Pre-Christian Tribes in Ireland.  The Corca Laoighdhe.


                                                                                                By Peter O’Leary.



From about 200 AD onwards there was established in South West Cork a tribe known as the Corca Laoighdhe.  They were the descendants of a remarkable man called Luy Maccon who is listed in the Annals as the High King of Ireland during the period 196AD  to 225AD.


This tribe were part of the Erainn people, which simply means the Celtic Race which existed in the Country before the coming of the Gaelic invaders.  Most of the country was in the hands of these Erainn people, but there were a few other tribal groups  known, such as the Cruithni or Picts in the North.


As a youth, Luy had been banished to the kingdom of the Picts in Scotland.  He grew up at that court where his talents were well recognised.   After a few years the king of the Picts raised an army and crossed over to Ireland with young Luy to restore him to his birthright.  In 186AD at the battle of Ceannfeabhrat Luy was wounded in the thigh in personal combat with Cairbre Musc.   From that date on he always walked with a limp. 


In 196AD Art the son of Conn of the hundred battles was slain by Luy  at the battle of Magh-Mucruimhe near Athenry.  Beinne Brit, the king of the Picts, was also slain in this battle which was fought to restore Luy Maccon.


In that same year of 196AD Luy Maccon, son of mac Niadh, became accepted as High King of Teamhair (Tara).  It must be remembered that this office merely meant that all other kings bowed the knee to him.  There was no attempt made by the High-King to conquer or administer the territories of the other kings.


At his peak, Luy Maccon ruled the area stretching from the Beare peninsula  to Kinsale, ie. the land occupied today by all the present Carbery, Beare and Bantry baronies  and more.


In 225AD after a reign of 29 years, Luy fell by the hand of Feiris, son of Cormac Ecces, having previously been expelled from Teamhair by the young Cormac mac Art, the grandson of Conn of the hundred battles.


He left behind him five sons who divided his land amongst themselves.  The eldest was Aongus who was the ancestor of the O’Driscoll and the O’Coffey clans.

His fifth son was Fothach Canaan who was the ancestor of the O’Leary and the O’Bari clans.