The McLaughlin Family History

Inishowen, County Donegal, Ireland
379 A.D. - 1241 A.D.

The following excerpts are Chapters 3, 5, and 15 from the book, The Ulster Clans, written by Revs. T. H. Mullin and J. E. Mullin, published in 1966 by North-West Books, Limavady, County Derry, Northern Ireland, and reprinted in 1989.

Chapter 3

It has been said that Irish history, as apart from legend and romance, begins with Niall of the Nine Hostages, so called because of the pledges he wrung from nine nations. Niall was a tall, fair-haired blue-eyed hero of Gaelic blood, who became High King of Ireland in A.D. 379. A renowned warrior, much of his life was spent in predatory excursions against neighbouring countries such as England, Wales and France. It is possible that it was on one of these raiding expeditions that Saint Patrick was carried off from Britain to become a slave who herded sheep on Slemish Mountain for his pagan master. Niall died on one of these military forays to France in A.D. 405.

He had eight sons, and one of these called Laeghaire succeeded his father as High King. He held this position during Patrick's missionary activity, and tolerated the new faith, although apparently he did not wholeheartedly accept it himself. He died in battle, and by his own orders was buried standing upright with his face towards his hereditary foes. Two other sons of Niall, Eaghan (Owen) and Conall marched northwards, conquered North-West Ulster and founded there a new state with its capital at Aileach, a prehistoric stone-built fortress on a hill near Derry, at the root of the Inishowen peninsula. The territory of Conall, now Donegal. was formerly known as Tir-Conall (the land of Conall). The O'Donnells were descendants of Conall. The territory of Owen was Inishowen (the island of Owen), still known by that name. Owen's clan later expanded into Tyrone (Tir-Owen, the land of Owen).

From Owen there descended families who have played a large part in the history of Ulster, O'Neill, McLaughlin, O'Cahan, O'Hagan, O'Mellan, O'Mullan and others. To understand the relationship of these families or clans, it is necessary to understand something of their history.

Information regarding the apportionment of Inishowen amongst the sons of Owen is derived to a large extent from the "Tripartite Life of St. Patrick." This was written in part in the 9th century, and consequently has to be used with great caution as a source of knowledge for Saint Patrick's life. Nevertheless, the journey to Inishowen which it describes is not inherently improbable, for Patrick was a great traveller as Eugene Mullen's poem says.
"To all the seven kingdoms thou didst go
With toilsome journeyings, in sore privation.
Armagh thy see Primatial thou didst make
God's angel guiding. On the Willow Ridge
By that proud hill, which Macha, golden-haired
With aureate pin had lined to trace the site
Of Eamhain Fort and shape a home of valour
For the bold Craobh Ruadh, thy pastoral staff now marked
The place of more enduring battlement.
'Great glory this last House shall have' said the Lord
Of Hosts 'and in this place I will give thee peace'.
To kindly Cineal Eoghain thou didst grant
Wide sovereignty, wielded from fair Aileach".

The account of this visit to Inishowen indicates how the peninsula was apportioned to some of Owen's sons at a very early date in the history of his descendants, and if one is sceptical about the prophecy which Patrick is stated to have made about the future of the three favoured sons of Owen, one must admit the substantial accuracy of the fulfilment.

The Tripartite Life tells how Patrick blessed the children of Conall, and then went over Bernes Mor into the country of Owen to Magh Itha, where he baptised Owen. "Then Patrick blessed Eogan (Owen) with his sons. 'Which of thy sons' saith Patrick, 'is dearest to thee?' 'Muredach,' saith Eogan. 'Kingship shall descend from him forever' saith Patrick. 'And after him?' saith Patrick. 'Fergus,' saith Eogan. 'Ordained persons from him,' saith Patrick. 'And then Eochu Bindech' saith Eogan. 'Warriors from him,' saith Patrick. The story then goes on to show how one son of Fergus, Coelbad by name, made a bad beginning in respect to the fulfilment of the prophecy, for he expelled the saint from his territory. The other son Aedh (Hugh), whose territory adjoined Coelbad's, gave Saint Patrick a loving welcome and there they erected Domnach Mor Mach Tochair. Patrick then proceeded into Bretagh, the district of Owen's son Ailill, and ordained Aengus, son of Ailill in that place, Domnach Bili by name.

Wherever the word Domnach (The Lord's [day or church]) is found in placenames, the hand of Patrick can be traced. Dr. O'Donovan places Domnach Mor Magh Tochair near Carndonagh, where the nearby Glen Tocher preserves part of the name. Bretagh may be discerned on the map of Inishowen as the name of a river in the north-east of the peninsula, while Domnach Bili is now Moville. The territory of the sons of Fergus extended beyond Carndonagh to Doagh and Lough Swilly, as the headquarters of the Mulfoyle sept of Clan Fergus was at Carrickbrachy in the vicinity of Doagh. The tribal land of Murdock and Ochy Binny (Muredach and Eochu Bindech in the prophecy), lay to the south of the lands of Fergus.

We have now examined the blessing of Saint Patrick on the three favoured sons of Owen, and indicated where their inheritance in Inishowen originally lay.

l Before we go on to their expansion into other areas, the following genealogical chart will be found useful:

IO-Clery gives the ancestry of Sir Donnell O'Cahan from Owen and Niall of the Nine Hostages as follows- Domnall ballach m Ruaidri m Maghnusa m Donnchada an einigh m Seaain m Aiberne m Diarmada m Con mhuighe m Diarmada m Con muighe na nGall m Magnusa chatha duin m Ruaidri m Domhnaill m Eachmharcaigh m Raghnaill m Iomhair m Gilla Crist m Concionaedh m Diermada m Cathusaigh m Cathain (a quo h Chathain) m Drugain m Concobhair m Fergail m Maile duin m Maile fithrigh m Aedha uairiodhnaigh m Downaill ilcealccaigh m Muircertaigh m Muirethaigh m Eogain m Neill noigiallaigh.
(Analecta Hlbernica i 8).

In the centuries following the death of Saint Patrick certain veryt important clan expansions took place in Ulster. One of these concerns the territory of Dalriada in North Antrim. The name Dalriada derives from the word Dal, meaning descendants, and Riada, the nickname of a chieftain called Cairbre Righfada (Riada) ~-- Cairbre the long-armed. The name Dalriada is still used, but chiefly in its contracted form of the Route. A descendant of Cairbre Righfada called Fergus crossed over to the sister island and founded the kingdom of Argyle or Scottish Dalriada. The invading Gaels brought with them the Gaelic language, and gave their name (for in early times the Irish were called Scots) to Scotland. The descendants of this Fergus became kings of Scottish DaIriada, and ultimately of the united kingdom of the Picts and Scots in the days of King Kenneth MacAlpin.

In later years, Columba, who was of the race of Niall of the Nine Hostages, left Lough Foyle on the famous journey that took him to Iona, and made that lovely island with its green stones and white sands a centre of Christian missionary work for Scotland. Columba returned to Ireland for the famous convention of Drumceat which took place near Limavady. Later, too, the Scottish Macdonnells were to return and settle in the Glens of Antrim.

It is, however, with the expansion of the Owen clan that we are chiefly concerned here. From a focal point at the root of Inishowen the descendants of Owen fanned out in advances to the east and south. This expansion was not swift and overwhelming, but rather a gradual advance, as in the glacier age the ice moved inexorably forward from a centre in the Derryveagh mountains and Barnesmore hills in Donegal, following in its thrusts the line of least resistance and at length covering the countryside.

The first outward thrust of the Owen clan was that of the Clan Binny, which Dr. O'Kelly places as early as 563 A.D. This thrust apparently bypassed a hard core of resistance in County Derry, the Cianachta or children of Cian, whose name is preserved in the present barony of Keenaught. Swinging south-east into County Tyrone, it may have carried Clan Binny as the spearhead of the advance of the Owen clans right to the river Blackwater (or Davel) on the borders of Tyrone and Armagh. A pocket of the O'Hamills at Clonfeacle on the Blacklwater may mark, like an erratic boulder, the extent of their advance. Clan Binny ousted Oriella clans from the district Iying west of the river Bann, from Coleraine to beside Lough Neagh, and drove them across the river. There can be no doubt of the reality of the prophecy that the descendants of Ochy Binny would be warriors. A wealth of information about the Clan Binny is contained in Dr. James O'Kelly's "Gleanings from Ulster History".

Following upon the advance of Clan Binny came Clan Fergus. The O'Clery genealogies mention descendants of Coelbad, son of Fergus, from whom well-known septs derive. One was Ogain, from whom sprang the O'Hagans; another Coinne, from whom came the O'Quins; another Mael Fabaill from whom descended a long line of Mulfoyle chieftains. The Mulfoyle sept remained beside Lough Swilly, the others pressed forward into Tyrone in the wake of Clan Binny. Although Clan Fergus was to be distinguished for its clerics, the clan was not lacking in martial qualities. Dr. O'Kelly has described it as the fighting vanguard of McLaughlin and O'Neill, as these clans battled their way towards Tullyhog and Armagh to become masters of Tyrone.

The royal clans of Ulster, O'Neill and McLaughlin, were descended from Murdock Mac-Earca. O'Devlins and O'Donnellys probably sprang from a grandson of this Murdock Mac-Earca. An important point in the descent from Murdock Mac-Earca comes with Hugh Allen, king of Ireland, who distinguished himself by a series of victories over the descendants of Conall from Donegal. This king, Hugh Allen, had two brothers, Niall Frossach and Connor, whose descendants afterwards came into prominence. From Niall Frossach through Hugh Finlay were descended both the McLaughlins and O'Neills-the O'Neills taking their surname from Niall Glundubh (Niall Black-knee). The McLaughlin and O'Neill stocks provided vigorous leaders and kings for the Owen clans in Ulster, as well as reaching at times the position of high king of Ireland. Murdock's line, from which kings were promised, provided an ample fulfilment. From the other brother of Hugh Allen-Connor there arose certain strong clans by whose combined power these northern kings were supported and maintained. It is from the descendants of Connor, the Clan Connor, that the second important thrust from the Owen Clan came. This clan is often known as Clan Connor Magh Ithe, or the Fir Magh Ithe (men of Magh Ithe). Magh Ithe is the rich countryside stretching southward from Inishowen, later known as the Laggan district in east Donegal. According to the O'Clery book of genealogies, Connor had twelve sons, from one of which called Drughan were descended the O'Cahans (O'Kanes). The O'Mullans were also descended from Connor. The McCloskeys, later prominent in County Derry, were descended from a Blosky O'Cahan mentioned the Annals under the year 1196.

It will be remembered that in earlier advances the hard core of resistance in County Derry formed by the Cianachta had been bypassed. The Cianachta, whose leading sept was the O'Connors af Glengiven in the Roe Valley, had held their position for many centuries. The overthrow of the Cianachta and the O'Connors came oddly enough from their namesakes, the Clan Connor. Between the years A.D. 900 and 1000, according to Dr. Kelly's reckoning, the families of Clan Connor moved out from the cramped territory of Magh Ithe, and eventually established themselves in Ithe whole of the territory from the Foyle to the Bann in County Derry. No express record of the conquest of Cianachta exists, and the method of the conquest is a fascinating problem to which we must later turn. When the process of conquest ends, we find various septs of Clan Connor firmly settled in County Derry, the Clan Dermot and its chief family O'Carrolan south of the Faughan river, and the O'Cahans, O'Mullans and McCloskeys scattered elsewhere over North Derry. This intermittent expansion of the Owen clans, which has been described in the present chapter, occupied several centuries. Consequent upon this expansion, and concurrent with it, various other changes took place. These changes centre around the quest for power, and for a place from which the power obtained might be competently exercised.

In early times the headquarters of the sub-kingdom of Owen had been at Aileach near Derry. For a number of centuries the kingship of North Western Ulster alternated more or less regularly between the two chief branches of the conquerors, the Clan Owen and the Clan Conall. As the Clan Conall found it more difficult to expand owing to its geographical situation, the balance of power shifted decisively to the growing Clan Owen. The series of victories won over Clan Conall by the Owen chieftain Hugh Allen and his kin resulted in the exclusion of Clan Conall from the over-kingship of the whole territory by the end of the eighth century. Thus Clan Owen became the dominant Northern dynasty, and their seat at Aileach became the headquarters of the over-kingdom now held by Clan Owen.

This honour for Aileach was not lasting. As power shifted farther south, deep into Tyrone, a new capital was required. Accordingly a more central position at Tullyhog, near Cookstown, was chosen. Professor James Hogan, in his work "The Irish Law of Kingship", places this transfer of the seat of kingship from Aileach to Tullyhog somewhere between the years A.D. 1035 and 1050. So in succeeding years Aileach became what it is today a relic of the past, massive in earth and stone, but haunted by insubstantial memories of departed glory. Alice Milligan's poem "The Dark Palace" catches its pathos:
"There beams no light from thy hall tonight
O house of Fame!
No mead-vat seethes and no smoke upwreathes
O'er the hearth's red flame;
No high bard sings for the joy of thy kings,
And no harpers play;
No hostage moans at thy dungeon rings.
As in Muircherteach's day."

As the domain of Clan Owen broadened in Ulster, its original home in Inishowen became more and more only a Northern outpost of the clan, from which a line of subordinate Mulfoy]e chieftains, planted at Carrickbrachy, kept watch on the restless sea, and their equally restless neighbours. A description of one of these Mulfoyle chiefs is given in a poem to be found in the Book of Ballymote, and translated by McCarthy as follows:
"Worthy much of excellence is Mulfoyle,
Beloved king, distinguished, handsome,
Brilliant eyes beneath a very haughty head
Yellow hair upon a fair shoulder."

Finally Inishowen was lost to Clan Owen from a succession of causes. First, there was the gradual exodus of Clan Binny, a big section of Clan Fergus and the royal clans descended from Muircherteach, This inevitably weakened the northern outpost and was followed by internal conflict within the remaining Owen clans over the rich lands of Magh Ithe which lay to the south of Inishowen. This further weakening of the clans enabled the O'Dobertys, a powerful branch of the Conall peoples from Donegal, to force their way into Magh Ithe and then to use this as a base for further excursiom into Inishowen. The Owen families who held the northern part of Inishowen were finally crippled in two great battles; the first, a combined attack in 1117 by the forces of Clan Conall; and the second, an invasion from Scotland about a century later in which Trad O'Mulfoyle, chief of the remnants. of Clan Fergus in Inishowen, was slain with many of his people. Thus it was that the O'Dohertys and Clan Conall made themselves masters of Inishowen, the homeland of Clan Owen.

By this time, however, the Clan rested securely on a far wider base of lands in central Ulster. At the apex of the power exercised from this base were the McLaughlins and O'Neills. As in earlier days the kingship of North-West Ulster had alternated between clans Owen and Conall, so now when the Kingship was lin Owen hands there was a see-saw of power between the McLaughlins and O'Neills, both houses ruling almost alternately for a time. Eventually the O'Neills, by a combination of circumstances, which need not be detailed here, secured for themselves the kingship, and the once dominant McLaughlins lapsed into obscurity. One could almost use the word "security" with equal truth, for often the common man can sleep in security while uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

One final move must be mentioned; eventually the O'Neills removed their seat from Tullyhog, near Cookstown, to Dungannon:
". . . the town where the slow waters steal
Underneath a half-circle of stone
At the foot of the hill of O'Neill
In the middle of County Tyrone."

The main settlements around this area were those of Clan Fergus. As described in O'Dugan's Topographical poem, these vigorous chieftains "victorious over foes in every hill" who had once held territory as far north as Enagh Lough in County Derry, were now spread abroad in County Tyrone. Their lands were the very heart of the kingdom around Tullyhog. The sept of the O~Mellans had a large and well-defined territory which included Slieve Gallion to the north and what is now Cookstown to the south, the whole being known as the "Mellanaght." To the south of these lands lay the sept of the O'Hagans; some of this sept were transplanted later to a district just north of the O'Mellans. The O'Quins' land probably lay south-west of the O'Mellans in the vicinity of Lissan.

To complete the picture, we will glance briefly at the areas occupied by other Owen families. The Clan Ferady with its leading sept the MeCawellls settled around Clogher. Further north, the Clan Moen and its leading sept the O'Gormleys settled to the east and north-east of Strabane. The O'Devlins settled in the district between the Clan Fergus lands and Lough Neagh, while the O'Donnellys lived at Castlecaulfield near Dungannon. With this picture of settlements in County Tyrone the long expansion led by the favoured sons of Owen can fittingly end. It brings the O'Neills of Tyrone to the pinnacle of power within the clan, and to the verge of modern times. With the O'Donnells of Donegal who had risen to eminence within Clan Conall and shaken off O'Neill power, these representatives of the ancient ruling Gaelic race move forward to meet the challenge of a new age.

Chapter 5

We have viewed in the last chapter the broad territories over which the O'Cahans or O'Kanes held sway. Let us now look backwards into time, and ask how the O'Cahans had attained and kept this position. There is no express record of the capture of Cianachta by thc O'Cahans. The Irish Annals, especially in the earlier period, are records of isolated striking incidents rather than a connected historical or descriptive narrative. Thus we learn of the richness of the Irish woodlands incidentally, as when it is recorded twice in the eleventh century that the flow of the rivers was impeded by the enormous nut crops.

The capture of Cianachta by the O'Cahans took place in the century and a half which elapsed betweeen the invasions of the Norsemen and Danes, and that of the Normans. The Norse invasions are the feature of the ninth and tenth centuries. The Anna]s of Ulster record under the year 838 A.D.: "An expedition of Foreigners on Loch-Echach, from which they destroyed the territories and churches of the North of Ireland." Loch-Echach is Lough Neagh, and the Norsemen reached it by taking their long-boats up the Bann. The impression made by the Norsemen on this Northern coast (or Fochla, as it was called) is seen by another entry under the year 865: "Aedh, son of Niall, plundered all the fortresses of the Foreigners (i.e., on the coast of the Fochla) between Cinel-Eogain and Dal-Araide, so that he carried off their spoils and their flocks and herds, to his camp, after a battle. A victory was gained over them at Loch-Febhail (Lough Foyle) from which twelve score heads were brought." A few years later the Norsemen, accompanied by Clan Owen, performed the unprecedented feat of capturing the ancient fortress of Dunseverick by force.

The first part of the tenth century was also noteworthy for the activities of Norsemen and Danes. Among those killed by them was the famous Clan Owen leader, Muirchertach of the leather cloaks, and also the abbot of Coleraine. Churches and monasteries were particularly sought out by the Norsemen because of the treasures they were believed to contain. However, the Annals of Ulster record under the year 944 A.D. that Donnell and Flaherty, sons of Muirchertach, killed the foreigners of Lough Neagh and destroyed their fleet. Ten years afterwards it is recorded that Donnell took ships from the Bann estuary and embarked on a raiding expedition that took him to Lough Neagh and Lough Erne.

The disruption and terror of the Norse age bit deep into Irish memories, and the Danes remain the first to be singled out for blame when some destruction has to be accounted for. The Battle of Clontarf, won by Brian Boru over tke Norsemen in 1014, marks ending of Norse hegemony in Ireland.

The eleventh century was a century of Clan Owen expansion. In the beginning of this century, a dominant position in Ulster was held by the Clan Owen chief known as Flaherty of the pilgrim staff, so called because he once made a pilgrimage to Rome. The rest of his career was marked by raids upon neighbouring clans, in which the pilgrim's staff was replaced by the restless sword. By the middle of this century the men of Magh Ithe (the Clan Connor) came into prominence by raids upon the Oriella, and on the Clan Binny of Loch-Drochait, whose territory has been placed by Dr. O'Kelly as the western side of the River Bann north of Lough Neagh.

Since the original territory of Clan Connor was in East Donegal, it would be natural to suppose that they conquered North Derry by crossing the Foyle and progressing eastwards. This interpretation is strengthened by the fact that under the year 1076 the Annals of Ulster record: "The defeat of Belat (was inflicted) by Aedh Ua Mael-Sechlainn and by the men of Magh-Itha upon the Ciannachta, so that stark slaughter of them was inflicted." Belat has disappeared as a p]ace name; but it appears on the Plantation map of Sir Thomas Phillips, covering the Grocers' lands, and is about a couple of miles east of the River Foyle. Here indeed, between the Foyle and the Faughan, part of Clan Connor settled, the Clan Dermot, who gave their name to the parish of Glendermott or Clandermott. Did Clan Connor then push on eastwards over the Roe to the Bann? This seems the most obvious route, and yet there are weighty considerations which suggest that the advance was made along the valley of the Bann. These considerations must now be summarised.

First of all, there are very definite signs of pressure by the Clan Owen upon the tribes to the west of Lough Neagh and the Bann during this century, a pressure in which the men of Magh Ithe or Clan Connor take part. Of these tribes, the Ui Tuirtre lay to the west of the northem part of Lough Neagh, the various septs of Clan Binny and Fir Li to the west of the Bann, and the Cianachta of Glinne-Geimhin in the valley of the Roe. The signs of this pressure are clearly recorded in the Annals in raid and retaliation. It has been already noticed that the men of Magh Ithe raided the most southerly of the Clan Binny septs, the Clan Binny of LochDrochait-this is recorded under the year 1053. Twice in the next quarter of a century it is recorded that the king of Tullyhog was killed by Clan Binny, while in 1081 they killed the chief of Ui Tuirtre. It should be noted that in the later occasions when Clan Binny appears in the Annals, it is always the sept known as Clan Binny of the Glen, which was the farthest north. At this particular period Clan Binny appear to be a buffer state between the northerly pressure of the Tullyhog chieftains and the Cianachta of North Derry. Earlier in the century the Annals record direct clashes between Clan Owen and the Cianachta; under 1014 when Denis Gough, chief of Cianachta, was slain; and under 1023, when the Clan Owen chieftain was slain by his own brother and the Cianachta of Glinne-Geimhin. It would almost seem as if the centre of pressure was moving eastwards during this century towards Lough Neagh and the Bann, just as the seat of the Owen kingdom moved from Aileach to Tullyhog.

In the opening years of the twelfth century, internal troubles appear in the Cianachta territory. In 1101 Echri Ua Maelmuire, chief of Cianachta, was killed by O'Connor of Glinne-Geimhin; while three years later the O'Connor chieftain of Cianachta was killed by his own people. Finally, in 1122, O'h Ainiarraidh, the chief of Cianachta, was killed by his own brothers in the middle tlle cemetery of Banagher.

Just four years previously it is recorded that the chief of Fer- managh was killed by a tribe living at Ardstraw and by the men of Craebh (or Creeve, near Coleraine). Then in 1138 it is recorded that "Raghnall, son of Imhar Ua Cathain, lord of the of the Craebh, Cianachta and Fir Li, fell through treachery and guile, the Ui-Eoghain of the Valley." The valley people are evidently Clan Binny, and the O'Cahan killed ushers the O'Cahan clan into a stormy future that occupies a large place in Ulster history for the next five and a half centuries. This is the first mention of the O'Cahans in the Annals, and it is perhaps appropriate that their coming was preceded by a great storm in the previous year. By 1138 they are obviously masters not only of the Creeve, but also of Cianachta and Fir-Li.

These changes pass silently in the Annals. It is difficult, however, to resist the impression that the centre of pressure moves toward Tullyhog, which was burned in retaliation in 1011, and had its trees uprooted by the Ulidians a century later. The best interpretation of the facts which are available seems to be that while Donnell McLaughlin, King of Clan Owen, was exerting pressure to the west and south from Tullyhog, Clan Connor and particularly the O'Cahans were pressing north until we find that the tribes of Fir Li and Ui Tuirtre are driven across the Bann, that Clan Binny is subdued and soon disappears from the Annals, while the O'Connors, once chiefs of Cianachta, are forced eventually into the position of small farmers in the district they previously ruled.

This interpretation of the evidence as pointing to the O'Cahan thrust against Cianachta as coming from the south up the Bann valley and then across the mountains must remain tentative. There is, however, some corroborating evidence. First, A. Moore Munn notes two townland names in the parish of Killelagh which he thinks point to the original settlcment of the O'Cahans, or Kanes, Tirkane (the country of Kane), and Half Gayne (the stone house of Kane). Tamneymullan, north of Maghera, must at one time have been occupied by an O'Mullan. Both the O'Mullans and the O'Cahans were descended from Connor.

By this period O'Cahan has assumed pre-eminence inside the Clan Connor. These place names confirm the tradition that O'Cahan's country at an early stage extended down to Lough Neagh.

Second, in the mountainous area between the Roe Valley and South Derry, there are a remarkable series of place names which may possibly commemorate struggles which have left no mark upon written annals of Ulster. They are as follows:

Slaghtaverty - parish of Errigal;
Slaghfreeden - parish of Lissan;
Slaghtbogy (Slatevoylagh, Slatgolan) - parish of Maghera:
Slaghtneill - parish of Killelagh;
Slaghtmanus - parish of Cumber Lower.

Similar names have been preserved which have not become modern townland names. The Phillips manuscripts give the following place-names on the Skinner's lands:
Slatmone Latmiske.

In the parish of Rasharkin in the townland of Crushybracken is a place called Slaghttaggaart. It will be noticed that the word Slaght (meaning monument for the dead) is in a number of these instances connected with a proper name such as Neill, Manus and Averty. These may, of course, be connected with some earlier struggles, but it is noteworthy that Manus or Magnus is a Norse name, and that therefore this name is subsequent to the Norse invasions.

Finally, it may be noted that the O'Cahans, who were always generous benefactors to the Church, founded an Augustinian priory at Dungiven at a very early date. Their earliest connections with the North Derry area seem to be at the Creeve, and in the range of hills between the Bann and Roe. It is as O'Cahan of the Creeve, with the daughter of O'Henery (probably his wife), that the O'Cahan chief at the later date of 1192 presents the doorway of the refectory of the Black Church of Columkille in Derry. The O'Cahans sometimes regretted their generosity to the Church at a later stage.

This summarises the facts which point to the O'Cahan conquest of Cianachta as coming from the Bann valley and across the mountains. James O'Kane, of the parish of Swateragh, known as thc bard of Carntogher, wrote of this close connection with Dungiven in the lines:
"Dungiven, when darkness and silence surround you,
Enfolding your mountains that rise by the Roe,
I think of the glories that covered and crowned you,
Your power and your splendour in days long ago.

Here stood the strong castle and halls of O'Cahan,
Here spread the broad acres held under his sway,
Beyond the Moyola, the Bann and the Faughan,
And here lies the dust of their chieftain to-day.

Yes, here does he rest in your old church, Dungiven,
Who often in battle defeated the foe,
Unfurled Erin's flag to the free winds of Heaven,
And marshalled his troops on the banks of the Roe."

From 1138 the O'Cahans appear regularly in the Annals. The following references to them in the succeeding years illustrate the type of material which is available, which does not lend itself to connected narrative.

1156. Aedh, son of Ruaidhri Ua Canannain, lord of Cinel-Conaill (Donegal) was slain by Ua Cathain and Feara-na-Craeibhe (Men of the Creeve) by treachery.

1157. (The Cinel Owen lead an army into Leinster and Connaught and into King's County.) This host was defeated and many of them were slain, together with Ua Cathain of Creeve. (The Connaught men meantime had invaded Tyrone and plundered the country as far as Coolkeenaght in the parish of Faughanvale.)

1167. (The men of Leinster and lords of Desmond and Thomond dlivide Tyrone between Neill McLaughlin and Hugh O'Neill.) The part north of the mountain, i.e., Callainn (Slieve Gallion), to Niall Ua Lochlainn for two hostages, Ua Cathain of Craebh and Macan-Ghaill Ua Brain. (This illustrates the importance of the O'Cahans, for it was generally from the most important sub-clan that hostages were drawn. It also illustrates the close connection between the McLaughlins and the O'Cahans, a connection that Dr. O'Kelly has noted also between the McLaughlins and the the men of Magh Ithe.)

1171. A great predatory force was led by Maghnus Mac Duinn sleibhe Ua hEochadha and the Ulidians into Cuil-an-tuaisceirt, and they plundered Cuil-rathain (Coleraine) and other churches. A small party of the Cinel-Eoghain (Clan Owen) under Conchobhair Ua Cathain overtook them, and a battle was fought between them, in which the Ulidians were defeated, with the loss of 21 chieftains and sons of chieftains, with many others; and Maghnus himself was wounded, but he escaped from the conflict on that occasion. (Magnus McDonlevy, whose unrighteous doings are deplored by the Annals, was the ruler of the petty kingdom of Ulidia, which had its capital at Downpatrick in County Down. Twescard is a district in North Antrim stretching from Coleraine over to Armoy and Loughgiel. It is interesting to notice that this attack on North Antrim was countered by the O'Cahans, and it is probable that they had extended their sway from the Creeve to portion of North Antrim at a very early date.)

1175. The Kinel Enda were defeated and a great slaughter made of them by Eachmarcach O'Kane and Niall O'Gormley. (The territory of Enda was thirty quarterlands south of Inishowen. As already mentioned, the Gormleys were the leading sept of Clan Moen, and settled to the east and north-east of Strabane.)

1178. Randal, the son of Eachmarcach O'Kane, had been slain by the Kinel-Moen in the beginning of this summer. (Eachmarcach was the chief of the O'Cahans or O'Kanes at this period. Evidently the pact with Clan Moen was of a very temporary duration; this clan bordered on that section of Clan Connor Magh Ithe, known as the Clan Dermot, whose lands were north of theirs.)

The foregoing entries show the O'Cahans taking an active part in the trbal conflicts during the half-century or so which followed their expansion into the districts of Creeve and Cianachta. By the time of the last entry a new factor had entered Ulster history which was to exercise a continuing influence for two ceuturies on the area and clans in which we are particularly interested. This was the coming of the Normans.

John de Courcy, the younger son of a Somerset knight, without waiting for royal leave, set out to invade and conquer Ulster, which as the most warlike of the Irish kingdoms, and the most difficult of access. He is described as a tall, fair man of immense strength and remarkable daring, and he and the band of companions he assembled were well fitted for the adventures they were to undertake. De Courcy first conquered Ulidia, its capital fell into his hands in 1177, and firom this time Downpatrick was the centre of de Courcy's territories. From Ulidia, de Courcy turned northwards, where the north half of County Antrim found a champion in Cumee O'Flynn, the chieftain of Hy Tuirtre and Fir Lee. (It will be remembered that the advance of the O'Cahans had driven these tribes from their original territories across the Bann.) Cumee O'Flynn pursued a scorched-earth policy, and burned Armoy before de Courcy's arrival. However, the Normans reached and burned Coleraine and many other churches. Giraldus relates how de Courcy then received a severe defeat at Cumee O'Flynn's hands in the district of Fir Li. De Courcy was raiding some cattle when he was overpowered in a narrow pass and barely escaped with eleven of his knights to his stronghold at Down.

At this point we meet one of the factors which bedevilled the struggle for Irish independence for centuries, the inability of the clans on occasion to sink their tribal differences and to present a united front. The Ulidians and the Ui Tuirtre had borne the brunt of de Courcy's onslaught, and Rory McDonlevy and Cumee O'Flynn had been his chief opponents. They were a buffer which protected the territory of the McLaughlins and O'Cahans from the Normans. We therefore read with surprise in the Annals under the year 1181 that Donnell McLauglin has invaded Ulidia and defeated the Ulidians, Hy Tuirtre and Fir Li. In the same year the Eachmarcach O'Cahan already mentioned, with the men of Magh Ithe and the Clan Binny of the Valley (the latter evidently now Subordinate to the O'Cahans) mustered an army and crossed the Bann at Toome. They plundered all the territories of the Fir Li and Hy Tuirtre, and carried off many thousands of cows. At this point Fir Li as a state disappears from the Annals, and this is also the last appearance of the Clan Binny, who had first emerged in the Annals a century and a half previously. Cumee O'Flynn was killed by the Normans a few years afterwards, and Ui Tuirtre became a subordinate territory with an O'Flynn chief owning the Normans as overlords.

The short-sighted policy pursued by the McLaughlins and O'Cahans is thrown into relief by the happenings of the very next year. Donnell, the son of Hugh McLaughlin, marched with an army to Dunboe in Dalriada, and there gave battle to the English. Clan Owen were defeated, and among the slain was Gilchrist O'Cahan. This entry is also interesting in another way. Dalriada is generally thought of as being on the Antrim side of the Bann. O'Donovan, in his discussion of this entry, points out that this statement in the Annals of the Four Masters was carried over from the earlier Annals of Ulster and Annals of Kilronan. It may be remarked that in early times the Bann and Bann Valley did not divide so much as unite; this seems to be true of the Normans, of the O'Cahans, and probably of the Norsemen. Dalriada, therefore, may well have had its unrecorded extension at an early time on the Derry side of the Bann.

This mistake of pursuing tribal quarrels and personal vendettas in the face of a common enemy, which ended in the defeat of 1182, was to be repeated again. Under the year 1196, the Annals record that Murtough McLaughlin, described as presumptive heir to the throne of Ireland and destroyer of the cities and castles of the English, was killed by Donough, son of Blosky O'Cahan, at the instigation of Clan Owen. This Blosky, by the way, was the ancestor of the McCloskeys, who we later find as a sept in lhe country of O'Cahan. In 1197 we find the beginnings of the Norman settlement in the Coleraine and north Antrim area which was to exercise a profound influence on the neighbouring O'Cahans. Under 1197 the following entry occurs:
"John de Courcy and the English of Ulidia marched with an army to Eas Creeva, and erected the castle of Kilsanctan, and wasted and desolated the territory of Kienaghta. He left Rotsel Pitun (probably Peyton), together with a large body of forces, in the castle, out of which they proceeded to plunder and ravage the territories and the churches. Rotsel Pitun afterwards came on a predatory excursion to the harbour of Derry and plundered the churches of Cluain-I, Enagh and Dergbruagh. But Flaherty P'Muldory, Lord of Kinel-Owen and Kinel-Connell, with a small party of the northern Hy Niall, overtook him, and a battle was between them on the strand of Faughanvale, in which the English and the son of Ardgal McLaughlin were slaughtered, through the miracles of Saints Columbkille, Canice and Brecan, whose churches they had plundered."

De Courcy followed this up by further expeditions to Derry and Inishowen, and into Tyrone. De Courcy was finally expelled from Ulster in 1205, and King John gave to Hugh de Lacy all the lands of de Courcy which he could conquer. As de Courcy had made his centre at Downpatrick, so de Lacy made his centre at Carrickfergus, where the magnificent Norman castle dates from approximately this period.

Ulster resistance to the Norman onslaught continued unabated. The Ulster Annals mention in 1206 that an army was led by the son of Hugo de Lacy with the English of Meath and Leinster to Tullyhog, where they burned churches and corn, but obtained neither hostages nor pledges of submission from Hugh O'Neill on this occasion. The same people led another army into Kienaghta, they burned all the churches of that territory, besides driving off a countless number of cows. Churches at this period were sometimes used for storing corn, and for that reason came in for unwelcome attention.

De Lacy was expelled by King John in 1210, and although he was later restored to his lands in 1226-27 the interval saw a very significant happening in the grant of lands in north and north-east Ulster to a family of Scottish noblemen. In the spring of 1212, Alan, Earl of Galloway, was assigned on the King's behalf 140 knights' fees of land extending apparently over the whole northeast of the province from the River Foyle to the Glens of Antrim. From this grant were excepted ten knights' fees on each side of the River Bann near the castle of Kilsanctan, which were retained meantime in the king's hand. Under the year 1211 the Annalists relate that Thomas McUchtry (Alan's brother, and Earl of Athol) came with a fleet of 76 ships to Derry and plundered Inishowen.

King John granted him the next year that part of Derry which belonged to O'Neill. Thomas MacUchtry then in 1214 proceeded to plunder Derry, carrying off the precious articles of the church of Derry to Coleraine. The same year he strengthened his position in Coleraine by building a stone castle there, finding the materials by demolishing all the cemeteries and buildings of the town, except the church. This turbulent Scottish nobleman then received a grant from the king of Kilsantan and castle of Coleraine, with ten knights' fees on both sides of the Bann. Orpen has noticed that raids on Ulster by these men of Galloway were regularly followed by grants of land from the Crown. These grants to the Earls of Athol and Galloway, and to their uncle, Duncan of Carrick, mark the beginning of a long connection between the Scots and north-east Ulster which has continuing importance right up into modern times.

Meanwhile the Ulster chiefs were still resisting, and it is doubtful whether these grants had any real validity west of the Bann. Farrell O'Cahan, chief of Cianachta and Creeve, whose lands had on paper been granted to the Earl of Galloway, was killed in 1213 fighting against the English. However, the Ulster chieftains had not yet learned the paramount lesson of an united front, and it is surprising to learn that the next year Farrell's successor led the O'Cahans to seize the house of McLaughlin's son. The prior of the Abbey church of Derry, who with Christian zeal, but perhaps with less worldly wisdom, interposed to make peace between them, was slain on this occasion.

These grants to Scotsmen were obviously resented by the de Lacys. In 1222 the son of Hugo de Lacy came to Ireland without the consent of the king, obtained the assistance of Hugh O'Neill, and set out with him to oppose the English in Ireland. One of their first actions was to go to Coleraine where they demolished the castle that had been so recently built. When de Lacy was finally restored to his position in 1226-27, the lands of Alan and Thomas of Galloway were exempted from his grant. Shortly afterwards the castle of Coleraine was rebuilt, but we are not told by whom. The feud between the de Lacys and the Scottish nobles was long standing, and eventually the Scottish estates in Ulster disappeared. The feud had one unexpected by-product. Some years later Patrick, son of Thomas of Galloway, was murdered. Walter Bissett and his nephew John, who were accused of the crime and outlawed in Scotland, fled to Ireland, where they obtained grants of land in Glenarm and elsewhere in County Antrim previously held by the nobles from Galloway. Those grants must have been obtained from Hugh de Lacy, who died the same year without male heirs. The Bissett lands passed eventually to a girl who was the sole heiress. Mairi Bissett married a MacDonnell of the Isles, and through her the MacDonnells succeeded to the Antrim Glens from whence they rose to a position of great influence in Ulster.

Meantime the Normans had been profiting by the internal quarrels of the Clan Owen. Norman power had been gradually growing and under 1238 the Annalists note that the Lord Justice, with de Lacy, the Earl of Ulster, had deposed McLaughlin from the chieftainship of Clan Owen, and given the government of Tyrone to the son of O'Neill. This struggle for power between McLaughlin and O'Neill led three years later to the Battle of Cameirge, when O'Neill, with the assistance of the O'Donnells of Donegal, defeated McLaughlin, who was slain. The place-name of the battle is now unknown, but the traditional site is near Maghera.

At this point we reach a most interesting statement in the Annals as far as the O'Cahans are concerned, a statement which makes one realise the paucity of information in this early period. Under 1247 the Annals record:
"Eachmarcach O'Kane, Lord of Kienaghta and Firnacreeva, was slain by Manus O'Kane after having gone on a predatory excursion into his country as far as Armoy in Dalriada."

At the time of the Plantation of Ulster, a sept of O'Cahans was in possession of Dunseverick Castle, but we have no information as to how they came there nor does there seem to be any genealogy of them in this early period. This territory possessed by O'Cahans in the Route is most probably the remnant of O'Cahan possessions across the Bann in pre-Norman times. It has already been noticed under the year 1171 that Magnus McDonlevy's plundering expedition into North Antrim was countered by an O'Cahan.

The continuing power of the Normans is seen when under 1248 the Annals record that the Lord Justice of Ireland led an army to Tyrone to oppose O'Neill. Clan Owen held a council and agreed that as the English of Ireland had at this time the ascendancy over the Irish it would be advisable to give them hostages and make peace with them. On this occasion the English came as far as Coleraine, where they built a bridge across the Bann, erected the castle of Drumtarcy and a dwelling at Drom. This castle must have been erected to protect the bridge, and was almost certainly on the far side of the river, as a few years later there was a parish of Drumtarcy which apparently lay between Camus and Dunboe.

The peace so made was not a lasting one, and the Owen clans were soon to make a great effort to break the Norman yoke in the Battle of Druim-dearg at Downpatrick. Led by Brian O'Neill, Clan Owen went down in an honourable defeat in which the O'Cahans played a noteworthy part. For centuries the Irish had disdained the use of armour, and went into battle with their finest tunics, beautifully embroidered and dyed golden with saffron. The Normans, on the other hand, were heavily armoured, and this battle in particular made it apparent that courage, even of the highest quality, was not enough. Brian O'Neill was killed, and with him no less than fifteen of the O'Cahan chiefs. This shows the magnitude of the O'Cahan effort, and its dauntless quality.

We are fortunate to have two poems lamenting the Ulster losses in this battle, one by MacNamee, the bard of the O'Neills, and one by Fearghal Og Mac-na-Bhaird, whose particular interest was in the O'Cahans. MacNamee laments the loss of Magnus O'Cahan as being the most grievous after that of O'Neill himself.
"Bitter to my heart (to see) the grey Galls
Triumphing over the slaughtered Maghnus;
That the head of O'Cathain, attracting no notice,
Should be seen on the bridge of Dun.

At night did Maghnus of Macha remain
Between wounded bodies;
If Brian had not been in the slaughter
There would be no loss like O'Cathain.

Maghnus himself, Eachmarcach too,
Muircheartach, Dounchadh, Domhnall,
And Niall O'Cathain all falling with wounds:
Alas, it was not one loss only.

A misfortune to our children and our wives
Was the slaying of Maghnus O'Cathain:
That scion of Inbhear-Abhaigh never neglected
A son or a daughter of Eoghan's race."

The poems are translated in the Misccllany of the Celtic Society, 1849.

Inbhear-Abhaigh was probably the ancient name for the mouth of the River Roe. The six members of the O'Cahan family mentioned are probably heads of septs; they appear also in Mac-an-Bhaird~s poem. A Hugh O'Cahan is also mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters as having fallen.

In some ways Mac-an-Bhaird's lament is of slighter quality; but it strikes a more personal and pathetic note. It would appear that Magnus O'Cahan was, according to Irish custom, fostered and educated by Mac-an-Bhaird's father; the poet was his playmate and some years younger than he. Eachmarcach was Magnus' brother, and was similarly fostered in the Mac-an Bhaird home. The bonds of fosterbrothers were often very close, and it was so in this case. Some verses may be quoted:
"Though to me each man is a grief,
(For) O'Cathain the yellow-haired I most grieve;
He is the wound of the artery of my head,
This is the blood I cannot bear.

I gave him great love, ah, woe is me;
To him from the period of my fifth year;
Woe that I have not gone with my beloved;
Early I loved O'Cathain.

My love for O'Cathain of Cluaine
Was not the love of a woman for a man of one hour;
'Twas a love from the time of childhood hither
To my foster brother, to my tutor.

We used to give the chieftainship in our sports
To him, when high-spirited youths,
We and the king on a mound which he disgraced not,
Going thrice around it.

Until he would take me on his back
I used to continue to shed tears after him;
At all times I was the rider;
Our horse was (always) Eachmarcach."

The value of these poems lies not only in their quality, but in the fact that they are contemporary documents, and as such throw some light on the history and situation of the O'Cahans. How contemporary they are is shown by a verse from Mac-an-Bhaird's poem:
"As in the slaughter was not recognised
The fair-skinned body of O'Cathain,
And as he has not come alive to his home
They may have carried him away from the field."

The headless body of O'Cahan remained apparently on the field of battle until the next day, unrecognised among the slain. Macan-Bhaird must have written the poem before the body of Magnus had been identified, as he speculates that the fairies may have carried him off.
"In fairy mound west or east
Who knows but he may still be living."

Mac-an-Bhaird's poem refers to O'Cahan of Clooney, which is near Derry. Evidently the O'Cahans at this time had a hold on North Derry as far away as Clooney. There is one verse that may throw some light on the earliest O'Cahan connections:
"The son of O'Cathain of the Craebh,
Son of Raghnall, King of Formaeil;
A tranquil meeting after him will be difficult;
The poetic art shall be an orphan."

O'Cahan is here O'Cahan of the Creeve, and is called King of Formaeil. O'Kelly takes this Formaeil to be that in the parish of Dunboe, where he also places the Glen of the Clan Binny of the Glen. But O'Donovan's suggestion that the Formaeil mentioned here is the Formaeil of Glenullin looks better, as does his identification of the Glen with Glenconkeyne-if indeed the Glen of Clan Binny be not Glenullin itself. O'Cahans certainly replaced Clan Binny in the glens and mountains in the approaches to the Roe valley.

The Battle of Down, as it has come to be known, uniting as it did the forces of Ulster and Connaught, has been described as the most formidable native effort that the English in Ulster had to meet in the thirteenth century, and in this the O'Cahans played an outstanding part. The impression made by this battle is shown bv the fact that not only Brian O'Neill, but also Manus O'Cahan and other chiefs who fell there are called "Catha an Duin" (i.e., in the Battle of Down) in the pedigree of their descendants in all the Irish genealogical books. The Battle of Down also marks an epoch Irish warfare, and in Ulster history. Norman superiority in equipment remained unchallenged, until it was met by the heavily-armed Scottish gallowglasses who had just made their first appearance in Ulster. From this period also Norman power becomes an increasingly dominant factor in north-east Ulster.

Chapter 15

At this point let us glance back to the early chapter on the three sons of Owen, and to the genealogical chart given there. The Tripartite life of St. Patrick mentions the blessings said to have been given to Murdock, Fergus and Ochy Binny, sons of Owen and grandsons of Niall of the Nine Hostages. The blessings promised kingship to the descendants of Murdock, ordained persons to spring from Fergus, and warriors from Ochy Binny. Clan Binny made the first thrust into County Tyrone, and their story has been dealt with by Dr. O'Kelly in his book, "Gleanings from Ulster History." The history of the O'Neills and McLaughlins, who were descended from Murdock, and exercised kingship from Aileach and Tullyhog, is intertwined with Irish national history. In the earlier part of this study we have endeavoured to fill a gap in Ulster history by providing a sketch of the main septs or divisions of Clan Connor, the O'Cahans. McCloskeys and O'Mullans. We turn now to elaborate on the descendants of Fergus, son of Owen.

There are three sound reasons for dealing with Clan Fergus. First, information about the Clan is not readily available, except m scattered form. Second, there has been considerable confusion between the Clan Fergus O'Mellans and the Clan Connor O'Mullans. Third, some of the main territories of the Clan Fergus adjoin Clan Connor territory in County Derry. The main physical girder of the territory of the Owen clans is the range of the Sperrins. North of this range lay the homeland of the O'Cahans McCloskeys and O'Mullans, of Clan Connor. South of the range lay the chief territories of the O'Mellans, O'Hagans and O'Quins of Clan Fergus, at the centre of the Owen kingdom around Tullyhog, south of Cookstown.

From Clan Fergus ordained persons were promised. The Church in Ireland in which they were destined to serve was part of the wider Christian Church, but preserved its own distinctive flavour.

It had its own date for the celebration of Easter, and its own liturgical forms. Although its Clergy did not strictly observe celibacy, the church was strongly monastic in form. The bishops of the Irish Church seem often to have been subject to the abbots, and bishops were found very frequently living together in groups of seven. Aengus enumerated no less than 141 places in Ireland where there were, or had been, seven contemporary bishops in one place. A plurality of bishops in one place follows the New Testament examples of the churches of Ephesus and Philippi. One gathers, too, that the clan spirit entered largely into the appointment of bishops and abbotts as well as of other clergy. In his Life of St. Malachy, St. Bernard wrote of the Oriella clans that this proud and powerful people would not allow any bishop among them except one of their own clan. They monopolised the see of Armagh for 200 years, claiming it as their birthright.

In the centuries following St. Patrick's time, Clan Fergus provided some prominent clergy. The "Genealogiae Regnum et Sanctorum Hibernia" of the Four Masters records that Fiachna, a son of Fergus, became a bishop. However, it is through another son of Fergus called Hugh (ancestor of the O'Mellans) that the blessing of Patrick seems to find an early and continuous fulfillment. Several of Hugh's descendants, Breacan, Colman and Becan became bishops. The crowning distinction came when Mac Laisre of this family became abbot or (as the office was later), Archbishop of Armagh. With this appointment-the sixteenth in the lists of abbots of Armagh-the hold of the Oriella clan on the archbishopric was broken, and a representative of Clan Fergus appointed to the highest office in the Irish Church. Mac Laisre's descent is given as the son of Luighdeach, the son of Ronan, the son of Tuadain, the son of Hugh, the son of Fergus. Mac Laisre died 12th September of the year A.D. 622, and was followed by Tomene, son of the Ronan already mentioned, in the same high office. Tomene is mentioned by the Venerable Bede as replying to the Roman clergy concerning an accusation that the Irish Church was entertaining the Pelagian heresy. In later times the O'Mellans became prominent in ecclesiastical affairs.

Clan Fergus produced not only clergy, but also warriors. O'Dugan's topographical poem concerning the various clans of Ireland gives a large share of attention to the "Race of Owen of Valiant arms, who have obtained the palm for greatness without fraud, the acme of the nobility of Erin." O'Dugan writes of the vigorous chieftains of Clan Fergus, victorious over foes in every hill. One verse runs:

"Speak of the Siol Aedha of Eanach,
Their chieftains and their tribes.
To them the meeting was not thin
The O'Murchadhas and the O'Mellains."

The Siol Aedha, or children of Hugh, are the descendants of the Hugh, son of Fergus, with whom we have been dealing. Eanach is probably the Enagh near Derry which later became an O'Cahan stronghold, with its castle on the island in Enagh Lough.

Clan Fergus also pressed southward in the wake of Clan Binny into the heart of Tyrone. Dr. O'Kelly has described Clan Fergus as the fighting vanguard of the O'Neills and McLaughlins as they battled their way towards Tullyhog and Armagh. When the Owen clans conquered and settled in Tyrone (Tir Owen, the land of Owen) the septs of Clan Fergus obtained certain territories there. The territory of the O'Mellans (descendants of Hugh) was referred to as the "Meallanaght." It included Slieve Gallion to the north and Cookstown, to the south. As their influence in ecclesiastical affairs grew, the O'Mellans also came into possession of considerable church lands. They had for instance the church lands of Orritor. The privilege of being hereditary keepers of the Bell of St. Patrick is the chief distinction of the O'Mellan clan. Another section of the clan came into possession of lands around Donaghmore, north of Dungannon, where they were the keepers of the Bell of Clogher. Yet another section had moved to near Armagh where they were possessed "tyme out of mynde" of the territory of Lurga Ui Meallan (literally the Low Ridge of O'Mellan) which is now known as Lurgyvallen.

Two other prominent clans were descended from Coelbad, Hugh's brother, the O'Hagans and the Quinns. The O'Hagans were the hereditary custodians of Tullyhog, the hill where the Ulster kings were inaugurated. O'Dugan's poem includes a verse on the O'Hagans:
"A stout chief over Tulach Og
O'H Ogain, chief of the white roads
The plough has passed through every wood of it,
Another O'H Ogain is near it."

Some of the O'Hagan sept were transplanted at a later date to a territory lying to the north of, and adjoining that of the O'Mellans. The territory of the O'Quins of Clan Fergus, though not clearly defined, would appear to have lain to the south-west of that of the O'Mellans in the vicinity of Lissan. (There was another sept of O'Quins in the neighbourhood of Omagh who are not to be confused with the O'Quins of Clan Fergus, as the Omagh O'Quins belonged to the Fir Magh Ithe.)

The O'Hagans held a very important position in Clan Fergus. Their leading role in the inauguration of the O'Neill has been described earlier. Their leading position within Clan Fergus can be deduced from statements in the Annals. In 1081 the Annals of the Four Masters record that Magrath O'Hagan, Lord of Cinel Fergus, was slain. Under the date 1103 the Annals of Ulster mention that Raghnall O'Hagan, "the lawgiver of Tellach Og," was slain by the men of Magh Ithe. A further reference in the Annals of the Four Masters informs us that there died in 1122, Donnsleibhe O'Hagan, chief of Cinel Fergus and lawgiver of Tullyhog. The O'Hagan held the position of Brehon or judge, and the O'Hagan clan was the leading one in Clan Fergus.

It has been mentioned already that as the Owen clan gradually expanded in the heart of Ulster, Inishowen became more and more an outpost to the north. Eventually the seat of the kingdom was changed from Aileach, near Derry, to Tullyhog. Tullyhog had apparently been a place of importance from an early date. In A.D. 914, according to the Annals of Ulster, a peace was concluded at Tullyhog between the king of the province of Ulidia and the famous clan Owen leader known as Niall Glundubh. At a later date when Dungannon became the O'Neill capital, the inauguration of the O'Neill still took place at the ancient seat of power, Tullyhog.

As the O'Hagans were custodians of the historic site of Tullyhog, so the O'Mellans were custodians of that greatly venerated relic of the past, the Bell of St. Patrick's will, which may be as old as the fifth century A.D. The large majority of the bells used in the Celtic Church appear to have been portable, and to have been rung by hand. These bells are all of the type of cow or sheep bells, as used at the present day in many European countries. Ireland was probably the original home of these four-sided ecclesiastical bells, and they have been found in many areas influenced by the Irish Church, as far away as Brittany and Switzerland. A bell was one of the important items presented to ecclesiastics in the early church in Ireland, and through their associations bells were often venerated and enshrined. They were used down to modern times for the taking of oaths, and for cursing. This was a chief function of the bells, and it is mistaken to comment on them as of little use in calling people to worship. According to tradition, St. Patrick's Bell had power to ensure victory to its possessors over any enemy with which they were engaged.

The profound veneration in which the Bell of St. Patrick was held is shown by the following incident. Under the date 1044, the Annals of Ulster relate that the son of the king of Aileach raided the Ui Meith and carried off 1,200 cows and a great many prisoners in revenge for the profanation of the "clocc-ind-edechta" (the Bell of the Testament). It will be seen a little later that the desecration of Tullyhog was met with equally exemplary punishment.

In this century we find increasing strife between the O'Neills and McLaughlins to secure the kingship of Ulster. Under the date 1051 we find that Ardgar McLaughlin, who was then king, was expelled from the kingship of Tullyhog by Hugh O'Neill. However, Ardgar's son, Donnell, succeeded as king of Aileach in 1083: he held this kingship for 11 years, and then succeeded to the High Kingship of Ireland which he held for 27 years until his death at Derry in 1121. Donnell McLaughlin is described as the most warlike and capable ruler of his time. In the year 1111 an army was led by the Ulidians to Tullyhog and they cut down its ancient trees. In revenge Neill McLaughlin made a raid upon the Ulidians, and carried off 3,000 cows. Two years later Donnell McLaughlin at the head of an army deposed the king of Ulidia, retained a portion of Ulidian territory, and divided the remainder into two parts under petty chiefs. It may have been at this time that some of the O'Mellans became possessed of the lands of Kinel Awley, near the town of Banbridge.

Donnell McLaughlin caused a most magnificent shrine to be made for the better keeping of St. Patrick's Bell.
On this shrine was inscribed Donnell's own name, and also the name of the keeper of the bell at that time, Chathalan O'Mulholland. A Mulholland is also mentioned as keeper in 1365. But the Annals in 1356 record the death of Solomon O'Mellan, keeper of St. Patrick's Bell, and in 1425 the keeper was also an O'Mellan. The reasons behind this system of two keepers for the Bell are not readily apparent. Dr. O'Kelly recalls that St. Columba had found the Bell of the Testament in A.D. 552 in St. Patrick's tomb, according to the Annals of Ulster, and suggests that the dual system of keepers may have been a compromise between the prestige of Patrick and Armagh and the prestige of Columba. Another possibility is that the system may be due to the struggle for power between the McLaughlins and O'Neills and their respective supporters. The working of this dual system is also obscure. Was the Bell entrusted to a keeper of one family, and then on his death to another keeper maybe of the other family? Or did Mulhollands and O'Mellans exercise a joint charge over the Bell, one keeping possession of it, the other entitled to use it in oaths and on other public occasions? The reason for this dual system, and the method of its operation are alike obscure.

The contest between McLaughlins and O'Neills to secure exclusive title to the kingship of Ulster continued for a lengthy period. In 1167 it is recorded that the rivalry was settled temporarily by force from outside. Under that date the Four Masters record that the men of Leinster and the Lords of Desmond and Thomond divided Tyrone. The part north of the mountain (Slieve Gallon or Slieve Gallion) was assigned to Neill McLaughlin, while the part south of the mountain was assigned to Hugh O'Neill. It was only an interruption of the rivalry, which continued until the O'Neills defeated the McLaughlins decisively and finally at the battle of Caimeirge in 1241. At this point the McLaughlins sink into comparative obscurity, and the O'Neills became and remained the premier Irish dynasty until the Ulster Plantation period.

It is during this period of O'Neill supremacy that the O'Mellans of Clan Fergus come into increasing prominence. Their chiefs attain to positions of importance and great honour in the kingdom, while other members following in their ecclesiastical tradition rise to prominent positions in the Church. At this period, therefore, O'Mellans are frequently mentioned in the records both of Church and state. In the following pages some of these records will be referred to, and the place of the O'Mellans in the history of the times evaluated.

The Annals of Loch Ce mention Bishop Thomas O'Mellan (Bishop of Enach-duin), who died in Rome in the year 1328. The same Annals mention, under the date 1356, the death of Solomon O'Mellan, steward or keeper of the Bell of St. Patrick. This latter event is also recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters; and is translated by Dr. O'Donovan as follows: "Solomon O'Mellan. the general patron of the Clergy of Ireland, died." Conellan's translation of the same passage has it that O'Mellan was "the most illustrious of the Clergy of Ireland."

This emphasis upon O'Mellan as patron of the clergy of Ireland is not without significance. At this time the English prelates of the Pale were putting forward strenuous efforts to support their claim that Ireland, as far as matters ecclesiastical were concerned, had been given to them by the Pope. These medieval prelates worked in conjunction with the civil authorities to promote English influence and to undermine the power of the Irish chiefs and the old Gaelic regime. This encroachment on the old order of things met with considerable opposition from the chiefs and from the Irish clergy. The O'Mellans were prominent figures in the ecclesiastical resistance. It may have been by his support of the Irish tradition that Solomon O'Mellan earned the description of general patron of the clergy of Ireland.

The importance of the O'Mellans in secular affairs can be seen from an entry in the Annals of Ulster under the date of 1425. The magnates of Ulster went to meet the Earl of March at this time, and the names mentioned included O'Neill, Owen O'Neill. and O'Menan, keeper of the Bell of St. Patrick's will. Dr. Reeves comments that O'Mellan here takes rank with some of the highest northern magnates.

The O'Neill mentioned above was Donnell Bog, son of Henry Avery. He had the support of O'Mellan and Cian Fergus; but on the other hand encountered bitter opposition from the foregoing Owen O'Neill, who was supported by O'Cahan. In 1432 Donnell Bog was in O'Cahan's country with Patrick Mulholland and O'Mellan's son, the joint keepers of the Bell. O'Cahan's two sons attacked and killed them, having captured the house where they were. Following this, Owen O'Neill was inaugurated as chief at Tullyhog.

During the term of Owen's kingship, the O'Mellans were involved on his side in a disastrous battle in 1444. Owen O'Neill and a number of Ulster chiefs led a force against the clan of Hugh Boy O'Neill, who had attained independent status in the district that came to be known as Clanaboy (Clan Aodh Boy). Their forces were defeated by the Clanaboy O'Neills and McQuillan, who demanded a large number of hostages. The hostages delivered included the son of O'Mellan, and this indicates the continuing importance of the O'Mellans.

In 1455 Henry O'Neill took his father, Owen's place, and was inaugurated at Tullyhog by O'Cahan, Mac Uidhir, Mac Mathgamna, all the O'Neill clans and the successor of Patrick. The reference to the "successor of Patrick" indicates the triumph of the English ecclesiastical party. The successor referred to is John Mey, the Archbishop of Armagh. Archbishop Mey arranged for the traditional Irish inauguration at Tullyhog to be followed by an act of confirmation at the Archbishop's residence in Armagh. This confirmation, which took place the following month, consisted of the imposition of hands by the Archbishop. This innovation was calculated to bring O'Neill under ecclesiastical authority.

Meantime, apart from their appearances in the secular sphere, the O'Mellans played a leading part in the struggle between the Irish clergy and the pro-English clergy. The Irish clergy are frequently referred to as "Inter Hibernicos," whilst the English clergy were known as "Inter Anglicos." Reeves refers to the O'Mellans of this period as "the turbulent O'Mellans."

It will be remembered that the O'Mellans had extensive territories in central Ulster which included both clan lands and Church lands. They had also a recognised and important position and office among the Owen clans. Consequently they were able to make effective resistance to English clerical encroachment in their area. One stubborn figure around which resistance gathered was Dean Charles O'Mellan.

Charles O'Mellan was Dean of Armagh in 1430, and apparently opposed attempts to further the aims of the pro-English ecclesiastics. It was decided to remove him from his office, and appoint someone willing to co-operate, namely Dionysius O'Cullen, of the Oriella clan. Accordingly in 1441 the register of Archbishop Prene pronounces Dionysius O'Cullen to be Dean of Armagh and stigmatises Charles O'Mellan as usurping dean. The extent of Dean O'Mellan's support can be judged from sentences passed at the same time upon John O'Connelly, Abbot of St. Peter and Paul, upon the Chancellor of the Chapter, on the Prior of the Culdees, on the Rectors of Clonkarney and Clonfeacle and on the Vicars of Donaghmore, Termon, Argillkieran and Clonfeacle. All these were said to have abetted the usurper O'Mellan, and this gives an idea of the support which upheld the central figure of Dean Charles.

In the same year 1441, the Primate removed the custody of St. Patrick's Bell from John O'Mellan, and conferred the charge upon the other keeper, Patrick Mulholland. The O'Mellans were thus deprived for intruding into Church lands, and for failing to account for the revenue received from the Bell for the years 1417-1441. It is interesting to notice that in the following year Nachtan O'Donnell. chief of Donegal, with the Dean and Chapter of Raphoe, were excommunicated by the Primate because they had "usurped and seized and detained the fruits and profits of the Bishoprick (of Raphoe)." In both cases revenues were detained locally which the central ecclesiastical authority claimed for itself.

The intensity of the struggle in which Dean Charles O'Mellan played a leading part can be realised when we see by the registers that a year earlier Owen O'Neill himself had been involved. In 1440 it is recorded that the Primate wrote of Eugenius (Owen) father of Henry O'Neill, Captain of his nation, and says "that whereas he (Owen) had sworn on the Baculum Jesu, in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Dublin, not to disturb the Church's possessions, the Primate had sent Phillip MacKewyn to him, and O'Neill promised to produce Charles O'Mellan, intruded Dean. Mandate to him to recognise D. O'Culean as true and rightful Dean, if not he is threatened with the secular arm." There was however, no stronger secular arm in Ulster than the O'Neills themselves.

In spite of the foregoing efforts to oust Dean Charles O'Mellan the O'Mellans seem to have won the battle. In 1466 Primate Bole addressed to Charles O'Mellan, Dean of Armagh, and the rest of the Armagh clergy, letters executorial against two of the O'Mellans. We see that a quarter of a century after the early troubles and attempts to unseat him, Charles O'Mellan is still in the Deanery saddle.

The two O'Mellans now in trouble were Toal and John. In 1466 Primate John Bole paid an official visit to Armagh, the first paid by a Primate for nearly 200 years. The visit of a primate was like waving a red rag to a bull so far as some of the O'Mellans were concerned, for they well remembered that Archbishop Prene had deprived the O'Mellans of the custody of the Bell. Accordingly Toal and Jobn O'Mellan stole the primate's travelling horses: an act not so much in the nature of an ordinary theft as an indication that the primate's visit was unwelcome. The two O'Mellans were detected in the offence, and despite their plea for clemency as ecclesiastical and privileged persons, were publicly sentenced and the Deanery of Airthir placed under an interdict. One other point may be made here. From the time of Toal and John O'Mellan the public history of St. Patrick's Bell ends for many centuries. In spite of these efforts to subdue the turbulent O'Mellans, they continued to fill an important place in Clan Owen in the inauguration ceremony. Their authority and importance appears in an incident of 1493, when there was a dispute over the succession as O'Neill between two brothers, Donnell and Henry. Donnell was the elder brother, and was supported by the O'Donnells of Donegal. Nevertheless, Henry the younger was inaugurated as chief by O'Mellan and Sean O'Cahan, the vigorous and decisive O'Cahan chief. According to the Annals the act was unlawful, yet such was the authority of O'Cahan and O'Mellan that it was not set aside.

Towards the end of the fifteenth century, and in the following century, there seems to have been quite a degree of development in that section of the O'Mellan sept located in County Armagh. Their chiefs appear to be differentiated from the O'Mellan himself by the addition of Oge to the name, as in 1514 when Felim Oge O'Mellan is mentioned, and as around 1600 when Owen Oge O'Mellan is named as chief of the sept there. The reference in 1514 runs as follows in the Annals of the Four Masters: "An irruption was made by Hugh, the son of Donnell O'Neill, and Con, the son of Niall, into Cluain Dabhail, against John, the son of Con; and they , burned John's town, and they sent the preys of the country before them. O'Neill and MacDonnell, with a strong body of troops, pursued and overtook them, deprived them of the preys, and routed them. In the conflict were slain five of the descendants of Art O'Neill. There are fell on the side of Hugh, the two sons of MacaGhiorr. There were also slain there, Felim Oge O'Mellan Con O'Connor."

The above account indicates that the O'Mellans of County Armagh had developed also into a fighting force. We learn from other sources that they had extensive possessions in County Armagh, mainly on Church lands. The name O'Mellan, particularly in Armagh, was at this time undergoing a change: the "O" had been dropped to a large extent and it had become Mallen. Changes were manifest also in the counties of Down and Tyrone. In Down the name had become sometimes MacMullan, and even MacMillan. Commenting on the number of persons in the priesthood in County Down who bore the name MacMullan and MacMallen, and on the general incidence of these names throughout the county, Dr. O'Laverty suggests that the change from its original form to that of MacMallen, &c., parallels the change in the name O'Lochlainn which gradually became MacLochlainn. The O'Mellans are referred to in some English records as O'Mallans The Fiants of Elizabeth state that the O'Mallons were amongst those who followed the great Shane O'Neill in north Clanaboy, most likely during his expedition against the MacDonnells.

In spite of the developments within the O'Mellan sept, they remained aligned with the O'Neills, and the O'Neills reposed great trust in them. The Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland records in 1594 an expedition on behalf of the Earl of Tyrone, who was acting for the English government, against Connor Roe Maguire. The names of the chief men involved in the expedition are given as O'Hagan, O'Quin and Patrick O'Mellan. These names will be recognised as the three chief septs of Clan Fergus. From the same source, under date 1596-7, we read that the Earl of Tyrone gives as a pledge to the English "O'Mellan, chief of his name." Under date 1600 a spy reported to the English that "Tyrone's daughter, and O'Mellan's wife are in the Camp (Tyrone's)-earnest suitors to Tyrone to draw all his forces to this country." The camp was in the region of Muskerry. where Tyrone was fighting at the time. These instances show the close relationship between the O'Mellan sept and the O'Neills (now Earls of Tyrone).


Tithe Composition Applotment Books
1823 -1838


Griffith's Valuation
1848 -1864


This distribution analysis is based on information extracted from the Tithe Composition Applotment Books compiled between 1823 and 1838 as well as Griffith's Valuation (1848 to 1864). It covers most of the leaseholders of titheable land recorded in the Tithe Applotment Books plus every householder and occupier of land recorded in Griffith's Valuation, with the exception of Dublin City where large numbers of occupiers were omitted from the survey.

In all 29,229 different surnames are covered with a precise parish location for the 915,543 householders recorded in Griffith's Valuation. A total of 3,008 Civil Parishes were researched and the surname McLaughlin was discovered in 2.99% of these or 90 parishes.

When tracing Irish ancestors you may encounter cases where the deletion, addition or alternation of prefixes such as 0', Mc, Mac etc. occur within a family tree. For this reason all such prefixes are appended to this report if they occurred. In addition you should not ignore material simply because a different spelling is recorded. Most surnames found in Ireland have a number of spelling variations. By way of an example there follows a list of similar sounding names to Laughlin, with the number of Civil Parishes where each occurred:

Lachlan 1, Laghlin 1, Laughlan 2, Laughlin 90, LeeGlanville 1, Leighlin 1, Leoughlin 1, Lochlin 1, Loghlan 1, Loghlen 2, Loghlin 13, Loughiln 1, Loughlan 47, Loughland 2, Loughlane 1, Loughlin 1025, Loughlinane 1, Loughling 1, Loughlon 1, Louglin 3.

It is not intended to imply a definite inter-relationship between all of these surnames but it may alert some readers to certain possibilities.

The following list reveals the numerical strength as well as the location by Civil Parish [Poor Law Union] and Barony of the surname McLaughlin for the years indicated. The omission of a number in the first column reveals the presence of the surname Laughlin in that parish when the exact count is unknown. This also applies in cases where a second year is printed (in brackets) to show the presence of the name Laughlin in a parish at an earlier date. Embedded question marks are used to alert you to possible variations in spellings between different records. The following list is restricted to County Donegal.

Surname: Laughlin County Donegal:-
Templecrone [Glenties] Boylagh, (1828).
Conwal [Letterkenny/Stranorlar] Raphoe South, (1834).
Inishmacsaint [Ballyshannon] Tirhugh, (1833).

Surname: McLaughlin County Donegal:-
53 Desertegny [ Inishowen] Inishowen West, 1857 ( 1833 ) .
3 Burt [Londonderry] Insihowen West, 1857.
2 Moville Lower [Inishowen] Inishowen East, 1857 (1827).
2 Fahan Lower [Inishowen] Inishowen West, 1857 (1829).
1 Clonmany [Inishowen] Inishowen East, 1825 (1828).
1 Clondavaddog [Millford] Kilmacrenan, 1858 (1834).
1 Mevagh [Millford] Kilmacrenan, 1858 (1828).
1 Mintiaghs or Bar of Inch [Inishowen] Inishowen West, 1857.
1 Taughboyne [Londonderry/Strabane] Raphoe North, 1857.
Killea [Londonderry] Raphoe North, (1830).

COPYRIGHT ©1991 Martin O'Beirne.


This distribution analysis is based on information extracted from the Tithe Composition Applotment Books compiled between 1823 and 1838 as well as Griffith's Valuation (1848 to 1864). It covers most of the leaseholders of titheable land recorded in the Tithe Applotment Books plus every householder and occupier of land recorded in Griffith's Valuation, with the exception of Dublin City where large numbers of occupiers were omitted from the survey.

In all 29,229 different surnames are covered with a precise parish location for the 915,543 householders recorded in Griffith's Valuation. A total of 3,008 Civil Parishes were researched and the surname Bulman was discovered in 0.20% of these or 6 parishes.

When tracing Irish ancestors you may encounter cases where the deletion, addition or alternation of prefixes such as 0', Mc, Mac etc. occur within a family tree. For this reason all such prefixes are appended to this report if they occurred. In addition you should not ignore material simply because a different spelling is recorded. Most surnames found in Ireland have a number of spelling variations. By way of an example there follows a list of similar sounding names to Bulman, with the number of Civil Parishes where each occurred:

Blemings 1, Blemins 1, Blemmings 2, Blemmins 1, Blowman 1, Blowmon 1, Blueman 1, Bullinan 1, Bullman 10, Bulman 6.

It is not intended to imply a definite inter-relationship between all of these surnames but it may alert some readers to certain possibilities.

The following list reveals the numerical strength as well as the location by Civil Parish [Poor Law Union] and Barony of the surname Bulman for the years indicated. The omission of a number in the first column reveals the presence of the surname Bulman in that parish when the exact count is unknown. This also applies in cases where a second year is printed (in brackets) to show the presence of the name Bulman in a parish at an earlier date. Embedded question marks are used to alert you to possible variations in spellings between different records.

Surname: Bulman County Cork:
2 Ardnageehy [Cork/Fermoy] Barrymore, 1853 (1826).
1 Kilcummer [Fermoy] Fermoy, 1851 (1825).
Drishane [Millstreet] Muskerry West, (1831).

Surname: Bulman County Limerick:
1 Bruree [Kilmallock] Connello Upper, 1852 (1827).
1 Athlacca [Croom/Kilmallock] Coshma, 1851.
1 Croom [Croom/Limerick] Coshma, 1851.

Mac, Mc or O' etc. prefix, not recorded with this surname

COPYRIGHT ©1991 Martin O'Beirne.


This distribution analysis is based on information extracted from the Tithe Composition Applotment Books compiled between 1823 and 1838 as well as Griffith's Valuation (1848 to 1864). It covers most of the leaseholders of titheable land recorded in the Tithe Applotment Books plus every householder and occupier of land recorded in Griffith's Valuation, with the exception of Dublin City where large numbers of occupiers were omitted from the survey.

In all 29,229 different surnames are covered with a precise parish location for the 915,543 householders recorded in Griffith's Valuation. A total of 3,008 Civil Parishes were researched and the surname Kieley was discovered in 0.13% of these or 4 parishes.

When tracing Irish ancestors you may encounter cases where the deletion, addition or alternation of prefixes such as 0', Mc, Mac etc. occur within a family tree. For this reason all such prefixes are appended to this report if they occurred. In addition you should not ignore material simply because a different spelling is recorded. Most surnames found in Ireland have a number of spelling variations. By way of an example there follows a list of similar sounding names to Kieley, with the number of Civil Parishes where each occurred:

Kaile 1, Kaily 1, Kaley 1, Keal 5, Keale 1, Kealey 3, Keally 8, Kealy 181, Keel 4, Keele 2, Keeley 12, Keely 138, Keheely 1, Kehely 6, Kehily 4, Keil 3, Keiley 7, Keilly 19, Keily 145, Kel ,k 8, Kelay 1, Kell 21, Kellie 1, Kelloe 1, Kellow 1, Kelly 2101, Keloy 1, Kieley 4, Kielly 12, Kiely 147, Kihil 1, Kilawee 2, Kile 4, Kiley 36, Kill 5, Killawee 2, Killea 1, Killee 2, Killey 1, Killow 1, Killy 1, Kilwee 1, Kle 1, Kyle 107, Kyley 2, Kyly 1 .

It is not intended to imply a definite inter-relationship between all of these surnames but it may alert some readers to certain possibilities.

The following list reveals the numerical strength as well as the location by Civil Parish [Poor Law Union] and Barony of the surname Kieley for the years indicated. The omission of a number in the first column reveals the presence of the surname Kieley in that parish when the exact count is unknown. This also applies in cases where a second year is printed (in brackets) to show the presence of the name Kieley in a parish at an earlier date. Embedded question marks are used to alert you to possible variations in spellings between different records.

Surname: Kieley County Cork:-
Clonfert [Kanturk] Duhallow, 1852 (1826).

Surname: Kieley County Limerick:-
1 Mungret [Limerick] Pubblebrien, 1850 (1822).

Surname: Kieley County Tipperary:-
3 Inishlounaght [Clogheen] Iffa and Offa East, 1850 (1826).
1 Kilgrant [Clonmel] Iffa and Offa East, 1850.

Mac, Mc or O' etc. prefix, not recorded with this surname

COPYRIGHT © 1991 Martin O' Beirne.

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