McCartan of Kinelarty

Origin of the surname McCartan

Most of Ireland's septs received their names in the eleventh century. Brian Boru, the then High King, proclaimed that all of Ireland's 150 septs, with territorial claims, be formally identified with a discernible name. Most septs chose the names of noteworthy ancestors. The McCartans picked Artán who died in 1004. The McCartan surname is therefore derived from the Gaelic, Mac Artán, which translates 'descendant of Artán'.

Patrimony of the McCartans

Before the Middle Ages the McCartans controlled an area which encompassed the present baronies of Kinelarty, Dufferin and part of Castlereagh. Neighbouring Iveagh also came under their control for short periods. During the sixteenth century, colonists inhabited portions of these lands. In 1600 the McCartans were still prominent, and in control of mid-Down. Their strongholds were at Magheraknock, Ballynahinch, Magheratimpany, Loughinisland, Drumnacoyle, Drumaroad, Finnebrogue and Ardilea.

The place-name Kinelarty

Kinelarty is derived from the Gaelic 'Cineal Fogartaigh'. This translates 'followers of Fogartaigh'. Fogartaigh was grandfather to Artán and was alive in 950.

Ancient monuments in Kinelarty

In prehistoric times territorial boundaries were clearly defined by using dolmens, ring forts, ritual sites and standing stones as markers. Such monuments can be found today at Slidderyford (Dundrum), Legananny (Slieve Croob), Annadorn (Loughinisland), Kilygoney (Ballynahinch) and Magheraknock. On modern maps this area is an outline of the present barony of Kinelarty, with Loughinisland as a central hub. Interesting placenames are to be found in the Loughinisland area: Rosconnor (Woods of Connor’s Point), Rademon (Rath of Deman), Castlenavan (Eamhain’s Cashel), Tareesh (King’s House), Kilmoremorean (Morean's Big Church) and Cahirvor (Big Seat). These and further evidence in early manuscripts, provide confirmation of an ancient Kingship whose history is shrouded in the mists of time.


 A chronological history 1004-1810



 A photographic journey through Kinelarty

Ancestors of note

 The Penal Laws and the McCartans 

 Lifestyle in rural Ulster 1820- 1914

The McCartans and Saint Macartan

McCartan migration in Ireland

Research archives

 Current projects

Useful information


Back to top

Webmaster: Sean McCartan


    Last Revised: 7 December  2001 (under construction)

    Please report any links which are not activated

    Copyright © 1999-2002 by Sean McCartan. All rights reserved.
    This site may be freely linked to but not duplicated in any fashion without my consent.