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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
IX. The Gaels


O’Melaghhn, later MacLoughlin (O Maoilsheachlainn) of Meath (now counties Meath and Westmeath, with north Offaly). The O’Melaghlins were kings of Meath, and descended from Maelsheachlainn, or Malachy II, High King of Ireland (died 1022) at the time of the rise of Brian Boru (ancestor of the O’Briens of North Munster or Thomond). After the Anglo-Norman invasion, the territory of Meath fell under the control of the Norman Hugh de Lacy, and the territory of the MacLoughlins was restricted to the barony of Clonlonan in the southwest of what is now County Westmeath. They were, however, one of only five Gaelic families privileged to use English Laws, which meant protection under the law of the conqueror. Nonetheless the property of the family was yet further reduced by the confiscations of the seventeenth century, and they sank into relative obscurity.

The Cineal Fiachach descend from Fiacha, son of Nial of the Nine Hostages. They were a great clan among the Southern Ui Neill, under the overlordship of Mide, and their original patrimony extended from Birr to the Hill of Uisneach in what is now County Westmeath. Their chief representatives in later times were the MacGeoghegans and the Feara Ceal ("the men of churches") or O’Molloys. The MacGeoghegans (Mac Eochagain) were chiefs of the Barony of Moycashel in the south of County Westmeath, though their ancient patrimony was much greater. They lost their estates in the Cromwellian confiscations of the mid-sixteenth century, and a branch of the family was transplanted to County Galway.

The O’Molloys (O Maolmhuaidh) were of the same stock as the MacGeoghegans, being originally of the same clan. At some time during the period of about 950—1050 the Cineal Fiachach divided their territory between their two great branches, the MacGeoghegans retaining the norther portion under the original clan-name of Cineal Fiachach, and the O’Molloys becoming lords of the southern portion under the clan-name of Feara Ceall. This territory, called after them Fircall, comprised the modern baronies of Fircall, Ballycowan and Ballyboy in the north of County Offaly, and remained in the hands of the family down to the first part of the seventeenth century. Many of this distinguished family had friendly relations with the kings of England and the government of the Pale from the Anglo-Norman invasion onwards, and though several leaders of the clan were active in resisting English aggression in Ireland during the Tudor period during the mid-sixteenth century, the chief of the name was made Hereditary Standard Bearer of the English standard in Ireland.

The Cineal Lao ghaire descend from Loeguire, son of Nial of the Nine Hostages. They were seated in what are now the baronies of Upper and Lower Navan near Trim, County Meath, and in ancient times fell under the overlordship of Brega. Their chief representatives in later times were the O’Quinlans (O Caoindealbhain), who descend from Caoindealbhan (died 925), chief of the Cineal Laoghaire in the early tenth century. The O’Quinlans were


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