Colmán Rímid

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

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

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

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

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

Family tree

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


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


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