Uí Bairrche (Leinster) – Page 1


Uí Bairrche – Page 1:

Origins and History

Saints and Monastic Settlements

Family groups and settlements

Ancient Genealogy of the Úi Bairrche (taken from Rawlinson B502, Book of Leinster, Book of Lecan, Book of Ballymote, hagiography and the Annals)


Origins and History


The Uí Bairrche (Huib Airrchi, Crioch mBairce, Uí Bairche, hói Bairche, Bairchi, Bairrce, Ua mBairrche, Chirch Om-Bairrche, mBairrchi, oi baiȓ, Oe-Barche, mBarchi, Barraidh, Úa mBarrche, Barrchi, Barridie, Uí Barrtha, mBerriuch) were an important Leinster dynasty. They ruled Leinster in the earliest centuries A.D.


It may be that the tribal name came from Sobairce, an early High King of Ireland. Sobairce and his brother Cearmna Finn, were joint rulers over Ireland, one in the north and the other in the south. They were the sons of Ebric, son of Emher, son of Ir, son of Míl Espáine, They were the first High Kings to come from the Ulaid. Sobairce resided in the north, at Dun Sobairce (Dunseverick alias Feigh in the civil parish of Billy Co. Antrim). Of interest, there are no decendants listed in the genealogies.


In the ancient Irish genealogies, and as they regarded themselves, the Uí Bairrche (the strong/brave/battlers) were a Laigin tribe (Laigin a laechMairg), the descendants of Dáire Barrach, son of Catháir Mór, High King of Ireland (†125 AD). O’Rahilly considered the Uí Bairrche to be one of the Érainn or Firbolgs (Fir Belgae) tribes of Leinster. Other similar tribes were the Uí Failge and Uí Enechglaiss. According to a Middle Irish poem in the Book of Leinster, Rus Failge, Dáire Barrach and Enechglas were triplets born to Catháir Mór by the goddess Medb Lethderg, who may have been a daughter of Conan Cualann of Dublin/Wicklow. (‘Clanna Falge Ruis in ríg’). In the will of Cathair Mór from the Book of Rights, the Uí Failge are listed first, the Uí Bairrche second and the Uí Enechglaiss third.

O'Rahilly proposed four major Celtic invasions of Ireland:


Cruithin/Picts - perhaps the 8th to 5th century B.C. (the Priteni invading Britain and Ireland)

Érainn/Firbolg - perhaps the 5th to 3rd century B.C. (Bolgi or Belgae from Britain)

Laigin - perhaps the 3rd to 1st century B.C. (from Armorica, invading both Britain and Ireland)

Goidel/Gael - perhaps the 2nd to 1st century B.C. (Milesians from Gaul)


It is commonly thought that the Uí Bairrche were originally from Wexford, but that their influence extended over a large part of Leinster up to the end of the 5th century. In the earliest known map of Ireland, made by a Greek called Ptolemy in the second century AD, the main tribe of south Leinster were the Brigantes (the exalted). Also the river Barrow is called Birgos or Brigos. According to O’Rahilly, the Brigante were the Uí Bairrche, who may have been related to the Brigantes tribe of northern Britain. He also stated that the name Uí Bairrche indicates decent from a goddess. In the name of tribes, the eponym can be feminine e.g. Ui bairrche, Ui Brigte. Professor MacNeill knows no instance of a sept-name derived from a female ancestor within the documentary period. He thinks that the feminine sept-eponyms had a religious, not a genealogical, import. The ancient kingdom of Brega (east Meath/Louth), which contained Tara and Slane, may also have a Briganti connection.


The godess of the Brigantii/Brigantes tribes was Brigantia. The Brigantii were described by Strabo and Pliny as living in the Alps, and was a name attributed to the Alps themseleves. Some of the main locations were:


Aldborough (Isurium Brigantium) North Yorkshire, England

Bragança (formerly Brigantia) in Trás-os-Montes, northern Portugal.

Betanzos (formerly Brigantium), Galicia, north-west Spain:  in Roman times; there were Brigantii in Celtiberia. This may be the "Tower of Bregon" mentioned in Lebor Gabala Érenn. (m. Míled Mórglonnaig Espáine qui et nuncupatur mc Nema m. Bili m. Bregaind [Bregon] las ro chumtacht Brigantia &rl. - Rawlinson B502)

Brianconnet and Briançon (formerly Brigantio), both in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France.

The town of Bregenz, at the eastern end of Lake Constance in Austria, retains the older name of Brigantion, a tribal capital.

Brigetio, Hungary.


It is thought that these locations are not connected to each other, but if they are, it would give an interesting insight into the migration and dispersal of a celtic tribe. (see Hubert Butler’s St. Brigid and the Breac-folk). The Brigantes of Britain have also been called Scotobrigantes, meaning that they came from Ireland and that they were separate to the other Briton tribes. (Stillingfleet) This may indicated a migration from Spain to Ireland to Britain. In the ‘Additamenta’ of the Book of Armagh, it has “Brigitae Ifidarti . Britonisa”.


The most likely tribe in the Ptolemy map that would be connected to the Uí Bairrche, are the Dáirine. They were approximately located in South Antrim and North Down in the east of Ulster. According to O’Rahilly, the name implies descent from Dáire, and he states that this shows them to be a branch of the Erainn. It has also been suggested that the Dáirine had Dáire Barrach as an ancestor deity. Other tribes, that are thought to have been of the Dáirine, are the sister tribes of Munster, the Uí Fidgeinti and the Uí Liatháin, who both claimed decent from Dáire Cerbba. Dáre Cherbba is supposed to have been born in Brega on the north-eastern marches of Laigen territory (Rawlinson B 502). Also the Munster Traceys are of the Uí Fidgeinti and Tassys are of the Uí Liatháin.


In the Annals, there were references to two major groups, the Uí Bairrche Maighe (Laois/Carlow/Kildare) and Uí Bairrche Tire (Wexford, thought to be the barony of Bargy). The genealogies state the Uí Bairrche Maige hAilbe, Uí Bairrche Tire, Uí Bairrche Mag Argetrois (Laois/Kilkenny), Uí Bairrche Magh dá chonn (Carlow). In the Annals from 854 AD onwards, it states Uí Bairrche Maighe and Uí Bairrche Tíre. From 896AD onwards, the references only state Uí Bairrche.


The founder of the Uí Bairrche, Dáire Barraig, was reported to have lived at Dún Aillinne or Cnoc Aulin (Knockaulin) near old Kilcullen, Co. Kildare. Dun Aillin was an ancient fortress of the Kings of Leinster. It was used, along with Tara Co. Meath, as a capital of the Laigin. Archelogical evidence dates it’s occupation from the third century B.C. to the fourth century A.D. It is associated with the rare La Tène celtic influence in Ireland, which originated from western Europe as the Gauls, with it’s height in the fourth century B.C. Emain Macha (Navan Fort) Co. Armagh also has an association with La Tène.


Eoghan Mór (Mug Nuadat), the renowned King of Munster was the daltha or pupil of Dáire Barraig, and was fostered at Dun Aillin, when he was forced to flee from his own country. With the aid of Dáire Barraig, he was able to assert his sovereignty in Munster and eventually clashed with Conn Cétchathach (Conn of a hundred battles) King of Ireland from 125 AD. According to Dillon, he got the name Mug Nuadat from his having helped an architect named Nuada who was building the fort of Dún Aillinne.


In the death notice for St. Tighearnach, bishop of Cluain Eoais, Keating writes that Daire Barrach was nine years king of Leinster.


It has been proposed that Dáire Barrach may have ruled over Tara. In the 7th century poem ‘Baile Chuinn Chétchathaig’, listing the kings of Tara, the following may refer to Dáire Barrach:


Conden- Daire drechlethan –dáilfa doirb mís               Dáire Drechlethan will dispense it in a difficult month


The interpretation is that Dáire, a lesser known king of Tara, ruled for a short difficult month.


Dáire Barraig (Dáre Trebanda) had three sons, from who are the three free tribes Úi Breccáin, Úi Móenaig and Úi Briúin. The son and grandson of Dáire Barraig, Muiredach Mo-Sníthech and Móenach (Úi Móenaig), were stated as kings of Leinster. Mo-Sníthech was also listed as a King of Ireland in the genealogical poem by Laidcenn mac Bairceda in Rawlinson B. 502. ‘Robo rí hĒrenn Muiredach Sníthe’. Smyth (1975) states that this title also refered to his son Móenach.


Con-saíd in rí ruadfoirb ar-dingg doibsius

Ro-bí macco Lifechair Liphi i lluinhg loigsius.


Lonhgais maro Muiredach Mo-Snítheach sóerchlann

sochla sain comarddae comarbba cóemchlann


Con-gab múru mórmaige macrí Móenech márgein         the boy-king Móenech a great offspring took the walls of a great plain


It has also been proposed by Carney, MacNiocaill, Charles-Edwards and others, that they both may have ruled over Tara, before the territory of the Laigen was reduced. The Laigen may have been the most important of the early provinces.



Dairi Barrach.jpg






There has also been much speculation as regards the timeframe of the early Leinster kings. O’Rahilly does not believe that Cathaír Már was an actual person but accepts the AU date of 435 (and 436) AD for the death of Bresal Bélach. This date is included in the post-Patrician section of the Annals. This date does not concur with other date references for the kings. Énna Censelach founder of the Uí Cheinnselaig is listed as number 8 in the king lists and Crimthann his son is given as number 9. The death of Crimthann is given in the annals as 465 AD or 484 AD. Eochaid (brother of Cremthan), is stated as living at Tara by Keating, when he was removed by Niall of the Nine Hostages, and whom he later killed in the Loire Valley in France. (†398 or 405 AD).


However, the kingship of the Uí Bairrche, descended from another son of Dáire Barraig, Feicc, from who are the Úi Breccáin. There may be a connection between the change in the descent of the kingship and the early legend of the forced migration of the Uí Bairrche. Next in this line was Ailill Móir, who was the maternal antecedent of Saint Colum Cille or Columba (†597AD). It was from another line of descendant of Feicc, Eochaidh Guinech (wounding horse), who reclaimed the Uí Bairrche position in Leinster.


An indication of the importance of the Uí Bairrche in the fifth century is given by their influence in religious affairs, their religious figures and the sites associated with them. Unlike most saints of the time, Uí Bairrche saints, came from and were located in the tribal territories. The fist bishop of Leinster, appointed by Saint Patrick, was Fiacc of the Uí Bairrche (415-520AD). In the Bórama it says that he was from Tara before moving to Sleibhte. These clerics were a source of pride for the Uí Bairrche as their genealogies start with a list of their saints. Further details are given below under ‘Saints and Monastic Settlements’.


Leinster Kings of Tara


1. Cathaír Már King of Ireland (†125 AD)

2. Fiachu Ba hAiccid

3. Bressal Bélach (†435 AD)

4. Muiredeach Mo-Snithe (Uí Bairrche)

5. Móenach (Uí Bairrche)

6. Mac Cairthinn (Uí Enechglass?)

7. Nad Buidb (Uí Dego)

8. Énna Censelach (Uí Cheinnselaig)

9. Crimthann (Uí Cheinnselaig) (†465 or 484 AD)



It is also thought that likely allies of the Uí Bairrche were the Fotharta or Fothairt, who were the mercenary tribes of the Laigin and were possibly of Cruithin (Pict) origin. They were scattered throughout Leinster usually in close contiguity to one or other of the various groups of the Uí Bairrche. They left their name in the baronies of Forth (Fothairt in Chairn or Mara or Tire) in southeast Wexford and Forth (Fothairt Fea) in eastern Carlow. Another interpretation may be that they were pushed into their territory by the movement of the Uí Bairrche. At a later date, it may be possible that the Fothairt Mara, on behalf of the Uí Cheinnsealaigh, drove the Uí Bairrche out of Southern Wexford. In later years, Uí Lorcán of Fothairt Mara controlled the territory and were Kings of Uí Cheinnsealaigh in 1024 and 1030 AD. At the time of the Norman invasion, they are listed as allies of Diarmait mac Murchada King of Uí Cheinnsealaigh and Leinster. In addition, O Nuallain, likely of Fothairt Fea, inaugurated Mac Murchadha  at Cnoc an Bhogha (Keating). As already stated, in the map by Ptolemy, the main tribe of south Leinster were the Brigantes. It is thought that the map may reflect the tribes of a much earlier time than the second century. There may be more likely candidates than the Uí Bairrche to be the Brigantes. For example, in terms of similarities in name there are the Uí Fidgeinti, who are located in Limerick in historical times, but may have had an earlier association with Leinster. A sister tribe of the Uí Fidgeinti, were the Uí Liatháin, who were located around Cork City and perhaps Youghal, which shows the movement of the tribes. In terms of location and name, the Fothairt could also have been the Brigantes. They were located on the south coast of Wexford and the most distinguished member of their race is St. Bridget, foundress of the church of Kildare. St. Bridgit may have been proto-Irish for Briganti i.e. High Goddess. One version of her genealogy has her located with the Deisi of Brega.


Early legends tell that the traditional enemies of the Uí Bairrche, the Laigin tribe of Uí Cheinnsealaigh, temporarily drove them out of their territory:


a)      According to the ‘Expulsion of the Dési’, the Uí Bairrche of Leinster were driven out by Fiachu ba Aiccid, youngest brother of Dáire Barraig, who gave their territory to the Dési (the allies of the Fothairt), who continued to occupy it until the reign of Crimthann (son of Énna Censelach founder of the Uí Cheinnselaig, son of Labraid, son of Bressal Belach, son of Fiachu Ba Aiccid.), when Eochu Guinech, a famous warrior of the Uí Bairrche, expelled them. Then Crimthann, son of Enna, sent the wandering host of the Dessi to Ard Ladrann (Ardamine, below Courtown) southward. After the death of Crimnthann [by his grandson], his [grand]son made war upon the Dessi, that is, Eochu, took the oak with its roots to them [ie total war]. And in a rout they drove them out into the land of Ossory. It is stated that the wandering of the Dessi was because of their kinship with the Fothairt. Brii mac Bairceda is stated as being either a druid or poet, in the camp of Crimthand. In the Laud 610 version, the Déise were first located in Mag Liffe (Liffey plain). 


“the Dessi went to Gabruan (Gabran [Gowran]) and the Féni to Fid Már [Fennagh Carlow] and the Fothairt to Gabruan (Gabran), in the east [Idrone].”


b)    According to the Tripartite Life of Patrick (ed. Stokes p.192), Cremthan (son of Censelach), King of Laigin, oppressed them [Uí Bairrche], so that they migrated from their territory, and one of them, Oengus mac Maicc Erca, slew Cremthan in revenge. It is stated that Cremthann gave Slebte and Domnach Mór Maige Criathair (and the island monasteries of Wexford harbour) to Saint Patrick and that Slebte is Cremthann’s burial place. Perhaps this is a reference to the cemetery of Óenach Carman. Saint Patrick then gave Slebte to Fiacc. Slievemargy is called by the older name of Cúil-maige (hill of the Bairrche), which would indicate that it was occupied by the Uí Bairrche. Of interest, the Uí Bairrche are not actually named in this account and Stokes confuses them with the Húi Ercáin of the Fothairt. It also states that “In thirties and forties are the churches which he (Cremthann) gave to Patrick in the east of Leinster and in Húi-Censelaig”, however, all the monastic settlements named are Uí Bairrche settlements. Perhaps this is a piece of Uí Cheinnselaig propaganda, or that it refers to a different Cremthann.


It is also stated that Crimthand Mac Ennae gave to Dubthach Maccu Lugir the territory of Mag Serge to Glais ina Scail (Owengorman or Glas Gorman) which flows by Kilgorman, North Wexford. Part of this territory was the Hill of Formael [Limerick Kilcavan Wexford] which was the territory of Finn mac Cumhal, while Gleann Uissen [Killeshin] located close to Sleibhte [Sleaty] was the territory of Oisin son of Finn mac Cumhal.


In addition, in the version of the account in the Book of Armagh, firstly Endae Cennsalach, banishes Iserninus and Christianity from Leinster. Then Patrick converts and baptises Enda's son Crimthann, at Ráith Bilech (Rathvilly, in Carlow), and obtained from him permission for Iserninus and his converts to return from their exile. Crimthann offers to Patrick for Isernius, part of Ulba in Grian Fothart from Gabur Liphi [Ballymore Eustace/Blessington/Brittas] as far as Suide Laigen [Seat of Leinster ie Mount Leinster]. In the ‘Additamenta’ of the Book of Armagh, the reference to Feicc has “oi bair” written in the margain, and also has “Echuid Guinech macc Oingoss”.


In another version of the Tripartite Life of Patrick (Ancien Fonds No. 8175) dated to about 1400 AD:


So he [Patrick] founded abundant churches and monasteries in Leinster, and left a blessing on Húi Cennselaig especially, and he left Auxilius in Cell Ausailli and Mac Táil in Cuilenn, and ordained Fiacc the Fair in Sleibti as the bishop of the province.”


This may mean that at that time, the territory named Uí Cheinnselaig was located in Kildare, and the three monastic settlements named are Uí Bairrche settlements


c)    Another version, in the genealogies of the Monach or Manach of Ulster [decendants of Ailill Móir of the Uí Bairrche], state that their ancestor Monach, having slain Énna, King of Laigin, left Leinster and betook himself to his maternal uncle, Eochaid Gunnat, King of Ulaid, who gave him land. MacFirbisigh states that they were descended from Muireadh Snithe in one part and from Féicc in another part.


St. Tigernach, Bishop of Cluain Eui (Clones, Co. Monaghan) (†544-550AD AU) is said to have given protection to the move of the Uí Bairrche tribes to Ulster, as he was their cousin.


With Tighearnach of Cluain Eóis they came from the south, for he was a brother to their father; the reason for Tighearnach being in Oirghialla: Dealbhraoch daughter of Eochaidh son of Criomhthann son of Fiag, son of Daigh Dorn son of Rochaidh son of Colla Dhá Chríoch, was his mother. And it was with him the Monaigh came on that journey, for they were under his protection after their killing of the son of the king of Leinster. (Mac Firbhish)


The Monaig are often associated with the Manapioi (Menapii), a maritime Belgic tribe of Northern Gaul who are noted on Ptolemy's 2nd century map of Ireland in southeast Ireland.


d)    According to O’Rahilly, another version by Flann mac Mael Maedóc (†979AD) “Do chomramaib Laigen inso sis” (Rawlinson B 502, S. 88a) of the migration of the Uí Bairrche seems to suggest that it was as a result of the death of Laidcenn mac Bairchid (5th century) of the Ulaid tribe the Dál Araide:


“Ba de sain sóiset fo thuaid ó Inis Coirthi” it was as a result that they (Uí Bairrche?) turned north at Enniscorthy


23. Iss é tria gaile gretha
     beb Laidcenn mac m-Bairceda,
     ba de sain sóiset fo thúaid
     ó Inis Coirthi clethrúaid.


Laidcenn, son of Bairchid, was the chief-poet of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Eochaid (brother of Cremthan) the son of Enna Cennselach, in revenge for being refused hospitality by the poet, destroyed his stronghold and killed his only son Leat. Then Niall went on a raid to Leinster and was given Eochaid as a hostage at Ath Fadat (Ahade “the long ford”) in Gothart (Fothartaibh) Fea (two miles south of Tullow, Co. Carlow) on the bank of the Slaney. Eochaid broke his chains and slaughtered his captors. He was pursued by Niall southward until they reached Inis Fail (Beggerin Co. Wexford). As the poet began to revile the men of Leinster, Eochaid killed him with a stone. Later the same Eochaid was responsible for the death of Niall in France.  This tale is also part of Rawlinson B 502, fo. 47a i. “Orcuin Néill Noígíallaig” (The Death of Níall Noígíallach) ending with:


Aided Néill maic Echach 7 Laidcind maic Baircheda do láim Kchach maic Énnae Censelaig in sin. Finit. Amen.

That is the Death of Niall, son of Echu, and of Laidcenn, son of Baircheda, by the hand of Echu, son of Enna Censelach. Finit Amen.


O’Rahilly thought that Laidcenn mac Bairchid may have been of the Uí Bairrche due to the similarity of the names. Others have thought that there may have been a connection due the sympatric treatment of the Uí Bairrche by Laidcenn mac Bairchid in the genealogies. Of interest, Brii mac Bairceda, the brother of Laidcenn, was the poet of Cathair Már.


Another connection may be found in the medieval Irish literature of the Ulster (Ulaid) cycle. Cú Chulainn on his jouney to the martial school of Scathach in Scotland, meets Eochaid Bairche, who gives him a wheel and a magical apple to show him the way. In other versions, the figure of Eochaid Bairche is identified as Lugh or Manannán. (Laurie et al)


In the annals the date of the slaying of Crimthann is given as 465 AD or 484 AD, by his grandson Eochaidh Guinech of the Uí Bairrche. Later in 489 AD, Eochaidh Guinech aided the north Laigin Uí Dúnlainge in the battle of Cell Osnada or Cenn Losnada (Kellistown, Co. Carlow), in which Oengus mac Nad Froích, King of Munster and son-in-law of Cremthan, was defeated and slain.


As can be imagined there arrises a certain amount of confusion with the names of Echach Guinig m. Óengussa (Ui Barriche), Eochu Guinech m. Dáire Barraig (Ui Bairrche) and Eochu Gunnat m. Feicc m. Imchada, king of Ulaid and High King of Ireland (Dál Fiatach)  (†267 AD). Perhaps, this was an attempt by the genealogists to link these persons. Among the Dál Fiatach kings of Ulaid, there is Bécc Bairrche (†718AD) who gave his name to the Benna Bairche or Boirche (Mourne Mountains). As such, there appears to be a connection between between the tribes of the Ulaid and the Uí Bairrche. Mrs Concannon in her book of ‘The life of St. Columban' describes it as follows:


“Some of their kinsfolk had already settled in the territory of the King of Oirgiolla (Oriel), Eochaid Gundat, whose daughter, Dealbraich, was married to a man of their race, Cairbre. Cairbre and Dealbraich were the parents of Saint Tighernach of Clones—and the exiled sons of MacDaire, found, probably on his account, a welcome in Oriel territory. One of them, Eochaid MacDaire, married a sister of King Eochaid Gundat's wife, herself a Princess of Uladh (of the Dal Fiatach), daughter of Fergus Dubh, and sister of Muirdeach Muindearg. Thus it is easy to understand how there came to be Hy-Bairrche settlements in Oriel and Uladh. Eochaid MacDaire having thus provided himself with two kings as brothers-in-law, felt himself strong enough to return from his exile, and, allying himself with other enemies of the Hy-Cinsellagh, met his grandfather Crimthann in battle, and slew him with his own hands, thus winning for himself the soubriquet of " Guinech " the " Mortal Wounding " and, what is more to the point, the restoration of his ancestral lands.”


This conflict between the tribes is thought to have resulted in the invasion of west Cornwall by the Uí Bairrche and/or the Uí Cheinnsealaigh from Leinster. Also at this time, it should be noted that north and south Wales was colonised by the Laigin (Lleyn), the Deise (Dyfed) and the Uí Liatháin (Dyfed, Gower and Kidwely). The Uí Liatháin are also associated with the Dumnonian Peninsula in Cornwall.


The importance of the Uí Bairrche in the sixth century is indicated by the marriages recorded. Corbach (Corpach) daughter of Maine, a descendant of Muiredach Mo-Snítheach, married (Fergus) Cerrbél of Clann Cholmáin. She was the mother of Diarmait mac Cerbaill, High King of Ireland (†565AD). Another important marriage was that Eithne (also known as Derbfhind Belfhota) an Uí Bairrche princess to Feidimid, great-grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages and prince of the Uí Néill dynasty of high kings. This is recorded as she was mother to St Colum Cille or Columba (†597AD) considered to be the one of the three great saints of Ireland with St. Patrick and St. Bridget. In the record of her genealogy, there is Cairpe the poet, whom Keating describes as king of Leinster, and his father Ailill the Great, who is described as King of Ireland in the Book of Lecan. She was a descendant of Féicc.


In the second half of the sixth century, a prominent King of Uí Bairrche, Cormac mac Diarmata (mac Echach Guinig of the Uí Breccáin, of the royal line of the Uí Bairrche), is named a number of times in the  hagiography and is shown as a ruthless ruler of south Leinster. The Lives of St. Abbán of Adamstown, St. Cainnech of Aghaboe (†600AD), St. Finnian of Clonard, St. Fintain of Clonenagh (†603AD) and St. Comgall of Bangor (†602AD), refer to Cormac mac Diarmata as king of Leinster or of Uí Cheinnselaig (an anachronism for king of South Leinster). There is also a similar reference in the genealogical tracts, but not in the king lists. O’Hanlon, in the Lives of Irish Saints, states that his father Diarmata was also king of Uí Cheinnselaig. Extracts from the lives of the saints are given in the references below:


The Life of St. Fintan states that he freed Cormac mac Diarmata when he was imprisoned by Colmán mac Cormac Camsrón of Uí Cheinnselaig at Rathmore (one mile south of Rathvilly, Co. Carlow). In this account Colmán mac Cormac Camsrón is styled king of north Leinster. The AFM state that Colmán mac Cormac died at Sliabh Mairge in 576AD. The Life states that Colmán mac Cormac was killed before the end of the month. Cormacus, the son of Diarmoda, lived for a long time in the kingdom of the Laginians, and in his old age, at the end of his holy life, at the abbot of St. Comgallus, in the province of Ulster, in the monastery of Beannchor, he ended his holy life.


In the Life of St. Abbán, Cormac mac Diarmata is stated as attacking Abbán's monastery of Camaross, south-east of Adamstown Co. Wexford, and the implication is that it lay within Uí Bairrche territory.


In the Life of St. Cainnech of Aghaboe, Cormac mac Diarmata is shown as practising the savage custom of gialcherd (treatment of hostages) or gallcherd (foreign art). The life is thought to contain several important references to social customs. Aghaboe located in west Laois and Saigir in west Offaly were both churches of the Osraige and were only displaced by Cell Cainnich (Kilkenny) after the coming of the Normans.


In the Life of St. Finnian of Clonard, Finnian lands at the portus Kylle Caireni (thought to be Carne Wexford) where he is meet by Mureadach filius Engussa (Uí Felmeda of Uí Cheinnselaig), then he goes to Achad Abla (Aghold in the barony of Shilelagh, Wicklow) near Barche. He then spends seven years in Mugny (Moone, Kildare). In Uí Bairrche, King Diarmidh is dead, and his sons, Cormac and Crimthan, share the rule over the Uí Bairrche, and they were jealous of one another. Crimthan was the elder, Cormac the more subtle of the two. Cormac visited his brother and spoke strongly against Finnian as a man of a grasping nature, and urged him to expel the Saint from his territories. Crimthan went to the church where Finnian was, and ordered him to leave. The Saint refused and a scuffle ensued, in which Crimthan stumbled and broke his ankle on a stone; and Finnian cursed him that his kingship should come to naught. In Stokes’ version of the Lives of Saints this section is missing.


This Crimthan is not included in the genealogies. There is a reference in the Life of Munnu of Taghmon (after 600 AD) to a Criomthan, king of Ui Cheinnselaig and Leinster, who is also not included in the king lists. This Criomthan had a son Aedh Slaine, who was murdered by Ceallach, the son of Dimma Mac Aodh, king of the Fotharta who had a fortress near Achadh Liathdrum/Taghmon.  In the genealogies, Dima mac Áeda is listed as being of the Fothart Maigi Ítha of south Wexford. The ensuing battle takes place at Bannow and may described the expulsion of the Fothart from this part of Wexford. King Crimthan is stated as being located at the island of Liachan/ Liac hAln [grey rushes?], whose location has not been identified and may refer to the sloblands of Wexford.


The lands of the monastery of Dísert Diarmata (Castledermot, Co. Kildare) was apparently donated to the monastery of Bangor by a king of Uí Bairrche, who had been a disciple of St. Comgall. “Cormac (mac Diarmata), King of Leinster, bestowed Imblech nEch on Comhgall of Bendchuir (i.e. Bangor)”. Smyth (1982) identifies Imlech Ech as Cenn Ech (Kinneigh) to the east of Castledermot. According to the Life of St. Comgall he also had three castles; Carlow town on the Barrow, Foibran (Sligo or Westmeath?) and Ard Crema (Wexford). This is perhaps the earliest reference to Carlow town. The Irish name for Carlow is Ceatharloch which is officially translated as four lakes, but there is no evidence of these lakes. A more likely rendering of the name is Catharlogh (the spelling stated on early maps), which would be translated as stone or monastic enclosure on the lake. O’Hanlon, in the Lives of Irish Saints, states that this lake was located between Carlow town and Sleaty located two miles to the north. Foibran may be a monastic settlement in Sligo. Smyth states that the Laigin had settlements in north west Connacht. Also when Fiacc met St. Patrick he was coming from Connacht. It may also be the monastic settlement of Foibrén (Foyran, north Westmeath). At the end of Cormac mac Diarmata reign, he left his kingdom to become a monk with St. Comgall at Bangor. In the Life of St. Comgall, we are told that he was overcome by homesickness, but did not abandon his pious exile:


“He dreamt that he had been walking round the borders of Leinster visiting his beautiful cities and fortresses, and that he had traversed the flowering plains and lovely meadows; he dreamt of his kingdom and of his fine war-chariots and he saw himself surrounded by his war-lords, princes and magnates, and with the symbols of his royal power.”


According to Shearman, Cormac mac Diarmata had a son called Gorman or Gordmundus who styled himself King of Ireland, and who invaded England as described by Geoffrey of Manmouth. This may be based on the entries in Thady Dowling, Chancellor of Leighlin, Annales Breves for 590AD for Gurmundus, the chief pirate of the Norwegians, an African by nationality, who acquired Ireland from the Norwegians. Burchardus son of Gurmundi otherwise known as O Gormagheyn, duke of Slieve Margi and Leinster, and who he stated was responsible for the foundation of the catherdral of Leighlin. Burchard may be of Germanic origin from burg "castle" and hart "hard".


This Gorman may explain the placenames of Loch Garman (Wexford harbour), Kilgorman (north Wexford) and Gormanstown (south Wicklow). On the origins of the name of the Fair of Carman in Leinster, one explaination was that it was the grave of Old Garman. In the epic tale of Táin Bó Cúailnge, Cú Chulainn and Ferdiad recall the battles they had with Germain the Terrible in Thrace.


In the ‘Lives of British Saints’, it is stated that Gorman, son of Cormac Mac Diarmid, king of the Hy Bairche, who in the middle of the sixth century destroyed Llanbadarn Fawr and other churches, and did much havoc in Britain. The monastry [Amesbury], according to Camden, contained three hundred monks, and was destroyed by “nescio quis barbarous Gormandus”. Geoffrey of Monmouth converted him into a king of Africa. See John Lynch (Cambrensis eversus Volume 3) for more information on this.


In the Carew Manuscripts (The book of Howth), there is a reference to Gormondus, King of Ireland  circa 400 and 586 AD, who invaded England and France. In reference to King Henry’s invasion of Ireland, it is styled ‘Irland of Gormon’. In Ware and Spenser, he is called Gurmondus, a Rover out of

Norway, who after invading England and Frances, invaded Ireland and became King of Ireland. Gurmund(us) is also included in Giraldus Cambrensis ‘The Topography of Ireland’.


Heywood (1600s), styles him Gormondus King of Africa, German Worm and Sea Wolfe, who first invaded Ireland, and thence was invited by the Saxons, to assist them against the British Nation. He then invaded France with Isimbardus the nephew to Lewis the French King. Koptev, in an explanation of the French chanson de geste, named ‘Gormond et Isembard’, details the invasion of France by the Saracen king Gormondus from England.


Gorm King of Denmark who died circa 958 AD was also known as Gormondus. He died of grief on hearing that his son Canute was killed in an attempt to capture Dublin. Beckmann gives a list of the name Gordmundus in France from around 1170 onwards, where it is an alternative version of the name Warmundus. For example, there is Warmundus or Gormondus of Picquigny, the Patriach of Jerusalem (1119-1128)


In the seventh century, a King of Uí Bairrche was Suibne mac Domnaill (grandson of Cormac mac Diarmata). In the Life of Munnu of Taghmon (†635 AD), it would appear that he controlled the area of Leighlin at the time of the synod over the ordering of Easter (630 AD). It is stated that Munnu, as a result of being insulted by Suibne, prophesised that his head would be cut off by his brother’s son (Cind Faílad?) and would be thrown into the Barrow, near the Blathach stream (Madlin River?). His brother Faílbe married Eithne daughter of Crundmael mac Rónáin (†656 AD) king of Uí Cheinnselaig and Lagen Desgabair (South Leinster) and Mugain, the daughter of Faílbe, married Cellaig Cualand, King of Leinster (†715 AD) from whom are the Uí Cellaig Cualand. There is an entry in the Annals of Ulster recording the death in 766 AD Cernach son of Flann who is also thought to be of this line.


There are some parellels to Suibne in the romantic tale 'Buile Suibne' (‘madness’ of Suibne). In the tale, Suibhne Geilt is king of the Dal Araidhe of Antrim. He states that he killed Oilill Cédach, king of the Uí Fáeláin at the battle of Magh Rath (637 AD) [near the river Lagan] along with five sons of the king of Magh Mairge. In the end he is saved by St. Moling at Tech Moling, (St. Mullins Co. Carlow).




Ancient Genealogy of Uí Treasaig,

kings of the Uí Bairrche


36. Milesius of Spain.

37. Heremon: son of Milesius.

38. Irial Faidh ("faidh": Irish, a prophet): his son

39. Eithrial: his son; was the 11th Monarch; reigned 20 years;

40. Foll-Aich: his son;

41. Tigernmas: his son; was the 13th Monarch, and reigned 77 years;

42. Enboath: his son.

43. Smiomghall: his son;

44. Fiacha Labhrainn: his son; was the 18th Monarch; reigned 24 years;

45. Aongus Olmucach: his son; was the 20th Monarch;

46. Main: his son;

47. Rotheachtach: his son; was the 22nd Monarch; slain, B.C. 1357, by Sedne (or Seadhna), of the Line of Ir.

48. Dein: his son;

49. Siorna "Saoghalach" (long-oevus): his son; was the 34th Monarch; he obtained the name "Saoghalach" on account of his extraordinary long life; slain, B.C 1030

50. Olioll Aolcheoin: son of Siorna Saoghalach.

51. Gialchadh: his son; was the 37th Monarch; slain B.C. 1013.

52. Nuadhas Fionnfail: his son; was the 39th Monarch; slain B.C. 961.

53. Aedan Glas: his son.

54. Simeon Breac: his son; was the 44th Monarch; slain B.C. 903.

55. Muredach Bolgach: his son; was the 46th Monarch; slain B.C. 892;

56. Fiacha Tolgrach: son of Muredach; was the 55th Monarch. slain B.C. 795.

57. Duach Ladhrach: his son; was the 59th Monarch; slain B.C. 737.

58. Eochaidh Buadhach: his son;

59. Ugaine Mór: his son. 66th Monarch of Ireland. slain B.C. 593

60. Laeghaire Lorc, the 68th Monarch of Ireland

61. Olioll Aine: his son.

62. Labhradh Longseach: his son.

63. Olioll Bracan: his son.

64. Æneas Ollamh: his son; the 73rd Monarch.

65. Breassal: his son.

66. Fergus Fortamhail: his son; the 80th Monarch slain B.C. 384.

67. Felim Fortuin: his son.

68. Crimthann Coscrach: his son; the 85th Monarch.

69. Mogh-Art: his son.

70. Art: his son.

71. Allod (by some called Olioll): his son.

72. Nuadh Falaid: his son.

73. Fearach Foghlas: his son.

74. Olioll Glas: his son.

75. Fiacha Fobrug: his son.

76. Breassal Breac: his son.

77. Luy: son of Breassal Breac.

78. Sedna: his son;

79. Nuadhas Neacht: his son; the 96th Monarch.

80. Fergus Fairgé: his son;

81. Ros: son of Fergus Fairgé.

82. Fionn Filé ("filé:" Irish, a poet): his son.

83. Conchobhar Abhraoidhruaidh: his son; the 99th Monarch of Ireland.

84. Mogh Corb: his son.

85. Cu-Corb: his son; King of Leinster.

86. Niadh [nia] Corb: his son.

87. Cormac Gealtach: his son.

88. Felim Fiorurglas: his son.

89. Cathair Mór, Monarch of Ireland 120 to 123 AD,: his son.

90. Dáire Barraig: his son.

91. Féicc: his son. (brother of Muiredach Mo-Sníthe, King of Leinster)

92. Breccáin: his son

93. Meicc Ercca: his son.

94. Óengussa: his son.

95. Echach Guinig: his son.

96. Diarmata: his son.

97. Cormaicc: his son.

98. Domnaill: his son.

99. Suibne: his son.

100. Máel h-Umae: his son.

101. Coibdenaig: his son.

102. Echach: his son.

103. Gormáin: his son.

104. Dúnacáin: his son.

105. Gussáin: his son.

106. Luachdaib: his son.

107. Tressaig: his son. (from whom are Uí Tresaig)

108. Áeda his son.

109. Donnchada his son.

110. Muircherdaig his son.

111. Gormáin his son.

112. Meic Raith (died 1042) his son.

113. Muiredaig his son.

114. Gussán his son.

115. Óengus and Muircheartach his sons.




103. Arttgaile his son.

104. Fócartai his son.

105. Beccáin his son.

106. Tressach (King of Ui Bairrche Maighe slain 884 AD) (from whom are Uí Tresaig)

107. Braon his son.

108. Beacán his son.

109. Braon his son.

110. Beacán his son.

111. Colga his son.


From the middle of the ninth century, there are numerous entries for Uí Bairrche Maige and Uí Bairrche Tire in the Annals of the Four Masters, which may be an indication of their importance and the extent of their lands. It is probable that that they were copied from a source similar to the Fragmenary Annals, i.e. a local account. At that time, a prominent king of the Uí Bairrche was Tressach, son of Becan, King of the Uí Bairrche Maighe. He is remembered in the Annals of the Four Masters and also in poems in the Book of Leinster (46a and 47a), ‘A Bairgen ataí i nhgábud’ (The Quarrel about the Loaf) and ‘Dallán mac Móre: Cerball Currig cáemLife’. He would appear to the source of the Tracey family name. He was regarded as a hero of Leinster and the ruler of the river Barrow (Tressach Berba barr). According to the annal he died in 884 AD:


Treasach, son of Becan, chief of Uí Bairrche Maighe, was slain by Aedh, son of Ilguine. Of him Flann, son of Lonan, said:


A heavy mist upon the province of Breasal,
since they slew at the fortaliced Liphe,

Heavy the groans of Assal,
for grief at the loss of Treasach.


Wearied my mind, moist my countenance,
since Treasach lies in death.
The moan of Oenach Lifi all,
and of Leinster to the sea, is the son of Becan.


The annal states that Treasach was killed by Aedh son of Ilguine who may have been of the Uí Bairrche. However, he is not named in the genealogies and the entries in the annal are confused. Ilguine is a very rare name and the only reference found may indicate that it has an Ulaid origin. In the Annals of Ulster (U883 & U886), there are references to Eolóir son of Iergne, who is thought to have been an aggressive leader of the Vikings of Dublin, who may be a more likely candidate. In the Icelandic Book of Settlements, Landnámabók, there is a reference to Thrasi and his son Geirmund. Cerball Mac Dúnlainge, also known as Kjarvalr Írakonungr (Kiarval/Kjarval) (842–888) King of Osraige, has a prominent place in the Icelandic sagas and in the genealogies of the founding families of Iceland as recorded by the Landnámabók. It has been suggested that the importance of Cerball in Icelandic writings stems from the popularity of the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland among the Norse-Gaels of eleventh century Ireland. The section of the Fragmentary Annals that would have dealt with the death of Tressach are missing. It would interesting to speculate, given the timeframe and the close proximity of the Osraige, the connection between the Barrow River and the Vikings, that Thrasi and his son Geirmund, may have been based on Tressach and Gorman of the Uí Bairrche.


An indication of Treasach’s importance is that his memorial was written by Flann mac Lonan (†891 or 918 AD), the Vergil of Ireland and chief poet of all the Gael. He was killed by the Ui Fothaith at Waterford harbour. (See also: ‘Flann Mac Lonain in Repentant Mood’ and ‘Eulogy on Ecnechan son of Dálach King of Tír Conaill †906 by Fland mc Lonain ollam Connacht ‘Ard do scela a meic na cuach’ Ed. J. G. O’Keeffe, Ir. Texts 1 (1931) 22-24, 54–62., A Story of Flann mac Lonáin, transcribed by 0. J. Bergin. Anecdota from Irish Manuscripts, Vol.1, p.45)




The ‘province of Breasal’ may be a reference to Bressal Brecc, the common ancestor of the Laigin and Osraige and as such refers to all parts of Leinster.


The reference to ‘fortaliced Liphe’ may refer to the first Viking settlement on the Liffey at Islandbridge in Dublin. According to O’Cróinín (1995), the Irish did not have a name for the settlement at that time. In 866 AD Conn, son of Cinaedh, lord of Uí Bairrchi Tire, was slain while demolishing the fortress of the foreigners, which may also have been Dublin or Arklow/Wicklow or Wexford harbour.


Assal may be a reference to one of the sons of Úmór, mythical leaders of the Fir Bolg, who had a magical spear. As such, it may be a combined reference to the Fir Bolg and the Laigin, whose name was derived from the spears they carried. Or it may be a reference to Meath, perhaps the Hill of Skryne. In the Oxford Reference, it states “A member of the Tuatha Dé Danann who owned a magical spear, the Gáe or Gaí Assail, and seven magical pigs. His spear was the first brought into Ireland. It never failed to kill when he who threw it uttered the word ‘ibar’, or to return to the thrower when he said ‘athibar'.”


‘Oenach Lifi’ refers to his funeral feast on the Liffey, which is another indication of his importance. Edmund Hogan equates Oenach Life with Oenach Colmáin in Mag Life and Oenach Clochair. Oenach Colmáin was a burial place of the Munster and/or Leinster princes. Ó Murchadha also equates Oenach Life with Oenach Colmáin. Oenach Life has also been equated with Óenach Carmain. Of interest Oenach Colmáin, has been identified with early Uí Fidgenti references, from who are the Traceys of Munster.


Another reference in the annal to Oenach Lifi is AFM 954AD “A hosting by Conghalach, son of Maelmithig, King of Ireland, into Leinster; and after he had plundered Leinster, and held the Fair of the Liffe (aonaigh Life) for three days, information was sent from Leinster to the foreigners of Ath-cliath; and Amhlaeibh, son of Godfrey, lord of the foreigners, with his foreigners went and laid a battle-ambush for Conghalach, by means of which stratagem he was taken with his chieftains at Tigh-Gighrainn.” Also there is the poem Oenach indiu luid in rí/ Oenach Life cona li  (Today the king went to a fair/ The fair of Liffey with its lustre or Finn and the phantoms), whose geographical locations centre on the Liffey and Munster. (van Kranenburg)


According to O’Donovan, in an interpretation of an extract from the Book of Leinster, there were ancient roads from the Liffey to Slievemargy and Magh Airgead-Ros i.e. Bealach Gabhruain followed by Belach Smechuin and also the Gabhair which separated Laighin Tuath-Ghabhair and Laighin Deas-ghabhair (north and south Leinster). In King Aldfred’s Poem (circa 685 AD), the lands of the Laigen are described in terms of Athcliath to Sliabh Mairge.


The last line gives his eminence amoung all the Laigen, and the reference to the sea refers to the rest of Ireland.


There are a number of townland place names that are derived from the Traceys of the Uí Bairrche. In Carlow, there is Tracey’s crossroads on the border of Carlow and Forth baronies. In Kildare, there are Baltracey (5 kilometres north of Clane on the road to Kilcock), Baltracey and Newtown Baltracey (3 kilometres south east of Naas) and Tracey’s crossroads (just south east of Kildare town). These locations also reflect Uí Bairrche monastic sites. In Kilkenny, there is Kiltrassy (Killamery/ Windgap). In the Fiants of Edward VI, there is a references to Rory Trassy of Butlerswood, which is in the same civil parish. There is also a reference that Kiltrassy (Cill Dreasa) is named after a Saint Teresa of Spain, of whom there is no record. In Wexford, there is Ballytracey (Boolavogue, east of Ferns) and possibly Traceytown East and Traceytown West (south-east and west of Taghmon), which could be of Norman origin. In Down, of peculiar interest, there is the Trassey Valley in the Mourne Mountains (Benna Bairche or Boirche).


These townlands and placenames may be an indication of the boundaries of Uí Bairrche influence at the time of Treasach. Clane and Naas (3 & 4), are both close to the Liffey river where he died and had his funeral feast. In addition, he was King of the Uí Bairrche Maighe and he ruled the Barrow, presumable around Carlow town.





‘Bal’ or ‘Bally’ is the anglicised form of the Irish word ‘baile’ which roughly translates as town or townland. It is thought that its use dates from the middle of the Twelfth century. ‘Kil’ can be the anglicised form of the Irish word ‘Cill’ meaning church or ‘Coill’ meaning wood.


Also at this time, the church in Leinster seems to have administered from Gleann Uisean. In 916 AD at the battle of Ceannfuait (close to Leixlip, Co. Kildare) Arch-bishop of Leinster and Abbot of Gleann-Uisean, Maelmaedhog son of Diarmaid was killed. The reference to the rank of arch bishop or even bishop of Leinster is very unusual. He was of the Uí Chonandla of the Ui Buide/Uí Maelhuidir of the Dál Cormaic.


It has been stated that it may not have been until late in the ninth century that Uí Cheinnselaig domination of the lower Slaney in Wexford was complete. In the Annals, the last reference to Uí Bairrche Tire was in 906 AD. In the account of the Cath Bealaigh Mugna 905AD, it states that Cleirchén king of Uí Bairrchi came from Inis Failbe, which may be Inis Fail (Beggarin) on the north side of Wexford harbour. The poem in the Book of Leinster (46a), ‘A Bairgen ataí i nhgábud’ (The Quarrel about the Loaf), about these battles names Ciarmac Slane rí Fer na Cenél, which is the name given to the north side of Wexford harbour. Of interest, the leaders of Uí Bairrche Tíre in the annals are not named in the genealogies. It has been proposed that the Uí Dróna of Uí Cheinnselaig broke the power of Uí Bairrche by moving southward, seizing the Slaney valley from Rathvilly to Tullow, thereby separating the Uí Bairrche of Laois/Carlow from those of Wexford.


By the eleventh century, it is thought that the main body of the Uí Bairrche were located in the middle of Leinster, close to their allies the northern Laigin. This probably reflects a lack of references to their other territories which can be found in the Rawlinson B502 genealogies, which was probably written around this time. Their main area of control is the barony of Slievemargy (Cuil maigi, Cull maige, Mairg Laighean, Slievemarragy, Slievemarigue, Sleamerg, Sliabh Mairge, Sliabh Maircce, Temair ‘Tara’ Mairghe) (Sliabh mBairche = mountain of the Bairrche) in the south-eastern corner of Laois and the adjoining portions of Carlow and Kilkenny. Mairg is thought to have extended as far south to the present town of Belach Gabrán (Gowran Co. Kilkenny) and has been identified with the Ossraige. The Metrical Dindshenchas  states two accounts for the origins of the name for Sliab Mairge; firstly, the death of the Lady Marg, and secondly that it is derived from Marga, the son of Giustan, Lawgiver of the Fomorians, who was killed on the mountain. Temar Mairge and Glenn Uissen (cell glinne uissen, Clunussi, Killeshin, Killuskin, Usenglind) were the birthplaces of Fin Mac Cumhal and of his son Uissen. In the will of Cathair Mór from the Book of Rights, the Uí Bairrche are stated to live near Gowran, on the southern frontier of their allies, the Uí Dúnlainge as a barrier to the Uí Cheinnselaig:


“Sit on the frontier of Tuath Laigin (north Leinster);

Thou shall harass the lands of Deas Ghabhair (south Leinster);”


It should be noted that the Uí Dúnlainge and the Uí Cheinnselaig are not named, but rather their ancestor Fiacha Baiced. This leads Symth (1975) to belive that the original text was revised to include him, to surplant the prominace of the Uí Failge.


However, the Book of Rights seems to have a northern Laigin emphasis. The Uí Bairrche are located between the Uí Drona and the Uí Buide and receive the following from the King of the Laigin:


“Eight steeds to the Ui Bairrche for their vigor,

‘Twas but small for a man of his (their chieftain’s) prowess,

Eight drinking-horns, eight women, not slaves,

And eight bondmen, brave [and] large.”


but unlike other tribes, except the Uí Dhúnlainge, they do not pay a tribute in return. However, this section does not seem to have been completed according to tradition.


There are no references to any participation by the Uí Bairrche in the battles of Brian Boru, including the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, which was fought against their allies. However, in the previous winter of 1013 (AFM 1012), it is recorded that he camped at Sliabh Mairge, and plundered Leinster as far as Dublin, to which he laid siege. It would be interesting to speculate that this may have been the start of an alliance between the Dál gCais and the Uí Bairrche. It may also be that he got his nickname from the river Barrow. Earlier coonections may start with Saint Dolue Lachdere, who was saved from Cormac mac Diarmata by Saint Cainnech, and went on to found a monastic settlement at Killaloe, Co. Clare. St. Comgan (†569AD) second abbot of Glenusssin, was of the royal line of the Dál Cais and finally the MacGormans, who moved to Clare and became the marshals of the O'Brians. Trassach as a name also appears in the Dál Cais genealogies.


The next leader that is referenced in the annals was Donnchadh mac Aedh, King of the Uí Bairrche. In 1024 AD, he defeated the men of Munster at Gleann Uisean (through the miracles of God and Comhdan i.e. Comgan of Killeshin). Kuno Meyer published a poem under the heading of Wirtshausreime from B. IV 2 (R. I. A.). It may have been composed to commemorate the battle with the Munstermen. In the poem there are quatrains from the sons of the kings of Uí Bairrche, Uí Drona and Fotharta, which were located immediately to the south and east of the Ui Bairrche in County Carlow. I presume that the sons were fosterlings or hostages of the Ui Bairrche, united against a common enemy.  In 1041 AD, he took Faelan Ua Morcha, lord of Laeighis (Laois) prisoner, whom he delivered to the King of Leinster, Murchadh mac Dunlaing (of the Kildare Uí Muiredaig), who blinded him. Also in 1041 AD, Domhnall Reamhar, (i.e. the Fat), heir to the lordship of Uí Cheinnsealaigh, in a preying excursion into Uí Bairrche was slaughtered by Murchadh mac Dunlaing at Cill-Molappoc (Kilmolappogue, Lorum, Co. Carlow). Also Fearna-mor was plundered by Donnchadh mac Brian, and Murchadh mac Dunlaing. In revenge for both of these, Gleann-Uisean was plundered by Diarmait mac Mael-na-mbo of Uí Cheinnsealaigh, and the oratory was demolished, and a hundred were killed and several hundred were carried off as prisoners. In 1042 AD, in the battle of Magh-Mailceth in Laois, Donnchadh mac Aedh and Murchadh mac Dunlaing were killed by Gillaphadraig mac Donnchadh, lord of Osraighe (Kilkenny), and Cucoigcriche Ua Mordha, lord of Laeighis, and Macraith Ua Donnchadha, lord of Eoghanacht (west Munster). Also slain in this battle was Gilla-Emhin Ua h-Anrothain, lord of Ui-Cremhthannain (east Laois), and Eachdonn mac Dunlaing, Tanist of Leinster with many others.


Ó Corráin (1974) in his examination of ‘Caithréim Chellacháin Chaisil’, thinks that the Donnchad mac Aeda, king of Fotharta listed, is otherwise unknown unless he is to be identified with Donnchad mac Aeda meic Tressaig of Uí Bairrche. However, the dates do not tally as the event described occurred about 950 AD. In addition, there is a reference to a Bran Berba, son of Amalghadh, king of Omagh and of Ui Mairgi. He is not included in the genealogies as are a number of other figures listed.


At this time, the Uí Cheinnselaig became the dominant tribe of Leinster and by the eleventh century they had taken over the kingship of Leinster from the Uí Dúnlainge, the allies of Uí Bairrche.


The chief representatives of the Uí Bairrche in historical times were the Uí Treasaig (Tracey) and Mac Gormáin (MacGorman). MacFhirbhishigh also makes particular reference to Uí Mhaoil Umha, Uí Domhnaill (O’Donnell), Uí Cearnaigh (O’Carny, O’Kearney), Ua mBrocain (O’Brogan), Uí Móenaig (from Móenach son of Muiredach Sníthe) (Mooney), Síol Cumaine (Cummin), Monaig Ulad (Mooney of West Co. Down), Fir Monach locha Éirne (Mooney of Loch Erne) and Uí Caindeachain (O’Canahan?). The Uí Treasaig were of the royal line and were cited as Kings of Uí Bairrche. In the annals the MacGormain were cited as lords of Uí Bairrche. MacFhirbhishigh names MacGormain as kings of Uí Bairrche. Both were cited as Lords of Slievemargy by historians.


The first reference to the Tracey surname in the Irish Annals was in 1008AD, where it states, "Gussan, son of Ua Treassach, lord of Ui-Bairrche, died." Also in 1042 Macraith, son of Gorman, son of Treasach, lord of Ui-Bairrche, and his wife, were slain at Disert-Diarmada, by the Ui-Ballain (Ballon, Carlow derives its name from Ui Ballein, a tribe of the Fotharta). His wife was Doireand, daughter of Artúr Clérech of Uí Muiredaig. In the twelfth century, the MacGormáin family name appears to have superseded the Uí Treasaig family name as leaders of the Uí Bairrche, though perhaps not in Wexford. The MacGormain name is first referenced in 1103AD and in 1124AD where the annals state “Muireadhach Mac Gormain, lord of Ui-Bairrche, who was the ornament and glory, and the chief old hero of Leinster, died.” Extraordinarily in the genealogies in Rawlinson 502, there are two strands in the Uí Bairrche king lists, the first includes two references to ‘Gormáin’ and one to ‘Tressaig’. The second, shorter strand gives prominence to ‘Tressach mac Beccáin’. Perhaps this was meant to reflect the change in kingship although neither of the surnames are included. This may explain the reference to "Macraith, son of Gorman, son of Treasach". This may also explain the adoption of ‘Mac’ by the Gormans and ‘Ua’ by the Traceys. Of interest, there appears to a strong DNA link between the two families as some members of both families have a very rare mutation, DYS392=11.


An entry in the Annals of Tigernach for the year 1116 AD states that the monastic community of Kildare (Kildare town) were slaughtered by the Úi Bairrche. This may indicated a break with the Uí Dhúnlainge and that they had a presence in the area. O’Corráin (2005), states that due to the plague and famine of 1113-6 AD, a number of monasteries were attacked at this time. The various annals for 1116 AD list a large number of monasteries that were attacked and the Annal of Ulster also includes the following:


U1116 There was a great pestilence; hunger was so widespread in Leth Moga, both among Laigin and Munstermen, that it emptied churches and forts and states, and spread through Ireland and over sea, and inflicted destruction of staggering extent.


It is thought that the synod of Rath Breasil (circa 1111AD) convened to set out the dioceses of Ireland, may give an indication of the tribal territories and their influences at the time. However, the dioceses of Leinster seems to reflect more the centres (and main saints) of the church. There are a number of interesting boundary markers:


Slievemargy lies between the dioceses of Kilkenny and Leighlin, and Leighlin extends to Kilcullen. As such, it is presumed that St. Laserian of Leighlin was the most important saint of the area and that Sleaty’s claim to the Patrician centres such as Kilcullen was still in force.


Naas, a centre of political power, lies between the dioceses of Kildare and Glendalough.


Begerin Island lies between the dioceses of ‘Ferns or Loch Gorman’ and Gendalough, indicating that the east coast of Wexford was under the control of the diocese of Glendalough. One might speculate that Ardcavan (Wexford Harbour) and Kilcavan (Bargy and Gorey) as placenames, might have been the result of the influence of Glendalough. These three areas are also in Uí Bairrche territories. The use of ‘Ferns or Loch Garman’ is also interesting, in that it may infer that St. Aidan of Ferns and St. Ibar of Begerin were held in equal esteem. The latter dominance of Ferns may have been the result of the influence of Diarmaid Mac Murchadha in religious affairs.


The medieval diocesan boundaries, resulting from the Norman conquests may be a better indicator of tribal territories. The diocese of Leighlin is thought to include the lands of the Laígis, Uí Buide, Uí Bairrche, Uí Felmeda, Fortharta and Uí Dróna. This gives an indication of the land held by the Uí Bairrche at this time.


rath bresail1.jpg

Synod of Raith Breasail (A.D. 1110 or 1118):

Diocesan Boundaries markers  in Leinster

Medieval Diocesan Boundaries (Smyth 1982)


1204 Confirmation to Herluin, bishop of Leighlin, and his successorsf Lighlin, Cluam, Eidnec, Thechmochna, Techmoedoch, in Nuaconghail, Domnachescrach, Tulach, and Collabbain, Sruthar, Glondussen, Cetorlocth, Slebre, Glorach, Cluaitiencia,dechllin, Missel, Berrech Athfadat, Cellasnad, and Artingenaeda,rcn Durtrichalaa, Cellederggidam, Radmor, Tilachfortchin, Cluammormoedoc Dimcsinti, Rathilec and Cellmecchatil ; in the parish[e3 of] Hubargay, Hubuy, Leys, Hofelmebt, Fodereth, OdroD, with Thathmolig ; with their churches possessions anddign. of their possessions, namely, the city oe Achadarglaiss, Jumaide,

Cal. Papal Letters i 18


In 1124AD the annals state “Muireadhach Mac Gormain, lord of Ui-Bairrche, who was the ornament and glory, and the chief old hero of Leinster, died.” This is an interesting epitaph, but no other direct references to him have been found. He may be the MacCorman (MacGormáin) referenced in the ‘Book of Durrow’ describing a land agreement between Killeshin and Durrow, and the grantor of Baltinglass.


It is thought that an original grant of land to the Cistercian abbey of Baltinglass (Belach Con Glais) in the first half of the 12th Century was made by an Irish King, MacCorman (MacGormáin) before the conquest of Ireland, possibly in the form of a charter. According to the 1397 inquisition at Carlow, the land granted were the granges of Grangeford, Wryghteston (or Cluan Melsige possibly Clonmelsh) and Carrigtoman (or Cartuamain possibly Chapelstown). In the confirmation charter to Baltinglass by King John in 1185, the following lands were stated as being part of ‘Ua Barche or Barthe’: Dumetham, Chapelstown, Agaddarith, Godwin’s mill & Killamaster.


This would indicate, as might be expected, that the barony of Carlow formed part of Uí Bairrche territory, along with the adjoining barony of Slievemargy. The Norman cantred of Obargy in Katherlough (Carlow) was listed with the town of Katherlough, although Empey’s illustration of the cantreds includes it in Idrone along with the barony of Carlow.


It has been suggested that the manuscript Rawlinson B502 also known as the Book of Glendalough was written at Killeshin in 1130AD, which may explain the detail given to the Uí Bairrche genealogies. Their king list comes second after the Uí Cheinnsealaigh. Their genealogies are the first of the Laigin decended from Cathair Mór, which is repeated in the Book of Ballymote and the Book of Lecan. Also the poems in Rawlinson B502 appear to have an Uí Bairrche bias. The Book of Leinster differs from Rawlinson B502 in that the kings list only has one strand, and has an extra generation. Their genealogies do not have a heading but are at the start under the heading of “De Genelach Dail Nia Corbb”.


One reference states that the Uí Bairrche dynasty appears to have been deprived of these remaining territories in 1141AD by Diarmait Mac Murchada of the Uí Cheinnselaig, during a purge of the chief families of Leinster, including three sons of MacGorman (Annals of Tigernach)


1141AD Diarmaid Mac Murchadha, King of Leinster, acted treacherously towards the chieftains of Leinster, namely, towards Domhnall, lord of Ui-Faelain, and royal heir of Leinster, and towards Ua Tuathail, i.e. Murchadh, both of whom he killed; and also towards Muircheartach Mac Gillamocholmog, lord of Feara-Cualann, who was blinded by him. This deed caused great weakness in Leinster, for seventeen of the nobility of Leinster, and many others of inferior rank along with them, were killed or blinded by him at that time.


After this period the Uí Bairrche are not recorded in the Irish Annals. “A country without a chief is dead.” Ní ba tuath tuath gan egna, gan egluis, gan filidh, gan righ ara corathar cuir ך cairde do thuathaibh.


There is, however, a reference in the annals for 1585AD to the descendants of Daire Barach, the son of Cahir More, that they were amoung the list of Leinstermen who would not attend the call to Parliment in Dublin.


In the annals in 1095, there was a great pestilence in Ireland which killed a quarter of the population including Cairpri ua Ceithernaigh the noble bishop of Ua Cheinnselaigh. Roderick O’Trassy is listed as one of the Bishops of Ferns, Co. Wexford during the period 1117 to 1155 AD. His name is listed on the wall of St. Aiden Cathedral, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford as Rodericus O’Tracey †1145 AD. His position would indicate that the Traceys and the Uí Bairrche still held some power in that area at that time. It is stated that in 1166 AD Diarmait Mac Murchada, burned his capital of Ferns under threat of invasion by Rory O’Conor of Connacht. Of interest, up to that time, in the list of Bishops of Ferns there appears to be a number of surnames that may be of Uí Bairrche origin, which would indicate that the area may have been under their influence e.g. O’Kearney and Ballycarney on the Slaney, 3 miles west of Ferns, O’Treacy and Ballytracey four miles south east of Ferns, and O’Cahan. As such, Diarmait Mac Murchada may have burned Ferns in anticipation of a revolt on his home front.


Uí Bairrche lands in Wexford seem to have been claimed by the church of Ferns, after this time. The above named lands formed the boundaries of the ‘Manor’ of Ferns as described after the Norman invasion. Ballytracey may have become the property of the church, similar to nearby Ballyregan, as the result of the resolution of a dispute in 1226-7 between John de St. John, Bishop of Ferns and the Prendergasts of Enniscorthy. In addition, Bargy was also claimed by Ferns. According to Colfer, Hervey de Montmorencey c1200 granted extensive lands in Bargy to the Cistercians. The last Irish Bishop of Ferns, Ailbe Ua Maelhuidhe, contested this grant claiming that they belonged to Ferns. By an agreement of c.1230, Canterbury retained the lands and church livings of Kilmore, Kilturk, Tomhaggard, Kilcowan, Bannow, Killag, Carrick and the Saltee Islands, all in the cantred of Bargy.

Bishops of Ferns (Flood, Lanigan, Ware, AFM)

Cairbre O’Kearney †1095AD

Cellach O’Colman †1117AD

Maeleoin O’Donegan †1125AD or Carthag O'Magibay

Maelisu O’Cahan †1135AD

Rory O’Treacy †1145AD

Brighidian O’Cahan †1172AD (resigned)

Joseph O’Hay †1185AD

(of the Uí Deaghaidh of Uí Cheinnselaig)

Ailbe O’Molloy, O.Cist. †1222-3AD (last Gaelic bishop)


De Episcopis Fernensibus, extract from Ware 1665


The Uí Rónáin (Ronane or Royane) of Tig Mo Sacro are also considered to be an ecclesiastical family according to historians. The saint Mosachar is thought to have been the abbot of Clonenagh (Cluain-eidhneach) in Laois, Saggart (Tigh Sacra near Tamlacht) in Dublin, and Fionn-mhagh in Fotharta. There is some confusion that Tig Mo Sacro is in Saggart rather than Tomhaggard in Wexford. It is thought that Fionn-mhagh was an earlier name for Tomhaggard. There are also references to Cluain-Dolcáin (Clondalkin). In 885 Ronan, son of Cathal, Abbot of Cluain Dolcain died. In 938, Duibhinnreacht (Dercc n-Argit in genealogy???), son of Ronan, Abbot of Cluain-Dolcain died. In 1076, an army was led by the clergy of Leath-Mhogha (South Ireland), with the son of Maeldalua, to Cluain-Dolcáin (Clondalkin) to expel Ua Ronain, after he had assumed the abbacy, in violation of the right of the son of Maeldalua. It was on this occasion that a church, with its land, at Cluain-Dolcain, was given to Culdees for ever, together with twelve score cows, which were given as mulct to the son of Maeldalua. However, in 1086, there is the reference Fiachna Ua Ronain, airchinneach of Cluain-Dolcain, died. In 1162, Cináed Ua Rónáin (or Celestino) (1173AD) was bishop of Glendalough when he witnessed Diarmait Mac Murchada’s charter to Ferns and also his charter granting Baldoyle to Edanus, Bishop of Louth. The name Ronane or Royane is still most common around Wexford.


Finn mac Gussáin mac Gormáin Bishop of Kildare who died in 1085 AD would have been of the Uí Bairrche. Bishop Finn of Kildare who died in 1160AD was an important religious figure. He is thought to have commissioned and to have been one of the scribes of the “Book of Leinster”. In the Book of Leinster he requests to have the book of poems of [Flann] mac Lonan. He may have been of the Mac Gormain of Uí Bairrche as in the annals he is named as “Mac Gormain” and “Ua Gormain”. Also there are very few references to the Uí Bairrche in the “Book of Leinster”.


In the Martologies, on October 25, there is “gentle Gormán of the metres.

in Cell Gormáin in the eastern part of Leinster.” This is thought to be Kilgorman, north Wexford, which was an Uí Bairrche settlement.


The Ua Gormain were an important ecclesiastical family and there are a number of references to the family in the Annals and other sources. In the Annals of Clonmacnoise, this Gorman family are stated to be descended from Conn Mboght, the eranaghs of Clonmacnoise and related to the O'Kellys of Brey. [Breagha east Meath] (see also King). In the Book of Kells, one of the charters thought to have been written about 1100AD, refers to “oa gormán ó claind conaill” [O'Gorman of the Clann-Conaill], who would have been located near Kells, Co. Meath. Another reference in the Book of Lismore, states that the Hí Gormáin are located in Mallow, Co. Cork and that Clenur is their burial ground.

M610.5 Gorman, one of the Mughdhorna, from whom are the Mac Cuinns, and who was a year living on the water of Tibraid Fingin, on his pilgrimage at Cluain Mic Nois, died.

(O'Donovan notes: "Gorman.—He was of the sept of the Mughdhorna, who were seated in the present barony of Cremorne, otherwise called Mac Cuinn ua mBocht, Erenaghs of Clonmacnoise, in the Kings County. In the Annals of Tighernach, the death of this Gorman is entered in the year 758." Tibraid Finghin was a well at the edge of the Shannon River at Clonmacnoise.)

M753.6 Gorman, successor of Mochta of Lughmhagh [Louth], died at Cluain Mic Nois, on his pilgrimage; he was the father of Torbach, successor of Patrick.

M807.18 Torbach, son of Gorman, scribe, lector, and Abbot of Ard Macha, died. He was of the Cinel Torbaigh, i e. the Ui Ceallaigh Breagh; and of these was Conn na mbocht, who was at Cluain Mic Nois, who was called Conn na mbocht from the number of paupers which he always supported.


Scannlan, son of Gorman (†918AD), wise man, excellent scribe, and Abbot of Ros-Cre;

Ua Ruarcain, airchinneach of Airdne-Caemhain [Wexford haven]; and Gorman Anmchara [soul friend], died. (†1055AD)

Donnghal mac Gorman (†1070AD), chief lector of Leath-Chuinn, and Tanist-abbot of Cluain-mic-Nois; U1070 The son of Gormán, lector of Cenannas [Kells], and sage of Ireland, died.

Finn mac Gussáin mac Gormáin (†1085AD) Bishop of Kildare, died at Cill-achaidh [Killeigh Geashill Offaly].

Aenghus Ua Gormain (†1123AD), successor of Comhghall, died on his pilgrimage at Lis-mor-Mochuda.*

Finn Mac (or Ua) Gormain (†1160AD), Bishop of Cill-dara, and who had been abbot of the monks of Iubhair-Chinn-trachta [Newry] for a time, died. (Finan M’Tiarcain O’Gorman Tr.Th.)

Maelcaeimhghin Ua Gormain (†1164AD), master of Lughmhadh, chief doctor of Ireland, and who had been Abbot of the monastery of the canons of Tearmann-Feichin for a time, died.

Máel Muire Ua Gormáin (c.1167AD) abbot of Arrouaisian house of Knock, Co. Louth (author of Martyrology of Gorman)

Flann Ua Gormain (†1174AD) arch-lector of Ard-Macha and of all Ireland, a man learned, observant in divine and human wisdom, after having been a year and twenty learning amongst the Franks and Saxons and twenty years directing the schools of Ireland, died peacefully on the 13th of the Kalends of April [March 20], the Wednesday before Easter, in the 70th year of his age.


* May have been the uncle of St. Malachy of Armagh (Africa)





It is not known exactly when the Traceys families dispersed. They could have been displaced by the mac Gormáin, or by Diarmait Mac Murchada of the Uí Cheinnselaig or by the Normans. In the 19th century the majority had settled in the general area of North Tipperary, Offaly, Laois and North Kilkenny, where they are still numerous today. Their descendants are the most numerous Traceys in Ireland. Roughly 10% of the Traceys in Ireland are located in the barony of Ikerrin in North Tipperary/South Offaly. Perhaps the migration trail followed the Noir river from North Kilkenny. They also settled in the other surrounding Leinster counties of Kildare, Carlow, Westmeath, Wicklow, Dublin and Wexford. There are also early reference for the eastern seaports of Drogheda (Louth), Dublin and Arklow (Wicklow). It may be presumed that the Traceys of Louth are also of the Uí Bairrche, as there is also a high prevalence of Carneys and Gormans in that area. There is also a high prevalence of Traceys in the Ui Enechglaiss territory of Arklow. Richter states that the Leinster kings had royal fleets, which may account for the presence of Traceys in these seaports. The historian Peadar Livingstone expresses an opinion that the Traceys of Fermanagh are not natives to Ulster. It seems possible that these Traceys were also of the Uí Bairrche, as there is a connection to Fermanagh in the genealogies. Also it is reported that both Traceys and O’Gormans were termoners (ancient church wardens) in Fermanagh (Mac Murchaidh et al). It may also be possible that the Uí Bairrche Traceys migrated across the Shannon to become a sept of Sil Anmchadha where the name is referenced in 1158 AD. The Uí Bairrche may have had a settlentment in east Galway as described in the placenames by Flann mac Lonan. It seems likely that Fermanagh and Galway were earlier Uí Bairrche settlemts and that Ikerrin was settled at a later date. Ikerrin has a lower number of Gorman families, which may reflect a later conflict between the ruling families. 


In the ‘Topographical and Historical Map of Ancient Ireland’ by Philip Mac Derrmott in 1846, the O’Tracy Fermanagh Clann and the O’Gormans are located either side of Upper Lough Erne.


The mac Gormáin settled in Monaghan and Tipperary (Doire Seinliath or Senlaith in Uaithne (Owney) [perhaps Derryleigh - Doire Liath, Kilvellane Tipperary, Owney-Cliach Limerick/Tipperary]. In the Sheriff’s Accounts for Tipperary 1275-6, there is a ‘wealthy’ Richard Makgorman living in Carrick-on-Suir (although Curtis seems to think this is an Ostman or Irish Danish name). In the Red Book of Ormond for 1300AD, there is a reference to ‘terra McGorman’ in Carkkenlis (Carkenlys = Caherconlish) Limerick.


In south Tipperary, below Caher on the border with Waterford, there is the civil parish of Ballybacon (Baile Uí Bhéacáin) containing the townlands of Gormanstown and Kilballygorman. Also located nearby is the townland of Tincurry, usually found in Uí Bairrche settlements.


Some moved to Dál Cais (Clare), and were noted as chiefs of Tullichrin (Uí Breacain, a name taken from one of the free tribes of the Uí Bairrche), a territory comprising parts of the baronies of Moyarta and Ibrackan. As early as 1168 (to 1185), Scanlan mac Gormáin is recorded as a witness to a charter by Domnall Ua Briain, King of Thomond to Holy Cross Abbey. In an agreement between Killeshin and Durrow in the late eleventh/early twelfth century, it states that land had been given to the Dál Cais.  Keating states in the History of Ireland, that:


“As sin is iontuigthe go rabhadar ríghthe ar Éirinn do Ghaedhealaibh i ndiaidh aimsire Phádraig. Agus adeir an t-ughdar céadna na briathra céadna-so síos san áit chéadna:…

Ar Maigh Adhar do gairthí Ó Briain ; Mac na Mara do ghaireadh é; Ó Duibhidhir Choill na Manach agus Mag Cormáin a mharuscáil sluaigh; muinntear Flannchuidhe a bhreitheamhain fhéineachais; clann Chraith a ollamhain ré dán; clann Chruitín nó clann Bhruaideadha a ollamhain ré seanchus.”

“Of the kings of Ireland and of their history after the Faith and of its annals to the coming of the Normans hither, and to their acquiring supremacy over the country, as follows:…

At Magh Adhar O Briain was inaugurated; it was Mac na Mara who inaugurated him. O Duibhidhir of Coil na Manach and Mag Cormain (MacGorman) were his marshals of the hosts; muinntear Flannchuidhe were his brehons of feineachas; clann Chraith his ollamhs in poetry; clann Chruitin or clann Bhruaideadha his ollamhs in seanchus.”


The inference being that MacGorman were in Dál Cais before the Norman invasion.


Their chiefs became marshalls (military commanders) under the O’Briens, where they acquired great wealth and influence and there are numerous entries in the annals. In 1563, an account of their movement to Munster is given by Maelin Og Mac Bruaideadha (Mac Brody), chief poet of the Ui Breacain (O’Gorman) and Ui Fearmaic (O’Grady).


The parish of Kilfarboy in West Clare was known in 1302 as Kellinfearbreygy or Kellinfearbuygy, in 1394 as Killnafearwary and later as Kilforbrick and Kilfearbaigh. (Church of the men of Bargy). There is a reference to cleric ‘William Marchomayn’ who held a benefice in1486 at Kilfarboy vicarage. (Luke McInerney 2011). The next parish is Kilmurry Ibrickan (Cill Muire ó m-Bracáin - Church of Mary at Ibrickan AFM 1599). There is also the following reference:


Donn Macormain .i. Bicaire Cell Muire Udacht Muirchertaigh mic Mathghamhna in aimsir a Chais co bfiadhnaise dona Sagartaibh, Ix. 8; ¶  this is Kilmurry Ibrickan p. and vil., c. Clare.

120 bó ag Donn Macormáin ar na tabhairt do Muircheartach Mac Mathghamhna a ngeall ar leathceathramhain daire an crosain, Ix. 9.

(Ix. = I. 6, 13, T.C.D.; O'Curry's copy of 13 vellum Deeds.)


(Meic Gormain paid a tribute of 120 cows to the Meic Mhathghamhna lords of Corkavaskin - Luke McInerney 2011)


Listed in a 1555 papal bull for Clare Abbey [Ennis] is the vicarage of Ogormaie or Ogormane, which Luke McInerney (2011) identifies as Drumcliffe [west of Ennis]. It is signed by MacCrath [McGrath] of Brican or Kylbrigan [Kilbreckan, Doora east of Ennis]. The Meic Craith were a leading ecclesiastical family in Co. Clare.


In the map, Hiberniae Britannicae Insulae Nova Descriptio by Abraham Ortelius, Antwerp 1587, the following are included in the area of County Clare, the land of the 'Baron of Ibercan' and at the tip a town called Kilcornen.

1587 clare.jpg


Other historians suggest that the Uí Bairrche were driven out of their lands by the Norman invaders, a fate endured by many other clanns. The Annals of Clonmacnoise state that battle between Dermot McMurrogh with his Norman allies won against the Ossarians took place at Slieve Mairge after which they retired to Loughlin. It is generally thought that the Norman invasion in 1169AD landed at Bannow, part of the Uí Bairrche territory in Wexford:


“All of these forces having disembarked on the island of the Banne (Insula Banuensis) [town of Wexford distant about twelve miles], and finding themselves in a position far from secure, the news of their landing having been spread abroad, they sent messengers to Dermitius, appraizing him of their arrival. Meanwhile, some of the people who dwelt on the coast, although they had deserted Dermitius when fortune frowned upon him, when the changed her aspect flocked together to support him” (Giraldus: The Conquest of Ireland)


It has also been thought that it might have been Begabun (Baginbun Head, Hook Head).  However, if the translation is corrected, a distance of twelve miles in a territory of ‘future’ allies [Olorcan] may identify “Lady’s Island” (Inis Bean? – Insula Barry or Le Barry in the Norman knights fees) as the landing place. The south of Wexford became the heartland of the Norman settlement in Ireland.


After the conquest, Strongbow chose John de Clahull, as marshal of Leinster, to whom he granted the Uí Bairrche territory of Slievemargy. It has also been stated that Slievemargy was controlled by Baron Walter de Riddlesford (Reddensforde), who became master of the territory around Carlow. The Normans called this area ‘Abargy’, ‘Hubargy’, ‘Obargi’ and ‘Obargy’ a corruption of ‘Ui Bairrche’.  In 1181, a castle was built for John de Clahull by Hugh de Lacy probably at Killeshin. O’Conor thinks that it may have been the castle at Carlow town, where a wooden structure predated the stone structure. In October 1204, Pope Innocent included the parrochiae of Hubargy. In 1282, there was a levy on the cantred of Abargy, to subdue the Irish of the mountains of Leinster. In 1300, William de St. Leger held six knights fees in Obargy, the manor with a centre at Killeshin seemed to have been formed by John de Clahull. In 1300, an emergency taxation was granted in Parliament, which included ‘The tenants of Obargy in the same liberty [Katherlogh], with the town of Katherlogh 10 m(arks)’. In the Calendar of Ormond deeds, around 1318, there are references to the town of Rathenegys in Obargy in Carlow. In 1333, Geofffry de la Frayne was killed by the O’Mores at Slemargys, he was married to Johanna Purcell, the heiress of Obargi. In south Wexford, Harvey de Montmorency’s was granted an enfeoffment in Uí Bairrche on the sea. His lands also included the barony of Shelburne (where he founded the Abbey of Dunbrody), and a portion of the parish of Kilmokea formerly surrounded by the Barrow. The Normans called this area ‘Obarthy’ or ‘Obarthi’, again a corruption of ‘Ui Bairrche’.





‘Bairche’ is usually rendered in the English language as Bargy, Margy, Vargy or Wargy. The following is a list of modern placenames that contain ‘argy’. As can be seen, the majority of the names are found in Ulster. ‘Largy’ is generally interpreted as meaning a ‘slope’. In Down, there is the Trassey Valley in the Benna Bairche or Boirche (Mourne Mountains). In Scotland, there are the Trassachs or Trossachs.



Civil parish

















Bellanacargy town



Forthenry or Largy






Largy or Forthenry







Tamlaght Finlagan
























Killybegs, Upper



Killybegs, Upper
































Doolargy Glebe

























Errigal Trough








Ballynacarrigy OR Ballynacargy






Bargy Commons




This is a table of the approximate number of the surnames in the Griffiths Valuation of the 1860’s, with the counties of Laois, Carlow, Kildare and Wexford highlighted. It is a snapshot of migration before the modern age. It may give an indication of earlier settlement. It would appear that the Traceys and Gormans have separate dispersion patterns in Leinster. Where there is a high number of Gormans there is a low number of Tracey and vice versa. In the Leinster region, the concentration of family numbers is not reflected in family placenames. The main areas of local migration were Kilkenny and Tipperary.


Carney: Although this name has the total highest number for Ireland, the number of the Leinster family appears to be low.


Ronan: The main concentration is in Wexford/Waterford. There is an unexpected low number in Wicklow and the other Leinster counties. It may be that the Leinster family did not disperse too far.


Tracey: There is a high number in Wicklow in comparison to the other names. It would appear that the Traceys occupied an area with ‘gorman’ placenames.


Gorman: There is a low number in Carlow but a high number in Laois/Kilkenny. There is a low number in Wicklow. There is an unexpected low number in Fermanagh but a high number in Tyrone/Donegal. There is an expected high number in Clare/Limerick. Of interest, is the unexplained high number in Sligo. Gormacan or Gormaghan, may be considered to be another older form of Gorman in areas with an Ui Bairrche connection.



Carney 634

Carny 3

Kearney 1559

Kearny 14

Kerney 12

Kierny 3

McCarney 77

O'Kearney 3


Renayne 2

Ronan 200

Ronane 7

Ronayne 135

Roonan 24

Rownan 6

Roynane 19


Tracey 350

Tracy 686

Treacy 94



Gorman 1705

Gormon 11

McGorman 52

Gormican 4




























































































































































Total four counties







Indications of the territories held by the Uí Bairrche are the placenames that may be attributed to them or their clanns. There are a large number of placenames in Ireland that contain ‘carney’, ‘ronan’ or ‘gorman’ as part of the name. Less common are those containing ‘tracey’ which are mainly located in Leinster in the counties of Wexford and Kildare. It may be assumed that earliest names are ‘carney’ and ‘ronan’, followed by ‘tracey’ and ‘gorman’. The Normans did not change many Irish placenames or simply translated them into English. The baronies formed by the Normans were also based on the tuath or Irish tribal lands. The following are the placenames of the names located in Leinster:


In Carlow, there are Ballycarney south of Carlow town and Tracey’s crossroads on the border of Carlow and Forth baronies. In Laois, the barony of Slievemargy, formed part of Carlow County until the reign of Queen Mary and the formation of Queens County. The adjacent barony of Carlow would also have formed part of their lands. There is also an indication that there was a castle at Carlow town at the time of the Norman invasion. At this time there were the churches of Sancti Congani de Clunussi (St. Comgan of Glen Uissen or Killeshin), Sancti Patricii de Slefta (Saint Patrick of Sletty), Sancti Congalli de Catherloc (Saint Comhgall of Carlow town). There is a reference to an early Christian Ecclesiastical Settlement of Cainnech Irrus Ua Micáin (Slievemargy barony?), which might be named after an Uí Bairrche tribe.


Also Tinnagarney (Tigh na gCearnaigh - house of Carney) Wells Carlow (OS letters) [not included on map below].


An earlier name of Killerig, south of Castledermot Co. Kildare, was Killargy/Killergi/Killergy/Killargie. Perhaps this is the area mentioned in the 1382 Close Roll 6 Richard II “brother Roger fitz Thomas, preceptor of Kilbargy”.


An earlier name of Tinnacarrig in Ullard south Carlow was Tinecarige/Tynecargy.


In Thady Dowling, Chancellor of Leighlin, Annales Breves for 590AD, Burchardus Gurmundi otherwise known as O Gormagheyn, duke of Slieve Margi and Leinster, was responsible for the foundation of the catherdral of Leighlin. He also states that there were the placenames of Gormond’s Grove or Wood and Gormond’s Ford in the vicinity of Leighlin.


In Laois, there is Ballycorman in the Civil Parish of Killabban, which is located to the north-west of Carlow town, which is most likely related to the MacGormans.


Rossmore, in the civil parish of Killeshin, was anciently called Teamhair mBairrche i.e. Hill of the Bairrche or in short Hill of Margy (Lyng)


Also Ballycarnan (Ballycarney) Kilcolmanbane Laois (RC parish Registers & OS letters) [not included on map below]


There was a monastic settlent at Aghmacart, south Co. Laois, which was founded by St. Tigernach.


In Wexford, Tracey families are found at most of the following locations. In the north of the county, there is the civil parish of Kilgorman (may have also been called Crosgorman). In the middle of Wexford, There are Coolycarney (Templeshanbo), Ballycarney on the Slaney, both west of Ferns and Ballytracey (Kilcormick) north of Boolavogue, east of Ferns.


South of Enniscorthy and west of the Slaney there are the civil parishes of St. Johns and Clonmore. There are a number of indications that this was an Ui Bairrche settlement. On the Boro river, there is the townland of Ballinavary (Baile-na-mBarrach). The Boro river may have a naming connection to the Barrow river. Kilcarbry, at the junction of the Boro and Slaney, is likely to have been an Ui Barriche monastic settlement. Also on the Boro, there is Dunanore (als Donnemoire) a large hill fort which may have been an Ui Bairrche fortification. The location, inland from the Slaney, would indicate a defensive function. Dún mór translates as the big fort, which may indicate that there were other forts in the area. A possible hill fort is located beside the Corrig graveyard in St. John’s, overlooking the Slaney.


There is the barony of Bargy in south Wexford. In Bargy, just north of Tomhaggard, is the townland of Bargy. Further north, in the civil parish of Mulrankin there is Rathronan. Duncormack/Duncormick (Dún Chormaic) located in the centre of Bargy on the coast may be a reference to Cormac mac Diarmata. The only other ‘Cormac’ placename in Wexford, is the civil parish of Kilcormick, where Ballytracey is located. Tracystown East (204 acres*) and Tracystown West (401 acres*), south-east and west of Taghmon are on the border of the barony of Bargy. Morley states “These last townlands may be of Norman origin but references to the Norman Tracys in south Wexford are scarce and they may not have remained in the area. The occurrence of Tracytown as a townland name in an area of Norman settlement may seem to support the Norman attribution of Tracy, but even a cursory examination of Wexford place names shows this reasoning to be unsound”. 


Tincurra Church overlooks Tracystown East and fulfils a number of criteria as an inauguration or óenach/meeting site, and would have been of importance to the Traceys and the Uí Bairrche.  The placename Tincurra (Tincur = marriage portion/settlement) is mostly particular to Wexford and occurs four times, near areas with an Uí Bairrche connection; Tincurra of Taghmon is beside Tracystown east, Tincurragh of Kilcavan and Kilgorman, and Tincurry of Ballycarney. There is also Tomacurry Monart, beside Tincurry Ballycarney.


Of interest, in the 1607 maps of 'Hiberniae V. Tabula' by Mercator/Hondius of Amsterdam, Kilcormÿn (Kilgorman) is shown as being located close to Avoca in the Wicklow mountains.




In the Grand Panel of the county of Wexford of 1608, there is a reference to Illanstrassock (Tracey’s bog/marsh islands) in the Barony of Gwery [Gorey]. The best match may indicate that it is the Island townlands of the civil parish of Rossminoge, west of Gorey Town. There is also a reference to Ballekargy in the same area.


Placenames that include “Regan” also seem to be located near Uí Bairrche settlements in Wexford, but a connection has not been found.


A similar situation occurs with placenames that include “pierce”, in Wexford and Leinster. If this is of Gaelic origin, it might refer to ‘persai’ or berserker. The exception to this is in the barony of Forth in Wexford, where there are settlements of the families of Butlers and Pierce. In 1654 Civil Survey, in Killcorranne Parish [Kilscoran] there is a James Pierce of Peirces Ballyell [Ballyell].


The following possible 17th century placenames were found mostly in the 1654 Civil Survey:


North         South of Inch Parish, river of Owengorman. [Kilgorman River] Arcklow parish...River of OwenGormocke...


Part of Crospatrick Parish [North Wexford/Wicklow] ...Ballingormen...


Part of Kilpipe Parish [North Wexford/Wicklow] Ballynebarnie & Killcashell. Castle...Balinebarny...


Ardmaine Parish [Ardamine]...Ballibreacan...(Ballibreckan north of Ballinecurry)


In the 1659 Census, in Kilneauor [Kilnenor] Cloghnehissy


Ballycanew Parish: Balcarrig - Baile na Carraige (Ballencargee)


Mid            Kispanienecarny [east of Kilcormick].


Kilcormock Parish [Kilcormick] Ballitrassie, Ballitrassy...Bounded on the west with Bailincargie, north with Balliregan...

Part of Kilcormock Parish...south Ballcassy...east Ballincassy. Glanrany...south with Rahenduffe west with Ballincassy. Rahenduffe...west with Ballincassy


Parish of Fearnes, begins with Ballincargie on the east...

Parish of Fearnes...Balicarnye Tombracky [near the Slaney]...Aghtimbrak...

Parish of Fearnes Balibegsleboy...Cloghranye thence directly till the toppe of Carriggbracke...

Parish of Fearnes Tincurrye...Bounded att Aghneroe...Bann (east)...Slane (south)...Balicarnry on the west


Killancouly Parish [Killincooly]...Ballinbarny...


St. Molines [St. Mullins] Ballinebarny, Ballinbarny

...of Polmontie [Poulmounty] from thence through the middest of ye Rocks called Carrigvalyhibarnie [Ballynabearna] from thence along through the verie height and midst of ye maine mountaines wch meareth betwixt this countie of Wexford and ye Countie of Catherlagh...


Parish of Rossdroite...Cloghcassie and hence the meare between St Johnsl and Cloghassie...Clocassia...


St Johns Parish...a bigg stone called Cloghfein in ye meare betwixt St Johns and Cloghassie...

St. Johns Parish...Templecargie...

...Cacestowne als Clohassye...


Part of Tampellesanen [Templeshannon]...Balinebarny...


Tampellsanvoge Parish [Templeshanbo, Monart & St. Mary's Newtownbarry]...Tincurrye...[Tomacurry, Monart? beside Tincurry]

Tampellsanvogh Parish. Balinechalline  [Ballynelahillan Monart]...Ascanemogh to Margery Crosse [Ballycarney crossroads?] to Ascancarrane...

Tampellsanvogh Parish. Moynert...Culcarny...Kilteillye...to the topp of Carrigcleven called Farbrigey...topp of Slevemeile down to a ford called Aghnebricke...Loughcarey to Bareknakille...

Tampellsanvogh Parish. Knocduffe...Hill of Carnigh [above Ballycarney?] to the meare of Caranroe


Mid-SE      Ballivalden Parish [Ballyvaldon]...Ballidrissack...Ballydrissack

Ballivalden Parish [Ballyvaldon]. Killeagh & Monenarrige...(north of Ballinlogh)


Ballyvollowe Parish [Ballyvalloo]. Ballineclassy


South         Killuring Parish [Killurin]...northwest...southerly to Cassaghduffe...


Takillen [Tikillin] north...Cassaghduff...Ballinacrossie...


Tamon [Taghmon] Bounded...on the south with Trassistowne

Ruind Castle...Trassestowne [West]...360 acres


Parish of Killimoore [Kilmore]...Mountross in the lands of Malrankan...Mountrosse...


Parish of Mallrankan [Mulrankin]...Mount Crosse...Rathronane...Rathronan...


Dunbrody Parish [St. James and Dunbrody]. Ballyvelick & Tinknick extends a mile northwest to ye ford of Aghnakerney...[Campile area]


1659 Kilmokea. Ballibarny


In Wicklow, in the west of the county there is Kilcarney Upper and Lower in the civil parish of Hacketstown and in the north west Anacarney in the civil parish of Boystown. In north east Wicklow, there is Ballyronan in the civil parish of Kilcoole. In east Wicklow, there is Gormanstown in the civil parish of Dunganstown.


Bally 'ronan. [Kilcoole]

1394 Ballyronan RCH. 1550 Balleronan : 1598 Ballironan FI. 1622 Ballyronan CPR. 1655-9 Balleronan DS. e. 1660 Ballyronan BS.


Killincarrig - Coillín na Carraige [Delgany]



Templecarrig - Teampall Carraige [Delgany]

Teample Cargye


Downs. dún caillighe Béirre. [Kilcoole]

1549, 1550, 1566 Downe FI. 1547 Downcalybere MOR. 1609, etc., Downe CI EI MD CPR LOF. 1685 The Downe HD. c. 1640 dún Caillighe Béirre K. 1760 Downs N.

c. 1540 Downe Calliber (MS. in British Museum, Cotton Library, Domitian A. xviii).

The last reference is from a list of "paces" (i.e., roads) recommended to be made.

For this place see J.R.S.A.I., Ixiii (1933), p, 237. I cannot explain the reference to the Cailleach Bhéara, which is evidently contained in the original form of the name. If an ancient sepulchral monument existed in the locality, not only has it disappeared, but no tradition about it has survived.

For references to the Cailleach Bhéara in Irish and Scottish tradition, see Legends and Traditions of the Cailleach Bheara, by Eleanor Hull, in Folk Lore xxxviii (1927), 225. See also Jahrbuch fur prahistorische und ethnographische Kunst, ii (1926), 255, R. A. S. Macalister: Scottish Gaelic Studies, III (1929), 10, J. Gr. Mackay : Old Statistical Account, IV, 559; Scottish Folklore and Folklife, D.A. Mackenzie.


Killicka'bawn. [Kilcoole]

1561 Killocobreny FI (probably identical). 1619 Killikkebarne CPR. 1633 Killeckybirne, Killickybyrne, El. 1640 Killickibarne LOF. 1760 Willowgrove N. The same place as Killickabawn.

There is a tradition of a church here: the name "the Killeen field” is still known m the townland. The first syllable of the name is therefore probably cill. The early forms indicate that -bawn might be a corruption of bearna, meaning a "pass" or road. An old road ran from Delgany through here up to Knockfadda.


Ballyna-carrig. baile na carraige. [Dunganstown]

1601 Ballincarke (perhaps identical) FI. 1605 Ballinecarge : 1613 Ballynecarge CPR. c. 1660 Ballincargy BS. 1668 Ballinecarrigge HMR. 1685 B: nocargie HD. 1723 Ballynecarrig (in a deed of 25th May, 1723). Ballynegargy 1641


Gormanstown . baile Gormáin. [Dunganstown]

1614 Ballegorman otherwise Gormanstown CPR. c. 1660 Ballygorman BS. 1668 Gormonstown HMR. 1685 Balligarma HD.

Possibly the personal name here is the Scandinavian name Gormo.


Ballyna'barny. baile na bearna. [Glenealy]

1622 Ballynebarne CPR. 1667 Ballynabarne


1550 Ballebarn FI. baile na bearna. [Newcastle Upper]

1566 Ballenebarne : 1576 Ballinebarne FI. 1619 Ballinebarne CI. 1622 Ballynebarne CPR. 1667 Ballybarne ASE. 1685 Ballibarne HD.

This was the name of some part of Ballinahinch. The name may refer to the old road which ran through Knockfadda and on to the old river crossing at Knockadreet. The word bearna in Wicklow constantly refers to a road or pass; m the same way in the English documents the roads are frequently called passes.


Cooldross. (equal stress) cúil a’ dreasa. [Newcastle Lower]

1570 Cooletrasse FI. 1609 Cooledrass: 1619 Cooldrasse CI. 1613 Cooldrasse : 1619 Cowledrasse CPR. 1641 Cooledrosse GC. c. 1660 Cooledrasse BS. 1668 Cooledrasse HMR. 1760 Cooldross N.

The following are obsolete names of places in Cooldross:

1566 Ballyshaneduf FI. baile Seaán duibh.

1611 Ballyshanduffe CPR. 1619 Ballishanedufee CI. 1655-9 Baile shanduff DS. c. 1660 Ballyshaneduffe BS.

1619 Claddenbeg in Ballishaneduffe CPR. cladán beag.

1602 the stange of Cladanboy MD.

1640 Loghercrin LOF. c. 1660 Loghercrine.

Perhaps a corruption of loohán críon?


Coolinarrig [Baltinglass]

Coolenargy 1628


Ballinabarny. baile na bearna. [Castlemacadam]

1655-9 Ballanaghbannene DS. c. 1660 Ballynebarny BS. 1667 Ballynebarny alias Ballanaghbovenee ASE. 1668 Ballynebarne HMR. 1685 Ballinaherny HD.

The corrupt form on the Down Survey is probably only a mistaken reading of the name as written down by the surveyor. The name seems to represent baile na bearna, referring to the road which led to an old crossing of the river at the place now called Castle howard.


Tigroney. tigh [ ? ] [Castlemacadam]

1582 Tigony (probably identical) FI. 1620 Tegronine CPR. 1641 Tygronane GC. 1655-9 Teagroneene DS. c. 1660 Teagronineene, Teagromineene BS. 1667 Teigranen alias Teigrominane or Teigronimeene ASE. 1668 Teigronin HMR. 1685 Teigeronine HD. c. 1810 Tigrony AR.

It is frequently said that Tigroney is the place which is named m ancient documents as follows :

c. VIII. Tech na Rómhan (Tripartite Life), c. XL Tech na Bomanach (Glosses, Liber Hymnorum).

The same passage, in which, this name occurs, appears m several other documents:

Teach na Rómhan, Annals of the Four Masters at the year 430.

Teach na Bamhanach, Keatmg's History of Ireland, vol. Ill p. 16.

Teach na Romhan, Colgan, Acta Sanctorum, pp. 570-1.

Tech na Rómhánach, McFirbis, Genealogies, p. 693.

The identification of this place with Tigroney is only a conjecture of O'Donovan's, who says that the three churches erected by Palladius were situated m the territory of Ui Garrchon. The Liber Hymnorum gloss says that Palladius landed at a place m Ui Garrchon, and Keatmg's statement is that he landed at Innbhear Deaghaidh (that is, the present Arklow). Assuming that the three churches were near Arklow, it is very difficult to identify their sites. But there is no authenticated early church site m the townland of Tigroney ; and with reference to the linguistic aspect, Professor T. F. O'Rahilly, in a letter to the writer, says " Tig- from teach (tigh) must be ruled out for Leinster. In Wicklow one would expect Ti- from tigh (dative). Accordmgly if the first part of the name is the word for 'house,' the second must be some word (personal name) beginning with g, though what it is I cannot say." The suggested identification is theie fore highly improbable.


Bally rooaun. ? baile an ruadhain. [Arklow]

1571 Ballyroan (deed of 8 Oct., 1571). 1601 Ballinrowane FI, c.1660 Ballin Roan BS: Ballinroane OA. 1668 Ballyrohane HMR.


 (Price 1940-1)


In Kilkenny, in the west of the county there is Kiltrassy (395 acres*) near Windgap. The ancient name of Ballyragget  [Donaghmore Civil parish] in north Kilkenny was Dún Tulach Uí mBairrche (Tullabarry/Tulacbarry), translated as ‘hill fort of the Bairrche’, which is located in Moatpark townland. Also there is a Tinnaslatty in the cilvil parish of Aharney. In the Knights Fees, Lavistown [St. Martins civil parish] was originally called Tylaghbrecan and in 1626 was called Tullabreccan. There is Brackin [Mayne civil parish]


On Google Maps, there is a Tinnaslatty, south of Kilkenny City near Sheastown Kilferagh.


In south east Kilkenny, there is Rosbercon (Ros ua mberchon) which is generally thought to have been an Uí Bairriche settlement. The barony of Ida was previously known as the barony of Iberchon or the deanery of Obargon or O’Bercon. It has also thought to have been called Obargy. Ida is named after the Ui Dega. The Ui Dega were also thought to be located beside Kilgorman North Wexford. It may be that the west side of the Barrow was populated by the Ui Bairrche while the east side was populated by the Uí Cheinnsealaigh. There is Ballinabarney, Tincarraun and Tinnaslatty in the civil parish of The Rower (Robhar) and Kearneysbay in the civil parish of Kilcolumb. Also nearby, there is the civil parish of Kilbeacon.


In Offaly, in the east, there is Toberronan in the civil parish of Killaderry.


In Kildare, all in the north west of the county are Kearneystown Upper and Lower in the civil parish of Lyons, Baltracey (707 acres*) at Balraheen between Clane and Kilcock, Baltracey (175 acres*) and Newtown Baltracey (102 acres*) in the civil parish of Tipper 3 kilometres south east of Naas and Tracey’s crossroads south east of Kildare town. In 1304, the Traceys of Balraheen are listed in the Red Book of Ormond for the Manor of Cloncurry. In east Kildare, there is Gormanstown in the civil parish of Kilcullen.


In the Life of Saint Enda of Aran († circa 530AD) there is a reference to Barrig cella or Baile Barrigh in Magh Liffi, which was thought to be located on the banks of the Liffey in Kildare.


There is an early Christian Ecclesiastical Settlement at Baile Chuthláin/Chuthlacháin? (Coghlanstown West, Tipperkevin) south east of Naas, which might be named after an Uí Bairrche tribe.


The following possible 17th century placenames were found mostly in the 1654 Civil Survey:


Parish of Laraghbrine...Barrogstown..


Parrish of Donoghcomper...west...Ballybarrog...




Parrish of Killadowen...Ardresse...


Parish of Kilberry...[beside] Parish of Belaghbreckan (Ballybrackan) [beside Kilbrackan in Laois]


Parish of Narraghmore

Skerris...east with ye lands of Ballibarne...

Ardnecrosse & Youngstown



Parish of Castlede[r]mott

Balleburne...Belleborne...Balleberne [Ballyburn] aforsaid meareth on the East with the land lands of Balliheade [Ballyhade]...on the south with the lands of Ballineborny [Knockbane?].

Balleheade and Ballenebarny

Close Roll 6 Richard II 1382 Brother William Tany, prior of the hospital of St John of Jerusalem in Ire., and brother Roger fitz Thomas, preceptor of Kilbargy [perhaps Killerig Co. Carlow], confrere of the prior, have pleaded that Arthurus McMurgh, [barony of Norragh, south Kildare]


Parrishe of Donmack...Dunmanack...Denmonack [Dunmanoge]...west...the lands of Becanstowne [Beaconstown]...


Parrish of Killelan...Ballinecargy [Ballynacarrick?]


Parish of Kilmaogue and Rathernine...Donberne...Barrenstownw/Barenstown/Baristowne, Barrimoree, Carigbig, Carigmore/Carriogmore...


Parrish of ffecullen

...Puncerge/Puncerg Grainge [Punchersgrange]...Carrigin Earle...



Parish of Carough...to the lands of Ballivarry...


Parrish of Ballishae (Ballynafae)...placed called Owenecossy...


Parish of Caddamstowne...towne of Clonagh from hence Mombeg and thence to Athengrossie...


Parrish of Carbrie...Rassivanie...


Parish of Balraine [Balraheen]

Baltrasny/Baltasny...one wast mill


Parish of Ballybreckan

ffassiaghin Earle




Derryvarroge [Timahoe]

Derremargy 1624


In Meath, in the north east there Donacarney town, Little and Great in the civil parish of Colp (beside Drogheda). In the south east there is Ballymacarney in the civil parish of Kilbride (Dunboyne) (Dublin/Kildare). In the south-west there is Coolronan. In the south there is Athronan in the civil parishes of Kilmessan and Kileen. There is a Gormanston and Gormanstown in the civil parish of Stamullin (east) and Gormanstown in the civil parishes of Rathbeggan (south east), and Trim (south west).


A family of O'Gorman of the Clann-Conaill is referenced in a charter in the Book of Kells. They probalbly lived near Kells or to the north east of Navan and may be an explanation for some of the placenames in Meath.


Gormanston in the parish of Stamullen, Co. Meath, appears as Villa Macgorman in a cartulary of Llanthony of c. 1200


And at a later period we find the Crown confirming by charter "Almarico de Sancto Amando," for his homage and service, those four carucates of land called "le Ryn," which formerly belonged to Ua-gorman (O'Gorman) [ie Magorman] the Irishman:...(Chart Roll T.L. 14 H. 3.)...The seigniory so confirmed is stated in the statute of 1295 to have been held of Lord Theobald de Verdon (lord of one moiety of Meath, as coheir of Hugh de Lacy, the original grantee) by Sir Almaric de Saint Amand; and afterwards this Sir Almaric and his son being Barons of the English Parliament, to which they were constantly summoned and obliged to attend, sold this seigniory to the family of Preston, and that family from the reign of Richard the Second were summoned and sat in the Parliament of Ireland as Lords of Gormanstown and Kells, until the fifteenth century, when they were advanced by patent to the dignity of the Viscounty of Gormanstown. (Lynch)

Rex concessit et carta sua confirmavit Almarico de Sancto Amando iiij carucatas terre cum pertinentiis in Hibernia ; videlicet, terra que vocatur Le Ryn et que fuit quondam Magorman Hiberniensis, habendas et tenendas de rege et...

Calendar of the close rolls preserved in the Public Record Office

1229-1230 1772. Grant in fee to Amory de St. Amand of 4 carucates of land in Ireland, called Le Ryn, formerly belonging to Magorman, an Irishman ; rendering to the K. the service of 1 knight's fee. Witnesses, Hubert de Burgh, &c., Stephen de Segrave, ...

Calendar of Documents, Relating to Ireland: 1171-1251


In Westmeath, in the east there is Gormanstown in the civil parish of Kilcumny.


In Louth, in the south of the county there is Kearneystown in the civil parish of Mullary (near Drogheda). There is also Donore (Dún uabair) of St. Mary's, Drogheda.


In Dublin, there is Donnycarney in the civil parish of Clonturk (north Dublin Bay). In west Dublin, there is Ronanstown in the civil parish of Clondalkin. West of Dublin bay there is the civil parish of Grangegorman and in the north Gormanston Demesne in the civil parish of Balscaddan. There was also Gormond’s Gate on the west side of Dublin city, which is thought to be named after the Gormon family (see John Lynch)

(* Griffiths Valuation)


The hill of Garyston (Garristown, near Ashbourne Meath) was also called the hill of Trasse (Trase) in the Book of Howth [Carnew Manuscripts]


In the genealogies of the saints there is a reference to Ráith Ronáin in Ui Cellaig Cualand (Dublin/Wicklow border region).


56. Ronan easbacc .i. o Raith Ronain a nUibh Ceallaigh Cualann m Corbmaic m Aodha m Seanaigh dibhigh in Cair thinn muach m Edirsgeoil m Aongasa ailche m Feargasa forcraidh m Tuathail tiaghaigh m Maine mail m Fedhlimidh firurghlais et cetera. (GRSH)


In the annals to 1086, there are references to the Ua Ronain of Cluain-Dolcáin (Clondalkin, Dublin).


In the Fiants of Henry VIII, there is a reference to “Ballymarge by Kilmannaght”.


An examination of the old Gaelic language placenames (rather than the modern versions) should reveal other locations. The following are a list of possible candidates for investigation:


Carlow. North west: Ballybar Lower, Ballybar Upper. East: Rathvarrin. Townlands of Barragh, Cunaberry and Knockbarragh, may refer to St. Barrach, of which very little is known. Others think that they refer to the Uí Bairrche.

Dublin. North Dublin Bay: Kilbarrack.

Kildare. Middle: Ballynabarna, Ballybarney, Ballyvarney. Rosberry. West: Barraderra. East: Thornberry. South: Kilberry

Kilkenny. South: Barrabehy. South east: Ballinabarney, Ballinvarry, Ballinvarry English, Ballinvarry Irish, Ballyhenebery. North: Barna. West: Barravally

Laois: North West: Barradoos, Glenbarrow. South west: Ardvarney, Barrahill, Barrawinga. South: Clarbarracum, Coolcorberry. Middle: Clonbarrow

Louth. North: Ballybarrack  

Meath. South west: Ballynabarny. Middle: Kilberry, Kilberry town, Rosberry. North: Drumbaragh.

Offaly. East: Castlebarnagh.

Waterford. East: Kilbarry

Westmeath: North Mid Ballynacargy, or Ballinacarrigy; North west: Barradrum

Wexford.   North/Wicklow border: Ballynabarney (Kilpipe), Barrackcroghan, Rathpierce Hill, Rathpierce Lower & Upper  (Kilnenor) [Barrackcroghan thought to be named after a barracks erected after 1798], Barracurragh, Curragh, Tincurragh (Kilcavan)

Middle: Ballynaberny (Kilrush), Ballynabarny, Kilpierce (Templeshannon) Tincurry, Tombrack, Tombrackwood, Tombrick (Ballycarney)

North Wexford haven: Ballynacarrig, Ballyrooaun (Kilpatrick/Ballynaslaney), Ballyregan or Fairyhill [Polregan], Barratober or Farmhill  (Artramon)

South: Barrystown (Bannow)

Wicklow.   Middle: Barraderry East, Barraderry North, Barraderry West. (Kilranelagh) Ballinabarny (Donaghmore & Knockrath) Ballynabarny (Glenealy)

                   South: Ballinabarny North & South, Tigroney East & West  (Castlemacadam) Ballyrooaun (Arklow) [see above references from Price]


Placenames that include “Patrick” also seem to be located near Uí Bairrche settlements, perhaps due to the connection with Sleaty.


In the Lebor gabála Érenn: The book of the taking of Ireland, under Túathal Techtmar (circa 100 AD) there is a reference to a place called Satmon in Uí Bairrche, which has not been identified.


Modern Placenames and Locations



The fowwing 'Rowan's town' are also found in Wexford:

Ballinruan Templetown (Baile an Raudhain 'Rowan's town') and Ballinruane Tintern [Hook peninsula - south]

Ballinrooaun Ballyvalloo, Ballinrooaun Skreen and Ballyrooaun Ballynaslaney [north of Wexford haven]

Ruaunmore Killincooly [Ballinrowan] [east coast]


‘Bal’ or ‘Bally’ is the anglicised form of the Irish word ‘baile’ which roughly translates as town or townland. It is thought that its use dates from the middle of the Twelfth century. ‘Kil’ can be the anglicised form of the Irish word ‘Cill’ meaning church or ‘Coill’ meaning wood. ‘Coolycarney’ is the anglicised form of ‘Cúil Uí Chearnaigh’, which translates as Carney’s corner or nook. ‘Ana’ is the anglicised form of ‘eanach’ meaning marsh or watery. ‘Bay’ can be the anglicised form of ‘beith’ meaning birch, but in this case probably means bay. ‘Dona’ and ‘donny’ are the anglicised form of ‘Domhnach’, which is a fifth century word which translates as church. Grange is a Norman word for a monastic farm. ‘Rath’ translates as ringfort. ‘Tober’ translates as a well. ‘Ath’ translates as a ford.


Saints and Monastic Settlements



Killeshin Church (Glenn Uissen)



An indication of the importance of the Uí Bairrche is the number of religious figures and sites associated with them. They were a source of pride for the Uí Bairrche as their genealogies start with a list of their saints.


The Uí Bairrche monastic houses included Slébte, Glenn Uissen, Cell Mo Lappóc, Cell Auxilii, Banba Mór, and Tech Mo Shacro.


St Colum Cille or Columba (†597AD) the foremost Irish born male saint, his mother was Eithne, an Uí Bairrche princess.


Also, Ó Cróinín (2018) postulates that Columbanus or Columba (†615AD), the greatest of Irish missionaries, was of the Uí Bairrche.


It is also likely that St. Fiachra (†670AD), of Ullard Kilkenny and Meaux France, another great missionary saint, was also of the Uí Bairrche. He is still popular in France and is the patron saint of gardeners, some medical conditions and taxi-cabs.


Prior to the arrival of Christianity, the druids of the Uí Bairrche held positions of power. Brii mac Bairceda was the poet druid of Cathair Mór, High King of Ireland in the 2nd century. Laidcenn mac Bairceda, a relative of Brii, was the chief-poet druid of Niall of the Nine Hostages, High King of Ireland in the late 4th century. Dubhtach mac Lugair, the famous friend of St. Patrick, was the chief bard, brehon and druid of Lóegaire mac Néill, High King of Ireland in the 5th century.


The rapid adoption of Christianity by the Irish, may be explained by the spiritual vacuum which was the result of the strategic slaughter by the Romans of the pan celtic Druidic community at Môn (Anglesey Wales) in the 1st century AD.




 1  Sleibhte


St. Fiacc of Sleibhte (Sleaty on the Barrow river, just north of Carlow Town) Sliabh Dromma Gabla (Duma gobla north west of Sletty) and Domnach Féicc (Fiacc’s church east of Sleaty). Fiac (Phiehg) lived about 415-520AD, was a poet and was the first bishop of Leinster. Listed as a saint of Leinster (GRSH). His great grandfather was Daire Barrach founder of the Uí Bairrche. He was a nephew of Dubhtach mac Lugair, the famous chief bard, brehon and druid of Lóegaire mac Néill, high-king of Ireland. Dubhtach instructed Fiacc in the art of song. A Leinster tradition assigns the burial place of Saint Patrick to Dind flatha Ceneoil Lugair with Dubhtach mac Lugair. Saint Patrick, at the recommendation of Dubhtach mac Lugair, ordained Fiacc missionary bishop of Leinster and gave him a case containing a bell, a credence-table, a crosier and tablets at Domnach Féicc. Mochatóc of Inis Fáil, Augustin of Inis Bec (Beggarin?), Tecán, Diarmait, Naindid, Paul and Fedelmid of Patrick’s household were left with him. In the Bórama it says that he was from Tara (LL ll. 38797 below). After the death of 60 of his followers [possibly Ferta Fer Fiecc - graves of the men of Fiacc, Slane, Co. Meath – also nearby is Linn Féin (Fiacc’s pool) and Cletty [Sletty?]], he then moved to Sleibhte. He also spent Lent in a cave on the hill of Druim Coblai identified as Clopook Cave, approximately 20km north west from Sleaty


In the Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee, it is stated that Fiacc and Fiachra had ‘Omne’ a place or church in a plain or wood between Achad Aball (Aghowle SW Wicklow) and Cluain mór Maedóic (Clonmore NE Carlow). Perhaps this was Domnach Féicc. Of interest, between Achad Aball and Cluain mór Maedóic is Cell Comhgáin (Kilquiggin SW Wicklow). Fiacc is the reputed author of “Fíacc’s Hymn” a metrical life of Saint Patrick, said to be the earliest biography of the saint. He was buried in his own church at Sletty. Feast day 12th October.


Fiacc’s Hymn and Saint Patrick’s journey through Leinster are given in the references on page 2. There was a connection between monasteries on the north side of Wexford harbour and Sleibhte. In the Book of Armagh, Saint Patrick left with Fiacc seven of his household, which included My-Catocc of Inis Fail and Augustin of Inis Becc. The treasures of Inis Fáil (Beggerin) and Dairinis (Oak Island – Ardcavan) were moved to Sleibhte after an attack by the Vikings in 819AD.


Fiacc Slebe mac Earcaid ain

mic Feicc oile co nertbhaigh

mic Daire Barraigh fa bind

mic Cathaoir mic Felim


St. Fiachra (the son of St. Fiacc) was also a Bishop of Sleibhte and was also ordained by St. Patrick. Listed as a saint of Leinster (GRSH). Feast day 12th October (the same as his father).


Beg. Fiac Sleibi .i. easpuc do muinntir Patricc i nDruim Gabla. Do bid Fiac re fed in carguistri bairgena dobered lais i tosach in carguis ö .u. bomann dibh laiss as im Caisg.

MS. Laud Misc. 610 10rb25. Note about Fiacc of Sléibte.


There is no known early Life of St. Fiacc, which would not be expected for such an important figure. In addition, little is known of his later life. In the ‘The Lives of the British Saints: The Saints of Wales, Cornwall and Irish Saints’, Fiacc is identified as the Cornish St. Feock, Bishop and Confessor (Feast day nearest Thursday to 2nd February). He is further identified as St. Vogua of Brittany (Feast day 15th June). Under the name of Vouk or Vogoue he has a church and well in St. Vogou's townland, Carn, Co. Wexford, and his feast is there observed on 20th January. St. Vogua of Brittany is stated to be an archbishop of Armagh, who, unable to bear the burden of his office, and the manners of an intractable people, left Ireland. This may explain why there is so little later information on him and may elucidate the relations of Bishop Aed with Armagh.

O’Hanlon, John Canon (18??-19??) Lives of the Irish Saints. Vol. VI p.668-671


According to Margaret Stokes, the brother of Boec of Wexford or Lan Voec in Brittany (†585AD), was Bishop Cairpré, patron of Cill Carbrey in Wexford, near the meeting of the rivers Boro and Slaney. In the genealogies, Fiacc had a brother Carpre, and the Kilcarbry area may have been the location of an Uí Bairrche settlement.




1,600th Anniversary of the Birth of St Fiacc



Bishop Aed of Sleibhte (†698/700AD), grandson of Cormac mac Diarmata. Feast day 7th February. Listed as a saint of Leinster (GRSH). He is said to have been responsible for the inclusion of ‘Fiacc Hymn’ in the Book of Armagh, through his influence on Muirchú, author of the seventh-century biography of St. Patrick (which was dedicated to Aedh), Aedh can be given credit for propagating the cult of St. Patrick. Both Aedh and Muirchú attended the Council of Birr and Synod of Tara together in 697AD, when Adamnan promulgated his law (Cain Adamnan) to exempt women from military service, and to protect children and clerics. Meyer states that it contains the names of the chief members of the Romanizing party among the Gaelic clergy of Ireland and Scotland, such as Aed of Sletty. It is thought that Aed may have written Fiacc’s Hymn. The introduction states that St. Patrick made Fiacc archbishop of Leinster and his successors after him, that is, Sleaty was the centre of the church in Leinster. As such, the four churches in Leinster founded by St. Patrick, Killossy, Kilcullen, Dunmurghill, and Sleaty would be under the control of Sleaty and Aed. Also in the Book of Armagh, Aed is reputed to have made his church subject to Armagh rather than Kildare. He made an arrangement with Bishop Ségéne of Armagh (†688 AD), which was renewed by their successors Conchad of Sleibhte (†692 AD) and Fland Feblae of Armagh (†715 AD):


 “Bishop Aéd was in Sletty. He went to Armagh. He brought a testament to Ségéne for Armagh. Ségéne gave back his testament to Aéd and Aéd offered his testament and his kin and his church to Patrick forever. Aéd left his testament with Conchad. Conchad went to Armagh and Fland Fablae explained its import to him, and Conchad too assumed the abbacy.”


According to Carney (1961), this formal submission resembled a process of surrender and regrant. He states that the ‘testament’ was an actual object symbolising the bishop of Sletty’s rights as heir of the Patrician bishop, Fiacc Finn (Feccus Albus). As such, it may be assumed that it was one of the objects given by Saint Patrick to Fiacc. Carney thinks that the ‘bell of the testament’ (Saint Patrick’s bell) was in Armagh in 563 AD. He does not make the connection between the bell given to Fiacc and the ‘testament’ of Aéd, which Conchad appears to have left in Armagh.

O’Hanlon, John Canon (18??-19??) Lives of the Irish Saints. Vol II p.394-5


Conchad of Sleibhte. Aed must have resigned from the bishopric, for he died as anchorite in 700 AD and his successor, Conchad died in 692 AD.


Brocan, son of Comhsudh, Abbot of Slebhte, died 862 AD.


Sruthar, Slebhte and Achadh Arglais were plundered by the Osraighi in 864 AD according to AFM. The FA entry states that they were laid waste by the heathens, however it should be noted that the FA have a pro Osraige bias.


Maelbrighde Ua Maelruain, airchinnech of Slebhte, died 1055 AD.


After the Norman invasion there is a reference to the church of Sancti Patricii de Slefta (Sletty).



Medieval Church at Sleaty









The two undecorated granite crosses of early Christian origin.



 2  Gleann Uissen (Archaeological Survey)


St. Diarmad (Mo Dímmóc) the founder, abbot and bishop of Gleann Uissen (Slievemargy Co. Laois, just west of Carlow Town), was sixth in decent from Daire Barrach. Listed as a saint of Leinster (GRSH). His mother belonged to the Uí Chumma of the Uí Meic Cairthind of the Dál Cormaic, located directly to the north of Killeshin. He is associated with an early law text named Cáin Diarmata. A tradition existed in the eight century that he first introduced bees to Ireland from Britain. Feast day, 8th July.


Diermuid mac Siabhra, as e sin (na sleg)

Modhioma (Modimmoc) Glinne hUissin,

is Goll Cluana Ferta caoin

do siol Daire mic Cathaoir.

O’Hanlon, John Canon (18??-19??) Lives of the Irish Saints. Vol VII p.163-166


St. Comgan (†569AD) second abbot of Glenusssin, descended from the kings of Munster. Feast day, 27th February.

Comgan Glinne Usen m. Diarmata m. Dega m. Themne m. Fir Chorb m. Moga Corb m. Cormaic Cais m. Ailella Uluim

O’Hanlon, John Canon (18??-19??) Lives of the Irish Saints. Vol II p.717-721


St. Murgenius, third abbot of Gleann Uisean. Feast day 27th January.

O’Hanlon, John Canon (18??-19??) Lives of the Irish Saints. Vol I p.459-461


Aedhan of Gleann Uisean, died 843 AD.


Diarrmaid, Abbot of Gleann Uissean died 874 AD.


Arch-bishop Maelmaedhog, son of Diarmaid, who was one of the Ui Conannla (Chonandla of the Ui Buide/Maelhuidir of the Dál Cromaic), Abbot of Gleann-Uisean and archbishop of Laighlin (Leinster), a distinguished scribe, anchorite, and an adept in the Latin learning and the Scotic language. (†916AD).


Domhnall, son of Diarmaid, Abbot of Gleann-Uisean died 917 AD.


Ainbhith, son of Domhnall, Abbot of Gleann-Uisean, died 938 AD.


Cathasach, son of Domhnall, Abbot of Gleann-Uisean, died 946 AD.


Feidhlimidh, fosterson of Maelmaedhog, Abbot of Gleann-Uisean, the sage of Leinster died 951 AD.


Flann, son of Maelmaedhog, airchinneach of Gleann-Uisean died 977 AD. Airchinnech (anglicised erenagh) is a post-Viking term applied to the head of a monastic church, and would be the same position as abbot. The Book of Lecan has the following genealogy: Fland Fili m. Maíl-Máedóc m. Diarmata of the Dál Cromaic. He is thought to have been interested in secular lore and poetry, which was unusual for clerics. One poem ascribed to him “Do chomramaib Laigen inso sis” is found extant in Rawlinson B502.


Mac Eoin was among the first to suggest that the Bórama was the product of the tenth-century ecclesiastic Flann mac Máelmáedóc, and also was the author of Túathal Techtmar ba ríg Temrach. The Bórama references the saints of Leinster and Ulster that were invoked in the dispuit over the tribute that was imposed by the Uí Neill on the kings of Leinster (Eyjolfsdottir).


LL ll. 38333 – 38368 When Máedóc Ua Dúnlainge visits Brandub mac Echach and presents him with gifts, a flesh-fork, a cauldron, a shield and a sword. He then recites this poem;...


5. Claideb Crimthaind scíath Ennai,                         The sword of Crimthann, the sheild of Énna,

is uaimse darogébai.903                                            it is from me ...

Aél meic, ind éicis find,                                            The flesh-fork of a son, of a bright poet,

coire Dubthaig ó Duiblind.                                       cauldron of Dubthach from Dublin.


6. Dorat Laegaire na lend                                         Lóegaire gave the mantle

do Dubthach, d'ollom Herend.                                 to Dubthach, to the chief poet of Ireland.

Dorat Dubthach, dían a gal,                                      Dubthach gave it, eager his ardour,

d'Fíac, do mac a sethar.                                            to Fíac, to the son of his sister.


7. Tuc Fíac do Dunlang, don reimm,                        Fíac gave it to Dúnlang, for the time,

dorat Dunlang é do Ailill.                                         Dúnlang gave it to Ailill.

Dorat Ailill damsa iar sain,                                       Ailill gave it to me then,

dosbiurtsa duitsiu, a Branduib.                                 I gave it to you, oh Brandub.


LL ll. 38797 – 38885 Tuathal son of Ailill, king of Uí Muredaig suggests that they send Moling to ask the men of Tara to stop demanding the tribute


2. Inn í Brigit buadach,                                             Is it victorious Brigit,

ł inn e Fintan sluagmar,                                             or is it Fintan of the large company,

ł inn é M'Aedoc ruarach,                                           or is it astute/deceitful Maedóc,

ł Mo Lasse stuagmar,                                                or is it stooped Mo Lasse, [Leithghlinn]

ł inn é [...]                                                                  or is it ……......


3. Inn é Brenaind Gabra,                                          Is it Brendan of Gabair, [Gowran]

ł inn e Cainnach amra,                                               or is it wonderful Cainnech, [Aghaboe & Kilkenny]

ł inn é Lachtáin láingel,                                             or is it Lachtán fully white, [Freshford]

dingbas ní assar cind?                                                who will ward off the thing away from us?

No inn é Fiac Temrach,                                             Or is it Fíac of Tara,

ł Tigernach trednach,                                                or fasting Tigernach,

ł inn é Fiachra find?                                                  or is it handsome Fiachra?


6. Inn é in Gall cráibdech,                                         Is it the devout Gall, [Lullymore]

ł Ithairnaisc álgen,                                                     or mild Itharnaisc, [Clane]

ł inn e, epscop Colmán,                                             or is it, Bishop Colmán,

ł Comgán na glindi?                                                  or Comgán of the glen?


LL ll. 39186 - 39197 When Moling reaches the place where Moling‘s Cross stands he spoke this


3. A Brigit Chilli Dara,                                             Oh, Brigit of Kildare,

a Meic Thail ó Chill Chuilind,                                   Oh, Mac Táil of Kilcullen,

& a Meic Muire,                                                        and oh, son of Mary,

is let cech suide suidim. S.                                        it is yours, every sitting which I sit .S.


LL ll. 39210 – 39321 Moling speaks this when he reaches Kildare on his escape from Fínnachta.


5. A Meic Tháil,                                                        Oh Mac Táil,

a chlerig urddinti áin.                                                oh noble ordained cleric.

A Brigit i lLifi Luirc,                                                Oh Brigit in Liffey of Lurc,

meic uilc ní thiset nar ndáil.                                      let the sons of evil not meet us.


10. Comgan béo                                                        Living Comgan

dom anacul ar cach ngléo,                                         for my protection for each fight,

Mu Lassi cu cétaib náem,                                          Mo Lasse with hundreds of saints,

& ar nín araen leo.                                                     and our protection with any of them.


18. A chalech ón Chetharlocht,                                Oh nun from the Cetharlocht,

a dind callech sonaide,                                              oh, fortress of happy nuns,

a Crón ingen Setnai,                                                  oh Crón daughter of Sétna,

bennach sét mo chonaire.                                          bless the way of my path.


Caenchomhrac, son of Ainbhithe, Abbot of Gleann-Uisean, died 986 AD.


Caenchomhraic Ua Baithin, lector of Gleann-Uisean, died 1016 AD.


Diarmaid Ua Maelmaedhog, Abbot of Gleann-Uisean, died 1016 Ad.


In 1024, a slaughter was made of the men of Munster by Donnchadh, son of Aedh, in Gleann-Uisean, through the miracles of God and Comhdan.


Flann, Prior of Gleann-Uisean, died 1037 Ad.


In 1041/2, Glenn Uisenn was plundered by the son of Mael na mbó and the oak house and oratory was broken down and a hundred people killed there and seven hundred persons and cows taken from it, in revenge for Ferna being plundered by the son of Brian and Murchadh, son of Dunlaing and in revenge of his brother, Domhnall Reamhar.


Cathasach Ua Corcrain, comharba of Gleann-Uisean, died 1045 AD.


In 1077 Gleann-Uisean, with its yews, was burned.


Conchobhar Ua Uathghaile, lector of Gleann-Uissean, died 1082 AD. He may also have been called Conchouran, a professor in this abbey.


Dublitir hua Uathgaile cecinit. "Redig dam a Dé do nim...Hua Uathgail ó Uissenglind...” [Book of Leinster circa 1100]


Cogganus, patron of the church of Killuskin (Killeshin) in Margge Lagenie, flourished 1147 AD, and as Nicholaus Magwyre testifies, he wrote the Acts of Malachy of Armagh and of Bernard of Clairvaux.


Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153 AD) Life of Malachy (1095-1102 AD), was written within a year or so of Malachy's death and dedicated to Abbot Congan of Killeshin, near Carlow, one of the Irishmen brought to Clairvaux by Malachy:


Finally, you enjoin me to undertake this task, Abbot Congan, my reverend brother and sweet friend, and with you also (as you write from Ireland) all that Church of the saints to which you belong. I obey with a will, the more so because you ask not panegyric but narrative. I shall endeavour that it may be chaste and clear, informing the devout, and not wearying the fastidious. At any rate the truth of my narrative is assured, since it has been communicated by you; and beyond doubt you assert nothing but things of which you have most certain information. Here ends the Prologue.


This abbot, to whom the Life is dedicated, belonged to the Cistercian Order, as the words "reverend brother" imply. He may therefore be identified with Congan, abbot of the Cistercian monastery of the Suir, mentioned in Sec.64. That he was personally known to St. Bernard is clear; and it is probable that he was one of the Irishmen who by Malachy's desire were instructed at Clairvaux (Sec.39). Thady Dowling (Annals, s.a. 1147) identifies him with "Cogganus," abbot of Killeshin, near Carlow, stating on the authority of Nicholas Maguire that he wrote the gesta of Malachy and Bernard. Though this statement is probably not accurate, it is possible that our Congan was abbot of Killeshin before he became a Cistercian.


Ref: Lawlor, HJ (1920) St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh. Society for Promoting Christian knowledge, London







Located to the north of Killeshin Chuch is St. Diarmait’s well (chair?), located beside a very picturesque ravine.







An Irish and Latin, twelfth century document from the ‘Book of Durrow’ (folio 13), describes a land agreement between Killeshin and Durrow. Of interest, the ancient name of Ballyragget in north Kilkenny, just south of Durrow, was Dún Tulach Uí mBairrche (Tullabarry/Tulacbarry), translated as ‘hill fort of  the Bairrche’, which is located in Moatpark townland. Early texts refer to Diarmait, the original founder, while later texts refer to Comgan of Killeshin. Cathasach Ua Corcrain, comharba of Gleann-Uisean, died 1045 AD, Muiredach mac meic Cormáin (macGorman) may have died 1103AD or 1124 AD and Muircheartach Ua Briain (KI 1086-1119). Int Ednán may be Inan, Clonard, Co. Meath. Dublittir Ua hUathgaile was a scholar of repute, and author of the Irish treatise ‘De sex aetatibus mundi’. Ó Cróinín (1983) considers the Uí Uathgaile were the descendants of Uathgal mac Soérgaile of the Uí Bairrche. The hereditary succession to abbacies was not unusual at this time.


Ostende nobis domine et salutare tuum da nobis. Óentu mór enter comgan ך colum cille. Recles dano dorat comgan do cholum chille (   ) léged fáill fair co fotta cen íarrid ó muintir choluim chille .i. o muintir darmaige. táncatar dano muintir darmaige imma n-appaid ך imma saccart d’iarraid in reclése et hacc sunt nomina eorum .i. gilla na nóem húa hénluáin isé ropp app ך gilla adamnáin húa corten isé ropo haccartt tunc. ך alii plurimi cum illis uenerunt. ní fúaratar dano a rrecles fein. ideo scilicet ar dorattad side do dal chais. conid ed doronsat muintir glinne hussen deside cutrumma a n-erlese eter fot ך lethet do muinter darmaige ár forémdes a n-erlese fein do thabairt dóib for culu. erlese ind ednain dano isí tuccad dóib dar ése a n-erlese féin ך mathe muintere glinne husen i ccommairge dóib fria ond airchenniuch .i. ó chathasach ú chorcráin. IS siat so daano anmand na slánta féin .i. Dublittir hua huádgaile in fer légind ך dúnchad húa huádgaile ך saírgal ua subne ך a mac .i. saírbrethach. ך artgal mac cuilinnáin ך fraters eius. ך mael choluim mac cortáin ך fraters eius ך amalgaid húa hairu(d)áin ך fraters eius; i n-amsir dano muridaich meic meic cormáin dorattad ך muircertaich ú briaín, ríg érend. Bennacht dano don lucht dosrat ך dia tuccad. Flannnchad filius filii scientis scripsit.

“Show us [thy mercy], O Lord and grant us thy salvation [Psalm 84.8]. A great union/agreement (oentu) between Comgan and Colm Cille. A reclés, then, Comgan gave to Colum Cille, [and it was  left] in neglect for a long time without being claimed by the community of Colum Cille, that is by the community of Durrow. Then the community of Durrow came with their abbot (appaid) and their priest (saccart) to claim the reclés, and these are their names, i.e. Gilla na Nóem Ua hÉnlúain the abbot and Gilla Adamnáin Ua Cortén the priest, and very many others with them. But they did not obtain their own reclés because it had been given to the Dál Cais. So this is what the community of Glenn Uissen did therin: an equal portion of their enclosure both length and breath to the community of Durrow, since they were unable to give back to them their own enclosre. Now the enclosure of Int Ednán was given to them instead of their own enclosure and the dignitaries of the community of Glenn Uissen were guarantors (I commairge) to them for it from the superior (airchinnech) Cathascah Ua Corcráin.

These are the names of the guarantors (slánta) themselves i.e. Dublittir Ua hUathgaile, the master of the school, and Dunchad Ua hUathgaile, Saírgaile Ua Suibhne and his son i.e. Saírbrethach, and Artgal mac Cuilennáin and his brothers, Mael Choluim mac Cortáin and his brothers, and Amalgaid Ua hAirudáin and his brothers.

In the time then of Muiredach mac meic Cormáin it was given and of Muircheartach Ua Briain king of Ireland. A blessing on the community who gave it and to whom it was given. Flannchad Ua hÉolais was the scribe.


Sex aetates mundi

Panechte incipit .i. tintúd Duiblitrech huí hUathgaile forsin Pandecht Círine tría Góedeilg in so sís.

Do ardgabálaib in domuin ך do chroébaib coibniusa in domain ך  dia h-ilchenélaib ך  do numir a mbérla ך  do aíssib a n-airech ך  dia n-anmannaib ך  do aéssaib in domuin ך  do numir cacha áesse…

43. Oéngus mac Suibne hoc Carmen cecinit de duodecim filius Iacob.,…

70. Duan Dublittrech in so forsin Panchte…

(81)      Níro-rigius réim dar recht,

            ros-figius féin co fírchert

            craéb chaibniusa clanni Noé

            cen aéb duilgiusa ar oénchoé.

(82)      Missi don chuachmaig ón chill,

            hUa hUathgail a hUsenglind;

            rom-ruca sech saébi snéid

            torud Aéne ind Ríg roréid!

            Rédig dam, a Dé, do nim.,

Six ages of the world

(Here) begins the Pandicept, i.e. Dublittir Ua hUathgaile’s translation into Irish of Jerome’s Pandicept [= Vulgate] (follows) below: concerning the chief branches of the world and the conquests of the world, concerning the ages of their princes and their names, concerning also the ages of the World and the duration of each Age…

43. Oéngus mac Suibni sang this song on the twelve sons of Jacob…

70.This is Dublirrir Ua hUathaile’s poem on the Pandicept…

(81) I have not extended one course beyond what is right. I myself have woven together with great exactitude the genealogy of the family of Noe, without a semblance of difficulty in any way.

(82) I am from the cookoo’ plain (?) , from the monastery; Ua hUathgaile from Killeshin. May the results of the Friday of the very-good king bear me swiftly past evils. Make easy for me, O God, from heaven!


Killeshin has the reputation of being a great scriptorium. In the Annals of the Four Masters, the stratum of Leinster material for the period of the ninth to eleventh centuries is thought to originate in the Barrow Valley region, perhaps centred at Glenn Uissen. It has been suggested that the second part of the manuscript Rawlinson B502, also known as the Lebor Glinne dá Locha (Book of Glendalough) or Saltair na Rann, was written at Killeshin in about 1130AD. This may explain the detail given to the Uí Bairrche genealogies and the poems have an Uí Bairrche bias. Rawlinson B502 is also thought to contain the ‘original’ Sex acetes mundi. It also contains the poem The March Roll of the Men of Leinster.


5. Mad hiat Connachta dosfera,     ni dlegat a ndola i mbiu,
Læches, Commaind, Failgi, Bairchi,     at he regdai a n-airbri friu.

5. If it be the men of Connaught that assail them, they must not
be suffered to depart alive: Leix, Comainn, Offaly, Bairche,
’tis they that shall go in their bands against them.


After the Norman invasion there is a reference to the church of Sancti Congani de Clunussi (St. Comgan of Glen Uissen or Killeshin). Killeshin is thought to have been an important Anglo-Norman town, with a castle close to the old church.


The present ruined church at Killeshin is thought to date from the first half of the 12th century, but there are later features. There was also a round tower thought to be have been located in front of the doorway. In “A Journey to Kilkenny in the 1709, from the MS. Notes of Dr. Thomas Molyneux” edited by the Rev. James Graves, the following description of its destruction is given:


“Munday ye 8th Day of March, 1702/3. That day the Steeple of Killisehan undermined & flung Downe by one Bambrick imployed by Cap'. Woolsely In Three Dayes Worke.” … “1702/3 8th March, at 3 of ye Clock in ye afternoone ye Steeple fell to ye Ground being measured it was 105 foot higheor in Length”


The Hiberno-Romasque doorway of Killeshin is famous and the details are very decorative. There is also an inscription in the doorway of the church that has been badly mutilated. The Rev. James Graves stated that O’Donovan gave the following description in 1839:



The keystone on the outer arch of the Killeshin portal




O’Hanlon (1907-14) (and Petrie & Stokes 1878 based on a rubbing by the Rev. James Graves in 1872) describes the inscription on the doorway as follows:



Pray for Art…King of Leinster…and for…Steward…Pray for…Lena Ua Mel{lach, prince of Hy} Duach…Pray for Cellac


If this is a correct reading, this may be a reference to Art MacMurragh Kavanagh (†1414 AD), who was King of Leinster at the height of the Gaelic resurgence and who dominated Carlow and Wexford. Most references attribute this reference to Diarmaid Mac Murchadha (11721 AD), but Harbison states that no stonework inscription reliably ascribable to the 12th century (with the possible exception of Killeshin) formally records regal patronage.


R.A.S MacAlister (1949) described it as follows:


(Stalley 1999)


Bhreathnach (1994) thinks that it is possible that the inscription may not reflect the original placement of the stones. She gives a more cautious description as follows:




With regard to the reference to “LAGEN”, it is interesting to note that the 1147AD annal entry for Cogganus, it refers to Killuskin or Killeshin in Mairge Lagen. The reference to ‘OR DO CELLACHAN’ is a separate upright inscription on the north side, second pillar, and is translated as “A prayer for Cellachan”, who, according to Crawford et al 1925, may well have been the sculptor responsible for the carving.




The north and south capitals in the portal of old Killeshin Church, with the remains of the inscriptions.



Henry S. Crawford. Carvings from the Doorway of Killeshin Church, near Carlow. The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Sixth Series, Vol. 8, No. 2(Dec. 31, 1918), pp. 183-184

Henry S. Crawford and H. G. Leask. Killeshin Church and Its Romanesque Ornament. The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Sixth Series, Vol. 15, No.2 (Dec. 31, 1925), pp. 83-94

Tadhg O'Keeffe. Diarmait Mac Murchada and Romanesque Leinster: Four Twelfth-Century Churches in Context. The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Vol. 127 (1997), pp. 52-79

Killeshin Ruins & Ruins of Sletty Church, Queen's County. The Dublin Penny Journal, Vol. 3, No. 118 (Oct. 4, 1834), p. 112



 3   Killabban

In the lives of St. Abbán of Adamstown, it states that on his arrival in Leinster came into the land of the Uí Bairrche, where he founded the monastery of Killabban. Also the land around his monastery at Camaross, south east of Adamstown Co. Wexford, was granted by Cormac mac Diarmata. It also states that “the holy elder, seeing that they were most devoted to God, blessed the nation itself and its seed for eternity, and the king and all future kings of his seed.” In the Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee, it states that Mag Arnaide (Adamstown) was in Húi Cennselaig and that Cell Abbáin (Killabban) was in Húi Muiredaig. Feast day, 16th March.

O’Hanlon, John Canon (18??-19??) Lives of the Irish Saints. Vol III p.394-5


 4  Dunmanoge

St. Finian of Clonard, erected an abbey on a piece of land in Mugna or Mugnahelchan (Dunmanoge, South Co. Kildare) in Uí Bairrche, which was given to him by Carbreus, King of Leinster. (Mervyn & Life of St. Finian of Clonard).


 5   Castledermot/Kinneigh

The lands of the monastery of Dísert Diarmata (Castledermot, Co. Kildare) was apparently donated to the monastery of Bangor by a king of Uí Bairrche, who had been a disciple of St. Comgall (†602AD). Cormac mac Diarmata, King of Leinster, bestowed Imblech nEch (Border of the Horse) (Kinneigh to the east of Castledermot) on Comhgall of Bendchuir (i.e. Bangor), and to them belong from Beluch Forcitail to the Bann. St. Diarmait mac Aed Róin, from whom Disirt Diarmata was named, was the great grandson of Becce Bairche (†718 AD) King of Ulaid. Byrne (1973) discounts the saga which states that Bran Dubh donates the land. In the Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee, it states Diarmait from Dísert Diarmata in Húi Muredaig.


In 841 the plundering of Disert Diarmada by the foreigners of Chaoil Uiscce (perhaps Cell Uisce i.e. Killusky, near Ashford in Wicklow)


In 842 Cumsudh, son of Derero, and Maenach, son of Sadchadach, who were both bishops and anchorites, died in one night, at Disert Diarmada.


In 867 Eodois, son of Donghal, suffered martyrdom from the foreigners at Disert Diarmada.


In 874 Fedach, i.e. the son of Seghini, Abbot of Disert Diarmada died.


In 884 Maelruain, Abbot of Disert Diarmada, Cill Achaidh, and Teach Theille died.


In 885 Sneidhius, wise man of Disert Diarmada, tutor of Cormac, son of Cuileanan died.


In 895 Muirgheas, Bishop and Abbot of Disert Diarmada died.


In 908, A great army of the men of Munster was gathered by the same two men, that is, by Flaithbertach and Cormac, to demand the hostages of the Laigin and Osraige, and the men of Munster were all in the same camp….He (Cormac) asked that his body be brought to Cluain Uama, if possible, but if it was not, that it be brought to the burial ground of Diarmait grandson of Áed Rón, where he had studied for a long time…for Dísert Diarmata was one of Comgall’s places…


In 921 Maelcallann, Abbot of Disert-Diarmada died.


In 935 Aireach-tach, Abbot of Disert-Diarmada died.


In 943 Guaire, son of Sealbhach, Abbot of Disert-Diarmada, died.


In 963 Colman, Abbot of Disert-Diarmada, died.


In 967 Muirigen, Abbot of Disert-Diarmada, died.


In 1037 Dunchadh, son of Dunlaing, King of Leinster, was taken prisoner at Disert-Diarmada, and blinded by Donnchadh Mac Gillaphadraig (Osraige); and he died immediately after.


In 1038 hUa Gabhaidh, distinguished Bishop of Disert-Diarmada died.


In 1040 Maein-Choluim-Chille, Disert-Diarmada, Moghna-Moshenoc, and Cluain-mor-Maedhog, were plundered by Diarmaid, son of Mael-na-mbo, lord of Ui-Ceinnsealaigh; and he carried many prisoners from the oratories.


In 1042 Macraith, son of Gorman, son of Treasach, lord of Ui-Bairrche, and his wife, were slain at Disert-Diarmada, by the Ui-Ballain.


In 1054 Cuileannan Claen, lector of Leithghlinn and Disert-Diarmada, died.


In 1074 Cobhthach, Abbot of Disert-Diarmada died.


In 1076 a slaughter was made of the people of the son of Gillachomhghaill (Uí Muiredaig) by Ua Lorcain; and he carried three score and three heads to the hill south of Disert-Diarmada.


 6   Cill Garraisce

St. Magistir of Cill Magistrech (Killamaster) in Cill Garraisce

St. Eochu of Cluana Rétach in Cill Garraisce. Listed as a saint of Leinster (GRSH).



 7   Kilmolappogue  (Archaeological Survey)

Cell mo lapóc in Uib Bairchi, parish of Lorum, Carlow.


There is some confusion as to the location of the original church. It may have been located in the townland of Donore or in the graveyard of the church at Lorum. The writer of the O.S. Letters mentions a tradition that there was formerly a Round Tower at Lorum. Also at Lorum there is stated to be the remains of a high cross. In 1585, it is stated that the church in ‘Eccl[es] ia de Leorim’ was in utter ruin.



Moore, Donal. A Relation concerning the Estate of the Churches within the Diocese of Leighlin, 1585-7. Archivium Hibernicum, Vol. 42 (1987), pp. 3-11

O'Toole, Edward. The Holy Wells of County Carlow. Béaloideas, Iml. 4, Uimh 1 (1933), pp. 3-23 & Iml. 4, Uimh 2 (1933), pp. 107-130





The remains of the old church at Lorum, with a possible high cross base in the foreground






The remains of the high cross, located to the west of Lorum Church.




 8   Kiltennil

St. Iustan (of the family of Meicc Ercca) in Senchill (Kiltennil, Co. Carlow)


 9   Leighlin (Archaeological Survey)


In Thady Dowling, Chancellor of Leighlin, Annales Breves for 590AD, Burchardus Gurmundi otherwise known as O Gormagheyn, duke of Slieve Margi and Leinster, was responsible for the foundation of the catherdral of Leighlin.


AB590.3 Burchard of Gurmund [Gurmundus], commonly called O Gormagheyn, chief (as it is said) of Lagenie, is said to have built Gurmund's grange, and his palace on Mount Marge, with other memorable things for himself and his people, and to have founded the matric or priory of old Leighlen, but rather endowed it in the time of St. Euban Gentle patrons; but a certain one named Lazerianus, a bishop and confessor, was procurator for the foundation and erection of the cathedral church there in the year of the Lord 651. See Leiglen's record. In the same church it is said that that leader was buried on the northern side in the upper wall of the choir, near the treasurer's stall of the church, under a marble stone, having the name of the leader above. Witnesses lyvinge 1589 Karolus Rowac alias Makeyigan clerk, Donagh Mc Gilpatrik, and Gilleranoy carpenters saw the tomb with their eyes, and Thady Dowling chancellor: the church found his epitaph in simple verse as followeth:

Here lies the noble leader, the founder of Lenia, that is, of Leghlenia.

But Burchard of Gormond was a man acceptable to the church.

There are still other testimonies about this town; namely, the names of certain places, such as Gormond Grove and Gormond Foord, and so on.


In the Life of Munnu of Taghmon (†635 AD), it would appear that the Uí Bairrche controlled the area of Leighlin at the time of the synod over the ordering of Easter (630 AD).

Sruthar, Slebhte and Achadh Arglais were plundered by the Osraighi in 864 AD according to AFM. The FA entry states that they were laid waste by the heathens, however it should be noted that the FA have a pro Osraige bias.


Molasse Lethglinni m. Cairill Chruaid m. Muredaig m. Fhorgo


M725.5 and St. Mainchin, of Leithghlinn, died.


M737.4 Feardachrich, Abbot of Imleach and of Leithghlinn, died.


M769.4 Ernadhach, son of Echin, Abbot of Leithghlinn, died.


M800.3 Muireadhach, son of Aimhirgin, Abbot of Leithghlinn


M916.13 The plundering of Leithghlinn by the foreigners, where Maelpadraig, a priest and anchorite, and Mongan, anchorite, and many others along with them, were slain.


M938.9 Maelmartin Ua Scellain, Lector of Leithghlinn, died.


M941.2 Connla, son of Dunacan, Bishop and Abbot of Leithghlinn


M965.3 Daniel, Bishop of Leithghlinn


M981.6 Flaithbheartach, Abbot of Leithghlinn, died.


M982.7 Gilla-Phadraig plundered Leithghlinn, in atonement for which he gave the mainchine gifts of his two sons to Molaisi for ever, besides doing penance for it.


M990.2 Duibhlitir Ua Bruadair, lector of Leithghlinn, died. It was of him this testimony was given:

Duibhliter, the stronghold of perfect wisdom, the gifted respondent to every challenge;
He was an adept in learning of various books, a flame of gold over noble Ireland.


M1004.6 Foghartach, Abbot of Leithghlinn and Saighir, died.


M1014.18 An army was led by Ua Neill, i.e. by Flaithbheartach, with the men of Meath and Breagha about him, into Leinster; and he plundered the country as far as Leithghlinn, carried off spoils and prisoners, and slew thelord of Ui-mBuidhe, and many others.


M1015.11 Donncuan, i.e. the Simpleton, son of Dunlaing, lord of Leinster, and Tadhg Ua Riain, lord of Ui-Drona, was slain by Donnchadh, son of Gillaphadraig, at Leithghlinn, after they had made friendship, and taken a mutual oath in the beginning of the day. Moling delivered this prophecy:

Donndurgen, and the royal Bard of lances,
Shall violate friendship at Glinngerg; mutual oaths shall not prevent bloodshed.


M1050.1 Cleirchen Ua Muineoc, noble bishop of Leithghlinn, and head of the piety of Osraighe;


M1054.4 and Cuileannan Claen, lector of Leithghlinn and Disert-Diarmada, died.


M1060.4 Leithghlinn was all burned, except the oratory.


M1095.3 There was a great pestilence over all Europe in general in this year, and some say that the fourth part of the men of Ireland died of the malady. The following were some of the distinguished persons, ecclesiastical and lay, who died of it: Donnghus, Bishop of Ath-cliath; Ua Manchain, i.e. the Brehon judge, successor of Caeimhghin; Mac Maras Ua Caemhain, successor of Oenna, of the tribe of Dealbhna-Beag; Cairbre, i.e. the Bishop Ua Ceithearnaigh, successor of Maedhog; Ua Rinnanaigh, lector of Leithghlinn; Eochaidh Ua Coisi, Vice-abbot of Achadh-bo; Scannlan Ua Cnaimhsighe, anmchara of Lismore; Buadhach Ua Cearruidhir, priest of Cill-Dalua; Dubhshlatach Ua Muireadhaigh; Aedh, son of Maelisa Ua Brolchain, a chief lector; and Augustin Ua Cuinn, chief Brehon judge of Leinster.


M1113.3 Connla Ua Floinn, successor of Molaisi of Leithghlinn;


M1145.1 Sluaigheadhach Ua Cathain, bishop and virgin, of the people of Leithghlinn, died.


M1158.13 An army was led by Ruaidhri Ua Conchobhair as far as Leithghlinn, and he took the hostages of Osraighe and Laeighis; and he fettered Macraith Ua Mordha, lord of Laeighis.


 10   Carlow

In the life of St. Comgall of Bangor, it states that Cormac mac Diarmata offered himself to saint Comgall and gave him his castle at Carlow located on the banks of the river Barrow. After the Norman invasion there is a reference to the church of Sancti Congalli de Catherloc (Carlow).


Northern Co. Kildare





Image007Old  Kilcullen Cross 001s.jpg



The round tower and ruins at Cille Cuilind (Old Kilcullen, Co. Kildare) with Dún Aillinne or Cnoc Aulin (Knockaulin) in the background.

The remains of the stone cross at Cille Cuilind (Old Kilcullen, Co. Kildare)

The round tower at Cell Ausaille (Killossy near Naas, Co. Kildare)



 1   St. Eoghan MacTáil of Cille Cuilind (†548-549AD AU) was appointed by St. Patrick (Kilcullen, Co. Kildare). Feast day, 11th June.

O’Hanlon, John Canon (18??-19??) Lives of the Irish Saints. Vol VI p.618-622


Cell Culind (church of the holly) is mentioned in the Glendaloch list of 1179 and had as its first bishop Iserninus, the companion of St. Patrick. He is said to have been succeeded by Mac Tail (Eoghan of the Ui Bairrche) who was an artificer of Patrick (Tripartite Life, p. 25). Two other Mac Tails are commemorated at June 11 as of Cill Chuilliun (Felire of Oengus). A Mac Tail of Cill Cuilind died in 548 (AU). One of the Mac Tails is identified with the church of St. Michil le Pole, Dublin, and referred to in the entry: "the foreigners deserted Athcliath (A.D. 937), i.e. Amlaoibh, son of Godfrey by the help of God and Mac Tail." (Cog. GG., 283). Mac Tail would appear to have been the patron saint of Kilcullen. Malchus, bishop of Glendaloch (1179'1192),  reciting a deed of Raymond Gros, patron of Kilkulin, institutes the canons of Holy Trinity, Dublin, into the said church." (Christ Church Deeds, no. 7).

M. V. Ronan.  Royal Visitation of Dublin, 1615. Archivium Hibernicum, Vol. 8 (1941), pp. 1-55


 2  St. Mac Onchon (Mac Concon) scribe of Cill Dare (Kildare) (†742AD)


The Uí Bairrche also settled among the Laigin at the churches of  3  Cluain Conaire (Cloncurry, north Co. Kildare) and  4  Cell Ausaille (Killossy near Naas, Co. Kildare), founded by the nun Cróebán cita.



Co. Wexford










Ard Crema (Artramon)

In the graveyard, there appear to be a number of cross bases.

St. Coemhan (Ardcavan)

St. Columcille (Ardcolm)

St. Ibar (Beggarin Island)



 1  The Life of St. Comgall of Bangor states that Cormac mac Diarmata offered his castle at Ard Crema (Artramon) to saint Comgall. According to the Life of Munnu (or Fintan) of Taghmon, Co. Wexford, he dwelt for twelve years with the Uí Bairrche at Ard Chrema (Aird, Arid, Arit, Ayrd, Crama, Crema, Cremha “height of the wild garlic”) alongside the sea. They were plundered by Guaire Mac Eoghan of Síl Máeluidir, who was seeking the kingship of Uí Cheinnselaigh. St. Munna, when Guaire refused to return their goods, prophesised his death by beheading by his enemies. Smyth (1982) locates this on the north side of the Slaney, to the west of Castlebridge, Co. Wexford, perhaps Artramon.

Of interest, in the Life of Munnu, it is stated that Dimma mac Aodh of the Fotharta (of the Maigi Itha centred near L. Suileach in Ulster) granted the saint lands near the crosses of the plain of Methe and later at Achadh Liathdrum (Lia Ech Dromma), that is Teach Mummu or Taghmon.


 2  There was a connection between monasteries on the north side of Wexford harbour and Sleibhte dating from the time of St. Patrick. In the Book of Armagh, Saint Patrick left with Fiacc seven of his household, which included My-Catocc of Inis Fail and Augustin of Inis Becc. The treasures of Inis Fáil (Becc Ériu, Beggerin Island) and Dairinis (Oak Island, Airde/Airtne/Ard Coemáin, Ard Lethan, Ardcavan) [Cóemain .i. o Air[d]ne Cóemain in Uib Ceinnselaig for bru Locha Garman, Felire Oengusso] were moved to Sleibhte after an attack by the Vikings in 819AD.


It may be that the name of St. Ibar (†500AD, feast day 23rd April) of Beggerin that indicate a connection to the Uí Bairrche, i.e. I-Bair. Culleton states that St. Ibar belonged to a branch of the Uí Bairrche in Co. Down known as the Uí Echach Uladh (see FO). According to the historical records there was a family connection between the Uí Echach Uladh and the Uí Bairrche (see the expulsion of the Uí Bairrche above and the genealogies). According to the Martrology of Donegal, “Beg-Ere is his church, i.e., an island which is out in the sea, outside of the Ui Ceinnsealaigh, in Leinster.”


Martyrologies Tallaght, Gorman & Donegal . Mar. 26. Goban Abb., Airdni Dairindsi (near Beggery, Wexford) & Nov 10. Mochruadoch of Airdne-Coluim.


Fm. 884.6 Diarmaid, abb Becc Ereann. (M884.6 Diarmaid, Abbot of Beg Eire)


Fm. 890 Ciarán mac Maeldubh abb Airdne Coluim (M890.3 Ciaran, son of Maeldubh, Abbot of Airdne Coluim)


Fm. 964.4 Crunnmhael, abb Bec h-Ereann, epscop, & fer leighind Tamhlachta, do bhádhadh occ Tóchar Eachdhach. (M964.4 Crunnmhael, Abbot of Beg-Eire, Bishop and lector of Tamhlacht, was drowned at Tochar-Eachdhach.) Of interest, nearby Screen (shrine), is dedicated to St. Maelruan of Tallaght. Tochar-Eachdhach has not been identified.


Fm. 1055 h-Ua Ruarcáin, airchindeach Airdne Coemhain and Gorman Anmchara, died. (M1055.9 Ua Ruarcain, airchinneach of Airdne-Caemhain)


Other early monastic settlements in the north Wexford harbour area were:


árd conais: where St. Darerc and her virgins lived there under the care of St. Ibar of Begeri in c. Wexford. It is thought that it might be at Artramon.


Bríg...or at Loch Garman (Felire Oengusso)


Elloc Cilli Moellóc ic Loch Garman (My-Conóc and My-Catóc of Beggerin?)

MoBeoóc from lustrous Ard Cáinroiss ie of Loch Garmain 16 Decimber (Felire Oengusso)

mo Phioc ó Ard Camrois for brú Locha Carman i n-Uibh Ceinnselaigh ocus o Ros caoin i cClúain Fhergaile i nDelbna tire (dá locha) [Galway]. (Felire Gorman)


Insi Bice/Inseo Bicce: Little Island (lesser island of Erdit and Agustín)


There was also the original church of St. Margarets (alias Raven), Curracloe, which Lewis (1837) says that “the ancient Church which stood near the shore was washed away many years since”. The archelogical survey locates it at White Gap beside beside the ‘Winning Post’ shop near the beach. Local opinion, locates it between White Gap and Ballinesker. According to Leslie, in 1664, Ardcolm, Ardcavan, St. Margaret’s, Skyryne and St. Nicholas churches were all out of repair, and were all combined into the parish of Ardcolm. Artramont was combined with Ardcolm after the Reformation.


In synod of Rath Breasail circa 1111AD, Begerin Island formed the boundary between Ferns or Loch Gorman and Gendalough.


 3  Uí Rónáin (Ronane or Royane) in Tig Mo Sacro (Teach Moshagard or Tomhaggard in south east Bargy on the south coast of Wexford). Nearby, there is Rathronan just north of Bridgetown.


 4   Robartach mc Elgusa Abbot of Banba Móre (Bannow? in south west Bargy on the south coast of Wexford).


 5   The land around St. Abbán’s monastery at of Camross, south east of Adamstown Co. Wexford, was granted by Cormac mac Diarmata.





The old church of St. Mary’s Bannow, overlooking Bannow Bay. There were older Celtic churches at Shimoge, St. Kieran’s and Brandane. (Flood)

The Celtic church at Tomhaggard originally dedicated to St. Mosacer. The colonists of the 13th century rededicated the church to St. Anne. (Flood)

The church of St. Vauk of Carne at Carnsore Point, Forth Barony. There is a possible connection, identifying him as St. Fiacc of Sleibhte.



Uí Bairrche monasteries in Leinster





Clones, Co. Monaghan


St. Tigernach, Bishop of Cluain Eui (Clones, Co. Monaghan) (†544-550AD AU). Listed as a saint of Leinster (GRSH). He was supposed to have been bishop of Clochar (Clogher, Co. Tyrone) before the founding of Clúain-auiss. He is the first Uí Bairrche saint listed in the genealogies and the only one of which a ‘Life’ has been published, but it has little historical content. His mother was Derfraích, daughter of Echach, son of Crimthainn king of Airgiall. His father was Corpri of the Uí Bairrche who was in the service of Crimthainn king of Airgiall, his wife’s father at the time of birth. His father brought him to his native province. While approaching the city of Kildare, St. Bridget felt his presence and was his sponsor at his baptism. She requested that his name be Tigernach which is expressive of royalty. Later, Bridget nominated him to be a bishop. As a boy, he was taken captive by pirates, which may indicate that they lived close to the sea. He is said to have given protection to the move of some of the Uí Bairrche tribes to Ulster, as he was their cousin. In the Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee, it states that Tigernach was from of Offaly or Ui Barrchi and he lived in west Leinster. His father was from Laois or Ui Barrchi. Feast day 4th or 5th April.


There was a monastic settlent at Aghmacart, south Co. Laois, which was founded by St. Tigernach.


Muinntear Treasaigh, (O Tracy of Fermanagh), were termoners of Cill Tighearnach (Tigernach’s Church/Kiltierney) and Muinntear Ghormain, (O Gorman of Fermanagh) were termoners of Teampull Ghuirmin and of Caladhchoill which belonged to the vicarage of Cill Nadhaile (Kinawley).  Ó Scea locates Tempulgormáin as being near to Clones. In addition, there are Tracey and Gorman families in Clones, with Gorman placenames.


Ticchernach mac Cairpre on chrois,

epscop caidh Cluana hEoois,

nochar chrion (neach na roibi nai misaib) a chaidh on chraoibh,

do siol Daire mic Cathaoir

O’Hanlon, John Canon (18??-19??) Lives of the Irish Saints. Vol IV p.21-31

Plummer, Carolus (1910) Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae. Vol.II p.262-269. Oxford University Press, London.

Acta Sancti Tigernaci 211-220 in De Smedt, Caroli et De Backer, Josephi (1888) Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae et Codice Salmanticensi… Blackwood et Filios, Edinburgi


St Tigernach.JPG

St Tigernach, St Joseph's, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan supervised by Harry Clarke 1928.



Nearly to Kiltierney, is the churchyard of Killadeas, where there is a carved stone known as the Bishop’s Stone. An odd shaped stone it is thought to have been carved at different times. Originally it may have been similar to those on nearby White Island. The carving is of interlacing with an ecclesiastical figure carrying a bell and crozier and an inscription "Robartach". The name Robartach is not thought to have a local connection, but has ecclesiastical connections including Robartach, son of Feargus, Princeps Banba Móiri of the Hui mBairrci, who is included on the same genealogical line as St. Tigernach.






Clonfert, Co. Galway


St. Fiachra Goll-sin of Chluain Ferta (Clonfert, Co. Galway). Listed as a saint of Leinster (GRSH). Feast day 28th July. Died in Rome.


Diermuid mac Siabhra, as e sin (na sleg)

Modhioma (Modimmoc) Glinne hUissin,

is Goll Cluana Ferta caoin

do siol Daire mic Cathaoir.


Fiachra Goll .i. ó Cluain Ferta ... Vide an forte sit qui colitur in Gallia. (GRSH)


With regard to this note Ó Riain (2011) states that Colgan mistook Goll for Gaul, thinking that this was St. Fiachra of Ullard of Kilkenny and Meaux France.


Isle of Mann


St. MacCuill of Mann (Isle of Man) (†554AD or 489AD Martyrologium Dungallence). This saint is called also MacFail, MacGuil, Maccaldus, Macholtus and Maughold, the name by which he is best known in Mann. The 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th lives in the “Trias Thaumaturga” give his history. His memory was held in veneration in Ireland. A church at Clonsilla near Dublin was dedicated to him; his principal church in the Isle of Man was near Ramsey, which is situated in the parish of St. Maughold. He was consecrated Bishop of Man circa 498AD, holding the position for 56 years, dying on the 25th April 554AD. He is called Macutus in the story told of him in the “Cronicon Manniae”. Feast day 25th April.

O’Hanlon, John Canon (18??-19??) Lives of the Irish Saints. Vol. IV p.478-486


It has generally been admitted by those who have dug in the mine of antiquity, and have written on the early period of Manx ecclesiastical history, that St. Patrick, the apostle of Ireland, on his second return to that country was driven by a storm to the Isle of Man, A.D. 444, where, finding the people much given to magic, and the island enveloped in a typical mist under the influence of Mananan-beg-mac-y-Lheir, he remained there for three years, and was instrumental in their conversion to the Christian faith. He took up his abode on a rocky islet on the west coast, called "Holm," and from thence known as "Holm Patrick," or "St. Patrick’s Isle," opposite the present town of Peel. Here he founded a church, dedicated to St. Patrick. On his departure he sent Germanus, the son of "Restitutus the Longobard," by Liomania, the sister of St. Patrick, as the first bishop, to rule over the church in Man, which he there founded about the year A.D. 447, and called after him "St. Germans." St. Germanus presided over the Church of Man till his death, which took place A.D. 474. Conindrius and Romulus, also disciples of St. Patrick, and consecrated by him, succeeded St. Germanus in the see. Romulus died A.D. 498; after whom, Maguil or Machaldus, also called Maughold, a native of Iveagh in Ulster, but belonging to the Hy Bairche, a bishop who was eminent for sanctity.’ He died A.D. 554, as is asserted by some writers. These four saints were the fathers and founders of the Church in Man. Some curious details are to be met with of another Germanus of Amorica, in Cambrian hagiology, about this time which are worthy of investigation, and might lead to a more extended knowledge connected with the early history of St. Patrick.

Manx Society’s Series, vol. xxix.


...Mac Cuill moccu Greccae, later St Maughold of Man...

F. J. Byrne and Pádraig Francis. Two Lives of Saint Patrick: "Vita Secunda" and "Vita Quarta". The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Vol. 124 (1994), pp. 5-117




St. Émíne of Letha (or Armorica that is Brittany, France) travelled to that country in search of the Cuilmenn, in which the history of the Tain or cattle spoil of Cualgne was preserved. Died in Rome.


Other early monastic references


Scuthine Slebe Mairge m. Setnai m. Trebthaig m. Dala m. Laidfhir ut antea in genealogia Ailbi.


Scuithin Slebe Maircce amuicch

mac Setna is mic Trebthuicch,

do siol Fhir Thlachtgha malle

do Scuithin ocus d’Ailbe.


Genealogies of the saints


The saints of Uí Bairrche according to the ancient genealogies: Tigernach of Cluain Eui, Fiacc of Sliabh Dromma Gabla & Cluana, Fiachra of Sleibte, MacTáil of Cille Cuilind, MacCuill in Manaind, Fiachra Goll-sin and Émíne in Letha died in Rome on the same day. Diarmait son of Siabair son of Dalláin that is Mo Dímmóc of Glenn Uissen (his mother was of the Uí meic Cáirthind that is Uí Cumma), Magistir of Cill Magistrech, Mac Onchon (Mac Concon), Iustan and other saints. Cathán (Cahan) son of Nath Í from whom is Eochu saint of Cluana Rétach, Magistir of Cille Magistrech and Úi Suain from whom is Bruideóc mc Émíne. Cróebán cita who founded the church at Cell Auxilli.


Tigernach Bishop of Cluana Eois m. Corpri m. Fergusa m. Ennai m. Labrada m. Brain m. Echach Guinich m. Daire Barraig m. Cathair Moir.


Bishop Aed m. Bróccáin m. Cormaic m. Diarmata m. Echach Gunich m. Eirce m. Breccain m. Feicc m. Daire Barraig m. Cathair Moir.


It e filet i Cill Garraisce Eochu Cluana Rétach and Magister Cill Magistrech the two sons of Cathain m. Nath Í m. Echach Guinich m. Daire Barraig m. Cathair Moir.


Fiac Slebti (i.e. Droma Gablai) m. Ercada m. Feicc m. Daire Barraig m. Cathair Moir.


Diarmait i.e. Mo Dimmóc Glindi Usen m. Siabairr m. Dallain m. Eirce m. Breccain m. Feicc m. Daire Barraig m. Cathair Moir.

Diarmait i.e. Mo Dimmóc Glindi Usen. Mo Dimmóc ro gab Tech Mo Chua m Lonain (Lonanus father of St. Mochua, Timahoe, near Maryborough Co. Laois).


Fiacra Goll of Chluain Ferta m. Dáire m. Fergusa m. Ennai m. Labrada m. Brain m. Echach Guinich m. Daire Barraig m. Cathair Moir.


Family groups and settlements


The founder of the Uí Bairrche, Dáire Barraig, was reported to have lived at Dun Aillin or Cnoc Aulin (Knockaulin) near old Kilcullen, Co. Kildare. In the ancient genealogies there have been 200 individuals and 80 lineages listed for the Uí Bairrche. The following are the families of the Úi Bairrche, descended from his three sons Féicc, Eochu Guinech and Muiredach Sníthe:


Descended from Féicc are: Síl n-Áeda Find in Lethráith, Síl n-Áeda Demuin (from whom are Úi Móenaig), Úi Breccáin (Behan), Clainn Cairpe in Conmaicne Réin or Sliab Cairpe, Uí Caindeachain (O’Canahan?), Úi Canáin (Cannan?) in Coíne, Ui Cearnaigh (O’Carny, O’Kearney), Síl Coirce*, Úi Colcan (Colgan?), Úi Comathig of Glind Uissen, Úi Conamla in Coíne, Úi Crítáin in Coíne, Úi Cuaráin (Curran) (or Cuanáin (Conan)), Úi Cuilíne (Cullen) dia fail Diarmait Glinni Uissen, Síol Cumaine (Cummin), Úi Cutlacháin dia fail Diarmait Glinni Uissen, Úi Dobágu in Lethglind, Ui Domhnaill (O’Donnell), Úi Émíne in Coíne, Úi Fétháin in Maig Dá Chonn, Úi Fólachtáin in Lethglind, na Légi of Dál Mesin Corb, MacGormán (Gorman), Úi Mincháin in the territory of Úa m-Bairrchi Tíre, Úi Móenacháin (Mangan), Úi Móenaig (Mooney) of Coisse Scaible in Úi Bairrchi Tíre (see Síl n-Áeda Demuin), Monaig Ulad (Mooney of West Co. Down) & Fir Monach locha Éirne (Mooney of Loch Erne), Nosraige Gulban Guirt in the territory of Cairpe Droma Cliab, Úi Pecclíne in Coíne, Síl Roncaig, Úi Taidc (Teige) beside Conine, Uí Treasaig (Tracey).


* It may be a coincidence but there is a Síl Coirbre located at Cell Beirrche. Chief tribes of Síl Coirbre were Ui Dubháin, Ua Mhionloscan in Crioch na n-Eniochghlais, Ui Colmain, Ui Forodhráin, Ui Seanchain of Cell Beirrche, Fir. 456. Hui Shenchain of Cell Beirrche in Crích hUa nEinechlais, Ll. 384, Bb. 72 b; ¶  Hui Seanchain, of Síl Coirpre, seated at Cell Beirrche in Lein., Bb. 72 b; ¶ 


Descended from Eochu Guinech are the Úi Meic Barddíne from whom are Úi Bóeth, Úi Bóeth (see Úi Meic Barddíne), Úi Brandubáin (Braniff), Úi Brénaind (Brennan?), Úi Briúin (O’Brian or O’Brion), Úi Cellaig (Or Úi Ellaig) in mMaigib Ailbe (said to be the men of the three plains) from Chenél nUcha in Úi Bairrche Tíre, Úi Concertaig, Úi Conchada, Úi Connachtaig (Connaghty), Úi Crónéni (Cronan?) or Cenél Cróchnae (Creghan) or Chenéol Cruaichne or Cenél Cruaichni of the Éoganacht, Úi Duib Chuilni (Black Cullen) among the Laigin in Kildare from Áth Truisten, a ford on the river “Greece”, near the hill of Mullach Maistean (Mullaghmast) six miles to the east of Athy, to Áth Cill Corpnatan (perhaps a ford at Cell Corbain near Naas). (see also Úi Mátaid), Óic Cuillne (Cullen), Síl Dinetáin, Úi Dognaid, Úi Duib Loda, Úi Duburchú, Úi Ellaig (see Úi Cellaig), Úi Emelta, Úi Fidchellaig (Feeley?), Úi Fintain, Úi Gestáin (see Chenéol Cruaichne), Síl n-Indercaig, Úi Laimnich, Úi Máeláin (Moylan), Síl Mancháin (Monaghan), Úi Mátaid (O’Mathaidh) are of the Úi Duib Cillíne (Black Cullen) and they are among the Laigin in Úi Enechglais Maige (Arklow, Co. Wicklow), Úi Nath Í, Úi Noídenaig, Úi Rónáin (Ronane) in Tig Mo Sacro, Úi Suain (Swaine or Swan).


Descended from Muiredach Sníthe are the Úi Amsáin in Úi Bairrchi Maige Dergráith, Úi Bodbáin, Úi Brócáin (O’Brogan) in Cill Maigistrech, Úi Buidechair, Síl Cillíne Scothbán, Úi Crítáin in Úi Bairrchi Maige Dergráith, Úi Commáin (Comane), Úi Dímatáin in the territory of Úa m-Bairrchi Tíre, Úi Gobbáin (Gowan) in Síl Cellacháin (Kelly), Síl n-Góedeláin, Úi Móenaig (Mooney), Úi Nialláin (Nealon) (or Úi Máeláin of Glind Uissen), Úi Nárbotha, Cenél n-Óengusa, Síl Rossa mc Muiredaig in the territory of Úa m-Bairrchi Tíre, Síl Saichtha, Úi Senáin in the territory of Úa m-Bairrchi Tíre.


Descended from mac Niad Coirb (Osraighe) are the Clann Síláin


Other tribes of the Uí Bairrche are the Úi Beccáin in Scothbae of Dál Messin Corb, Úi Briccne in Maig Ailbe, Úi Caisse (Cash) at the church of Cell Ausaille (Killossy near Naas), Úi Canannáin (Cananan) in Scothbae of Dál Messin Corb, Úi Drescáin (or Úi Treascáin) in Coíniu (ind legi di Dál Missin Corb), Úi Laigéni (Lynam or Layne) at the church of Cluain Conaire (Cloncurry near Enfield), Úi Némáin in Scothbae of Dál Messin Corb, Úi Scatháin in Maig Ailbe


According to the Tripartite Life of Patrick (ed. Stokes p.192), there are the Manachs (‘monks’) in Húi Cremthainn (in the barony of East Maryborough in Laois) the Manachs in Ulster and the Cenél Endai (or Enna) in Munster.


The following were the locations of the tribes:


Uí Bairrche Maighe Ailbe (South and East Laois/West Carlow/South Kildare - Mag Ailbe comprises of the baronies of Slievemargy in Co. Laois, parts of Idrone in Co. Carlow, and Kilkee and Moone in Co. Kildare) Úi Briccne, Úi Cellaig, Úi Scatháin. In Glenn Uissen (Killeshin, Slievemargy, Co. Laois) are the Úi Comathig, Úi Cuilíne (Cullen) and Úi Cutlacháin followers of Diarmait Glinni Uissen, Úi Máeláin. At Lethglind (Leighlin, Idrone, Co. Carlow) are the Úi Dobágu, Úi Fólachtáin. Among the Úi Cellaig (Or Úi Ellaig) in mMaigib Ailbe of the three plains, are the Úi Chommáin (Comane), Úi Gobbáin (Gowan), Úi Nárbotha, Síl Saichtha. According to the Life of St. Comgall, Cormac mac Diarmata (†567AD???) had a castle at Carlow town located on the banks of the river Barrow.


Uí Bairrche Mag Argetrois (South Laois/North Kilkenny) among the Osraighe are the Clann Síláin. The ancient name of Ballyragget [Donaghmore Civil parish] in Kilkenny was Dún Tulach Uí mBairrche (Tullabarry/Tulacbarry), translated as hill fort of the Bairrche, which is located in Moatpark townland. According to O’Donovan, Magh Airgead-Ros was the ancient name of a plain on the river Eoir (Nore) marked by the fort of Rath Bheathaidh (Rathveagh). The ancient Gabhair road ran south-east through Slievemargy to Magh Airgead-Ros. In the Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee, it states that Cell maic Cathail (Kilmacahill) was in Uí Bairrchi that is Belach Gabráin (Gowran).


Uí Bairrche Magh dá chonn (Moyacom of East Carlow/Wicklow) were the Úi Fétháin. MacFhirbhishigh states Ui Cearnaigh i Muigh Dha Chonn (O’Carny, O’Kearney). Cill Maigistrech in Cill Garraisce (Kilmaster Carlow) were the Úi Brócáin (O’Brogan), Cenél n-Óengusa. The lands of the monastery of Dísert Diarmata (Castledermot, Co. Kildare) was apparently donated to the monastery of Bangor by a king of Uí Bairrche, who had been a disciple of St. Comgall (†602AD). Cormac mac Diarmata, King of Leinster, bestowed Imblech nEch on Comhgall of Bendchuir (ie Bangor), and to them belong from Beluch Forcitail to the Bann. Located in Dál Mesin Corb (north east Wicklow) were the na Légi. In Scothbae of Dál Messin Corb were the Úi Beccáin, Úi Canannáin (Cananan), Úi Némáin. MacFhirbhishigh states Uí Chonda in Delge of Dál Messin Corb. Located in the territory of Uí Eineachghlais Maige (Arklow, south east Wicklow) were Úi Mátaid (O’Mathaidh) of the Úi Duib Cillíne (Black Cullen).


Uí Bairrche Maige Dergráith (or Dreagraith) were the Úi Amsáin, Úi Crítáin. Coíne (Civil parish of Lea, north-east Laois) (or Conde or Condi or Cone or Conine or Coini or Coiniu) Úi Canáin (Cannan?), Úi Conamla, Úi Crítáin, Úi Drescáin (or Úi Treascáin), Úi Émíne, Úi Pecclíne, Úi Taidc (Teige) of toed/tael. Clann Flannacán (of the Loichse Raime) were stated to be located in Úi Bairrchiu.


Uí Bairrche Tíre, usually taken to mean Wexford, but may refer to greater Leinster. Located here were the Úi Dímatáin, Úi Mincháin, Síl Rossa mc Muiredaig, Úi Senáin. Also there was Úi Móenaig (Mooney) of Coisse Scaible (or Ceissi Scaibli or choisi Scailbi or Cosse Scaible) in Úi Bairrchi Tíre. The Úi Cellaig were formerly of Chenél nUcha (Dun nUcae or Auca or nOchra) in Úi Bairrche Tíre in Úi Cennselaig. The locations of these areas have not been identified. Smyth (1982) locates Cenél nUcha in north west Kildare. The Book of Leinster locates Uí Mainchin between Cenél nUcha and the Liffey. Cruachan chenéil ucha is thought to be in Kildare and may be the round hill of Clane.


The barony of Bargy on the south coast of Wexford is thought to be named after the Uí Bairrche. Tig Mo Sacro (Teach Moshagard or Tomhaggard on the coast in south east Bargy) were the Úi Rónáin (Ronane or Royane). Úi Bóeth that is Robartach mc Elgusa Abbot of Banba Móre (Bannow? on the coast in south west Bargy). Other early names for Bannow, may be found in the Life of St Munnu, insula/inis Barry/Bara/Tobarri in stagno/loch Eachtach [in Fothartu].  An ogham stone found on the Saltee Islands (Inis Bairre or Doimle?) had the inscription ‘Lonamni avi Bari’ which may mean ‘Lonam Uí Bairr’ (Bairrche). Of interest, another ogham stone found at Cotts (Broadway) Co. Wexford, was made from red granite from Carnsore Point, it bears the inscription ‘Iarni’ (Érainn). In Ó Huidhrín poem, this area is called ‘Fhearroinn Deisgeartoigh’ (Southern Territory). The name given to the chiefs is O'Duibhginn which is unusual as it refer to a place ‘black pool’ rather than to an ancestor. This may be a reference to the Uí Bairrche tribe Uí Duib Chilline who are stated as being located in Kildare. Duncormack/Duncormick (Dún Chormaic) located in the centre of Bargy on the coast may be a reference to Cormac mac Diarmata.


In the Metrical Dindshenchas, the account for the origin of the name of Wexford harbour (Loch Carman, Loch Garman, old Welch Llwch Garmawn, Inber Sláne, port Cóelrenna) is unusual, in that it is a relatively long account that references a ‘recent’ historical figure, Cathair Mór as king of Tara. There seems to be similarities to the account of the death of Laidcenn mac Bairchid. Firstly, there is a persuit by the king of Tara to Wexford harbour, secondly, there is a reference to a mac Bairchid poet and thirdly a reference to a hero Eochaid. The writer of the poem, ‘Eochaid the learned’, is Eochaid eolach ua Ceirin who it is stated is from the area, and as such may be related to Cleirchén king of Uí Bairrchi of Inis Failbe. It may be that is a piece of propaganda on the division of the Uí Bairrche as the ‘villain’ is named as Garman from the people of the Barrow, possibly an allusion to MacGorman of Sletty. Also the rare phrase ‘Berba barr’ is used, which may be a reference to Tressach.


The north side of Wexford harbour seems to have been home to the Uí Bairrche. According to the Life of St. Comgall, Cormac mac Diarmata (†567AD???) had a castle at Ard Crema*, which has been identified by Smyth (1982) as Artramon located just to the west of Castlebridge. According to the Life of Munnu, he dwelt for twelve years with the Uí Bairrche at Ard Chrema, where there was a chapel and settlement of the monks of St Comgall. There was a connection between monasteries on the north side of Wexford harbour and Sleibhte dating from the time of St. Patrick. The treasures of Inis Fáil (Becc Ériu, Beg Erin ie Little Ireland, Beggerin Island, Bergy, Begeri, Holy Isle) and Dairinis (Oak Island, Ardcavan) were moved to Sleibhte after an attack by the Vikings in 819AD. In 866 AD Conn, son of Cinaedh, lord of Uí Bairrchi Tire, was slain while demolishing the fortress of the foreigners, which may have been the north Wexford harbour, which Culleton has proposed was the location of the original Viking settlement. In the account of the Cath Bealaigh Mugna 905AD, it states that Cleirchén king of Uí Bairrchi came from Inis Failbe, which may be Inis Fail. Also, at this time, in the poem ‘The Quarrel about the Loaf’ there is reference to Ciarmac of the slender Slane who is described as rí Fer na Cenél (Men of the Tribes). Fír na Cenél are mentioned once as an early branch of Uí Chennselaig in the genealogy. In the charter of Diarmait mac Murchada to St. Mary’s Abbey Ferns around 1160-2 there is a reference to Munemethi in Ferneghenan. Giraldus also described this area in a reference to Bishop Ibar as ‘Fereginan’. The ‘Song of Dermot and the Earl’ describes the area as ‘Fernegenal’ with other references to Begerin ‘becherin’. In Ó Huidhrín poem this area is called ‘Críoch na cCeinél’ (Territory of the Tribes). In a reference from 1552, Hore has the name of the area as Farrengynellagh, or the barony of Sue. Historians usually refer to this area as ‘Fearann na gCenél’.


According to MacFhirbhishigh, Uí Treasaigh were located in the territory of Ua mBairrche Thire and the royal line.


* Ard Crema (Arit Crama) may be translated as the height or point of the wild garlic; height referring to a hill or point referring a protrusion into the sea. If the area has been correctly identified as Artramon, then it would satisfy the first condition. From this area, there is an attractive view down across Wexford Harbour and onto Wexford Town. According to Flood, Artramon(t) was also referred to as Ardcroman, Ardtermon and Ardtroman in earlier documents. A number of ancient monuments are associated with the area including a church, a castle and holy well. From the map of 1665 below, Artramont may have been more exposed to the sea in earlier times. Wexford Harbour may have become more enclosed over time, and it has been postulated that the sand dunes at Curracloe are a later development. Flood states that the original church of St. Margarets, Curracloe, has long since disappeared owing to coastal erosion.






1665 Wexford Harbour (Joan Blaeu)

1776 Wexford Harbour (Charles Vallancey)

1830’s The sloblands before the reclamation


The following families were located among the Laigin in Kildare: Úi Caisse (Cash) at the church of Cell Ausaille (Killossy near Naas Co. Kildare), Úi Laigéni (Lynam or Layne) at the church of Cluain Conaire (Cloncurry north Co. Kildare), Úi Duib Chuilni (Black Cullen) from Áth Truisten, a ford on the river “Greece”, near the hill of Mullach Maistean (Mullaghmast) six miles to the east of Athy Co. Kildare, to Áth Cill Corpnatan (perhaps a ford at Cell Corbain near Naas Co. Kildare).


Connacht/Leinster: Clainn Cairpe in Conmaicne Réin (part of Breifne in southern Co. Leitrim) or Sliab Cairpe (hilly region of N. Longford). Lethráith (Lara or Abbeylara, co. Longford) were the Síl n-Áeda Find. Nosraige Gulban Guirt in the territory of Cairpe Droma Cliab [Drumcliff Co. Sligo?]


In the Book of Fenagh, Aedh Dubh or Aed Find who gave rise to the Sil Aedha Find was the son of Fergna [son of Fergusa], the great ancestor of all the Breifians. In the Book of Leinster, there is a reference to four daus. of Fhergna mac Fergusa in Lethraith—viz., Delbnat, Cainer, Deimlir and Fuin, subject to St. Brigit, Ll. 353.


Fir Bolg (Septs and lands of the Aitheach-Thuatha): Tuath Treasaighi upon Conmhaicne from Ath Mogha to the sea. (Mac Firbhisigh). Ath moga is the present Ballymoe, on the river Suck, about ten miles to the southwest of Cruachan, County Galway.


In the Metrical Dindshenchas for Sliab n-Echtga II (Slieve Aughty Mountains, east Galway), ascribed to Flann Mac Lonan, there are the following "...Loch Ibrach in Ibar-glend...Loch Bricc, Loch Bairchi...Loch na mBarc... Ath na Meirge..."


Ulster: The following tribes are descended from the Úi Bairrche:


Monaig Ulad (Mooney of West Co. Down). AINM locates the Monaigh Uladh at Downpatrick.


Among the Dál Fiatach kings of Ulaid, there is Bécc Bairrche (†718AD) who is named from or gave his name to the Benna Bairche or Boirche (Mourne Mountains).

Also in the Mourne Mountains is the Trassey road, river and valley, [Droim na Treasaí] Clonachullion townland, Kilcoo. Also in Kilcoo civil parish is Slievenalargy townland.


There appears to be a connection between between the tribes of the Ulaid and the Uí Bairrche.


Fir Monach locha Éirne (Mooney of Loch Erne) whose name later became the name of the county of Fermanagh.


Also in this area, there were settlements of Ó Treasaigh (Treacy): Cill Tighearnach (Kiltierney, near Ederney), north side of Loch Erne and Ó Gormáin (Gorman, O'Gorman): Teampall Ghuirmin (Templegurmeen [Temple Gorman?], belonged to vicarage of Cill Nadhaile [Kinawley]). Caladhchoill (Callowhill), south east Fermanagh. To the south of Loch Erne are Drumbargy and Meenawargy townlands in Cleenish civil parish. 


There are the townlands of Drumbargy and Meenawargy in the civil parish of Cleenish and Tullymargy in Devenish.


The Tripartite Life of Patrick names Manaig (monks) of Uí Cremthainn [north Leinster] and Ulster.


In Clones Co. Fermanagh/Monaghan, associated with St. Tigernach, there are the townlands of Killygorman, Tattygormican, Tonitygorman and Largy. In addition, there are Tracey and Gorman families in Clones.


Éoganacht (West Munster) were the Úi Crónéni (Cronan?) or Cenél Cróchnae (Creghan) or Chenéol Cruaichne or Cenél Cruaichni. The Tripartite Life of Patrick also names Cenél Endai in Munster.




Ancient Genealogy of the Úi Bairrche (taken from Rawlinson B502, Book of Leinster, Book of Lecan, Book of Ballymote, hagiography and the Annals)


89. Cathair Mór, Monarch of Ireland 120 to 123 AD. Mebd, daughter of Bresal, was the mother of Eochaid Timine, Bresal Enechglais, Rus Failgi, Daire Barrach and Cremthann.


90. Dáire Barraig, the second son, from whom are the Uí Bairrche. He had three sons, from who are the three free tribes Úi Breccáin, Úi Móenaig and Úi Briúin.


91. Féicc (son of Dáire Barraig) from whom are the Uí Mhaoil Umha and the Royal Line of the Uí Bairrche. From Fiac are the Úi Chuilíne (Cullen) & Úi Chuaráin (Curran) or Chuanáin (Conan). He had two sons


92. Ailill Móir (son of Féicc or in some gelealogies he is stated to be son of Breccáin son of Féicc). There is a reference in the Book of Lecan that he was king of Ireland. He had three sons

93. Nos from whom are Nosraige Gulban Guirt in the territory of Cairpe Droma Cliab [Drumcliff Co. Sligo?]

93. Cairpe Filed [the poet] from whom are Clainn Cairpe in Conmaicne Réin or Sliab Cairpe. Who had to leave their original territory owing to the slaying of the son of Ennae, the King of Laigin by Echach Guinig of the Ulaid. Keating states he was king of Leinster. 94. Fechín 95. Nóe 96. Dímmae 97. Óengusa 98. Eithne his daughter was the mother of Colum Cille. Eithne ic Ros Tiprat [is commemorated at Ros Tibraid]. Derbfhind Belfhota was another name for her.

93. Manaich or Monaich from whom are Monaig Ulad (Mooney of West Co. Down) and Fir Monach locha Éirne (Mooney of Loch Erne) 94. Corccáin 95. Comgaill 96. Inglaind 97. Gilluráin 98. Máel-tochaid 99. Cainnecháin (Mac Fhirbhishigh makes a particular reference to Uí Caindeachain (O’Canahan?) 100. Galáin 101. Duilgén 102. Cenndubáin 103. Cosaich 104. Gillae-Brigte 105. Cernaich 106. Ragnall


92. Breccáin (son of Féicc) from whom are the Úi Breccáin (Behan). He had three sons


[93. Ailill Móir (see 92 above) 94. Cairpe Filed  95. Echach [or Fechine GRSH] 96. Nóe 97. Díma 98. Eithne his daughter was the mother of Colum Cille. – Felire Oengusso & GRSH]

93. Coirpre (son of Breccáin)

93. Colggu (son of Breccáin ) from whom are Síl Coirce, Síl Roncaig, na Légi. 94. Finn 95. Mongfhinn 96. Marcáin 97. Littenaig 98. Uaringerta 99. Tuimthi 100. h-Uargalach

93. Meicc Ercca (son of Breccáin), from whom the clann of Meic Ercca. He had five sons (Fiacc, Oengus, Ailill Mar, Conall, Etarscela according to the Tripartite Life of Patrick):


94. Dallain (son of Erca) 95. Siabarr 96. Diarmait ie Mo Dimmóc Glindi Usen. Is do hÚib Meic-Cáirthind .i. do Úib Cumma máthair mo-Dímmóc Glinne hUissen. Mo Dimmóc ro gab Tech Mo Chua m Lonain (Note: Lonanus father of St. Mochua, Timahoe, near Maryborough Co. Laois). Is díb máthair Mo-Chua meic Lonáin ingen Lóchéni m. Dímae Chiret ó Chill Chonaich.


94. Meic Dara (son of Meicc Ercca), the three daughters of Meic Dara are Brigit Fhind, Temair and Sogáes; and Cairpri and his two sons Iustán and Fintan in Senchill (Kiltennil, Co. Carlow). He had two sons

95. Fiacc, Bishop of Sleibhte (lived about 415-520) was a poet and first Bishop of Leinster. [son of Earca GRSH] 96. Fiachra, Bishop of Sleibhte

95. Carpre and Áed 96. Fergusa and Sétna 97. Meic Dara 98. Fergusa and Fiachra 99. Cairpre 100. Tigernach


94. Ailella Mór (son of Meicc Ercca) from whom are Úi Chuilíne (Cullen) and Úi Chutlacháin, dia fail Diarmait Glinni Uissen, had two sons

95. Colcu from whom are Úi Colcan (Colgan?)

95. Boíth had two sons

96. Áeda 97. Cuilíne from whom are Úi Chuilíne (Cullen)

96. Breccán son of Bóeth & Fóelchú Úi Comathig of Glind Uissen.


94. Etarscéla (son of Meicc Ercca) from whom are Úi Móenacháin 95. Duach 96. Loppáin 97. Mancháin had two sons

98. Duchenna 99. Abbáeth 100. Báethluige 101. Áilgenán

98. Máel Indse had 2 sons

99. Dub Chluana. 100. Con Róeda 101. Sóergaile 102. h-Uathgal (from whom are the Uí Uathgaile?)

99. Con Duach 100. Duinechaid


94. Óengussa (son of Meicc Ercca) had six sons

95. Trian from whom are Úi Fólachtáin and Úi Dobágu in Lethglind

95. Rotha from whom are Úi Fétháin in Maig Dá Chonn who was (killed) Áed while under the protection of (that is of Chommairgi) Cormaic the king

95. Fintan Méth from whom are Úi Crítáin, Úi Chonamla, Úi Chanáin (Cannan?), Úi Pecclíne, they are from Coíne

95. Lugaid Odor from whom are Úi Émíne in Coíne.

95. Tadc from whom are Úi Taidc (Teige) beside toed/tael Conine and Úi Mincháin in the territory of Úa m-Bairrchi Tíre.

95. Echach Guinig, whose wife was of the Ulaid 96. Diarmata had two sons


97. Crimthan who according to the Life of St. Finnian was king before Cormac.

97. Cormaicc, King of Leinster. Here the genealogy of the kings of Húa mBarrchi merges with the genealogy of the Kings of the Lagen. He bestowed Imblech nEch on Comhgall of Bendchuir (ie Bangor), and to them belong from Beluch Forcitail to the Bann. He had four sons


98. Bróccáin (son of Cormac) had two sons

99. Bishop Aed (of Sleibhte †698/700AD) [son of Máelodráin according to GRSH]

99. Máelodráin 100. Conchind 101. Conamla 102. Conchada 103. Faílbe 104. Clothaich 105. Cummascaig 106. Bróccán (†862 AD Abbot of Slebhte ???)


98. Cuimmíne (son of Cormac) (Mac Fhirbhishigh makes a particular reference to Síol Cumaine (Cummin)) 99. Émíne 100. Cellaich 101. Fiachrach 101. Siadail 102. Diarmata 103. Suibne Menn


98. Áeda Find (son of Cormac) from whom are Síl n-Áeda Find in Lethráith, Síl n-Áeda Demuin from whom are Úi Móenaig (Mooney) of Coisse Scaible in Úi Bairrchi Tíre. 99. Con Allta 100. Aignide 101. Flaithbertaich 102. Uargalaich 103. Cethernaig 104. Conchrad


98. Domnaill (son of Cormac) had two sons

99. Faílbe (son of Domnaill) married Eithne daughter of Crundmael mac Rónáin (†656AD) king of Uí Cheinnselaig and Lagen Desgabair (South Leinster), had a daughter and son

100. Mugain (daughter of Faílbe) married Cellaig Cualand, King of Leinster (†715AD) from whom are the Uí Cellaig Cualand

100. Cind Faílad (son of Faílbe) 101. Uargusa 102. Áeda 103. Ailella 104. Flaind 105. Cernaich 106. Cináed


99. Suibne (son of Domnaill) from the family of Echach Guinig are the sons of Suibne, Úi Domnaill and Congal. In the Life of Munnu of Taghmon, it is stated that Munnu, as a result of being insulted by Suibne, prophersised that his head would be cut off by his brother’s son (Cind Faílad?) and would be thrown into the Barrow (near the Blathach stream) 100. Máel h-Umae had two sons


101. Domhnall (son of Máel h-Umae) from whom are Ui Domhnaill (O’Donnell) 102. Coibhdhenacgh 103. Artghal 104. Forbhusach 105. Faolchadh

101. Coibdenaig (son of Máel h-Umae) had three sons


102. Cearnach (son of Coibdenaig) 103. Aedgal 104. Cearnach (from whom are Ui Cearnaigh (O’Carny, O’Kearney) 105. Colga 106. Domhnall 107. Furadhran 108. Flann 109. Dunghal

102. Cind Fáelad (son of Coibdenaig) 103. Congaile 104. Diarmait

102. Echach (son of Coibdenaig) had two sons


103. Arttgaile (son of Echach) 104. Fócartai (Fuacarta or Fogartach or Forbasig) had two sons

105. Fáelchad (son of Fócartai)(854AD Faelchadh, son of Forbhasach, lord of Ui Bairrche Maighe, died)

105. Beccáin (son of Fócartai) 106. Tressach (King of Ui Bairrche Maighe slain 884 AD) (from whom are Uí Treasaig (Tracey)) 107. Braon 108. Beacán 109. Braon 110. Beacán 111. Colga


103. Gormáin (son of Echach) 104. Dúnacáin 105. Gussáin (906AD Buadhach, son of Gusan, Tanist of Ui-Bairrche-tire, died???) 106. Luachdaib (or Duaich Duibh) 107. Tressaig (from whom are Uí Treasaig (Tracey)) 108. Áeda 109. Donnchada (1042 AD Donnchadh, son of Aedh, lord/King of Ui-Bairrche, died) 110. Muircherdaig 111. Gormáin (from whom are MacGormán (Gorman)) had two sons

112. Meic Raith (1042 AD Macraith, son of Gorman, son of Treasach, lord of Ui-Bairrche, and his wife, were slain at Disert-Diarmada, by the Ui-Ballain) 113. Muiredaig 114. Gussán (1008 AD Gussan, son of Ua Treassach, lord of Ui-Bairrche, died.) 115. Óengus and Muircheartach (1057 AD Muirchertach ua Tresaigh, king of Uí Bairrche, died)… (1085 AD Finn, son of Gussan, son of Gorman, Bishop of Cill-dara, died at Cill-achaidh. [Killeigh Geashill Offaly])...(1103 AD Muirchertach mac Gormán died; 1124 AD Muireadhach Mac Gormain lord of Ui-Bairrche died; also 1141 AD tri macu Mec Gorman.)

[112. Sganlain 113. Eigtighearna 114. Murchadh 115. Coinmeada 116. Concobair 117. Domnaill 118. Coinmeada 119. Coineaba 120. Daibi 121. Seaain 122. Coineabha 123. Domnaill 124. Diarmada 125. Domnail - Genealach Aile Meag Gormain, as Seanleabar i seilbh Cathal Ui Conchobair. (O’Donovan et al 1839)]


91. Eochu Guinech (son of Dáire Barraig) Of his family are Úi Nath Í from whom are Úi Connachtaig (Connaghty), Úi Máeláin (Moylan), Úi Duib Loda, Úi Dognaid, Úi Noídenaig and Úi Brénaind (Brennan?). Cathán son of Nath Í from whom is Eochu saint of Cluana Rétach, Magistir of Cille Magistrechand, Úi Suain (Swaine or Swan) from whom is Bruideóc son of Émíne. Eochu Guinech had three sons


92. Nath Í 93. Cathain 94. Eochu Cluana Rétach and Magistir of Cille Magistrech in Cill Garraisce [the following is included in GRSH “[m Eire m Bracain m Feic]”]


92. Bregdon (son of Eochu Guinech) a quo Óic Cuillne (Cullen), Úi Crónéni (Cronan?), Úi Duib Chuilni (Black Cullen), Úi Fintain, Úi Laimnich. Úi Mátaid (O’Mathaidh) are of the Úi Duib Cillíne (Black Cullen) and they are among the Laighin in Úi Enechglais Maige and to them belong from Áth Truisten to Áth Cill Corpnatan 93. Feidelmid & Aililla Laimnig. Cenél Cróchnae (Creghan) are the fourth chief sept of the Uí Bairrche, adhere to the Úi Breccáin. Úi Gestáin are also of Chenéol Chruaichne. Cenél Cruaichni belong to Éoganacht. 94. Bloit 95. Fergusa Tregbotha 96. Áedáin 97. Nainnida 98. Nainníni 99. Con Cen Máthair 100. Máeláin 101. Díbecháin 102. Onchon 103. Duburchú Mac Onchon the sage from whom are the Úi Duburchú. Two daughters Eltini and Crumthir nhDelgini and Mac Onchon dá beus ina tresgabail. Mac Onchon lived in rRaith Scothban.


92. Brian (son of Eochu Guinech) a quo Úi Briúin (O’Brian or O’Brion). Síl n-Indercaig, Síl Mancháin (Monaghan), Síl Dinetáin, Úi Brandubáin (Braniff) and Úi Cellaig (Or Ellaig) belong to Úib Briúin. Úi (C)Ellaig in mMaigib Ailbe (said to be the men of the three plains), from Chenél nUcha in Úi Bairrche Tíre in Úi Cennselaig, are the vassals of the Úa mBriúin after a third of their territory had been taken by Úi Cendselaig. From Úi Cellaig are Blathmac (or Blait), father of Colmán (or Coluim), father of Caelbad, father of Cuach, who was the mother of Dunlaing, who had three sons, Illaind (†527AD), Ailill, Eochaid (or Dunlaing), who were three kings of Leinster according to Flann. Cuach was given three castles; Magen garbain, Achadhaibh/Ath daired & Tulach Ua mBaith which she gave to her brother, Caemán Airdne. (Is de asberar tri lemmend Cuache i nhGabuir. Co ruc mac cecha fectusa dona maccaib remaite et co tarta tri dune di dara n-esi .i. Magen Garbain, & Achad Dairig, et Tilach Ua mhBlait. Et Adropartsi na tri dúni sin dia brathair .i. do Choeman Shantlethan.) Brian had two sons



93. Labain Labrada 94. Ennai 95. Fergnai gusa had two sons

96. Corpri 97. Tigernach Bishop of Cluana Eois (Clones, Co. Monaghan) (†544-550AD AU). His mother was Derfraích, daughter of Echach, son of Crimthainn king of Airgiall, son of Feg, son of Degha Duirn, son of Cairpri Daimargaid

96. Dáire 97. St. Fiacra Goll of Chluain Ferta [the following is included in GRSH “[m Eire m Bracain m Feic]”]


93. Énna 94. Fergus Laíbdercc had two sons

95. Fiachra 96. Coluimb 97. Áeda 98. Bongomun 99. Derríne 100. Roachtaig 101. Cillíne 102. Enchoraig 103. Rechtada 104. Ruidnél

95. Ercc Menn & Bardíne had two sons

96. Dercc n-Argit from whom are Úi Rónáin (Ronane) in Tig Mo Sacro, & Úi Choncertaig, Úi Meic Barddíne (Barden) from whom are Úi Bóeth that is Robartach mc Elgusa (Feargus/Faelgusa) Abbot of Banba Móre.

96. Crimthann from whom are Úi Emelta, Úi Chonchada, Úi Fidchellaig (Feeley?).


91. Muiredach Sníthe (third son of Dáire Barraig) King of Leinster and listed as King of Ireland in the Book of Leinster. (Robo rí hÉrenn Muiredach Sníthe dó féin ut Laidcenn (mac Bairceda) dixit isin fursundud már: “Longais maro Muiredach moarddae Sníthe sáerchland sochla sám comarbbae comarbba cóemchlann (.i. ro batar lonhge móra aice nó ro chuirestar sochaide for lonhgais)) He had three sons


92. Rosa (son of Muiredach Sníthe) from whom are Síl Rossa mc Muiredaig in the territory of Úa m-Bairrchi Tíre 93. Cormaic had two sons

94. Scandláin 95. Éinne 96. Éoganáin 97. Éogain 98. Errechtaig 99. Fithrechtaig 100. Móenach

94. Corpsalaig 95. Émíne & Góedelán 96. Bodbáin from who are Úi Bodbáin, Síl n-Góedeláin


92. Móenach (son of Muiredach Sníthe) King of Leinster, con-gab múru mórmaige macrí Móenech márgein (the boy-king Móenech a great offspring took the walls of a great plain), a quo Úi Móenaig (Mooney) from whom are Cenél n-Óengusa, Úi Brócáin in Cill Maigistrech; Úi Senáin, Úi Dímatáin in the territory of Úa m-Bairrchi Tíre; Úi Amsáin, Úi Chrítáin in Úi Bairrchi Maige Dergráith. He had two sons

93. Cairpre 94. Sétnae 95. Scillíne 96. Guaire 97. Éogain 98. Fintain 99. Bróccáin (Mac Fhirbhishigh makes a particular reference to Ua mBrocain (O’Brogan)) 100. Conamla 101. Conchada 102. Échtgusa 103. Nárgal

93. Cellacháin Úi Nialláin (Nealon) (or Úi Máeláin of Glind Uissen) ónd Ardlius, Úi Chommáin (Comane), Úi Nárbotha, Síl Saichtha, Úi Gobbáin (Gowan) in Síl Cellacháin (Kelly). Is díb Sáergal Úi Buidechair 94. Áeda 95. Dímmae 96. Saichida 97. Anfudáin 98. Budechrae 99. Becride 100. Ailgile 101. Carthach


92. Fiacc (son of Muiredach Sníthe) from whom are Síl Cillíne Scothbán. 93. Fiachach had two sons

94. Maine

95. Corbach (Corpach) mother of Diarmait mac Cerbaill of Clann Cholmáin, High King of Ireland (†565AD)

95. Colmáin 96. Fínáin 97. Cillíne 98. Émíne 99. Conamla (Cethri mc Conamla: Échtgus & Dub Caille, Fualascach & Snédgus) 100. Sóergusa 101. Éitchíne

94. Colmáin 95. Cillíne 96. Maine Chuarchind. 97. Émíne 98. Máel Anfis 99. Fóelleáin 100. Béochride 101. Furudráin 102. Suibne


An early Ui Bairrche mac Niad Coirb (Osraighe) genealogy:


1. Óengusa Osfríthi 2. Lóegaire Birn Buadaig 3. Buain 4. Niad Cuirb. Dá mac déc niab-Coirb immorro .i. Calb, Corb, Cairpre, Cáilech, Cóelub, Conaire, Dáre, Immorrus, Bairrche, Bernuc, Sétna, Seret 5. Bairrche 6. Faílbe had three sons


7. Máel Aithgén 8. Báethchossaich 9. Ailgile 10. Thorachtaich 11. Carthaich 12. Maíl Eóin 13. Cretmechán

7. Sílán a quo Clann Síláin & a quo Rechtabra mc Bairnich (Bairrchi) cona shíl

7. Conamla (Conmáel) 8. Mencosaich 9. Concellaich had five sons. Díbad a chland olchena.


10. Rechtaid

10. Máelhuidir 11. Siadail 12. Conaill 13. Dub Lenna

10. Con Congelt 11. Geredáin 12. Anluain 13. h-Irudán

10. Caratbrain 11. Máel Inmain 12. Cuanach 13. Conchellach

10. Cuanach 11. Daniél 12. Tuathail 13. Dub Deithbir


The following references from the Annals cannot be placed in the genealogy:


856 or 858 AD Cearnach, son of Cinaeth (Cináed), lord/King of Ui Bairrche Tire, died.

866 AD Conn, son of Cinaedh, lord of Ui Bairrchi Tire, was slain while demolishing the fortress of the foreigners.

867 or 869 AD Cian, son of Cumasgach (Cummascach), lord/King of Ui Bairrchi Tire, died.

884 AD Aedh, son of Ilguine.

885 AD The mortal wounding of Maelchertaigh, son of Fiachra, lord of Ui Bairche.

885 AD The mortal wounding of Treasach, son of Ilguini.

886 AD Gormacan, son of Flann, chief of Ui Bairrche Tire, died.

896 AD Dubhlachtna, son of Ceirine, lord of Ui Bairrche, died.

899 AD Cinaedh, son of Maelruanaidh, and Aedh, son of Ilguine, chief of Ui Bairrche, were both slain by Ceandubhan, son of Maelecan.

905 AD Cléirchen, king of Uí Bairrchi

943 AD Cuileannan, son of Coibhdheanach, lord of Ui-Bairche, died.


For a slightly different genealogy, refer to John O’Hart’s Irish Pedigress under the O’Gorman name. A very different genealogy has also been published in John Francis Shearman’s Loca Patriciana, again with an emphasis on the O’Gorman name [Link]. For a later genealogy of the MacGorman in Ibrickan Co. Clare, see Frost.


There is another reference in the genealogies regarding the territory of the Dál Cormaic:


It hé ranna Húa Cormaic la Laigiu .i. na nhgeibthe Húi Gabla Fine huile Cuthraigi ר Húi Gabla Roírenn ót[h]á Áth Cuilchinged co Dubáthu Maisten ר ót[h]á Glaise Críchi hi Cluanib co Uada fri Láechis co clantais co Áth Lethnocht hic Sléibti co tét i nhUissin fri hÚib Bairrche ר ana nhgaibthe Húi Trena ר Húi Chuircc is Hú Cormaic.

These are the divisions of the Uí Chormac among the Leinstermen…and they extended from Ath Lethnocht at Sletty as far as Uissen opposite the Uí Bairrche…



Uí Bairrche – Page 2



The Annals

Onomasticon Goedelicum

References to Dáire Barraig, founder of the Uí Bairrche, and his reign

References to Muiredach Mo-Snítheach and Móenech, of the Uí Bairrche, and their line

References to Ailill the Great, of the Uí Bairrche, and his line

References to Eochu Guinech, King of Uí Bairrche, and his reign

The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])

References to Cormac mac Diarmata (†567AD???), King of Uí Bairrche, and his reign

Reference to Suibne mac Domnaill, King of Uí Bairrche, and his reign

References to Tressach (†884AD), King of Uí Bairrche, and his reign

References to Cleircen, King of Uí Bairrche, and his reign

References to Donnchadh mac Aodha (†1042AD), King of Uí Bairrche, and his reign.

Leabhar na g-Ceart (Book of Rights)

The March Roll of the Men of Leinster

The Charter of John, Lord of Ireland, in favour of the Cistercian Abbey of Baltinglass

Expulsion of the MacGormans

Giraldus Cambrenis. The Topography of Ireland.

The song of Dermot and Earl

Crede Mihi no. IV

Topograpghical Poems of Ireland before the Normans




Last update: 15 April 2024