O'Neill (No.1) family genealogy

Monarchs of Ireland, Kings of Ulster, and Princes of Tyrone

[1] Arms: Ar. a sinister red hand couped at the wrist affrontée gu.

FIACHA SRABHTEINE,[2] third son of Cairbre-Lifeachar, the 117th Monarch of Ireland (see p. 667) who is No. 83 on the "O'Hart" pedigree, was ancestor of this branch of that family.

84. Fiacha Srabhteine, King of Conacht, and the 120th Monarch of Ireland: son of Cairbre-Liffechar; married Aoife, dau. of the King of Gall Gaodhal. This Fiacha, after 37 years' reign, was, in the battle of Dubhcomar, A.d. 322, slain by his nephews, the Three Collas, to make room for Colla Uais, who seized on, and kept, the Monarchy for four years. From those three Collas the "Clan Colla" were so called.

85. Muireadach Tireach: son of Fiacha Srabhteine; m. Muirion, dau. of Fiachadh, King of Ulster; and having, in A.D. 326, fought and defeated Colla Uais, and banished him and his two brothers into Scotland, regained his father's Throne, which he kept as the 122nd Monarch for 30 years.

86. Eochaidh Muigh-Meadhoin [3] [Moyvone]: his son; was the 124th Monarch; and in the 8th year of his reign died a natural death at Tara, A.D. 365; leaving issue four sons, viz., by his first wife Mong Fionn: —I. Brian; II. Fiachra; III. Olioll; IV. Fergus. And, by his second wife, Carthan Cais Dubh (or Carinna), daughter of the Celtic King of Britain,—V. Niall Mór, commonly called "Niall of the Nine Hostages." Mong Fionn was dau. of Fiodhach, and sister of Crimthann, King of Munster, of the Heberian Sept, and successor of Eochaidh in the Monarchy. This Crimthann was poisoned by his sister Mong-Fionn, in hopes that Brian, her eldest son by Eochaidh, would succeed in the Monarchy. To avoid suspicion she herself drank of the same poisoned cup which she presented to her brother; but, notwithstanding that she lost her life by so doing, yet her expectations were not realised, for the said Brian and her other three sons by the said Eochaidh were laid aside (whether out of horror of the mother's inhumanity in poisoning her brother, or otherwise, is not known), and the youngest son of Eochaidh, by Carthan Cais Dubh, was preferred to the Monarchy. I. Brian, from him were descended the Kings, nobility and gentry of Conacht—Tirloch Mór O'Connor, the 121st, and Roderic O'Connor, the 183rd Monarch of Ireland. II. Fiachra's descendants gave their name to Tir-Fiachra ("Tireragh"), co. Sligo, and possessed also parts of co. Mayo. III. Olioll's descendants settled in Sligo—in Tir Oliolla (or Tirerill). This Fiachra had five sons:—1. Earc Cuilbhuide; 2. Breasal; 3. Conaire; 4. Feredach (or Dathi); and 5. Amhalgaidh.

87. Niall Mor [4]: his son; a quo the "Hy-Niall" [5] of Ulster, Meath, and Conacht. He was twice married:—his first Queen was Inne, the dau. of Luighdheach, who was the relict of Fiachadh; his second Queen was Roigneach, by whom he had Nos. I., II., III., IV., V., VI., and VII., as given below. This Niall Mór succeeded his Uncle Crimthann; and was the 126th Monarch of Ireland. He was a stout, wise, and warlike prince, and fortunate in all his conquests and achievements, and therefore called "Great." He was also called Niall Naoi-Ghiallach or "Niall of the Nine Hostages," from the royal hostages taken from nine several countries by him subdued and made tributary: viz.,—1. Munster, 2. Leinster, 3. Conacht, 4. Ulster, 5. Britain, 6. the Picts, 7. the Dalriads, 8. the Saxons, and 9. the Morini—a people of France, towards Calais and Piccardy; whence he marched with his victorious army of Irish, Scots, Picts, and Britons, further into France, in order to aid the Celtic natives in expelling the Roman Eagles, and thus to conquer that portion of the Roman Empire; and, encamping on the river Leor (now called Lianne), was, as he sat by the river side, treacherously assassinated by Eocha, son of Enna Cinsalach, king of Leinster, in revenge of a former "wrong" by him received from the said Niall.[6] The spot on the Leor (not "Loire") where this Monarch was murdered is still called the "Ford of Niall" near Boulogne-sur-mer. It was in the ninth year of his reign that St. Patrick was first brought into Ireland, at the age of 16 years, among two hundred children brought by the Irish Army out of Little Brittany (called also Armorica), in France. Niall Mór was the first that gave the name of Scotia Minor to "Scotland," and ordained it to be ever after so called; until then it went by the name of "Alba."

Niall had twelve sons:—I. Eoghan; II. Laeghaire (or Leary), the 128th Monarch, in the 4th year of whose reign St. Patrick, the second time, came into Ireland to plant the Christian Faith, A.D. 432; III. Conall Crimthann, ancestor of O'Melaghlin, Kings of Meath; IV. Conall Gulban, ancestor of O'Donnell (princes, lords, and earls of the territory of Tirconnell), and of O'Boyle, O'Dogherty, O'Gallagher,etc.) V. Fiacha, from whom the territory from Birr to the Hill of Uisneach in Media Hiberniae (or Meath) is called "Cineal.Fiacha," and from him MacGeoghagan, lords of that territory, O'Molloy, O'Donechar, Donaher (or Dooner), etc., derive their pedigree; VI. Main, whose patrimony was all the tract of land from Lochree to Loch Annin, near Mullingar, and from whom are descended Fox (lords of the Muintir Tagan territory), MacGawley, O'Dugan, O'Mulchonry (the princes antiquaries of Ireland), O'Henergy, etc.; VII. Cairbre, ancestor of O'Flanagan, of Tua Ratha, "Muintir Cathalan" (or Cahill) etc.; VIII. Fergus (a quo "Cineal Fergusa" or Ferguson), ancestor of O'Hagan, etc.; IX. Enna; X. Aongus or Æneas; XI. Ualdhearg; and XII. Fergus Altleathan. Of these last four sons we find no issue.

88. Eoghan (Eugene,[7] or Owen): son of Niall Mór; from whom the territory of "Tir-Eoghan" (now Tirowen or Tyrone), in Ulster is so called. From this Owen came (among others) the following families: O'Cahan, or O'Cane, O'Daly of "Leath Cuinn" (or the kingdoms of Meath, Ulster, and Conacht), O'Crean, Grogan, O'Carolan, etc.

This Eoghan, Prince of Ulster, was baptized by St. Patrick at the Royal Palace of Aileach; and our Ulster Annalists state that it was his foot which was pierced by the Bacchal Iosa during the ceremony. (See the "Line of Heber Stem," No. 91.)

89. Muireadach (III.): son of Eoghan; was married to Earca, dau. of Loarn, King of Dalriada in Scotland, and by her had many sons and daus., two of them are especially mentioned:—Muirceartach Mór, and Fergus Mór, both called "Mac Earca." From this Fergus Mór descended the Kings of Scotland, and thence, through Queen Matilda, the Kings of England, including the Royal Houses of Plantagenet, Stuart, and D'Este.

This Muireadach who had a brother named Eachagh Binneach, had twelve sons:—I. and II. above mentioned; III. Fearach (or Fearadach), ancestor of Mac Cathmhaoil (or Cowell, Campbell, etc.); IV. Tigernach, ancestor of O'Cunigan, and O'h-Easa (anglicised Hosey, Hussey, and O'Swell); V. Mongan, ancestor of O'Croidhen (Creedon or Croydon), O'Donnelly, etc.; VI. Dalach: VII. Maon, ancestor of O'Gormley, O'Maolmichil, O'Doraigen, ("dor:" Ir. a confine; "aigein," the ocean), anglicised Dorrine, Dorien, and modernized Dorrian; VIII. Fergus; IX. and X. named Loarn; XI. and XII. called Aongus.

In the 20th year of the reign of the Monarch Lughaidh, the son of Laeghaire, with a complete army, Fergus Mór Mac Earca,[8] (with his five brothers, VIII., IX., X., XI., and XII., above mentioned went into Scotland to assist his grandfather King Loarn, who was much oppressed by his enemies the Picts; who were vanquished by Fergus and his party, who prosecuted the war so vigorously, followed the enemy to their own homes, and reduced them to such extremity, that they were glad to accept peace upon the conqueror's own conditions; whereupon, on the King's death, which happened about the same time, the said Fergus Mór Mac Earca was unanimously elected and chosen king as being of the blood royal by his mother. And the said Fergus, for a good and lucky omen, sent to his brother, who was then Monarch of Ireland, for the Marble Seat called "Saxum Fatale" (in Irish, Liath Fail, and Cloch-na-Cinneamhna, implying in English the Stone of Destiny or Fortune), to be crowned thereon; which happened accordingly; for, as he was the first absolute King of all Scotland of the Milesian Race, so the succession continued in his blood and lineage ever since to this day.

90. Muirceartach (or Muriartach) Mór Mac Earca: his son. This Muriartach, the eldest son of Muireadach (3), was the 131st Monarch of Ireland; reigned 24 years; and died naturally in his bed, which was rare among the Irish Monarchs in those days; but others say he was burned in a house after being "drowned in wine" (meaning that he was under the influence of drink) on All-Halontide (or All-Hallow) Eve, A.D. 527. Married Duinseach, dau. of Duach Teangabha, King of Conacht. He had issue—I. Donal Ilchealgach; II. Fergus, who became the 135th Monarch; III. Baodan (or Boetanus), who was the 137th Monarch of Ireland, and was the father of Lochan Dilmhain, a quo Dillon, according to some genealogists; IV. Colman Rimidh, the 142nd Monarch; V. Neiline; and VI. Scanlan.

91. Donal Ilchealgach (Ilchealgach: Irish, deceitful): eldest son of Muirceartach; was the 134th Monarch; reigned jointly with his brother Fergus for three years: these princes were obliged to make war on the people of Leinster; fought the memorable battle of Gabhrah-Liffé, where four hundred of the nobility and gentry of that province were slain, together with the greater part of the army.

In this reign Dioman Mac Muireadhach, who governed Ulster ten years, was killed by Bachlachuibh. Donal and Fergus both died of "the plague," in one day, A.D. 561.

92. Aodh (or Hugh): Donal's son; Prince of Ulster. This Aodh Uariodhnach was the 143rd Monarch; he had frequent wars, but at length defeated his enemies in the battle of Odhbha, in which Conall Laoghbreag, son of Aodh Slaine, was killed. Soon after this battle, the Monarch Aodh was killed in the battle of Da Fearta, A.D. 607.

93. Maolfreach: his son; Prince of Ulster; had at least two sons: I. Maoldoon; and II. Maoltuile, a quo Multully, Tully, and Flood of Ulster.

94. Maoldoon: his son; Prince of Ulster; had two sons: I. Fargal; and II. Adam, who was ancestor to O'Daly of "Leath Cuin." His wife was Cacht, daughter of Maolchabha, King of Cineall Connill.

95. Fargal: son of Maoldoon, was the 156th Monarch of Ireland; was slain, in A.D. 718, by Moroch, King of Leinster. Married Aithiochta, dau. of Cein O'Connor, King of Conacht. This Fargal had four sons: I. Niall Frassach; II. Connor (or Conchobhar), who was ancestor of O'Cahan; III. Hugh Allan (or Aodh Olann), the 160th Monarch, and ancestor of O'Brain, of Ulster; and IV. Colca, a quo Culkin.

96. Niall Frassach: son of Fargal; married Bridget, dau. of Orca, son of Carrthone; was called "frassach" from certain miraculous showers that fell in his time (a shower of honey, a shower of money, and a shower of blood); was the 162nd Monarch of Ireland; and, after seven years' reign, retired to St. Columb's Monastery at Hye, in Scotland, A.D. 765, where he died in A.D. 773; issue: Aodh Fearcar, and Aodh Ordnigh.

97. Aodh Ordnigh: son of Niall Frassach; was the 164th Monarch; and, after 25 years' reign, was slain in the battle of Fearta, A.D. 817. Was married to Meadhbh, dau. of Ionrachtach, King of Durlus. In his reign prodigious thunder and lightning occurred, which killed many men, women, and children all over the Kingdom, particularly in a nook of the country between Corcavaskin and the sea in Munster, by which one thousand and ten persons were destroyed. In his reign occurred many prodigies—the fore-runner of the Danish Invasion, which soon after followed. This Monarch had four sons: I. Niall Caille; II. Maoldoon, a quo "Siol Muldoon;" III. Fogartach, ancestor of Muintir Cionaodh or Kenny; and IV. Blathmac.

98. Niall Caille: son of Aodh Ordnigh; was the 166th Monarch of Ireland; and was so called after his death from the river "Caillen," where he was drowned, A.D. 844, after 13 years' reign. He fought many battles with the Danes and Norwegians, in most of which although the Danes were worsted, yet the continual supplies pouring unto them made them very formidable; (so much so) that in this reign they took and fortified Dublin and other strong places upon the sea-coasts. Married Gormfhliath, dau. of Donogh, son of Donal. This Monarch had five sons: I. Aodh Finnliath; II. Dubhionracht, a quo O'Dubhionrachta; III. Aongus; IV. Flahertach, ancestor of O'Hualairg or Mac Ualairg, anglicised MacGolderick, Goderick, Golding, Goulding, Waller, etc.; V. Braon, a quo Clan Braoin of Mogh Ithe (Moy Ith).

99. Aodh Finnliath, i.e. Hoary: son of Niall Caille; was the 168th Monarch of Ireland; reigned for sixteen years, during which time he fought and defeated the Danes in several battles and was worsted in others; he died at Drom-Enesclann, A.D. 876. This Aodh married Maolmare or Mary, dau. of Keneth, the son of Alpin—both Kings of Scotland. He had two sons: I. Niall Glundubh; and II. Donal, who was King of Aileach, and ancestor of the family of MacLaughlin (or O'Laughlin), some of whom were Monarchs of Ireland; and of O'Donnelly, whose chief was, A.D. 1177, slain at Down by Sir John de Courcey, first "Earl of Ulster."

100. Niall ("niall," gen. "neill:" Irish, a champion) Glundubh [gloon-duv]: son of Aodh Finnliath, was the 170th Monarch of Ireland; and reigned for three years. He had many conflicts with the Danes, in which, generally, he was victorious. At length, making up a great army, in order to besiege Dublin, a great battle was fought between them, wherein the Monarch lost his life, and after great slaughter on both sides, his army was routed, A.D. 919. He revived the great Fair at Tailtean.

From this Monarch the sirname O'Neill [9] or "Clan-na-Neil," Neilson, Nelson and Nilson are derived. Niall Glundubh left issue: I. Muriartach na-Cochall, Prince of Ulster, who left no issue; and II. Murchertach.

101. Murchertach: that second son (called "The Hector of Western Europe") and Roydamna; was married and left issue. This Prince was slain by Blacaire, lord of the Danes, 26th March, A.D. 941.

102. Donal of Armagh:[10] his son; was the 173rd Monarch; died at Armagh, after 24 years' reign, A.D. 978. During his long reign we find but little progress by him (made) against the encroaching Danes; he wholly bent his arms against his subjects; preying, burning, and slaughtering the people of Conacht, whether deservedly or otherwise we know not, but we know it was no reasonable time for them to fall foul upon one another, while their common enemy was victoriously triumphing over them both.

103. Moriartach na-Midhe [11]: his son; was the first that assumed the sirname and title of "THE GREAT O'NEILL, Prince of Tyrone, and of Ulster.

104. Flathartach An Frostain: his son; Prince of Ulster.

105. Aodh Athlamh: his son; Prince of Tyrone; had two sons:—I. Donall an Togdhamh; and II. Aodh Anrachan, who was ancestor of MacSweeney.

106. Donall an Togdhamh: his son; Prince of Ulster, had a dau. Joan.

107. Flahertach Locha Hadha: his son; was Prince of Tyrone.

108. Connor na-Fiodhbha: his son; Prince of Ulster and Tyrone; was murdered, A.D. 1170.

109. Teige Glinne: his son; Prince of Tyrone.

110. Mortogh Muighe Line: his son; Prince of Ulster.

111. Aodh (or Hugh) an Macaomh Toinleasg: his son; slain A.D. 1177, by Malachlan and Ardgal O'Loughlin (his kinsmen), but the latter fell by the hand of O'Neill in the conflict. This Aodh was styled "Lord of Tirowen," "King of the Cineal Owen," "King of Aileach," "King of North Erin," etc. He had two sons—1. Niall Ruadh; and 2. Aodh (or Hugh) Dubh, who, some say, was the elder son. But as the Linea Antiqua, in the Office of Arms, Dublin Castle, continues the line of "O'Neill," Princes of Tyrone, from Niall Ruadh, we give the descent from him in the "O'Neill" (No. 2) pedigree, next infra. And from his brother, Aodh (or Hugh) Dubh, we give, in the "O'Neill" (No. 3) genealogy, the pedigree of O'Neill, Princes of Clanaboy.


[1] O'Neill: There were four distinct families of Hy-Niall or O'Neill, in Ireland; namely—1. O'Neill, of Ulster; 2. O'Neill, of the county Clare, from whom the Creaghs of Munster are descended; 3. O'Neill, in the barony of Shillelagh, in the county Wicklow, which (see Annals of the Four Masters, at A.D. 1088) is sometimes called Farron O'Neale; 4. O'Neill, of the Ui Eoghain Finn tribe, in Northern Deisi, in the present county Tipperary.

[2] Fiacha Srabhteine: The three Collas being very valiant, warlike, and ambitious princes, combined against their uncle King Fiacha, and aspired to the Monarchy; they collected powerful forces, and being joined by seven catha (or legions) of the Firbolg tribe of Connaught, they fought A.D. 322, a fierce battle against the army of the Monarch Fiacha, at Criogh Rois, south of Tailtean, in Bregia, in which the royal army was defeated, and many thousands on both sides, together with King Fiacha himself, were slain. This was called the battle of Dubhcomar, from "Dubhcomar," the chief Druid of King Fiacha, who was slain there; and the place where the battle was fought was near Teltown, between Kells and Navan, near the river Blackwater in Meath. After gaining the battle, Colla Uais became Monarch and reigned nearly four years; when he was deposed by Fiacha's son, Muiredach Tireach, who then, A.D. 326, became Monarch of Ireland. The three Collas and their principal chiefs, to the number of three hundred, were expelled from Ireland (hence the name "Colla:" Irish, prohibition; Gr. "koluo," I hinder), and forced to take refuge among their relatives in Alba; but, through the friendly influence of their grandfather, the king of Alba, and the mediation of the Druids, they were afterwards pardoned by their cousin, then the Irish Monarch, who cordially invited them to return to Ireland.—CONNELLAN.

[3] Muigh-Meadhoin; From the Irish "Magh," a plain; and "Meadhoin," a cultivator.

[4] Niall Mór: This Niall of the Nine Hostages was, as above mentioned, son of Carinna, daughter of the king of Britain; and his son Eoghan (og-an; Irish, a young man) or Owen, was also married to another princess of Britain, named Indorba; a proof of the intimacy which existed in the fourth and fifth centuries between Britain and Ireland. From A.D. 378 to 405—the period of the "Decline and Fall" of Druidism in Ireland—Niall of the "Nine Hostages" was Monarch; and he was so called in reference to the principal hostile powers overcome by him and compelled to render so many pledges of their submission. He was chiefly renowned for his transmarine expeditions against the Roman empire in Britain, as well as in Gaul. In one of those expeditions Niall Mór, A.D. 388, carried home from Gaul some youths as captives; amongst whom was Succat (meaning "brave in the battle"), then sixteen years of age, with his sisters Dererea and Lupida. That Succat afterwards, as St. Patrick ("Patrick:" from the Irish Padraic; Latin, pater; Ital., padre, a father,—here meant in a religious sense), became the Apostle of Ireland. (See St. Patrick's pedigree, p. 43.) And when, many years later, that illustrious liberated captive, entering, in a maturity of manhood and experience, upon his holy mission, was summoned before the supreme assembly at Tara, to show why he presumed to interfere with the old religion of the country, by endeavouring to introduce a new creed, it was Laeghaire [Leary], the son of his former captor Niall, who presided as sovereign there.—O'CALLAGHAN.

Happy captivity, which led to Ireland's Christianity!

[5] Hy-Niall: A branch of the Hy-Niall (or Ui-Niall) settled in Gaul, at an early period, and are mentioned by Caesar, as the Unelli, which is the latinized form of Ui-Neill, but here meaning descendants of this Niall Mór, the 126th Monarch of Ireland. Caesar also mentions the Eberdovices or Eberdocii, meaning descendants of Eber, or Heber, the eldest son of Milesius, of Spain.

Some of the Unelli of France settled in England before the English invasion of Ireland, and assumed the following names: O'Ni'el, Neylie, Nihil, Noel, Nevell, Newell, Nevil, Nevill, Nevylle, etc. One of the family, Sir Geoffrey Neylle, was, A.D. 1205, a subscribing witness to the Charter of Waterford. In 1408, Thomas Neoylle was made Dean of Ferns; and, in 1480, Dr. Lawrence Neoylle was made bishop of Ferns, by Pope Sixtus IV. David Nevell, Baron of Nevill, was attainted in the reign of King Henry VIII., and suffered the loss of extensive landed property in the county Wexford. See the "Needham" pedigree for another Neville family, but which was of the Ithian race.

[6] Niall: The cause of the difference between the Monarch Niall, and Eocha, Prince of Leinster, arose out of two distinct causes:—On the death of Niall's uncle, Crimthann, this Eocha, being ambitious, attempted to take possession of the Royal Palace at Tara, by sleeping there nine nights in succession, so as to qualify himself for the Monarchy of Ireland. For doing this he was severely censured by the Arch-Druid, as no person who had not the order of Knighthood dare sleep in the Royal Palace. Then Eocha withdrew from Tara, and in shame and vexation, relinquished his pretensions to the Crown.

On Eocha's journey from Tara to his own province, he arrived at the house of Laidhgon, the son of Bairceadha, the Arch-Druid; whilst staying there he took offence from some expressions made use of to him, and, in a rage, he slew the Druid's son. Immediately, Niall was applied to for justice; he then invaded Leinster, and, after some skirmishing, to avoid bloodshed, the people delivered up the murdering prince into the Monarch's hands. The Druid chained Eocha to a rock where criminals were wont to be executed; but when he saw the executioners coming to despatch him, he, by a nearly superhuman effort, wrenched asunder the chain, and effected his escape to Scotland. On arriving in Scotland, Eocha requested and obtained the protection of Gabhran, the son of Domhangairt, the General of the Dalriada, with whom he went into France so as to get near Niall, and murder him. The Irish Monarch, on being informed of Eocha being in the allied army, would not allow him into his presence; but he one day secreted himself in a grove near a ford of the Leor, and, whilst Niall was in the act of crossing, the assassin shot him through the body with an arrow.

[7] Eugene: Before the arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland, this son of Niall the Great acquired the territory of Aileach, which in many centuries afterwards was called after him—"Tir-Owen" or Owen's Country. At Aileach he resided, A.D. 442, when he was converted to Christianity by St. Patrick. "The man of God," says the old biographer of the Apostle, "accompanied Prince Eugene to his court, which he then held in the most ancient and celebrated seat of kings, called Aileach, and which the holy bishop consecrated by his blessing." The MacLoghlins being descended from the same family stem as the O'Neills, a MacLoghlin, or an O'Loghlin, as well as an O'Neill, was sometimes Prince of Aileach, until A.D. 1241, when Donell O'Loghlin, with ten of his family, and all the chiefs of his party, were cut off by his rival, Brian O'Neill, in the battle of "Caim-Eirge of Red Spears;" and the supreme power of the principality of Aileach thenceforth remained with the O'Neills.—O'CALLAGHAN.

In the thirteenth century the "Kingdom of Aileach" ceased to be so called, and the designation "Kingdom of Tir-Owen," in its stead, was first applied to that territory. Sixteen of the Ard Righs or Monarchs of Ireland were princes or kings of Aileach—descended from this Eugene or Owen.

The O'Neills had their chief seat at Dungannon, and were inaugurated as princes of Tyrone, at Tullaghoge, a place between Grange and Donaghenry, in the parish of Desertcreight, in the barony of Dungannon; where a rude seat of large stones, called Leach-na-Ree or the Flag stone of the kings, served them as a coronation chair.—CONNELLAN.

We learn that, about A.D. 442, St. Patrick visited Ulster; at which time he took his route through that romantic pass called Bearnas-mór of Tir-Aodha; thence he emerged into Magh Ith, an extensive plain in the present barony of Raphoe, where he founded the church of Donaghmore, near the town of Castlefinn. The Prince Owen kept his private residence at Fidh-mór, now called Veagh, between the church of Donaghmore and the palace of Aileach. St. Patrick went into the Aileach, and before entering he said to his people, "Take care that you meet not with the lion, Eoghan, the son of Niall." So as to honour St. Patrick, Owen sent a guard to meet him, under the command of Muireadhaeh, his son, who, being in front, was accosted first by Seachnall in these words:—"You shall have a reward from me, if you could persuade your father to believe." "What reward ?" asked he. "The sovereignty of thy tribe should for ever belong to thy heirs," said Seachnall. Muiredhach agreed to this arrangement. The Saint first saw Eoghan at Fidh-mór, preached to him there, when he embraced the Faith, a large leac (or stone) being set up there to commemorate the event. St. Patrick promised this prince:—"If you would receive the salutary doctrine of Christ in your country, the hostages of the Gaedhil should come to you;" meaning that in his posterity the Regal Race should be—a promise verified by time.

Eoghan held the Castle of Aileach forty-seven years prior to St. Patrick's visit. This fort the Apostle blessed, left the old coronation stone there, and prophesied that Kingship and pre-eminence should be over Erinn from Aileach: "When you leave your fort out of your bed to the flag, and your successors after you," said St. Patrick, "the men of Erinn shall tremble before you." He blessed the Island of Inis-Eoghan (Inishowen was an island then), and after this gave a blessing of valour to Eoghan:

"My blessing on the tuathá [territories]

I give from Belach-ratha,

On you the descendants of Eoghan

Until the Day of Judgment.

"Whilst plains are under crops,

The palm of battle shall be on their men,

The armies of Fail [Ireland] shall not be over your plains;

You shall attack every tetach [tribe].

"The race of Eoghan, son of Niall,

Bless, O fair Brigid!

Provided they do good,

Government shall be from them for ever.

"The blessing of us both

Upon Eoghan MacNeill;

On all who may be born from him,

Provided they are obedient."

(i.e., as long as they keep the Faith.)

These blessings were pronounced from Belachratha, now known as Ballagh, barony of Inishowen East, parish of Clonca, near Malin Head, where are the ruins of a church founded by St. Patrick.

Eochaidh, son of Fiachra, son of Eoghan, was baptised with Eoghan: during the ceremony the Apostle's Staff is said to have accidentally pierced the naked foot of the prince.

The old Fortress of the Irish Monarchs, and Princes of Ulster, was an ancient Tuatha da Danaan Sith or Lios, and called Grianan Aileach, which here signifies "a stone house in a beautiful or sunny situation." Formerly there was a great wood around it, to Whitefort and along the east banks of the Foyle. This fort stands on an elevation of 802 feet, and lies in the parish of Burt, barony of Inishowen. The outermost enclosure on the circular apex of the hill contains 5 ½ acres; within the second are 4 acres; within the third about one acre; while within the Cashel there is about ½ acre of surface.

The Cashel has been restored, since 1874, with great labour and expense, by Dr. Walter Bernard, of Derry. A square headed doorway enters the Cashel, and three distinct platforms ascend by means of side stone steps within the circle, which reaches interiorly 77 feet 6 inches from wall to wall. In the highest part the wall is about 17 feet 3 inches on an average. The width of this circular wall, at the base, is about 13 feet. Several old roads from this Cashel can still be traced on the hill-sides.

Here is still seen a stone called after St. Columbcille, and believed to be the old coronation stone of the Tuatha da Danaan, and the Hy-Niall races, blessed by St. Patrick as stated above. (See the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick.)

[8] Fergus Mór Mac Earca: According to the Linea Antiqua, Muireadach had only two sons by his wife Earca. But some writers confound this Fergus Mór Mac Earca, grandson of Loarn (the last King of Dalriada, in Scotland), with Ferghus Mór, the son of Earc, who is No. 96 on the "Genealogy of the Kings of Dalriada," and who was therefore a brother of Loarn, the last King of Dalriada.

[9] O'Neill: Niall Glundubh attained to the Monarchy, A.D. 914, after the death of Flan Siona, King of Meath; and was slain in a battle with the Danes, at Rathfarnham, near Dublin. The following passage from one of the many "Lamentations," written at the time by the Irish bards on his death, shows the affection entertained for him by his people:—

"Sorrowful this day is sacred Ireland,

Without a valiant chief of 'hostage' reign;

It is to see the heavens without a sun,

To view Magh Neill without Niall."

"Magh Neill," here mentioned, signifies the plain of Niall: meaning, no doubt, the "O'Neill-land" forming the two baronies of that name in Armagh, which constituted the ancient patrimony of the Hy-Niallain, or the descendants of Niallan, who was collaterally descended in the fifth degree from Colla-da-Chrioch, who, writes O'Callaghan, "overthrew the dominion of the old Irian Kings of Uladh," whose heraldic emblem was the "Red Hand of Ulster." That emblem The O'Neill in after ages assumed, together with the Battle Cry of "Lamh Dearg Abu" [lauv darig aboo], which means— The Red Hand for Ever.

In the humble but honourable position of a Teacher of a National School (see No. 134 on the "O'Neill" (No. 2) pedigree), the lineal representative of the Monarch Niall Glundubh now (1887) resides in a secluded part of the co. Cork, under a name which some of his forefathers assumed, in order to preserve a portion of their estates, which, however, have since passed away from the family. But, modest though be his position, the gentleman to whom we allude is, perhaps, more happy—he is certainly far more free from care—than were the latest of his illustrious ancestors on the throne of Tirowen, the Principality of the ever-famed O'Neill; of whom the following lines convey but a faint idea:

"His Brehons around him—the blue heavens o'er him,

His true clan behind, and his broad lands before him,

While group'd far below him, on moor, and on heather,

His Tanists and chiefs are assembled together;

They give him a sword, and he swears to protect them;

A slender white wand, and he vows to direct them;

And then, in God's sunshine, "O'Neill" they all hail him:

Through life, unto death, ne'er to flinch from, or fail him;

And earth hath no spell that can shatter or sever

That bond from their true hearts—The Red Hand for Ever!

Proud lords of Tir-Owen! high chiefs of Lough Neagh!

How broad-stretch'd the lands that were rul'd by your sway!

What eagle would venture to wing them right through,

But would droop on his pinion, o'er half ere he flew!

From the Hills of MacCartan, and waters that ran

Like steeds down Glen Swilly, to soft-flowing Bann—

From Clannaboy's heather to Carrick's sea-shore

And Armagh of the Saints to the wild Innismore—

From the cave of the hunter on Tir-Connell's hills

To the dells of Glenarm, all gushing with rills—

From Antrim's bleak rocks to the woods of Rostrevor—

All echo'd your war-shout—'The Red Hand for Ever!'"


[10] Donal of Armagh: This Donal was succeeded in the Monarchy by the famous Malachi the Second, King of Meath; and is by some writers called Donal O'Neill; but it is to be observed, that it was not until some time after the death of Malachi the Second (who died A.D. 1023), and, who, as Monarch, succeeded this Donal of Armagh, A.D. 978, that Moriartus-na-Midhe was the first of the family that ever assumed the sirname "O'Neill." Donal of Armagh ascended the throne, A.D. 954, and died A.D. 978. He was son of Muircheartach (Murkertagh or Murtagh), the northern chieftain who was the "Roydamna" or heir apparent to the throne, as being the son of Niall Glundubh, above mentioned. Donoch the Third of Meath succeeded Niall Glundubh in the Monarchy, A.D. 917; and, with the exception of a victory over the Danes, at Bregia (a part of the ancient kingdom of Meath), passed his reign in comparative obscurity. Murkertagh (muir: Irish, the sea; Lat. mare: Arab, mara, and ceart; Irish, righteous; Lat. certus) had conducted a fleet to the Hebrides, whence he returned flushed with victory. He assembled a body of troops of special valour, and, at the head of a thousand heroes, commenced his "circuit of Ireland:" the Danish chief, Sitric, was first seized as a hostage; next Lorcan, King of Leinster; next the Munster King, Callaghan of Cashel (who then had leagued with the Danes, and in conjunction with them invaded Meath and Ossory, A.D. 937), "and a fetter was put on him by Murkertagh." He afterwards proceeded to Connaught, where Connor, son of Teige, came to meet him, "but no gyve or lock was put upon him." He then returned to Aileach, carrying these Kings with him as hostages; where, for five months, he feasted them with knightly courtesy, and then sent them to the Monarch Donoch, in Meath. Murkertagh's valour and prowess procured for him the title of—"The Hector of the west of Europe;" in two years after his justly famous exploit he was, however, slain by "Blacaire, son of Godfrey, lord of the foreigners," on the 26th March, A.D. 941; and "Ardmacha (Armagh) was plundered by the same foreigners, on the day after the killing of Murkertagh."—MISS CUSACK.

[11] Moriartach na-Midhe: This name, analysed, means "Mor-Neart na Midhe" (moir-neart: Irish, mighty power; na Midhe, of Meath); and, as the word "neart" means great strength, implies, that this prince was powerfully strong—in person or in the forces at his command.