Clan McQuillan (Irish: Mac Uighilín) is an Irish clan that descend from the north coast of Co Antrim, Ireland. The name McQuillan originates from deMandeville in Normandy. Still a popular name throughout County Antrim and known for their Battles with Scottish McDonnell clan.
Origin of name
The name MacQuillan is of disputed origin with two prevailing ideas:
- They descend from Hugelin de Mandeville, with MacQuillan claiming to be from Mac Uighilín meaning son of Hugelin. This idea has been challenged with historical sources clearly showing that the MacQuillans and de Mandevilles were two different families.
- They descend from Fiacha MacUillin, youngest son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. This idea has proved problematic as the full ancient genealogy of the MacQuillans was lost in the 1760s by Ephraim MacQuillan.
By the 1460s, with the earldom of Ulster near its end, the surviving de Mandevilles of north Antrim deserted their manors in Twescard and sold their interests to the MacQuillans who were already established there. The MacQuillans would rename Twescard, the Route, after their "rout", a common term then for a private army. Their principal residence in the Route was at Dunluce Castle, near the mouth of the River Bush.
The end of the MacQuillan-O'Cahan feud came in 1559, when their allies, the MacDonnells of the Glens turned upon them. Sorley Boy MacDonnell, with the aid of levies from Scotland, launched a mass assault on the Route against the MacQuillans. The final battle of this assault was at Aura, and saw the end of the MacQuillans and the conquest of the Route by the MacDonnells.