O’Hanlons : Boru to Bruce

The O’Hanlons were still the most influential family in the county one thousand years ago, when the last High King of Ireland, Brian Boru paid a memorable visit to them in Armagh in 1004.

A decade later Brian Boru defeated the combined forces of the Norsemen at Clontarf.

It was in Armagh that Brian Boru was buried after his death in that battle and it is considered certain that the head of the O’Hanlons was present at his interment.

Two and a half centuries later – and into the period of the Anglo-Norman invasion – ‘The O’Hanlon’ is counted among the chieftains of the north to whom the English King Henry III appealed for aid in his war against the Scots.

In 1273 we meet Eochy O’Hanlon as ‘king of Orghialla’. That first name persisted in the family for centuries, and indeed it is from the father of a later Eochy that we can first date the later O’Hanlon pedigree line.

In 1285 the head of the clan received the gift of a robe from the King. By 1312 there is a record of the English sovereign styling Nigellus O’Hanlon, Duke of Orior.

The O’Hanlons changed sides three years later when Edward Bruce, in support of his brother in his war against the English, invaded Ireland and swept southwards. The O’Hanlons flocked to his support. This may have had something to do with the fact that Bruce seized O’Hanlon’s son and sent him to Scotland against the elder’s good faith in supporting him.

O’Hanlon raids on the Pale …

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