The History of 8 Families

The following old Irish titles have been officially recognized and registered, but do not form part of the Peerage of Ireland. The following are members of the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains (i.e., recognized by the Genealogical Office):

  1. The MacCarthy Mor, Prince of Desmond
  2. The Maguire, Prince of Fermanagh
  3. The O'Carroll
  4. The O'Dochartaigh of Inis Eoghain
  5. The O'Grady
  6. The O'Long of Garranelongy

    The below is a list from Dr. Patrick O'Shea

  7. THE O'Brien of Thomond (Held by Baron Inchiquin)
  8. THE O'Callaghan
  9. THE O'Conor Don, Prince of Connacht
  10. THE MacDermot, Prince of Coolavin
  11. THE O'Donnell of Tyrconnell
  12. THE O'Donoghue of the Glens
  13. THE O'Donovan
  14. THE McGillycuddy of the Reeks
  15. THE O'Grady of Kilballyowen
  16. THE O'Kelly of Gallagh and Tycooly
  17. THE O'Morchoe
  18. THE O'Neill of Clannaboy
  19. THE Knight of Glen (FitzGerald)
  20. THE Knight of Kerry (FitzGerald)
  21. THE White Knight (FitzGerald)
  22. THE O'Ruairc, Prince of Breifne
  23. THE MacMorrough Kavanagh, Prince of Leinster, is also extant (the present Chief resides in Wales)

Also, I must contest your assertion that The O'Conor Don is somehow first in precedence among the Chiefs. The following Royal Houses might be said to be co-heirs to the High Kingship, but none of them would necessarily hold precedence over another:

The O'Conor Don, Prince of Connacht
The MacCarthy Mor, Prince of Desmond
The O'Brien, Prince of Thomond
The O'Neil Mor, Prince of Ulster (not recognized by the GO, but a valid claim)
The MacMorrough Kavanagh, Prince of Leinster

Regarding The O'Neill Mor, it is beyond the scope of this note to examine the reasons why the GO has hesitated to recognize this Chief, who is resident in the Kingdom of Spain. However, he is a direct lineal descendant of the last ruling O'Neill Mor, and certainly has a superior claim to the title over O'Neill of Clanaboy (who has tried to assert that he is Chief of the entire Name, and not merely Chieftain of his branch).

I hope this is useful.

Best wishes,

Patrick O'Shea

The following titles are either extinct or dormant

  1. THE MacMorrough Kavanagh
  2. THE An Sionnach (The Fox)
  3. THE O'Toole of Fer Tire

The Peerage explained.

Last updated Jan 29, 1999


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