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Gaelic British Isles & Ireland

Tribes and States of Ireland


MapKings of Munster (Gaels of Ireland)
Incorporating the Brigantes Coriondi, Erainn, Hiberni/Iverni, Luceni, Usdiae, Uterni, Velabri/Vellabori, & Vodii

There exists a very small window through which to view the early tribes of Gaelic Ireland (those which largely pre-date the Roman presence in Britain). Ptolemy's Geographia recorded the tribes of Ireland some time in the second century AD, seemingly the first person to do so. Shortly after this, between the second and fourth centuries AD, most of Ireland shifted from tribal naming to descent naming. The shift was so complete by around AD 400 that it is almost impossible to link many of the early tribal names to the later descent names. Within the territory that later formed Munster dwelt the Erainn tribe. This was the name which later came to be used to describe the entire island. From west to east, the tribes in this region were the Iverni (the later Erainn), Vellabori (or Velabri), Hiberni (or Uterni), Usdiae (or Vodii), Coriondi, and Brigantes, all largely along the coastline, avoiding the mountains.

The Brigantes, like the Brigantii tribe in the Alps and the Brigantes of Britain, took their name from the Celtic goddess Brigantia.

By the sixth century the Erainn were being replaced by the Eóganachta (pronounced 'owen-achta'). They made Cashel their capital, the name coming from the Latin castrum, or castle, revealing the existence of contacts with Roman Britain. The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig in Irish Gaelic), occupied since about 1500 BC, remained the seat of Munster's kings for centuries until the Norman kings of England conquered Ireland.

(Additional information by Edward Dawson, and from Geography, Ptolemy.)

976 - 1014

Brian Bóruma macCennétig / Brian Boru

High King (1002-1014).

1022 - 1064

Donnchad MacBrian

Son. High King (1022-1064).

1064 - 1086

Toirdelbach O'Brien / Turlough

Son. King of Dublin (1072-1074?), and High King (1072-1086).


Toirdelbach O'Brien's death sees Munster divided for his sons, Tadc, Muirchertach and Diarmait. Tadc dies soon afterwards, and Muirchertach banishes Diarmait, claiming the entire kingdom and also the high kingship of Ireland.

1086 - 1114

Muirchertach II MacToirdelbaig O'Brien

Son. King of Dublin (1074-1086), and High King (1086-1119?).

1114 - 1118

Muirchertach becomes ill to the point where he is unable to prevent his brother from seizing control of Munster. The king captures Dermot in 1115, but it takes him three more years to regain full control of his kingdom.

1114 - 1115

Diarmait / Dermot

Brother. Captured.

1115 - 1119?

Muirchertach II MacToirdelbaig O'Brien


1121 - 1135

Munster is under the direct control of the high kings of Ireland.

1141 - 1175

Munster is under the direct control of the high kings of Ireland.

1168 - 1194

Domnall Mór Ua Briain / Donnell More

Son of Toirdelbach O'Brien. Also king of Thomond.

1175 - 1177

Much of Ireland, including the majority of Munster by 1177, now falls under the control of the kings of England.

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