Clans and Families
of Ireland and Scotland VIII. The Laigin
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
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
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