Congal Cloen (Cáech) (d. 637/9), son of Scandal Sciathlethan and overking of Ulaid, belonged to the Síl Fiachnai lineage of the Dál nAraide (Cruthin) dynasty. Although misplaced in the pre-Norman genealogies (he is attached to a parallel line as a son of Scandal son of Bécc), Congal was apparently a grandson of Fiachnae Lurgan (qv), who died as overking of Ulaid in 626. His father Scandal does not feature in the annals, but according to tradition he married a sister of the Scots Dál Riata king Domnall Brecc (qv); it is said that she was the mother of Congal. The latter's sobriquet clóen/cáech (the squinting/the one-eyed) points to an eye defect. Indeed the ‘Bechbretha’, an eighth-century law tract on bee-keeping, maintains that Congal lost the sight of one eye through a bee-sting, the resulting disfigurement costing him the kingship of Tara. Whatever the truth of this account, the implication – that Congal and his contemporaries, as overkings of Ulaid in the early seventh century, had not finally conceded the dignity of Tara to the rising Uí Néill – is probably valid. Three historical tales, concerned with the warfare between Dál nAraide and Uí Néill, represent Congal as a foster-son of the Cenél Conaill king of Tara, Domnall (qv) son of Áed (qv). This, however, need only be a device for dramatic effect.
Congal succeeded his grandfather as king of Dál nAraide in 626, ahead of his uncle Eochaid Iarlaithe. A year later he gained the overkingship of Ulaid, when his Dál Fiatach rival, Fiachnae son of Demmán, fell in battle against Dál Riata. In a way, Congal facilitated the rise of Domnall son of Áed in 628 when he defeated and slew the latter's keenest rival, Suibne Menn (qv) of Cenél nÉogain at Tráig Bréni (on Strangford Lough). The precise intention on Congal's part in dispatching Suibne is, however, unclear. Besides, the following year he was attacked and defeated by Domnall at Dún Ceithirn (Duncairn, Co. Londonderry) – whatever agreement may have existed between the two ended very abruptly.
The conflict with the Uí Néill escalated in the 630s, a period when Congal secured the support of Domnall Brecc and of certain British dynasts, perhaps through his mother's connections. The enmity reached its peak in 637 when Congal and his allies joined battle with the Uí Néill at Mag Roth (Moira, Co. Down); the location suggests, later tradition notwithstanding, that the Uí Néill were the aggressors, although they may well have anticipated Congal's intentions. The latter's defeat and death were a serious blow to the fortunes of Dál nAraide and to the claims of Ulster dynasties in respect of provincial kingship. There is no record that Congal left sons. Later rulers of the line descended from his uncle Eochaid Iarlaithe, while the overkingship of the Ulaid passed back to the Dál Fiatach dynasty.