In Northern Ireland…
the Kingdom of Dalriada came to exist, being established by a Gaelic-speaking people whom the Romans had known as the warlike and tempestuous Scotti.’ Cairbre Riada, a descendant of Tuathal, had settled his people first in Munster, but famine caused him to abandon this land.
He established a petty kingdom between the Antrim Mountains and the sea. He obtained this territory between 254 and 273 AD. The word `Riada’, or `Righfadna’, means `the long-armed’. Cairbre Riada was a nobleman of high parentage. His father was Conaire II, King of the Province of Ulster from AD 212 to 220 and his mother was the daughter of the illustrious Warrior King, Conn of the Hundred Battles.
The centre of his kingdom was the ancient Dunseverick Castle set on a great rock rising sheer from the Atlantic in the strongest defensive position of Ireland’s northern coast. Dal’ means ‘descendants’ and in a secondary sense `the territory of the descendant’. The word `Dalriada’ therefore signifies ‘the territory of the descendants of Cairbre Riada. Cairbre Riada’s heir, Eochach Dubhlein, married a Pictish princess, the daughter of the Albain King Obdaire. She bore him three sons, known in legend as the `three Collas’. The oldest, Colla Uais, aspired to the High Kingship of Tara but was defeated by a cousin.
He and his brothers fled to Alba (Scotland -possibly to Colonsay). Cairbre Riada’s descendants ruled the coast area of Antrim until Colla Uais grandson, Erc of Dalriada, died. Erc had twelve sons, the youngest being Fergus, Lorn and Angus. The recorded history of Argyll begins in the 5th Century AD when it was invaded by the Scotti (Celts). The Scotti were the Gaelic-speaking people who had gained ascendancy in Ulster. Around the year 502 AD, Fergus, with Lorne and Angus, led a great invasion of the (Scottish) coast by the warriors of Dalriada.
They successfully occupied the area now know as Argyll and some of the islands including Islay. Thus the Dalriadic settlement in Argyll was founded by the three sons of Erc. These Scotti came to colonize the west Highland fringe known as Dalriada or Oirir-Chaidhell, Argyll, or `the Coastland of the Gael’. Fergus established himself as king over this area which came to be known as the Second Dalriada. Fergus and his men were known as Scotti and they gave this name to the whole country. He chose as the centre of his kingdom a site on a hillock known as Dunadd. Dunadd was the capital of Dalriada for about 345 years.
This was the seat of Fergus Mac Erc and it is said that he brought with him from Ulster the Lia Fiall – Jacob’s Pillow – later to be known as the Stone of Destiny. A hillock and a rock are all that remain. Historians believe that this was the place where kings were crowned; that St. Columba crowned Aidan here in 574 AD using the disputed Stone of Destiny as the throne.