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Saint Comgall.

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Saint Comgall.

(512 - 603)

The founder of Bangor Abbey in 555, Comgall, was born at Magheramorne near present day Larne in County Antrim in 512 AD, he belonged to the race of the Cruthin. Living in the old kingdom which Milchu had ruled, know now as Dalaradia. His father was Setna, a pictish warrior, and his mother was known as Briga.

Comgall was a contemporary of Columba or Colimkill, who was of the Ui Neill dynasty, in fact the two studied together at Glasnevin. The Cruthan had been long established in Ulster but seem to have been slowly displaced by the Ui Neill's, the Annals of Ulster records that in 563 at the battle of Moneymore the Cruthan were defeated by the Ui Neill's

Dalaradia which encompasses South Antrim and North Down was one of three main sub-kingdoms of Ulster, the other two being Dalriada (North Antrim) and Iveagh (South Down). From the fourth century onward Ulster had consisted only of that territory now comprised of the present county's of Down, Antrim and the eastern parts of Derry and northern parts of Louth.

At the height of its power and influence Ulster had stretched as far south the Boyne river but due to continual invasion by the Gaels under the kings of the Ui Neill, the above territory only retained the right to the name of Ulster. Donegal had been completely colonized by the Gaels and the Cruthin much reduced. Those who had escaped fled east where they maintained their independence due no doubt to the proximity to the major Pictish kingdom in what is now Scotland.

The Bangor church was hampered by contemporary politics in Ireland. Subjected to continual aggression by the Ui Neill and internal dissension the Crithin further declined. In an entry in the Annals of Ulster it is recorded that in 563 AD the Crithin were defeated at the battle of Moneymore by the Ui Neill of the North. The opposing armies were led on one side by "Seven Kings of the Cruthin including Hugh" and on the other by Brastan with two Kings of the Cruthin in alliance with the Northern Ui Neil. The later Clan Connall and Clan Owen were rewarded with the territory of Lei and Arda Eolairg, which is today east Derry.

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