In their exile, Deirdre and Naoise, Ardan and Ainnie (Naoise's brothers), all the warriors and their families, servants and all, journeyed from kingdom to kingdom, seeking refuge, and each time had to leave for fear of being killed. Not only was Conchobar and his warriors in pursuit, but the men of the kingdoms feared what Conchobar would do to them if they themselves did not capture or kill the brothers and return Deirdre to Conchobar.
They found refuge with King Alba, in Scotland, who gave them land in the woods where they built houses. Deirdre had to stay in the house at all times, so as not to be recognized and bring death upon them all. They had to leave when they found out that the king of Alba wanted Deirdre for himself. For years they traveled from place to place, always just out of reach of Conchobar. Finally they left Scotland and sailed to an island where they built their homes and lived happily for some time.
Eventually, news of where the exiles lived came to Conchobar. The men of Ulster, in counsel with Conchobar, said it would be a pity if Naoise and his brothers were to be slain by enemies in a foreign land -- for, they fought battles for foreign kings. They should be brought home to Ireland and slain in their homeland demanded the men. Conchobar thought this over then made plans to send a message to Naoise that a mighty feast was to be held and all would be forgiven if Naoise, Deirdre, his brothers and the entire household would come back to their homeland and join their brethren in celebration.
Fergus, Dubhtach and Cormac, Conchobar's son, were sent to the island where Deirdre, Naoise and his people lived. The message of peace and celebration was given to the brothers and they were very pleased, after years of being in exile, to finally be welcomed home.
Now, Fergus knew naught of the plan Conchobar had contrived, and his intention was to defend, protect and deliver Deirdre, Naoise and his people in safety to Emain Macha. Before reaching Conchobar's court, Fergus, Dubhtach, and Cormac were detained at a feast. Fergus sent Fiacha, his son, ahead with the rest of the warriors, to guard Naoise and his brothers.
It happened that Eogan, a long time enemy of Conchobar's, had come to Emain Macha to make peace and pledge his allegiance to the king. Conchobar, to test Eogan's loyalty, gave him instructions to slay Naoise and the two brothers.
As the party of Naoise halted on the plain to prepare for the court of Conchobar, the brothers stood on the plain with Fiacha. All the women were resting on the ramparts. Eogan came with all his warriors. As the son of Fergus, Fiacha, moved to Naoise's side, Eogan, came forward as if to greet them. When he was close enough, Eogan thrust his spear and Fiacha threw both arms around Naoise to protect him. Both Naoise and Fiacha were killed immediately by the mighty thrust of the spear that went through them both.
Eogan's warriors then killed the two brothers of Naoise, all the people that belonged to Naoise, women and all, were also killed. Dierdre was captured and bound, then taken to Conchobar.
When Fergus, Dubhtach, and Cormac heard that Naoise and his brothers had been murdered, they marched upon Emain Macha and attacked. Many Ulster men died that day and Fergus burned Emain. Then, Fergus and his men went into exile, to Connaught, and three thousand warriors went with them.
Deirdre mourned and her sorrow was so deep she did not eat, sleep, nor smile -- she spent her time mourning with her head on her knee, not knowing any joy. Conchobar had taken her to be his wife, but no love nor warmth did she give him. She was empty and cold. After one year, Conchobar asked her whom she hated more than himself. She said Eogan, who killed Naoise. So, Conchobar said Eogan could have her.
Deirdre was put into a chariot behind Eogan and Conchobar, traveling to Eoganís home. The two were making fun of her. Deirdre saw ahead of them a rock jutting out onto the road. She leaned out from the carriage so her head would hit the rock, and there she died, so her spirit journeyed to be with her beloved Naoise.