Talk:Niall of the Nine Hostages

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Testing of people named O’Neill, from Ulster in Ireland, showed that Niall’s R1b1b2e/M222 Y chromosome was not as common as in other supposed Ui Neill families. In fact unlike the other northern Ui Neill samples from related families, it was not even the largest group of DNA. A so called “O'Neill Variety “ is the largest group among Ulster O’Neill’s. It is likely to have been a non paternity event where a R1b1b2e individual was replaced in position of authority (enabling for more breeding) by someone bearing the "O'Neill Variety" Y chromosome. The time span when this may have occurred is not precise, but quite probably every O’Neill listed in tje article as a Niall descendant (based upon assuming R1b1b2e is the Y chromosome Niall possessed) is not a descendant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:17, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Gates Crowley[edit]

Gates' DNA is M222 but news stories are mentioning officer Crowley's relation as simply because of Crowley surname, which is far from definite proof of any relation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:18, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Early edits[edit]

Bear with me folks, I have a long way to go! Fergananim


To the last person who edited this:

I regret that, while your formatting was far superior to the original, much of your new information was either incorrect or too reliant on legend and not hard facts from the time period. I was therefore forced to correct it. However, I thank you for your efforts in improving the page.

That would be me. I've made a few minor tweaks (Irish language for Gaelic being the only significant one), but I'd quibble with the assertion that St Patrick "suceeding in turning the pagan Celts into the Christians of today" - I think it's generally agreed the mass conversion didn't happen until the reign of Diarmaid mac Cerbhaill, although obviously Patrick made an important contribution. I'll have a think and see if I can express that better. --Nicknack009

18:36, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Very well. Perhaps I was being... overly dramatic.

Notice to all previous editors[edit]

Boys and girls, yet again I have made a few edits to this article, all concerning dates. I notice that those who rely on souces such as the Annals of the Four Masters and Seathrún Céitinn given his life-span one ending early in the 5th century. In my edits I have consistanly given his date of death as about 450/455. Now I have no problem with people rewriting the article, but I would like them to give reasons for such edits ... as I belatidly realise I should have done.

My reasons for the 450/455 date are quite simple: most Irish historians of the past sixty/seventy years, after decades of controversy, now accecpt the later date. These people include some of the giants of Irish history; Fr. Paul Walsh, Kathleen Hughes, Francis John Byrne, Nollaig O'Muralie, Daibhi O'Croinin. Thus I really have to wonder why, after so much blood sweat and tears was spent trying to establish this rough estimate, some come along and change it summerally. If anyone plans to do so in future can they at least have the courtsey to do so? I will refrain from the moment from going into the why behind the 450/455 date unless asked. Thank you. Fergananim.

I'd appreciate it if you did give your reasons. I'm not familiar with the historians you cite, and you need more than just a list of names to back up your position. To my mind Niall (and the Connachta, his supposed brothers) is primarily a figure of legend, an eponymous ancestor from a heroic age who's no more reliably historical than King Arthur. He may well have been real, all we have to go on are legends. His traditional date of death is no more reliable than the stories of his life, but I'd be interested to know why your sources think a later date is more reliable. --Nicknack009 13:35, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Slightly less than three years later, I've found out why modern historians prefer a later date, and updated the article accordingly. --Nicknack009 (talk) 11:04, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

New Notice[edit]

I prefer the 405 date for various reasons, but in short I think that both dates should be included as it is not really certain when he ruled in either case. Your changes give a bias toward the 450/455 date. The article should be more neutral.

By the way, "belatidly" is spelled "belatedly".


I don't know enough on this topic to edit this, but there is an interesting news/science report that means the "Descendants" will need to be expanded. See Scientists discover most fertile Irish male: "The scientists, from Trinity College Dublin, have discovered that as many as one in twelve Irish men could be descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, a 5th-century warlord who was head of the most powerful dynasty in ancient Ireland." BlankVerse 17:43, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

An English Times report said 2% of men in New York City have the gene. There was a two page spread in the English Independent 19 January 2006 on the topic, citing comparisons with Gengis Khan etc. Is Ian Paisley a descendant? Seriously.--shtove 00:55, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

lousy report, Trinity seems embaressing! wrong clans, jumping to conclusions, overall poor, even J McLoughlin saw problems in it

The IMDB Trivia page on the actor Brian Cox states that he is a direct descendant on Niall... -- (talk) 13:40, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Where did he get his nickname[edit]

The article doesn't say where he got the "nine hostages" nickname. What is the story of this? Who were these nine hostages? Academic Challenger 02:53, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes it does. Look under "King and High King". --Nicknack009 12:41, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Was Neil real?[edit]

not all believe so.

First off its Niall and HE IS VERY REAL.

Its pretty hard to say someone does not exist when they have DNA evidence of people being descendents from him. My dad was doing our family tree and he showed up as the 2nd closest descendent to niall he was actually tied with another guy but the other guy was older making him the first(note I never saw the DNA report myself so I don't know how accurate this is, and he has since passed.) I myself am going to get checked at some point to see where I fall on the list of descendents but be assured that he did exist. The real question would be how much of the history we know is accurate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Maddrummerhef (talkcontribs) 16:44, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

--HEFF ;) 16:47, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Are you joking? DNA evidence also inclues non-Ui Neill names, but it seems not very many soutern Ui Neill "relatives". Simply because members of clan Owen n clan Conal families seem to be from a common ancestor it isn't necessarily Niall. BTW your Y DNA will be same as your dad unless a very unlikely mutation took place. Niall's DNA, obviously, was never in any test so you can't measure "closeness". For a some reasons Niall's ancestry of M222 DNA may be just a story see Cenel Conaill And the Donegal Kingdoms, AD 500-800. (talk) 09:12, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Most fecund male in Irish history?[edit]

'Niall may have been the most fecund male in Irish history, and second only to Genghis Khan worldwide' - neither of these claims appear in the 2006 Moore et al. paper. Can these remarkes be attributed the scientists in question, otherwise the claim should be removed. Kennedy One Namer (talk) 22:10, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Eogan link[edit]

Could someone please fix Eogan's link in the chart of Niall's family? It leads to the disamgiguation of the name eogan rather than this page about his son. Thanks!Jason947 (talk) 04:19, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Done. It is easy to do, all you needed to do was find this: [[Eogan]]. Then to direct the link to Eógan mac Néill you change it to: [[Eógan mac Néill|Eogan]].--Celtus (talk) 06:52, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

user:Nicknack009 personal names are not "translated"'[edit]

OK, but there are exceptions and I feel so translating Niall Noígíallach to "Neil, having nine hostages" rather than "Niall, having nine hostages" makes sense from the same perspective that many English language textbooks translate kings and royalty into their own language "Heinrich I" of Germany being called "Henry the first, of Germany" or Johann to John, etc. Niall/Neil being a tribal king, seems to apply in the same sense. Is there any agreement here? He applies more of the historic title as a name sense than the personal modern given name sense, is what I mean. Nagelfar (talk) 02:06, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Personal names are translated only when there is a long-standing tradition of doing so, dating back to when doing such a thing was common, and when the translated name is so well known it would be confusing to revert to the real name. However, we stopped doing that sort of thing a long time ago, quite rightly, and we should not revive it. The only thing that needs translated is Noígíallach, which is not a personal name but an epithet. I have reverted to that, and italicised the epithet to make it clear it's a foreign word that needs translating. --Nicknack009 (talk) 11:58, 21 December 2008 (UTC)


In the Early Life section, it is stated that Fergus was one of four sons by Mongfind. The family tree shows Fergus as a son by Cairenn. Is there an explanation for this discrepancy? ( (talk) 05:47, 31 July 2009 (UTC))

Fergus should be a son by neither as a matter of fact. In the sources he belongs to Mongfind, but is almost surely a literary creation just to make her and the Three Connachta look bad. See Byrne pgs. 74-5. We can also support his non-existence with the alternate story of Mongfind in the Book of Lismore, where she only has three sons. I've added some of that to her page and you can access Stokes' translation from the references. DinDraithou (talk) 14:28, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Henry Louis Gates[edit]

I've added back the fact that Gates is descended from Niall with this rationale:

If we are going to list notable people descended from Niall, including Turlough O'Cahan who doesn't have his own wikipedia page, we must mention Gates. I would not be against trimming this section simply to note his astonishing fecundity and perhaps some notable aristocratic families descended from him, but if we're mentioning individuals, seems to me he's in.

The "scandal" over his arrest is irrelevant to this, and I would not support adding claims that Gates and Crowley are distantly related. Arxack (talk) 07:52, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

As has been said in edit summaries, we can't list every person who claims to be descended from this supposed king. It would include most Irish and most people with Irish descent around the globe. The solution is less mention of specific individuals, not more. The fact that Gates has been in the news lately for an unrelated reason does not mean that his alleged descent from Niall is important or necessary for this article. The material should not be resotored without a discussion establishing a consensus to keep it.--Cúchullain t/c 14:10, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
To be rough about it, a professor (black or white) at the most middle class university in the world is about as far from relevant or interesting as you can get. Carrying a little of Niall's male line junk DNA doesn't make someone a descendant. The other half, or more, is social class. DinDraithou (talk) 14:39, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I doubt that social class matters very much when talking about descent from a man who is said to have lived in the 5th century, nor does race or country of origin. The bottom line is, there are literally millions of people, upper-class or otherwise, who could claim descent from Niall, and this article might run a bit long if we list them all.--Cúchullain t/c 15:33, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Okay, that's fair. Good luck with the article. Arxack (talk) 15:57, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Agreed about the rationale for exclusion. I do however think Gates stands apart as he made explicit mention of his apparent Ui Neill descent in the documentary African American Lives. Millions of men may carry the M222 mutation but only some opt to mention it. --Saforrest (talk) 00:30, 11 February 2010 (UTC)


Certain users, and perhaps even myself on occasion, are presenting their own personal views as consensus. More users need to contribute to the discussion. Third party required. DinDraithou (talk) 16:14, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I am not an expert on the subject (in fact, all I know about Niall comes from this article) but my wikisense likes the current version. It presents notable information in manner that reads as explaining an interesting side of Niall rather than a trivia list. Best, Arxack (talk) 16:57, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

The material was totally unsourced, so it should not have been replaced without proper citations. I didn't remove all of it, but as discussed above there is no need to list off every person who has ever claimed descent from Niall. The material that is there will require a reliable source; the only one provided only referred to the British monarchy and was just some evangelical group's website, not a reliable source.--Cúchullain t/c 17:17, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
What you're not getting Cuchullain is that what you're removing is very, very, very well known. Do we need all sorts of little stuff (for Wikipedia) to prove that Gates is a respected, if middle class, Harvard professor, or that Obama is the President of the United States? I may have been too rough but you're just not making any sense. Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).

—Preceding unsigned comment added by DinDraithou (talkcontribs) 17:27, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Well known to who? I'm sorry, but that information is nowhere near as obvious as the information that Barack Obama is the president of the United States. The verifiablity policy says, "Material challenged or likely to be challenged, and all quotations, must be attributed to a reliable, published source." Citations to reliable sources will need to be provided for those statements. At any rate, if they are relatively well known, then reliable sources covering them shouldn't be hard to find.--Cúchullain t/c 17:47, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
On another note, I don't see what class has to do with this, or why it keeps coming up here.--Cúchullain t/c 17:51, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately it has everything to do with it. If Niall were their grandfather, he and the clan would probably not "recognize" Gates or Crowley unless they were at least military officers or religious officials. DinDraithou (talk) 17:58, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I'll see what I can do for a source or two, but I still don't think we need them. The problem with the British royal family line is the language not the fact. They simply could not not be Niall's descendants through a few dozen or few hundred daughters here and there. DinDraithou (talk) 18:19, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I, too, am puzzled by your constant referring to economic class. Are you saying that you want the section to be about aristocracy descended from Niall? That might make sense, seeing as aristocrats tend to care more about ancient lineage than middle class or poor folk do. If you want that, you'll have to make it clear in the section (easy) and get consensus (hard). As for your comments about sourcing, they confound and astound me. What kind of evidence is "they simply could not not be"? Try to find sources, and you might also want to look at this.Arxack (talk) 18:31, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I am not referring to economic class at all. That can equal social class in New York and Washington and other cities but it is not a social reality. You would be amazed at the poverty of the rural aristocracy all over the world. You should watch Monarch of the Glen. DinDraithou (talk) 18:52, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I am aware that economic and social class have grown apart in areas, but I still don't see what that has to do with wikipedia. Arxack (talk) 19:04, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

It's probably not obvious that I'm standing with the Uí Néill. They are still represented by 4-6 Gaelic peers, and so this is their article, not yours or Gates'. Several have political standing in different countries. This is not a democracy. If Gates were to show up and make friends at Uí Néill parties, and become recognized, then we could include him. DinDraithou (talk) 19:15, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Um…… what? This article is on Niall, not Uí Néill, which has its own page. And Gates is a moot point anyways. We're gonna try to source this information, remove what can't be sourced, and that should end the issue here. Arxack (talk) 19:54, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Um... what? Lame response, especially when all you know about Niall is from this article and a few googles. You seem like an amiable person, but you shouldn't be making edits without expert knowledge. There are some modern expert sites listing the ancestors of the British Oldenburgs and I will try to find a good one. Anyway I might have misread you and thought you were making a flimsy democratic case for Gates' inclusion. DinDraithou (talk) 20:28, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Arxack is quite right in that the article is about Niall of the Nine Hostages, not about a bunch of people asserting descent from him. It doesn't belong to anyone, least of all a bunch of latter-day aristocrats claiming a monopoly on his lineage through some arbitrary distinction separating them from the millions of other people who may have descended from him, if he was even real. As such, claims of descent should only be included here if there are reliable sources indicating that they are important and relevant enough to be discussed in an encyclopedia article on subject. Some of these claims are very important, specifically those of the medieval Ui Neill dynasty. Others may be included, but we must go by what reliable sources establish as important, not by the claims of priority of peers, or by what is well known in certain circles.--Cúchullain t/c 20:48, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I think you both need to read Byrne. In fact this is all about his noble descendants and should be. They are the reason he is famous. You'll understand better when I add a few paragraphs filled with citations. DinDraithou (talk) 22:40, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Niall's descendants. DinDraithou (talk) 22:43, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Why don't you just add what you think needs adding. Arxack out. Irish pride, Arxack (talk) 23:11, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
It has to be written carefully, and I need to read a little more. So do you people. Until then. DinDraithou (talk) 00:03, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
DinDraithou, I've kept out of this argument so far because my interest is in Irish legend and early history, but this isn't a directory of modern-day aristocrats. If a descendant's descent from Niall is notable and verifiable, why should it matter whether or not they are members of the aristocracy? Your unilateral declaration that "this is all about his noble descendants and should be" is unjustifiable. Wikipedia is about notability and verifiability, not nobility. --Nicknack009 (talk) 07:48, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Well that's based on Byrne's style. Please tell me you've read him by now! How sustainably notable is a Harvard professor? DinDraithou (talk) 07:56, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

If you're referring to Francis J. Byrne, his work concerns early Irish history, not modern aristocrats, and I don't see how you can use him to exclude modern descendants of Niall who don't satisfy your standards of nobility. Besides, he was a professor at University College Dublin, not Harvard. --Nicknack009 (talk) 09:44, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
You're making a democratic argument and have said nothing constructive. The Harvard professor is Gates and the subject still is whether such "descendants" can be included. My argument has been that a Harvard professor is not sufficiently notable even if he has made the American news cycle for a week. Plus he only carries a few genes which MAY OR MAY NOT have belonged to Niall. Stay on topic. DinDraithou (talk) 13:17, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I have no opinion on whether Gates' supposed descent from Niall is notable or not - I haven't looked into that. My point is that whether or not he's notable does not depend on whether or not he's an aristocrat. --Nicknack009 (talk) 13:38, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

(out) This stuff is not "common knowledge" at all. Without sources, none of these names belong in the article; there's not even any point in listing them. Without sources, this whole discussion is moot. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 14:02, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

1) Francis John Byrne, Irish Kings and High-Kings. Four Courts Press. Second revised edition, 2001. It's already listed and widely cited but apparently no one has read it.
2) John O'Hart, Irish Pedigrees. Dublin. 5th edition, 1892. Still widely cited and available multiply on the internets.
3) Ambassador Walter Curley, Vanishing Kingdoms: The Irish Chiefs and their Families. Lilliput Press. 2004.
What's beautiful is that I did't add the Uí Néill list of people to the page, only briefly defended it, and I'm the one in the discussion with the most knowledge. I really hope another contributor who actually knows something shows up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DinDraithou (talkcontribs)
If there are sources, then cite them inline in that list, rather than edit-warring over this without having mentioned them. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 14:17, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
It is great that you have provided these sources-- this is exactly what we're asking for. Please cite particular page numbers for facts, and everything will be great. Do note that these books can establish the verifiability of facts, but not anything about what belongs in the article. It would be better to mention notable aristocrat families rather than long lists of people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Arxack (talkcontribs) 14:54, 1 August 2009 (UTC)


Nicknack009, I think the problem is that someone like Gates is not a "social descendant" of the aristocracy of the Old Gaelic order. I did not mean to give the impression that only aristocracy are notable, but that they are relevantly notable. But if Barack Obama were a descendant then he would be, being in a position of authority, the traditional role of aristocracy. So I think we should stick to commanders-in-chief, military officers, religious leaders, and of course the recognized "genetic-social descendants" of the Uí Néill, the Gaelic peers. Personally I think it is unthoughtful of Gates to present himself as a descendant of kings and draw the Uí Néill, even a tiny little bit, into a United States' race-relations scandal. If you read Irish nobility the O'Neills are currently three-way feuding from three countries (Spain, Portugal, Puerto Rico) and then there is the genetic confusion the contributor at the top of the talk page pointed out. At least about that I can say that he doesn't account for aristocratic intermarriage and so they still "belong" to the Uí Néill, and so we can list them, if not here (since they're not technically famous today) then maybe in a new section on the Uí Néill page. DinDraithou (talk) 17:08, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

You continue to dictate who is and isn't suitable for inclusion, based on criteria that Wikipedia doesn't recognise. Again, Wikipedia is not a directory of the aristocracy, and the "traditional role of the aristocracy" is not Wikipedia's criteria for notability. I think this edit summary sheds some disturbing light on your attitude. --Nicknack009 (talk) 17:59, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't think you know enough about Wikipedia, though you claim to be an authority. What you're saying isn't accurate if there are relatively well educated people like me willing to remove certain controversial additions. I am part of Wikipedia too now. Please be more constructive and stop focusing on me so much, or on those comments you have misinterpreted. If it comes to it I will simply have to out write you and we can disagree as we change language and little stuff on Niall's page, which I'm currently reformatting a little. Maybe you should get to work on Ptolemy's Ireland and the tribal origins of some later aristocracies, where you can do important work, and leave the Irish kings for the editors with more knowledge. Thanks. DinDraithou (talk) 18:25, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Once again, material is added to Wikipedia based on whether reliable sources indicate it is important. Your stance that importance is dictated by whether someone is an aristocrat, a political figure, or a "social descendant" (whatever that means) is erroneous, as is your previous stance that some material doesn't need to be cited because it is "very, very well known". People can be discussed in this or any article based on whether the sources say they should be, not by your personal feelings about their nobility. Your defensiveness to Nicknack's totally valid points is uncalled for, and I there is absolutely no answer for you referring to an American professor, and all Americans in general, as "trash".--Cúchullain t/c 00:31, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Did I? Don't be tiresome. Funny when I tried to get citations from the goofballs at Bourgeoisie I got in trouble for it. I deleted supposedly "very well known" unsourced material and got run over for it. After a prolonged struggle, it's still there. Your minute tagging here is like a weak, petty form of vandalism. Columba alone is mentioned a dozen times in Byrne 2001. DinDraithou (talk) 00:51, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't know anything about the Bourgeoisie article, but if behaved there as you have here I don't doubt that the working environment proved unpleasant. At any rate, this isn't the talk page for that article. The burden of evidence lies with you to provide reliable sources to verify your claims, and you should behave in a more civil manner if you want others to work in a productive manner with you.--Cúchullain t/c 01:08, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Gosh you sound important, sir. Okay then. I'll obey and do what you want. Need anything else? DinDraithou (talk) 01:33, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Hey, Din, do you have a book that could be used as a source rather than the website (source #14) which I dug up? Books are stronger sources, and if more complete, might also eliminate the need for justifying in the text the English monarchy's ancestry being non-patrilineal in that direction. Arxack (talk) 18:41, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Good idea. I will see what I can do. DinDraithou (talk) 18:45, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

I see your point - as with Charlemagne, half the Western World seems to claim descent from Niall, and if one is going to list any descendants at all in this article (it may be as good an idea not to!!) one must have some method of filtering out 99.9% of them. However, I think an arbitrary decision to restrict by...well, it's more by profession than social class in this modern world I venture - political leaders, military leaders and their ilk; but be that as it may, an arbitrary decision to restrict by any definition of notability other than the Wikipedia definition is likely to be subject to constant challenge.--Elen of the Roads (talk) 22:03, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

There is the Eóganachta article for comparison. It's far from perfect, but I put it together from a small stub when I didn't have an account. Have a look at Eóganachta#Later_figures. There might be too much focus on the Dáirine and Uí Fidgenti as other parts haven't been expanded but try to ignore that. I don't know if I should have included John O'Mahony and Jeremiah O'Donovan. Probably not. Also check out Dáire Cerbba, which mentions one modern dynasty and two famous descendants of another sept, not including Mongfind and her brother but that's different, since they're part of Dáire Cerbba's story. Of course the O'Donovans, Daniel O'Connell and Michael Collins were about it for well known these days so it was easy. Take note of the style and arrangement in both articles at least. DinDraithou (talk) 00:04, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Oh and I sort of do the same thing with the Uí Fidgenti article. Maybe the Uí Néill article could look something like that, except with several subsections for descendants. DinDraithou (talk) 00:20, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
I like how it's laid out in Eóganachta, but of course I don't know whether there are descendants who are (in)famous merchant bankers. My feeling is one should stick to descendants who are quite tightly 'in the family' (everyone is someone's sixtyfourth cousin), and to be honest, to persons who are of some significance in past or current Irish history or society, unless it is really someone quite striking like a US president. For that reason (and not for any issue of class) I would agree that our American professor, while someone might care to mention it in his article, probably doesn't want to be listed in this article.Elen of the Roads (talk) 00:58, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

The Wider Uí Néill descendents[edit]

Look at'Neill. Ignore the fact that the excellent French-Italian contributor Dalriada has the name of the dynasty wrong in the title. DinDraithou (talk) 23:49, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I do like that layout better than the one in this article, which has too many ancestors, too many descendents and doesn't give enough prominence to the chap himself. Personally I'm also not convinced that all those haplotype tables add anything to the article - just summarise what the research said in a couple of sentences for me - but I don't want to fall out with anyone over this. Elen of the Roads (talk) 00:01, 6 August 2009 (UTC) (whose ancestor was a Hannon, and who therefore makes no claim to Irish nobility :)
I agree. Maybe we could create a page Uí Néill genetic genealogy or something and move the material there. Then it could have its own section for people claiming to be his descendants after getting their test results. There Gates would be notable. DinDraithou (talk) 00:23, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
That would work for me. I doesn't really sit either in this article - which should be primarily about yer man himself - or in Uí Néill - which should only include people who are 'part of the family.' I think it would stand as a notable piece of research, so splitting it off wouldn't be a problem. See if others have a view.Elen of the Roads (talk) 00:32, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm preparing to create the article in any case, putting a few things together. There's a lot of material here on the talk page too. Suggestions for other titles? I don't quite like Uí Néill genetic genealogy, and in fact it may be too restrictive, because many people claim patrilineal descent from Niall after normal genealogical research (or none). Uí Néill genealogy and genetics? Content suggestions? DinDraithou (talk) 01:25, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I've added a section break for clarity. I like Uí Néill descendents myself, as it encompasses both those discovered by the old fashioned route and those identified via genetics, but I'm open to others. Contents could include more detailed information on the genetic research, information on the record-keeping that permits identification of patrilinear descent, any famous hoaxes or wannabees, also any (in)famous by-blows that were not recognised as part of the family (although I suspect these are already covered). It would also be a place to put any famous female descendents- the two current articles give the impression that the only offspring in all generations were sons, but I'd be surprised if the Ui Neills didn't marry their girls into significant families.Elen of the Roads (talk) 13:38, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
That's a better title. Uí Néill kindred and descendants or Modern descendants of the Uí Néill kindred are two more but kind of long. Sections could be chronological? One way to do it:
1) introduction: the hardest part. do we include examples of the actual Uí Néill 500-1600 AD or do they belong in the Uí Néill article?
2) post-Flight of the Earls, dispersal, Wild Geese, examples, O'Neills (Tyrone) and O'Donnells (Tyrconnell)
3) modern Gaelic peers, recognition, traditional genealogy
4) women, separate section?
5) population genetics, the problems, examples of notable people who claim descent after test results, sense of belonging, Gates vs Crowley story
It'll start off without a whole lot there besides references and several single line statements, mostly copied from this article. There was good, referenced text added on Gates.
We can always change the title if we think of something fancier. I think Uí Néill descendants is good to start with. DinDraithou (talk) 19:15, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

I have just created Uí Néill descendants. Please help expand it. Feel free to change the arrangement, title, or whatever. DinDraithou (talk) 21:17, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

It has not expanded in a year, and I have proposed it for deletion. The material below on genetic signature may be useful; but listing much of Ireland (and of the Irish diaspora) seems an indiscriminate collection of information. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:08, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

British royal family[edit]

We have a problem. I hadn't gotten around to looking at that site and but I just did. The material happens to be from O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees, usually a great reference, but it appears to have their descent come through Erc of Dalriada, which I coincidentally found I had to correct right before I established my account. Erc did not actually belong to the Uí Néill. So we have to remove the whole line until one of us comes across what will likely come out to be a more direct and recent contribution via Ulster or maybe Leinster. We could talk about it coming through Erca, which it might, but she is too legendary. See Muiredach mac Eógain and Muirchertach mac Muiredaig. What a mess. I'll go ahead and remove the line. DinDraithou (talk) 19:30, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

R-M222 (Northwest Irish/Lowland Scots)[edit]

A great problem is that the subclade defined by the presence of R-M222 is found among the Connachta (Uí Briúin and Uí Fiachrach) as well, and also in southern Scotland in former Northern Briton territory. The former is explained by the Uí Néill as offshoots of the Connachta or both as branches of Dál Cuinn, but the link with Britain is a mystery. It might have made T. F. O'Rahilly unhappy. The genetic genealogists do not appear to have an idea yet about the early direction of radiation. DinDraithou (talk) 20:53, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Coat of arms[edit]

Centralised discussion at Talk:Irish people#Coat of arms. O Fenian (talk) 10:32, 23 June 2010 (UTC)


The following more extended claim on Niall's genetics may be useful:

In January 2006, geneticists suggested that Niall may have been the most fecund male in Irish history, and second only to Genghis Khan worldwide.<:ref name="SundayTimes">Battles, Jan (January 15, 2006). "High King Niall: the most fertile man in Ireland". The Sunday Times (Times Newspapers Ltd.). Retrieved 2009-08-06. </ref> In northwest Ireland as many as 21.5% of men (8.3% in Ireland in total) have common Y chromosome haplotypes that lay within the haplogroup R1b, with a common male line ancestor roughly 1500 years ago.<:ref>"Percentage of men in Ireland who are believed to be descended from King Niall of the Nine Hostages" (graphic). The New York Times, 17 January 2006.</ref>
Y-DNA haplogroup R-M222 (also known as R1b1c7 and R1b1b2a1a2f2) was shown to be especially common among family names which claim a descent from Niall. The sample population consisted of the following surnames (and sample number): (O')Gallagher (12); (O')Boyle (9); (O')Doherty (5); O'Donnell (4); O'Connor (3); Cannon (3), Bradley (2); O'Reilly (2); Flynn (2); (Mc)Kee (2); Campbell (1); Devlin (1); Donnelly (1); Egan (1); Gormley (1); Hynes (1); McCaul (1); McGovern (1); McLoughlin (1); McManus (1); McMenamin (1); Molloy (1); O'Kane (1); O'Rourke (1); and Quinn (1).<:ref>Moore et al 2006</ref>

Note: My name is Morrison, which comes from O'Muirgheasain, from the north of Ulster, and I too am of R-M222. Wikipedia.doug (talk) 23:23, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

The profile listed in numerical order (conversions as per Ybase and DNA Heritage) (also see Genetic Results List):
DYS19 DYS385a DYS385b DYS388 DYS389i DYS389ii DYS390 DYS391 DYS392 DYS393 DYS426 DYS437 DYS438 DYS439 DYS441
14 11 13 12 13 29 25 11 14 13 12 15 12 12 14
DYS442 DYS444 DYS445 DYS446 DYS447 DYS448 DYS449 DYS452 DYS454 DYS455 DYS456 DYS458 DYS459a DYS459b DYS460
19 12 12 13 25 18 30 30 11 11 17 17 9 10 11
DYS461 DYS462 DYS463 DYS464a DYS464b DYS464c DYS464d DYS635 GATAA10 GATAH4.1 GGAAT1B07 YCAIIa YCAIIb
12 11 22 15 16 16 17 23 15 22 10 19 23
In the miniseries African American Lives, host Henry Louis Gates reveals that he is descended from an Irishman on the male line and matches the Uí Néill genetic profile.<:ref>"Harvard Professor Gates Is Half-Irish, Related to Cop Who Arrested Him - ABC News" "ABC News", 29 July 2009</ref>

Family and Descendants[edit]

I'm trying to make sense of an obvious logic gap and would prefer a consultation before blindly jumping in. The problem area is quoted below:

"Rather, R-M222's emergence is now believed to precede the Connachta in general, as both the O'Doherty chief[16] and the O'Conor Don[17] (who claim a most recent common patrilineal ancestor in Eochaid Mugmedon) belong to this haplogroup. Thus, at least some members of R-M222 are neither descendants of the Uí Néill nor of the Connachta."

Eochaid Mugmedon is descended from Conn Cetchathac, as he was reportedly Niall's father, and so the argument concerning the O'Doherty and O'Conor Don claiming heritage from Eochaid Mugmedon as evidence of the distinction between those with the R-M222 and those who descend from Ui Niall and/or the Connachta is not sufficiently clear. This needs either more references and a rewrite, or should be removed. --Charles Ross — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:08, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

I've removed all that. We're supposed to stick to reliable sources after all.--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 21:08, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Demand for primary sources[edit]

Wjhonson (talk · contribs), I will repeat: your demand for detailed citation of primary sources to confirm that other annals than the Four Masters are relevant sources is an abuse of the "citation needed" tag. As I said in reply to your comment on my talk page:

That would be original research, and inappropriate for the lede. The early annals mostly start after his death, but contain many references to his sons and associates, and as such are an important source, and a far more useful historical source than the much later Four Masters, if one that has to be read very critically. I have cited it to Chapter 5 Byrne's Irish Kings and High-Kings, which summarises the sources for Niall.

Wikipedia's citation system uses secondary, not primary sources. However, I will indulge you to an extent here on the talk page. The Chronicon Scotorum refers to the beginning of Niall's reign at AD 384 and the date and circumstances of his death at AD 409. The Annals of Ulster refers to Niall's sons, including the obits of Laegaire at 462, Eogan at 465, Conall at 480, and battles fought by Coirpre at 485 and 494, and Fiacha at 510. This is an important source because the implausible duration the annals credit a single generation is one reason historians have concluded that Niall's traditional dates are inaccurate. Other Annals, such as the Chronicon Scottorum, the Annals of Tigernach and the Annals of Inisfallen, which, like the Annals of Ulster, go back to a hypothetical Chronicle of Ireland, include a lot of the same data.

I trust I have made my point that the annals are an important source for Niall. I trust I have also made clear why a "citation needed" tag is not the appropriate way of discussing it. --Nicknack009 (talk) 10:19, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Your comprehension of WP:OR is faulty. We are not prevented from citing primary sources.Wjhonson (talk) 20:29, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
This happens every single time I make any effort on this site. Lazy people see me willing to do some work, and say "I've successfully yanked his chain once, why don't I do it again?" Go away. --Nicknack009 (talk) 22:30, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
All analyses and interpretive or synthetic claims about primary sources must be referenced to a secondary source, and must not be an original analysis of the primary-source material by Wikipedia editors. --Nicknack009 (talk) 22:42, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
Quoting a primary source is not analysis or interpretation. Do not remove my request for exact citation unless you provide an exact citation. This includes page numbers, not an entire book.Wjhonson (talk) 19:22, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
You've been cited a chapter, not a whole book. Read it. Discuss what I've said above. Raise objections. Anything. Don't just keep saying "oh yeah?" And stop taking the piss out of editors who are willing to do the work you're not. --Nicknack009 (talk) 19:41, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm with Nicknack009, the demand for primary sources here seems pedantic and needless, robust secondary sources have been used well in this article. There is no need for a maintenance tag at all. Smirkybec (talk) 14:13, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Niall being real[edit]

Nick the edit summary you gave of: The article has been carefully sourced to scholars who argue he was a real person sounds like intentionally promoting a bias in the article, especially when other historians argue against accepting him as definitely a real person. An even approach needs to be provided that details the controversy, along with the controversy over whether his sons actually were his sons, and not all part of some foundation myth as quite a few historians attest. I also only see one source. Mabuska (talk) 19:38, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

So "other historians argue against accepting him as definitely a real person"? Great. Cite them. As in the above discussion, I'm fed up with finding the best sources I can and doing my best to represent what seems to me to be the scholarly consensus, and having lazy editors go "oh yeah?" at me. You want the article to represent other points of view? Do the work. --Nicknack009 (talk) 19:45, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Will do so. However if you have gotten the impression of a scholarly consensus, then why is only one source attributed to the statement "Niall is presumed, on the basis of the importance of his sons and grandsons, to have been a historical person"? By the way I am far from lazy and arguments I make are well based on many hours of reading of various sources. Mabuska (talk) 20:03, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
One source? Francis J. Byrne. Kathleen Hughes. James Carney. T. F. O'Rahilly. Four sources. You say you're not lazy? You can't even be bothered reading the article as it stands. --Nicknack009 (talk) 20:12, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
There is no need for flipping off the handle whenever someone raises a point or for maing claims of editors being lazy. What did I quote to you? Only one statement states Niall as being to quote the article "a historical person". The other sources you state are not attributed to such a statement but to statements of events to do with him. Any historians/author can detail events attributed to someone (by sources written centuries afterwards) whether they believe they actually existed or not.
Unfortunately I don't have access to most of my sources but I do have the following at hand:
Sean Duffy: Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf, pages 15-21. ISBN 978-0-7171-6207-9
Muirchu, who wrote the Life of St. Patrick about the year 700, describes the celebrated historical or pseudo-historical figure Niall Noigiallach... Assuming he was a real person, Niall may have lived in the fifth century and is said to have descended from Conn Cetchathach... The genealogies depict Niall as the father of more than dozen son (although the Ui of Ui Neill literally mean "grandsons" and hence the descendants of Niall and therefore does not apply until we are two or more generation removed from him)... Even if this picture of a remarkably fertile and fortunate family were true, it is likely that many of the so-called Ui Neill lineage were nothing of the sort but that, as Ui Neill power grew over the centuries, other population groups grafted themselves onto the Ui Neill family tree by claiming that their ancestor had been one of Niall's sons. If some of these dynastic founders were actual sons of Niall, among the genuine articles may be Cairpre, Loegaire, Fiachu, and Conall Cremthainne... known colelctively as the Southern Ui Neill. - quoted that last bit to show the doubt on his "sons".
Southern Ui Neill - When we use the term Southern Ui Neill it is only as a convenient shorthand for what were a number of competing dynasties—all claiming descent from Niall Noigiallach
Northern Ui Neill - The success of the sons of Niall — whether real or invented — in conquering the midlands is said to have been matched by a similar expansion into the north-west, although there is little to no contemporary evidence for it: indeed the theory of a northerly expansion from Connacht has been questioned and doubt cast on whether the peoples concerned were Ui Neill at all... For both groups, and for their less successful cousins, we use the term Northern Ui Neill as a shorthand
PDF download from LibrariesNI of Studia Hibernica, issue 30-31, page 172: Even the existence of their eponymous ancestor, Niall Niogiallach is a matter of scholarly debate. before mentioning the view of the proponent of the "real" argument by the author of the only source in this article that is used to source that Niall was real, Byrne.
A quick look online to supplement the above: [1] its pseudo-historical kings, Niall Noigiallach and Loegaire mac Neill...
Pseudo-historical seems to be well attested just as others would attest that he was fully historical. Both views must be given along with the doubt over his alleged sons. Obviously I am not suggesting you do it and I will get around to it. Though seriously, take a chill pill and don't be so rash to flip when views come forward that are at odds with your own. Mabuska (talk) 20:49, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, there's only one source, if you're prepared to be really obtuse about it. Won't be wasting any more time on you. --Nicknack009 (talk) 22:02, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
And yeah there is a scholarly consensus for your view, if you're prepared to be selective over sources. Mabuska (talk) 19:45, 28 October 2015 (UTC)