Clans and Families
of Ireland and Scotland IX. The Gaels
Sligo and had their chief seat at
Ballymote in the center of that county. The O’Crowleys (O’Cruadhlaoich) are also
a branch of the MacDermots of Moylurg in County Roscommon, Connacht. They settled in
County Cork as fighting men, or gallowglasses, to the MacCarthys.
The MacCarthys were the leading family of the Eoghanacht and were thus
the chief family of the Cork-Kerry area. Gallowglasses, being heavily armed soldiers (as
opposed to kerns, the lightly armed and armored soldiers from the clan-lands, whose usual
occupation was farming), were commonly imported as chiefs’ bodyguards (and to provide
a nucleus of professional soldiers), especially from the western Highlands of Scotland
(the name gallowglass means "foreign youth").
The O’Mulvihills (O Maoilmhichil) are an early branch of the Siol
Muireadhaigh, being descended from Maolmhichil, chief of Siol Muireadhaigh in 866. They
were originally chiefs of the district of Corca Sheachlainn in the east of County
Roscommon, but lost power at some time prior to the fifteenth century, though they
remained common in the area. Branches settled in counties Clare and Galway in the
sixteenth century, where they are known as Mulville or Melville. The O’Duigenans (O
Duibhgeannain) were a distinguished literary family seated at Kilronan, County Roscommon.
They were hereditary chroniclers or historians to their MacDermot kinsmen, and also to the
O’Farrells and MacRannells.
Finally among the Siol Muireadhaigh were the Muintear Rodhuibh, or
MacGeraghtys (Mag Oireachtaigh) , who descend from Oireachtach O Roduibh, one of the "four royal
chiefs" under the Royal O’Connors in the latter part of the twelfth century
("Oireachtach" means "a member of the court, or assembly"). The
MacGeraghtys were originally of County Roscommon, where they were important chiefs over a
territory in the barony of Athlone named from their clan-name "Muintear
Rodhuibh." About the middle of the sixteenth century they were dispossessed as a
result of the first stages of the English conquest. However, they still formed a distinct
clan in neighboring County Galway as late as 1585.
The Ui Briuin Seola originally inhabited the plains around Tuam in
central Galway until pushed from that area in the eleventh century by the expansion of the
royal ancestors of the O’Connors. Their chief clan was the Muintear Mhurchadha or
O’Flahertys (O Flaithbhearthaigh) who after the expulsion from the Tuam area settled
on the east side of Lough Corrib in what is now the barony of Clare, but which was known
after their clan-name as Muntermorroghoe. They were pushed from this territory by the
Anglo-Normans in the thirteenth century, and afterwards became lords of Iar-Connacht, the
western part of Connacht on the other side of Lough Corrib and Galway City (the mostly
Norman inhabitants of that city had an inscription on one of the city gates: "From
the fury of the O’Flahertys, Lord-God deliver us"—a prayer originally used
by churchmen against the Vikings of earlier times). A branch
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