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Brief History of the McGuinness name:

Note: Most McGuinness sites I have come across give the same basic summary of our history. Many even have the exact same text with no difference in the wording. And it's proving difficult to find clear consise historical text therefore I can only offer much the same information you will find on these other sites, but with some extras. :-(


The family is descended from a warrior chief named Saran who was chief of Dal Airaidhe in the time of St. Patrick. They ruled their lands in Iveagh from their castle in Rathfairland. Like the chiefs of many of the great Irish septs, during the 17th centuary they warily took advantage of the English policy of ‘surrender and regrant’. By 1598 the Magennis chief of the time, whose father was officially regarded as 'the civillest of all the Irish in these parts,' had joined Yyrone (who was his brother-in-law) and thus 'returned to the rudeness of the country.' A generation later their loyalty to Ireland and the ancient faith was undoubted. They were consistently on the Irish side during the resistance to English aggression in that century and after the disasters following the battle of Boyne they were finally dispossessed of their wide patrimony in Co. Down, much of which had been planted with English (not Scottish) settlers after the Comwellian war.

Many went to europe as ‘Wild Geese’ where they distinguished themselves in the service of European crowns fighting against Britain for France, Spain and Austria. Brian Magennis, second Viscount Iveagh was the colonel of the Iveagh Regiment of the Austrian Imperial Army and was killed in action in 1703. His brother Roger, third Viscount Iveagh served with distinction in both France and Spain.

The current Lord of Iveagh (of the second creation) is Guinness of Dublin (yeah, the stout) although they are not direct descendants of the lords of Iveagh, they are a cognate family of Co.Down

A short note about Saran...

Saran, Warrior Chief »


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