Ollamh Síol Muireadaigh

Ollamh Síol Muireadaigh was a hereditary post, held almost exclusively by members of the Ó Maolconaire family, from at latest the 13th century until the 17th century. The Síol Muireadaigh were a dynasty of regional clans, named after King Muiredach Muillethan of Connacht (died 702), all of whom lived in north-central Connacht. While many of the ruling chieftains such as the Ó Conchubhair Donn, Ó Conchubhair Ruadh, Mac Diarmata, and Ó Flannagain were descendants of this Muiredach Muillethan, the Ó Maolconaires are of Laiginian, or mythically of Tuatha Dé Dannan stock, although their Milesian pedigrees claim differently. The Laiginians arrived in Connacht in the 3rd century AD from Leinster, conquering the ruling Fir Bolg and Fomorians, and ruling until conquered by the Gael under the Connachta in the 5th century.

An ollamh was the highest rank in the learned orders of law, poetry, or history. These educated professionals, today grouped together in the popular consciousness as "bards", maintained an oral tradition that pre-dated Christianization of Ireland.

It is likely that the post had existed for at least as long as the Síl Muireadaigh dynasty themselves, but earlier ollamhs are unknown. The first of the family so listed was Dúinnín Ó Maolconaire.

List of Ollamhs

See also


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