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Colla da Chrioch, First King of Oriel


John O'Hart was a Fellow of the Royal Historical and Archeological Association of Ireland. In 1875 he produced Irish Pedigrees or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation, a compendium of Irish genealogical and historical material. Despite the vast amount of valuable material O'Hart published, he makes some ill-founded guesses on the genealogies of families. O'Hart says that the MacGoughs and McGeoughs are among the families that descended from Colla da Chrioch, one of the three Collas. In the fourth century, Colla da Chrioch was the first king of Oriel. (See the quotation from O'Hart on Ann McGeough Harney's website, Monaghan, The County.) As the table below shows, O'Hart identifies an Echdach (or Eochaidh), a great-grandson of Colla da Chrioch, as the progenitor of the McGoughs.

If there is a connection between the McGoughs and one of the three Collas, a better candidate might be Colla Meann. The people called Mughdhorna, of which some of the ancient McGoughs were a part, were supposedly descended from and named after Mughdhorn [Mourne], the son of Colla Meann. See my web page Mughdhorna.

 Table of Contents 


Eochaidh Doihmlen

Eochaidh Doimhlen was the son of Caibre-Lifeacher, Irish Kings #117, who reigned from 268 to 284 A.D., and brother of Fiacha Sraibhtine, Irish Kings #120, who reigned from 286 to 322 A.D. One of Eochaidh's three sons, one of the three Collas, was Colla Uais, Irish Kings #121, who reigned from 323 to 326. Eochaidh's other two sons were Colla da Chrioch (Muireadhach, Muiredach, Colla Fochríth) and Colla Meann (Mend), from whom came the Mugdhorna. I included Eochaidh Doimhlen (Dubhlen) in my table of Irish kings named Eochaidh in my page: Origins of the Surname McGough, under Eochaidh—Name of Ancient Irish Kings. Eochaidh himself was not a king, but is listed because he was the father of the three Collas and possibly the origin of the McEochaidh that became McGough.

Donald M. Schlegel has written a comprehensive article on the three Collas that was published in the Clogher Record: The Origin of the Three Collas and the Fall of Emain, pages 159 through 181. Because of their success in battle, he suggests that the three Collas may have received Roman military training.

See: The Pedigree of Colla da Chrioch MacEchach Duibhlein aka Muireadach; `Colla of the Two Countries.'


Ui Eachaigh

In the Heremon Genealogies section of Irish Pedigrees, John O'Hart includes this entry under Rogan:

"Eachach, brother of Feig who is No. 88 on the 'O'Hanlon' pedigree, was the ancestor of O'Ruagain; anglicized Rogan.

"88. Eachach ('eachach:' Irish 'having many horses'): son of Felim, a quo [from whom came] Ua Eachaigh, and Mac Eachaigh, anglicized Mageough, Magough, Magoff, Goff, Gough, and Magahy.

"89. Olioll: his son; lord of the territory of Eachach Mor; had a brother, named Cathfoighoid, who was lord of Eachach Beg." Irish Pedigrees or The Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation (Limited American Edition) volume II, chapter IV, page 771.

The sept that O'Hart describes as the Ua Eachaigh may be the Uí Eochadha (later anglicized as Haughey, O'Hoey and Hoy), who were noted chiefs of Uladh (Ulster) in the 10th century. The ancestors of these Uí Eochadha (or Ui Eathach or Ui Eachach) were lords in county Down and south Antrim for many centuries. See Ancient Uladh—Kingdom of Ulster. O'Donovan's edition of the Annals of the Four Masters reports the death in 548 A.D. of the king of Ulidia, Eochaidh, son of Connla, son of Caelbhadh, son of Crunn Badhrai, "from whom are the Ui-Eathach-Uladh." His note says:

"Ui-Eathach-Uladh: nepotes Echodii Ulidiae. These were the inhabitants of the baronies of Iveagh in the County of Down.—See Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down and Connor and Dromore, by the Rev. Wm. Reeves, M.B., pp. 348 to 352."

Another of O'Donovan's notes indicates that the death of the Eochaidh for whom Iveagh was named was reported in the Annals of Clonmacnoise in 550, where Eochaidh was referred to as "Ahagh mac Conley, King of Ulster, of whom Iveagh is called." The Annals of the Four Masters also report that, in the year 357, after one year in the sovereignty of Ireland, Caelbhadh (Irish Kings #123), son of Crunn Badhrai, King of Ulster, was slain by Eochaidh Muighmheadhoin (Irish Kings #124). (The length of time between the death of Caelbadh and his grandson, Eochaidh—190 years— seems too long.) The Eochaidh identified by O'Donovan as the progenitor of the Ui Eathach does not fit the pedigree set out by O'Hart. The first table below sets out the pedigree for the Eachach identified by O'Donovan. The second table sets out the pedigree of the Eochaidh identified by O'Hart.

The Echu who gave his name to the baronies of Iveagh in county Down is described in Place Names of Northern Ireland, volume 3, County Down III, The Mournes, at page 67:
"The name Iveagh derives from Uib Echach (later spelled Uibh Eachach), the dative or locative form of the tribal name Ui Eachach 'grandsons/descendants of Echu'. Ui Echach were one of the tribes of the confederation of the Ulaid 'Ulstermen', after whom the province of Ulster is named ... The Echu from whom they claimed descent is reputed to be either father or son of Crund Ba Drui, a descendant of Fiacha Araide, ancestor of Dal nAraide ... The Ui Eachach were also known as Ui Echach Coba to distinguish them from similarly named tribes, to the east in the Ards peninsula (Ui Eachach Arda), and to the west in Airgialla. ..."

This is the same Eochaidh identified by O'Donovan, but not the Eochaidh identified by O'Hart. Fiachra, or Fiachach, Ariade was the 37th king of Ulster. The genealogy from Fiachach Araidi to Echach Coba is set out, as part of two much longer pedigrees, under the subheading Uí Eathach Cobha, at Ancient Uladh Kingdom of Ulster: "Conaill m. Echach Coba (a quo Úi Echach Coba) m. Cruind Ba Druí/m. Fráechair m. Fergusa m. Lugdach m. Rossa m. Imchatha m. Feideilmid m. Caiss m. Fiachach Araidi." See also: The Magennis Origins. Both sites trace the genealogy back to King Milesius of Spain. Colla da Chrioch is not part of this pedigree.


Fiachach Araide to Eochaidh

The following table shows the pedigree from Fiachach Araide to Eochaidh. Each name listed is a son of the person listed immediately above. The third column presents the pedigree from the Stevens/Southworth/Medieval Database on World Connect. (Use "Advanced Search," and put in given name only.)
Ancient Uladh O'Donovan/Annals Stevens/Southworth Keating Genealogies— E. (MacAnghusa)
Fiachach Araidi Fiacha Araide Fiachu Araide (K of Ulster), Reference 9090. 83 Fiachaidh Aruidhe From him was named Dal nAraidi.
Cais   Cas, #9089 84 Cas  
Feideilmid   Fedelmid (K of Ulster), #9088 85 Feidhlimidh  
Imcatha   Imchad (K of Ulster), #9087 86 Iomchadh  
Rossa   Ros (K of Ulster), #9086 87 Rossa  
Lugdach   Lugaid, #9085 88 Lughaidh  
Eochaidh   Eochaid (K of Ulster), #9084 89 Eochaidh, from whom Ui Eochach of Ulster  
Cruind Ba Drui Crunn Badhraiis/Crunn Badhrai Crond Ba_Drui (K of Ulster), #9069 90 Cronn Bhadhraoi Married to Indecht.
  Caelbhadh Coelbad (K of Ulster), #9065 91 Caolbhradh Irish Kings #123. Married to Ceindi (of Ui Labrada)
  Connlo Condla (K of Dal nAraidi), #9064 92 Conall. Brother to this Conall was Saran s. of Caolbadh from whom is sprung Mac Artain.  
Echach Coba (a quo Úi Echach Coba)   Eochaid (K of Ulster), #9063. Shows year of death as 553. (splits off to a different brother) 93 Fothadh #9280 M548.9 The death of Eochaidh, son of Connlo, son of Caelbhadh, son of Crunn Badhrai, King of Ulidia, from whom are the Ui Eathach Uladh.
Conail   Baetan Caech (K of Dal nAraidi), #9062 94 Maine #9279 Baetan's daughter, Cumne Find, was mother of Mael-Coba #9137 (K of Ulster) who died in 647.
    Fiachna Lurgan (K of Ulster), #9061 95 Saran #9278 Fiachan died 626.
    Eochaid Iarlaithe (K of Dal nAraidi), 9060 96 Mongan #9277 Eochaid died in 666.
    Lethlobar (K of Dal nAraidi) 97 Aodhan #9276 Lethlobar died in 709.


Descent from Colla da Chrioch

Colla da Chrioch had two sons who are important to this part of our story: Rochaid and Fiachra Cassan. Rochaid had a grandson, Fiach or Feig (who was the grandfather of an Eochaidh). This is not the Feig, whom O'Hart describes as the brother of Eachach, the progenitor of the McGoughs. Fiachra Cassan, Rochaidh's brother, had a grandson, Eachach or Eochaidh, who is the person O'Hart identifies as the progenitor of the McGoughs. He lived two generations earlier than the Eachach in Rochaid's line.

This line of descent, from Colla da Chrioch to Eochaidh or Eochy, king of Orgiall, is given by O'Hart: 1. Colla da Chrioch; 2. Rochaidh: his son; 3. Deach Dorn, his son; 4. Fiach (or Feig), his son; 5. Crimthann Liath, his son; 6. Eochaidh [Eochy]. O'Hart says he is unable to give the succession any further. (volume II, page 719).

The Annals of Ulster for the year 514 bring the pedigree on Rochaidh's side one generation further: "U514.1 Cairpre Daim Airgit son of Eochu son of Crimthann son of Fiach son of Daig Duirn son of Reochad son of Colla Dá Crích, king of Airgialla, died." In Gaelic: "U514.1 Cairpri Daim Argit mc. Eathach mc. Crimtoind mc. Fheig mc. Deagha Dhuirnn mc. Reochadha mc. Colla Da Crich, ri Airgiall."

For more genealogies of Colla da Chrioch through his son Rochaid, see Genealogies from Rawlinson B 502, Section 12, De Perita Ceneoil Cairpri Liphechair Incipit, beginning with ¶ 812. The pedigree is: m Eachach m Cremthainn m Feig m Dedaidh dhuirn m Rochadhae m Colla fo crith. See also Historical Sources for the Pedigree of the MacSweeneys and Genelach Meg Tigernain Cloinde Ferghail MacTiernan (related to the Maguires of Fermanagh) on the McLoughlin of Leitrim web page. Both pedigrees carry the line down further: (MacSweeney)—"m Lochlainn m Finnachta m Airt m Domnaill (o fuil mac Domhnaill) m Colgan m Ceallaigh m Tuathail m Maile duin m Tuadain m Tuathail m Daimhin m Cairpre an daimh airgit m Echach" etc. (from O'Clery's Book of Genealogies); McLoughlin—"m Lochlain m Cernaigh m Tigernain m Mailruanaidh (o tait muinter Mael ruanaidh) m Maele duin m Ferghail m Cearnaigh m Lughain m Iorghalaigh m Eignigh m Corbmaic m Fergusa m Aedha m Corpmaic m Cairpre an daim argit m Eachach" etc.

Of Crimthann Liath, O'Hart says:
"Was the King of Orgiall and an old man at the time of the advent of St. Patrick to Ireland, A.D. 432. In the early portion of his reign, the monarch Niall of the Nine Hostages [Irish King #126] conquered that part of Ulster known as the 'Kingdom of Aileach,' which was afterwards divided into the two Principalities of Tirowen and Tirconnell; of which divisions, respectively, Niall's sons Eoghan, and Conall Gulban, were the first princes." Kings of Orgiall (volume II, page 719.)

That an Eochach, son of Crimthann Liath, appears in this pedigree of Rochaidh confused me for a long time. The Eachach that O'Hart identifies as the progenitor of the McGoughs lived two generations earlier than Eachach, son of Crimthann Liath, and was a descendant of Colla da Chrioch through his son Fiachra Cassan, Rochaidh's brother. A comparison of the Genelach Na N-Airther with O'Harts pedigree of the Eachach from whom, he says, came the McGoughs, makes this clear: "Genelach Na N-Airther 1031. Ruaidrí m. Muiredaich m. Ailella m. Cummascaich m. Echuidén m. Ruadacáin m. Cellaich m. Ruadrach m. Conmáel m. Airmedaich m. Feradaich m. Amalgada m. Ailella m. Echdach m. Feidelmid m. Fiachrach Cassáin m. Colla Fochríth." This genealogy is in the Genealogies from Rawlinson B 502, #1031, page 181. The following table shows this pedigree. Each person in this table is the son of the person listed immediately above him. If there is a reference number after a name, the reference is to the Stevens/Mansfied/Southworth Medieval Database on World Connect. (Use "Advanced Search" and enter the given name only.)

The father of Cairbre Lifeachair, the first person named in the table, was Cormac Ulfhada (Ulfhota; `Longbeard') MacAirt, the 115th (and wisest) monarch of Ireland, who converted to Christianity, and died in 266 by choking on a bone from a salmon caught in the Boyne River. See my page: Irish Kings.

Schlegal's Genealogy (or Genelach Na N-Airther (Genealogies from Rawlinson, part 14, #1031) Book of Ballymote (An early Uí Echach (Sil Colla Fochri) genealogy) O'Hart's List (under Rogan) Comments

Cairbre Liffeachair

(Cairbre Lifiochair (Lifechar) MacCormaic)


Irish Kings #117. Ruled from 268 to 284 A.D. (Cairpre Lifechar (K of Ireland), Reference 2639)

Eochaidh Dublein

(Eochaid Domplen (Dubhlen) MacCairpre Liphechair)

  Echach Domlen   (Eochu Domplen, #3717) (Eochaidh Doimhlen and Fiacha Sraibhtine, sons of Cairbre Liffechair, are reported by Annals of the Four Masters in the year 276 to have killed Aengus Gailbuaibhtheach in the ninth year of the sovereignty of Cairbre. O'Donovan's note says: "Eochaidh Doimhlen.—He is the ancestor of all the Oirghialla, in Ulster, and of the O'Kellys of Connaught and their correlative families.")
Colla da Chrioch (Muredach) Colla Fochríth Colla Da Crich   (Muiredach Colla Fochrith, #9119)
Fiachra Cassan Fiachrach Cassáin Fiachrach   (Fiachra Cassan, #3719); Fiachra Cassan MacColla Fochrith.
Felim Feidelmid Feidlimthe Felim (Fedelmid, #9275); Fedelmid (Felim) MacFiachrach Cassain.

Eochaidh (Eochaid, #9274)

(Eochaid Cron MacFeideilmid)

Echdach Echach Eachach Apppears as Aechach in Genelach H. Sinaich .i. Comarba Padraic in the Book of Ballymote #201. His brother was Feig. "('eachach:' Irish 'having many horses'): son of Felim; a quo [from whom came] Ua Eachaigh, and Mac Eachaigh, anglicized Mageough, Magough, Magoff, Goff, Gough, and Magahy." (O'Hart)

(Ailill, #9273)

(Ailill MacEchach Croin)

Ailella Aililla Olioll "Lord of the territory of Eachach Mor; had a brother, named Carthfoighid, who was lord of Eachach Beag." (O'Hart) See M756 below.

(Amalgaid, #9272)

(Amalgaid MacAillela)

Amalgada Amalga Amailgadh [awly] "a quo Cineal Amhailgadh, now 'Clanawley,' in the co. Down." (O'Hart); Amalgaid MacAilella.

(Feradach Culdub, Reference: 9271)

(Feradach Culdub MacAmalada aka Faradach Culdubh)

Feradaich Feradaich Fearach

"had two brothers—1. Rory, 2. Fraochran" (O'Hart). Feradach Culdub MacAnalgada aka Faradach Culdubh.


(The Stevens-Southworth Medieval Database lists another son of Feradach: Mael-Odor Caech, #9270, King of Airthir, who died in 639. See the article on Conmael, below.)

(Mael Odar Caech MacFeradaig aka Mael Ddat Caelbthera; aka Maelodhar (23rd King/Chief) of Airghialla) (Airgialla)

[not listed] [not listed] Giall-Dubh

Duib Da Lethi is in Genealogies from Rawlinson B 502, Genelach Clainne Sinaich, #1032, as the son of Sínaich, brother of Airmedaich (below). Both Sinaich and Airmedaich are shown as sons of Feradaich, above See: Genelach H. Sinaich .i. Comarba Padraic in the Book of Ballymote #201.

(Mael Odar Caech MacFeradaig, who had a son Mael Teglaig ingen Mael Odar.

  Airmedaich Airmedaich Armeadh "a quo Clann Armeidh; had a brother named Sineach, a quo Clann Sineaigh."* (O'Hart) Referred to as Airmedach in the article on Conmael, below.
  Conmáel Conmaei Conmaol "had a brother named Cineadh ('cineadh,' gen. 'cinuid:' Irish, a nation, a kind; Lat. 'gen-us;' Gr. 'gen-os') a quo O'Cinnidh, anglicised Kenny (of Ulster)." (O'Hart). See the article on Conmael, below, which places this Conmael in the early 7th century.
  Ruadrach Ruadrach Ruarach  
  Cellaich Cellaich Ceallach "had a brother named Allen." (O'Hart). Sometimes spelled Cellach.
  Ruadacáin Ruadacan Ruagan "('ruaig:' Irish to pursue; 'an,' one who): ... a quo O'Ruagain." (O'Hart)
  Echuidén Echadon Eochagen  
  Cummascaich Cumascaigh Cumascach  
  Ailella Ailella Olioll  
  Muiredaich Muiredaich Muireadach  
  Ruaidrí Ruaidri Rory The Annals of the Four Masters report that, in 1099 A.D., Ruaidhri Ua Ruadhagain, "lord of the east of Oirghialla, and the most distinguished of the dynasts of Ireland, died in the fortieth year of his chieftainship." This may be a later Ruaidhri.
    Murcad Morogh Fionn O'Ruagain  

*Compare Genelach Clainne Sinaich from Genealogies from Rawlinson, part 14, #1031; An early Uí Nialláin genealogy from the Book of Ballymote.

An article on the Descended Tribes and Families of the Three Collas says that the Síl Fiachra Cassán; that is, the Airthir of Ard Macha, the Úi Nialláin, and the Úi Dorthain, descended from Fiachra Cassán. The Arthir were one of a federation of several tribes in early Ulster that made up the Airghialla. The federation also included the Mughdhorna. The Airthir (Airtheara) were located in Ard Macha (Armagh in what is now the barony of Orior).

Here is an excerpt from an article "The Drumconwell Ogham and its Implications" by R. B. Warner of the Ulster Museum, Belfast, under the subhead The Name Conmáel. The article relates to Conmael, son of Airmedaich, in the above table.

"The people of most of what is now County Armagh were, in Early Christian times, known as the Airthir, or ‘Easterners’ (because they were the eastern branch of the Airgialla). Before the 9th century the Airthir were, apparently, a single tribe. After the 9th century two ruling septs of the Airthir, the Ui Nialláin and the Ui Bresail became substantive tribes which, with a restricted Airthir (the present barony of Orior) and one or two other small tribes formed the federation of Airthir. From an early date the Airthir kings of the Ui Nialláin sept ruled from Loch Cal (Loughgall) just north of Armagh. ... Drumconwell lay in an area called, in the 17th century, Clanconnochy (Glancy 1954, 88 & 98). This is certainly the Clann Conchobhuir whose founder was Conchobor Corrach or Conchobor Macha, late 7th century king of Airthir, of the Ui Bresail sept (CGH 333 c6). West of Drumconwell an extensive area went by the name of Toaghy, possibly from Tuath Echdach (Glancy 1954, 98). [See my page: Airghialla.] The Ui Echdach were a ruling sept of Airthir (and after the 11th century a tribe in their own right). Among their members was Conmáel, son of either Conaing or Airmedach (the genealogies are inconsistent), whose genealogical position would give him a floruit of the early 7th century (CGH 146 e). His uncle (Máelodor Cáech) and distant cousin (Ronán of the Ui Bresail) were both kings of Airthir and we may suppose Conmáel was also. Another Conmáel who may well have been king of Airthir, Conmáel son of Cernach, died in an intratribal battle of the Airthir in 800 (Annals of Ulster). There is some reason to believe that he was a member of the Ui Nialláin sept. The identification of two Airthir royal personages with the name Conmáel is of interest as the name is otherwise unknown in the northern royal genealogies. It was clearly a relatively popular name locally.

"There are, then, a couple of historical persons called Conmáel of the Airthir, one of whom is particularly well placed chronologically and geographically to stand as a candidate for the Conmáel of Drumconwell, both place-name and inscription."

I hope to develop more information on the Eachach, great grandson of Colla da Chrioch, son of Felim, and brother of Feig, described by O'Hart as the progenitor of the McGoughs. I doubt that O'Hart has identified the progenitor of all of the McGoughs. In considering the puzzle, keep in mind the fact that some Irish scholars have concluded that the three Collas themselves are mythical. I also hope to find more information on the Eochaidh identified by O'Donovan as the progenitor of the Ui Eathach. To expedite continuing research, I have collected entries relating to the Ui Eathach Cobha from the Annals of the Four Masters and the Annals of Ulster, and published them on a separate web page, Ui Eathach in County Down.


McMahon Website

A good source of information on Colla da Chrioch and his descendants is the website: Clan McMahon of Oriel—Counties Monaghan, Armagh, Fermanagh, Louth Ireland and Beyond. The site included several pedigree charts.

Title: Colla da Chrioch, First King of Oriel
Updated January 19, 2008  
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