The O’Neill Conference

Hill of the O’Neill

Ranfurly House


Friday October 20th and Saturday October 21st 2023

10am to 5pm

This Two Day Conference is being sponsored by the O’Neill DNA project on and The Association of O’Neill Clans. The conference explores the history, genealogy and DNA of the O’Neill’s of Tyrone, Fews and Clanaboy. The conference includes lectures by leading speakers, lunch and refreshments, and guided tours of O’Neill historical sites. Come and join us.

Day 1

10.00                        Dr. Malachy O’Neill - Introduction

10.15 Lecture           Dr. Mark Henry - The O’Neill’s of the Fews

11.15 Lecture           Dr. Colm Donnelly - Ó Néill Lordship of Medieval Tír Eoghan


14.00 - 17:00            Tour through O’Neill Country and visit to Tullyhogue

19.00 - Late              Marriage of Hugh O'Neill & Mabel Bagenal Banquet

Day 2

10.00 Lecture            Dwayne O’Neill - The O’Neill’s DNA Project

11.00 Lecture            Aidan O’Neill - How DNA helped us put our family history book together

12.00 Lecture            Dr. James O’Neill - Hugh O'Neill and the Irish Military Revolution


14.00                         Tour Benburb Priory & O’Neill’s Castle Benburb

Two Day Pass including Banquet £160

Lunch, tea and coffee, bus transfers included.

Click here to register

For  Recommended Accommodation contact Glenavon Hotel, Cookstown

by telephone  +44 (0) 2886 764949

 quoting ‘ O’Neill Gathering/Conference 2023’

For international visitors, Brack Tours offer an 8 night O’Neill Themed Tour,

which links in AND includes attendance for the Conference

Click here for details

The Association of O’Neill Clans is a not for profit organisation and represents the O’Neill Clans in Clans of Ireland.

Dr. Mark Henry

Mark married into the O’Neill clan of Armagh and has visited archives in Ireland, the UK, France and Spain to research the history of the O’Neills of the Fews. He has published new insights into their history in journals such as The Irish Genealogist and Seanchas Ardmhacha and used DNA analysis to identify modern descendants of the ruling lineage. Mark is the author of the best-selling book In Fact: An Optimist’s Guide to Ireland at 100 and a regular contributor on national media. He graduated with a PhD in Irish history from the University of Westminster earlier this year.

Dr Colm Donnelly

Dr Colm Donnelly is the Co-Director of the Centre for Community Archaeology at Queen's University Belfast. He has considerable expertise in historical archaeology and his research interests Medieval and 17th- century buildings; Gaelic medieval Ireland; Counter-Reformation Irish religious burial practices; the Irish diaspora in nineteenth-century USA; and community archaeology.

Dwayne O'Neill

Dwayne O’Neill first became interested in genealogy through his Mom who was a store house of information on her Hodgins side of the family. She shared that information and curiosity with him. This started Dwayne on his family history quest. However, his O’Neill side was more of a challenge since his Dad either didn’t have or wasn’t interested in his O’Neill family history.

Dwayne initially explored his O’Neill family roots using traditional genealogy but quickly ran into the typical early 1800’s Irish “brick wall”. He then turned to autosomal DNA testing to research all of his family lines then turned to Y DNA seven years ago to focus on his O’Neill family line. Y DNA testing proved very valuable in connecting him to his Clandeboye O’Neill past.

Dwayne O’Neill is an administrator with the FT DNA O’Neill, McLaughlin, Donnelly and McCloskey surname projects and also the Cenel Eoghain Y-DNA Project. Dwayne and Ed Kane have co-authored several papers together over the past couple of years. Dwayne has completed a handful of YouTube videos on the O’Neills and their DNA connections.

Aidan O'Neill

Aidan trained as a mechanical engineer. He worked for his family owned engineering business, and other organisations promoting the manufacturing and engineering community in mid Ulster for the last 35 years. Aidan and his father have written a book called My family History. It draws heavily on their experiences of DNA, research on genealogical records and inherited oral family history.

Dr. James O’Neill

James worked in archaeology in Northern Ireland for 16 years, where he specialised in battlefield archaeology and twentieth-century defence heritage. He received his doctorate at Queens University Belfast in 2013 and has published extensively on the Nine Years War, including a monograph titled The Nine Years War 1593-1603: O’Neill, Mountjoy and the Military Revolution. James recently completed the resurvey of 20th-century defence heritage structures in Northern Ireland for DfC: Historic Environment Division and is now Collections Officer at the Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum in Belfast.

James Kane

The Benburb Tour will be guided by James Kane. James is a retired businessman who now devotes his free time to promoting local history and is a prominent member of The O’Neill Country Historical Society.

Professor Malachy O’Neill

Professor Malachy Ó Néill is Director of Regional Engagement at Ulster University (since August 2021), taking responsibility for relationships with key stakeholders including governmental agencies, councils, trusts and other relevant authorities on behalf of the institution. He was awarded a Personal Chair in Irish (2020) and was Provost of the Magee Campus in Derry (2016-21) and Head of the School of Irish Language and Literature (2012-17). He has played a central role in a range of strategic initiatives for the University including City and Growth Deals (UK Government), Shared Island (Irish Government), the inception of a School of Medicine (opened 2021), the development of the North West Cross-border Tertiary Cluster (with FE/HE partners) and the accreditation of Derry/Strabane as a UNESCO Learning City Region.

He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2019, the highest accolade in UK Higher Education and is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Authority.  He was appointed to the Department for Communities’ Irish Language Strategy Expert Advisory Panel in 2021 was a member of the Irish Government’s Review Board of the Official Irish Language Standard (2016). He was editor of An tUltach (2008-10) and his research includes modern Irish pedagogy, the Ó Néill dynasty and Irish language theatre and he is Lead Investigator (Northern Ireland) in the c.€4million Shared Island social capital research initiative with NUI Galway, University of Limerick and Atlantic Technological University. He is a Board member of the Causeway and Derry Chambers of Commerce and Temporary Chair of the Governing Body of North West Regional College.

Professor Ó Néill enjoys close ties with the Donegal Gaeltacht, having spent many years in Machaire Rabhartaigh and Gaoth Dobhair facilitating courses for teenagers and adult learners of Irish. He resides in his native parish of Ardboe, Co. Tyrone, with his wife Ursula and their three children, Proinsias, Tomás and Sorcha.