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

It may refer to:


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

Meaning and origins

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

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


Closely associated with Daire in Irish legend is the heroic figure Lugaid.[10] According to O'Rahilly he was the son of Daire, Lugaid mac Dáire or Lugaid Loígde, son of Dáire Doimthech, but was chiefly remembered in the person of his 'descendant' Lugaid Mac Con. His other principal emanations were Lugaid mac Con Roí, son of Cú Roí, and probably Lugaid Riab nDerg (Réoderg).

See also


  1. MacNeill, pp. 61–2
  2. MacNeill asserted this was the god Lugh.
  3. O'Rahilly, p. 49
  4. O'Rahilly, p. 48
  5. O'Rahilly, pp. 2, 7
  6. Delamarre
  7. O'Rahilly, p. 7
  8. Ptolemy, Geography 2.1
  9. Pokorny, p. 328; also O'Rahilly, p. 7
  10. O'Rahilly, pp. 48 ff, 77 ff, 202


Dictionary of the Irish Language
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