Who was Dagobert?

King Dagobert belonged to the Merovingian kings commonly known as the Rois Faineants or the 'good for nothing kings'. Young Dagobert was king of Austrasia, a kingdom in Eastern Gaul with its capital at Metz. Mezeray records the death at 21 years of age of King Siegebert of Austrasie.

Siegebert had one son, Dagobert, aged about 2 at the time. On Siegebert's death, Grimoald, son of Maire du Palais spread a rumour that before having Dagobert, Siegebert had in fact adopted Grimoald's son Childebert. Grimoald had Dagobert banished from his own Country and then boldly put his own son on the throne. From oral tradition, we learn that Dagobert was received into (and hidden in) an abbey at Slane and was educated properly for the enjoyment of the throne. Here he remained for 20 years before being recalled to France by the Austrasians in 674 A.D. There had been years of disorder in France. Dagobert reigned for about 4 years and died in 678 A.D. We must emphasize the importance of this oral tradition since there is no other reference other than that of Archdall to associate this strange Dagobert story with Slane. It would be interesting to know where this oral tradition came from.

Le Bon Roi Dagobert

Le bon roi Dagobert is a traditional children's song about King Dagobert and his minister St. Eloi, who offers sound advise to the king. The song dates from 1750, but did not become popular in France until 1814, the time of the Restoration: The royalists mocked Napoleon with these words;


The good King Dagobert had his verse all askew.

The minister St. Eloi said to him: "Oh my King, your Majesty,

leave it to the narrow-minded men to write songs."

"It's true," the King replied, "you'll do them for me."


The good king Dagobert feared going to hell.

The minister St. Eloi said to him, "Oh my King, your Majesty, my

faith leads me to believe that you'll go immediately."

"It's true," the King replied, "can you not pray for me?"


Dagobert with his friends and teacher.

Subjects Dagobert may have studied at Slane:


Historical Links

Ireland + France + EU