TUATHA DE AINE
To begin with Pre-Gaelic Ireland (circa 3rd century A.D.) was unified linguistically and culturally but politically fragmented. Politically there were about 150 Kingdoms, called Tuatha, which ruled the island. Each of these kingdoms was unified by religious bonds to the local territorial deity or goddess who was believed to be the bestower of local sovereignty. The local goddess bestowed sovereignty only to her children who lived in her territory and pre-Gaelic Ireland, as such, was a land of “rightful occupiers” living in harmony with their local ancestral deities.
Present day Knockainy was, in ancient times, called Aine Cliach which means Ainy’s territory. Ainy’s children called themselves the Tuatha De Aine which means the people of goddess Ainy. Their sacred tribal center was the Hill of Knockainy where Ainy was believed to reside in her Otherworld residence.
Thus the deepest roots of the Ó Ciarṁacáin (Irwin) surname begin here with their ancestral belief that, as Ainy’s children, they were the oldest and most “rightful occupiers” of Aine Cliach (Knockainy).
Knockainy (Ainy’s Hill)
This modern day marker rests on top of the Hill of Ainy. It marks the location of an ancient burial cairn and Ainy’s Otherworld residence. Such hilltop burial cairns were scattered throughout pre-Gaelic Ireland, like parish churches, and were the spiritual focus of settlements bonded together as Tuatha (tribes).