Ireland has had nobles or peers for millennia. They
fall into a number of categories which are listed below:
Ancient Irish Gaelic nobles (pre-English rule, extant before 1171)
Queens and noblewomen
the Lordship of Ireland and the Kingdom of Ireland (created between 1171 and 1799)
Peers of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (from 1801)
This list covers peerages possessed by Irish people from any
of the three categories. The title is listed first, followed by famous figures associated with the family beneath. It does
not include non-Irish people awarded Irish titles; for example, the Duke of Connaught, son of Queen Victoria. Another category
would include Irish people bearing foreign noble titles, or having been ennobled through investiture into the nobiliary
Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta (see Knights of Malta). Historical
titles have no special legal status in Ireland, unlike the United Kingdom. The modern state of Ireland does not confer titles
of nobility, as under the Irish constitution, all citizens are considered equal.
The Gaelic Nobles of Ireland
1943 until 2003 some of the modern representatives of the Gaelic nobility obtained a courtesy recognition asChiefs
of the Name from the Irish government. The practice ended in 2003 following certain problems and under concerns that
it was unconstitutional. Disputed titles, as well as those for whom recognition is still pending, are not listed. The Gaelic
families are divided by race and sept, and by geography.
The O'Conor Don, Prince of Connacht
Family Seat: Clonalis House
The MacDermot of Moylurg
of Breifne (restored)
The O'Neill of Clanaboy, Prince of Ulster
Family Seat: Tullyhogue Fort
The O'Donnell, Prince of Tyrconnell
Seat: Donegal Castle
of Inishowen (restored)
The O'Kelly of Gallagh and Tycooly, Prince of Hy Many
The Fox of Tethbae (O'Kearney)
The MacMorrough Kavanagh,
Prince of Leinster
The O'Toole of Fer Tire (currently dormant)
O'Brien, Prince of Thomond
Family Seat: Dromoland
The O'Grady of Kilballyowen
O'Donovan of Clancahill
Family Seat: Hollybrook
The O'Donoghue of the Glens
Family Seat: Ross Castle
MacGillycuddy of the Reeks
The O'Callaghan of Duhallow
of the Glens (restored)
The King of
Dublin (currently dormant, occasional claimants)
To this list may be added modern representatives of the Gaelic nobility who did not apply for recognition.
The most notable of these is O'Neill of the Fews, Prince of Ulster, Don Carlos O'Neill, 12th Marquis of Granja.
There is currently a dispute between him, O'Neill of Clanaboy (above), and the O'Neills of Puerto Rico, over who is the
senior, with the matter appearing unresolvable. Not contesting is the newly restored Count of Tyrone (Jacobum
de Tyrone, Comes - Vatican 2006).
remain other Gaelic nobles who are not the senior descendants.
The Count O'Donnell of Austria (O'Donell von Tyrconnell)
The Count O'Rourke of Russia
Some confusion persists in the case of the O'Rourkes, but the recognized heir apparent of the Prince of Tyrconnell,
Fr. Hugh O'Donel, O.F.M., is Don Hugo O'Donnell, Duke of Tetuan.
The O'Neills (of the Fews) are further represented by the Johnson Baronets (see Sir William
Johnson, 1st Baronet), and the Uí Fidgenti by the O'Connell Baronets.
All individuals listed have surnames of noble origins and are notable people, the only requirements
The Laigin are arguably the most senior of the Irish races with
currently recognized representatives. In historical times their lands were among the smaller, but evidence exists for their
domination of half the island in the proto-historical period. As the province of Leinster was the most isolated,
it became the frequent target of the expanding Uí Néill, which resulted in incredible antagonism between the
dynasties. In the end the Laigin resisted successfully and the ancient core of their lands remained untaken until the Norman
invasion of Ireland, when much of the province was granted to the Normans by Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster,
in his attempt to take the high kingship. But this was not the end of the powerful Laigin families.
St Laurence O'Toole
Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne
Diarmait mac Maíl
Art mac Art MacMurrough-Kavanagh
The origins of the Dál gCais are obscure, but they have established themselves as
one of the most powerful and enigmatic Irish kindreds of the last eleven centuries.
Toirdelbach Ua Briain
Muirchertach Ua Briain
Murrough O'Brien, 1st Earl of Thomond
Terence Albert O'Brien
O'Brien, 1st Earl of Inchiquin
William O'Brien, 4th
Earl of Inchiquin
Murrough O'Brien, 1st Marquess of
James O'Brien, 3rd Marquess of Thomond
Lucius O'Brien, 13th Baron Inchiquin
George O'Brien (painter)
Patrice de Mac-Mahon, duc
Patrick Kennedy, Sr. (Knight of Malta)
Patrick Kennedy, Jr.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington
Robert Francis Kennedy
Like the Dál gCais, the Éile were once thought
to be related to the Eóganachta. However, they appear to have originated among the Laigin.
O'Carroll of Éile
Carroll family of Maryland
seat: Doughoregan Manor
Charles Carroll the Settler
Charles Carroll of Annapolis
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Charles Carroll (barrister)
Thomas King Carroll
Anna Ella Carroll
John Lee Carroll
The Corcu Loígde are the most widely known descendants of the proto-historical Dáirine.
They were a famous power until defeated by an alliance of the Eóganachta and Uí Néill in
the mid 1st millennium AD.
O'Leary of Rosscarbery
Art Ó Laoghaire
Bhuí Ní Laoghaire
Uí Fidgenti are sometimes counted among the Eóganachta but they appear to descend primarily from theDáirine,
like the Corcu Loígde.
O'Connell of Derrynane
Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill
Daniel Charles, Count O'Connell
O'Connell, The Liberator
John O'Connell (MP)
Ó Coileáin of Carbery
Michael Collins (Irish leader)
Uí Chairpri Áebda
Daniel O'Donovan (MP Baltimore)
John O'Donovan (scholar)
William Joseph Donovan (Knight of Malta)
The ancestors of the Eóganachta were known as the Deirgtine, who may have arrived
relatively recently from Gaul. They came to power in Munster around the 7th century AD.
Counts of Toulouse
Nicholas Tuite MacCarthy
Charles MacCarthy (governor)
Donagh MacCarthy, Viscount Muskerry
Charles MacCarthy (Irish soldier)
Earl of Clancarty
Donough MacCarthy, 4th
Earl of Clancarty
Robert MacCarty, Viscount Muskerry
Cam Ó Súilleabháin Béirre
Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin
Sir Edward Sullivan, 1st Baronet
Jeremiah C. Sullivan
Daniel Judson Callaghan
Pierce Charles de Lacy O'Mahony
Uí Maine and Airgialla
The Airgialla and Uí Maine are sometimes counted among
the Connachta and Uí Néill. The question of their origins is spectacularly complex.
Maguire, 2nd Baron of Enniskillen
Connachta, or more specifically the Three Connachta of Connacht, are considered to be close
cousins to the Uí Néill.
Ruaidrí na Saide Buide
Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair
Ruaidri Ua Conchobair
Conchobar Máenmaige Ua Conchobhair
Cathal Crobdearg Ua Conchobair
mac Cathal Crobdearg Ua Conchobair
Aedh mac Ruaidri
Charles O'Conor Don (historian)
Arthur O'Connor (United Irishman)
Francisco Burdett O'Connor
Joseph Cornelius O'Rourke
Flaithbertaigh Ua Flaithbertaigh
Sir Roger O'Shaughnessy of Kinelea
Uí Fiachrach Muaidhe
The famous Uí
Néill are thought to belong to the ancient Connachta and to be close cousins to the Three Connachtaof Connacht.
Conn Ó Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone
Turlough Luineach Ó Neill
Hugh Ó Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone
Count of Tyrone
Owen Roe O'Neill
Felim O'Neill of Kinard
Hugh McShane Ó Neill
Tirlough Brassileagh Ó Neill
Phelim Caoch Ó Neill
O'Neill (Irish soldier)
Henrique O'Neill, 1st Viscount
of Santa Mónica
Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet
Sir John Johnson, 2nd Baronet
Roe Ó Donnell
Niall Garve O'Donnell
Rory Ó Donnell, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell
Leopoldo O'Donnell, 1st Duke of Tetuan
Marquis of Osorno
Uí Néill of Scotland
Not all of these have been proven to be Uí Néill,
but they do all claim to descend from Ánrothán, son of Áed, son ofFlaithbertach Ua Néill, King
of Ailech and Cenél nEógain, died 1036. The MacSweeneys later appear in Ireland and one has recently
petitioned the Irish government for recognition, investigation still pending as a result of the MacCarthy Mor. The MacEwens,
though an armigerous clan under Scots law, are listed because they appear to belong to the Scottish Uí
Néill kindred in some way. It should be noted that Scottish clans are a great deal more heterogeneous than Irish septs
and so the majority of these Uí Néill will be so through marriages and other arrangements.
Seat: Castle Lachlan
Family Seat: Kisimul Castle
Family Seats: Castle Sween and Doe Castle
Clan Donald and Clan MacDougall
Based in Scotland, these large and powerful clans, closely related, are composed of Airgialla, Dál
Riata, andNorwegian elements. The Norwegian contribution is substantial, approximately 25%.
Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg and MacDonnell of Antrim
Sorley Boy MacDonnell
Alasdair Mac Colla
Randal MacDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim
Randal MacDonnell, 1st Marquess of Antrim (1645 creation)
Gerald FitzGerald, 15th Earl
James FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Desmond
Ulick na gCeann Burke, Earl of Clanricarde
John Pope Hennessy
Sir John Wyndham Pope-Hennessy
Ulaid and Dál Riata
These powerful Iron Age peoples, related to the Dáirine (above),
were slowly replaced in Ireland by the Uí Néill and later by the Normans, but they continued to play major roles
for some centuries, notably in the founding ofScotland. It is possible they had British origins and were not in Ireland for
very long before the rise of the other kindreds, but they are also among the earliest documented speakers of Gaelic and may
have been among the original speakers. This is hotly debated and a major source of contention. The Dál Riata are represented
among theScottish nobility to this day, by the Macleans (below) with the most self-confidence, and probably by others.
The Scottish genealogical tradition is poor and so in most cases origins are determined by family traditions and location.
A number of families clearly derive from a Dál Riata milieu. Formerly Clan Campbell and the Duke
of Argyll were included but they now appear to be of Strathclyde British or Pictish origins and not
Dál Riata. Clan Mackenzie and the Earl of Cromartie, Clan Mackay and the Lord
Reay, Clan MacLaren, Clan Mackinnon, Clan MacLea, Clan Mackintosh with Clan MacDuff and
the Earls of Fife, Clan Malcolm, Clan Matheson and the Baronet
of Lochalsh, Clan Robertson, Clan Ross and the early Earls of Ross, Clan Scott and
the Duke of Buccleuch andQueensberry, Clan Scrymgeour and the Earl
of Dundee, Clan Shaw of Tordarroch, Clan Skene, Clan Spens and theBaron Spens, and Clan
Wemyss and the Earl of Wemyss and March, may all share a partial Dál Riata background.
Báetán mac Cairill
Niall mac Eochada
Uí Echach Cobo
Gabrán mac Domangairt a quo
House of Dunkeld
Malcolm III of Scotland
I of Scotland
Alexander II of Scotland
Alexander III of Scotland
Margaret of Scotland, Queen of Norway
Prince of Scotland
Margaret, Maid of Norway
Loarn mac Eirc a quo Cenél Loairn
House of Moray
Mormaers of Moray
Findláech of Moray
Macbeth of Scotland
Óengus of Moray
Cenél Báetáin of Morvern
of Duart and Morvern
Family Seat: Duart Castle
The Baronet of Strachur and Glensluain
Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie
Irish Queens and Noblewomen
of the earlier may derive from historical women, and others may be entirely mythological, but many are considered ancestors
by living noble families.
Gormflaith ingen Murchada
The following are completely Historical
Eva MacMurrough, known as Aoife
Isabel de Clare, 4th Countess of Pembroke
Elizabeth de Veele
Elizabeth Plunkett, Countess of Fingall
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
For further study
Danish people (see also Cimbri)
O'Rahilly's historical model
Cerball mac Dúnlainge
Mac Amhlaoibh and Mac Amhalghaidh (Irish septs)
created by Kings of England - Great Britain - United Kingdom
of Leinster, (formerly known as the Earl of Kildare), Ireland's premier peer.
Garret (Mór) FitzGerald - viceroy under King Henry VIII
Garret (Óg) FitzGerald - son of the above and also a viceroy
Silken Thomas - son of the above, rebelled against Henry VIII and was executed.
Lord Edward FitzGerald - 18th century rebel associated with 1798 rebellion
Family seats: Carton House, Co. Kildare (until early 20th century) Leinster House,
Dublin City (until beginning of the 19th century - now seat of Dáil Éireann)
The Duke of Abercorn - title created in 1868 for heir
male of the Hamilton family
Henry Conyngham, 8th Marquess Conyngham,
rock impressario and unsuccessful Dáil candidate for Fine Gael in the 1992 Irish general
Seat: Slane Castle, Co. Meath.
Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh,
later 2nd Marquess - politician involved with the passage of theIrish Act of Union 1799-1801.
Lord Londonderry - Ulster Unionist Party Minister for Education in Northern
Lady Londonderry - society host, friend of Winston
Churchill and Michael Collins, Irish republican leader
The Marquess of Sligo
Family Seat:Westport House, Westport, County Mayo
The Earl of Fingall (Plunkett)
The first Countess of Fingall was Elizabeth O'Donnell of Tyrconnell
The last Countess of Fingall - author of Seventy Years Young(title extinct 1984...distant
kin to the Lords Dunsany)
Family Seat: Killeen Castle, Co. Meath (until mid 20th century. Castle burned by the Provisional IRAin 1981)
The Earls of Tyrone
Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone
O'Neill Shane the Proud, The O'Neill Mór
O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone of the Flight of the Earls fame.
Family Seat: Dungannon and Blackwater Castle, County Tyrone.
Earl of Longford
Pakenham, 6th Earl of Longford - theatre manager in the Gate Theatre in Dublin.
Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, (brother of the 6th earl) - British politician, author
Lady Antonia Fraser, (daughter
of Frank Pakenham) historian and author
8th Earl of Longford - author
Family Seat: Tullynally Castle (formerly called Pakenham Hall), Co. Westmeath.
Family seats: Powerscourt House, Co. Wicklow (until mid 20th century - house subsequently partially destroyed
by fire, but restored and since 1961 owned by the Slazenger family, by marriage related to the present and 10th Viscount Powerscourt);
Powerscourt House, Dublin (until 19th century - now a famous shopping arcade)
Baron of Dunsany
John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron - author and dramatist
St. Oliver Plunkett - martyred Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, canonised by Pope Paul VI in
Dunsany Castle, Co. Meath
Lord Killanin - head of the International
Michael (Mouse) Morris - successful
Irish jockey and horse-trainer.
^ The Irish Constitution
References - Irish Chiefs
Burke, Bernard and Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd,
Burke's Irish Family Records, or Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland. London: Burke's Peerage Ltd. 5th edition, 1976.
Chambers, Anne, At Arm's Length: Aristocrats in the Republic of Ireland. New Island Books.
2nd revised edition, 2005. (interviews with selected families)
Curley, Walter J.P., Vanishing Kingdoms: The Irish Chiefs and their Families. Dublin: Lilliput Press. 2004. (includes
several disputed and spurious)
Ellis, Peter Berresford,
Erin's Blood Royal: The Gaelic Noble Dynasties of Ireland. Palgrave. Revised edition, 2002. (popular, uninformed; ranks the
Murphy, Sean J., Twilight of the
Chiefs: The Mac Carthy Mór Hoax. Bethesda, Maryland: Academica Press. 2004.
Irish Genealogical and Historical
Cronnelly, Richard F., Irish Family History. Dublin. 1864. (to be compared with O'Hart below)
D'Alton, John, Illustrations, Historical and Genealogical, of King James's Irish Army
List, 1689 2 vols. London: J.R. Smith. 2nd edition, 1861.
Keating, Geoffrey, with David Comyn and Patrick S. Dinneen (trans.), The History of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating.
4 Vols. London: David Nutt for the Irish Texts Society. 1902-14.
Meyer, Kuno (ed.), "The Laud Genealogies and Tribal Histories", in Zeitschrift für Celtische
Philologie 8. Halle/Saale, Max Niemeyer. 1912. Pages 291-338.
O'Connor, Roderic, A Historical and Genealogical Memoir of the O'Connors, Kings of Connaught, and their Descendants.
Dublin: McGlashan & Gill. 1861.
Donnchadh (ed.), Genealogies from Rawlinson B 502 University College, Cork: Corpus of Electronic Texts. 1997.
O'Donoghue, John, Historical Memoir of the O'Briens. Dublin: Hodges, Smith, & Co.
O'Donovan, John (ed. and tr.), Annala Rioghachta
Eireann. Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, from the Earliest Period to the Year 1616. 7 vols. Royal Irish
Academy. Dublin. 1848-51. 2nd edition, 1856.
John and the Rt. Hon. Charles Owen O'Conor Don, The O'Conors of Connaught: An Historical Memoir. Dublin: Hodges, Figgis,
and Co. 1891.