Clan Mac Aulay - Unrelated Irish MacAuleys

Unrelated Irish MacAuleys

Today some of the McAuleys (and other various spellings of the name) living in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland descend from Clan MacAulay (of Ardincaple). However, there are several different clans or septs of native Irish which bear exactly the same and similar names that are unrelated and have no connection at all with Clan MacAulay (of Ardincaple).

The Mac Amhalghaidh sept originating from lands in Co Offaly and Co Westmeath derive its name from the Old Irish name Amhalgaidh (just as Clan MacAulay). The sept is considered to be of native Irish origin, descending from Niall of the Nine Hostages. The chiefs of the sept are recorded in the Irish annals as 'chiefs of Calry'; their lands were known in Elizabethan times as "MacGawleys Country".

The Mac Amhlaoibh sept from Co Fermanagh in Ulster derive its name from Amhlaoibh, a Gaelic personal name derived from the Old Norse names Áleifr and Óláfr. he sept traces its descent from Amlaíb (d.1306), younger son of the first Maguire king of Fermanagh—Donn Óc (c.1286–1302). The family was one of the junior septs that dispossessed other non Maguire families in the area of the Maguire lordship. In consequence of their military actions the family left its mark on the area in the name of the barony of Clanawley in Co Fermanagh.

The Mac Amhlaoibh sept of Co Cork are a branch of the MacCarthys. Today many members of the sept bear names like MacAuliffe which is usually found within Co Cork and hardly ever found outside of Munster. The chiefs of the sept resided at Castle MacAuliffe which was located near Newmarket, Co Cork. The territory of the sept was described in 1612 as "Clan Auliffe".

The 'MacAuleys of the Glens' are thought to be of Scottish descent. Located in the Glens of Antrim, the MacAuleys were allies of the MacDonnells in the 16th century. The MacDonnells held parts of Clannaboy while the MacAuleys, MacGills, and MacAllisters occupied the northeast coast of Antrim. On the plain of Bun-na-mairgie, near Ballycastle, the MacDonnells (led by Sorley Boy MacDonnell) fought the MacQuillans. Before the battle, the MacQuillans appealed to the O'Neills of Lower Claneboy and to the MacAuleys and MacPhoils of the middle Glens of Antrim for assistance against the MacDonnells. The two small clans (the MacAuleys and MacPhoils) were two days late to the battle; when they arrived, they were only spectators to a battle which was near its climax. Sorley Boy MacDonnell then rode out to the chief of the MacAuleys and persuaded him to join his ranks, as did the MacPhoils. Their combined force then drove the MacQuillans to the banks of the river Aura, where they were finally defeated and the chief of the MacQuillans slain in what is known as the Battle of Aura. Festivities lasted for several days after the battle and a cairn, called "Coslin Sorley Boy", was raised on the mountain Trostan.

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