History Files


Gaelic Kingdoms

Kingdoms of Ireland




Kings of Uí Failghe (Gaels of Ireland)

An ancient kingdom whose borders are largely mirrored in the modern County Offaly.

The modern name Offaly is most likely to be a mangled Anglo-Norman version of the Gaelic original, Failghe. The 'f' would have been a 'v' in prehistory and before that a 'w' sound (the Roman 'v') in common Celtic. The '-ghe' suffix is less clear, possibly a form of '-ig' and/or '-/ic'? If the latter, then Wallic (equivalent to 'Welsh', 'Gallish') might be the name's oldest form.

(Additional information by Edward Dawson.)

early 6th cent

St Piran is the patron saint of tin-miners, and is generally regarded as the national saint of Cornwall. While the saint's origins are open to debate, it is generally accepted that he is St Ciarán of Saigir who had been born and raised on the island of Cape Clear off County Cork in Ireland. His parents are Lughaidh and Liedania (father and mother respectively). After studying scriptures in Rome, he returns to Ireland to be made bishop at his monastic settlement of Saighir Kieran in County Offaly (the remnants of Uí Failghe). There is no reference to his death but St Piran is best known for landing on Perran Beach in Cornwall in the early sixth century and building the tiny St Piran's Oratory on Penhale Sands near Perranporth.

St Piran's Oratory, Cornwall
The 2014 project to unveil the 1500 year-old St Piran's Oratory in Cornwall will include long-term conservation and display to the public