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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
VIII. The Laigin


Philipstown, a district adjoining the hill of Croghan, near Kilbeggan, and lying just east of the O’Connors in northeast Offaly. A branch of the O’Hennessys were chiefs of Gailenga Beg, the district between Dublin and Tara, until they were dispersed into Offaly as a result of the Anglo-Norman invasion. Some of the O’Hennessys spread early into Tipperary and Glare. In County Glare they are now known as Henchy or Hensey.

The Clann Mhaolughra or O’Dempseys (O Diomasaigh) were chiefs of the territory known after them as Glann Mhaolughra on the River Barrow, which comprised the baronies of Portnahinch in Leix and Upper Philipstown in Offaly. They were very powerful, and owing to the friendly terms they had with the English during the reign of Elizabeth I (ca. 1590), their lands escaped confiscation until after the fall of James II (ca. 1690). Their patron saint was St. Evin, who established the church at Monasterevan.

The Ui Riagain or O’Dunnes (O Duinn) were chiefs of Ui Riagain in the northwestern corner of County Leix. They were, along with their kinsmen the O’Connors and O’Dempseys, one of the chief families of Leinster. A branch of the family possessed a territory around Tara until dispersed about the same time as the O’Hennesseys of that area (see above). The clan-name Ui Riagain, Anglicized Iregan, may reflect some relation to the sept of O’Regan (O Riagain) of the Southern Ui Neill, one of the Tribes of Tara, which settled in Leix after the Anglo-Norman invasion.

The Feara Cualann
The Feara Cualann, or "Men of Cuala," originally inhabited the territory of that name, Cuala, which included a large portion of the present counties of Dublin and Wicklow. Their chief representatives in later times were the O’Cullens and O’Mulryans.

The O’Gullens (O Cuilinn) were chiefs around Glencullen in County Wicklow, in which area they have dwelt to this day. Though they were overshadowed as a power in the area by the O’Byrnes and O’Tooles about 1300, Cullen of Gullenstown was counted as one of the leading gentry of County Wexford as late as 1598, and they appear to have retained considerable influence. Kilcullen, on the Wicklow border of County Kildare, is named for them.

The O’Mulryans (O Maoilriain) originated in Leinster, but settled around the north Tipperary-Limerick border sometime during the thirteenth or fourteenth century. They became very numerous and powerful in their new home, the territory which is now the baronies of Owney in Tipperary and Owneybeg in Limerick. In the year 1610, William Ryan surrendered to the King of England all his rights to the lands of "Owney O Mulrian," in order to receive them back as a royal grant, by letters of patent. These land were later lost, however, in the mass confiscations of the seventeenth century. The name is numerous and respectable in Limerick and Tipperary.


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