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Tír Mhic Caoirthinn [1] (Irish)
Tirkeeran barony.png
Location of Tirkeeran, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Northern Ireland
County Londonderry

Tirkeeran (from Irish Tír Mhic Caoirthinn 'land of Cartin' [1] ) is a barony in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. [2] It connects to the north-Londonderry coastline, and is bordered by four other baronies: Keenaght to the east; Strabane Lower to the south-east; North West Liberties of Londonderry to the west; Strabane Upper to the south. [2]



Tirkeeran derives its name from the territory of the Airgiallan clan; Ui Mhic Carthainn (MacCarthain), one of the earliest tribes in the area based to the south-east of Locha Febail (Lough Foyle). [3] The Ui Mhic Carthainn are claimed to descend from Forgo mac Carthainn, the great-great-grandson of Colla Uais.[ citation needed ]

Dunchad mac Ultain is cited as king of the Ui Meic Cairthinn in 677, [4] when he was killed by the Cenél nEóghain king, Mael Fithrich. It was around this period that the Cenél nEóghain were attempting to expand eastwards from their homeland in Innishowen, in modern-day County Donegal and into central Ulster. [4] Eventually the Cenél nEóghain crushed the power and independence of the Ui Mhic Carthainn and subjugated them, however it would remain in some minor form until the end of the eleventh century when the Annals cite Conchobhor ua hAinniaraidh, king of Cianachta and Ua Cein king of the Ui Meic Carithinn fell by each other in combat. [5]

Prior to the 13th century the septs of Ó Cairealláin (O'Carolan) and Mac Eiteagain (MacEttigan) are cited as ruling the territory of Clann Diarmatta (south-east of Lough Foyle), which contained the present-day parish of Clondermot (which derives its name from the territory). These septs descend from the Cenél nEóghain branch Clann Conchúir Magh Ithe (Clan Connor of Moy Ith), of which the O'Cahans were the principal sept and who would later dominate and rule a territory spanning the baronies of Tirkeeran, Keenaght, and Coleraine. [6] [7]

When the baronies of Ulster were being created by the English from 1585, the general manner was to name it after the principal town or castle lying within the area, in which they held their court, baron, and gaol. This resulted in Firnacreeve being renamed as the barony of Coleraine, and Kinel-Ferady to the barony of Clogher. The 1591 inquisition which shired County Tyrone specified as one of its eight baronies "Anagh, conteyninge Tyrchyrine [Tirkeeran], Sgryn [Magilligan], and Clandermod [Clondermot]". [8] The name Anagh was after the O'Cahan's castle, which stood on an island in Enagh Lough. Anagh was one of three baronies transferred from Tyrone to the new County Coleraine, which in turn was enlarged and renamed County Londonderry in 1613. The name of the barony was changed from Anagh to Tirkeeran some time between 1615 and 1639. [5] [8]

List of settlements

Below is a list of settlements in Tirkeeran: [1]

Cities and towns


Population centres

List of civil parishes

Below is a list of civil parishes in Tirkeeran: [9]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">County Londonderry</span> County in Ireland

County Londonderry, also known as County Derry, is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland, one of the thirty two counties of Ireland and one of the nine counties of Ulster. Before the partition of Ireland, it was one of the counties of the Kingdom of Ireland from 1613 onward and then of the United Kingdom after the Acts of Union 1800. Adjoining the north-west shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,118 km2 (818 sq mi) and today has a population of about 247,132.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">O'Cahan</span> Family name

The O'Cahan were a powerful sept of the Northern Uí Néill’s Cenél nEógain in medieval Ireland. The name is presently anglicized as Keane, O'Kane and Kane.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Inishowen</span> Peninsula in Ireland

Inishowen is a peninsula in the north of County Donegal in Ireland. Inishowen is the largest peninsula on the island of Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Magilligan</span> Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Magilligan is a peninsula that lies in the northwest of County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, at the entrance to Lough Foyle, within Causeway Coast and Glens district. It is an extensive 79,000-acre (32,000-hectare) coastal site, part British army firing range, part nature reserve and is home to the HM Prison Magilligan. The settlement of Magilligan Point on the lough is noted for its ferry crossing to Greencastle, County Donegal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dál nAraidi</span> Cruthin kingdom

Dál nAraidi or Dál Araide, sometimes Latinised as Dalaradia or Anglicised as Dalaray, was a Cruthin kingdom, or possibly a confederation of Cruthin tribes, in north-eastern Ireland during the Middle Ages. It was part of the over-kingdom of Ulaid, and its kings often contended with the Dál Fiatach for the over-kingship of the province. At its greatest extent, the borders of Dál nAraidi roughly matched those of County Antrim, and they seemed to occupy the same area as the earlier Robogdii of Ptolemy's Geography, a region shared with Dál Riata. Their capital was Ráth Mór outside Antrim, and their eponymous ancestor is claimed as being Fiachu Araide.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Airgíalla</span> Mediaeval Irish overkingdom

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Earldom of Ulster</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coleraine (barony)</span> Place in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Coleraine is a barony in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It connects to the north-Londonderry coastline, and is bordered by five other baronies: Keenaght to the west; Loughinsholin to the south; North East Liberties of Coleraine, Dunluce Upper, and the Kilconway to the east. Before its creation it was once a territory known as "Firnacreeve".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Keenaght (barony)</span> Place in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Keenaght is a barony in the mid-northerly third of County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It connects to the north-Londonderry coastline, and is bordered by four other baronies: Coleraine to the east; Loughinsholin to the south-east; Tirkeeran to the west; and Strabane Upper to the south-west. It was the territory of the Cianachta Glengiven from the 5th century until its takeover in the 12th century by the Ó Cathaín's. The largest settlement in the barony is the town of Limavady.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clogher (barony)</span> Place in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

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Áed in Macáem Tóinlesc or Aodh an Macaoimh Tóinleasg was a 12th-century ruler of Tulach Óc and Tír Eogain. He was the first of his family to play a significant role in the high politics of northern Ireland, following the death of the Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn king of Tír Eogain and high king of Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Northern Uí Néill</span> Name given to several dynasties in north-western medieval Ireland

The Northern Uí Néill is any of several dynasties in north-western medieval Ireland that claimed descent from a common ancestor, Niall of the Nine Hostages. Other dynasties in central and eastern Ireland who also claimed descent from Niall were termed the Southern Uí Néill. The dynasties of the Northern Uí Néill were the Cenél Conaill and Cenél nEógain, named after the two most powerful sons of Niall: Conall and Eógain.

The Cenél nEógain or Kinel-Owen are a branch of the Northern Uí Néill, who claim descent from Eógan mac Néill, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Originally their power-base was in Inishowen, with their capital at Ailech, in modern-day County Donegal in what is now the west of Ulster. Under pressure from the Cenél Conaill, they gradually spread their influence eastwards into modern counties Tyrone and Londonderry, pushing aside the Cruithin east of the River Bann, and encroaching on the Airgiallan tribes west of Lough Neagh. By the 11th century their power-base had moved from Ailech to Tullyhogue outside Cookstown, County Tyrone. By the 12th century the Cenél Conaill conquered Inishowen; however, it mattered little to the Cenél nEóghain as they had established a powerful over-kingdom in the east that had become known as Tír Eoghain, or the "Land of Owen", preserved in the modern-day name of County Tyrone.

The Cenél Conaill, or "kindred of Conall", are a branch of the Northern Uí Néill, who claim descent from Conall Gulban, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, and allegedly the first Irish nobleman to convert to Christianity. Their kingdom was known as Tír Conaill, with their powerbase at Mag Ithe in the Finn valley, however they gradually expanded to cover what is now counties Donegal and Fermanagh. The Cenél Conaill clashed regularly with their kin the Cenél nEogain, eventually capturing the latters original power-base of Ailech in the Inishowen peninsula—in modern-day County Donegal—by the 12th century.

Dál nAraidi in Tuaiscirt, also known as Dál nAraidi of the North, was a Dál nAraidi petty-kingdom and dynasty located in the over-kingdom of Ulaid, in medieval Ireland. It derived from a branch of the ruling Uí Chóelbad dynasty of Dál nAraidi Magh Line that had conquered the petty kingdom of Eilne at some point in the 7th century. The last known king of Dál nAraidi in Tuaiscirt is recorded in 883, with the territory having been taken over by the 10th century by the Uí Tuirtrí.


  1. 1 2 3 "Tirkeeran". Placenames Database of Ireland. Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  2. 1 2 PRONI Baronies of Northern Ireland
  3. Bready History; Chapter 1
  4. 1 2 Cartin, Edward; Cartin; One of the oldest surnames in Ulster?
  5. 1 2 Cartin, Edward; Where did and do the Ui Mhic Carthainn live? Archived 2011-08-13 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Ireland's History in Maps - The baronies of Ireland
  7. Ireland's History in Maps - The Northern Uí Neill
  8. 1 2 Reeves, William (1850). Acts of Archbishop Colton in his metropolitan visitation in the diocese of Derry, A.D. MCCCXCVII (1850). Dublin: Irish Archaeological Society. pp. 28–29, fn. b.
  9. Map of the baronies and civil parishes of County Londonderry