Genealogy: Ulster Cycle
The genealogy shown in this pages contain family trees of the rival provinces Ulster and Connacht, and in Tara, the seat of the High King.
|Early House of Ulster|
|House of the Red Branch|
|House of Connacht|
|From Etain To Conaire Mor|
Related Page: Ulster Cycle
Macha the Red Queen
The above family tree shows Macha, the Queen of Ulster, who was also known as the Red Goddess or Red Queen. Macha was said to be the founder of the hill fort: Emain Macha. According to the source, Macha had used her brooch to mark the boundary of her capital, so the name Emain Macha could mean the “Brooch of Macha”. See Emain Macha in the Ulster Cycle.
During the second year of Cimbaeth, Macha’s uncle/husband, in Ulster, he became the high king of Ireland, which he ruled in Tara for 27 years with Macha. At his death, Macha ruled both Ireland and Ulster for another 7 years, before she was murdered by Rechtad Riderg of Mumu (Munster).
Twins of Macha
The family tree above show an alternative account of how the hill fort Emain Macha received it name from another woman named Macha. This second Macha was responsible for placing a curse upon the men of Ulster. See the Curse of Macha.
The difference between the family tree above and the genealogy below, is that the above tree, Conchobar’s real father was Cathbad; not Fachtna Fathach, Ness’ husband.
According to the Irish myth, Conchobar had married the four daughters of Eochaid Feidlech: Medb, Eithne, Mugain and Clothra. Medb became Conchobar’s chief enemy. Medb left Conchobar, where she would later marry Ailill Mac Mata, who became king of Connacht. See House of Connacht for the complete family tree of Medb and Ailill.
Usually, Fedelm Noichrothach (Fedelm the Nine Times Beautiful) was described as the wife of Cairbre Nia Fer and later to Conall Cernach. But in the tale Fled Bricrenn (Briccriu’s Feast), she was known as Fedelm Noíchride (Fedelm the Fresh-Heart), the wife of Laegaire Buadach, while Conall’s wife was Lendabair, daughter of Eogan Mac Durthacht.
Generally, this alternative genealogy is the same as the more popular version (1st family tree), with a small exception. I didn’t show the whole family tree in this second genealogy.
The main difference between the two family trees is who was Conchobar’s father. The above tree showed that Conchobar’s father was Fachtna Fathach, king of Ulster; not the druid Cathbad.
Below is the family tree of the Medb’s House of Connacht. Medb (Maeve) had actually come from the province of Leinster. Her father was Eochaid Feidlech, king of Tara. Like her three sisters, she was at one time married to Conchobar Mac Nessa, king of Ulster. She left Conchobar and became Conchobar’s chief enemy throughout the rest of her life.
She left Ulster and went to Connacht. Here she had three different husbands, each one became a king of Ulster. So in a sense, Medb represents the Sovereignity of Connacht. The first king to marry her was Tinde, son of Connra Cas; Conchobar had killed Tinde. The second king was Eochaid Dála. The best known husband of Medb was Ailill Mac Mata.
Medb had many children, most of them by Ailill. Apart from her Finnabair and several other daughters (Faife, Cainder and Sadb Sulbair), she also had seven sons, all of them with the name Maine. Here are the list of Maine: Maine Máthramail, Maine Athramail, Maine Mórgor, Maine Míngor, Maine Móepirt (or Maine Milscothach), Maine Andoe, and Maine Cotagailb Uli.
Medb had many lovers, but Fergus Mac Rioch was the best known and was seen as her most frequent lover.
The genealogy above, shows the line Conaire Mor from Etain, where my source come from Tochmarc Étaín “Wooing of Etain”. See Wooing of Etain.
According to this source, the name of Conaire’s mother is not known. Also, this show that the high king Eochaid Airem had mistakenly slept with his own daughter, who looked exactly like his wife Etain.
The second family tree, shown above, was extracted from Togail Bruidne Da Derga or “Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel”.
Here, the wife of Eterscel and mother of Conaire Mor is known as Mes Buachalla. Etain Og was Mes Buachalla’s stepmother, not her mother; which means that Etain wasn’t her grandmother.