The Kings of Brega were rulers of Brega, a petty kingdom north of Dublin in medieval Ireland.



Brega took its name from Magh Breagh (Breá), meaning "fine plain", in modern County Meath, County Louth and County Dublin, Ireland. They formed part of the Uí Néill kindred, belonging to the Síl nÁedo Sláine branch of the southern Uí Néill. The kingdom of Brega included the Hill of Tara, the site where the High King of Ireland was proclaimed. Brega was bounded on the east by the Irish Sea and on the south by the River Liffey. It extended northwards across the River Boyne to include Sliabh Breagha the line of hills in southern County Louth. The western boundary, which separated it from the Kingdom of Mide, was probably quite fluid and is not accurately known.[1]

Brega was annexed in the 6th century by the Uí Néill. By the middle of the 8th century the Síl nÁedo Sláine had split into two hostile branches: Southern Brega, or the Kingdom of Loch Gabhair, which was ruled by the Uí Chernaig; and Northern Brega, or the Kingdom of Cnogba/Knowth, which was ruled by the Uí Chonaing. Despite this, many kings of Brega ruled over both areas, and thus Brega as a whole, until the kingdom's extinction in the early years of the Norman invasion of Ireland. In later centuries Brega was threatened by the rise of the Viking Kingdom of Dublin and came under the suzerainty of the kings of Mide. In the divisions of that kingdom in the twelfth century parts of Brega, or East Mide, came under the control of Tigernán Ua Ruairc of Breifne and Diarmaid mac Murchadha of the Laighin. Donnchad Ua Cerbaill of Airgíalla, the half-brother of Ua Ruairc, took Árd Ciannachta and consolidated his position by donating land from it for Mellifont Abbey.

Persons in bold considered to be High Kings of Ireland.[2]
  1. Áed Sláine (died 604) son of Diarmait mac Cerbaill
  2. Conall Laeg Breg mac Áedo Sláine (died 612)
  3. Congal mac Áedo Sláine (died 634)
  4. Ailill Cruitire mac Áedo Sláine (died 634)
  5. Blathmac (died 665) and Diarmait (died 665), sons of Áed Sláine
  6. Conaing Cuirre mac Congaile (died 662)
  7. Sechnassach (died 671) son of Blathmac
  8. Cenn Fáelad (died 675) son of Blathmac
  9. Finsnechta Fledach (died 695) son of Dúnchad son of Áed Sláine
  10. Congalach mac Conaing Cuirre (died 696)
  11. Irgalach mac Conaing Cuirre (died 702)
  12. Amalgaid mac Congalaig (died 718)
  13. Conall Grant mac Cernaig (died 718)
  14. Fogartach (died 724) son of Niall son of Cernach Sotal son of Diarmait
  15. Cináed (died 728) son of Irgalach
  16. Conaing mac Amalgado (died 742)
  17. Indrechtach mac Dungalaig (died 748)
  18. Dúngal mac Amalgado (died 759)
    1. -Coirpre mac Fogartaig (died 771)
  19. Congalach mac Conaing (died 778)
  20. Diarmait mac Conaing (died 786)
  21. Flann mac Congalaig (died 812)
  22. Cernach mac Congalaig (died 818)
  23. Cummascach mac Congalaig (died 839)
  24. Conaing mac Flainn (died 849)
  25. Cináed mac Conaing (died 851)
  26. Flann mac Conaing (died 868)
  27. Flannacán mac Cellaig (died 896)
  28. Máel Finnia mac Flannacain (died 903)
  29. Máel Mithig mac Flannacain (died 919)

Kings of Cnogba/Knowth


List incomplete: see Mac Shamhráin, 2004. The Uí Chonaing had earlier been settled around Tailtiu and Ráith Airthir in the valley of the Blackwater; that district was left to another branch of Síl nÁeda Sláne, Síl nDlúthaig upon the conquest of the Ciannachta Breg during the reign of Cináed mac Írgalaig.[3] The title King of Ciannachta is first used by this dynasty in the Annals of Ulster in the year 742 and the use of the title King of Cnogba in 818; prior to this, it was a title used by the Ciannachta themselves. Earlier kings can be considered chiefs of the Uí Chonaing.

Kings of Lagore/Deiscert Breg (South Brega)


List incomplete: see Mac Shamhráin, 2004. The title King of Southern Brega does not appear in the Annals of Tigernach until 729 and in the Annals of Ulster until 751. Earlier rulers can be considered rulers of the Uí Chernaig sept of Síl nÁedo Sláine.


  1. ^ T. M. Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland (2000), p. 15; James Henthorn Todd, Cogad Gaedel re Gallaib (1867), p. L.
  2. ^ This list is based on Francis J.Byrne, Irish Kings and High Kings, Appendix II; T.M.Charles Edwards, Early Christian Ireland, Appendix II; with gaps filled in by the poem Síl Aeda Sláne Na Sleg found in the Book of Leinster
  3. ^ T.M. Charles-Edwards, pg.551–553


  • J.H. Moore, Notices of the town of Navan I, in Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquarians of Ireland 23, 1893, pp. 55–63 (parts II and III in JRSAI 1894 and 1895)
  • Eoin MacNeill, Colonisation under early kings of Tara, Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society 16/3-4, 1935, pp. 101–24.
  • S. Ma na Midhe, Some notes on Navan, ancient and modern, Riocht na Midhe 1/1, 1955, pp. 53–60
  • Byrne, Francis John, Historical note on Cnogba (Knowth), in Excavations at Knowth, Co. Meath, 1962–65 (George Eogan ed.), Proc. RIA C 66, pp. 383–400; Irish Kings and High-Kings, Batsford, London, 1973. ISBN 0-7134-5882-8; A nnote on Trim and Sletty, Peritia 3, pp. 316–19
  • D. O Murchadha, Odhbha and Navan, Riocht na Midhe 8/4, 1992–93, pp. 112–23
  • Thomas Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-521-36395-0
  • Mark Clinton, Settlement Dynamics in Co. Meath:the Kingdom of Loegaire, Peritia 14, pp. 372–401, 2000
  • Ailbhe Mac Shamhráin, Church and dynasty in Early Christian Brega: Lusk, Inis Pátraic and the cast of Máel-Finnia, king and saint, Table 8.1, Lineages of Síl nÁedo Sláine, p. 127; in The Island of St Patrick: Church and ruling dynasties in Fingal and Meath, 400–1148, (ed.) Mac Shamhráin, Four Courts, 2004.
  • Edel Bhreathnach, The Medieval Kingdom of Brega in The Kingship and Landscape of Tara, ed. Edel Bhreathnach, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2005
  • Book of Leinster, Flann Mainistrech: "Síl Aeda Sláne Na Sleg" at CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts at University College Cork