Crimthann mac Énnai

Crimthann mac Énnai (died 483) was a King of Leinster from the Uí Cheinnselaig sept of the Laigin. He was the son of Énnae Cennsalach, the ancestor of this dynasty.[1]


It is not known when he acquired the throne but, in the annals record of the Battle of Áth Dara, on the River Barrow in Mag Ailbe (South County Kildare), in 458, both the Annals of Ulster and the Chronicum Scotorum name Crimthann as the leader of the Laigin forces.[2] The Laigin defeated the high king Lóegaire mac Néill (died 462) and captured him. They released him after he promised not to levy the cattle-tribute from Leinster again.

Crimthann was baptized by Saint Patrick at Ráith Bilech (Rathvilly Moat, Co.Carlow)[3]

The Annals of the Four Masters claim he was present at the Battle of Ocha of 482 when the high king Ailill Molt was slain but this is not confirmed by the other annals.[4]

The annals record that he was slain (mortally wounded) in 483 and the Chronicum Scotorum specifies that Eochaid Guinech of the Uí Bairrche and the men of Arad Cliach were responsible.[5] The Annals of the Four Masters state that Eochaid Guinech was the son of his daughter.[6] The Uí Bairrche probably held an earlier predominant position in the south part of Leinster prior to the rise of the Uí Cheinnselaig.[7]

According to Keating, his wife's name was Congain. They had a daughter named Eithne Uatahach (d.490), who was fostered by the Deisi and was married to Óengus mac Nad Froích (d.490), the first Christian king of Munster.[8] She was killed along with her husband at the Battle of Cenn Losnada in Mag Fea (near Leighlin, County Carlow) in 490 by the Uí Dúnlainge sept and the same Eochaid Guinech of the Uí Bairrche who had slain her father.[9]

His known son was named Nath Í mac Crimthainn, a King of the Uí Cheinnselaig. Nath Í's sons, Éogan Cáech (a king of the Uí Cheinnselaig) founded the Síl Fáelchán, Sil Máeluidir, Síl nÉladaig, and Síl Mella septs, and Cormacc founded the Sil Chormaic sept.

In the Kinsella (Chennselaigh) and other genealogies, Crimthann mac Ennai's first wife, and the mother of Nath I, was Mel - also referred to in The Expulsion of the Déisi (Dessi, Deissi). According to the Expulsion, (which is off by dates), Crimthann married two of Mel's sisters in turn. The second sister was mother to Ingren (sp) who was mother to Crimthann's murdering grandson Eochaid Guinech of the Uí Bairrche. Yet another sister was the mother of Eithne Uatahach, who bore only that one daughter. From the Expulsion: "The three daughters of Ernbrand, Mell and Belc and Cinniu were all three married to Crimthann, one after another. Fromn Mell are the SiT Mella., from Belc the Hui Beilce. Cinniu bore Ethne only to him."[10] The Sil Mella and Ui Meala septs refer to descendents of Mell.


  1. Byrne, Table 8; Charles-Edwards, Appendix XVIII; Mac Niocaill pg.83
  2. Annals of Ulster AU 458.1, 459.2, 461.4; Chronicum Scotorum 458
  3. T.M.Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland , pg.234
  4. Annals of the Four Masters M 478.1
  5. Annals of Ulster AU 483.2;485.2; Chronicum Scotorum 484
  6. Annals of the Four Masters M 465.4; it gives a much earlier date than the other annals for his death placing it in 465
  7. Ó Cróinín, pg.193-194
  8. Geoffrey Keating, History of Ireland, Book I, pg.315-317
  9. Annals of Ulster AU 490.2, 491.3 ; Annals of Tigernach AT 489.2
  10. Meyer, Kuno, ed. (1901), "The Expulsion of the Dessi", Y Cymmrodor, XIV, London: Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, pp. 101 135

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