Sunday afternoon in Island Magrath. You can see the Galtee Mountains from this spectacular location and it is situated on the Fergus about sixteen miles from Limerick, following the estuary course. As you can see from the name, we are referring to ancient clan lands of the MacGraths. Historical sources show the Mac Craiths ancestry to be Cinnéide (Kennedy), the Father of Brian Boru. The MacCraiths occupied a special generational place making it possible for them to gain the leadership position within the wider Clan group. T hey were part of the powerful deirbhfhine. This deemed any man whose father, grandfather or great grandfather eligible for election as King. In the lifetime of the king, one man of the deirbhfhine was nominated Tánaiste, or heir, to succeed. This is where we get the title Tánaiste today as a political leadership role in Ireland. The MacCraiths developed into a strong powerful dynasty from the eleventh century.
Clan evidence shows the Mac Craith Clan travelled North to Ulster to settle the lands around Lough Derg in Tyrone, Fermanagh and Donegal. The Mac Craith Clan implemented a buffer zone, insulating the Uí Néill of Tyrone from other powerful dynasty in Ulster, for instance, O'Donnell dynasty of Tyrconnell (Co. Donegal).
In Thomond, the ancient territory of County Clare, the MacCraiths were famous for writing up the exploits of the MacNamaras and the O'Briens in Caithreim Thoirdhealbhaigh. The tales of battles, bloodshed, successions and assassinations all form parts of this lively manuscript.
During the 1300’s a branch of the Thomond family migrated to County Waterford. They lived near Lismore and Dungarvan in an area called Sliabh Gua at the base of the Knockmealdown Mountains.
The MacGraths also ended up in County Tipperary and we will look at these origins during our Clans and Surnames week in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, May 15 -19, 2017. More details can be found at hhttp://www.clansandsurnames.com. there is also a Clan Gathering planned for the MacGraths in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford in June 2019.