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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
IV. The Kingdom of the Picts: Christianity, Paganism and the Making of Gaelic Scotland

the Viking period, we can infer a similar continuity of co-arbial succession among its abbots. Therefore the O’Beolains, despite a patrilineal connection to Helgi Bjolan (which would have served them well at the time), represent continuity with the old line. Surnames in the earlier "0" form came into use in Ireland in the tenth century: The name of Domnall O’Neill, High King of Ireland, refers to a "Niall" who died fighting against the forces of Helgi Bjolan’s kin. In the same way, the name of 0 Beolain was applied to a tenth-century abbot at Applecross, who despite his Picto-Norse descent, was considered to be connected with Bangor and the Cineal Eoghan, and with the Columban church in Sligo, where a branch of the O’Beolains settled as eranachs (hereditary priests).

The O’Beolains, as hereditary abbots of Applecross, possessed princely authority over the district connected with the abbey, the lands of which spanned the coast of Ross from Glenelg to Lochbroom, extending a considerable distance inland. That they were Pictish co-arbs of St. Maelrubha, with dynastic connections to Norse power in the area, is a natural conclusion, for leadership at the clan level was a tribal office, as was the position of abbot itself. Their connection with the Cineal Eoghan is also suggested by the fact that they did not adopt some form of the Norse galley in their arms.

The O’Beolains of Ross (the name shows up later as "MacBeolain") were also known by the Gaelic epithet Mac GiolIa Aindreis: "descendants of the servant of St. Andrew." Likewise, the tribe that inhabited their abbey lands in western Ross were known as the Clann Aindreis, or "the race of Andrew." The main line of the co-arbial abbots of Applecross later became vested in the earldom of Ross under the Normanized Scottish kings, and while known by the Anglo-Norman style epithet of "de Ross" (later the surname "Ross"), they were nonetheless known in their native tongue under the Gaelic patronymic of Mac Giolla Aindreis" or "Giolla Aindreis" (Gillanders). They were the only Gaelic tribal family to be known by such designations, and their significance to the Pictish church is thus aptly implied.

It was Fearchar Mac an tSagairt (significantly, "the son of the priest") who became Earl of Ross about the year 1226. He was the first of the O’Beolain line to become a purely secular ruler (a "Gillanders" does appear with the earls who besieged Malcolm IV at Perth in 1160 because of his northern policies). His career is indicative of the vitality of the Celtic church, for it shows that even as late as the thirteenth century the princely status of the church was secure enough to facilitate the smooth transition of Mac an tSagairt from spiritual to temporal authority, as the old Celtic princely abbacies were discontinued under the Normanizing Robert I.

That the Pictish church eventually became dominant over the influence of the Iona-based Kindred of St. Columba is suggested by the national flag of Scotland, the cross of St. Andrew, which is symbolic of St. Andrew’s preeminent position as Patron Saint of Scotland. It is also evident in the great

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