The barony of Rosclogher in the north of modern county Leitrim comprised much of an ancient tribal territory known as Dartry (Dartraige). The Dartry Mountains on the border of northern county Leitrim and county Sligo were named for Dartraige. The territory of Dartry (in Leitrim) stretched eastward to Lough Melvln, where the Mac Flannchaidh (Mac Clancy) sept were noted as chiefs. Nearby in the northeastern portion of the barony of Drumahaire was the territory of Clann Fearmaighe, where Mac Acadhain was noted as chief.
Dartry and Clann Fermaighe were included in the kingdom of Bréifne and during the 13th century this was territory in dispute among competing factions of the Ó Ruairc family. There a number of entries in the Irish annals which highlight the names of family members involved, names which are included among the descendants of Fergal, son of Domnall the last Ó Ruairc to be called king of Connacht. The following chart is based on the early genealogies:
Fergal (son of Domnall)
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Amlaib (1184) Tadhg (1175) Domnall (1207) Ruadhri na caillighi Congalach (1196)
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Lochlan (1205) Art (1210) Aedh (1226) Niall (1228)
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Amlaíb (1258) Art bec (1260) Amlaíb gerr (1228) Diarmait Tadhg dubh (1260) Domnall (1276)
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Lochlainn & Tighernan (1260) Máelsechlann (1274) Conchobar (aft 1274)
Entries from the Irish annals, summarizing many of the individuals noted above:
M1217 - Gillapatrick Mac Acadhain, Chief of Clann-Fearmaighe, died.
LC1221 - The Cairnech Riabhach Mac Flannchaidh was slain by Aedh, son of Domhnall, son of Ferghail O'Ruairc.
C1226 - Aed son of Domnall O Ruairc was killed by Cathal O Raigillig and by Conchobar son of Cormac O Mailruanaid on Loch Allen.
C1228 - Niall son of Congalach O Ruairc, king of Dartry and Clann Fermaige, was killed by the two sons of Art son of Domnall O Ruairc, Art and Amlaib; and Amlaib Gerr (the Short), son of Niall son of Congalach, was killed in his bath by the same
Amlaib son of Art.
M1228 - Niall, the son of Congalagh O'Rourke, Lord of Dartry and Clann Fearmaighe, was slain by the two sons of Art, the son of Donnell O'Rourke, namely, Art and Auliffe; and Auliffe Gearr, the son of Niall, who was son of Congalagh, was slain, while bathing, by Auliffe, the son of the same Art.
C1236 - Diarmait son of Niall O Ruairc was blinded by Cu Chonnacht O Raigillig.
C1239 - Fergal son of Cu Chonnacht O Raigillig, king of Dartry and Clann Fermaige (or, according to another book, of Brefne east of the Mountain), was killed by Maelruanaid son of Fergal and Conchobar son of Cormac [Mac Diarmata]. He had gone a-raiding against the sons of Niall son of Congalach [O Ruairc] plundered them and taken a house which they were holding. The sons of Niall came out of the house under a promise, but he was killed after the killing of Raigillig's son.
C1258 - Amlaib son of Art O Ruairc, king of Brefne west of Sliab [an Iarainn], died this year.
C1259 - Aed O Conchobair gave the place of Amlaib son of Art [O Ruairc] to Art Bec son of Art O Ruairc.
C1260 - Tadc Dub son of Niall son of Congalach [O Ruairc] was killed by Maelsechlainn son of Amlaib son of Art [O Ruairc].
C1260 - Art Bec son of Art O Ruairc was also killed by Aed O Conchobair.
C1260 - Lochlainn son of Amlaib son of Art O Ruairc and Tigernan his brother along with him were killed by Aed O Conchobair, having been delivered up by Domnall son of Niall son of Congalach O Ruairc.
C1271 - Conchobar son of Tigernan O Conchobair was killed by Maelsechlainn son of Art O Ruairc and the Clann Fermaige. (note: could this be Maelsechlainn son of Amlaib son of Art O Ruairc?)
U1273 - Domnall, son of Niall, son of Conghalach Ua Ruairc (who was called 'Gillie of the butter'), was killed by Ua Nechtain.
M/C1274 - Maelsechlainn son of Amlaib son of Art O Ruairc, king of Dartry and Clann Fermaige, was killed by Conchobar son of Domnall son of Niall O Ruairc at Killarga. He [Conchobar] was made king afterwards.
M1274 - Donnell Oge, son of Donnell, son of Art O'Rourke, and Cathal Mag Flannchaid, Chief of Dartry, died.
C1276 - Ruaidri son of Toirrdelbach raided the Muinter Nechtain, but they routed him and recovered the prey. And they killed Domnall son of Niall son of Congalach O Ruairc, called the Butter Lad, and many others of Ruaidri's men.
As suggested in the annals, during the middle half of the 13th century there was great rivalry among the descendants of two O'Rourke brothers, that is, Congalach and Domnall, sons of Fergal Ó Ruairc. It was during this time the O Conchobair (Ó Conor) lords of Connacht heavily influenced who would become the Ó Ruairc king of Breifne, as well as influenced the 'kings' of Dartry and Clann Fermaige (Glenfarne) in the northern part of Breifne Ó Ruairc. Although Congalach's line would retain a hold over Dartry and Clann Fermaige at the end of these disputes, they are no longer mentioned in this connection after the 13th century. Following these events the Mac Flannchaidh (Mac Clancy) sept would continue to be mentioned as chiefs of Dartry. Ultimately, it would be Domnall's line, in descent through Amlaib, who would spawn future Ó Ruairc kings of Breifne. See more of his story in the line of Amlaib Ó Ruairc.
What became of Conchobar son of Domnall son of Niall O Ruairc, noted as king of Dartry and Clann Fermaige in 1274, is uncertain. In the early genealogies, his grandfather Niall is mentioned as the ancestor of the clann Mac Neill Ó Ruaircs. The pedigree of the clann Mac Neill Ó Ruaircs reaches beyond the 13th century, although there is no clear reference to them in the Irish annals after 1276.
clann Mac Neill Ó Ruairc
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Amlaib Gerr (1228) Tadhg Dubh (1260) Domnall (1276) Tighernán Diarmait Muirchertach (1239)
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Tighernán Conchobar Domnall
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Cathal Domnall (unknown) Fergal
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Seaan Fergal Cathal Congal McNeil
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Geffery Feidhlimidh Niall McNeil
Ua Ruairc of Bréifne --
Genealogy Sources --
Lords and Kings of Bréifne --
Chart of O Ruarc Kings
Dartry and Clann Fermaighe, written by Dennis Walsh, May 2006, all rights reserved.
Sources used for this article include the Irish Annals and genealogies (e.g. Ballymote, An Leabhar Donn, O'Clery).