Eve of Leinster

John Schuerman

(j-schuerman@uchicago.edu)

 

In the February 2013 issue of Wordens Past, in an article on the Beaumonts and Clares, I devoted a paragraph to Richard de Clare, second Earl of Pembroke, who died in 1176 (see page 2891).  Richard is an ancestor of Peter Worden I, the immigrant to Cape Cod.  I described how Richard spent time in Ireland assisting the deposed king of Leinster, Diarmait MacMurrough, in regaining his crown.  In gratitude MacMurrough gave his daughter, Eve, to Richard in marriage and promised his kingdom to him on his death.

 

It turns out that Eve’s ancestry has been extensively studied.  In Ireland she is known as Eve of Leinster and her father as Diarmait (or Dermot) Murchada.  I provide below a chart of her known ancestors.  One of the first attempts to outline her ancestry is David Kelley, “Ancestry of Eve of Leinster,” in the Genealogist, vol. 1 (1980, pp. 4-27).  My chart depends heavily on a posting on the Gen-Medieval newsgroup by Stewart Baldwin (http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/gen-medieval/1998-02/0888524869).  Baldwin is a very careful medieval genealogist who is well respected in the field.  He is responsible for the Henry Project (http://sbaldw.home.mindspring.com/hproject/henry.htm), a compilation of the ancestors of King Henry II of England that is accepted as the authoritative source on that subject.  Baldwin built upon Kelley, rejecting some of Kelley’s lines as insufficiently supported and adding others that had been neglected by Kelley.  Baldwin depended on a number of sources including M. A. O’Brien, Corpus Genealogiarum Hiberniae (Dublin, 1962) which includes a 12th Century collection of Irish genealogies (manuscript Rawlinson B502 in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University) and other manuscripts (including the Book of Leinster dating to about 1160).  Baldwin also used the Ban Senchus (10th to 12th Centuries), a list of Irish women with their families (edited by Margaret Dobbs, Revue Celtique 1930-1932) and various annals including the Annals of Ulster, Annals of Tigernach, Chronicum Scotorum, and Annals of the Four Masters.  Sometimes the annals were written only a few years after the events recorded, sometimes several decades or even centuries after, so caution needs to be taken in consulting them.  These sources often show ancestors before those listed below, but those people are likely not historical individuals, only legends.

 

The names in the table below are, of course, strange to us (unless you are a student of medieval Irish languages).  Last names as we know them did not exist.  People were known by patronymics, that is their fathers’ first names.  So “mac” meant son, followed by the genitive form of his father’s name.  Muiredach mac Murchada meant son of Murchad.  Sometimes the mac did become part of the name, in which case it was capitalized and sometimes the space was dropped (mac Murchada became Mac Murchada and then MacMurchada, which became a last name as we know it).  The qualifier mac is similar to fitz (or fils) in

medieval England (we have John fitz George and George fitz Roger).  For women, “ingen” means daughter of.  “Ua” means grandson (or sometimes descendant). Ua eventually became O’. “Sept” means family.  Families or clans did have names, although they were not used as last names.  So Toirrdelbach below was the ancestor of the sept of Ui Toirrdelbaig (Ui also means descendant).

 

The chart below shows 161 ancestors of Eve of Leinster including 52 kings.  Relatively small areas of Ireland had kings so there were a lot of them.  Of course, there was conflict among them so their spheres of influence waxed and waned.  Several of the kings in the chart were in conflict with each other.  Since I identify kings by their territories, some geography is in order.  Laigin is now known as Leinster, a province in the east of Ireland that includes Dublin.  Munster is a province in southwest Ireland.  Thomond is north Munster.  Connacht is a province in northwest Ireland.  Ui Cheinnselaig refers to a family or dynasty that ruled part of Leinster.  Airthir Liphi is in the eastern part of the Liffey plain, in Leinster.  Osraige is also in Leinster.

 

A note on the chart:  this is a compact ancestral chart.  Fathers are above the individual, mothers below.  Sometimes fathers or mothers are on a previous or later page.  The numbers are generation numbers.  An individual’s father can be found by looking for the next generation higher above the individual.  The chart is somewhat hard to read, but readability has been sacrificed in the interests of space.  Many of these names had diacritical marks which have been omitted here.  Some of the individuals were ancestors of Eve more than once (indicated by “Already Printed,” after which the ancestors are not repeated), so although the chart has 161 persons, it represents over 200 “ancestral slots.”


 

 Ancestors of Eva McMurrough (Eve of Leinster)                                                                                                            

 

                    +-12. Diarmait

                  +-11. Cairpre mac Diarmata (d.876)

                +-10. Cinead mac Cairpre King of Ui Cheinnselaig (d.935)

              +-9. Cellach mac Cinaeda King of Ui Cheinnselaig. (d.947)

            +-8. Domnall mac Cellaig King of Ui Cheinnselaig (d.974)

          +-7. Diarmait Mac Domnaill King of Ui Cheinnselaig (d.996)

        +-6. Donnchad Mael na mBo King of Ui Cheinnselaig (d.1006)

      +-5. Diarmait Mac Mael na mBo King of Laigin (d.Feb 1072)

      | | +-7. Gilla Patraic

      | +-6. Aife ingen Gilla Patraic

      |   |   +-9. Ailill

      |   | +-8. Carlus mac Ailella King of Ui Aeda Obda

      |   +-7. Echrad ingen Carlusa

    +-4. Murchad Mac Diarmata King of Laigin and Dublin (d.8 Dec 1070)

    | |                 +-14. Toirrdelbach

    | |               +-13. Mathgamain mac Toirrdelbaig

    | |             +-12. Anluan mac Mathgamna

    | |           +-11. Corcc mac Anluain

    | |         +-10. Lachtnae mac Corcc

    | |       +-9. Lorcan mac Lachtnai

    | |     +-8. Cennetag mac Lorcain King of Thomond (d.951)

    | |   +-7. Brian Boruma mac Cennetig High King of Ireland (d.23 Apr 1014)

    | |   | |                 +-17. Colgu

    | |   | |               +-16. Cenn Faelad mac Colgan King of Connacht (d.682)

    | |   | |             +-15. Amalgaid mac Cind Faelad

    | |   | |           +-14. Flann Rodba mac Amalgada

    | |   | |         +-13. Finagalach mac Flainn Rodba

    | |   | |       +-12. Flaithnia mac Fiangalaig

    | |   | |     +-11. Maenach mac Flaithnia

    | |   | |   +-10. Murchad mac Maenaig King of West Connacht (d.896)

    | |   | | +-9. Urchad mac Murchada King of West Connacht

    | |   | +-8. Be Bind ingen Urchada

    | | +-6. Donnchad mac Briain King of Munster (d.1065)

    | | | |                               +-23. Dunlaing

    | | | |                             +-22. Ailill mac Dunlange King of Laigin

    | | | |                           +-21. Cormac mac Ailella

    | | | |                         +-20. Cairpri mac Cormaic

    | | | |                       +-19. Colman mac Cairpri

    | | | |                     +-18. Faelan mac Colmain King of Laigin (d.666)

    | | | |                     | | +-20. Oengus

    | | | |                     | +-19. Fedelm ingen Oengusa

    | | | |                     |   |   +-22. Fergus

    | | | |                     |   | +-21. Fergnae mac Fergusa

    | | | |                     |   +-20. Lassi ingen Fergna

    | | | |                   +-17. Conall mac Faelain

    | | | |                   | |   +-20. Baeth

    | | | |                   | | +-19. Eochu mac Baeth

    | | | |                   | +-18. Sarnat ingen Echach

    | | | |                 +-16. Bran Mut mac Conaill King of Laigin (d.693)

    | | | |                 | |           +-23. Dunlaing**Already Printed**

    | | | |                 | |         +-22. Eochaid mac Dunlainge

    | | | |                 | |       +-21. Nad Fraich mac Echdach

    | | | |                 | |     +-20. Maine mac Nad Fraich

    | | | |                 | |   +-19. Finan mac Maine

    | | | |                 | | +-18. Crundmael mac Finain

    | | | |                 | | | +-19. Lassar of Airgialla

    | | | |                 | +-17. Condadil ingen Crundmael

    | | | |               +-15. Murchad mac Brain Muit King of Laigin (d.727)

    | | | |               | |             +-23. Loarn

    | | | |               | |           +-22. Muiredaig mac Loairn

    | | | |               | |         +-21. Eochaid mac Muiredaig

    | | | |               | |       +-20. Baetan mac Echdach

    | | | |               | |     +-19. Colman mac Baetain

    | | | |               | |   +-18. Eogan mac Colmain

    | | | |               | | +-17. Blathmac mac Eogain

    | | | |               | +-16. Almaith ingen Blathmaic

    | | | |               |   | +-18. Mongan

    | | | |               |   +-17. Etain ingen Mongain

    | | | |             +-14. Faelan mac Murchada King of Laigin (d.738)

    | | | |           +-13. Ruaidri mac Faelain King of Laigin (d.785)

    | | | |         +-12. Diarmait mac Ruadrach King of Airthir Liphi (d.832)

    | | | |       +-11. Muirecan mac Diarmata King of Laigin (d.893)

    | | | |     +-10. Mael Morda mac Muirecain King of Airthir Liphi (d.917)

    | | | |   +-9. Finn mac Mael Morda (d.923)

    | | | | +-8. Murchad mac Finn King of Laigin (d.972)

    | | | +-7. Gormlaith ingen Murchada (d.1030)

    | +-5. Dirborgaill ingen Donnchada (d.1080)

  +-3. Donnchad MacMurchada King of Dublin (d.1115)

  | | +-5. NN MacBricc

  | +-4. Sadb ingen Mac Bricc

+-2. Dermot McMurrough King of Laigin (d.1171)

| | +-4. Gilla Michel or Cinaed Ua Braenain

| +-3. Orlaith ingen Ua Braenain

|   | +-5. Cearnachan Ua Gairbita King of Ui Feilmeda

|   +-4. Uchdelb ingen Cearnachain Ua Gairbita

1. Eva McMurrough (d.Abt 1188)

|                             +-17. Murchad mac Brain Muit King of Laigin (d.727)**Already

|                                                                                 Printed**

|                           +-16. Muiredach mac Murchada King of Laigin (d.760)

|                           | |           +-23. Senach Dibech

|                           | |         +-22. Aed Dibchine mac Senaig

|                           | |       +-21. Ronan Craich mac Aeda

|                           | |     +-20. Dicuill Danae mac Ronain Craich

|                           | |   +-19. Gerthide mac Dicolla Danae

|                           | | +-18. Cellach Cualann mac Gerthide King of Laigin (d.715)

|                           | +-17. Conchenn ingen Cellaig Cualain (d.743)

|                           |   |         +-23. Eochu (or Eochaid) Guinech

|                           |   |       +-22. Diarmait

|                           |   |     +-21. Cormac mac Diarmata

|                           |   |   +-20. Domnall mac Cormaic

|                           |   | +-19. Failbe mac Domnaill

|                           |   +-18. Mugain ingen Failbe

|                           |     |             +-26. Ennae Chennselach

|                           |     |           +-25. Ennai Chennselaig  King of Laigin

|                           |     |         +-24. Nath I mac Crimthaind

|                           |     |       +-23. Cormac mac Nath I

|                           |     |     +-22. Columb mac Cormaic

|                           |     |   +-21. Ronan mac Coluim King of Ui Chennselaig

|                           |     | +-20. Crundmael Erbuilc mac Ronain King of Laigin (d.656)

|                           |     +-19. Ethne ingen Crundmael

|                           |       |     +-23. Cobthach

|                           |       |   +-22. Colman mac Cobthaig

|                           |       | +-21. Suibne mac Commain

|                           |       +-20. Failend ingen Suibne

|                         +-15. Bran Ardchenn mac Muiredaig King of Laigin (d.795)

|                       +-14. Muiredach mac Brain (d.818)

|                     +-13. Dunlaing mac Muiredaig King of Laigin (d.869)

|                     | |   +-16. Mac Forbba

|                     | | +-15. Indellach mac Meic Forbba

|                     | +-14. Etromma ingen Indellaig

|                     |   +-15. Fidcossa

|                   +-12. Ailill mac Dunlaing King of Laigin

|                 +-11. Augaire mac Ailella King of Laigin (d.917)

|               +-10. Tuathal mac Augaire King of Laigin (d.958)

|             +-9. Dunlaing mac Tuathail King of Laigin (d.1014)

|           +-8. Donncuan Ua Tuathail King of Laigin (d.1016)

|         +-7. Gilla Comgaill Ua Tuathail (d.1041)

|       +-6. Gilla Coemgin Ua Tuathail (d.1059)

|     +-5. Donnacuan Ua Tuathail

|   +-4. Gilla Comgaill Ua Tuathail (d.1127)

|   | |       +-9. Donnchad Mael na mBo King of Ui Cheinnselaig (d.1006)**Already Printed**

|   | |     +-8. Domnall Remar mac Mael na mBo (d.1041)

|   | |     | | +-10. Domnall mac Faelain King of Deisi Muman (d.995)

|   | |     | +-9. Mael Maidne ingen Domnaill

|   | |   +-7. Donnchad mac Domnaill King of Ui Cheinnselaig (d.1089)

|   | | +-6. Mael Morda ua Domnaill (d.1090)

|   | | | | +-8. NN Mac Faelain

|   | | | +-7. Cailleach ingen Mac Faelain

|   | +-5. Sadb ingen Mael Morda Ua Domnaill

|   |   |       +-10. Murchad mac Nuallain

|   |   |     +-9. Dunlaing ua Nuallain

|   |   |   +-8. Mael Maud Ua Nuallain

|   |   | +-7. Cele Ua Nuallain

|   |   +-6. Luanmaisi ingen Ceile Ua Nuallain

| +-3. Muirchertach Ua Tuathail King of Ui Muiredaig (d.1164)

+-2. Mor ingen Muirchertaig Ua Tuathail

  |             +-10. Cennetig mac Morda

  |           +-9. Cernach ua Morda King of Loigsi (d.1018)

  |         +-8. Cinnead Ua Morda

  |       +-7. Amargen Ua Morda King of Loigsi (d.1026)

  |       | +-8. Echrad ingen Carlusa**Already Printed**

  |     +-6. Faelan Ua Morda King of Loigsi (d.1069)

  |   +-5. Amargen ua Morda King of Loigsi (d.1097)

  |   | | +-7. Mac Dairgin Ua Thairmeascain

  |   | +-6. Maelind ingen Meic Dairgin

  | +-4. Loigsech Ua Morda King of Loigsi (d.1149)

  | | +-5. Gormlaith ingen Mac Carrach Calma

  +-3. Cacht ingen Loigsig Ua Morda

    |   +-6. Dunlaing Ua Caellaide

    | +-5. Finn Ua Caellaide King of half of Osraige

    | | |       +-10. Cellach mac Cerbaill King of Osraige (d.908)

    | | |     +-9. Donnchad mac Cellaig King of Osraige (d.976)

    | | |   +-8. Gilla Patraic mac Donnchada King of Osraige (d.996)

    | | | +-7. Tadg mac Gilla Patraic (d.1027)

    | | +-6. Dirborgail ingen Taidg (d.1098)

    +-4. Gormlaith ingen Finn Ua Caellaide (d.1152)

 


                                                                                                           

 

One of the most prominent of the ancestors of Eve was King Brian Boruma (mac Cennetig).  My discussion here is based largely on Wikipedia.  Prior to Brian much of the island of Ireland had been long dominated by the Ui Neill clan, descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages (d. 405) (now the O’Neill family).  Brian was part of the Dalcassian (Dal gCais) clan, living north of the Shannon estuary, in what is now County Clare.  The Dalcassians formed the kingdom of Thomond, of which Brian’s father, Cennetag mac Lorcain was king.  When Cennetag died in 951, he was succeeded by Brian’s older brother, Mathgamain.  Mathgamain attempted to exert control over the entire province of Munster.  He was opposed by Mael Muad mac Brain (of the Eóganachta clan).  For a couple of hundred years, the Vikings had been raiding various parts of Ireland.  They generally did not attempt to control territory although they did establish the settlement of Dublin.  The Viking king Ivar of Limerick assisted Mael Maud in his fight against Mathgamain.  In 976 Mael Muad murdered Mathgamain.  Brian succeeded his brother, defeated Ivar in 977, and took on Mael Maud in 978, defeating him in the battle of Belach Lechta, thereby extending his rule over Munster.  Brian then turned to an attempt to control Leinster to the east and Connacht to the north.  His main antagonist in this effort was King Mael Sechnaill mac Domnaill of the province of Meath.  The conflict went on until 997.  Brian’s strategy was to use naval forces on the rivers and an army on land in a pincer movement.  Or Brian would have his navy undertake a diversionary attack some distance from where his army would strike. 

 

By 996 Brian had managed to control Leinster, but was resisted by the king of Leinster, Mael Morda mac Murchada.  In 999 Brian attempted to lay siege to the Hiberno-Norse city of Dublin but was met by Mael Morda and his cousin, Sigtrygg Silkbeard, the ruler of Dublin.  The armies met at the Battle of Glen Mama.  Brian was victorious in a particularly bloody fight.  Subsequently Brian asked Sigtrygg to stay on as ruler of Dublin.  Then Brian married Sigtrygg’s mother and Mael Morda’s sister, Gormlaith.  Their son, Donnchad mac Brian later became king of Munster and is an ancestor of Eve of Leinster.  Many of the ancestors of Eve on the chart are ancestors of Gormlaith. 

 

In 1000 Brian led an army against King Mael Sechnaill mac Domnaill in Meath whose ally was King Cathal mac Conchobar mac Taidg of Connacht.  In 1002 Mael Sechnaill surrendered but the circumstances of that surrender are murky, apparently it happened without a fight.  As a result, Brian became High King of Ireland, controlling all of Ireland except Ulster (now Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom).  Ten more years of battle resulted in the subjugation of Ulster.

 

In 1012 Mael Morda mac Murchada rebelled.  Efforts to suppress him went on for a couple of years, with Mael Morda attempting, mostly unsuccessfully, to enlist other regional rulers in his aid.  He was able to engage some Norsemen through the intervention of Sigtrygg.  The forces of Brian met those of Mael Morda on Good Friday, April 23, 1014 at the Battle of Clontarf (Clontarf is now a suburb of Dublin).  Details of the battle are not known, Brian’s men were victorious, but Brian, his son Murchad, grandson Toirdelbach, and Mael Morda were all killed.

 

Brian is thought of as a great leader of Ireland, the first real High King of all the island.  Descendants later took the last name O’Brian or O’Brien.  Wikipedia cites several novels based on Brian’s life, including Donal O’Neill, Sons of Death and Morgan Llywelyn, Lion of Ireland.  He is also mentioned in the Disney film Darby O’Gill and the Little People. 

 

Brian’s son, Donnchad succeeded him as king of Munster, but his rule did not extend to all of Ireland.  His half-brother Tadc was killed in 1023; according to one of the annals Donnchad ordered the killing.  One of Donnchad’s main rivals was Diarmait Mac Mael na mBo, the King of Leinster and also an ancestor of Eve.  Another antagonist was Toirdelbach Ua Brian, Tadc’s son.  Donnchad was deposed in 1063 and went on a pilgrimage to Rome where he died and is buried.