The Bréifne Region
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Kingdom of Bréifne

Bréifne (or Breffny, Brefnie, Brenny, ...) was held by the clans of the Uí Briúin Breifne, descendants of Aodh Fionn, from the 7th century up to the time of Cromwell in the mid 17th century.
At its maximum extent Bréifne extended from Kells in Meath to Drumcliff in Co. Sligo and was part of the Kingdom of Connacht until the time of Queen Elizabeth I (1565), when it was split into the Counties Cavan and Leitrim. The O'Rourke's (Ó Ruairc) were early Kings of Bréifne, and later Princes of West Bréifne, an area which corresponds roughly to present day County Leitrim. The O'Reilly's (Ó Raghallaigh) were early Lords of East Bréifne, or Muinter Maoil Mordha, an area which was centered in present day County Cavan, a county which became part of Ulster by the 16th century. The early 8th century map of the Bréifne region of northwest Connacht (below) was published on page 20 of the Autumn 1994 edition of "Buagh," The Journal of the O'Rourke Clan. For further information see the Uí Briúin Bréifne.



About the 13th century O'Dugan, in his Topograhical Poems, makes note of the following families in the Breifne region:

Ancient territories on the map above included:

Uí Briúin - Co. Roscommon. The early genealogies for the show Brion, son of Eochuid Mugmedón, as the progenitor of many of the royal families of Connacht. Noted chiefs of the Uí Briúin in Roscommon included O'Connor of the Uí Briúin Ai. Clan Mulrooney and Clan MacDermot were noted chiefs in Roscommon. See Connacht for further reference.

The Uí Cremthainn of Co. Fermanagh and northern Co. Monaghan. The early genealogies state that the Úi Chremthaind were ancestors of one of the Three Collas, i.e. Colla Fochríth.
In the 13th century the family of MacMahon (MacMathghamhna) held the superior authority here with the title king of Oirghialla. For further information see the Kingdom of Airghialla.


Cenél Cairpre (Cairbre) - northern Co. Sligo and northeast Co. Leitrim. The territory of Cairbre, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. in or near the barony of Grandard. The Annals seem to allude to the race of Cairpre, son of Niall in Grandard up to the 8th century, and after were settled in the barony of Carbury in co. Kildare. For further information on the group, see Cenél Cairpri [Mor] of co. Sligo, and Uí Cairpri Laigen of co. Kildare; and Cairbre Gabra, of co. Longford.

Cairpre Gabra - northern Co. Longford, barony of Granard,... O'Ronan (Ó Ronáin) were chieftains in the barony of Granard until dispossessed by the O'Farrells in the 13th century.

The annals cite (possibly for Cairpre Gabra): The annals cite for the general terms Cairpre, Coirpri, et al:

Cenél Laegaire
Located in western Co. Fermanagh. The Fir Manach, the Cinéal Eanna and the Cenél Laegaire were early indigenous tribes in the Co. Fermanagh area.

Various references to Cenel Laegaire septs include:
  • Láegaire (west of Lough Erne), son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, a quo Cenél Láegaire mic Neill
  • Enna, son of Láegaire (near Trim, Meath), son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, a quo Cenél Láegaire Breg (e.g. Quinlan, Kindellan, Connelan).
  • Láegaire (Lough Ennel, Westmeath), son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, a quo Cenél Láegaire Midi (Clann Cucrichi, i.e., the Ui hAedáin).
  • Laoghaire (Munster), son of Criomthann, son of Eochu macCaiss a quo Cinel Laoghaire (O'Donohues, O'Leary, et al).
  • Laeghaire, son of Eocha Brec, son of Nath I macFiachrach, a quo Cenel Laeghaire.

    The Irish Annals note:

    Cenél Enda (Énna or Eanna)
    Located in the southern Co. Donegal and northern Fermanagh region. About the 5th century Enda, the youngest son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, received territory in modern co. Donegal. The Book of Lecan places Cenél Enda mic Neill west of Lough Erne. The Book of Fenagh equates Cenél Enda extending from the river Errity to Barnesmore, barony of Tir Hugh, to Sruell in the barony of Banagh, in the county of Donegal. It is said the north-western limit was Farnagh in the parish of Aughnis, barony of Kilmacrenan. The eastern limit of his lands was the river Finn.
    Historians have also placed this early area on the borders of modern co. Donegal and Tyrone. An area known as Magh Ene was located at the southern tip of co. Donegal, perhaps alluding to the area described in the Book of Fenagh. The latter area was later dominated by septs of the Cinel Conaill (Conal Gulban, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages).

    There were numerous territories or tribe names known as Cenel Enda, Enna, nEnna, et al. Perhaps the more famous was the territory of Cenel Enda (or Tir Enna), just southwest of Inishowen, in nothern co. Donegal, ruled by septs whose genealogies are tied to the Cinel Eoghain (Eoghan, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages). See the Northern Ui Neill for further discussion on these familes. Together the Cenél Conaill and Cenél Eoghain eclipsed the Cenél Enda to such a high degree that there is scant mention of them in the early Irish genealogies.

    There was also a Cenel Enna centered in Moycashel barony, co. Westmeath, represented by the familes of Ua Braonain (e.g. Brennan) of Creeve, and Mag Ruairc (e.g. Groarke) of Teallach Conmasa. Cenel Enda septs are also cited for the Ui Fiachra Aidhne, the Ui Briuin, the Conmaicne and for the ancient Ui Ernáin of Leinster who migrated to Munster.

    The Annals cite for the general term Cenel Enda:

    Fir Managh
    In County Fermanagh. According to one story, the original 'Fir Manach' are claimed to come from Leinster, reaching the Upper Lough Erne at very early date. "At the coming of Christianity, Fermanagh was partly independent (i.e. original tribes), partly under the Oriel tribes and partly under Connaught influence" (Livingstone 1969, 6). Throughout the 11th and 12th centuries the Kings of Fermanagh - O'hEignigh, O'Maolruanaidh and O'Dubhdara - were drawn from the Airghialla [Oriel], its Clann Lugainn branch, which is stated in the early genealogies to descend from one of the three Collas, i.e. Colla Fochríth. The O'Heany or Hegney (Ó hEignigh) and Mulrooney (Maolruanaidh) septs were noted as kings of Fermanagh (Fer Manach) until becoming tributary to the Maguires (Meicc h-Uidir) by the 13th century.

    An early Leinster genealogy of the Manach and the Monaigh of Ulster:   (Rawlinson)
    Ragnall m. Cernaich m. Gillae Brigte m. Coscraich m. Cenndubáin m. Duiligén m. Galáin m. Cainnecháin m. Máel Tochaid m. Gilluráin m. Inglaind m. Comgaill m. Corccáin m. Manaich m. Ailella m. Féicc m. Dáire Barraich m. Catháer Máir.

    An early Genelach Clainne Lugáin .i. Fer Manach   (Rawlinson) Gilla Coluim m. Gillai Críst m. Éicnich m. Dálaich m. Meicc h-Uidir m. Cernaich m. Lugáin m. Írgalaich m. Feichín m. Cormaic m. Fergusa m. Cairpri Daim Argait m. Echdach m. Crimthaind m. Féicc m. Dega Duirn m. Rochada m. Colla Fochríth.

    An early genealogy of Meg hUidhir (Maguire):   (Book of Balymote)
    Pilip m. Aeda m. Flaithbertaich m. Duind m. Domnaill m. Gilla Isu m. Duind m. Ragnaill m. Uidhir m. Serraich m. Uidhir m. Serraich m. Airgiallaich m. Uidir m. Cernaich m. Lugain m. Irgalaich m. Eignich m. Cormaic m. Fergusa m. Aeda m. Cormaic m. Cairpri (Daim Argait) m. Eachach m. Crimthainn m. Feic m. Deadaduirn m. Rochadha m. Colla Da Crich.

    The Annals cite:

    Calraige
    Located in northwestern Co. Leitrim, and part co. Sligo. The early genealogies cite the son of Dáire Sírchréchtach, that is Lugaid Cál "a quo Callraige". The chiefs of Calraighe included O'Finn and O'Carroll (O Cearbhaill). See Calraige of Connacht for further information.
    There were also prominent chiefs of Calraige in the west of County Westmeath and north Offaly named Mac Amhalghaidh (MacAwley).

    The Annals cite for both Calraiges:

    Conmaicne Rein
    The Conmaicne of Magh Réin were said to have come to southern Co. Leitrim, from the Dunmore area of County Galway, in the first quarter of the 6th century. Three family groupings were noted - the Muintir Eolius, Muintir Cearballain and the Cenel Luachain. Of particular note was the powerful Muintir Anghaile (O'Farrell of Annaly, co. Longford) who are also claimed to descend from the Conmaicne Réin, their territory in co. Lomgford often included as part of Conmaicne Réin as well as part of Teathbha.
    Also see the Conmaicne of Connact, and the Conmaicne Mide.

    An early genealogy of the Conmaicne is given as:
    Finer, son of Cúmscrach (aka Cumascrach) m. Cécht m. Eircc m. Erccdail m. Duib m. Ma Druaid m. Nertai m. Fhernertai m. Cécht m. h-Uisli m. Béirre m. Beidbi m. Luigdech m. Conmaic (a quo Conmaicne) m. Oirbsen Máir (a quo Loch n-Oirbsen).

    Various septs of are given in the Book of Fenagh as:
    Clann Calbrainn, a branch of Conmaicni Réin comprising Clann Martain, Clann Maelduilighe, Clann Bradain, Clann Arcain and Tellach Uanan.
    Clann Faelgusa, a branch of Conmaicni Réin comprising Clann Corrdercain, Clann Gemáin, Clann Cathusaigh, Clann Dinnachain, Clann Birn, Clann Anairc, Ui Conbhuidhe, Ui Gellustain, Ui Riaglachain.
    Clann Fermaighe, a branch of Conmaicni Réin comprising Clann Cellachain, Clann Maelsamhna, Clann Taebhachain, Clann Ubhan, Clann Lughann, and Clann Uanan, descendants of the first wife of Findellach, the son of Neidhe, and 5th fr. Cumscrach.
    Clann Finoicci, or Sil Findellaig, a branch of Conmaicni Rein comprising Clann Telline, Clann Cronan, Clann Ainnsin, Clann Chirdubhain, Clann Finn, Clann Ciaracan, Clann Ibill, descendants of Finoicc, 2nd wife of Findellach, son of Neidhe, and 5th fr. Cumscrach.
    Other septs included:
    Cenél Luachain (Oughteragh parish, co. Leitrim), the race of Luachan, son of Onchu, and 4th from Cumscrach.
    Cenél Cromáin and Clann Faelchon, septs of Conmaicni Réin.

    Chiefs of Conmaicne Rein (Muintir Eolais) included Reynolds (Mac Raghnaill, Mac Rannall), with the O'Rourke (Uí Ruairc) dynasty cited as over-lords of this area. A Mulvey (Maoil Mhiadhaigh) sept was cited early as chiefs of Tellach Cearbhallan in Muintir Eolais.

    The Annals also cite: Dartraige - The chiefs of Dartraige in the barony of Rosclogher, north co. Leitrim, included Mag Fhlannchaidh (Maglanchy, MacClancy). One seat of power for the family was said to be a castle built on Lough Melvin in co. Leitrim. One genealogy cites their descent from from Eochaidh, son of Aenghus, son of Lughaidh Cal, in which come the Calraige of Loch Gile and the Dartraighe.
    Note: The Dartraige of county Leitrim are not to be confused with the Dartraige of co. Monaghan, i.e. the Dartraige Con-innsi.

    The Annals cite:


    Fernmag
    Located in southeast Co. Monaghan. The O'Carrolls are cited as overlords of Oriel in this area. O'Lorcan (Larkin) are cited in the annals as early chiefs of Fernmhaighe (Farney). O'Kieran (Ó Ciaráin) is given as a chief of Fearnmuigh by the writer O'Dugan as a clan of Tir Eoghan. O'Creehan (O'Criochan) appear in the annals as chiefs. MacMahon (MacMathghamhna) were noted as chiefs here in the 13th century. The early genealogy of the Fernmaigi goes back to one of the three Collas, i.e. Colla Fochríth.

    The Annals also cite:


    Glasraighe
    Earlier than the time of Cairbre, son of Niall, the lands bordering Lough Sheelin, near the borders of counties Cavan, Longford, Westmeath and Meath, were inhabited by the pre-Gaelic? Glasraige people. When Niall of the Nine Hostages, King of Tara 379-406, was seeking territories for his numerous sons, he planted one of them, Maine, at Ardagh, and another, Cairbre, at Granard, whom he made lord and leader over the earlier peoples who possessed that land. These people were the Glasraidhe who occupied northern Teathbha (an ancient name for the area about Co. Longford).
    The descendants of Cairbre, called the 'Ui Cairbri,' became the ruling family group in the area. Later the ' Conmaicne ' people pushed the ' Ui Cairbri ' people into a small space in the North-east corner of their once extensive kingdom. A tenth century chieftain of the Conmaicne was name Anghaile, and his descendants became known as Ui Anghaile (Annally).
    The last lord of the ' Ui Cairbri ' line, described as the ' grandson of Cronin,' was slain at Granard in 1161. In the late twelfth century the Lords of Cairbre saw their territory being steadily encroached upon and filched away by the O'Rourkes on the North and the O'Farrells on the South.

    The Book of Ballymote mentions the Glasraighe in Luigne of Meath, in the midland region of Ireland. They held the land of Ui Becon, the Ui Fiachrach and the "Luighni". They were 'exterminated' at the battle of "Cloithrean" by Nathi, son of Fiachra, and ever since that time Síl Nathi held Tír mBecon and Tír Fiachrach in Meath.
    The Book of Lecan places them in Magh Femin, while the Book of Lismore places them in Ciarraige Luchra, both apparently located in Munster.

    The Book of Leinster places them in Cualngiu [Eitheandca], and an early genealogical reference sems to connect Glasraigi h-i Cuailnge to Clan Conaill Cernaich, in descent from clan Conaill Costamail.
    Another early genealogy of the Glasraige attempts to connect them to Glas, of the race of Cairbre mac Neill (Ui Cairbri & Cairpre Gabra):
    Cú Maige m. Ingordail m. Ernáine m. Áedgega m. Fintain m. Mc Reithe m. M. Daimle m. Dega m. Cairpri m. Néill.



    Gaileanga
    Located in western Co. Cavan and northern Co. Meath. The Mugdorna occupied this territory prior to 800 AD, when they were pushed out of Meath and into Monaghan and replaced by the Gailenga. The Gailenga Mora left their name in the barony of Morgallion (Machaire Gailenga, "the plain of the Gailenga") in County Meath. The O'Lohan or O'Loughan (Ui Leochaín) sept were lords of the Gailenga Mor before being driven across the Shannon after the arrival of the Normans. The Ua hAonghusa (O'Hennessy) sept of Gailenga Becc was located on the Co. Dublin/Meath border. The Gaileanga have an early genealogy tradition back to Ailella Auluimm (Oilill Olum).
    The Gailenga are also found in County Mayo/Sligo (see Connacht)

    The annals cite for Gaileng:

    Luigne (1)
    Located in County Sligo. The chiefs of Luigne in Sligo included O'Hara (Ó hEaghra) and O'Gara (Ó Gadhra).

    An early Luigni Connacht genealogy (in Rawlinson):
    Diarmait m. Fínnachta m. Cobthaich m. Máel Dúin m. Cind Fáelad m. Taiccthich m. Cind Fáelad m. Diarmata m. Findbairr m. Brénaind m. Nad Fróech m. h-Idin m. h-Idchuir m. Niad Chuirp m. Luí (a quo Luigni) m. Cornáin m. Taidgc m. Céin m. Ailella Auluimm.

    The Annals also cite:
    Luigne (2)
    Located in western Co. Cavan and northern Co. Meath. In the annals of the Four Masters about 728, Taichleach, son of Cenn Faeladh, is cited as Lord of Luigne (Mide?).

    The Annals also cite:

    Masraige
    Loctaed in northwest County Cavan. The name of an ancient tribe inhabiting the area about Magh Slecht, and attributed by some as Fir Bolg in origin. The sept of Mag Samhradhain (MacGovern or Magauran) were later cited as chiefs in the barony of Tullyhaw (Teallach Eachdhach). The Mac T]ighearnáin sept (MacTiernan or MacKeirnan) are noted in the neighboring barony of Tullyhunco (Tellach Donnchadha) in the 13th century.

    The annals cite:

    Uí Ailella
    Located in the County Sligo, the baronies of Tirerril and part of Corran. Named for Ailill, son of Eochuid Mugmedón, and brother of Niall of the Nine Hostages, a quo Úi Ailella Connacht. The MacDonagh sept, branch of the great MacDermot clan, were later lords of Corran or Tirerrill. The Mulrooney and later MacDermot septs, princes of Moylurg, were overlords in this territory.

    The annals cite:

    Muintir Maelmordha - aka Muintir Raigillig
    Their chiefs were the Ua Raghallaigh (O'Reilly). By the 13th century the Ua Raghallaigh had established indepedence from O'Ruairc over-lordship and their country became known as Breffny O'Reilly. This was located in modern county Cavan (except for Tealach Dhunchadha and Tealach Eachdhach, i.e. the baronies of Tullyhunco and Tullyhaw).

    An early Ua Ragallaigh genealogy:
    Sean m. Eogain m. tSheaain m. Pilip m. Gilla Isa ruaid m. Domnaill m. Cathail m. Annaid m. Cathail m. Gofraid m. Meic na hAighchi m. Concondacht m. Airgiallaigh m. Airten m. Ragallaigh m. Cathallain m. Duib Croin m. Mailmorda m. Cernachain m. Duib Dotra m. Dunchada m. Baithin m. Blathmaic m. Feidlimid m. Cremthenn m. Scannlain m. Aeda find m. Fergna m. Fergusa m. Muiredaig mail m. Eogain Sreib m. Duach galaig m. Briain m. Echach M.

    The annals cite:

    Muintir Anghaile
    The name became anglicized as the territory of Annaly in county Longford. Ua Fearghaile (O'Farrell) were long-time chiefs of Annaly. Their ancestry is claimed from the Conmaicne.

    The annals cite:

    Muintir Giollagain
    Located in County Longford. O Cuinn (O'Quin) were lords of Muintir Giollagain, described at an early date as a principal tribe in Teathba. Their lineage is described in the Topographical Poems of O Dubhagain and O Huidhrin of the race of Rudhraigh, that is, of the same stock as Mag Raghnaill of Muinter Eolais, Muinter Fearghail, Mac Maoiliosa of Magh-Breacraighe, and Mag Finnbhairr of Muinter-Geradhain. McLysaght gives them as the same stock as the O'Farrells. This appears to tie their ancestry to that of the Conmaicne (of clan Rudhraigh) near the border of modern counties Leitrim and Longford.

    Their power was greatly reduced by the rise of the Muintir Anghaile, a tribe of the Conmaicne Rein later represented by their ruling sept, the O'Farrells.

    The annals cite:

    Teallach Dunchadha
    O'Dugan cites Mac Tighernain (McTiernan, McKiernan) as chiefs of Teallach Dunchadha, now the barony of Tullyhunco in co. Cavan. Their genealogy is said to derive from the line of the Ui Briuin, an early genealogy cited as:
    Gilla Isa m. Briain m. Matha m. Gilla Isa m. Sitriuca m. Duarccain m. Tigernain m. Imair m. Gillacrist m. Amlaib m. Tigernain m. Maenaig m. Gillananaem m. Ruaidri m. Aengusa m. Taidcc m. Gofraid m. Conchobair m. Gormgail m. Dunchada (o fuil Tellach Dunchada) m. Maenaig m. Baithin m. Brenaind m. Fergna m. Fergusa m. Muiredaig Mail m. Eogain sreib m. Duach T. m. Briain

    The annals cite:

    Teallach Eachdhach
    O'Dugan cites Mag Samhradhain (Magauran) over Teallach Eachdhach, now the barony of Tullyhaw in co. Cavan. Their genealogy is said to derive from Ui Briuin lineage, an early genealogy cited as:
    Tomas oc m. Fergail m. Tomais m. Briain bregaigh m. Donnchada mc. Gillananaem m. Gilla Isa mc. Gillananaem m. Muiredaig mc. Samradain (.i. Domnall) m. Conchobair mc. Fergaile m. Floind mc. Aengusa m. Conchobair mc. Taidcc m. Ruairc mc. Imair m. Coscraid mc. Dungail m. Oirechtaig mc. Eachach (a quo Teallach Eachach) m. Maenaigh mc. Baithin m. Brenaind m. Fergnaa m. Fergusa mc. Muiredaig mail m. Eogain Sreib mc. Duach galaig m. Briain.

    The annals cite:

    Muintir Geradháin
    Located on the west side of Lough Gowna in Co. Longford, possibly extending into south Leitrim. Mag Fhionnbhairr (e.g. Mac Ginver, Gaynor, or Finnevar) were noted chiefs.

    The annals cite:

    Cenél Luachain
    Centered in Oughteragh parish, barony of Carrigallen, southern co. Leitrim, a territory and tribe name later represented by Mag Dorchaidh (Mac Dorcy, Darcy). According to the Book of Fenagh, the name derives from a branch of Conmaicni Réin, i.e. the race of Luachan, son of Onchu, and 4th in descent from Cumscrach. The same source cites Uí Dubáin as a sept of Cenél Luachain of Conmaicne Réin. Septs of Cenél Luachain were also noted in co. Longford.

    The annals cite:

    Clann Fermaighe - (Glenfarne)
    Located in northern County Leitrim, south of Dartry, in the present barony of Dromahaire (e.g. Ballinaglera parish). The sept of MacCogadhain or Mac Acadhain (Mac Cogan) were noted as early chiefs in this area. According to the Book of Fenagh, they were a branch of Conmaicni Réin comprising C. Cellachain, C. Maelsamhna, C. Taebhachain, C. Ubhan, C. Lughann, and C. Uanan. They claim descendancy from the first wife of Findellach, the son of Neidhe, and 5th in descent from Cumscrach.

    The annals cite:

    Muintir Chionaoith - aka Muintir Kenny
    The territory of MacConsnamha (i.e.Mac Kinnawe, Ford), lying between Lough Allen and the river Arigna in the barony of Dromahaire, co. County Leitrim (source: O'Donovan). Their ancestry may derive from Muintir Maelmordha, as noted in An Leabhar Donn.

    The annals cite:

    Muintir Cearbhallain - aka Tellach Cerbhalláin
    Located in southwest County Leitrim in the area of Magh Nise (Moynish). i.e about the baronies of Mohill and Leitrim. The O Maoilmiadhaigh (O'Mulvey) sept is noted as chiefs here, and over Muintir Eolais for a time.

    The annals cite:

    Magh Breacraighe
    In O'Dugans Topographical Poem he describes Mac Maoiliosa (possibly Mallison, or Mellowes) of Magh Breacraighe in the Breifne portion of his poem. Edmund Hogan described this as a district in northwest county Westmeath (& SE co. Longford), named for an early tribe of the area. O'Hart described it as a district near the borders of Co. Longford and Leitrim. There are various locales given for the name, including the Magh Bregmaine territory about the barony of Shrule in southern co. Longford.

    The annals cite for the general term Breacraighe, et al:


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