Following is a listing of information
on the chief families which made up the tribes and clans of Ireland and Scotland in the
mid-sixteenth century. These are the families that had tribal significance, holding some
direct political power on the primary, inter-tribal or national level, either as main
players, or as constituent support groups of a more local (but nonetheless tribal) nature.
The families are arranged within their respective ethnic groups by
tribe, sub-tribe and clan. Implicit here is the understanding that each of the five ethnic
groups of Gaeldom fostered related tribal populations, and that these tribal populations
comprised the basic political and social structure of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands
until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Every Gaelic tribe originated in one or another of the five ancestral
ethnotribal population groups of Gaeldom, hence the division of Part II into five
chapters. The charts which precede each chapter show the relationship of each tribal
branch to one of the five euhemerized Celtic ancestor-deities traditionally linking the
tribes of that particular ethno-tribal group. Sub-tribal branches of an independent and
geographically isolated nature are branched independently on the chart but are linked in
the text. The position of the tribes on the chart is generally indicative of their
relative locations within Gaeldom.
Sometimes confusion arises in clan and tribal nomenclature, as such names often
acquired a double meaning as territorial designations. These names are, in this book, used
in their original tribal sense. The tribal and clan names are in Gaelic, the names of the
families are given in their translated form, in English. As such, the sept (i.e.,
clan/family) names given generally represent the main form used with Gaelic prefixes
("0" and "Mac") although there are often a great variety of Anglicized
forms extant. "0" and "Mac" denote descent from the person whose name
follows, e.g., the forms "MacDonald" (literally "son of Donald") and
OBrien (literally "grandson of Brian") when they are employed as family
names, are used in the general sense of marking descent from those individuals.
Translations were accomplished in three ways; either by meaning (e.g., "0
Sionnaigh" in Gaelic became "Fox" in