dispossessed of the Earldom of Ross by
the King of Scots, and afterwards the family adopted as a surname what had for some time
been the descriptive epithet of (de) Ross. They are also known by the patronymic of
MacAndrew (Mac Gille Aindreas) from the clan name, while the original family name of O
Beollain survives as MacBeolain, following Scottish prefix usage. A branch of the
O’Beolains became hereditary abbots (erenaghs) of the Columban church at Drumcliffe
in Sligo, and were famous for their hospitality. Some of the MacAndrews settled in the
Clan Chattan country, and sought the protection of the MacKintosh about 1400. The
MacBeolains occupied Glenshiel and the south side of Loch Duich as far as Kylerhea.
Fearcher MacTaggart (Mac an tSagairt—"the son of the priest") of Applecross
was created Earl of Ross in 1234.
It is interesting that the "three lions rampant" in the arms
of the O’Beolain earls of Ross are unique in Scotland, and in Ireland occur only in
the arms of families with ecclesiastical affiliations with the Connacht area (witness the
arms of the O’Scanlans, O’Horans, O’Garas and O’Kearneys). Even the
"three lions passant" of the Dalcassian O’Briens may reflect a Connacht
connection. We need only consider the short genealogy of the Ui Toirdealbhaigh, their late
acquisition of Dalcassian leadership (which was based on the success of the Ui
Toirdealbhaigh against the Vikings), and also the fact that a number of Connacht families
spread south as either ecclesiastical (O’Scanlan) or temporal (O’Heyne and
O’Cahill) families. A number of medieval families considered "Dalcassian"
are known to have origins in Connacht, including the O’Heaneys, O’Hehirs,
O’Markahans and O’Kearneys. Though their primary identification was with Cashel
in Munster, the O’Kearneys also had connections with the Columban foundations at
Derry and Drumcliffe.
The Cairneys or Cairdeneys (Cardanaigh) of Foss in Perthshire descend
from Sir John de Ross, son of the Earl of Ross, who came south in the train of Euphemia de
Ross in anticipation of her marriage to Robert The Stewart in 1355. Not long after the
accession of Robert and Euphemia as King and Queen of Scots in 1371, John de Ross received
a grant from the King of the barony of Cardeney near Dunkeld, in which charter he is
styled dilectus consanguineus foster. He assumed the epithet "de Cardeney" to
replace that of "de Ross" (Ross was not yet a surname), and it was apparently his son William
who married Rinald MacNair (Mac an Oighre), the heiress of Foss in nearby Rannoch. Another
son, Robert de Cardeney, was bishop of Dunkeld in the early fifteenth century, and a
daughter, Mariota, was mistress to Robert II. Mariota gave the King a number of natural
children (Alexander Stewart of Inverlunan, James Stewart of Kinfaus, and John Stewart of
Cardeney) and also had natural issue by Alexander MacNaughton, chief of the MacNachtans.
This last was Dr. Donald MacNaughton, dean of Dunkeld during the tenure of his uncle
(Robert de Cardeney) whom he succeeded as bishop.
Foss was in the Appin (abbey land) of Dull which was granted about 1200
to the Priory of St. Andrews by the then bishop of Dunkeld. The MacNairs