This extraordinary Gaelic family dominated the history of Rathdown through the centuries. Chris Smal’s thorough investigation  of the Mac Gilla Mo-Cholmoc family-tree leaves us in no doubt about this vital role, and the skills involved in surviving turbulent times alongside Norse and Norman visitors and attacks from neighbouring Gaelic clans. Following the Norman invasion, in a period of just over one hundred years, the proud, ancient, Gaelic Mac Gilla Mo-Cholmoc clan would become anglicised and accepted into the Norman fold as the Mac Dermot / Fitzdermot family.

While other Gaelic clans were dispossessed and banished to the wilds, the astute pragmatism of the Mac Gilla Mo-Cholmoc leaders would ensure that as lords of Rathdown they would retain their lands and entitlements….


Smal, Chris (1993) Ancient Rathdown and Saint Crispin’s Cell : A uniquely historic landscape. Friends of Historic Rathdown, Greystones.


Copper alloy ring brooch found at Rathdown. 12th-15th century.Used as dress-fastener, worn by both men and women, common wedding gift
Courtesy of National Museum of Ireland
Pottery, glazed red medieval earthenware ceramic sherd, from Rathdown. Applied decorative cordon along the centre-line.
Courtesy of National Museum of Ireland
Rhefert Church - reported burial site of the Mac Gilla Mo-Cholmoc clan.
Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland for 1901, Part II, Ponsonby and Weldrick, 1902, Dublin, page 193.
Rhefert Church, Vale of Glendalough
Black's guide to Dublin ; including the environs as far north as Drogheda and south to Wexford, Adam and Charles Black, London, 1912.
Descendants of the Ui Dunlainge AD 650-1000.
Wicklow : History & Society, Ken Hannigan and William Nolan, Geography Publications, Dublin, 1994, page 86
Mac Gilla Mo-Cholmoc family tree.
Courtesy of Friends of Historic Rathdown

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