Ua Conchobair, Áed in Gaí Bernaig (‘of the gapped spear’) (d. 1067), a son of Tadc and overking of Connacht, belonged to the Síl Muiredaig lineage of the dynasty of Uí Briúin Aí. His father, Tadc in Eich Gil Ua Conchobair (qv), reigned as overking of Connacht for two decades, but was slain in 1030 by Máel-Sechnaill grandson of Máel-ruanaid, king of Cremthainn in eastern Mide.
Áed's mother is named as Derbfhorgaill, daughter of Tadc son of Gilla-Pátraic king of Osraige; she is said to have later married Tairdelbach Ua Briain (qv) (d. 1086), who became overking of Munster, which would make Áed half-brother to the latter's sons Tadc and Muirchertach Ua Briain (qv). There is some difficulty here, however, as this Derbfhorgaill lived till 1098 and Áed was presumably born some time before 1020. He had, in any case, a brother named Domnall (slain 1082). For his part, Áed married at least twice: he had a wife named Étaín, daughter of Ua hEgra, who was the mother of his son Cathal (slain 1082); he also married Caillech-Chóemgin, daughter of Ócán Ua Fallamain (who belonged to a minor line of Dál Cais – perhaps signalling an alliance with a faction of that dynasty); she bore him a son Ruaidrí, known as Ruaidrí na Saide Buide Ua Conchobair (qv). He may also have had other marriage-partners; certainly he had at least four other sons – Tadc (slain 1062), Murchad Liathánach (slain 1070), Niall Odar (d. 1109), and Cú Chonnacht – and two daughters, Aíbenn (d. 1066), who married Tadc Ua Muirecáin king of Tethbae, and Dubchoblaig (d. 1088).
In the years that followed his father's death (1030) there was much political upheaval in Connacht, as overkingship of the province was claimed by Art Uallach, father of Áed Ua Ruairc (qv), of the dynasty of Uí Briúin Bréifne. As a young man, Áed first gained notice in 1036 when he avenged his father by killing Máel-Sechnaill grandson of Máel-ruanaid. He then set about restoring the political fortunes of his family, which had been overshadowed by Uí Briúin Bréifne. In 1039, he defeated and slew Donnchad Derg Ua Ruairc, styled rígdamna Bréifne (eligible for the kingship of Bréifne). Despite a reversal at the hands of Art Uallach five years later, he was strong enough to assume overkingship of Connacht when Art was killed by the Cenél Conaill in 1046. This was not achieved without a challenge from the family of Ua Ruairc, but the following year Áed defeated the men of Bréifne at Corann (Co. Sligo); the casualties included Niall son of Art Uallach.
Áed also faced strong opposition from within the province, especially from the rival dynasty of Uí Briúin Seola and its ruling line of Ua Flaithbertaig, but he dealt ruthlessly with such resistance. In 1048 he attacked and razed the fortress of Inis Locha Cime (Lough Hacket, Co. Galway) in Ua Flaithbertaig territory. In 1050 he captured the king of Uí Briúin Seola, Amalgaid son of Cathal, and the following year had him blinded. Although around this time his forces suffered a defeat from their neighbours to the north, Cenél Conaill, Áed fortified Inis Crema on Loch Orbsen (Lough Corrib) as part of an initiative to subdue the districts west of the River Corrib. He launched at least two expeditions against the Conmaicne of Sliab Formáele.
Perhaps his very success in subduing Connacht led to a deterioration of relationships with the powerful Dál Cais dynasty. In 1051 Áed slew Domnall Bán, brother of Donnchad (qv) son of Brian, overking of Munster. As no details are supplied, it is unclear who had made the first move. Notice of this killing, however, immediately precedes the record of an attack by Áed on the Dál Cais inauguration site of Mag Adair, in the course of which he cut down a tree that had once been held as sacred. Hostilities against Donnchad accelerated in the course of the 1050s: in 1054 Áed invaded the territories of Corco Baiscinn and Tradraige (both in Co. Clare); in 1058 he plundered the ecclesiastical site of Lothra (Lorrha, north-west Co. Tipperary). Although Donnchad, who by this time was coming under pressure from his nephew Tairdelbach Ua Briain and the latter's overlord Diarmait (qv) son of Donnchad Máel na mBó (qv), submitted in 1059, Áed again invaded north Munster in 1061 and sacked both the ecclesiastical centre of Killaloe and the royal site of Kincora – adding insult to injury by destroying a well that was traditionally associated with Dál Cais kingship and eating the fish contained therein. Whether or not it was Áed's intention to promote the cause of Ua Briain against his uncle, his actions doubtless contributed to the eventual victory of the former, when Donnchad abdicated in 1063. That same year, Áed tendered submission to the rising overking of Uí Néill, Ardgar Mac Lochlainn – as did several other dynasts of the Connachta including Ua Ruairc.
Meanwhile, threats to Áed's supremacy had resurfaced within his own province. In 1061 he defeated and killed Ruaidrí Ua Flaithbertaig, who was styled ‘king of western Connacht’. In retaliation, his own son Tadc was assassinated the following year by supporters of Ua Flaithbertaig. When an attack on the territory of Cera (barony of Carra, Co. Mayo) led to 160 of his followers being suffocated to death in the cave of Aill in 1063, Áed ravaged the territories of Conmaicne and Uí Maine in revenge. This drove certain disaffected dynasts into the arms of Ua Ruairc who, with the king of Uí Maine, brought a fleet down the Shannon, striking at Clonmacnoise and Clonfert. Áed succeeded in crushing this alliance, killing both the king of Uí Maine and Áed son of Niall Ua Ruairc, thereby ending (it seems) any immediate internal threat.
In 1067 Áed assisted his son-in-law Ua Muirecáin (whose wife Aíbenn had died the previous year) in killing a rival in Tethbae (Co. Longford). He then faced an invasion of Connacht from Tairdelbach Ua Briain and his overlord Diarmait son of Máel na mBó, who had apparently assumed some role as guarantors of the peace in Tethbae. Áed managed to block this initial incursion and drove back his attackers with the loss of some of their leading supporters. Before long, however, the forces of Ua Ruairc had joined the fray, and Áed was slain in the battle of Turloch Adnach. The victor, Áed son of Art Uallach Ua Ruairc, succeeded to the provincial kingship. Two of Áed's sons, Murchad Liathánach and Cathal, were slain in internal conflicts, as was his brother Domnall; another of his sons, Ruaidrí na Saide Buide, later reigned as overking of Connacht.