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Few Irish surnames have been more barbarously maltreated as a result of the introduction of the English language into Ireland than Ó Brollacháin, which for some extraordinary reason was generally given as its anglicised form the English name of Bradley, though in a few places, notably in Co. Derry, it is quite rationally called in English O'Brallaghan. No doubt a proportion of the Bradleys in Ireland are descendants of English settlers, but those who bear the name in the counties adjacent to Co. Derry and also in Co. Cork have justification for believing that they are really O'Brallaghans, because it was in those areas that the sept originated, the Cork line being a branch which in early times migrated southwards. Actually they are first heard of in Co. Tyrone, the county adjacent to Co. Derry on its southern border. It is interesting to note that modern statistics show that Counties Derry, Tyrone and Donegal are still the homeland of most Irish Bradleys, with Cork their main stronghold in the south.
These Irish Bradleys are of true Celtic stock, being part of the Uí Neill tribal grouping, descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages. He was High King of Ireland from 377 to 404 AD. His father was Eochaidh Muigh-Medon, of the Celtic line of Erimhon or Heremon and his mother was Carthann Cas Dubh, daughter of the king of Britain. Niall's ancestry can be traced back to Miledh or Milesius of Esbain, King of Spain, whose wife was the daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh Nectonibus and who was the ancestor of all the Celts in Ireland. From there the line goes back fifteen generations to Niul (from whom the river Nile got its name) who was married to the daughter of Pharaoh Cingris (who drowned in the Red Sea when Moses rejoined the parted waters after the Israelites had made good their escape). As High King of Ireland, Niall reigned from the ancient Irish royal seat at Tara, in modern Co. Meath. During his reign he conquered all of Ireland and Scotland as well as much of Britain and Wales. He took a royal hostage from each of the nine kingdoms he subjugated, hence his famous nickname. Niall had twelve sons, eight of whom founded septs: - Eoghan (from whom the Bradleys descend), Laeghaire (or Leary), Conall Crimthann, Conall Gulban, Fiacha, Main, Cairbre and Fergus. The collective descendants of Niall are known as the Uí Néill. The Bradleys descend from Eoghan (Owen), son of Niall, through Feareadhach, ancestor of Fadhaigh anglicised Fahy, Fahie, and Fay, whose great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson was Brollachan (from the Irish "brollach" meaning "breast") from whom they derived their surname.
Keating's History of Ireland notes, "The O'Brolchains, or O'Brolchans, a name often changed to Bradley, were a numerous clan near Derry, but originally of the Kinel Feradaigh, in the south of Tyrone, and were a branch of the Kinel Owen". The sept was adventurous and no only did they establish a branch in Cork, but a number of them moved to Scotland and from them descend the O'Brologhans of the Western Highlands, whose name has also been anglicised as Brodie in modern times. These, however, must not be confused with the ancient Pictish clan Brodie who took their name from the barony of Brodie in Morayshire, or with the Bradleys of Scotland who took their name from Braidlie in the barony of Hawick in Roxburghshire. A small group of the Derry sept also settled in county Cavan in Ireland where they, strangely, adopted the Norman name Brabazon.
A remarkable number of O'Brallaghans (or rather O'Brollacháin for the English language was then unknown in Ireland) distinguished themselves in the eleventh and twelfth centuries: Maelbrighde O'Brollacháin (died 1029) builder; his sons Aedh (died 1095), professor, and Maelbrighde, bishop of Kildare (1097 - 1100); another, Donal O'Brollachain (died 1202), was Abbot of Derry; while Flaibhertach O'Brollachain (died 1175) rebuilt the Cathedral at Derry in 1164.
The only Irishman of special note called Bradley was Most Rev. Denis Mary Bradley (1846-1903), a Kerryman popular with all denominations in his diocese of Manchester (New England).
1. Bradley (the sept of O Brollachain) Gules a chevron Argent between three boars' heads couped Or. Crest: A boar Sable bristled and hoofed Or, gorged with a garland Vert. No motto recorded.
2. Bradley (Ulster, probably of English origin) Argent on a fesse engrailed Gules between three crosses formee fitchee Sable, three martlets Or. Crest: A martlet Or holding in the beak a cross formee fitchee Sable. No motto recorded.
The Ancient Genealogy of Bradley according to O'Hart
81. Art Eanfhear ("art:" Irish, a bear, a stone; noble, great, generous; hardness, cruelty. "Ean:" Irish, one; "fhear," "ar," the man; Gr. "Ar," The Man, or God of War): son of Conn of the Hundred Fights; a quo O'h-Airt, anglicised O'Hart. This Art, who was the 112th Monarch of Ireland, had three sisters - one of whom Sarad was the wife of Conaire Mac Mogha Laine, the 111th Monarch, by whom she had three sons called the "Three Cairbres," viz. - 1. Cairbre (alias Eochaidh) Riada - a quo "Dalriada," in Ireland, and in Scotland; 2. Cairbre Bascaon; 3. Cairbre Musc, who was the ancestor of O'Falvey, lords of Corcaguiney, etc. Sabina (or Sadhbh), another sister, was the wife of MacNiadh [nia], half King of Munster (of the Sept of Lughaidh, son of Ithe), by whom she had a son named Maccon; and by her second husband Olioll Olum she had nine sons, seven whereof were slain by their half brother Maccon, in the famous battle of Magh Mucroimhe [muccrove], in the county of Galway, where also the Monarch Art himself fell, siding with his brother-in-law Olioll Olum against the said Maccon, after a reign of thirty years, A.D. 195. This Art was married to Maedhbh, Leathdearg, the duaghter of Conann Cualann; from this Queen, Rath Maedhbhe, near Tara, obtained its name.
82. Cormac Ulfhada: son of Art Eanfhear; m. Eithne, duaghter of Dunlang, King of Leinster; had three elder brothers - 1. Artghen, 2. Boindia, 3. Bonnrigh. He had also six sons - 1. Cairbre Lifeachar, 2. Muireadach, 3. Moghruith, 4. Ceallach, 5. Daire, 6. Aongus Fionn: Nos. 4 and 5 left no issue. King Cormac Mac Art was the 115th Monarch of Ireland; and was called "Ulfhada," because of his long beard. He was the wisest, most learned, and best of any of the Milesian race before him, that ruled the Kingdom. He ordained several good laws; wrote several learned treatises, among which his treatise on "Kingly Government," directed to his son Carbry Liffechar, is extant and extraordinary. He was very magnificent in his housekeeping and attendants, having always one thousand one hundred and fifty persons in his daily retinue constantly attending at his Great Hall at Tara; which was three hundred feet long, thirty cubits high, and fifty cubits broad, with fourteen doors to it. His daily service of plate, flagons, drinking cups of gold, silver., and precious stone, at his table, ordinarily consisted of one hundred and fifty pieces, besides dishes, etc., which were all pure silver or gold. He ordained that ten choice persons should constantly attend him and his successors - Monarchs of Ireland, and never to be absent from him, viz. - 1. A nobleman to be his companion; 2. A judge to deliver and explain the laws of the country in the King's presence upon all occasions; 3. An antiquary or historiographer to declare and preserve the genealogies, acts, and occurrences of the nobility and gentry from time to time as occasion required; 4. A Druid or Magician to offer sacrifice, and presage good or bad omens, as his learning, skill, or knowledge would enable him; 5. A poet to praise or dispraise every one according to his good or bad actions; 6. A physician to administer physic to the king and queen, and to the rest of the (royal) family; 7. A musician to compose music, and sing pleasant sonnets in the King's presence when there-unto disposed; and 8, 9, and 10, three Stewards to govern the King's House in all things appertaining thereunto. This custom was observed by all the succeeding Monarchs down to Brian Boromha [Boru], the 175th Monarch of Ireland, and the 60th down from Cormac, without any alteration only that since they received the Christian Faith they changed the Druid or Magician for a Prelate of the Church. What is besides delivered from antiquity of this great Monarch is, that (which among the truly wise is more valuable than any worldly magnificence or secular glory whatsoever) he was to all mankind very just, and so upright in his actions, judgments, and laws, that God revealed unto him the light of His Faith seven years before his death; and from thenceforward he refused his Druids to worship their idol-gods, and openly professed he would no more worship any but the true God of the Universe, the Immortal and Invisible King of Ages. Whereupon the Druids sought his destruction, which they soon after effected (God permitting it) by their adjurations and ministry of damned spirits choking him as he sat at dinner eating of salmon, some say by a bone of the fish sticking in his throat, A.D. 266, after he had reigned forty years. Of the six sons of Cormac Mac Art, no issue is recorded from any [of them], but from Cairbre-Lifeachar; he had also ten daughters, but there is no account of any of them only two - namely, Grace (or Grania), and Ailbh [alve], who were both successively the wives of the great champion and general of the Irish Militia, Fionn, the son of Cubhall [Coole]. The mother of Cormac MacArt was Eachtach, the duaghter of Ulcheatagh. Cormac was married to Eithne Ollamhdha, duaghter of Dunlang, son of Eana Niadh; she was fostered by Buiciodh Brughach, in Leinster.
83. Cairbre-Lifeachar, the 117th Monarch of Ireland: son of King Cormac Mac Art; was so called from his having been nursed by the side of the Liffey, the river on which Dublin is built. His mother was Eithne, daughter of Dunlong, King of Leinster. He had three sons - 1. Eochaidh Dubhlen; 2. Eocho; and 3. Fiacha Srabhteine, who was the 120th Monarch of Ireland, and the ancestor of O'Neill, Princes of Tyrone. Fiacha Srabhteine was so called, from his having been fostered at Dunsrabhteine, in Connaught; of which province he was King, before his elevation to the Monarchy. After seventeen years' reign, the Monarch Cairbre Lifeachar was slain at the battle of Gabhra [Gaura], A.D. 284, by Simeon, the son of Ceirb, who came from the south of Leinster to this battle, fought by the Militia of Ireland, who were called the Fiana Erionn (or Fenians), and arising from a quarrel which happened between the; in which the Monarch, taking part with one side against the other, lost his life.
84. Fiacha Srabhteine, King of Conacht, and the 120th Monarch of Ireland: son of Cairbre-Liffechar; married Aoife, duaghter of the King of Gall Gaodhal. This Fiacha, after 37 years' reign, was, in the battle of Dubhcomar, A.D. 322, slain by his nephews, the Three Collas, to make room for Colla Uais, who seized on, and kept, the Monarchy for four years. From those three Collas the "Clan Colla" were so called.
85. Muireadach Tireach: son of Fiacha Srabhteine; m. Muirion, duaghter of Fiachadh, King of Ulster; and having, in A.D. 326, fought and defeated Colla Uais, and banished him and his two brothers into Scotland, regained his father's Throne, which he kept as the 122nd Monarch for 30 years.
86. Eochaidh Muigh-Meadhoin [Moyvone]: his son; was the 124th Monarch; and in the 8th year of his reign died a natural death at Tara, A.D. 365; leaving issue four sons, viz., by his first wife Mong Fionn: - I. Brian; II. Fiachra; III. Olioll; IV. Fergus. And, by his second wife, Carthan Cais Dubh (or Carinna), daughter of the Celtic King of Britain, - V. Niall Mór, commonly called "Niall of the Nine Hostages." Mong Fionn was duaghter of Fiodhach, and sister of Crimthann, King of Munster, of the Heberian Sept, and successor of Eochaidh in the Monarchy. This Crimthann was poisoned by his sister Mong-Fionn, in hopes that Brian, her eldest son by Eochaidh, would succeed in the Monarchy. To avoid suspicion she herself drank of the same poisoned cup which she presented to her brother; but, notwithstanding that she lost her life by so doing, yet her expectations were not realised, for the said Brian and her other three sons by the said Eochaidh were laid aside (whether out of horror of the mother's inhumanity in poisoning her brother, or otherwise, is not known), and the youngest son of Eochaidh, by Carthan Cais Dubh, was preferred to the Monarchy. I. Brian, from him were descended the Kings, nobility and gentry of Connacht - Tirloch Mór O'Connor, the 121st, and Roderic O'Connor, the 183rd Monarch of Ireland. II. Fiachra's descendants gave their name to Tir-Fiachra ("Tireragh"), co. Sligo, and possessed also parts of co. Mayo. III. Olioll's descendants settled in Sligo - in Tir Oliolla (or Tirerill). This Fiachra had five sons: - 1. Earc Cuilbhuide; 2. Breasal; 3. Conaire; 4. Feredach (or Dathi); and 5. Amhalgaidh.
87. Niall Mór: his son; a quo the "Hy-Niall" of Ulster, Meath, and Conacht. He was twice married: - his first Queen was Inne, the duaghter of Luighdheach, who was the relict of Fiachadh; his second Queen was Roigneach, by whom he had Nos. I., II., III., IV., V., VI., and VII., as given below. This Niall Mór succeeded his Uncle Crimthann; and was the 126th Monarch of Ireland. He was a stout, wise, and warlike prince, and fortunate in all his conquests and achievements, and therefore called "Great." He was also called Niall Naoi-Ghiallach or "Niall of the Nine Hostages," from the royal hostages taken from nine several countries by him subdued and made tributary: viz., - 1. Munster, 2. Leinster, 3. Conacht, 4. Ulster, 5. Britain, 6. the Picts, 7. the Dalriads, 8. the Saxons, and 9. the Morini - a people of France, towards Calais and Piccardy; whence he marched with his victorious army of Irish, Scots, Picts, and Britons, further into France, in order to aid the Celtic natives in expelling the Roman Eagles, and thus to conquer that portion of the Roman Empire; and, encamping on the river Leor (now called Lianne), was, as he sat by the river side, treacherously assassinated by Eocha, son of Enna Cinsalach, king of Leinster, in revenge of a former "wrong" by him received from the said Niall. The spot on the Leor (not "Loire") where this Monarch was murdered is still called the "Ford of Niall," near Boulogne-sur-mer. It was in the ninth year of his reign that St. Patrick was first brought into Ireland, at the age of 16 years, among two hundred children brought by the Irish Army out of Little Brittany (called also Armorica), in France. Niall Mór was the first that gave the name of Scotia Minor to "Scotland," and ordained it to be ever after so called; until then it went by the name of "Alba." Niall had twelve sons: - I. Eoghan; II. Laeghaire (or Leary), the 128th Monarch, in the 4th year of whose reign St. Patrick, the second time, came into Ireland to plant the Christian Faith, A.D. 432; III. Conall Crimthann, ancestor of O'Melaghlin, Kings of Meath; IV. Conall Gulban, ancestor of O'Donnell (princes, lords, and earls of the territory of Tirconnell), and of O'Boyle, O'Dogherty, O'Gallagher, etc.; V. Fiacha, from whom the territory from Birr to the Hill of Uisneach in Media Hibernioe (or Meath) is called "Cineal Fiacha," and from him MacGeoghagan, lords of that territory, O'Molloy, O'Donechar, Donaher (or Dooner), etc., derive their pedigree; VI. Main, whose patrimony was all the tract of land from Lochree to Loch Annin, near Mullingar, and from whom are descended Fox (lords of the Muintir Tagan territory), MacGawley, O'Dugan, O'Mulchonry (the princes antiquaries of Ireland), O'Henergy, etc.; VII. Cairbre, ancestor of OFlanagan, of Tua Ratha, "Muintir Cathalan" (or Cahill) etc.; VIII. Fergus (a quo "Cineal Fergusa" or Ferguson), ancestor of O'Hagan, etc.; IX. Enna; X. Aongus or Æneas; XI. Ualdhearg; and XII. Fergus Altleathan. Of these last four sons we find no issue.
88. Eoghan (Eugene, or Owen): son of Niall Mór; from whom the territory of "Tir-Eoghan" (now Tirowen or Tyrone), in Ulster is so called. From this Owen came (among others) the following families: O'Cahan, or O'Cane, O'Daly of "Leath Cuinn" (or the kingdoms of Meath, Ulster, and Conacht), O'Crean, Grogan, O'Carolan, etc. This Eoghan, Prince of Ulster, was baptized by St. Patrick at the Royal Palace of Aileach; and our Ulster Annalists state that it was his foot which was pierced by the Bacchal Iosa during the ceremony.
89. Muireadach (III.): son of Eoghan; was married to Earca, duaghter of Loarn, King of Dalriada in Scotland, and by her had many sons and daus., two of them are especially mentioned: - Muirceartach Mór, and Fergus Mór, both called "Mac Earca." From this Fergus Mór descended the Kings of Scotland, and thence, through Queen Matilda, the Kings of England, including the Royal Houses of Plantagenet, Stuart, and D'Este. This Muireadach who had a brother named Eachagh Binneach, had twelve sons: - I. and II. above mentioned; III. Fearach (or Fearadach), ancestor of Mac Cathmhaoil (or Cowell, Campbell, etc.); IV. Tigernach, ancestor of O'Cunigan, and O'h-Easa (anglicised Hosey, Hussey, and O'Swell); V. Mongan, ancestor of O'Croidhen (Creedon or Croydon), O'Donnelly, etc.; VI. Dalach: VII. Maon, ancestor of O'Gormley, OMaolmichil, O'Doraigen, ("dor:" Ir. a confine; "aigein," the ocean), anglicised Dorrine, Dorien, and modernized Dorrian; VIII. Fergus; IX. and X. named Loarn; XI. and XII. called Aongus. In the 20th year of the reign of the Monarch Lughaidh, the son of Laeghaire, with a complete army, Fergus Mór Mac Earca, (with his five brothers, VIII., IX., X., XI., and XII., above mentioned went into Scotland to assist his grandfather King Loarn, who was much oppressed by his enemies the Picts; who were vanquished by Fergus and his party, who prosecuted the war so vigorously, followed the enemy to their own homes, and reduced them to such extremity, that they were glad to accept peace upon the conqueror's own conditions; whereupon, on the King's death, which happened about the same time, the said Fergus Mór Mac Earca was unanimously elected and chosen king as being of the blood royal by his mother. And the said Fergus, for a good and lucky omen, sent to his brother, who was then Monarch of Ireland, for the Marble Seat called "Saxum Fatale" (in Irish, Liath Fail, and Cloch-na-Cinneamhna, implying in English the Stone of Destiny or Fortune), to be crowned thereon; which happened accordingly; for, as he was the first absolute King of all Scotland of the Milesian Race, so the succession continued in his blood and lineage ever since to this day.
90. Feareadhach: third son of Muireadhach was the ancestor of Fadhaigh ("fadh:" Irish, a cut; "ach," a skirmish); anglicised Fahy, Fahie, and Fay.
91. Fiachnach: his son.
92. Suibhneach Meann: his son.
93. Crunmhal: his son.
94. Maoltuile: his son.
95. Flann Fionn: his son.
96. Diochron: his son.
97. Elcan: his son.
98. Brollachan ("brollach:" Irish, the breast); his son; from whom descended O'Brollaghain, anglicised Brallaghan, Bradlaugh and Bradley.
99. Doiligein 1053 - Royal priest of Armagh
100. Mael patraicc
101. Duibh insi
102. Maoil Brigdhe Mac an t-Saoir Ua Brolchain
103. Maoil Iosa an cleiricc O Brolchain d. 1086
104. Aodh Ua Brolchain
Ua Brolchain 1105