"All the Sweeney's who returned from Scotland (1315) are buried outside the walls of Doe Castle - as stated in Leabhar Chlainne Suibhne/ The Book of the Mac Sweeneys."
The above assertion, posted on the web, is untenable for reasons outlined below.
(a) The first portion of Leabhar Chlainne Suibhne/ The Book of the Mac Sweeneys "was written in the years 1513-1514", i.e., before Doe Castle was built.
(b) The second portion of Leabhar Chlainne Suibhne/ The Book of the Mac Sweeneys" was written not earlier than 1532 and not later than 1544", i.e., around the time Doe Castle was under constructed. The writer penned the following above his signature: "Tadgh son of Fitheal wrote this small work on the Ramifications of Clann Suibhne in haste and with bad implement, without chalk or pumice-stone. And let not him who reads it cast any blame on the writer. For if there be a mistake in it, the writer is not responsible for it, but the fact that he did not compose the book beforehand, and that it was mainly out of his head that he set it down. And let everyone who reads it bestow a blessing on the soul of the writer, namely,
Tadgh Mac Fithil."
(c) Fr. Paul Walsh, editor, in his introduction to Leabhar Chlainne Suibhne discusses numerous inconsistancies between Mac Sweeney Fanad family tradition, contemporary documents and older Irish annals.
(d) Fergus Gillespie, Chief Herald of Ireland, in his history of Mac Sweeney Fánad (on this web site) notes a number of inaccuracies in Leabhar Chlainne Suibhne, eg., where battles lost were not mentioned and where a defeat in the Rosses in 1435 against Ó Néill was claimed as a victory.
(e) At the year 1360, the Annals of the Four Masters record: "Maolrooney, son of Cammuinelach (the crooked necked) O'Boyle, chief of the three Tuatha, a man distinguished for dignity, hospitality, wisdom, heroism and protection, died". With his death the O'Boyle lordship of the three Tuatha (=Doe) ended and soon afterwards the Mac Sweeney lordship of the three Tuatha began. Taking into account the low average life expectancy in the 14th century and the fact that the Mac Sweeneys who arrived from Castle Sween, Kintyre (1315), had to conquer a territory in Fanad and eject the O'Breslins, it is safe to assume that most of those who arrived in 1315 were dead by 1360. The Castle Sween Mac Sweeneys buried their Chiefs in Iona because of their devotion to Saint Columcille, so it's inconceivable that the same Mac Sweeneys would bury their dead in a field at the edge of Sheep Haven Bay in O'Boyle territory, rather than in a graveyard in Donegal associated with Columcille. Furthermore, would the O'Boyles have allowed their Mac Sweeney enemies to bury their dead in Doe between 1315 and 1360?
(f) Many eminent architects and architectural historians, eg., Alister Rowan, Dr. Peter Harbison, Dr. Harold Leask (late Inspector of National Monuments of Ireland and late President of the Society of Antiquaries of Ireland) confidently assert that Doe Castle dates from the early 16th century - c. 1525. So, if all the Mac Sweeneys (men, women and children) who arrived in Fanad from Scotland in 1315 are buried outside the walls of Doe Castle where were the corpses kept until the castle was built.
Revised June 18, 2003.