Donal O Madden, the last Gaelic chieftain of the name rose to power in his ancestral territory after killing the then chieftain Hugh O Madden, of a rival line to that of Donal, in 1567. (Donal himself was the son and nephew of earlier chieftains who had also been killed by internal rivals.) By the time of Donal the English administration had gradually begun to reassert its authority west of the River Shannon and, like many chieftains, Donal aligned himself with the Crown in an effort to secure his precarious position. He was charged under English law with the murder but the Bishop of Clonfert and the diocesan clergy declared him not guilty and the Crown recognised him as ‘Captain of his Nation’ (ie. of the O Maddens) in that same year. Some time thereafter he came to occupy Longford Castle in the parish of Tiranascragh in east Galway, the principal castle attached to the office of chieftain.