The ancient British kingdom of Dal Riada which, by tradition, is said to have been founded in Argyll in the west of Scotland at the very end of the fifth century AD by one Fergus son of Erc. Following the same tradition Fergus came from Ireland and was of the kindred of Riada, or Riata in the strict Gaelic who ruled in Antrim and called themselves kings of Dal Riata.

The Book of Ballymote contains a list of these Irish kings of Dal Riata. There are thirty eight names in all, which begins with the name of Angus Turbech of Tara. (Tara being the traditional seat of the High Kings of Ireland in Meath)

The lists ends with the name of the aforementioned Fergus, the son of Erc who was indeed the historical king of British Dal Riada who died around the year 501.

It has been suggested that since, roughly speaking one can assume thirty years per generation, then if the geneology is to be belived then Angus Turbech would have ruled sometime around 650 BC. However it is not certain how many generations are contained in the list of kings, since irrespective of what the compiler of the information believed they were recording, the exact relationship between the succession of every king named is not known.

For example another tradition claims that Cairpre Riata or Coirpre Riata (king number 22) was the son of Conaire Mor (king number 17), despite the list showing a total of four intervening kings. Since that same tradition claims that the kindred of Riata derived their name from the very same Cairpre Riata it rather begs the question of how and why the previous kings can be considered kings of Dal Riata.

In truth the Book of Ballymore contains nothing more than a list of names which was probably derived from multiple sources and confused genealogical with regnal information with probably a good dash of mythology and invention.

The Irish Kings of Dal Riata

  1. Angus Turbech of Tara
  2. Fiachu Fer-mara
  3. Ailill Erand
  4. Feradach
  5. Forgo
  6. Maine
  7. Arnail
  8. Ro-Thrir
  9. Trir
  10. Ro-Sin
  11. Sin
  12. Dedad
  13. Iar
  14. Ailill
  15. Eogan
  16. Eterscel
  17. Conaire Mor
  18. Daire Dornmor
  19. Coirpre Crom-chend
  20. Mug-lama
  21. Conaire Coem
  22. Coirpre Riata
  23. Cindtai
  24. Guaire
  25. Cince
  26. Fedlimid Lamdoit
  27. Fiachu Tathmael
  28. Eochaid Antoit
  29. Aithir
  30. Laithluaithi
  31. Sen-chormac
  32. Fedlimid
  33. Angus Buaidnech
  34. Fedlimid Aislingthe
  35. Angus
  36. Eochaid Muin-remor
  37. Erc
  38. Fergus