Aonghas Óg of Islay - Biography

Biography

He was the son of Aonghas Mór MacDomhnaill and a daughter of Cailean Mór, and a grandson of Domhnall mac Raghnaill the eponymous founder of Clan Donald, who in turn was a grandson of Somerled.

Prior to 1306, Aonghas was with his elder brother Alasdair Óg, then the Lord of Islay, by being partisan to the Baliol party, the elder brother being attached to that faction by virtue of his marriage to a daughter of Alexander of Argyll, chief of Clan MacDougall.

When Robert the Bruce went on the run after the Battle of Methven, he eventually ended up in Kintyre following his defeat at the hands of John of Lorne in the Battle of Dalrigh.

Aonghas the lord there, and an enemy of Argyll and Lorn, hospitably received the Bruce into his stronghold of Dunaverty Castle, in August 1306. For greater security Aonghas had Bruce transported to Rathlin Island, where Bruce was sheltered by Hugh Byset, lord of the island. Aonghas assisted in the 1307 attack upon Carrick, when the king had landed in his patrimonial district.

When having established his power, King Robert granted Aonghas large fiefdoms: for example, both his elder brother's holdings, including the island of Islay, and much of the holdings of the MacDougalls. This was an important step in the rise of Clan Donald (a junior branch from king Somhairle mac Gillebride) at the expense of Clan MacDougall (who were the senior agnatic heirs of king Somhairle). Alasdair Óg had to surrender to king Robert, and he was kept imprisoned in Dundonald Castle, Ayrshire, where he died in 1308. His whole possessions were forfeited and given to his younger brother, Aonghas.

Aonghas fought, with a contingent of Isles warriors, at the Battle of Bannockburn in support of the Bruce. In recognition of Clan Donald's support King Robert proclaimed that Clan Donald would always occupy the honoured position on the right wing of the Scottish army. As territorial rewards, the king bestowed upon Aonghas the lordship of Lochaber (which had belonged to the Comyns), with the lands of Durrour and Glencoe, and the islands of Mull, Jura, Coll Tiree, etc., from the patrimony of the chiefs of MacDougall.

Aonghas Óg died in 1330 at Finlaggan Castle on Islay and was buried on Iona.

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