Niall Glúndub

Niall Glúndub mac Áedo (modern spelling: Niall Glúndubh mac Aodha) (died 14 September 919) was a 10th-century Irish king of the Cenél nEógain and High King of Ireland. While many Irish kin groups were members of the Uí Néill and traced their descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages (Niall Noígiallach), the O'Neill dynasty took its name from Niall Glúndub rather than the earlier Niall. His mother was Máel Muire, daughter of Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Scots.


Son of Aed Finliath, Niall is first recorded succeeding his brother Domnall mac Áedo as King of Ailech upon his death in 911. Extending his control to neighboring kingdoms, Niall defeated the Kings of Dál nAraidi and Ulaid at the Battles of Glarryford (in present-day County Antrim) and Ballymena before his defeat by high-king Flann Sinna mac Maíl Sechnaill of the Clann Cholmáin Uí Néill at the Battle of Crossakiel (in present-day County Meath). Following Flann's death in 916, Niall succeeded him as High King of Ireland. It was during his reign in which he would reestablish the Óenach Tailteann, a traditional gathering of Irish clans. He was married to Gormflaith ingen Flann Sinna.

Opposing the invasion by the Uí Ímair during the next several years, Niall's forces fought a large battle against a group of Northmen in the summer of 917, ending inconclusively. With the support of the clans of Leth Cuinn (Northern half of Ireland), the Uí Néill eventually acknowledged his claim to the throne. Despite his continued offensive against the Northmen however, they would continue to settle the area in large numbers, establishing strongholds in Dublin and various ports on the eastern coast. Continuing to wage war against the Northmen, Niall advanced towards into Leinster, supported by the Uí Néill clans, the Airgíalla and the Ulaid. However, his forces were decimated by the Northmen under Sihtric Cáech as Niall was killed, along with twelve other chieftains, at the Battle of Islandbridge on 14 September 919.[1] Another account in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle has Sihtric Cáech slaying his brother Niall in 921.[2] Niall Glúndub was succeeded as High King by Donnchad Donn mac Flainn, son of Flann Sinna, and as King of Ailech by his son Muirchertach mac Néill, "the Hector of the Western World".

Family tree

    Niall Caille
  = Gormflaith ingen Donncadha
    |                                                                          |
    |                                                                          |
    Áed Findliath = Gormlaith Rapach = Land ingen Dúngaile  = Máel Muire      unnamed daughter = Conaing mac Flainn
                  |                                          |                                   |
   _______________|                                          |                                   Flann
  |          |                                               |                                   |
  |          |      (mother's identity unknown)              |                                   Gormlaith
  Domnall  Eithne  Domnall Dabaill  Máel Dub  Máel Dúin      |                                 = Flann Sinna
                                                             |                                   |
                                                             |                                   |
                                                             Niall Glúndub, d. 919. = Gormflaith ingen Flann Sinna, c.870-948.
                                                                                 Muirchertach mac Néill, d. 943.


  1. "The Annals of Ulster". Corpus of Electronic Texts (CELT). 919. Retrieved 2010-04-04.


Niall Glúndub
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Domnall mac Áeda
King of Ailech
with Flaithbertach mac Domnaill (916–919)
Succeeded by
Fergal mac Domnaill
Preceded by
Flann Sinna
High King of Ireland
Succeeded by
Donnchad Donn
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