O’Connell fair, who bears the keen-edged ſword,
In Magonihy rules ſupremeſt lord;
Like ſome tall tree that o’er its fellows riſe,
In ſome fair grove that threats the laughing ſkies,
The chieftain ſeems, as ’neath his awful ſhield,
He leads his forces o’er the ſanguine field.
Surnames were partially adopted by various tribes as early as the ninth and tenth centuries, as may be seen in the Four Masters, and other annalists; but hereditary and permanent surnames were not established until the eleventh and twelfth centuries. It is suggested that Brian Boru (c.941 – 23 April 1014) made an ordinance that every family and clan should adopt a particular surname, in order to preserve correctly the history and genealogy of the different tribes. It appears that surnames were not arbitrarily assumed, but each family or clan were at liberty to adopt a surname from some particular ancestor, and generally took their names from some chief of their tribe, celebrated for his valour, wisdom, piety, or some other great qualities, some prefixing Mac, which means a son, and others Ó, which signifies ‘of ’, a grandson or descendant.
O’Connell is an anglicized form of the Gaelic Ó Conaill, descendant of ‘Conall’, a personal name, possibly composed of the elements con, from cú ‘hound’ (genitive con) + ghal, ‘valour’. It was borne by many early chieftains and warriors of Ireland. The territory of Tír Chonaill, meaning “Land of Conall” in modern day Connaught was named after Conall Gulban, a son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, of whom the Cenél Conaill were descended. O’Dugan (d. 1372) in his “Topographical Poems”, mentions O’Conaill as a family of Oirghiall (south-east Ulster – north Leinster region) and another, again, as of Uí Maine (southern Galway). O’Donovan in his “Tribes and Customs of Hy-Many”, states “The O’Connells of the county of Kerry, the chief of whom was transplanted to Clare in Cromwell’s time, are of a totally different race.” The name appears to have become extinct in those other territories, but survived in Munster from Conall Gabhra (Gow-ra), of the Uí Fidhgheinte (Oh Fee-yen-tee), born sometime about the late 4th or early 5th century.
The Uí Fidhgheinte, or descendents of Fidhgheinte, were an early tribe of Munster, situated mostly in modern County Limerick, but extending into County Cork and County Kerry. They supposedly took their tribal name from their ancestor Fiacha Fidhgheinte, the second son of Dáire Cerbba, whom, it is believed, became the senior line of the Milesian (descendents of Milidh) race upon the death of Crimthann mac Fidaig in 379 A.D.. As noted in the Book of Lecan, Fiacha received the designation because he constructed a wooden horse at the fair of Aenach Cholmain.
Dáire Cerbba, son of Ollioll Flann-beag, grandson of Eóghan Mór (a quo Eoghanachta dynasty), was an Irish dynast of uncertain origins, named in many sources as the grandfather of the semi-mythological Mongfind and Crimthann mac Fidaig, and the most frequently named early ancestor of the historical Uí Liatháin and Uí Fidhgheinte tribes. All of these are historically and mythologically associated with the province of Munster, but according to the early manuscript Rawlinson B 502, Dáire Cerbba was born in Brega, County Meath, and got his epithet from a location there. He is thought to have been the uncle of Conall Corc, the founder of the Eóganachta dynasty, centered at Cashel. He is often confused or paired with Maine Munchaín, his twin brother. Both are listed in the surviving genealogies as sons of Ollioll Flann-beag, grandfather of Conall Corc. Though he supposedly flourished in the 4th century A.D., Daire Cerbba is mentioned as an ancestor of the O’Donovan family, specifically the dynast Donnell II O’Donovan, Lord of Clan Cathail, in as late as the early 17th century, in song, by the bardic poet Tadhg Olltach Ó an Cháinte. Modern descendants of Daire Cerbba include the O’Connells of Derrynane, Count Daniel Charles O’Connell, the famed Last Colonel of the Irish Brigade, having explicitly declared this to the heralds of Louis XVI of France.
The descent of Eóghan Mór from Ebher Finn son of Milidh. (Book of Lecan fol. 215.)
Milidh (Golam), Ebher Finn, Conmael, Echaidh Faebhar, Nia Febis, Echaidh Mumho, Enna Aircthech, Glas, CuCas, Ros Mothach, Cain Rothechta, Airer Arda, Cas Clothach, Muinemon, Aedh Derg, Echaidh Cuimhnech, Roan, Reachtaidh Rotha, Feidhllmidh Ollghalach, Art Imlech, Breo Indorta, Setna Innarrach, Duach Finn, Enna Derg, Lugbaidb Iardonn, Eochaldh Uairches, Duach, Lughaidh Lamhdhearg, Art, Ailill Finn, Echaidh, Lughaidh, Rechtaldh Righ dherg, Cobhthach Caemh, Mogh Corp, Fer Corp, Edaman Foltchain, Niadh Semdhain, Fintan, Lughaidh, Cairpri, Duach Dallta Deaghadh, Muiredhach Mucna, Eachaidh Mumho, Lethghairbri, Mofebhis, Laighne, Loch Mór, Enna Munchain, Foirthechta, Deargfhotha, Deirgthenedh, Derg, Mogh Neit, Mogh Nuadhat, Oilill Ollum, Eóghan Mór.
An early Uí Fidgeinti genealogy: (Rawlinson)
Máel Ruanaid m. Máel Suthain m. Echthigirn m. Billrin m. Dúbartaich m. Gussáin m. Dúnadaich m. Gillai Fursu m. Conaill m. Cind Fáelad m. Duib Dá Bairenn m. Áeda Róin m. Éoganáin m. Crunnmaíl m. Áedo m. Óengusa m. Ailella Cennfota m. h-Eircc m. Cairpri m. Brioin m. Fiachach Fidgenid m. Maine Munchaín m. Ailella Flaind Bic m. Fiachach Fir Dá Liach m. Éogain Máir m. Ailella Auluimm m. Moga Nuadat m. Moga Néit.
Taken from various annals, so dates may vary.
123 A.D. At Maynooth, Mogha Nuadhad, fought a battle with Conn of the Hundred Battles, Monarch of Ireland. Resulting from this battle, Mogha forced Conn to divide Ireland with him into two equal parts by the boundary of Esker Riada, a long ridge of hills from Dublin to Galway, the south part he termed his and called it after his own name, Leath Mogha, or “Mogha’s Half of Ireland”. The northern part was called Leath Cuinn, or Conn’s Half.
125 A.D. A battle fought at Ard Neimheidh, i.e. the Great Island, between Niadh Nuaget and Ængus, monarch of Ireland, in which conflict the former recovered the crown of Munster.
195 A.D. Eóghan, eldest son of Ailill Ollamh son of Mogha Nuadhad, fell at the Battle of Magh Muchruime.
196 A.D. Birth of Fiácha Maolleathan, son of Eóghan Mór Mac Ailill.
234 A.D. Ailill Ollamh, King of Munster, died. After him his son, Cormac Cas, ruled Munster and then Fiácha, son of Eóghan Mór.
366 A.D. The first year of Crimhthann, son of Fidhach, son of Daire Cearb, over Ireland.
378 A.D. After Crimhthann, son of Fidhach, had been thirteen years as king over Ireland, he died of a poisonous drink which his own sister gave him.
489 A.D. Aenghus MacNadfraich, who is said to have been the first Christian king of Munster, grandson of Conal Corc king of Munster, was slain.
552 A.D. The battle of Cuillne in which the Corca Óche of Mumu (These were a sept of the Uí-Fidhgheinte, seated in the present county of Limerick) were laid low through the prayers of St Ida, of Cluain-Creadhail (Now Killeedy, an ancient church in a parish of the same name, in the barony of Upper Connello and county of Limerick, and about five miles to the south of Newcastle), in which many of them were slain.
571 A.D. Ide, of Cluain Creadal, died.
635 A.D. The battle of Cúil Óchtair between the Uí Fhidgeinte and the Araid.
649 A.D. The battle of Carn Conaill [was gained] by Diarmaid, son of Aedh Slanie, against Guaire, wherein were slain the two Cuans, namely, Cuan, son of Enda, King of Munster, and Cuan, son of Cairell, chief of Uí-Fidhgheinte; Death of Crunnmael son of Aedh, king of Uí Fhidgeinte.
667 A.D. The battle of Aine, between the Aradha and Uí-Fidhgheinte, where Eoghan, son of Crunnmael, was slain. (The Uí-Fidhgeinte and the Aradha were seated in the present county of Limerick, and their territories were divided from each other by the River Maigue and the stream now called the Morning Star River.)
683 A.D. Death of Doineannaigh, king of Uí Fhidgeinte, and the mortality of the children.
699 A.D. Conall, son of Doineannaigh, chief of Uí-Fidhgheinte, died.
713 A.D. Aedh Dubh, chief of Uí-Fidhgheinte, died.
731 A.D. Bodhbhchadh, son of Conall Gabhra, chief of Cairbre, died.
732 A.D. Death of Dubh Indrecht son of Erc, king of Uí Fhidgeinte.
751 A.D. Death of Dubhdabhoireann son of Aedh Rón, king of Uí Fhidgeinte.
753 A.D. Death of Flann son of Erc, king of Uí Fhidgeinte.
762 A.D. Battle between the Uí-Fidhgheinte, Corcu MoDruad, and Corcu Baiscind.
766 A.D. A defeat [was inflicted] by the Uí Fhidgeinte and by the Araid Cliach on Mael Dúin, son of Aedh, in Brega, i.e. Énboth Breg.
767 A.D. Ceinnsalach, lord of Uí Fidhgheinte, died.
774 A.D. Death of Cenn Faelad (Kenneally), king of Uí Fhidgeinte, and of Rechtabra, king of Corcu Bascinn.
786 A.D. Scanlann, son of Flann, son of Erc, chief of Uí-Fidhgheinte, died.
796 A.D. Olchobur (Oliver), son of Flann, son of Erc, chief of Uí-Fidhgheinte, died.
807 A.D. Murchadh Ua Flainn (Murry O Flinn), lord of Uí-Fidhgheinte, died.
814 A.D. Bruadar, lord of Uí Fidhgheinte, died.
Ultimately, five hundred years after the time of Fiacha Fidhgheinte, the territories of the Uí Fidhgheinte divided into two principal dynasties or septs, the Uí Cairbre Áedhbha (O’Donovan) and Uí Conaill Gabhra (O’Connell).
According to O’Brien at the word Conal, and also O’Halloran (Vol. II. p. 389), the territory of the O’Connells was called Hy Conail Gabhra, and comprised the present baronies of Upper and Lower Conello, Shanid and Glenquin in the county of Limerick, and got its name from Conall Gabhra, one of its ancient chiefs, the ancestor of the O’Connells, O’Collins and O’Kinealys.
An early Uí Chonaill Gabhra genealogy: (Rawlinson)
Flannabra (Flannery), son of Ciarmaccáin (Cormac d.906), son of Flannabrat (Flannery d.876) son of Scandláin (Scanlan), son of Dúnadaigh (d.835), son of Scandláin (died in 786 A.D.), son of Flaind (d.762 A.D.), son of Eircc, son of Donennaich (died in 683/4 A.D.), son of Óengusa (d. 636 A.D.), son of Nechtain, son of Cennfhota, son of Brénaind, son of Araide, son of Conaill, son of Intait Dárai, son of Brioin, son of Fiachach Fidgeinti, son of Dáire Cherbba, son of Ailella Flainn Bic, son of Fiachach Muilleathan, son of Eóghan Mór, son of Ailella Auluimm, son of Moga Nuadat, son of Moga Néit.
The stipends given by the king of Cashel to the kings of his tribes: (Benén)
Ten horſes to the king of Úi Chonaill Gabhra,
ten ſhields, ten valiant ſwords,
ten horns in his gloomy fort,[a]
without hoſtages from him or pledges.
No rent which is not gratuitous is due,
from Inis Eógain to the high-king,
Clan Chonaill owes no rent,
nor ſervice nor wool.
The king of the fair Hí Chonaill is entitled,
to his Eaſter rainment from the king of Caſhel,
his flaſhing blade with bright colour,
and his ſpear as well.
Book of Rights.
Luimnech, by which name was then known the great branch of the Shannon from the present city of Luimnech, or Limerick, to the sea, was next occupied by the Vikings, who plundered the neighbouring country, namely, Corca Baiscinn, Tradruidhe and the lands inhabited by the Uí Conaill Gabhra, or descendants of Conall Gabhra. This tribe, under the command of their cheiftain, Donnchadh (or Donadhach), who was also head of the Uí Fidhghente, assisted by Niall, son of Cennfaeladh, gave battle to the foreigners, and defeated them at a place called Seannaid (Shanid), in the barony of Lower Connello, county of Limerick.
834 A.D. A battle [was gained] over the Danes by Dunadhach, son of Scannlan, lord of Conaill-Gabhra, of the Uí-Fidhgheinte, wherein many were slain.
835 A.D. Dunadhach (Donoghue) the head chieftain of all the Uí-Fidhgheinte, son of Scannlan, lord of Conaill-Gabhra, of the Uí-Fidhgeinte, died.
846 A.D. Niall, son of Ceannfaeladh (Kenneally), lord of Uí-Fidhgheinte, died.
852 A.D. Crunnmhael, son of Maelduin, lord of Uí-Fidhgheinte, died.
855 A.D. Bran, son of Scannlan, lord of Conaill-Gabhra, of the Uí-Fidhgheinte, died.
860 A.D. Aedh Dubh, son of Dubh dá Bairenn, lord of Uí-Fidhgheinte, died, after being wounded during a hosting of [the men of] Leinster, Munster, and Connaught, and of the southern Uí-Neill, into the North, by Maelseachlainn (Malloughlin), son of Maelruanaidh (Malrooney).
869 A.D. Dunmain, in the west of Erinn, was demolished, and an extraordinary and indescribable slaughter of the foreigners was effected there by Conligan, son of Maelcron, and the Eoganachts (Owenauts) of Loch Lein, and by Flannabrat (Flannery), grandson of Dunadach, King of Uí Conaill.
876 A.D. A victory was gained by Cearbhall (Carroll), son of Dunghal (Donnell), and by the Deisi, over the men of Munster, at Inneoin, where fell Flannabhra Ua Dunadhaigh (Flannery Ó Donoghue), lord of Uí-Conaill-Gabhra and many others along with him.
880 A.D. Finn, son of Dubhslaine, lord of Uí Fidhgeinte, died.
906 A.D. Ciarmhacan (Cormac), son of Flannabhra Ua Dunadhaigh (Flannery Ó Donoghue), lord of Uí-Conaill-Gabhra, died.
907 A.D. Ceannfaolaidh (Kenneally), king of Ui Conaill, was killed at the Battle of Bealagh Mughna.
916 A.D. Vikings (Tomar) slay Gebennech, son of Aedh (Hugh), King of Uí Conaill, and take away his head.
Great is the pity, O God of heaven,
That the people of Tomur ſhould have it
Behold the head of Gabhra’s king is taken from you
Illuſtrious gem of the weſt of the world.
917 A.D. A slaughter of foreigners (Vikings), viz. Seven hundred, by the Uí Chonaill Gabhra and by the Fir Maige Féine at Raithen Mór.
927 A.D. Repose of Mael Corguis Ua Conaill, bishop of Tuad Mumu (Thomond). “Annals of Innisfallen”
962 A.D. Death of Scandlán grandson of Riacán, king of Uí Fhidgeinte.
967 A.D. Treasach, son of Maelmuine, lord of Uí-Conaill-Gabhra, was killed.
972 A.D. The capture of Mathgamain (Mahon) son of Cennétig (Kennedy), king of Caisel. He was treacherously seized by Donnubhan (Donovan), lord of Uí-Fidhgheinte, and handed over to the son of Bran in violation of the guarantee and despite the interdiction of the elders of Munster, and he is put to death by Bran’s son.
974 A.D. Death of Dhonnabhan mac Cathail (Donovan Mac Cahill), tigherna (Lord of) Ua Fidhgeinte.
976 A.D. Vikings slay Mael Sechnaill son of Flannabra (Flannery), King of Uí-Conaill-Gabhra.
977 A.D. A raid by Brian, son of Cennétig (Kennedy), on Uí Fhidgeinte, and he made a slaughter of foreigners therein.
978 A.D. Brian, son of Cennédigh (Kennedy), subdued the Eóganachta of Desi Mumha.
1000 A.D. Ceannfaeladh (Kenneally), son of Conchobhar (Connor), lord of Uí-Conaill Gabhra, died.
1013 A.D. Coirpre (Carbrey), mac Cleirceinn, Tigherna (Lord of) Ua Fidhgheinti, was slain.
1014 A.D. Fighting in the second division of Brian’s army, Loingseach, son of Dunlaing, chief of Ui-Conaill-Gabhra. Domhnall, King of Desmond, son of Dubhdahoirenn, king of Munster, was slain in this battle.
1027 A.D. Domhnall (Donnell), son of Seanchan (Shannan), son of Flaithbheartach (Flaherty), royal heir of Munster; and the two sons of Cuilen (Cullen), son of Conchobhar (Connor), lord and Tanist of Ui-Conaill Gabhra, were slain in battle.
1029 A.D. Death of Cennédigh (Kennedy) son of Cenn Faelad (Kenneally), royal heir of Uí Chonaill Gabhra.
1031 A.D. Two grandsons of Maeleachlainn, son of Flannabhra, both royal heirs of Uí-Conaill-Gabhra, were slain.
1049 A.D. Conchobhar Ua Cinnfhaelaidh (O’Kenneally), lord of Uí-Conaill Gabhra, was slain by the lord of Eoghanacht-Locha-Lein.
1117 A.D. Death of Cathasach Ó Conaill, “noble Bishop of Connacht”. “Four Masters” (This may be the first recorded use of Ó Conaill as a proper surname.)
1131 A.D. A predatory hosting by Toirdhelbhach Ó Conchobhair and the men of the province of Connacht, into Munster, when they plundered Uí-Conaill-Gabhra.
1136 A.D. Ceall Íde was plundered by Toirdhealbhach son of Diarmaid Ó Briain and his kinsmen. Ó Cinn Fhaoladh, king of Uí Chonaill Gabhra, made peace on account of the foray.
1152 A.D. Peace was made by Toirdhealbhach Ó Briain and his kinsman Tadhg, and they made great forays in Uí Chonaill on Cormac’s son. Ó Cuiléin went into Ciarraighe and burned Ard Fearta Bréanainn to the detriment of the nobles of Diarmaid Ó Conchobhair.
1156 A.D. Cuiléan Ó Cuiléin of Claenghlais, king of Uí Chonaill Gabhra, was killed by Ó Cinn Fhaoladh (O’Kenneally), and he himself was killed forthwith by Cuiléan’s people in retribution.
According to O’Heerin, Ó Conaill was chief of Hy Cuilein, from Luachair Aille to Claenglais. The commons of Claonglas (Cleanlish) are marked on the maps south-east of Abbeyfeale, in the barony of Upper Conello, on the verge of the county of Limerick, towards the river Feale, and the borders of Cork and Kerry. Upper and Lower Connello, County Limerick – Hy Cnocnuil Gabhra (aka Uí Conaill Uachtarach) – was the name of the sub-tribe of the Eoghanacht barony here, before they settled across the border in Kerry in the 12th century.
The Ui-Conaill of the battalion of Munſter
Multitudinous is the gathering
A great tribe, with whom it is not uſual to contend
Are the battle-trooped hoſt of the O’Coilens.
1169 A.D. Robert Fitz-Stephen came to Ireland, as he had promised Dermot Mac Murchadha, with thirty knights, three score esquires, and three hundred archers and foot. The next day Maurice de Prendergast landed with ten men and sixty archers. Later Maurice Fitz-Gerald landed at Wexford with ten knights, thirty horsemen and one hundred archers.
1172 A.D. Henry II, son of the Empress, King of England, Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine, and Anjou, came to Ireland with five hundred knights and numerous cavalry and infantry, and entered Waterford harbour on the feast of St. Luke the Apostle.
Diarmaid Mór Mac Carthaigh of Desmond was the first Irish chief to pledge allegiance to Henry, quickly followed by the rest of the southern chiefs.
Over the brave Uí MacCarthainn,
Royal, very great chieftains,
Royal and very fine their lands,
O’Colgan and O’Conaill.
By the end of the 12th century, the Uí Fidghente territory was under extreme pressure from all sides, as the O’Brians and the English foreigners (Fitzgerald, Fitzmaurice, DeBurgo) looked to the south and west to expand against the remnants of the Uí Fidghente, the Uí Chonaill Gabhra and the Uí Chairpre, who were without formidable allies.
1178. A.D. A great war broke out between Domhnall Mór Ó Brian and Diarmaid Mór Mac Carthaigh, and they laid waste from Limerick to Cork, and from Clár Doire Mhóir and Waterford to Cnoc Bréanainn, both church and lay property. Donald O’Brien, at the head of the entire Dalcassian tribes, greatly distressed and reduced all the Eugenians, laid waste their country with fire and sword, and obliged the dispersed Eugenians to seek for shelter in the woods and fastnesses of Eve-Eachach, on the south of the river Lee. In this expedition they routed the Uí Chairbre, and the Uí Dhonnabháin of Ive-Figeinte, or Cairbre Aedh-bha, in the county of Limerick, to the western parts of the county of Cork where they, being powerfully assisted by the O’Mahonys, made new settlements for themselves in the antient properties of the O’Donoghues, O’Learys, and O’Driscolls, to which three families the O’Mahonys were always declared enemies. The O’Collins of Ive-Conail Gabhra, or Lower Connello, in said county, were driven beyond the mountain of Mangerton, and The Uí Mac Caille fled southwards across the Lee into Uí Eachach, the Eóghanacht Locha Léin fled to Féardhruim in Uí Eachach, the Ciarraighe Luahra into Thomond, the Uí Chonaill into Eóghanacht Locha Léin, and to the country around Mangarta.
Wretched is Munster of the steeds,
between Eóghan and Cormac:
A westward raid by noble Síol Cormaic,
an eastward raid by Síol Eóghain.
The O’Connells settled in Kerry, where they had a large territory extending from Sliabh Luachra, and the river Feale, to Claenglais, on the borders of their ancient possessions. Lynch in his Feudal Dignities of Ireland  states that the land which in ancient times was called Okonayl and Ogonneloe was ceded to the ancestors of the Earl of Desmond (Fitzgerald), soon after the arrival of Henry II, by the native family or sept of O’Connell, in consideration of lands assigned them in the countys of Kerry and Clare.
The O’Connells possessed the lordship of Magh o goinin, or the Barony of Magunihy, in East Kerry. The chief of the clan resided in Aghadoe. According to legend, “The O’Connells of slender swords, dwelt in the bushy forts betwixt the Laune and the Maine.”
O’Connell of the ſlender ſwords,
Over the buſhy-forted Magounihy,
A hazel tree of branching ringlets,
In the Munſter plain of horſe hoſts,
From the Maing weſtward is hereditary to them.
1189 A.D. A battle was fought by Domnall, son of Mac Carthaigh, and by Cuilén Ua Cuiléin at Sifin Uí Fhlainn(?) and that battle was fought under the conduct of the Uí Meic Thíre and of Lochlainn’s son on both sides, and Cuilén was slain. Diarmait Ua Meic Thíre, Fíngen Ua Caím and his brother Muirchertach, and many other nobles of Uí Chonaill, both chieftains and warriors, were also slain. Mael Sechlainn son of Lochlainn […] also there.
1215 A.D. Domhnall O’Connell proceeded from Kerry in the North at the head of a large troop to repel the invasion from the land of Morvern.
1242 A.D. Death of Cormac Fionn MacCarthy Mór, father of Donal Fionn MacCarthy. (i.e. The Clan Donal Fionn)
1261 A.D. A great hosting by the Clann-Gerald into Des-Mumha, to attack Mac Carthaigh; and Mac Carthaigh attacked them, and defeated them, and Fitz-Thomas (John proprium nomen), and his son, and fifteen knights and eight noble barons along with them were slain there, besides several young men and soldiers innumerable. And the Barrach (Barry) Mór was also killed there.
1262 A.D. The castles of Dún Mic Thoghmainn, Dún Uisni, Macroom, Magh Oiligh, Dún Lóich, and Killorglin, and many of the castles of Uí Chonaill, were demolished and burned by Fínghin Reanna Róin and [the people of] Desmond. Miles de Courcy offered him terms, and when Mac Carthaigh refused these terms, Miles went with his full body of troops to Bearnach Reanna Róin before the army, and defeated them on the Thursday after Michaelmas, Fínghin and many of the nobles of Desmond being slain. A hosting by Mac William Burk and the foreigners of Erin to Desmond to attack Mac Carthaigh, until they reached the Mangartach of Loch Léin, where Gerald Roche was slain by Mac Carthaigh and it was said that he was the third best baron in Ireland. The far northern slope of Mangerton was the site of a battle between the Mac Cárthaigh forces and FitzGeralds. This was the joy with sorrow to Desmond, for the son of Domhnall Got Mac Carthaigh, i.e. Cormac, son of Domhnall, was slain on that day; and the foreigners and the Gaedhil suffered great losses on that day around the Mangartach. The battle-site is known as Tooreencormick (from Tuairín Cormaic meaning “little field of Cormac”) after Cormac MacCárthaigh, who was killed during the clash. The battle is considered a MacCarthy success however because the Normans were kept out of the region (for a while).
1300 A.D. The Norman Fitzgerald family were pressured by the powerful O’Donoghue family towards the Atlantic coast, thereby displacing the O’Connells farther west. Their retreat led them to the peninsula of Iveragh, where the O’Connells became hereditary castellans of Ballycarbery Castle➭under the MacCarthy Mór chiefs.
1332 A.D. The MacCartys were defeated by the English and according to Clyn (who places this event in the year 1335) Dermot Oge MacCarty King of Cork was slain.
1338 A.D. The earliest known chief of the “O’Connell” clan, Aodh (pronouced in Irish as Ay, rhyming with “day”, but substituted in English with Hugh) O’Connell living in 1338, lord and chief of the clan, appears joined with his son Geoffrey, in a commission issued by Edward III., empowering them to reduce some refractory tribes in the county of Limerick, which had refused submission to the terms on which Hugh and his sons had acknowledged the royal authority. He had three known children Geoffrey, Aodh and Sheila who were living in 1341. Sheila married John O’Mahony Mergagh, of Desmond. Geoffrey did not succeed to the chieftaincy, which, by his death, devolved upon his brother, Aodh, the second son of the first chief, of the race of Dáire Cerbba and a descendant of Conaill Gabhra, he married Margaret O’Brien daughter of Maithan Maonmaighe O’Brien, prince of Thomond. They had a son:
Geoffrey O’Connell, living in 1370, who married Catherine O’Connor-Kerry. From an early period the O’Connells were connected, by marriage alliances, with the O’Connors, the ancient lords of Kerry. Geoffrey and Catherine had a son:
Donal Fitz-Geoffrey O’Connell, living in 1421, who married Honoria O’Sullivan-Beare.
1394 A.D. King Richard, i.e. the king of the English, came to Ireland with an immense force, including English and Welsh, and such a fleet did not come to Ireland since the Norse fleets came. Ó Briain, i.e. Brian, king of Thomond, and Mac Carthaigh, i.e. Tadhg, king of Desmond, submitted to the king.
The lineage continued with:
Sir Aodh, living in 1436, son of Donal and Honoria O’Connell. He married Mary McCarthy daughter of Donal McCarthy-Mór. Aodh was knighted by Sir Richard Nugent, Lord Deputy of Ireland.
1461 A.D. Connor O’Connell, Bishop of Killala was slain by Manus Ó Dowdas’s son.
Maurice, son of Aodh and Mary, married Juliana O’Sullivan-Mór daughter of Rory O’Sullivan-Mór. This Maurice declared for Perkin Warbeck (pretender to the throne) but obtained a pardon from the English King through the influence of The MacCarthy Mór, on the 24th of August 1496. King Henry pardoned his Irish supporters, remarking drily “I suppose they will crown an ape next.”
Morgan, his son, married Elizabeth O’Donovan daughter of the chief of clan Cathail in Carberry. They had a son:
Aodh who married Mora daughter of Sir Tadg O’Brien of Baille-na-Carriga, County, Clare. They had a son:
Morgan of Ballycarbery who was named the High Sheriff of Kerry. Morgan married Elana daughter of Donal McCarthy. They had a son:
Richard who married Johanna daughter of Callaghan McCarthy of Carrignamuck, Co. Cork. This Richard assisted Queen Elizabeth’s Generals against the Great Geraldine, surrendered his estates in 1565 and obtained a regrant thereof through the influence of the lord deputy.
Maurice, his son, High Sheriff of Kerry, married Margaret O’Callaghan daughter of Conchobhar (Connor) O’Callaghan of Clonmeen, County Cork. They had two sons:-
Hell or Connaught
The rebellion of 1641 proved disastrous for most Irish families and the O’Connells, dispite their isolated locality, were no exception. Cromwell used it as an excuse to clear the Irish from the soil and plant it with English. An act of January 23, 1653, stipulated the disarming of all the Irish. Then, on September 26, a further act set aside the province of Connaught, including county Clare, for “the habitation of the Irish nation.” The border was the river Shannon, and the Irish men and their wives and children were to transplant themselves west or, in the O’Connell’s case, north of the Shannon. Heads of families were to go by January 20, 1654, while families were to follow by May 1.
The restoration of the Monarchy, of Charles II, did little to correct the wrongs of the Parliamentarians and James II or Seamus an Chaca (James the Shite as the Irish dubbed him, having turned tail and ran back to France after the battle of the Boyne, 1691), proved even more of a disappointment. The Irish fought on but suffered a major defeat at the battle of Aughrim and retreated to Limerick where, after a prolonged seige, the Treaty of Limerick was signed.
Maurice O’Connell, of the county of Clare, who was a general of brigade, and colonel of the king’s guards, under James II, was killed at the battle of Aughrim (1691), and Charles O’Connell, his brother, of Braintree, in Clare, was a colonel in King James’ service. Several of the O’Connells afterwards entered the Irish Brigade, in the service of France; and some of them were distinguished commanders, amongst whom may be mentioned Count Daniel O’Connell, a general in the French service; others of them were officers in the Austrian service. Lieutenant-general Sir Maurice O’Connell, was commander of the British forces in New South Wales. After the Cromwellian wars, and the Revolution, a great part of the extensive possessions of the O’Connells were confiscated and the head of the family, Maurice O’Connell, was transplanted to Clare; but there are still many very respectable families of the O’Connells in the county of Kerry.
The youngest son, Maurice John O’Connell’s wife, Unknown O’Connor-Kerry, had several sisters who married into several, respectable (Protestant) Kerry families. One of these, Sarah, married George Gun, son of William Gun and ___ Raymond of Rattoo townland in Causeway parish. This is the Gun/Raymond family of Ballyegan in Galey parish, Riversdale/Kilmorna in Knockanure parish and Lahardane in Killehenny/Ballybunion parish.
The Gun (sometimes spelt Gunn) family were descended from Rev. William Gun, of Limerick, but were established in north Kerry, according to Smith during the reign, of Charles I. Wilson Gun was one of the principal lessors in the parishes of Killury and Rattoo, barony of Clanmaurice, at the time of Griffith's Valuation. He owned 11,000 acres in county Kerry in the 1870s. The representatives of John L. Gun (Maurice Hennessy, James O’Connell, etc) held several townlands in the parish of Killehenny, barony of Iraghticonnor. In 1867, these lands were offered for sale in the Landed Estates Court. George Cashel, of Shallee, Silvermines, county Tipperary, was leasing over 250 acres from the Gun estate in the parish of Rattoo, county Kerry at the time of Griffith’s Valuation. In 1868 he offered for sale in the Landed Estates Court, property in the baronies of Iraghticonnor and Clanmaurice, county Kerry, as well as lands in the barony of Owney and Arra, county Tipperary. An offer was made by the Congested Districts Board on over 400 acres of the Gun/Crosbie estate in 1914.
On the first edition Ordnance Map it is labelled as Kilmeany House. In 1786 Wilson refers to Kilmeany as the seat of Mr. Gunn. Leet, in 1814, refers to it as the residence of Mrs. Raymond. Bary states that it was originally a Raymond house, named Riversdale but that it was bought by Pierce Mahony in 1834. Pierce Mahony was leasing Kilmorna House to William Lunham at the time of Griffith’s Valuation (1854), when it was valued at £23 10s. In 1906 it was the property of George Gun Mahony and valued at £20. It continued to be occupied by the Mahony family and their descendents until 1921 when it was burnt and the then resident, Arthur Vicars, shot dead.
At the time of Griffith’s Valuation, (1854) Wilson Gun was leasing this property to Thomas O’Connell, when it was valued at £13 5s. It is labelled Rattoo House (in ruins), south west of the Round Tower, on the 1st edition Ordnance Map (1801), but on the later 1890s Map it is named as Rattoo West. Bary states that this house is now known as Lisnagoneeny House. It was built by the Gun family, though the date is not clear, but probably in the eighteenth century.
Our New Zealand branch of the O’Connell family, cannot at present be affiliated to the main line but possibly derives from the Riverston branch through one of the younger sons of John O’Connell of Ballynabloun. Family tradition says (from the writings of Pat Fitchett) that we ‘know’ ourselves as “the O’Connell’s of Ballyegan” and that we were “Causeway and Riversdale O’Connell’s.” These two gems of family law fit the puzzle quite well when you look at the evidence that still exists in the Irish records.
Edward O’Connell and Frances Wall’s marriage record lists Edward as of ‘Gale’ parish, which is situated around Lisselton, just west of Listowel on the Ballybunion road and includes the townland of Ballyegan. Ballyegan and the greater Gale parish had two large landholders, or ‘Landlords’, by the names of George Gun of ‘Gunsborough and Kilmorna’ (son of William Gun of Rattoo, in Causeway parish) and James Raymond of ‘Ballyegan and Riversdale’. Kilmorna House, owned by George Gun, was previously named Riversdale when it was occupied by the Raymonds of Ballyegan. Kilmorna is situated to the east of Listowel in Knockanure parish where Edward O’Connell is buried along with his son James O’Connell of Lahardane, which just so happens to have been owned by John Leslie Gun, son of George Gun of Gunsborough and Kilmorna by his first wife Joice Leslie (his second wife being Elizabeth, daughter of James Raymond of Ballyegan and Riversdale). The significance of these relationships makes more sense when you consider that George Gun’s father George Gun of Carrigafoile Castle was married to Sarah, the daughter of Maurice O’Connor, Archdeacon of Ardfert, she being the sister of the O’Connor girl married to Maurice John O’Connell of Portmagee (of the Riverstown branch) making all the above mentioned individuals ‘Cousins’.
Maurice John O’Connell of Portmagee had a younger brother named Richard (Edward named his second known son Richard suggesting a paternal link) who may have also married into this branch and would have been about the right age to be the father of our Edward O’Connell of Gale parish. If we are indeed “the O’Connell’s of Ballyegan” then maybe a Raymond girl was involved but this is all speculation and cannot yet be proven.
If there’s a lie in it, let it be.