A Brief History of the Sweeny Clan (Sweeney)

Although many think of Ireland when the surname Sweeny is mentioned, it actually has Scottish origins. In the thirteenth century the MacSweens controlled lands across central Argyll, as far north as Loch Awe and as far south as Loch Fyne. They occupied about three castles including Sween Castle (possibly the oldest surviving stone built castle in scotland and is the one pictured above). The other two were Lochranza on the Isle of Arran and Skipness Castle. In short, after Dugall MacSween granted Walter Stewart lands the Mac Sweens were disposed from Castle Sween. An attempt by John MacSween to take the castle back failed and the MacSween's went to Ireland.

Many believe the split between "Sweeny" and "Sweeney" is the result of a split from Catholocism. Although my 4th great grandfather, William Sweeny, was Catholic and his wife was Methodist, our last name was Sweeny before we became Methodist. Williams wife clearly raised their kids as Methodist. So, this theory does not show to be true in our case.

Many of the MacSween's became Gallowglass mercenary soldiers near Donegal, Ireland (as shown on the left).

Some names that represent the MacSween's:

MacSweeny, MacSweeney, MacSwiney, MacSwiny, McSweeney, McSweeny, McSwiney, McSwiny, Sweeney, Sweeny, Sweny, Swiney, Swinney, Mac Suibhne

Source: Wikipedia

Comhaid Stair Teaghlaigh Sweeny


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