Clan CrestThe Clan McLea/Livingstone Forum

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Title: Which Dunsleve?
Posted by: Young Bachuil
Date: 31 March 2005

I am not sure that I have made my views clear – possibly because they are still evolving.  I suspect that any conclusion will be subject to the wonderful expression often used in Lyon Court judgements – ‘for aught yet seen’.  However,  I thought I would amplify some other postings and start a new thread.

It is generally accepted that Scots Dalriada was originally founded at the end of the fifth century by three brothers; Fergus Mor (sometimes called Mac Nisse Mor), Loarn and Angus.  They were sons of Erc, King of Dál Riata. 

The three kindred groups each had their own rí and territory. The Cenél Óengusa occupied Islay. The Cenél nGabráin, held Kintyre, Cowal, Bute and Arran. The Cenél Loairn held Colonsay as well as present day Lorn and looked on the northern march with the Picts.

I am most interested in the Cenél nGabráin and the Cenél Loairn.  There was often conflict between them as each struggled for ascendancy.  The Cenél nGabráin enjoyed the overlordship of Dalriada for the sixth and much of the seventh century.  Columba was involved in the ordination of Aedán mac Gabráin as overking of Dalriada in 573.

However the Cenél Loairn eventually gained ascendancy, becoming kings of Dalriada, and even high kings of the united kingdoms of the Picts and the Scots.

According to the Irish genealogies, the clan Lachlan, the Lamonds, and the MacEwans of Otter, were kindred tribes, being descended from Anrothan.  They possessed much of the district of Cowal, from Toward Point to Stacher; the Lamonds being separated from the MacEwans by the river of Kilfinan, and the MacEwans from the Maclachlans by the stream which separates the parishes of Kilfinan and Strath Lachlan.  This makes sense as Anrothan gained his lands by marrying the heiress of Cowal and Knapdale – a Princess of the Cenél nGabráin.

Now, given the antipathy between the Cenél nGabráin and the Cenél Loairn, I cannot see how someone of the Cenél nGabráin could become the Coarb of St Moluag the patron saint of the Cenél Loairn in the territory of the Cenél Loairn.  Don't forget that the  Abbey lands were very extensive including the ancient parish of Lismore which embraced Appin, Eilean Mund  (the parish of Eilean Mund covered a large section of Inverness-shire, including Onich, Mamore, and seven merklands and a half of the lands of Glenevis, the boundary approximating the course of the burns Altkeiran, Treig, and Nevis) and Kingairloch and Morvern districts. This is further demonstrated by extensive McLea holdings in Balllachulish,  Benderloch (Achnacree) and Loch Etive (Muckairn and Acnacloich).  

Furthermore someone of the Cenél nGabráin  would not be of either of the tribes that were eligible under Brehon law to supply the abbot - the Fine Grin, or Tribe of the Land (the Cenél Loairn) or the Fine Erluma, or Tribe of the Saint (see http://www.magoo.com/hugh/ulidiakings.html for more on the Dal nAraide tribe and the kings of Ulidia).  

So as far as I can see the argument for our descent from Anrothan is based on:

1 The assumption that our name is derived from MacDunshleibe
2 That a Dunsleve existed in Cowal in the 1200s
3 That the name Molmore used in the 1544 Charter was often used by MacSweens.

However, the argument that we could be descended from Donn Sleibe Mac Eochada is based on:

1 The assumption that our name is derived from MacDunshleibe
2 The assertion made by Hart that Tuirmach_Teamrach, the 81st Monarch of Ireland had a son named Fiach-Fearmara, who was ancestor of the Kings of Argyle and Dalriada, in Scotland and that this Fiach was also the ancestor of MacDunshleibe so was of the Fine Grin, or Tribe of the Land and the Fine Erluma, or Tribe of the Saint so his line are eligible.
3 The fact that Anrothan was not of the Fine Grin, or Tribe of the Land and the Fine Erluma, or Tribe of the Saint so his line are not eligible.
4 The fact that neither Moncreiffe or Neil Argyll could tie in our family with the Anrothan Line.  The existing records suggest that we DO NOT EXIST
5 The assertion made by Hart that Fiach was also the ancestor of MacDunshleibe anglicised ……  Livingstone. ….According to Dr O’Donovan descendents of this family , soon after the English invasion of Ireland, passed into Scotland, where they changed their name
6 The assertion made by Francis John Byrne, in his book Irish Kings and High-Kings (B.T. Batsford London 1973), at pages 127 and 128 ‘So for instance when after 1137 the Dal Fiatach kingship was confined to the descendants of Donn Sleibe Mac Eochada (slain in 1091), the rigdamnai set themselves apart from the rest of the family by using the name Mac Duinnshleibhe.’  (ie only the kingly line could use the name Mac Duinnshleibhe)
7 The fact that the last King of Ulidia was defeated by John de Courcy in 1177
8 The fact Cudulig was Abbot of Lismore in 1150, but that he appeared to be an interregnum as his line were appanaged in Morvern – becoming the Macleans
9 That the office of Abbot was held in very high regard and that the Coarb of St Moluag was a very high office – more than suitable for an exiled prince.

Now, as I re-read this, it seems to me to be a very strong argument!  But this hypothesis is a long way from proven.  I would welcome views – but would caution everyone not to get too excited – or worked up about this!  It could be impossible to prove.  Having said that we have resources such as the DNA project which are forever opening new avenues.

** This Thread has ended - Please do NOT attempt to resurrect it! **

Replies

Title:Date:Posted By:
Which Dunsleve?31 March 2005Young Bachuil
   Which Dunsleve? Further evidence01 April 2005Young Bachuil
      Which Dunsleve? Further evidence01 April 2005Grant South
      Clarification regarding our DNA relationships04 April 2005Rob Livingston
         Clarification regarding our DNA relationships05 April 2005Donald Livingstone Clink
            Clarification regarding our DNA relationships05 April 2005Grant South
               Clarification regarding our DNA relationships06 April 2005Donald Livingstone Clink
            Clarification regarding our DNA relationships06 April 2005Rob Livingston
               Clarification regarding our DNA relationships06 April 2005Donald Livingstone Clink
                  Anrothan or Loarn?06 April 2005Young Bachuil
                     Anrothan or Loarn?06 April 2005Donald Livingstone Clink
                        DNA Sampling and Interpretation08 April 2005Rob Livingston
                     Anrothan or Loarn?10 January 2009Kathryn Aldrich
                        Anrothan or Loarn?13 January 2009Kyle MacLea

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