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Dáire is an Old Irish name which fell out of use at an early period, remaining restricted essentially to legendary and ancestral figures, usually male. It has come back into fashion since the 18th century. The anglicised form of this name is Dara.

Bearers of the name[edit]

Pre-modern world[edit]

Modern world[edit]


Both Eoin MacNeill[1] and T. F. O'Rahilly believed that most, if not all of those listed may derive from the same prehistoric or mythological figure,[2] or have adopted each other's features to such an extent as to all be composites. The latter states that Daire and Cú Roí "are ultimately one and the same",[3] and refers to him as "the god of the Otherworld".[4]

Meaning and origins[edit]

The meaning is both sexual ("fruitful, fertile, rutty") and tumultuous ("violent"). The reconstructed form is *Dārios,[5] cognate to the Gaulish Dari(o) ("tumult, rage"), a form widely attested on the Continent, especially in personal names.[6]

The Darini were a population group or kingdom located by Ptolemy's 2nd century Geography in south Antrim and north Down.[7][8] Julius Pokorny believed this to be a mistake for Darioni, from the groundform *Dārio-nion, reconstructed from the proto-historical Dairine,[9] descendants of Daire Doimthech / Daire mac Dedad and ancestors of the historical Corcu Loígde. They were probably also ancestral, at least in part, to the Dál Fiatach, the descendants of Fiatach Finn mac Daire and known as the historical Ulaid (< *Uluti / Uoluntii), mentioned by Ptolemy living adjacent to the Darini.


  • See: Lugaid for additional persons

Closely associated with Daire in Irish legend is the heroic figure Lugaid.[10] According to O'Rahilly he was the son of Dáire, Lugaid mac Dáire or Lugaid Loígde, son of Dáire Doimthech (or Sírchrechtach), but was chiefly remembered in the person of his 'descendant' Lugaid Mac Con. His other principal emanation was Lugaid mac Con Roí, son of Cú Roí and famously known from the Ulster Cycle. In addition, the revolting Lugaid Riab nDerg has been suggested as a relation to these,[11] or alternatively a very different individual and King of Tara once known as Lugaid Réoderg.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ MacNeill, pp. 61–2
  2. ^ MacNeill asserted this was the god Lugh.
  3. ^ O'Rahilly, p. 49
  4. ^ O'Rahilly, p. 48
  5. ^ O'Rahilly, pp. 2, 7
  6. ^ Delamarre
  7. ^ O'Rahilly, p. 7
  8. ^ Ptolemy, Geography 2.1
  9. ^ Pokorny, p. 328; also O'Rahilly, p. 7
  10. ^ O'Rahilly, pp. 48 ff, 77 ff, 202
  11. ^ This character, Lugaid Riab nDerg, does not have any Munster-specific or Ulster-specific origins (equivalent to saying this Lugaid is given no descent from any Dáire), and thus if another emanation of the original Lugaid he can only be a literary corruption or invention from outside the original source traditions. In fact he has been made a grandson of Eochu Feidlech and thus nephew of Queen Medb of Connacht.


Dictionary of the Irish Language