O'Connor (Ó Conchobair), Áed (d. 1233), king of Connacht, was a younger son among the many children of Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (qv), high-king of Ireland. Nothing of substance is known of his early years, but it is likely he either grew up in Ulster or in the midlands. The likelihood of this prospect is raised because of his elder brothers’ enmity towards their uncle Cathal Crobderg Ua Conchobair (qv), king of Connacht. This vicious feud centred on their rights to the Connacht kingship, which Cathal had denied them, resulting in their living on the margins of his kingdom. Indeed, it is in this context that Áed first appears during 1210 in the annalistic record, attacking Connacht in the company of King Donnchad Cairprech O'Brien (qv) (Ó Briain) and Geoffrey de Marisco (qv). It is more than likely that Áed joined his elder brothers, Diarmait and Toirrdelbach, to assault Cathal Crobderg's kingship yet again in 1211. After this date, Cathal Crobderg may have come to some agreement with Áed and his brothers, as nothing is mentioned of them till 1221. Then, clearly, trouble broke out once more, as Diarmait was killed while assembling a fleet in the Western Isles of Scotland in order to challenge his uncle. Again nothing is heard of Áed or any of his brothers till after the death of Cathal Crobderg on 27 May 1224. Áed and Toirrdelbach then allied with the de Lacys and Áed O'Neill (qv) (Ó Néill) of Tír Eógain to challenge Cathal Crobderg's son, Áed O'Connor, king (1224–7) of Connacht. Also Richard de Burgh (qv) now pressed his claims to Connacht, increasing the mounting tension. In late 1224 King Áed provoked the sons of Ruaidrí, confiscating the lands of Donn Óg MacGeraghty (Mac Oireachtaig), their supporter. Outraged by their king's act, the Connacht nobility revolted and encouraged the brothers to invade Connacht. They were successful, and O'Neill inaugurated Toirrdelbach as king of Connacht at Carnfree. However, King Áed regrouped and with colonist help drove the brothers and O'Neill back into Tír Eógain. His success was fleeting, as his ally William Marshall II (qv) was replaced as justiciar on 22/25 June 1226 by de Marisco.
In early 1227 King Áed declared war on the government, burning Athlone. During May 1227 de Burgh was confirmed as lord of Connacht, and with the brothers and de Marisco expelled King Áed to Tír Conaill. In place of the deposed king, Toirrdelbach and Áed seem to have agreed to a joint kingship. Although the brothers cooperated to again defeat King Áed later that year, their agreement could not last. In 1228 Áed, supported by de Burgh, expelled Toirrdelbach and killed his son Máel Sechlainn. But in 1230 Áed, encouraged by his vassals, challenged de Burgh's provincial overlordship. De Burgh then allied with King Áed's brother, Fedlimid O'Connor (qv), and exiled Áed to Tír Eógain. Fedlimid, however, was determined to rule Connacht. As a result, in 1231 de Burgh now turned to the repentant Áed to take Fedlimid's crown. But before de Burgh could secure the province, his luck changed when his uncle, Hubert de Burgh, justiciar of England, was dismissed on 29 July 1232. A month later de Burgh was ordered to release Fedlimid and was also succeeded as Irish justiciar on 2 September by Maurice FitzGerald (qv). Furthermore, de Burgh was ordered to surrender Connacht but refused, angering Henry III. This reversal in political fortunes proved disastrous for de Burgh's settlement of Connacht. Unsurprisingly, Fedlimid went on the rampage, levelling the castles of de Burgh before killing Áed in early 1233. This turbulent but short-lived king of Connacht had two recorded sons, Conchobar and Donnchad Uaithneach.