Niall Glúndub

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Niall Glúndub mac Áedo (Modern Irish: Niall Glúndubh mac Aodha) (died 14 September 919) was a 10th-century Irish king of the Cenél nEógain and High King of Ireland. Many Irish kin groups were members of the Uí Néill and traced their descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages (Niall Noígiallach).

His mother was Máel Muire, daughter of Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Scots.


Son of Aed Finliath, Niall is first recorded succeeding his brother Domnall mac Áedo as King of Ailech upon his death in 911. Extending his control to neighboring kingdoms, Niall defeated the Kings of Dál nAraidi and Ulaid at the Battles of Glarryford (in present-day County Antrim) and Ballymena before his defeat by high-king Flann Sinna mac Maíl Sechnaill of the Clann Cholmáin Uí Néill at the Battle of Crossakiel (in present-day County Meath). Following Flann's death in 916, Niall succeeded him as High King of Ireland. It was during his reign in which he would reestablish the Óenach Tailteann, a traditional gathering of Irish clans. He was married to Gormflaith ingen Flann Sinna. With the support of the clans of Leth Cuinn (Northern half of Ireland), the Uí Néill eventually acknowledged his claim to the throne.

With a surge of Northmen forces the Uí Ímair launched an invasion in the south of Ireland in the years following 914 which greatly weakened the Eoghanacht of Munster and led to the establishment of a longfort at Waterford. Intent on opposing this, and coming to the assistance of Munster, Niall's forces moved south and fought a large battle against a group of Northmen in the summer of 917, ending inconclusively but with the death of many nobles and tributary kings in his following. The army of the King of Leinster which had been called in to reinforce him however was utterly devastated near St Mullins, leaving the province in a tributary position to the Northmen.

Despite his campaigns against the Northmen they continued to settle in large numbers, re-establishing their stronghold in Dublin (after a 15-year gap) and various ports on the eastern coast putting pressure on the Midland kingdom of Midhe. In an effort to bring the war to the Northmen, Niall advanced into Leinster, supported by the Uí Néill clans, the Airgíalla and the Ulaid. However, his forces were decimated by the Northmen under Sihtric Cáech as Niall was killed, along with twelve other chieftains, at the Battle of Islandbridge on 14 September 919.[1]

Another account in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle has Sihtric Cáech slaying his brother Niall in 921.[2] Glúndub was succeeded as High King by Donnchad Donn mac Flainn, son of Flann Sinna, and as King of Ailech by his son Muirchertach mac Néill, "the Hector of the Western World".

Family tree

    Niall Caille
  = Gormflaith ingen Donncadha
    |                                                                          |
    |                                                                          |
    Áed Findliath = Gormlaith Rapach = Land ingen Dúngaile  = Máel Muire      unnamed daughter = Conaing mac Flainn
                  |                                          |                                   |
   _______________|                                          |                                   Flann
  |          |                                               |                                   |
  |          |      (mother's identity unknown)              |                                   Gormlaith
  Domnall  Eithne  Domnall Dabaill  Máel Dub  Máel Dúin      |                                 = Flann Sinna
                                                             |                                   |
                                                             |                                   |
                                                             Niall Glúndub, d. 919. = Gormflaith ingen Flann Sinna, c.870-948.
                                                                                 Muirchertach mac Néill, d. 943.


  1. "The Annals of Ulster". Corpus of Electronic Texts (CELT). Retrieved 4 April 2010.
  2. "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle". Retrieved 17 September 2017.


  • Webb, Alfred. A Compendium of Irish Biography: Comprising Sketches of Distinguished Irishmen and of Eminent Persons Connected with Ireland by Office or by Their Writings, New York: Lemma Publishing Corporation, 1970.
Niall Glúndub
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Ailech
with Flaithbertach mac Domnaill (916–919)
Succeeded by
Preceded by
High King of Ireland
Succeeded by