Bárid mac Ímair
King of Dublin
SuccessorSichfrith mac Ímair
DynastyUí Ímair

Bárid mac Ímair (also referred to as Barith, Baraid, and Bard; Old Norse: Bárðr or Bárǫðr; d. 881) was a ninth-century King of Dublin. He was a son of Ímar and a member of the Uí Ímair.


The earliest mention of Bárid in the Irish Annals is in part of a saga embedded within the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland.[nb 1][2] In this entry, dated 867, Bárid is named as a Jarl of Lochlann[nb 2] who, along with a Jarl Háimar was ambushed by men of Connacht.[4] Bárid is mentioned again by a saga element within the Fragmentary Annals in 872, when he is said to have raided Moylurg and the islands of Lough Ree.[5] This saga element also says that Bárid fostered a son of Áed Findliath, overking of the Northern Uí Néill. The sagas are usually considered of dubious historical value, but this particular element draws upon earlier written accounts, and there is much evidence for later links between the descendants of Áed Findliath and the Uí Ímair.[6] Fosterage was used in Ireland as a means of strengthening ties between different ruling families, and it is possible Bárid may have tried to integrate himself with the Irish political elite.[6]

Bárid is mentioned by the Annals of Inisfallen in 873 which say:

Downham suggests this raid was undertaken as a show of strength; it occurred shortly after the death of Ímar, with Bárid probably succeeding him as King of Dublin.[6] Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib names a son of Amlaíb, most likely Oistin, as raiding with him.[nb 3][8] It has been suggested that Bárid and his cousin Oistin ruled together as co-kings following the death of Ímar.[9]

According to the Annals of Ulster, in 875 Oistin was "deceitfully" killed by "Albann", a figure generally agreed to be Halfdan Ragnarsson, supposed son of the legendary Viking Ragnar Lodbrok.[nb 4][11] Halfdan is sometimes considered a brother of Ímar, and this conflict may have been an attempt by Halfdan to claim Dublin for his own.[10] It seems he was not successful in pressing his claim, but he tried to take Dublin again in 877, and he fell in battle against an army of "fair foreigners" at the Battle of Strangford Lough.[12] Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib identifies Bárid as the leader of the "fair foreigners", and as been being wounded "so that he was lame ever after".[8]

The next mention of Bárid in the annals comes in 881, when the Annals of Ulster, the Annals of the Four Masters, and the Chronicon Scotorum describe his death; he was killed and burnt in Dublin shortly after raiding Duleek.[2] The annals attribute his death to a miracle of Saint Cianán.[13]


Bárid's father is identified by the Chronicon Scotorum as Ímar, King of Dublin until his death in 873.[14] Ímar is sometimes identified with Ivar the Boneless, son of the legendary Viking Ragnar Lodbrok.[15] The same entry identifies him as "the head of the Northmen". The known brothers of Bárid were Sichfrith (died 888) and Sitriuc (died 896).[16]

Bárid is identified as the father of Uathmarán, who bore an Irish name derived from the Irish word "uathmar", meaning ‘awesome’, perhaps in an attempt to associate with the Irish political elite.[17] Bárid may also be identified as the father of Eloir mac Báirid (died 891), and the grandfather of the unnamed son of Uathmarán mac Bárid (fl. 921).[18] This unnamed man may be identical to Sichfrith mac Uathmaráin (fl. 932).[19] It is uncertain whether Bárid was the father of the unnamed son of Bárid (mac Bárid in the original Old Irish) who plundered Cill Clethi in 937. This unnamed man may be identical to Aric mac Báirith (died 937).[20] Likewise, it is uncertain if Bárid was the father of Colla mac Báirid (fl. 924).[21] Any or all of the aforementioned Aric, Colla, and the unnamed son of Bárid, could have been sons of Bárid mac Oitir (died 914), not Bárid mac Ímair.[22]


  1. ^ The Fragmentary Annals were written several hundred years after the events they describe, and are considered less reliable than earlier annals such as the Annals of Ulster which may have served, along with historically dubious sagas, as partial sources for the Fragmentary Annals.[1]
  2. ^ "Lochlann" is believed to refer to Viking-controlled Scotland and Man, though in later times it came to mean Norway.[3]
  3. ^ For a discussion of the historical value of Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib see Ní Mhaonaigh.
  4. ^ The historicity of Ragnar is uncertain and the identification of Ragnar as the father of Halfdan is not to be relied upon.[10]



  1. ^ Radner, p. 322–325
  2. ^ a b Downham, p. 247
  3. ^ Ó Corrain, pp. 14–24; Helle, p. 204
  4. ^ Downham, p. 247; Fragmentary Annals of Ireland, § 350
  5. ^ Downham, p. 247; Fragmentary Annals of Ireland, § 408
  6. ^ a b c Downham, p. 24
  7. ^ Annals of Inisfallen, s.a. 873
  8. ^ a b Sigurðsson and Bolton, p. 36; Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib, § 25
  9. ^ Sigurðsson and Bolton, p. 36–37
  10. ^ a b Costambeys
  11. ^ South p. 87; Annals of Ulster, s.a. 875
  12. ^ Downham, p. 24; Annals of Ulster, s.a. 877
  13. ^ Downham, p. 247; Annals of the Four Masters, s.a. 881; Annals of Ulster, s.a. 881; Chronicon Scotorum, s.a. 881
  14. ^ Downham, p. 247; Chronicon Scotorum, s.a. 881
  15. ^ Woolf, p. 95
  16. ^ Downham, pp. 28 fig. 5, 259
  17. ^ Downham, p. 25
  18. ^ Downham, p. 247
  19. ^ Downham, pp. 264, 269
  20. ^ Downham, pp. 245, 247, 263
  21. ^ Downham, pp. 247, 250
  22. ^ Downham pp. 245, 247, 263

Primary Sources

  • "Annals of the Four Masters". Corpus of Electronic Texts (16 December 2013 ed.). University College Cork. 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  • "Annals of Inisfallen". Corpus of Electronic Texts (16 February 2010 ed.). University College Cork. 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  • "The Annals of Ulster". Corpus of Electronic Texts (15 August 2012 ed.). University College Cork. 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  • "Chronicon Scotorum". Corpus of Electronic Texts (24 March 2010 ed.). University College Cork. 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  • Todd, JH, ed. (1867). Cogad Gaedel re Gallaib: The War of the Gaedhil with the Gaill. London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer. Accessed via Internet Archive.
  • "Fragmentary Annals of Ireland". Corpus of Electronic Texts (5 September 2008 ed.). University College Cork. 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2014.

Secondary Sources

  • Costambeys, Marios (2004). "Hálfdan (d. 877)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/49260. Retrieved 20 December 2014. Subscription or UK public library membership required.
  • Downham, Clare (2007). Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to A.D. 1014. Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-903765-89-0.
  • Helle, Knut, ed. (2003). The Cambridge History of Scandinavia. Volume 1: Prehistory to 1520. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-47299-9.
  • Ní Mhaonaigh, Máire (1996). "Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib and the annals: a comparison". Ériu. 47: 101–126. JSTOR 30007439.
  • Ó Corrain, Donnchad (1998). "The Vikings in Scotland and Ireland in the Ninth Century" (PDF). Peritia. 12: 296–339. doi:10.1484/J.Peri.3.334.
  • Radner, Joan. "Writing history: Early Irish historiography and the significance of form" (PDF). Celtica. 23: 312–325.[permanent dead link]
  • Sigurðsson, Jón Viðar; Bolton, Timothy, eds. (29 November 2013). Celtic-Norse Relationships in the Irish Sea in the Middle Ages 800-1200. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-25512-8.
  • South, Ted Johnson (2002). Historia de Sancto Cuthberto. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 978-0-85991-627-1.
  • Woolf, Alex (2007). From Pictland to Alba: 789 - 1070. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-1234-5.

External links

  • CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts at University College Cork. The Corpus of Electronic Texts includes the Annals of Ulster and the Four Masters, the Chronicon Scotorum and the Book of Leinster as well as Genealogies, and various Saints' Lives. Most are translated into English, or translations are in progress.