[Ir., great lord (?), chief (?)].
Name borne by many shadowy figures from early Irish history, most notably the ‘Three Collas’, three brothers of the 4th century bearing the same name: Colla Uais [Ir., noble, distinguished, well-born], Colla Menn [notable (?); stammering (?)], and Colla Fo Chríth or Dachrích. All were the sons of Eochu Doimlén, the son of Cairbre Lifechair. The brothers murdered their uncle Fiachu and established the kingdom of Airgialla (Oriel) in north-eastern Ireland. They also attacked Emain Macha, eliminating it as a centre of political power. In Scotland the Clan Donald, or MacDonald Lord of the Isles, traced its descent from both (1) Colla Uais, an Irish prince who ruled Scotland before the coming of Dál Riada, and (2) Conn Cétchathach [of the Hundred Battles]. T. F. O'Rahilly thought that Colla was but a nickname for each of the three sons of Niall Noígiallach [of the Nine Hostages], e.g Conall Gulban, Énna (3), and Eógan (1).
See Early Irish History and Mythology (Dublin, 1946), 230–1.