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Mac Artáin
McCartan Arms vert a lion a ramp. or, on a chief ar. a crescent betw. two dexter hands couped at the wrist gu.
Parent houseUlaid (Dál nAraidi)
CountryKingdom of Ulster
FounderArtan macCruinneith (d. 1004)
Final rulerDominick Macartan (d. 1772)
Cadet branchesMagennis (Guinness)

McCartan is the Anglicized form of Mac Artáin of Irish origins. The surname denotes the son of Artán, diminutive of the personal name "Art" translating from Irish to English: A God, A Stone, Noble. They are the Lords of Kinelarty, a barony in the County Down of Northern Ireland. Kinelarty was at one point in time historically known as McCartans-Country and also Cineal Foghartaich.

The McCartans belong to the Uí Echach Cobo branch resulting from the Dál nAraidi. The McCartans were Ard Rí (High Kings) of Ireland, Kings of Cuib, Princes and Lords of Iveagh holding claim to the longest reigning kingships throughout Irish medieval history. French President Charles de Gaulle is descended from the clan through his great-grandmother Angélique Marié McCartan.

Up until the 1600s, the McCartans were prominent and in control of much of mid-Down (County Down). The McCartan strongholds included Drumaroad, the adjoining townlands Loughinisland, Drumnaquoile, Magheratimpany, Ardilea, and the neighbouring town of Ballynahinch.

The Barony of Kinelarty, anciently known as Kinelfagarty, derives its name from Cenel Faghartaigh (the race/clan of Faghartagh). Faghartagh, from whose son Artan and grandson Artan Agus M‘C, are descended the Mac Artáin (McCartan). The clan were chiefs of the territories of Kinelarty and Dufferin.

Kinelarty and the McCartan Chieftaincy[edit]

In prehistoric times territorial boundaries were clearly defined by using dolmens, ritual sites and standing stones as markers. Such monuments can be found today at Slidderyford (Dundrum), Legananny (Slieve Croob), Annadorn (Loughinisland), Kilygoney (Ballynahinch) and Magheraknock (Ballynahinch).

On modern maps this area is an outline of the present barony of Kinelarty, with Loughinisland as a central hub. Interesting place names that are presently to be found in the Loughinisland area are such as:

  • Rosconnor (woods at Connor’s point)
  • Rademon (rath of Deman)
  • Castlenavan (Eamhain’s Cashel)
  • Tareesh (the King’s house)
  • Kilmoremorean (Morean's big church)
  • Cahirvor (the big seat)

These and further evidence in ancient manuscripts, provide confirmation of an ancient Kingship and Noble standing. At the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745 many McCartans fought on the French side against English regiments commanded by the landlords of their patrimony in County Down.

Forde, Annesley, Price, Maxwell and Johnston family members were prominent officers.

Recent Successes[edit]

Dr Patrick McCartan was the Dail envoy to Washington in 1920 and in later years became a presidential candidate. In recent years more McCartan members have also held seats in Dail Eireann and in the European Parliament.

Edward McCartan, an American sculptor, is notable for his many works including his reworking masterpiece of the Goddess Diana.

As a family bursting with football endeavors, albeit predominantly within the Gaelic adaptation of the sport, Seamus Vincent McCartan is the clan's single professional player, currently at club level for Bradford City. His international career has spanned U17, U19 and U21 levels. He made his highly anticipated International First Team debut in 2017.

Ryan McCartan, portraying the character Digbert "Diggie" Smalls on Disney's Liv and Maddie, has risen to success, showcasing the musical and theatrical talents of the clan.

Links to the Guinness Family[edit]

DNA testing carried out at the Trinity College of Dublin on the male Y-Chromosome of the powerful Guinness Family at their own request left a startling re-discovery. The analysis revealed that brewery founder Sir Arthur Guinness' claim that he was a descendent of the Magennis chieftains of Iveagh, in County Down, Northern Ireland, was slightly awry. The testing in turn laid down proof that the family sprang from the McCartan clan.

This is confirmed by author Patrick Guinness in his book entitled - Arthur's Round: The Life And Times Of Brewing Legend Arthur Guinness. Thankfully for the McCartan Clan, he has publicised details of the tests for the first time and has detailed the life and times of the world's most famous brewery owner which, until now, had remained very much unknown.


See also[edit]


  • Patrick Guinness the author of Arthur's Round (2006)
  • The McCartans of Kinelarty by Thérése Ghesquiére-Diérickx and Sean McCartan. (Translations by Dr Eamon O’Ciosan)
  • Culture Northern Ireland -
  • Irish Family History - A History of the Clanna-Rory or Rudricians, Descendants of Roderick the Great, Monarch of Ireland. (Compiled From the Ancient Records in the Libraries of Trinity College and the Royal Irish Academy.)