The basic assmuption for our Y-DNA haplotype (12b1a), is that they were part of the ancient Dal nAraidhe (aka Dalriada) kingdom. This assumption is based on the same bloodline existing between a number of families that included the McGenis, McCartan, Neeson, Coulter kinship and possibly also McEvoy and McVeigh (traditionally McGenis and MacCartan branched off from each other in the sixth century AD but were always recognised as belonging to the same bloodline). Some of the information below has Irish mythology woven within - as most Irish who have attempted to establish ancient right to Ireland.
From "Irish Pedigrees; or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation by John O'Hart", Cionog (or Cionga), brother of Ros who is No. 63 on the "Line of Ir," p. 301, was the ancestor of MacAonghuis [oneesh]; anglicised MacGuinness, Maginnis, Magennis, Magenis, MacInnes, Guinness, Angus, Ennis, Innis, etc. The ancient Arms of this family were: Vert a lion ramp. or, on a chief ar, a dexter hand erect, couped at the wrist gu.
Number 82 on the "Line of Ir" was Aongus Gabhneach: his son; a quo O'Gaibhnaigh, anglicised Gowan, MacGowan, O'Gowan, Gibney, Smythe, Smith, etc.
The following is taken from the book "Irish Pedigrees; or, the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation" by John O'Hart, Fifth Edition, 1892
THE Chiefs and Clans of Ulidia, and the territories they possessed in the twelfth century, as collected from O'Dugan's Topography, are as follows:--
Gowan (gobha: Irish, a blacksmith) and MacGowan (modernized "Smith," "Smeeth," and "Smythe") were of the Irian race and of the Clan-na-Rory, and were mostly expelled by the English into Donegal, whence large numbers of them emigrated to the county Leitrim, and more lately to the county Cavan.
Most of the remaining information derives from the book "The Dublin Review", edited by Nicholas Patrick Wiseman, Published by W. Spooner, 1851.
The Irian race noted in the quote above derives from the irish mythology and the Milesian patriarchs, Eremon, Eber, Ir, and Ith. The Milesian came from Spain around the 3rd Century and partitioned the land between them. Ir took Ulster, Eiber took North Munster, Ith South Munster, and it is believed that Eremon held on to the areas of Leinster and Connaught. From these four patriarchs sprung a line of kings, who ruled Ireland as monarchs, or ardrigh, for more than a thousand years before the Christian era. Members of the four Milesian had shared the royal succession until it became restricted to the Eirmonians. From the reign of Nial of the Nine hostages (A.D. 400), until Brian Boroimbe, none but the Hy Niall (i.e. Eirmonians) held the royal seat.
All known descendants of Ir have traced their descent from Ruadhri, King of Ulster, about the middle of the 1st Century, before Christ. There are many probable traditional findings all tending to prove that the race of Ir at one time possessed all of the land of Ireland. They were sole masters of Ulster (primarily the small areas of Antrim and Down) for a very long period of time. The Irians were a distinct race and were later known as Cruthians or Picts. In a span of about 70 years, the Irians and their land (most of Ireland) were taken over by the Eremonians. They Irians held on to the areas of Ulster. This took place about two centuries preceeding the advent of St. Patrick.
The name "Uladh" was applied to the province of Ulster, but in after times was confined, as mentioned, to a large territory on the east of Ulster, called Ulidia. This territory was also called Dalaradia (dal: Irish, a part or portion, and Araidhe, a man's name), signifying the descendants of Araidhe, a king of Ulster in the third century; and comprised the present county Down, with a great portion of Antrim, extending from Iubhar or Newry, Carlingford Bay, and the Mourne mountains, to Slieve Mis mountain in the barony of Antrim; thus containing, in the south and south-east parts of Antrim, the districts along the shores of Lough Neagh and Belfast Lough, Carrickfergus, and the peninsula of Island Magee to Larne; and thence in a line westward to the river Bann. The remaining portion of the county Antrim obtained the name of Dalriada. Ulidia is remarkable as the scene of St. Patrick's early captivity (it being there that he was sold as a slave to a chieftain named Milcho, whose flocks he tended near Mis mountain), and is celebrated as the place where he made the first converts to Christianity; and finally, as the place of his death and burial.
Bob Gilchrist writing in Argyll Colony Plus notes: `In Northern Ireland ... the Kingdom of Dalriada came to exist, being established by a Gaelic-speaking people whom the Romans had known as the warlike and tempestuous Scotti.'
Historically we know that in the beginning of the sixty century, about the year 502 AD, Fergus, with Lorne and Angus, the three youngest sons of the Dalriada King Erc, led a great organized invasion of the Scotland coast by the warriors of Dalriada. They successfully occupied the area now know as Argyll and some of the islands including Islay. Thus the Dalriadic settlement in Argyll was founded by the three sons of Erc. These Scotti come to colonize the west Highland fringe known as Dalriada or Oirir-Chaidhell, Argyll, or `the Coastland of the Gael'. Fergus established himself as king over this area which came to be known as the Second Dalriada.
Fergus and his men were known as Scotti and they gave this name to the whole country. He chose as the center of his kingdom a site on a hillock known as Dunadd. Dunadd was the capital of Dalriada for about 345 years. The early fort sat upon a rocky knoll, thirty metres high, in the center of the plain of the Great Moss, four miles northeast of Lochgilphead. This was the seat of Fergus Mac Erc and it is said that he brought with him from Ulster the Lia Fiall - Jacob's Pillow - later to be known as the Stone of Destiny. A hillock and a rock are all that remain. Historians believe that this was the place where kings were crowned; that St. Columba crowned Aidan here in 574 AD using the disputed Stone of Destiny as the throne.
In the Downpatrick area of Ireland remained the Dal Fiatach, who irregularly shared the kingship of Ulaid (Ulster) with the Dal nAraidhe who occupied most of Antrim, andwere considered kin to the Ui Eachach Cobha (Iveagh) of west Down. Both of the latter were considered an alien race by the increasingly predominant Gaels, and were dubbed Cruthin (Cruithni).
The makeup of Ulster itself is very complex. As the Gaelic clans of the Ui Neill (O'Neill, O'Donnell, etc.) rose in power, they gradually pushed the original Ulidians (Ulster people) eastward into counties Antrim, Down and northern Louth. As mentioned above, the Ulidians were establishing colonies on the Isle of Man and in the Rhinns of Galloway. Meanwhile the O'Neills continued their pressure eastwards, the Vikings raided and even settled in the 8th-9th centuries, and the Norman invaders smashed the old kingdom of Ulidia in 1177 and colonised the entire coastline of Antrim and Down. Under this funnelling effect (O'Neills to the west, Normans to the east) one must assume of long-term residents must have packed their bags and loaded their corracles, and headed off in the most convenient direction -- to Galloway Scotland just across the water.
The clans of Iveagh managed to hold out in their woody and marshy fastness, under their McGenis and McCartan chiefs, but eventually succumbed during the seventeenth century to the troubles of the Stuart period. After this time a lot of them probably made their way quietly to the New World.
NOTE TO THE READER ABOUT THE MONARCHS (CHIEFS) OF IRELAND:
- The whole succession is based on the legend of the rapid and complete subjugation of Ireland by the sons of Milesius. Modern historians do not accept this and prefer to think of the Celtic "conquest" as being more cultural than military and taking place over a period of many centuries rather than in a specific year.
- It is highly unlikely that any High King ever really had absolute power over the entire island. Though the numbering starts with Heber and Heremon, the first Milesian rulers, the Annals name many pre-Celtic rulers that do not appear.
- For thousands of years, there was little written history of Ireland. The Celts had an oral tradition and the stories of Kings, Chieftains and Heroes were passed from generation to generation by bards, whose jobs (and perhaps lives) were on the line if they failed to sufficiently praise and glorify their masters. Therefore, much of the "history" became influenced by political pressure and therefore inaccurate. When the annalists eventually came to put this history on paper, they had only the old traditional stories to use as raw material.