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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
VIII. The Laigin


hereditary physicians to the Maguires. They also provided ollavs (professors or learned men) to the Maguires, and one, Rory O’Cassidy, Archdeacon of Clogher, is said to have participated in the compilation of the Annals of Ulster under Cathal Maguire in the fifteenth century. The first literary figure of the name was Giolla Moduda O Caiside, who died in 1143, and whose Gaelic poetry is still preserved. Before the end of the sixteenth century, branches of the family had settled in the Midlands around County Westmeath.

The O’Corrigans (O Corragain) were an ecclesiastical sept closely related to the Maguires, and men of the name long filled abbacies and other church offices in County Fermanagh. By the sixteenth century the name had already spread into Connacht and the Midlands. Other branches of the Maguires include the Clann Fearghaile or MacKernans (Mac Thighearnain) , chiefs of the territory called Clann Fearghaile in central Fermanagh, and the MacAuleys (Mac Amhlaoibh), who gave their name to the barony of Clanawley in west-central Fermanagh. A branch of the latter settled in Connacht under the form Gawley (Mag Amhlaoibh).

The MacMahons (Mac Mathghamhna) were one of the most powerful and influential families in Ulster. They rose to preeminence in Oriel on the decline of the O’Carrolls of Leitrim in the thirteenth century, having subdued the O’Boylans in the process. They maintained their rank as lords of Oriel down to the reign of Elizabeth I in the late sixteenth century, and retained considerable property in County Monaghan as late as the Cromwellian wars of the mid-seventeenth century. Their last chief, Hugh MacMahon, was betrayed and arrested for complicity in the plot to seize Dublin Castle in 1641, and sent to the Tower of London. Three years later he was beheaded at Tyburn. Besides many distinguished chiefs, the family produced many eminent ecclesiastics as well.

The Ui Breasail Macha or Clann Bhreasail were originally seated in what is now the barony of Oneilland East, in the extreme northeast of County Armagh. Their chief clan, the Cineal Aonghusa, of which the MacCanns (Mac Anna) were the chief family, inhabited the south shore of lough Neagh in County Armagh.

The Ui Meath Macha, of which the O’Hanraghtys (O hAnrachtaigh) were the chief family, originally inhabited the north of County Louth, the O’Hanraghtys being lords of North Louth. They were pushed as a result of the Anglo-Norman invasion into County Monaghan, where they settled in the modern barony of that name, Monaghan, County Monaghan.

The Ui Niallain, of which the O’Hanlons (O hAnluain) were the chief family, inhabited the territory of that name, Ui Niallain, now the baronies of Oneilland in the northeast of County Armagh, and at one time also the territory of Oirthear (now the baronies of Onier), in the east and southeast of the same county. The O’Hanlons were long known as lords of Oirthear. They were a powerful clan, and had many valiant chiefs mentioned in the Annals.


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