NAOIGHIALLACH — Niall of the Nine Hostages
353 AD — Died 405 AD
ask where am I from, I shall tell you that I descend from the ancient
High Kings of Ireland, long ago".
say that Irish history really began with Niall Naoighiallach, or
in English Niall of the Nine Hostages. He was so called because
he got nine pledges of allegiance from nine nations or regions which
included the ancient five provinces of Ireland namely, Connacht,
Leinster, Meath, Munster and Ulster. The other places were Scotland,
Saxony, Britain/Wales and Brittany. According to tradition Niall
was a tall, fair-haired warrior. He became High King of Ireland
in 379 AD. He spent most of his life on military campaigns and raids
instead of governing. He died on one of these legendary excursions
to France in 405 AD. From him descend many north western Irish clans
including the McGinleys. From DNA evidence of recent years, science
has confirmed what we knew for generations. We are from the blood
of Niall of the Nine Hostages, originator of the ancient Uí
Néill (descendants of Niall) bloodline.
clan belong to an area straddling the parishes of Tullaghobegly,
Raymunterdoney and Clondahorky (see map in Clan
Territory), which includes the large area called Cloughaneely.
Mag Fhionnghaile/McGinley clan were, historically, one of the lesser
known clans in Co. Donegal. They have since the very beginning had
a close association with religion. The earliest record we have of
a McGinley takes back to the early 1300's when 'the daughter of
Mag Fhionnghaile' is mentioned.
in the early 1500's, a branch of the clan settled in the county
of Westmeath and changed slightly their name to McGinnell and Ginnell.
The Irish Gaelic form was also changed by dropping the final letter
‘e’, thus Mag Fhionnghail/Mag Fhionnail. The reason
for part of the clan re-settling in Co. Westmeath, far from their
native Donegal, is not known. It happened before the widespread
English enforced clearances of the north Donegal area. The vast
majority of the name in Co. Westmeath are generally now found simply
as Ginnell. Today the name can be found in Australia but usually
as McGindle. Interestingly, in the Genealogical Office in Dublin,
there is a record of a ‘grant of lands’ to an Andrew
Ginley of Rotoath, Co. Meath (next to Co. Westmeath). This was under
the year 1636! There is a suggestion that during the evil Cromwellian
atrocities on the Irish people, some of the clan fled south to settle
in Co. Westmeath, no doubt the location was chosen because of our
earlier settlement there in the previous century. The surname, usually
found as Ginnell and McGinnell, is still found in the Westmeath
area. The name rose to national and international fame through the
exploits of Laurence Ginnell (see Famous
Co. Donegal clans such as the Clerys, Devannys, Divers, Gallaghers,
McDaids, McLoughlins, McNultys, O’Donnells, Sweeneys and McGinnellys
(the usual spelling there) are to be found in the Burrishoole and
Achill Island areas in the west of Co. Mayo. It is recorded that
these Donegal clans settled there under the leadership of Ruairí
Ó Domhnaill/Rory O’Donnell from Lifford in Co. Donegal.
This was just after the time of the Battle of Kinsale (1601), part
of the Nine Years War. He was pardoned by the English, along with
his followers, for rebellious acts against the English Crown. The
first of the Donegal clans arrived there in 1602 (see Edward McLysaght).
It would seem therefore that members of the McGinley clan returned
home first before being 'moved on' to Connacht.