Index of Names in Irish Annals: Descriptive Bynames: Modardha, Modartha

by Mari Elspeth nic Bryan (Kathleen M. O'Brien)

© 2000-2004 by Kathleen M. O'Brien. All rights reserved.
Version 2.2, updated 22 March 2004

Descriptive Bynames: Modardha, Modartha


"[the] Surly"


What we know as a set of Irish Annals are manuscripts that were each compiled during a particular time period, usually using older material as sources. For example, when the Annals of the Four Masters were written from 1632 to 1636, they covered events that occurred centuries and millenia before (including legendary history). So, when an entry in this set of annals refers to a person who lived in the year 738, the spelling used for that person's name is very likely not using the spelling that would have been used in 738.

Standard forms of this name (based on spelling systems of different periods) would be:

Note: We do not know when the form Modartha came into use. So far, we have only found the one example of this form referring to an event before 1600 (listed below under the entries for Cathaoir). This form is the standard form in Modern Irish Gaelic (c1700-present).

Frequency & Dates:

Number of men found in the annals with this name: 6
Found in Years: 1537, 1543, 1549, 1556, 1557, 1564, 1566, 1576, 1581, 1588, 1595

Research Notes:

[Answering a question about the meaning of Modardha, Modartha:]

Modartha "overcast, blurred, murky, muddy, rough, dirty, discolored; surly, grim, forbidding" (Dinneen). It's indeclinable. The early Irish word was modarda "dark, murky; surly, morose" (DIL). It was presumably declinable, but as near as I can tell, it was identical in the genitive singular except perhaps early in the Old Irish period. [email from Talan Gwynek - 24 Oct 2002]


Further information about the byname Modardha, Modartha, may be found in:

The Sources page lists the Annals referenced below. Information about secondary sources is included on that page as well.

Raw Data

In the table below, I have separated individuals with a blank line. That is, when there are multiple entries in the annals that refer to a single person, those entries are grouped together.

Within the list of entries refering to a single person, I have sorted the entries primarily by orthography when it is obvious that what I am seeing is the same entry showing up in multiple annals. The entries that tend to use older spellings are listed first.

NOTE: The Annals referenced below under the code letters A, B, C, E, & F tend to use later spellings than the other Annals. In some cases, the spellings listed in these Annals may not be appropriate for the year referenced in the Annal entry.

In some Gaelic scripts, there is a character that looks approximately like a lowercase f, but without the crossbar. This character (represented by an underscored , e, in the entries below) sometimes represents e and sometimes ea depending upon the context of the text.

[Standardized form of this man's name]
AnnalsEntryCitation (formatting preserved)
[Cathaoir Modardha mac Seáin mhic Cathail] (d. 1537)
Co1537.17Mac h. Raighillig .i. Cathaoír Modarrdha mac Seain meic Cathail ["O Raigillig's son, Cathair the Surly son of Sean son of Cathal"]
EM1537.12Mac I Raighilligh (Cathaoír Modartha mac Seain mic Cathail)
[Eoin Modardha mac Néill Móir mhic Mhic Shuibhne] (d. 1543)
EM1543.3Mac Mhec Suibhne Bhaghainigh, Eoin Modardha mac Neill Mhóir
Em1564.2Aodh Meirccech, mac Eoin Modardha Mhec Suibhne
[Maoíleachlainn Modardha mac Maoíleachlainn mhic Breasail Uí Mhadagáin] (d. 1566)
EM1549.3Maoíleachlainn Modardha Ua Madagain
EM1556.7Maoíleachlainn Modardha
EM1557.7Ó Madagáin .i. Maoíleachlainn Modardha
EM1566.7O Madagáin .i. Maoíleachlainn Modardha mac Maoileachluinn mic Breasail
FM1595.19Anmchaidh mac Maoíleaclainn Modardha mic Maoileachlainn mic Bresail
[Eoin Modardha mac Mhic Shuibhne Bóghainigh] (d. 1576)
EM1576.8Eoin Modardha mac Meic Suibhne Bóghainigh
[Niall Modartha mac Néill Óig Mhic Suibhne] (d. 1581)
EM1581.25Niall Modardha mac Neill Óicc, Mec Suibhne
[Eoin Modardha mac Aodha mhic Néill Óig Mhic Shuibhne] (d. 1588)
EM1588.2Eoin Modardha mac Aodha, mic Neill Óicc Mhec Suibhne

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