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St Adomnán (c. 624—704) abbot of Iona and writer

Uí Néill


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Late 7th-century (c.675–95) ard rí [high king] of Ireland, to whom many legends have accrued. By historical record he was the last ard rí to remit the bórama tribute. As he was the nephew rather than the son of a previous ard rí, imaginative lore sought to explain his succession. In one version Fínnachta was originally a poor man whose generosity to a petty king caught in a storm brings him wealth and power. In a second he is also originally a poor man, but one who aids St Adamnán, after having nearly trampled him on the road. Adamnán's tutor prophesies that Fínnachta will be ard rí and Adamnán his adviser until the king insults the saint. When Fínnachta pays the bórama tribute, he does so at the request of St Moling, which indeed insults Adamnán by denying the supremacy of his sept of the Uí Néill. At Adamnán's urging, Fínnachta changes his mind and tries to capture Moling, which leads to the king's death from jealous rivals.

Subjects: Religion.

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