Thursday, June 25, 2015

Genetic Genealogy for Irish and Scots

My recent book Finding the McCains, a Scots-Irish Odyssey has garnered excellent reader reviews and peer reviews, of which I am very pleased.  There is an aspect of the book that is important to family historians and genealogist that I would like to highlight.  I receive many emails asking me about how to begin a genetic genealogy project.  Many people are not familiar with genetic genealogy; how does it work?  What can it do for our family history?
 
Finding the McCains  has good tales, lots of stories, Irish and Scottish history, and all that, but it is also a very good account and How-To guide for those interested in genetic genealogy.  The book goes into great detail into how I found our kinfolk in Ireland and Scotland and how I used the DNA results to discover the family's point of origin and eventually locate them in the primary sources of the district where they lived prior to 1600.
 
 
This was no easy task.  Our family left Ireland in 1718.  They were Gaelic and Lallans speaking.  There were no records prior to that date only oral histories.  So, how does one go from that little amount of data to finding one's family in the old countries, going over to visit them and reconnecting the family after almost three centuries of separation.  And how does one uncover the story of the family's progenitor from the 1400s? 
 
We can use genetic genealogy to do this.   In Finding the McCains I go through each stage of the journey that I made, how I used the DNA results to test each family origin theory, how I used DNA results to disprove various theories until I came down to the one that proved correct and success followed. 
 
You can find your family in the old countries and you can recover lost family history.  And, best of all, you can go over to visit them.  That moment when you walk into a room, full of your kinfolk that stayed in the old country is the golden moment.  It makes all those years of genealogy research all come together in a moment of perfection.  
 
 Finding the McCains is available through Amazon and can be ordered through your local book shop.
 

The Scots-Irish DNA Project

Here is a link to the Scots-Irish DNA Project which has information on the project and links to both the 'Join' page and the 'Results' page.   I post this in response to several hundred inquiries I had asking for this.  The Scots-Irish DNA project has grown very fast and is approaching 1,000 participating families.  A lot of very good information there for family historians and genealogists.  Most of the participating families list the oldest known ancestor of their family.  This allows of researchers to use this data and cross reference to see if a connection can be made. 
 
Many families discover cousins they did not know they had.  Then they will triangulate their data. Often a very complete history of a family will emerge from this process.  Many participating families have located their kinfolk in Ireland and Scotland and reconnected their families. 
 
 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Scots-Irish Surnames; a list of families in the Scots-Irish DNA Project

The Scots-Irish DNA Project now has 761 participating families.  Below is a roster of the participating families.  As you can see the families are a combination of Lowland and Highland Scottish surnames with a few native Irish surnames.  All these families self identify as being Scots-Irish.  Most of these families participated in the 18th Century Ulster Migration to English Colonies and early Republic, or in the 19th Century Ulster migration into Canada.

The majority of the Lowland Scottish families are from Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, and Gallowayshire, and most of these families migrated to Ireland during the Ulster Plantation (1609-1720).  The Highland Scottish surnames from Argyll, Lennox, and the Southern Hebrides; many of these families migrated to Ulster circa 1550-1600).

The dominate haplogroups are Insular Celts (85%) and there is about 12% of the haplogroups of Norse/Norman ancestry.   The native Irish surnames come from certain families that converted to the reformed faith and became part of the Protestant Irish community in the 1600s. 

Click on image to enlarge:



 







Saturday, June 20, 2015

Autosomal DNA Test Sale

 
Autosomal DNA tests utilize DNA from the 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal DNA is inherited from both parents. Therefore, an autosomal DNA test may be taken by either a male or a female. 

The Family Finder test is designed to trace all of your ancestral lines (5 generations and beyond) using your autosomal DNA. It will confidently identify relationships for five generations. Family Finder tests thousands of data points on your 22 autosomal chromosomes. Your results are then compared to others in the Family Finder database. The Family Finder software detects linked blocks (segments) of DNA that indicate a common ancestor. The number and size of these segments is used to determine how recently any two people are related.

The strengths of the Family Finder test are that it may be used with equal success by both men and women and its ability to find connections on any of your family lines. The challenge is determining which branch of your family tree you share with your cousin. This can be accomplished with traditional genealogical records and by utilizing other types of DNA tests.
The Family Finder test also includes the FREE myOrigins tool. The myOrigins analysis provides informative analysis matching to world population groups.
 
 
 
The preferred test for surname studies is the Y-Chromosome test, which only men can do as this chromosome is only passed from father to son, however, the autosomal test can be used very effectively to confirm kinship, locate cousins, etc., and often this allows a participant to use a male relative's Y chromosome results in a family research project.
 
Dear Valued Customer,

Celebrate this Father's Day with a Family Finder test.  Click here to purchase Family Finder for $89!

Act now, this offer is valid beginning Friday, 6/19/2015 at 12:01 am CST and ending Sunday, 6/21/2015 at 11:59 pm CST.

 
Why Family Finder?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Increasing Use of SNPs in Genetic Genealogy

This update will address the growing importance of SNP testing in genetic genealogy.  We have now reached the point that SNPs are relative to genetic genealogy in addition to providing data on deep ancestry.
 
Many of the new SNP haplogroups have origins of 1000 years ago or less and as the geneticists discover new downstream haplogroups we have arrived in some cases at the genealogical time frame.  Just like STRs, SNPs can mutate at any time.  Anywhere from 20,000 years ago to only 100 years ago.  The geneticists are now identifying the more recent SNP mutations.  And this is where it gets interesting... not only are the more recent downstream SNPS being located, but mutations on those SNPs are also being discovered.
 
A mutation on the Haplogroup identifying SNP is called a ‘private SNP’ or some prefer the term ‘Family SNP' or a 'Unique SNP’  A Private SNP occurs at such a low level that it is not used to define a Haplogroup.  But, it is the unique genetic signature of a particular family or kinship group.  These Private SNP mutations are extremely useful for genealogists and family historians, especially among Irish and Scottish families that use patronymic surname traditions.  Usually, these Private SNPs produce small cluster of surnames, two to four or so.
 
What this means to us we have a tool to identify clan and sept groups and the linked geographic area. From this data we can locate primary sources to unlock the history of that match group.  Many of our members have already done extensive SNP testing and even the Big-Y test and know their Private SNP.   Those results are very detailed and so large that they are not posted on the public results page.  Participants of the higher level SNP test download the data and share with other private scholars and genetic genealogists.
 
Family Tree DNA has some education material on SNP testing on their website.  I urge family groups to appoint one person in their kinship group to ‘read up’ on SNP testing.  Having the data is one thing, but one must also know how to use it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mid Argyll Kinship Group


Mid Argyll circa 1570 (c) Ulster Heritage 2015


Several years ago Y chromosome DNA results revealed that a large group of families from mid Argyll share the same paternal ancestry.  The Mid Argyll Kinship Group is a Y chromosome DNA project that was formed to study these families and to try and better understand their history and origins.  The project's goal is to research the Mid Argyll Kinship Group circa AD 800 to late 1500s. The geographic area of the study is primarily the parish of Kilmichael Glassary and the surrounding districts.

The surnames in the group are Duncan, Gray, Henry, Henrie, McAlpin, McCain, McKane, McKean, McDonald, and McLea.  In Gaelic, Mac Donnchaidh, Glass, Mac Eanruig, Mac Ailpín, Mac Eáin, Mac Dónaill, and Mac an Leagha.  The research is using both STR (short tandem repeats) and SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism)  DNA testing.

The DNA results suggest these families are indigenous to central Scotland and have living in the mid Argyll region for several thousand years.  While it is too early in the research to pronounce any conclusions there are several interesting elements that have appeared.  Several of the families appear in the primary sources beginning in the early 1400s and can be followed to the time of their migration from the area.

The MacAlpin and Henry families perhaps hold the clue to the origins of the entire group.  So many Mac Ailpín families with the same paternal DNA in the geographic region of the historical Mac Ailpín clan opens the possibility that the Cionnead Mac Ailpín descendants have been located and they established many of the prominent Houses that existed in medieval mid Argyll.  The Henrys in the group may link to the historical Mac Eanruig family, a clan from the Loch Awe area.  All the families in the Mid Argyll Kinship Group share the FGC19435 haplogroup which dates to AD 400 to 800.  Many of the participants in the study group and undergoing the Family Tree 'Big Y' test and the chronology to the TMRCA (time to most recent common ancestor) will be better understood at the completion of this testing.

The participating families that are the FGC19435 haplogroup can be viewed from the link below.  The other families that appear in the results are paternal kin from a pre AD 400 time frame. 

Link to the Mid Argyll Group DNA project:   Mid Argyll Group

 

  
  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dr William Roulston's review of 'Finding the McCains.'

“In writing this book, Barry McCain has done a great service not only to those interested in the McCain ancestry, but to everyone fascinated by the millennia-old connections between Scotland and Ireland. In this volume he demonstrates the complexity of those connections, highlighting, for example, the often-overlooked Gaelic heritage of many of the families from Scotland that made Ulster their home. His use of DNA analysis to investigate otherwise hidden aspects of his ancestry serves as an exemplar of the way in which this technology can be applied to family history and the search for our forebears. Throughout this book Barry's enthusiasm for his ancestry in both Scotland and Ireland, and his love for the people of both countries, shines through. This is a book to encourage all of us as we seek to discover something more of our past.”

Dr William Roulston, Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gaelic Female Ancestor Names pre 1600 in Genetic Genealogy








As you progress with your genetic genealogy research you will eventually reach a point where records were not written in modern English.   The records are in Gaelic or written is an English dialect, such as Lallans, with the surname rendered into phonetic Gaelic.


With men’s names this does not present too much difficulty if you are familiar with their Gaelic forms, but, do not overlook the possibility of locating a female ancestor from this time period.  Most records and pre 1600 genealogies tend to feature only male names.  However, in some cases the name of a female ancestor will appear, but you will need to know how to recognize the surname when you see it.

Finding the name of a male ancestor is fairly straight forward.  It will appear in some anglicized or phonetic spelling of the original Gaelic surnames.  Most people are familiar with male surnames in Gaelic; Ó means “descendant of” and Mac means “son of.”   Mag is an alternative spelling of Mac and was sometimes used when the name that follows it began with a vowel.  The ladies used a similar system. Girls and unmarried women with surnames that began with Ó would have before their surname.  Girls and unmarried women whose family surname began with Mac would use Nic.

Married women would take their husbands names, but the prefix form was different than the male form.  Ó became and Mac became Mhic.  This name change did not always hide the surname of the woman’s father however.  In traditional Gaelic society some women were known by their maiden names due to the strong sense of family and clan affiliation.

Two examples from the mid to late 1500s:  Fionnuala Nic Eáin married Dónaill Mac Ailín.  Her “married name” becomes Fionnuala Mhic Ailín.  In actuality, she retained her maiden name in the community and is listed by that name in the records.  Her name appears crudely anglicised as Finvall Nikean.  Here is an entry from the Argyll records where she appears:


…In the same year (1572) Finvall Nikean, the wife of Donald M'Alane V'Donile of Dunnad, resigned to James Scrymgeoure of Dudhope constable of Dundee the twenty shillinglands of Carnyame, the said Donald warranting the constable free of all harm in respect of the lands from the heirs of the deceased Lauchlane M'Donald V'Alane.


This data allowed me to place Fionnuala Nic Eáin to the House of Dónaill Mac Ailín’s cousin.

          The next example is Aifric Nic Dhonnachaidh Rua the wife of Malcolm Scrymgeour.  Again, this Gaelic woman does not use her husband’s surname, but rather a name that identifies her clan.  In this case she is linked to the family of Donnchadh Rua Mac Ailín of Dunemuck, a thane in Glassary and who held his lands through Clann Lachlainn.  In the actual record her name is recorded as “Effreta nein Donche roy.”

 When you get on the trail of your ancestors pre 1600 be aware of both male and female forms of your surname.  You might make a great find, I have done it several times now.
 
  
 


 

 
 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Iníon Dubh, Scottish Princess

model and photographer Niamh O'Rourke and actor, archaeologist, Dave Swift portray Iníon Dubh and Redshank in a recent Irish photo shoot.  

Iníon Dubh (said, Nee-an doo) is one of the most remembered and beloved heroines in Irish history.  Iníon Dubh was her pet name which means 'black haired daughter.'  She was Fionnuala Ní Dhónaill née Nic Dhónaill.  She was a Gaelic aristocrat, the daughter of the taoiseach of clann Mhic Dhónaill, Seamus Mac Dónaill, and Anna Chaimbeul, the daughter of the third Earl of Argyll, head of clann Chaimbeul.  She was multi lingual, speaking her native Gaelic, Latin, and English.  She was born on Islay and spent much of her early life in the Scottish Court.  She married Aodh Mac Manus Ó Dónaill in the summer of 1569.   She moved to the Laggan district of Donegal with some 1,000 Redshanks recruited from clans Caimbeul and Mac Dónaill.

With her husband's health failing, she became the de facto taoiseach of Clann Uí Dhónaill by the mid 1580s.  She was by this time also the most powerful person in west Ulster, because she commanded her own army of very devoted Redshanks.  An account of her career in Donegal will be included in the book A Short History of the Laggan Redshanks, 1569-1630, which will be published by Ulster Heritage Publishing later this spring.

Iníon Dubh was the mother of Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill who led his west Ulster army to many victories against the English in the Nine Years War (1594-1603). 

She lived at Mongavlin just south of St Johnston, in east Donegal.  The remains of her castle are still standing.  Her legacy still lives in Donegal in the many families there that are of Redshank origins.




(Below, the chapter on Iníon Dubh from the book Finding the McCains  which is available on Amazon)

Iníon Dubh


The River Foyle is a large, brown water, tidal river, that flows north into Loch Foyle and then on into the Atlantic Ocean.  It begins at the town of Lifford in Donegal from the confluence of the Finn and Mourne rivers.  The Foyle is one of the best salmon fishing areas in Ireland.  The low lands on the west side of the river are called the Lagan,[1] taking that name from the Gaelic word lagan, meaning a hollow or low lying area.  In the Lagan, on the banks of the river, is the small market town of St Johnston.  The lands around St Johnston are green and fertile and there you will see the many shades of Irish green.  It is a beautiful area where farms still flourish and time is marked by the changing seasons.  In Elizabethan times, this part of the Lagan was called the Portlough precinct.  After her marriage to Aodh Mac Manus Ó Dónaill, Iníon Dubh settled just south of St Johnston at Mongavlin castle.  This is also where the McCains first appear in Ireland.

It was a highly strategic area. Not only was it fertile, rich land, but the Foyle River on the Lagan's eastern border provided easy access into O’Donnell lands.  Troops were needed there to protect the Foyle river ports. Large number of Redshanks accompanied Iníon Dubh to her new home there to accomplish this task.  Accounts vary, but the number of Redshanks was certainly over 1,000.  There was, throughout her time in the Lagan, an ebb and flow of Redshanks as the military needs of Clan O’Donnell dictated.  Iníon Dubh was aggressive in her efforts to defend west Ulster from English rule and her weapon of choice were the tall, fair, broad shouldered Gaels of Argyll.

Iníon Dubh was a traditional Gaelic woman, but she was also able to interact with the Elizabethan English on their terms. She spent her teenage years in the Scottish court and understood the subtle nuances of politics and war.  She had command of a large force of Redshanks and was not afraid to put them into use.  Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh, her contemporary and biographer of her son, wrote of her “she was the head of advice and counsel of the Cenél Conaill (Clan O’Donnell), and though she was calm and very deliberate and much praised for her womanly qualities, she had the heart of a hero and the mind of a soldier,”[2]  She has a unique place in Irish history.  She was a Scottish aristocrat, her father the head of Clan Donald and her mother the daughter of the Campbell chief, but she became a heroine of the Irish in the north.  Iníon Dubh is best remembered for her defense of her sons, who had glorious but tragic lives as Gaelic warriors. 

Iníon Dubh’s main residence in the Lagan was the castle at Mongavlin.  She had a secondary house at Carrigans, just north of St Johnston.  These locations were not random.  Both were river harbors where the Redshank galleys could easily land.  It is not a large area. Carrigans is only one and three quarters miles north of St Johnston and Mongavlin is only two and a quarter miles to its south.  The Redshanks of Iníon Dubh settled around her within the five or so miles between Mongavlin and Carrigans. 

The Elizabethan English were very cognizant of the Redshanks in Ireland.  The Calendar of the State Papers Relating To Ireland has correspondences of English officials in Ulster reporting their movements from the mid-1500s onward.  The English feared the Redshanks and the actions of Iníon Dubh in particular.  Scotland was still considered a threat to England and so many Scots in Ireland was considered an invasion of English ruled land.  Iníon Dubh used her Campbell clan connections to great effect and made many trips to Argyll to visit the fifth Earl of Argyll and his successor.  She would stay for several months, recruiting her Redshanks, and return with a fleet of Gaelic galleys to her lands on the shores of the River Foyle.

There is a description of these Redshanks found in the early 1600s book Beatha Aodha Ruaidh Uí Dhomhnaill (Life of Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill), written by the seanchaí (historian) of Clan O’Donnell, Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh:

They were recognized among the Irish soldier by the distinction of their arms and clothing, their habits and language, for their exterior dress was mottled cloaks of many colors with a fringe to their shins and calves, their belts were over their loins outside their cloaks.  Many of them had swords with hafts of horn, large and warlike, over their shoulders.  It was necessary for the soldier to grip the very haft of his sword with both hands when he would strike a blow with it.  Others of them had bows of carved woods strong for use, with well-seasoned strings of hemp, and arrows sharp pointed, whizzing in flight.[3]

Ó Cléirigh’s comments referred to the arrival in Derry of a thousand Redshanks under Dónall Gorm Mac Dónaill of Skye and  Mac Leóid of Arran in 1594.  They were in the service of Iníon Dubh’s son and part of his troop build-up at the beginning of the Nine Year's War.  Ó Cléirigh was an eyewitness to these events and his account provides insight into the physical appearance of the Redshanks in the 1590s.  For centuries Irish and Scottish Gaels had dressed identically in a saffron colored léine (long shirt to the knees) and jacket.  By the late 1500s, the unique dress of the Scottish Gaels had developed and the belted kilt was worn by many Redshanks.  The two handed swords and bows described by Ó Cléirigh were the favorite weapons of the Redshanks and they were proficient in their use.  Ó Cléirigh also noted the dialect differences in the Gaelic spoken by these Redshanks.

Both the native Irish and the English made a distinction between the older Scots in Ireland, the Gallóglaigh, and the newer Scots, the Redshanks.  The native Irish called the Redshanks, na Albanaigh, which simply means “the Scots.”   The English called them Irish-Scots, Scots-Irish, or Redshanks.  By the mid-1500s, some Redshanks were settling in Ulster and not returning back to Scotland after the campaigning season.  In 1542, John Travers, the Master of the Ordnance in Ireland wrote:

… where as a company of Irisshe Skottes otherwise called Redshankes daily commeth into the northe parties of Irelande and purchaseth castels and piles uppon the seecoste there so as it is thought that there be at this present above the nombre of 2 or 3 thousande of them within this Realme…[4]

In April of 1571, Lord Justice William FitzWilliam wrote to the Privy Council:

The Scots in the North build, manure the ground, and settle, as though they should never be removed.[5]

By 1580, Iníon Dubh and her Redshanks began to dominate the political and military affairs of western Ulster.  She was by this time the acting head of Clan O’Donnell.  Some sources say her husband, Aodh Mac Manus, was growing senile.  The reasons she took the reins of leadership were probably multiple and included her husband’s age, failing health, and loss of mental clarity.  Iníon Dubh’s early life in the Scottish court and her links to Clan Campbell and Clan Donald gave her the needed connections and experience to protect her family’s position.  She also had her own army, which she paid and commanded personally, and her Redshanks were completely devoted to her.

There were many threats to Iníon Dubh.  The children of her husband by his first wife were rivals to her own children and there was always the English to contend with.  In 1587, John Perrot, the English Lord Deputy of Ireland, wanted hostages from the O’Donnells to insure that they would not aid the Spanish in their war against England.  Perrot plotted to kidnap Iníon Dubh and her husband, but only their oldest son, Aodh Rua, fell into English hands.  He was imprisoned in Dublin Castle.  Iníon Dubh threw all her energies into freeing her son and making him the head of Clan O’Donnell.  In 1588, Iníon Dubh attempted to obtain the release of Aodh Rua by rounding up some survivors of the Spanish Armada that made land fall in Donegal and presenting them to the English in Dublin as an exchange for her son.  The English took the prisoners, but had them all executed and kept Aodh Rua in his dungeon cell.  She then told the English she would work with the Spanish if they did not release him, again with no success.

It was decidedly unhealthy to cross Iníon Dubh in matters relating to her children.  She was in a vulnerable position with her husband in failing health and her oldest son a prisoner of the English, yet she managed to hold on to power.  Her husband was thought by some within Clan O’Donnell as unfit to be head of the clan.  The first rival to press the issue was Aodh Mac Calbhach Ó Gallchobhair.  He was a mysterious figure, perhaps an illegitimate son of Calbhach Ó Dónaill, or perhaps fostered with Calbhach’s family. Whatever the case, he let it be known he could take the headship.  Aodh Mac Calbhach had cooperated with the English and had been an accomplice in the infamous murder of Iníon Dubh’s first cousin, Alasdair Mac Somhairle Mac Dónaill.  In 1588, Aodh Mac Calbhach attempted to visit Iníon Dubh at her castle and press the issue.  Iníon Dubh was not impressed.  She addressed her beloved Redshanks about the need for justice and revenge upon Aodh Mac Calbhach.  They attacked Aodh Mac Calbhach while he was in St Johnstown, killing him and his entire party.

Another of Iníon Dubh’s rivals was her husband’s son by an earlier marriage, Dónall Mac Aodh Ó Dónaill.  Dónall proclaimed himself as head of Clan O’Donnell.  He also underestimated Iníon Dubh.  She took command of her army of Redshanks and marched out to meet Dónaill Ó Dónaill in battle.  Dónall assembled a formidable host that included his factions within Clan O’Donnell, along with allied clans.  The Battle of Derrylaghan took place on 14 September 1590 when the two armies met to the south of Gleann Cholm Cille near the village of Teileann.  The Redshanks used their bows to stun Dónall’s army and then closed with their two handed swords.  Dónall’s army was crushed and he, many of the Irish nobles, and 200 of their men, were killed. 

Aodh Rua finally escaped Dublin Castle in 1592.  Iníon Dubh persuaded her husband to abdicate and Aodh Rua became The Ó Dónaill.  Iníon Dubh bought off the last rival claiming the headship of the clan, Niall Garbh Ó Dónaill, and arranged a marriage between him and her daughter Nuala.

The English tried to oust Aodh Rua, but with no success.  Aodh Rua and his Redshanks won several sharp engagements against the English. Then he allied himself with Aodh Mór Ó Neill and that began the Nine Years War (1594-1603).   In the conflict, Aodh Rua and Aodh Mór Ó Neill had many victories and defeated every English army sent to destroy them in Ulster.  For seven years they held the English armies at bay, but both leaders knew this could not last.  English pressure on the north was increasing and the Irish sought Spanish help with the war.  Spain finally managed to land a small force, but in the worst possible place, on the opposite end of the country.   The small Spanish force landed in County Cork and were promptly besieged by the English under Lord Mountjoy.  Aodh Rua and Ó Neill had no choice, if they wanted Spanish help, but to march across Ireland to relieve the Spanish besieged there.  In Ulster, the Irish victories were due to the complete support of the people and the heavily wooded and mountainous terrain which suited the Gaelic style of war.   Many of the Irish victories were fought from ambush in passes and along winding roads in deep forests or from a fixed, prepared position.  These were styles of warfare that favored the Gaels.  It was a great gamble for Aodh Rua and Ó Neill to abandon what had served them so well, but they needed Spanish help to push the English out of Ireland.  Against their better judgment, they marched across the country to Cork to assist their besieged Spanish allies.  The Battle of Kinsale was fought on 3 January 1602 when the Irish army attempted to relieve the Spanish.  The Irish were forced into open field battle and were utterly defeated.  Aodh Rua took a ship to Spain to organize further resistance, but he died a few months later, thought to be poisoned by an English spy.

Aodh Mór Ó Neill returned to Ulster.  In 1607, he also left for Spain, along with Aodh Rua’s brother, Ruairi, who had become The Ó Dónaill after Aodh Rua's death.  Their intention was to raise money and an army to continue the war.  They set sail from Rathmullan, a small village on the shore of Loch Swilly in County Donegal, with ninety followers, many of them the cream of Ulster’s Gaelic nobles, an event known as the Flight of the Earls.  Their destination was Spain, but they landed first in France. Some made their way to Spanish Flanders, while others continued on to Rome.  Their plans came ultimately to nothing and both Ruairi Ó Dónaill and Aodh Mór Ó Neill died in exile.

One of Iníon Dubh’s last recorded acts was a small piece of unfinished business.  Niall Garbh Ó Dónaill had turned traitor in the end, supporting the English against Aodh Rua.  Iníon Dubh implicated Niall Gabh in a failed uprising in 1608 and he spent the rest of his days in the Tower of London where he died.  Iníon Dubh’s daughter, Nuala, left Niall Garbh, taking their children with her.

The year of 1609 brought great change in Ulster.  The old Gaelic order had finally been broken and this allowed for the Plantation of Ulster.  The lands of Clan O’Donnell were confiscated under James I.  This included Iníon Dubh’s lands at Portlough precinct in the Lagan. This part of the Lagan was planted by Scots.  The two main families of Undertakers in the Portlough precinct were the Stewarts of Lennox and Cunninghams of Ayrshire.  Both families had close ties to James I and received large grants of land.  However, there was already a Scottish community in the Lagan. Iníon Dubh’s Campbell Redshanks, including the McCains, were already living in the Portlough precinct.



[1] See Lagan map page 2.
[2] Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh, Beatha Aodha Ruaidh Uí Dhómhnaill, trans. Paul Walsh (Cork: University College, 2012. http://www.ucc.ie/celt, 39.
[3] Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh, Beatha Aodha Ruaidh Uí Dhómhnaill, trans. Paul Walsh (Cork: University College, 2012. http://www.ucc.ie/celt, 73.
[4] Hamilton, Calendar, 302.
[5] Ibid., 444.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015