Chieftains of Inishowen

Some Chieftains of Inishowen according to the database held at Buncrana, with some verification from the Four Masters
Reign Name Comments
1407 - 1413  Conor-an-Onigh (The Generous) First Chieftain of Inishowen
1413 - 1429 Niall Niall was a brother of Conor
1429 - 1439 Sean Balbh (The Studderer)  
1439 - 1440 Donal Mor (Donnell son of Conor) Donal was a brother of Sean. When Donal died there were two nominations for his successor, his brother Eamon(?) and his nephew Aodh  (Hugh) son of Sean
(Four Masters M1440.3)
1440 - 1496 Brian Dubh (The Black) This does NOT fit the note above re successor for Donal
(Four Masters M1496.7)
1496 - 1511 Sean (John son of Donnell) Sean was a brother of Brian Dubh
1511 - 1516  Conor Carrach
(See Four Masters 1511.11)
Conor Carragh was a son of Brian Dubh
1516 - 1526 Eachmarcaigh Sean, Brian and Eachmarcaigh  were brothers Hugh Carragh was killed in battle
(Four Masters 1524.7)
1526 - 1540 Gearalt (See Four Masters 1526.12)
(Gerald son of Donal, son of Felim - Four Masters 1540.9)
This Felim, grandfather of Gerald, was a son of Donal Mor
1540 - 1556 Felim Son of Conor Carragh (Four Masters 1556.9) According to the Four Masters (1543.7) Cahir son of Gerald was slain by Rory and John sons of Felim, son of Conor Carragh. The also slew Hugh Gruama O'Dogherty and O'Donnell marched with his forces against O'Dogherty. On the death of Felim his son John became Chieftain despite opposition from the family of Cahir
1556 - 1582 Sean Mor (John Senior) Four Masters 1582.29
1582 - 1601 Sean Og (John Junior)
1601 - 1608  Cahir Rua (Charles the Red) See Four Masters (M1608. 1-4) for Cahir's rebellion



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This page was last edited 08/13/03











The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland, Annála Ríoghachta Éireann or the Annals of the Four Masters to give them their best known title are the great masterpieces of Irish history from the earliest times to 1616 A.D. The work was compiled between 1632 and 1636 by a small team of historians headed by Br. Michael O' Clery, a Franciscan lay brother. He himself records: "there was collected by me all the best and most copious books of Annals that I could find throughout all Ireland, though it was difficult for me to collect them in one place". It is generally accepted that the Annals were written in the Franciscan convent of Donegal, which at that time was situated on the bank of the Bundrowes river where it forms the county boundary between Leitrim and Donegal. (Return)

To view the Annals of the Four Masters visit Corpus of Electronic Texts (CELT)  or if you know the date of an event use the table below to go to the desired volume:

Volume Ref Number Date
1 M2242 -  902 2952 BC - 902
2 M903 - M1171 902 - 1171
3 M1172 - M1372 1172 - 1372
4 M1373 - M1500 1373 - 1500
5 M1501 - M1588 1501 - 1588
6 M1589 - M1616 1589 - 1616









M1440.3    O'Doherty, Donnell, the son of Conor, Chief of Ardmire, died; and two O'Dohertys were nominated in his place, namely, Edmond, the son of Conor, and Hugh, the son of John.  (Return)

M1496.7    O'Doherty (Brian, the son of Donnell) died; and O'Donnell (Hugh Roe) nominated John O'Doherty as Lord in his place.   (Return)

M1511.11   O'Doherty (John, the son of Donnell, son of Conor) died; and Conor Carragh was called O'Doherty. (Return)

M1524.7    A great war broke out among the O'Kanes, in which Cumaighe. the son of Brian Finn O'Kane, was slain, and Ferdoragh, the son of Rory, of the Route.  In this war was also slain Hugh Carragh, the son of O'Doherty, by Godfrey, the son of Godfrey O'Kane, together with a party of his people, they having gone to assist John, the son of Thomas O'Kane.  (Return)

M1526.12   O'Doherty (Eachmarcach), Lord of Inishowen, died; and a great contention.  (Return)

M1540.9   O'Doherty, i.e. Gerald, the son of Donnell, son of Felim, a noble and hospitable man, died at an advanced age, after having vanquished the Devil and the world.  (Return)

M1556.9   O'Doherty (Felim, the son of Conor Carragh) died on the 6th of December.  (Return)

M1582.29  O'Doherty (John, the son of Felim, son of Conor Carragh), Lord of Inishowen, died on the 26th of May.  He was a person for whose ransom (if he could have been ransomed) many horses and herds would have been given. His son, John Oge, was elected in his place, in preference to Cahir O'Doherty; in consequence of which the country was ravaged, both crops, corn, dwellings, and cattle. (Return)

M1608.1   Great dissensions and strife arose between the Governor of Derry, Sir George Pawlett, and O'Doherty (Cahir, the son of John Oge). The Governor not only offered him insult and abuse by word, but also inflicted chastisement on his body; so that he would rather have suffered death than live to brook such insult and dishonour, or defer or delay to take revenge for it; and he was filled with anger and fury, so that he nearly ran to distraction and madness. What he did was, to consult with his friends how he should take revenge for the insult which was inflicted upon him. What they first unanimously resolved, on the 3rd of May, was to invite to him Captain Hart, who was at Cuil-mor (a fort on the margin of Lough Foyle, below the Derry we have mentioned), and to take him prisoner. This was done, and he obtained the fort in his release. He repaired immediately at daybreak to Derry, and awoke the soldiers of that town with the sword. The Governor was slain by Owen, the son of Niall, son of Gerald O'Doherty, and Lieutenant Corbie by John, the son of Hugh, son of Hugh Duv O'Donnell. Many others were also slain besides these. Captain Henry Vaughan and the wife of the bishop of the town were taken prisoners. They afterwards plundered and burned the town, and carried away immense spoils from thence. 

M1608.2   Alas! although it was no wonder that this noble chieftain should have avenged his dishonour, innumerable and indescribable were the evils that sprang up and pullulated in the entire province of Ulster through this warlike rising, which he undertook against the King's law; for from it resulted his own death, on the 18th of July following, by the Chief Marshal of Ireland, Robert Wingfield, and Sir Oliver Lambert. He was cut into quarters between Derry and Cuil-mor, and his head was sent to Dublin, to be exhibited; and many of the gentlemen and chieftains of the province, too numerous to be particularized, were also put to death. It was indeed from it, and from the departure of the Earls we have mentioned, it came to pass that their principalities, their territories, their estates, their lands, their forts, their fortresses, their fruitful harbours, and their fishful bays, were taken from the Irish of the province of Ulster, and given in their presence to foreign tribes; and they were expelled and banished into other countries, where most of them died.

M1608.3   Niall Garv O'Donnell, with his brothers Hugh Boy and Donnell, and his son, Naghtan, were taken prisoners about the festival of St. John in this year, after being accused of having been in confederacy with O'Doherty. They were afterwards sent to Dublin, from whence Niall and Naghtan were sent to London, and committed to the Tower, Niall having been freed from death by the decision of the law; and they Niall and Naghtan remained confined in the Tower to the end of their lives. Hugh and Donnell were liberated from their captivity afterwards, i.e. in the year following.

M1608.4    The Earl of Tirconnell (Rury, son of Hugh, son of Manus, son of Hugh Duv, son of Hugh Roe O'Donnell) died at Rome, on the 28th of July, and was interred in the Franciscan monastery situate on the hill on which St. Peter the Apostle was crucified, after lamenting his faults and crimes, after confession, exemplary penance for his sins and transgressions, and after receiving the body and blood of Christ from the hands of the psalm-singing clergy of the Church of  Rome. Sorrowful it is to consider the short life and early eclipse of him who was there deceased, for he was a brave, protecting, valiant, puissant, and warlike man, and had often been in the gap of danger along with his brother, Hugh Roe (before he himself had assumed the lordship of Tirconnell), in defence of his religion and his patrimony. He was a generous,  bounteous, munificent, and truly hospitable lord, to whom the patrimony of his ancestors did not seem anything for his spending and feasting parties; and a man who did not place his mind or affections upon worldly wealth and jewels, but distributed and circulated them among all those who stood in need of them, whether the mighty or the feeble. (Return)