The Irish Chiefs and Clans in Ulidia,[1] or Down and part of Antrim

THE Chiefs and Clans of Ulidia, and the territories they possessed in the twelfth century, as collected from O'Dugan's Topography, are as follows:—

The Craobh Ruadh [Creeveroe] or the portion of the Red Branch Knights of Ulster, a large territory which comprised the central parts of the present county Down, with some adjoining parts of Armagh, is given by O'Dugan as the head territory of Ulidia. The principal chiefs of the Creeveroe were—

1. O'Duinnshleibhe or MacDunnshleibhe, kings or princes of the territory (of this family was Rory, the last king of Ulidia. This name has been anglicised "Donlevy," "Dunlevy" and "MacDunlevy"); O'Heochadha (anglicised "O'Heoghy," "Hoey," "Howe," etc.) a branch of the O'Dunlevys; O'Haidith (Heady or Head), O'Eochagain (or O'Geoghagan), O'Lavary, O'Lowry, O'Luingsigh (anglicised Longsy, Linskey, Linch, and Lynch), O'Moran, and O'Mathghamhna (O'Mahon, MacMahon). O'Garvey and O'Hanvey, were chiefs of Hy-Eachach Coba, now the barony of "Iveagh."

2. MacAongusa, chief of Clan Aodha or Clan Hugh, the tribe name of the family. (The MacAongusa, or Guinness, MacGuinness, and Magenis, had the baronies of Iveagh, and Lecale, and part of Mourne; and were lords of Iveagh, Newry, and Mourne. They were the head of the Clan-na-Rory in Ulster).

3. MacArtan, chief of Cinel Fogartaigh, now the baronies of "Kinelarty," and Dufferin.

4. O'Dulbheanaigh (Devany, Duffeny, Dooney, Downey), chief of Cinel Amhalgaidh, now "Clanawley," in the county Down.

5. MacDuileachain or O'Duibhleachain (Doolecan or Doolan), chief of Clan Breasail MacDuileachain, near Kinelarty, in the barony of Castlereagh.

6. O'Coltarain, (Coleton, Coulter), chief of Dal Coirb, in the barony of Castlereagh.

7. O'Flinn, and O'Domhnallain or O'Donnellan, chiefs of Hy-Tuirtre: a people seated on the east side of the river Bann and Lough Neagh in Antrim; and descended from Fiachra Tort, grandson of King Colla Uais. Hy-Tuirtre comprised the baronies of Toome and Antrim and was afterwards known as northern Clanaboy.

8. O'Heirc (Eric, Earc, Hirk), chief of Hy-Fiachra Finn, in the barony of Massarene.

9. O'Criodain (Credan, Creden, and Creed), chief of Machaire Maedhaidh, now the parish of "Magheramisk," in the barony of Massarene.

10. O'Haodha, O'Hugh or Hughes, chief of Fearnmhoighe or Fernmoy, a district in the county Down, on the borders of Antrim, in the barony of Lower Iveagh.

11. O'Caomhain [2] or Kevin, chief of Magh Lini, now Moylinny, a district in the barony of Antrim.

12. O'Machoiden, chief of Mughdhorn or Mourne.

13. O'Lachnain or O'Loughnin, chief of Modharn Beag or Little Mourne. In addition to those clans given by O'Dugan, the following clans in Ulidia are given from other authorities:—

14. MacGee or Magee, of Island Magee.

15. MacGiolla-Muire (MacGillmore or Gilmore), who possessed the districts of the great Ards.

16. MacRory or Rogers, chiefs of Killwarlin.

17. O'Kelly of Clanbrasil Mac Coolechan, in the county Down.

18. Ward or Mac Ward.

19. Gowan (gobha: Irish, a blacksmith) and MacGowan (modernized "Smith," "Smeeth," and "Smythe") were of the Irian race and of the Clan-na-Rory, and were mostly expelled by the English into Donegal, whence large numbers of them emigrated to the county Leitrim, and more lately to the county Cavan. Dal Buinne, a district in Ulidia, was not given by O'Dugan; but it was situated on the borders of Down and Antrim, and contained the parish of Drumbo, in Down, with those of Lisburn, Magheragall, Magheramask, Glenavy, Aghalee, and Aghagallen, in Antrim. The Dal Buinne were of the Irian race.

In the fourteenth century, Hugh Buidhe O'Neill, prince of Tyrone, with his forces, crossed the Bann and took possession of the northern part of Ulidia, which, from its being possessed by his posterity, who were called Clan Aodh Buidhe, was anglicised "Clanaboy," or "Clandeboy." This territory was divided into North Clanaboy and South Clanaboy. A part of North Clanaboy also obtained the name of "Brian Carragh's Country," from its having been taken from the O'Neills by a chief of the MacDonnells, who was called Brian Carragh. South Clanaboy comprised the baronies of Ards, Castlereagh, Kinelarty, and Lecale; and extended, according to MacGeoghegan, from the Bay of Dundrum to the Bay of Carrickfergus on Belfast Lough.


[1] Ulidia: The name "Uladh" was applied to the province of Ulster, hut in after times was confined, as mentioned in the chapter on Orgiall, to a large territory on the east of Ulster, called Ulidia. This territory was also called Dalaradia (dal: Irish, a part or portion, and Araidhe, a man's name), signifying the descendants of Araidhe, a king of Ulster in the third century; and comprised the present county Down, with a great portion of Antrim, extending from Iubhar or Newry, Carlingford Bay, and the Mourne mountains, to Slieve Mis mountain in the barony of Antrim; thus containing, in the south and south-east parts of Antrim, the districts along the shores of Lough Neagh and Belfast Lough, Carrickfergus, and the peninsula of Island Magee to Larne; and thence in a line westward to the river Bann. The remaining portion of the county Antrim obtained the name of Dalriada. Ulidia is remarkable as the scene of St. Patrick's early captivity (it being there that he was sold as a'slave to a chieftain named Milcho, whose flocks he tended near Mis mountain), and is celebrated as the place where he made the first converts to Christianity; and finally, as the place of his death and burial. He died at Sabhal, afterwards the parish of "Saul;" and was buried in the cathedral at Dune, which, in consequence, was called Dunepatrick or "Downpatrick."—CONNELLAN.

[2] O'Caomhain: See the "Coen" pedigree for another family of this name, in Ireland.