Where do Boylans come from? What is our identity?

Gaelic Irish love elaborate pseudo-geneaologies, so the history of Clan OBoylan is as follows:

Irelands first Chief Herald, Dr. Edward MacLysaght wrote in 1940 that a Clan is ...a group of persons inhabiting the same locality and having the same surname. but this is dated. Having the same surname is not a perfect definition, due to marriage, spelling variants and the fact that Boylans and Boyles, for example, have been distinctly separate septs for 1000 years with different Irish name heritage. And as we will see below, surnames are a relatively modern invention anyway. Originating from the same locality has been strongly diluted by invasions, religious persecution and the effects of famines and the the Irish Diaspora. Steam ships and modern aviation have made location into a temporary ongoing process.

Y-DNA is a more modern way of approaching clan identity, however this definition is not universal due to females entering the clan by marriage, adoptions and the not completely unheard of practice of Boylan women occasionally fostering fatherless clan members. The DNA definition of a sept is having a common ancestor. While accepting that DNA is very useful for research, Clan OBoylan includes 50% spouses, fosters and other volunteers who bring fresh DNA.

So at the end of the day, Clan OBoylan membership is an inclusive state of mind. If you claim to be a member and offer your support - you are in!

Wikipedia has a very long chart about the Timeline of Human evolution starting out with life starting 4.100 million years ago. The chart winds up with Homonids and Homo Sapiens. Here is the rest of the story of the Boylan Clan journey from prehistoric times to the present.

4 million years ago - Hunter Gatherers - This video shows how to safely collect fruit without getting eaten by a carnivore.

3.7 million years ago - Banding together to survive (birth of the Clan idea)

3.5 million years ago LUCY fell out of a tree and died.

3 million years ago: MUST SEE the first tool is used (A classic video!).

2.6 million years ago: Our ancestors became ever more adept at using sticks and stones - see the exiting video. The Stone Age begins - the longest period of human history, encompassing the first 99 percent of all human experience. See the video about early stone age hunting

300.000 BC The original Homo Sapien Y-Chromosomal Adam, the common ancestor of the human race, sporting the Y chromosome A that we are all descended from, probably lived in the Great Rift Valley in East Africa (Horn of Africa).

The Journey Begins:

50.000 BC - Homo Sapiens Sapiens migrated from East Africa to the middle east - most likely in several waves. It is 5700 km from Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania to the middle east (say roughly Jerusalem). One of these individuals was a female known as Mitochondrial Eve. The two migration theories are Coastal Migration (Southern Dispersal) and the Out Of Africa theory. Upon reaching the Eurasian continent, Homo Sapiens Sapiens spread out in different directions. The path that our ancestors took is marked in red below. Genetic mutations occur over time, slowly modifying the gene pool with about 64 mutations per generation. These mutations generate divergent yet DNA-traceable Haplogroups. The early red dots indicate the locations that fossils were found with ever newer Y-Chromosome mutations.

35.000 according to Family Tree (or 70.000 BC - according to Wikipedia), Mitochondrial Haplogroup P1 (P-M45), the immediate ancestor DNA of OBoylan/Irish/European Haplogroup R, emerged far away in Southeast Asia! Now think about migrating say 6000 kilometers from Jerusalem to Calcutta with women and children during the stone age. Probably lacking shoes. See the video about advanced stone age hunting on the way to Calcutta Somewhere on this path they got civilized - see the video about how Clan culture and arts developed.

27.000 BC  Haplogroup R, is believed to have arisen during the Upper Paleolithic era, perhaps even in India, then ventured north, into eastern Europe. This northern route on the east of the Caspian Sea is 2000 more kilometers (from Calcutta to Samarkand!) with boots this time. A major motion picture was made about this period: Click here to see the entertaining and exiting film ALPHA about how our stone age ancestors lived, ate, made boots and walked north in them, tamed a wolf and survived to pass their genes down to us. You can get a good look at their Boylan-boots at 5:33 and 10:08. The language is 100% Proto-Indo-European, but the film is very easy to understand - even without subtitles! 

Research from 2010 proves that some interbreeding with Neanderthals and Denesovians occured during the last ice age. About 2% of the DNA of modern humans was donated by these, our older Neanderthal ancestors who colonized Europe over 175.000 years ago.

13.300 BC The soon-to-be widespread Haplogroup R1-Subclade-R1b1a2 (SNP M269) gains a solid foothold in eastern Europe during the last Ice Age.  DNA research points to at least 4 genetically distinguishable groups. Eastern European hunter-gatherers intermingling with hunter -gatherers of the Caspian area and a unique group from the Caucasus region that that seem to have weathered the ice age in relative isolation . Pooling their knowledge and cultures, these people formed a powerful civilization called the Yamnaya. They soon developed wheeled carts. These carts enabled mobile homes which permitted the Yamnaya to rapidly spread our haplogroup widely over the steppe.

These Yamnaya ancestors of ours buried their dead in special tombs called pit graves. According to Pavel Dolukhanov, the emergence of the Pit-Grave culture represents a social development of various local Bronze Age cultures, representing "an expression of social stratification and the emergence of chiefdom-type nomadic social structures". There you have it folks: The Proto-Irish-Clan! To phrase it even more bluntly: our ancestors, the Yamnaya are Proto-OBoylans.

8000 BC Quick-jump to Ireland: Seawater flows between Ireland and England, separating Ireland from the British peninsula of the European continent. The earliest settlers of Ireland were Mesolithic people (Tuatha de Danaan?) who came to Ireland by way of Scotland.

3000 BC - The horse-borne, cart-driving, chieftain-led, boot-, pottery- and bronze weapon making, pit-grave digging, meat-eating nomad herders of the Yamnaya culture began to migrate from the Caucasus into Western Europe. One of their shoes has been found in good condition in Armenia. Both the region of the find and the time period indicate that this shoe was probably manufactured by someone at least loosely related to our proto Clan. There is even more evidence: very similar shoes called 'pampooties' were worn on the Aran Islands (in the West of Ireland) up to the 1950s. Even more important was the advanced bronze-age technology of the Yamnaya! You gotta click the link to found out how well-armed bands of Yamnaya men went westwards to Europe and won the hearts of the women they found there. Our ancestors were simply irresistible.

1200 BC During the Bronze age, this westward Yamnaya migration north of the Black Sea (more like a long series of westward invasions and conquests!) spreads their Proto-Celtic language and metallurgy skills to the Alps.

800 BC - A branch of the Yamnaya who became known as the Celts became strong in the area around Hallstadt, Austria. Celts had clearly defined laws and religion. 4000 kilometers of rough territory separate Tiflis (Caucasus) from their new territory in Hallstadt ! Celts became successful miners of salt and iron ore that they found in Hallstadt. Having this brand-new rather hard metal called iron they naturally became expert sword smiths. Iron swords were much harder than bronze and permitted both Celts and the Romans to become formidable warriors. Here is a long list of Celtic Tribes

700 BC The Celts continued their migration to the west. This group called La Tene traded for Greek goods that were shipped to Marseilles.

600 BC Some La Tene ventured further on to the Iberian Peninsula. After this Celtic invasion,  the Romans referred to the northwest part of the Iberian Peninsula (modern day Spain) as Celtiberia. The European Atlantic coast lies 2000 km of inhabited territory away from the celtic stronghold in Hallstadt, Austria...

In the following centuries Ireland was invaded by at least five different groups of Celts:

530? BC Pritani-Celts, came to North Ireland via Brittany and England

520? BC Erainn-Celts invaded from Belgium (The Belgae Celts who stayed on the continent were named after their powerful Sun God Bolg.)

510? BC Gael-Celts first came from Spain: The first evidence for this is linguistic: Celtiberians spoke a Celtic dialect calle Gaedalg and both Gaedelg and Irish are classified as Q-Celtic languages. The Pritani called the Gaedelg-speaking Milesians Gaodhail or simply Gael. This gives us the modern day Gaelic language, which despite the invasions of Dublin by Norwegians, Danish and English is still spoken on the west coast of Irland.We predict that DNA testing will confirm Gael-Celt Patrimony of Clan OBoylan.

There are many versions of the invasion: Mil Espaine - The King of the dominant Celtiberic tribe called Mileses (an early OBoylan ancestor?) had four sons called Heremon, Heber, Ith and Ir with his wife Scota. Egged on (chased perhaps?) by the Romans, King Mileses ,built a navy of sea-going hide-covered Curraghs. He is said to have died before the invasion, but his sons, crossed the Bay of Biscay and invaded the island to the north which was called Hibernia by the Romans. The brothers Ith and Ir died fighting Pritani during the invasion, but the island was later named after Ir . The sons of King Mileses split the Island into four sections, one for Heremon, one for Heber, and one each for the families of their deceased brothers, Ith and Ir. King Heremon started the Heremon line. Source OHart. (Later when the Irish Gaels invaded the northern part of the neighboring island, that region became widely known as Scotland after Heremons mother Scota. Source OHart.) A slightly different but perhaps even more interesting story can be found in Wikipedia - see § 3 Analysis. The 'Leabhar Gabhala' or 'book of invasions', a medieval manuscript written much later in the eleventh century by Irish monks has a different version - which is perhaps not completely accurate.

300 BC - Laighin-Celts came to Ireland from Western Normandy:

50 BC - The Romans continued their domination on the continent, so another branch of the Gael-Feni-Celts fled from Belgium to Ireland. John Grenham, Clans of Ireland Page 18. The Gael Celts started to set up Kingdoms in Ulster around this time:

33 BC to 9 AD  Rule of the mythical Irish King Lugaid Riab nDerg ("the red-striped") or Reoderg ("Red Sky"). Those medieval scribes had really strange morality fantasies!

12 BC- 5 AD Rule of King Crimthann Nia Nair

0  - Birth of Christ

5-25 The rule of King  Feradach Finnfechtnach the "fair-blessed"

25-28 The rule of King Fiatach Finn (until he was killed by Fiachu Finnolach.)

28-55 The rule of King Fiachu Finnolach

56 - Exiled, returned in 76, died 106  Tuathal Techtmar, ("the legitimate") son of Fiachu Finnolach

104 - 113 Rule of King Fedlimid Rechtmar ("the lawful, legitimate" or "the passionate, furious")

116 - 136 Rule of King Conn Cetchathach, "of the Hundred Battles"

143-173  Rule of Art mac Cuinn, ("son of Conn")

150 - Historian Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandra draws a map of Ireland showing the tribes of the time. The relationships of the old-style Proto clan names mentioned by Ptolmy to Clan Boylan is a matter for more historical and DNA research. It has also been translated from Ptolemy that the Scoti (descendents of Mileasius wife Scota) inhabited modern county Monaghan, and that the Erdini (Ernaigh) may have inhabited modern counties Fermanagh and Cavan.

204 - 244 Rule of King Cormac mac Airt (son of Art), also known as Cormac ua Cuinn (grandson of Conn) or Cormac Ulfada (long beard) starts the powerful Connachta dynasty (probably OBoylan ancestors). Connachta were a relatively well documented group of the Gaels mentioned in Irish Annals and sagas:

245 - 272 Rule of King Cairbre Lifechair ("lover of the Liffey") perhaps an ancestor of the Kilcullen Boylans in some way

285 - 322 Rule of King Fiachu Sraibtine

326 - 356 Rule of King Muiredach Tirech

357  - King Colla da Crioch (an early OBoylan ancestor?) of the Gael-Heremon Line, the first ruler of Oriel, was exiled to Scotland.

Wikipedia and Schlegel tie the Colla arrival in Ireland with the mass desertions that occurred in the Roman army in Britain in 367 A.D, as the Empire slowly imploded. Three Colla brothers who were named in the Roman convention as Cairell Colla Uais, Muredach Colla fo Crich, Aed Colla Mend, were identified historically as fighting the Ulaidh in Oriel, mid 4th c.

Iif  the progenitor of the Collas arose in NW Europe or Southern England and migratory flow of this Clan was northward and westward, then it left 17% of the population of Wales as a genetic footprint of their passage to Oriel in Ireland. On the other hand The Collas may in fact have been descended from Niall (see the year 400). Wikipedia offers both versions... It is said that Connachta, the Flanagans and the Boylans are from the same stock. This scholarly challange will surely be cleared up someday with the help of Genetic Geneaology and DNA analysis.

In any case, according to historian Reverend Patrick Woulfe 1923, the name Boylan is associated with the medieval kingdom of Oriel in the North Midlands of Ireland. The Kingdom of Oriel roughly includes the current counties Fermanagh, Monaghan and Louth to the north and Cavan and Meath slightly to the south. Monaghan and Louth are indeed historically counties of Ulster, but belong to Ireland. Father Livingstone, a renowned scholar in both the Irish language and local history wrote comprehensive histories of two counties in Ireland, The Fermanagh Story in 1969, and The Monaghan Story in 1980 (500 USD!).

380? - The promenant Connachta King Eochaid Mugmedon known as Lord of the Slaves and his second wife Cairenn Chasdub; Caireann (of the curly-black hair who was, according to medieval Irish legend and historical tradition, the ensalved daughter of Sachell Balb, the stutterer, king of the Saxons) founded the powerful and lasting ONiell Dynasties of Ireland and Scotland. Eochaid Mugmedon died after ruling for seven or eight years, of an illness at Tara in 405. (Yes folks, he sounds bad, but we cant rule him out as an early OBoylan ancestor can we? Eochaid must have taught medieval leadership to his son Niall: THE ONIALL)      More about Cairenns life (also an early OBoylan ancestress?)

400? - Niall Noigiallach, the King of Tara better known as Niall of the Nine Hostages  gave his name to the ONeil Clan - although formal family names were not to come into fashion for 700 years. Niall might not be a Y-Chromosome ancestor of Clan Boylan, but around the year 917 a descendant of the ONeil Clan may have taken one of us Collas as a hostage and showed him how it is done.

    Taking offspring (ideally the eldest son) of a prominent man (from a Chief or a King who pledged obedience or tribute or truce) was a very common practice of the Vikings and Irish Kings 1600 years ago. The hostage(s) would be killed if their fathers failed to pay tribute or caused any trouble. Hostage taking ensured the continued loyalty of a Kings subjects and enhanced stability in his realm. Please note the entry below for the year 917. One such eldest son, taken as a hostage, probably founded Clan OBoylan.

    Hostages were a way to ensure payment of tribute in those times, so if Niall had nine of them, he must have been getting a lot of tribute and had a lot of followers. Depending on who you ask, he ruled from 379 to 405 or from 368 to 395 (there is a lot of confusion about these dates). Some say he died in 452. There are many myths about his death - at sea, in the Alps or off fighting the Picts. All of the stories agree that he did not die in Ireland. Later his descendants split into two groups (north and south).

    The Northern ONiel were very powerful neighbors, so it is highly probable that Boylans have some ONiel ancestors - if not a Y-Chromosome. DNA testing

400? - Foundation of the legendary Kingdom of Dartraighe Coinnse

Dartree is known in Irish as Dartraí from the ancient kingdom Dartraighe, named after the n-Dartraighi or Dairtre people. Also spellt Dartree , Dartrey, Dartraige Coininnsi, Dairtre,or Dartry,

This area is named after the Dartraige, the calf people who were a tribe that dwelt in and around the area of north Roscommon, east Sligo, west Leitrim and southern Monaghan around the year 150? Were the Calf people originally descended from Mesolithic (stone age) tribes like the Tuatha De Danaan that inhabited Ireland before the Celtic invasions?

The annals refer to a place in Dartraighe (Monaghan) called Inner Lough (near Cootehill) with its small island - probably an old crannog (island fortress - how old is this one?), which may explain the name Dartraige Coinn innsi (Dartry of the Island Chief). Early tribal names sometimes came from ancient religions. The calf people probably prayed to calf deity. Historical references in the years 1297 and 1372 (see below) mention the Calf People of Dartraighe Coinnse. Similar to the westward migration of the Yamnaya, their descendants ( Were they Collas or ONialls?) may have intermarried with local women of the Dartreighe tribe. Genetic genealogy may help here.

Around 400 the borders of the Gaelic Túath living in in Dartreigh lay between the Clones (on the current theoretical border to Northern Ireland), to the south to the village of Scotshouse and east over to the Lough Dromore and river. Túath is an ancient Proto-Indo-European term brought west by Caucasian Yamnaya settler/invaders meaning tribe. A Túath was the smallest political and jurisdictional unit of Gaelic Ireland, so Túath refers both to a geographical territory and the the ca. 10.000 people who lived there.)

It is quite interesting to note that the Texas town in an early scene of the Django movie remake was named Dartraighe.

432? - The English cleric Patrick begins his christianisation ministry in Armagh in Ulster. A good feeling of the life and times and hostage taking of this period from the Irish viewpoint can be found in the fictional work The Princes of Ireland (by Edward Rutherford)

480 -  King Conall Cremthainne dies (an early OBoylan ancestor?)

540?- King Cerrbel Ardgal, fathers Diarmait (an early OBoylan ancestor?)

565 - King Diarmait mac Cerbaill (an early OBoylan ancestor?) was the last to hold the sacral kingship of Tara the last King to follow the pagan rituals of inauguration, the fascinating rites of ban-feis or marriage to goddess of the land. After this ceremony, the druids were replaced with clerics, due to the success of St. Patrick.

650? Some one of the OFlanagan Clan of Leitrim starts a separate sept that would later become Clan OBoylan?

750? Clan OBoylan becomes strong in Dartraighe area. According to Rootsweb, the O'Boylan (O'Baoigheallain) sept came to power as kings ruling Dartraighe starting in the 8th century. See the 700 AD map of the ancient Ulster Region. Boylans remained influential in Dartraighe for the next 700 years.

800 - See the 800 AD map of the ancient Ulster Region. For a feeling of the life and times and hostage taking of this period for the Saxon point of view, read The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.

869 - Martan of Dartraighe, abbot of Cluain moccu Nais and of Daiminis, Eneskillen, Fermanagh, rested. (Annals of Ulster?)

901 - Dartraighe was listed as part of the federated Kingdom of Airgíalla in the Book of Rights, and included there in a poem credited to Benén, son of Sescnén, Patricks cantor. The King mentioned may have been a Boylan (even though he was not named explicitly by Benén) because Dartrighe Túath was controlled by Clan OBoylan (even if they were not called by this patronym in the year 901) from about 750 to 1200.

            The king of Dartraige, a flame of valour,
            is entitled to four bondsmen of great labor,
            four swords hard in battle, four horses,
            and four golden shields.

916 - Patrimony of names began about 916 AD: The death of Tigerneach Ua Cleirigh (= grandson of Cleary) is supposedly the oldest recorded family/clan surname in Europe. Before this everyone usually only had one or two unique names. For the traditionally mobile Celt/Gaels it was more important who you were related to than where you geographically originated.

917? - A baby prince is born to the ruling family in the Kingdom of Dartraighe. Probably the eldest son of a regional Chief or King whos first name has been lost in antiquity, he was taken hostage by a neighboring King to ensure the payment of tribute and the continued loyalty of his father. We do not know the name to the King that took him, but his new clan simply called the child Baigheallain - which in Gaelic means little hostage. The name stuck.

940? - The future high king of Ireland, Brian Boruma (L226 DNA) is born.

940? - Baigheallains son is born roughly around the same time as Brian Boruma. Baigheallain the ex-hostage later provided leadership training for his son and was in some way later noteworthy enough as an ancestor for a grandson to be named after him.

947 -  Scolaige ua Haedacáin, King of Dartraige, (probably related to the Clan somehow) was killed in battle in a counterattack. (Annals of Ulster - University of Cork)

961: Ualgarc, king of Dartraige, was killed by his own people. No family name was mentioned in the Annals of Ulster / University of Cork

980? - Baigheallains grandson is born. He is called Trenfher ua Baigheallain (or Trenfher grandson of Baigheallain). Trenfher was destined to become Lord and King of Dartraighe and to pass his name to Clan OBoylan

998 -  Domnall son of Donn Cuan, King of Dartraige, was killed by the Gailenga. (Annals of Ulster?) The triumph of the Gailenga was short lived however.

998? - Trenfher ua Baigheallain succeeds Domnall as King of Dartreighe by wresting leadership from or by defending against Clan OBoylans southern neighbors, the Gailenga. See the important old map showing the realms of Dartreighe and Gaileanga in the Breifne region. According to Wikipedia, the Gailenga had many leaders named OFlann. This proximity of Boylan and Flanagan territories explains why we are often  mentioned in literature as being related Clans. Boylan and Flanagan DNA research is indicated.

1002 - Brian Boruma becomes Irelands first undisputed High King.

1002 - Brian Boruma was killed in the Battle of Clontarf 1014, near Dublin, fighting Vikings. Brian had 4 wives and 30 concubines! He sired so many sons over 30 generations ago, that DNA statistics prove with over 98% certainty that you if you are Irish, you are indeed descended from Brian Boru. Therefor at some point this ancestry from high king Boruma includes all members of Clan OBoylan in one way or another, or even by several lines in parallel.

1007: The first record of the name Ó Baoighealláin was mentioned over 1000 years ago in Co. Fermanagh!                     

Trenfher ua Baigheallain  (King OBoylan), tigherna (Lord) Dartraighe, was slain by the Cenel Conaill on Loch Erne (County Fermanagh), Simply click the link The annals of Ulster and scroll to U1007.3.

This Trenfher ua Baigheallain listing in the annals is of paramount importance for Clan OBoylan because

  • it establishes OBoylan as an Irish clan surname over 1000 years ago.
  • it documents OBoylan Clans heritage of leadership
  • it defines the realm of our noble ancestors in Fermanagh and Dartraighe (in modern-day South Ulster)

The HarperCollins Map of Irish family names (London, 1998) locates another (later?) traditional stronghold of Clan OBoylan in the Parish of Currin, including the town of Drum and the village of Scotshouse, on the southwest border of Monaghan.

1093: Aodh Ua Baigheallain (King OBoylan), first enlarged his realm to include Farney and then became lord (Tigherna) of all of Oriel / Airghiall (The Irish meaning of this district name is for those who give hostages), was slain by the Conaillibh Muirthemhne in 1093. Source: The Annals of Tigernath Part 20 A secondary source Rootsweb, confirms the O'Boylan (O'Baoigheallain) sept became kings of the larger area of Airgíalla (the phonetic spelling Oriel is more modern) in the 11th century. Boylan control of Oriel (Oirghialla or Airgíalla including the Boylan power base in Dartraighe) may have lasted for over 150 years.

1119 Cú Collchaille Ua Baigheallain (Horseshoe OBoylan), chief Ollamh (genealogist) of Ireland in poetry, a man distinguished for charity, hospitality, and universal  benevolence towards the needy and the mighty, was killed by the men of Lurg and Tuath-ratha, with his wife and two very good sons, and also five-and-thirty other persons, consisting both of his family and guests, in one house, on the Saturday before Little Easter, being the festival of Becan, son of Cula. Annals of the Four Masters Part 22 . This event was so important at the time, that it was listed in 5 other annals too. There we learn that Cú Collchaille Ua Baigheallain was murdered by Spaillech OFlanagan on the 5th of April.

1169 - The Norman-English Invasion of Ireland begins. Ireland was invaded from England by English of Norman descent. They still spoke French, but were loyal to the Norman Kings of England.

1179 - Clan OBoylan initially reacted to the invasion with a robust defense: Defeat and slaughter [were inflicted] on the English, of Ceanannas by Maol Ruanaidh Baoigheallain (King of Dartraighe) , with a force of the Dartraighe (Annals of Ulster?) Success was however of temporary nature, because from here onwards, English power and government slowly expanded from Dublin. Some Irish Clans were assimilated, while others began to be pushed back into the hills. Irish-Gaelic is still spoken today on the Western side of Ireland. Family and place names - Mesolithic, Gaelic, Viking - even French names soon began to be shortened and anglicized mainly in order to simplify taxation of the populace. The Norman Invasion was the beginning of the end of the power of Clan OBoylan in Dartraighe. This may have been the last time that an OBoylan was listed in records as the King of Dartraighe.

Clan OBoylan continued to rule Dartry for decades, but the fortunes of the Clan began a slow decline. The English invasion caused local wars which could not be won in the end. At the same time the power of the Church had increased such that in addition to high taxation by the English, Clan Boylan was forced into an agreement with the Archbishop of Armaugh to pay even more taxes and tribute. Things got progressively worse for the Boylans living in Dartraighe. Powerful neighbors like the MacMahons were getting stronger.

1297 - Brian, King of the Airgíallas brother Roalbh (Ralph) Mac Mathghamhna (Mac Mahon) is suddenly listed in the Clogher Record with the nominal title of  Lord of Dartree.  ( Clogher Record Kenneth Nicols, 1971-2 Vol, 7 No 3 - pages 368, 369 and especially 413. and also by Nicols: Gaelic and Gaelicised Ireland in the middle ages Page 140.) Katharine Simms writes that ...Ui Bhaoigheallán never recovered control of Dartraighe after 1297.... (From Kings to Warlords: The Changing Political Structure of Gaelic Ireland 1987, pp. 66-7 .) But Clan Boylan regained rule of Dartreighe in 1402 by pledging vasselage to the Mac Mahon King.

1348 Sailors or traders brought the plague to Ireland. The Black Death further reduces the inhabitants of Dartraighe including Clan OBoylan. The Mac Flannchaidhs temporarily take control of Dartraighe.

1349: Aedh Mac Flannchaidh, chieftain of the Dartraighe, was slain in battle with Aedh O'Ruaire, who gained the victory. The annals of Loch Cé: a chronicle of Irish affairs from A.D. 1014 to A.D. 1590, volume 2 (1871), p. 3.

1366: Cathal Mac Flannchaidh, chieftain of Dartraighe, was slain by the Clann-Muirchertaigh. The annals of Loch Cé: a chronicle of Irish affairs from A.D. 1014 to A.D. 1590, volume 2 (1871), p. 31.

1372 John O'Dubhagain (O'Dugan) praises Boylans for their horsemanship and comments on their blue eyes, calling them The bold kings of Dartraighe.. Although there were still many influential Boylans living in and around Dartraighe at that time, ODugans kind reference to Clan OBoylan in his poem was evoking a memory echoing the many centuries of Boylan Clan power and glory in the region.


Source: pages 16, 17, 30 and 31 of The Topographical Poem (beautiful scanned document) published in Irish Families by Edward MacLysaght, 4th edition, 1985 (first printed in 1662)  Or the less pretty but machine readable and searchable format

1402 The Chief of Clan Boylan is mentioned again, but by this time he had definitely been reduced to be a noble vassel acting as a tax collector for the MacMahons: The three principal chieftains of the Oirghialla in the time of Brian Mór, son of Ardghal (AD 1402) were the  Ó Buidhellain (OBoylans) of Dartraighe, MacCeannaith in the Triucha and Duthach in Teallach Gealagáin. These Chieftains were by right stewards [maoir = tax-collectors] of their own territories and ÓConnalaigh (OConnaly) was the chief marshal of all Oirghealla.

Ar the inaugaration of King MacMathghamhna (Mac Mahon) of Oirghialla each of these three sub-chieftains received a ceremonial gift. This was known as a tuarastal in Irish. It was bestowed on an oirecht (or noble vassle = OBoylan) by an overlord (MacMahon) at the time of the vassels submission (MacMahons inaugaration). The three Chieftains received either a riders suit (armour?) or 40 marks of old silver in its stead. In 1402 the Chief of the Boylan Clan was also one of the five lawful members of the council of Oirghealla supporting King MacMahon. (Source: 17th century writer Ó Dufaigh, Cios Mhic Mhathghamhna p 132).  This sounds like the begin of stable times, but the exact opposite was true: The rule of the Mac Mahons in Dartreighe was to be much shorter than that of the Boylans. The new over lords of the OBoylans were not able to fulfill their obligation to defend Dartreighe at all.

1457 - The first sack of Dartry begins the decline of the Mac Mahons: Mag Uidhir and Philip Mag Uidhir went with a large force into Dartraighe of Con-inis and, as they did not come up with spoil, burned all Dartraighe and the town of Eogan, son of Rughraidhe Mag Mathgamna (Mac Mahon), namely, Lis-na-ngabur, and went to their houses on that expedition with victory of overthrow and so on. (Annals of Ulster)

1486 - The Annals of Ulster record the death of the next Mac Mahon:  Brian, son of Rughraidhe, son of Ardghal Mag Mathgamna (Mac Mahon) namely, lord of Dartraighe , was slain by Foreigners (English?) of the Plain of Oirghialla

1505 - The second sack of Dartry rubs out yet another Mac Mahon: A hosting by Ua Neill, namely, by Domnall, into Dartraighe of Oirgialla and the country was wasted and pillaged by him and Aedh, son of John the Tawny, son of Eogan Mag Mathgamna (Mac Mahon), was slain  there. (Annals of Ulster)

1550 English rule begins. Dartraighe was reorganized sometime after the Tudor reinvasion as Dartree Barony, which was was now bordered to the northeast by Monaghan; to the southeast by Cremorne, to the west by Clankelly, County Fermanagh; and to the south by Tullygarvey, County Cavan. The major towns of Dartree Barony were Clones, Newbliss and Rockcorry.

1607 The calamities of the 17th century begin: As the Nine Years (Williamite) War ended, Gaelic chieftains had to forfit any lands they still had. King James gave their lands to protestant Scottish colonists and began the Plantation of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Some Boylans converted to protestantism and remained in the north. Some of these later moved to Suffolk, England and have been protestant for centuries. Others moved to Scotland for work. A large protestant branch of Clan OBoylan lives in the northern midwest USA.

1609 Many OBoylans from the Kingdom of Dartree, in southern Ulster remained Catholic: Jim Boylan of Scotshouse says: The OBoylans remained kings of Dartree for several centuries until our lands were taken by Cromwell in the 1600s because we refused to convert to Protestantism & swear allegiance to the English monarch. Some of these Boylans who remained Catholic started to migrate south from Dartraighe to avoid prosecution. Boylans begin to settle just southwest of Dublin in Kildare in the towns Ballynadrumny, Kilcock, Naas, Mylerstown, Cloncurry and Kilcullen.

1641 The Irish Rebellion starts the Irish Confederate Wars (Eleven Years' War with famines and fighting in Kilcullen, Kildare 1647)

1653 Oliver Comwell invades Ireland and brings the 11 years war to an end - expanding protestant power from Ulster to include Dublin

1659 Boylans are documented living on the southern coast near Cork: Penders Census of Ireland lists six Boylans (surnames only) in the Barony of Carberry. The 1659 Census was published by Pender in 1939.

1691 After the so-called treaty of Limerick, which was not worth the paper it was written on, Jacobites (Catholic) landowners were punished for 8 years by the Williamite Settlement, forfeitures, confiscations and outlawing which made it difficult for Catholic Boylans to be landowners or even farmers.
1700 The English Penal Laws continue the persecution of Catholics and the southern part of Clan OBoylan
1703 The English redistributed land, but it is not recorded that Clan OBoylan profited from this in any way. Many Boylans around Dublin became trades people like tailors and boot makers because they were not able to be land owners.  The high value of land is quite clear to many members of Clan Boylan.

1730 - Emigration to the USA commences from Colerain, north Ireland. James and Aaron Boylan found an American dynasty.

1778-1793 The English Penal Laws were repealed and Catholics regained freedoms to organize parishes and priests
           Begin of baptismal record keeping in Kilcullen Parish, Boylan families are documented in Kilcullen Church records

1810 William Boylan emigrates from Kilcullen, Kildare to the USA at age 6 without his parents and becomes a wealthy man. A classic, true American rags to riches story.

1837 - Lewis's Topographical Directory of Ireland, describes what is left of of the kingdom of Dartraighe thus: The land is chiefly arable; there are about 200 acres of woodland, but little bog, and fuel is very scarce. There are several lakes in the parish, of  which those contiguous to Drum, and to the Hilton demesne, (just north of Scotshouse) are the most extensive. In addition to agricultural labour, the chief occupation of the inhabitants is the linen manufacture.

1845-1849 The great potato famine strikes Ireland. Many Irish migrate to the USA. Pittsburg -PA, New Brunswick-NJ, Raleigh-NC, Iowa and Idaho seem to have been preferred by the Boylan immigrants. With thousands of years of cattlework in there genes, the Irish proved to be excellent cowboys in the USA. According to John Grenham (page 65) four million Irish left Ireland due to the famines. Of these 3.5 million emigrated to the USA. We assume that today there are many more Irish-Americans than Irish in Ireland. This implies that there are more OBoylans in America than in Ireland.

1854 Right after the famine,  39 Boylans are listed in Co. Kildare in Griffiths Valuation.

1960s - OBoylans continue to branch out by colonizing Mexico and Germany

2009 - OBoylan Clan was officially recognized by Clans of Ireland

The journey of Clan OBoylan continues onward!



We recommend that you try out an inexpensive one-day subscription to Roots Ireland. They have searchable databases of digitized church records. When you find your ancestor in digital form, you can switch to microfilm images of the original Church records. It works! We found our Boylans in Kilcullen this way! As a final goodie, Roots Ireland has the passenger lists of the Coffin Ships online. All you need to know is the year and the port of embarcation and disembarcation. Then you may wish to input your family tree on Ancestry.com...

The Four Masters were Franciscan historians and assistant scribes backed by Patrons. They started out to record 3000 years of kings names on a year by year Blog basis. This valuable historical information was almost lost, but luckily two sets of hand scribed originals of the Annals of the Four Masters were written on expensive modern French paper and survived over the centuries. Bother versions are slightly different and the originals can be compared online. The Annals have also been digitized, but regretfully a digital index of this large document with cross references and links with modern spelling of names and so on still needs to be generated and put online.

The Dublin National Library has a most excellent genealogy section. Usually there is a very knowledgeable and helpful "consultant genealogist" on duty. John Grenham, the first resident genealogist wrote Clans and Families of Ireland , Barnes and Noble, New York, 2001

Here are some more do-it-your-self research links:

Ulster Historical Foundation / Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)

www.UCC.ie/Celt Corpus of Electronic Texts - searches the Annals of the Four Masters, Annals of Ulster, Annals of Tigernath, The Clogher Record Topographical Poem and many other documents in electronic format.

www.isos.dias.ie Irish Script Onscreen - provides digital images of the Annals of the Four Masters

Click here for a list of Clan Sites in Ireland