An Sionnach Fionn

Ó Sionnaigh Dynasty

The Ó Sionnaigh or Fox Line of Direct Descent from the late 5th AD

(Note that most dates are approximate and should be used with caution. Some overlaps or gaps occur)

Niall Naoighiallach, High King of Ireland c.378-405 AD

Maine, son of Niall; first King of Teathbha; d. c.440

Brian, son of Maine

Bréanainn, son of Brian; granted land to St. Colm Cille which became Durrow Monastery and which produced the Book of Durrow

Aodh, son of Bréanainn

Bladhmhac, son of Aodh; d. 664

Conghal, son of Bladhmhac

Colla or Connla, son of Conghal; d. c. 738

Beag son of Connla; d. 770

Conchúir, one of 6 sons of Beag

Braidhe (Giolla Bhríde), son of Conchúir

Maolbheannachta: son of Giolla Bhríde

Tadhghán: son of Maolbheannachta; although he was never king of Teathbha, there are 20 kings of Teathbha which do share Tadhghán as a common ancestor, and so his role was pivotal. It is after him that the people and territory “Muintir Thadhgháin” is named, originally comprising parts of Uíbh Fhailí (Co. Offaly), An Iarmhí (Co. Westmeath) and Laois (Co. Laois).

Cearnachan, son of Tadhghán; it is likely Cearnachan had three brothers: Beag, Conchúir, and Breasal

Cathalán, son of Cearnachan; at Durrow cemetery today there is a gravestone with the words “Or Do Cathalan” (“Pray for Cathalán” in Irish) on it.

Catharnach, son of Cathalán, progenitor of the Ó Catharnaigh, the ruling branch of which became the Ó Sionnaigh

Fogharthach, son of Catharnach; to offer a sense of time period here, Fogharthach also had a brother, Muireadhach, who died somewhere between 1031 and 1038.

Tadhgh an Sionnach Fionn Ó Catharnaigh (Tadhgh the Fair Fox), son of Fogharthach; d. 1086; this is the first individual we find to be referred to as Sionnach or “Fox”, although there is an earlier reference to “the Sionnacha” (the Foxes) in 1050

Tadhgh Sionnach, son of Tadhgh an Sionnach Fionn; d. 1156

Ruairí, son of Tadhgh Sionnach; lord of Teathbha in 1170

Niall, son of Ruairí; d. 1184

Maol Eachloindh , son of Niall; this is the Ó Sionnaigh king most likely behind the killing by his foster-son of the Norman-English warlord Hugh De Lacy in 1186; possibly d. 1196 or 1224; he appears to have had at least two sons, Niall and Ruairí

Niall, son of Maol Eachloindh; d. 1233; Niall appears to have had two sons whom he outlived: Muireadhach, who died in 1201, and Conghalaigh

Conghalaigh, son of Niall; d. 1227 (Conghalaigh died in 1227, but no name can be found for who fulfilled the role of the Sionnach after him, though it is clear that someone did)

Dónall, reported as son of “the Sionnach”; reported in 1254 to have killed Murchú Ó Maolsheachlainn; he appears to have had a brother who carried on the family name

Ruairí, brother? of Dónall and son of the Ó Sionnaigh lord; d. 1287

Niall Rua Sionnach, son of Ruairí; d. 1316 in the Battle of Athenry

Muirchearthach, son of Ruairí; d. 1370

Niall, son of Muirchearthach

Maine, son of Niall

Choigcríoche, son of Maine; d. 1446

Maine, son of Choigcríoche; d. 1472

Cairbre, son of Maine; d. 1500

Eoghan, son of Cairbre

Breasal, son of Eoghan (signed Covenant of 1526)

Hoibeard, son of Breasal; (signed Regrant with the English in 1599, d. 1600)

Breasal, son of? Hoibeard; d. 1639

Hoibeard, son of Breasal; d.?

It is at approximately this point in time that the family breaks up into four separate branches:

1) The Ó Sionnaigh of Cill Chuairsí/An Leithinse (Kilcoursey/Lehinch, Co. Offaly) near Clóirtheach (Clara, Co. Offaly) – Hoibeard’s line, and sometimes considered the “main” line.

2) The Ó Sionnaigh of Cloch an tSionnaigh (now in Irish called Tulchán na Bruíne but the old anglicized version is still used in English, Cloghatenny, Co. Offaly) near Béal Átha Chomair (Ballycumber, Co. Offaly) – Félim Ó Sionnaigh, a cousin or nephew of Hoibeard’s.

3) The Ó Sionnaigh of Coill Mhaoiléidigh (Kilmalady, Co. Offaly) – a Niall Ó Sionnaigh and Breasal Ó Sionnaigh are associated with these Ó Sionnaigh; the area is situated between Clóirtheach (Clara, Co. Offaly) and Baile Átha an Urchair (Ardnurcher or Horseleap, Co. Offaly).

4) The Ó Sionnaigh of An Ráth Riabhach (Foxhall, Co. Longford) – originated with a Pádraig Ó Sionnaigh (Patrick Fox), who became a successful merchant in Baile Átha Cliath (Dublin), who established himself in An Longfort (Co. Longford) renaming, in English, the lands he purchased to Foxhall, and later in An Iarmhí (Co. Westmeath), where he was granted a castle, town and lands of Maigh Rua (Moyroe, Co. Westmeath).

  1. these people are not sons of each other nor are they osionnach. they are the fox. check the text of geoghan agreement.

  2. […] clear up a mystery. The title An Sionnach Fionn comes from two sources. One is my Medieval ancestor Tadhgh an Sionnach Fionn Ó Catharnaigh, king of Teathbha of the Cinéal Mhaine of the Uí Néill Theas : the original An Sionnach Fionn. […]

  3. I noticed as I was reading through this list, trying to get a sense of the times each man lived, that Tadhgh an Sionnach Fionn is listed as having died 1086, and the following entry of Tadhgh Sionnach, clearly titled as the “son of Tadhgh an Sionnach Fionn” having died in 1156. These dates show him surviving his father by a period of 70 years, and even allowing for a particularly young father at the time of his birth, he would have been around 85 years old at the time of his death. Forgive me if I am wrong, but this age seems to be slightly anachronistic with the average life expectancy of the time. Is there any way that there could have been some mistake, either by omitting a generation accidentally or by recording a date incorrectly? There are other instances of this as well, such as the time leap between Breasal, son of Eoghan, and Hoibeard, son of Breasal. Has there been some mistake, or have my ancestors simply been extraordinarily long lived?

    • No, a mistake on my part and uncertainty about early dates during the medieval and post-medieval periods. I should have added that all dates are approximate. This is an early draft of research that unfortunately I have been unable to return to due to other commitments. Since there is so little information on the Ó Sionnaigh / Fox family online I thought it better to post what I have complied so far here than not. Hopefully it will point others in the right direction 🙂

      I must return to this and go through it all again some day soon.

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