Index of Names in Irish Annals: Giolla Dubh

by Mari Elspeth nic Bryan (Kathleen M. O'Brien)

© 2000-2013 by Kathleen M. O'Brien. All rights reserved.
Version 2.0, updated 31 July 2013

Masculine Given Names: Gilla Dub / Giolla Dhubh


What we know as a set of Irish Annals are manuscripts that were each compiled during a particular time period, usually using older material as sources. For example, when the Annals of the Four Masters were written from 1632 to 1636, they covered events that occurred centuries and millenia before (including legendary history). So, when an entry in this set of annals refers to a person who lived in the year 738, the spelling used for that person's name is very likely not using the spelling that would have been used in 738.

Standard forms of this name (based on spelling systems of different periods) would be:

Frequency & Dates:

Number of men found in the annals with this name: 41
Found in Years: 1128, 1200, 1339, 1342, 1344, 1347, 1360, 1394, 1395, 1415, 1419, 1430, 1442, 1453, 1454, 1462, 1465, 1468, 1469, 1474, 1478, 1485, 1493, 1496, 1497, 1498, 1499, 1500, 1501, 1503, 1506, 1508, 1515, 1517, 1520, 1524, 1531, 1536, 1538, 1562, 1540, 1545, 1547, 1559, 1562, 1568, 1569, 1571, 1573, 1576, 1579, 1582, 1584, 1585, 1586, 1588, 1589, 1599, 1601

Research Notes:

NOTE: This name began as an appellative - it was used in place of the given name, not actually as a given name. Examples of this usage can be seen among the examples below. Tomás Mág Uidhir, who died in 1430, has Tomás as his given name but was referred to as an Giolla Dhubh. We also see an actual given name listed for a man referred to as an Giolla Dhubh who died 1465.

The name literally means 'black boy' (referring to hair color). Because of this meaning, and the grammar construction of the phrase, it usually appears in byname phrases with the definite article. So, the normal form seen in the annals uses the construction mac an Giolla Dhuibh meaning 'son [of] the black boy'.

Given the annals entries available, it is not possible to identify the point in time when the appellative an Giolla Dhubh gave way to Giolla Dhubh used as an actual given name. Since descriptive bynames sometimes appear in patronymic bynames in place of a father's given name, examples of Giolla Dhubh in byname phrases is not support for its use as a given name. An important thing to note is that the definite article (an 'the') is used fairly consistently in the examples below when an Giolla Dhubh appears in a nominative position. Such usage is typical when appellatives are used in place of given names in annals entries.

Two other similarly constructed names are Giolla Ghruamdha (Gruamdha means 'Grim/Surly/Morose/Gloomy') and Giolla Riabhach (Riabhach means 'Swarthy').

In the case of Giolla Ghruamdha, there are three examples of men with that name. The first two (in 1466 and 1505) use the definite article and the first lists his given name, showing that an Giolla Ghruamdha is an appellative, not a given name. Only the last example, in 1549, does not use the definite article. Whether this is a transcription error or evidence of usage shift for this name is undetermined.

More examples have been found of Giolla Riabhach used in names. However, again we cannot tell when that name went from being used as an appellative to being a formal given name.

It is entirely possible that none of these three, Giolla Dhubh, Giolla Ghruamdha, and Giolla Riabhach, were used during the time that the annals cover as what we would modernly consider a given name. Given that the definite article is used fairly consistently with these names and not with other names such as Giolla Phádraig (which literally means '[St.] Patrick's boy' but is better translated with the meaning 'servant of St. Patrick'), it is likely that these names remained appellatives through much or all of the 16th C.


Further information about Gilla Dub / Giolla Dubh may be found in:

The Sources page lists the Annals referenced below. Information about secondary sources is included on that page as well.

Raw Data

In the table below, I have separated individuals with a blank line. That is, when there are multiple entries in the annals that refer to a single person, those entries are grouped together.

Within the list of entries refering to a single person, I have sorted the entries primarily by orthography when it is obvious that what I am seeing is the same entry showing up in multiple annals. The entries that tend to use older spellings are listed first.

Special factors which may affect name usage are marked in the context column.

ANindicates a member of an Anglo-Norman family
ASindicates an Anglo-Saxon
Nindicates a Norseman
Pindicates a Pict
Rindicates a person holding a religious office
Sindicates a person from Scotland

NOTE: The Annals referenced below under the code letters A, B, C, E, & F tend to use later spellings than the other Annals. In some cases, the spellings listed in these Annals may not be appropriate for the year referenced in the Annal entry.

In some Gaelic scripts, there is a character that looks approximately like a lowercase f, but without the crossbar. This character (represented by an underscored , e, in the entries below) sometimes represents e and sometimes ea depending upon the context of the text.

[Standardized form of this man's name]
AnnalsEntryContextCitation (formatting preserved)
(d. ?)
BM1128.7 Giolla Chiaráin mac Giolla Duibh Uí Draoda, airchinneach Cunga
(d. ?)
LCLC1200.3 Domnall mac in Gilla Dhuibh .H. Loedhóc
(d. 1339)
U2U1339.1 In Gilla Dub Mag Uidir
(d. 1342)
Co1342.2 In Gilla Dub Mag Udir
CM1342.12 An Giolla Dubh Mhag Uidhir
(d. 1344)
U2U1344.10 In Gilla Dubh Mac Gilla Cua
(d. 1347)
Co1347.11 In Gilla Dub Mac Gilli Mochua
LCLC1347.9 In gilla dubh Mac Gillimochua
CM1347.11 an Giolla Dubh Mac Gille Mo Chua
(d. 1360)
Co1360.14 In Gilla Dub Mag Builichan
LC2LC1360.13 In Gilla Dubh Mag Builichan
(d. 1430)
U3U1394.7 Tomas Og Mag Uidhir (.i. ri Fer Manach), .i. mac an Gilla Dhuibh
DM1395.5 Tomás Mág Uidhir .i. An Giolla Dubh mac Pilip
DM1395.7 An n-Giolla n-Dubh .i. Tomás
UU1419.19 clainn in Ghilla Dhuib Meg Uidhir, .i. Pilib, & Tomas Og
LC2LC1430.1 Mag Uidir, .i. Gilla Dubh mac Pilip na Tuaighe
DM1430.4 Mág Uidhir Tomas (.i. An Giolla Dubh) tighearna Fer Manach
DM1469.5 Domhnall mac Briain mic Pilip mic an Giolla Duibh Meg Uidhir
DM1469.10 Mairgrecc ingen Pilip mic an Giolla Duibh Meg Uidir ben mec Gille Fhinnein
U3U1493.1 Mairgreg, ingen Meg Uidhir, .i. ingen Tomais Oig, mic an Gilla Dhuibh Meg Uidhir, .i. bean Mic Gilla Ruaidh, .i. Domnaill, mic Mail t-Shechlainn, mic an Gilla Bhallaigh Mic Gilla Ruaidh
EM1500.18 Sorcha inghen Philip mic Tomais (.i. an Giolla Dubh) Mhég Uidhir
EM1501.6 Mac Meg Uidhir Tomás mac Tomáis Oicc mic An Ghiolla Dhuibh (.i. Mag Uidhir)
EM1503.2 Mag Uidhir Sean mac Pilip mic Tomais Mhoir (.i.An Giolla Dubh)
EM1506.3 Semus mac Pilip mic An Ghiolla Duibh Még Uidhir
EM1531.16 Aodh Ócc mac Tomais mic Tomais mic An Ghiolla Dhuibh Még Uidhir
(d. ?)
Co1415.7 nGilla Dub h. Flaithbertaig
(d. 1442)
DM1442.7 O Flaithbheartaigh .i. An Giolla Dub mac Briain tighearna Iarthair Connacht
(d. ?)
DM1453.2 Corbmac mac an Ghiolla Duibh mic Aodha mic Pilib mic Duinn Charraigh Mhég Uidhir
DM1454.3 Niall mac Corbmaic mic an Giolla Duibh mic Aodha (o t-tát Sliocht Aodha Cloinne h-Amhlaoíbh) mic Amhlaoibh mic Pilib mic Amhlaoibh mic Duinn Charraigh &c [&Niall, son of Cormac, who was son of Gilduff, who was son of Hugh (from whom are descended the Slicht-Aedha of Clann-Awley), son of Auliffe, son of Philip, son of Auliffe, son of Auliffe, who was son of Donn Carragh, &c."]
(d. 1465)
Co1465.8 Mailsechlainn h. Birn dux h. mBriuin na Sinda & a mac occ .i. in Gilla Dub, & Mailsechlainn a ainm ["Maelsechlainn O Birn, chieftain of Ui Briuin na Sinna, and his young son 'Gilla Dub,' whose name was Maelsechlainn"]
DM1465.6 Maoilechlainn Ua Birn, taoiseach Tire Briuin na Sionna, & a mac occ .i. an Giolla Dubh, Maoil Sechlainn
(d. 1467-1468)
Co1468.10 In Gilla Dub mac Cormaic Ballaig Meic Dondchada
LC2LC1467.6 An Gilla Dubh mac Cormuic Bhallaigh
DM1468.16 An Giolla Dubh mac Corbmaic Buidhe Mec Donnchaidh
(d. 1474)
Co1474.22 In Gilla Dub mac h. Egra
DM1474.13 An Giolla Dubh Ua h-Eaghra (.i. mac Uí eghra)
(d. 1478)
DM1478.8 An Giolla Dubh mac Briain mic Feilim Uí Raighilligh
(d. 1497)
DM1497.25 An Giolla Dubh mac Feidhlimidh Buidhe
(d. ?)
DM1497.3 Feidhlimidh mac an Ghiolla Dhuibh
(d. ?)
DM1497.3 Toirrdealbhach mac Cathail mic an Ghiolla Dhuibh Uí Gallcobhair
(d. 1498-1499)
DM1469.19 clann Uí Bhriain, an Giolla Dubh mac Taidhg, & Muircertach Garb mac Taidhcc ["the sons of O'Brien, i.e. Gilla-Duv, the son of Teige, and Murtough Garv, the son of Teige"]
DM1496.5 O Briain, ticcherna Tuadhmumhan (Conchobhar mac Toirrdhealbhaigh) d'écc, & a dearbhrathair an Giolla Dubh d'oirdneadh i n-a ionad. ["O'Brien, Lord of Thomond (Conor, the son of Turlough), died; and his brother, Gilla-Duv, was inaugurated in his place."]
Co1498.5 H. Briain .i. in Gilla Dub
LC2LC1498.4 H. Briain, .i. an Gilla Dubh O Briain
DM1499.2 O Briain an Giolla Dubh
LC2LC1524.4 Diarmaid mac an Gilla Duibh h-I Bhríain
LC2LC1524.10 Conchobar mac Diarmada mic in Ghilla Dhuibh h-I Briain
Co1524.5 Diarmaid mac in Gilla Duib h. Briain
EM1524.2 Diarmaitt mac An Ghiolla Dhuibh Ui Bhriain
Co1524.15 Concobar mac Diarmata meic an Ghilla Duibh h. Briain
EM1524.11 Conchobhar mac Diarmada mic An Giolla Dhuibh I Briain
(d. ?)
U3U1462.8 Niall, mac Cormuic, mic an Ghilla Dhuibh, mic Aedha
EM1508.18 Corbmac mac Neill mic An Ghiolla Duibh mic Aedha
(d. 1500)
U3U1500.8 an Gilla Dubh (.i. Mag Uidhir), mac Concobuir, mic Tomais Oig Meg Uidhir
DM1500.14 an Giolla Dubh mac Concobhair mic Tomais Meg Uidhir
(d. 1515)
DM1485.19 clann Toirrdhealbhaigh Meg Uidhir (Tadhg, Pilip, & an Giolla Dubh)
EM1515.6 An Giolla Dubh mac Toirrdhealbhaigh Még Uidhir
U3U1538.16 mac Ghilla Dhuibh, mic Thorrghealbaigh
EM1562.5 Tadhcc Ócc mac Taidhcc, mic An Ghiolla Dhuibh, mic Toirrdhealbhaigh Uí Bhriain
(d. 1517)
EM1517.8 An Giolla Dubh mac Donnchaidh mic Tomáis Még Uidhir
(d. 1520)
LC2LC1520.6 In gilla Dubh mac Uillíam mic Colla mic Dubhgáill, consdápla Maighe Luirg
(d. 1520)
LC2LC1520.8 In Gilla Dub Mhág Pilip
(d. 1536)
Co1536.22 An Gilla Dub mac Aodho meic Ruaidri h. Conchobair
LC2LC1536.19 An Giolla Dubh mhac Aodha mic Rúaidhri Bhallaigh mic I Chonchubair
(d. ?)
Co1536.33 Mac Goisdealb .i. Sean mac an Gilla Duib
LC2LC1536.30 Mac Goisdealbh .i. Seun mac an Ghiolla Dhuibh
EM1536.19 Mac Goisdealbhaigh Sean mac An Ghiolla Dhuibh
LC2LC1586.34 Mac Goisdealb .i. Sean mac in Gilla Dhuibh meic Hoiberd
LC2LC1582.2 Clann an Gilla Dhuibh Mic Goisdealbh, .i. an Gilla Dubh Óg ocus Egnechán
(d. ?)
LC2LC1540.18 clann Uilliam I Maoilenaichc .i. in Giolla Dubh ocus Diarmaid
(wounded 1547, d. ?)
LC2LC1547.1 an Giolla Dubh mhág Pilip
(d. ?)
EM1545.12 Eoin mac An Giolla Duibh mic Concobhair mic Donnchaidh, mic Domhnaill na Madhmann Mic Suibhne
EM1559.4 ann a chonsapal .i. Eremhon mac An Giolla Duibh, mic Concobhair, mic Donnchaidh Meic Suibhne ["his constable, Heremon, the son of Gilla-Duv, son of Conor, son of Donough Mac Sweeny"]
EM1562.3 Dubhghall mac An Ghiolla Dhuibh mic Conchobhair Mic Shuibhne
EM1568.5 Emann mac An Ghiolla Dhuibh, mic Concobhair, mic Donnchaidh mic Domhnaill na Madhmann Mec Suibhne
EM1573.10 Sleachta An Ghiolla Dhuibh mic Conchobhair mic Donnchaidh mic Domhnaill na Madhmann Mic Suibhne ["the descendants of Gilla-Duv, the son of Conor, son of Donough, son of Donnell-na-Madhmann Mac Sweeny"]
EM1576.3 Colla, mac An Ghiolla Dhuibh, mic Conchobhair, mic Donnchaidh, mic Domhnaill na Madhmann, mic Eoghain, mic Eoin na Laithaighe Meic Suibhne
(d. 1569)
EM1569.2 O Sechnasaicch .i. An Giolla Dubh mac Diarmatta, mic Uilliam, mic Seain Bhuidhe
EM1571.7 Sean mac An Ghiolla Dhuibh mic Diarmada baoí na Ua Seachnasaigh ["John, son of Gilla-Duv, son of Dermot, who had been the O'Shaughnessy"]
EM1579.6 O Sechnasaigh Diarmaitt Riabhach, mac Diarmatta, mic Uilliam, mic Seain Bhuidhe & mac a dearbhrathar, Uilliam, mac An Giolla Duibh, mic Diarmata ["O'Shaughnessy (Dermot Reagh, the son of Dermot, son of William, son of John Boy) and his brother's son, William, the son of Gilla-Duv, son of Dermot"]
EM1579.6 O Seachnasaigh do gairm iaromh do Sean mhac An Ghiolla Dhuibh ["John, the son of Gilla-Duv, was then styled O'Shaughnessy"]
EM1585.8 dias mac An Ghiolla Dhuibh Uí Sheachnasaigh Sean, & Diarmait
(d. 1579)
LC2LC1579.2 an Gilla Dubh mháig Philip .i. tigerna na Litri
(d. 1582)
LC2LC1582.2 Clann an Gilla Dhuibh Mic Goisdealbh, .i. an Gilla Dubh Óg ocus Egnechán ["The sons of the Gilla-dubh Mac Goisdelbh, viz., the Gilla-dubh Og, and Egnechán,"]
(d. ?)
EM1584.9 clann Domhnaill an Choccaidh mac An Ghiolla Dhuibh mic Murchaidh mic Eoghain
EM1586.3 Eoghan, mac Domhnaill an Choccaidh, mic An Ghiolla Dhuibh, mic Murchaidh mic Eoghain Uí Flaithbertaigh
(d. 1588)
U3U1588.2 In Giolla Dubh, mac Seáin, mic Pilib Meg Uidhir
(d. ?)
EM1588.18 An Giolla Dubh mac Diarmada mic Aodha mic Ruaidhri Uí Ceinneidigh
(d. ?)
LC2LC1589.23 Eogan mac Ruadhri mic in Ghiolla Dhuibh meic Diarmada Ruaidh
(d. ?)
FM1599.8 Sean mac an Ghiolla Duibh, mic Semuis Uí Chinnéittigh
(d. ?)
FM1599.33 Murchadh na Maor, mac Domhnaill an Choccaidh, mic an Ghiolla Duibh Uí Fhlaithbhertaigh
(d. ?)
FM1599.49 don Ghiolla Dubh Ua Chinneidigh
(d. ?)
FM1601.2 O Sechnasaigh .i. Sean mac an Ghiolla Duibh, mic Diarmata, mic Uilliam

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