Cunedda of Manau Gododdin

Cunedda, who lived sometime between 383 and 440CE,  is the reputed founder of Gwynedd. Tradition states that Cunedda was originally king of the Votadini (i.e. Manau Gododdin), but moved his people to Gwynedd as part of a larger strategy in battling the Irish coastal raiders. He then proceeded to divide the land amongst his eight sons.

It is the belief of Dan Hunt that Cunedda of Manau Gododdin, the reputed founder of Gwynedd, was himself actually Irish. His reasoning runs thusly: There was an early St. Cuindid (d. c. 497) son of Cathbad, who founded a monastery at Lusk, ancient Lusca. In the year entry 498 of the Ulster Annals, his name is spelled Chuinnedha. In Tigernach 496, the name is in the form Cuindedha. Significantly, Lusk or Lusca is a very short distance from the huge promontory fort at Drumanagh, the Bruidhne Forgall Manach of the ancient Irish tales. Drumanagh is "the hill of the Manapii" and, as such, represents the Manapia in Manapii territory found on the map of Ptolemy. Manapii or Manapia could easily have been mistaken or substituted for Manavia/Manaw, the Isle of Man, or for the Manau in Gododdin. Aeternus, Cunedda's father, is none other than Aithirne of Dun and Ben Etair just south of Lusca. Paternus Pesrudd ("Red-Cloak"), Cunedda's grandfather, is probably not derived from Mac Badairn of Es Ruad ("Red Waterfall"), since Es Ruad is in northwest Ireland (Ballyshannon in Co. Donegal). I think Paternus, from the L. word for "father", is Da Derga, the Red God, Da, "God", being interpreted as W. tad (Cf. L. tata, "father"). The Da Derga's hostel was just a little south of the Liffey. Cunedda's great-great grandfather is said to be one Tegid ("Tacitus"), while his great-great-great grandfather is called Cein. These two chieftains are clearly Taig/Tadhg and his father Cian. Cian was the founder of the Irish tribe the Ciannachta, who ruled Mag Breg, a region situated between the Liffey and either Duleek or Drumiskin (depending on the authority consulted). The Lusca and Manapia of Chuinnedha are located in Mag Breg. Professor Padraig Riain if University College, Cork, has sent me this on Chuinnedha Mac Cuilinn: According to the genealogy edited in my Corpus Genealogiarum Sanctorum Hiberniae (Dublin, 1985), p. 52, the name of Mac Cuilind's father was Cathmug. He belonged to the descendants of Tadc mac Céin, otherwise called the Cianachta. There was a concentration of the saints of this family in the Dublin/Louth/Meath area, corresponding roughly to the teritory of the Cianachta Breg. It is surely not a coincidence that according to the Irish Annals Chuinnedha's other name was Mac Cuilinn. Gwynedd was thus founded by Chuinnedha alias Mac Cuilinn of the Manapii in Ireland, not by a chieftain of Manau Gododdin in Britain. Chuinnedha may or may not have been invited in by Vortigern, who was active during this period. The Irish origin of Cunedda should not be a surprise to us, as there is the well-documented case of the Welsh genealogy of the royal house of Dyfed, which was altered to hide the fact that Dyfed was founded by the Irish Deisi. We know this because we have the corresponding Irish genealogy from a saga which tells of the expulsion of the Deisi from Ireland and their settlement in Dyfed. As is true of Cunedda's pedigree, in the Welsh Dyfed pedigree we find Roman names substituted for Irish names.