The Anradan Kindred Revisited

John D. McLaughlin (

A new transcription of the MS. 1467 is online:

According to traditional Irish and Scottish pedigrees, several Scottish families share a common descent with the O'Neills of Ulster: The families in question are the MacSweeneys of Donegal in Ireland and in Scotland, the Maclachlans, Lamonts, MacSorleys, MacEwens of Otter, and included by some authorities, the MacNeills of Barra. These families have come to be called the Anradan kindred, because their pedigrees are deduced from a common ancestor named Anradan, said to be the son of Aedh Athlaman, the King of Aileach in northern Ireland, who died in 1033 A.D.

The earliest recorded pedigrees mentioning this descent appear in the Books of Ballymote and Lecan, both dated to about. 1390 A.D.

Pedigree of the MacSweeneys (Book of Ballymote)

The Book of Lecan ca. 1400 AD

The pedigrees are identical in both manuscripts. We might note as well that there is no Duinnsleibhe in the pedigrees, a name which surfaces in later versions. In both manuscripts the MacSweeney pedigree follows that of the O'Neills of Ulster, to which it is linked in the person of Aedh Athlaman. The pedigree of the O'Neills also makes its first appearance in these two manuscripts.

Prior to the Books of Lecan and Ballymote, no pedigrees of Scottish clans except the line of the King of Scotland appear in Irish manuscripts. After the disastrous battle of Druim-derg (Downpatrick) in 1260, in which the native irish forces were overwhelmed by the superior weaponry and armor of the Normans, the Irish chieftains across Ireland began importing gallowglasses (merceneries) from Scotland. Among these were the MacSweeneys and Lamonts (as Meg Buirrce) from Scotland, who first came to the attention of the Irish annalists a few years after this battle.

1267 Annals of Ulster

Murchadh Mac Suibhne was taken prisoner by Domnall Mac Maghnusa and
he was handed into the custody of the Earl [de Burgh] and he died in the prison.

1305 A.D. Annals of Ulster

A defeat was inflicted by Aedh, son of Cathal Ua Concobuir and by the Clann
Muircertaigh also on the Muinnter-Raghaillaigh, so that Philip Ua Raighillaigh and
the heir of Clann-Suibhne and Mag Buirrce, head of the Gallowglasses,
together with one hundred and forty other persons, fell there.

1351 Annals of Ulster

Eoghan Mac Suibhne was killed by Maghnus Ua Domnaill

The O’Donnells of Donegal had known connections to the western isles of Scotland during this period. . Donal oge O’Donnell (c. 1258 ) was married first to the daughter of a MacSweeney and secondly to a daughter of MacDonald of Scotland.An annal entry in 1258 mentions his return from Scotland after the death of Gofraidh O’Donnell. He may have been fostered there although the entry does not state this explicitly. A later entry in 1291 states that his son Torlogh (whose mother was a MacDonald) was assisted by the power of the tribe of his mother and many other gallowglasses in a battle of dynstic succession with his brother Aedh..

Sometime after 1300 the MacSweeneys were awarded for their service to the O Donnells with the territory of Fanad in Donegal and afterwards held other territories in the same county. Other branches of the family served as gallowglasses in the south and west of ireland. The Lamonts (Mag Buirrce) also appear as gallowglasses to O’Rourke in Connacht in a later entry.

1346 A.D. Annals of Ulster

Great war arose between Ualgharc O'Ruairc and Ruaidhri, son of Cathal Ua Conchobhair. And
battle was given by them to each other and defeat was inflicted on Ua Ruairc by Ruaidhri, son of
Cathal and the gallowglasses of ua Ruairc were all slain, namely, Mag Buirrce and the son of Niall
the Lame and all their people, or for the chief part. And O'Ruairc himself was pursued and slain by
Maelruanaigh Mac Donnchaidh.

There is little doubt the MacSweeneys were a Scottish clan. They appear in Scottish records in a series of charters involving churchlands in Kintire.and the The strongholds of the family of Swene were Castle Sween in Knapdale and Castle Skipness in Kintrye.

Memorials of Argylshire

"In the year 1247, Pope Innocent IV. confirmed to the rector of the Church
of saint Calmonel in Kentyr, a certain portion of land, commonly called a
penny land, which had been granted to that church by Dufgal, late patron of
same (Reb. Pass., p. 123)."

"In the year 1261, Dufgal, the son of Syfin, with the consent of John, his
heir, granted to the monks of Paisley the right of patronage of the Church of
saint Colmanel, which was situated near the Castle of Schepehinche, after the
death of Clement, rector of said church, beaueathing at same time his body to
be buried in the monastery of Paisley. (Ibid, pp. 120-121).

“In the year 1262, Walter Steward, Earl of Menthet, confirmed to the monks of
Paisley the grants of Dufgal, the son of Syfin, made to them before he gave him
(Walter Steward) his lands of Schyphinche, regarding the Church of Saint Colmanel,
situated within the said land, with one penny land belonging to the church and
the chapel near the Castle of Sehyphinche (Skipness)(Ibid, 121-122)

"Dufgal granted Walter Steward, of Menchet, his lands of Schyphinche in free
barony to the king for two-thirds of one soldier and other service.
(Ibid, pp. 120-121)."

"In October, 1269, the following grants were inspected by Bishop Lawrence
of Argyle, viz.- "Nos inspexise cartas Domini Engussii filii Dovenaldi et
Dufgalli filii Syffyn nec non Duncans filii Ferkardi et Lawmani filii Malcomi
nepotis ejusdem," upon the collation and patronage of Kilkerran, Calmonell,
and Kilfinan in Kethrome Congal (Kerry in Cowal.) (Ib., p. 136).

In 1292, the Earl of Menteth's lands of Knapdale are named in an ordinance
of King John Baliol. (Act. Parl. Scot, Vol. I, p. 91).

King Robert Bruce is said to have granted, before the year 1310, the lands
of Knapdale to John of Menteth. About the eighteenth year of the reign of
King Robert Bruce, he granted charter of certain lands in Kincardineshire
to John Monteith by excambion of some lands in Argyle.
(Robertson's Index.).

In 1310, King Edward II., in order that John of Swein (this is apparently
the John that gave his consent of Dufgal's grant to the monks of Paisley),
of Argyle, and Terealnanogh and Murqecgh, his brothers, might render
themselves more hateful to John of Menteth, his enemy, and to others
his enemies in Scotland, granted to them the whole lands of Knapdale,
which belonged to their ancestors, provided they could recover it out
of his enemies' hands. (Rot. Scot, Vol. I., p. 90).

I see that in 1314 Edward II of England (who was claiming Scotland also)
granted to one of his retainers 'Suny Magurkes lands in Knapdale and
Glenarewale' (Glendaruel in Cowal, possibly)then held by John of Menteith
(Cal. Docs. Scot. 3 No,423 - Dean of Lismore Book 258). The former holder
(before circa. 1260) was presumably Suibhne son of Murchadh, although I
seem to remember that it was a Dugald MacSween from whonm Skipness had
(by means unknown) passed to the Menteiths (who were kindred of the Kings
of Scots and so were being pushed into Argyll for stability). Anyhow,
this shows that there was more than one Suibhne in the Knapdale family.

A history of the Campbells states that Iver, ancestor of the MacIver Campbells, was 'begotten on the daughter of a great man called Swineruo [Suibhne roe] he was the owner of Castle Sween in Knapdale and was Thane of Knapdaill and Glassrie' And the MacSweeneys are said to have “possessed the upper half of Kintrye and all Knapdale, embracing the parishes of Kileal- monel, Skipness, South and North Knapdale, extending on the south across from Rudhnahaorain, on the west to Cour on the east, and on the north from Crinan on the west to Lochgilp on the east”

Most Irish historians believe the MacSweeney pedigree was faked after their settlement in Donegal to provide them with a pedigree linkied to the northern Ui Neill amongst whom they settled.

A New History of Ireland
Medieval Ireland 1169-1534
Chapt. 1 "The Trembling sod"
F. J. Byrne

"By the end of the thirteenth century the galloclaig, fighting
men from Inne Gall, 'the islands of the Foreigners', were being
endowed with lands in Ireland by Gaelic lords and given genealogical
legitmisation with pedigrees derived from the Airgialla, or even,
in the case of the MacSweeneys, Ua domnaill's most trusted vassals,
with Ui Neill ancestry."

F.J. Byrne is the highly respected author of "Irish Kings and High Kings," (1973) an influential study of the early Kings and kingdoms of Ireland. He was Emeritus Professor of Early Irish History at University College, Dublin

Paul Walsh (ed.), Leabhar chlainne Suibhne (Dublin, 1920)

"Suibhne's descent is traced in the genealogies through three generations to Aodh Athlomhan O Neill, who died in 1033. At the latter period the O Neiills pass out of prominence in the Annals, and it is impossible to determine from reliable sources the names of Aodh's sons. None of the persons intervening between him and Suibhne are mentioned in contemporaiy documents. On the other hand, there is a probability that the linking of Suibhne with Clann Neill is an artificial one, and was invented by the genealogists at a period when the Mac Sweeneys had risen to considerable power in Ireland.

The story which connects the O Neills of Ulster with the Scottish Suibhne in itself appears very unlikely. Aodh Athlomhan is said to have had two sons, one, the elder, Domhnall, and another, Anradhan. On the death of his father the younger, Anradhan, is alleged to have usurped his father's place at the instigation of his people. Domhnall, the rightful heir, made a protest, and the kingship was surrendered to him only when he pronounced a solemn curse on the followers of his brother. Anradhan resigned in favour of Domhnall, and left Ireland to form an alliance with the King of Scotland, and to settle in that country. A descendant of Anradhan was Suibhne, ancestor of all the Mac Sweeneys, and some of Suibhne 's descendants came in the course of time to make conquests in Ireland.

The Mac Donnells were subsequently linked up in awkward and unconvincing fashion with the Oriel or native family of the same name, and the Mac Sweeneys. were provided with an Irish pedigree by connecting- them wnth the O Neills."

See Also:

1. Eoin MacNeill, "Chapters of Hebridean history", Scottish Review,
xxxix (summer, 1916), pp. 254-76.

Skene’s Ms. 1467

It is now apparent thanks to the new transcription of the MS. 1467 online that much of following Skene material is now irrelevant. The MS. 1467 may in fact simply contain a version of the Anradan kindred pedigree as found in Ballymote and Lecan. The jury is still out on the question though because the manuscript is very difficult to read. The editors (Máire and Ronnie Black) originally believed the last line of the Lamont pedigree read:

"son of black-haired Nial, ie. the Abbot of Iona."

The is the same line Skene read as "Nialgusa aberice" which he translated as "Nialgusa of Lochaber."

Others think the last line should read "Niall glundubh." The editors agreed although there is some question about what comes after glunduibh in the last line..

What this pedigree really says is still open to question.

The last line that seems fairly legible is the following:

ie. buirce mic anradain

The traditional pedigree of the Lamonts in the next line should contain the name Aedh or Aedh Athlaman. Instead we find:

flaitbertaig mhic connstantin.

Based on the traditional pedigree it's more likely this name should be "flaitbertaig an trosdain."

The editors state the manuscript was written in 1467 Dubhghall Albanach mac mhic Cathail (‘Scottish Dugald son of the son of Cathal, a Scot, possibly of the MacMhuirich family, bards to the MacDonalds, after his return from Ireland where he wrote some material in the presence of Elizabeth Butler.

.Old material on Skene's MS. 1467

Our next source for the Anradan kindred is to be found in a Scottish manuscript discovered in the early 1800’s by William Forbes Skene, an influenitial Scottish antiquarian. Skene translated the pedigrees himself and saw them printed in the "Collectanea de Rebus Albanicis," edited by the Iona club, first published in 1839. Notably lacking in Skene's manuscript is a pedigree for Clan Suibhne (MacSweeneys of Ireland); but it does include pedigrees for the Maclachlans, MacEwens of Otter, MacSorleys and Lamonts, all said to be descendants of Anradan, the same Anradan appearing in the pedigree of the MacSweeneys in the slightly earlier Irish manuscripts. The MacNeills of Barra are often included in this group due to a major mistranslation of the texts by Skene. This error also found its way into his “Highlanders of Scotland” but was corrected in “Celtic Scotland. much later in his career.

The following pedigrees are found in Skene's MS. 1467.

MacEwen of Otter

Genelach ic Eogan na hoitreac anso.- Baltuir ic Eoin ic Eogain ic Gillaesp ........
ic Sabarain ic Duinsleibe ic Dedaalain renebarta buirrce ic Anradan .i. F. Baedenac.-

The Genealogy of MacEwen of Otter.- Walter son of John son of Ewen son of Gillespic ..........
son of Savarin son of Dunsleve son of Dedalan called the clumsy son of Henry, Lord
of Badenoch.

Maclachlan of Scotland

Do Genelach ic Lachlan oig.- Cained ic Eoin mc Lachlain mc Gillapadruic mc Lachlan moir
mc Gillapadruic mc Gillacrist mc Dedaalain renabarta buirrce mc Anradan conerguid clanna<.br>
Niel nai giall Caitrine ingen Donch mc Lagmain mr Cainig agus Padruig agus Gilleeasp agus
Agais ingen ic Domnaill mr Eoin agus Calusaid in Mormmair Comgaill mr Lachlan oig agus mr
Gillepadruic in Donaill ic Eiri ic Ceined Tigerna Cairge agus in Lachlan ic Ruaidri mr Gillepadruic
.i. Athochlach Alx mc Eogan ic Gillepedur mc Alx moir ic Eogan mc Donch ic Dubgaill Donch
ic Dubgaill ic Lachlan ic Alx moir Ragnall ic Colum ic Donch aen marle Donald ic Malcolm ic
Dubgaill ic Gilleeasp ic Donch Donch mc Gilleeasp mc Donch ic Gillcolm ic Imair ic Donch,
Niell ic Cailin ic Donch ic Dubgaill, Persuin ic Dubeiran ic Donch.

The Genealogy of Maclachlan.- Keneth son of John son of Lachlan son of Patrick son of
Lachlan mor son of Patrick son of Gilchrist son of Dedalan called the clumsy son of Henry
from whom are descended also the clan Niell. Catharine the daughter of Duncan Maclamon
was the mother of Keneth, Patrick and Gilespic. Agnes, MacDonald's daughter, was John's
mother, and Elizabeth daughter of the Lord of Cowall, was the mother of Lachlan og; the mother
of Patrick was the daughter of Donald son of Eiri son of Keneth Lord of Kerry and the daughter
of Lachlan mac Rory was the mother of Patrick of Atholl. Alexander son of Ewen son of Peter son
of Alexander mor son of Ewen son of Duncan son of Dugald; Duncan son of Dugald son of
Lachlan son of Alexander mor; Ranald son of Malcolm son of Duncan brother-german of Donald
son of Malcolm son of Dugall son of Gilespic son of Duncan; Duncan son of Gillespic son of
Duncan son of Malcolm son of Imair son of Duncan; Neill son of Colin son of Duncan son of
Dugall; Persuin son of Duberan son of Duncan.


Genelach clann Somarle.- Donall ic Gilleeasp mc Angusa ic Donmaill mc Somarle ic Fearchar
mc Dunsleibe ic B.

The Genealogy of the Clann Sorly.- Donald son of Gilespic son of Angus son of Donald
son of Somerled son of Ferchar son of Ferchar son of Dunsleve son of Buircce.

Skene's Mistake

Skene’s mistake in translation, alluded to above, occured in the following line taken from the pedigree of the Maclachlans.

Lachlan moir mc Gillapadruic mc Gillacrist mc Dedaalain renabarta buirrce mc
Anradan conerguid clanna Niel nai giall

Skene renders the end of this line as "Henry [Anradan] from whom are descended also the clan Niell, whereas it should read "Anradan, where the line converges with clann Nial naoigiallaigh, or Nial 'of the Nine Hostages.' Skene interpreted "clanna Neill" to refer to the Clann Neill or MacNeills of Scotland. It does not. The line properly refers to the descendants of Nial 'of the Nine Hostages' in Ireland, the Ui Neill, from whom descend the line of the Kings of Aileach in Ulster (O Neills and MacLochlainns) as well as the Cinel Conaill (O’Donnells) in Donegal.

This mistake by Skene and repeated in his "Highlanders of Scotland" (vol. 2, Highland Clans) has led many Scottish writers over the centuries to mistakenly include the MacNeills of Barra and Gigha in the Anradan kindred. Skene corrected this error in his later version of the pedigrees in "Celtic Scotland," but no one seems to have noticed.

All of the above pedigrees end in either Anradan (MacEwen, Maclachlan) or Buircce (MacSorley). Based on these alone we do not know exactly how the line continued, except we may infer they somehow connected to the line of Nial 'of the Nine Hostges' (Maclachlan pedigree). And this (in the case of the Maclachlans) would appear to be a definite link to the earlier Irish pedigress for MacSweeney in the Books of Ballymote and Lecan..

Skene made another mistake in the ms. 1467, identifying a pedigree of the MacLennons for that of the Lamonts (Genelach ic Gillalament). He seems to have realised this mistak fairly quickly; but he never did find a pedigree for the Lamonts in his ms. 1467 and doesn't mention them in connection with the Anradan kindred in his "Highlanders of Scotland."

In the original issue of Collectanea de Rebus Albanicis, Skene omitted an entire column of pedigrees, which he said could not be read.. He later subjected the manuscript to some form of chemical treatment, which brought out the script enough for him to read the missing pedigrees. These pedigrees he included in a later issue of the same journal. Included among them is a pedigree for the Lamonts, which Skene did not recognise at the time, translating the title as "Clan Ladus." But a comparison of this Clan Ladus pedigree with existing pedigrees of Lamont in Irish manuscripts proves that it is a Lamont pedigree.

Genelach Clann Ladus .....Robert ic ...... ic Eoin ic Gillacolm ic ...... mc Gilleasp ic Ferchair
mc Dunsleibe icBuirc ic Anradan ic Gilleabeirt rig eilan Sidir ic Muredag ic.... ic Domnaill
ic Jamar.a.r. mc Martan Donn mc NeillgusaAberice.

Genealogy of the Clan ..... Robert son of .... John son of Malcolm son of ..... son of Gillespic,
son of Ferchard son of Dunsleve son of Burc son of Anradan son of Gilbert King of the
Western Isles(Isles of the Sudreys) son of Murdoch son of..... son of Donald son of Ivor,
from whom the clan is named, son ofMartin the Brown, son of Neillgusa of Lochaber.

Unidentified Clan       Pedigree of the Lamonts
in Ms. 1450                 from Irish Ms.
Clan Ladus  
Robert Roibert
m.                       m. Donchadh
m. Eoin                  m. Eoin
m. Gillacolm             m. Giollacoluim
m m. Ladmainn
m. Gilleasp              m. Giollacoluim
m. Ferchair              m. Fearchair
m. Dunsleibe             m. Duinsleibe
m. Buirc                 m. Aeda Alainn .i. Buirche
m. Anradan                m. Anradan
m. Gilleabeirt,           m. Aedh Athlaman
King of the  
Western Isles   

Skene did not realise this was a pedigree of the Lamonts until much later. In his “Highlanders of Scotland,” he refers to a mysterious Clan Maclaisrichs as part of the Anradan kindred, possibly deduced from this pedigree.

In this pedigree we find the same Anradan, Buirc, Dunsleibhe and Ferchair that we have already seen in the MacSweeney pedigree and in the previously published pedigrees for the Anradan kindred in Skene’s ms. 1467. But here Anradan is said to be a son of . Gilleabeirt, King of the Western isles. The pedigree terminates in a Nialgusa of Lochaber, most likely the same Nialgusa of the MacDonald pedigree in the same manuscript..

Here we find a major contradiction. The MacDonald pedigree goes back to Colla Uais, King of the Airgiallaigh in Ireland, not to Nial 'of the Nine Hostages. Yet the same string of names appears in both. One of them must be wrong.

By the time he published "The Highlanders of Scotland" in 1837 Skene fixed many of these early mistakes. His table of the clans of Scotland now links the Anradan kindred to the Nialgusa of Aberice in the pedigree of the Lamonts and the line of the McDonalds of Scotland.

1. Descendants of Conn of the Hundred Battles

The Lords of the Isles or the MacDonalds.
The MacDougals
The MacNeills
The MacLauchlans
The Macewens
The Maclaisrichs
The Maceacherns


Besides the Macdonalds and the Macdogalls, the\par MS. of 1450 deduces various others of the Argyll-shire clans from the same race. According to that ancient document, a certain Gillebride rig eilan, or king of the Isles, lived in the twelfth century, and was descended from a brother of Suibne, the ancestor of the Macdonalds slain in 1034; and from Anradan, or Henry, the son of Gillebrid, the same authority deduces the Macneills, Maclachlans Macewens, and Maclaisrichs. "

Celtic Scotland

This version of the Anradan kindred descent was quoted by various Scottish clan writers until Skene published "Celtic Scotland" in 1876. In an appendix he included versions of the same pedigrees, now mostly taken from Irish sources.

"The Third group consists of clans supposed to be descended from the Hy Neill or race of Neill Naoi giallach, king of ireland, which brings us nearer historical times. They consist of the Lamonds, the Clan Lachlan, the MacEwens of Otter, and a clan Somairle which has not been identified. These clans are all taken back to a certain Aoda Alain, termed Buirche, son of Anrotan, son of Aodha Atlamuin, ancestors of the O'Neills. From Aoda's son Gillacrist the Clan Lachlan came, and from another son Duinsleibe the Lamonds, MacEwens, and Clan Somairle.

His pedigree for the Lamonts now reads:

Genealogy of the Clan Ladmann
or Lamonts

Robert son of Roibert mac
Duncan son of Donchadh mic
John son of Eoin mic
Malcolm son of Giollacolium mic
Ladmann son of Ladmainn mic
Malcolm son of Giollacolium mic
Ferchard son of Fearchair mic
Duinsleibhe son of Duinsleibe mic
Aeda Alain the Buriche, son of Aeda Alain i. Buirche mic
Andradan son of Anradan mic
Flaherty son of Flaithbertaigh mic
Murcertach son of Murcertach mic
Donald son of Domnall mic
Murcertach son of Murcertach mic
Niall Glundubh, or Black Knee. Niall Glundub

This version now agrees with that found in the Books of Ballymote and Lecan for the MacSweeneys. A footnotes indicates this pedigree and the three following were taken from the MS. 1467 and MacFirbis. Apparently Skene bowed to the greater authority of the Irish version as found in the MacSweeney pedigree. MacFirbis also included pedigrees for Maclachlan and Lamont.

This is the version of the Anradan kindred descent quoted by all later Scottish clan writers.

The Leabhar Chlainne Suibhne 16th century

Our next source in the series of Anradan legends may be found in an Irish manuscript called "Leabhar Chlainne Suibhne" or the "Book of Clan Sweeny," written in the early 16th century in Ireland by two Irish scribes at slightly different periods (Ciothruadh Mac Fhionnghail, 1513-14; and Tadhg Mac Fithil, 1532-44) for Mary MacSweeney of Fanad. An old translation probably by O’Donovan is inserted in the manuscript MS. 24 P 25, Royal Irish Academy (Clann Aodh Buidhe) between folio 66 and 67 (recto):

“Here begins a small portion of the land conquests and victories of the Clann Suibhne, and of thir genealogical ramifications also. Aedh Athlaman son of Flatihbertach an Trostan [O'Neill, d. 1036], son of Muirchertach Midheach son of Domhnall of Ard Macha, had two sons, i.e., Domhnall, who was called the Ogdamh, and Anradhan, and Domhnall was older than Anrathan but the strength of power of Anradhan acceeded Domhnall's, and when their father, Aedh Athlamhan died, all the territories came to Anradan and they desired to make him lord in the place of his father, and Domhhnall came to them, and said this is setting aside the senior to appoint Anrdhan said he. It is verily said Anradhan's people for he is the most noble, and the most illustrious, and the man of most strength and power. "My curse be upon you after this." said Domhnall, "since I have no other power over you." We will not accept of this from you said Anradhan, for we will give you the lordship, and we ourselves shall not remain in Ireland, as long as you shall enjoy the lordship.And Domhnall I prefer ceding you the lordship in preference to your leaving Erin. Anradhan did not accept of this; but he styled Domhnall lord, and indeed all the territories to be obedient to him; and he proceeded himself, with spirit and highmindedness to the harbour where his ships and barks were, and we shall not give a long account of his passage over the seas here, but shall pursue a brief narrative. But however they made no delay until they reached the beautfful fair coasts of Alban, and they took the half of Alban, and one ballyl besides, by force, so that their might and power extended far and wide. And after they had been for some time in the east they acquired great wealth and much influence; and extended their sway over all the territories, and they made peace and formed an alliance with the King of Scotland, i.e, Anradhan married the daughter of the King of Scotland and she brought forth children, for him of whose race are all the Clann Suibne from that time to the present. And this was the fist invasion of Alban ever made by Clann Suibhne. And now son to this Anradhan was Aedh the Comely mac Anradhan, and son to Aedh the comely was Dunnsleibhe, and son of Dunnsleibhe was Suibne from whom the Clann Suine are called, and he was the noblest and the most illustrious of twelve sons whom this Dunnsleibhe had, and it was by him Caislen [castle] Suibhne was built in Alban. And son to this SUibhne was Maelmuire of the Purse and this Maelmuire is the stipres of the three Clann Suibhne. And this Maelmuire had a fairy leman, and it was she that gave him the famous purse which we have mentioned before. And these were the virtues of this purse viz. a small pinginn and a shilling said to be found in it every time it wsa opened. And Maelmuire spent a long time in this manner [with his leman] but his people thought it time to give him a wife, and the wife they contemplated for him ws the daughter of O'Conchobar aine Benmidhe daughter of Toirdelbhach after and they proceeded with a large fleet to Erin and makde no delay till they reached Sligech [Sligo] and they were two nights in the town. and took the woman with them.

One night afterwards as Maelmuire was at Caislen Suibhne, the Benshee whom we have mentioned, prompted to come to him with her child, and she had told him to be awake on her arrival, but she arrival there was no one awake in the house except the daughter of O'Concohbair, and she sat at the fire of the house , and asked if Mac Suibne was awake, and the daughter of O'Conchobair answered the he was not, and the daughter of O'Concobhair offered her clothes for the child, but she did not accept of them and she said that that sleep would do great injury to Mac Suibhne and his descedants and she went away angrily and was not seen from that time forth; and that son of hers was Ferfedha, is never seen except when he comes to relieve the Clann Suibne in time of battle or lordship.”

One of the scribes (Tadhg mac Fithil} added at the end of this section:

"Tadhg son of Fitheal wrote this small work on the\par Ramifications of Clann Stuhhne in haste and with a had implement, without chalk or pumice-stone. And let not him who reads it cast any blame on the writer. For if there he a mistake in it, the writer is not responsible for it, but the fact that he did not compose the book beforehand, and that it was mainly out of his head that he set it down. And let every one who reads it bestow a blessing on the soul of the writer, namely,

Tadhg mac Fithil."

This tale of Anradan in the Leabhar Clann Suibhne is non-historical; and the references to curses, magic purses that never are empty and fairies should gives us pause as well . According to the Clan Sweeney, after the death in 1033 of Aedh Athlaman, the King of Aileach, the territories and kingship eventually went to his son Domhnall an t-Ogdamh, or ‘the young ox, ancestor of the O’Neills of Ulster, after Anradan agreed to to leave Ireland The annals tell quite a different story.

Flaithbertach an trostain died after his son in 1036. It is here that we should find some mention of Domhnall ‘the young oxe’ and his brother Anradan in the annals; but neither man is named nor is any other O’Neill in the line that would later become Lords of Ulster. Instead the annals mention another son of Flaithbertach an trostain named Muirdach who was killed in 1039 and in 1044 a Nial son of Maelsechlainn is named the King of Aileach. This Nial was in the line of Domhnall, brother of Nial glundubh, called Clan Domhnall in the pedigrees. In 1045 a Muirchertach Ua Neill appears, but he is also not in the line of the oater O’Neills of Ulster. He may be another son of Flaithbertach an trostain, or perhaps in the line of Aedh of Craeb Tulcha, slain in 1004.

In 1051 Ardgar MacLochlainn is named as King of Telach oge, a minor sub-kingdom of the overkingdom of Aileach, an area later strongly associated with the O’Neills. In 1064 Ardgar MacLochlainn, the King of Aileach died and a Muirchertach Ua Neill is named King of Telach oge. This Muirchertach cannot be associated with the line of the later O'Neills of Ulster either.

The annals normally are full of references to various claimants to the throne after the death of a King of Aileach, and indeed they are well represented in these years, except for the line of Aedh Athlaman and the later O’Neill kings of Ulster. This is a strange situation in that both Aedh Ahlaman and his father were Kings of Aileach; yet no identifiable son of Aedh Athlaman appears as a claimant to the throne after his death. And history certainly does not agree with the statement of the Clan Suibhne that Domhnall became "Lord" of the territories after the death of his father.

We must therefore conclude that the history of Domhnall 'the young oxe" and his brother Anradan, as presented by the Leabhar Chlainne Suibhne, is a fabrication, based soley on the earlier pedigrees. Far from attaining the Lordship after the death of his father, Domhnall 'the young oxe" appears to have been King of nothing in these years, not even the minor sub-kingdom of Telach-oge. So there was no kingdom and no territories for Domhnall and his brother Anradan to quarrel over in the first place.

O Ceallaigh "Gleanings from Ulster history") throws further doubt on the dubious story of Domhnall and his brother Anradan. He mentions a curious line in the Leabhar Eoghanach concerning Aedh Athlaman. “For six generations in sequence the family depends upon a single individual to maintain the succession; no brothers or uncles are mentioned, and L.E. expressly states that Aodh was the last of his race.”

It is not clear why this statement appears in the Lebor Eoghanach since both Domhnall ‘the young oxe’ Ua Neill and Anradan are supposed to be sons of Aedh Athlaman. But O Ceallaigh is a careful writer and there is no reason to doubt his word. A pedigree in Rawlinson B.502 written c. 1120 would seem to agree that Aedh Athlaman had no sons.

Under Clann Neill (para. 1014) we find a pedigree for the MacLochlainns, followed by a pedigree for Clan Domhnall. Then in paragraph 1016 under the heading “item” we find:

¶1016] Item: Áed m. Néill m. Flaithbertaich m. Murchertaich m. Domnail
m. Murchertaich m. Néill Glúnduib m. Áeda Findléith.

This pedigree lists only Neill as a son of Flaithbertach an trostain; and a grandson named Aedh. It does not mention Aedh Athlaman at all; and no sons of Aedh Athlaman. We’ll return a little later to the pedigree of the O’Neills but suffice it to say for now that something is seriously wrong with both the pedigrees of the O’Neills and the Anradan kindred.

Buchanan of Auchmar 1723

William Buchanan of Auchmar, in his “An Historical and Genealogical Essay upon the Family and Surname of Buchanan” also included sections on the Maclachlans, MacNeills and Lamonts (among others) at the end of his history. He was one of the earliest Scottish writers to attempt a comprehensive history of the Highland Clans. His version of Anradan kindred clan histories is interesting in that clearly none of the clan heads consulted have every heard of Anradan and already had clan histories in place prior to the time of Skene's discovery of the MS. 1467.


Comments in italics

"The surname of McLauchlan hath been of a long time reputed one of our ancient clans, being originally descended of the surname of the O Lauchlans of Ireland, the principal person of whom, according to Mr. Walsh, and other Irish historians, was in the second century of the Christian epoch, provincial King of the province of Meath, which dignity his successors enjoyed for many descents, till some little time before the English conquest, the family of O'Rourke obtained that principality. This surname is asserted to be of the Milesian stem, or that of the ancient kings of Ireland, and the progenitor thereof to have come to Scotland with the first who from Ireland planted Argyle-shire.”

Buchanan here is referring to the McLaughlins of Donegal, kinsmen to the O’Neills of Ulster. In early annal entries they are referred to as both Ua Lochlain (O’Loughlin) and MacLochlainn (McLaughlin).. Buchanann, relying here on the authority of Irish historians, states the Maclachlans of Scotland were descended from the McLaughlins of Ulster. This of course disagrees with every pedigree we’ve examined so far and is complete nonsense. The principal person referred to may be Nial ‘of the Nine Hostages’ who would have held the kingship of Meath along with the kingship of Ireland; but the second century of the Christian epoch would seem to preclude this identification. It may be a reference to an earlier ancestor of Nial, perhaps Tuathal Teachtmar, who is said to have gone to Scotland.

MacNeill of Barra

Connents in italics

"This surname of M'Neil being one of the most ancient of our Scottish Clans, is originally descended rom that once potent and flourishing Surname of the Oneils of Ireland. These Oneils were divided into Two great Tribes, the One termed the North4ern and the other the Southern Oneils. The first of these for a great many Ages, untill the English Conquest, were Provincial Kings of North Ulster."

Buchanan is making a serious error in this passage; he is clearly confounding the tribe name Ui Neill with the surname O’Neill, two different things entirely. Ui Neill refers to the descendants of Nial ‘of the Nine Hostages;’ the surname O’Neill refers only to those descendants of Nial glundubh (d. 191) who took that specific surname in his honor. That he is confusing the two can be seen in the second sentence, when he states the Oniels were divided into two great tribes, northern and southern. He should be using the term Ui Neill here (the tribe name) and not the surname.

"The McNeils of Scotland, a branch of those of Ireland, are reported to have come here with the first Scots, who from Ireland planted Argyle-Shire, and the Western Isles, being for some Ages bypast divided into to considerable Families, these of Barra and Taynish...."

Here he’s saying that the MacNeills (a branch of the Ui Neill of Ireland) came to Scotland with the first Scots who came from Ireland to Scotland. It’s unclear exactly what he means by the “first Scots” to come to Argyleshire and the western isles but he is probably referring to the migration of the sons of Erc, king of the Irish Dal Riate in NW Ireland, who are said to have come to Scotland in 403 A.D.

"Mr. Martine Composer of the History of the Western Isles, asserts, that McNeil of Barra can produce Evidents for Thirty Six Descents, of his Familie's Possession of that Isle, bsides a great many old charters, most of which are not legible."

Next he mentions that there have been 36 generations between the first of the MacNeills to come to Scotland to the present day (1723). This old family history is not talking about the O’Neills of Ulster. He reckons the ancestor of the MacNeills among the early Scots (Dal Riata) who first came to Scotland in 403 A.D.

The Clan McNeill by the MacNeill of Barra (1923) quotes a brief history taken from the 1763 issue of the Scots Magazine:

"7th of May, 1763. In Barra died Roderick McNeill, Esq., aged 70. He was the nineteenth generation from the first of his predacessors who settled in Barra in the time of Malcolm II, King of Scotland, about the year 1030, and the thirty-fifth generation from one of the six sons of Murtach (Muiredach), son of Owen (Eoghan), son of Neill of the Nine Hostages, King of Ireland in the year 371, from whom the O'Neills in Ireland and the McNeills in Scotland derive their surnames."

Here we have the MacNeills quoting from an oddity in Keating's History of Ireland. Keating includes two incompatible versions of the settlement of Scotland by the Irishmen in his history. In the first he follows the standard version of the three sons of Erc, King of the Irish Dal Riata, going to Scotland in 403 A.D. But in other passages he states that some of the six sons of Muirchertach MacEarca, King of Ireland, also went to Scotland. This is probably a duplicate event in Keating's History - the sons are the same in both versions - but it is the one quoted in the MacNeill history of Buchanan and the 1763 Scots Magazine article. The MacNeills seem to be saying they either came to Scotland with the Irish Dal Riata or a slightly later invasion by the sons of Muirchertach MacEarca (a mistake). There is one thing we can be sure of though; this early history of the MacNeills does not connect them to the Anradan kindred.


“The surname of Lamond is asserted to be descended of Lamond Oneill, a Son of the Great Oneil, provincial King of North Ulster.”

IIn all likelihood we have in this passage the same mistake we find elsewhere in Buchanan; confusing the tribe name Ui Neill with the surname O'Neill. It too is probably based on the same passage in the history of the MacNeills that refers to the sons of Muirchertach MacEarca, King of Ireland, going to Scotland. This odd passage in Keating's History is probably the source for the persistent claims of a descent from Nial 'of the Nine Hostages' from the Highland clans of Scotland.

Family Origins in Cowal and Knapdale
(Scottish Studies, Vol. 15, Edinburgh, l971)
W.D.H. Sellars

W.D.H. Sellars wrote a long article on the Anradan kindred trying to prove that the Irish pedigrees linking them to Aedh Athlaman and the Irish O’Neills could be true. If he was aware of the older work of Skene and the pedigrees in the ms. 1467 linking the family instead to the line of the MacDonalds, he never mentioned it in his article. He is also quite unaware of the fact that every clan history written in the 19th century mentioned this descent from the MacDonalds thanks to the influence of William Skene. He also did not appear to have been familiar with O Ceallaigh's work which casts considerable doubt on the pedigree of the O'Neills themselves, and in particular, on the question of whether Aedh Athlaman had any descendants.

He was able to demonstrate a number of objections previously raised to the Anradan pedigree did not hold water; but in the end he offered no new compelling evidence that they wer true. One can only wonder what different conclusions he might have reached had he been aware of the two conflicting peidgrees in Skene’s ms. 1467, or consulted Skene’s earlier work (The Highlanders of Scotland) rather than his latest opus, heavily dependant as it was on Irish pedigree sources.

Sellars states that the “genealogy of the Kings of Aileach is well-known and well authenticated.” For the most part that is perfectly true; but the genealogy falls apart after the name of Aedh Athlaman in the line of the O Neills. As O Ceallaligh and other writers have noticed, not a single son of his can be identified in the annals. Even worse is thr fact that not one of the next five consecutive generations of O’Neill ancestors can be identified in the annals or any other historic source except for the pedigrees in the Books of Ballymote and Lecan. O Ceallaigh referred to this problem in the O’Neill pedigree in his ‘Gleanings from Ulster history”

"Though the problem is hardly contemporaneous with the matter under
discussion, it may be of interest to point out that the descent put forward
on their own behalf by the family of O Neill in An Leabhar Eoghanach and in
the official pedigrees is at least open to suspicion..”

“Of the four persons carrying the family back to Flaithbheartach's son, Aedh
Allan, not one, as far as I can see, is mentioned in the annals. Not even their
obits are recorded. This fact in itself would arouse misgivings. For six generations
in sequence the family depends upon a single individual to maintain the succession;
no brothers or uncles are mentioned, and L.E. expressly states that Aodh was the last
of his race.

“Fourthly, between the death of Flaithbheartach an Trostain (1036) and that of
Niall MacLochlainn (ob. 1176) or of this Aodh O Neill (1177), who was his rival,
there are two generations extra ( = 60 years normally) in the O Neill lineage, in that
space of a century and a half. “

The fact that the O’Neill pedigree is two generations too long can best be illustrated by a direct comparison with the MacLochlainn pedigree.

MacLochlainn Ua Neill
. .
Ardgar MacLochlainn d. 1064 Aedh Athlaman d.1033
Domnall MacLochlainn d.1121 Domhnall an Trogdam Ua Neill
Nial MacLochlainn Flaithbertach Locha Hodha Ua Neill
Muirchertach MacLochlainn Conchobhar na Fiodhbhadh Ua Neill
Muirchertach d. 1196 and Nial (1167) Tadhg an Glinne
Domnall MacLochlainn d. 1241 Muirchertach Magh Line d. 1160
  Aedh an Macaomh Toinleasc Ua Neill (1167)
  Neill Ruadh O'Neill d. 1223
  Brian Catha Duinn (1241) d. 1260

Aedh an Macaoamh Toinleasc Ua Neill (‘the lazy youth’) was the competitor of Nial MacLochlainn. The kingdom of Aileach was partioned between them in 1167. Yet in tierms of generations he appears two generations later in the pedigrees.

Brian Catha Duinn was the competitor of Domnall MacLochlainn at the Battle of Caim Eirge in 1241. Yet in the pedigrees he appears three generations later.

The problems noted by O Ceallaigh begin to manifest after Aedh Athlaman; prior to that the pedigrees are more or less in synch, with Ardgar MacLochlainn dying in 1064 and Aedh Athlaman in 1033, three years before his father, Flaithbertach an Trostain. And of course this is exactly the point in the O’Neill pedigree to which the Anradan line is connected. It is perhaps no coincidence that both suddenly appear in the Books of Ballymote and Lecan ca. 1400.

There is a pedigree for the O'Neills which appears in the G2 manuscript (National Library), fol. 9v, c. 1350, which contradicts the traditional pedigree of the O'Neills as it appears in the Books of Ballymote, Lecan and later genealogical collections.

G2 MS (National Library)

This pedigree disagrees with the traditional pedigree of the O'Neills in some significant ways. First of all, it makes them descend from Aedh Mor, son of Domnall 'of Armagh.' This is Aedh 'of Craeb Tulcha,' the King of Aileach, who died in 1004 A.D. Secondly it is obviously corrupt,in that it also contains the names of Flaithbertach an trostain and his son, Aedh Athlaman, who were not descendants of Aedh 'of Craeb Tulcha.' Thirdly, the Domhnall in the pedigree described as 'an t0ogdam' or 'the young oxe' is Domhnall 'of Armagh.'

There are some early poems written to commemorate two O'Neills that give some support to the possibility that the true ancestor of the O'Neills was Aedh 'of Craeb Tulcha' and not Aedh Athlaman.

Giolla Brigdhe MacCon Midhe, the bard of first the MacLochlainns and later the O'Neills after 1241, wrote a poem commemorating the death of Brian Catha Duinn Ua Neill, beheaded in the Battle of Downpatrick in 1160. He was a contemporary witness to the events of 1160 and his account predates the Books of Lecan and Ballymote by 140 years. One stanza of the poem appears below:

78. Beloved was both trunk and branch: great O Neill and his
son; alas, they were a noble pair, Domhnall and Aodh of Aileach.

This stanza can only refer to Domnall 'of Armagh' and his son, Aedh 'of Craeb Tulcha.' It describes Aedh as a branch of the Ua Neills in descent from Domnall 'of Armagh' (the trunk.) Can we take this trunk and branch statement from this poem as a possible indication of Brian O'Neill's descent? If not why would the poet have bothered to include it in his poem in praise of Brian Ua Neill?

Another poem written in 1425 by Tuahal O hUiginn in praise of Enri O Neill (d. 1484) contains a similar phrase.

34. Fruit-branch of royal flesh and blood, smooth-browed son
of Eoghan, Ox of Re from the Fort of the Hostages, he springs
from the noblest of the Nialls and the Aodhs.

Despite singing the praises of the "Nials and the Aodhs" in this poem, it does not mention Aodh Athlaman at all, nor his father, Flaithbertach an Trostain. Instead it concentrates on Aedh of Craebh Tulcha, warning Enri O Neill to avoid the mistakes he made centuries earlier. Excerpts from the poem follow.

23. Brian of bright cups, ever to the front in fight with Goill - 'twas
in the desire to ruin him that Aodh O Neill advanced claims
on him: he thought he was doing nothing rash in that
24. Aodh said: "This Brian Boraimhe - his charter promises
not that he rule in Art's House; he has no right to it;
better is my right to this Steading of Niall."

25. Fierce-hearted Brian said he would agree to Aodh's proposals,
but his promise to Aodh did not represent his real intention;
his wrath was stored deep in his heart.

26. Said Brian: "His (Aodh's) land he has not yet put under
cess - though he (seems to) think this of no moment!
Until he has secured possessionof it why need I say anything?

27. (Brian) O'Neill's not keeping his troops back from fighting
(the Goill) until he would have them all (i.e., all the Ui Neill
including Aodh's followers) united under his command was the
reason why his march to the South did not result in
peace-heralds coming to him (from the Goill).

Note: Brian O'Neill in line 27 is a reference to Brian Catha an Duinn,
slain in 1260 at the Battle of Down. The earlier reference to an
Aodh O'Neill in lines 23-26 seem to refer to the same Aodh mentioned
in lines 28-33. This was Aodh, son of Domnall 'of Armagh', slain
in 1004 at the Battle of Craobh Tulcha. The Poet seems to be warning
the current O'Neill not to make the mistakes his ancestors did in
going to battle without first securing his position in the North of

28. (Once too) famous Eochaidh, Ardghal's son, when pride had
swelled up in his heart, imagined himself a match for Aodh
(O Neill), and set himself up against his prince (Aodh).

29. "If Eochaidh son of Ardghal yield not up to me part of all he
has, both plain and hills, he shall not have leave from me to
keep them; tell him that from me," so spake Aodh.

30. "This is my answer," said (Eochaidh) the straight-judging
hero: let Aodh choose to meet me in battle or else that
we both rule."

31. Sad to tell, Eochaidh - he deserved it - and Aodh his rival too
were slain side by side at Craobh Tulcha in the North.

32. If Enri like Niall Og, hero quick to wrath at disobedience
march against the Greek Goill, may his course have the same
fortune (as Niall's).

Note: Niall Og O'Neill (1397-1403) was the grandfather of Enri O'Neill.
Eoghan (1456) in line 34 was his father.

33. Aodh had not considered carefully enough his plans (i.e. in
attacking Eochaidh); they miscarried though they were
bold; Enri is not going to do this; before he marches Westward
he will be full king (of Ui Neill).

34. Fruit-branch of royal flesh and blood, smooth-browed son of
Eoghan, Ox of Re from the Fort of the Hostages, he springs
from the noblest of the Nialls and the Aodhs.

35. The noble spirit of the Aodhs makes bright his breast; (by his
deeds) he shows the Aodhs to be in the lineage of O Neill;
(the kingship of) the seven Nialls with this wavy-haired hero
comes out in the curling of his locks.

Lastly, there is an odd statement in Keating's Pedigrees that may have soem bearing on the subject.

107 Flaithbheartach an trostain, son of
106 Muircheartach Midheach, son of
105 Domhnall of Ard Macha. Brother to this Domhnall was
Aodh son of Muircheartach of the leather-cloaks, from
whom are Clann Aodha Buidhe; son of
104 Muircheartach of the leath-cloaks, son of
103 Niall Glundubh, son of
102 Aodh Fionnliath, son of

According to Keating, the Clann Aodha Buidhe descended from an Aedh, brother of Domnall 'of Armagh.' This can only be the Clanna Aodha Buidhe or 'Clannaboy', a branch of the O'Neills. But according to genealogical manuscripts, Muirchertach 'of the Leather Cloaks' did not have son named Aodh.

Laud 610

Cethri Maic Murchertaig mic Neill Glunduib .i. Domnall ri Herend
7 Flaithbertach ri Ailig 7 Murchad 7 Flann. Cethri Maic Domnaill:
da hAed 7 Muiredach.

Or - Muirchertach 'of the Leather cloaks, son of Neill Glundubh, had four sons, Domnall 'of Armagh', King of Ireland, Flaithbertach, King of Aileach, Murchadh and Flann. The four sons of Domhnall 'of Armagh' were two Aedhs and Muiredach. A similar passage in the Book of Ballymote adds the name Muirchertach to the sons of Domnall 'of Armagh.'

The Aodh intended in this passage in Keating can be none other than one of the two sons of Domnall 'of Armagh' named Aodh - and probably Aedh 'of Craebh Tulcha,' given the references to him in the poems above quoted.

It would be foolhardy at this stage to attempt a re-construction of the pedigree of the O'Neills based on a descent from Aedh 'of Craebh Tulcha,' given the obvious corruption of the pedigree in the G2 manuscript. But we might note that removing both Flaithbertach an trostain and his son Aedh Athlaman from the pedigree (where they do not belong) would result in a pedigree two generations shorter, silencing the objections raised to it by O Ceallaigh. The later pedigrees of the Books of Ballymote and Lecan appear to have resolved this problem by simply omitting the refences to Aedh 'Craebh Tulcha' and attaching the line instead to the known pedigree of Flaithbertach an trostain (Rawlinson B.502; Book of Leinster).

And here we have the nexus of the problem with the Scottish Anradan kindred. The pedigree writers at the same time took the opportunity to fabricate a pedigree for the MacSweeneys of Ireland, connecting them to Aedh Athlaman in their new and improved pedigree of the O'Neills.


Prior to Skene's discovery of the MS. 1467 in about 1837 in Scotland the clans now known as the Anradan kindred knew nothing of this supposed ancestor; several of them, including the MacNeills and Lamonts claimed a vague descent from Nial 'of the Nine Hostages', High King of Ireland, who died in 405 A.D., probably based on Keating's History, which contains an invasion of Scotland by sons of Muirchertach Mac Earca, the great-grandson of Nial. The Maclachlans thought their surname came from the O Loughlins of Ireland; or so they were informed by Irish historians.

In Ireland the MacSweeneys had long ago formulated an artificial history of Anradan and his brother Domhnall, sons of Aedh Athlaman (Leabhar Chlainne Suibhne). Later genealogical collections in Ireland also contained pedigrees for the Lamonts and Maclachlans (O Clery, MacFirbis) but these were apparently unknown outside of Ireland.

After Skene published his pedigrees and the "Highlanders of Scotland" the clans of the Anradan kindred happily ditched their earlier versions of their own ancestry in favor of a descent from Anradan. But the original descent he proposed for Anradan was from the stock of the MacDonalds, not from the O'Neills of Ireland. One finds this descent in every clan history written in the years following Skene's first publications. But at some point, Skene began corresponding with Irish scholars, or at least consulted the Irish manuscripts himself, and revised his earlier opinions drastically. With the publication of Celtic Scotland in 1881 a new version of the Anradan descent was born in Scotland, this time from the O'Neills. And this is the version all of the affected clans follow to this day.

One effect of Skene's Celtic Scotland is that the MacNeills were dropped from the Anradan kindred, to which they never truly belonged in the first place, except for an unfortunately error in translation by Skene.

What we find today is an unfortunate combination of Skene's earlier work still being quoted alongside his later revised opinions. We still read of the "Siol Gillevray" in clan histories; although the "Siol Gillevray" were a branch of the MacDonalds and not the O'Neills. The same clan histories then breathlessly relate the story of Anradan and his brother Domhnall, of how Anradan came to Scotland and married a daughter of the King of Scotland; all in ignorance of the original stories told by their clan chieftains prior to the emergence of William Skene and his famous manuscript.

It appears that the pedigree of the O'Neills was fabricated at the same time as the Anradan descent for the MacSweeneys. Both suddenly appear in the Books of Ballymote and Lecan after being largely ignored in earlier manuscripts. The one pedigree for the O'Neills we do have in Rawlinson B.502 (1120 A.D.) doesn't even mention the line of Aedh Athlaman O'Neill who died some 87 years before. The book of Leinster (1170 A.D.) is silent on the issue. For the Irish scribes, the person of Aedh Athlaman in the Irish annals probably just gave them a convenient dumping point to fabricate the MacSweeney and O'Neill pedigrees. .