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Clan MacIntyre
Clan MacIntyre Irish Connection
Thanks to Lochlan@aol.com for this information


The MacIntyres of Scotland are not named in any of major documents listing clans in Scotland, and appear to have been an isolated, distinct family without traditional clan ties.  Doesn't this description sound like an independant, outsider family, that settled rather late in Scotland?  I recently read a description of the poet MacIntyre in which the author stated that the surname was a recent newcomer to the isles.  Many of the old works on Scottish clans don't mention the family at all (such as Skene).

All of which simply further makes me wonder if the Scottish Mac an t-Saoirs could have been a branch of the Irish family who carved out a niche for themselves in Scotland...


The following annal entries appear to describe the origin of the Mac an t-Saoir surname in Ireland. 

   1029 A.D.  Annals of Ulster

Mael Brigde H. Brolchan prim-shaer Erenn, mortui sunt.

Maelbrigte Ua Brolchain, chief artificer of Ireland, died.


  1097 A.D. Annals of Ulster

Maol Brighde mac An t-Saoir Uí Brolcháin saoi & epscop Chille Dara, & chóiccidh Laighen, d’écc. 

Mael-Brighte, son of the wright Ua Brolcain, eminent bishop of Cell-dara and of the Fifth of Leinster, rested after most excellent penance.

Note that in 1029 Mael Brigde O Brolchain is simply called the "prime shaer" or "wright" of Ireland.  He is not called Mac an t-Saoir or 'son of the wright.'  The O Brolchan family were noted masons or builders in  Ireland, hence the description of this Mael Brigde as the "prime wright of Ireland."

Many have noted the fact that St. Ciaran of Clonmacnoise in Ireland was the first to be called Mac an t-Saoir, or a 'son of the wright'; and therefore attempt to connect St. Ciaran with the Mac an t-Saoir surname.  The above annal entries should make it clear that although the usage is identical (both men were called 'sons of wrights'), there can be no real connection between them.

In 1097, another Mael Brigde O Brolchain died, called a sage and the Bishop of Kildare.  The annal entry describes him as "Mac an t-Saoir Ui Brolchain" or "son of the wright O Brolchain," the wright here referring to the previous Mael Brigde, the prime wright of Ireland, who died in 1029.

This would appear to be the first instance of the Mac an t-Saoir surname in Ireland.  Both Reeves and Black (see the entries below) regard this as a surname. A later Mac an t-Saoir, Michael, the Official of Armagh and later Bishop of Clogher in Tryone, 1268-1288.

  1268 A.D.  Annals of Ulster

Michael Mac-an-tshair, Official of Ard-Macha, was consecrated bishop in Clochar by the archbishop of Ard-Macha on the morrow of the Nativity of Blessed Mary [Sept 8).

  1288 A.D. Annals of Ulster

Michael Mac-in-tshair, bishop of Clochar, died.

There were known connections between the O Brolchains of Ireland and Iona.  See the annal entries for 1164 and 1202.  According to Reeves, this last entry describes an abbot of Iona, DONALDUS OBROLOHAN, whose inscrption appears on the capital of the tower column, DONALDUS OBROLOHAN FECIT HOC OPUS [Donal O Brolchain made this work]. Black (Surnames of Scotland) appears to regard the family in Scotland as Irish in origin.  The O Brolchain surname is on record in Scotland as early as 1549 in Islay, where Sir John Obrolchan held the rectory of Saint John the Evangelist. And in 1677 an Archilbald McBrolchin was a tenant in Iona. In 1778, a Lauchlan duy McBrolachan was a merchant in Campbeltown.

It appears the Mac an t-Saoirs of Ireland were therefore kinsmen of the O Brolchains; and there were O Brolchains settled in the isles of Scotland from a very early date, probably dating from the era of the above Donaldus Obrolohan who inscribed his name on the church tower of Iona.  Could the Irish Mac an t-Saoirs, perhaps in company with their O Brolchain kinsmen, have settled in Scotland as well?

The history of the MacIntyres of Scotland is about as misty as can be.  All they seem to know for sure is that they sailed to their present homelands from an island to the west accompanied by a mysterious white cow and a prophecy about settling where the cow rested.

The white cow symbolism occurs frequently in Celtic mythology and is probably impossible to trace with certainty.  But it is at least interesting to note that St. Bridgit of Ireland was associated with a white cow; that she built a nunnery at Kildare, and is most strongly associated with that area; and that the second O Brolchain Mac an t-Saoir referred to above, was Bishop of Kildare.  In addition, each of the two O Brolchains were named Mael Bridghe, a name which signifies a "servant of St. Bridgit."  Were both of these men, one of them probably the first Mac an t-Saoir of Ireland, members of a cult of St. Bridgit? 

In short, I wonder if the Scottish Mac an t-Saoirs could have been Irish Mac an t-Saoirs, who sailed to their present homeland from Iona (or Ireland) around 1200 A.D. or a little later, perhaps settling first in Iona.

The O Brolchains were from the Barony of Clogher in Tyrone, but later removed to Derry, in the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal, adjacent to Derry County, probably because of their connections with the church of Columcille at Derry.  There were many and varied connections between the Irish of this part of Ireland and the families of Scotland.  Donal oge O'Donnell, the King of Tirconnell (Donegal) married first a MacSweeney and secondly a MacDonald; and he later imported MacSweeney gallowglasses from the isles of Scotland.  Hugh MacDonald, in his history of the MacDonalds, mentions a marriage between Angus oge MacDonald and a daughter of O Cahane.  As part of her retinue she brought with her to Scotland a number of men from the O Cahane territory in Derry and the Inishowen Peninsula (O Dohertys).

The Book of Clanranald has the following description of this retinue:

"Aonghus Og, son of Aonghus Mor, son of Domhnall, son of Ragnall, son of Somerled, the noble and renowned high chief of Innsigall. He married the daughter of Cuinnbhuighe O'Cathan.  She was the mother of Eoin, son of Aonghus, and it is with her came the unusual retinue from Erinn, viz., four-and-twenty sons of clan families, from whom sprang four-and-twenty families in Alban."

Hugh MacDonald's text gives the names of some of these Irish families said to have settled in Scotland under the MacDonalds in the time of Angus oge:

"[Angus oge]  married Margaret, daughter of Guy O'Kaine in Ireland.  She was the mother of Brian Balloch O'Neill, of whom descended the O'Neals of both the Clan Buys.  The portion or tocher he had by her was seven score men out of every surname under O'Kain, viz.: the Munroes, so called, because they came from the Innermost Roe-water in the county of Derry, their names being formerly O'Millans, the Roses of Killraack, the Fairns, Dingwalls, Glasses, Beatons, so now called, but improperly, that being a French name, whereas they are Irish, of the tribe of O'Neals, and took the name first from following the name of Beda.  Our highland shenakies say that Balfour Blebo, and these Beatons that came from France, went formerly from Ireland, but for this they have no grounds to go upon.  The Macphersons, who are not the same with the Macphersons of Badenoch, but are of the O'Docharties in Ireland; the Butikes in Butikes in Caithness, of whom is the Laird of Tolingail, and many other surnames, which, for brevity, we pass over, many of whom had no succession."

Going the other way, from Scotland to Ireland, we find the MacAlins, (i.e., Campbells from Clan Ailin), gallowglasses to the O Dochartaighs of Inishowen in Donegal, and probably the MacDebits (MacDavid) as well, although both of these families are spuriously claimed to be branches of the O Dochartaighs in a dubious passage in O'Clery's Book of Genealogies.

Most prominently we find the MacSweeneys holding massive territories in Donegal under the O'Donnell Kings; and the MacDonalds were well-known gallowglasses to the O'Neills in neighboring Tyrone.

  Annals of Ulster 1164

Select members of the Commmunity of Ia (Iona in Scotland, namely, the arch-priest, Agustin and the lector (that is, Dubsidhe) and the Eremite, Mac Gilla-duib and the Head of the CeliDe, namely, Mac Forcellaigh and select members of the Community  of Ia besides came on behalf of the successor of colum-cille, namely, Flaithbertach Ua Brolchain's acceptance of the abbacy of Ia, by advice of Somharlidh and of the  Men of Airthir-Gaedhel and of Insi-Gall; but the successor of Patrick and the king of Ireland, that is, Ua Lochlainn and the nobles of Cenel-Eogain, prevented him.

  Annals of Ulster 1202

Domnall Ua Brolchain prior [of Iona] , eminent senior select for intelligence, for form, for appearnace, for disposition, for gentleness, for magnanimity, for benevolence, for piety, for wisdom, entered the way of all flesh, after great suffereing and most excellent penance, on the 5th of the Kalends of May [Apr. 27].

  The O Brolchain Family
  Notes from Reeves "Life of St. Columba," by Adamnan

  XLVII - Flaithbertach  Coarb 1150-1175. [Introduction, p. clxxx]

Surnamed Ua Brolchain.  The family of Ua Brolchain were descended from Suibhne Meann, who was king of Ireland in 615, and belonged to the Cinel Feradhaich, a clan so called from Feradhach, grandfather of that Suibhne Meann, and fourth in descent from Eoghan, the founder of the Cinel-Eoghain race.  The Cinel Feradhiach are now territorially represented by the barony of Clogher, in the south of the county of Tryone.  The first of the O'Brolchan family who is mentioned in the Annals was Maelbrighde Ua Brolchan, styled prim saer Erren ["chief mason of Ireland"- Od Vers],, whose obit is entered in the ann. Ult. at 1029.  >From him probably the masonic art of the family was derived, which was cultivated by Flaherty, and practiced by Donnell, with such success.  The next was Maeliosa, the lector whose obit is entered above at 1086. He spent a part of his early life at Both-chonais in Inishowen, in the neighbourhood of which some of his writings were preserved in Colgan's time; and afterwards he founded a church seemingly at Lismore, called the derteac Maeiliosa, "Oratory of Maeliosa," which was burned in 1116. He died on the 16th  of January, justly celebrated for his learning (Colgan, Acta SS. p. 108).  His son, Aedh, succeeded him in the calling of professor, and died in 1095. Two years afterwards a son of Maelbrighde, surnamed Mac-an-tsaeir, who was bishop of Kildare, died.  Maelcolaim Ua Brolchain, bishop of Armagh, died in 1122; and Maelbrighde Ua Brolchain, also bishop of Armagh, died, Jan. 29, 1139.  The latter was probably father of the coarb Flaithbertach, whom the Annals of Ulster, aqt 1164, called Flaithbertach mac in epsuic hUi Brolcain, "Flaithbertach, son of the bishp Ua Brolchan," a lineage by no means in accordance with the delicacy of the Four Masters, and which, when copying the entry, they divest of its objectional character, in simply calling him Flaithbertach Ua Brolchain.  Domhnall Ua Brolchain was prior of Derry, and died Apr. 27, 1202.  His name is inscribed on one of the capitals in the cathedral of Hy, in the form Donaldus Obrolcan (vid. 1202, App. III). Finn Ua Brolchan was steward of O'Donnell in 1213; and Flann Ua Brolchain was coarb of Columcille in 1219.  In 1548 died Sir John Obrolchan, rector of Kildalton, in Islay (Orig. Paroch. vol. ii. p 269) The name was afterwards writtten O'Brollaghan, and is now corrupted, in Ulster, to Bradley.  Through the influence of Gilla-mac-Liag of Gelasius, the abbot of Armagh, who had himself been previously abbbot of Derry (an. 1137) , Flaithbertach Ua Brolchain was raised to the dignity of bishop in 1158, as is thus recorded by the Four Masters: "A Synod of the clergy of Ireland was convened at Bri-mic-Taidhg, in Meath, where there were present 25 bishops, with the Legate of the coarb of Peter, to ordain rules and good morals.  It was on this occasion that the clergy of Ireland, with the coarb of Patrick, ordered a chair, like every other bishop's, for the coarb of Columcille, Flaithbertach Ua Brolchain, and the arch-abbacy of the churches of Ireland in general." He was a zealous advancer of the welfare of Derry, and during his incumbency many important additions were made to its ecclesiastical buildings; to precure funds for which, the abbot had, during the years 1150, 1151, 1153, 1161, visited, and obtained contributions from various territories in Ulster and Ossory.  After a long life spent in the enregetic discharge of his duties, he died in 1175, at which year his obit is thus recorded by the Four Masters: "Flaithbertach Ua Brolchain, coarb of Columcille, a tower of wisdom and hospitality, a man on whom, on account of his goodness and wisdom, the clergy of Ireland had bestowed a bishop's chair, and to whom the abbacy of Hy (comhorbus Uae) had been offered (an. 1164), died in righteousness, after exemplary sickness, in the Duibhregles of Columcille; and Gilla-mac-Liag Ua Branain was appointed to his place in the abbacy."

  Donal O Brolchain [1202]

"The unusual record on the capital of the tower column, DONALDUS OBROLOHAN FECIT HOC OPUS, and the coincidence of that record with the obit of Domhnall Ua Brolchain in the annals of Ulster at 1203, and of the Four Masters at 1202, the same name in its Irish form, are sufficient, if not to satisfy the mind, at least to afford material for reasonable conjecture, as to the builder."


  Surnames of Scotland
  Black

  O'Brolachain

Flaitbheartach Ua Brolchain was offered the abbacy of Colum-cille in Iowa in 1164 (AFM, s.a.) but declined it.  Domhnall Ua Brolchain, prior of Derry, perhaps a relative of Flaithbheartach, became abbot of Iona and was builder of the Bell Tower there, or at least of the lower part of it.  He died in 1203 (AU.). The mutilated inscription in Lombardic letters on the southeast pier of the cathedral reads: "Donaldus O'Brolchan fecit hoc opus."  Abbot Donald came of a famous family of masons of whom the earliest recorded is Maelbrighde Ua Brolchan, styled prim saer Erann, i.e. 'chief mason of Ireland.' (Adamnan, VC, p. 405). He died in 1029 (A.U. s.a.) The rectory of S. John the Evangelist at Kildaltane, Islay, was vacant in 1549 by the decease of Sir John Obrolchan (OPS, II, p. 269). Archibald McBrolachin was one of the tenants in Iona, 1677, and Lauchlan duy McBrolachan appears as merchant in Campbeltown, 1778 (Argyll). The name has been Englished Bradley and Brodie (Brody), although these names have no connection with it either in root or meaning.

  Other O Brolchain entries in the Annals

  1086

Maelisa Ua Brolchain, learned senior of Ireland, a paragon of wisdom and piety, as well as in poetry and both languages. His wisdom and learning were so great, that he himself wrote books replete with genius and intellect. He resigned his spirit to heaven on the seventh of the Calends of February, as is stated in this quatrain:
 
   1.1] On the seventeenth of the Calends of February,
   2] The night of fair Fursa's festival,
   3] Died Maelisa Ua Brolchain,
   4] But, however, not of a heavy severe fit.


  1095

There was a great pestilence over all Europe in general in this year, and some say that the fourth part of the men of Ireland died of the malady. The following were some of the distinguished persons, ecclesiastical and lay, who died of it: Donnghus, Bishop of Ath-cliath; Ua Manchain, i.e. thc Brehon judge, successor of Caeimhghin; Mac Maras Ua Caemhain, successor of Oenna, of the tribe of Dealbhna-Beag; Cairbre, i.e. the Bishop Ua Ceithearnaigh, successor of Maedhog; Ua Rinnanaigh, lector of Leithghlinn; Eochaidh Ua Coisi, Vice-abbot of Achadh-bo; Scannlan Ua Cnaimhsighe, anmchara of Lismore; Buadhach Ua Cearruidhir, priest of Cill-Dalua; Dubhshlatach Ua Muireadhaigh; Aedh, son of Maelisa Ua Brolchain, a chief lector; and Augustin Ua Cuinn, chief Brehon judge of Leinster.

  1097

Flannagan Ruadh Ua Dubhthaigh, successor of Comman, and lector of Tuaim-da-ghualann; Maelan Ua Cuinn, airchinneach of Eaglais-Beag at Cluain-mic-Nois; Maelbrighde Mac-an-tsaeir Ua Brolchain, a learned doctor, and Bishop of Cill-dara and of Leinster, died.


  1122

Maelcoluim Ua Brolchain, Bishop of Ard-Macha, died at the Disert of Doire, after the victory of forbearance and penance.

  1139

Maelbrighde Ua Brolchain, Bishop of Ard-Macha, head of the piety of the north of Ireland, a paragon of wisdom, meekness, and mildness, after good penance, on the 29th of January.

  1150

The visitation of Cinel-Eoghain was made by the successor of Colum-Cille, Flaithbheartach Ua Brolchain; and he obtained a horse from every chieftain, a cow from every two biatachs, a cow from every three freeholders, and a cow from every four villains, and twenty cows from the king himself; a gold ring of five ounces, his horse, and his battle-dress, from Muircheartach, son of Niall Ua Lochlainn, King of Ireland.

  1155 Annals of Ulster

The door of the church of Daire was made by the successor of Colum-cille, namely, by Flaitbertach Ua Brolchain.

  1158

A synod of the clergy of Ireland was convened at Bri-mic-Taidhg, in Laeghaire, where there were present twenty-five bishops, with the legate of the successor of Peter, to ordain rules and good morals. It was on this occasion the clergy of Ireland, with the successor of Patrick, ordered a chair, like every other bishop, for the successor of Colum-Cille, Flaithbheartach Ua Brolchain, and the arch-abbacy of the churches of Ireland in general. The bishops of Connaught who were going to this synod were plundered and beaten, and two of their people killed, at Cuirr-Cluana, after they had left Cluain, by the soldiers of Diarmaid Ua Maeleachlainn, King of Meath, and they returned to their houses.

  1161

Another army was led by Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn into Meath, to attend a meeting of the men of Ireland, both laity and clergy, at Ath-na-Dairbhrighe; and he obtained all their hostages. It was on this occasion the churches of Colum-Cille in Meath and Leinster were freed by the successor of Colum-Cille, Flaithbheartach Ua Brolchain; and their tributes and jurisdiction were given him, for they had been previously enslaved.

  1162

A separation of the houses from the church of Doire was caused by the successor of Colum-Cille, Flaithbheartach Ua Brolchain, and by Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn, King of Ireland; and they removed eighty houses, or more, from the place where they were; and Caiseal-an-urlair was erected by the successor of Colum-Cille, who pronounced a curse against any one that should come over it.

  1163

A lime-kiln, measuring seventy feet every way, was made by the successor of Colum-Cille, Flaithbheartach Ua Brolchain, and the clergy of Colum-Cille, in the space of twenty days.

  Annals of Ulser

A lime-kiln,wherein are sixty feet on every side, was made by the successor of Colum-Cille, that is, by Flaithbertach, son of the bishop Ua Brolchain and by the Community of Colum-Cille in the space of twenty days.

  1164

The great church of Doire, which is eighty feet long, was erected by the successor of Colum-Cille, Flaithbheartach Ua Brolchain, by the clergy of Colum-Cille, and Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn, King of Ireland; and they completed its erection in the space of forty days.

  Annals of Ulster 1164

Select members of the Commmunity of Ia (Iona in Scotland, namely, the arch-priest, Agustin and the lector (that is, Dubsidhe) and the Eremite, Mac Gilla-duib and the Head of the CeliDe, namely, Mac Forcellaigh and select members of the Community of Ia besides came on behalf of the successor of colum-cille, namely, Flaithbertach Ua Brolchain's acceptance of the abbacy of Ia, by advice of Somharlidh and of the Men of Airthir-Gaedhel and of Insi-Gall; but the successor of Patrick and the king of Ireland, that is, Ua Lochlainn and the nobles of Cenel-Eogain, prevented him.

   1175

Flaherty O'Brollaghan, successor of St. Columbkille, a tower of wisdom and hospitality, a man to whom, on account of his goodness and wisdom, the clergy of Ireland had presented a bishop's chair, and to whom the presidency of Hy Iona had been offered, died in righteousness, after exemplary sickness, in the Duibhregles of Columbkille; and Gilla Mac Liag O'Branan was appointed in his place in the abbacy.

  Note:  this is the death of the same Flaithbertaigh Ua Brolchan mentioned in previous entries

   1202

Donnell O'Brollaghan, a prior, a noble senior, a sage illustrious for his intelligence, personal form, and comeliness, and for his mildness, magnanimity, piety, and wisdom, after having spent a good life, died in the twenty-seventh of April.

   Annals of Ulster 1202

Domnall Ua Brolchain prior [of Iona] , eminent senior select for intelligence, for form, for appearnace, for disposition, for gentleness, for magnanimity, for benevolence, for piety, for wisdom, entered the way of all flesh, after great suffereing and most excellent penance, on the 5th of the Kalends of May [Apr. 27].

   1213

Finn O'Brollaghan, steward of O'Donnell (Donnell More) went to Connaught to collect O'Donnell's tribute. He first went to Carbury of Drumcliff; where, with his attendants, he visited the house of the poet Murray O'Daly of Lissadill; and, being a plebeian representative of a hero, he began to wrangle with the poet very much (although his lord had given him no instructions to do so). The poet, being enraged at his conduct, seized a very sharp axe, and dealt him a blow which killed him on the spot, and then, to avoid O'Donnell, he fled into Clanrickard. When O'Donnell received intelligence of this, he collected a large body of his forces, and pursued him to Derrydonnell in Clanrickard,---a place which was named from him, because he encamped there for a night;---and he proceeded to plunder and burn the country, until at last MacWilliam submitted to him, having previously sent Murray to seek for refuge in Thomond. O'Donnell pursued him, and proceeded to plunder and ravage that country also, until Donough Cairbreach O'Brien sent Murray away to the people of Limerick. O'Donnell followed him to the gate of Limerick, and, pitching his camp at Monydonnell (which is named from him), laid siege to that town; upon which the people of Limerick, at O'Donnell's command, expelled Murray, who found no asylum anywhere, but was sent from hand to hand, until he arrived in Dublin.

   1219

Fonaghtan O'Bronan, Coarb of St. Columbkille, died; and Flann O'Brollaghan was appointed in his place.

    O'Clery's Book of Genealogies

(col. d) Genelach Cheneil Feradaigh Beus .i. Muinter Brolchain

609. Maoil iosa m Mael brighde m Duib insi m Mael patraicc m Doiligein m brolchain (o ttat muinter Brolchain) m Elgine m Diochon m Floinn find m Maili tuile m Crunnmhaeil m Suibne mend m Fiachna m Feradaigh m Muiredaigh m Eoghain m Neill.

607. Maol brighde, dino, athair Diermada ocus Aedha et Muiregein et Maoil isa an cleiricc.

     Translation

609.  Maoil Iosa son of Mael brighde son of Duff of the island son of Mael Patrick son of Doiligein son of Brochain (from whom the people of Brolchan) son of Elgin son of Diochon son of Flann find son of Maile Tuile son of Crunmael son of Suibhne mend son of Fiachna son of Feradaigh son of Muirdaigh son of Owen son of Neill [of the Nine Hostages].

607. Maol Brighde, futhermore, was the father of Dermot and Hugh and Muiregein and Maoil Iosa [d. 1086] the cleric.


 

 


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