Brandub mac Echach

Brandub mac Echach

Brandub mac Echach (died 605) was an Irish king of the Uí Cheinnselaig of Leinster. His father, Echu mac Muiredaig had been a king of the Ui Cheinnselaig. They belonged to a branch known as the Uí Felmeda descended from Fedelmid, son of Énnae Cennsalach. Whose son Óengus, grandson Muiredach, and great-grandson Eochu, were all Kings of the Uí Cheinnselaig. [Francis J.Byrne, "Irish Kings and High-Kings", Table 10]

According to the "Book of Leinster," Brandub succeeded Áed Cerr mac Colmáin Már (died 595) of the Uí Dúnlainge as king of Leinster (actually Áed Dibchine mac Senaig of the Uí Máil) ["Book of Leinster gives Brandub a reign of 10 years.]

Birth Saga

In the "Rawlinson B 502 manuscript," dated to c. 1130, is the poem "Gein Branduib maic Echach ocus Aedáin maic Gabráin" (The Birth of Brandub son of Eochu and of Aedán son of Gabrán). This tells how Áedán mac Gabráin of Dál Riata was Brandub's twin brother, exchanged at birth for one of the twin daughters of Gabrán, born the very same night, so that each family might have a son. Whether the tale is entirely fabricated, or whether it echoes a foster-relationship between Brandub and Áedán, can only be surmised. According to this story Brandub's father Echu had been expelled from the kingdom by Fáelán mac Síláin, his predecessor in the kingship of the Ui Chennselaig and had gone to live in Dal Riata at the court of Gabran where Brandub and Aedan were fostered together. Later Echu returned to be king and brought his son with him. Afterwards, when Aedan and Brandub were both rulers, Aedan made a claim to the kingship of Ireland and invaded Leinster. [Dan M.Wiley, [ Birth of Brandub] , "The Cycles of the Kings"]

Defence of Leinster

The first mention of Brandub in the annals is as victor in the Battle of Mag Ochtair (Cloncerry, N.Kildare) over the Ui Neill in 590. ["Annals of Ulster" AU 590.3; "Annals of Tigernach" AT 588.3] In 598 Brandub defeated the Uí Néill High King Áed mac Ainmuirech of the Cenél Conaill at the Battle of Dún Bolg (Dunboyke, Wicklow Co.) and the high king was slain, stopping the southward expansion of the Uí Néill. ["Annals of Ulster" AU 598.2; "Annals of Tigernach" AT 596.2] The "Borúma Laigin" (Cattle Tribute of Leinster) and the annals record that the war was caused by Brandub's killing of Áed's son Cummascach in 597 at Dún Buchat. ["Annals of Ulster" AU 597.1; "Annals of Tigernach" AT 595.1]

The "Borúma Laigin" gives much detail of this event. Brandub had the assistance of St. Aedan of Ferns (d. 632) who tried to obtain a truce for Brandub with the high-king. St.Aedan then devised a srategy of having the forces of Brandub hide in food baskets to sneak into the enemy camp. St.Aedan was granted Ferns after his battle for the assistance he had given Brandub. The saga also relates that the Ulaid were allied to Leinster and that the king of Airgialla was slain fighting for the high king. [Dan M.Wiley [ Boroma] , "The Cycles of the Kings"]

According to later poems in the "Book of Leinster," which record his "seven blows against Brega" (later ruled by the Síl nÁedo Sláine), he may also have reconquered lands lost to the Uí Néill in the midlands of Ireland. [Byrne, pg.142] This is also mentioned in the annals dated to 599. ["Annals of Tigernach" AT 599.1] Later Uí Cheinnselaig kings, such as Diarmait mac Mail na mBo and his grandson Diarmait mac Murchada, although descended from a different line, associated Brandub's successes with their branch of the clan. [Byrne, pg.143]

In 605 Brandub suffered a defeat at the Battle of Slaebre by the Ui Neill under the high king Áed Uaridnach of the Cenél nEógain. He was then assassinated by his own kinsman and son-in-law Sarán Saebderc. ["Annals of Ulster" AU 605.1, 605.2; "Annals of Tigernach" AT 603.2, 603.3]


The kindred of the Fir Thulach (in modern County Westmeath), subject to the Clann Cholmáin in later times, traced their ancestry from Brandub, as did the Uí Felmeda (of modern County Carlow). [Byrne, pg.142-143]


ee also

*Kings of Leinster


* "Annals of Ulster" at [ CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts] at [ University College Cork]
* "Annals of Tigernach" at [ CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts] at [ University College Cork]
* Byrne, Francis John (2001), Irish Kings and High-Kings, Dublin: Four Courts Press, ISBN 978-1-85182-196-9
* "Book of Leinster","Rig Laigin" at [ CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts] at [ University College Cork]

External links

* [ CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts] at University College Cork includes: [ Gein Branduib] (original & translation), Annals of Ulster, Annals of Tigernach, Annals of Innisfallen and others.
* [ Boroma Laigin summary]

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