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Fir Manach  (Irish)
10th century–1607
Coat of arms
Ulster Early 16th Century.png
Fermanagh in the 15th–16th centuries
Capital Enniskillen
Common languages Irish
Government Elective monarchy
King / Chief 
Cathal Ó Dubhdara
Cú Chonnacht Óg Mag Uidhir (last)
10th century
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Airgíalla
County Fermanagh Ferm arms.png
Kingdom of Ireland Arms of Ireland (Historical).svg
Today part ofFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Fermanagh (Irish : Fir Manach) was a kingdom of Gaelic Ireland, associated geographically with present-day County Fermanagh. Fir Manach originally referred to a distinct kin group of alleged Laigin origins. The kingdom of Fermanagh was formed in the 10th century, out of the larger kingdom of Uí Chremthainn, which was part of the overkingdom of Airgíalla. [1] By the late 11th century it had grown to cover all of what is now County Fermanagh. [1] The kingdom came to be ruled by the Mag Uidhir (Maguire) clan from the late 13th century onward. They were based at Lisnaskea, and their royal inauguration site was nearby Sgiath Gabhra (Skeagoura), now called Cornashee. [2] Under Hugh Maguire, Fermanagh was nvolved in the Nine Years' War against English rule. His successor, Cú Chonnacht Óg Mag Uidhir, was one of the Gaelic Irish leaders who fled Ireland during the Flight of the Earls. Fermanagh was subsequently merged into the Kingdom of Ireland as County Fermanagh.



Laighin ancient origins

The original Fir Manach or Fear Manach, that is to say the Manach or Monaigh people in the north of Ireland, claimed descent from the Laighin of Leinster. [3] They reached upper Lough Erne in ancient times. According to the Book of Glendalaugh (also known as the Rawlinson B 502) a genealogy is provided for the early Manach people and they claim descent from Dáire Barrach, the son of Cathair Mór, High King of Ireland. [3] Dáire Barrach's descendants elsewhere in Ireland are today known as the MacGorman (Mac Gormáin) and ruled Uí Bairrche during the Middle Ages. Cathair Mór himself had ruled Ireland as King of Tara in the 2nd century.

Connachta and Three Collas

The geopolitical situation in Ireland changed during the 4th and 5th centuries, owing to the rise of the descendants of Conn of the Hundred Battles. Most significantly for the Fir Manach, the kingdoms of Airgíalla (under the descendants of the Three Collas), the kingdom of Ailech (under the Uí Néill) and the kingdom of Connacht (under the Uí Briúin) arose. According to Peadar Livingstone, the territory of Fermanagh became disputed between these groups and the previously ruling Fir Manach people. [4]

11th century onwards

By the end of the 11th century, Fermanagh had decisively re-emerged as a sovereign kingdom in the region. The rulers of this kingdom were drawn from the Airgíalla. Early on the territory drew kings from three branches of Clann Lugainn; the Ó hEignigh (O'Heany), Maolruanaidh (Mulrooney) and Ó Dubhdara (Darragh). These families claimed descent from the Three Collas, in the person of Colla Fochríth and were thus kinsmen of the MacMahon kings of Airgíalla. Towards the end of the 13th century, the Mag Uidhir (Maguire) arose to the kingship of Fermanagh and with the exception of some challenges from the Ó Domhnaill of Tyrconnell, this would remain the situation until the end of the kingdom in 1607 with the Flight of the Earls.

Kings of Fermanagh

The Annals of the Four Masters mention the following as Kings of Fermanagh. [5]

Paul Bennett (died 1769)

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  1. 1 2 MacCotter, Paul. Medieval Ireland: territorial, political and economic divisions. Four Courts Press, 2008, p.243
  2. FitzPatrick, Elizabeth. Royal Inauguration in Gaelic Ireland. Boydell Press, 2004. p.84
  3. 1 2 "Fir Managh". Ireland's History in Maps. 26 January 2017.
  4. Livingstone 1969 , p. 6.
  5. "Origin of Darragh/Dorrough". Electric Scotland. 26 January 2017.


  • Livingstone, Peadar (1969). The Fermanagh Story: A Documented History of the County Fermanagh from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. Cumann Seanchais Chlochair.