The Irish Chiefs and Clans in Dalriada,[1] or part of Antrim and Derry

THE chief clans in Dalriada were as follows:—The O'Cahans, and MacUidhilin or MacQuillan, who held the territory of the Routes, and had their chief seat at Dunluce. The MacDonnells of the Hebrides invaded, A.D. 1211, the territories of Antrim and Derry, where they afterwards made settlements. In the reign of Elizabeth, Somhairle Buidhe MacDonnell or "Sorley Boy," as he was called by English writers,—a chief from the Hebrides, descended from the ancient Irish of the race of Clan Colla, came with his forces and took possession of the Glynns. After many long and fierce battles with the MacQuillans, the MacDonnells made themselves masters of the country, and dispossessed the MacQuillans. Dubourdieu, in his Survey of Antrim, says:—"A lineal descendant of the chief MacQuillan lives on the road between Belfast and Carrickfergus, near the Silver Stream, and probably enjoys more happiness as a respectable farmer, than his ancestor did as a prince in those turbulent times." The MacDonnells were created earls of Antrim. The O'Haras, a branch of the great family of O'Hara in the county Sligo, also settled in Antrim; and several families of the O'Neills. The other clans in this territory were the O'Siadhails or Shiels; the O'Quinns, O'Furries, MacAllisters, MacGees or Magees, etc.


[1] Dalriada: This ancient territory comprised the remaining portion of the county Antrim, not mentioned under Ulidia in the last chapter, together with a small part of the present county Derry: as Dunboe, now the parish of Dunboe, in the barony of Coleraine, county Derry, was (according to the Four Masters) in ancient Dalriada. As elsewhere mentioned, this territory was named after Cairbre Riada, son of Conaire (or Conary) the Second, Monarch of Ireland, in the second century. Dalriada is connected with some of the earliest events in Irish history. In this district, according to our old Annalists, the battle of Murbolg was fought between the Nemedians and Fomorians, two of the earliest colonies who came to Ireland; and here Sobairce, Monarch of Ireland, of the race of Ir, long before the Christian era, erected a fortress in which he resided; which, after him, was called Dunsobairce or the Fortress of Sobairce, now "Dunseverick," which is situated on a bold rock projecting into the sea near the Giants' Causeway. And it is mentioned by the Four Masters that at this fortress of Dunseverick Roitheachtach, No. 47, page 353, was killed by lightning. In after times, the chief O'Cathain had his castle at Dunseverick, the ruins of which still remain. Dalriada was divided into two large districts: 1st, "The Glynns" (so called from its consisting of several large glens), which extended from Olderfleet or Larne to the vicinity of Ballycastle, along the sea-shore; and contained the barony of Glenarm and part of Carey; 2nd. "The Routes," called Reuta or Ruta, which comprehended the baronies of Dunluce and Kilconway.—CONNELLAN.