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The Eoghanach and The Owenagh River in County Monaghan

There is an area in county Monaghan, roughly equivalent to the modern parish of Aghnamullen, that was known as the Eoghanach. The Owenagh River, which runs to the east from Lough Egish, formed the southern boundary of the Eoghanach, and also forms part of the boundary between the baronies of Cremorne and Farney. There has been a concentration of McGoughs in this area for the past several hundred years. The surname McGough is an anglicization of Mac Eochaidh. As does Eochaidh, Eoghan also stems from the Irish word for horse. Could there be a connection between the surname McGough and the name of the Eoghanach of county Monaghan?


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Origin of the Name of the Eoghanach or Owenagh in County Monaghan

The part of county Monaghan that is now the Catholic parish of Aughnamullen West is in an area that was once called the Erganach or Eoghanach. I have found no sharp boundaries of the area in county Monaghan referred to in Irish history as the Eoghanach, but it generally corresponds to the modern civil parish of Aghnamullen.

The Annals of the Four Masters for the year 1457 report that, when the sons of Rury MacMahon heard that Maguire had marched his forces into Oriel, "they went with their cattle into their fastnesses, namely, into Eoghanach and Sliabh Mughdhorn." John O'Donovan, in his notes, says:

"Eoghanach.—This name is given on an old map of Ulster, preserved in the State Papers Office, under the anglicized form of Owenagh. It was the name of a district situated to the south of the town of Ballybay, and comprised of the parish of Aghnamullen, in the barony of Cremourne, and county of Monaghan. Owenagh is now obsolete as the name of a district, but the name is still preserved as that of a river in this neighborhood, which rises in Lough Tacker near Bellatrain, in the parish of Aughnamullen, flows through the parish of Drumgoon, in the County of Cavan, and pays its tribute to the River Erne."

The "old map of Ulster" referred to by O'Donovan is probably a map entitled A Generalle Description of Ulster that has recently been republished as a map of Ulster in 1602–03 at page 49 of Historical Maps of Ireland by Michael Swift (Chartwell Books 1999). A sketch of the Owenagh, copied from this map, is included in O'Donovan's papers for Armagh and Monaghan in the Armagh City Reference Library and has been published as appendix 7 to chapter 1, at page 34, of At the Ford of the Birches: The History of Ballybay, its People and Vicinity (Murnane Brothers, September 1999) by James H. Murnane and Peadar Murnane. The map is discussed further below under the heading River Owenagh.

The river that flows out of Lough Tacker described by O'Donovan is now known as the Annalee. As suggested below, the Owenagh or Onagh River might more properly refer to the stream of water that flows from the south end of Lough Egish to Knappagh Water and there into the Annalee. The eastern part of this stream forms the boundary between the baronies of Cremorne and Farney, both of which are in county Monaghan.

There are also areas in Munster in the southwest of Ireland that are, more commonly, referred to as the Éoganacht or Eóghanacht. That name in Munster is thought to have come from Éogan Mór, son of Ailill Aulomm (Oilliol Olum), ancient king of Munster. For maps and a description of the ancient beginnings, genealogy, and folklore of the Munster Eóghanachta, go to Old Irish Kingdoms and Clans (under Eoghanacht) and Ancient Mumhan: Province of Munster (under Eóghanachta), supplements to Ireland's History in Maps. See also Eoghanacht Genealogies From The Book of Munster. Mag Eochagáin is a surname found in county Westmeath that is often anglicized as MacGeoghegan. The (Mac) Geoghegans claim descent from the southern Uí Neill, chiefs of Kinalea.

According to Edward MacLysaght, Eochagain, or Eogan, is derived from Eochaidh. See the discussion of MacGeoghegan at pages 158–9 of Irish Families: Their Names, Arms and Origins (Crown Publisher, Inc., New York 1957). The name Eoghan seems to have multiple derivations:

"The original Irish name of Eoghan and the anglo Owen and the Gaeilge name of Eoin (for John) are mistaken by many people to be different spellings of the same name. All three of these names are pronounced as Irish, but only the original, Eoghan, is authentic." Names of Ireland by Bruce L. Jones, under Some Areas of Confusion.

The Eoghan, from which the name of the Eoghanach in county Monaghan is derived, is probably the name based on the Gaelic ech, a horse. This raises the possibility that the name of the Eoghanach area of county Monaghan and the surname McGeogh, McGeough, McGough and its variants, stem from a common origin—some form of Eochaidh or Eathach, the Gaelic word for horseman. The greatest concentration of McGeoghs in Ireland is in the area of county Monaghan that was once known as the Eoghanach, namely, the parish of Aghnamullen. See Origins of the Surname McGough and More Irish Names Derived from "Horse".

Is there a common origin of the name of the clans of the Munster Eoghanacht and the surname McGough? Is the name of the Monahan Eoghanach connected with Eoghan, the son of Niall, who, in the 4th century, became the progenitor of the Cenél Eóghain? The northern connection seems most likely. The county to the immediate north of Monaghan is Tyrone. Tyrone means Tir Eogain or Eoghan's Land.

John O'Donovan writes:

"The Eoghanachs, i.e., the O'Neills and other inhabitants of Tyrone, who were called Eochanachs, or Eugenians by Irish writers, as being descended from Eoghan, the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, monarch of Ireland in the fourth century." Irish Kings #126. The Tribes and Customs of Hy-Many, Commonly Called O'Kelly's Country by John O'Donovan (Special Edition 1992 Irish Genealogical Foundation), page 137, footnote w.

An entry in the Annals of the Four Masters for the year 1457, quoted above, refers to Lisnagore, about a mile west of Newbliss, as "the town of Owen, the son of Rury Mac Mahon," and says that after the Mac Mahons hid their cattle from a raiding party of the Maguires by moving them into the Eoghanach, the Maguires burned Lisnagore. Could the Eoghanach have been named after Owen (Eoghan) Mac Mahon? He was a lord of Oriel. The Annals of the Four Masters report:

M1467.3 Owen, the son of Rury Mac Mahon, Lord of Oriel, died; and Redmond, the son of Rury, assumed the lordship after him.

Redmond Mac Mahon appears again in the Annals in connection with the Eoghanach:

M1475.11 A great war broke out between Mac Mahon, i.e. Redmond, the son of Rury, and the sons of Hugh Roe Mac Mahon. The sons of Hugh Roe migrated by force into the territory of Fearnmhagh [Farney], whither an English army repaired to their assistance. Mac Mahon went into Eoghanach*, but again returned into Fearnmagh, whereupon the sons of Hugh went over to the English. Mac Mahon and his forces made an incursion against the English; but the sons of Hugh Roe and the English of Machaire Oirghiall overtook and defeated him, and took himself and Brian, the son of Rury Mac Mahon, prisoners; and a great many others of his people were slain and made prisoners on that occasion.

*that is, went north across the Owenagh River into what is now the barony of Cremorne.

M1476.15 An incursion was made by O'Neill into Oriel; and the sons of Mac Mahon, i.e. the sons of Redmond, and Brian, the son of Rury, and all the people of Oriel from the Eoganach inwards, fled westwards to the plain of Tulach; and great spoils and booties were carried away by O'Neill from them from the said plain, and from the borders of Breifne: he then returned home victorious and triumphant.

The Annals report that, in the year 1484, Redmond Mac Mahon, Lord of Oriel, died in captivity at Drogheda.

On the death in 1620 of George Montgomery, Bishop of Clogher and Meath, some church lands passed to to Hugh Culham of Cloughouter in county Cavan. Among properties transferred were: "The land of Aughnamullen, called Onoghe a†s Anye." Evelyn Philip Shirley, The History of thc County of Monaghan, page 119 (footnote). Shirley also cites documents showing that, in 1590, Ross bane McMahon, sheriff of the county of Monaghan, was in possession of "the Onaghe in the Barony of Cremorne" (page 87); and says that, on the night of September 16, 1593, Sir Henry Bagnal and a force of about 350 men (143 horsemen and 208 footmen) "incamped that night in Hugh Mc Rories town in the Onaght" (page 98).

Here is the definition of Eoganach from the Onamasticon Gaedelicum, an index, with identifications, to the Gaelic names of places and tribes, by Edmund Hogan, SJ:


das. Eoganaig, g. Eogancha, Eoghanocha; ¶ r. on which McMahon of
Ulst. had some strongholds, Ui.; ¶ in Dartraige, now b. Dartree; ¶
called Owenagh in an old map, a district which comprised p. of
Aghanamullen, b. Cremourne, c. Mon.; ¶ r. Owenagh, which rises in L.
Tacker and flows into r. Erne, Mi.; ¶ v. Aba na hEogh.; ¶ Oirghialla
ó abhaind na hEoghancha astech, Au. iii. 462; ¶ mur do chualadur
Clann Meg Mhathgamna sin, do chuadur ar a ndaingneachaibh, i., ar
Eoganaigh 7 fa Sliabh Mughdorn; ¶ 7 clann Meg Mathgamna 7
Oirghiallaigh uile o Eoganaigh astech do theicheadh siar fa Machaire
Tulcha, Au. iii. 188, 258.


Any Connection to Eochaidh Mac Duinnsleibhe [Ua Eochadha], King of Ulidia?

Could the settlers in the Monaghan Eoghanach have been some of the followers of Eochaidh Mac Duinnsleibhe [Ua Eochadha] who, in 1165, was deprived of the kingship of Ulidia and banished by Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn [Irish Kings #182]? See Kings of Ulidia. In 1156, the Ulidians turned against Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn, and proclaimed war upon him. (M1156.15). Nine years later, in 1165, the Annals of the Four Masters report:

"The Ulidians began to turn against Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn, and proceeded with a force against the Ui-Meith, and carried off cows, and slew many persons. They made another deprecatory irruption upon the Ui-Breasail-Airthir, and another upon the Dal-Riada. A great army was afterwards led by Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn, consisting of the Cinel-Conaill, Cinel-Eoghain, and Airghialla, into Ulidia; and they plundered and spoiled the whole country, except the principal churches of Ulidia; and they made a countless slaughter of men, and slew, among others, Eachmarcach Mac Gilla-Epscoib and Ua Lomain; and they banished Eochaidh Mac Duinnsleibhe from Ulidia, after having deprived him of his kingdom; and all the Ulidians gave their hostages to Ua Lochlainn for his royal power." (M1165.4).

Eochaidh made several attempts to regain his kingdom. The Annals of Ulster report:

U1165.9 Eochaidh [Mac Duinnsleibhe Ua Eochadha] again attempts to obtain the kingship of Ulidia; but the Ulidians expelled him through fear of Ua Lochlainn and he was fettered by Donnchadh Ua Cerbaill, arch-king of Airgialla, by order of Ua Lochlainn.

Donnchadh Ua Cearbhaill (Donough O'Carroll) was the lord of Airghialla (Oirghialla) at this time, with his headquarters in Lughmadh, that is, the village of Louth, eight miles west of Dundalk, in what is now county Louth. (See M1164.4). See my web page: Airghialla. Shortly after the banishment of Eochaidh Mac Duinnsleibhe [Ua Eochadha], he and Donnchadh Ua Cearbhaill, approached the king, Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn, at Ard-Macha, and successfully requested restoration of the kingdom of Ulidia to Eochaidh:

"Ua Lochlainn then went to Ard-Macha, whither Donnchadh Ua Cearbhaill, lord of Oirghialla, and Eochaidh Mac Duinnsleibhe, came to meet Muircheartach, to request that he would again restore Mac Duinnsleibhe to his kingdom. Ua Lochlainn gave him the kingdom, in consideration of receiving the hostages of all Ulidia; and Eochaidh gave him a son of every chieftain in Ulidia, and his own daughter, to be kept by Ua Lochlainn as a hostage; and many jewels were given him, together with the sword of the son of the Earl. He also gave up the territory of Bairche to Ua Lochlainn, who immediately granted it to Ua Cearbhaill, i.e. Donnchadh; and a townland was granted to the clergy of Sabhall [Saul in county Down], for the luck of the reign of Mac Lochlainn." (M1165.5)

Donncadh Ua Cearbhail extended his protection to Eochaidh. Peadar Livingstone says that "Eochaidh Mac Duinn Slebe" was the foster brother of Donnchadh Ua Cearbhail. The Monaghan Story, page 42. The two were related by marriage. Murchadh Ua Cearbhail, who was the son of Donnchadh Ua Cearbhail, and succeeded to the kingship of Airghialla on the death of Donnchadh in 1169, was married to Ane, daughter of Eochaidh Mac Duinnsleibhe. (M1171.26). [Perhaps this was the daughter that Eochaidh pledged to the king in the last entry from the Annals of the Four Masters.] Despite O'Carroll's guarantee of protection, in 1166 King Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn had Eochaidh blinded:

"Eochaidh Mac Duinnsleibhe Ua Eochadha, pillar of the prowess and hospitality of the Irish, was blinded by Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn; and the three best men of the Dal-Araidhe, i.e. two Mac Loingsighs [Lynchs], and the grandson of Cathasach Ua Flathrae, were killed by the same king, in violation of the protection of the successor of Patrick and the Staff of Jesus; of Donnchadh Ua Cearbhaill, lord of Oirghialla; and in violation of the protection of the relics, laity, and clergy of all the north of Ireland." (M1166.9)

This led to the defeat and death of Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn by Donncadh Ua Cearbhail at the battle of Leitir-Luin:

"After this an army was led by Donnchadh Ua Cearbhaill, into Tir-Eoghain, to revenge the violation of the guarantee of Patrick and his own guarantee. Three large battalions was the number of his army, i.e. the battalion of Oirghialla, the battalion of Ui-Briuin, i.e. of Breifne, and the battalion of Conmhaicne. These hosts arrived at Leitir-Luin, in the Feadha of Ui-Eachdhach, in Tir-Eoghain. When these met Ua Lochlainn and the Cinel-Eoghain with a few troops, a fierce and merciless battle was fought between them, in which the Cinel-Eoghain were defeated, with the loss of Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn, Monarch of all Ireland, the chief lamp of the valour, chivalry, hospitality, and prowess of the west of the world in his time; a man who had never been defeated in battle or conflict till that time, and who had gained many battles." (M1166.10)

The Annals of Ulster tell the story this way:

"U1166.10 A hosting by Donnchadh Ua Cerbaill, with the Airghialla and with the Ui-Briuin and the Conmaicni, into Tir-Eogain, to attack Ua Lochlainn, by direction of the Cenel-Eogain themselves, in consequence of Ua Lochlainn, arch-king of Ireland, being abandoned by them. So that [Ua Lochlainn] came, with a small party of the Cenel-Eogain of Telach-og, to deliver an assault upon them at Fidh-O-nEchtach. And even those very men, they abandoned him. So there fell in that place Muircertach (son of Niall) Ua Lachlainn, arch-king of Ireland. And he was the Augustus of all the North-West of Europe for valour and championship. And a few of Cenel-Eogain were killed there, namely, thirteen men. A great marvel and wonderful deed was done then: to wit, the king of Ireland to fall without battle, without contest, after his dishonouring the successor of Patrick and the Staff of Jesus and the successor of Colum-cille and the Gospel of Martin and many clergy besides [by blinding Mac Duinnsleibhe Ua Eochadha]. Howbeit, his body was carried to Ard-Macha and buried there, in dishonour of the successor of Colum-cille with his Community and Colum-cille himself and the head of the students of Daire fasted regarding it,—for his being carried to [Christian] burial."

Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn was succeeded as high king by Ruaidri Ua Conchobair [Irish Kings #183], king of Connaught, and son of Toirdhealbhach Ua Conchobhair [Irish Kings #181]. Ruaidri convened a great meeting in 1167 at Ath-buidhe-Tlachtgha. The meeting was attended by Donnchadh Ua Cearbhaill, lord of Oirghialla, and Mac Duinnsleibhe Ua hEochadha, King of Ulidia, among many others. The Annals of the Four Masters report that Ua Cearbhaill and Ua hEochadha jointly brought four thousand horsemen to the meeting—thus treating the two as if they were close allies.

Donnchadh Ua Cearbhaill died in 1168 "after being mangled with his own battle-axe by a man of his own people, i.e. Ua Duibhne,—one of the Cinel-Eoghain." (M1168.14). He was succeeded by his son Murchadh. Eochaidh died about the same time, and was succeeded by his grandson, Maghnus Mac Duinnsleibhe [Ua Eochadha]. See Kings of Ulidia. Maghnus committed atrocities against the church and, in 1171, was killed by his brother Donnsleibhe, who succeeded him. Property in Ireland was being redivided around this time. The domain of Ua Cearbhail, as king of Airghialla, probably extended as far west as the Monaghan Eoghanach, and he may have extended his protection to followers of Eochaidh Mac Duinnsleibhe [Ua Eochadha] who may have sought to escape troubles to the north and settle there.

Other possibilities of the origin of the name of the Monaghan Eoghanach are almost without limit. Eochaidh, the grandson of Colla da Chrioch, whom John O'Hart names as a progenitor of the McGoughs, is listed in the second table under the heading Colla da Chrioch, First King of Oriel in my Origins of the Surname McGough. In my table of lords of the Ui Eathach Cobha in County Down are Eochaidh, son of Breasal, under the year 739, and Eochaidh, son of Ailell, under the year 796. In the year 553 is Eochaidh Cobha, who was either the son or grandson of Cron Badrui, Kings of Ulster #44. Another possibility is the Eochaidh who was the father of Cron Badrui, Kings of Ulster #43. See also the early genealogy of the Uí Echach Coba.

The downfall of Muircheartach Ua Lochlainn in 1166, and his succession by Ruaidri Ua Conchobair, caused Diarmait Mac Murchadha, who was expelled from his kingship of Leinster, to seek the aid of Henry II of England to regain his kingship. In 1169, the fleet of Robert FitzStephen came to Ireland in aid of Mac Murchadha, the vanguard of an invasion of the Anglo-Normans who first came at the invitation of Mac Murchadha. (U1169.5). Henry II himself arrived in 1171, with 240 ships, and received the pledges of Munster, Leinster, the Men of Meath, the Ui-Briuin, the Airgialla, and Ulidia. (U1171.10).

Perhaps the simplest explanation is the most likely: families from Cenel Eoghain in county Tyrone to the north moved south. One possible occasion of such a move is the joint attack of the castle at Slane by the Cenel-Eogain and the Airgialla in 1176:

U1176.9 The castle of Slane, wherein was Ricard Fleming with his host, wherefrom the Airgialla and Ui-Briuin and Fir-Midhe were being pillaged, was destroyed by Mael-Sechlainn, son of Mac Lochlainn, king of Cenel-Eogain and by the Cenel-Eogain themselves and by the Airgialla; where were killed one hundred or more of the Foreigners, besides women and children and the horses of the castle that were killed, so that no person escaped alive out of the castle. And three castles in Meath were razed on the morrow for fear of the Cenel-Eogain, namely, the castle of Cenannus and the castle of Calatruim and the castle of Daire of [St.] Patrick.

The excursion into Ulster of the Norman adventurer, John de Courcy, beginning in 1177, probably caused some movement of the native Irish tribes. Here is a sampling of entries from the Annals:

"U1177.1 Dun-da-lethglas [Downpatrick] was destroyed by John De Courcy and by the knights that came with him, and a castle was made by them there, wherefrom they twice inflicted defeat upon Ulidia and defeat upon Cenel-Eogain and upon Airgialla; where was killed Conchobur Ua Cairella[i]n (namely, chief of Clann-Diarmata) and Gilla Mac Liac Ua Donngaille, chief of Fir-Droma, and wherein was wounded with arrows Domnall Ua [F]laithbertaigh—and he died of those wounds in the monastery [of Canons Regular] of Paul [and Peter] in Ard-Macha, after partaking of the Body of Christ and after his anointing and wherein were killed many other nobles. Now, Conchobur Ua Cairella[i]n before that (namely, in the Spring) inflicted defeat upon the Cenel-Eogain and upon Ua Maeldoraidh; where a great number of the Cenel-Eogain were killed, around the son of Mac Sherraigh and around many nobles besides.

U1177.5 A hosting by John De Courcy and by the knights into Dal-Araidhe (and to Dun-da-lethlas), on which they killed Domnall, grandson of Cathusach [Mac Duinnsleibhe Ua Eochadha], king of Dal-Araidhe. Moreover, John went during the same expedition into Ui-Tuirtri and into Fir-Li, until Cu-Midhe Ua Flainn burned Airthir-Maighi before him and they [John's forces] burned Cuil-rathain [Coleraine] and many other churches.

U1178.5 It is in that year likewise went John [De Courcy], with his knights, pillaging from Dun to the Plain of Conaille, so that they took many preys therein and were a night in camp in Glenn-righi. Howbeit, Murchadh Ua Cerbaill, king of Airgialla, and Mac Duinnsleibhe [Ua Eochadha], king of Ulidia, with the Ulidians came up with them that night and made an onset upon them. Thereupon defeat was inflicted upon the Foreigners and stark slaughter was put upon them. The same John, notwithstanding, went for preys into Dal-Araidhe and into Ui-Tuirtri. But Cu-Midhe Ua Flainn, king of Ui-Tuirtri and Fir-Li, made an onset upon theme. That battle also went against the Foreigners and slaughter of them was inflicted.

U1178.6 The attack of Cualnge [Cooley] [was gained] by Ulidians and by Foreigners over John De Courcy.

U1181.3 A hosting by Domnall, son of Aedh Ua Lochlainn and by the Cenel-Eogain of Telach-oc into Ulidia and they gained a battle over the Ulidians and over Ui-Tuirtri and over Fir-Li, around Ruaidhri Mac Duinnsleibhe [Ua Eochadha] and around Cu-Midhe Ua Flainn.

U1189.7 Ard-Macha was pillaged by John De-Courcy and by the Foreigners of Ireland.

U1195.7 A hosting by John De-Courcy and by the son of Ugo De-Lacy to obtain sway over the Foreigners of Leinster and Munster.

U1196.2 A hosting by Ruaidhri Mac Duinnsleibhe [Ua Eochadha] with the Foreigners and with the sons of the kings of Connacht to Cenel-Eogain and the Airthir. Howbeit, the Cenel-Eogain of Telach-oc and the Airthir came to the Plain of Ard-Macha and gave them battle and defeat was inflicted upon Mac Duinnsleibe and stark slaughter of his people took place there, namely, twelve sons of the kings of Connacht. [The Annals of Tigernach call Telach-oc "Telach Oge." The place is on the Inishowen peninsula in county Donegal, and ruled over by the O Coinnes and the O hOgains (O'Hagans). See: The Septs of Inishowen & Donegal.]

U1197.1 A hosting by John De-Courcy with the Foreigners of Ulidia to Ess-craibhe, so that they built the castle of Cell-Santain [and] the cantred of Ciannachta was desolated by them. Moreover, in that castle was left Roitsel Fitton [and] a force along with him. Then Roitsel Fitton came on a foray to the Port of Daire [Derry], so that he pillaged Cluain-i and Enach and Derc-bruach. But Flaithbertach Ua Maeldoraidh (namely, king of [Cenel-]Cona[i]ll and Cenel-Eoga[i]n) overtook them with a small force of the [Cenel-]Cona[i]ll and the [Cenel-]Eoga[i]n, so that he inflicted defeat upon them on the strand of the [N]uathcongbhail [and] they were slaughtered to a large number (namely, around the son of Ardgal Ua Lochlainn), through miracle of Colum-cille and Cainnech and Brecan [whose churches] they pillaged there. [‘Cianachta’ has several meanings, one of which is a blanket term for a group of people who inhabited the area in county. Derry around the Roe Valley.]

U1197.4 Flaithbertach Ua Maeldoraidh, that is, king of [Cenell-Cona[i]ll and [Cenell-Eoga[i]n and Airgialla, defender of Temhair and royal heir of all Ireland: namely, Conall for championship, Cu-Culainn for prowess, Guaire for generosity, Mac Lughach for athletics, died after choice tribulation in Inis-Saimer, on the 4th of the Nones [2nd] of February, in the thirtieth year of his lordship and in the ninth and fiftieth year of his age. And he was buried honourably in Druim-tuamha. And Echmarcach Ua Dochartaich takes the kingship of Cenel-Conaill immediately. And he was but a fortnight in the kingship, when John De-Courcy came with a large force under him past Tuaim [FM: crossed Toome"] into Tir-Eogain. From here to Ard-sratha [Ardstraw near Strabane]; after that, around to Daire of Colum-cille [Derry], so that they were five nights therein. They go then to Cnoc-Nascain, to be carried across it [Lough Swilly]. But the Cenel-Conaill, under Echmarcach Ua Dochartaigh, come to attack them and gave them battle, where two hundred of them [the Irish] were killed, around their king, that is, Echmarcach and around Donnchadh Ua Taircert, namely, royal chief of Clann-Sneidhghile, to wit, the link of generosity and valour and counsel of all Cenel-Conaill and around Gilla-Brighti Ua Dochartaigh and around Mac Dubha[i]n and Mac Ferghail and the sons of Ua Baighill and other nobles. And they [the English] harried Inis-Eogain and carried great cattle-spoil therefrom. [Ulster's great inland sea - Lough Neagh - empties at Toome into the wide expanse of the River Bann, flowing north to the Atlantic Ocean; an historic east-west divide.]

U1199.3 A hosting by Jobn De-Courcy into Tir-Eogain throughout the churches: namely, Ard-sratha [Ardstraw] and Rath-both [Raphoe] were destroyed by him, until he reached Daire [Derry], so that he was there two nights over a week, destroying Inis-Eogain and the country besides. And he would not have gone therefrom for a long time, had not [lit. until] Aedh Ua Neill, [with] a force of five ships, reached Cell [ruadh?] in Latharna [Larne, on the northeastern coast north of Belfast], so that he burned a part of the town and killed twenty, wanting two, therein. Then the Foreigners of Magh-Line and Dal-Araidhe were, three hundred [strong], both in mail and without mail, in front of him and they [the Irish] noticed not, until [the Foreigners] poured against them, burning the town. Thereupon they gave battle in the centre of the town and it went against the Foreigners. And [the Irish] gave five defeats to them thenceforward, until they went into their ships and only five of the people of Ua Neill were lost. Thereafter John went away, when he heard that.

U1200.2 The Foreigners of Ulidia made three forays into Tir-Eogain and the third foray they made, they made a camp at Domnach-mor [Donaghmore, barony of Raphoe, county Tyrone, or Donaghmore, barony of Iveagh, county Down] of Magh-Imclair. They sent a large foray [party] abroad. Aedh Ua Neill came to rescue the prey, until himself and the Foreigners met and defeat was inflicted upon the Foreigners and countless slaughter was put upon them and they stole away in the night, until they went past Tuaim.

U1200.4 A foray by Ruaidhri Mac Duinnsleibhe [Ua Eochadha] with some of the Foreigners of Meath, so that they pillaged the Monastery of Paul and Peter [in Armagh] until they left not therein but one cow.

U1201.1 Ruaidhri Mac Duinnsleibhe [Ua Eochada], king of Ulidia and candle of championship of all Ireland, was killed by the Foreigners, to wit, through the miracles of Paul and Peter and Patrick whom he dishonoured.

U1201.5 A hosting by John De Courcy with the Foreigners and the son of Ugo De Lacy with the Foreigners of Meath in aid of Cathal Red-hand, until they reached Cell-mic-Duach. Then came Cathal Carrach with the Connachtmen along with him and they engaged in battle and the Foreigners of Ulidia and Meath were defeated. The place wherein were the five battalions, there came not therefrom but two battalions of them.

U1204.3 A hosting by [Ugo] the son of Ugo De Lacy with a force of Foreigners of Meath into Ulidia, so that they expelled John De Courcy out of Ulidia.

U1205.3 John De Courcy, destroyer of the churches and territories of Ireland, was expelled by [Ugo] the son of Ugo De Lacy into Tir-Eogain, to the protection of Cenel-Eogain.


Location of the Monaghan Eoghanach

Evelyn Philip Shirley, in The History of County Monaghan at page 239, gives this description of the Erganach in county Monaghan:

"But it may be well to remind the reader that the Erganach, or as it was anglicized Owenagh, a territory south of Ballybay comprising the Parish of Aghnamullen and the mountainous part of Cremorne, was by the Four Masters denominated in the year 1457, the fortress of the Mac Mahons country, and as such resorted to for the preservation of their cattle during the wars between the Mac Mahons and the Maguires."

On the same page, Shirley points out that in 1588, three years after the creation of county Monaghan, the barony of Cremorne was called "the Barony of Onaghe, from the Erganach or Owenagh already mentioned."

The Owenagh appears on several English maps of the 16th and 17th centuries. For example, a map of Ireland drawn about 1610 by John Norden, based on a map by Baptista Boazio in 1599, contains the words Owen Agh, on two lines and in red, in about the same location as shown on my map immediately below. Norden, who lived from 1548 to 1626, was a pioneer of English cartography. Norden's map, dedicated to the Earl of Salisbury, is printed on the front cover, and at pages 64–5, of Historical Maps of Ireland by Michael Swift (Chartwell Books 1999). Baptista Boazio's Irlandiæ c. 1606 = Irlandiæ accurata descriptio, and eleven other old Irish maps, will be found in the American Memory Collection of The Library of Congress. The maps in this collection are zoomable and fun to work with.

I have marked an extract of the programmable map of Ireland, published by Computer Aided Technologies, to indicate the rough location of the Eoghanach as described by Shirley. See the green mark to the right of the word Eoghanach on the accompanying map. A fun way to locate this area on a map of Ireland is to go the National Geographic's Map Machine, type Aghnamullen under "Find a Place," and, when Aghnamullen, Ireland appears in a box, click on those words. The red dot on the map of Ireland that will appear covers the Eoghanach and represents the area of the greatest concentration of McGoughs in Ireland in the 1800s. To find another area of concentration, type in Inishkeen. Towns as small as Aghabog, Bellatrain, and Shantonagh are in this data base.

The Monaghan Eoghanach is mentioned by the monks who compiled the various Irish annals. An entry in The Annals of the Four Masters reports:

M1457.2 A war broke out between Maguire and Rury Mac Mahon; and Maguire assembled the forces of his country to march into Oriel. When the sons of Mac Mahon had heard of this, they went with their cattle into their fastnesses, namely, into Eoghanach and Sliabh Mughdhorn. Maguire and Philip proceeded to Dartry-Coininsi, but not finding any spoils there, they burned all Dartry, and burned the town of Owen, the son of Rury Mac Mahon, namely, Lis-na-n Gabhar; after which they returned home.

In footnotes to this passage, on page 26 of his book, Shirley defines the italicized terms:

"Eoganach, called on Norden's map Owenagh, a territory south of Ballybay, comprising the parish of Aughnamullan, in the barony of Cremorne. Owenagh is still the local name of a river in that neighbourhood ; it rises in Lough Tucker, near Bellatrain, in the parish of Aughnamullan, flows through the parish of Drumgoon in Cavan, and joins the river Erne". [Shirley is referring to the Annalee River, which was once known as the Annagh River. As indicated below, Peadar Livingstone's description of the River Owenagh describes a different stream of water, one that drains Lough Egish and flows west through Lough Shantonagh.]

"Sliabh Mughdorn, Cremorne"

"Lis-na-n Gabhar, the Fort of the Goats, now Lisnagore, an ancient earthen fort giving name to a townland a mile to the west of Newbliss, in the parish of Killeevan, barony of Dartree."

Shirley's Eoghanach of Aghnamullen Parish should not be confused with the better known territories in county Westmeath of the Eoghanacht who ruled Munster from the seventh to the mid-tenth century. These Eoghanacht were pushed aside as kings of Munster in the mid-tenth century by the Dál gCais of North Munster, helped by the attacks of the Ui Neill on the Eoghanacht. On the basis of what I know now, I cannot even speculate on whether there was any relationship between these progenitors of the McGeoghegans and the Monaghan Eoghanach.


The McMahons and the Monaghan Eoghanach

In the sixteenth century, county Monaghan was known as MacMahons Country. At that time, the McMahons of Monaghan were three separate tribes, often fighting each other: the Farney McMahons, with their main fort at Lurgans, just west of Carrickmacross; the Monaghan McMahons, with their main fort in the town of Monaghan; and the Dartry McMahons, with headquarters at the Fort of the Goats in the townland of Lisnagore. The three tribes were often fighting each other. See Livingstone, The Monaghan Story, pages 58–63. Shirley concludes that the baronies of Farney and Cremorne, which includes the parish of Aghnamullen, were under one chief or captain whose main fort was at Lurgans.

Lis-na-n-Gabhar, the Fort of Goats of the Dartry McMahons, was in the townland of Lisnagore. About a mile to the northeast of Lisnagore, in the townland of Killyfuddy in the civil parish of Killeevan in county Monaghan, Griffith's valuation shows that there was a James McGeogh family in 1860 (line 433). The Householders Index to the Tithe Applotment Books show a McGeogh family in the parish of Killeevan, townland not indicated, in 1825 (line 432). In Aghabog Parish, to the immediate east of Killeevan parish, there were several McGeoghs and McGoughs in 1833 and 1860 (lines 207 to 211). Edward McGough of Edinburgh traces his grandfather to this area. See Annagose—John McGough Who Moved From Ireland to Scotland on my page McGoughs, McGeoughs and McGeoghs in the Baronies of Dartree and Monaghan.

As mentioned above, the Annals of the Four Masters report that the Mac Mahons took their cattle into their fastness, the Eoghanach, and referred to Lisnagore as "the town of Owen, son of Rury Mac Mahon." The Annals of the Four Masters again mention the Eoghanach in the year 1475:

"M1475.11 A great war broke out between Mac Mahon, i.e. Redmond, the son of Rury [The MacMahon], and the sons of Hugh Roe Mac Mahon. The sons of Hugh Roe migrated by force into the territory of Fearnmhagh [Farney], whither an English army repaired to their assistance. Mac Mahon went into Eoghanach, but again returned into Fearnmagh [Farney], whereupon the sons of Hugh went over to the English. Mac Mahon and his forces made an incursion against the English; but the sons of Hugh Roe and the English of Machaire Oirghiall overtook and defeated him, and took himself and Brian, the son of Rury Mac Mahon, prisoners; and a great many others of his people were slain and made prisoners on that occasion." See Shirley, pages 26 and 27.

By the 16th century, the Mac Mahons had splintered into three groups: those based in Dartry; in Farney; and in what is now the barony of Monaghan, sometimes known as Loughty or Lucht Tighe, a reference to the household of The MacMahon. Redmond of the Monaghan group was The Mac Mahon when he died in 1521. The Annals of the Four Masters report:

M1521.2 Mac Mahon died, i.e. Redmond, the son of Glasny, son of Redmond, son of Rury; and his son, Glasny Oge, was styled the Mac Mahon.

Redmond Mac Mahon had two other sons: Brian-na-moicheirge Mac Mahon, i.e., Brian or Bernard of the early rising (O'Donovan's notes to years 1525 and 1531 of the Annals of the Four Masters), and Art Mael Mac Mahon. Art Mael was slain in 1560 as reported by the Annals of the Four Masters:

M1560.2 Mac Mahon, i.e. Art Mael, the son of Redmond, son of Glasny, was slain in O'Neill's army by the Scots, from want of being guarded, between two bands, in the route the territory of Mac Quillin. He who was there slain was the foremost spear in every battle, and the defender of his portion of the province against the men of Bregia and of Meath. His brother [nephew?], Hugh, son of Brian-na-Moicheirghe, son of Redmond, son of Glasny, was installed in his place. [Hugh was slain by the men of Farney in 1562.]

James H. and Peadar Murnane, at page 2 of At the Ford of the Birches—The History of Ballybay, its People and Vicinity, tell us that Brian Mac Mahon seized control of the Eoghanach:

"The overlordship and the title of 'The MacMahon' fell to Reamonn Lucht Tighe in 1513 and it remained with that group until the death of Reamonn's great grandson, Ross Bui in 1589. The ruling power of this group was concentrated in the two middle sons; Brian na Móicheirge (d.1551) and Art Maol (d.1560). Their eldest brother, Glaisne Óg had succeeded his father to the title and chieftanship of the Lucht Tighe in 1521. However, his descendants never rose to any prominence thereafter. Brian na Móicheirge was the ablest son, an unscrupulous individual whose actions in power did nothing to enhance the reputation of the group. He invaded and confiscated for himself the country called the 'Eoghanach', nominally the property of the Farney MacMahons."

Ross Bui died in 1589. The Annals of the Four Masters report:

M1589.2 Mac Mahon (Rossa, the son of Art, son of Brian of the Early Rising, son of Redmond, son of Glasny) died; upon which Brian, the son of Hugh Oge, son of Hugh, son of John Boy, Lord of Dartry-Oriel, and Ever, son of Cu-Uladh, Lord of Farney, and the brother of the deceased, i.e. Hugh Roe, were contending with each other about the lordship of the territory.

In 1585, toward the end of Ross Mac Mahon's rule as The MacMahon, the county of Monaghan was formed. Sir Ross, for he had, upon his knees, sworn fealty to Queen Elizabeth and had been knighted, probably in Newry in 1584, by Sir John Perrot, who had been appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1584. On September 18, 1525, a commission was created "for dividing the part of Ulster not yet reduced into Shire-Grounde." Sir Ross MacMahon was one of the commissioners. One of the recommended four new baronies was:

"The barony of Onache (Owenagh) stretcheth from the water of Onache to Ballawene."

The barony of Onache was known briefly as the barony of Mourne (or Moerne) and soon became the barony of Cremorne (or Crymorne). See The History of The County of Monaghan by Evelyn Philip Shirley (1879), pages 74 and 239.

Before his death, Ross Mac Mahon surrendered the land of Monaghan to Queen Elizabeth and received it back as a gift. On his death, English inheritance law applied, and his successor as The Mac Mahon was Hugh Roe (Red Hugh) Mac Mahon. In the year after he became The MacMahon, 1590, Hugh Roe was charged with high treason by Sir William Fitzwilliam, successor to Sir John John Perrot as Lord Deputy, tried by a jury of English soldiers, and hanged from a tree in front of his house in the town of Monaghan. His lands were confiscated and the title of The Mac Mahon abolished. Shirley, at page 80, comments that the trial and execution left "a stain on the memory of Sir William Fitzwilliam, which his own explanation and defense ... has by no means removed."

Much of Monaghan was then granted, by letters patent, by the Queen to petty chiefs of the Mac Mahon sept who were perceived to be loyal to England, with the proviso: "if any of them took upon him the name of [The] Mc Mahon, or did fail in the payment of the Queen's rent, or entered into rebellion, and were thereof attainted, their letters patent should be void." (Shirley, page 114) "Ross Bane Mac Mahon was granted land in the barony of Monaghan to the southwest of Monaghan town. The major part of the barony of Cremorne was granted to Ever McCoolie MacMahon and freeholders under him. The Murnanes say, nonetheless, that after the death of Hugh Roe, one of the "chief gentlemen in the County" was: "Ross Bane MacMahon, Sherrif of that County [Monaghan] being possessed of the Onagh (Eoghanach) in the barony of Cremorne." (page 2). Shirley, at page 87, quotes a despatch of December 5, 1590, of the Lord Deputy from Dublin to the same effect. Among the chief gentlemen of county Monaghan after the death of Hugh Roe Mc Mahon were:

"Ever McCowley Mac-Mahon, now holding Ferney in the Barony of Donnemayne, Clancarvell being also part of the Barony possessed by Collo Mc Bryans sons, both lands of the Earl of Essex; Rosse Bane Mc Mahon, Sheriff of that County, being possessed of the Onaghe in the Barony of Cremourne; Patrick duff Mc Mahon being also possessed of some part of that Barony; Bryan Mc Hugh Oge Mc Mahon hath in his possession the Barony of the Dartry, Mc Kenna a Chief Gent; and freeholder in the Barony of Troughe, Patrick Mc Arte Moyle, and many others having lands in the Barony of Monaghan."

Sir John Davis, in reporting upon a redivision of county Monaghan in 1606, said:

"But the greatest change was to be made in the Barony of Cremourn, the greatest part whereof was, by the former division, assigned to Every Mc Cooley [Mc Mahon,] who, notwithstanding, never enjoyed any part thereof, because one Art Mc Rory Mc Mahon, an active and desparate fellow, who had a very small portion given him by Sir William Fitzwilliams, making claim to that whole Barony, did ever since with strong hand withhold the possession thereof from Ever Mc Cooley; therefore not without consent of Ever himself, his Lordship assigned to Art McRory, five ballibetaghs in that Barony; ... This resumption was made upon Ever Mc Cooley for two courses: first, in regard the state shall now put him in quiet possession of a good part of the Barony; whereas before he did not enjoy any part thereof; secondly, because he holdeth a whole Barony in farm from my Lord of Essex [Farney], wherein he hath so good a pennyworth, as he has grown since the wars to be of greater wealth, than all the rest of his name besides." (Shirley, page 116; see also page 240.)

For more on the McMahons, see A McGough—McMahon Connection?


River Owenagh

The southern boundary of the Eoghanach in county Monaghan is the River Owenagh. The stem of the name "Owenagh" is the same as the stem of Eoghnach. Owen and Eugene are anglicized forms of Eochagain, Eoghain, or Eogan. In his etymology of McKeon or MacKeown, MacLysaght says: "The name, in Irish Mac Eogain, simply means son of John or Owen ... " Irish Families: Their Names, Arms and Origins, page 200.

The River Owenagh does not appear by that name on modern maps and there is some doubt about the location of the stream of water that was called the Owenagh in ancient documents. If we accept the statement in the Annals of the Four Masters that the River Owenagh forms the boundary between the baronies of Cremorne and Farney, we simplify the process of locating the river. At page 74 of The History of County Monaghan, Shirley cites the description of the barony of Owenagh in the document defining the four baronies of county Monaghan, which had been created in 1585:

"The barony of Onache (Owenagh) stretcheth from the water of Onache to Ballawene (Bellatrain?)."

Bellatrain seems to be a bad guess for Ballawene, since there is no appreciable distance between the town of Bellatrain, then usually spelled Ballytrain, and the waterway called the Owenagh River. In fact, the "water of Onache" or the "River Owenagh," as it is defined by Peadar Livingstone, includes Bellatrain Lough, which adjoins the town of Bellatrain. Ballybay would make more sense geographically as the meaning of "Ballawene." On the other hand, since Shirley refers to the Annalee River where it leaves Lough Tacker as the Owenagh River, he may have intended to define the barony of Onache as the area between Lough Tacker and Bellatrain. This is a poor description of the parish of Aghnamullen, if this is the area Shirley meant by the "barony of Onache," and is not consistent with his description of the "surrounding country" of a church in the townland of Moyle More as in "the ancient Owenagh" (page 346).

The English sometimes used Onough for Owenagh; for example, see note 2 at page 28 of Shirley's work already cited.

The modern Discovery Series 1:50 000 map of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, sheet 35, names the river that flows from Lough Sillan, at the northeastern corner of the town of Shercock in county Cavan, west and north to Lough Tacker, and then north to join with the Knappagh Water, the Annalee, and gives the Gaelic translation as Abhainn na hEoghancha.

There are two streams of water that meet near Knappagh Bridge in county Cavan. One is called the River Owenagh by Peadar Livingstone and flows westerly from Lough Egish in county Monaghan to the junction of the two streams. the other is the River Annalee that flows from Lough Sillan, which is next to the town of Shercock, through Lough Tacker and northerly to the junction. Loughs Sillan and Tacker and the town of Shercock are all in county Cavan. The two streams are often referred to interchangeably in historical material. I make some effort below, therefore, to define the two streams.

All these points are on this EPA interactive water quality map. Lough Egish is in the upper right quadrant of the map, at the far right. Click on the various features for information. This map calls the stream from Lough Egish that flows to the west the Knappagh Waters or River Knappagh, a tributary of the Annalee—at least from Lough Bellatrain to the west; and the stream that flows north from Lough Sillan and Lough Tacker, the Annalee River.

The Annals of the Four Masters refer to the river Owenagh:

M1502.12 Hugh Oge, son of Hugh Roe O'Donnell, mustered a force, and, being joined by Maguire, i.e. John, they made an incursion into Dartry-Coninsi, against the son of John Boy Mac Mahon; and they totally burned his town and the whole territory. The spoils of the country fled before them. The people of Oriel from the River Owenagh inwards, the descendants of Felim O'Reilly, and the descendants of Donough Maguire, came up, and opposed them; but the son of O'Donnell and Maguire made a brave and triumphant retreat from them all, and slew some of their pursuers, among whom was Felim, the son of Conor, son of Felim O'Reilly, with many others, and returned safe to their homes. ["Inwards" must mean "north."]

Peadar Livingstone, in The Monaghan Story, at pages 48 and 97, refers to "the Owenagh district of Aughnamullen and Farney." On page 60, he mentions a crossing of the Owenagh River from north to south into Farney and on into Louth. On page 48, he describes an agreement between Aonghus MacMahon and the Anglo-Norman Ralph Pippard by which Pippard granted to MacMahon:

"... the regality of Crichnegarum (i.e. Cremorne) up to the river of Oganath with a villate (i.e. village) of Lowengus (Lough Egish), all the lands which the Magones (MacMahons) held of the same Ralph."

Livingstone goes on to say, a page 48:

"The river 'Oganath' is the Owenagh river which drains Lough Egish. It leaves the lake at its eastern end, flows under Mullaghdoo bridge about three kilometers on the Carrickmacross side of Lough Egish creamery, drains Shantonagh and Bellatrain lakes, and flows westwards toward Bawn to become the Derrygoony river in the Senator Fox Memorial Park. This river is for much of its course the modern boundary between the baronies of Farney and Cremorne. It would also seem to have been the boundary when Aonghus MacMahon and Pippard made their agreement sometime between 1284 and 1297. The point is that what Pippard was granting MacMahon was part of the modern Cremorne, probably the area covered by the modern parishes of Aughnamullen. This, in itself, indicates that Anglo-Norman influence in Monaghan had extended much further west than Donaghmoyne and the barony of Farney"

In his Landscapes of South Ulster: A Parish Atlas of the Diocese of Clogher (The Institute of Irish Studies of the Queen's University of Belfast 1993) at page 88, Patrick J. Duffy describes the stream known as the Owenagh:

"Aughnamullen occupies a range of high hills south of the mid-County overlooking the Barony of Farney. The silurian shale uplands, plastered with sprawling drumlins, are highest in Aughnamullen East, extending from Lough Egish to the highest point at Bananimma (270m) and can be seen from most vantage points in the County. These hills formed an important historic barrier to intruders into Arghialla in the middle ages. Called variously Sliabh Mugdoirn (which later gave its name to the barony of Cremourne) and Owenagh (after the stream marking the boundary with the barony of Farney from Lough Egish to Shantonagh), the area consists of poorly-drained land, in which the MacMahons frequently hid their cattle herds in times of instability. To the north and south of the upland are strings of lakes, extending from the County border to Shantonagh in the south and Ballybay in the north."

James H. Murnane and Peadar Murnane, in their book At the Ford of the Birches: The History of Ballybay, its People and Vicinity (Murnane Brothers, September 1999), at page 2, refer to "the Onagh (Eoghanach) in the barony of Cremorne" as being in the possession of Ross Bane MacMahon in 1591, which possession was "largely confirmed in 1606, at the end of what was called the 'Nine Years War'." In a footnote, they quote Shirley's description of the Eoghanach set out above. They also quote Shirley's statement that the Owenagh River rises in Lough Tacker and go on to say:

"Rev. Fr. Livingstone in his 'Monaghan Story' (page 48) mistakenly states that it is the river flowing from Lough Egish which passes through the lakes of Shantonagh and Derrygoony. (See appendix 7)."

Appendix 7, printed at page 34 of the Murnanes' book, is entitled The Owenagh and is a tracing from Map (C) of the General Survey of Ulster from O'Donovan's Papers for Armagh & Monaghan in the Armagh City Reference Library. The sketch map shows thqat the area called the Owenagh roughly corresponds with the modern civil parishes of Aghnamullen, and perhaps Ballybay, but sheds little light on the location of the River Owenagh. The sketch is from a map entitled A Generalle Description of Ulster that has recently been published as a map of Ulster in 1602–03 at page 49 of Historical Maps of Ireland by Michael Swift (Chartwell Books 1999). All the maps in the book are from the collection held by the Public Record Office at Kew in west London. The map shows the Province of Ulster shortly before the death of Queen Elizabeth and the accession of King James VI of Scotland to the English throne as King James I. The cartouche on the map includes the coat of arms of Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, who was the lord deputy of Ireland at the time. The map is in color, on a scale of seven miles to the inch, with mountains and woods in perspective.

The area designated "The Owenagh" is roughly circular. At the northwest border of the Owenagh is Ballagh Lough, near where I would locate the modern town of Ballybay (Beal Athe Beithe). The southeast portion of the boundary of the Owenagh is the northwestern boundary of Fernie, the present barony of Farney, in which the map shows the location of Dunamoine, now Donaghmoyne. The southwest boundary of the Owenagh is the northeastern boundary of "Easte Brenie," now part of county Cavan. Some of the points on the old map are hard to associate with modern places. For more discusion of this map, see A McGough—McMahon Connection?

On the map, to the south of the Owenagh, are hills designated Slew Mullogh Harde. This is the hill in the townland of Mullaghard in the parish of Drumgoon, county Cavan. Mullaghard is the townland at the southeast corner of the parish of Drumgoon, and is shown on the sketch map of the townlands of the parish of Drumgoon published by Al Beagan. Mullaghard Hill is less than a kilometer east of Lough Tacker. Mullaghhard Lough is to the immediate east of the hill and straddles the boundary between counties Cavan and Monaghan. The hill is shown as 139 meters (456 feet) high and is at grid reference H697 086 on sheet 35 of the Discovery Series of 1:50 000 maps of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.

The Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland, Counties of South Ulster, 1834–8 (volume 40, pages 1 and 2) for the parish of Drumgoon, note that the townland of Mullaghard is one of several townlands adjoining Loch Tucha, and say that the high point in the townland (erroneously referred to as Mullaghair in one place) is elevated 461 feet above the sea. Other surrounding hills, shown on the map of the territory of Owenagh, are described in the Memoirs. See Al Beagan's Genealogy Notes, Parish of Drumgoon, county Cavan.

On the map, to the right of the top of the area described as the Owenagh, is the name Ballelurgan. Evelyn Philip Shirley, in his The History of the County of Monaghan, at page 116, quotes from an often-reprinted letter of Sir John Davis to the Earl of Salisbury. The letter describes the condition of Mac Mahons' country (county Monaghan) in 1606 and says:

"... a place called Ballilurgan containing two ballibetaghs, lieth in the midway between Monaghan and the Newry, which two towns are distant the one from the other, twenty-four miles, and forasmuch as Monaghan, being an inland town, cannot be supplied with victuals but from the Newry, and that it is a matter of great difficulty in time of war to convey victuals twenty-four miles, having no place of safety to rest by the way; therefore, his Lordship thought it very necessary for the service of the state to reserve those two ballibetaghs, and to pass some estate thereof to the Governor of Monaghan, who doth undertake within short time to build a castle thereupon at his own charges."

(There is a townland on the east shore of Muckno Lake in the parish of Muckno of which Patrick J. Duffy, at page 90 of his Landscapes of South Ulster—A Parish Atlas of the Diocese of Clogher, says:

"The medieval church—or 'the twelve mile church' because it was 12 miles from both Newry and Monaghan—was in Mullandoy which is called Church Hill today (and Crocketample* in the early 17th century)."

*"Cnoc Teampaill" according to Paula McGeough at page 3 of her book Beyond the Big Bridge—A History of Oram and Surrounding Townlands (R. & S. Printers, The Diamond, Monaghan 2000). See my page McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in the Civil Parish of Muckno.

The townland of Church Hill is five miles almost due east, with a small southerly component, from Ballylarnan Bridge, and certainly not the location of Ballelurgan on the old map.)

Patrick J. Duffy, in his discussion of the Catholic parish of Clontibret, points out that, at the end of the 16th century, a ballybetagh at the south end of Clontibret, was known as Ballenelurgan.

"By the end of the 16th century the lands of Clontibret were divided into ten ballybetaghs, one of which (Ballenelurgan) was eventually divided with Muckno." Landscapes of South Ulster: A Parish Atlas of the Diocese of Clogher, page 84.

Duffy also points out, at page 90, that as late as 1865 the boundary between the Catholic parishes of Clontibret and Muckno had not been decided. Shirley, at page 239, says that in the Division of Ulster drawn up in 1567, Ballenelurgan in the parish of Muckno was associated with Farney and Clancarville (as was Krigh Moorne).

In roughly this location of Ballelurgan on the old map, Ballylarnan Bridge is on the modern map of Monaghan, Sheet 28 of the 1 : 50 000 map of the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland, grid reference H 773 198, on the class B road from Ballybay to Castleblayney. The location may have been in the old ballybetagh of Ballenelurgan and roughly corresponds with the location of Ballalurgan on the 1602–03 map of Ulster. The bridge is on the boundary of the townlands of Toome and Doohamlet, which are in the civil and Catholic parishes of Clontibret, and on the northern boundary of the Catholic parish of Muckno. This bridge is much closer to the town of Monaghan than it is to the town of Newry, however.

Other points on the old map are easier to identify. Lough Muckno, for example, is clearly marked, as are the "Forte of Monaghan" and the towns of Louth and Dundalk. Mullagh Leck is the Hill of Leck (Mullach Leachta) where the McMahon lords were inaugurated throughout the middle ages. For more discussion of the location of the Hill of Leck, see A McGough—McMahon Connection? under MacMahons of Lough Leck.

After studying this map, I continue to hold the opinion, although not without doubt, that the identification by Livingstone and Duffy of the river Owenagh as starting at Lough Egish is correct, and the description by Shirley, adopted by the Murnanes, is wrong. Peadar Murnane, however, is unconvinced and believes that the modern Annalee River that empties from Lough Tacher is the old Owenagh River. If I correctly interpret a recent email from him, he would call the stream that flows from Lough Egish through Loughs Shantonagh, Bellatrain and Bawn, the Derrygoony.

Here is a sketch that includes the waterway which I believe is the ancient Owenagh River. It flows east from Lough Egish through Shantonagh Lough to a junction with the Annalee just north of Lough Tacher.


The "river" today is more a chain of lakes connected by meandering streams. I haven't found a name other than Owenagh for the stream, between Lough Egish and Derrygoony Lough. Some modern small scale maps incorrectly show this waterway, Lough Egish to Derrygoony Lough, as an extension of the Annalee River. The Annalee flows north from the north end of Lough Tacher. Lakes in the Owenagh system after Lough Egish, from east to west, are Bock Lough, Shantonagh Lough, Bellatrain Lough, Lisnakillewduff Lough, Lisnakillewbane Lough, Lough Bawn, Black Lough, and Derrygoony Lough. These lakes are connected with each other by streams, but Bock Lough and Black Lough are outside the main stream of the River Owenagh. In Doreen Curry's website, under the tab genealogy, there is a good map of the Creeve area of Monaghan showing the area from Bock Lough to Derrygoony Lough. (There is also a page devoted to Trevor, the cat.) The map named Stone Circles and Rows on Map Sheet H shows the stream of water about which we are talking. This map is part of a fascinating website: The Megalith Map, a resource for finding any stone circle or row in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

The River Owenagh leaves Lough Egish (536 feet above sea level) at Cherryvale at the south end of the lake, flows south about 1 1/2 kilometers to Laragh, then 4 kilometers, west by northwest on an upward curve and southwest on a downward curve along the north boundaries of the townlands of Beagh and Tullyglass in Aghnamullen, to Shantonagh Lough (366 feet above sea level), then 2 kilometers west to Bellatrain Lough (356 feet above sea level), then one kilometer west to Lisnakillewduff Lough (also 356 feet above sea level), then 1/2 kilometer west to Lisnakillewbane Lough, then 1 kilometer west to Lough Bawn, then 2 kilometers west to Derrygoony Lough (also 356 feet above sea level). The border of county Monaghan and county Magheross runs through loughs Shantonagh, Bellatrain and Liskillewduff. The townlands in Magheross that share these lakes, running east to west, are Lisacullion, Coraghy, and Lisirril. The townlands on the county Monaghan side of these lakes are Tullyglass, Shantonagh, and Tullyrain. As mentioned, Bock Lough, another in the string of lakes, straddles the border between the baronies of Cremorne and Farney.

For the several kilometers that the River Owenagh, as described by Livingstone, forms the boundary between the baronies of Farney and Cremorne, it also forms the boundary between the townland of Dunaree in the civil parish of Donaghmoyne and the townland of Laragh in the civil parish of Aghnamullen, and between the townlands of Lisacullion, Coraghy, and Lisirril in the civil parish of Magheross and the townlands of Shantonagh, Tullyrain and Corhelshinagh in Aghnamullen. Bock's Lough, which lies between Lough Egish and Shantonagh Lough, is bisected, east and west, and then, after a downward turn in the middle of the lake, north and south, by the border between the townland of Bock's Lower in Donaghmoyne and the borders of (and the border between) the townlands of Beagh and Tullyglass in Aghnamullen. A stream runs from the main stream to Bock Lough and this stream forms the southern border of the townland of Beagh in Aghnamullen and the northern border of the townlands of Bock's Middle and Bock's Lower in the parish of Donaghmoyne.

The parish of Aghnamullen is in the barony of Cremorne in county Monaghan. The parishes of Donaghmoyne and Magheross are in the barony of Farney in county Monaghan. This string of lakes and streams, therefore, fits Livingstone's description of the River Owenagh. The flow of water in 1835 must have been significant, even though the last few lakes are now all at the same distance above sea level. Lieutenant John Chaytor in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland (Volume Forty): Counties of South Ulster 1834–8, at page 72, refers to "Derrygoony mills, ... now used as corn mills. They are well supplied with water by a stream from Lough Eagish."

From Derrygoony Lough to its junction with the Annagh River, the river is shown as Knappagh Water on modern Ordnance Survey maps. Livingstone refers to this part of the river as the Derrygoony. On the map above, that part of the river is shown as a little hook to the northwest with a sudden turn to the south, then southwest, just before the stream of water from Lough Egish through Shantonagh Lough joins the Annalee River. The junction is a short distance after the Annalee has left Lough Tacker flowing north, in the townland of Liscloughan in county Cavan. The short portion of the hook which flows northwest, a little over a kilometer, forms a part of the border between county Monaghan and county Cavan. The river is the border from the point it leaves the memorial park about 1/2 a kilometer west of Derrygoony House to 1/2 kilometer past the Vicar Bridge, which locations will be found on the 1:50 000 Ordnance Survey maps.

Shirley's statement, at page 26 of his book, that the Owenagh River "rises in Lough Tucker, near Bellatrain" is wrong—if we assume that he intended to refer to the same waterway that Peadar Livingstone calls the Owenagh. Shirley may have meant to refer to Lough Egish, which is closer to Bellatrain than Lough Tucker, but his further statement that the Owenagh then "flows through the parish of Drumgoon in Cavan, and joins the river Erne" indicates that he is talking about the river then known as the Annagh, and modernly known as the Annalee. The Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland (Volume Forty): Counties of South Ulster 1834–8, in the description of the parish of Drumgoon in county Cavan, says at page 2:

"The River Annagh, rising from the northern shore of the Lough Tucka, is joined near its source by the Knappagh water, overflowing from Loch [blank] in County Monaghan and pursuing its course through the parish, the general bearing of which is north westerly over a rugged grauwacke channel continuing rocky and shallow until it appears [in] the parish of Kill, when its banks deepen and contract and propel the waters onward to Loch Erne."

One more point of confusion: The river shown on the above map as flowing southwest from Ballybay, to the west of Cootehill, and into the Annalee, is shown on the Ordnance Survey Maps in its lower reaches as the Dromore River. The portion of the Annalee River from Lough Tacker to its intersection with the Dromore is called the Annagh River on older maps. From its intersection with the Dromore River, the Annalee flows west and joins the River Erne just west of Butler's Bridge, and just north of Lough Oughter. The River Erne flows north through a maze of islands and waterways in Lake Oughter and, after it is joined by the Annalee, continues its flow north through Belturbet to Upper Lough Erne, to Lower Lough Erne at Enniskillen, and west into Donegal Bay at Ballyshannon.

If you are willing to endure a long download, Al Beagan, in his Genealogy Notes of County Cavan, has published a Bartholomew's 1892 map of Counties Cavan and Monaghan that illustrates in fine detail the entire water system from Lough Egish through Lake Shantonagh, past Bellatrain, and to its junction with the River Annagh at a point north of where the River Annagh flows out of Lough Tacker. The river from Knappagh Water westward is called the Annagh. He also publishes a modern road map of county Cavan that includes this part of county Monaghan that shows major rivers, but does not include the waterway from Lough Egish to Knappagh Water. Lough Egish is on the map, though not identified, but the water system draining it is not shown. This latter map shows towns, lakes, major rivers, roads, and county boundaries, in good detail, but is a long download. The southern 2/3rds of county Monaghan is in the lower right quadrant of the map.

Shaun O'Byrne, a native of the area, was kind enough to send me emails on December 30, 2003, and January 1, 2004, pointing out that the people who modernly live at the southern end of Lough Egish call the stream of water leaving the lake "the river" until it reaches the Monaghan/Cavan border, and the Annalee thereafter. Here are his informative emails:

"Dear Hugh ,

"Came upon your 'Owenagh River' research today. Firstly I was raised less than 200 meters from the point of discharge of this river out of Lough Egish . The river and lake shores were my boyhood playground. I have fished in both and swam across the Lake at various geographical points. Let me share my local knowledge with you!

"The waters of Lough Egish are hemmed in on 3 sides by ranges of high hills about 700 – 800 ft above sea level. The land on the remaining side to the south of the lake is low, perhaps 20 ft above the surface of the lake. A large rocky outcrop penetrates the shoreline here, known locally as 'minister's rock' because of the extant remains of a local Protestant clergyman's home perhaps 80 meters behind the shoreline. Immediately left of minister's rock is the natural and original river exit, a passage through a low point in the shoreland, where gravity once dictated the river's natural passage. This is now grassed over and scrubby with thorn bushes but can be walked along. Further left of the original river exit, is a high face of natural bedrock—mankind has with pick and shovel cut a deep U shaped gulley backwards thru this rock some 20 meters and thereafter built a rubble stone and earthen embankment that runs in straight alignment some 200 meters or more to the ruins of Cherryvale Mill and the water wheel slot. At the lakeshore a stone arch with an iron sluice gate and hand winch remain when in previous days a 'water watchman regulated the outflow for the mills'. Man has enticed the river to leave it's original path and exit via it's mill race path to turn the wheel at Cherryvale. The Cherryvale mill was constructed c.1750. After turning the wheel at Cherryvale the water is routed back to it's natural course to flow to Laragh and beyond.

"At school we where always taught that it was called the 'Annalee' and flowed eventually into the River Erne and so to sea at Ballyshannon. The lake has only one input a stream flowing in to a cove from the townland of Lurgangreen, this along with rain water run-off the hills and natural springs supply it's source. The Church mentioned in the townland of 'Moyle More', again on a cove in an isolated position, sits a Church and cemetery on high ground above the shoreline of the townland of Lattonfaskey. This Church is archaic—a now ruined Franciscan friary founded c.1550, decimated by Cromwellian troops in the 1640's campaign. The last Franciscan friar abandoned it in 1845. Locally it is known as 'Chapel Moyle' coming from the Irish 'Tempeall Maol' or the bald chapel—Cromwellian troops having set it's thatch roof on fire and leaving it roofless (bald) and unusable to the friars.

"Bailenalurgan is an older name for the area in which is now sited the present day town of Castleblayney. An early castle was here belonging to the McMahons and the town for a period was called Caisleán MacMathúna (McMahon's Castle).

"Hope this is an aid to you .

"Regards - Shaun O'Byrne."

Here is Shaun's follow-up email of January 1, 2004:

"Hi Hugh—as this is the only river of significance that runs through the Parish, the local community know its course well and that it becomes the Annalee river on crossing the Monaghan/Cavan border. As schoolchildren as a 'school exercise' we would have traced it's course to the river Erne on maps and have viewed Lough Egish as the initial source of the river.

"Locally we just call it the 'river' appending a placename to locate a spot geographically, such as the 'river at Laragh', 'the bridge at Mullaghdoo', or the 'river at Bellatrain'. Many water mills once sat along it's course, sawmills, grainmills and textile mills all driven by water power—it is from the density of mills along this river that gave rise to the name of the parish of Aghnamullen, deriving from 'Áth na Muillean' (the river ford by the Mill) or 'Acadh na Muillean' (the Plain of Mills) that is plain as in fields or places/sites . The parish was later divided into 2 halves for eclesiastical administrative purposes becoming Aghnamullen East and Aghnamullen West. Lough Egish lake (Loch Éigis) means 'the Lake of the Learned' and sits entirely in the Parish of Aghnamullen East.' ...

"Feel free to incorporate my local knowledge into your website .

" Regards—Shaun O'Byrne"


Shirley's Viewpoint of the Eoghanach

Shirley says that, from the church in the townland of Moyle More just west of the western tip of the townland of Aghnamullen in which the town of Aghnamullen is located, there is "a fine view of the of the surrounding country, the ancient Owenagh." (page 346). I have marked on the map above the viewpoint of the Eoghanach that Shirley described in his book. Draw a circle with a radius of 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) with this point as a center, and you define an area that has historically been the home of a substantial portion of the McGoughs in Ireland. The location of this church, which is now the place of worship for the Aghnamullen parish of the Church of Ireland, is marked with a circle at the center of the upper half of the map of the townlands of the Catholic parish of Aughnamullen West, published below. Shirley gives us a history of the church at pages 346 through 350.

An interesting sidelight: Shirley, at page 346, says that in 1622, the church land was "farmed by Ambrose ap Hugh, and was probably purchased during Lord Strafford's administration from the ap Hugh family ..." This is the only reference I have seen ro Welsh farmers in Aghnamullen. Ambrose ap Hugh was most likely a nonresident farmer. At page 355, Shirley refers to him as a gentleman of Drogheda and son of Rice AP Hugh. Rice AP Hugh purchased the lease rights to the tithes of many parishes belonging to the Abbey of Louth and in 1610 a new lease, running to the year 1630, was issued to his son Ambrose.

To find the church on Monaghan sheet 28 of the 1:50,000 map published by the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland, go to Irish grid reference H (eastings) 681 (northings) 167. On other maps, draw a line from Rockcorry (H644192) a distance of nine miles in an east by southeast direction to a to the northwest tip of Lough Shantonagh, just below Lakeview House. This is a point a little less than a mile east of the town of Shantonagh. The church is slightly less than 1/3 the distance from Rockcorry to Shantonagh Lough; or, on map 8 of the 1:126,720 Ordnance Survey of Ireland, Monaghan-Armagh, draw a line from Ballybay a distance of nine miles almost due south to the town of Shercock. From a point one mile south of Ballybay on this line, the church is about one mile due west.

Ann McGeough Harney has published a map of this area on her McGeough page in which the town of Aghnamullen is found among the towns of Rockcorry, Ballybay, Shantonagh and Shercock. Shirley's view point is about a kilometer to the west. She has also published a chart of the townlands of the civil parish of Aghnamullen. The civil parish is divided into two Catholic parishes, Aughnamullen West and Aughnamullen East.


An Expedition through the Owenagh

One of the first things Sir William Fitzwilliam did on his taking over as Lord Deputy of Ireland from Sir John Perrot was, in March of 1859, attack Sir Ross Mac Mahon. His plan was to strike Dartry and "so to the Onough." Shirley, page 78 (footnote). Though the attack did not work exactly as planned, he brought Sir Ross into submission—once again. A bigger expedition was mounted through the Owenagh four years later.

The Annals of the Four Masters report:

M1593.5 Brian, the son of Hugh Oge, son of Hugh, son of John Boy Mac Mahon, from Dartry-Oriel; the sons of Ever Mac Cooley, from Farney; and Richard, son of Ulick Burke, i.e. the son of Deamhon-an-Charrain, were also in insurrection and rebellion against the English. These people of Oriel made an attack upon a company of soldiers who were stationed at Monaghan, and slew the greater part of them; wherefore a proclamation was issued to every town in Ireland, declaring the aforesaid persons and their confederates to be traitors.

In 1593, the English General Henry Bagnall responded. He raided Dartry and reduced the Mac Mahon crannog on Lough Drumcaw. He first assembled the English troops near Bellatrain in the Owenagh. In the Clogher Record of 1956, at page 88, Philip Moore tells the tale of The Reduction of Drumca:

"The English Government decided to punish those responsible for this attack on their garrison in Monaghan. Bagnall set out from Newry and arranged to meet Henshaw, the Seneschal, with the English garrison at Aodh MacRurai's town in the Owenagh (near Bellatrain). There is no indication as to which side Aodh MacRurai MacBrian and his brother Art supported. Hither also came Pádraig Mac Airt Mhaoil MacKenna, Pádraig Dubh McColla and other pro-English elements of the County who made 'exceeding joy' of the English coming. These forces passed the night of the 15th September at the Owenagh and, on the following day, Bagnall advanced as far as Killeevan and camped near the lake called Drumca. With this camp as headquarters he ravaged the possessions of Brian Mac Aogh Oig's 'faire new house built this year' upon the shores of Rooskey lake. One of the crannógs on this lake was captured by swimming, because it was obviously near the shore and can still be seen some little distance off shore.

"The English now turned their attention to their main objective, the reduction of the crannógs in Drumca lake, which were used as store depots and places of refuge. To prevent an easy landing a breast work fortification surrounded the crannóg behind which the defenders took shelter. An engine, possibly some kind of raft, capable of holding thirty to forty men was constructed by Bagnall and with twenty men aboard was launched against the crannóg. Its subsequent reduction was easy. The defenders who were not slain took to the water but were later captured and beheaded. That night the remainder of the crannógs were fired and abandoned by their defenders."

The quotation is from page 41 of At the Ford of the Birches: The History of Ballybay, its People and Vicinity (Murnane Brothers, September 1999) by James H. Murnane and Peadar Murnane. Shirley, beginning at page 98, quotes extensively from the correspondence of Sir Henry Bagnal regarding this same expedition. He refers to the Onaghe as the Onaght, probably an error in transcription.

In English records, Brian Mac Aogh Oig was called Brian McHugh Oge (Mc Mahon); Pádraig Mac Airt Mhaoil MacKenna was called Patrick Mc Art Moyle (Mc Mahon). (Shirley, page 115).


Owenagh in County Roscommon—Keogh's County

The Book of Lecan quotes a document from the government of Queen Elizabeth that lists among the chieftains in 1585 of the Hy Many, or O'Kellie's country, Edmond Mac Keoghe of Owenagh. John O'Donovan's note says:

"Owenagh, now Onagh, in the parish of Taghmaconell, which parish is nearly coextensive with Mac Keogh's country, anciently called Magh Finn." The Tribes and Customs of Hy-Many, Commonly Called O'Kelly's Country by John O'Donovan (Special Edition 1992 Irish Genealogical Foundation), page 19.

In his "Additonal Notes" the same book, at page 102, O'Donovan says:

"From ... Diarmid O'Kelly [the youngest son of Domhnall Mor, the ancestor of all the O'Kellys of Hy-Many] are descended the family of Mac Eochadha, now Keogh, who possessed the territory of Magh Finn, containing forty quarters of land, and comprising the entire of the parish of Taghmaconnell, in the barony of Athlone."

The Book of Lecan says that this land was earlier under the control of O'Mailbrighdi, chief of Breadach, "the noblest cantred in Hy-Man.". O'Donovan notes, at page 77 of his book:

"This territory, which comprised forty quarters of land, was otherwise called Magh Finn, and is situated on the east side of the River Suck, in the barony of Athlone. The O'Mailbrighdes were later dispossessed of this territory by the Mac Keoghs, a branch of the O'Kelly's, and the district is now popularly known by the name of Keogh's country."

The parish of Taghmaconnell is on the lower southeast edge of county Roscommon, and borders county Galway. Local Ireland has published on the Internet a map of Roman Catholic parishes of County Roscommon. The village Taughmaconnell is located in the south of the county and about 4 miles north of the town of Ballinasloe, which is on the Suck River in county Galway. This parish is made up of 43 townlands and is in the ancient barony of Athlone. There is an Internet map of the baronies of county Roscommon.


Eoganact or Owenaght of Magh Geirginn (Kincardine) in Scotland

Keating's History of Ireland (O'Mahony's translation), at page 379, in discussing how the Irish gave their name to Scotland, says that Carbre Cruthnechan was a son of Corc, son of Lugaidh, of the race of Olid Olum [i.e., Olioll Olum]:

"From a brother of Mani Lemna, who was named Carbre Cruthnecan, or Carbri of the Picts, came the Eoganact (Owenaght), of Magh Gergen (Moy Gueryenn), in the same country [i.e. Alba, or Scotland]."

The name this Scots Eoghanact probably derived from the same source as the Eoghanact Kingdoms of Munster, Eoghan Mor, the father of Olioll Olum. Here is a genealogy from Eoghan Mor to Corc from Milesian Genealogies from the Annals of the Four Masters by Pat Traynor.

83. Eoghan Mor [Owen Mor] or, Eugene The Great. A wise prince and great warrior. He battled continually with 'Conn of The Hundred Battles', the 110th Monarch in A.D. 122 [Irish Kings #110]. Finally they divided the Kingdom into equal parts. He was eventually slain by Conn.

84. Olioll Olum. Olioll Married the daughter of Conn [Sadbh, or Sabina], who had slain his father. She was a widow of a chief of Conn's territory and her son [Lughaidh Maccon, Irish Kings #113] demanded of Olioll that he should benefit from the agreement of their ancestors. Olioll refused and banished Maccon out of Ireland. He retired to Scotland and there soon collected a strong party of friends and relations. With the help of his Ireland relations he made war upon Olioll. The Monarch Art-Ean-Fhear's [Art Eanfhear, Irish Kings #112] forces joined Olioll in the great and memorable battle against Maccon at Magh Mucromha, near Athenry, where Art and seven of Olioll's nine sons, by Sabina, died. Their army was totally defeated. By this victory, Maccon recovered his right to the Kingdom of Munster, and became Monarch for 30 years, leaving the Kingdom of Munster to his stepfather Olioll Olum, undisturbed.

85. Owen Mor

86. Fiacha (or Feach) Maolleathan

87. Olioll Flann-beag; King of Munster for 30 years

88. Lughaidh

89. Corc; from him the city Cork was named. To shun the unnatural love of his stepmother, he fled in his youth to Scotland where he married the daughter of the King of the Picts. One of his several sons was Main Leamhna who remained in Scotland and was ancestor of 'Mor Mhoar Leamhna' i.e., Great Stewards of Lennox; from whom descended the Kings of Scotland and England of the Stewart or Stuart Dynasty.

Corc is also known as Cuirc mic Lughaidh. See also Senchus Fer nAlban History of the Men of Alba (Scotland) 10th century under "III. Clans supposed to be descended from Corc, son of Lugaidh, King of Munster, of the line of Heber;" Cuirc mic Lughaidh.

The Eóghanacht Genealogies, from The Book of Munster, written in 1703 Rev. Eugene O'Keeffe, Parish priest and Poet of Doneraile, North Cork, fills in the story:

"The branching-Out of the Descendants of Corc, Son of Lugaid, as follows:

" Corc, son of Lugaid, had eleven sons. ...

"Corc, however, had four sons by Mungfionn daughter of Feredhach, King of the Picts of Scotland [apparently all born in Scotland].

5. Cairbre Cruithneachan, from whom were the Eóghanacht of Magh Geirginn in Scotland.

6. Maine Leambna (i.e., Maine of Leven at Loch Leven in Scotland) from whom were the Leamhnaig of Scotland.

7. Cairbre Luachra (i.e., Cairbre of Sliobh Luachra on Cork-Kerry border), from whom were the Eóghanacht of Loch Lein (Killarney) and the Aos Aiste (Tuosist) Aos Alla (in Dhallow) and the Aos Greine (at Pallasgreen, Co. Limerick).

8. Croanan from whom were the Cuircus sept of Westmeath.

"The two Cairbres were twins. Two of the ... four remained in Scotland in the hereditary paterning of their mother, of the Picts of Scotland, i.e., Cairbre Cruithneacain in Magh Geirrgimn [Geirginn] (Kincardine) and Maine Leambna in Magh Leambna (Leven)."

For a more detailed and different version of the story, see General Survey of Scotland North of Forth.

"Corc, son of Lughaidh, is, of course, a perfectly historical character. He became king of Munster, and his grandson Oengus, son of Natfraoch, was baptized by Patrick. That he was actually the founder of the Eoghanacht of Magh Gerginn may be true or it may not. What is certain is that there was a branch of this great Munster family there, and that already in the ninth century it was reckoned to be of old establishment. It may have been these [220] Eoghanacht who helped to clear the 'swordland' among the Britons of Magh Gerginn. Their name appears to survive in Balmackewan, Baile mac Eoghain, 'stead of the sons of Eoghan,' in the parish of Marykirk, ...

"The Irish authorities state that the nobles of Lennox were of the same origin as the Eoghanacht. (28)"

"28. 'Ic hEber condrecait na secht nEoganachta 7 Lemnaig Alban ' ; 'at Eber meet the seven Eoghanachts and the Lennoxmen in Alba'; LL 318 b 42. 'Eber nero is da claind-sein Dáil Cais ... 7 Eoganacht Caisil ... 7 Leamnaigh i nAlbain '; 'as to Eber, of his descendants are the Dáil Cais ... and the Eoghanacht of Cashel. ... and the Lennoxmen in Alba' ; BB 41 b 36."

"In early times Balloch was the seat of the lords of Lennox, and it is notable that close beside it is Tullichewan, Tulach Eoghain, 'the hill of Eoghan.' "

Ireland's History in Maps, under Ancient Mumhan—Province of Munster, refers to Magh Geirginn as: "Éoganacht Maigi Dergind (Magh Geirginn, Kincardine in Scotland?)," with this genealogy:

"Éoganacht Maigi Dergind an early Éoganacht Maigi Dergind [Magh Geirginn in Scotland] genealogy - Cairpre Cruithnechán m. Cuircc m. Luigdech m. Ailella Flaind Bic m. Ailella Flaind Móir m. Fiachach Mullethain m. Éogain Máir m. Ailella Auluimm m. Moga Nuadat m. Moga Néit."

Kincardine-on-Forth, Fife, Scotland, is on the River Forth at the northwest of the Firth of Forth about 25 miles northwest of Edinburgh. Loch Leven is about 18 miles north of Edinburgh, just east of M90 and near the town of Kinross. Kincardine is in Tulliallan Parish and, before 1891, formed a detached portion of Perthshire; but on February 23, 1891, was separated from Perthshire and added to Fife. See The History of Kincardine and the Surrounding Area.

See also the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on Kincardine:

"Kincardine also called KINCARDINESHIRE, OR THE MEARNS, county in northeastern Scotland until the reorganization of 1975. It is now part of Kincardine and Deeside district of Grampian region.

"Kincardine was the southernmost of the three counties that made up the northeastern corner of Scotland. In ancient times it marked the northward limit of the Roman penetration of Britain. It then formed part of the kingdom of the Picts. The Scottish kings subsequently made a stronghold of the ancient burgh of Kincardine, from which the County derived its name. Edward I of England passed through Kincardine in 1296, during the Wars of Independence. ...

"The valley of the River Dee, in the north of the former County, has many buildings of architectural note, including Dunnottar Castle (c. 1392), a number of 17th-century castles, and several ruined churches."

Loch Leven Castle, on an island towards the western margin of the loch, was the prison of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–87), between the Summer of 1567 and the Spring of 1568, when she escaped. Shortly after being imprisoned, Mary was forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son James VI (1566–1625) and Morton became Regent. Her gaoler was Sir William Douglas, who later became the 5th Earl of Morton.

The Eoghanach and The Owenagh River in County Monaghan
Updated October 27, 2010  
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