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The Dáirine (Dárine, Dáirfine, Dáirfhine, Dárfine, Dárinne, Dairinne), later known dynastically as the Corcu Loígde, were the proto-historical rulers of Munster before the rise of the Eóganachta in the 7th century AD.[1] They appear to have derived from the Darini of Ptolemy and to have been related to the Ulaid and Dál Riata of Ulster and Scotland.[2] In support of this, their ancestors appear frequently in the Ulster Cycle, where they are known as the Clanna Dedad, and are the killers of Cú Chulainn. All are considered Érainn[2][3] (see also O'Rahilly's historical model). In historical times the Dáirine were represented, as stated, by the Corcu Loígde, and probably by the Uí Fidgenti and Uí Liatháin,[4] as well as a few other early historical kindreds of both Munster and Ulster. In ancient genealogical schemes,[5] the historical Dál Fiatach of Ulaid also belong to the Dáirine (Clanna Dedad).


Dáirine can sometimes refer to the Érainn dynasties as a whole instead of the distinct royal septs mentioned above.[6] The Dáirine of Munster were said to descend from a certain Dáire (*Dārios),[7] both Dáire Doimthech (Sírchrechtach), ancestor of the Corcu Loígde, and from Dáire mac Dedad, father of Cú Roí. The two are quite probably identical.[3] The medieval genealogists were aware of the confusion and noted it in the Book of Glendalough (Rawlinson B 502). At some point the pedigree tradition of the Corcu Loígde diverged in its forms and ceased to closely match those more common elsewhere in Ireland. The Clanna Dedad take their name from Cú Roí's grandfather Dedu mac Sin.

Notable is that the Dáirine were greatly renowned as a warlike military caste, in contrast to their agricultural and relatively peaceful successors. According to the Táin Bó Flidais, the Clanna Dedad were one of the three warrior-races (laech-aicmi) of Ireland, the others being the Clanna Rudraige (their Ulaid cousins), and the Gamanrad of Irrus Domnann, who were related to the Laigin.[8]

However, the Dáirine appear to be most remembered in the surviving corpus for their allegedly bloody and harsh rule, in some tales even coming across as monstrous. This portrayal may or may not have any basis in ancient fact, and is possibly the invention of historians and storytellers.

Among the known surviving septs of princely origins in Munster are O'Driscoll, O'Leary, Coffey, Hennessy and Flynn, all descendants of Lugaid Mac Con.[9][10] In Ulster the Dál Fiatach septs are Haughey/Hoey and Donlevy/Dunleavy.[11]

The semi-historical Mongfind and Crimthann mac Fidaig may have derived from peripheral septs of the Dáirine, but this cannot be proved.


Legendary figures belonging to the Dáirine, descendants (and family) of Dáire mac Dedad / Dáire Doimthech, include:

In the Ulster Cycle

Mac Con Cycle


  1. Ó Corráin 2001, p. 30
  2. 2.0 2.1 O'Rahilly 1946
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pokorny 1918
  4. Byrne 2001, p. 178
  5. Rawlinson B 502, ed. Ó Corráin 1997
  6. DIL Letter: D1 (D-Degóir), Columns 35 and 36
  7. T. F. O'Rahilly, Early Irish History and Mythology, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. 1946, pp. 2, 7
  8. O'Rahilly 1946, p. 96
  9. O'Donovan 1849
  10. O'Hart 1892
  11. The Kingdom of Ulster by Dennis Walsh
  12. 12.0 12.1 Byrne 2001, p. 193
  13. 13.0 13.1 Charles-Edwards 2000, p. 611



Ulster Cycle

  • Cross, Tom Peete and Clark Harris Slover (eds.), Ancient Irish Tales. Henry Holt and Company. 1936.
  • Gantz, Jeffrey (tr.), Early Irish Myths and Sagas. Penguin. 1981.
  • Hellmuth, Petra Sabine, "A Giant Among Kings and Heroes: Some preliminary thoughts on the character Cú Roí mac Dáire in medieval Irish literature", in Emania 17 (1998): 5–11.
  • Kinsella, Thomas (tr.), The Tain. Oxford. 1969.

Mac Con