By Mick Mouse · Mar 16, 2012 · ·
  1. Mick Mouse
    There has been quite a bit of discussion in the post "Who you are vs. who you think you are", and it has been getting very interesting. As I mentioned in the beginning of that post, it was a continuation of a previous thought that was explored in another area of the forum, and for some reason, I just cannot get it out of my mind.

    Anyway, for those of you who have been following my blog, you may have wondered at times just who in the hell this madman is! That, my friends, is a question I have been asking myself for quite some time now, and I have yet to develop a satisfactory answer.

    With that in mind, I invite you to read on, and see just what drives me to find out who I am!

    "Who so ever asks me of my birth-I will tell them that I was born of Irish princes who ruled in Donegal a thousand years ago; that I am descended from the high Kings of Ireland, and my name is from the Clan O'Dochartaigh!"

    More than 30 centuries ago, the Celts ventured westward. Myths and history have traced them from the borderlands of Europe, through the Alps and the Pyrenees to those off-shore islands, of which Ireland is the most distant. the westernmost of these Celtic peoples, the Gaels, called their new land "Eiriu" or "Eire". The Gaels were not the first inhabitants of Ireland, but it was the Gaels who shaped Ireland and were shaped by it, and in Ireland they became the Irish.

    An island ringed by mountains and cliffs, Ireland's people were encouraged to think of themselves as a distinct people. the Irish social and political system, based on kinship, kept the country divided among its many clans, each under its own chief. These tribal territories gradually grew into larger kingdoms, with Ulster to the north, Munster in the south, Leinster in the east, and Connacht in the west. the high kingship of all Ireland remained an elusive prize, held only intermittently.

    The Inishowen peninsula is triangular in shape, flanked on the east by Lough Foyle and on the west by Lough Swilly; projecting from the north coast into the Atlantic ocean is Main Head, the most northerly point in Ireland. The landscape is composed of rugged mountains covered in blanket bog, terminating along the coast in steep cliffs or broad sweeps of sand.Flocks of sheep graze the stoney ground. In the fishing villages, the traditional cabins are roofed with thatch and tied down with twine to withstand the wind.

    The peninsula is named after a son of Niall of the Nine Hostages-Eoghain, who was a contemporary of Saint Patrick in the fifth century. The Vikings made several raids, but were expelled. By the fifteenth century, the last ruling chieftain of Inishowen, Sir Cahir O'Doherty, was killed in Kilmaccrennan in 1608, opening the way for Sir Arthur Chichester, who was England's Lord Deputy in Ireland.

    In the north end of Buncrana (Bun Crannacha), a seaside resort in Donegal, an old six-arched bridge spanning the Cranna river leads to the O'Doherty Keep. Around 1410, castles were built at Burt, Inch, Elagh, Culmacatraine, and Buncranna. In 1601, the O'Doherty Keep was described as being a small, two-story castle and inhabited by Conor MacGarret O'Doherty. In 1602, it was upgraded by Hugh Boy O'Doherty as an intended base for Spanish military aid that hoped to land at Inch. In 1608, after being insulted by the Governor of Derry, Sir Cahil O'Doherty (the last Gaelic Chieftain of Inis Eoghain) rallied his troops here as it was more secluded than his at Burt. He then marched south, captured Culmore Fort, and sacked Derry; the governor of Derry paid with his life for the insult. Cahir was forced to withdraw and some months later, he was killed. As a reprisal, the Keep was burned, but the walls still stood, and the interior was rebuilt at a later date. The confiscated lands went to Sir Arther Chichester, who leased them to Sir Henry Vaughan. He modified the Keep and his family lived there until the new castle was built in 1718.

    In 1718, Buncranna castle was built by George Vaughan, and it was one of the earliest of the "big houses" in Inis Eoghain. The word "castle" was used during this period to describe any large, non-ecclesiastical stone building. Using stone from the old surrounding "bawn" wall of O'Doherty's Keep for its construction. It was erected on the original site of Buncranna, which had grown up in he shadow of the Keep, but Vaughan moved the town to its present location, where he laid out the main street and built Castle Bridge (a six-arched stone single lane bridge) in 1718. Wolfe Tone was held there when captured after the British/French naval battle off Donegal, before being taken to Derry (Londonderry) and then on to Dublin. The castle is still a private residence today. in the forecourt, there is a gravestone in honor of Sir Cahil O'Doherty and a plaque to Wolfe Tone.

    There are many spellings of the surname DOUGHERTY. Regardless of which one you may use, there are at least a dozen versions apart from with or without the "O". All of these, however, have their roots in the Finn River Valley, in Inishowen in the beautiful county of Donegal. It is believed to be one of the oldest hereditary surnames, and translated from the Irish Gaelic it is commonly accepted to mean "obstructive" or "hurtful". There are some who claim that it means "People of the Oak Houses", but this is a rather recent development and it is currently rejected by most Gaelic scholars. it is the most common name in Derry City and County Donegal, ranking fifteenth in the list of the most common Irish surnames.

    The motto on our coat of arms is Ar nDuthchas (for our heritage). There is also a considerable amount of evidence at hand to show that the Clans MacDevitt, McDaids, McDades, and the Bradleys are linked to our Clan as well.

    While that is the official motto of our family on our Coat of Arms, my personal family motto is "Oderint Dum Metuant" which is a Latin phrase and it means (if I spelled it right!) "Let them hate, as long as they also fear".

    The O'Dochartaigh clan originated in Inishowen and got the family name from Dochartach, son and heir of Maongal, the grandson of Fianan, Lord of Inishowen, who was also the third son of Ceannfaola, prince of Tir Conaill, and the twelfth in lineal descent from Conall Gulban.

    So, that is where this madman comes from, and the history surrounding him. Hope you found it as interesting as I did!

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  1. CanadianBakin
    Cool man! Read er' inside n' out. You're a good writer! You create really good imagery, but not to the point where you become uninformative. You struck a good balance between setting a good mood (almost like a story) and being educational.
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