Clans and Families
of Ireland and Scotland IX. The Gaels
permanent settlement in Tirconnell
(County Donegal) where they served as Gallowglasses to the ruling O’Donnells. There
were three great branches of the MacSweeneys: MacSweeney of Fanad who had the castle of
Rathmullin on a large tract of land in the northeast of the barony of Kilmacrenan, itself
in the northwest of County Donegal; MacSweeney of Baghnagh, now the barony of Banagh in
the west of County Donegal, and MacSweeney, Lord of Tuatha Toraighe, or Tory Island. A
branch of the first mentioned family settled in the barony of Musketry in central County
Cork, where they served as captains of Gallowglasses for the MacCarthys. They had several
castles in this area, and were known for their hospitality. There is a sixteenth-century
MacSweeney knight’s effigy at Killebegs, County Donegal, and another at Sligo, County
Sligo dated 1577, but under the variant form of O’Sweeney (O Suibhne), which is rare.
Branches of the family remained in Knapdale around Castle Sween (probably founded by their
ancestor Suibhne), and later also appear at Garafad in Skye, which they held for the
nominal annual price of a salmon as trusted vassals of the MacDonalds of Clanranald.
The "Clan Revan" MacQueens of the Clan Chattan Confederacy
were proprietors of lands in Strathdearn, where they held Corybrough, and also in
Strathfindhorn. They descend from Revan MacQueen, who accompanied Mora MacDonald of
Moidart when she went to the Clan Chattan country to wed the tenth chief of the
MacKintoshes in the early fifteenth century. Revan later fought under The MacKintosh at
the battle of Harlow in 1411.
The MacEwens (Mac Eoghainn) and MacLeays or Livingstones (Mac
Donnshleibhe) both represent early branches of the line of Suibhne; the former were allied
with the MacLachlans, while the latter were followers of the Stewarts of Appin. A branch
of latter family was important hereditary ecclesiastics as keepers of the pastoral staff
of St. Moluag and the Castle of Achandan on the Isle of Lismore off the coast of Appin.
Their adoption of the English name of Livingstone during the mid-seventeenth century was
influenced by the fact that the Isle of Lismore was at the time under the authority of a
branch of the Lowland House of Livingston (see Chapter X). The difference in spelling is
now significant to family identification, though in earlier times Livingstone was
synonymous with Livingston.
The MacNeills descend from Domhnall O’Neill, mentioned above. They
eventually separated into two great branches, the MacNeils of Barra and the McNeills of
Gigha (both islands off the west coast of Scotland, the latter lies just off the coast of Cowall). Both
families were originally folrowers of the MacDonalds as vassals of the lords of the Isles
(from whose Clanranald branch the MacNeils inherited the Island of Barra in the Outer
Hebrides about 1400), but after the downfall of the MacDonald lords in the late fifteenth
century, the Barra branch followed the MacLeans of Duart, while the Gigha branch, who also
held lands in northwest Cowall, subsequently followed the MacDonalds of Islay. The two
branches were afterwards found fighting on opposing sides
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