List of Irish clans in Ulster

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list of Irish Clans in the province of Ulster
  Sept of Irish origin
  Sept of Scottish origin

Northern Uí Néill[edit]

Niall of the Nine Hostages had seven sons, three of which, Owen (Eoghan), Conall Gulban (Conaill), and Enda (Énda), traveled north from the over-kingdom of Connacht and into the northern and western regions of the over-kingdom of Ulster, an area equivalent to modern-day County Donegal.

These three became the progenitors of the three Cenél's (or races) that'd make up the Northern Uí Néill; the Cenél Eóghain based in Inishowen, with their capital at Ailech; the Cenél Conaill centered in the rich area of Magh Ithe, in the valley of the river Finn; and the Cenél nÉndai. For a time the Cenél Eóghain and Cenél Conaill alternated as kings of the Northern Uí Néill until the 8th century. The Northern Uí Néill would also alternate the High-Kingship of Ireland with their southern cousins the Southern Uí Néill into the 10th century.

Cenél nEóghain[edit]

The Cenél nEóghain, or 'race of Owen', descend from Eógan mac Néill, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Originally their power-base was in Inishowen, with their capital at Ailech, however they gradually spread their influence eastwards into modern counties Tyrone and Londonderry, pushing aside the Cruithin east of the River Bann, and encroaching on the Airgiallan tribes west of Lough Neagh. By the 11th century their power-base had moved from Ailech to Tullyhogue outside Cookstown, County Tyrone. By the 12th century the Cenél Conaill conquered Inishowen, however it mattered little to the Cenél nEóghain as they had established a powerful over-kingdom in the east that had become known as Tír Eoghain, or the "Land of Owen", preserved in the modern-day name of County Tyrone.

At their greatest they held land spanning much of County Tyrone, as well as parts of counties Londonderry, Donegal, Fermanagh, Monaghan, and Armagh.

Clann Néill[edit]

The name O'Neill may come from Niall Glúndub, however Clann Néill (more commonly known as Clan Neill) takes its name from his grandfather Néill Caille. The O'Neills and MacLaughlins were the two principal and most powerful septs of the Cenél nEóghain, however the MacLaughlins defeat at the hands of the O'Neills in 1241 led to the O'Neills dominance over the clan.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Néill (Ruadh)
(O'Neill, Neill)
Meaning: Descendant of Niall Glúndub
Progenitor: Ruadh Ó Néill
Territory: Tyrone
Extra: This branch of the O'Neills is named after Niall Ruadh (Red Niall), Prince of Tyrone, brother of Aodh Dubh (Black Hugh), King of Ulster
Mac Lochlainn
(MacLaughlin, MacLoughlin, Laughlin, Loughlin)
Meaning: Of the lakes (referring to western Norway)
Progenitor:
Territory: Barony of Inishowen
Extra: Leading sept of Tirconnell, some will originally be O'Melaghlins, descended from Máel Sechnaill II
Mac Barúin
(Barron)
Meaning: Small landed proprietor
Progenitor: Sir Art MacBarron O'Neill
Territory: Counties Armagh and Louth
Extra: Important branch of the O'Neills in counties Armagh and Louth
Mac Suibhne
(Sweeney, MacSweeney, Mawhinney)
Meaning: Pleasant, well-disposed
Progenitor: Suibhne O'Neill
Territory: Fanad, Banagh and the Territories in Tirconnell
Extra: Descended from Suibhne O'Neill, a Scottish chieftain from Argyll. A mixture of Dalriadic Gaels and Norsemen they came to Ulster as gallowglasses. Some Mawhinney's are thought to be Anglicisations of Mac Shuibhne, a variant of Mac Suibhne
Mac Seáin
(MacShane, Johnson)
Meaning: John
Progenitor:
Territory: North-east Tyrone, later Donegal and Louth
Extra: Hereditary title of Chief of Moy Ith or Mag Itha (eastern Donegal, southern Londonderry, northern Tyrone)The small sept of O'hAmhsaigh (Hampson) from North eastern (Londonderry, Magilligan) allied themselves to the Mac Shane's.
Ó Doibhilin
(O'Devlin, Devlin)
Meaning:
Progenitor: Domailén
Territory: Muintir Dhoiblin (Munterdevlin), on the west shore of Lough Shore
Extra: The chief of Munterdevlin was hereditary sword-bearer to the O'Neill, and the Devlin's part of his cavalry
Mac Néill
(McNeill, McNeil)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Counties Antrim and Londonderry
Extra: Originate from the Scottish Clan MacNeil, who claim to descend from a Niall, 21st in descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages, founder of the Uí Néill dynasty. They came to Ireland as gallowglasses, and later as pirates.
Mac Conmidhe
(MacNamee)
Meaning: Hound of Meath
Progenitor:
Territory: Counties Tyrone and Londonderry
Extra: Hereditary poets and ollavs to the O'Neills
Mac Conmidhe
(MacConamy, MacConomy, Conamy, Conomy, Conmee, Conway)
Meaning: Hound of Meath
Progenitor:
Territory: Counties Tyrone and Londonderry
Extra: Alleged to be no connection between these and the MacNamees
Mac Giolla Easpuig
(Gillespie, Bishop)
Meaning: Servant of the bishop
Progenitor:
Territory: Aeilabhra in barony of Iveagh, county Down
Extra: A branch settled and became erenaghs of Kilrean and Kilcar, in the baronies of Boylagh and Banagh, county Donegal
Mac Íomhair
(MacIvor, MacKeever)
Meaning: Bow-warrior, archer
Progenitor:
Territory:
Extra: From the Norse personal name Ivarr meaning bow-warrior, archer
Mac Laomuinn
(Lamont, MacLamont, MacLamond, MacErchar, Brown, MacClement, Clement)
Meaning: Lawman, lawyer
Progenitor: Ladhman mac Giolla Colum
Territory: County Tyrone
Extra: Derived from the Old Norse name Lōgmaor, meaning 'lawman' or 'lawyer', Gaelicised as Ladhmann. Some were also called MacErchar after Ladhman's grandfather Fearchar. The Mac Laomuinn ancestry allegedly traces them to Flaithbertach Ua Néill. The Lamonts adopted several "colour" names after they had been "broken" and forbidden to use their own name, these include Brown and Black.
Mac Eoghain
(McKeown, Keon, MacGowan, Owens, MacCune)
Meaning: Owen
Progenitor:
Territory:
Extra: Many are originally Ó Ceothain or Ó hEoghain (O'Keown's) rather than Mac Eoghain

Clann Aodha Bhuidhe[edit]

The Clann Aodha Bhuidhe, or Clandeboye O'Neill, is a branch of Clann Néill, descended from Aodh Meth (Hugh the Fat), King of Ulster from 1196 to 1230; Aodh Medh's brother was Niall Ruadh (Red Niall), King of Ulster for a month after his death, and Prince of Tyrone. The eponym of the clan was Aodh Buidhe (Yellow Hugh) O'Neill (1260–83), grandson of Aodh Meth, and last King to be called King of Ailech; Aodh Buidhe was most notable for his close co-operation with the Earldom of Ulster. The Clandeboye O'Neills would later take control over most of eastern Ulster with the collapse of the Earldom of Ulster due to the invasion of Edward Bruce, whom they had opposed. Henry O'Neill of this line was King of Ulster from 1325 to 1344; Art O'Neill from 1509 to 1514.[1]

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Néill
(O'Neill, Neill)
Meaning: Descendant of Niall Glúndub
Progenitor: Aodh Buidhe Ó Néill
Territory:
Extra: This branch of the O'Neills is more commonly known as the Clandeboy O'Neill's, with Clandeboy being the Anglicisation of Clann Aodha Bhuidhe. It takes its name from Aodh Buidhe (Yellow Hugh), grandson of Aodh Dubh (Black Hugh), King of Ulster, brother of Niall Ruadh (Red Niall), Prince of Tyrone, who claimed vast tracts of land from the Normans
Ó Gnímh
(Agnew, O'Gnyw, O'Gnew, O'Gnive)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory:
Extra:Poets to the O'Neills of Clandeboye. This sept is thought to have come from Scotland at the same time as the MacDonald galloglasses but not as a galloglass family itself. It is presumed it was among the original Irish septs to colonise Scotland in the 5th century

Clann Domnaill[edit]

Clann Domnaill (Clan Donnell) originated in County Donegal however moved eastwards into what is now County Tyrone.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Donnghaile
(O'Donnelly, Donnelly)
Meaning: Brown(-haired) warrior
Progenitor: Donnghaile Ó Néill
Territory: Fear Droma Lighen, Donegal then Ballydonnelly, Tyrone
Extra: Hereditary chief was marshall of the O'Neill's forces
Ó Flaithbheartaigh
(Laverty, Lafferty)
Meaning: Bright prince
Progenitor: Flaithbheartach mac Murchadh
Territory: Ailech, Donegal and later Ardstraw, Tyrone
Extra: Formerly Lords of Ailech and later rotated the Kingship of Tyrone with the O'Neills and MacLaughlins

Clann Birnn[edit]

The Clann Birnn (Clan Birn) is descended from Bern mac Ruadrí mac Murchad mac Máel Dúin mac Áeda Alláin. This clan resided in Muintir Birn (in barony of Dungannon) and Tellach Ainbhith (in barony of Strabane) both in modern day County Tyrone.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Mac Ruaidhrí
(MacCrory, MacRory, Rodgers, Rogers)
Meaning: Red king
Progenitor:
Territory: Teallach Ainbhith and Muintir-Birn, and Ballynascreen in Londonderry
Extra:
Mac Murchadha
(MacMurphy, Murphy)
Meaning: Sea warrior
Progenitor:
Territory: Muintir-Birn
Extra: Chiefs of Siol Aodha. They were driven out by the O'Neills and settled in the highlands of south Armagh under O'Neill of the Fews
Ó Firghil
(Friel, Freel)
Meaning: Man of valour
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal, and lesser extent in Tyrone and Londonderry
Extra: Hereditary holders of the office of abbot, of Kilmacrenan, Donegal

Cenél Feargusa[edit]

The Cenél Feargusa (race of Fergus) are descended from Fergus, the son of Owen, who was the son Niall of the Nine Hostages. It is sometimes also known as the Cenél Coelbad as the descended septs are through his son Coelbad. The clan originally resided in Inishowen, County Donegal before battling their way towards Tullyhogue, County Tyrone where they became masters of Tyrone and the vanguard of the O'Neills. They advanced into Tyrone after the Cenél mBinnigh had already led the way.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó hÁgáin
(O'Hagan, Hagan, Haggens, Higgins)
Meaning: Young
Progenitor: Ogain mac Coelbad
Territory: Originally Inishowen, then Tullyhogue in Tyrone
Extra: Originally spelt Ó hÓgáin. Held the hereditary right of inaugurating the O'Neill as King of Ulster, as well as hereditary "brehons" of the O'Neills
Ó Coinne
(O'Quinn, Quinn, Quin, Conney, Quinney)
Meaning: Counsel
Progenitor: Coínne mac Coelbad
Territory: Originally Inishowen, then Tyrone
Extra: Acted as quartermasters to the O'Neills
Ó Maelfabhail
(MacFall, MacPaul, Fall, Paul, Mulfoyle)
Meaning: Devotee of (St) Fabhail
Progenitor: Mael Fabaill mac Coelbad
Territory: Carrickbraghy in north-west Inishowen, and later Londonderry and Tyrone
Extra: Last of the Cenél nEóghain clans in its ancestral homeland of Inishowen, conquered by the O'Dohertys of the Cenél Conaill
Ó Mealláin
(O'Mallon, O'Mellan, Mallon, Mellan, Mellon)
Meaning: Pleasant
Progenitor:
Territory: Meallanacht (O'Mellan's Country), Slieve Gallion
Extra: Joint keepers of St. Patricks bell, the Bell of Testament
Ó Bruadair
(O'Broder, Broder)
Meaning: Dream
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal
Extra:
Ó Cearnaigh
(Kearney, Carney)
Meaning: Victorious
Progenitor:
Territory: Erenaghs of Killaghtee in Boylagh and Banagh in Donegal
Extra:
Ó Robhartaigh
(O'Roarty, Roarty, Rafferty)
Meaning: Flood-tide
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal
Extra: An ecclesiastical sept who were co-arbs to St Columcille on Tory Island
Ó Doirighe (Ó Daire)
(O'Derry, Derry)
Meaning: Oak wood
Progenitor:
Territory: Raphoe, Donegal
Extra: Erenaghs of Raphoe

Cenél mBinnigh[edit]

The Cenél mBinnigh (race of Binny), are descended from Eochu Binneach (Ochy Binny), son of Owen, who was the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. The Cenél mBinnigh where the first clan of the Cenél nEóghain to advance from Inishowen, bypassing the fierce resistance of the Ciannachta (northern County Londonderry) and into western Airgialla (modern-day County Tyrone), and in doing so ousted several Airgiallan clans (Ui Tuirtri and FIr Li) to east of the River Bann.

From the Cenél mBinnigh came the following branches:

  • Cenél mBinnig Glinne in the valley of Glenconkeine, barony of Loughinsholin, County Londonderry
  • Cenél mBindigh Locha Droichid east of Magh Ith in County Tyrone
  • Cenél mBindigh Tuaithe Rois eas of the river Foyle in County Londonderry and north of the barony of Loughinsholin
Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó hAghmaill
(O'Hamill, Hamill, Hamilton)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: South Tyrone and Armagh
Extra: From 12th century were the poets and ollavs to the powerful O'Hanlons

Cenél Máién[edit]

The Cenél Máién (commonly known as the Cenél Moen) are descended from Moen, son of Murdoch, son of Owen, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. In the 14th century, this clan was forced across the River Foyle by the O'Donnells to northeast and east Strabane.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Goirmleadhaigh
(O'Gormley, Gormley, Gorman, Grimley, Graham)
Meaning: Noble and valourous one
Progenitor:
Territory: Rahpoe, Donegal and later east Strabane
Extra: Hereditary chiefs of the Cenél Máién
Ó Peatáin
(O'Patton, Patton, Peyton)
Meaning: Diminutive of Patrick
Progenitor:
Territory: Ballybofey, Donegal
Extra:
Ó Lúinigh/O Lainidh
(O'Lunney, O'Looney, O'Loney, O'Lane, O'Loan)
Meaning: Armed with spear
Progenitor:
Territory: Raphoe, Donegal, then Strabane, Tyrone, and later Inishmore Island, Fermanagh
Extra: Hereditary physicians and historians. A branch of O'Lunney's would later build their headquarters at Ard Uí Luinín on Inishmore Island, Fermanagh
Mac Duinechaidh (Donnchaidh)
(MacDonaghy, Donaghy)
Meaning: Brown warrior
Progenitor:
Territory: Tyrone and Londonderry
Extra:
Ó Croidheáin
(Crean, Cregan, Creggan, O'Crean, O'Cregan)
Meaning: Heart (used as term of endearment)
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal
Extra:
Ó Tighearnaigh
(O'Tierney, Tierney)
Meaning: Master or lord
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal
Extra:
Ó Ceallaigh
(O'Kelly, Kelly)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal
Extra:
Ó Cearnacháin
(Kernaghan, Kernohan, Cernaghan)
Meaning: Victorious
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal
Extra:
Mac Gairbhith
(MacGarvey)
Meaning: Rough
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal
Extra:

Cenél Fearadhaigh[edit]

The Cenél Fearadhaigh, or 'race of Ferry', descend from Feradach mac Muiredach (Ferry MacMurdoch), a great-grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages, and by the 12th century controlled a large portion of County Tyrone and had penetrated deep into County Fermanagh. By the mid-14th century, the Maguires would break the power of the Cenél Fearadhaigh in Fermanagh.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Mac Cathmhaoil
(MacCawell, Campbell, Caulfield, MacCall)
Meaning: Battle-chief
Progenitor:
Territory: Barony of Clogher, County Tyrone
Extra: Leading sept of the Cenél Fearadhaigh, and one of the seven powerful septs supporting O'Neill. This name as MacCawell is now very rare as Mac Cathmhaoil has been Anglicised into a vast array of different names including: Alwell, Alwill, Callwell, Campbell, Carlos, Caulfield, Cawell, Howell, MacCaul, MacCorless, MacCowell, MacCowhill, MacHall. The first to be recorded as Donnchadh Mac Cathmail who died in 1180.
Mac Giolla Mhártain
(MacGilmartin, Gilmartin, Martin, Kilmartin)
Meaning: Devotee of (St) Martin
Progenitor:
Territory: Barony of Clogher, County Tyrone
Extra:
Ó Brolacháin
(O'Brallaghan, Brollaghan, Bradley, Brodie)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Parts of Donegal, Londonderry, and Tyrone
Extra: This was a prolific and adventurous sept, where a branch of the family, the O'Brologhans, became established in the Western Highlands of Scotland via their connections with the monastery on Iona thanks to the prior of Derry, Domhnall Ua Brolcháin, who was its abbot. The Co. Cork Bradleys descend from this sept, and some Brollaghans on Co. Cavan assumed the Norman name Brabazon.
Ó Fearadhaigh
(O'Ferry, Ferry, Ferris)
Meaning: Manly
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal
Extra:
Mac Máirtain
(MacMartin, Martin)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Tyrone
Extra: A different branch from the Mac Giolla Mhártain
Mac Fhiachra
(MacKeighry, MacKeefry, MacKeaghery, Hunter)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Tyrone
Extra:
Maolgeimridh
(Mulgemery, Montgomery)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: East Tyrone
Extra: Noted by O'Hart Pedigrees as being in possession of the two districts of the Cenél Fearadhaigh in east Tyrone
Maolpadraig
(Mulpatrick, Kilpatrick)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: East Tyrone
Extra: Noted by O'Hart Pedigrees as being in possession of the two districts of the Cenél Fearadhaigh in east Tyrone
Mag Uidhrín
(McGivern, McGiveran, McGivergan)
Meaning: Son of the Dun-Coloured One
Progenitor: Uidhrín Ua Maoil-Muire
Territory: Barony of Clogher, Co. Tyrone
Extra: An old Ulster surname. Early in the 12th century, Eachmarcach Mac Uidhrín (d. 1120ad) was chief of Cinel Fearadhaigh, in the present Co. Tyrone, As was his father, Uidhrin Ua Maoil-Muire (d. 1082ad) and his son Giolla-Christ Ua hUidhrin (d. 1129ad). In the 16th century, the name was peculiar to Co. Down, and even at the present day is largely confined to there and the neighbouring counties of Antrim and Armagh. Many variants of this surname exist in its anglicanised form (40+), Some of which may include Maguirin, M'Gwyrin, M'Guiverin, Magiverin, Magivern, Magiveran, MacGiverin, MacGiveran, MacGivern, McGivern, McGiveran, McGivergan, Guerin, etc. Several Gaelic variations have been recorded - Mag Uidhrin, Mac Uidhrén, Mac Uidhrein, Mac Uidhrín, (Mac Uidhrea?).

Cenél Tigernaich[edit]

The Cenél Tigernaich, or race of Tierney, descend from Tigernach mac Muiredach, great-grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages, however the Book of Ballymote states Tigernach as his grandson.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Maoilfothartaigh
(O'Mulfoharty)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: County Tyrone
Extra:
Ó hEodhusa
(O'Hosey)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: County Tyrone
Extra:
Ó Connagain
(O'Coneghan, Coneghan, Cunningham, O'Cunigan)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: West Londonderry, east Donegal, Tyrone
Extra:

Cenél Mac Earca[edit]

The Cenél Mac Earca descend from Muircherdaich, a grandson of Eógain, who was also called Mac Earca after his mother. This branch would produce a line of kings that were styled as sovereigns of Ireland. A Máel Fithrich, son of Áeda Uaridnaich, was styled as being the chief of this branch, and his death at the hands of the Cenél Fearadhaigh saw this branch end up in the barony of Clogher, County Tyrone.

Clann Conchúir Magh Ithe[edit]

The Clann Conchúir Magh Ithe, or Clan Connor, originally hailed from Magh Ithe in County Donegal before moving into County Londonderry, ruling a region that became known as O'Cahan Country. This clan descend from Connor Mac Fergal, who in turn is descended from Muirceartach Mac Earca founder of the Cenél Mic Earca.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Cathaín
(O'Kane, Kane, Keane, MacKane, O'Cahan)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: O'Cahan Country, equivalent to the barony of Keenaght
Extra: Originally Anglicised as O'Cahan before O'Kane
Ó Dubhthaigh
(O'Duffy, Duffy, Doohey, Dowey)
Meaning: Black one
Progenitor: St Dubhtach
Territory: Raphoe, Donegal
Extra: Erenaghs of Templecrone in the diocese of Raphoe for 800 years, being kinsmen of the patron of the church, St Dubhthach
Ó Maoláin
(O'Mullan, Mullan, Mullen, Mullin, Mullane, Mollan)
Meaning: Bald or tonsured
Progenitor:
Territory: Barony of Keenaght, County Londonderry
Extra:
Mac Bhloscaidh
(MacCloskey, MacCluskey, Glasgow)
Meaning:
Progenitor: Bloscaidh Ó Cathaín (Bloskey O'Cahan)
Territory:
Extra:

Clann Diarmatta[edit]

The Clann Diarmatta, or Clan Dermot, descend from the Clann Conchúir Magh Ithe. The parish of Clondermot in County Londonderry is said to derive its name from this clan's territory.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Cairealláin
(Carlin, O'Carolan, Carolan, Carleton)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Erenaghs of Clonleigh, barony of Raphoe. Parish of Clondermot, O'Cahan Country
Extra:
Mac Eiteagain
(MacEttigan, MacGettigan)
Meaning: Swarthy
Progenitor:
Territory: Clondermot
Extra:

O'Cahan of the Route[edit]

The O'Cahan's of the Route, are a branch of the Ó Cathaín that moved into the area of north-eastern county Londonderry and north-western county Antrim known historically as "the Route". The Route was held by the Hiberno-Norman MacQuillans, and a fierce rivalry would erupt between the O'Cahans and MacQuillans. The end of this rivalry would see the destruction of the MacQuillans power and the weakening of the O'Cahans corresponding to the rise of MacDonnells.

The Scottish clans Both Chanain (Buchanan, Mawhinney) and Mac Ausaláin (MacCausland) both descend from Ausalan Buoy O'Kayn, allegedly of the O'Cahans of the Route.

Cenél Aenghusa[edit]

The Cenél Aenghusa, or 'race of Angus', are only mentioned as being of the Cenél nEóghain by a citation in the Annals, with a similar reference in the Book of Lecan.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Mac Cana or Mac Anna
(MacCann)
Meaning: Wolf cub or son of Annadh
Progenitor:
Territory: Ailech, Donegal then Clanbressil, County Armagh
Extra:

Other Septs[edit]

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Branagáin
(Brannigan)
Meaning: Raven
Progenitor: Bran
Territory: Oriel, on the border between Ulster and Leinster
Extra: Made their way into counties Armagh, Monaghan, and Louth in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This surname was used synonymously with Brankin in the Crumlin area of county Antrim.
Ó Branáin
(Brennan, Brannan)
Meaning: Raven
Progenitor: Bran
Territory: Counties Monaghan and Fermanagh
Extra: Thought to be a contraction of Ó Branagáin. Unrelated to the Ó Braonáin and Mac Branáin septs outside of Ulster. Brennan was used synonymously with Brannie in the Ards peninsula, county Down
Ó Corragáin
(Corrigan)
Meaning:
Progenitor: Coirdhecán
Territory: Dromore, Tyrone then migrated early to Fermanagh becoming erenaghs of Magheraveely
Extra: Said to be of the same stock as the Maguires, however are thought to descend from the Cenél nEóghain

Cenél Conaill[edit]

The Cenél Conaill, or 'race of Conall', descend from Conall Gulben, son of the Niall of the Nine Hostages, and allegedly the first Irish nobleman to convert to Christianity. Their kingdom was known as Tír Conaill, with their powerbase at Mag Ithe in the Finn valley, however they gradually expanded to cover what is now present-day counties Donegal and Fermanagh. The Cenél Conaill clashed regularly with their kin the Cenél nEoghain, eventually capturing the latters original power-base of Inishowen by the 12th century.

Cenél Luighdech (Sil Lugdach)[edit]

The Cenél Luighdech (more commonly known as Sil Lugdach), descend from Lugaid mac Sétnai, the great-grandson of Conall Gulban. Their tribal territory extended from Dobhar (Gweedore) to the river Suilidhe (Swilly) in Donegal. The O'Donnells and O'Dohertys were the two principal and most powerful septs of the Cenél Conaill.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Domhnaill
(O'Donnell, Donnell)
Meaning: World ruler
Progenitor: Domhnall
Territory: Kilmacrenan, Donegal
Extra: In the 13th century they rose to power as kings of Cenél Conaill. The Clann Dálaigh are a branch of the Ó Domhnaill sept
Ó Dochartaigh
(O'Doherty, Doherty, Dougherty)
Meaning: Hurtful
Progenitor: Dochartach
Territory: Raphoe, Donegal
Extra: Dochartach was 12th in lineal descent from Conall Gulben. The Ó Dochartaigh would rule Inishowen from the 13th to 17th centuries
Ó hAmhsaigh
(O'Hampsey, O'Hampson, Hampson, Hempson)
Meaning: descendant of Amhsach, a byname meaning ‘mercenary soldier’ or ‘messenger’ Territory: Magilligan, north east County Londonderry
Mac Giolla Bhríghde
(MacBride, Gilbride, MacIlvreed, MacGilbride)
Meaning: Devotee of (St) Brigid
Progenitor: Giolla Bríde Ó Dochartaigh
Territory: Parish of Raymunterdoney
Extra:
Mac Meanman
(MacMenamin)
Meaning: Courage/spirit
Progenitor: Meanma
Territory: Donegal
Extra:

Clann Chindfaoladh[edit]

Clann Chindfaoladh are a branch of the Cenél Luighdech and take their name from Cindfhealadh, the great-grandfather of Baighill, the eponym of this clans leading sept, the Ó Baoighill's (O'Boyle). The Ó Baoighill were chieftains of Tir Ainmireach and Tir Boghaine in southern Donegal, with territory originally extending from Donegal town to near Kilmacreannan along the west coast. The barony of Boylagh is alleged to take its name from the O'Boyles. By the 13th century, the O'Donnells would see the O'Boyle territory divided in two; Tir Ainmireach in the south and the Three Tuatha in the north.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Baoighill
(O'Boyle, Boyle, Boal, Bohill)
Meaning: Pledge
Progenitor: Baighill mac Bradagain
Territory: Ballyweel (town of the O'Boyles), Tir mBoghuine and Tir Ainmireach
Extra:

Clann Dálaigh[edit]

The Clann Dálaigh, or Clan Daly, (also Síl Dálaigh) is another name for the Ó Domhnaill sept of the Cenél Luighdech. This clan takes its name from Dálach, the father of Éicnechán, chieftain of the Cenél Luighdech.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Mac Eachmharcaigh
(MacCafferty, MacCaffrey)
Meaning: Horse-rider
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal
Extra: Eachmarach was a popular personal name amongst the O'Donnells

Cenél Aedha[edit]

The Cenél Aedha, or 'race of Hugh', are descended from Aedha mac Ainmirech, great-great grandson of Conall Gulban. His father, Ainmirech mac Sétnai is brother of Lugaid mac Sétnai, founder of the Cenél Luighdech. The Cenél Aedha are said to have given their name to the barony of Tirhugh (Tír Aedha) in County Donegal.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Gallchobhair
(O'Gallagher, Gallagher)
Meaning: Foreign help
Progenitor: Gallchobar
Territory: Ballybeit and Ballyneglack
Extra: Served as the leaders of the O'Donnell cavalry. Gallchobar was descended from Conall Gulban, allowing the Gallaghers to claim to be the most royal branch of the Cenél Conaill
Ó Canannain
(Cannon, Canning, Kenny)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Letterkenny
Extra: Letterkenny derives its names from the Ó Canannain sept
Ó Maeldoraidh
(O'Muldorey)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Tirhugh
Extra:

Cenél mBógaine[edit]

The Cenél mBógaine descend from Énna Bóguine, son of Conall Gulban. The territory of the Cenél mBógaine is stated as Tír Boghaine, which O'Donovan equates to being the barony of Banagh, and part of the barony of Boylagh in County Donegal.

St. Crona (Croine Bheag) is descended from the Cenél mBógaine, being 5th in lineal descent from Énna Bóguine.

Cenél Duach[edit]

The Cenél Duach are named from Tigernach Duí (Duach), son of Conall Gulban. Tigernach's son Nainnid is mentioned as being at the battle of Móin Daire Lothair (modern-day Moneymore) where the Northern Uí Néill defeated the Cruithin. Baedan, gradnson of Tigernach through Nainnid would rule as king of Tara for one year in AD 568.

Cenél Eanna[edit]

The Cenél Eanna, or 'race of Enda', descend from Eanna, the sixth son of Conall Gulban. They are listed as kings of Magh Ith, Tir Eanna, and Fanad in present-day County Donegal, a territory around the southern tip of Inishowen.

Linked Septs[edit]

Sept
(Common Forms)
Mac Ailín
(Allen, MacAllen, MacCallion, Campbell)
Meaning: Either son of Alan or son of Ailín (a distinct name meaning rock)
Progenitor:
Territory:
Extra: The first Allens to make an impact in Ulster were the Clan Campbell Mac Ailíns who were brought as galloglasses to Tirconnell by the O'Donnells in the 15th century.

Cenél Énda[edit]

The Cenél Énda, or 'race of Enda', descend from Enda, the youngest son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Enda is cited by Hogan as having been granted land in the 5th century in the partition of Tirconnell, comprising from the boundary of Inishowen, to Barnesmore, to Sruell in Banagh barony. Yet there appears to be no evidence of a dynastic family descended from Énda before the 11th century. Any earlier references of a Cenél Énda point towards the provinces of Mide and Connacht rather than western Ulster.

By the 11th century, a couple of septs are noted as being chiefs of a Cenél nEnda in Tirconnell, County Donegal.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Lapáin
(O'Lappin, Lappin, Delap)
Meaning: Possibly paw
Progenitor:
Territory: Tirconnell, Donegal and then later Co. Armagh
Extra: One of the oldest hereditary surnames in Ireland and thus the world
Ó hEicnechan Meaning: Roughly O'Heneghan
Progenitor:
Territory: Tirconnell
Extra: Cited in the annals as chief of Cenél nEnda

Ó Breasláin[edit]

The Ó Breasláin of Fánad (Fanat) are stated by MacLysaght as being a branch of the Cenél nEnda, however others claim that they are in fact of the Cenél Enda branch of the Cenél Conaill via descent from Fergus Fanad.... No, there were two separate O'Breslin septs in Ireland. One was of the Cinel Enda branch of the Cinel Connell (Son of Neil) and the other was from the royal line of the Cinel Connell and descend from Congal Cennamayor Mac Fergus Fanat, high king of Ireland (early 8th century AD)

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Breasláin
(O'Breslin, Breslin, Brice, Bryce, Bryson)
Meaning: Violent + little
Progenitor:
Territory: Inniskeel, Fanad peninsula, later Derryvullan, Fermanagh
Extra: Forced out of Fanad by the MacSweeneys in 1261 and migrated to Fermanagh were they became brehons to the Maguires

Cianachta[edit]

The Cianachta, or the race of Kane, also known as Clann Cian, descend from Cian, son of Oilioll Ólum, king of Munster in the 3rd century. The territory of the Cianachta spanned the present-day barony of Keenaght, which derives its name from them. By the 12th century, the Cianachta would be conquered by the Ó Cathaín.

Cianachta Glenn Geimin[edit]

The Cianachta Glenn Geimin of Clann Cian, or the Cianachta of Glengiven, ruled a region now known as Dungiven.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Conchobhair
(O'Connor, Connor)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Glenn Geimin, present day parish of Dungiven
Extra: Most powerful sept of the Cianachta, however were overthrown by the Ó Cathaín. Other forms of the name include: MacConnor, MacNaugher, MacNocker, MacNogher, MacNoher, and Nogher

Síl Colla Fochríth[edit]

The Síl Colla Fochríth, descend from Colla Fochríth, the first king of Airgíalla and one of Three Collas. Clans and septs that are claimed to descend from Colla Fochríth but with no other information given include; Ui Maine, Fir Dubhshlat, Ui Conaill, and Ui Luain.

Imchad[edit]

Imchad was one of Colla Fochríth's sons, and from him son Muiredach Méth would descend the Uí Méith. The Uí Méith territory spanned northern County Louth, eastern County Armagh, and later in County Monaghan. John O'Donovan in his notes on the Annals of the Four Masters marks that there were two groups of the Ui Meith name; the Uí Méith Macha (or Uí Méith Tiri) and the Uí Méith Mara.

The Uí Méith Macha were based in the barony of Monaghan, County Monaghan. The Uí Méith Mara, meaning "Omeath by the sea", was seated in Cualigne in northern County Louth. The name Uí Méith survives as the present day name of the village Omeath.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó hAnrachtaigh
(Hanratty, O'Hanratty, Henvey)
Meaning:
Progenitor: Ionrachtach
Territory: Northern County Louth, and later County Monaghan
Extra: Styled as lords of Uí Méith Macha by O'Donovan. Archaic forms include: O'Hanraghty.
Ó hAinbhith
(Hanvey, O'Hanify, Hanfy)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: County Monaghan
Extra: Styled as lords of Uí Méith.

Cenél Rochada[edit]

The Cenél Rochada are descended from Rochad, one of Colla Fochríth's sons. The following terms are noted in the Annals to describe or group the clans and septs that would descend from Rochad:

  • Uí Chremthainn - The Uí Chremthainn descend from Cremthann Liath, son of Fiac, son of Deig Duirn, son of Rochad. In effect the Uí Chremthainn consisted of multiple groups, part of the overall Airgíallan confederation. They ruled a territory spanning eastern Co. Fermanagh and northern Co. Monaghan.
  • Síl Daim Argait - The Síl Daim Argait descend from Cairpre Daim Argait, son of Echach, son of Cremthann Liath, and are thus part of the Uí Chremthainn. Prominent groups include the Sil nDaimine and Clann Lugainn of the modern county Fermanagh area. Cairpre Daim Argait had three sons; Nadsluag, Lugain, and Daimine.
  • Síl Duibthir - The Síl Duibthir are cited as being one of the "Trí Tuatha of Oirghialla" alongside the Uí Chremthainn and Fír Lemna. They descend from Duibthir, who in turn was descended from Cairpre Daim Argait, and are thus part of the Síl Daim Argait. The sept of Ua Laithéin are noted as chiefs of the Síl Duibthir.
  • Uí Briúin Archaille - The Uí Briúin Archaille (also known as "Uí Briúin ar Chaill") descend from Brian son of Deig Duirn, who was a son of Rochad. This makes him the brother of Fiac from who the Uí Chremthainn descend. Their territory is described as being in the barony of Dungannon, Co. Tyrone.
  • Dál nOaich - The Dál nOaich are cited as being descended from Cremthann Liath, who is also recorded as Cremthann Oach.
  • Uí Labrada - The Uí Labrada descend from Labraid son of Deig Duirn, making him a brother to Brian and Fiac. Other than being noted in 1039 for slaying Murdoch mac Laverty O'Neill, the only other reference to them is the storming of their stronghold at Inis Uí Labrada by the Fir Manach.
  • Uí Meic Brócc - The Uí Meic Brócc descend from Echdach Amainsen, son of Cremthann Liath. Not to be confused with the Uí Meics Brócc of the County Kerry Eóganacht.
  • Síl nDaimine - The Sil nDaimine descend from Daimine, one of the sons of Cairpre Dam Argait, and are part of the Síl Daim Argait.

Clann Nadsluaig[edit]

The Clann Nadsluaig descend from Nadsluag, one of the sons of Cairpre Dam Argait, and part of the Síl Daim Argait. Their territory was in County Monaghan.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Cearbhall
(Carroll, O'Carroll)
Meaning:
Progenitor: Cearbhall
Territory: Co. Monaghan
Extra: Princes of Oriel until their power was destroyed by John de Courcy
Mac Mathúna
(MacMahon, Mahon)
Meaning: Bear
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Monaghan
Extra: Ruled Monaghan from the decline of the Ó Cearbhall from the early 13th century to the end of the 16th century.
Related Septs: Mac Pilib (MacPHILLIPS) and Mac Ardghail (MacARDLE)

Clann Lugain[edit]

The Clann Lugain descend from Cormac, one of the sons of Cairpre Dam Argait, and are part of the Síl Daim Argait. Their territory was in County Fermanagh.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Mag Uidhir
(Maguire)
Meaning: Dun-coloured
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Fermanagh
Extra: Rose to prominence in around 1200, when Donn Mór Maguire established the sept in Lisnaskea, Fermanagh. Donn Carrach Maguire became the first Maguire King of Fermanagh in 1302, and between then and 1600, fifteen Maguires ruled as kings of Fermanagh.
Mac Gothraidh
(Godfrey, MacCorry, Corry)
Meaning: Godfrey
Progenitor: Gofraidh mac Donn Mór Maguire
Territory: Co. Fermanagh
Extra:
Mac Maghnuis
(MacManus, Mann, Manasses, Mayne)
Meaning: Manus
Progenitor: Maghnus mac Donn Mór Maguire
Territory: Ballymacmanus island (modern Belleisle) Co. Fermanagh
Extra: Second only to the Maguires in Fermanagh. Hereditary managers of the fisheries of the Maguires. Cathal Óg MacManus would compile the "Annals of Ulster"
Ó hÉighnigh
(Heaney, Heeney, O'Heaney, O'Heeney)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Fermanagh
Extra: Amongst others ruled as kings of Fermanagh and Oriel until the rise of the Maguires.
Ó Maolruanaigh
(Mulrooney, Rooney)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Fermanagh
Extra: Amongst others ruled as kings of Fermanagh before the Maguires.
Ó Dubhdara
(O'Darragh, Darragh)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co Fermanagh
Extra: Amongst others ruled as kings of Fermanagh before the Maguires

Clann Ceallaigh[edit]

Clann Ceallaigh descend from Cellach, son of Tuathal, king of the Uí Chremthainn, who in turn was descended from Daimine, one of the sons of Cairpre Dam Argait, and are part of the Síl Daim Argait. Clann Ceallaigh's name is preserved as the name of the modern barony of Clankelly in County Monaghan.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Mac Domhnaill
(MacDonnell)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Counties Monaghan and Fermanagh
Extra: Fermanaghs oldest recorded ruling family. Their power was broken by the Maguires and they migrated to the MacMahon country of County Fermanagh were they became sub-chiefs.
Mac Maolruanaigh
(Macarooney, Rooney)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Clankelly, County Monaghan
Extra:
Ó Flannagáin
(Flanagan, O'Flanagan)
Meaning: Red, ruddy
Progenitor: Flannacán mac Fogartach
Territory: Counties Fermanagh and Monaghan
Extra: Their headquarters was possibly in the parish of Donaghmoyne. Noted as chiefs of Tuath Rátha (Toorah) in County Fermanagh.
Ó Baoighealláin
(Boylan, Boyle)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: County Monaghan
Extra: Properly O'Boylan, this sept originally come from the same stock as the O'Flanagans in Co. Fermanagh and took over the kingship of the Dartraige (barony of Dartry) area of Monaghan in the late 10th century. By the end of the 11th century they controlled a vast tract of land from Fermanagh to Louth, and their chief was King of Fermanagh. By the 14th century however their power had been usurped by the MacMahon's.

Fernmag[edit]

The Fernmag, or Fer Fernmaighe, is an area around Lough Ooney, aka Lock Uaithne near Smithborough in the barony of Dartry, Co. Monaghan. Immigration to south-eastern Monaghan brought the territorial name along with it, being preserved in the name of the barony of Farney. The genealogies given for the Fernmag claim they descend from Fergusa, the son of Nadsluaig, who was one of the sons of Cairpre Dam Argait.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Lorcháin
(Larkin)
Meaning: Rough or fierce
Progenitor:
Territory: Barony of Farney
Extra: Chiefs of Farney and the Uí Breasail of Co. Armagh
Ó Chríochain
(O'Creehan)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory:
Extra: Chiefs of Farney

Fír Lemna[edit]

The Fír Lemna (also known as Uí Tuathail and Síl Tuathail) are cited as being one of the "Trí Tuatha of Oirghialla" alongside the Uí Chremthainn and Síl Dubthir. Its territory is thought to have been near Clogher, Co. Tyrone. The region of Magh Lemna is given as being in the parishes of Clogher and Errigal Keerogue in southern Co. Tyrone bordering Co. Monaghan. Their ancestry is cited as being from Tuathal, a son of Daimíne, making them part of the Síl nDaimini.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Caomhain
(O'Coen, Coen, Cohen, Cowan)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory:
Extra: Cited as a king of Magh Lemna

Síl Fiachra Cassán[edit]

The Síl Fiachra Cassán, descend from Fiachra Cassán, a son of Colla Fochríth. Airthir (barony of Lower and Upper Orior), meaning 'east', was one of the main branches of the Síl Fiachra Cassán until the 8th century when it split into the main septs of the Uí Nialláin, the Uí Bressail, and the Uí Echdach. The territory of Airthir was centered in Ard Macha (Co. Armagh), along the eastern baronies of Orior. Some of the clans given as part of the Síl Fiachra Cassán include:

  • Uí Cruind
  • Uí Tréna - The Uí Tréna were located in Co. Armagh and claimed to be descended from Trian, son of Feidhlimidh (Phelim), son of Fiachra Cassán. Not to be confused with the Uí Tréna in Leinster or Munster.
  • Uí Dorthain - Also recorded as the Uí Dorthinn, Dorthaind, Dorethainn, Tortain, they are cited as being possibly near Ardbraccan, Co. Meath. They descend from Dorthon, grandson of Feidhlimidh, son of Fiachra Cassán.
  • Clann Sínaigh - This clan is described as being in Airthir (Orior) in County Armagh, with the genealogies showing descent from Fiachrac Cassán.

Uí Echach[edit]

The Uí Echach, or the Uí Echach Airgíalla to distinguish them from the neighbouring Uí Echach Cobo of the Dál nAraidi, are suggested as ruling an area known as Tuath Echach, comprising the barony of Armagh in County Armagh. The Uí Echach Beg and Uí Echach Mór are noted as two branches of this group, but are also placed as being in Dál nAraidi and thus maybe part of the Uí Echach Cobo. According to the books of Lecan and Ballymote, the Síl Ciarain Uí Echach were located in Airthir.

The Uí Echach descend from Echach the grandson of Fiachra Cassán.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Ruadhacain (Roghan)
(O'Rogan, Rogan)
Meaning: Little red-haired one
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Armagh and barony of Iveagh
Extra: Noted as chiefs of Uí Eochada, tributary to the O'Hanlons at the time, and as chiefs of Airthir.
Ó Domhnaill
(O'Donnell, Donnell)
Meaning: World ruler
Progenitor: Domhnall
Territory: Airthir
Extra: Noted by O'Dugan as being a "noble tribe" of the Uí Echach

Uí Nialláin[edit]

The Uí Nialláin, or Clan Cernaich, descend from Nialláin, son of Féicc, son of Feidelmid, who was the son of Fiachra Cassán. Their territory lay in the baronies of Oneilland East and West in Co. Armagh, which both derive their name from the Uí Nialláin rather than the O'Neills. The Airthir kings of the Uí Nialláin sept ruled from Loch gCál (modern-day Loughgall).

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó hAnluain
(O'Hanlon, Hanlon)
Meaning: Outstanding champion
Progenitor: Anluain mac Diarmada
Territory: Baronys of Oneilland East and West
Extra: Lords of Orior and Oneilland, and with the MacGuinesses, controllers of east Ulster. Originally conciliatory to the English until the 17th century. They descend from Anluain mac Diarmada a descendant of Nialláin.
Ó hÉir
(O'Hare, Hare)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory:
Extra: Ruled as a king of Airthir

Uí Bresail[edit]

The Uí Bresail, also known as the Uí Bresail Airthir, ruled an area in northern Co. Armagh along the southern shore of Lough Neagh (in the barony of Oneilland East) before they were displaced by the lords of Clanbrassil, the MacCann's.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Gairbhith
(Garvey)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Barony of Oneilland East
Extra: Noted as being fierce chiefs, they held sway until being displaced by the MacCanns.
Ó Céileacháin
(Callaghan)
Meaning: Companion
Progenitor:
Territory: Liscallaghan, Co. Tyrone and Oneilland East
Extra: Noted as chiefs of Uí Bresail Airthir. Archaic forms include (O')Kelaghan, Kealaghan, and (O')Keelan, however is as common in surnames, lesser names become lost to a more common name of similar sound, i.e. Ó Ceallacháin, a Munster sept that was first Anglicised as Callaghan.
Ó Longáin
(Long, Longan)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Armagh
Extra: Cited as being of the western Uí Bresail' by O'Dugan.
Ó Conchobhair
(Connors)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory:
Extra: Cited as being of the western Uí Bresail by O'Dugan.
Ó Duibheamhna
(Devany, Devenny)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory:
Extra: Cited as being of the western Uí Bresail by O'Dugan.

Other Clans/Septs[edit]

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Ceanneidigh
(O'Kennedy, Kennedy)
Meaning: Ugly head
Progenitor:
Territory: Tirkennedy, County Fermanagh
Extra: Claimed to descend from Fergus Cennfhota, a son of Cremthann Liath, and are thus part of the Uí Chremthainn. They ruled an area known as Tír Cennfhada, which is preserved in the name of barony of Tirkennedy, County Fermanagh.
Ó Daimhín
(O'Davin, Davin)
Meaning: Ox
Progenitor: Daimhín mac Cairbre Dam Argait
Territory: County Fermanagh
Extra: Leading County Fermanagh sept up until the 15th century when the O'Neills and Maguires broke them. Noted as lords of Tirkennedy. The town and parish of Clogher gets its name from them; Clochar Mac nDaimhín.

Fir Rois[edit]

The Fir Rois were located in the barony of Farney, County Monaghan, and in the barony of Ardee, County Louth, and in Meath. Crích Ross stands 4 miles northwest of the point where the three counties meet.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Coscraigh
(Cosgrove, Cosgrave)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Carrickmacross, County Monaghan
Extra: Chiefs of the Fir Rois in Carrickmacross, Monaghan
Mac Coscraigh
(Cosgrove, Cosgrave, MacCusker)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Erenaghs of Clones, County Monaghan
Extra: Neighbouring but distinct family from the Ó Coscraigh

Síl Colla Uais[edit]

The Síl Colla Uais descend from Colla Uais, one of the Three Collas. Years before the Three Collas founded Airgíalla, Colla Uais ruled as king of Ireland until he and his brothers and three hundred followers were exiled to Scotland. Colla Uais had several sons including Eachach and Ercc.


Uí Meic Uais[edit]

The Uí Meic Uais descend from Ercc, a son of Colla Uais. The Uí Meic Uais are cited as having several branches;

  • Uí Meic Uais Mide, in the barony of Moygoaish, county Westmeath. Septs include the Ó Comhraidhe (O'Curry, Currie)
  • Uí Meic Uais Breg, in the barony of Upper Kells and Lower Navan, county Meath. Septs include Ó hAonghuis (O'Hennessy, Hennessy)

Yet the following are cited by Francis Byrne as being collectively known as the Uí Meic Uais, though groups of this name are also noted in the midland regions:

  • Uí Maic Caírthinn, south of Lough Foyle
  • Uí Fiachrach Arda Sratha, Ardstraw, County Tyrone
  • Uí Tuírtri, west and east of the Sperrings

Uí Tuírtri[edit]

The Uí Tuírtri descend from Fiachu Tuirtri, a son of Colla Uais. Their territory was said to have included an area west of Lough Neagh as well as north-west of Lough Neagh. One of the principal chiefs of the Uí Tuírtri was the O'Lynns, who ruled from Lough Insholin, Desertmartin, County Londonderry - the name of which is preserved in the modern barony of Loughinsholin. The Uí Tuírtri territory would expand into the lands north of Lough Neagh as they were driven eastwards by the rise of the O'Cahans about the 12th century. At one stage the O'Lynns ruled a territory stretching all the way to the sea deep in Clandeboye O'Neill territory.

Cú Muighe Ó Floinn is cited as being king of the territories of Uí Tuirtre, Fir Lí, Dál Riada, and Dál nAraidhe. Muircertach mac Thomas Ó Floinn the heir aspirant was slain "treacherously" by Hugh, grandson of Hugh Boy O'Neill (progenitor of the Clandeboye O'Neills), and when his father Thomas died the realm passed into the hands of the Clandeboye O'Neills.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Loinn
(O'Lynn, Lynn, Lind, Linn, Lynd, Lindsay)
Meaning:
Progenitor: Fhloinn mac Muiredach
Territory: Barony of Loughinsholin, county Londonderry and later baronies of county Antrim
Extra: Originally spelt in Gaelic as Ó Fhloinn, however the 'f' is aspirated in Ulster Gaelic thus is silent. Despite being regarded as a senior branch of Clan Rury of Ulidia, the Book of Ballymote gives a genealogy giving them descent from Fiachu Tuirtri.
Ó Domhnallain
(O'Donnelan, Donnelan)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Barony of Loughinsholin, county Londonderry
Extra: Cited as being chiefs of Uí Tuírtri in the 11th century.

Fir Luirg[edit]

The Fir Luirg, or men of Lurg, are listed as being among the Síl Colla Uais. By the 14th century, they were subjugated by the Maguires. Fir Luirg survives in the present-day name of the barony of Lurg, County Fermanagh.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Maoldúin
(O'Muldoon, Muldoon)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Barony of Lurg, Co. Fermanagh
Extra: Chiefs of Fir Luirg
Ó Conghaile
(O'Connolly, Connolly)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Ballyconnolly, Co. Fermanagh
Extra: '

Other Airgíallan Septs[edit]

Sept
(Common Forms)
Mac Canann
(MacCannon, MacConnon, Canning, MacConnell, MacCann)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Clones, Co. Monaghan, then south Monaghan-north Louth area
Extra:
Ó Cearbhalláin
(Carlin, O'Carolan, Carolan)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Cavan, then migrated across the provincial border into Co. Meath
Extra:
Ó Cairre
(Carr, O'Carr, Carry, O'Carry)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Armagh
Extra: In early medieval times the chief of the Ó Cairre sept was recorded as being "steward of Cenél Aengusa and royal heir of Oilech"
Mac Cairre
(Carr, Carry, MacCarry)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Armagh
Extra:
Ó Conuladh
(O'Connolly, Connolly)
Meaning: Hound of Ulster
Progenitor: Henry Mac Con Uladh Mac Mathúna (Henry Mac Cú Uladh MacMahon)
Territory: Co. Monaghan
Extra: Allegedly a sept of the southern Uí Néill driven north to Monaghan by the Normans, though it has been suggested that the Monaghan Connolly's descend from Henry Mac Con Uladh Mac Mathúna, who died as "tanist of Oriel", thus making them MacConnollys. If this is correct then their name is properly Ó Conuladh rather than Ó Conghaile.
Mac Oscair
(MacCusker)
Meaning: Champion
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Fermanagh
Extra: Branch of the Maguires

Uí Briúin Bréifne[edit]

The Uí Briúin Bréifne, or O'Brien Breffny, are a branch of the Uí Briúin kin-group. The Uí Briúin descend from Brion, son of Eochaid Mugmedon and Mongfind, and was an elder half brother of Niall of the Nine Hostages. The traditional territory of the Uí Briúin Bréifne was known as the kingdom of Bréifne, which included the modern Irish counties of Leitrim and Cavan, along with parts of County Sligo. It is speculated that Breffny derives its name from a pre-Celtic substrate language spoken in Ireland meaning 'ring' or 'loop', therefore making Breifne one of the oldest placenames in Ireland, dating prior to 500 B.C.[2]

The two principal families of Uí Briúin Bréifne were the O'Rourkes and O'Reillys, who after a great battle in 1256, split the kingdom into East Bréifne and West Bréifne. The kingdom of Bréifne region remained part of the kingdom of Connacht until the time of Queen Elizabeth I when it was shired into the modern counties of Cavan and Leitrim, with Leitrim remaining within Connacht and Cavan becoming part of Ulster.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Mac Brádaigh
(Brady)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: East of Cavan Town, county Cavan
Extra: Properly MacBrady, this variant has been rarely resumed. They were a very powerful Breffny sept controlling a large territory. The Cavan Crozier, staff of the early MacBrady bishops, is one of the few Irish croziers to have survived the Reformation.

Other Septs[edit]

Below is a list of other Irish septs in Ulster that can't be attached to any specific Cenél or Clann.

Sept
(Common Forms)
Ó Duibh Dhíorma
(O'Duvdirma, O'Dierma, Dermond, MacDermott)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Parishes of Upper and Lower Moville, Donegal
Extra: Ruled a territory known as "an Breadach"
Ó Glacain
(Glacken)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal
Extra:
Ó Cadáin
(O'Cadden, Cadden, Adam, Adams)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Roslea-Clones area, Fermanagh-Monaghan
Extra:
Mac Cadáin
(MacAdam, MacCadden, MacCudden, Adams)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Armagh
Extra:
Mac Ádhaimh
(MacAdam, MacCaw, Adams)
Meaning: Son of Adam
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Cavan
Extra:
Mac Gille Andrais
(Gillanders)
Meaning: servant of (St.) Andrew
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Monaghan
Extra: A distinct Irish name of the same origin as its Scottish counterpart
Ó Cnáimhsighe
(Bonar, Bonner, Crampsey)
Meaning: Possibly mid-wife
Progenitor: Cnáimhseach
Territory: County Donegal
Extra: First recorded in 1095, it is one of Ireland's oldest surnames. As it derives from Cnáimhseach, which is a female name, Ó Cnáimhsighe appears to be one of the few matronymic Irish surnames. Archaic Anglicisations include O'Cnawsy and Kneafsey
Ó Buadhaigh
(Boyce, Bogue)
Meaning: Victorious
Progenitor:
Territory: Donegal
Extra: Archaic Anglicised as Buie and Bwee, both of which were still used as synonums for Boyce in the early 20th century Donegal.
Mac Broin
(MacBrin, Byrne, Burns)
Meaning: Raven
Progenitor: Bran
Territory: Co. Down
Extra:
Ó hUaruisce
(Horish, Houriskey, Waters, Watters, Caldwell)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Tyrone
Extra: Ó hUaruisce is a variant of Ó Fuaruisce. The mistaken notion that the "uisce" in their name meant water led to many Anglicising their name to Waters.
Mac Conluain
(Colavin, Cullivan, Caldwell)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Cavan
Extra:
Mac Giolla Chathair
(Carr, Kilcarr, MacElhar, MacIlhair)
Meaning: Devotee of (St) Cathair
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Donegal
Extra:
Mac Giolla Cheara
(Carr, Kerr)
Meaning: Devotee of (St) Ceara
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Monaghan
Extra:
Mac Cearbhall
(Carroll, Mac'Carroll)
Meaning:
Progenitor: Cearbhall
Territory: Co. Londonderry
Extra: Distinct from the Ó Cearbhall sept
Ó Caiside
(Cassidy, O'Cassidy)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Ballycassidy and erenaghs of Devenish, Co. Fermanagh
Extra: Have been in Fermanagh for over a thousand years and until the Plantations were prominent in the fields of literature, medicine, and religion. They became hereditary physicians and ollavs to the Maguires, and later to many other clan chiefs across Ireland
Mac Laghmain
(Clements, MacClement, MacClamon)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Antrim and to a lesser extend counties Donegal and Londonderry
Extra:
Ó Corcráin
(Cochrane)
Meaning: Crimson
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Fermanagh
Extra: Ecclesiastical family of Lough Erne
Mac Colla
(Coll, MacColl)
Meaning:
Progenitor: Colla
Territory: Co. Donegal
Extra: Gallowglass family from Argyllshire introduced into Donegal in the sixteenth century. No connection to the Ulster MacCalls or MacCauls.
Mac Coileáin
(Collins, Caulfield, Cullen)
Meaning: Whelp
Progenitor:
Territory: Western Ulster
Extra:
Mac Cuilinn
(Cullen, MacCollin, Collins, MacCallen)
Meaning: Holly
Progenitor:
Territory:
Extra:
Ó Corra
(Corr, Corry)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh
Extra:
Mac Cosracháin
(MacCusker, Cuskery)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Armagh
Extra:
Mac Giolla Choscair
(MacCusker, MacIlcosker)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Co. Armagh
Extra:
Ó Coltair
(Coulter)
Meaning:
Progenitor:
Territory: Ballyculter, Co. Down
Extra:


Notes[edit]

All common Anglicised forms provided relate to usage in the province in Ulster and thus do not contain other Anglicised forms that relate to mirror Gaelic names from outside of Ulster. For example the Irish name Ó Flaithbheartaigh is Anglicised as Flaherty, Flaffery and Flaverty in Connacht, however due to the aspiration of the 'F' in Ulster Irish, it is Anglicised and recorded as Laverty and Lafferty in Ulster thus the F variants have been excluded. The same for Flynn outside of Ulster, which is Lynn in Ulster.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peter Berresford Ellis, Erin's Blood Royal, London (1999), pp. 230-1
  2. ^ Celtic Languages in Contact
  • Ireland's History in Maps - Tuath and Territory Index
  • Ireland's HIstory in Maps - the Northern Ui Neill
  • T.H. Mullin and J.E. Mullin (1966). "The Ulster Clans", North-West Books
  • Robert Bell (1988) . "The Book of Ulster Surnames", The Black Staff Press