Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg

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Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg
Region Islay, Kintyre and Antrim
Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg has no chief, and is an armigerous clan
Historic seat Dunnyveg Castle

Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg, also known as Clan Donald South, Clan Iain Mor, Clan MacDonald of Islay and Kintyre,[1] MacDonalds of the Glens (Antrim) and sometimes referred to as MacDonnells, is a Scottish clan and a branch of Clan Donald. The founder of the MacDonalds of Dunnyveg is Iain Mhoir Tanistear Mac Dòmhnaill (John Mor Tanister MacDonald), a son of Iain Mic Dhòmhnaill (John of Islay, Lord of the Isles) and Margaret Stewart.[2]


The founder of Clan Donald of Dunnyveg and the Glens was John Mor Tanister MacDonald who was the second son of John MacDonald also known as Good John of Islay, Lord of the Isles, 6th chief of Clan Donald and 1st Lord of the Isles through his marriage to Margaret Stewart. [1]

John Mor Tanister MacDonald married Margaret Bissett of the Glens of Antrim. From his marriage he claimed, but did not possess, this territory in Ireland, along with those he already possessed in Islay and Kintyre in Scotland.

He and his descendants became known as Lords of Dunnyvaig and the Glens, although they did not possess the latter until the 16th century. Their seat in Dunnyvaig was on the Island of Islay and in the Glens they were seated in Antrim.

John Mor was assassinated by James Campbell in 1427. His son Donald Balloch MacDonald the 2nd chief led the clan when they fought and won at the first Battle of Inverlochy (1431). This was in support of their cousin Alexander MacDonald who was chief of Clan Donald, 3rd Lord of the Isles and the current Earl of Ross. They fought against the Royal forces of the Earl of Mar who was supported by Clan Cameron and Clan MacKintosh.

The third Chief, Sir John Mor with his heir John Cathanach and three grandsons were apprehended through the treachery of the Macdonald of Ardnamurchan and were executed in Edinburgh for treason. However MacIian of Ardnamurchan who had also betrayed Alexander MacDonald of Lochalsh and was himself killed in 1518 by those who he had betrayed.

On the death of James MacDonald the 6th chief of the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg and Antrim, the Antrim Glens were seized by one of his younger brothers called Somerled or Sorley Boy MacDonnell known also as Sorley Buy.

In 1565 under Sorley Boy MacDonnell the Clan Donald of Antrim and Dunnyveg fought the Battle of Glentasie against Shane O'Neill in Ireland. Sorley Buy swore allegiance to James IV of Scotland and his son Ranald was made Randal MacDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim by Queen Elizabeth.

Much quarrelling took place between Angus MacDonald, 8th of Dunnyveg and his eldest son, Sir James MacDonald this was largely due to the intrigues of the Clan Campbell. Sir James MacDonald led the clan who fought and won at the Battle of Gruinart Strand on the Isle of Islay in 1598 against an invasion force of the Clan MacLean who were led by Sir Lachlan Mor Maclean of Duart who was killed.[3]

Further intrigue by the Clan Campbell brought the downfall of the Clan Donald of Dunnyveg and by 1620 Sir James MacDonald had lost control of Islay and Kintyre. However during the Civil War the lands were back in the hands of the MacDonalds briefly when they were supporters of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose.

Clan Donald of Dunnyveg became known as Clan Donald South to distinguish them from the Clan Macdonald of Sleat who were known as Clan Donald North.

The last chief, Sir James MacDonald of the Clan Donald of Dunnyveg or Clan Donald South died in London in 1626.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adams, Frank (Eighth edition 1970). The Clans, Septs & Regiments of the Scottish Highlands. Johnston and Bacon. ISBN 0-7179-4500-6.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ "The Family Tree of the Lords of the Isles". 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  3. ^ William Anderson (1862). The Scottish nation: or The surnames, families, literature ... 

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