinaed mac Crongilla, d. 970, son of Crongilla mac Cuilennain
- Congalach mac Meic Etig, d. 988, son of Mac Etig mac Cuilennain
- Matudan mac Cinaeda, d. 996, son of Cinaed mac Crongilla
- Gilla Crist ua Cuilennain, d. 999, probably son of Mac Etig mac Cuilennain
- Muiredach, d. 1005, son of Congalach mac Meic Etig
- In Gercce, d. 1005; either he is the son of Muiredach, or we have a single person Muiredach In Gercc mac Congalaig
- Crinan mac Gormlada, d. 1012
- Cinaed mac In Geircce, d. 1029, son of (Muiredach) In Gercc mac Congalaig
- Domnall mac Gilla Christ, d. 1052; he is not the grandson of Cuilennain but descends by the line of the last son, Mail Forthardaig, of Cuilennain mac Mael Brigte
- Cinaed mac meic Odormaic, d. 1066
- Mac Ui Threodain, d. 1078
- Mac In Geircce, d. 1081, either a son of (Muiredach) In Gercc mac Congalaig or another descendent of Muiredach
- Unnamed King of Conaille, alive 1107.
- Thornton, D. (2003). Kings, Chronologies and Genealogies. Prosopographica et Genealogia. ISBN 9781900934091.
- O'Sullivan, H.; Clarke, G. (1997). Dundalk and North Louth: Paintings and Stories from Cuchulainn's Country. Laurel Cottage Limited. p. 72. ISBN 9781900935067. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- The second and third sons of Gairbith, Mac Étig and Mael Mogna have been killed in 899 by the Uí Echach.
- Eoin MacNeill (1911). "Early Irish Population Groups: their nomenclature, classification and chronology". Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. 29: 59–114.
- David E. Thornton (1997). "Early Medieval Louth: The Kingdom of Conaille Muirtheimne". Journal of the County Louth Archaeological and Historical Society. County Louth Archaeological and History Society. 24 (1): 139–150. JSTOR 27729814.
- "Conaille-Muirthemhne" in Feilscribhin Eoin O'Neill, Dublin, 1940.