Clann Uí Mhainnín
Dr. Joe Mannion.
The Mannion family name is an anglicised form of Ó Mainnín, signifying ‘descendant of Mainnín’, an early tenth-century king of the Sogain people of East Galway. The clan can trace their roots in the medieval Irish genealogies to the Cruthin, the earliest band of Celtic settlers deemed to have reached Ireland about the sixth century BC. An Ulster prince called Sogan Sálbuide is reported to have been granted a territory in Connacht between the Clare river and the Suck by the legendary Queen Medb about the time of the birth of Christ. With the arrival of the more powerful Uí Maine people in the area about AD 500, the kingdom of Sogan became a sub-kingdom of Uí Maine (later Hy Many), and its Sogain inhabitants were obliged to render tribute and military service to them. The Ó Mainnín clan and their ancestral Cenél nDéigill sept were originally located to the west and south of the Killaclogher/Abbert river, in an area comprising the parishes of Athenry and Monivea, together with parts of Lackagh, Kilmoylan and Knockmoy. Encroachment eastwards over the Clare river by the Uí Briúin of Mag Seóla led to the loss of lands later included in Kilmoylan and Lackagh, while Athenry had been lost to the Clann Taidg sept of Síl Muiredaig extraction by the mid twelfth century. Finally, about the middle of the fourteenth century, the O’Kellys of Hy Many captured the Ó Mainnín stronghold at Clogher (now Killaclogher), dispossessed the clan of their lands in the parish of Monivea, hanged the Ó Mainnín chieftain, and forced his kinsmen eastwards over the Killaclogher river. Here they dislocated some of the O’Concannon clan, and in the late sixteenth century held most of the parish of Killoscobe, the central portion of Moylough, and two townlands in Knockmoy. After their relocation, the ruling branch of the Ó Mainnín clan established their centre of power at Mionlach Uí Mhainnín, now Menlough, where a substantial castle with bawn and associated medieval village was erected in the fifteenth or sixteenth century. A collateral branch of the family seemingly erected Clooncurreen Castle about the same time. Ó Mainnín landholders continued to hold much of their newly-acquired patrimony until the mid-seventeenth-century Cromwellian confiscations, at which time they were dispossessed and dispersed, with just small portions of the clan lands being restored to its former owners during the Restoration under Charles II (1660-1685). To this day, the Mannion clan continues to be strongly represented in the East Galway area.