Uí Fiachrach Aidhne

Early peoples and kingdoms of Ireland, c.800

Uí Fhiachrach Aidhne (also known as Hy Fiachrach) was a kingdom located in what is now the south of County Galway.

Legendary origins and geography

Originally known as Aidhne, it was said to have been settled by the mythical Fir Bolg. Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh's Leabhar na nGenealach states that the Tuath mhac nUmhoir were led by leader Conall Caol, son of Aonghus mac Úmhór. Connall was killed at the Battle of Maigh Mucruimhe in 195, and his body brought back to Aidhne where it was interred at a leacht called Carn Connell (itself the site of a major battle some centuries later).

Located in the south of what is now County Galway, Aidhne was coextensive with the present diocese of Kilmacduagh. It was bounded on the west by Loch Lurgain (Galway Bay) and the district of Burren in County Clare. County Clare also bounds Aidhne on its south and south-east side. Aidhne is bounded on the east by the low mountains of Slieve Aughty, which separated Uí Fhiachrach Aidhne from Uí Maine.

On the north-east Aidhne is bounded by the plains of Uí Mhaine and on the north by Maigh Mucruimhe (the area around Athenry). On the north-west it was bounded by the parish of Maree which was in the territory of Uí Bhriúin Seola.

The diocese of Kilmacduagh contains the civil parishes of Kinvarradoorus, Killinny, Killeenavarra, Drumacoo, Kilcolgan, Ardrahan, Stradbally, Killeeneen, Killeely, Killora, Killogilleen, Kilchreest, Isertkelly, Killinan, Kilthomas, Kilbeacanty, Beagh, Kilmacduagh, Kiltartan.

The diocese of Kilmacduagh contains the present Catholic parishes of Kinvara, Ballinderreen, Gort, Ardrahan, Craughwell, Beagh, Kilbeacanty, Kilthomas (Peterswell), Clarinbridge, Kilchreest.

Early history

In the early historical era, the Aidhne branch of the Ui Fiachrach dynasty emerged as the ruling tuath in this part of Connacht. Alternative designations for the territory were Maigh Aidhne (the plain of Aidhne), Maigh nAidhne, eventually becoming Uí Fhiachrach Aidhne after the dynasty. The diocese of Cill Mhic Dhuach Kilmacduagh is coextensive with the kingdom, covering all of the barony of Kiltartan and large parts of the baronies of Loughrea and Dunkellin.

By the 8th century the power of its kings were greatly curtailed, and became minor vassals of the Kings of Connacht. The Anglo-Norman's brought them under the rule of the Clanricarde Burkes.

Principal septs

The important septs of the Uí Fhiachrach Aidhne were Ó hEidhin, Ó Seachnasaigh, Ó Cléirigh and Mac Giolla Cheallaigh.

Ó Cléirigh

The O Clearys were kings of the territory before the O Hynes clan but were exiled from the territory probably in the years following the Anglo-Norman invasion of Connacht. Under the patronage of the O Donnells of Ulster the O Clearys went on to become one of the most famous learned families in Ireland.

See also Cléircheán of Saintclerans

Ó Cathail

This family were forcibly expelled as a result of dynastic conflicts. Thereafter the Ó Cathail family remained a minor sept without any political power.

Ó Seachnasaigh

Up until the late 17th century the O Shaughnessys held the sub district of Uí Fhiachrach Aidhne known as Cenél Áeda na hEchtge, which was also their clan name. Cenél Áeda na hEchtge consisted roughly of the civil parishes of Beagh, Kilmacduagh and Kiltartan and also parts of the civil parishes of Kibeacanty and Kilthomas.

In the 1690s the O Shaughnessys had their lands confiscated for supporting the Jacobite cause against William of Orange. A legal battle raged on into the first half of the 18th century between the O Shaughnessys and the Prendergasts, the family who were granted the O Shaughnessy lands, with the O Shaughnessys eventually losing the case.

The senior line of the O Shaughnessys appears have died out in the 1780s.

Ó hEidhin

This family were driven to the coast of Galway Bay and their principal home became Dunguaire Castle. The Irish annals contain some references to the family:

Noted bearers of the name include:

Mac Giolla Cheallaigh

Kilkellys held the sub district of Aidhne known as Cinéal nGuaire, which is the area covered by the modern Catholic parish of Ballinderreen. They lost their lands in the Cromwellian confiscations during the middle of the 17th century.

Kings of Connacht

The following were Kings of Connacht from the Ui Fiachrach Aidhne line:[1]

Kings of Uí Fiachrach Aidhne

See Kings of Uí Fiachrach Aidhne

Lords of Cenél Áeda na hEchtge

Lords of Coill Ua bhFhiachrach

Annalistic references

See also


  1. Francis J.Byrne, Irish Kings and High-Kings, Table 18 with dates per The Chronology of the Irish Annals, Daniel P. McCarthy


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