Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Kings of Leinster

High Kings of Ireland

High King of Ireland (Irish: Ard Rí na hÉireann) refers to legendary, pagan kings of Tara. It also refers to later kings, who were, depending on the period, either the most powerful king of their day, or, in later times, exercised authority over most of Ireland.

The meaning of High Kingship

While the traditional list of those bearing the title High King of Ireland (Irish: Ard Rí na hÉireann) goes back thousands of years, into the second millennium BC, the earlier parts of the list are largely mythical. It is unclear at what point the list begins to refer to historical individuals, and also at what point these individuals can genuinely be said to be "High Kings" in the later sense of the word.


The following is a provisional list of the Kings of Leinster up to 1632.

Compiled by

The interesting thing about this list are the number of MacMurrough-Kavanagh's who were Kings of Leinster between 1171 & 1632.

Bressal Belach mac Fiachu Ba hAiccid
Enna Cennsalach mac Labraid Laideach
Crimthann mac Enna Cennsalach, died 483.
Findchad mac Garrchu, died 485.
Froech mac Findchad, d. 495.
Illan mac Dunlaing, d. 527.
Ailill mac Dunlaing
Cormac mac Ailill
Coirpre mac Cormac
Colman Mar mac Coirpre
Aed Dibchine
Brandub mac Echu, d.605/608.
Ronan mac Colman, d. 624?
Crundmael mac Ronan, d.656.
Faelan mac Colman Mar, d. 666.
Fianamail mac Mael Tuile, d. 680.
Bran Mut mac Conall, d. 693.
Cellach Cualann mac Gerthide, d. 715.
Murchad mac Bran Mut, d.727.
Dunchad mac Murchad, d. 728.
Faelan mac Murchad, d. 738.
Aed mac Colcu, d. 738.
Bran Bec mac Murchad, d.738.
Muiredach mac Murchad, d. 760.
Cellach mac Dunchad, d. 776.
Ruaidri mac Faelan, d. 785.
Bran Ardchenn mac Muiredach, d. 795.
Finsnechta Cethardec mac Cellach, d. 808.
Muiredach mac Ruaidri, d.829.
Cellach mac Bran Ardchenn, d. 834.
Bran mac Finsnechta, d. 838.
Lorcan mac Cellach, fl. 848.
Tuathal mac Muiredach mac Bran Ardchenn, d. 854.
Muirecan mac Diarmait mac Ruaidri, d. 863.
Dunlaing mac Muiredach mac Bran Ardchenn, d. 869.
Ailill mac Dunlaing, d. 871.
Domall mac Miurecan, d. 884.
Muiredach mac Bran, d. 885.
Cerball mac Muirecan, d. 909.
Augaire mac Ailill, d. 917.
Faelan mac Muiredach, d. 942.
Lorcan mac Faelan, d. 943.
Broen mac Maelmorda, d. 947.
Tuathal mac Augaire, d. 958.
Cellach mac Faelan, d. 966.
Murchad mac Finn, d. 972.
Augaire mac Tuathal, d. 978.
Domnall Cloen mac Lorcan, d. 984.
Donnchad mac Domnall Cloen, deposed 1003.
Maelmorda mac Murchad, d. 1014.
Dunlaing mac Tuathal, d. 1014.
Donnduan mac Dunlaing, d. 1016.
Bran mac Maelmorda, deposed, 1018.
Augaire mac Dunlaing, d. 1024.
Donnchad mac Dunlaing, d. 1036.
Murchad mac Dunlaing, d. 1042.
Diarmait mac Mail na mBo, 1042-1072. (died 1072) was king of Leinster and a contender for the title of High King of Ireland. He was one of the most important and significant Kings in Ireland in the pre-Norman era
Dommall mac Murchad, 1072-1075
Diarmait mac Enna, 1092-1098
Donnchadh mac Murrough, 1098-1115.
Diarmait mac Enna, 1115-1117.
Enna MacMurrough, 1117-1126.
Diarmait Mac Murchada 1126-1171. (also known as Diarmait na nGall, "Dermot of the Foreigners"), anglicized as Dermot MacMurrough (died 1 January 1171) was the King of Leinster, and is often considered to have been the most notorious traitor in Irish history. Ousted as King of Leinster, he invited King Henry II of England to assist him in regaining the throne. The subsequent invasion led to Henry becoming Lord of Ireland himself, and marked the beginning of eight centuries of English dominance.
Domhnall MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1171-1175
Muirchertach mac Domhnall mac Domhnall MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1175-1282.
Muiris mac Muirchertach MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1282-c.1314.
Domhnall, c.1314-1317.
MacMurrough, 1317-c.1323.
Domhnall mac Art MacMurrough-Kavanagh, c.1323-c.1338.
Domhnall mac Domhnall MacMurrough-Kavanagh, c.1338-1347.
Muircheartach mac Muiris MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1347-1354.
Art mac Muircheartach MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1354-1362.
Diarmait mac Domhnall MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1362-1369.
Donnchadh mac Muircheartach MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1369-1375.
Art mac Art MacMurrough-Kavanagh, (b.1357-d.1417), is generally regarded as the most formidable of the later Kings of Leinster. He revived not only the royal family's prerogatives but their lands and power. During the length of his forty-two year reign he fully lived up to his title, dominating the "Anglo-Norman settlers of Leinster, extracting 'black rent' in Castledermot and New Ross and seeking an annual fee from Dublin. Through his wife, the Anglo-Norman heiress Elizabeth Calf (sic), he claimed the important barony of Norragh in Co. Kildare" (1).

His dominance of the province and its inhabitants - both Gaelic and Anglo-Norman - was deemed sufficiently detrimental to the colony that Richard II spent much of the years 1394-1395 sparring with him. While Art did indeed submit to Richard, he renounced this fealty on Richard's departure and made much of his kingdom a death-trap for any invading English or Anglo-Irish forces. He was very much cut of the same cloth as his ancestors Diarmait mac Mail na mBo and Diarmait Mac Murchada.

Donnchadh mac Art MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1417-1478.
Domhnall mac Gerald MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1476.
Muircheartach mac Donnchadh MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1478-1512.
Art Buidhe mac Domhnall MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1512-1517.
Gerald mac Domhnall MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1517-1523.
Muiris mac Domhnall MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1523-1531.
Muircheartach mac Art Buidhe MacMurrough-Kavanagh, 1531-1547.
Domhnall Spainnach MacMurrough-Kavanagh, ?-1632.

In the centuries prior to 1169 Ireland was in the process of becoming a national kingdom under a High King of Ireland. In the aftermath of a Cambro-Norman incursion into Ireland in 1169 Henry II and his successors became "Lord of Ireland". The Treaty of Windsor in 1175 recognised the last native king as overlord of all Ireland outside Norman control but further Cambro-Norman incursions weakened his authority and after his abdication the office fell dormant.

After Henry VIII made himself supreme governor of the Church of England, he also requested and got legislation through the Irish Parliament, in 1541 (effective 1542), naming him King of Ireland and head of the Church of Ireland (which today, both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, remains a member of the Anglican communion but is no longer an established church like the Church of England). The title "King of Ireland" was then used until 1 January 1801, the effective date of the second Act of Union, which merged Ireland and Great Britain to create the United Kingdom.



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