Alexander 'Cathanach' MacDonald of Islay and the Glens

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About Alexander 'Cathanach' MacDonald of Islay and the Glens

Alexander "Cathanach" MacDonald (McDonnell), 5th of Dunnyveg

Alexander, a man of note in his day, and known in Scotland and Ireland as Alastair MacIain Chathanaich. He often appears in the Irish State Papers as "Alastair Carrach," but he was never so named among the Celtic population, and the surname is probably a mistake for "Cathanach." Alexander married Catherine, daughter of John Maclain of Ardnamurchan, and by her had:
1. Donald, who, according to an Irish genealogical MS., had the surname malak or malaicht, that is, cursed. The reason for this sinister epithet was that he was cursed by his mother before birth, because her husband had killed her five brothers, in vengeance for the treachery wrought upon his family by her father, Maclain of Ardnamurchan. She prayed that her unborn offspring should never see the light of day, and the alleged result was that the first born came blind into the world. Another authority says that he was deficient in courage, which was the reason for his not succeeding to the lordship. Donald, who was also called Balloch, had two sons - (a) Alastair, who is spoken of in the Irish State papers as Constable of the Scots in Ireland. He was killed in battle with O'Connor in 1581; (b) Donald Gorm, who was killed in Ireland in 1581.
2. James, who succeeded.
3. Angus, known as Aonghas Uaimhreach, or "Angus the haughty." He was slain in the conflict with Shane O'Neill in 1565. He left two sons - (a) Ranald, who died at the Rout, and was buried at Bunamargie in 1595; (b) Alexander, who had a son, Ranald Og, who fought with Alastair MacCholla in the campaign of Montrose.
4. Coll, variously known as Colla Maol Dubh and Colla nan Capull, from whom the Macdonalds formerly of Colonsay are descended. He was buried at Bunamargie.
5. Somerled, better known as Somhairle Buidhe, from whom the Antrim family is descended.
6. Alexander, known as Alastair Og, killed in battle with Turlough Luinneach O'Neill in 1566.
7. Donald Gorm, who left a son - Donald, who had a son, Donald Gorm.
8. Brian Carrach, who was killed in battle in Ireland in 1568.
9. Ranald Og, of whom nothing is known beyond the name.
10. Meve, who married Hector Maclean of Coll.
11. Mary, who married Hector Mor Maclean of Duart.

Alexander of Dunnyveg died at Stirling while on a visit to the King in 1538, and was buried in the High Church of the town (Teampull Mor a bhaile).

Source: "The Clan Donald" Vol 3, page 375.

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