Mac Maoláin:

Evolution to the surname form "Mac Maolain" occurred in 1037AD, with Laidcenn (variant Laidgnen, anglicised and pronounced as Lynan), son of the chieftain Maolán who d.1018AD, a son of Eccnigh, (variant Ecneach) pronounced Eaney) a Lord of the Luighne.

Maolán, a successor lord of the luighne, was also subsequently appointed by Conchubar Maelsechlain, as lord of all the midland Gaileanga & Luigne.

The tribal territories of these midland Luighne and Gaileanga are illustrated above in a map provided by the Briefne Antiquarian Society, illuminating their territory as more expansive circa 700AD than reflected by the surviving  modern baronies of Lune and Morgallion Co Meath.


Lynan had married the daughter of the Gott Maelsechlain (McLoughlin), the son of Conchubar Maelsechlain, Clan Cholmain Southern Ui Neill.

Both Lynan and his wife "Queen Mor" are recorded in "the charters" of the Book of Kells. He is identified there as King of the Luighne, and as Laity of Gille Colum= Alumnus of Kells. Both were witnesses to the freedom of Kildalkey (a transfer of land by Conchubar (high king) to this monastic community in atonement for having blinded the former Abbot, Gille Collum (read our website page titled Alumnus of Columcille).


Lynan succeeded his father as lord of the Gaileanga and Luigne territories. References to previous territorial clusters/affiliations (ie, Ui Lorcan/Ui Leochain) used by scribes earlier, were from the point of Lynan's marriage with a rigdamna (royal) daughter of the Clan Cholmain "Southern Ui Neill" in the Irish Annals, changed to a clarifying verbal identifier of mac, maic and Mic Maoláin, representing the collateral emergence of the surname anglicized McMullen.


Lynan and Queen Mor, embarked on a religious pilgrimage to Rome, and are recorded in the Irish Annals 1051AD as having unfortunately died during their return. His son Leochan (Loughanmac maic Maolán became successor chieftain of the Gaileanga in 1060AD, but not of the Luighne (that responsibility handed to the O'Brion=Breen family). He was killed just six years later in a conflict between the Meath and Brega lines of Mael Sechlain, competing for royal titles.


The last noble  tigherna (chieftain) recorded by surname as lord of the Gaileanga Breagh (Brega) was Mac Mic Maoláin slain 1144AD, with additional mentions 1166 and 1176AD of Gaileanga Lords, void of a specific forename. The last Abbot of Kells recorded prior to the Norman Invasion was Conchubar Mac Maolain 1162AD (citation O’Reilly pedigree submission during regrant era).


According to annals and published research of antiquarian's such as Rev Patrick Woulfe, survivors of the Gaileanga Brega tribal cluster previously extant in Morgallion (Machaire Galeng), relocated to the north of Dublin (Duleek Brega).


These tribal clusters of Luighne & Gaileanga, were mercenary Warriors, described in one early annal entry as "the sons of death", but their chieftains (Maoláin) and downstream relations (Mac Maoláin), like most noble families, also held positions as titled Ecclesiatics, monastic land Erenaghs and family groupings who adopted the surname's later anglicised as Mullen and McMullen.  Following inter-tribal conflicts and the subsequent invasion of the Normans, dispersed, they can be found recorded occupationally in several townland areas: Connacht (Cluain Mhic Mhaolain Kilnamanagh Rosscommon), Leinster (Ballymullen alias Mc.Mullen Wexford), Duleek/Dundalk (Rathmullen), Louth (Ardee Ballymullen), diocese & parish of Clonduff, townland of Cabra, Iveagh (MacMullen) and Rathmullen Co. Down, plus parish of Ahoghill Co. Antrim, to name a few. Many were employed in various roles attached to monastic sites and the early hospitals erected by the normans (Knights of St John Jerusalem) in Kilmainhamwood, Kilmainham beg (Kells).


During the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, they are recorded in the annals, often linked to the dynastic family pedigree of O'Reilly primarily in roles of an ecclesiastic nature: clergybuilders and erenaghs (administrators of church properties) and land maintainers (farmers) of termon church lands.


The surnames Mullen and McMullen adopted by our ancestors can be found in the fiantschancery entries, lordship family papers (Gormanston) land records, valuation, tithes, marriage and death records and several other locational references for Co. Meath


It is from one of those erenagh families located in Ardmagh (Brega "Lower Kells" part of Barony of Morgallion), Rathgillen parish of Nobber, Kells town itself and Slane, that the Kilkenny family lines descended: James McMullen b.1590> James McMullen b.1620 >James McMullen b.1650 and his son John born 1672.


This townland of Ardmagh ("known as the 4 poles of" ) pronounced "Armagh" is recorded in the Down Survey of 1654 using the variant spelling form Ardmagh (the same variant form used in the survey for the Armagh of Co Armagh)



This section still under construction will include documentation of Mullen and McMullen families of Leinster up to modern times