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Subject: Re: [DNA] Scots/Dalriata and NW Irish/Ui Neill - those clans
Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2006 04:24:26 EST


There has been much speculation on this list on Ui Neill surnames in
Scotland. I can perhaps give an example of one such surname at least - O Brolchain
- which appears to have come to Scotland in connection with the church at
Iona. The O Brolchains were a royal family of the northern Ui Neill, descended
from Eogan, son of Nial. One of the line (Suibhne mean) was a High King of
Ireland, (d. 628 AD). In later years they lost their political power but
became heavily involved with the church at Derry (Columcille's church). The
name later appears in records at Iona and Black (Surnames of Scotland) gives
examples of the surname in later Scottish records. The name has been curiously
misanglicized as Bradley and even Brody.



The O Brolchain Family
Notes from Reeves "Life of St. Columba," by Adamnan

XLVII - Flaithbertach Coarb 1150-1175. [Introduction, p. clxxx]

Surnamed Ua Brolchain. The family of Ua Brolchain were descended
from Suibhne Meann, who wqas king of Ireland in 615, and belonged
to the Cinel Feradhaich, a clan so called from Feradhach, grandfather
of that Suibhne Meann, and fourth in descent from Eoghan, the founder
of the Cinel-Eoghain race. The Cinel Feradhiach are now territorially
represented by the barony of Clogher, in the south of the county of
Tryone. The first of the O'Brolchan family who is mentioned in the
Annals was Maelbrighde Ua Brolchan, styled prim saer Erren ["chief mason
of Ireland"- Od Vers],, whose obit is entered in the ann. Ult. at 1029.
From him probably the masonic art of the family was derived, which was
cultivated by Flaherty, and practiced by Donnell, with such success.
The next was Maeliosa, the lector whose obit is entered above at 1086.
He spent a part of his early life at Both-chonais in Inishowen, in the
neighbourhood of which some of his writings were preserved in Colgan's
time; and afterwards he founded a church seemingly at Lismore, called
the derteac Maeiliosa, "Oratory of Maeliosa," which was burned in 1116.
He died on the 16th of January, justly celebrated for his learning
(Colgan, Acta SS. p. 108). His son, Aedh, succeeded him in the calling
of professor, and died in 1095. Two years afterwards a son of Maelbrighde,
surnamed Mac-an-tsaeir, who was bishop of Kildare, died. Maelcolaim Ua
Brolchain, bishop of Armagh, died in 1122; and Maelbrighde Ua Brolchain,
also bishop of Armagh, died, Jan. 29, 1139. The latter was probably
father of the coarb Flaithbertach, whom the Annals of Ulster, aqt 1164,
called Flaithbertach mac in epsuic hUi Brolcain, "Flaithbertach, son of
the bishp Ua Brolchan," a lineage by no means in accordance with the
delicacy of the Four Masters, and which, when copying the entry, they
divest of its objectional character, in simply calling him Flaithbertach
Ua Brolchain. Domhnall Ua Brolchain was prior of Derry, and died Apr. 27,
1202. His name is inscribed on one of the capitals in the cathedral of
Hy, in the form Donaldus Obrolcan (vid. 1202, App. III). Finn Ua Brolchan
was steward of O'Donnell in 1213; and Flann Ua Brolchain was coarb of
Columcille in 1219. In 1548 died Sir John Obrolchan, rector of Kildalton,
in Islay (Orig. Paroch. vol. ii. p 269) The name was afterwards writtten
O'Brollaghan, and is now corrupted, in Ulster, to Bradley. Through
the influence of Gilla-mac-Liag of Gelasius, the abbot of Armagh, who
had himself been previously abbbot of Derry (an. 1137) , Flaithbertach
Ua Brolchain was raised to the dignity of bishop in 1158, as is thus
recorded by the Four Masters: "A Synod of the clergy of Ireland was
convened at Bri-mic-Taidhg, in Meath, where there were present 25 bishops,
with the Legate of the coarb of Peter, to ordain rules and good morals.
It was on this occasion that the clergy of Ireland, with the coarb of
Patrick, ordered a chair, like every other bishop's, for the coarb of
Columcille, Flaithbertach Ua Brolchain, and the arch-abbacy of the
churches of Ireland in general." He was a zealous advancer of the
welfare of Derry, and during his incumbency many important additions
were made to its ecclesiastical buildings; to precure funds for which,
the abbot had, during the years 1150, 1151, 1153, 1161, visited, and
obtained contributions from various territories in Ulster and Ossory.
After a long life spent in the enregetic discharge of his duties, he
died in 1175, at which year his obit is thus recorded by the Four
Masters: "Flaithbertach Ua Brolchain, coarb of Columcille, a tower
of wisdom and hospitality, a man on whom, on account of his goodness
and wisdom, the clergy of Ireland had bestowed a bishop's chair, and
to whom the abbacy of Hy (comhorbus Uae) had been offered (an. 1164),
died in righteousness, after exemplary sickness, in the Duibhregles
of Columcille; and Gilla-mac-Liag Ua Branain was appointed to his
place in the abbacy."

Donal O Brolchain [1202]

"The unusual record on the capital of the tower column, DONALDUS OBROLOHAN
FECIT HOC OPUS, and the coincidence of that record with the obit of
Domhnall Ua Brolchain in the annals of Ulster at 1203, and of the Four
Masters at 1202, the same name in its Irish form, are sufficient, if not
to satisfy the mind, at least to afford material for reasonable conjecture,
as to the builder."

Annals of Ulster 1164

Select members of the Commmunity of Ia (Iona in Scotland, namely,
the arch-priest, Agustin and the lector (that is, Dubsidhe) and the
Eremite, Mac Gilla-duib and the Head of the Celi De, namely, Mac
Forcellaigh and select members of the Community of Ia besides came
on behalf of the successor of colum-cille, namely, Flaithbertach
Ua Brolchain's acceptance of the abbacy of Ia, by advice of Somharlidh
and of the Men of Airthir-Gaedhel and of Insi-Gall; but the
successor of Patrick and the king of Ireland, that is, Ua Lochlainn
and the nobles of Cenel-Eogain, prevented him.


John



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