O'Neile Family History
“Lamh Dearg Eirin”
The Red Hand of Ireland
The name is the same in Irish as it is in English and for 1,000 years O Neill has been one of the most prestigous of Irish families. Niall means ‘champion’ and was first used by Domhall, grandson of Nial Glun Dubh (black knee), King of Ireland, killed in 890 by the Norsemen. The O Neills go further back, claiming descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. They were very strong in Ulster and to curb their power Queen Elizabeth had their Tullahogue inauguration stone broken up. In the 14th century they separated into two main branches; the senior branch were Princes of Tyrone while their junior branch were the Clanaboys of Antrim and Down.
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