Eochu succeeded his father Áedán as king of Dál Riata in about 604. Adomnán, who states that he was one of Áedán's younger sons, and was chosen as Áedán's successor by St. Columba, refers to him by the similar name Eochaid ["Echodius autem Buide post patrem in regnum successit." Adomnán, 1, 9 (p. 33); see the page of Eochaid mac Echach for comments on the two names Eochu and Eochaid]. He was succeeded about 632 by Connad Cerr, who was probably his son (see below). The Duan Albanach, although it correctly places his reign between the reigns of Áedán and Connad Cerr, gives him an unbelievable 70 year reign [Duan Albanach, 131]. Most of the Latin Lists give him a 16 year reign [Poppleton MS, Lists "F", "I", "K", KKES, 253, 270, 281, 286; cf. 15 years in List "D", ibid, 264]. The number of years has apparently been corrupted at some point, but it is difficult to give a correction, because the chronology of the annals is especially troublesome during the same period. [See below for comments on the chronology.]
Date of Birth: Unknown.
Place of Birth: Unknown.
Date of Death: ca. 632.
["Mors Echdach Buidhe, regis Pictorum, filii Aedain. Sic in Libro Cuanach inueni." AU (s.a. 628); "Mors Eochach Buidhi maic Aedain." AT 17: 181; "Mors Eacach Buidhe mic Aedhain anno .xx. regni sui." CS 83]
Place of Death: Unknown.
Áedán mac Gabran, d. ca. 604, king of Dál Riata, ca. 573-ca. 604.
[Adomnán, i, 9 (p. 33); AU (s.a. 628); AT; Senchus, 41]
Senchus Fer nAlban gives Eochu eight sons ["Oc[h]t meic autem la Eocho Bude mac Aedain .i. Domnall Brecc. & Domnall Dond. Conall Crandomna Conall Becc Connad Cerr. Failbe Domangart. Cu cen manthair." Senchus, 41]. However, the attributions of Connad Cerr and Domnall Dond as sons of Eochu are uncertain.
Domnall Brecc mac Echach Buide, d. ca. 643, king of Dál Riata, ca. 633-643.
Conall Crandomna mac Echach Buide, d.
ca. 659, king of Dál Riata, ca. 643-ca. 659.
["Conall Crannamna moritur." AU (s.a. 659) "Conall Crandamna mortuus est." AT]
Conall Becc mac Echach Buide.
Failbe mac Echach Buide, d. ca. 632.
["Uel bellum Fedho Euin ubi ceciderunt nepotes Aedain, Rigullon, Faelbe." AU 629 (s.a. 628)]
Domangart mac Echach Buide.
Cú cen mathair mac Echach Buide.
Connad Cerr, d. ca. 632-3, king of Dál
Riata, ca. 632-3.
Connad Cerr is called a son of Eochu Buide by Senchus Fer nAlban (quoted above) and by the synchronisms ["Eocho Buidhe & Conadh Cerr a mac" Boyle (1971), 174; similarly in Thurneysen (1933), 88]. The Latin lists make him son of Conall mac Comgaill, which gives a long chronology [see KKES 150]. The Duan Albanach states that he ruled for a quarter of a year [Duan Alabanch 131]. The account of his reign is complicated by one entry in the so-called Annals of Tigernach, which names him as king of Dál Riata two years before the death of Eochu Buide ["Cath Aird Coraind, in quo Dáil Ríada uictores erant, in quo cecidit Fiachna mac Demain la Connadh Cerr ríg Dal Ríada." AT 17: 179; cf "Bellum Ardda Corrand, Dal Riati uictores erant, in quo cecidit Fiachna filius Demain." AU (s.a. 626); CS 81 also does not name Connad as the king]. The annals are somewhat confused at this point, and it is not clear whether Connad died in the same year as Eochu Buide or the year afterward ["Bellum Feda Euin in quo Mael Caich m. Scannail, rex Cruithne, uictor fuit. Dal Riati ceciderunt. Conid Cerr, rex Dal Riati, cecidit." AU (s.a. 628); "Cath Fedha Éoin, in quo Mael Caith mac Scandail, rex Cruithniu, uictor erat. Dal Riada cecidit. Condadh Cerr rí Dal Riada cecidit, & Dicull mac Eachach rí ceneoil Cruithne cecidit, et Nepotes Aedan ceciderunt, id est Rigullan mac Conaing & Failbe mac Eachach & Oisiric mac Albruit rigdomna Saxan cum strage maxima suorum." AT 17: 180-1; or, in the following year in AT and CS: "Bass Conaing Chírr ut alii dicunt, anno primo reghní suí, quí uictus est i cath Fhedha Eoin." AT 17: 181 (missing a kalend in Stokes's edition); "Mors Connaidh Cirr, ut alíí dicunt anno 1º regni sui in bello Feda Euin" CS, 83].
Supposed son (perhaps a grandson):
Domnall Dond, king of Dál Riata,
perhaps the same person as:
Domnall mac Conaill Crandomnai, d. ca. 696.
Domnall Dond appears in the Duan Albanach and in one version of the synchronisms as king of Dál Riata after a certain Dúnchad (Dúngal in Duan Albanach), who was either successor or joint ruler with Conall Crandomna [Duan Albanach 131; Thurneysen (1933), 89; he appears as "Dondcadh Dond" in Boyle (1971), 175]. He appears as predecessor of either Máel Duin mac Conaill [Duan, Thurneysen] or of another Dúnchad [Boyle (1971), where the three consecutive Dúnchads appears corrupt]. Since attempting to identify Domnall Dond with Domnall mac Conaill Crandomnai requires switching the order of Domnall Dond and Máel Duin, and Domnall mac Conaill Crandomnai does not appear as king in his obituary ["Iugulatio Domnaill filii Conaill Crandamnai." AU (s.a. 695); AT 17- 214; CS, 113], the identification seems uncertain. Domnall Dond appears to occupy a position in the king list that should be occupied by his nephew Domangart mac Domnaill Bricc, who appears as king of Dál Riata at his obituary in the annals, but is missing from the king lists.
Supposed daughter (from a late source of dubious reliability):
NN, mother of Congal
Cáech, d. ca. 639, king of Dál nAraide.
[Bannerman (1974), 95-6, citing a story called Fleadh Dúin na nGédh, from the eleventh century in its present form. This tale has an inaccurate account of the Battle of Magh Rath in about 637, mistakenly stating that Eochu was still alive at that time.]
Falsely attributed son:
Dicuíll mac Echach, d. ca. 632, king
of Cenél Cruithne.
See the annal entry quoted under Connad Cerr above. Although Dicuíll was a son of an Eochu, there does not seem to be any good reason to include him among the sons of Eochu Buide [Hudson (1994), 7, but put as a son of Áedán in the genealogical table on page 168, apparantly by mistake].
The Irish annals
The chronology of events in the Irish annals presents significant problems, particularly in the seventh century and earlier. One of the main problems was the typical lack of use of the AD year (or any other fixed chronology) in the early annals. While some annals, such as the Annals of Ulster (AU) and the Annals of the Four Masters, do exist with an AD dating, these AD dates were only introduced into the annals many centuries after the fact, and are often incorrect. In particular, the Annals of the Four Masters are notorious for their inaccurate AD dates. In order to see how the inaccuracies occurred, one must understand how the annals were composed and transmitted. The early Irish annals belong to what is called the Kalend Tradition [see McCarthy (2005)]. A typical year would begin not by stating the AD year, but with a "kalend" (typically abbreviated K., Kl., etc.), referring to the kalends of January (1 January), often followed by "ferial" data (stating the day of the week on which 1 January occurred) or other chronological data (such as lunar data), all of which would presumably serve as a chronological check if accurately transmitted. Unfortunately, the ferial data was often miscopied or even deleted, with the result that different years were marked only by the existence of kalend at the beginning of the year. All that was needed to introduce a chronological discrepancy was for a kalend to be missed in copying (or, less common, for an additional kalend to be introduced). In addition, it was the practice for annals to be compiled by collating two or more annals. This could be done by finding events common to the source annals, and then combining the annals into a single annal. Thus, if a compiler was collating two different annals, one of which had a chronological dislocation because of missing kalends, it might happen that events which occurred in different years would be placed in the same year in the compiled annal. Similarly, there are also cases in which the same event is placed in two (or more) different years in one of these compiled annals, sometimes with the discrepancy noted by the annalist.
Unfortunately, all that survives today for the early Irish period is annals which have gone through an unknown number of stages of compilation, resulting in interrelationships which are often very complicated. Some idea of the contents of the original annals can be obtained by comparing the different surviving versions. No detailed discussion of this is attempted here [see, e.g. McCarthy (1998), McCarthy (2005) and the bibliographies in those papers]. We give here only an oversimplified outline along with an indication of how AD dates on this page have been attempted. Among the surviving annals, it is generally agreed that the Annals of Ulster give the best and most complete indication of the content of the early Irish annals. The "Post-Patrician" set of these annals begins with a year labelled 431, and proceeds year by year to a year labelled 1012, followed by a blank year, before continuing with 1014, 1015, etc. The "conventional wisdom" is that the years from 1014 on are accurate, and that for the years prior to 1014, one must add one year in order to get the true AD date. In practice, it is more complicated. The years from 1014 on in AU seem to be accurate up to the end of the Mac Airt - Mac Niocaill volume (although there are problems in the later part of AU), and there does seem to be any serious problem with using the conventional wisdom back to the beginning of the eighth century. In the first half of the seventh century, there are serious problems, and many events in the second half of that century seem to fit better with the "uncorrected" chronology rather than the "corrected" chronology. For this reason, it is unfortunate that events in AU are often referenced with respect to the "corrected" chronology (e.g., the reference numbers for events in the Mac Airt - Mac Niocaill volume). The most ambitious attempts to give a corrected version of the chronology of the early Irish annals are due to Daniel McCarthy [McCarthy (1998), McCarthy (2005)], who has provided tables collating many of the Irish annal collections, and has produced a corrected chronology, which should still not be treated as if it were exact. Much study is still needed on the chronology of the early Irish annals.
What is the chronological convention on these pages?
For events dated from 700 to 1012 in the manuscript of AU, the conventional "corrected" chronology is used, obtained by adding one year to the manuscript date of AU. All dates on this page prior to 700 and qualified by "about" or "ca." are from McCarthy's tables [McCarthy (2005)] unless otherwise stated. All bibliographical references given here in the form "AU (s.a., year)" are given with respect to the "uncorrected" chronology. References from other annals, such as the so-called Annals of Tigernach (AT) and Chronicon Scotorum (CS), are given by page number of the published version, with the "corrected" chronology of AU used as a guide for the date after 700, and McCarthy's tables before 700.
Adomnán = Alan Orr Anderson & Marjorie Ogilvie Anderson, eds., Adomnán's Life of Columba (revised edition, Oxford, 1991).
AT = Whitley Stokes, ed. & trans., "The Annals of Tigernach", Revue Celtique 16 (1895), 374-419; 17 (1896), 6-33, 116-263, 337-420; 18 (1897), 9-59, 150-303, 374-91. See also the CELT website.
AU = Seán Mac Airt and Gearóid Mac Niocaill, eds., The Annals of Ulster (Dublin, 1983). See also the CELT website.
Bannerman (1974) = John Bannerman, Studies in the History of Dalriada (Edinburgh & London, 1974).
Boyle (1971) = A. Boyle, "The Edinburgh Synchronisms of Irish Kings", Celtica 9 (1971): 169-179.
CS = W. M. Hennessy, ed. & trans., Chronicum Scotorum (Rolls Series 46, London, 1866). See also the CELT website.
Duan Albanach = Jackson (1956) [critical edition], Jackson (1957) [parallel text and translation]; unless otherwise specified, citations are to the latter.
Hudson (1994) = Benjamin T. Hudson, Kings of Celtic Scotland (Westport, CT, London, 1994).
Jackson (1956) = Kenneth Jackson, "The Poem A eolcha Alban uile", Celtica 3 (1956): 149-167.
Jackson (1957) = Kenneth Jackson, "The Duan Albanach", Scottish Historical Review 36 (1957): 125-137.
McCarthy (1998) = Daniel P. McCarthy, "The Chronology of the Irish Annals", PRIA 98C (1998), 203-255 [pdf available at http://www.ria.ie/publications/journals/ProcCI/1998/PC98/PC98.html]
McCarthy (2005) = Daniel P. Mc Carthy, "Chronological synchronisation of the Irish annals", available at http://www.cs.tcd.ie/Dan.McCarthy/chronology/synchronisms/annals-chron.htm.
Senchus = John Bannerman, ed., Senchus Fer nAlban, in Bannerman (1974), 27-156 (text at 41-7, translation 47-9)
Thurneysen (1933) = R. Thurneysen, "Synchronismen der irischen Könige", Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 19 (1933): 81-99.
Compiled by Stewart Baldwin
First uploaded 26 April 2007.
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