Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

Our common ancestors - High Kings of Ireland - Contents

The High Kings of Ireland

Brian Boru, High King of Ireland (see here).
King of Munster 978-1014.
High King of Ireland 1002-1014. (Though some regional rulers did not accept his authority.)
He led the Irish of Munster to victory against the Irish of Leinster and the Norse Vikings of Dublin at the Battle of Clontarf, Co.Dublin, on 23 April 1014.
But he was famously killed himself by fleeing Norsemen, 23 April 1014.
He mar Eachraid and had issue:

  1. Teige O'Brien, King of Munster.

He mar Gormlaith ingen Murchada (see here) and had issue:

  1. Donnchad O'Brien, King of Munster (see here),
    had his half-brother Teige killed in 1023,
    died 1064, had issue:

    1. Dearbforgail O'Brien,
      mar Diarmait mac Mail, King of Leinster and Ireland and had issue.

Tradition says Brian Boru was buried in 1014 at Armagh Cathedral (which has been re-built many times since).
Photo from here.

Descent of English Royal family from Irish Royal family


Elizabeth II's additional Irish ancestry

Elizabeth II (see thepeerage) descends from, among others:
  1. Brian Boru, High King of Ireland (died 1014).
  2. Aoife Mac Murrough, Princess of Leinster, who married Strongbow in 1170.

  3. James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde (died 1688).

  4. Donal Reagh MacMurrough-Kavanagh, King of Leinster (died 1476).

  5. Gildas O'Reilly, Lord of East Breifne (1300s).

  6. Dermod O'Brien, 5th Baron of Inchiquin (died 1624).

  7. Gerald Fitzgerald, 11th Earl of Kildare (died 1585).

  8. James Fitzgerald, 10th Earl of Desmond (died 1529).

  9. The rebel Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone (died 1616).

  10. The rebel James FitzMaurice Fitzgerald (died 1579).


Prince William's additional Irish ancestry

Prince William descends from, among others:
  1. Edmund Maurice Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy (died 1955).
  2. George Bingham, 4th Earl of Lucan (died 1914).
  3. The 1641 rebel Rory O'Moore (died 1655).

English and British monarchs since Henry II.
Henry II invaded Ireland in 1169. It took just over 200 years for the English royal family to be descended from the Irish kings.
Every English and British monarch from Henry IV on (succ 1399) descends from Brian Boru.
Extract of "Coins of English monarchs" poster. See full size. You can order it here.
It incorrectly labels Richard I the Lionheart as "Richard II".

Descent of Irish people from English Royal family

Letter by me in Irish Times, May 2011

The Queen's visit to Ireland in May 2011 was such a success, and filled with such unexpected warmth, that I thought I would point out how Irish she in fact is.
The Irish Times published my letter on 21 May 2011.
See screenshot from here.



While we are all re-evaluating the Queen as someone who might actually like Ireland, it might be timely to summarise her extensive Irish ancestry.

The two great Norman families of medieval Ireland were the Butlers and the Fitzgeralds. The Queen directly descends from both many times. The most recent descents I can see for her are from James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde (died 1688), from James Fitzgerald, 10th Earl of Desmond (died 1529) and from Gerald Fitzgerald, 11th Earl of Kildare (died 1585). Through the latter she descends from Irish heroes Garret Mor Fitzgerald, 8th Earl of Kildare, and Garret Og Fitzgerald, 9th Earl of Kildare. Her ancestor Baron Portlester lies in a spectacular tomb in St.Audoen's church on High Street in Dublin.

In terms of Gaelic families, the Queen descends (remarkably) from the rebel Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone (died 1616) and also from Diarmaid O'Brien, 5th Baron of Inchiquin (died 1624). Through the latter she descends from Connor O'Brien, King of Thomond (died 1540) and Domnall Mor O'Brien, King of Thomond (died 1194). Ultimately, she descends from Aoife Mac Murrough (who married Strongbow in 1170) and from Brian Boru, High King of Ireland (died 1014).

In fact, Ireland is littered with her ancestral homes and her ancestors' tombs. Her most recent Irish-born ancestor was apparently Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley (died 1842). Given all this, it does seem unfair that she was never allowed visit her ancestral homeland until now.


Mark Humphrys


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