Cenél Conaill and the Donegal kingdoms, AD 500-800
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From roughly AD 500 to 1000, the kings of Tara were drawn from the dynasties known as the Uí Néill, which comprised a southern group based in the east midlands and a northern group originating from Donegal. About midway through this period there was a significant shift in the internal politics of Donegal, with consequent 'national' repercussions.
This book examines in detail those Donegal kingdoms, their monuments and landscapes. It results from thirty years of fieldwork and study by the author, and innovatively integrates the evidence of archaeology, history and ancient literature.
The first two – perhaps the first three – genuinely historical figures described as kings of Ireland came from Donegal, as did influential early churchmen, Colum Cille and Adomnán. Through their initiation and development of the 'annals', the recording of Irish history might be said, arguably, to be a Donegal invention. This book puts all these important individuals and events into their political and cultural contexts.
Brian Lacey is CEO of the Discovery Programme, Ireland's institute for advanced archaeological research. He has had a varied career, north and south of the Irish border, as an archaeologist, historian and museologist, and is author of many publications dealing with the archaeology and history of the northwest of Ireland.