actually under Anglo-Norman control).
In 1179, Fitz Adelm obtained a grant of a great portion of Connacht, although settlement
there was not effected for some time. By marriage with the heiress of the de Lacys, Walter
de Burgo, descendant of the Fitz Adelm, acquired the Earldom of Ulster, etc., and the
Burkes became the greatest Anglo-Norman family in Ireland. On the murder in 1333 of
William, the Brown Earl of Ulster, leaving only an infant daughter, the leading male
representatives of the Burkes adopted the Brehon Law (the law of the Gad), which provided
for a male succession. They divided the lordship of Connacht between them, and proclaimed
themselves Irish chiefs under the style of MacWilliam Uachtar (the Upper MacWilliam) and
MacWilliam lochtar (the Lower MacWilliam), the former holding Galway and the other County
Mayo. They did so in full defiant view of a castle of English garrison, standing without
the walls some distance back, while symbolically changing their English clothing for
Gaelic garb. There were several branches of the family, and these adopted from their
respective ancestors the patronymics of MacDavie (Mac Daibhidh), MacGibbon (Mac Giobuin),
Jennings (Mac Sheoinin), MacRedmond (Mac Reamoinn) and MacPhilbin (Mac Philbin).
The MacDavies were settled in the north of County Galway along the
Roscommon border. The MacGibbons were seated on the west side of Croagh Patrick in County
Mayo. The Burkes also possessed the Barony of Clanwilliam in County Limerick. There is a
late medieval knight’s effigy of the Burkes at Glinsk in County Galway. Thoor
Ballylee, the home of William Butler Yeats in the Kiltartan country of County Galway, was
originally a Norman keep built there by the Burkes.
The Butlers (de Buitileir) descend from the Norman Theobald Fitzwalter,
whom Henry II appointed to the post of Chief Butler of Ireland in the late twelfth
century. Theobald was besides granted the baronies of Upper and Lower Ormond, and other
lands in Kilkenny and Tipperary. In 1328 the then head of the family was created Earl of
Ormond. Their chief seat was long at Kilkenny castle, from which they exercised great
influence and power.
The Chisholms (Siosal), who came to form a clan in the Highland
territory of Strathglass and Glen Affric in Inverness-shire, descend from the Saxon-Norman
family of the name, settled in the border region of Roxburghshire and Berwickshire (this
Lowland family is still extant). The Chisholms seem from their arms to have been closely
related to the Swintons of that Ilk, a great Lowland family, the male-line representatives
of the old Anglo-Saxon Beornician Royal House.