O'Donnell dynasty

O'Donnell Dynasty

O'Donnell dynasty

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For other uses, see O'Donnell .
O'Donnell (Irish: Ó Donaill or Ó Domhnaill), which is derived from the forename Domhnaill (meaning "world ruler", Rex Mundi in Latin, Modern Irish spelling, Dónall) were an ancient and powerful Irish family, kings, princes, and lords of Tír Chonaill (rendered in English as Tyrconnell or Tyrconnel, known today as County Donegal) in early times, and the chief allies and sometimes rivals of the O'Neill in Ulster.


Like the family of O'Neill, that of O'Donnell of Tyrconnell was of the Uí Néill, i.e. descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, High-King of Ireland at the beginning of the 5th century; the O'Neill, or Cenél nEógain, tracing their pedigree to Eógan mac Néill, and the O'Donnells, or Cenél Conaill, to Conall Gulban, both sons of Niall. Conall was baptised by St. Patrick.

Arms and motto

The Byzantine Emperor, Constantine the Great, converted to Christianity after a vision before the famous Battle of the Milvian Bridge, having seen a chi-rho in the sky, and thence the motto In Hoc Signo Vinces, telling him he would be victorious with the sign of the cross. The chi-rho was adopted on a banner, the labarum, upheld on a vexillum, which resembled a Christian cross, and in time the motto became associated with the Cross all over Europe. Legend has it that St. Patrick struck the shield of Conall, son of King Niall of the Nine Hostages, with his crosier, called Bachall Isa (the staff of Jesus) inscribing thereon...
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