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The History of 8 Families

The History of 8 Families

The Sheskin McTiernan / McTernan Family Armorial Coat of Arms & Crest

The earliest known record of my McTiernan / McTernan line states that the family is from the Townland of Sheskin, Civil Parish of Killarga, Catholic Parish of Killargue, Diocese of Kilmore, Barony of Drumahaire, Probate District of Ballina, PLU of Manorhamilton, Superintendent District of Manorhamilton, District of Drumahaire, County Leitrim, Connaught, Ireland.

The setting of the McTernan homeland is in sight of the Drumlins, a mountain range of great beauty running up through Leitirm into Sligo. It is the area of the "wild rose" and the "howling dog", the meaning of which is shrouded in the mist of time, somewhere back in the history of Ireland and the McTiernan's.

The Barony of Drumahaire had a population of 119,000 in the 1850s and today County Leitrim itself has less than 27,000. Sheskin in Gaelic is Sescenn and translates to marsh. It is located NW of Lough Allen about 2 miles from the town of Drumahaire at N 54 14' 28.1", W 08 13' 45.4".

The 60 page history of the McTiernan / McTernans from Sheskin and the 10 page history Carney / Kearney family from Carrigeencor.

The Sheskin McTernan family motto in Latin is:

"Ratis necque navale enavigat"

In Irish, it is: "Gluaiseann an ba'd, ni' ghluaiseann an cuan" or "Ni' he' an cuan a ghluaiseann, ach an ba'd"

Since 1783, the final resting place for all McTernans from Sheskin is at the foot of the High Altar in the Abbey of Creevelea. The Abbey was the chapel of the O'Rourkes, Kings of Drumahaire. The Abbey of Creevelea stands on the bank of the Bonett River across from the town of Drumahaire at N 54 13' 52.7", W 08 18' 37.3".

The O'Rourkes were one of the major players in the history of the west Breifne Kingdom (Counties Leitrim, Cavan & Tullyhunco) with Drumahaire, the main seat of their power. Before the Norman invasion the family at various times were Kings of Connaught. One of their more famous chiefs was named Tiernan O'Rourke. With a bit of a leap of faith and a stretch, it might be said that this Tiernan O'Rourke was one of the root causes of the English rule of Ireland. Weather or not any of the many McTiernan / McTernan lines are connected to Tiernan O'Rourke is as yet unfounded. With that understood, the Sheskin McTernan grave proximity in the Abbey of Creevelea, the first name of Tiernan and the very similar family Armorial Arms implies that there might be a connection.

Additionally, in 1997, Hugh McTernan VIII, 1916--, told me at the Abbey that both the Hugh McTernan I, 1708--1783, grave and the one next to it holding Hugh O'Rourke and Catherine McTernan buried in 1721 were part of our family graves. Hugh and Catherine's gravestone is the oldest in the Abbey. It has the carving at the head of the grave showing the suite of cards: hearts, diamond, club and spade and the etching of a cat. What these symbolize is still a mystery. Here is the Drumahaire line of the O'Rourke family. The other two O'Rourke lines are the Carha and Cloncorick line. The MacDermots are a branch of the O'Rourkes.

The late fifteenth and early sixteenth century again saw east Breifne caught between the more powerful families of Gaelic Ulster and the government of the Irish Lordship. In 1452, James Butler, the fourth Earl of Ormond, during a campaign in north Leinster, forced the submission of the Ui Raghallaigh and extracted an agreement from them to refrain from raids on the king's subjects. As this was one of the last acts of the earl before his death, Sean O Raghallaigh was able to ignore the terms of his submission and resume his hostilities. These led eventually to his death in 1460 following an attack on Drogheda when he was overtaken and slain by its citizens. The Breifne area itself was not immune from counterattacks and Sean's son Toirdhealbhach was the recipient of a raid launched by Deputy Lieutenant Tiptoft in 1468 which led to the burning both of the Ui Raghallaigh castle at Tullac Mongan and of the nearby friary.

The Ui Neill (O'Neil) had enjoyed preeminence amongst the Irish of Ulster for over a century and a half, but in the 1470s their position was challenged by Aedh ruadh O Domhnaill of Tir Conaill. In 1470, he led a sizable army that included contingents led by Domhnall O'Ruairc and Tomas MagUidhir into east Breifne where he planned to have his O'Ruairc ally inaugurated as ruler of all Breifne at the site of Corann Cruachan. He was also able to count on the backing of Brian O'Raghallaigh, son of Feidhlimidh who had launched the ill-fated coup against his brother Eoghan na feasoige. In any event, Aedh ruadh's designs for O'Ruairc floundered due to the opposition of the MacThighernains whose lands lay near the inauguration site. No known link has been found as yet between the Sheskin McTernans and the MacThighernains that stopped O'Rourke. The castle of the O'Rourkes in Drumahaire.

The recent McTernans (ten generations from 1708 onward) from Sheskin were farmers in Ireland and laborers in St. Louis, MO where my grandfather Hugh McTernan VI settled with his wife Anne McGreal in 1895. They came to America on the ship "Campania". The Australian immigrant Michael McTernan, a mail carrier settled sometime before 1892 in New Farm, a suburb of Brisbane, QLD, calling his home "Killargue". The British immigrants, Ellen Flynn, nee McTernan and her sister, Mary Anne Flynn, nee McTernan, the daughters of John McTernan both married brothers and settled in Coventry right after the Second World War. Ellen's daughter, Maureen married into the Eyre Bower family. Ellen's other daughter, Angela married into the Lane family. Ellen's grand daughter, Sharon Bower married into the Dunne family. Hugh McTernan VIII, the son of John McTernan stayed in Ireland and lives there today.

"Campania", photo taken before 1912

As the three McTernans were planning to leave Ireland for new homes, the Sinn Fein, ["We Ourselves" or "Ourselves Alone"] movement was beginning in North Leitrim with P.A McHugh and Charles Dolan opposing each other to lead North Leitirm in the fight to set Ireland free. Charles Dolan was the Sinn Fein candidate.

cTernan family from Sheskin Blazon of Armorial Arms and Crest explained and translated.

Many of the different McTernan families are spread over Connaught, primarily in County Leitrim and surrounding counties. About 30 other individuals searching for information on their McTiernan families have traced their origins to the Barony of Drumahaire. Histories of the other baronies surrounding the Barony of Drumahaire.

McTernan names and data

More McTernan names and data

And more McTernan names and data

And YET more McTernan names and data

And YET again more McTernan names and data

McTernan grave stone inscriptions


Michael McTiernan

N40 03' 09.4"
W75 24' 14.1"

Last updated Mar 14, 1999


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