MacDonnell of Antrim family genealogy

Of Antrim

[1] Arms: Or, a lion ramp. gu.

COLLA UAIS [oose], a younger brother of Colla da Chrioch who is No. 85 on the "O'Hart" pedigree, was the ancestor of MacDomhnaill, of Antrim, and of the lords of the Isles and chiefs of Glencoe; anglicised MacDonnell, in Ireland, and MacDonald and Donaldson in Scotland.

85. Colla Uais, the 121st Monarch of Ireland: son of Eochaidh Dubhlen.

86. Eochaidh: his son. Had two brothers—1. Roghain ("roghain:" Irish, a choice), who was ancestor of O'Fiachry, MacUais, etc., and a quo O'Roghhain, anglicised Rowan; 2. Fiachra Tort, ancestor of O'Flinn, of Tuirtre (now the baronies of Toome and Antrim), of O'Geuranaigh (anglicised Gurney, and Gernon), of O'Dubhdera, O'Bassil, O'Casey, etc.

87. Earc (or Eachach): his son.

88. Carthann ("carthann:" Irish, charity, friendship, kindness): his son; a quo MacCarthainn, anglicised MacCartan, and Cartan, of Lough Foyle. Had one daughter and six sons—1. Earc; 2. St. Teresa, virgin, whose Feast is commemorated on the 8th July; 3. Muireadhach; 4. Forgo; 5. Olioll; 6. Laoghaire; 7. Tren — "from the last five of whom many saints are descended."

89. Earc: son of Carthann.

90. Fergus: his son.

91. Gothfrith: his son.

92. Main: his son.

93. Niallgus: his son.

94. Suibhneach: his son.

95. Meargach (Ineargach): his son.

96. Solamh (or Solomon): his son.

97. Giolla Adhamnan): his son.

98. Giolla Brighid: his son.

99. Samhairle (Savarly, Sorley, Somerled, or Samuel) was, A.D. 1140, the eighth and greatest Thane of Argyle; lord of Cantyre; lord of the Hebrides; founder of the "Kingdom of the Isles;" m. Sabina, dau. of Olad the Red, King of the Isle of Man (the "Insula Mevania" of the ancients), by whom he possessed the Isles and Man (See Paper "Isle of Man," in the Appendix); had a brother Dubhgall, who was ancestor of MacDowell; d. 1164.

100. Randal:[2] son of Sorley; lord of Oergeal and Cantyre; founder of the Cistercian Monastery, and benefactor of the Abbey of Paisley.

101. Aongus (or Æneas), of the Isles: his son; living in 1211 (See the Four Masters under that year.)

102. Domhnall: his son.

103. Alexander: his son.

104. Domhnall ("domhan:" Irish, the world; "all," mighty): son of Randal; a quo MacDomhnaill, lords of the Hebrides, and of Cantyre, etc., in Scotland, and chiefs of Glencoe. This sirname has also been anglicised Danielson, and Donaldson. Had a brother Alexander, who was ancestor of the Sept called "MacDonnell of Ulster;" and a brother Rory, who was ancestor of MacRory, modernized Rogers, and Rodgers.

105. Aongus (or Æneas) Mór MacDonnell: son of Domhnall; lord of the Isles; m. — Campbell; had a brother Alustrum (or Alexander), who was ancestor of Alexander, MacAllister, MacSheehy, Saunders, Saunderson, and Sheehy, etc.; assumed this sirname.

106. Æneas Oge MacDonnell: son of Æneas Mór; lord of the Isles; fought at the Battle of Bannockburn, A.D. 1314, on the side of Robert Bruce, King of Scotland. Had an elder brother Alexander, who was ancestor of the MacDonnells, "Galloglasses of Ulster," and slain in 1296; and another brother Eoin, who was sirnamed "The Gnieve."

107. Randal (or Reginald): son of Æneas Oge.

108. Shane: his son.

109. Eoin Mór, who d. in 1378: his son; lord of the Isles; m. twice: by his first marriage he was ancestor of the chieftains of Clann Raghnail or Clanronald, and of Glengarry; he was secondly married to Margaret, dau. of Robert the Second, King of Scotland, and by her had a dau. Margaret, who was wife of Nicholas, earl of Sunderland, and another dau. Elizabeth, who was wife of Lachlan MacLean of Dowart; and he had three sons—1. Donal na Heile ("eile:" Irish, prayer, adoration), a quo Hale, whose descendants were lords of the Isles, and who, in 1411, at the head of ten thousand vassals, convulsed the Kingdom of Scotland, and fought the famous battle of Harlaw, in defence of his right to the earldom of Ross, the heiress of which he had married; 2. Eoin Oge; 3. Alexander, who was ancestor of MacDonnell of Kappagh. This Eoin Mór had a brother named Marcach (slain 1397), and another named Donal:

110. Eoin Oge: the second son of Eoin Mór: m. Margery, dau. of Lord Bissett, of the Glinns of Antrim.

111. Donal Ballach: son of Eoin Oge; m. Joan, dau. of O'Donnell, lord of Tirconnell. Had a brother Marcach (or Marcus [3]) who m. a dau. of O'Cahan.

112. Eoin: son of Donal Ballach; m. Sarah, dau. of Phelim O'Neill, lord of the Clanaboys.

113. Eoin Cathanach: son of Eoin; hanged, A.D. 1499; so surnamed because he was fostered in northern Ulster, in the family of O'Cathain or O'Cahan; m. to Cecilia, dau. of Robert Savage, of Ards.

114. Alexander: his son; lord of the Route and Glens, in Ireland: m. to Catherine, dau. of Murcha MacCahalan of Derry. Had a brother Æneas MacDonnell, who was called "MacParson" (Scotticised MacPherson), and anglicised Parsons.[4]

This Alexander had eight sons—1. Giolla Espuig Daoinech. 2. Donal Ballach, 3. James, whose son Æneas d. in 1545, 4. Ængus the Proud, 5. Alasdar Oge, 6. Colla, 7. Sorley Buidhe, 8. Donal Gorm.

115. Sorley Buidhe [boy], of Dunluce Castle, county Antrim, who d. 1590: seventh son of Alexander; m. Mary, dau. of Conn Baccach O'Neill, who was created "Earl of Tyrone," in 1542. This Sorley Buidhe had six sons—1. Donal (who had Colla, and Visduin or Euston), 2. Alasdran, 3. Sir James, of Dunluce Castle, 4. Raghnall of Arran, 5. Ængus of Ulster, 6. Ludar.

116. Sir James, of Dunluce, who d. in 1601: third son of Sorley Buidhe; knighted in 1597 by King James the Fourth of Scotland; left his youngest son Alasdar Carragh, a ward with his younger brother Raghnall or Randal, who was the first "Earl of Antrim." Sir James had six sons—1. Gilla Espuig, 2. Ængus, 3. Raghnall, 4. Colla, 5. Donal Gorm, 6. Alasdar Carragh or Sir Alexander, who d. in 1634.

117. Gilla Espuig: eldest son of Sir James. [see note in Corrigenda here]

118. Coll-Kittagh [5] who died in 1647: son of Gilla Espuig; had—1. Sir Alexander (or Alaster) who in the Cromwellian war was executed on the 13th Nov., 1647, 2. Angus, 3. Gilla Espuig (or Archibald).

119. Sir Alexander: eldest son [6] of Coll-Kittagh; had three sons:

I. Colla of Kilmore, Glenariff, co. Antrim, of whom presently.

II. John of Tanaughconny.

III. Gillaspick (or Captain Archibald Mór) who d. in 1720. This Archibald m. Anne (d. 1714), dau. of Capt. Stewart of Redbay, and had a son Colla, and a dau. Catherine, who m. a MacDonnell, who had property in the Route. The son Colla (d. 1737), m. Anne McDonnell of Nappan, and had:

I. Alexander of Cushindall (d. 1782), who m. Anne Black (d. 1835), and had one son and two daughters; the son was Alexander, who d. young, in 1791; and the daughters were Rachel (d. 1805), and Anne (d. 1825), who m. Archibald McElheran, Esq., of Cushindall.

120. Colla of Kilmore, m. Anne Magee, and had:

121. Alexander of Kilmore, who was twice m.: first to Miss McDonnell of Nappan, by whom he had:

I. Michael Ruadh [Roe], of whom presently.

The second wife of Alexander of Kilmore was Miss McVeagh, by whom he had a son:

II. John, who succeeded to the Kilmore property, and who m. Rose, dau. of George Savage, Esq., and had:

I. Randal, of Kilmore, who m. Mary, dau. of Archibald McElheran, Esq., of Cloney, and had two sons and three daughters. The sons were:

I. Alexander of Kilmore and Dublin (who d. 1862), and who, in 1851, m. Margaret, daughter of Alexander McMullin, Esq., of Cabra House, co. Down, and had Rachel-Mary-Josephine.

II. Lieut.-Col. John McDonnell, J.P., of Kilmore (living in 1885), who, in 1870, m. the Honble. Madeline (deceased), dau. of the lamented Lord O'Hagan, late Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

122. Michael Ruadh: the elder son of Alexander of Kilmore, had:

123. James McDonnell, of Belfast, (d. 1845), who had two sons:

I. Sir Alexander [7] McDonnell Bart. (d. s. p.), late Resident Commissioner of National Education in Ireland; d. 1875.

II. John McDonnell, M.D., late Poor-Law Commissioner for Ireland, who had:

124. Robert McDonnell, Esq., M.D., of 89 Merrion Square, Dublin; and living in 1887. [see note in Corrigenda here]


[1] MacDonnell of Antrim: There is a pedigree of this ancient family contained in the De La Ponce MSS., deposited in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, which would well repay perusal.

In Connellan's Four Masters it is said:—Some of the ancestors of the tribe "Clan Colla" having gone from Ulster in remote times, settled in Scotland, chiefly in Argyle, and the Hebrides, and according to Lodge's Peerage on the MacDonnells, earls of Antrim, they became the most numerous and powerful clan in the Highlands of Scotland, where they were generally called MacDonalds. In the reign of Malcolm the Fourth, king of Scotland, in the 12th centuary, Samhairle (Somerled, or Sorley) MacDonnell was Thane of Argyle, and his descendants were styled lords of the Isles or Hebrides, and lords of Cantyre; and were allied by intermarriages with the Norwegian earls of the Orkneys, Hebrides, and Isle of Man. The MacDonnells continued for many centuries to make a conspicuous figure in the history of Scotland, as one of the most valiant and powerful clans in that country. Some chiefs of these MacDonnells came to Ireland in the beginning of the thirteenth century; the first of them mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters being the sons of Randal, son of Sorley MacDonnell, the Thane or Baron of Argyle above mentioned; and they, accompanied by Thomas MacUchtry (MacGuthrie or MacGuttry), a chief from Galloway, came, A.D. 1211, with seventy-six ships and powerful forces to Derry; they plundered several parts of Derry and Donegal, and fresh forces of these Scots having arrived at various periods, they made some settlements in Antrim, and continued their piratical expeditions along the coasts of Ulster. The MacDonnells settled chiefly in those districts called the Routes and Glynnes, in the territory of ancient Dalriada, in Antrim; and they had their chief fortress at Dunluce. They became very powerful, and formed alliances by marriage with the Irish princes and chiefs of Ulster; as the O'Neills of Tyrone and Clanaboy, the O'Donnells of Donegal, the O'Kanes of Derry, the MacMahons of Monaghan, etc. The MacDonnells carried on long and fierce contests with the MacQuillans, powerful chiefs in Antrim, whom they at length totally vanquished in the 16th century; and seized on their lands and their chief fortress of Dunseverick, near the Giant's Causeway. The MacDonnells were celebrated commanders of galloglasses in Ulster and Connaught, and make a remarkable figure in Irish history, in the various wars and battles, from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, and particularly in the reign of Elizabeth; they were sometimes called "Clan Donnells," and by some of the English writers "MacConnells." The MacAlustrums or MacAllisters of Scotland and Ireland were a branch of the MacDonnells, and took their name from one of their chiefs named Alastrum or Alexander; and as the name "Sandy" or "Saunders" is a contraction of "Alexander" some of MacAllisters have anglicised their names "Saunderson." The MacSheehys, according to Lodge, were also a branch of the MacDonnells, who came from Scotland to Ireland; and they also were celebrated commanders of galloglasses, particularly in Munster, under the FitzGeralds, earls of Desmond, Sir Randal MacDonnell, son of Sorley Buighe (Buighe: Irish, yellow), son of Alexander, was created earl of Antrim, by King James the first.

[2] Randal: This Randal, whose daughter was married to Hugh O'Connor, had a brother Alexander, who had Randal, who had Alexander, who had John, who had Alan, who had Donald, who had Alan, who had John, who had Alan, who had John, who had Alexander, who had Randal MacDonald, who had five sons—1. Donald, 2. John, 3. Æneas (or Ence), 4. Randal, 5. Alan.

[3] Marcus: In p. 1641 of O'Donovan's Four Masters this Marcus is mentioned as the son of "Ængus Oge," the hero of Sir Walter Scott's Lord of the Isles.

[4] Parsons: The final s in this sirname is a contraction for son, and represents the Mac in "MacParson;" as the final s in the English sirname "Jennings" is a contraction for the Mac, in the Irish sirname MacEoinin.—See "Jennings."

[5] Kittagh: This word (properly ciotach) signifies left-handed; but as here applied it means that Coll or Colla, son of Gilla Espuig, could when occasion required wield his sword with the left hand equally as well as with the right.

[6] Eldest son: This Alexander (or Alaster) MacDonnell, Major-General, was created Knight of the Field by Montrose, after the battle of Kilsyth in 1645. He was a Scottish chieftain. In the summer of 1639, having refused to accept the Covenant, he, with 300 other persons, took refuge in Ulster. There he was hospitably received by his kinsfolk, and his Highlanders became an effective aid to the northern Irish in the War of 1641—1652. Early in the war he overthrew an Anglo-Irish force of about 900 men near Ballymoney. Afterwards, in June, 1642, he was, with Sir Felim O'Neill, defeated at Glenmaquin, in Raphoe. Next year he was appointed by the Earl of Antrim to command the force sent into Scotland to assist Montrose, and took a prominent part in the war in that country. In 1647 he returned to Ireland, and was, by the Supreme Council of the Catholic Confederation appointed Lieutenant-General of Munster, under Lord Taaffe. He was killed in an engagement with Lord Inchiquin, at Knocknaness, between Mallow and Kanturk, on the 13th November, 1647, and was buried in the tomb of the O'Callaghans, in Clonmeen churchyard, Kanturk. He is described as of gigantic stature and powerful frame.—WEBB.

[7] Alexander. Sir Alexander MacDonnell, Bart., was born in Belfast in 1794. He was educated at Westminster and Oxford, where he displayed the most brilliant abilities, and was called to the English Bar at the age of thirty. In 1839 he was appointed Resident Commissioner of National Education, of which he became the presiding and animating genius. A zealous Protestant, he uniformly sustained the principle that the faith of the children of his poorer fellow-countrymen should be protected in the spirit as well as in the letter. He was made a Privy-Councillor in 1848; he resigned the Commissionership in 1871, at the age of 77, and was created a baronet early in the following year. Of him the Spectator said: ..."He was in his daily life and amongst his friends an example of how high a creature the Celt may become under the fairest influences of culture; for, he was a Celt of the Celts, if an ancestry of a thousand years could make him so." He died on the 21st January, 1875, aged 80 years, and was interred at Kilsharvan, near Drogheda. A beautiful statue has been erected by his friends and admirers to his memory, on the grounds at the Education Office (Tyrone House), Marlborough-street, Dublin.