This article originally appeared in The Glynns Volume 30 (2002). It is reproduced here in full.

After the defeat of the McDonnells of Antrim by Shane O’Neill in 1565, Sorley Boy McDonnell was taken to Dungannon where he was imprisoned for two years. By this time O’Neill had created many enemies including the Maguires of Fermanagh and his in-laws the O’Donnells of Donegal.

Shane decided to visit Sorley in prison to seek his advice but Sorley remained non-committal. As the conversation continued Shane began to see a chance of getting away from Dungannon. After much talking Shane suggested that probably the McDonnell clan would assist him if he went over to Co. Antrim.

Not wanting to display his delight, Sorley “hummed and hawed” as he slyly led Shane into a trap. Eventually Sorley agreed with Shane that the Antrim men would be delighted to assist him.  Shane, with a troop of thirty soldiers, brought Sorley Boy to Dunaneanie Castle but the most of the McDonnells were in Cushendun, so they travelled on to the Glens village.

The first day or two were spent in hunting the deer on the high Garron and the evenings were spent in dining and drinking. On the third day most people were too tired to travel up again to the mountain so they just lolled around. Idle minds lead to mischief and an argument broke out between Shane’s secretary, Eugene O’Hagan and a McDonnell.

O’Hagan insisted that Shane O’Neill was about to marry James McDonnell’s widow, the Duchess of Argyll. This comment was soon relayed to the other McDonnell men standing around and in a moment the daggers were out. Shane attempted to calm the situation and was struck down and in a few moments he lay dead.

After this Sorley, with considerable difficulty, got repossession of Dunluce Castle.
The English were not very happy with how things had turned out. Sir John Perrot, believed to be a son of Henry the Eighth, was sent to Ireland as Lord Deputy and he spent most of his time harassing the McDonnells. He felt that Sorley was gathering an army to take over the whole of Co. Antrim and he issued instructions preventing the McDonnells from going back to their native Scotland for recruits. Eventually Perrot began to see that he might be more successful if he began to take a more peaceful approach to the McDonnells.

The lists of pardons, which Queen Elizabeth finally granted, included many well-known North Antrim names. Although some of the spellings may be different today, it is possible to guess most of them. In the documents of the 1570s we find families that are still residing in North Antrim including:

McDonnell, McConnell, McLister, McMichael, McVeigh, McKeown, McAllister, McHenry, McKay, McAlexander, McCaughan, McNeill, O’Cahan, O’Hara, McGill, McAuley, McMahon, McRandle, O’Connor, Taggart, McAfee, McNaughton, O’Laverty, Black, Mulvenna, Duncan, Magee, McQuillan, O’Neill, McMullan, McVicar, Shiels, McAleese, Kirgan, McGuigan, Bourke, McToal, McGrattan, McKerry(McCarry), Joye(possibly Henry Joy McCracken’s ancestor),McMurray, McCollam, McCrea, McNulty.

The document of pardon is recorded below:

Pardon to Sawreley McConnell

(Notice the spelling of Sorley, written by an English scribe also note that the McDonnells were also known as McConnells).

James McConnell (Sorely’s  son)

Randal McOwen (McKeown)

Enanes Rowe (Aeneas Roe)

McMicle Allister (McMichael McAllister)

Donill Oge McEvie (Donal Og McVeigh)

Eanes McEvie, (Aeneas or Angus McVeigh)

Sawerley McEanes (Sorley Mc Ennis or McGennis)

Gilliaspick McCaye (Gilliaspick McKay)

John Duff McAlexangre (John Black McAlexander)

Coll McTirlagh McAlexander (Colla Turlough McAlexander)

Henry Ballagh McGillduff McRorie Ballagh,

Redmond O’Cahan McNeyl McRorie (Redmond O’Cahan McNeill McRory)

Eoin O’Cahan McNeyl McRorie (Owen O’Cahan McNeil McRory) 

Donnogh McMorice O’Cahan (Donough McMorris O’Cahan)

Rorie Ballagh O’Harre (Rory Ballagh O’Hara), Chief of the name

Mortagh Grey McEllary (Murtagh Glassy McAlary) (Rector of Ballemonny – Ballymoney)

Phelim McGillegan McMahown McGillegan (Phelim McGilligan McMahon McGilligan)

Rorie McGillegan McMahown McGillegan (Rory McGilligan McMahon McGilligan)

Donell McGillecollo McMyline (Donal McGillacolla McMullan)

Eanes McAlexander Carragh McRannell (Aeneas McAlexander Carragh)

Cormack o’Harre (Cormac O’Hara)

Fealim Duff McOwen Carragh (Phelim Duff McOwen Carragh)

Cone McCoine, Dean of Ardmoy (Conn McKeown or Quinn – Dean of Armoy)

Teig Oge O’Coine (Teag Oge O’Keown or O’Quinn)

Donell McFerdorha McAllaster (Donal McFerdorcha McAllister)

Moolmorry O’Haggart (Maolmuire O’Taggart)

Ferdorce McRorie McEnanny (Ferdorcha McRory McEnany)

Wm. McGwigen (William McGuigan)

Randall McOwen, Earanagh (Randal McKeown, Eranagh. The Eranagh had responsibility for the maintenance of church property)

Donoght O’Hogan (Donagh O’Hogan)

Conor McJames McHenry (Conor McJames McHenry).

Also of Note: 

Pardon to Randall McDonnell

Nyce (Aeneas) McDonnell

Lodevick McDonnell (Luadar: Who was Sorley’s youngest son),

Alexander McDonnell

Callow McDonnell (Colla)

Alister Oge McDonnell

Archibald McDonnell

Daniel Grouma (dour) McDonnell

Nyce (Aeneas) McDonnell

Gilliaspck McDonnell

Cormock (Cormac) O’Hara (son of Cormac)

Guffie McEnre (McHenry),

Archibald McDuffie (McAfee)

Ferdorcha McDuffie(McAfee)

Neil Boy Makeaghine (Boy= fair-haired McCaughan or McKeegan)

Duncan McCloister (Duncan McLister)

Daniel McCloister (Daniel McLister)

Archibald McCloister (Archibald McLister)

John McNeaghtane (John McNaughton)

Doarmount O’Mowlvenna (Dermot O’Mulvenna)

Hugh McNeill

Daniel Grouma (dour) McNeill

Patrick O’Laffertie (O’Laverty)

Alexander McGye (Magee)

Bernard O’Laffertie (O’Laverty)

Dwuatagh McGye

Hugh and John O’Layffertie

Hugh Grouma O’Layffertie (Hugh Sullen O’Laverty)

Patrick Duff O’Layffertie ( Patrick Black O’Lavery)

Richard McQuilline (McQuillan)

Neill McVicar

Richard McSinekine (Sinekine =little John)

Tebbott (unknown)McCullinge (McCullinan)

Randall McAlaster (Randal McAlister)

Bernard O’Cahan (Bernard Boy O’Cahan)

Dwoncane Grouma O’Cahine (Dour Duncan O’Cahan)

Richard O’Cahan

John Bourke McAllister

John Grouma (Dour) McAlister

Colla McAlister

Tancane (unknown)O’Cahan

Aeneas Giorra (Short) McAlister

Archibald McAlister,

Daniel Grouma McDonnell

Dermot McHenry

James McHenry

Neal O’Cahan

Manus O’Cahan

Shetine (unknown) O’Cahan

Bernard O’Cahan

Daniel McKay

Archibald McKeay(McKay)

Daniel McKay

Archibald McKay

John McKay

Alister McKay

Rowrie (Rory) O’Hara

Gilladuffe O’Hara

Shane (John or Seán) O’Hara

Tirlagh (Turlough) O’Hara

Felime (Phelim) Duff (Dark) O’Hara

Laghline (Laughlin) McKeaghane ( McCahan)

Rorie Og O’Cahan

Hugh O’Cahan

Hugh O’ Mowllane (O’Mullan)

Manus O’Mowllane (O’Mullan)

Daniel McKrey (McCrea)

Archibald McDonnell

John Boye McCrea

Alex Roy Stewart

John Oge Stewart

Art Ballagh O’Hara

Duncan Boy O’Hara

Rorie and Felime McMahon

Archibald Gruama McDuffie (McAfee)

Donal Oge McDuffie (McAfee)

Hector McKearghane (Kirgan)

DuncanMcKearghane (Kirgan)

Neil McKearghane (Kirgan)

John Duff McKearghane

Ray Phelime McCulline (McQuillan)

Ewer McCrea 

Phelime McAullin (McQuillan)

Sinekine McCuilling (Shinny McQuillan)

Aeneas Joye, (relation of Henry Joy?)

Robert Strowbridge

Bernard O’Cahan

Conchur Duff (Black Conor) O’Cahan

Edmund O’Cahan

Edmund O’ Maddegane (O’Maddigan)

Ewer McKeay (Iver McKay)

Hugh O’Hara,

Neacghtaine (Naughton) McKeever

Bernard McAuley

Manus O’Murray O’Sial (Shiels)

Hugh O’Sial

Duncan Boye O’Sial

Donal McNeill Boye

Dermot McHenry

Donal McHenry

Neill Og McMullan

Art Magee

John Magee

Bernard Boye Magee

Owen Magee

Donal Magee

Turlough McGuigan

John Duff McGillpatrick

John Og McGillpatrick

John McGiolliosa (McAleese)

Aeneas Ballagh McGiolliosa

John Ognieff (Agnew)

Art McNulty

Ferflaha Ognieff

HenryMcMarchais (McMarquess)

Donchye (Donaghy) Grouma McColla

Alister McDonaghy Grouma McColla

John Ballagh McAlister

Archibald McMurray

Gilladuff McGill

Hugh McGill

Bernard Boy McAuley

Bernard O’Mowlfoul (Mulhall)

Bernard O’Mowlvenna

Brian McAuley

Brian Moddera McAuley

Sheaine (Shane) McGill

Shane O’ Cahan

Daniel Grouma McKetine (McGrattan)

Hugh McKretine

William Springer

Gilladuff O’Mulvenna

Aeneas McAllester

Brian O’Connor

Gilladuff O’Connor

Brian McTwaill (McToal)

Alister McCulline

Archibald McKerry (McCarry)

Hugh McGye

Cathal O’Hara

Shemie (Seamus) O’Hara

Phelim O’Hara

Phelim McCormick O’Hara

Turlough McAuley

Donal Grouma McNeill

Owen O’Cahan

Brian McAuley

Gilladuff McAuley

Daniel O’Mowlfall(O’Mulhall)

Aeneas Mulhall

Richard McAlpine

Gillpatrick O’Cahan

Gillagruama Roy McAuley

John Rawagh (Vigorous) McCloister.


The Pardon

** In addition to all the lands granted, including the Toughs of Munerie or Mowbray, and Carey, i.e.

Culfeightrin, Ramoan and the Grange of Drumtullagh, Sorley was given the constableship or key-keeping

of Dunluce Castle by the delivery of Mr Stafford.  He was bound to hold of the Queen by the homage,

fealty, and two knights’ fees and on condition of observing the same articles as had previously been


Sorley Boy knew that there were conditions attached to this pardon:

1. Neither he nor his followers to serve any foreign prince or any other person within Ireland against her Majesty in this realm.

2. No Scots under him, whom he may command, to disquiet the peace of the realm, or to serve against   her Majesty in this realm.

3. Not to retain more than 30 Scots other than natives of Ireland, and to deliver a book of their names to the Marshall of the Queen’s garrisons in Ireland.

4. To serve her Majesty with a rising out of 80 foot soldiers in Ulster, at his own and their own charges.

5. He and his tenants not to intermeddle with their borderers in Ulster.

6. To pay a yearly rent of 60 good, and fat beeves (beefs) at Carrickfergus, between Lammas and Hallowe’en.

7. To serve against all that shall invade this realm, except against the Scots when war is proclaimed against England and Scotland.

8. Not to alien or convey away his lands.

9. To yearly preserve and give to her Majesty one eyrie of the best hawks, either goshawks or falcons. It further adds that he shall preserve all the hawks bred in the Glynns, of whatsoever nature they be, and the same yearly to be sent in safety to the Governor for the time being.

This document was signed by Sorley Boy McDonnell on 18th June 1586

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