The Senchus Fer N'Alban or the 'Census Of The Men Of Alba' is a type of muster roll of the tribes of the kingdom of Dal Riada.
The document itself was composed by some anonymous cleric during the early tenth century, probably based at least in part, on some seventh century sources now lost. It provides a genealogical history of the sons of the Eochaid Munremar and in particular of his grandson Fergus Mor, the first historical ruler of the kingdom of Dal Raida and presents what might be termed the traditional story of the Irish settlement of Argyll in what is now western Scotland.
Here is the origin legend of Dal Riada, of how the sons of Eochaid Munremar came from Ireland to settle a new land and of the division of Dal Riada into the three nations of the Cenel Gabrain, the Cenel Oengusa and the Cenel Loairn from which all the subsequent highland clans of Scotland are derived.
Of course at the time the document was composed, Dal Riada was almost but a distant memory, the mac Alpin dynasty had ruled a united kingdom of the Scots and Picts and had recast themselves as kings of Alba rather than of Dal Riada and hence the Senchus speaks of the 'men of Alba', not those of Dal Riada.
Its compiler or author, had therefore one eye on the political sensibilities of the time. It is also often contradictory and sets out alternative lineages with the words "others say"; the name pairs of Loairn Bee and Loairn Mor for example are probably ritualistic in origin rather than historical, which may well indicate that the nature of the source material was similarly of a mixed and contradictory nature.
A statement of the history of the men of Alba begins here.
Two sons of Eochaid Munremar i. Erc and Olchu. Erc, moreover, had twelve sons i. six of them took possession of Scotland i. two Loairns i. Loairn Bee and Loairn Mor, two Mac Nisses i. MacNisse Becc and MacNisse Mor, two Ferguses i. Fergus Bee and Fergus Mor. Six others in Ireland i. Mac Decill, Oengus, whose seed, however, is in Scotland, Enna, Bresal, Fiachra, Dubhthach. Others say that this Erc had another son who was called Muredoch.
Olchu, son of Eochaid Munremar, had, moreover, eleven sons who live in Murbolc in Dal Riada, Muredach Bolc, Aed, Dare, Oengus, Tuathal, Anblomaid, Eochaid, Setna, Brian, Oinu, Cormac.
Fergus Mor, son of Erc, another name for Mac Nisse Mor, had one son i. Domangart. Domangart, moreover, had two sons i. Gabran and Comgall, two sons of Fedelm, daughter of Brion, son of Eocho Mugmedon. Comgall had one son i. Conall. Conall, moreover, had seven sons, i. Loingsech, Nechtan, Artan, Tuatan, Tutio, Corpri. Gabran, moreover, had five sons i. Aedan, Eoganan, Cuildach, Domnall, Domangart. Aedan had seven sons i. two Eochaids i. Eochaid Buide and Eochaid Find, Tuathal, Bran, Baithine, Conaing, Gartnait. Eochaid Buide, son of Aedan, had, moreover, eight sons i. Domnall Brecc and Domnall Dond, Conall Crandomna, Conall Becc, Connad Cerr, Failbe, Domangart, Cu-cen-mathair. Eochaid Find, moreover, had eight sons, i. Baetan, Predan, Pledan, Cormac, Cronan, Feradach, Fedlimid, Capleni. These are the sons of Conaing, son of Aedan i. Rigallan, Ferchar, Artan, Artur, Dondchad, Domungart, Nechtan, Nem, Crumine. Four sons of Gartnait, son of Aedan, i. two sons of Tuathal, son of Morgand, son of Eochaid Find, son of Aedan, son of Gabran.
Fergus Bec, moreover, son of Erc; his brother killed him. He had one son i. Setna, from whom are the Cenel Conchride in Islay i. Conchriath son of Bolc, son of Setna, son of Fergus Bec, son of Erc, son of Eochaid Munremar.
Oengus Mar and Loairn and MacNisse Mar, these are the three sons of Erc.
Oengus Mar, son of Erc, had two sons, i. Nadsluaig and Fergna. Fergna had seven sons i. Thathal, Aed, Letho, Rigan, Fiacha, Guaire, Cantand, Eochu. Nadsluaig, moreover, had two sons i. Barrfhind and Caplene. Two sons of Barrfhind i. Nem and Tulchan. Tulchan had four sons i. Cronan, Breccan, Daman, Conmend. Others say that this same Barrfhind son of Nadsluaig had four sons, i. Aedan, Luagaid, Crumine, Gentene, who is also called Nem. Barrfhind, son of Nadsluaig, had three sons, Lugiad, Conall, Galan, a Cruthnech his mother. It is they who divided land in Islay.
Oengus Becc, moreover, son of Erc, had one son i. Muridach.
A cet treb in Islay, twenty houses, Freg a hundred and twenty houses, Rois sixty houses, Ros Deorand thirty houses, Ard Hes thirty houses, Loch Rois thirty houses, Ath Cassil thirty there, Cenel Oengusa thirty houses, Callann. But small are the feranna of the houses of the Cenel Oengusa i. thirty-one feranna. The expeditionary force, moreover, for sea-voyaging, two seven-benchers from them in an expedition.
They are the three thirds of Dal Riada i. Cenel Gabrain, Cenel Oengusa, Cenel Loairn Moir.
These are the sons of Loairn Mor i. Eochaid, Cathbad, Muredach, Fuindenam, Fergus Salach, Dau, Maine. Others say that Loairn had only three sons i. Fergus Salach, Muredach, Maine. They are the three thirds of the Cenel Loairn i. Cenel Shalaig, Cenel Cathbath, Cenel Echdach, Cenel Murerdaig. Cenel Fergusa Shalaig has sixty houses. The expeditionary force of the Cenel Loairn, seven hundred men, but the seventh hundred is from the Airgialla. If it be an expeditionary force, moreover, for sea-voyaging, two seven-benchers from every twenty houses of them. Five sons of Fergus Salach i. Coildub has thirty houses, Eogan Garb has thirty houses, his wife is Crodu, daughter of Dallan, son of Eogan, son of Niall, Fergna has fifteen houses, Eogan has five houses, Baltan has five houses. Muredach, son of Loarnd, had two sons, i. Cathdub and Eochaid. Eochaid, son of Muredach, moreover, had five sons, i. Ferdalach has twenty houses, Baotan has twenty houses, Cormac has twenty houses, Bledan and Cronan twenty houses between them. Three sons of Cathbad, moreover, i. Brenaind, Ainmire, Cronan.
A hundred and fifty men, the ship expedition, went forth with the sons of Erc, the third fifty was Corpri with his people.
This is the Cenel Gabrain, five hundred and sixty houses, Kintyre and Crich Chomgaill with its islands, two seven-benchers every twenty houses in a sea expedition.
Cenel Oengusa has four hundred and thirty houses, two seven-benchers every twenty houses in a sea expedition.
Cenel Loairn has four hundred and twenty houses, two seven-benchers every twenty houses in a sea expedition.
It is thus throughout the three thirds of the Dal Raida.