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Baronies of Donegal

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County Donegal [8 baronies]
All - Inhabited anciently by the Vennicnii and the Rhobogdii according to Ptolemy, and later formed the northern part of Eircael (or Eargal) which extended into Co. Fermanagh. O'Cannnon (O'Canannain) were kings of Cinel Conaill here until the O'Donnells broke their power in the 13th century. The O'Donnells were descended from Conall Golban, and hence the territory attained the name Tyr Connell. The name of the county is derived from 'Dún na nGall' meaning fort of the foreigner because Donegal town was a Viking stronghold in the 9th century.

Banagh The O'Gallaghers, of Cinel Boghaine, a senior branch of the Cineal Connaill, were noted here at an early time, with their original territory extending well into Raphoe and Tirhugh. The MacNelis (Mac Niallghuis), McGillespie (Mac Giolla Easpuig, erenaghs of Killybegs) and McRoarty (Mac Robhartaigh) septs are noted here. A branch of the Mac Sweeney galloglass were chiefs of Tir Beghani (or Tir Boghainne, a former name of this barony) following the Norman invasion.

Boylagh The O'Boyles were early chiefs here. O'Mulligan is cited as chief of Tir Mac Caerthain which also included Raphoe barony. O'Duffy and O'Farren septs are also noted here. The McFaddens, McGonigles and McWards were located in east Boylagh. Tir Ainmirech is an early name for the barony.

Inishowen (East) The most ancient name of the district in which this barony was situated was Moy Ith (Magh Ithe), the Plain of Ith, a district which comprehended the tract between Loughs Foyle and Swilly and extended as far south as the river Finn. Moy Ith was once divided into Inis-Owen and Tir Enda, named after two sons of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Prior to the 12th century Moy Ith was occupied by a branch of the Cenél Éoghain, called ClanConor, of which the most distinguished families were those of O'Cathan, O'Cairellan, O'Murry, O'Kennedy, O'Corran, O'Quin, and O'Dugan. ClanConor was driven across the river Foyle into Derry, their place taken by the Cenél Moen, another branch of the Cenél Éoghain, of whom the O'Gormleys and O'Loonys wer chiefs. Cenél Moen was in turn driven across the Foyle by the Cenél Connaill in the 15th century, of which the O'Donnells and O'Dohertys were a part.

Extending from Raphoe, the O'Dohertys were lords of Inishowen peninsula. The McDevitts are offshoots of this family. MacDuvaney were cited as chiefs of Cinel Enda (Nenna) within Inishowen. O'Harkans were cited as erenaghs of Clonca (Clonska). The O'Duibhdiorma (Dermond, Dermott,...) sept were chiefs of Breadach in Inishowen cited between the 11th and 15th centuries.

Inishowen (West) Between the 9th and the 13th century the whole of Inishowen was divided into three sectors, Aileach, Bredach and Carraic Brachaidhe (Carraickabraghy) which is situated in the west of Inishowen. Extending from Raphoe, the O'Dohertys were lords of Inishowen peninsula. O'Dooyiorma (O'Dermond) is cited as a chief of Brenach in the parish of Moville. O'Donnelly is cited anciently as a chief in Inishowen. O'Mulhall (Mulfaal) and O'Hogain are cited as chiefs of Carrichbrack (Carrickbraghy) in this barony, in the territory of Tir Eogain. O'Shiel and McDever septs are noted here.

Kilmacrenan The inaugaration site of the O'Donnell kings of Tyrconnell was at Carriag Dun. O'Breislein (O'Breslin) were chiefs of Fanad on the banks of Lough Swilly up to the 14th century before being diminished by the Mac Sweeneys (of Fanaid). The O'Begley family was in the parish of Tulloghobegley, as was MacSweeny of Na d-Tuath. The O'Friel family were hereditary co-arbs of Kilmacrenan and inaugurated 'The O'Donnell' as the Lord of Tyrconnell. Other medieval septs include O'Kernaghan of Clondavaddog, McCoyle of Mevagh, O'Toner of Tullyfern, and O'Laherty (Laverty) who were lords of Aileach (Elagh). Clann Chinnfhaelaidh is noted in the far eastern portion of this barony.

Raphoe (North) The MacLochlainns (MacLoughlin), a senior branch of the northern Uí Neill, are noted here with much influence up to the 13th century. The O'Gormleys were chiefs of Cinel Moen (Raphoe barony) and were driven out by the O'Donnells in the 14th century. O'Cannon, ancient kings of Tir Connail, are noted near here in medieval times. O'Quinn along with O'Kenny (and others) are listed as chiefs of Moy Ith which comprised parts of Raphoe and Tirkeeran (see Derry). Septs of O'Brollaghan, O'Deeney, O'Toner O'Gallagher and O'Derry are mentioned in this area. The territory of Tir Enda (named for the Cinel Enna) is noted in this barony.

Raphoe (South) The O'Gormleys were chiefs of Cinel Moen driven out by the O'Donnells in the 14th century. O'Mulligan is cited as lords of Tír MacCarthain which also included Boylagh barony. O'Pattan, McGlinchy and Mc Crossan septs are noted here by MacLysaght. Tirhugh - The territory of O'Gallchobair (O'Gallagher) was centered here and in the barony of Raphoe. Mac Raith (MacGrath) were found here at Termon Magrath in the 12th century. O'Haedha (O'Hugh or Hayes) is given as chief of Esruadh (Ballyshannon). Other septs included MacDonlevy, MacNulty, O'Clery, MacWard, O'Lynch, and O'Mullhollan.

Misc - The Siol na Dallagh (O'Daly) were a branch of the O'Donnells who moved early to Connaught. MacLoingseachain (MacLynchy) is given as a chief of Gleann Binne, a clan of Tir Conaill in the 12th century. The DeLapp family were styled Lord of Cenel Enda prior to the 12th century. The O'Dullaghan served as chiefs of the Tuath Bladhadh. O'Maolgaothe (MacGhee) is cited in the 12th century as chief of Muintir Maoilgaoithe. MacTighernain or MacTernon is given as a chief of Clan Fearghiole in Co. Donegal.

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