Mac MaolŠin

Alumnus of Columcille (Gille Collum):


 (under construction)

The attached 7th century map illustrates the monastic sites of Ireland at that time (marked with red squares), part of the alumnus of columcille, whose primary centre of learning was situated in Iona in Scotland. Irish  monastics from Derry, Kells, Swords and Durrow rotated to Iona, Oban and Dunkeld both for religious instruction and also as monastic caretakers:



The diverse Irish annals and charters to to the "Book of Kells", (illustrated above is the Chi/Rho page from that book) verify our Irish ancestors in addition to being warrior chieftains of Luighne and Gaileanga territories, were also active members of this monastic order referred to as  "Alumnus of Columcille" which in the era of our surname research (9th to 12th century), had attained status of "Primacy of the Columban league of churches" in the territory they inhabited (i.e the principal centre for learning and leadership), based on the decision to transfer that order by the Bishop Cellach (anglicized Kelley and Kellogg) from Iona in Scotland to Ceanannus (Kells Meath), along with the relics of "Columcille" as a result of constant Viking attacks and their permanent presence in Iona (source U=Annals of Ulster)

U807.4 Building of the new monastery of Colum Cille at Cenannas.

U814.9 Cellach, abbot of Í, when the building of the church of Cenannas was finished, resigned the office of superior, and Diarmait, fosterling of Daigre, was appointed in his place.


Evidence of our surname involvement in this monastic order, is verfied with Lynan Mac Maolain recorded in this famous Book of Kells (UCC CORK EXTRACTS) as laity:



Difficult to read as a result of the script style and fading after a thousand years, the exact location for this relevant text within this book is highlighted by the word O'Laecaib which translates to Laity in Irish, referencing the status of Lynan in this monastic order (the gaelic script is an examples of the use of native Irish versus latin in documents pre norman).


Tribal contributions of the Gaileanga Mora to monastic service in several monastic sites such as Clonmacnoise and Bealach Duin (Keim monastic site Castlekeeran), were recorded much earlier in the annals . Those specific entries connecting the family Maelan/Mac Maelan to the monastic site of Kells are found below:


U1050.3 Maelán, lector of Cenannas, and the most learned of all the Irish, a distinguished sage, died.


U1051.4 Laidcnén son of Maelán, king of Gailenga, went with his queen, i.e. the daughter of the Got, to Rome on his pilgrimage and died.

U1051.4 Laidhgnen m. Maelain, ri Gaileng, cum sua regina, .i. ingen In Guit, do dul dia ailithri do Roim & a ec.


T1065.5 Leochan son of Mac Maoláin, king of the Gailenga, was slain by Conchobhar Ó Maolseachlainn. 

U1076.3 Murchadh son of Flann ua Mael Sechlainn, king of Temair for three nights, was killed in the bell-tower of Cenannas by the grandson of Maelán, king of Gailenga.





Kells would remain the primacy of the alumnus (main centre of religious instruction and education) with branch cells located in Swords Meath, Durrow Laois, Moone, and Kildare (Leinster) providing students and appointments from the time of Cellach's move in 807, until the 1158 synod of Brí meic Thaidc (in Co. Meath), which then established the authority of the abbot of Derry, Flaithbertach Ua Brolcháin over the Columban federation. The columban monastic site of Kells in Leinster was then declared free of taxation.  


Monastics from Kells Meath to Scotland (known then as Alba): 

Mac Mhaolain of Scotland  give as their progenitor, a Ghille Mhaol or Ghillacrist, based on entries found written in the “Book of Deer”, another ancient document said to have moved with Celi Di monastics from Iona to Dunkeld during the same time frame Cellach relocated to Kells.

The viking raids that brought Cellach to Kells continued, but his sucessor Diarmait appears to have made several efforts to resurrect the Iona and Alba links:

M816.7 Diarmait, Abbot of Ia Coluim Cille, went to Alba

U829.3 Diarmait, abbot of Í, went to Scotland with the halidoms of Colum Cille.

U831.1 Diarmait came back to Ireland with the halidoms of Colum Cille. 

U849.7 Indrechtach, abbot of Í, came to Ireland with the halidoms of Colum Cille.

Extract from "history of Dunkeld"

Kenneth I of Scotland (Cináed mac Ailpín) (843–58) is reputed to have brought relics of St Columba from Iona in 849, in order to preserve them from Viking raids, building a new church to replace the existing structures,[13] which may have been constructed as a simple group of wattle huts. The relics were divided in Kenneth's time between Dunkeld and the Columban monastery at Kells, Co. Meath, Ireland, to preserve them from Viking raids.

This “Book of Deer”, which also contains details of land transfers and gifts to the church recorded for a period spanning over 150 years (1000-1150AD), has two specific entries in latin, sited as evidence for the "MacMillan" surname origin:

1st Gillachrist son of Cormac, recorded as a witness; and

2nd, Malcoluim (Malcolm) mac Molina thought also to be a son of Cormac.

Extracts from the latin "Book of Deer" :

Gartnait mac Cannech & Ete ingen Gille-Míchél do-ratsat Pet Mec-Cobrig ri coscerad eclasi Críst & Petir abstoil, & do Colum Cille & do Drostán, sér ó na h-ulib dolodib, co n-a nascad do Cormac escob Dúni Callenn, in n-ocmad bliadin rígi Dauíd. Testibus istis:—Nectan escob Abberdeon, & Léot ab Brecini, & Mael-Domnig mac Mec-Bead, & Algune mac Arcill, & Ruadrí mormar Marr, & Matadín brithem, & Gille-Críst mac Cormaic, & Mal-Petir mac Domnaill, & Domongart fer léginn Turbruad, & Gille-Colaim mac Muredig, & Dubni mac Mal-Colaim.

Donnchad mac Mec-Bead mec Hidid do-rat Acchad Madchor do Críst acus do Drostán & do Choluim Cille in sore go brád. Mal-Féchín & Comgell & Gille-Críst mac Finguni i nn-a fienasi in testus, & Mal-Coluim mac Molíni. Cormac mac Cennédig do-rat gonige Scáli Merlec. Comgell mac Caennaig, taesec Clande Canan, do-rat do Críst & do Drostán & do Choluim Cille gonige in gorthe mór i gginn in fris is nesu d'Aldín Alenn, ó Dubuci go Lurchari, etar sliab & achad, i ssaeri ó théssach cu bráth; & a bennacht ar cach hén chomallfas ar és cu bráth, & a mallact ar cach én ticfa ris.

No exact dates are attached to individual enties, but Scot antiquarians estimate these entries as circa 1131-1132:   

The Rev'd Somerled McMillan in his research stated these individuals were born and received their religious education in Ireland. An additional migration mentioned in his earlier research named a Dubgaill Dall mhic gillacoluim mhic gillacrist…Gillamaol, which translates as: Dougal blind son of gillacoluim son of gillacrist…tonsured. said in Clan Chattan tradition to have come from Ireland circa 1215AD, taking possession of lands in Glen Loy and Loch Arkaig.

Dubgaill Dall he speculated to have been the grandson of a Gillachrist mac Cormac and progenitor of Clan McCallum (son of Coluim).

The Clan McCallum itself has this to say about their origins:

The origin of the name MacCallum can be traced all the way back to the arrival in Scotland of St Columba from Ireland.Columba was a pupil at a monastic school at Clonard Abbey, which is found in modern County Meath. Twelve students who studied there became known as the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. Columba was one of these.The Gaelic versions of MacCallum are Mac Chalium or Maol Chalium. They are translated as devotee or son of Columba. There is no evidence to suggest a blood relationship so it is generally accepted that the original MacCallum was a close follower of St Columba. Nearly 900 years after the time of St Columba would pass before an official record of the MacCallums would exist. 

The current head of clan MacMillan does have a heriditary eye disease. Genetic testing identifies his branching point (last shared SNP with the Morgallion McMullen family in a range at 95% confidence), as between 893-1243AD, with the most likely distance (mean=average), as 1083, making the estimates suggested here, appear very accurate based on the assumption a person promoted to a higher ecclesiatic position would likely be in his late 30's or 40's. 

Those families who remained in Kells Columcille Meath were employed in various ecclesiatical pursuits up to the time of the Norman invasion, one identified in the "Breifny Antiquarian Society research records", citing the O’Reilly notice of Conchubar Mac Maoilin 1162 AD "Abbot of Kells", included as part of their pedigree surrender and regrant submissions in the 16th century.

Driven out by invading Normans under De Lacy,  who would first demolish, then rebuild Ceannanus, Mac Maolain eclessiastical families aligned with O'Reilly, 1st migrated to an area under control of the Ui Diarmada (Loch Ce). One of the his grandsons, a Clarus Mac Maolain became Archdeacon of Elphin, Roscommon, and would later return with a group of monastics to the area of Loch Oughter in Co Cavan, occupying an island townland named Trinity, given to him by the O’Reilly chieftain of east Briefne (Cavan & Monaghan were part of Connacht until the 16th century transfer by the English to Ulster province).



Some of his sons are later found in Cavan and Monaghan churchlands as erenagh families.

The O'Reilly and other Irish families including Mac Maolain's, would return to the Kells area several generations later, as recorded in the Chancery letters of the occupying English:


These patent roll records confirm the re-entry of O'Reilly and native Irish families including Mullen and McMullen to the Lower Kells and Nobber areas where descendant families are recorded during the reformation period and 1641-49 uprisings, when the allied themselves with the Plunkett, Cruice (Cruse) and Gormanston families against the English and Cromwellian forces. Subsequent confiscations resulted in loss of townland leases to O'Reilly, Mullen and also McMullen families, who relocated to Moorechurch and Julainstown area of Meath on churchlands provided by the Viscount Gormanston, and to Co. Kilkenny on lands leased there.