Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Maclonan, Flann

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MACLONAN, FLANN (d. 896), Irish historian and poet, was a native of northern Connaught, and belonged to the family afterwards known as MacGilla Cheallaigh, who were a sept of the Ui Fiachrach, the descendants of Fiachra, son of Eochaidh Muighmheadhoin, king of Ireland in the fourth century. His father was Lonan, son of Conmach, who was fifth in descent from that Guaire, king of Connaught, whose hospitality was so famous that to this day 'go fial Guaire,' 'as generous as Guaire,' is a common expression in Ireland. Flann wrote a poem on the five sons of Eochaidh Muighmheadhoin, which is remarkable as containing one of the few descriptions of poisoning in the bardic relations. Crimthann is killed by a sweet drink given to him by his sister Mongfind, who wishes her own son to be king. The oldest copy of this poem is that in the 'Book of Leinster,' a manuscript of the twelfth century. He afterwards migrated to Munster, and was there murdered in 896 at Loch Dachaech, co. Waterford, by the sons of Currbuidhe, of the Deisi. Two poems, of which later copies only exist, are probably by him. 1. On the defeat of Flann Sionna, king of Ireland in 879, by Lorcan, the grandfather of Brian Boroimhe [q. v.] 2. A panegyric on Lorcan, king of unster. In an ancient fragment of 'Annals,' recently printed by O'Grady from Egerton MS. 1782, a manuscript of the fifteenth century, it is stated his gains as a poet were large, so that 'Lonan's son won back in payment of his art a store no less than Guaire had squandered abroad.' The 'Four Masters' describe him as ' Virgil of the race of Scota, chief poet of the Gael, the best poet that was in Ireland in his time.'

[Book of Leinster, Boy. Irish Acad, facsimile, fo1. 150 b, line 26; Annals of Ulster, ed. W. M. Hennesey, i. 413; Annala Rioghachta Eireann, ed. J. O'Donovan, i. 548; E. O'Reilly in Transactions of Iberno-Celtic Soc. 1820; S. H. O'Grady's Silva Gadelica, i. 400, ii. 436, London, 1892.]

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