Ancient Hunting Crest
Crest: On a chapeau Gules furred Ermine, a rock Proper
Motto: Buaidhi no bas (To conquer or die)
Lands: Barra Historic
Seat: Kisimul Castle
Origin of Name: Gaelic, MacNèil (Son of Neil, champion)
This clan claims descent from Niall, a descendent of Aodh O’Neill, a king of Northern Ireland at the beginning of the eleventh century. Niall came to the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides around 1094 and is commonly held to be the first chief of the clan. Barra itself is thought to take its name either from St. Fionnbharr, the founder of Cork, or from St. Barr, the great-grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages – a famous king of Ireland. Of the two branches of the MacNeil clan, the Barra line is now generally recognised as the chief line. Neil MacNeil, 5th of Barra, was recognised as a “Prince” at a council of the Isles in 1252, a great honour for the family.