Eógan mac Néill

The old graveyard and the ruined church in Iskaheen - the resting place of Eógan mac Néill
The plaque marking the reputed burial place of Eógan mac Néill

Eógan mac Néill (modern orthography: Eoghan mac Néill) (reportedly died 465[1]) was a son of Niall Noígiallach and the eponymous ancestor of the Cenél nEógain branch of the Northern Uí Néill, who founded the over-kingdom of Ailech and later Tír Eoghain. His territory occupied the counties of Tyrone, Armagh, Londonderry and north west Donegal. His burial place lies in the Inish Owen Peninsula in County Donegal which was named after him.


Eogan is claimed as having been a close friend of Saint Patrick and received Patrick's blessing.[2] With his brother, the high king Lóegaire mac Néill (d.462), he was one of the judges in a dispute over the succession to Amalgaid (d.440), king of Connacht among his sons competing to rule their territory of Tir Amalgaidh in northwest Connacht.[3]

Eoghan is reputedly buried at St. Patrick's Church in Iskaheen, Inishowen, Donegal. A plaque there states "Eoghan Prince of InisEóghain, Son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Died 465 of grief for his brother Conall [Gulban]. Baptised by Patrick and buried in Uisce Chaoin".

His sons included Muiredach mac Eógain, Fergus mac Eoghain, founder of the Cenél Fergusa, and Anghusa Mac Eoghain, founder of the Cenel Anghusa.


  1. all dates per The Chronology of the Irish Annals, Daniel P. McCarthy
  2. T.M.Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland, pg.51
  3. T.M.Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland, pg.26

The manuscript known as the Laud 610 Genealogies (Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Laud 610, fo. 75a 1, fifteenth century) gives seven descendant clans of the Cenél nEogain, in the Bredach.


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