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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
VI. The Cruithne


a Gaelic cultural perspective, the ninth-century Pictish aristocracy had long been incorporated into the Gaelic-Irish literary cosmology, and there had been significant cultural inroads into Pictland by Gaelic speakers (the district name "Atholl" in Perthshire means "new Ireland" and predates the union of the Picts and Scots). The Picts were, from the Irish perspective, just another P--Celtic ethno-tribal group, and their aristocracy was probably bilingual from an early period. Yet the individual vitality of their culture is reflected in the distinctively Pictish symbol stones of Scotland, and in the Pictish P--Celtic borrowings which help distinguish the Scottish dialect of Gaelic.

In any case, the resultant hybridized culture in Scotland produced some clan-families with a particularly strong Gaelic-Erainnian bent, which was especially evident among those linked closely with the emerging Scottish monarchy. Other clan groups emerge which derive their identity more clearly from the original people of the land of the traditionally Pictish areas, and such professed or unprofessed affiliations, when considered in the context of Gealic society, show fairly clearly how such groups saw themselves or were seen by others in terms of their ethnical affiliations. However, we must realize the hybridized nature of these Picto-Scots, even as we classify them, because of the unique socio-political reality in early Scotland.

Tribes of the Cruithne

The Dal nAraidhe
This tribe is the historical representative of the ancient Picts of Ulster. In the early Middle Ages, the tribe sometimes held the over-kingship of Ulaid, roughly eastern Ulster, alternating it with the chief clan of the Ulster Erainn.

The O’Lynches (O Loingsigh) were a very important family until the Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century. During the eleventh century they were chiefs of Dal nAraidhe in Modern Antrim and Down, and were frequently mentioned in the annals. They were dispossessed by the Normans and their power was broken, but they remain numerous in Antrim and Down.

The Ui Eachach Cobha, a branch of the Dal nAraidhe, gave rise to the Clan Aodha and the Cineal Faghartaigh. The Clan Aodha, or MacGenises (Mag Aonghusa), rose to great power in the twelfth century, and became the chief lords of Ui Eachach, now the baronies of Upper and Lower Iveagh in County Down. Many distinguished chiefs of the name are mentioned in the Irish annals. By the end of the 1500s some of the family had spread southward and westward, into Leinster and Connacht. The Cineal Faghartaigh, or MacCartans (Mac Artain) were lords of the barony of Kinelarty, County Down. They were normally subordinate to the MacGenises, but about 1350 they were for a short time lords of lveagh, a position usually held by the MacGenises. Both families were tributary to the O’Neill.


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