Clann Somhairle / / refers to those Scottish and Irish dynasties descending from the famous Norse-Gaelic leader Somerled, King of Mann and the Isles. Primarily they are the Clan Donald, formerly known as the Lord of the Isles, and the mainland Clan MacDougall, and all their numerous branches. Clan Macruari are their lost sept.
According to the Clan Donald DNA Project, Somerled was almost certainly of paternal Norwegian ancestry, but his dynasty claimed Gaelic ancestry and a descent from the legendary Colla Uais and Conn of the Hundred Battles. Clan Donald chiefs have so far tested positive for a Norwegian variety of Haplogroup R1a (Y-DNA), but more MacDougalls currently need to be tested before a non-paternity event (NPE) can be completely ruled out.
Alex Woolf attempts to reconstruct a descent from the Crovan dynasty and the Uí Ímair for the Clann Somhairle, but concedes this may only be through the female line, the scenario most widely known and uncontested. In any case, Woolf believes the Clann Somhairle appear to have based their claim to the Isles on this descent. Sir Iain Moncreiffe attempted to reconstruct a male line descent from Echmarcach mac Ragnaill himself to Somerled, but this has received little attention. More recently it has been suggested by Richard Oram that Somerled may actually have been a male line descendant of the Jarl Gilli, whose lineage apart from being Norse is uncertain.
The Orkneyinga saga refers to Somerled having "dominion in Dalr" and records that his family are known as the Dalverjar—literally "dale-dwellers". W. F. Skene suggested that although the words have quite different meanings that this name was linked to the earlier pre-Norse kingdom of Dál Riata.
- Gofraid mac Fergusa
- Sorley Boy MacDonnell
- Irish nobility
- British nobility
- List of haplogroups of historical and famous figures
- Clan Donald DNA Project
- Alex Woolf, The origins and ancestry of Somerled: Gofraid mac Fergusa and 'The Annals of the Four Masters', Medieval Scandinavia 15 (2005)
- Iain Moncreiffe, The Highland Clans: the dynastic origins, chiefs and background of the Clans connected with Highland history and of some other families. Clarkson N. Potter. Revised edition, 1982. p. 56.
- Richard Oram, The Lordship of Galloway. John Donald. 2000. p. 53
- Jennings, Andrew and Kruse, Arne (2009) "From Dál Riata to the Gall-Ghàidheil". Viking and Medieval Scandinavia. 5. Brepols. p. 132