THE IRISH CHIEFS AND CLANS
THE chiefs and clans in Dalriada were as follows:--The O'Cahans, and MacQuillan, who held the territory of the Routes, and had their chief seat at Dunluce. The MacDonnells of the Hebrides invaded, A.D. 1211, the territories of Antrim and Derry, where they afterwards made settlements. In the reign of Elizabeth, Somhairle Buidhe MacDonnell or "Sorley Boy," as he was called by English writers,-- a chief from the Hebrides, descended from the ancient Irish of the race of Clan Colla, came with his forces and took possession of the Glynns. After many long and fierce battles with the MacQuillans, the MacDonnells made themselves masters of the country, and dispossessed the MacQuillans. Dubourdieu, in his "Survey of Antrim" says:-- "A lineal descendant of the chief MacQuillan lives on the road between Belfast and Carrickfergus, near the Silver Stream, and probably enjoys more happiness as a respectable farmer, than his ancestor did as a prince in those turbulent times." The MacDonnells were created earls of Antrim. The O'Haras, a branch of the great family of O'Hara in the county Sligo, also settled in Antrim; and several families of the O'Neills. The other clans in this territory were the O'Siadhails or Shiels; the O'Quinns, O'Furries, MacAllisters, MacGees or Magees, etc.
* Dalriada: This ancient territory comprised the remaining portion
of the county Antrim, not mentioned under Ulidia in the last chapter, together
with a small part of the present county Derry: Dunboe, now the parish of
Dunboe, in the barony of Coleraine, county Derry, was (according to the
Four Masters) in ancient Dalriada. As elsewhere mentioned, this territory
was named after Cairbre Riada, son of Conaire (or Conary) the Second, Monarch
of Ireland, in the second century. Dalriada is connected with some of the
earliest events in Irish history. In this district, according to our old
Annalists, the battle of Murbolg was fought between the Nemedians and Fomorians,
two of the earliest colonies who came to Ireland; and here Sobairce, Monarch
of Ireland, of the race of Ir, long before the Christian era, erected a
fortress in which he resided; which, after him, was called Dunsobairce
or the Fortress of Sobairce, now "Dunseverick," which is situated on a
bold rock projecting into the sea near the Giant's Causeway. And it is
mentioned by the Four Masters that at this fortress of Dunseverick, Roitheachtach,
No. 47, page 353, was killed by lightning. In after times, the chief O'Cathain
had his castle at Dunseverick the ruins of which still remain. Dalriada
was divided into two large districts: 1st, "The Glynns" (so called from
its consisting of several large glens), which extended from Older-fleet
or Larne to the vicinity of Ballycastle, along the sea-shore; and contained
the barony of Glenarm, and part of Carey; 2nd, "The Routes," called Reuta
or Ruta, which comprehended the baronies of Dunluce and Kilconway.
7.-- TIROWEN *
THE chiefs and clans of Tir-Owen, and the territories they possessed in the twelfth century, as given by O'Dugan, are as follows: 1. O'Neill and MacLoghlin, as princes. 2. O'Cahan, of the race of Owen, and who was chief of Cianacht of Glean Geibhin (or Keenaght of Glengiven). The O'Cahans were also chiefs of the Creeve, now the barony of Coleraine; and in after times, possessed the greater part of the county Derry, which was called "O'Cahan's Country;" they also, at an early period, possessed part of Antrim, and had their seat at the castle of Dunseverick. 3. The O'Connors, who were chiefs of Cianacta before the O'Cahans, and were descendants of Cian, son of Olioll Olum, King of Munster: hence their territory obtained the name of Cianachta, a name still preserved in the barony of "Keenaught," county Derry. 4. O'Duibhdiorma or O'Dwyorma, sometimes anglicised O'Dermot or O'Dermody, but a distinct clan from MacDermot, prince of Moylurg, in Connaught. The O'Dwyorma were chiefs of Breadach which comprised the parishes of Upper and Lower Moville, in the barony of Innishowen. The name of this district is still preserved in the small river "Bredagh," which falls into Lough Foyle. O'Gormley or Grimly, chief of Cineal Moain, now the barony of Raphoe, county Donegal. 6. Moy Ith and Cineal Enda, partly in the barony of Raphoe, and partly in the barony of Tirkeran in Derry. O'Flaherty places Moy Ith in Cinachta or Keenaught. According to O'Dugan, the following were the chiefs of Moy Ith: O'Boyle, O'Mulbraisil, O'Quinn, and O'Kenny. 7. O'Broder, O'Mulhall and O'Hogan, chiefs of Carruic Bachuighe, still traceable by the name "Carrickbrack," in the barony of Inishowen. 8. O'Hagan, chief of Tullaghoge in the parish of Desertcreight, barony of Dungannon, and county Tyrone. 9. O'Donegan or Dongan, MacMurchadh or MacMorough, O'Farrell or Freel, and MacRory or MacRogers, chiefs of Tealach Ainbith and of Muintir Birn, districts in the baronies of Dungannon and Strabane. 10. O'Kelly, chief of Cineal Eachaidh or Corca Eachaidh, probably "Corcaghee," in the barony of Dungannon. 11. O'Tierney, and O'Kieran chiefs of Fearnmuigh. 12. O'Duvany, Oh-Aghmaill or O'Hamil, and O'Heitigen or Magettigan, chief of three districts called Teallach Cathalain, Tealach Duibhrailbe, and Tealach Braenain. 13. O'Mulfoharty, and O'Heodhasa or O'Hosey, chiefs of Cineal Tighearnaigh. 14. O'Cooney, and O'Bailey (Bayly, or Bailie), chiefs of Clan Fergus. 15. O'Murchada, O'Murphy, and O'Mellon, chiefs of Soil Aodha-Eanaigh. 16. MacFetridge, chief of Cineal Feraidaigh, in the north of Tyrone. In the Annals of the Four Masters, under A.D. 1185, mention is made of Gillchreest MacCathmhaoil (MacCampbell or MacCowell), head chieftain of the Cineal Fereadaidh, who was slain by O'Negnaidh or O'Neney, aided by Muintir Chaonain or the O'Keenans. That Gillchreest MacCathmhaoil, was also head chieftain of clan Aongus, clan Dubhinreacht, clan Fogarty O'Ceannfhoda, and clan Colla of Fermanagh-"the chief of the councils of the north of Ireland." These Cathmhaoils were a powerful clan in Tyrone, and many of them in Monaghan, Louth and Armagh. 18. The clans of Maolgeimridh (Mulgemery, or Montgomery) and of Maolpadraig or Kilpatrick, who possessed the two districts of Cineal Fereadaidh (or Faraday), in the east of Tyrone. 19. Muintir Taithligh of Hy-Laoghaire of Lough Lir, a name anglicised MacTully or Tully. 20. O'Hanter or Hunter, chiefs of Hy-Seaain. The following chiefs and clans, not given by O'Dugan, are collected in Connellan's Four Masters, from various other sources: 1. O'Criochain or O'Crehan (mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters, under A.D. 1200), chief of Hy-Fiachra, a territory which comprised the parish of Ardstraw, and some adjoining districts in Tyrone. 2. O'Quinn, chief of Moy Lugad and of Siol Cathusaigh (a quo Casey), as given by the Four Masters, under A.D. 1218. Moy Lugad, according to the Books of Lecan and Ballymote, lay in Keenaght of Glengiven, county Derry. 3. The O'Cearbhallins (O'Carolans or Kerlins), a name sometimes anglicised "Carleton," were chiefs of clan Diarmaida, now the parish of Clandermod or Glendermod, in Derry. 4. The O'Brolachans, by some changed to Bradley, etc., were a branch of the Cineeal Owen. 5. MacBlosgaidh or MacClosky, a branch of the O'Cahans, was a numerous clan in the parish of Dungiven and the adjoining localities. 6. O'Devlins, chief of Muintir Dubhlin, near Lough Neagh, on the borders of Derry and Tyrone. 7. The O'Looneys, chiefs of Muintir Loney, a district known as the Monter Loney Mountains in Tyrone. 8. O'Connellan, chief of Crioch Tullach in Tyrone. 9. O'Donnelly, chiefs in Tyrone, at Ballydonnelly and other parts. 10. O'Nena (ean: Irish, a bird), O'Neny or MacNeny were chiefs of Cineal Naena in Tyrone, bordering on Monaghan; of this family was Count O'Neny of Brussels, in the Austrian service, under the Empress Maria Theresa. 11. O'Flaherty, lord of Cineal Owen, but a branch of the great family of O'Flaherty in Connaught. 12. O'Murray, a clan in Derry. 13. MacShane (a name anglicised "Johnson"), a clan in Tyrone. 14. O'Mulligan, anglicised "Molineux," were also a clan in Tyrone. 15. O'Gnive or O'Gneeve (anglicised "Agnew") were hereditary bards to the O'Neills. The O'Neills maintained their independence down to the end of the sixteenth century, as princes of Tyrone; and in the reigns of Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth, bore the titles of Earls of Tyrone and barons of Dungannon. The last celebrated chiefs of the name were Hugh O'Neill, the great Earl of Tyrone, famous as the commander of the northern Irish in their wars with Elizabeth; and Owen Roe O'Neill, the general of the Irish of Ulster in the Cromwellian wars, A.D. 1641. Several of the O'Neills have been distinguished in the military service of Spain, France, and Austria. In consequenee of the adherence of the Ulster chiefs to Hugh O'Neill, in the wars with Elizabeth, six counties in Ulster were confiscated, namely: Tyrone, Derry, Donegal, Fermanagh, Cavan, Armagh--all in the reign of King James the First. A project was then formed of peopling these counties with British colonies; and this project was called the "Plantation of Ulster".
* Tirowen: After the conquest of Ulster by the three Collas, this territory was comprised within the Kingdom of Orgiall; but Niall of the Nine Hostages, the 126th Monarch of Ireland, conquered that part of it called the "Kingdom of Aileach," of part of which (Tirowen) his son Eoghan or Owen, and of the other part (Tirconnell), his other son, Conall Gulban, were the first princes of the Hy-Niall sept. In after ages the territory of Tirowen expanded by conquest, so as to comprise the present counties of Tyrone and Derry, the peninsula of Inishowen (situate between Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly), and the greater part of the barony of Raphoe, in the county Donegal. This ancient territory is connected with some of the earliest events in Irish history. The lake now called Lough Foyle, according to Keating and O'Flaherty, suddenly burst forth in the reign of the Monarch Tiernmas, No. 41, page 354, and overflowed the adjoining plain, which was called Magh Fuinsidhe. This lake, mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters as Loch Feabhail Mic Lodain, obtained its name from Feabhail (or Foyle), son of Lodan, one of the Tua-de-Danan chiefs, who was drowned in its waves. In this territory, on a high hill or mountain called Grianan, on the eastern shore of Lough Swilly, south of Inch Island, was situated the celebrated fortress called the Grianan of Aileach (from Grianan, "a palace or royal residence," and "Aileach" or "Oileach," which signifies a stone fortress). This fortress was also called "Aileach Neid" or "Oileach Neid," from Neid, one of the Tua-de-Danan princes; and was for many ages the seat of the ancient Kings of Ulster. It was built in a circular form of great stones without cement, of immense strength, in that style called "Cyclopean" architecture; and some of its extensive ruins remain to this day. It was demolished, A.D. 1101, by Murtogh O'Brien, King of Munster and the 180th Monarch of Ireland, This palace of Aileach is supposed to have been the "Regia" of Ptolemy, the celebrated Greek geographer, in the second century; and the river marked "Argita" on his map of Ireland, is considered to have been the Finn, which is the chief branch of the Foyle river. The territory surrounding the fortress of Aileach obtained the name of Moy Aileach or the Plain of Ely. Tirowen was peopled by the race of Owen or the Clan Owen, some of whom, on the introduction of sirnames, took the name of "O'Neill," from their ancestor Niall Glundubh, the 170th Monarch of Ireland; and some of them, the name MacLoghlin, from Lochlan, one of the Kings of Aileach. Some of the MacLoghlins, during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, were princes of Tirowen, and some of them were Monarchs of Ireland. Altogether, according to O'Flaherty, sixteen of the Clan Owen were Monarchs of Ireland.
8.-- TIRCONNELL *
THE following clans and chiefs, in Tir Conaill in the twelfth century,
are given by O'Dugan under the head of Cineal Conaill: 1. O'Maoldoraigh
or Muldory, O'Canannain, and Clan Dalaigh, were the Principal chiefs. In
the tenth century some of the head chiefs of the Clan Connell took the
tribe name Clan-na-Dalaigh, from Dalagh, one of their chiefs, whose death
is recorded by the Four Masters, at A.D. 868; but they afterwards took
the name O'Domhnaill, or O'Donnell, from Domhnall or Donal, grandson of
Dalagh. 2. O'Boyle were chiefs of Clan Chindfaoladh of Tir Ainmireach,
and of Tir Boghaine - territories which comprised the present baronies
of Boylagh and Banagh: Crioch Baoighilleach or the country of the O'Boyles
gave name to the barony of "Boylagh;" Tir Boghaine was the barony of "Banagh."
3. O'Mulvany, chief of Magh Seireadh or Massarey. 4. O'Hugh, chief of Easruadh
[Esroe] or Ballyshannon, in the barony of Tir Hugh. 5. O'Tairceirt or Tarkert,
chief of Clan Neachtain and of Clan Snedgaile or Snell. 6. Mac Dubhaine
or Mac Duane, chiefs of Cineal Nenna or Cineal Enda, a district which lay
in Inishowen. 7. MacLoingseachain, chiefs of Glean Binne; and O'Breislen
or Breslein, chief of Fanaid or Fanad, on the western shore of Lough Swilly.
8. O'Dogherty, chief of Ard Miodhair. In the Annals of the Four Masters,
at A.D. 1197, Eachmarcach [Oghmarkagh] O'Doherty is mentioned as chief
of all Tirconnell. The O'Doghertys maintained their rank as chiefs of Inishowen
down to the reign of James the First. 9. MacGilleseamhais (anglicised Gilljames,
James, and Fitzjames), chief of Ros-Guill, now "Rosgul," in the barony
of Kilmakrenan. 10. O'Kernaghan, and O'Dallan, chiefs of the Tuath Bladhaidh.
11. O'Mullligan, chief of Tir Mac Caerthain, 12. O'Donegan, and MacGaiblin
or MacGiblin, chiefs of Tir Breasail; and O'Maolgaoithe, chief of Muintir
Maolgaoithe (gaoth: Irish, the wind; pronounced "ghee"). Some of this clan
anglicised their name "Magee;" and others, "Wynne", another form of "wind,"
the English for the word "gaoth," as above. 13. MacTernan, chief of Clan
Fearghoile or Fargal. The following chiefs and clans not given by O'Dugan
are collected from the Four Masters and other sources--14. MacSweeney (strangely
anglicised MacSwiggan), a branch of the O'Neills, which settled in Donegal,
and formed three great families, namely, MacSweeney of Fanaid, who had
an extensive territory west of lough Swilly, and whose castle was at Rathmullin;
MacSweeney Boghainach or of Tir Boghaine, now the barony of Banagh, who
had his castle at Rathain, and in which territory was situated Reachrain
Muintir Birn, now Rathlin O'Beirne Islands; and MacSweeney Na d-Tuath,
signifying "MacSweeney of the Territories". His districts were also called
"Tuatha Toraighe" or the districts of Tory Island. This MacSweeney's possessions
lay in the barony of Kilmacrenan. According to O'Brien, he was called "MacSweeney
Na d-Tuath," signifying MacSweeney of the Battle-axes, title said to be
derived from their being chiefs of gallowglasses, and from their being
standard bearers and marshals to the O'Donnells. A branch of these MacSweeneys,
who were distinguished military leaders, settled in Munster in the county
Cork, in the thirteenth century; and became commanders under the Mac Carthys,
princes of Desmond. 15. O'Gallagher, descended from a warrior named "Gallchobhar,"
were located in the baronies of Raphoe and Tir Hugh, and had a castle at
Ballyshannon, and also possessed the castle of Lifford; they were commanders
of O'Donnell's cavalry. Sir John O'Gallagher is mentioned in the wars of
Elizabeth. 16. O'Furanain (or Foran), chief of Fion Ruis, probably the
"Rosses," in the barony of Boylagh. 17. O'Donnely, chief of Fear Droma,
a district in Inishowen, is mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters,
at A.D. 1177. 18. O'Laney or Lane, chief of Cineal Maoin, a district in
the barony of Raphoe. 19. O'Clery or Clarke, hereditary historians to the
O'Donnells; and the learned authors of the Annals of the Four Masters,
and other valuable works on Irish history and antiquities. They had large
possessions in the barony of Tir Hugh, and resided in their castle at Kilbarron
#; the ruins of which still remain on a rock on the shores of the Atlantic
near Ballyshannon. 20. MacWard, a clan in Donegal, were bards to the O'Donnells,
and were very learned men.
Tir Connell was formed into the county Donegal by the lord deputy Sir John Perrott, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
* Tir-Connell: This territory comprised the remaining portion of
Donegal not contained in TirOwen, the boundary between both being Lough
Swilly; but in the twelfth century the O'Muldorys and O'Donnells, princes
of Tir-Connell, became masters of the entire of Donegal: thus making Lough
Foyle and the rivers Foyle and Finn the boundaries between Tir-Connell
and Tir-Owen. This territory got its name from Conall Gulban, who took
possession of it after its conquest by Niall of the Nine Hostages. He was
brother to Owen, who possessed Tir-Owen; from him the territory obtained
the name of Tir-Connaill or "Connell's Country"; and his posterity were
designated Cineal Conail or the race of Connell, a name which was also
applied to the territory.
Some of the earliest events in Irish history are connected with this territory, amongst which the following may be noticed: --Inis Saimer was the residence of Bartholinous or Partholan, who first planted a colony in Ireland; and this island gave the name Saimer to the river now called the Erne, and Lough Erne, which in ancient times was called Lough Saimer. The waterfall at Ballyshannon is connected with another early event, the death of Aodh Ruadh, an ancient king of Ireland who was drowned there; hence it was called Eas Aodha Ruaidh or the Cataract of Red Hugh; and hence "Eas-Ruadh" [Ashroe] was the ancient name of Ballyshannon.
In the tenth century a branch of the Cineal (or Clan) Connell took the name of O'Canannain, many of whom were celebrated chiefs; and another branch of them took the name of O'Maoldoraidh (anglicised O'Muldory and Mulroy) and became princes of Tir- Connell. The O'Donnells, in the twelfth century. became princes of Tir-Connell. Rory O'Donnell, the last chief of the race was created earl of Tir-Connell, but died in exile on the Continent; and his estates were confiscated in the reign of James the First.
# Kilbarron: The princely residence of the O'Clerys was the Castle of Kilbarron, within a short distance of Ballyshannon, in the county Donegal. In describing that castle, the late Dr. Petrie says:, "This lonely, insulated fortress was erected as a safe and quiet retreat in troubled times for the laborious investigators and preservers of the history, poetry, and antiquities of their country. This castle was the residence of the 'Ollambhs' (ed: learned men), bards, and antiquarians of the people of Tirconnell, the illustrious family of the O'Clery."
9.-- BREFNEY *
THE chiefs and clans of Brefney and the territories they possessed in the twelfth century, are, according to O'Dugan, as follows:--1. O'Ruairc or O'Rourke; 2. O'Raghailaigh or O'Reilly: these were the princes of the territory of Brefney. 3. Mac-Tighearnain (tigherna, Irish, "a lord or master"), anglicised MacTernan, McKiernan, and Masterson, were chiefs of Teallach Dunchada (signifying the tribe or territory of Donogh), now the barony of "Tullyhunco," in the county Cavan. 4. The Mac-Samhradhain (anglicised MacGauran, Magauran, and Magovern) were chiefs of Teallach Eachach (which signifies the tribe or territory of Ecchy), now in the barony of "Tullaghagh," county Cavan. This sirname is by some rendered "Somers," and "Summers," from the Irish word "Samhradh" [sovru], which signifies "summer". 5. MacConsnamha (snamh: Irish, "to swim"; anglicised "Ford" or "Forde"), chief of Clan Cionnaith or Clan Kenny, now known as the Muintir Kenny mountains and adjoining districts near Lough Allen, in the parish of Innismagrath, county Leitrim. 6. MacCagadhain or MacCogan, chief of Clan Fearmaighe, a district south of Dartry, and in the present barony of Dromahaire, county Leitrim. O'Brien states that the MacEgans were chiefs of Clan Fearamuighe in Brefney: hence MacCagadhain and MacEgan may, probably, have been the same clan. 7. MacDarchaidh or MacDarcy, chief of Cineal Luachain, a district in the barony of Mohill, county Leitrim, from which the townland of Laheen may he derived. 8. MacFlannchadha (rendered MacClancy), chief of Dartraidhe or Dartry, an ancient territory co-extensive with the present barony of Ross-Clogher in Leitrim. 9. O'Finn and O'Carroll,# chiefs of Calraighe or Calry, a district adjoining Dartry in the present barony of Dromahaire and comprehending, as the name implies, an adjoining portion of Sligo, the parish of "Calry" in that county. 10. MacMaoilliosa or Malllison, chief of MaghBreacraighe, a district on the border of Leitrim and Longford. 11. MacFionnbhair or Finvar, chief of Muintir Gearadhain (O'Gearon or O'Gredan), a district in the southern part of Leitrim. 12. MacRaghanaill or MacRannall (angilcised Reynolds), who were chiefs of Muintir Eoluis, a territory which comprised almost the whole of the present baronies of Leitrim, Mohill, and Carrygallen, in the county Leitrim, with a portion of the north of Longford. This family, like the O'Farrells, princes of Annaly or Longford, were of the race of Ir or Clan-na-Rory; and one of their descendants, the celebrated wit and poet, George Nugent Reynolds, Esq., of Letterfian, in Leitrim, is stated to have been the author of the beautiful song called "The Exile of Erin," though its composition was claimed by Thomas Campbell, author of "The Pleasures of Hope." 13. O'Maoilmiadhaig or Mulvey, chief of Magh Neise or Nisi, a district which lay along the Shannon in the west of Leitrim, near Carrick-on-Shannon. The clans in the counties of Cavan and Leitrim, not given by O'Dugan, are collected from other sources: 14. MacBradaigh or MacBrady, was a very ancient and important family in Cavan; they were, according to MacGeoghagan, a branch of the O'Carrolls, chiefs of Calry. 15. MacGobhain, MacGowan, or O'Gowan (gobha: Irish, "a smith"), a name which has been anglicised "Smith," etc., were of the race of Ir; and were remarkable for their great strength and bravery. Thus Smith, Smyth, Smeeth, and Smythe, may clam their descent from the Milesian MacGowan, originally a powerful clan in Ulidia. 16. MacGiolladuibh, MacGilduff, or Gilduff, chiefs of Teallach Gairbheith, now the barony of "Tullygarvey," in the county Cavan. 17. MacTaichligh or MacTilly, chief of a district in the parish of Drung, in the barony of Tullygarvey. 18. MacCaba or MacCabe, a powerful clan originally from Monaghan, but for many centuries settled in Cavan. 19. O'Sheridan, an ancient clan in the county Cavan. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, one of the most eminent men of his age, as an orator, dramatist, and poet, was of this clan. 20. O'Corry was a clan located about Cootehill. 21. O'Clery or Clarke was a branch of the O'Clerys of Connaught and Donegal, and of the same stock as the authors of the Annals of the Four Masters. 22. O'Daly and Mulligan, were hereditary bards to the O'Riellys. 23. Fitzpatrick, a clan originally of the Fitzpatrlcks of Ossory. 24. Fitzsimon, a clan long located in the county Cavan of Anglo-Norman descent, who came originally from the English Pale ##. 25. O'Farrelly, a numerous clan in the county Cavan. 26. Several other clans in various parts of Cavan, as O'Murray, MacDonnell, O'Conaghy or Conaty, O'Connell or Connell, MacManus, O'Lynch, MacGilligan, O'Fay, MacGafney, MacHugh, O'Dolan, O'Drum, etc.27. And several clans in the county Leitrim, not mentioned by O'Dugan, as MacGloin of Rossinver; MacFergus, who were hereditary erenachs of the churches of Rossinver, and whose name has been auglicised "Ferguson"; O'Cuirnin or Curran, celebrated bards and historians; MacKenny or Keaney, MacCartan, O'Meehan, etc.
* Brefney: In Irish this word is "Breifne" or "Brefne," wbich signifies the Hilly Country; it was cailed by the English "The Brenny," and has been Latinized "Brefnia" and "Brefinnia." This ancient territory comprised the present counties of Cavan and Leitrim, with a portion of Meath, and a part of the barony of Carbury in Sligo; O'Rourke being prince of West Brefney or Leitrim; and O'Rielly, or O'Reilly, of East Brefney or Cavan. Brefney extended from Kells in Meath, to Drumcliff in the county Sligo and was part of the Kingdom of Connaught, down to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when it was formed into the Counties of Cavan and Leitrim, and Cavan was added to the province of Ulster. In this territory Tiernmas, the 13th Monarch of Ireland, was the first who introduced Idol worship into Ireland; and set up at Moy Slaght (now Fenagh, in the barony of Mohill, county Leitrim) the famous idol Crom Cruach, the chief deity of the Irish Druids which St. Patrick destroyed. Brefney was inhabited in the early ages by the Firvolgians who are by some writers called Belgae and Firbolg), who went by the name of "Ernaidhe", "Erneans", and "Ernaech"; which names are stated to have been given them from their inhabiting the territories about Lough Erne. These Erneans possessed the entire of Brefney. The name "Brefney" is, according to "Seward's Topography," derived from "Bre," a hill, and therefore signifies the country of hills or the hilly country: a derivation which may not appear inappropriate as descriptive of the topographical features of the country, as innumerable hills are scattered over the counties of Cavan and Leitrim. On a vast number of these hills over Cavan and Leitrim are found those circular earthen ramparts called forts or raths, and some of them very large; which circumstance shows that those hills were inhabited from the earliest ages. As several thousands of these raths exist even to this day, and many more have been levelled, it is evident that there was a very large population in ancient Brefney. The erection of these raths has been absurdly attributed to the Danes, for it is evident that they must have formed the chief habitations and fortresses of the ancient Irish, ages before the Danes set foot in Ireland, since they abound chiefly in the interior and remote parts of the country, where the Danes never had any permanent settlement. Ancient Brefney bore the name of Hy Briuin Breifne, from its being possessed by the race of Brian, King of Connaught, in the fourth century, brother of Niall of the Nine Hostages, and son of Eochy Moyvane, Monarch of Ireland from A.D. 357 to 365, and of the race of Heremon. That Brian had twenty-four sons, whose posterity possessed the greater part of Connaught and were called the "Hy-Briuin race." Of this race were the O'Connors, kings of Connaught; O'Rourke, O'Rielly, MacDermott, MacDonogh, O'Flaherty, O'Malley, MacOiraghty (MacGeraghty, or Geraghty), O'Fallon, O'Flynn (of Connaught), MacGauran, MacTiernan, MacBrady or Brady, etc. In the tenth century Brefney was divided into two principalities, viz, Brefney O'Rourke or West Brefney, and Brefney O'Rielly or East Brefney. Brefney O'Rourke comprised the present county Leitrim, with the barony of Tullaghagh and part of Tullaghoncho in the county Cavan; and Brefney O'Rielly, the rest of the present county Cavan: the river at Ballyconnell being the boundary between Brefney O'Rourke and Brefney O'Rielly, the O'Rourkes being the principal chiefs. "O'Rourke's Country" was called Brefney O'Rourke; and "O'Rielly's Country" Brefney O'Rielly. The O'Rourkes, and O'Riellys maintained their independence down to the reign of James the First, and had considerable possessions even until the Cromwellian wars; after which their estates were confiscated. -- CONNELLAN
# O'Carroll: According to the De La Ponce MSS., "O'Carroll" of Calry, has been modernized MacBrady.
## English Pale: The "English Pale" meant that part of Ireland occupied
by the English settlers. In A.D. 1603.
the distinction between the "Pale" and the "Irish Country" terminated, by the submission of Hugh O'Neill,
Earl of Tyrone.
IV.-- ANCIENT MEATH. THE PRINCIPAL FAMILIES IN THE
KINGDOM OF MEATH
1.-- IN THE COUNTY MEATH
O'Dugan in his Topography says :
"Let us travel around Fodhla (Ireland),
Let men proceed to proclaim these tidings;
From the lands where we now are,
The five provinces we shall investigate.
We give the pre-eminence to Tara,
Before all the melodious mirthful Gael,
To all its chieftains and its tribes,
And to its just and rightful laws.
The princes of Tara I here record:
The Royal O'Hart, and likewise O'Regan;
The host who purchased the harbours
Were the O'Kellys and O'Connollys."
THE "harbours" here mentioned were those of the river Shannon, bordering
on the ancient Kingdom of Meath. The Kingdom of Meath included Bregia and
Teffia. The chiefs and clans of the Kingdom of Meath, and the territories
they possessed, are as follows: 1. O'Melaghlin, kings of Meath. Of this
family Murcha was the king of Meath at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion;
whose Kingdom was granted by King Henry the Second to Hugh de Lacey. 2.
O'h-Airt or O'Hart were princes of Tara; and when, on the Anglo-Norman
invasion of Ireland, they were dispossessed of their territories in Bregia
or the eastern portion of the Kingdom of Meath, they were lords in Teffia
* or the western portion of that ancient Kingdom. Connellan styles O'Regan,
O'Kelly, and O'Connolly, princes of Tara; and O'Donovan states that they
were of the four families who, by pre-eminence, were known as the "Four
Tribes of Tara" #. The princes of Tara were also styled princes of Bregia
##, a territory which extended between the Liffey and Boyne, from Dublin
to Drogheda, thence to Kells; and contained the districts about Tara, Trim,
Navan, Athboy, Dunboyne, Maynooth, Lucan, etc.; the territory comprising
these districts and that part of the present county Dublin, north of the
river Liffey, was known as "O'Hart's Country:" O'Kelly of Bregia were chiefs
of Tuath Leighe, parts of the baronies of West Narragh and Kilkea, in the
county Kildare; they had also the district about Naas, and had their chief
residence and castle at Rathascul or the Moat of Ascul, near Athy: the
territory comprising these districts was known as "O'Kelly's Country."
These O'Kellys are distinct from the O'Kellys of Clan Colla, who were princes
of Hy-Maine, a territory in Galway and Roscommon. O'Regan were chiefs of
Hy-Riagain, now the barony of Tinnehinch in the Queen's County. 3. O'Connolly,
respectable families in Meath, Dublin, and Kildare; were chiefs in the
county Kildare. 4. O'Ruadhri or O'Rory, now Rogers, lord of Fionn Fochla
in Bregia. 5. O'Fallamhain or Fallon, lord of Crioch-na-gCeadach: so called
from Olioll Cedach, son of Cahir Mor, King of Leinster, and the 109th Monarch
of Ireland. The "Country of the O'Fallons" was near Athlone in the county
Westmeath, but they were afterwards driven across the Shannon into Roscommon.
6. O'Coindeal-bhain (O'Kendellan, or O'Connellan), princes of Ibh-Laoghaire
or "Ive-Leary," an extensive territory in the present counties of Meath
and Westmeath, which was possessed by the descendants of Leary, Monarch
of Ireland, at the time of St. Patrick. The parish of Castletown Kendellan
in Westmeath shows one part of this ancient territory, and the townland
of Kendellanstown, near Navan, shows another part of it. 7. O'Braoin or
O'Breen, chief of Luighne, now the pariah of "Leney," in the barony of
Corcaree, Westmeath. 8. O'h-Aongusa or O'Hennessy, chief of Hy-Mac-Uais,
now the barony of "Moygoish," in Westmeath. The Clan-Mac-Uais or MacEvoy,
sometimes called MacVeagh and MacVeigh, of the race of Clan Colla, were
the original chiefs of this territory. 9. O'h-Aodha (anglicised O'Hughes
and O'Hayes), chief of Odhbha (probably "Odra" or "Oddor," in the barony
of Skrine, near Tara), 10. O'Dubhain or Duane, chief of Cnodhbha, probably
"Knowth," near Slane. 11. O'h-Ainbeath or O'Hanvey, chief of Fearbhile,
now the barony of "Farbill," in Westmeath. 12. O'Cathasaigh or O'Casey,
chief of Saithne, now "Sonagh," in Westmeath, where one of the castles
of De Lacy stood, who conferred that property on the Tuite family. 13.
O'Lochain or O'Loughan, chief of Gailenga, now the parish of "Gallen" in
the barony of Garrycastle, King's County. 14. O'Donchadha or O'Donoghoe,
chief of Teallach Modharain, probably now "Tullamore," in the King's County.
15. O'Hionradhain, chief of Corcaraidhe, now the barony of "Corcaree" in
Westmeath. 16. O'Maolmuaidh or O'Mulloy, Prince of Ferceall, comprising
the present baronies of Ballycowen, Ballyboy, and Eglish or "Fercall,"
in the King's County. 17. O'Dubhlaidhe or O'Dooley, chief of Fertullach,
the present barony of "Fertullagh," in Westmeath. 18. O'Fionnallain or
O'Fenelan (of the race of Heber, and tribe of the Dalcassians), lord of
Delbhna Mór, now the barony of "Delvin," in Westmeath. 19. O'Maollugach,
chief of Brogha, part of the now baronies of Delvin and Farbill. 20. MacCochlain
or MacCoghlan (of the Dalcassians), lord of Dealbhna-Eathra, now the barony
of Garrycastle in the King's County. 21. O'Tolairg or O'Toler and O'Tyler,
chief of Cuircne (cuircne : Irish, "the progeny of Cuirc", anglicised "Quirk"),
now the barony of Kilkenny West, in Westmeath. 22. MacEoghagain or MacGeoghagan,
Prince of Cineal Fiacha, now the barony of Moycashel, with parts of Rathconrath
and Fertullagh. The MacGeoghagans were one of the principal branches of
the Clan Colman, and were called Cineal Fiacha, from one of the sons of
Niall of the Nine Hostages. 23. MacRuairc or MacRourke, chief of Aicme-Enda,
descended from Enna Finn, another son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. This
clan was located in the district in which is situated the Hill of Uisneach,
in the barony of Rathconrath, in Westmeath. 24. O'Cairbre or O'Carbery,
chief of Tuath Binn. 25. O'Heogchadha (O'Heoghey, O'Hoey, O'Howe, etc.),
chief of Cineal Aengusa. 26. O'Maelcolain or O'Mellon, chief of Delvin
Beg or Little Delvin adjoining the barony of Delvin.
O'Dugan, in the continuation of his Topography of Meath, enumerates the different chiefs and their territories in Teffia; among whom were the following : 1. O'Catharnaigh or O'Kearney. 2. O'Cuinn or O'Quinn. 3. O'Confiacala or O'Convally. 4. O'Lachtnain or O'Loughnan, anglicised Loftus. 5. O'Mureagain, (Murrin or Murrigan). The O'Quinns were chiefs of Muintir Giolgain, and had their chief castle at Rathcline, in Longford. The other chiefs were:--O'Flannagain or O'Flanagan, chief of Comar, which O'Dugan places beside "O'Braoin's Country." 2. O'Braoin or O'Breen of Breaghmhuine, now the barony of "Brawney" in Westmeath. 3. MacConmeadha or Conmy, of Muintir Laodagain. 4. MacAodha or MacHugh, of Muintir Tiamain. 5. MacTaidhg or MacTague, of Muintir Siorthachain. By some of the family the name has been anglicised "Montague." 6. MacAmhailgadh (anglicised respectively, MacAwley, Macaulay, Magauley, and MacGawley), chief of Calraidhe or Calrigia, a territory on the borders of Westmeath and the King's County; comprising (according to MacGeoghegan) the barony of Kilcourcy, in the King's County. 7. MacGarghamna (anglicised MacGorgan), of Muintir Maoilsionna. 8. O'Dalaigh or O'Daley, of Corca Adhaimh or Corcadium, a territory in or contiguous to the barony of Clonlonan, in Westmeath. 9. O'Scolaidhe or O'Scully, of Dealbhna Iarthar or West Delvin. 10. O'Comhraidhe (anglicised O'Corry), of Hy-Mac-Uais or Moygoish in Westmeath. 11. O'Haodha or O'Hea, of Tir Teabtha Shoir or East Teffia. 12. O'Cearbhaill or O'Carroll, of Tara. 13. O'Duin, O'Doyne, or O'Dunne, of the districts of Tara. 14. MacGiolla Seachlan O'Shauglin, of Deisceart Breagh, now the parish of "Dysart" in Westmeath. 15. O'Ronain or O'Ronayne, of Cairbre Gaura or northern Teffia. 16. O'h-Aongusa or O'Hennessy, of Galinga Beg,### now the parish of "Gallen" in the King's County.
The following chiefs and clans in Meath and Westmeath have not been given, by O'Dugan:-- 1. O'Sionnagh (anglicised Fox), of the southern Hy-Niall, lords of Muintir Tadhgain in Teffia, containing parts of the baronies of Rathconrath and Clonlonan in Westmeath, with part of the barony of Kilcourcy in the King's County. The head of this family was distinguished by the title of "The Fox," and obtained large grants of land from Queen Elizabeth, with the title of Lord of Kilcourcy. 2. O'Malone, a branch of the O'Connors, Kings of Connaught, who had large possessions in the barony of Brawney, in Westmeath. In former times, these chiefs had the title of "Barons of Clan-Malone," and afterwards obtained that of "Barons Sunderlin," of Lake Sunderlin, in Westmeath. 3. O'Fagan, a numerous clan in Meath and Westmeath, of which there were many respectable families, the head of which had the title of "Baron of Feltrim," in Fingal. The following were also clans of note in Westmeath, namely, 4. O'Cobthaidh or O'Coffey. 5. O'Higgin. And in Meath, O'Loingseach or O'Lynch. 6. O'Murphy. 7. O'Murray. 8. O'Brogan, etc. The chiefs and clans of ancient Meath were, with few exceptions, of the same race as the southern Hy-Niall; in our days, there are but few families of note, descendants of the ancient chiefs and princes of Meath.
* Teffia: Another great division of ancient Meath was called Teabhtha, Latinized "Teffia", which comprised the present county Westmeath, with parts of Longford and the King's County; and was the territory of Main, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. It was divided into North and South Teffia. North Teffia or Cairbre Gabhra (or Gaura) was that portion of Annaly or the county Longford, about Granard; and South Teffia comprised the remaining portions of Annaly and Westmeath.
# The Four Tribes of Tara: "The Four Tribes of Tara", according to
the Battle of 'Magh- Rath' [Moria], page 9, where those tribes are mentioned,
were the families of O'h-Airt [O'Hart]; O'Ceallaigh [O'Kelly], of Breagh
or Bregia; O'Conghaile (considered to be O'Connolly); and O'Riagain [O'Regan]."
--Book of Rights.
## Bregia: The great plain of Meath, which included the greater part of the present counties of Meath and Dublin, was known by the name Magh Breagh (magh breagh: Irish, the "magnificent plain") signifying the Plain of Magnificence. It was Latinized "Bregia" and by O'Connor called Campus Brigantium or the "Plain of the Brigantes," from its being possessed by the Brigantes or Clan-na-Breoghan, as the descendants of Breoghan (No. 34, page 50), were called. That plain, situated in the eastern part of the ancient kingdom of Meath, comprised five triocha-cheds or baronies, and included Fingal, a territory lying along the coast between Dublin and Drogheda. This territory was so called because of a colony of Norwegians, who settled there in the tenth century, and who were called by the Irish Fionn Ghaill, or "Fair-haired Foreigners:" hence the term "Fingal," which was applied to the Norwegians; while Dubh Ghaill or "Black Foreigners" was the term applied to the Danes. According to Connellan's Four Masters, Bregia, which was a portion of the territory possessed by the princes of Tara, presents vast plains of unbounded fertility: containing about half a million of acres of the finest lands in Ireland.
### Galinga Beg: According to O'Donovan, "Galinga Beg" included Glasnevin,
near Dublin, north of the river Liffey; but this Galinga Beg could not
be the same as the Galinga Beg, in the King's County.
Next page (5) Previous page