Ui Neill DNA  

A fairly recent DNA study by Trinity College focused largely on the Ui Neill of Ireland, identifying a set of genetic markers they thought represented descendants of Nial 'of the Nine Hostages', the fabled High King of Ireland who died ca. 400 AD. Their sample consisted of the following surnames:

(O')Gallagher (12), (O')Boyle (9), (O')Doherty (5), O'Donnell (4), O'Connor (3), Cannon (3), Bradley (2), O'Reilly (2), Flynn (2), (Mc)Kee (2), Campbell (1), Devlin (1), Donnelly (1), Egan (1), Gormley (1), Hynes (1), McCaul (1), McGovern (1), McLoughlin (1), McManus (1), McMenamin (1), Molloy (1), O'Kane (1), O'Rourke (1), and Quinn (1).

These surnames may be assigned to the following clan affiliations:


Cenel Eoghain   Cenel Conaill  
           
Bradley Gormley Devlin O'Gallagher O'Boyle O'Doherty
Donnelly McLoughlin O'Kane O'Donnell Cannon McMenamin
Campbell McCaul Quinn      
           
Note: Campbell and McCaul are in this case
both probably anglicized forms of MacCawell.
     
           
Connachta   Unknown  
           
O'Connor O'Reilly Flynn McKee Egan Molloy
Hynes McGovern McManus      
O'Rourke          



According to Trinity College "about one in five males sampled in northwestern Ireland is likely a patrilineal {descendent of a single early medieval ancestor."

The following table shows the traditional descent of these families from Nial.




                      Cairenn = Eochaidh Mugmedón = Mong Fionn

                        ______|                   |

                       |                          |_________________________________

                       |                          |           |              |      | 

                      Nial Noígiallach           Brion       Fiachra        Ailill Fergus Cáechán

                      'of the Nine Hostages'       [Ui Briuin] [Ui Fiachrach] 

                      High King +405 

                       |                          O'Connor    O'Shaunnessy

                       |                          O'Rourke    O'Clery

                       |                          O'Reilly    O'Dowd

                       |                          MacDermott  O'Cahill

                       |                          [Ui Briuin] [Ui Fiachrach] 



                       |                                 Connachta

                       |____________________________________________________________________ 

                       |                |                |        |                |        |     

                      Eoghan (Owen)    Conall gulban    Enna     Conal cremthaine Láegaire Maine 
                      McLaughlin       O'Donnell                    Southern Ui Neill

                      O'Neill          O'Doherty

                      Bradley          O'Gallagher

                      Gormley          O'Boyle

                      Devlin           McMenamin

                      O'Kane           Cannon

                      Donnelly



                     Cenel Eoghain     Cenel Conaill



Conspicuously absent from the list of surnames identified by the Trinity College team as descended from the Nial 'of the Nine Hostages' were the O'Neills, although a previous sampling included 80 O'Neill DNA samples. Also absent from the list were surnames associated with the southern Ui Neill (although MacLoughlin and Molloy may have been intended as representatives)..

The following table of DNA markers has been identified (and since confirmed by SNP testing [M222+] as the Ui Neill DNA signature, also known as the Northwest Irish DNA signature. Markers in "bold" are the most important markers. A match at all or most of these important markers virtually assures one of being descended from the Ui Neill. This is referred to as the Ui Neill or NW Irish modal.



The Ui Neill or NW Irish Modal


DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389-1
DYS
392
DYS
389-2
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29 17 9 10 11 11 25 15 18 30 15 16 16 17


Most but not all McLaughlin DNA samples from public databases match the Ui Neill modal perfectly. Here are a few examples from Ysearch. Misses to the modal are highlighted in yellow.

McLaughlin from Letterkenny, Donegal (9F7N8) - 25 marker test


DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389-1
DYS
392
DYS
389-2
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29 18 9 10 11 11 24 15 18 31 15 16 16 17


McLaughlin from Tryone (9U9WS) - 12 marker test


DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389-1
DYS
392
DYS
389-2
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29                          


McLaughlin from Scotland (TQ4VB) - 25 marker test


DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389-1
DYS
392
DYS
389-2
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29 17 9 10 11 11 25 15 18 30 15 16 16 17


Non Matching McLaughlin DNA

  DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389i
DYS
392
DYS
389ii
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
Ui Neill
Modal
13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29   17   9   10   11   11   25   15   18   30   15   16   16   17
ZNU7V 13 24 14 11 11 15 12 12 11 13 13 28                          
3HV57 13 24 14 10 11 14 12 12 12 14 13 30 15 9 10 10 11   15   29 15 15 15 16



ZNU7V = McLaughlin from Ireland
3HV57 = McLaughlin from Armagh Co., Ireland


.

For comparison purposes, here is a 25 marker test for an O'Doherty from Inishowen (SZ8DF). The O Dohertys were Cenel Conaill, descended from Conall Gulban, son of Nial 'of the Nine Hostages.'


O'Doherty of Inishowen (SZ8DF).


DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389-1
DYS
392
DYS
389-2
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29 17 9 10 11 11 25 15 18 30 15 16 16 17


O'Gallagher of Londonderry(92VDK). Also Cenel Conaill.


DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389-1
DYS
392
DYS
389-2
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29 16 9 10 11 11 25 15 18 30 15 16 16 17


This last sample is particularly interesting since the testee has been SNP tested and is M222+ (positive). Haplogroups are actually determined by SNPs and not by STR markers.


As you can see from the above examples the McLaughlins and O'Dohertys match perfectly on all of the important DNA markers. According to the Trinity College team this means both are descendants of Nial 'of the Nine Hostages.' But things aren't quite that simple. The Connachta (descended from brothers of Nial) also match the Ui Neill modal and they cannot in any sense be called Ui Neill (descendents of Nial). The common ancestor of all three therefore must precede Nial himself - how far back is a matter of dispute among DNA experts. Trinity places the common ancestor at about the time of Nial - others disagree and say the common ancestor might have lived as much as 4,000 or more years ago. The jury is still out on the dating but one thing is sure - Nial 'of the Nine Hostages' is not the common ancestor of the Cenel Eoghain, Cenel Conaill and Connachta. It must go back further than him. How far back is the only question.



The Connachta


Here are a few Connachta DNA samples (O Flannagan from Roscommon and McGovern of Leitrim, both Ui Briuin, or descended from Brion, brother of Nial 'of the Nine Hostages.')


O Flannagan of Roscommon (T8S89).


DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389-1
DYS
392
DYS
389-2
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29 17 9 10 11 11 25 15 18 30 15 16 16 17


McGovern of Leitrim (7S2NF).


DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389-1
DYS
392
DYS
389-2
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
13 25 14 10 11 13 12 12 12 13 15 29 16 9 10 11 11 25 15 18 30 15 16 16 17


This McGovern sample misses the modal at a few places but is still Ui Neill in origin.


Although DNA research has found that the Connachta, Cenel Conaill and Cenel Eoghain tribes are indeed linked as the pedigrees state (if not exactly in the way the pedigrees link them), there are further unexplained mysteries to the Ui Neill story. In addition to the above clans in the NW of Ireland, a large number of Scottish clans also match the Ui Neill modal, including a number of obviously non-Celtic surnames such as Wilson or Robertson. The Ui Neill modal is also found in families from England, such as Blanchard, Clarkson, Moore, Knowles, Drake, Heathering. A limited number of DNA samples also come from such diverse areas as France, Germany, and Denmark. It has become perfectly obvious that although these families share a common ancestor with the Ui Neill of Ireland, few if any of them are actually descended from the Ui Neill of Ireland. For the Scottish surnames matching the modal, FTDNA places the total percentage at about 6% of the Scottish samples.

In other words the Ui Neill in Ireland are simply a sub-set of a larger tribal grouping, some of whom can be found in various locations in Scotland, England, France and Germany. The implications of this are still unknown at the present. No one has yet ventured to assign a name to that larger tribal grouping. If O Rahilly is correct their origins could go back to Gaul or elsewhere in continental Europe, perhaps even Spain.

O'Rahillly's Theories

O'Rahilly's theories on the origin of Irish tribes is completely contradicted by the opinions of several leading DNA experts, including John McEwen and Ken Knordtfeldt. According to O'Rahilly ("Early Irish History and Mythology") the Ui Neill (whom he referred to as the 'northern goidels'), were the latest invaders of Ireland, arriving in Ireland from somewhere on the continent between 300 and 50 B.C. O'Rahilly's scenario includes a landing near Dublin, a settlement in the midlands of Ireland, followed by a later expansion into the west and northwest of Ireland. According to both O'Rahilly and Irish history, the three sons of Nial (Eoghan, Conal and Enna) moved into the northwest of Ireland sometime after his death (d. 405 A.D.), establishing for the first time kingdoms in what is now Donegal and Tryone. O'Rahilly believed the scanty available evidence pointed to an origin in the southeast of Gaul for the northern goidlel (i.e., Ui Neill). He did not believe the Ui Neill were native to Ireland but were fairly recent invaders in historical times.

DNA experts claim a different origin for the Ui Neill. Both the experts cited above believe the DNA originated in Ireland itself long before the time of Nial. When pressed as to why they believe this, their answer is usually something along the lines of "that's where the haplotypes are." In other words because the great majority of Ui Neill DNA samples found so far are represented by Irish surnames with lesser numbers in Scotland, England and the continent, the DNA must have originated in Ireland itself and was not brought to Ireland by late invaders as O'Rahilly stated. O'Rahilly's theories, when considered at all, are rejected out of hand as mere mythology and pseudo history. We might add that in academic circles bashing O'Rahilly's theories is all the rage at the moment. One recent archeological graduate from an Irish university commented on the GEN-DNA list that O'Rahilly's theories have been totally repudiated by the academic community. This may be a gross overexageration. While certain aspects of O'Rahilly's linguistic theories of P versus Q Celtic have come under serious attack by academics, not all his theories have been totally debunked.

One question our DNA experts generally refuse to answer is if the Ui Neill DNA originated in Ireland up to 4,000 years ago then why is it confined almost entirely to the northwest of Ireland? It hardly appears at all in southern DNA samples. One might think if it originated in Ireland as long ago as experts believe than it should be spread fairly evenly across Ireland by this time; but it's not. It's also fairly rare in the Northeast of Ulster and not predominant at all in the midlands. Many of the surnames testing Ui Neill today in Ulster were probably planted there as a result of the Plantation of Ulster ca. 1609 and later. It's almost impossible to underestimate the extent of Scottish and English plantation of Ireland by foreign colonists of the period. In some northern counties the percentage of English and Scottish settlers was over 50% of the total population in the 17th century. Even in Donegal, not as heavily planted as other northern counties, the percentage approached 35%. In Derry it was over 50%. These figures came from the 1659 census of Ireland; the essential validity of the population figures in the census have been corroborated by historians.

Many of the Ui Neill haplotypes quoted by DNA experts as "Irish" then are (probably) Scottish in origin. How many is unknown since Irish and Scottish surnames are often difficult to identify with certainty. The same surnames arose independently in both countries. Some areas of Scotland have a large percentage of Ui Neill DNA samples, especially the area running from Galloway across the southern border and even extending into the north of England. These southern, lowland areas of Scotland have a higher percentage of Ui Neill matches than the more northern coastal areas of Argyllshire, where one might expect some Ui Neill influence, given the Ui Neill monastic foundation at Iona (founded by St. Columcille of the Cenel Conail) and pedigrees linking certain Argyllshire families to the stem of the Ui Neill. There are relatively few Ui Neill DNA samples to be found in the highlands of Scotland or the northern portions.

In addition, we never find any major clan in Scotland composed primarily of Ui Neill DNA matches. The DNA is spread randomly across different surnames in different areas. The Campbells have a few Ui Neill DNA amongst their members, as do the MacDonalds and Kennedys. The MacKenzies have a few as do the Robertsons. But in each case the majority of Scottish clan members do not match the Ui Neill modal. It appears as if the Ui Neill in Scotland and England were the scattered remnants of some tribe long established in both areas and not fairly recent immigrants in historical times.

Others claim the Ui Neill DNA somehow came to Scotland with the founding of the Dal Riata in Scotland. But the Irish Dal Riata were not Ui Neill - O'Rahilly informs us they were according to the pedigrees Erainn or Belgae - a different tribe entirely. And this difference in DNA is supported by the available evidence - the Scottish clans are not majority Ui Neill by a longshot. This DNA is almost invisible in the major Scottish clans said to descend from the Irish Dal Riata.

At this time there is no real answer to the presence of Ui Neill DNA in Scotland and England (and even worse, in France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden). Perhaps as the experts claim it originated in Ireland and over the centuries trickled across into England and Scotland and from there to the continent. It's hard though to imagine a proper Englishman named Blanchard being descended from the Ui Neill in Ireland - unless the common descent was thousands of years ago, long before the historical period. It's even more difficult to imagine Germans with the surname of Brune or a Frenchman named Lamineck being descended from the Ui Neill of Ireland or even any of their Irish predecessors. When this topic is broached in DNA circles the chatter inevitably turns to wandering Ui Neill monks, Wild Geese or other Irishmen abroad.

But O'Rahilly might have the last laugh after all. Perhaps the Ui Neill DNA originated (as he said) on the continent and the tribe migrated westward into Scotland. From there a scattered few migrated into England and others went to Ireland where they became a spectacularly successfull Irish dynasty centered in the northwest of Ireland. In Scotland the scattered remnants of the tribe might even have been part of the Cruithin or Picts. The "where the haplotypes are" argument does not seem to hold much water, especially given the dearth of DNA testing on the continent where France in particular is a great black hole of DNA testing. . The overwhelming majority of those being DNA tested are from the British Isles on all commercial databases. Perhaps as time goes by more remnants of the Ui Neill DNA will be found on the continent. Until then we can only guess at who is right - the DNA experts or O'Rahilly. .


The McLaughlin Surname


We have identified at least five or six different septs in Ireland and Scotland that assumed the surname McLaughlin. In addition to the MacLochlainns of Tirconnell (Cenel Eoghain), there were two septs of the name in Connacht, both Ui Briuin in origin. A fourth McLaughlin sept were the O Maelsechlainns (O'Melaghlins) of Meath (Southern Ui Neill) whose surname was improperly anglicized to McLoughlin in the 18th century. There was also a sept named Mac Giolla Sechlainn of Bregia, whose surname (MacGillaghlin) was according to Woulfe anglicized to MacGlaghlin, indistinguishable from MacLochlainn. What all the above septs have in common is a Ui Neill origin. So matching the Ui Neill modal will not at this point tell you which of the above McLaughlin septs were your ancestors. In time higher resolution DNA tests (37 markers and above) may allow us to identify definite groups of McLaughlins.

The Maclachlans of Scotland are another sept linked by pedigree to the Ui Neill. One McLaughlin from Scotland matches the Ui Neill modal - but we do not have enough DNA examples from Scottish McLaughlins to determine if this is the norm for this Scottish clan.



The O'Neills


The most startling revelation to date of the Trinity study is that the O'Neills, by pedigree kin to the McLaughlins of Tirconnell, do not match the Ui Neill modal at all!

An earlier DNA sampling by the Trinity study examined the DNA of 80 O'Neills from all over Ireland. In Ulster they tested some 30 O'Neills - and of these 30 at most only 5 matched the Ui Neill modal. The largest body of O'Neills in Ulster did not match the Ui Neill at all. In the Ysearch database, several McShanes (said to descend from the O'Neills of the Fews in Tryone) matched the other O'Neills but not the Ui Neill modal.

The Trinity study used a lot of non-standard DNA markers so it's difficult to compare their results to DNA samples listed in Ysearch (mostly from FamilyTree DNA). But the first 12 markers are the same as those used by other labs so a minimal comparison can be obtained. The following is one DNA sample from the large group of O'Neills from Ulster who do not match the Ui Neill modal.


  DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389-1
DYS
392
DYS
389-2
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
Ui Neill
Modal
13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29                          
O'Neill 13 24 14 11 12 15   12 11 13 13 30                          
O'Neill 13 24 14 11 11 15   12 11 13 13 30                          


As can be easily seen in this example the Ulster O'Neills miss the Ui Neill modal at all important markers (DYS 390, DYS 385ab, DYS 392-389-2).

Of course the question is - what does it mean when the great majority of the O'Neills in Ulster do not match the Ui Neill DNA? Some have suggested it means the chiefs were Ui Neill but the great majority of the clan were not. This possiblity is given some credence by a Trinity article on the DNA samples which concluded that most major septs in Ireland were descended from one or more founders. The Maguinness clan in Ulster are an example of this. The largest group of Maguinness testees belonged to haplogroup I, or I1c. A considerably smaller group belonged to the more common R1b1 haplogroup. Clearly the Maguinnes of Ulster had two different genetically unrelated founders, perhaps through a Non Paternal Event of some kind. Patrick Maguinness informs us the line of the Maguinness chiefs were I1c.

But it's difficult to see the same case with the O'Neills since the overwhelming majority of O'Neills are not Ui Neill. In this case it appears the line of the chiefs must have been non-Ui Neill. The most likely explanation for the O'Neills not matching any of the rest of the Ui Neill kindred is what DNA specialists call a non-paternal event, which can be anything from adoption to rape to the assumption of a surname. Another less likely scenario might be that the O'Neills are not who the pedigrees say they are. Their history is certainly dubious enough (see the article by O Ceallaigh) elsewhere on this same web site.

We may never learn why the O'Neills of Ulster are not Ui Neill. But perhaps it's safe to say that the "Great and Royal O'Neills" are not so "royal" after all, although no one can deny their "greatness." And perhaps it's time to retire the old canard about the O'Neills being the oldest traceable family in Europe. Genetics would seem to show this simply isn't true.

The question will naturally arise: if the O'Neills are not Ui Neill then who are they? What tribe did they belong to in Ireland? That is another mystery yet to be solved. The Ui Neill have a very distinctive set of markers easily recognizeable in 12 and 25 marker DNA tests. The validity of these STR markers has recently been confirmed by SNP tests which demonstrate the Ui Neill modal clearly belongs to the SNP M222 positive group, now called R1b1c7 in the databases. Most other tribes in Ireland do not have an easily recognizeable DNA pattern.



The Anradan Kindred


Closely connected to the O'Neills in 14th century Irish pedigrees were the Anradan kindred, said to descend from Aodh Athlaman, King of Aileach, d. 1033. These families include the MacSweeneys, Maclachlans, Lamonts and MacEwens of Otter, all Argyle clans in Scotland. This topic has been covered in detail elsewhere on this website so there is no reason to repeat the information here. Suffice it to say if the O'Neills themselves were not Ui Neill then the Anradan kindred also should not be Ui Neill if the pedigrees are true. As yet we have little to go on in terms of DNA; few MacSweeneys, Maclachlans (McLaughlins) and Lamonts have been tested.


  DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389i
DYS
392
DYS
389ii
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
Ui Neill
Modal
13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29   17   9   10   11   11   25   15   18   30   15 16    16   17
Lemmon 13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 13 13 14 29 17 9 10 11 11 25 14 18 30 15 16 16 17
Lamont (R1a) 13 25 15 11 11 14 12 12 10 13 11 30 15 9 10 11 11 23 14 20 31 12 15 16 16
Young-Lamont 13 25 14 10 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 30 18 9 10 11 11 24 15 19 30 15 16 17 17
Lamand 13 24 15 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 30 17 9 10 11 11 25 15 19 29 15 15 17 17
Lamont 13 24 14 11 11 15 12 12 12 13 13 29 16 9 10 11 11 26 15 19 29 15 16 17  
Lamont 13 24 15 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 30 17 9 10 11 11 25 15 19 29 15 15 17 17
                                                   
McLaughlin 13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29 17 9 10 11 11 25 15 18 30 15 16 16 17
                                                   
Sweeney 14 25 14 11 11 12 12 12 12 13 14 30                          
Sweeney 13 25 14 11 11 12 12 12 12 13 14 29                          
Sweeney 13 24 15 11 11 15 12 12 13 13 13 29 17 9 10 11 11 25 15 19 29        
Sweeney 13 23 14 11 11 13 12 12 11 14 13 30                          


Lemmon from Ireland (7VG5F & SMGF)
Lamont from Skye, Scotland ( FMJ8P) R1a haplogroup
Young-Lamont from Argylshire, Scotland (Lamont web site - 10429)
Lamand from Scotland (59VHQ)
Lamont from Lanark, Scotland (Lamont web site - 55859)
Lamont from Duntocker, Scotland (Lamont web site - 45044)
McLaughlin from Scotland TQ4VB)
Sweeney from Limerick (638X7)
Sweeney from Cork, Ireland (5TGQW)
Sweeney from Galway, Ireland (SMGF)
Sweeney - unknown (X2JBU)

The only "Lamont" surname that appears to be Ui Neill is Lemmon - and this surname may not be Lamont at all - it's also a common English surname.

The first two Sweeneys listed from Limerick and Cork may be Ui Neill. The other two are not.

For more O'Neill listings see: O'Neill Web Site
For more McLaughlin listings see: McLaughlin DNA


The Southern Ui Neill

The Southern Ui Neill remain another mystery in the Ui Neill DNA picture. To date no verifiable southern Ui Neill surnames have been identified that match the Ui Neill modal. Complicating identification is the fact that the leading family of the Southern Ui Neill were the O Maelsechlainns of Meath (O'Melaghlin) whose surname was misanglicized to MacLoughlin in the 18th century. Some of the McLaughlins/McLoughlins of unknown origin in Ireland could well be representatives of this well-known family who furnished Ireland with so many High Kings.



The Airgialla (The Three Collas)


                   Cairpre Lifeachair

                   Fiachach Sraiptine

                    |__________________________________

                    |                                  |

                   Muirdach Tirech                    Eochaidh Dubhlein

                    |                                  |____________________________

                    |                                  |           |                |

                   Eochaidh Mughmedhoin               Colla Uais  Colla da crioch  Colla Meann

                   Nial 'of the Nine Hostages'

                   d. 405 AD.                                [The Three Collas]



                                                      Maguire, McMahon, O'Hanlon, O Carroll

                                                      McDonald in Scotland and other Airgialla 

                                                      tribes.


By Irish legend the Three Collas slew their uncle, Fiachach Straiptine, the King of Ireland, and were banished into Scotland. In time they were pardoned by Muirdach Tirech, returned to Ireland and sent to attack the Ulaidh, the dominant tribe in the north of Ireland. As a reward for their military service, the Three Collas were given territories in the north of Ireland in what are now mainly the counties of Fermanagh, Monaghan and Armagh. The tribes of the Airgialla were long considered "royal" in Ireland because of their descent from the line of the Kings of Ireland.

Legend aside, few serious historians have believed the tale of the Three Collas was historical. O Rahilly (Early Irish History and Mythology) stated the tale was a fabrication, designed to provide mercenary tribes who assisted the Ui Neill in their conquest of the north of Ireland with a suitable pedigree. Based on DNA it now appears O Rahilly was right. The Maguires of Fermanagh, perhaps the best known Airgialla clan in descent from Colla da crioch, do not match the Ui Neill modal. Nor do the McMahons of Monaghan. In fact neither sept matches the other in DNA.


  DYS
393
DYS
390
DYS
19
DYS
391
DYS
385a
DYS
385b
DYS
426
DYS
388
DYS
439
DYS
389-1
DYS
392
DYS
389-2
DYS
458
DYS
459a
DYS
459b
DYS
455
DYS
454
DYS
447
DYS
437
DYS
448
DYS
449
DYS
464a
DYS
464b
DYS
464c
DYS
464d
Ui Neill
Modal
13 25 14 11 11 13 12 12 12 13 14 29   17   9   10   11   11   25   15   18   30   15   16   16   17
Maguire 13 25 15 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 29 16 9 10 11 11 24 16 18 29 15 15 17 18
McAuley 13 25 14 12 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 29 16 9 10 11 11 25 16 18 29 15 15 17 18
McManus 13 25 14 11 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 29 16 9 10 11 11 25 16 18 30 15 15 17 18
McMahon 13 24 14 10 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 29 15 9 10 11 11 25 16 18 29 15 16 17 17







DNA Links


Family Tree DNA
Ysearch DNA Database
FamilyTree DNA's web page on Nial 'of the Nine Hostages'
David Wilson's NW Irish Variety
Matches to the Ui Neill modal on Ysearch
McLaughlin DNA on Ysearch