The great Cineál Eoghain

You are here


 Largest and most powerful clan


The great Cineál Eoghain was the largest and most powerful clan of Gaelic Ireland through the 17th Century, maintaining a Kingdom that encompassed the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal, all of Counties Tyrone and Derry, and parts of Counties Armagh and Antrim. Like all Irish clans, Cineál Eoghain was in essence an enormous ancient family with all of its various branches tracing their ancestry to Eoghain mac Niall, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages.

The great Cineál Eoghain was the largest and most powerful clan of Gaelic Ireland through the 17th Century

Eoghan mac Niall, the patriarch of Cineál Eoghain, was the first King of Aileach, the clan’s original territory on and around the Inishowen (Isle of Owen) Peninsula, which was wrested from its previous rulers by Eoghan and his brother Connal Gulban in the mid 5th Century. After his death in 465, Eoghan’s descendants continued his conquests, dividing and subdividing into many clans and septs as they spread across the north of Ireland taking possession of central Ulster. Led by the Royal McLaughlins and O’Neills, and spearheaded by the potent Chiefs of the O’Cahans, O’Hagans, O’Mallons, O’Quinns, O’Donnellys, O’Devlins and many others, the Kingdom they founded would endure for over a millennium, rebuffing centuries of Viking incursions and land hungry English Lords, until finally overwhelmed by the centralized might of England in the first years of the 1600’s.



Until then, the lands of Cineál Eoghain remained a bastion of unadulterated Gaelic culture, its clans and septs maintaining the ancient traditions, tales, laws and language of their forbearers; but the defeat of the Great Hugh O’Neill in the Nine Years War and the “Flight of the Earls” in 1616 that began his exile to the Continent left the kindred’s lands open to seizure by the English Crown. The ancient patrimony of the Cineál Eoghain clans was parceled out to English and Scots settlers and the proud clans were broken and their people landless and impoverished. Over the following centuries of poverty, Rebellion and famine much was lost and the clansmen of Cineál Eoghain were scattered across the globe. While many thousands remained in Ulster, other scions of the great Gaelic families of Cineál Eoghain went where opportunity took them, planting the seeds of future generations in America, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and elsewhere.

This organization, envisioned by Dan Ó’ Neill of the Ancient Clan Ó’Neill and Ed Mallon of the Clan Ó’Mealláin seeks to reconnect these scattered branches of a great and ancient lineage

This organization, envisioned by Dan Ó’ Neill of the Ancient Clan Ó’Neill and Ed Mallon of the Clan Ó’Mealláin seeks to reconnect these scattered branches of a great and ancient lineage in order to better understand and study our common history and culture, and the deep connections between the families of Cineál Eoghain. We encourage any individuals or organizations associated with the many families of Cineál Eoghain to join us and to become active participants: share your family history, old tales and traditions, read about the history of your ancestors, and enjoy an informal, friendly exchange of ideas and information. 

To learn more please join us on the Cineál Eoghain facebook page or follow the blog by Ed Mallon, you will find it under blog at the top of our homepage website 



Cinael Eoghain Blog

Don't forget to check out our blog on Cinael Eoghain

Find out more now!


This is the Offical web site of the O'Neills of Ulster. With the support of our kinsmen, we are coming together to form a strong Celtic community  in Ireland and across the world.

Join us

Become a member today and find out more about our history culture and geneolgy, and join in on all the discussions.

Sign up with us now!

Flickr Widget