Mac MaolŠin

Mac Maoláin: Ceanannas Mide to Ceanannas Osrai (Kells Meath to Kells Ossory) Co. Kilkenny:


The McMullen family of Kilkenny are descended from sons of the Luighne who became overlords of the Gaileanga Mora territory of Ui Leochain (O"Lohan) during the 10th and 11th centuries:

This family is clearly identified in the Annals of Ireland as Lords of the Luighne and Gaileanga Meath, Cavan and Tara (Breagh or Brega), These territories are now represented by modern baronies of Morgallion, Lower Kells, Castlerahan, Clankee, Cavan, Skreen and Duleek Co. Meath.

In 1037AD, Laidcenn (variant Laidgnen) anglicised Lynan, a son of Maolán and grandson of Eccnigh (variant Ecneach) was elected king of the Gaileanga Mora.

Lynan married the daughter of the Gott Malachi (Maelsechlain) of the Southern Ui Neill, and is recorded in "the charters" to the Book of Kells as Laity or erenagh (Gille Colum) Alumnus of Kells) and witness to the freedom of Kildalkey (a transfer of land by Malachi to the monastic community).

Lynan's brother Maelan was a lector in the Kells monastery, part of the kin of columcille with rotations of Kells, Derry, Iona, Dunkeld.

Lynan and his wife (a daughter of Queen Mor) travelled on a pilgrimage to Rome and are recorded in Irish Annals 1051AD as having died in the east during their return. His son Leochan (Loughan) mac maic Maolán succeeded him asking of the Gaileanga in 1060AD.

No further territorial reference to Ui Leochain is made from the point of this marriage with a rigdamna (royal) daughter of Ui Neill in the Irish Annals.  All subsequent entries use verbal identifiers of mac, maic and Mic Maoláin, verifying the collateral emergence of that surname anglicized as McMullen.

The last noble Mac Mic Maoláin tigherna (chieftain) of the Gaileanga Breagh (Brega) was recorded slain 1144AD.

Descendants of this family migrated following inter-tribal conflicts and subsequent invasion of the Normans to the provinces of Connacht (Cluain Mhic Mhaolain Kilnamanagh), to Leinster (Ballymullen alias Mc.Mullen Wexford), Louth (Ardee Ballymullen) and parish of Clonduff (townland of Cabra, Iveagh Co. Down).

In the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, they can be found recorded in associations primarily of an eclesiastic involvement, but are also listed occupationally as clergy, builders and erenaghs (administrators of church properties) plus maintainers (farmers) of termon church lands. 

It is from one of these families last located in Ardmagh (Brega) Co. Meath that our Kilkenny family descended (James McMullan b.1590> James b.1620, his son James b.1650, who migrated with his family to Co. Kilkenny circa 1684.

In the south of Ireland, these McMullan/en families are recorded 17th to 20th century employed as erenaghs in Monastervin Kildare, builders of Mills in Co. Kilkenny, administrators of the Grand Canal project in Dublin and midlands, architects and builders of many fine churches in Co. Cork and as merchants and manufacturers in Callan, Kells, Carlow, Laois and Dublin.

For full details and documents referencing marriages, births, deaths, gravesites and occupational involvements of our agnatic descendant families located in Callan, Kells, Ballycuddihy and Castlecomer area of Co. Kilkenny, please contact the following email: