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Gallagher


GallagherThe ÓGallagher's are consistently mentioned as one of the leading septs of the Tír Chonaill, along with the Ó Baoighill (Boyle), the ÓDochartaigh (Doherty) and Mac Suibhne (MacSweeny) families as being the pillars on which the lords of Tír Chonaill built their military strength, in particular the ruling Ó Domhnaill (Donnell) dynasty.  The clan's territory extended over a wide area in the northern baronies of Raphoe and Tirhugh, Co. Donegal.  The principle branch of the sept were seated at Ballyneit and Ballynaglack.  Their chiefs were notable as marshals of O'Donnell's military forces in the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, and took a prominent part in all the military movements of Cenél Conaill, though some "renegade" O'Gallaghers are known to have helped Seán O'Neill escape after the battle of Fearsaid Suili in 1567.  Hart lists them as the O'Donnell's cavalry.  True to the often contradictory nature of Irish history, ÓGallagher's were often mentioned as confidants to kings of the Ó Domhnaill and other leading clans such as the ÓDesmond, but almost as often became bitter enemies of the same  (The O'Donnells were one of the two major clans of northern Ireland, the other being the O'Neils).

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