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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
VIII. The Laigin


fourteenth century, having come from the Hebrides in a galley "with a white cow," to settle in Glen Oe (or Noe) just south of Loch Etive. There they were hereditary foresters to the Stewart lords of Lorn. A branch settled in Badenoch under MacKintosh protection in the fifteenth century, and became members of the Clan Chattan Confederacy.

The Maclans (Mac lain), or MacDonalds of Glencoe (just east of Appin in the north of Argyle), also known as the Clan Ian Abrach, descend from John Og, son of Angus Og, Chief of Clan Donald in the time of Robert the Bruce (early fourteenth century). The Maclans (MacDonalds) or Clan Ian of Ardnamurchan (the peninsula just west of Garmoran) descend from Angus MacIan, one of the relations of John, first Lord of the Isles, who was granted Ardnamurchan by King David II. The Clan Alister, or MacAlisters (Mac Alasdair) of the Loup in Kintyre descend from Alasdair, or Alexander, younger son of Donald mac Reginald mac Somerled, King of the Isles and eponymus ancestor, or name-founder, of the Clan Donald.

The MacSheehys (Mac Sithigh) descend from Sitheach, great-grandson of the same Donald. They were a famous gallowglass family (galowglasses were heavily armed foot-soldiers) employed as hired bodyguards by various tribal kings in Ireland, as per Gaelic aristocratic custom. They are first mentioned in the Annals in 1367, having taken part in a battle that year between two factions of the Royal O’Connors of Ui Briuin in Connacht. In 1420 they settled County Limerick as constables to the Earl of Desmond, and built their castle of Lisnacolla, or Woodfort, located in the parish of Clonagh, about four miles west of Rathkeale in north-central Limerick.

The Clann Dubhghaill or MacDougals (Mac Dubhghaill) descend from Dubhghaill, King of the Hebrides and Lord of Lorn (North Argyle) who was the son of the great Somerled and brother of Reginald (or Ranald), ancestor of the Clann Dhomnuill, or MacDonalds. Lorn was held by Dubhghaill under the Scottish crown, while the Hebridian islands under his control were held of the King of Norway. Dunollie Castle in Oban Bay was the principal stronghold of the MacDougal chiefs, whose power declined after their defeat at the hands of King Robert I the Bruce in the Pass of Brander in 1309. The MacDougals were related by marriage to the Bruce’s rivals, the Cummins, and thus backed them during the period leading up to the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. As a result, the MacDougals were forfeited and lost their vast island territories, although they were later restored to the mainland Lordship of Lorn by King David II (after their seventh chief married a granddaughter of Robert I). Eventually the MacDougalls lost the lordship of Lorn, which (like many other old Scottish Dignities) passed almost inevitably to the covetous House of Stewart. The family further suffered as a result of their support for the Jacobite cause during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Nevertheless, based upon their proverbial connection with Lorn, the family has ever been known, both officially and informally, as the MacDougalls of Lorn.


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