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Thence the line continues through many generations to through Conn Ceadcathach (Conn of the Hundred Battles), second century High King and on to Niall Naoi Ghiallach or Niall of the Nine Hostages, High King of Ireland from 377 to 404 AD.As High King of Ireland, Niall reigned from the ancient Irish royal seat at Tara, in modern Co. During his reign he conquered all of Ireland and Scotland and much of Britain and Wales.The story of the sept originates in the myths of prehistory.The ancient clan historians trace the family back to Heremon, son of Milesius and Celtic conqueror of Ireland.

From the sixth to the twelfth century, the Grianan of Aileach, which overlooks the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal, was an O Neill stronghold.His name is perpetuated in the territorial name Clannaboy or Clandeboy.These O Neills reversed the usual trend in Ireland of that day by taking large tracts of land from the Anglo-Norman invaders.The symbol predates the advent of formal heraldry, which was introduced by the Normans and is recorded on the battle standards of the U Neill in the fourth and fifth centuries.Even the family motto "Lm Dearg irinn" means "the red hand of Ireland".From the fifth to the eleventh century, and from the twelfth century to the death of Red Hugh O Neill in 1608, this dominant family were monarchs of all Ireland, kings of Ulster, earls and princes of Tyrone, statesmen and soldiers.


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