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  • The Red Hand of O'Neill, also known as Red Hand of Ulster and occasionally even as Red Hand of Ireland, is perhaps the most prominent symbol in the province of Ulster. The Red Hand of O'Neill is derived from the coat of arms from the Uá Niáll clan. The Uá Niáll, meaning Grandson of the Champion and later anglicised to O'Neill, have reigned over large parts of Ulster for at least two millennia.

    According to legend two Milesian chiefs decided to settle their argument over a piece of land with a competition. They organised a boat race and the first who put his right hand on the shore would be the victor and owner of the land. One of them built up a lead and the laggard realised he had to use his wit. He came up with a drastic solution: with his sword he cut off his right hand and threw it on the shore. Literally single-handed he established a royal line and his descendants, the Uá Niáll, later anglicised to O'Neill, clan reigned over large parts of Ulster until Hugh O'Neill had to surrender to the English in 1603.

    December 15, 2007