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This page honors the memory of Mary Gallagher of Donegal

William Monaghan (My 3rd Great-Grandfather) born c. 1795 - Templecarn, Croagh, Tirhugh, Donegal married Mary Gallagher. Mary Gallagher (My 3rd Great-Grandmother) born in Sheskinatawy, Inver, Banagh, Donegal (Sheskinatawy is near the town of Mountcharles in the Barony of Banagh in South West Donegal). Mary's Father: Hugh O’Gallagher 1785 - Inver, Donegal. Mary's Brothers: Hugh O’Gallagher 1822 Banagh, Donegal; Conn O’Gallagher 1824 Banagh, Donegal. Their Children:
1. Hugh Monaghan born March 1829 - Templecarn, Croagh, Tirhugh, Donegal
2. John Monahan born 1832 - Templecarn, Croagh, Tirhugh, Donegal

Derivation of the Irish Surname of O’Gallagher

The name of this sept, O’Gallchobhair, in Irish signifies descendants of Gallchobhar or Gallagher, who was himself descended from the King of Ireland who reigned from 642-654. The O'Gallaghers' claim to be the senior and most loyal family of the Cineal Connaill. Their territory extended over a wide area in the modern baronies of Raphoe and Tirhugh, Co. Donegal, and their chiefs were notable as marshals of O'Donnell's military forces from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries.

The principal branch of the sept were seated at Ballybeit and Ballynaglack. Gallagher, usually without its prefix ‘O’, is one of the most common names in Ireland being fourteenth in the statistical list compiled from birth registrations. Most of these were recorded in the northwestern counties of Ulster and Connacht, the majority being from Co. Donegal, the original homeland of the sept.

Gallagher is the name of a numerous and once powerful family in Tirconnell who derive their descent from Maolchobha, King of Ireland in the 7th century. As marshals of O'Donnell's forces, the O'Gallaghers took a prominent part in all the military movements of Cinel Conail during the 14th and subsequent centuries. Many of them were distinguished as Bishops of Raphoe and Derry.

O’Gallagher: The name of the sept, Ó Gallchobhair in early Irish, signifies descendants of Gallchobhar (or Gallagher), who was himself descendant from the king of Ireland who reigned from 642-654. The Ó Gallaghers claim to be the senior and most loyal family of the Cineal Connail. Their territory extended over a wide area in the modern baronies of Raphoe and Tirhugh ("Hugh's Land") of the County Donegal, and their chiefs were notable as marshals of the Ó Donnell's military forces, particulary the cavalry, from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. The principle branch of the sept were seated at Ballybeit and Ballynaglack.

Gallagher is the most common surname in County Donegal to this day, and is the fourteenth most common name in all of Ireland in the statistical list compiled from birth registrations. Most of these were recorded in the ancestral stomping grounds of the northwestern counties of the Ulaid, now Ulster and part of Connacht, the majority being from County Donegal, the original homeland. The sept seemed to drift from a primary military heritage to ecclesiastical service as time passed. No less than six Ó Gallaghers were bishops of Raphoe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. One of these, Laurence Ó Gallagher, who held the see from 1466-1477, was anything but a saintly prelate, while the well-remembered Most Rev. Redmond Ó Gallagher (1521-1601), Bishop of Derry, the prelate who befriended the survivors of the Spanish Armada and was forced to disguise himself as a shepherd in order to escape the prevailing religious persecution, was eventually captured and became one of Ireland's leading Catholic martyrs. A later Bishop of Raphoe, the famous Most Rev. James Ó Gallagher (1681-1751), was famous for his sermons (usually preached in Irish), which when published, ran into twenty editions. His published psalter was second only to Saint Colmcille's writings in popularity. In America, Father Hugh Gallagher (1815-1882) had a most colorful career as a "frontier priest." Not all Gallaghers remained faithful to the Catholic Church. An ancestor of the earliest Gallagher to settle in America, William C. Gollaher, (brother of Benjamin Austin Gollaher, boyhood friend of Abraham Lincoln), moved from his native Kentucky to the vicinity of Navuoo, Illinois, and after meeting America's first home-grown "prophet-seer" Joseph Smith, Jr., became one of the earlier members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ("Mormons") and was obliged to migrate west to the Great Salt Lake Valley when early Mormons were driven from their homes by mobs. In America, Father Hugh Gallagher (1815-1882) had a most colorful career as a "frontier priest". William Davis Gallagher (1808-1894), American poet, was the son of an Irish refugee who took part in Robert Emmet's Rebellion. Careers in education and communication fields have been very prominent in the Gallagher clan.

The Gallaghers were descended from Gallchobar who live about 950 AD. The Gallaghers were marshall's of O'Donnells, but also helped Shane O'Neill escape after the battle of Fearsaid Suili in 1567.

In 1595 Sir John O'Gallagher died, "a man of great name and renown among the English and Irish," (Annals of the Four Masters). In the Plantation Papers of 1610, mention is made of Donnor Gallchor, one of O'Donnell's chief counsellors, being resident at a fort called Ballakit and also states that the midland of TyrConnel is inhabited by the sept of O'Gallocars.

The 1659 census for the Barony of Kilmacrennan list 52 families of O'Gallagher, mostly Catholic, but with some Church of Ireland listed by this time.

Conal Ghulban

First son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, Conall Ghulban, King of Tír Chonaill or the "Land of Conall" (Tyrconnell or Tirconnell in anglicized English), the lands to the west of Aileach, which was his share of the family's conquests in northwestern Ulster after 425. His descendants, known as the Cenel Conaill, formed one of the principle branches of the Northern Ui Néill, and until the 12th century, their kings were inaugurated at the sacrifice of a white mare, going down on all fours like a stallion and lapping its broth. As the kindred of St. Columbia, members of this branch were also Abbots of Iona 563-891 or later, Abbots of Dunkeld from the 9th to 12th centuries, and Kings of Scots from Duncan I (slain by MacBeth 1040) to Alexander III (died of a fall from his horse 1285/86). Conall's brother Eoghan became king of the lands to the east, which became known as Tyr Eoghan (known today as Tyrone). Conal of Ghulban (or the mound of Bulban, or Binn Ghulban, a geographical feature near Sligo now know as Benbulben). Conall was a son of Niall Naoighiallach (Niall "of the nine hostages"), a high king of Tara during the fourth century from the Connacht. Another of Niall's sons, Eoghain, fathered the Cineal Eoghain, and these two branches dominated the Ui Néill (Ui means "family," with connotations of royalty) of the Ulaid (now Ulster -- the northern territories of Ireland). It is said the brothers were very close, (one story has them being twins, but this is most likely a fantasy) and that Eoghain ("Owen") was the more religious of the two, being the first of the Ui Néill to be baptized by St. Patrick himself. There are several stories of Eoghain dying of grief upon hearing that his brother had been killed in battle.

King Conall Ghulban was slain by the Firbolgs before 465.

County Donegal: The most northwestern county in Ireland. Not part of Northern Ireland, but remaining a member of the Republic of Ireland, the territory County Donegal was roughly what was once known as Tyrconnell to the English, from the Irish Tir Chonaill, or "Conall's Land." The name is taken from the Irish dun n'ghall, or "fort of the foreigner's," a likely reference to the capital city of the county, which began as a port of Viking raiders.

Gallchobar: the genealogy from Conall:

• son Fearghus Cinnfhada (also Fergus 0f Fal), who married Erca, daughter of Lorcan I, king of the Dial Riahda of Scotland.

• grand-son Seadna "from whom are the noble Siol Seadna, Cineal Lughdhach ... and the host of Fanad." The name Seadna bears a striking resemblance to Seatna, the "earthly" father of mythical superstar Cu Cuchulainn.

• great-g.s. Aonmireach (557 A.D.)

• Aodh ("Hugh") Uairiodnach.

• Maollchba, aka Mael Cobo (620 A.D.)

• Cellach, son of Mael, who became a high king of the Ui Néilldynasty.

• Donal.

• Donncha.

• Rurai (Rory).

• Gallchobhar.

Note: the annals say Gallchobhar was sixth in descent from high King Cellach. One of the earliest references to the name in the annals (referring to the Four Masters) is in 1022, when Mael Cobo ua Gallchobhair, abbot of Scrin Adamnain, died.

Níall Naoighiallach "of the Nine Hostages"

The first truly historical king of Ireland (400 AD until his death), and perhaps the most illustrious of all. The youngest son of Eochu Mugmedon (King of Tara, living 360 AD) who earned his nickname "Slave Lord" by slave raids on Roman Britain, in one of which he carried off and married a princess of the Ancient Britons called Carina, by whom he had a son.) In Niall's rise to Kingship he had to overcome his wicked stepmother, Mongfhinn, who abandoned him as a baby, naked on a hill. He is raised by a wandering bard, Torna Eices. Sithchenn the Smith foretells he will be High King. Then he comes across an old hag who demands that he and his companions give her a kiss. Only Niall has the courage to do so and she turns into a beautiful woman named Flaithius (Royalty). She foretells that he will be the greatest of Ireland's High Kings.

Of Niall’s youth there are many legends, but one in particular shows the working of his destiny. One day, the five brothers being in the smith’s forge when it caught fire, they were commanded to run and save what they could. Their father, who was looking on (and who, say some, actually caused the fire to test his sons), observed with interest Neill’s distinctiveness of character, his good sense and good judgement. While Brian saved the chariots from the fire, Ailill a shield and a sword, Fiachra the old forge trough, and Fergus only a bundle of firewood, Niall carried out the bellows, the sledges, the anvil, and anvil block - saving the soul of the forge and saving the smith from ruin. Then his father said: "It is Niall who should succeed me as Ard Righ of Eirinn".

"Niall succeeded Criomthainn and was the 126th monarch of Ireland. He was a stout, wise and warlike prince and fortunate in all his conquests and achievements. He was also called Niall Naoighiallach, i.e., Nial of the Nine Hostages from the hostages taken from the nine several counties by him subdued and made tributary, viz., Munster, Leinster, Connacht, Ulster, the Britons, the Picts, the Saxons and the Morini, a people of Gaul towards Calais and Picardy; From whence he marched with his victorious army of Irish Scots, Picts and Britons further into Gaul in order to the conquest thereof; and encamping at the River Loire, was treacherously slain as he sat by the riverside by Eochaidh, King of Leinster, in revenge of a former wrong by him received from the said Niall, A.D. 405. And in the 27th year of his reign St. Patrick was first brought into Ireland at the age of 16 years, amoung 200 children brought by the armyout of Little Brittany, called Armorica, in Gaul. He was the first that gave the name of Scotia Minor to Scotland and ordained it to be called so ever after, till then (and still by the Irish) called Albion." - From The Lebor Gabala Erren, or The Book of the Taking of Ireland, Book of Leinster 1150 A.D.

Niall of the Nine Hostages was the greatest king that Ireland knew between the time of Cormac MacArt and the coming of Patrick. His reign was epochal. He not only ruled Ireland greatly and strongly, but carried the name and the fame, and the power and the fear, of Ireland into all neighboring nations. He was, moreover, founder of the longest, most important, and most powerful Irish dynasty. Almost without interruption, his descendants were Ard Righs of Ireland for 600 years.

In 405 he led an expedition against Britain, where it is rumored that he may have captured a young Romano-British boy named Patricus, son of Calpurnius, a local magistrate. Patricus later came to be known as St. Patrick. Niall was famed for his raids on Britain along with his brothers and sons. He eventually came to control most of the Northern half of Ireland. He conquered the Uliad aristocracy, which ruled in Ulster, and by this victory and subsequent consolidation of power was able to found a dynasty, the Ui Neill, which gave rise to the O'Neill clan. Three of his sons founded kingdoms in Ulster (collectively the Northern Ui Neill), other sons founded kingdom in the Irish midlands (the Southern Ui Neill).

Emain Macha, the capital of the Uliada, which Niall captured early on, became the capital of the Airgialla (lit: "givers of hostages") which is said to explain Niall's second name Noigiallach = "of the Nine Hostages".

The Gallagher surname is the most common spelling of the old Irish name O'Gallchobhair, pronounced roughly 'Gawl-a-hair'. In gaelic the name translates: gall=stranger, foreigner cabhair=help, assist, aid, succor.

The Clann O'Gallchobhair ('O' simply means "of the generations of") claims to be the senior and most loyal sept of the Ceneal Chonaill (literally kindred of Conall), referring to Conal Ghulban, first son of the famous Niall of the Nine Hostages and high king of Ireland at Tara. King Conall's territory was referred to as the Tir Chonaill ("land of Conall"), anglicized as the Tyrconnell, and corresponds roughly to the current boundaries of County Donegal, the far northwest county of Ireland.

The clan for years has been notable as one of the three major clans of Co. Donegal and even today Gallagher remains the most common surname in the county. There are many variant spellings, including Gallaher, Gallchoir, Gollaher, Golligher, Gelleher, Gallihue.

The clann originally was renowned as a warrior clan, serving as the marshalls of the mighty clan O'Donnell's military forces (cavalry), but were later quite attracted to the clergy. The family has produced more Catholic bishops than any other Irish family.

For T-Shirts, Mousepads, mugs, clothing and lots more with the Gallagher Coat of Arms and the Irish Cottage image above, please go to the Irish Country Store ~ Very reasonably priced products ~ Come on over and take a look!


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