Mac MaolŠin

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


The McMullen family of Kilkenny based on oral tradition, genetic match and historic research descend from sons of the Luighne inhabiting the Gaileanga Mora territory of Ui Leochain (O"Lohan) circa 10th century.

They are identified in the Annals of Ireland as Lords of the Gaileanga and Luighne,  Meath, Cavan and Tara (Breagh or Brega), now represented by the modern baronies of Morgallion, Lower Kells, Castlerahan, Clankee Cavan, Skreene and Duleek Meath.

In 1037AD, Laidcenn (variant Laidgnen) anglicised Lynan, son of Maolán, grandson of Eccnigh (variant Ecneach) Ui Leochain, was elected king of the Gaileanga Mora. Lynan married the daughter of the Gott Malachi of the Southern Ui Neill, and was also recorded in "the charters" to the Book of Kells as Laity or erenagh (Gille Colum) for the Alumnus of Kells and a 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 (Queen Mor) travelled on a pilgrimage to Rome and were recorded in Irish Annals 1051AD as having died in the east on their return. His son Leochan (Loughan) mac maic Maolán succeeded him as elected king of the Gaileanga in 1060AD.

No further territorial reference using  the form Ui Leochain is made from the point of his marriage with a rigdamna (royal) daughter of Ui Neill forward 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 appear to have migrated following inter-tribal conflicts and subsequent invasion of the Normans to the provinces of Connacht (Cluain Mhic Mhaolain Kilnamanagh), Leinster (Ballymullen alias Mc.Mullen Abbyleix), Louth (Ardee Ballymullen) and to the parish of Clonduff (townland of Cabra, Iveagh Co. Down).

In the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, they can be found recorded in associations primarily with eclesiastic settlements,  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 1st located in Ardmagh (Brega) Co. Meath that our Kilkenny family descended (James MacMullen b.c 1590 his son James born 1620).

In the south of Ireland, McMullen 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 and Dublin.

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