High on a steep crag above the northern coast of Ireland stand the ruins of Dunluce Castle. Five hundred years ago this imposing fortress was the principal seat of a powerful family, the McQuillans.

As “Lords of the Route,” they once held sway over hundreds of square miles east of the River Bann in County Antrim. But during the 1500s the McQuillans became pawns in a larger game of regional chess, the struggle between the English, the Irish O’Neills, and the Scots MacDonnells for control of Ulster. By the time the century was over, McQuillan lordship over the Route had ended. The McQuillans were scattered and dispossessed. By early in the 19th century, some antiquarians thought that the McQuillans had become extinct. But the antiquarians were wrong.

Today, thousands of McQuillans live in Ireland, England, Scotland, North America, Australia and elsewhere. While probably only a very few are descendants of the Lords of the Route, many of us descend from ancestors who were the rank and file of their clan. Others descend from clans whose surnames were similarly rendered into English. There are several spellings and variations of the name, both with and without the “Mc” or “Mac” prefixes.

The McQuillan Clan Association is committed to bringing together all McQuillans, of whatever ancestry, to celebrate our common history and heritage.

This site is intended to serve as a comprehensive resource for McQuillan fellowship, history and genealogy. You will find here:

  • a focal point for sharing information about McQuillan reunions, events and accomplishments;
  • summaries and discussions of McQuillan history compiled from an extensive study of obscure historical source material and scholarly articles;
  • access to a wide and growing collection of McQuillan-related genealogical information and sources; and
  • the details and results of our ongoing DNA project.

We hope you will find something of interest here, and always welcome your suggestions for improving this site.

Read our latest posts.

Dunluce Castle banner image courtesy of Wikicommons, distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 license.