The MacLaughlins of Clan Owen

A study in Irish History


John Patrick Brown A.B.

W.J. Schofield, 105 Summer Street 1879
Copyright 1878, by John Patrick Brown

   Note:"The Mac Laughlins of Clan Owen," by John Patrick Brown, published in 1879, is the only book ever written on the McLaughlin of Tirconnell (Donegal) sept in Ireland. It is, unfortunately, poorly written and meandering in content. Its chief value lies in some of the remarks Brown made concerning individual sept members and various branches of the sept, which he apparently learned from the local residents while in Ireland.

   Brown speculates in this book that a certain Walter MacLaughlin MacSweeney may have been a MacLaughlin. He was not. A Walter MacLaughlin MacSweeney (read: Walter McSweeney, the son of Laughlin McSweeney) appears in O'Clery's Book of Genealogies as a member of the MacSweeneys. He was most definitely not a McLaughlin.'

   This book is part of the Library of Congress collection. Anyone desiring an actual facsimile of the original book may obtain one from the University Microfilms International, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, for about $35. The book was copyrighted in 1878 and published in 1879 by W.J. Schofield, of Summer Street, Boston,.and
hence is in the public domaign.


   The aspect of ancient Irish history has changed greatly since a hundred years ago. Then, educated Englishmen held to the story of Romulus as stoutly as to that of Caesar; but of Irish history all that was noble was fabulous, and the rest so horrible that it was tabooed, like the wretched race that had inherited it. Now, the government, which for ages left nothing undone to destroy the records and literature of the Milesians, it equally zealous to preserve them. And well it may; for the chief personage in that government can in all her many origins find none so honorable as that which these records establish for her. Then, Heber, and Heremon, and Ir were the romantic creations of monks and druids; now they are the head links of historical chains reaching down to our own time and wedded into another chain of semi-historical events reaching to and riveted in the days of the deluge. But much of this history, even after the successful work of Petrie, O'Donovan, O'Curry, and others, remains still a vast wilderness, and whoso enters it, though it be with their landmarks to guide him, has no easy task to keep his way. What Mechan, Mitchel, Prendergast, and Hill have been doing with more modern times must be done with the more ancient before they can secure from the outside literary world the honor they deserve.
   It is useless to write a general history of Ireland unless it be for schools; that higher kind of work which recalls the shades of the past, and makes them speak to us in their true voice, can only come with a faithful and sympathetic study and development of great times and great men. The writer hopes that this, his first essay, may prove of some interest to the general reader, and he trusts that the small circle of scholars who know so well the recesses of Irish history will be the first to forgive his mistakes as the uncertainties of one who has been content so far to dwell upon its outskirts.
   The name of the same locality, or of the same person, has in several instances been purposely spelled in a variety of ways, but in no case without authority. It is hoped that the 'Notes' will make clear anything in the first part of the book that may need explanation.

Boston, Nov., 1878

   This little book is affectionately dedicated by the writer to his relative, the Rev. Thomas Slevin, C.C., of Bruckless, County Donegal, Ireland


Page 39, line 3; after the words 'patent to Rory O'Donal 'insert'as we may infer from McGeoghagan.'

Page 69. Insert 'Page 29' above the note concerning Aileach

The Mac Laughlins of Clan Owen [Page 1]

   About seven miles from Londonderry lies the hill of Grianan in Donegal. It has that gentle slope which military men seek for defensive works. As you stand on its summit, eight hundred feet above the lake lying at its foot, the eye sees almost every spot on its far-stretching sides. To the right in the distance gleams the water of the Foyle; left of the Foyle, like a barrier between the stranger and what is more purely Irish than any other district of Ireland, rises the ridge of Fahan - reaching from lake to lake, - its face featured with innumerable fields, and its heather-covered head high enough in air to hide all [Page 2] except the highest peaks of Innis-Owen. In front, Lough Swilly, broad beneath you, but, as you look up, narrowing to the sea between sharp cliffs, and, you would think, wide hardly for two fair-sized ships. But the sea gates are twenty miles away, and broad enough for a great fleet. On the right shore is Buncrana the home of the O'Dogherty; on the left Rathmullan with its old and handsome ruin, - the scene of one of the saddest stories of Tyrconnel; for that is the spot from which young Hugh Roe, the greatest of the O'Donnels, was enticed on board the ship that carried him away in full view of his foster-father and his followers, who gathered on the shore, helpless to serve him. A year or so after that again another ship came up the Swilly in distress, and this same foster-father, the Mac Sweeney, opened wide his door to her suffering armament and crew. She was an estray from the Armada, and not the only one that found friendship and safety in the ports of Ulster. But many years before Hugh Roe was taken, - that is twenty-eight hundred years before his foster-father stood on [Page 3] the beach, and held out his hands to the swift-leaving vessel, and promised all his possessions to the false captain, - another man stood on the spot where you now stand, - a stranger coming from the same land as the Armada; and, at the request of three brothers, the rulers of the whole island, made an award among them. but on leaving, he praised the beauty of their country. When he was gone, the brothers felt that his praise boded them no good. So they sent a force to intercept him from the Foyle. Ith, for that was the stranger's name, within sight of his vessel accepted battle, was wounded, carried on board, and borne back dead to Spain.
   His kindred, enraged at the manner of his death, hastened their plan for the conquest of the island which their prophets had assigned to them. Shortly after, in the year 1268 before Christ, Ith's three nephews, Heber, Heremon, and the high priest Amerghin, sailed from what is now Corunna in a great fleet.
    They were soon in Ireland, and, after hard fighting, master of it. The three brothers fell, - Mac Cuill by the hand of Heber; Mac [Page 4] Ceacht was slain by Heremon, and Mac Griene by Amerghin. In those days, and for many generations after, the hill was crowned by the palace of Aileach. Picking your way over the low foundation wall of a once mighty building, with its close- fitting but unmortared rocks, and its heavy slabs of wrought stone lying here and there, you are tempted to think that they were fitted into place more than three thousand years ago. But whether that be so or not, it is yet true that these same rocks were nine hundred years ago the foundation of the chief fortress of the family of Mac Loughlin, the senior branch of Clan Owen, and for many generations the most powerful princes of the North. If you ask who till the innumerable fields on the slope of Fahan hill, you are told that they are one half Mac Laughlins, tenants of the soil their fore-fathers had won by the sword, forbidden by law until within a few years to own a foot of land in all Ulster, but still owing the memory of a great past and clinging to the promise of a fair future; waiting perhaps for the day when the bugle shall wake the steed [Page Page 5] of O'Donnel, standing with his harness on in that lonely cave in Donegal, his master's hand upon his mane and foot in stirrup, until the first blast shall burst the rock between them and the blue sky and the freedom of their country.
   Not very far from 400 A.D. Niall the Great, King of all Ireland, invaded Brittany, and, amongst other captives, brought back to Ireland a boy of noble family, who was sold to a land owner in the North. The boy escaped from his bondage, and, after years of study and discipline, returned to Ireland with the gospel and the name Patricius. Niall had amongst others two sons, Conal and Owen. One of Saint Patrick's first converts was Conal. Afterwards, in his progress through the country, Patrick staid some time with conal, and from his house went to the castle of Aileach, the residence of Owen, who came out to meet him, received him with great deference, and was finally with all his household and clan converted. Now Owen had a grandson Murtogh or Maurice, learned, [Page 6] brave, and pious, who became in due time King, and not only that but the first Christian King of Ireland. For although Saint Patrick had already been in Ireland many years, and almost all the nobility had embraced the new faith, still he had made little impression upon the monarchs themselves. It is from this Murtogh that the Mac Laughlins are descended.
   History tells us that he fought as many as seventeen bloody battles; but it does not record the details or the causes of the dissensions that led to his wars. On the other hand, it does give the minutest account of the literary and religious development of his reign. From his death in 528 A.D. till 1165 A.D., when died his descendant Murtogh Mac Laughlin, the last King of Ireland before the invasion of the Anglo-Normans, many of the rulers of the land were of his blood. This last Murtogh was a prince of strong religious feeling: he built a Cathedral for the Bishop of Derry in 1165. But with all his piety he had an impetuous temper, which finally wrought his ruin. For after having made peace with one of his vassals, having [Page 7] sworn by the staff of saint Patrick to observe faithfully all the terms of the treaty, for some slight cause, he seized his enemy and had his eyes put out. This breach of faith so enraged the Prince of Oirgial, who had pledged himself for the King, that he burst into Tyrone with nine thousand men and destroyed the King's hastily-gathered forces. "Murtogh himself was found buried under heaps of his enemies." "Thus fell," say the historians, "the generous Murtogh, the most intrepid and gallant hero of his day, the Hector of western Europe; he was victor in every battle he fought except this; but, forgetting his solemn vows, he fell a sacrifice to justice."
   Although the southern part of the island was quickly overrun and held by the English, the North maintained its independence until far through the time of Elizabeth. The Mac Loghlins furnished nominal monarchs for Ireland until 1241 A.D., in which year Donnel Mac Loghlin, chief of Clan Owen, expelled Brian O'Neil, the head of the younger branch from Tyrone. Brian sought shelter with O'Donnel, who moved his forces into [Page 8] Tyrone and gave battle to Mac Loughlin, "in which battle fell," say the Four Masters, "Donnel Mac Loughlin, lord of the Kinel-Owen, and ten of his family, together with all the chieftains of the Kinel-Owen. And Brian O'Neil was installed chieftain of Kinel-Owen."
   The O'Neils from that time became the leading family in the North. The Mac Loughlins retained their possessions, but their great political power was broken. Their chiefs from that time forth attached themselves to the O'Donnels rather that to their nearer kinsmen, and with good reason, for it would seem that the sword that smote them was not sheathed until it had forced a guaranty for their safety. They and their sons who are named as dying in battle die in companionship with Clan Conal.
    The assignment of lands in the six counties of rebellious and confiscated Ulster was made by King James in 1609; no one fared better by it than Sir Arthur Chichester. The King wrote to him, "Having approved of a project for distributing his lands in Ulster, and having consideration for your extra-ordinary [Page 9] dessert, his majesty is pleased to grant to you, and your heirs and assigns, the entire territory or country of Inishowen with Culmore Castle for life." With this grant was also conferred the power to hold four Courts Leet, one of which was in the Island of Inch, which lies off the foot of Grianan hill; so that while the Mac Loughlins of Aileach lost their lands, they had no lack of justice.
    Some of them retained a sort of half holding until the time of Cromwell. But that apostle of liberality drew his sword through their titles, and in fifty years they helped to verify the strange avowal, that true nobility of blood and manners in Ireland was confined almost exclusively to the ranks of the poor and pure native Irish. There was a spasm of life in 1690 when Tyrone and Tyrconnel, under the appointments of James II, fell for a few months into the hands of the native proprietors. Since that time, until within a few years, the only distinction open to them as to almost every other Irish family of the North true to its traditions, has been in the church. It is said that the Mac Laughlins [Page 10] used to claim a sort of prescriptive right to the high places in the see of Derry on account of their old ascendancy. It is even asserted that the last bishop but one of the name, the old bishop, as he was called, laid claim to a portion of the diocese of Raphoe quite uncanonically, but yet with such success tha the prelates of Raphoe still lack a large portion of their flock. The Mac Laughlins, like all the other old families in Donegal, have maintained an independence of character only equalled, even in Ireland, by that of their neighbors in the two adjoining counties. It may be that the heroism of their ancestors in Elizabeth's time told from one generation to another; it may be, that pride in their two great leaders, whose genius shone, as if fate could not let die so noble a race, without kindling by its grave a beacon whose light should fill the world; it may be that pure native vigor of blood has bred this mark upon the people of these three counties; whatever the cause, the fact has often been noted in this country, as well as in Ireland, by their own country- men and by others. With such a [Page 11] character, linked with a most profound respect for necessary law, and with a good sense which has made them frown upon weak schemes of revolution, they had few quarrels with the new-coming land and office holders. This good feeling has, however, been largely assisted in Donegal by the existence of a race of landlords far above the common level in Ireland; for it has seldom been the lot of the people of that county to execrate such inhuman wretches as Adair and Lord Leitrim; while the names of Style, Hill, the Montgomerys, the Stewarts of Ards, and others are hardly less esteemed than those of Red Hugh and the Great O'Neil. It would be indeed most fitting that amongst such a people, Gall and Gaedhil, in the region where Irish nationality found its grave, it should, in accordance with the prophecies of old, find also its resurrection.
   The addition of hereditary family surnames amongst the Irish began at about the same time as amongst the other western nations, that is, in the beginning of the eleventh [Page 12] century. But by a decree passed at Tara just after the coronation of Brian, instead of fixing on a locality like the English and French, each chief was directed to chose the name of some distinguished ancestor, whose virtues would always remind him of his origin. In many instances, families went very far back for their surnames. Thus, according to some accounts, the O'Neils go back to Owen, who was the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. The name means that they are, like Owen, sons of Niall. The Mac Loughlins go back to Donald the grand-son of Loughlin; they are, like him, grand- children of Loughlin. This Loughlin was slain by his brother Neil in 1023 A.D. Donald was a rival of Mortogh O'Brien, great grand- son of the hero of Clontarf. Int he contest between them, Donald penetrated into Munster, and burnt the palace of Kinkora. In return, Mortogh invaded Ulster, destroyed many of its towns, and levelled the palace of Aileach. It is written, that every man of Mortogh's common soldiers came to Aileach with an empty bag, but left with his bag on his back filled with one of [Page 13] Aileach's stones, which he lugged with him all the way to Munster as a proof of the thoroughness of his chief's retaliation. The most remarkable thing, however, in the career of these two princes, and perhaps the most creditable in all medieval Irish history, is their reconciliation. Murtogh had invaded Ulster with an immense army, and was met by Donald on the plains of Muirtimne, at the head of all the forces of the North. The armies were already drawn up in order of battle, waiting for the signal to engage, when the archbishops of Armagh and Cashel threw themselves between the liens, and by their entreaties secured a solid and lasting peace. Mortogh returned soon after to a monastery; and Donald also retired some time before his death to the house of St. Columb in Derry, in which he died, 1121, A.D. in his seventy-third year. He was, according to one of the ecclesiastical writers, most successful in his undertakings, frank, a just rewarder of the powerful, a generous giver to the poor, and the handsomest of his country-men. Many of the historians [Page 14] are mistaken in describing his grand-son King Maurice as the grand-son of Loughlin, Ware says that Maurice is sometimes called Mortogh O'Neil, and sometimes Mortogh McLaughlin, his father being Niall, and his grand-father Loughlin. The truth is, his surname Neil came from Niall of the Nine Hostages, and the other from Loughlin, his ancestor in the fifth degree. His father's name was Niall, but the father of Niall was King Donald himself.
   As to Owen, or Eoghain, the ancestor who gave name to the Kinel-Owen, there is this simple and affecting notice of his death in the Four Masters. "Owen, son of Niall, died of grief for Conall Gulban, and was buried at Eskaheen, in Innis-Owen." Conall, it seems, was slain by some of the old tribes of the Belgae or Firbolgs. "Eskaheen is still the name of an old chapel near a beautiful well in a townland of the same name," and is noted for being the birth-place of the celebrated John Toland, who lived in Charles the Seconds's time. It is rather curious that the two last and greatest ruling chiefs of Clans Owen and Conall, Hugh Roe O'Donal and Hugh [Page 15] O'Neill, were in affection as well as in law brothers, and that it was Hugh Roe's anxiety for the safety of O'Neil that brought on the fever of which he died in Spain.
   The history of a family that played so great a part in the affairs of Ireland during the middle ages is to a large extent the history of the country itself. Until the coming of the Danes, the tale is one of honorable blood-shed and sincere piety. Immense armies and crowded schools are wedded together, the former giving strength to the land, and the latter literary off-spring to all of north-western Europe. The genius of the country was moulded in brass; in her right hand, the sword, in her left, learning; in her eye, faith; a contrast, to our own plaster-of-paris age, with its fair outside; a contrast which awakes the regret of the student that he can only view that stately form through the mist of ages.
   The Danes covered the shores of Ireland like flocks of wild birds. Every smooth hill down by the sea became a fortress. Up the rivers, as far as their boats would bear them, [Page 16] they swarmed and built their raths. Tyrconnel and Tyrone, with their open waters, were to them a most tempting land; so they strung their settlements, in sight of one another, all along the bay of Donegal, up the Swilly, the Foyle, the Mourne, the Finn, as far as Dunnaloup, and even the slender Burn Deal, as far as Maghera Corn. But wherever they appeared they met with force, and Tirconnel and Tyrone soon became a land of fire and sword; the people were plundered, the churches burned, and the priests butchered. Still the Danes could hardly be said to have made any permanent occupation of these provinces, as they did of the shores of Leinster and of the north-east. The forces of the Milesians were well handled, and they proved themselves worthy descendants of the men who had, two thousand years before, driven the ancestors of these same invaders into and over the sea. Aileach was in those days a mighty pillar of strength, not only to Tyre-Owen but to all Ireland. Its cyclopean walls were still intact, and, with its outer works, it could hold a great army. But even Aileach [Page 17] yielded twice, whether to superior force or to stratagem does not appear. In 900, and in 937 A.D., it was captured and pillaged. On the last occasion, the ruling prince Murtogh was taken with it, but was soon afterwards released. At about this time the Danes had begun to be converted to Christianity, and were already making alliances, both of marriage and policy, with the Irish; so that the two races had got into the way of waging war with a little more friendliness; which may account for the good fortune of this Murtogh of the leather cloaks. Murtogh was son of the Monarch Niall Glundubh, who had fallen in battle with the Danes, 917 A.D., and nephew of Donald, who was the brother of Niall, and the direct ancestor of the Mac Loghlins.
    Murtogh was one of the most renowned warriors that Ireland has produced; his surname came from his having invented a kind of leathern jacket for his soldiers, which partly served as armour. He kept about him at Aileach a large force of these leather-covered men, whose discipline was almost perfect. After having been elected successor to the reigning monarch, [Page 18] he made a tour of Ireland at the head of twelve hundred of them, demanding and receiving hostages from the provincial chiefs and kings. With his captives, if they might be so called, he returned to Aileach, where he feasted them nine months; at the end of which time, he sent them to the Monarch Donogh at Tara, at whose hands no doubt they fared no worse. Murtogh lost his life in a great battle fought with Blacar, the Danish king of Dublin, near Ardee in Louth. Charles O'Connor says of him: " His character is entombed in the history of a people hardly inquired after in our time. He had as great a genius for war as any man that this island ever produced. The endowments of his heart were still greater; of all enemies he was the most generous, of all commanders he was the most affable. Elevated, benevolent, and captivating, he was unhappily taken off at a time when his character put him in possession of a power which probably would have relieved his country from bondage." Murtogh's son, Donald O'Neill, repaid his father's death in the same year by [Page 19] defeating the Danes of Lough Neagh with great slaughter, destroying their whole fleet. Donald was the first who bore the name O'Neill, which became afterwards the surname of the younger branch of the royal stock of the Northern Hy Niall. This period seems to have been one of general wakening of the Milesians to the danger of Danish supremacy; for within nine years, no less than ten great battles were fought, in which the Danes were uniformly defeated with immense loss. At the end of this series of disasters, they accepted readily the settlements allotted to them, and became everywhere converts to Christianity. They soon vied with the natives in the building of churches, the founding of monasteries, and even the defence of the country against their own race. For we find that Harold and Knut, the sons of Gormo III, King of Denmark, invaded Ireland about 950 A.D. with great force, and besieged Dublin, which had been for generations in the power of the Danes. Knut was killed by the cast of a dart; but Harold took the city, and kept it for some time. He became afterwards King of Denmark. [Page 20] Brian Boru himself made alliances with the Danes during his progress to the supremacy. The army which he commanded at Clontarf was, however, composed entirely of his own countrymen, while the opposing force was three-fifths Danish and two-fifths Irish; of the latter of whom alone three thousand were slain. The Danes never recovered from the battle of Clontarf; that was their last struggle for the possession of northwestern Europe. It may be said with equal truth that the Milesians never recovered from their success; for the death of Brian left the country without a master-mind to see, and a master-hand to mould together, the varying interests of the powerful chiefs whose followers had been trained for two hundred years to independent and fortunate conflicts with the common enemy. They had now none to contend with but themselves; and they made no end of it. If Brian thought that the ruin of the Danes meant peace forever in Ireland, he had not read aright the page of history on which it is written, that men fight for posterity in order that posterity may fight. Some [Page 21] one has said that war is a means of securing peace; but it is a bad policy which makes war anything but a means of preventing wrong.
   The Irish theory seems to have been that an honorable war is always preferable, even in a material view, to a corrupt peace. The civil conflicts which followed the subjugation of the Danes were not more numerous, perhaps, than those which were carried on at the same period in any other country of Europe. They were certainly less brutal and selfish; there was no confiscation of lands, no slaying in cold blood of captives; the persons and goods of the defenseless were held sacred. The cause of war was often the claim to the title of monarch or prince, the oppression of some friendly clan by a powerful neighbor, the perpetration of some crime by one of the greater chiefs, the making of the foray which became inseparable at one time from the inauguration of the heads of clans; the motive was seldom so mean a thing as mere gain.
    It was after a series of severe conflicts for the title of king that, on the death of Tirlough O'Connor, his rival, Maurice Mac Loughlin, [Page 22] became monarch of Ireland. It is said of him that he "reduced all the provinces by his arms, made wise regulations for the spiritual and temporal government, was the steady protector of the clergy, whom he made arbitrators of the most important of his affairs, and may be considered the most absolute of those who assumed the title of monarch since the reign of Malachi II." It was in his reign that Pope Adrian IV is said to have issued the bull transferring the sovereignty of Ireland to Henry II of England; which bull, as well as that ascribed to Alexander III, is justly regarded by the Abbe Mac Geoghagan as a forgery. It was in Murtogh's time in 1152 A.D. that Cardinal Paparo held the national council of Kells, at which Dublin, Cashel,* and Tuam were made metropolitan sees, Armagh being the only one up to this time in Ireland. Murtogh was the last Irish who died King of all Ireland. From the coming of the English until the time of James I, peace was banished from the land. But that was the fashion everywhere in Europe during that period, [Page 23]

footnote: There seems to have been some doubt as to the previous standing of Cashel.

and it would be more proper to call it an Indo-European than an Irish vice.
   Until the fall in 1241 A.D. of Donal before spoken of, the Mac Loughlins appear prominently in the Annals of the Four Masters. Donal himself had his ups and downs during his chieftaincy. He was evidently no friend to the English; for although in 1232 A.D. he was in alliance with them against the O'Donnels, in 1238 A.D., we find that the lord-justice Fitz-Maurice and Hugh de Lacey moved against him, deposed him, and put Bryan O'Neil in his place. The next year Donal regained his lordship after a severe battle, again lost it, and regained it once more before his final overhtrow by Malachi O'Donnel and Bryan O'Neil. Bryan was not over-weighted with gratitude to the O'Donnels; for, seventeen years after they ad reinstated him, on learning that Geoffry, Malachi's successor, was at the point of death from wounds received the year before in single combat with Fitz-Maurice, he gathered all his strength for an inroad into Tyrconnel. But Geoffry, as was customary, having been notified by [Page 24] Bryan to furnish hostages and make his submission, summoned his clansmen about him, and bade them place him on his bier, and carry him in their midst to the field of battle. The two armies met on the banks of the Swilly; Bryan was driven back with great loss of material and men; and Geoffry, who had been borne on with his victorious army, having died in the pursuit, was brought back and buried on the spot which he had chosen for the fight. After Donal's death, the name of the Mac Loughlins appears seldom in the Annals. Although numerous, they no longer took a prominent part in the quarrels of the North. Nor were they ever molested, respect for their noble descent, and sympathy for their great misfortune, having penetrated even their enemies. They entered heartily, however, into the plans of the two Hughs, and formed a large part of the force which those two chiefs led against the English of Elizabeth. The lord deputy, Mountjoy, who, without genius, was a man of great tact, knew how not to tempt fortune too far. So, rather than risk the credit of having beaten the third [Page 25] soldier of Europe, and fearing to lose all else that he had gained in his campaign against O'Neil, which was more than any other Englishman had gained in Ireland, he was wise enough to offer terms to both O'Neil and Rory O'Donal. He easily prevailed on the Queen, who had a strange mixture of hatred and admiration for O'Neil, to accede to his views of pacification. He secured a patent for Rory, which confirmed that prince and the various septs under him, who had been faithful to the Irish cause, in the possession of their lands. In the list of the pacificated in this patent were the Mac Laughlins. Mountjoy's settlement was, however, avoided by King James upon the flight of O'Neil and O'Donal in 1607, - a flight taken for the safety, but which became the ruin, of all Ulster.

[Pages 26, 27 and 28 are blank]


[Page 29] Aileach

A great poet of America once said to the writer that he put little faith in the accounts of early Irish art and civilization, giving as his reason that there are no ruins as in the case of Greece and Rome, But is such a war as swept over Ireland in the time of the Danes should fall upon the empire of Japan, almost all that is valuable of Japanese art would be in ashes, and there would be little beside books to stand as witnesses of the former splendor of the great. Japan is built of wood; so was Ireland in her palmy days, and what was beautiful became almost as unseeable as one of the feasts of Lucullus; here and there are exdceptions such as Henry O'Neil [Page 30] details in his work of Ancient Irish Art. These exceptions are the only monuments that Ireland can boast of; but they tell the same story as the books, and are to Brian and Malachi what Schliemann's trinkets are to Priam and Agamemnon. Happily for Aileach it was built of stone, else it would have been to the modern myth-makers perhaps the grotto of Calypso herself, who, it is claimed by some, wooed Ulysses on these very shores. There are many passages in the old writers which attest its splendor. St. Columb, who lived in the sixth century, came to Tara to beg from the monarch Hugh, his relative, the remission of the tribute paid by the Albanian Scots. The monarch refused, and with such haughtiness that the saint broke forth with a prediction of the ruin of Tara and the three other great palaces of the kingdom. The prophecy has been preserved in metrical form. The saint was ahimself a great poet, and the prophcy may have been delivered in impromptu verses. He says amongst other things: - [Page 31]

Oileach and Tara, now seats of power,
Rath-cruachain, and Emania the lofty,
Shall be deserted, though now so replenished,
To such an extent that a roof-tree shall not remain on the raths.

The monarch was so overcome by this portrayal of the vanity of power that he yielded.

The following translation of a part of the ancient work called Dinseanchus is taken from Conellan's Annals of the Four Masters.

"Aileach Fririn, the level platform,
The noblest royal fortress in the world,
To which strong-hold led
Horse roads through five ramparts."

"Many its houses, rare its stones,
And just were its tributes;
Lofty castle is Aileach Fririn,
The rath of the worthy man."

"Pleasant stone fortess, -
Protecting house of heroes; -
Here the Dagda slept
On this hill: red are its flowers." [Page 32]

"Delightful seat is Aileach Gabran;
Greenly blooning are its bushes;
Ground under which the dagda placed
The burial mound of Aedh."

"I now relate each cause,
From which Aileach received its name,
Together with its noble chiefs,
The house of armed warriors."

"Eochy Oilathair divided Erin;
Greyer than the mist on the plain
Was the grey aspect of the man;
Three were the sons of Eochy
(The good man was free from envy), Aengus, Aedh, and Kermad of fierce conflicts."

"To Aileach of the Dagda,
Above every abode in Ulster,
Belonged the government of Erin,
As recorded to us in books."

"Of all the works of Erin
The oldest is Aileach Fririn
I will not confer on it
More praise than it deserves."

"Twice twenty years, except a year,
As it was exactly computed, [Page 33]
This work of the hands of heroes
Passed to the sons of Milesius."

"Neid, son of Indai, high king
In the north, the country of flocks,
Was the first brave man by whom
Obach was forsaken for Aileach."

"Nine kings of Adam's race,
All of one name, ruled at Aileach;
Eochy was the name of each man
Appointed there to power."

"Eochy Oilathair was the first man
Who governed there with order;
Eochy Edgothach, who felt
The persecution of fierce battles."

"Eochy Opthach; and Eochy Feidleach,
A man of swords, whose life
Terminated by a natural end;
Eochy Airim and Eochy Buadhach."

"Eochy More, who slaughtered cattle;
Eochy Doimlen, the fair,
Who was well proved in the thick of battle;
And Eochy Moyvone, high King of Inis-Enaigh."

"Son of this man was Niall,
The bulwark of troops, - a man [Page 34]
Who met no defeat in battle, -
Who subdued many nations of the world."

"The fair Cruthnean Carinna
Was his renowned and lovely mother;
The descendants of the great Niall
Were kings of Aileach of valiant arms."

"Large-sized and fair-handed
Were those youths of heroic race;
Eogan, son of Niall, from a child
Was possessed of the strength of a hero."

"An aspect glowing with hospitality
Had this fair man of Feval;
Ineach, the fair daughter
Of King Monach, was mother of Eogan."

"He had the disposition of a king,
The courage of a hero, and agility of a lion;
The race of Eogan, - fair chieftains, -
The noble warriors of Temor;"

"Their fingers were adorned
With bright and brilliant rings;
The noblest host in all Erin
Is the assembly of Aileach."

"Sixteen chief kings ruled
Of Eogan's race over Erin; [Page 35]
They defended the birth-right of those in exile,
And received hostages from every country."

   The O'Dohertys had a castle in the district of Aileach, which in the time of James I was written Elagh. This castle was rebuilt for Sir Cahir; it was here that he imprisoned Captain Harte, and forced Harte's wife to go with him to Culmore, and give the pass- word to the warder. Near Aileach there was an old tower in 1872, which the writer thinks may be a part of one of O'Doherty's castles.
   Aileach is supposed to have been the Regia of Ptolemy, and the river Argita on his map the river Finn, the chief branch of the Foyle.
   Whoso stood on the crest of Aileach at noon on the fourteenth of September, 1607, and faced the sea, could hardly fail to witness an act, - a speck to the eye at so great a distance, - an act whose consequences have filled many measures of the world's history. Aileach had beheld the first coming, it was destined to look down upon the first going, of the Milesians. A little vessel had lain at anchor [Page 36] all the morning off Rathmullen, flying the French colors; at noon, many persons - men, women, and children - were carried on board. They, were the first voluntary exiles from the shores of Ireland of the race which had ruled it for three thousand years, - not always with wisdom, but never with inhumanity. As the anchor swung loose in the water of the Swilly, the last link that fastened them to that dear land was broken. More piercing than the wail that went up from the Piracus to Athens, at sight of them that came back from Syracuse, was the wail that broke from the people of Tyrconnel who thronged the shore to see their great ones leave them, never to return. Speechless were they that saw the hills moving and the waves gliding from them. The scene had special meanings to both O'Neil and O'Donnel; to O'Donnel, because from that same spot his brother Hugh was carried off twenty years before; and Hugh was now dead in that Spain to which this poor company of exiles would, in a few hours, stretch their sails; to O'Neil, because the most striking object to his sight was Aileach, the oldest [Page 37] fortress of his family, now, like himself, a ruin. The Four Masters might well say of them, and Maguire and the others: "That was a distinguished company for one ship, for it is most certain that the sea has not bonre, nor the wind wafted from Ireland in the latter times, a party in any one ship more eminent, illustrious, and noble than they were in point of genealogy, or more distinguished for great deeds, renown, feats of arms, and valorous achievements; and would that God had granted them to remain in their patrimonies until their youths should arrive to the age of manhood! Woe to the heart that meditated! woe to the mind that planned! woe to the council that determined on the project which caused the party who went on that voyage to depart, while they had no prospect to the end of their lives of returning safe to their hereditary estates or patrimonial inheritance." But Providence, which permitted Ireland thus to suffer, has prepared thereby a greatness for her people of which she dreamed not. The battle of Kinsale destroyed her independence, but it has in return made her people exiles - [Page 38] adventurous, and universal, - carrying with them to the uttermost corners of the earth faith, courage, and industry. Their later history begins with what seems a tragedy, which fate repents of already, for she seeks to heal the wounds which she herself meant to be mortal.

The Name

   Nothing is more confusing at times than the varying forms of the same Irish name. The old writers seem to find a special pleasure in making historical the different ways in which all the names, Christian sur- and nick-name, of a distinguished man may be written. In mentioning the defeat of Donal in 1241 A.D., the Four Masters call him Mac Loughlin in one part, and Donal O'Loughlin in another part of the same sentence. O'Donovan, in his edition of the Four Master, has made the Irish spelling uniformly Lochlainn, and the English Loughlin. Mac Geoghagan writes Maglochluin and Macglachluin; O'Halloran, [Page 39] Loughlin and Lochlin. The Annals of Lough Ce, and the Chronicum Scotorum, Loclainn, Lochlainn; the patent to Rory O'Donal, Maglaghlin; Connellan, Loughlin, Loghlin, and Lochlainn; Ware, Loghlin, and Loughlin. It would be difficult in such a variety of forms to fix upon one from which to take the meaning.    The family has been mistakenly said to be of Danish origin, Denmark in Irish being Lochlann, and a Dane, Lochlannach. According to some Lochlann meant the land of lakes, and Lochlannach a lake-lander; according to others, the derivation is loch, a lake or sea, and lonn, strong; hence 'strong at sea.' It is not unlikely that some of the weak members of the family have encouraged this seeming connection with the Danes, just as there are some people with good honest Irish names who seize upon a resemblance in sound to imagine a descent from the English or French. As there seems to be some freedom of choice in derivation, and since Lochlainn, after whom the family is called, was not a Dane, and there is nothing to show that he had anything [Page 40] to do with the sea, the writer would suggest that the name is baptismal. Now c and g are often interchanged; the g is actually used by several writers, and by nearly all the members of the family; luinn, as we have seen, is authorized by a writer who is thoroughly familiar with the language. Logh means God, sprit, fire; luinn is the gentive of lann, and means 'of the sword,' or 'spear.' 'sprit of the sword,' or 'strong heart' is a very likely meaning for a surname, or a Christian name, which last Loughlin is to this day, especially among the O'Neils and Highland Scotch. A Loughlin Mac Loughlin was slain in 1160 A.D.
   There is something singular about the tenacity with which the original sound of the name has been kept by those who bear it in Ireland. According to Joyce, ch and gh, the hard and soft gutturals, are frequently corrupted into f in Anglo-Irish; but there has been no such corruption in Ireland of this family name. It was reserced for New England to call it Laflin and Clafflin, the last the name of a late Governor of Massachusetts. A like carrying over of the c takes place in the [Page 41] change of Mac Hobb into Cobb; of Mac Hugh into Mac Cue; of Mac Aedh into Mac Kay, Key, and Kay; of Mac Ivor into Keever; of Mac Lellan into Clelland. The writer thinks that Laughlin and Lathlin, two other New England forms, although corruptions, are authorized by the genius of the Erse itself. Laughlin is the most modern, and now the usual form. The name is written indifferently O' and Mac by the old writers. The O'Loughlins of Burren in Clare, however, are never called Mac Loughlin, being of another stock.
   After the destruction of Aileach by Mortogh O'Brien, it was never rebuilt. From that time the Mqac Laughlins it would seem had their great house in Derry, and came to be called the Mac Laughlins of Derry, by which name some of the individual families, though residing elsewhere, are still designated.
   There has been for generations back a branch of the family settled in Glen Mournen near Strabane.
   Four of the name have been bishops of Derry, - Jeffry Mac Lathin (which spelling Ware says is evidently a mistake in the copying [Page 42] of the records), who held the see from 1297 to 1315 A.D; Michael Mac Loughlin, from 1319 to 1324 A.D.; Peter Mc Laughlin, who was consecrated bishop of Raphoe in 1802, and translated to Derry in 1823; John Mc Laughlin, nephew of Peter, whom he succeeded. Derry was raised into a see in 1158, at a synod at which the Pope's legate assisted. We have already spoken of the cathedral, built by king Maurice; it was destroyed by Sir Henry Dowcra in his expedition against Derry in 1600. Nicholas Mac Loughlin was prior of the Dominican abbey of Derry in 1397. The church lands in and about Derry seem to have caused a few complications in the settlement which followed Sir Cahir O'Doherty's revolt. These lands had already been occupied principally by English and Scotch settlers, who were compelled, however, by the grant ot the Londoners to take other lands in exchange. Amongst others, the Anglican bishop Montgomery himself was obliged to give up "an orchard or park, lying on the east side of the great fort in the said island of [Page 43] Derry, for which he paid ten white groats yearly to a herenagh named Laghlin," who, according to the custom affeting erenachs, was probably at that time the chief of the Mac Laughlins, or at least the head of some one branch of them.
   Since the time of Elizabeth there are few glimpses of the name in history. One of the last persons of note mentioned in the Four Masters is Turlogh Mac Loughlin, who was slain in 1603 A.D., in an expedition of Rory O'Donal's into the country of O'Rourke.
   Walter Mc Loughlin Mc Sweeny was one of the few native proprietors excepted from the sweeping confiscation of James the First. Of course, the reason for exception could hardly have been patriotic. He was allotted eight hundred and ninety-six acres, being the estates of Ballycanny and Ragh, in the district of Kilmacrenan. The surveyor's note says of him: "He hath built a good strong house of lime and stone, being a justice of the peace in the county, and conformable to his majesty's laws, serving the king and country upon all occaions, and one that hath ever [Page 44] been a true subject since the first taking in of Lough-foyle. His loyalty dates from the landing of Sir Henry Dowcra at Culmore Fort in 1600. Thre are turns in loyalty and patiotism which wise men like Walter Mac Swyne know how to take.
   The Calendar of State Papers throws just one ray of light upon the services rendered by this Walter; he is in them, as well as in the Carew Calendar, set down as simply 'Walter Mac Laughlin.' It may be that 'Mac Swyne' was an addition coming from fosterage among the Mac Sweenys; it may be a mistake of Pynnar's or of his clerk's. That it is the same man is evident from the fact that the grant above described is set against the name 'Walter Mac Laughlin' in both the State and the Carew Calendars; in the latter, however, he is afterwards mentioned as 'Walter McRaughlin Mc Swine,' which gives the Mac Laughlins a double chance of escaping the odium of his conduct. Soon after the flight of the earls, the lord deputy wrote to Sir Richard Hansard, requesting him to examine Walter Mac Laughlin with reference to a letter [Page 45] supposed to have been written by O'Neil to Sir Cahir O'Dogherty. Hansard answers that he examined him, but could not find that any such letter had been received. It may be inferred from the character of Hansard's letter that Walter was in the confidence of Sir Cahir; and it is not unlikely that he was concerned in aiding the two Mac Davitts in their intrigues with Sir Henry Dowcra at Derry. When Sir John O'Doherty died, his son Cahir was still a child; so AHugh JRoe, as chief, declared Sir John's brother Felim to be the O'Doherty, and took Cahir under his own charge. This enraged the Mac Davitts, Cahir's foster brothers, who began to bargain secretly with Dowcra; and having, after long entreaty withy Hugh Roe, secured possession of Cahir, they went over openly to the English. This defection soon came to be a serious affair for Hugh Roe, whose cousin, Neal Garve, one of the ablest soldiers in Ireland, ahd already deserted him, because of alleged ill treatment. After Hugh Roe's death, Neal managed to have himself inaugurated as the O'Donnel. Now, just as King James counted [Page 46] so many pounds sterling in his treasury, an Irish chief counted so many head of cattle, money being a thing tabooed as far as possible by native law and custom. This treasure was handed down from one chieftain to another with as much precision of counting as if it were coin or weighted bullion. Neal's first act as chief was to secure his exchequer as he called it. But, unfortunately for him, the English did not relish his pretensions, although at the time of his desertion they had acutally agreed to sustain him; worse than all, they set his cousin Rory upon him. So, by the time Neal had drawn together about seven thousand head, Rory and the English came up with him, and after a sharp fight made him surrender his chieftain's portion, as it was called, which Rory divided between himself and his friends. Neal made several other attempts to get at the clan cattle, which was generally held for the chief byf large graziers or members of the clan thoroughly devoted to him. This will serve to explain the two following entries made after a note of Lady O'Doherty's testimony, which was to the effect that [Page 47] she believed that Sir Neal had been leagued with her husband.

Under July 1, 1608, in a memorandum made by the Treasurer:-
"Cattle taken away from people protected* by Sir Neale and his men."

"The 14th of June, from Donnel Mac Laughlin, 500 cows."

"The 12th of June, Owen Mac Laughlin, 140 cows and 100 sheep."

   The English connected these two seizures with the theory that Sir Neal was in concert with Sir Cahir, and that he was making ready to join him. Bad as he was, Sir Neal was not a mere robber, and when he took these preys, he took, no doubt, what he thought belonged to him as chief. It is possible that the two Mac Laughlins were simply holding the cattle for Rory O'Donal against his return from exile. However that may be, the seizures were links in the evidence which sent Sir Neal to the Tower, where he died after an imprisonment of seventeen years, being the

*footnote: Meaning, probably, under the protection of the government, or not engaged in Sir Cahir's revolt.

[Page 48] last of his race that was formally inaugurated as the O'Donnel.

   The name Mac Laughlin appears occasionally in the list of officers in James the Second's Irish army. D'Alton thinks that some of these men were O'Melaghlins of Meath. If ever a roster of Baldearg O'Donnel's army comes to light, the name will probably appear prominently in it, as that army, which was never allowed to do itself justice, was largely compsed of Ulster men.
   In the battle of Benburb, Owen Roe O'Neil captured Lord Montgomery of Ards. Charles I wrote a letter to O'Neil, who was fighting for him, in which he asked for Montgomery's release. O'Neil objected, saying that Montgomery, who commanded the enemy's cavalry, ahd, contray "to the terms agreed upon between Montrose and the state of Scotland, most traitorously executed and put to death Lieutenant-Colonel Angiush Mac Allaster Duffe Mac Donnel, and used the like cruel execution, after quarter given, upon Lieutenant-Colonel O'Cruise, Major ------ Laughlin, [Page 49] Major -----, and divers other commanders, with many others of inferior sort."    Doctor Petrie, in a treatise on the Irish harp, gives an account of the appearance of a harper named Mac Loughlin, who figured prominently at O'Donnel's reception in Dublin, after the Emancipation act. He describes him as one of the last of what is called the Belfast school of harpers, - a venerable minstrel,- an octogenarian, with silvery locks and beard, clad in the costume of the bardic race, who sat below O'Connel, in the same car, playing with great fervor upon his harp, which could not be heard, however, amid the enthusiastic shouts of the people. The doctor afterwards bought the harp, and had it in his possession at the time he was writing about it.
    March 25, 1865, at break of day, in front of Petersburg, happened the most remarkable military feat in the whole civil war in America, and one of the most remarkable feats in any war of all time. Fort Steadman was the key of Grant's position. Both from its situation and its construction it was deemed impregnable. [Page 50] It had been committed to the care of General N.B. Mac Laughlin, an excellent officer, who was destined, however, like many other good soldiers, to suffer from the neglect of his subordinates. From the fort a stone could be thrown into the confederate works; the advanced lines at one point were only seventy-five feet apart. The pickets of both armies had begun to fraternize with each other; the federal pickets had grown careless and unfaithful. The situation, it is said, had been observed and studied by that clever soldier Mahone, who asked Lee's permission to try an assault. Lee withheld his consent for some time, but finally arranged an asault with three divisions under Gordon. It is said that on that memorable morning some of the pickets of both armies were still engaged in friendly contests at cards on the neutral ground when the great wave of men swept over them. Before an alarm could be sounded, a large part of Gordon's force were inside of Grant's lines, and, by a well-executed wheel, had cdrowned the hill on which stood Fort Steadman, - were [Page 51] over its walls, had seized its guns, turned them upon their owners, and hadmade a hole in the outer federal line of between a quarter and half a mile, through which, as it has been expressed, Lee's whole army might have marched by divisions. So sudden and successful was the assault that the first news of it to many of the federal officers was their being made prisoners, which happened to General Mac Laughlin among others in the rear of Fort Steadman. But unfortunately for Lee, his army had too little body at that time. The inner federal line stopped his advance, and the attacks made upon him at other points compelled him to retire. The only serious issue to this great enterprise was the hastening of the federal assault, which happened in a few days, and resulted in the fall of Richmond.

[Page 52]The Descent from Fenius

The genealogy of Domnald Mac Lochuin, who died 1121 A.D. He was the

Son of Ardgal, king of Aileach;
" Lochlann, Lord of Innisowen;
" Maelachainn, royal heir of Aileach;
" Maelruanaidh, tanist of Aileach;
" Flann, heir apparent of the North;
" Domhnall, brother of the Monarch Neil Glandubh, a quo O'Donnelly;
" Hugh VII, monarch;
" Niall Caille, "
" Niall Frassach,"
" Fearghal, "
" Maolduin;
" Maolfithric;
" Hugh IV Uariodnach, monarch;
" Domhnall, "
" Murtogh Mac Earca, first Christian king;
" Muireadhach;

[Page 53] Son of the Eogan, who gave
name to Tyrone; son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, who
was the son of Eochaidh Muuighymeodhin, son of
Muireadhach Tirigh, son of Fiacha Sreabhtuinne, son of
Cairbre Liffeachair, son of Cormac Ulfhada, son of Art
Aonfhir, son of Conn of the Hundred Battles, son of
Feidhlime Reachtmar, son of Tuathal Teachtmar, son of
Fiachadh Fionnola, son of Fearadhach Fionn, son of
Criomthan Niadhnar, son of Lugh Riabhndearg, son of Mac
Nattri Bfineamhna, son of Eochaidh Feidlioch, son of
Finn, son of Finlogha, son of Reoighnein Roe, son of
Ensamuin Eamhna, son of Blathacta, son of Labra Luirc,
son of fEadhna Aighnach, son of Aongus Tuirmeheach
Teamhrach, son of Eochaidh Foltleathan, son of Oiliolla
Caisfhialach, son of Conla Cruadh-Chealgach, son of Jarn
Gleofathach, son of Meilge Molbhthach, son of Cobthaig
Caolbreag, son of Ugaine More, son of Duach Laigrach, son
of Fiacha Tolgrach, son of Muireadhach Bolgrach, son of
Simeon Breac, son of Aodhan Glas, son of Nuadha
Fionnfail, son of Giallacha, son of Olilolla Olchaoin,
son of Siorna Saogalach, son of [Page 54] Dein
Rogheachtaig, son of Maoin, son of Aongus Olmuchaidh, son
of Fiacha Labhruine, son of Smiorguill, son of Eanbhotha,
son of Tiaghernmas, son of Follain, son of Eithriall, son
of Iriall Faidh, son of Heremon, son of Milesius, King of
The ascent from Milesius is as follows:-
King of Spain; Bratha; Deagatha, Lord of Gaetulia;
Alloid, Lord of Gaetulia; Nuagatt, Lord of Gaetulia;
Neannuall, Lord of Gaetulia; Faobhar Glas, Lord of
Gaetulia; Heber Glunn Fionn, Lord of Gaetulia; Lamhfionn,
Adnamoin, Tait, Ogamhain, BJeogamhluin, Heber Scot, Sru,
Easru, Gadelas, Niull, Feniusa Farsa, King of Scythia,
"inventor of letters, and first founder of the
universal schools, at the plain of Magh Seanair."
Some modern writers have surmised a genealogy extending
beyond Fenius through Japhet to Noah; but the Milesian
writers stop with Fenius. It is concded however by all
who have studied ancient Ireland history fairly and
carefully that Fenius was a descendant of Magog, the son
of Japhet.

[Page 54] Notes

Page 1


Page 2

    The old woman who unlocked the door of the old castle or priory at Rathmullen for the writer in 1872 was of Scotch descent, and knew absolutely nothing of the history of the ruin or of the country in which she lived. She had never heard the story of Hugh Roe, - for certainly no woman could have heard it and not wept over it, as many a man has, enough to have remembered it. Sir William Betham calls the old castle which stood near by the present ruin Dundonald. Hugh Roe at the time of his capture was about fifteen years old, already famed throughout Ireland for a certain beauty of countenance and grace of person, and for great literary talent and accomplishment in one so young. Prophecies of his future greatness, and of his being the deliverer foretold by Saint Columb, had become general in the North, and had made the [Page 57] government so uneasy that the deputy JSir John Perrot decided to seize him. The manner of his capture and escape, as told by the Four Masters, is the finest peice of writing in that remarkable work, and, from its natural honesty of description and detail, of surpassing interest and pathos.

    'An estray''in distress.'- At the time this was written the writer was unable to get at the details concerning this vessel. She was wrecked near Aileach, not far from O'Dogherty's cstle on the Innishowen side. Six hundred men got safe on shore, where they formed a camp; but they were shortly after attacked by a small English force under the two brothers Hovenden, and compelled to surrender after a loss of twenty killed. The Hovendens describe one of the captives as a man of great condwquence, he having been commander of thirty thousand men. They carried him and some of the other important prisoners to O'Neil, their foster-brother, who was then acting with the English. The other shipwrecked Spainiards were well treated gby the local chiefs everywhere on the coast, but many of them [Page 58] were afterwards hunted down and put to death by the deputy Fitz-William and one or two Irish chieftains who assisted him, one of whom was Hugh Roe's father, who afterwards, in the habit of St. Francis, bitterly repented of his conduct. (See Hill's 'Confiscation in Ulster.')

Page 3

   'three brothers.'- There is a tradition in the Shiel family that they are the descendants of these contestants.

Page 5

    'Standing with his harness on.'- This legend, which the writer has colored, is also told of a troop of O'Neil's horsemen. As the story goes, some one stumbles by accident into one of the caves of Aileach, where he finds a body of horse, saddled and bridled, the horsemen lying on the ground with the reins in their hands. The noise made by the stranger wakes one of the horsemen, who raises his head and asks "Is the time come?" Getting no answer, he falls back into his lethargy. Why the troop should be called O'Neil's is [Page 59] rather curious, because Aileach was latterly in O'Donnel's country, which was originally bounded by the Swilly to the west of Aileach.

Page 6

   'many of the rulers.'- Mr. Todd, in his appendix to the 'War of the Gaedhil and the Gall,' has shown conclusively that, for many generations before Brian, there was a law or custom by which the succession alternated between the descendants of this Murtogh and the Meath family, to which the Malachis belonged. Brian broke this succession, he being of the race of Heber, while the northern kings were of the stock of Heremon. The alternation above referred to seems to have diminished for the time being the contests for the sovereignty; so that some writers feel that Brian's accession had rather an evil effect. Before the alternation was agreed upon, descendants of Conal Gulban had in several instances become kings. 'till 1165.'- instead of '1165' read '1166.' The cathedral was built in 1164, not 1165. [page 60]
Page 7
    'Oirgial,'- the present county of Armagh, formerly ruled over by a family of O'Carrols. These Carrols were not of the same stock as of Eily O'Carrol, in Leinster.
   'fell a sacrifice.'- The battle was fought at a place called Litterluin, near Lough Neagh.

   'maintained its independence.'- This independence of the North was secured by four well-contested battles, namely: Moy Caba, gained in 1188, by Donald the son of Hugh Mac Loughlin; Armagh, gained by Murtogh Mac Loughlin in 1196; Donoghmore, gained by Hugh O'Neil in 1199; and Credrain, gained by Geofry O'Donal in 1257. The battle of Down, lost by Bryan O'Neil, was an offensive battle on his part, and had no other effect than of leaving the English where they were.
Page 8

   'companionship with Clan Conal.'- There is one exception, that of Dermot Mac Loughlin, who died with Bryan O'Neil at the battle [Page 61] of Down. Gilbride Mac Conmidhe, who wrote a poem on the battle of Down, says of Dermot:-

'There would have been no weakness in Leath Cuinn
[the North]
If Mac Lochlainn had not been slain.'

    O'Donovan, in commenting on this pasage, says that it is probable that Dermot would have succeeded Bryan as chief of Clan Owen, if he had lived.
   In another note on the name itself O'Donovan gives a pedigree of King Maurice Mac Loughlin, which makes him descend lineally from Nial Glundubh, which, according to both Mac Geoghagan and Todd, is a mistake, the true descent being from Domhnal, the brother of Nial Glundubh.
   O'Donovan says, in a note to the 'Topographical Poems' of O'Dugan and O'Heeran, that a branch of the Mac Lochlainns moved with some of the O'Donnels to Mayo about the year 1679, where they still hold the rank of gentlemen. The writer would suggest that many of the family who remained in Ulster [Page 62] lost that rank, legally speaking, but still remained gentlemen. There seems to be a tendency amongst some of the annotators to flatter old families who have retained some portion of their patrimonies, or of what was given them instead. This is fequently done in the case of families to whom it is no credit that they have retained titles or land. It has been an easy thing in Ireland within two hundred and fifty years to sell one's religion for a few hundred acres.    The old families in Ulster feel it no shame that they were stripped of everything. The cause in which they suffered has ennobled their poverty, and they have worn it as a badge of honor. Nor would they now, as some wild dreamers urge, regain what was once theirs from the present holders by revolution, or in any other way than by hard work of head or hand.

Page 9

    'half holding.'- The writer was told by one of the Mac Laughlins that his ancestors had full ownership of a large tract of pasture land [Page 63] back of Culmore and along the crest of Fahan Hill until they were dispossessed by Cromwell's people. It is more likely, however, that they were simply tenants of Chichester, or of his assigns, from 1609 till the coming of Owen Roe in 1641, and that they then became proprietors once more, and so remained until Cromwell had subdued the country.

Page 10

    'two great leaders.'- Hugh O'Neil and Hugh Roe O'Donnel.

Page 11

    'Adair and Lord Leitrim.'- This was written before the murder of Lord Leitrim. In the light of that most terrible of landlord tragedies, it is unnecessary to say anything of either of these men. Under Lord Leitrims' successor, the tenants will probably know better than any other tenants in Ireland what it is to have a gentleman for a landlord.
   'Style.'- Sir Thomas Charles Style belonged to what had been an absentee family, but, on coming to his estate, resolved to go over to [Page 64] Ireland, and live among his tenantry. He at once set about improving the condition of his tenants, building good houses, systematizing the holdings, and turning in new lands to such an extent that he has made from what was formerly considdered one of the wildest parts of Donegal, a fertile and attractive country.
    'Hill.'- Lord George Hill has done in the neighborhood of Gwedore the same thing that Sir Charles Style has done at Glen Finn.
   'Montgomery.'- There are two families of Montgomerys in Donegal: that of Convoy is the one particularly referred to here. It was to it that General Richard Montgomery of Revolutionary fame belonged. The writer thinks it was the present Montgomery of whom he was told that he had made provision in his will for preventing the sale of any of his lands to Lord Leitrim.
   'Stewarts of Ards.'- A family connected with the Stuarts of England. There is a tradition in Donegal that one of the Stuarts, whether king or pretender the writer [Page 65] forgets, was harbored for a short time by one of this family. The writer was bery forcibly reminded of this tradition by the pictures on the walls of a room in the hotel at Letterkenny, which is owned by the present Stewart of Ards, and carried on for the public benefit under his direction, and in which, by the way, the writer found much more comfort than in any other hotel in Ireland.
   'Gall and Gaedhill.' 'Gall,' the foreigner, and 'Gaedhill,' the Milesian. According to ancient prophecies, either 'Sriangalla' or 'Hugh, the lofty one', shall come and unite them in a final successful effort for the independence of Ireland. (O'Kearney's 'Prophecies of SS.Columbkil,'&c.)

Page 12

    'According to some.'- There are others who claim that the name was taken from Nial Glundubh. (See page 17.)
    'Towns.'- Probably duns, fortified places.

Page 13

   'St. Columb.'- Probably no saint ever loved his country half so well as Columbkil, and there was no other spot in Ireland that Columbkil loved half so well as Derry. (See Montalembert's life of St. Columba, in the 'Monks of the West.')
    'Muirtimne.'- A favorite battle ground with the Irish. It was here Cuchullin was slain.

Page 14

    'Grand-son.'- Connellan in one of his notes calls him a grand- nephew of Donald. The writer cannot make him anything less than a grand-son: in this he is supported by O'Donovan.
   'Eskaheen' lies next to the townland of Aileach or Elagh. The word was originally Uisgechain, meaning 'beautiful water.'
   'Toland.'- The Irish name was Tuathlin. He was born and bred a Catholic, became Protestant, then infidel. So offensive were some of his publications that they were suppressed. He was a man of extraordinary learning.
    'Conal Gulban.'- He was named after Ben Bulban, a magnificent headland in the bay of Donegal on the Sligo coast, where he was [Page 67] fostered. The wirter, during his sojourn in Ireland, saw no green so rich as that which clings to the sides of Ben Bulban. It was an unexpected pleasure, because he had for seeks seen the mountain every day from the Donegal side, blue and bare, as he thought, something noble to look at in the distance, but uninviting near by. There is a beautiful story, the most artistic of its kind, it is said, of which Donal is the hero, in the third volume of Campbell's 'Stories of the Western Highlands.' There is little about it that is historical: that little escaped Campbell, who does not seem to have known who Conal was.
Page 15

    'Hugh Roe's anxiety.'- The Irish writers all ascribe his death to the intensity of his longing for such news as would warrant the Spanish king in despatching the army which had already been gathered for the invasion of Ireland.- But see note to p. 36.

Page 16

   'Ancestors of these same invaders.'- The Tuath-de-Danann came from Denmark. After their overthrow by the Milesians, many of them crossed over into Britain, and occupied Cornwall and Dorset; it is not unlikely that some of them went back to Denmark.

Page 20

    'Entirely.'- There is no doubt as to the nationality of Sitric, the prince of Ulster, who is mentioned as having assisted Brian. The name is Danish, but if he had been a Dane, that fact would probably have been noted as one of the remarkable features of the battle. The writer finds the name Sitric as an Irish name before the time of Christ.
    'None to contend with but themselves.'- This perhaps might be more truly aid to be the case after the death of Malachi II, who had been displaced by Brian, but who, on Brian's death, reassumed the imperial power and completed the discomfiture of the Danes. (See Todd, in the appendix to his translation of the 'War of the Gaedhil with the Gaill.')

Page 23

\     'combat with Fitz-Maurice' read 'Fitz-Gerald.'

[Page 69] Page 24

   'And buried.'- This is a poetic version. There are several accounts of this battle. O'Donovan's version of Geoffry's death is as follows: On the return from the pursuit, 'the bier on which O'Donnel was carried was laid down in the street of Conghail, and here his soul departed.' Conghail was a town near Letterkenny; it is now called Conwal, hardly a village. It see4ms the old town was destroyed by an accidental fire, and never rebuilt. The text should read 'having died from his wounds breaking out afresh in the pursuit.'
   'numerous.'- See Reeve's edition of 'Colton's Visitation of Derry,' p. 45.
   'third.'- Henry IV called himself the first, the Conde de Fuentes the second, and O'Neil the third soldier of Europe.
   'Aileach.'- The name is said to have come in this way: There was a great architect, by name Frigrin; he went to travel in Scotland; there he met and fell in love with the king's daughter, and she with him. They ran off together,- of course to Ireland, of whose king, Fiacha Sruibthine (see the genealogy, p. 53) [Page 70] Frigrin asked protection. The king gave him the ancient fort on the Grianan. There Frigrin built his princess a great house of wood, of red yew, carved and emblaZOned with gold and bronze, and so thick set with gems that day and night were equally bright within it. The name of the princess was Ailech. This happened about 320 A.D.
    O'Curry says that Aileach was one of the few spots in Erinn marked in its proper place by Ptolemy of Alexandria, whose time was two hundred years before that of Frigrin. Ptolemy distinguishes it as a royal residence.

Page 31

    'Rath Cruachan,' or Croaghan, near Elphin, in Roscommon. The ancient capital of Connaught, and the residence of the celebrated Queen Mab, who is claimed by some to be the original of Shakespeare's Queen.
   'Fririn.'- So called from Frigrin, one of the two architexts who built it.
   The 'Dagda,'- a prince of the Tuath de Danans, the race that was conquered by the Milesians. The Milesians were assisted in [Page 71] this overthrow by the JFirbolgs, or Belgae, who had been displaced by the Danans, and who gladly ackownledged the supremacy of the Milesians.    The following is the substance of a pretty story translated by O'Curry. The Danans fought a great battle with the Formorians. After the battle, the Danans found that Uaithne, the Dagda's harper, had been carried off by the enemy; so ALugh, the king, DJagda, the great chief, and Ogma, the chief champion of the Danans, started in pursuit. They found the Formorians feasting in one of their palaces. The harp was hanging on the wall. They did not venture to attack the Formorians, but, instead, Dagtda invoked the harp, saying: "Come, Summer, come, Winter, from the mouths of harps and bags and pipes." When he had finished the invocation, the harp sprang from the wall, and in its passage out killed nine persons. It came to the Dagda, who seized it, and played upon it in the three modes. by the first mode he made all the women weep; by the second, all the youths and women laugh; and by the third, all, both [Page 72] men and women, sleep; and so the Danan heroes escaped.
   'Aedh,'- Anglice, Hugh. He was the son of Dagda. he was killed through jealousy by Corgenn, a Connaught chieftain. Dagda caused the fort of Aileach to be built around the grave of Aedh.

Page 32

'Gabran.'- One of the two architects of Aileach.

Page 33

    'Neid,'- a Danan prince.
    'Feval,'- a Danan prince, drowned in the Foyle,     'Temor,'- Tara.
   'Eochy Ollathair,'- a Danan king, grandfather of the three brothers who consulted Ith as referee in the division of the crown jewels. (See p. 32, 'Kermad,' father of the three brothers just mentioned.)
    'Eochy.'- This name seems to have been very common among the Milesian kings and chiefs. (For Eochy Opthach, Eochy Edgothach, [Page 73] see O'Halloran, bk. ii. chap. 2; Eochy Fiedlioch, O'Halloran, bk. iv. chap. 7; Eochy Airim, O'Halloran, bk. iv. chap. 8.)
   Eochy Doimlen, of the race of Heremon, was the father of the three brothers called the Collas, who destroyed Emania and the power of the Red-Branch Knights, who were chiefly of the stock of Ir, the ancestor of the Magennises. From the Colla, called 'dha Crioch' the Mac Mahons and Maguires of Ulster are sprung. The country conquered by the Collas and held by their descendants till the time of Elizabeth comprises the present counties of Louth, Armagh, and Monaghan.
   Eochy Moyvone, the father of Nial of the Nine Hostages, married Carinna, a Saxon princess, whose nation made frequent alliances with the Irish. The Venerable Bede, in upbraiding his own king for his attacks upon the Irish, speaks of the ancient friendship of the two races.

Page 35

    'the river Finn.'- Donegal people either use this full phrase, or else they say 'Finnwater.' The writer has bery seldom if ever heard it called the 'Finn.' No name could be too poetic for it. St. Admanan, first bishop of Raphoe, who wrote the life of St. Colomb, tells of a strange light that was seen in the east on the night of the great saint's death by a young ecclesiastic and some others who were fishing in Glenfinn. The ecclesiastic in his old age narrated the occurrence to Admanan, who quotes him, latinizing from the Irish, of course: 'Alii mecum viri laborantes in captura piscium in valle piscosi fluminis Fendae," - the last five words of which may be rendered "in the hollow of the fishful river Finn," recalling the modern couplet-

"Bonnie Finnwater runs in a hollow,
Fishing and fowling for all men to follow."

Page 36

    'dead in that Spain.'- One would suppose from passages in Motley and other writers that it was only Catholics who were guilty of the secret poisoning of public enemies in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Carew Calendar will help to disabuse modern readers of any such illusion. That vigorous [Page 75] falsifier of history, Froude, refers to the attempted poisoning of Hugh Roe, and defends it as ingeniously as he does the wife killing of the pious Henry. (See Froude's 'History of Ireland,' vol. i, p. 63) The passage in the Carew Calendar quoted by Froude forms part of a letter from Carew to Lord Mountjoy, and has been deciphered as follows:-
   "O'Donnell is dead. The merchants that bringeth me the news I do trust, and I do think it will fall out that he is poisoned by James Blake, of whom your lordship hath been formerly acquainted. At his coming into spain he was suspected by O'Donnell, because he embarked at JCork, but afterward he insinuated his access and O'Donnell is dead. He never told the President in what manner he would kill him, but did assure him it would be effected." (See the Carew Calendar of State Papers, 1602 A.D., p. 350)
   This coupling of the names of O'Donnell and Blake is in dark contrast to that of Moore's in his "Sublime was the warning." But if Hugh Roe had been poisoned, that fact would have been historically established. [Page 76] It would seem from a letter the Earl of Shrewsbury to Carew written after the above that Hugh RJoe's body was opened, since Shrewsbury speaks of a report that there was found in it a snake or serpent, which sets him moralizing on the Irish chief's wickedness in warring with his natural sovereign. If the writer recollects aright, the compiler of Murray's handbook of Spain, in describing Simaneas, where Hugh died, takes sufficient interest in him to call him a 'vile traitor,' or something of that kind. History, however, has weighed him more nicely than the London book-maker, and has put her stamp upon him as a great soldier, an accomplished scholar, a fine poet, an adroit ruler of men, of gentle manners, but of unconquerable will and singleness of purpose,- a man of almost holy life, and all this before he had completed his twenty-ninth year. (See Father Mooney's description, translated by Mechan, in his work on the "Irish Franciscan Monasteries.')
    'in a few hours.'- They stood to, near the shore, until midnight, when they set full sail, the intention being to make for Spain. But [Page 77] the winds were against them and they were obliged to land on the northern coast of France after almost incredible suffering.

Page 38

    'The Name.'- There is a very curious spelling in the State Papers for the year 1279. The entry reads: 'For the maintenance of Magnus O'Tothel and Donewich McLawelin, hostages, and of a nurse from St. Patrick's day till Michaelmas following, at 3d. a day, 48s.' It is said that some of the O'Melaghlins of Meath have in later times begun to spell their name McLaughlin.

Page 40

    'baptismal.'- The name Loughlin or Lochlainn is latinized into Laurentius (Laurence) and Florentius (Florence). See Colton's 'Visitation of the Diocese of Derry,' edited by Reeves, and also the Four Masters under the year 1420, where Loughlin O'Gallagher is spoken of as Laurence O'Gallagher, Bishop of Raphoe. Almost all the old Irish names were latinized into forms resembling them, but often [Page 78] having quite different meanings, as in this case.
    'destroyed.'- It had alrady been seriously injured by an explosion during the occupation of Derry by Randulph a generation before. (See Mitchell's 'Life of Hugh O'Neil.')
    Nichoals Mac Loughlin is the only prior of the Dominican abbey whose name has been preserved. It seems that we are indebted for it to Colton, who also mentions a Donaldus McGlachlyn one of the chapter of Derry.

Page 43

    'herenagh.'- O'Donnel's castle in Derry was built on land bought by the O'Donnel from the erenagh Laghlina, as being part of his erenagh land, for twenty cows.
    "Movilley (Moville), containing four quarters of Herenagh land. Manus McMelaghlin is the herenagh of one of the said quarters called Carngcooly (now Cooly)." (Reeves's 'Colton,' notes.)
    An Erenagh was originally an arch-deacon. As erenagh land was church property, it was [Page 79] exempt from spoliation during war. For this reason it often happened that the heads of families would give large tracts to the church, their descendants holding them and paying so much rent or income to the particular church or monastery to which they were attached. A nominal rent or service was paid in return by the church or monastery to the erenagh. It is probable that after the defeat of Donnel in 1241 a good portion of the land of the Mac Laughlins was thus converted into church property. The writer find but a single instance in which preys were taken from them after that event. (See page 47.)

Page 45

    'Neal Garve.'- Perhaps no Irishman after Dermot Mac Murrough has been so scorched by the writers of his country as Neal Garve. And still what Neal did had been done repreatedly by some of the most distinguished men of his own race and clan. It was not an uncommon thing for an Irish prince or an Irish noble to enter into an alliance with the English for his own interest. It seems that [Page 80] Neal acted quite openly. Hugh JRoe knew that the English were tempting him, and knew that he was discontented. The 'idlers' about him, as the Four Masters call his advisers, were urging him continually to break with Hugh Roe and accept the offers of chieftainship and wealth held out to him by Dowcra. It was only after a severe struggle with his own love for his clan that he uielded. When he did come into Dowcra's camp, it was with only fifty or sixty horsemen, instead of with a thousand men as has been stated repeatedly. His dealings with the English were most honorable, their dealings with him simply damnable; and it is no wonder that he regretted his desertion of his great cousin and brother-in-law. It is to his credit that he never admitted the pretensions of the English to dominion in Tyrconnel, and that he remained faithful to his religion, placing that above everything. It is also clear to the writer that if Neal had succeeded in securing possession of his son, Naghtan, who was held as hostage in Dublin, he would have made of Sir Cahir's revolt a formidable war. For he [Page 81] had already at that time become the most powerful and popular man of the whole North, and there was no officer to oppose him with equal enterprise and skill. It was certainly not because of any friendliness to the English that he was sent to the Tower. Although not a noble character, like Hugh Roe, still he was a great character, and has had more abuse than he deserved.

Page 52

    'Ardgal,' sometimes written Ardgan. He was called Mac Lochlainn by the Four Masters, so that he, and not Domnald, as stated on page 12, was the first who bore the family name. It is implied on page 12 that 'Mac' in patronymics means 'grand-son of,' and 'O' 'son of.' There is authority for this view, but the best authorities make 'Mac''son of,' and 'O' 'grand-son of.' It was Ardgal who restored the power of the senior family of Clan Owen. (See below Flann and Domhnall.) He was a prince of great enterprise: he is called king by the Four Masters, who state that he was buried in the tomb of the kings at Armagh,k which would go to show, [Page 82] perhaps, that he was looked upon as the acknowledged successor of the reigning monarch. The ascent from him to Domhnall was traced by the writer from the Four Masters, not without difficulty, because of the great number of persons who, in some instances, before the use of patronymics, bore the same names.
   'Domhnall, brother of the monarch Niall Glundubh.' He was the eldest son of King Aedh Finnliath, consquently, the Mac Laughlins and O'Donnellys are both seniors to the O'Neils. The following extracts from the Four Masters may be interesting:-

900 A.D. "A challenge of battle by the two sons of Aedh Finnlaith, i.e., Domhnall and Niall, but it was prevented by the intercession of the Cinel Eoghan."

906 A.D. "Domhnall, son of Aedh Finnliath, lord of Aileach, took the [pilgrim's] staff."

   Domhnall's eldest son, Flann, or Florentius, a name much affected in those days, died in the year 901, before him. It was this Flann's early death, probably, that thew the sovereignty [Page 83] for a time, into the family of his uncle Niall Glundubh.

911 A.D. "Domhnall, son of Aedh, i.e., of (Aedh Finnliath) son of Niall, Lord of Aileach, died in religion, after a good life. In lamentation of him and of Aenghus was said:-

'From the birth of Christ, body of purity,
till the death of Domhnall, according to the Chronicles,
A better guide cannot be found,- one
year [and ten] above nine hundred.
The history of this year is heavy mist
to fertile Banbha.
Aenghus of Meath and Domhnall, son of Aedh [perished].

   There came not of the Irish a youth like Aenghus of Codail (Hill of Louth). In the latter ages there was not a royal hero like Domhnal of Dobhail [the Blackwater]. Heavy sorrow to the Gaehdil that these chiefs have perished. The first wo of this spring: their times will be found in the histories.'"

[Page 84]

Additional Notes

    These names appear in the list of burgesses of Londonderry, appointed by Jame II in 1688: Dom. Boy Mac Loghlin, Dyonisius Mac Loghlin, and Hugh Mac Loghlin.*
   The Mac Laughlins were erenachs of one-half the church lands of Derry.**
   After the destruction of Aileach by O'Brien, the family of the kings removed to Inis Enaigh, in the parish of Urney, in Tyrone, and there dwelt until the coming of the English.*** This would go to show that the families of Glen Mournen and its vicinity are the chief stock, as indeed they claim to be. The statemtnt of page 41 about Derry is founded on tradition and a passage of the Four Masters, which speaks of a propsed attack by O'Kane of the Creeve on the "house of the sons of Mac Loghlin," at Derry, in 1213. The sons of Mac Loghlin slew an O'Davin in the porch of the great church at Derry, in 1212.


* 'Ordnance Survey of Londonderry,' vol X, p. 90. Col. Thomas Colby, Superintendent. This volume is one of the finest pieces extant of work, historical and otherwise, relating to Ireland. It contains amongst other things a very learned account of Aileach.
** Ibid, p. 192
*** Ibid, p. 232

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