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McLoughlin (also MacLoughlin and, rarely, M'Loughlin) is a Gaelic-Irish surname.


McLoughlin - (pronounced Mac-lockh-lin) ('gh' originally 'ch', thus pronounced as in Irish Loch) is the Modern English form of the surnames for two different, but distantly related septs, both of considerable importance to Irish history. In Gaelic, the word Lochlainn means 'of the lakes' and refers to the Scandinavians (Vikings) from the West of Norway. See Lochlann.

'Mc' is an English abbreviation of the prefix 'Mac' meaning 'son' (genitive case, 'Mhic', 'son of'; plural, 'Mic', 'sons'). The feminine prefix is 'Ní' or 'Nic', depending on language, dialect and grammatical case (the former more common in Ireland, the latter more common in Scotland).

There are several English and Scots variations of the name, including MacLoughlin, McLaughlin, McCloughlin, etc., in Ireland; and, in Scotland, MacLachlan, McLauchlan, McLauchlin, and so on. Mac/Nic Lachlainn is the Scots Gaelic spelling of Mac/Nic Lochlainn (see under the first heading below).

MacLoughlin of Cineál Eoghain[edit]

The McLoughlins of Ulster are part of the Cenél nEógain branch of the Northern Uí Néill. They ruled what is now County Tyrone, Londonderry and Donegal. High Kings of Ireland from this family were:

Ó Máoilsheáchlainn of Clann Colman[edit]

The Ó Máoilsheáchlainns of the Kingdom of Mide (presently the counties of Meath, Westmeath, and parts of the counties of Dublin, Kildare, Offaly, Longford, and Louth, all now in Leinster, and part of County Cavan, now in Ulster) are descendants of the Southern Uí Néill.

High Kings of Ireland of this family included:

The Ó Máoilsheáchlainns of Meath lost their lands and their power in the centuries following the Norman Invasion - their homeland of Meath even losing its status and being absorbed into Leinster. The family were recorded as O'Melaghlin, and after the 17th century, McLoughlin.

In Scotland[edit]

The Northern Uí Néill family expanded from Ulster into Argyll, in Scotland, where Middle Irish 'Mac/Nic Lochlainn' became Modern Scots Gaelic 'Mac/Nic Lachlainn', most commonly spelled 'MacLachlan in Scots and English.

See the Clan MacLachlan article for more information.