The Clan of the MacQuillins of Antrim
From the Ulster Journal of Archaeology vol. 8, 1860
Note - Please let me know of any editing mistakes. Original can be found here.


In looking over some late numbers of the Ulster Journal of Archeology, two excellent articles, -one on the "Ruins of Bun-na-Mairge," the other entitled, " Gleanings in Family History from. the Antrim Coast,"-suggested the thought of bringing before your readers further fragments from Antrim Chronicles, that serve to elucidate the general subject. We have gathered the information embodied in the following pages from the private records and historical notices of a family that once reigned supreme over the glens and coasts of Antrim, before the ancestors of most of those now in possession had set foot in Ireland. We allude to the MacQuillins of Dalriada, who in the North of Ireland are erroneously regarded as having no living representative, save what may be found among the peasantry around Dunluce, whose claims are only attested by their names.1 It is full time that this illusion should be dispelled, as there is a highly respectable family of MacQuillins at present belonging to the County of Wexford, who have in their possession documentary evidence, handed down from past generations, which proves them to be lineal descendants of the ancient lords of Ulidia. The records and papers of the family in question have been kindly placed in our hands, and from them we have gleaned not only a clear account of the family lineage, but various other facts that have an important bearing on points discussed in the two articles we have cited.

The MacQuillins hold that they are descended from Fiacha MacUillin, youngest son to Niall of the Nine Hostages; and that their ancestors, from the beginning of the fifth century to the latter end of the twelfth, were, according to native phraseology, "kings" or princes of Ulidia, and from the twelfth to the sixteenth, of Dalriada. We do not find that any authentic Irish history can be produced which disproves this their claim. We are well aware, however, that settlers and their friends from England and Scotland, who obtained grants of different sections of the MacQuillin property in the seventeenth century, in order to lessen the popular sense of wrong at the expulsion of the only remnant of the Dalriadan proprietors that bore the ancestral name, assiduously represented the MacQuillins as an alien race. And thus it was said that, taking their antecedents into account, they had no great right to complain of being dispossessed. Some declared they were descended from a son of Llewelyn, Prince of Wales, who had intruded himself into Dalriada in the twelfth century; but of the particular details of whose intrusion no written account could ever be mentioned. Another story said they were descended from an English or Norman lord, whose name was William, and whose family assumed the name of Mac Willies, which ultimately became MacQuillin. Thus, in the large work styling itself the Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland, we find, under the head of "Dunluce," the following statement:-"In the fifteenth century, it (Dunluce Castle) belonged to a noble English family, of the name of Mac Willies, who afterwards came to be called MacQuillin, and to be regarded as an Irish family; and in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, it passed into the possession of the MacDonnells of the Hebrides." Of course these particulars are taken by the compiler, unconscious of their character, from some of the early fabrications that were got up for a special purpose, as we cannot imagine the publishers of the Gazetteer in question would wish to circulate a false statement. However, it is evident that they had not done their part in the examination of native history, when they could give currency to such a historical blunder. It is certain that not a word can be found in the Annals of the four Masters, nor any other Irish annals we know of, which suggests the idea of the MacQuillins being an alien race, but much that indicates they are not. During the centuries that intervened between Fiacha MacUillin, their great ancestor, and the irruption of the Norman lords into Ulster, the kings of Ulidia (according to the MacQuillin MS.) were elected from the descendants of that Fiacha.

There is some ambiguity cast around the name MacQuillin, from the various spellings under which it is presented to us in different ages. In the first place, Q does not belong to it at all in the original. But in different cases of the word, or by different writers, we find it spelled MaeUidhilin, MacUillin, Mag Cuilline Coilin, and Mag Uali; whilst collateral evidence proves that in all those instances it is the same name. Another ambiguity has arisen from its occasional association, during the twelfth century, with the name Dunslevey. Under date 1178, we have the following chronicle:-" Murough O'Carrol and Cu Uladh, son of Dunslevey, King of Uladh, attacked De Courcy's forces, of whom they slew four hundred and fifty." Dunslevey has been explained as signifying ' The Mountain Fortress,' which fortress, belonging to the kings of Ulidia, is said to have been situated on one of the Mourne Mountains. There are several indications which go to prove that Dunslevey was not, under any phase, the real surname of the family which occupied that fortress, several of whom were conspicuous as kings of Ulster during the 12th century. Whilst they were popularly called Dunslevey, from their mountain castle, it appears that they belonged either to the MacUillin or the O'Huigin families, both of whom were descendants of Fiacha, son of Niall. It has thus been suggested that there may have been two branches of Fiacha MacUillin's descendants, one residing at Eath Mor, in Moylinnie, the other at Dunslevey-who, according to national usage, being of the same origin, were equally eligible to the kingship of Ulidia- and that the Dunslevey branch was annihilated by De Courcy. It may either have been so, or that Dunslevey in that age had become the principal royal residence of the kings of Ulidia, and that, when De Courcy assumed the title of Earl of Ulidia, or Ulster, the ancient princes were forced to leave their mountain-fortress, as well as to renounce the title of kings of Ulidia. Be that as it may, after the twelfth century the MacQuillin territory was limited to Dalriada, and their residence established at Rath Mor Mag Uillin; and we hear no more of Dunslevey as a name among the Ulster chieftains, unless Sleven MacQuillin, in the 14th century, can be regarded as an exception.

Dalriada, as compared with other parts of Ireland, was in a very quiet state during the thirteenth century. Whilst neighbouring chiefs were at war with the English, and with one another, peace prevailed there. Hence, there is no mention in the chronicles of that century of Dalriadan war, or of any defences or attacks of MacQuillin chieftains. And during the fourteenth century, in the Annals of the Four Masters, Dalriada and its lords appear only in a peaceful character. In 1358, the Annals tell us that " Senicen MacQuillin, high-constable of the province of Ulster, died." In ten years after, they record the death of his successor, a " Sleven MacQuillin," whom also they style " constable of the province of Ulster." These circumstances indicate that the lords of Dalriada were on good terms with the English; and, either by tact or by treaty, had kept the aggressive English generals from making any very formidable inroads on that part of the principality which had been left to the MacQuillins as a patrimony.

The river Bann and Lough Neagh, according to our MacQuillin manuscript, formed the western boundary of that northern region, secured to its ancient lords till Hugh Buidhe O'Neill, one of the Tyrone chiefs, crossing the Bann in the fourteenth century, took possession of a district to the east of Lough Neagh. His posterity afterwards retained it, and were called Claim Aodha Buidhe, or tht Clan of Yellow Hugh. The district of country was by the English named Clandeboy, embodying in some degree the sound of the native name. How far the intrusion of that O'Neill on the MacQuillin territory was resisted, we have no detail by the Four Masters; but as they afterwards regarded the occupancy of Clandeboy by the O'Neills as an usurpation, the latter must have taken possession by force. " De Courcy and De Lacy," says our Manuscript, " were styled Earls of Ulster by the kings of England, but the English monarchs had not possession of a tenth part of Ulster to give to any person for some centuries after their time."-Of course not,in the sense in which "Ulster" is now understood. But it would seem that the Ulad and Ulidia of that'day was the Ulster of the English, and included little more than the Counties of Down and Antrim. De Burgo also had the title of Earl of Ulster; and he said he was Mac William, the true lord and chieftain of Ulidia. That name seems to have been assumed to please the native ear, but without any expectation that he would ever be recognized by the people themselves as a " MaeQuillin," however truly he might be called " Mac William."

Although Dalriada, throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, seems to have been prosperous and peaceful under the sway of its native lords, the case was different during the two succeeding ones. The defence of their paternal estates in the Glinns and Route, and reprisals on their plunderers, native and foreign, often bring the MacQuillin name forward in the Irish annals during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. English control was then weak, and Scottish adventurers (the descendants of a people that had emigrated from the North of Ireland about a thousand years before) frequently came over, sometimes as friends, sometimes as plunderers. Conspicuous among these were the MacDonnells, lords of the Hebrides. Between that family and those of the Northern Irish princes intermarriages had taken place, which gave them a still greater familiarity with, and friendly footing in, the country. But the inclination which some of them began to manifest in the sixteenth century to take up their abode in Ulster awakened the suspicions of the native lords. Of all these chieftains, one alone seems to have been the unwavering friend of the MacDonnells: this was Edward, who succeeded Roderick MacQuilliu, and was either son or grandson to Walter MacQuillin. The very year after the brave Roderick MacQuillin's death, we find this Edward, his heir and successor, inviting the MacDonnells to Dunluce. However, on that occasion his object seems to have been to obtain their aid in recovering some fortresses that had been wrested from him, a few months before, by the O'Donnell and O'Kane. The Four Masters say-" 1544. O'Donnell marched with a force into the Route, in the north of County Antrim, and took Inis-an-Lochain, on which was a wooden castle and an impregnable fortress, in the possession of MacQuillin; and after O'Donnell had taken the castle, he gave it to O'Kane. On the same expedition, O'Donnell took the castle of Baile-an-Locha [Ballylough, in the parish of Billy], and he found much property, consisting of arms, armour, brass, iron, butter, and provisions, in these castles. O'Donnell also took, after that, Inis- Locha-Burraun and Inis-Locha-Leithinnsi [Loughlynch, in the parish of Billy], in which he likewise found much property. After having burned the surrounding country, he victoriously returned home safe."-

The sons of MacDonnell (Alexander), namely, James and Colla, accompanied by a body of Scots, came by invitation to MacQuillin, and they and MacQiiillin proceeded to Inis-an-Loehain, and took the town from O'Kane's guards. Bryan, the son of Donogh O'Kane, and all that were with him in Inis-an-Lochain, together with all the property, arms, armour, and spoils, were entirely burned by them; and MacQuillin committed great destruction on O'Kane at that time." In eleven years we again find the Scotch intruders in Dalriada striving to get possession of land from their friend MacQuillin:-

"1555. Thomas Susig (Thomas Sussex), a new Lord-Justice, came to Ireland, and Anthony St. Leger, the old Lord-Justice, was recalled." That Lord-Justice immediately after " marched with an army, at the instigation of O'Neill, to expel the MacDonnells and the Scots, who were taking possession of, and making settlements in, the Route and Clandeboy. The Lord-Justice, with his forces, remained for six. weeks, making devastation on the Scots, and he committed many depredations on them, and slew one or two hundred of the Scots, and afterwards returned with his forces, without receiving submission or hostages."

In another ten years, the Scots are attacked more successfully by the forces of the O'Neill:-

"1565. O'Neill, i.e. John, the son of Con, son of Con, son of Henry, gave the sons of MacDonnell of Scotland (i.e. of Alexander), namely, James, Angus, and Sorley, a great overthrow, in which Angus was slain, and James wounded and taken prisoner, and he died in a year after, of the mortification of his wounds. His death was very much lamented; he was a man distinguished for hospitality, feats of arms, liberality, conviviality, generosity, and the bestowal of gifts. There was not his equal among the Clan Donne] 1 of Ireland or of Scotland at that time.""

Of these three sons of Alexander MacDonnell (he who had been with his brother guest at Dunluce in 1544), only Sorley now remained. Edward MaeQuillin, who never was able to refuse the hospitality of his castle to the son of his old friend, had sons of his own now who had begun to view the MacDonnells with less favour than their father did. About two years after Sorley MacDonnell had been discomfitted and obliged to return home, his son, Alexander, a dashing young officer, who had served in the English army, resolved to try his fortune among the MacQuillins. The MacQuillin manuscript says:-

"About the year 15G7, Coll (or Alexander) MacDonnell, came into the country with a party of well-armed Highlanders on pretence of helping some of the petty princes of Ulster against others with whom they were then at war; but their real business to Ireland being to fish in troubled waters. MacDonnell had served under Lord Sussex against the Scots, his own countrymen, at the taking of the Island of Baghery, also elsewhere. He had received from him, as a reward for his services, a gold-mounted sword and gold spurs. On the confiscation of the monastic lands, Queen Elizabeth had presented him with a grant of the monastery of Glenarm and all the lands belonging thereto;" giving him thereby a legal footing in that region to which the attention of his family had latterly been so much directed. Thus prepared for an adventurous game, this favoured but unscrupulous young officer sought to ingratiate himself with the family which had so often hospitably entertained his ancestors.

The MS. goes on to say-" He (MacDonnell) was soon taken prisoner by one of the O'Neills, aud not set at liberty till he had solemnly promised to join him against the Lord-Deputy Sydney, then commanding the English army in Ulster. MacDonnell, on his enlargement, also engaged to bring over more Highlanders from Scotland. But, in the meantime, Edward MacQuillin invited him to spend the winter at Dunluce Castle, and to quarter the Highland soldiers up and down among his tenants till spring; and MacDonnell gladly accepted the hospitable offer."

All the keen policy, and all the polite suavity of the young Scottish chieftain were insufficient to remove the suspicions of MaeQuillin's sons, that this knight of the golden spurs was preparing to play a deeper game than the Lord of Dunluce apprehended. Whilst MacDonnell proved the impossibility of putting to sleep all the jealous fears of the young MacQuillins, another medium through which to obtain a more substantial footing in Dalriada presented itself. MacQuillin's daughter did not participate in her brothers' feelings towards Colonel MacDonnell, but regarded him with a confidence and admiration that he was not slow in discerning. He won the young lady's affections, and then urged a clandestine marriage to prevent her brothers from interposing. The daughter of MacQuillin and her father's guest were accordingly married unknown to her family.

In the meantime the O'Xeill, who had obliged MacDonnell to promise to join him against the Lord-Deputy, had received a mortifying defeat from the O'Donnells, and he now wrote urging for the Scots to come to him without delay. A further reinforcement soon arrived in Cushendun Bay, where Colonel MacDonnell joined them, and established a camp.e O'Neill hastened to commune with the Scots, in the course of which some altercation arose, and the MacDonnells slew him on the spot. The northern chieftains called a council to decide on the measures to be taken. The unanimous decision of that council was, that the MacDonnells and their adherents should be totally banished from Ulster. The wife of Colonel MacDonnell, on finding what had been resolved, hastened to the camp at Cushendun, and informed her husband. " A night or two after," continues our manuscripti " the whole party, MacDonnell, his wife, and all the Highlanders, sailed off to the Island of Raghery, and from thence to Argyleshire, in Scotland. In the summer of 1569, MacDonnell and a large party of his countrymen, thoroughly armed for war, again landed in Ireland. On this occasion they encamped at the Convent of Bun-a-Mairge, near the town of Ballyeastle. There he was attacked, on the4th of July, by young Ed ward MacQuillin: for his father-being then old, and perhaps unwilling to fight against his son-in-law, MacDonnell-did not go to oppose him. However, young Edward MacQuillin and his two brothers, Roderick and Charles, the only three sons of old Edward, attacked him in his camp, and were repulsed with the loss of Roderick, second in command, and obliged to retreat. In a day or two MacDonnell became the assailant, and attacked the MacQuillins, near the river Glenshesk: here the loss of life was dreadful, but again MacDonnell won the battle, and among the slain was another of the three brothers, Charles MacQuillin. Young Edward MacQuillin, with the residue of his army, then retreated towards the river Aura, and was joined by Shane 0'Denni8 O'Neill, of Clanaboy, and by Hugh MacPhelemy O'Neill, of Tyrone. The latter being regarded as an experienced general, and MacQuillin being but a young man, to him was entrusted the command of the whole. "

"MacDonnell also being reinforced, was determined to give battle; and, marching to the music of four Highland pipers, he attacked the united forces of O'Neill and MacQuillin. In this third battle the Scotch were defeated, and had to lament the loss of two of their best officers, and many of the Highland soldiers. O'Neill had been expecting further reinforcements, and had these arrived he might have followed up his victory. But two of his men, whom he had chastised for misconduct that morning, betrayed him. One of them, a piper, named O'Cane, immediately deserted to the enemy, and represented to MacDonnell the advantage of attacking the Irish army before the arrival of the other troops; and to delay them, he proposed to go as from O'Neill, with a message to the commander, for the reinforcement not to move forward, as MacDonnell was already defeated. O'Cane's proposal was carried out: O'Neill's supplies were prevented from joining him; whilst Hugh MacAulay of the Glinns had been induced treacherously to desert MacQuillin, and with a strong party of his men, to go over to MacDonnell."

The details of the battle which ensued, with all its horrors and disasters, we shall not transcribe. The sum total is that, near Gilgorm Castle (or, as our M8. says it should be, Gealgorm Castle,) on the 13th of July, 1569, MacDonnell's army routed the forces of those Ulster chiefs who had united with the MacQuillins: and, before night, both O'Neill and young Edward MacQuillin were among the dead. The latter swam to an island in a neighbouring lake after the battle, but being perceived by some of MacDonnell's soldiers, he was followed and murdered. Thus, in the course of nine days, were the three sons of the lord of Dunluce cut off in that desperate struggle to drive out a foreign intruder from a region which had been in possession of their ancestors for twelve hundred years.

Edward, the eldest of the three MacQuillin brothers, had been married, and left an infant son named Roderick Oge MacQuillin. In four years after the death of the brothers, Alexander MacDonnell and his family were received by old Edward MacQuillin as free denizens in Dunluca Castle. That year (1573) he, as being son-in-law to the old lord, was elected 'tanist,' and from thence forward, till his death, was regarded as the chosen heir of the MacQuillin estates. He was killed in single combat with an English officer, whom he had challenged to decide, in that way, a battle which was pending between their two forces. The annals say :-" In 1586, Alexander, the son of Sorley Buidhe, son of Alexander, son of John Cathanach, the son of MacDonnell of Scotland, who was brother of Inghean Dubh ["the dark haired daughter"], the wife of O'Donnell, the mother of Hugh Roe, was slain by Captain Merryman, and by Hugh, son of the Dean O'Gallagher, in the month of May precisely." He left two sons, James and Randall: the age of tho latter seems to have pretty nearly corresponded with that of Roderick Oge MacQuillin, the other grandson of Edward MacQuillin. Sorlcy Buidhe MacDonnell, father to Alexander, died in 1590, just four years after his son; and James MacDonnell, Alexander's eldest son, died in 1601, four years before his maternal grandfather.

In the time of Queen Elizabeth, the MacQuillin name was represented by Edward MacQuillin, then about a hundred years old; by his grandson, Roderick Oge MacQuillin; and by Roderick's son Richard. Roderick seems to have been regarded, after the death of his uncle, Alexander MacDonnell, as the elected 'tanist,' and, according to the English usage, he was the lineal heir of the ancestral estates of Dalriada. It does not appear that Sorley or any other of the MacDonnells of the sixteenth century ever succeeded in excluding, or that they even attempted to exclude the MacQuillins from the Castle of Dunluce, as alluded to in Mr. Hill's paper (Ulster Journal, ante). It is true, however, that whilst Sorley Boy's son, Alexander, from 1573 to 1586, lived in Dunluce Castle with his father-in-law as tanist, he took on himself the active duties of that position, which, as the old lord was nearly blind for many years, probably ineluded the real, though not the nominal lordship; and, after Alexander's death, his sons doubtless regarded Dunluce as a family home, just as the other grand-children of Edward MacQuillin did.

The treaty of peace with the great Earls of Tyrone and Tirconnell, concluded by Queen Elizabeth, which left them in possession of their estates, caused bitter disappointment among the English officers who had been looking towards a division of the confiscated property of those indomitable chieftains as their main reward. When King James came to the throne, his first Irish difficulty was how to get hold of sufficient land in Ireland to divide among the numerous candidates, so as to keep down discontented murmuring. For, besides those parties who had served in the Irish armies of the late Queen, he had his own personal favourites on whom he wished to bestow princely gifts. In that emergency the royal advisers pointed to the seizure and dismemberment of Dalriada, as a politic step. With the cunning of an unprincipled mind, James, whilst approving the idea of the unjust seizure, felt that he ought to secure the interest of one of the grandsons of MacQuillin ; and that, to ensure success and gratitude, it should be he whose chance of inheritance was likely otherwise to fall through. Randal MacDonnell was his man, and he appears unscrupulously to have united in the royal scheme of disinheriting the MacQuillins altogether. After giving to him the lion's share, the King subdivided and distributed the residue of his grandfather's estates among English and Scotch expectants, Chichestcrs, Skeffingtons, Seymours, Conways, and other favourites. Thus it was that Sir Randal, " during the very first year of James's reign in England, received a plenary grant of the Route and Glynns, a territory extending from Larne to Coleraine, and comprising about three hundred and fifty-four thousand acres statute measure. These vast estates included the present parishes of Coleraine, Ballyaghran, Bally willen,Ballyrashane, Dunluce, KildoUagh,Ballintoy, Billy, Dcrrykeighan, Loughgill, Ballymoney, Kilraghts, Finvoy, Rasharkin, Dunaghy, Ramoan, Annoy, Culfeightrin, Layd, Ardelinis, Tickmacrevan, Templeoughter, Solar, Carncastle, Killyglen, Kihvaughter, and Larne, together with the Granges of Layd, Innispollan, and Drumtullagh, and the Island of Rathlm. The Antrim property, as originally granted to Randal MacDonnell, thus comprised seven baronies-viz., North-East Liberties of Coleraine, Lower Dunluce, Upper Dunluce, Kileonway, Carey, Lower Glenarm, and Upper Glenarm." The writer whom we quote adds:-" The lord of these broad lands, therefore, may well be described as a fortunate man, when it is remembered that not only had he done nothing to earn this magnificent grant from the English Government, but he had actually spent his youth in open and formidable rebellion.'" Yet the rightful lord of all these "broad lands," the aged MacQuillin, thus unjustly and cruelly disinherited, had never taken part in any rebellion against the English Government.

Edward MacQuillin heard with dismay of the division and bestowal, by King James, of his paternal inheritance, whilst he and such of his descendants as bore the MacQuillin name were to be left without an acre of all their ancestral lands. For several years he had been quite blind; but unexpectedly the sight of the aged sufferer returned, and for the sake of his grandson, he then resolved to go to the English monarch in person, and plead for a remission of the tyrannical sentence. James was touched by the appearance and appeal of the venerable patriarch, and promised to do what he could in furnishing Roderick with a handsome estate. This visit to the English metropolis seems to have been but a short time before old Edward MacQuillin's decease. He died in 1605, aged 102 years; and in 1608, after the rebellion and death of Sir Cahir O'Dogherty, when the property of that rash young chieftain was confiscated, King James commissioned Sir John Chichester to inform MacQuillin that Innishowen, the property in question, should be transferred to him. His disappointment and mortification were great when Rory Oge MacQuillin received this intelligence as the consummation of the royal promise. To enter on possession of the O'Dogherty's estates in Innishowen was repulsive to his sense of honour and nationality; and Sir John Chichester, seeing how he felt, offered to give him, in exchange, Clanaghartie, a section of the Dalriadan lands that had been assigned to himself. The offer was gladly accepted ; for, though in real value the latter was far inferior to the former, yet, as MacQuillin's scruples would not suffer him to accept the O'Dogherty territory, we cannot blame the Englishman for making the proposal. Thus it was that the great barony of Innishowen came into possession of the Marquis of Donegall's family. In about ten years after that occurrence, another overturning took place, in the course of carrying out the plans of King James for the ' Plantation' of Ulster, which deprived the MacQuillins of all estated property.

The exchange between Chichester and MacQuillin had been ratified by the King's securing, by letters patent, to the former Innishowen, and to the latter Clanaghartie. D'Alton says, that the territory thus granted in 160 8 to the heir of that disinherited family (the MacQuillins), and '' situated in Clandeboy, County of Antrim, comprised, as stated in the patent, twenty-one extensive townlands, with all hereditaments, advowsons, &c., of churches formerly belonging to any religious houses therein; the MaeQuillin being bound to find and maintain, every year, for the space of forty days, two able horsemen, and six footmen, to serve the King, Lord-Deputy, or Governor of Carrickfergus, whenever required within the province of Ulster, and to answer all risings out and general nestings."* We have not been able to discover whether MacQuillin failed in fulfilling any of the above stipulations, or on what other pretence the letters patent for the holding of Clanaghartic were recalled; but in 1619, as further stated by D'Alton, the King issued a Royal Letter, demanding the surrender of the territory from the patentee. The heir of the MacQuillin name was accordingly left landless, and one of the Chichester family (Sir John being then dead) received back the estate of Clanaghartie. However, on that occasion Sir Arthur Chichester gave a sum of money (the amount is not specified) to Roderick Oge MacQuillin, in consideration of the benefit that had accrued to his family through MacQuillin's loss. These are, as far as we can ascertain, the historical facts of the case which is so jocosely narrated in the manuscript in possession of the Earl of Antrim's family, as given in the concluding paragraph cited by the Rev. William Hamilton, and quoted in a note to Mr. Hill's article, as follows:-"The estate he (MacQuillin) got in exchange for the barony of Innishowen was called Clanreaghurlcie, which was far inadequate to support the old hospitality of the MacQuillius. Rory Oge MacQuillin sold this land to one of Chichester's relations ; and, having got his new granted estate into one bag, was very generous and hospitable as long as the bag lasted. And thus was the worthy MacQuillin soon extinguished." Not so entirely extinguished, however, as the writer seems to suppose.

The MacQuillin papers complain that Randall MacDonnell regarded his less favoured cousin with feelings of vengeful antipathy. However, it is pretty certain there would be bad feeling on both sides in such circumstances as theirs. They also tell of an occasion when Colonel Hill, the ancestor of the Downshire family, only escaped with his life from the wrath of MacDonnell, by hiding along with Roderick and Richard MacQuillin (father and son), in a cave in Island Magee. The Earls of Hillsborough are spoken of as continuing to be the kind and cordial friends of the MacQuillins for several generations. Richard MacQuillin settled at Banbridge, and subsequent events prove that he and his descendants, during the seventeenth century, maintained an honourable, if not an aristocratic standing, though bereft of their ancestral estates and commanding position. The war of 1698 and its consequences again scattered the MacQuillins, and finally left in Ireland, during the eighteenth century, but one representative family of the house of MacQuillin, and that family resided near Lurgan. Of the two sons it contained in 1790, and who continued to transmit the name, one removed to America, the other to the Province of Leinster, ultimately settling in County Wexford. The family records in possession of the County Wexford branch furnish some interesting details of those vicissitudes.

Charles, son of the above-mentioned Richard MacQuillin, with his two youngest sons, appear to have been the first of the name who embraced the Protestant religion. The elder children of Charles MacQuillin took a decided stand on the opposite side. His eldest daughter, Mary, previous to King James's war, went under Romish patronage to Spain, where she was introduced at court, and became one of the maids of honour to the Queen. She spent the remainder of her days at the Spanish court, and, at her death, left some property, which she bequeathed to her Irish relatives. Her two elder brothers, who kept aloof from the religion their father had adopted, espoused King James's cause. They were in Limerick during the siege, and finally determined to follow the King to France. When in the very act of taking leave of their brother officers, one of them was killed by a shot from the besiegers. The other, James Ross MacQuillin, went to France, and served with distinguished valour in. the Irish Brigade. He left only one son, Louis MacQuillin, and he dying childless some time previous to 1765, left all his property, which is said to have been very large, to the nearest of kin of his father's relatives, the MacQuillins of Ireland. Richard MacQuillin, one of the two youngest sons of Charles MacQuillin, who became Protestants, had a son, Ephraim, who was then sole heir to the property thus bequeathed by bis cousin Louis. Previous to that event, Ephraim MacQuillin had married a lady whose name was Hoope, and who belonged to one of the most wealthy families at that time in the Society of Friends, in the North of Ireland. He had entered into business, and was doing well, as a linen merchant, near Lurgan, when the intelligence of his French relative's bequest reached him. He then gave up his business and went to France. Some parties belonging to the Jesuits' College in Marseilles having been left trustees to the property, he repaired thither with official documents and family papers, to prove his identity and the legitimacy of his claim. When he presented himself and his papers, the latter were all taken for examination. But soon after he was made a prisoner and informed that they discovered he had merely come to France as a spy; he was afterwards liberated, and then told if he did not immediately depart he would be put in the Bastille. In vain he asked for his papers,b in vain he offered further assurance or explanation. Nothing further would be listened to, and no papers returned. With a heavy heart he departed, but had only just got clear of the place when he was assaulted by two men, who robbed him and left him for dead on the road. Our MS. does not say that the latter outrage was sanctioned or ordered by the parties who had previously arrested him. It does not appear, from the insensible state he was left in, that Ephraim MacQuillin could ascertain anything about that. The surprise is that he succeeded afterwards in ever getting home; but he did at length reach home, broken down in health, in spirits, and in property; having, as he himself afterwards said, in giving up his business, thrown good money after bad, and lost both.

Ephraim MacQuillin, as we have said, had two sons, one of whom went to America. Edward, remained in Ireland, was married into a Quaker family in Dublin (the Pims), and moved southward. It was this Edward MacQuillin who drew up the family history which has supplied many of our facts. But the full ancient genealogy of the MacQuillins was lost for ever in that wild-goose chase among the Jesuits, and no attempt seems to have been since made to restore the ' missing links.' Edward MacQuillin merely supplied that part of the ancestral chain which extended backwards from himself to the beginning of the sixteenth century. Edward MacQuillin's son Joseph died in 1856, and his son Joseph, the present senior representative of the MacQuillin name, is a gentleman farmer, and a highly respected member of the Society of Friends. Joseph MacQuillin, of Great Clonard, County of Wexford, has sons, the eldest of whom is Edward MacQuillin.

The late Joseph MacQuillin, born .. 1792
   Was son of Edward MacQuillin, born .. 1760
      Son of Ephraim, 1726
      Son of Richard, 1670
      Son of Charles, 1630
      Son of Richard, 1594
      Son of Roderick Oge, .. .. 1567
      Son of young Edward, .. .. 1535
      Son of old Edward, .. .. 1503
      Son of Roderick,'
      Son of Walter MacQuillin.

It was Edward MacQuillin, the second on the above list, who arranged the scattered facts that are embodied in the family MS. to which we have so frequently alluded. He still clung to the hope of a time coming when the property left by his cousin in France would be restored to him or his heirs. Such a hope being entertained at all, after the first fruitless attempt, indicated but a slender knowledge of the French Jesuits, its trustees. And quite as wild would be the idea that any claim by a MacQuillin on the Antrim property, after 260 years' possession by the MacDonnells, would be either just or tenable. Two hundred years' possession for giving the right of inheritance is as good as two thousand.1' It must be remembered, too, that Randall MacDonnell, the first Earl of Antrim, was grandson to the last MacQuillin, Lord of Dunluce.

As to the general division and subdivision of the Ulster principalities, Tyrone, Tirconnell, and Dalriada, it was manifestly necessary for the prosperity of the country at large. Those great properties, especially the two former, were too extensive for being rightly managed by individual proprietors. They belonged to a by-gone age of tributary princes, each of whom governed his own principality. The times required a proprietorship, the chief aim and organization of which had reference to the thorough cultivation of the land. King James's plantation scheme is often alluded to as being devised to effect this great object; and doubtless it brought things nearer to that point: but in its fundamental steps towards dismemberment and reduction of estates, it was not guided by a spirit of justice; on the contrary, private right was utterly disregarded in the case of the MacQuillins And the Royal requisition to entail all the new properties, in order to prevent any of the native Roman Catholic proprietors from regaining, in after ages, by purchase or otherwise, possessions that had belonged to their forefathers, was both unwise and cruel. The entail law of Ireland which was thus introduced to Ulster has proved, in conjunction with the law of primogeniture, with which it was associated, not only an obstruction to the highest development of national prosperity, but by intermarriages and heirship, their tendency is, again to raise up huge properties centred in one individual: except, indeed, where the Incumbered Estates Act latterly opens the way for another dismemberment in an equitable form, not as the 17th century one was effected. If the laws of entail and primogeniture, which did not originally belong to Ireland, had never been introduced, we might have looked rejoicingly on the abolition of the laws of tanistry and the Royal elections which preceded them. But these innovations having been to serve an unjust and tyrannical purpose, we cannot feel more respect for the motives than for the measures which they represented.

The local impress of the name HacUillin.-The derivations from this name (or what appears as such) which present themselves in various forms in the old Irish annals in the designation of places and their inhabitants within the bounds of ancient Ulidia (Counties Down and Antrim) suggest the thought of a common origin between the names Ulladh and Uillin, especially when we observe that the former was occasionally written Ullin. The Latinized name Ulidia and the Anglicised Ulster must be regarded as exotic derivations from the native name. The MacQuillins, without any reference to that point, insist that their family principality anciently included Dalaraidhe, as well as Dalriada, which is exactly the ancient Ulladh or Ullin. From these and other indications, it appears to us probable that not only the family name, but the name of the principality they governed, was derived from Fiacha MacUillin. But as to who that Fiacha MacUillin was, we can find no certain proof, except the statements of the MacQuillins themselves, and Dr. Keating's testimony. We have searched in vain in Irish annals for any historical recognition of the settlement of Fiacha, son to Niall of the Nine Hostages, in the North. The MacQuillin papers alone, so far as we have been able to discover, develop this event. And if they had maintained that Fiacha MacUillin was of the Dal Fiatach tribe, descended from Fiatach the Fair, who was King of Ulster in the second century, we could more easily see its harmony with the ordinary statements respecting Dalaraidhe in the early ages. But they do not say that, nor anything like it. On the contrary, they allude to the Fiatachians as a race more anciently settled in the principality than Fiacha MacTJillin. Nor do they exactly say that it was by warlike conquest that the MacQuillins' great ancestor obtained a settlement in the North: the idea conveyed is, that it may have been by influence, rather than arms, that he became provincial king of the region in question, and that his descendants continued to be elected to that position throughout the succeeding centuries up to the period when English arms compelled them to retire to Dalriada. Perhaps the Annals of Tighearnach contain allusions, if not direct evidence, that would tend to enlighten the subject. We have no opportunity of consulting either them or the Annals of Ulster;-if they who have were to take the trouble of a careful examination, they might probably dissipate the obscurity.

Our MS. says that MacUillin signifies ' darling son,' and that'the name was conferred by Niall on Fiacha, his youngest child, and the only son of his second and favourite queen. Although Q does not belong to the name in the original, (there being no such letter in the Irish alphabet,) it is probable that the U does not exactly convey the native sound of the word, as it is sometimes spelled Mag Coillin, but more usually Uillin or Cuillin. The MS. also states that Fiacha MacUillin was first settled in West Meath, and that his name remains located there, in the parish of Bally- macquillin, in the region now designated King's County. It seems that he got possession of Dalaraidhe, some time after his two elder brothers, Owen and Connel, were settled in the government of Tir Owen and Tir Connell; the Fiatachians, and the descendants of Ir or Clanna Ilory, who were the original possessors, remaining as the occupying inhabitants of Ulster, whilst Fiacha's descendants were its princes. MacUillin, most probably, came into use as a surname in the eleventh century, after Brian Boru issued the national requisition which introduced the custom of surnames to Ireland. Of course it was the reigning family of Ulidia (they who occupied Rath Mor Mag Uillin) who adopted that surname. But in this we merely reason from analogy and probability.

In Keating's Genealogy of the O'Neills, he says, "From Fiacha, son of Niall of the NineHostages, sprang O'Mulloy, O'Maolmhuadh, Mageoghagan, the MacCuillins, and O'Huiginns." As Keating is a first-rate authority in family pedigree, we may take his statement as conclusive, so far as it goes, that the MacUillins are descended from Fiacha, son of Niall the Great. But on the question of when or how they became kings of the Ulidia, he throws no light. It is true, however, that he brings out their name as distinguishing the spot which is recognised by others as that of the palace of the Ulidian kings. He records a great battle which was fought in the year 685, in Ulidia, " at Moigh Cuillin," in repelling an invasion from the King of Wales. Other Irish writers speak of that battle as having been fought at Eath Mor Magh Line, thus showing the identity between Moigh Cuillin and Rath Mor Magh-line. Ultimately the name was resolved into Moylinne, a manor of the County Antrim. In the annotations which arc given in Connellan's Translation of the Four Masters, it is mentioned thus :-" Rath Mor of Moylinne, was a residence of the kings of Dalaradia, or Ulidia. It is situated near Lough Neagh, in the present parish of Antrim, or Donegore, and the place is still known as the Manor of Hoylinny." After an existence of eleven hundred years, the royal habitations on the Rath were burned to the ground in 1513. " O'Neill, i.e., Art, the son of Hugh, marched with a force into Trian Conguill, and burned Moylinny (in Antrim), and plundered the Glynns; the son of Niall, son of Con Mac Quillin, overtook a party of the forces and slew Hugh, the son of O'Neill, on that occasion. On the following day the force and their pursuers met in an encounter, in which MacQuillin-namely, Richard, the son of Roderick-with a number of the Albanians, were slain."1 After that destruction of the habitations on Rath Mor Mag Uillin, the Castle of Dunluce became the chief residence of the MacQuillins, and the deserted Rath Mor was never re-edified. Many important national events are associated with that region. An explanation of its present features, and of such ruins, if there be any, of the celebrated Rath Mor Mag Uillin, should furnish materials for an interesting archeological paper.

In the Annals of the Four Masters, at an earlier date than the age of Fiacha MacUillin, Rath Mor Magh Line is mentioned in a way that specifies very carefully its location, and may seem at first glance to cast a doubt over the statement of Fiacha, son of Niall, being its founder. It is introduced in connection with the battle which was fought in the second century between the forces of the supreme king, Tuathal, and those of the Irians of Ulster, in which the monarch was slain. That battle-field was called Moin-an-Chatha, or "the Bog of the Battle," and the adjacent hill on which Tuathal fell, was named the Ceann Gubha, or "the Hill of Grief."" The chronicle of these events stand thus in O'Donovan's translation of the Four masters:-"A.D. 106. Tuathal Teachtmhar, after having been thirty years in the sovereignty of Ireland, was slain by Niall, son of Rochraidhe, King of Ulster, in Magh Line, at M6in-an-Chatha, in Dal-araidhe, where the two rivers, Ollar and Ollarbha, spring; Ceanngubha is the name of the hill on which he was killed, as this quatrain proves:-

"Ollar and Ollarbha,
Cean-gubha lordly, noble,
Are not names given without a cause
The day that Tuathal was killed."

We have said that the mention, in the above chronicle, of Magh Line may seem at first glance to argue against Fiacha, son of Niall, who lived two centuries later than Tuathal, being its founder. But this difficulty disappears when we remember that a historian, in describing a spot where any memorable event occurred, is liable to use the name given to the locality in his own day instead of the more ancient one. In the very paragraph we have quoted there is another instance of this which is incontrovertible. The places particularized are said to have been in Dal-araidhe, yet Dal-araidhe had not obtained that name for upwards of a century after the death of Tuathal. And if we presume that it was Dalnada, which should have been used in the paragraph in question, the example still holds; for Cairbre Riada, from whom the latter took its name, was son to Conaire, who was the fifth sovereign of Ireland, after Tuathal, and did not ascend the throne for upwards of fifty years after Tuathal's death. The region alluded to, therefore, could not have been designated by either name till long after the event detailed.

Castles, Monasteries,-Bun-na-Mairge.-The MacQuillin manuscript says that the Dalriadian princes erected various castles on insulated rocks along the Antrim coast, but stoutly withstands the insinuation about the English having ever raised any of those castles. Indeed we can find no authority whatever for supposing they did; nothing but conjecture, without any proof, and that conjecture has not even probability to rest on. It would have been madness, under the state of feeling that existed towards England, to have built them, and then to have handed them over to the native chieftains, who, as far as we can ascertain, independently occupied all those coast castles, except that of Carrickfergus, till the beginning of the seventeenth century. It is true some of those strongholds were attacked during the previous century, and temporarily taken possession of, but never retained by any Englishman till the time of "the plantation of Ulster." Those who have urged the improbability of the Irish princes having erected such substantial stone castles, whilst their own palaces were merely of oak, and the habitations of the people still more frail wooden structures, seem utterly oblivious of the excellent masonry displayed in the round-towers and the early Christian Churches, which no one pretends to claim as Norman (or English) erections.

The Irish long adhered to wooden dwelling-houses in preference to any other, but where great durability and strength were the main objects, from time immemorial they used stone.

The first mention we find, by the Four Masters, of Dunluce Castle is in 1513, when, after the burning of the palace of Magh Line, the chieftain MacQuillin removed to that sea-girt abode which had been previously occupied by the family of Gerald MacQuillin, probably brother to "Walter MacQuillin. Dunseveric was also one of the MacQuillin strongholds. But of its origin and name there are ample indications in the early annals. Long before the Christian era, according to the Four Masters, we have the following chronicle:-" A.M. 3668. The first year of the joint reign of Sobhairce (Severic) and Cearmna Finn, the two sons of Ebric, son of Emher, son of Ir, son of Milidh (Milesius), over Ireland; and they divided it between them into two parts. Sobhairce resided in the north at Dun-Sobhairce,° and Cearmna in the south at Dun-Cearmna. These were the first kings of Ireland of the race of Ir." Some centuries later, but still anterior to the Christian era, we have another notice of Dunseveric, in connection with the death of one of the monarchs of Ireland: " After Eoitheachtaigh had been seven years in the sovereignty of Ireland, lightning burned him at Dun-Sobhairce (Dunseveric). It was by this Roitheachtaigh, that chariots of four horses were first used in Ireland." In the fifth century after the Christian era, Dunseveric is recorded as having been the resting-place where St. Patrick was hospitably entertained. In the Abbe MacGeoghegan's History of Ireland, it is thus noticed :-" St. Patrick having completed his mission in the districts bordering on Lake Foyle, crossed the river Bann to Cuilrathen, at present Coleraine. He preached the Gospel for some time in the territory of Lea, on the right bonk of the river Bann. He then proceeded through tho country of Dalriada, now Route, in the County of Antrim, to the Castle of Dunsobhearche, in the northern part of that country."

Kenbane Castle, or the ' castle of the white promontory,' near to Ballycastle, is another of these old picturesque remains located amid the rocky acclivities of that bold coast. And not far distant, again, are the ruins of Red Bay Castle, said, but we know not on what authority, to have at one time belonged to the Bissetts. All these castles, and the beautiful glens and glades of that region, are mementos of great interest to the student of ancient Irish history.

The Bissetts, according to the MacQuillin manuscript, first gained a footing in Ireland by one of the MacQuillin lords giving them lands on which to erect, and with which to endow, a monastery in the year 1465. Robert Bissett was a Scotchman who had been connected with the murder of the Duke of Athol, and hence obliged to fly from his native land. The MacQuillin not only gave him an asylum, but when, as expiation for his crime, according to Romish usage, he resolved to build a monastery, the lord of Dalriada also furnished him with the necessary land. On that land Bissett built the monastery of Glenarm. On the general suppression of monasteries in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, this monastic property was granted in legal form, by the Queen's letter patent, to Alexander MacDonnell. And, as our MS. observes, it was the first spot of all Dalriada that was thus bestowed away irrespective of the consent, and beyond the control of, the MacQuillins.

Our manuscript also states that the abbey of Buna-Mairgie was built in the latter end of the fifteenth century, by Charles, son of Donald MacQuillin, whose sister or niece, Thnla Dubh Na Trillin' became its mother abbess. It was she who was called in English, Julia, the black nun. It appears from this that " dark Julia" lived in the latter part of the fifteenth and early in the sixteenth century, (not in the seventeenth century, as Mr. Hill infers). Accordingly, when she got the credit of visiting the castle halls of Randall MacDonnell, her visits must have been in ghostly guise; as we are bound to deduce from our dates that she was dead before the earl Randall was born. The lady Thula is represented in the MacQuillin papers as a very devout and devoted mother abbess, but one who in her early days partook too much of that austerity which spurns those who cannot receive as right all that it prescribes. A nun in the convent gave her so much trouble, that at length she declared her presence was so intolerable that she would no longer sleep under the same roof. The offender was accordingly expelled. But it afterwards happened that this poor sister, weak and ill, on a cold winter night, came to the gate of Buna-Mairge and asked for shelter. Dark Julia, the abbess, with all her austerity could not find in her heart to refuse the suppliant: the erring one, in that extremity, was admitted, and allowed temporarily to occupy a bed in one of the cells. But the inflexible lady, Thula, would not suffer herself to sleep that night. She paraded the halls of the monastery, walked out in the open air, and went through her devotions under the canopy of heaven, declining not only to sleep but to worship beneath the same roof that sheltered one whom she regarded as so great a heretic. However, before morning dawned, her ear was arrested by sounds of prayer and praise that issued from the cell of the contemned sister. Dark Julia entered and heard with astonishment the words of the dying girl, which spoke of joy and thanksgiving to her Eedeemer in view of her approaching dissolution, and the confidence she felt of a transition from the trials of earth to blessedness in heaven. After that event, it is said, that the mother abbess became more charitable towards others who could not see exactly as she saw, and more humble. Her tomb, still visible in the door-way of the now deserted Buna-Mairge, over which every comer has trod for the last three hundred years, may have been one of the evidences by which she chose to impress that lesson of humility and Christian charity on all the sisterhood of the convent.