Dathi, the last pagan king of Ireland, reigned twenty-three years, from 404 to 427.

The early successes of his arms in Britain and emulation of his uncle Niall stimulated him to continental expeditions.

Keating recounts the following legend of his death by lightning while passing through the Alps.

“And the manner in which Dathi was slain was this; to wit, a flaming thunderbolt, shot from heaven, smote him upon the head whilst he was making conquests in Gaul. It was near the mountains called the Alps that he fell by the vengeance of God, for he had plundered the sanctuary of a holy hermit Parmenius, who cursed him therefor.”

Dathi’s death has formed a favourite subject for Davis, Mangan, Aubrey de Vere, Irwin, and other poets.

It is related that his body was carried home by his followers, and interred at Rathcroghan, Tulsk, in Roscommon, where a pillar of red-grit sandstone still marks the spot.

He was distinguished for his activity, sprightly manners, and ability in war.


134. Four Masters, Annals of Ireland by the: Translated and Edited by John O’Donovan. 7 vols. Dublin, 1856.

171. Ireland, History of, from the earliest period to the English Invasion: Rev. Geoffrey Keating: Translated from the Irish, and Noted by John O’Mahony. New York, 1857.

261. O’Curry, Eugene: Ancient Irish Manners and Customs: Edited by W. K. Sullivan, Ph.D. 3 vols. London, 1873.