The High Kings of Ireland

   Ireland was traditionally divided into five fifths or provinces, ie., the
Fifth of Munster, the Fifth of Leinster, the Fifth of Connacht, the Fifth of Ulster,
and the Fifth of Meath.  Each of these fifths had an overking, and under them, numerous
sub-kings and kingdoms.  The Fifth of Ulster was controlled by the Northern Ui Neill,
whose royal dynastic line included both the Mclaughlins and the O'Neills;  the Fifth of
Meath was controlled by the southern Ui Neill, by the dynastic line of the O Moailsechlainn
Kings of Meath.  The Fifth of Munster was controlled by the McCarthy's, O'Sullivans, and
O'Briens; the Fifth of Leinster by the MacMurroughs, and the fifth of Connacht by the 
   The High Kingship of Ireland was monopolised for the most part by the Northern and
Southern Ui Neill, who for centuries alternated in the Kingship of Teamhra (Tara), as
indicative of control over the whole of Ireland.  In later centuries the Kingship of Tara
was disregarded in favor of the term, Ard Ri, or High King (translated Archking in the 
Annals of Ulster). 

           The High Kings of Ireland 405-1198 A.D.  

   X  1.  Niall Naiogiallach mac Echach Mugmedoin  (+405)
      2.  Nath I mac Fiachrach
      3.  Loeguire mac Neill  (+463)
      4.  Ailill Molt mac Nath I  (+482)
      5.  Lugaid mac Loeguiri  (+507)
   X  6.  Muirchertach MacErcae mac Eogain  (+ c. 536)
      7.  Tuathal Maelgarb mac Cormaic Caich maic Coirpri (+ c. 544)
      8.  Diarmait mac Cerbaill  (+ c. 565) 
      9.  Forgus mac Muirchertaig  (+ c. 566)
   X      Domnall mac Muirchertaig  (+ c. 566)
      10. Ainmuire mac Setnai  (+ c. 569)
      11. Baetan mac Muirchertaig  (+c. 572)
       Eochaid mac Domnaill  (+ c. 572)
      12. Baetan mac Ninnedo  (+ c. 586)
      13. Aed mac Ainmuirech  (+ c. 598)
      14. Aed Slaine mac Diarmato  (+604)
          Colman Rimid mac Baetain  (+604)
   X  15. Aed Allan  (Aedh Uaridnach mac Domnaill)  (+612)
      16. Mael Cobo mac Aedo  (+ 614)
      17. Suibne Menn mac Fiachnai  (+628)
      18. Domnall mac Aedo  (+642)
      19. Cellach mac Mael Cobo  (+658)
          Conall Cael mac Maele Cobo  (+654)
      20. Diarmait mac Aedo Slaine  (+665)
          Blathmac mac Aedo Slaine  (+665)
      21. Sechnussach mac Blathmaic  (+671)
      22. Cenn Faelad mac Blathmaic  (+674)
      23. Finsnechta Fledach mac Dunchado  (+695)
      24. Loingsech mac Oengusso  (+704)
      25. Congal Cennmagair  (+710)
   X  26. Fergal mac Maele Duin  (+772) 
      27. Fogartach mac Neill  (+724)
      28. Cinaed mac Irgalaig  (+728)
      29. Flaithbertach mac Loingsig  (+734)
      30. Aed Allan mac Fergaile  (+743)
      31. Domnall Midi mac Murchado  (+763)
   X  32. Niall Frossach mac Fertaile  (+770)
      33. Donnchad Midi mac Domnaill  (_797)
   X  34. Aed Oirdnide mac Neill  (+819)
      35. Conchobar mac Donnchada  (+833)
   X  36. Niall Caille mac Aeda  (+846)
      37. Maelsechnaill mac Maele Ruanaid  (+862)
   X  38. Aed Findliath mac Neill  (+879)
      39. Flann Sinna mac Maelsechnaill  (+916)
   X  40. Niall Glundubh mac Aeda  (+919)
      41. Donnchad Donn mac Flainn  (+944)
      42. Congalach Cnogba mac Maelmithig  (+956)
   X  43. Domnall Ua Neill  (+980)
      44. Maelsechnaill mac Domnaill  (+1022)
      45. Brian Boruma mac Cennetig  (+1014)
      46. Tairrdelbach Ua Briain  (+1086)
      47. Muirchertach Ua Briain  (+1119)
   X      Domnall Ua Lochlainn  (+1121)
      48. Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair  (+1156)
    X  49. Muirchertach MacLochlainn  (+1166)
      50. Ruaidri Ua Conchobair  (+1198)

   An X indicates a High King in the McLaughlin pedigree.

The McLaughlin Kings of Aileach

The North of Ireland was composed of three principle kingdoms, the Kingdom of Aileach, the Kingdom of Ulaidh, and the Kingdom of Airgiallaigh. Both the Ulaidh and the Airgiallaigh were subject kingdoms of the Kingdom of Aileach. The Kingdom of Aileach was originally centered at the Grianan of Aileach, in Donegal, and was the original seat of the Kings of the North of Ireland. According to the Leabhar nCearta, or Book of Rights, there were five sub-kingdoms or free chieftainships of the Kingdom of Aileach.

(left) Tulach Oc. Bartelet's sketch of the inauguration site of the McLaughlins and O'Neills at Tullahogue in 1602.

These free chieftainships of Aileach were:

   1.  Magh Ith  (the territory south of Inishowen in Donegal)
   2.  The Craebh  (Now the Barony of Keenaught in Londonderry County)
   3.  Cinel-Conaill  (the rest of Donegal)
   4.  Tuloch-og  (now Tullyhoge, or Tullaghoge, near Cookstown in Tyrone County)
   5.  Inish-Eoghainn (or the Inishowen Peninsula of Donegal County)

   The Kings of Aileach were inaugurated Kings at Tuloch-0g, by the O'Hagans, on a stone
coronation chair at the site.  In later years, after the destruction of Aileach by 
Murchertach O'Brien in 1101, (or perhaps even earlier, by 1050) the Kings of the North 
of Ireland moved their capital to Tuloch-og in Tyrone County.  Other sources say they first 
moved to the vicinity of Inish Enaigh near Strabane in Tyrone. Sometime during the reign of 
Domnall MacLochlainn (+1121), High King of Ireland, the McLaughlins moved their great house 
to Derry, while their rivals, the O'Neills, remained in Tuloc-og.
   The Kingdom of Aileach had lost some of its early grandeur by the 12th century,
since the Normans had moved into parts of Ulster and controlled vast territories
in the North of Ireland.  The appelation "King of Aileach" was still used by 
the Annalists, but more often the term "King of Cinel-Eoghainn," or "King 
of the kindred of Owen" became used in its place, in tacit recognition of the advances 
of the Normans beginning in about 1177.

      Ardgar MacLochlainn
      King of Tuloch-og
      King of Aileach
      died 1064 at Tuloch-og, buried at Armagh
      Domnall MacLochlainn
      King of Cinel-Eoghainn
      King of Aileach
      High King of Ireland            (Four sons of Domnall MacLochlainn from
      died 1121 at Derry               the Book of Ballymote)
        |               |                         |                       |
      Muirchertach     Maghnus MacLochlainn      Nial                    Conchobhar MacLochlainn
      MacLochlainn     King of Cinel-Eoghainn    King of Cinel-Eogainn   King of Aileach and North of Ireland
                       slain 1128                died 1119               slain. 1136
                                                  |                       |
         _________________________________________|                       |         
        |                                                                 |                                              
      Muirchertach MacLochlainn                                          Muirchertach MacLochlainn                      
      King of Cinel-Eoghainn                                             MacFirbis MS.                                   
      King of Ireland                                                    (Probably Muirchertach of Magh Lughadh)                                                
      King of Aileach and Tara                                            |                                               
      Archking of Ireland                                                 |_______________________________                                               |
      slai 1166, buried at Armagh                                                                         |
       |__________________________________________________________________                                |
       |                          |                |                      |                               |
      Muirchertach MacLochlainn  Nial             Conchobhar             Maelsechlainn                   Aed MacLochlainn (O'Neill)
      King of Cinel-Eogainn      1167             King of Cinel Eoghain  King of Cinel-Eoghainn          Annals of Ulster (Probably Aedh 'the Lazy youth' Ua Neill
      slain 1196, b. at Derry   (Kingdom of       slain 1170             slain 1185                      (Domnall s. of Aedh)
       |                         Tyrone split      |                                                      |_______________________________________________
       |                      with Aedh Ua Neill)  |                                                      |                         |                     |
      Domnall MacLochlainn                        Conchobhar 'the Little'                                Domnall MacLochlainn      Nial Roe O'Neill      Aedh Dubh O'Neill
      King of Cinel-Eoghainn                      Lord of the Cinel-Eoghainn                             King of Cinel Eoghainn     |
      slain 1241 Battle of Caim Eirge             slain 1201                                             King of Aileach            |
                                                                                                         slain 1188                 |
                                                                                                                                   Brian Catha Duinn O'Neill
    The McLaughlin Kings of Aileach                                                                                         +1260 Battle of Druim Dearg
                                                                                                                                   Fought the Battle of Caim Eirge
                                                                                                                                   with Domnall MacLochlainn, 1241

Ardgar MacLochlainn           expelled from kingship of Tulach-og, 1051;
(s. of Lochlan)               King of Aileach, died at Tuloch-og, buried at Armagh
                              in the mausoleum of the Kings, 1064

Domnall Ua Lochlainn          took the kingship of the Cinel-Eoghainn, 1083;  King of 
(s. of Ardgar)                Aileach, 1088; Archking of Ireland, Died at Derry, 1121

Nial Ua Lochlainn             King of Cinel-Conaill, 1013;  died 1119
(s. of Domnall)

Maghnus MacLochlainn          Lord of the Cinel-Eoghainn and of the North, slain 1128
(s. of Domnall)
Conchobhar MacLochlainn       King of Aileach and King of all the North, slain 1136
(s. of Domhnall)        

Muirchertach MacLochlainn     Expelled from chieftainship of Cinel-Eoghain, 1143; at the
(s. of Nial, ggs. of Lochlan) head of the Cinel-Eoghain, 1147; King of Ireland, 1150;
                              King of Aileach and Tara, 1152; First year over Ireland,
                              1156; Archking of Ireland, built Church of Derry, 1164;
                              slain 1166, buried at Armagh.

Nial Ua Lochlainn             Tirowen divided by Rory O'Connor; part north of mountain
                              Callain to Nial MacLochlainn; south part to Aedh Ua Neill, 1167

Conchobhar Ua Lochlainn       Kingship of the Cinel-Eoghainn, 1169; slain at Armagh, 1170

Maelsechlainn MacLochlainn    King of the Cinel-Eoghainn. 1176; slain by foreigners, 1185

Domnall MacLochlainn          Deposed (from leadership of Cinel-Eoghainn), 1186;
(s. of Aedh)                  King of Aileach; slain 1188; buried in Armagh

Muirchertach MacLochlainn     King of Cinel-Eoghain; slain; buried at Derry, 1196
(s. of Muirchertach)

Conchobhar MacLochlain        Aedh Ua Neill deposed; Conor erected Lord of Cinel-Eoghainn
('the little')                Cinel-Eoghainn, slain 1201

Domnall MacLochlainn          King of Cinel-Eoghainn, 1232; resumed lordship, 1234; 
                              deposed by Normans, 1238; regained lordship at battle of
                              Carn-Siadhaill, 1239; slain at battle of Caim Eirge, 1241


     The Grianan of Aileach

     "A Social History of Ireland"
      P.W. Joyce

 "Another Ulster palace, quite as important as Emain Macha (which is located
near Armagh and is now known as Navan Fort), was Ailech, the ruins of which are 
situated in County Donegal, on the summit of a hill 800 feet high, five miles 
north-west from Derry, commanding a magnificent view of Lough Foyle and Lough
Swilly with the surrounding Country.  It is a circular stone cashel of dry masonry,
77 feet in internal diameter, the wall about 13 feet thick at the base, and on the
outside sloping gradually inwards.  This central citadel was surrounded at wide
intervals by five concentric ramparts, three of which may still be traded, the whole
area originally including many acres.  According to the old tradition it was founded
by Dedannans [Tuatha de Dananns], and continued to be a royal residence to the time
of its destruction, sometimes of the King of Ulster, and sometimes of the King of
Ireland.  After the fourth century it was the recognised residence of the northern
Hy Neill kings, down to the year 1101, when it was destroyed by the Munster King
Murkertagh, in retaliation for the destruction of Kincora by the Ulstermen thirteen
years before.  After this it was abandoned; and the kings of Ailech transferred their
residence to Inis-Eanaigh - now called Inchenny - in the County Tyrone, near Strabane,
where they probably resided till the arrival of the Anglo-Normans.  For nearly eight
centuries Ailech continued in a state of ruin, the wall being reduced to a height of 
about 6 feet; but during the years 1874-8, it was rebuilt - in the face of great
difficulties - by Dr. Bernard of Derry, a man of culture, with antiquarian tastes, who,
as far as he could, restored it to its original shape.  The wall is now about 17 feet
hight.  It still retains - has all along retained - its ancient name, in the form of
Greenan-Ely, where Ely correctly represents the sound of Ailigh, the genitive of

   footnote:  See Ordnance Survey of Londonderry, p. 217.  In this work, Dr. Petrie,
with the assistance of O'Donovan and O'Curry, has given an elaborate historical, 
literary, and topographical description of Ailech."

    "The houses were generally small, according to our idea of size.  But then we must
remember that, like the people of other ancient nations, the Irish had very little
furniture.  In the main room there was probably nothing - besides the couches -
but a sufficient number of small movable seats and a large table of some sort, or
perhaps a number of small tables.  On this point it has been remarked that the Grianan
of Ailech on Greenan-Ely near Derry, a circular building of uncemented stones, which
was the palace of the Ulster kings, "gives a very poor idea of the extent of an ancient 
Irish regal abode;  inasmuch as it was, as its ruins show, only about seventy-seven
feet in diameter.  But this was merely the central keep or citadel.  The dwelling of
the King himself may have been within this inclosure, which afforded space enough for a
respectably large house.  The whole hill is surrounded by several earthen ramparts,
one outside another, now nearly levelled, with broad spaces between.  In the intervening 
spaces timber houses were built, in which the chiefs and numerous dependants of the king
lived; and probably the king himself had one or more outside the circular fortress.  Many
of the English and Anglo-Irish square castles, of which the ruins are seen to this day all
through the country, were small and inconvenient to live in - often much smaller than the
Greenan-Ely fortress; but most of them were merely citadels, which were originally
surrounded by buildings of a lighter construction and more convenient size, in which the
family and dependents customarily lived."

   footnote:  Hennessy, Book of Fenagh, 63, note 3.


    "Bivallate Rath and Inauguration Place, on a low hill (300'), in the townland
     of Ballymully Glebe, 2 miles SSE of Cookstown."

    "Traditionally, the inauguration site of the O'Neills, and the capital of
     Mediaeval Tyronhe, the rath is overgrown with trees.  An unusual feature
     is the wide space between the 2 rings, some 60 ft.  The overall diameter is 
     about 270 ft.  The inner enclosure is 105 ft. across, and its ring-bank
     rises 10 ft. above the surrounding fosse.  The outer bank is 6 ft. high.
     The original entrance appears to have led straight in from the N.

     The 'inauguration chair' (stone of the kings), which stood inside the rath,
     was destroyed in 1602.  It was reputed to have been blessed by St. Patrick,
     and the great Hughh O'Neill is said to have been the last installed on it.
     A map drawn by Richard Barthelet shortly after 1600 shows the broken chair
     outside the rath, consisting of a boulder framed by 3 slabs.  The map also shown
     2 thatched white-washed houses inside the rath, strongly suggesting that it was
     occupied in the early 17th century, though a survey made in 1622 states that
     there were 'no inhabitants.'