MacNicol and the Line of Ithe


Breogán, Ancient Celtic King of Galicia


The Celtic cultures of Scotland and Ireland are woven together, and the origins of Clan MacNicol are part of that tradition.  The myths and legends of the Highlands and the Islands are very similar to those of other ancient cultures, full heros and conquests.  The very words myth and legend mean stories about origin, but legend is also used to denote a myth which is believed to have some basis in truth. Over time, some legendary characters take on a larger than life personality, such as  Breogán, a mythical Celtic King of Galicia, Spain, who lived around 1799 BC. From a biblical timeline, this would have been about 100 years after the patriarch Abraham arrived in the land of Cannan around 1900 BC. From a historical perspective, Hammurabi of Babylon, the great law giver was in power, around 1800 BC.  

Much that is known of this man has been passed down in a book called the Lebor Gabála Érenn (LGE), also known as The Book of Taking Ireland or The Book of Invasions.  The LGE seems to provide the Irish people with a written history similar to that of the Israelites of the Old Testament.  

Breogán had two sons, Ithe and Bilé. According to John O'Hart's, Irish Pedigrees - The Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation, 1892 edition, from Bile are decesnded the High Kings of Ireland to include Niall of the Nine Hostages from who descend the O'Neils and MacNeils of today.  O'Hart claims the MacNicol race is descended from Ithe, and are of Irish descent not originally Scandinavian, although MacNicols intermarried with Norwegians and Danes.  


On page 281, O'Hart states ,

"Niocholl, brother of Teige who is No. 91 on the "Coffey" pedigree, was the ancestor of MacNicaill, sometimes written NacNiocoil, and MacNioclais ; anglicised MacNichol, MacNicol* Nicholls, Nicholas, MacNkholas, Nicholson, Nicolson, Nicols, Nicson, and Nixon. 

 In a lately published work, purporting to give the " History of the Scottish Clans," it is stated that this Clan was of Norwegian orgin. No doubt the Clan, from time to time, may have made several marriage alliances witb Danish and Norwegian families ; but the Clan MacNicol was of Irish extraction!  Gregall MacNicol, who is No. 113 on this pedigree, acquired historic notability by his opposition to and defeat of the Danes and Norwegians: a fact, which in itself, would go to prove that the Clan MacNicol is not of Danish or Norwegian descent. "

O'Hart ends the Nicolson chiefly line with Norman Nicolson, son of John, living in Camelford, Campbell Town, Tasmania, 1880 AD.


Michael, a clan member from Nepean, Ontario has contributed several previous articles for Scorrybreac.  His well researched article from the November 2013 edition addresses this controversial topic: that the origins of Clan MacNicol are irish and Celtic rather than Norse, as claimed by David Sellar in our clan history, “The Highland Clan MacNeacail” by Sellar and Maclean. Michael uses as his sources ancient Irish manuscripts summarized in books by Cusack and Keating, from which he quotes at length, and he also quotes a passage from our late Chief, Iain MacNeacail of MacNeacail and Scorrybreac which appeared as his Preface in our 1988 reprinting of The Clan Nicolson, by J.G. Nicholson.] 

Irish Pedigrees, or The Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation

5th Edition

By John O'Hart
Published in 1892


The Legendary Line of Breogán


The Legendary Line of MacNicol from Adam 

As previously stated, much of O'Hart's pedigree cannot be taken as fact.  Many will find the MacNicol pedigree back to Adam entertaining.



Ithe (or Ith), brother of Bile* who is No. 35, page 50, was the ancestor of the Ithians. This Ithe was uncle of Milesius of Spain ; and his descendants settled mostly in Munster.

The Stem of the "Line of Ithe."

The Stem of the Irish Nation, from Ithe down to (No. 73) Cobthach

Fionn, a quo O'Cofey of Munster.

1. Adam

2. Seth

3. Enos

4. Cainan

5. Mahalaleel

6. Jared

7. Enoch

8. Methuselah

9. Lamech

10. Noah

11. Japhet

12. Magog

13. Baoth – Scythia became his inheritance upon the division of the Earth by Noah

14. Phoeniusa Farsaidh (Fenius Farsa) – King of Scythia at the time Ninus ruled the Assyrian Empire

15. Niul

16. Gaodhal (Gathelus)

17. Asruth

18. Sruth – supported the Israelites and angered the Egyptians

19. Heber Scut

20. Beouman – King of Scythia

21. Ogaman – King of Scythia

22. Tait – King of Scythia

23. Agnon – wandered the Caspian Sea

24. Lamhfionn – died in Carthage

25. Heber Glunfionn – born in Getulia

26. Agnan Fionn – King of Gothia or Getulia

27. Febric Glas – King of Gothia or Getulia

28. Nenuall – King of Gothia or Getulia

29. Nuadhad – King of Gothia or Getulia

30. Alladh – King of Gothia or Getulia

31. Arcadh – King of Gothia or Getulia

32. Deag – King of Gothia or Getulia

33. Brath –born in Gothia. Later sailed to Galicia, Spain

34. Breoghan (or Brigus) – King of Galicia, Andalusia, Murcia, Castile and Portugal

35. Ithe : son of Breoghan, King of Spain.

36. Lughaidh [Luy] : his son ; a quo the Ithians were called Lugadians.

37. Mai: his son.

38. Edaman : his son,

39. Logha : his son.

40. Mathsin : his son.

41. Sin : his son.

42. Gossaman : his son.

43. Adaman : his son.

44. Heremon : his son.

45. Logha Feile : his son.

46. Lachtnan : his son.

47. Nuaclad Argni : his son.

48. Deargthine : his son.

49. Deagha Derg : his son.

50. Deagha Amhra : his son.

51. Ferulnigh : his son.

52. Sithbolg: his son.

53. Daire (or Darius) Diomdhach. his son.

54. Each Bolg : his son ; had a brother named Luy, who was the ancestor of Clancy of Dartry, in Leitrim; and some say, of Macaulay or MacGawley of Calry, in Westmeath.

55. Ferulnigh (2) : his son.

56. Daire (2): his son; from whom the Ithians were called Darinians.

57. Luy : his son.

58. MacNiadh : his son.

59. Luy Mac con : his son ; the 113th Monarch of Ireland.

60. Aongus (or Æneas) : his son ; had four brothers : — 1. Fothach Argthach, the 118th Monarch of Ireland jointly with his brother Fothach Cairpeach, by whom, A.D. 285, he was slain;  2. the said Fothach Cairpeach, the 119th Monarch ; 3. Duach, ancestor of Conell, O'Hennessy, McEirc, etc. ; 4. Fothach Canaan, ancestor of MacAlim

61. Fergus : son of Æneas.

62. Luigheach : his son.

63. AEneas Bolg : his son.

64. Gearan : his son ; had a brother named Trean.

65. Conall Claon (" claon" : Irish, partial; Gr. "klin-o") : his son.

66. CeannReithe("reithe": Irish, of a ram ; " ceann" a head) : his son ; a quo O'Eeithe.*

67. Olioll : his son ; had a brother named Trean, from whom descended St. Beoardh (8 March) of Ardcarn.

68. Fergus : son of Olioll.

69. Connacille : his son.

70. Maccon : his son.

71. Olioll (2): his son.

72. Dungal : his son.

73. Cobthach Fionn ("cobthactt': Irish, victorious ; " fionn," /air, meaning "the fairhaired victor"): his son ; a quo O'Cobhthaigh, anglicised O'Coffey, O'Cowhig, Coffey, Cojffy, and Coffee.

74. Donoch Mór; son of Cobthach Fionn, who is No. 73 on " The Line of Ithe," ante.

75. Donall Mór: his son.

76. Maccraith : his son.

77. Conchobar (or Conor): his son.

78. Maghnus (or Maighneas) : his son.

79. Conor (2) : his son.

80. Maithan Dall : his son.

81. Cobthach (2) : his son.

82. Dermod : his son.

83. Fergal : his son.

84. Donoch : his son.

85. Aodh (or Hugh) : his son.

86. Maghnus (2) : his son.

87. Conor (3): his son.

88. Niocholl : his son.

89. Walter : his son.

90. Cobtach (3) : his son.

91. Niocholl – Ancestor of the MacNicols

92. Ard

93. Asmain

94. Arailt

95. Ture Atheliath

96. Amlaeimh

97. Taidg (Teige)

98. Carfin

99. Aillin

100. Poil

101. Fogail

102. Muireadach

103. Arailt (2)

104. Erlile

105. Fuileadh

106. Erbhle (or Erlerle)

107. Sdacaill (“staid:” Irish, an estate; “caill,” to lose)

108. Torstan

109. Tortin

110. Torcill

111. Seaill

112. Gillemare

113. Gregall

114. Nicaill

115. Neaill

116. Aigh

117. Nicaill (2)

118. Eoin (John)

119. Eogan

120. Eion (2)

121. Alexander

122. Donald (had a brother named Neil)

123. Malcolm

124. Donald MacNicol – Chief of the Clan in the Isle of Skye in the reigns of Charles I and II; was thrice married and had twenty three children; one of the wives was Margaret Morrison of Lewis.

125. Malcolm – Chief of Clan MacNicol

126. John – married Anne Maclean

127. Malcolm  - married Jessie MacDonald

128. Donald – married Margaret MacDonald; died in 1797

129. John – married Marion Davidson; died 1850

130. Norman Nicolson – Chief of the Clan – living in Camelford, Campell Town, Tasmania, 1880