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- A James Agar, of Gowran, is listed as landed gentry following the Williamite ascendancy of the late 17th century. The family was very prominent in the 18th century having come from Yorkshire to Gowran following an earlier matrimonial alliance with the Blanchfields: two of this family, both sons of Henry Agar, M.P. were created peers, Charles, Earl of Normanton, also becoming Archbishop of Dublin in 1801. James Agar is described as the ancestor of the Clifden family.
Archdeacon and Cody
- In the late 12th and early 13th centuries, William Marshall granted lands in northwestern Kilkenny [barony of Galmoy] to the families of Archdeacon, Bigod, Drohull, Fanyn, Syward, and Smith. From their patronymic ancestor, Odo l'Ercedekne, the Norman family of Archdeacon of Co. Kilkenny early adopted the Gaelic patronymic Mac Oda, later anglicized Cody. Like so many Irish families who were ruined by the defeat of James II several of the name Archdeacon settled in France. Nicholas Archdeacon, Bishop of Kilfenora from 1800 to 1824, spent much of his life in France, but he was born in Ireland. In the mid-19th century the Archdeacons are found in small numbers, in Co. Cork and Co. Kilkenny. As Cody the name is strong in Co. Kilkenny, and surrounding counties, in the middle nineteenth century Griffith's Valuation. For an early documented account of the Archdeacons, see The Archdeacon Family
- Though identified with Kilkenny from the middle of the thirteenth century, Archers were settled in Ireland before that; in Dublin, where Ralph Larcher (or le Archer) was a burgess in 1190, and a few years later in Westmeath, where the place-name Archerstown is recorded in 1221. Along with another Archerstown, placenames in or near the city of Kilkenny include Archersgrove, Archersleas and Archersrath. A Walter le Archer appears in a Co. Kilkenny record circa 1230. The family name was listed among the "Ten Tribes of Kilkenny", leading civic [albeit merchant] families of medieval Kilkenny city, whose family names included Archdeacon, Archer, Cowley, Langton, Lawless, Ley, Knaresborough, Raggett, Rothe and Shee. On August 25, 1543, three years after dissolution of St. Francis' Abbey in Kilkenny city, the abbey was given by royal grant to Walter Archer, sovereign [chief burgess] of the city and the Corporation of Kilkenny. In 1641 a Henry Archer is listed among the larger landed gentry in Co. Kilkenny with about 8,000 acres of land in the northwestern portion of the county. By 1688 this acreage was reduced to 1,408 acres as a result of the Cromwelliam land confiscations. The 1659 census in Co. Kilkenny shows the Archer name as one of the principal Irish names in the barony of Gowran and in the City and Liberties of Kilkenny. In the mid-19th century Valuation of Ireland the Archers could still be found in Co. Kilkenny, and were particularly present in the eastern half of Ireland. For a small amount of early documented history of the Archers in Co. Kilkenny, see The Archer Family
- The family of Aylward, or Eylward, is found in Ireland as an old and respectable family of Anglo-Norman origins. It is on record here from the time of the 12th century Cambro-Norman invasions onward. Many of the name are found in Co. Kilkenny; note the name of the townland of Aylwardstown in the barony of Ida, Co. Kilkenny. The variant spelling of Elward is found in Carrick-on-Suir on the Kilkenny-Waterford border. The family name of Toler-Aylward of Shankill Castle, Co. Kilkenny, and of Bloomfield, Co. Roscommon are cited with a Coat of Arms, and descending from Richard Ayleward of Faithlegg, Co. Waterford. This line of the family possessed Glensilliam, which subsequently became known as "Aylewardstown" in Co. Kilkenny (barony of Ida). A Nicholas Aylward in cited in the transplantation records of the 1650's following the Williamite land confiscations in Co. Kilkenny. In the 1659 'census' of County Kilkenny the name is likely represented as Aildwood, a principal Irish name in the barony of Iverke, as well as Aldwood, a principal name in the barony of Ida ; both baronies in the southern portion of the county. A large proportion of Aylwards were still centered in southern Co. Kilkenny at the time of Griffiths Valuation in the mid-nineteenth century.
- Given in Irish as O hAimherigin, John Donovan in his notes to O'Dugan's and OHeerin's Topographical Poems remarks that Mergin is a more correct anglicization of the Gaelic form than the usual Bergin. The form O'Merriggyn appears in the 16th century Cancery Rolls. In records relating to the diocese of Ossory the B form had become generally accepted by the end of the 15th century. The Topographical Poems place the sept in the barony of Geashill, Co. Offaly, and since that time it has been associated with the Laois-Offaly area. In the 1659 census of Co. Kilkenny the name Bergin appears as a principal Irish sept in the baronies of Galmoy, Fassagh Deinin and Gowran, helping to connect this family to it's early connections in northern Ossory. The name was still common to these areas as shown in Griffith's Valuation of the 19th century.
- This is a modern form of the Norman-French de Blanchville. As such it was associated prominently with Co. Kilkenny from the early 13th century. The Justiciary Rolls, the Ormond Deeds and other extensive medieval records contain very many references to de Blanchvilles who frequently held such offices as constable of Kilkenny, sheriff of the county and so on. The extent of their influence is also illustrated by the number of placenames called after the family: the parish of Blanchvilleskill, and the townlands of Blanchfieldsland, Blanchvilletown, etc. - eight in all, in County Kilkenny. There wholehearted adherence to the cause of James II resulted in their final ruin, which had begun with the Cromwellian confiscation in the previous generation. In the Jacobite outlawry records, in which three of the name are listed, they are called both Blanchville and Blanchfield (e.g. Richard and Edmund Blanchfield). Of the 4,000 acres of land the Blanchfields owned in Co. Kilkenny in 1641, there still 3,500 remaining after the Cromwell confiscations. However, Edmund Blanchfield lost nearly 3,000 of this total as a Jacobite in 1702/03. Blanchfield and Blanchville were still largely Kilkenny names in the mid-19th century. For an early documented account of the de Blanchevilles, see The Blanchville Family
- The name Ó Bolguidhir in Irish is well disguised: the practice in modern English speech of pronouncing the G of Bolger soft adds to this; had it been written Bolgar the distortion would not have been so marked. Up to the end of the sixteenth century O'Bulgire was the usual form, though O'Boulger occurs at Ferns in 1541, The name Bolger is closely associated with south-east Leinster and is rarely found elsewhere. It is that of a sept which supplied many physicians to the chiefs in that area. A branch of the Bolger family who came to Ireland with Strongbow in 1771 drifted to the Rower parish in Co. Kilkenny where they built a castle at Ballynabarnay. They held estates in the Rower and Clodiagh districts. There are many references to the name in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, to tenants, jurors and clergy as well as medical men, mainly in Co. Kilkenny; in the 1659 census it is recorded as a principal Irish name in three baronies of Co. Kilkenny, two of Co. Carlow and two of Co. Wexford. In the seventeenth century they are more prominent in Co. Wexford than elsewhere, as is the case today. Brassell and Dermot O'Bolger, both of Ballywalter, were among the chief gentlemen of the barony of Ballagheen in 1608, and in 1570 O'Bolgirs were of sufficient importance to be consulted by the Lord Deputy and Council on a matter relating to ancient rights, especially of the Colcloughs, in Co. Wexford. The family was well represented in James 11's Irish army and, after the Jacobite defeat, in the Irish Brigade in France. It is safe to say that almost all Bolgers in Ireland are of Ó Bolguidhir stock, it is possible that the soft G referred to above is to some extent attributable to the existence of the English surname Bolger or Boulger, which comes from the Old-French word boulgier (maker of leather bags). It is noteworthy that in most cases where the name Bolger appeared in the sixteenth century it has no terminal R so the accepted derivation may be incorrect. Bolger has a strong Wexford and Kilkenny showing in Griffiths Valuation. The name Bolger was a principal Irish name, in 1659, in the Co. Kilkenny baronies of Gowran, Ida and Knocktopher.
- The Bowe family is found early in Co. Kilkenny, and subsequently in Co. Waterford, where the name has been said to come from the Gaelic name O'Buadhaigh. Spelled as O'Boe we find the name as a principal one of Kilkenny and in Wexford in the 17th century. Both 'Bowe' and 'O'Bowe' are found as principal names of Queens Co. (Leix or Laois), north of Co. Kilkenny, in the 1659 'census'. In the same record Boe & O Boe was a principal Irish surname in the barony of Galmoy, the Co. Kilkenny barony nearest Co. Laois. The rare spelling of Boe is also found as a principal name of Tipperary. The spelling of Bowe in the mid-19th century shows a majority in counties Laois and Kilkenny. The 1890 birth index shows the name being popular in Co. Kilkenny.
- The cantred of Knocktopher (barony of Knocktopher) was said be the center of
the Mac Braoin (MacBreen) sept of Na Clanna, chiefs of Magh-Seadna. At the present time the Breens are distributed widely throughout Ireland. They are always called simply Breen though originally they were both MacBreens and O'Breens. The former, MacBraoin in Irish, were an Ossory sept seated near Knocktopher in Co. Kilkenny; but after the Anglo-Norman invasion they were dispersed by the Walshes and sank in importance. Though in 1659 they were noted as still numerous in Ossory - the prefix Mac had even then been dropped - Co. Wexford, adjacent to Co. Kilkenny, is the area in which the name Breen is now chiefly found, and it is reasonable to assume that these are MacBreens. The most important O'Breen (O Braion) sept in mediaeval times was that possessed of territory in Counties Westmeath and Offaly near Athlone. Their chief was Lord of Brawney. As late as 1421 O'Breen of Brawney is mentioned in a contemporary document with O'Conor and MacMorogh as a great chieftain of the Irish nation. The name Breen is seldom met with in that area today, but it is said to be now disguised there under the alias O'Brien. The infamous Jemmy O'Brien of 1798 notoriety was an O'Breen , not an O'Brien of Thomond. It is also a fact that a comparable corruption occurred in the case of the O'Breens of north Connacht who in course of time became Bruen in Co. Roscommon, a name fairly common there now (which Breen is not), and Browne in Mayo. William Browne (1777-1857), of Foxford, famous Argentine admiral, was possibly of the Connacht O'Breens (see Browne). Finally the name has been common in Co.. Kerry, at least since the seventeenth century. Henry H. Breen (1805-1882), the poet, was a Kerryman. Francis Breen, the 1798 rebel, was from Co. Wexford. The Brawney sept is represented in history by Tighearnach O Braoin, the annalist, who died at Clonmacnois, where he was Abbot, in 1088, and by Donal O'Breen, Bishop of Clonmacnois from 1303 to 1324. Elizabeth Breen was one of the Irish nuns arrested in France in 1793 during the Terror. Patrick Breen (d. 1808), whose diary of the Donner exploration party is remarkable for its stark realism, was born in Ireland. The best known modern bearer of the name was Dan Breen, one of the most prominent fighters on the Irish side during the War of Independence 1916-1921. The Breens in the mid-19th century are found in a variety of counties, with a stronger appearance in Wexford than in most counties. Spelled as 'Breene', Grifiths Valuation centers most of these families in Wexford, Laois and Kilkenny. In the 1659 Kilkenny census the name Brin or Bren (a possible variant of Breen) appears as a principal Irish name in the baronies of Gowran, Ida, and Crannagh.
- In modern Ireland there are many Brennans: the name comes twenty-eighth in the statistical list of Irish surnames. Here and there one is met with the prefix O, but to-day the form MacBrennan is seldom if ever found. The simple form Brennan is used in the anglicized form of two quite distinct Gaelic Irish surnames, viz. O Braonain and Mac Branain. The former is the appellation of four different unrelated septs; the latter of one only. Judging by the present day distribution of the name, two of these five have survived in large numbers in the districts around their original habitats. It is sufficient, therefore, just to mention en passant the three others which were located respectively in counties Galway, Westmeath and Kerry. Mac Branain was chief of Corcachlann, the old name of a territory in the eastern part of Co. Roscommon: a succession of these chiefs appear in the Annals between 1159 and 1488. While the leading members of the sept retained the Mac until the submergence of the Gaelic order in the seventeenth century, the substitution of O for Mac, in some cases, is noted as early as 1360. The present day Brennans of Counties Roscommon, Sligo and Mayo, however, are nearly all MacBrennans, or more correctly MacBrennans. The principal O'Brennan sept was that of Ossory: they were chiefs of Ui Duach (mod. Idough) in the northern part of Co. Kilkenny. Their influence naturally waned as English power became paramount in Leinster, and though several O'Brennans retained some portion of their former estates, the seventeenth century reduced many of them to the status of rapparee - indeed, several famous or notorious bands of tories in Leinster were led by Brennans, and in the next century, one of the most intrepid and chivalrous of all Irish highwaymen, James Freney, was, he asserted, instructed in his calling by the last of these tory Brennans. The most distinguished of the sept was Most Rev. John Brennan (1625-1693), Bishop of Waterford and Archbishop of Cashel, friend of Geoffrey Keating and Saint Oliver Plunkett: though constantly the object of special attention from priest-hunters, he was elusive enough to remain continuously in his diocese which he administered with marked wisdom, and his periodical reports to Rome are of the greatest value to the historian of the seventeenth century. Another John Brennan (1768-1830), popularly called the "wrestling doctor" and well known in his day for his satires on Dublin doctors, was also of the Ossory sept of O'Brennan and considered to be chief of the name. Among exiles of the name we may mention the Abbe Peter O'Brennan who was executed in 1794 for his resistance to the French Revolution. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 49 births in that year for the surname Brennan, the highest birth count of any surname.
Broder or Broderick
- The Ua Bruadair (O'Broder) sept of Ui nEirc were established in the modern barony of Iverk, Co. Kilkenny, at the time of the Anglo-Norman arrival in the 1170's. The name of Iverk may come from the ancient septs of Uibh Eirc, i.e. the descendants of Erc. O Bruadair and Mac Bruadair, which were at first anglicized as Broder and Brouder, acquired the forms Broderick and Brothers. Father McErlean, in his introduction to the poems of David O Bruadair, referring to a recent generation remarks "those who to their neighbours are Broders become Brodericks when they go marketing in the country town or when they enter a rent office or a court of law". It has been held that this sept is of Norse origin but there is no basis for this beyond the fact that Bruadar was a common name in the Scandinavian countries. Even had it been taken from this source that is no proof of Norse blood, but the fact is that many Bruadars are on record in Ireland before the "Danish" invasions began and before surnames came into existence. Several distant septs of O Bruadair existed in early mediaeval times of which tow may be mentioned here since their descendants were still found in or near their original territory. One was located in Co. Cork - in the barony of Barrymore - to which David or Daithi O Bruadair the poet belonged. It was presumably a branch of this which settled as a Munster family in Iverk (Ossory), where they were well established in the seventeenth century. The best known of all Broderick families in Ireland is that of which Lord Midleton is the head. The first of these to come to Ireland was an Englishman, Sir Alan Broderick who was appointed Surveyor General of Ireland in 1660. The spelling Brodrick and Broderick appear in Co. Kilkenny in the mid-19th century, in addition to many other counties. The name Brodier is given as a principal Irish name in the barony of Gowran, in Petty's 1659 'census' of Co. Kilkenny.
- The southern section of Upper Ossory, on the northern border of Kilkenny was occupied by the sept of the the Ua Bruaideodha (O'Broe) in the 12th century. Ó Brugha (or Ó Brughadha) is the Irish original of the name now anglicized Broe and Brew, and also perhaps Broy, which, occurs in mediaeval records as de Broy (i.e. of Broy, a place in Oxfordshire). Written by Elizabethan officials as O'Broe, O'Broghe, O'Broo etc., it often occurs in sixteenth century records relating to Cos. Leix and Kilkenny. In the same area Brew is found as a Norman surname - de Berewa and de Broth as early as 1190; this is the de Brugha which is akin to the surname de Burgh and its English derivative Burrough or Burrowes. Broy occurs in Co. Kildare as early as 1297 when Geoffrey Broy was outlawed as a robber. Of the Burys the best known was Professor John Bagenal Bury (I 861-1927) who came from a branch of the Co, Limerick family which settled in Co. Monaghan. Peter Burrows (1753-1841) was an anti-Union M.P. and barrister who defended Robert Emmet at his trial. Cathal Brugha (1874-1922), the courageous republican leader killed in the civil war, was of a Dublin family of Burgess. In Griffiths Valuation the spelling 'Broe' is largely one of Co. Wicklow, that of 'Brew' is largely one of Co. Clare. Other than Burke, Burrows and Burroughs, variations of this name [mentioned above] are practically absent in the Kilkenny Griffith's Valuation of about 1850.
- The name Ó Bróithe was phonetically anglicized O'Brohy later became Brophy. It belongs to the counties of Leix and Kilkenny. The central section of the barony of Galmoy, near the border of County Kilkenny and Laois, was the homeland of the Ua Broithe (O'Brophy) sept in the 12th century. According to the "census" of 1659 Brophy was one of the principal names in five baronies of. Leix and in five of Co. Kilkenny: In Clandonagh it is found in the Co. Leix place-name Ballybrophy. Originally situated in the barony of Galmoy, Co. Kilkenny, Anglo-Norman pressure drove many of the sept northwards into Upper Ossory. Daniel Brophy of Castlecomer, mayor of Ballarat three times, was a well known public figure in Australia in the 1870's. Hugh Brophy, a leading Dublin Fenian, was transported on the last of the convict ships and went to Melbourne after he was released from Freementle prison. Spelled as Brohy the name is cited in the 1659 census as a principal Irish name in the baronies of Galmoy, Gowran, Kells, and Crannagh. The name Brophy was still strong in counties Laois and Kilkenny in the middle nineteenth century records.
- Bryan is likely of Anglo-Norman origin. It is possibly derived from the Christian name Brian, usually regarded as essentially Irish, which was common in France and in mediaeval England. As a result there is much confusion with the Irish O'Byrnes. Almost all the Bryans who have been recorded as members of parliament, army officers, mayors etc. and landowners have been Kilkenny people. MacLysaght cites their ancestors arriving in the 13th century, although the name is practically absent from the earlier records in the Calendar of Ormond Deeds. A Sir Francis Bryan is cited, in an Ormond deed dated January 1548/9, as "knight, gentleman of the King's privy chamber." In the same deed Lewis Bryan of Dammagh is mentioned, and he is cited by other sources to have held Whiteswall and Bawnmore as well. This family of Bryans claimed to be descended from old English stock, the de Brienne family. Canon Carrigan states in his history that John Bryan, Esq., of Kilkenny, was descended from the Bryans of Whiteswall, "auntiently called Byrne," and that Jenkinstown came into the possession of the Bryan family, sometime after 1638, upon John's marriage to Annes Stanes. In the 1659 census of Co. Kilkenny, the name Bryan is noted as a principal Irish name in the baronies of Gowran and Ida. In 1878 George Leopold Bryan, of Jenkinstown House, Co. Kilkenny, owned 12,891 acres, other Bryan estates, mainly in Counties Wexford and Kilkenny, amounted to another 13,000 acres. The 1890 census in Kilkenny noted 15 births under the name Brien.
- Woulfe cites the Gaelic version of the name as Ó Bogaigh, derived from bog (soft), and that it is rare. Not so rare in Leinster, it is found mainly in Counties Kilkenny and Wexford. In the Valuation of Ireland in the mid-19th century the name is prevalent in the northern portion Co. Kilkenny and in County Leix (Laois).
- The Burtchaell family of Brandondale, Co. Kilkenny, was founded by Michael Burtchaell of Buragemore, Co. Wicklow in the 17th century, and that family is found with its own Coat of Arms.
- Butler is a name to be found in every walk of life in Ireland. The same is true of England. In the absence of a reliable pedigree, or at least a well established tradition, the origin of individual Butlers in Ireland to-day cannot be suggested with confidence. The history of the Ormond Butlers is very well authenticated - indeed for more than seven centuries their history is the history of Anglo-Irish relations - from 1171 when Theobald Fitzwalter accompanied Henry II to Ireland, till our own time when the ancestral castle of Kilkenny was abandoned as the seat of the family and the voluminous Ormond manuscript collection was taken over by the National Library of Ireland, where it forms an invaluable source for Irish as well as for Butler family history. The surname Butler, as far as Ireland is concerned, dates from about the year 1220, it arose from the fact that in 1177 the Theobald Fitzwalter, mentioned above, was created Chief Butler of Ireland. The seventh in descent from him was created Earl of Ormond in 1328. In 1391 the head-quarters of the Ormonds was removed from Gowran to Kilkenny Castle. For centuries a rivalry existed between the Butlers and the Geraldines (see Fitzgerald), and it may be said that up to the death of the Great Duke of Ormond in 1688, the effective government of the country (or, at least, as much of it as for the time being acknowledged allegiance to the King of England) was in the hands of one or the other of these great Norman houses. The Butlers have generally been regarded as more consistently loyal to the sovereign than their rivals, but as Standish O'Grady in his edition of Pacata Hibernia points out, being weaker than the Gerlaldines they were forced to lean on the State, and on the only occasion in which they were wronged they were just as ready to rebel as any other sept. In this connexion it may be mentioned that a branch of the Butlers for a while in the fifteenth century took MacRichard as their surname and had an important chief somewhat in the Gaelic fashion eventually, however, they reverted to the name Butler. Among the numerous Catholic Butlers who were loyal Jacobites perhaps the most noteworthy were the Abbe James Butler of Nantes, who was chaplain to Prince Charles Edward (the Young Pretender) in the 1745 expedition; and Pierce Butler (1652-1740), third Viscount Galmoy, who fought with Sarsfield in all his Irish and French campaigns. Professor Edmund Curtis in his History of Medieval Ireland, shows that the MacRichard Butlers were actually the ancestors of the later Earls of Ormond, and that at least two branches of the Butlers were patrons of Gaelic-Irish learning and great collectors of Irish Manuscripts. To the list of distinguished persons of the name that of Sir Theobald, commonly called Sir Toby Butler, should be added. He was attorney-general in the reign of James II and the framer of the Treaty of Limerick on the Irish side; he made a memorable speech in 1703 against the Anti-Popery Act. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 22 births in that year for the surname Butler.
- O'Byrne is in Irish O Broin i.e. descendant of Bran (earlier form Broen), King of Leinster, who died in 1052. With the O'Tooles and the O'Byrnes were driven from their original territory in the modern Co. Kildare at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion and settled in the wilder country of south Wicklow about the year 1200. There were two main branches of the O'Byrnes of which the senior soon sank into obscurity, but the junior line, which occupied the country between Rathdrum and Shillealagh, became a sept of great importance and, like their neighbours the O'Tooles in north Wicklow, were particularly noteworthy for their persistent and largely successful resistance to English aggression. They continued regularly to inaugurate chiefs of the sept up to the end of the sixteenth century. The seat of their chiefs was at Ballinacor and their territory was called Crioch Branach, the sept itself being known as Ui Broin or Branaigh. Many of these were renowned in the military history of Ireland, the most famous being Feagh or Fiacha MacHugh (or son of Aodh) O'Byrne (1544-1597) who, though he was prominent in rebellion and was killed in battle, is perhaps best remembered for his part in the escape of Hugh Roe O'Donnell from his prison in Dublin Castle in 1591. His son Phelim O'Byrne was the victim of one of the many unscrupulously trumped-up charges which disgraced English seventeenth century administration in Ireland: the Viceroy Falkland was in turn disgraced, but notwithstanding that the O'Byrnes lost the greater part of their estates in consequence of his action. The celebrated "Leabhar Branach" or "Book of the O'Byrnes" is a collection of Gaelic poetry by some thirty-five different authors, dealing for the most part with the exploits and personalities of the O'Byrnes in the sixteenth century: it was made about 1662. In the next century O'Byrnes were prominent in the 1798 insurrection, notably the brothers Garret O'Byrne (1774-1830) and William Byrne (1775-1799), the latter of whom was hanged; and Miles Byrne (1780-1862), who subsequently distinguished himself in France and was awarded the Legion of Honour. Other O'Byrnes have been notable in France: one branch, which was admitted to the ranks of the French nobility in 1770, was a leading family of Bordeaux before the Revolution and Garret Byrne, mentioned above, was among the distinguished exiles to that country; while in America, Irish-born Most Rev. Dr. Andrew Byrne (1802-1862), first bishop of Little Rock, is remembered as a pioneer Catholic in Indian territory. In recent times one of the best known and most popular figures in the life of the Irish capital was Alderman Alfred Byrne (1882-1956), who was ten times Lord Mayor of Dublin. The Byrnes, who in recent generations have increasingly resumed the discarded prefix O, are very numerous in Ireland to-day, the name being in the seventh place in the list of Commonest Names. The great majority of these were born in Dublin, in Co. Wicklow and adjacent counties. The 1659 census for Kilkenny notes the name Birne as a principal Irish name in most of the baronies there. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 22 births in that year for the surname Byrne.
- The Cantwells came to Ireland following the Anglo-Norman invasion. They are one of the English families which became hibernicized. They have produced no outstanding figure in Irish history, but they have played a prominent part in the life of the country since the beginning of the thirteenth century, when they appeared as de Kentewall, de Cantwell etc. (of Kentwell in Suffolk) in the records of the Ormond country a witness to the foundation charter of Owney Abbey in 1200 is found. Their estates lay chiefly in the baronies of Knocktopher and Gowran, Co. Kilkenny, Cantwell's Court, four miles north of the city, was their principal seat. In 1598 the were listed among the principal gentlemen both in Co. Kilkenny and Co. Tipperary bordering on Co. Kilkenny. Though they appeared as soldiers and officials -- two were officers in James 11's army and one was sheriff of Kilkenny and three were attainted in 1691 the most notable Cantwells were ecclesiastics. As early as 1208 we find a Cantwell in the registry of the monastery of Kells (Ossory). Two John Cantwells were Archbishops of Cashel (1405 to 1440 and 1440 to 14-52), Richard Cantwell was Bishop of Waterford and Lismore from 1426 to 1446 and Oliver Cantwell (d. 1527) was Bishop of Ossory for almost forty years. In the same century Patrick Cantwell was Abbot of Navan and Richard Cantwell Prior of St. John's Kilkenny, and later there was John Cantwell (b. 1797) Bishop of Meath from 1850 to 1866, who was very prominent in his support of O'Connell and later of the Tenants League. In France, Tipperary-born Professor Andrew Cantwell (c. 1705-1764) was a noted physician and writer and his son Andrew Cantwell (1744-1802), a Paris librarian, was also an author of repute. Many references to the Cantwells are found in all the works dealing with the history of Counties Kilkenny and Tipperary. In the past hundred years they have somewhat diminished in numbers and importance in Ireland. The diocese of Los Angeles was advanced to an archbishopric during the episcopate of Dr. Cantwell in 1936. Cantwells still appear in the 1850 Valuation for Co. Kilkenny, with the name appearing to center around the Tipperary/Kilkenny border in that era. For an early account of the de Cantewells, see The Cantwell Family
- Before the Anglo-Norman invasion, there were six distinct septs of O'Carroll, the two most important of which were O'Carroll of Ely O'Carroll (Tipperary and Offaly) and O'Carroll of Oriel (Monaghan and Louth).
The territory of Ui-Cearbhall in Ossory (named for Cearbhall Mac Dunghall) has been identified as part of the ancient tribe land of the 'Magh Mail' and being co-extensive with the present barony of Shillelogher, the Liberties of Kilkenny and the districts of Gowran. At least some of the O'Carrolls of Kilkenny are thought to take their name from Cearbhal Mac Dunghall, a 9th century lord of Ossory. John O'Donovan, in his notes to O'Heerin's Topographical Poem makes it clear that there was a distinct O'Carroll sept whose chief was lord of a territory extending from Kilkenny city north-wards to the boundary of the present county of Leix. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 25 births in that year for the surname Carroll.
- Cleeres and Cleares were prominent up to the end of the seventeenth century in Co. Kilkenny and in south Tipperary. Simon Clear, was an officer in Col. Edmund Butler's regiment of James 11's army which was recruited from that area. The name is said to derive from the Anglo-Norman de Clare. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there was a tendency to turn this Norman name into Clery. In the 1659 "census" shows it to have been very numerous in Co. Tipperary, Clear and Cleary are bracketed as one name and in episcopal deeds of the Ormond Collection two sixteenth century ecclesiastics James Clere, Dean of St. Canice's Kilkenny, and Mgr. Thomas Clere, Chancellor of Lismore, are both also called Clery. Rev. Fr. Wallace Clare, (1895-1963), founder of the Irish Genealogical Society, did much valuable work in that field. In the mid-19th century Valuation of Ireland the names Clear and Cleere are predominantly found in Leinster, particularly in counties Kilkenny and Laois (Leix). Clere & Cleary, and Cleere, were noted as principal Irish names in the 1659 'census' for Kilkenny within the baronies of Gowran and Fassadinin, respectively.
- The O Cleirigh (Cleary
), originally of Galway, were claimed to later settle in places such as Tipperary and Kilkenny. In Griffiths Primary Valuation the name Cleary is found throughout the southern half of Ireland, although the name is noted elsewhere (e.g. Mayo). The name under the spelling Cleary is rare in County Kilkenny in that record. Also see Cleare.
- This name is of an English village in Staffordshire [Wiltshire?]. It is not found today as a surname in England. It has been in Ireland since 1210 [as de Quemerford] and since has been one of our most distinguished Irish families, particularly in the counties of Kilkenny and Waterford where they first settled. By the seventeenth century they were numerous there and in parts of Co. Tipperary. The head of the family was Baron of Danganmore, Co. Kilkenny, a Palatine title; junior branches were seated at Ballymacka, Ballybur, Callan and Inchebologhan Castle. Thomas Comerford of Ballymacka was attainted in 1572 for his part in resistance to Elizabethan aggression, and a century later 14 Comerfords are found serving as officers in James 11's Irish army. After the Jacobite defeat many Comerfords were outlawed and settled in France and Spain, seven were Wild Geese officers in the Irish Brigades of the eighteenth century. The best known of them was Joseph Comerford, Baron of Danganmore and afterwards Marquis d’Anglure. In Ireland the most distinguished in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, were the Comerfords of the Waterford branch. This family was outstanding for its adherence to the old faith at the time of the Reformation. The celebrated Louvain lecturer and controversialist Dr. Nicholas Quemerford (c. 1542-1599) who was the first of sixteen Waterford Jesuits of the name living in the time between 1590 and 1640. His nephew, Patrick Comerford, O.S.A., was Bishop of Waterford from 1625 to 1652, was an ardent supporter of the Nuncio and was the cause of his native city's opposition to the Ormond peace in 1646. Other bishops were Edmund Comerford or Quemerford (Ferns 1505 to 1509) and Edward Comerford (Archbishop of Cashel 1695 to 1710). The name is prominent too in the municipal records of Waterford and Kilkenny and also of Clonmel. John Comerford (c. 1762-1832), a noted miniature portrait painter, was born in Kilkenny. In Irish speech and documents the Comerfords or Quemerfords were called Comartún. Comerford is still a strong Co. Kilkenny name in the 19th century record. For an early account of the de Quemerfords, see The Comerford Family
- Although not a numerous surname today, the Cotterel's were an early Anglo-Norman family who established themselves in co. Kilkenny by the 13th century. William Cotterel received a grant of Kilmegene (Kilmoganny) about the year 1243, and a Martin Cotterel is also noted in this time period. The name is quite numerous in the Calendar of Ormond Deeds particularly in the barony of Kells. The placename Cotterellsbooley (Buaile Mhic Coitir) indicates their early presence in the parishes of Stonecarthy and Jerpoint church, near Stoneyford. The placename Cottrellsrath in the parish of Kells, co. Kilkenny also marks their presence. In Griffith's valuation of the mid-19th century, the Cotterell name is quite distinct to county Kilkenny. The spellings Cottrell and Cotteral were unique to Co. Cork in this record. For an early reference of the Coterells, see The Cotterell Family
- The name Corr has various origins in Ireland. In County Kilkenny the Anglo-Norman family of Cor is cited in many early records. The early placenames of Corbally and Correston (in Tullaroan) represent an indication of this families presence. William and David Cor were witnesses to a quit-claim of land in Corbaly circa 1270. William son of Gilbert Cor granted a portion of his lands in Corbali in 1277. In the same year, William son of Walter Cor granted lands in the tenement of Corbali Killnacht. A few years after a David son of Gilbert Cor granted land in Corbali. The surname Corr still had a presence within county Kilkenny as shown in Griffith's Valuation of about 1850.
- Woulfe and MacLysaght give O'Cuidithe, or the older O Cuidighthigh, as an Irish name belonging to Kilkenny. The 1659 census for Co. Kilkenny cites the older anglicized form of the name Quiddihy as a principal Irish name in the baronies of Galmoy and Gowran. From this record is the old placename Ballyquidihy, in the barony of Crannagh, which is now the townland of Ballycuddihy in the baronies of Galmoy and Crannagh. Griffith's valuation of the middle part of the nineteenth century places the name Cuddihy as a prominent Kilkenny, and neighboring Co. Laois, surname.
Daton, or Dalton
- Recorded in early Kilkenny records as Daton, Datun and D'Alton. Though this name is not Irish in origin it is on record in Dublin and Co. Meath as early as the beginning of the thirteenth century, the family having been established in Ireland following the Anglo-Norman invasion. Its Norman origin is more apparent in the alternative spelling, still sometimes used, viz D'Alton I.e. of Alton, a place in England. According to family tradition the first Dalton to come to Ireland was one Walter, who had fled to England from France, having incurred the wrath of the French king by secretly marrying his daughter. The early settlers became powerful, having acquired lands in Teffia, Co. Meath, under Henry II. There and in Co. Westmeath (part of which subsequently became known as Dalton's Country) they erected castles and founded religious houses. In the fourteenth century they spread into Counties Tipperary and Cork, but it was not until the middle of the seventeenth century that a branch of the family went to Clare, with which county they were afterwards closely identified. In County Kilkenny they gave their name to Kildalton, Daton's or Dalton's church, a townland (now named Bessborough) in the parish of Fiddown. In the mid-19th century the name Dalton is noteworthy in the counties of Kilkenny and Waterford, among other places (including Westmeath and Limerick). The name is very scarce in County Clare reviewing Griffiths Valuation, perhaps a fault of that record. For an early documented account of the Datons, see The Daton Family
- About 1150 A.D. the northern section of Ossory (Co. Laois) held the sept of Ua Dubhslaine (O'Delany or O'Dulany) of Coill Uachtarach who were noted as chiefs of Tuath-an-Toraidh. Delany is a surname never seen today with the prefix O which probably belongs to it. It is O Dubhshlainte in Irish, Delaney being a phonetic rendering of this - the A of Delaney was formerly pronounced broad. An earlier anglicized form was O'Dulany e.g. Felix O'Dulany, Bishop of Ossory from 1178 to 1202, who built St. Canice's Cathedral in Kilkenny. Dubh means black and slainte is topographical - Slaney in English. If it refers to the river Slaney it suggests that this sept originally possessed a wider territory than that usually assigned to it, namely Coilluachtarach (now Upperwoods) at the foot of Slieve Bloom near the source of the rivers Nore and Barrow in Co. Leix. At the present time the name is chiefly associated with Counties Leix and Kilkenny and in 1659, when Petty's census was made, it appears as a principal Irish name in four baronies of Queen's County (now Leix) and in five of Co. Kilkenny. It is sometimes abbreviated to Delane in Co. Mayo, and this was the form used by Dennis Delane (d. 1750), the celebrated Dublin and London actor. Dillane, however, is not a synonym of Delany, but the anglicized form of O'Duilleain, a Co. Limerick surname, sometimes disguised as Dillin. Dean Patrick Delany (1684-1768), the friend of Dean Swift, was a Leix man. His wife, the famous Mary Delany (1700-1788), was also prominent in the Swift circle. Michael Roland ("Ronny") Delaney, champion athlete who brought honours to Ireland in the 1956 Olympic Games, is a Dubliner. The 1659 census notes Dulany as a principal Irish name in the Co. Kilkenny baronies of Crannagh, Skillellogher, Fassagh Deinin, Galmoy, and Gowran. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 14 births in that year for the surname Delaney.
- The name Deane, though rare today in Co. Kilkenny, was numerous there in the seventeenth century. It appeared , as de Dene and de Denne, in the Ormond Deeds often from 1270 always 'de' not 'le', suggesting that it was derived from the English word dene, a valley. There were two mediaeval Irish bishops surnamed Denn. As it appeared as O'Deane as well as Deane in the Fiants for Counties Kilkenny and Tipperary it is possible that the Deanes of that area were of dual origin i.e. de Denne and Ó Deagháin. This surname is derived from the Irish word for a dean. So too is the Irish surname Mac an Deagáin or Mac an Deagánaigh the ultimate derivation is the Latin decanus. Grennan castle, near Thomastown, was Dene or De Dene property circa 1230 when William de Dene married the granddaughter (?) of Thomas FitzAnthony. Of the Cromwellian [English] landowners, following the confiscation of the lands of the Old English of Kilkenny in the 17th century, we find the name Joseph Deane. The name Denn is predominant in Waterford County in the mid-19th century, and spelled as Deane or Dean is very rare in County Kilkenny. For an early documented history of the Denns in Co. Kilkenny, see The Denn Family
- Some of the earliest references to this name in Ireland (the thirteenth century), found the name in Cork and Limerick, it became firmly established in Co. Kilkenny during the next century as the Patent and Chancery rolls, Ormond deeds, and other records attest. Canon Carrigan cites the ancient territory of Lissintan
with the family of Dobbin, which embraced several townlands in the parishes of Inistioge and Kilcullen. Dobbyn of Dobbynswood, Co. Kilkenny, was prominent from 1500, Dobbyns appeared among the leading gentry of the country in 1537 and 1598, The "census" of 1659 found Dobbyn a principal Irish name in the barony of Gowran; Nicholas Dobine of Ballymarey, Co. Kilkenny, was transplanted to Connacht as a papist in 1657. They spread to the nearby city of Waterford and the best known family of the name is that of Waterford. Two of them were mayors (1460 and 1589). Eight Dobbin wills passed through the Prerogative court (from 1718 to 1795) and none of these was of Waterford, 5 were of Ulster.The distribution of the name today we find that 75 per cent belong to Antrim or an adjacent Ulster county - all Dobbin - and only a small number of Dobbyns are still to be found in counties Waterford and Kilkenny. The Dobbins of Antrim first appear as Constable of Carrickfergus Castle in 1400: seventeen of them were sheriffs and eight mayors of Carrickfergus between 1571 and 1666. For more history on the Dobbins in Co. Kilkenny, see The Dobbin Family
- An early Anglo-Norman family, a Richard Dullard (or de Ullard) is noted as a witness of a grant, circa 1277, in the tenement of Tullaroan, County Kilkenny. Robert Dullard was a burgess of Kilkenny in 1437, with lands in Ogenty, the medieval cantred about Thomastown. In 1659 Dullard is a principal Irish name in the Kilkenny baronies of Galmoy and Iverk. The Dollard or Dullard families were very concentrated in the county Kilkenny as evidenced by Griffith's valuation of the middle part of the nineteenth century.
- The Dowlings are one of the "Seven Septs of Leix", the leading members of which were transplanted to Tarbert on the border of north Kerry and west Limerick in 1609. this transplantation did not affect the rank and file of the sept who multiplied in their original territory: this lay along the western bank of the River Barrow, anciently called Fearann ua n-Dunlaing i.e. O'Dowling's country. Thence they spread eastwards through Counties Carlow and Kilkenny (where they are most numerous to-day) and even as far as Co. Wicklow - there are no less than four townlands called Ballydowling in the Rathdrum area of Co. Wicklow. The transplantation to Kerry had little permanent effect as regards numbers; nevertheless, two or three of the many Dowlings of distinction, nearly all of whom were connected with literary activities in some form, were Kerrymen: viz. Bartholomew Dowling (1823-1863), author of The Brigade of Fountenoy and his brother William Dowling, a poet identified with America rather than with his own country; Most Rev. Austin Dowling (1868-1930), Archbishop of St. Paul's U.S.A., was of a family which emigrated from Co. Kerry or Co. Limerick. All the others were natives of Leix or one of the adjoining counties. Among these we may mention Vincent Dowling (1787-1844), colonial judge and author of legal treatises, and Vincent George Dowling (1785-1852), founder, and editor for nearly thirty years, of Bell's life and also of Fistiana, publications which were carried on in turn by his son Frank Lewis Dowling (1821-1867); Richard Dowling (1846-1898), novelist and editor of the Dublin humorous journals Zozimus and Ireland's Eye, was also a Leix man, as was Dr. Jeremiah Dowling (1830-1906), author of The Claddagh Boatman; and, to go back some three centuries, there was Thady Dowling (1544-1628), annalist and Irish language grammarian. In 1659 the name Dowling was a principal Irish name in the Kilkenny baronies of Crannagh, Gowran and Fassadinin, as well as the city and liberties of Kilkenny. The name Dowly & Dooly was a principal name in the baronies of Galmoy and Gowran. Outside of Dublin Dowling still had strong Laois and Kilkenny ties in the mid-19th century Valuation. In Wicklow the name is sparse in that record. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 14 births in that year for the surname Dowling.
- In Irish O Duinn or O Doinn (doinn is the genitive case of the adjective donn - brown) it is more often written Dunne than Dunn in English. The form O'Doyne, common in the seventeenth century, is now almost obsolete. In fact of 364 births registered for them in a given year, 313 had the final E and only 51 were Dunn. From this it can be estimated that the total number of people so called in Ireland to-day is approximately 15,000, giving them twenty seventh place in the list of commonest surnames in Ireland. This sept originated in Co. Leix (Queen's County, north of Co. Kilkenny) and formed one of the principal families of Leinster, their chief being lords of Iregan in that county. The sept is one of those specially mentioned in the mid sixteenth century official orders as hostile and dangerous to the English interest. It is in that part of the country that Dunnes are, appropriately, now to be found in greatest numbers, though they have spread far and wide. Nearly all those who spell the name Dunn came from Ulster. This is a name to which the practice during present century of resuming the discarded prefixes Mac and O does not apply - the form O'Dunn or O'Dunne is seldom if ever seen to-day. At least one of the name is to be found in the gallery of famous Irishmen, viz., Gillananaomh O Duinn (1102-1160), the historian and poet. One was killed at the battle of Aughrim in 1391. Another very active Jacobite was James O'Dunne (c. 1700-1758). Bishop of Ossory, most of whose life was spent in France, in the service of which country several of his relatives distinguished themselves as diplomatists and soldiers. In modern times Charles Dunn (1799-1872), was a notable judge in the U.S.A; and Col. Humphrey O'Dunne was famous for his bravery in the attack on Savannah in 1774. The Irish-American author Finlay Peter Dunn, has been noticed in the article on Dooley (q.v.). Sir Patrick Dun (1642-1713), five times President of the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland, and Irish M.P., whose memory is perpetuated in Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, Dublin, was of a Scottish family. In the 1659 census for Kilkenny the name Duin & Duing is noted as a principal Irish name in the baronies of Crannagh and Fassadinin. The name Dunne (not Dunn) was strong in Laois and Offaly in the mid-19th century, with a good showing in other Leinster counties such as Kildare and Kilkenny [and Dublin]. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 20 births in that year for the surname Dunne.
- Donoghue or Donohoe, more properly O'Donoghue, is one of the most important as well as the most numerous names in Ireland. In Irish O Donnchadha, it denotes descendant of Donnchadh, anglice Donogh, a personal name. Several distinct septs o the name existed in early times. The lands of the Ua Donnchadha (O'Donogh, O'Donoghue, O'Dunphy?) sept of Mag Máil were noted (by some) around the medieval cantreds of Oskelan and Ogenty (in the barony of Gowran, Co. Kilkenny) in the 13th century and before. These lands were said to be granted to Theobald Fitzwalter (Butler), among others, in the late twelfth century. MacLysaght refers to them as a minor O'Donoghue sept who belonged to Ossory, but they are now called Dunphy. A hundred years ago the peasantry there were still O'Donoghue, and Dunphy was "genteel". The name Dunfy is recorded in the census of 1659 as one of the principal Irish names in the barony of Iverk, Co. Kilkenny. In the same record McDonogh was a principal Irish name in Knocktopher. In the mid-19th century the name Dunphy was still predominant in County Kilkenny and surrounding areas. The names Donoghoe and Donoghue are completely absent from Co. Kilkenny in the same record.
- The O Duibhir (Dwyer), originating from West Tipperary, also spread into Kilkenny. The O'Dwyers (in Irish O Duibhir, descendant of Duibhir) were an important sept in Co. Tipperary, though not comparable in power or extent of territory with the neighbouring great septs. Their lands were Kilnamanagh, the mountainous area lying between the town of Thurles and the county Limerick. The O'Dwyers were always noted for their staunch resistance to English aggression and many are recorded in this connexion in mediaeval and early modern times. Coming down to 1798, Michael Dwyer (1770-1825) defied the English Government forces for five years: his end, after being sentenced to transportation following his voluntary surrender in 1803, was to become a policeman in Australia. In our own day, Most Rev. Edward O'Dwyer (1842-1917), the Bishop of Limerick, endeared himself to the people of Ireland by his manly stand on behalf of Sinn Fein and the men of 1916. In America Joseph O'Dwyer (1841-1898) was noted as a pioneer physician, particularly in regard to the treatment of diphtheria. William O'Dwyer (b. 1890) also had a remarkable career: starting as an emigrant labourer from Co. Mayo he became Mayor of New York and one of the most notable of United States ambassadors. A very full account of this sept is give in The O'Dwyers of Kilnamanagh by Sir Michael O'Dwyer. Interesting information on this sept will also be found in Glankeen of Borrisoleigh, by Rev. M. Kenny, S.J. In Chapter III he deals with Edmond O'Dwyer (Eamonn a'Chnuic). The name is largely found in the southern half of Ireland in the mid-19th century with a fair number of Dwyers noted in County Kilkenny, Waterford, Tipperary, Cork and Limerick.
- In 1192 William Marshall succeeded Strongbow as Lord of Leinster and continued the process of land grants within Ossory. John de Erlee, in succession to Baldwin de Hamptonsford, received the grant of land which apparently bore John's name, that is, the cantred of Erley located south of Callan. The Prior of Kells (Co. Kilkenny) in 1361 was Robert Erley and as early as 1305 the placename Erleystown in Co. Tipperary is on record. At that time the use of Early as an anglicized form of a Gaelic surname was unknown and the Erleys of Kilkenny and Tipperary were of Norman origin, as is evident from the fact that they were often called d'Erley. The surname, spelled as Early, is rare in Co. Kilkenny in the mid-19th century. For an early documented history of the d'Erleys in Co. Kilkenny, see The d'Erley Family
- Fanning is a name of Norman origin early established in the south of Ireland: It is said to be derived from the forename Panin. Fanning is particularly associated with Limerick. Fanningstown, formerly Ballyfanning and Ballynanning (i.e. Baile an Fhaininn) is in Co. Limerick in the Knockainy area: in 1540 Nicholas Fanning occupied "the Lordship of Aine" (Knockainy). The name was not confined to this area: it appeared as early as the 13th century in Co. Kilkenny (note Fanningstown in Co. Kilkenny) and in later centuries also in Co. Waterford. A Richard Fanyn, or Fannynge, was witness to charters in co. Kilkenny from 1204 to 12211, and was killed in 1234 fighting on the side of Richard, Earl Marshal. His son Thomas held 1/2 knight fee at Clomantagh in 1247. Giles Fannyng was among those of Co. Kilkenny who was transplanted to Co. Galway in the 1650's. The name is spelled Fannin and Fanning in Griffiths Valuation of the mid-19th century, and not as numerous in Kilkenny as in other counties. The name Fanton, likely unrelated, seems unique to the Ballcallan area of Co. Kilkenny in this record. For early reference of the Fanyns of Co. Kilkenny, and Tipperary, see The Fanning Family
FitzGerald and Barron
- The Fitzgeralds of Ireland, who are now very numerous, are said to be all descended from the famous Maurice, son of Gerald, who accompanied Strongbow in the Anglo-Norman invasion. Gerald was constable of Pembroke in Wales and was married to Nesta, Princess of Wales. Fitzgerald simply means son of Gerald - Fitz (French - Fils) becoming Mac in Irish, hence the use of MacGearailt as the Gaelic form the name. Other than the more famous FitzGerald Earls of Desmond and of Kildare, there include the FitzGeralds of Burnchurch (Co. Kilkenny). Some of the Fitzgeralds in Co. Waterford, whose ancestor was baron of Burnchurch, Co. Kilkenny, assumed the surname Barron. The name Barron shows in the mid-19th century record with a fair distribution in Co. Kilkenny and surrounding areas. For an early history of the Fitzgeralds in Co. Kilkenny, see The Fitzgerald Family
FitzGerald and O'Dea
- Much confusion arises about the origins of the FitzGerald O'Dea family. An Anglo-Norman origin ties them to a son of Thomas fitz Maurice, the first Knight of Kerry. G. D. Burtchaell in his articles about the "The Geraldines of County Kilkenny", was convinced the O'Dea family was Irish in origin. By the 16th century the O'Deas were residents of the manor and castle at Gorteens, and had adopted the Geraldine name the middle of that century. For an account of the O'Dea Fitzgeralds in Co. Kilkenny, see The Fitzgerald Family
- The Mac Giolla Phadraig (MacGilpatrick or Fitzpatrick) homeland was in the ancient kingdom of Upper Ossory, in western Laois and northern Kilkenny. This is the only surname with the prefix Fitz which is of native Irish origin, the others being Norman. The Fitzpatricks are Macgilpatricks - Mac Giolla Phadraig in Irish, meaning son of the servant or devotee of St. Patrick. In sixteenth and even seventeenth century records they are usually called MacGilpatrick or MacKilpatrick; and in some places they are still so called, other variants being McIlpatrick, Kilpatrick, etc.: the latter is common in Ulster, where, however, it is usually of Scottish origin. their eponymous ancestor was Giolla Padraig, a warlike chief in Ossory who lived in the second half of the tenth century. Branches of the sept are now found in many parts of the country: nearly ten thousand persons of the name are estimated to be in Ireland to-day, widely distributed, Leix (alias Queen's Co.) having the greatest number. By far the most important was, and still is, the family whose head was for centuries during the Gaelic period known as Lord of Upper Ossory, at one time almost a royal ruler over counties Leix and Kilkenny. Their power was much reduced by the rise of the Ormond Butlers, but they were one of the first of the great Irish septs to submit to Henry VIII and one Sir Barnaby Fitzpatrick was knighted in 1568. they lost considerably through their loyalty to James II. Nevertheless the head of the family received a peerage in 1714 and in 1878 his descendants are recorded as possessing no less than twenty-two thousand acres of the best land in Ossory. One branch of the Fitzpatricks of Ossory assumed the surname MacSeartha, or Shera in English, taken from an ancestor whose christian name that was. Many variants of the name, in addition to those given above, are recorded in the modern birth registers, not only more or less obvious abbreviations like Fitz, Fitch and Patrick, but even Parrican, Parogan and Patchy! Brian Fitzpatrick (1585-1652), Vicar Apostolic of Ossory, who was murdered by Cromwellian soldiers, was instrumental in saving the "Book of the O'Byrnes", which he transcribed, from destruction. In modern times, apart from the Earls of Upper Ossory, several Fitzpatricks were prominent in politics, two in the English interest and another Patrick Vincent Fitzpatrick (1792-1865) was one of Daniel O'Connell's most trusted colleagues. Also worthy of mention are William John Fitzpatrick (1830-18958), the biographer, and Thomas Fitzpatrick (1832-1900), an eminent physician. Much information on the Fitzpatricks will be found in Carrigan's History of the Diocese of Ossory, Vol 1.
- This name is fairly common in Counties Galway and Cavan but rare elsewhere (except in the City of Dublin where, of course, names from all parts of Ireland are to be found). It was formerly MacTully, and the form MacAtilla is used to-day in some places which suggests that the name in Irish was MacTuile or Mac a'tuile, meaning son of the flood; and it is a fact that the surnames Tully and Flood were at one time interchangeable and that what has been termed a mistranslation may indeed be a translation. In the Elizabethan Fiants we find Dionysius Flood alias Donough O'Multilly. O'Multilly, spelt O'Moltolle in another case, is O Maoltuile in Irish. it has been stated by usually reliable authorities that MacTuile is a corruption of O Maoltuile and that the latter is the real name of the celebrated medical family, but the form Mac Tuile appears in a seventeenth century manuscript which is a copy by a well-known scribe of a thirteenth century manuscript. The original, written by an eye witness of the inauguration of Cathal O'Connor, last King of Connacht, describes MacTully (Mac Tuile) who was present as O'Connor's physician. The MacTullys were in fact hereditary physicians not only to the O'Connors but also to the O'Reillys of Breffny. This accounts for the modern distribution of the name given above. The place-name Tullystown near Granard is associated with the Breffny branch of the family. The Tullys listed in the 1691 attainders are all of Co. Galway and the leading family whose arms are illustrated on Plate XXVII are of that county. The same arms are used by the Floods of Co. Kilkenny. The Floods of Co. Kilkenny are said to be of English extraction. To this family belonged two notable politicians: Sir Frederick Flood (1741-1824) and Henry Flood (1732-1791), both prominent as Volunteers and opponents of the Union, and latter one of the outstanding personalities of eighteenth century Ireland. The distinguished Rev. Dr. Peter Flood (d. 1803), President of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, on the other hand, give that measure some support. William Henry Grattan Flood (1867-1928), author of the History of Irish Music, was a noted composer of liturgical music. The name Flood is found in Co. Kilkenny in Griffiths Valuation of about 1850, yet the number is small in comparison to other counties in Ireland.
- Forestal and Forrestal are variants in use today,. is of English origin and is considered to be a variant of the surname Forester. The Forstalls, as they were usually called until modern times, may be classed as Anglo-Norman since they came to Ireland shortly after the Invasion and were prominent in the activities of here from the thirteenth century. They appeared very often in all medieval records dealing with the counties of Kilkenny and Wexford and Co. Kildare, where Geoffrey, William and Patrick le Forstal were living in 1297. They are occasionally described as de Forrestal, this 'de' is probably a clerical error for 'le'. By the seventeenth century they were recorded by Petty as among the principal Irish inhabitants of the baronies of Ida, Knocktopher and Fassadinin in Co. Kilkenny, Bantry and Shelbourne in Co. Wexford and Cullenagh Co Leix. There were four main branches of the Forrestall family seated respectively at Forrestallstown, Carrickloney, Killbride and Mullinahar, all in the southern part of Co. Kilkenny. The most distinguished of the family, Dr. Mark Forstall O.S.A., Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin from 1676 to 1683, was especially praised by St. Oliver Plunket in his correspondence with the Holy See: previously a man of note in Vienna. Four of the name appeared in the list of Irish Jacobites attainted or outlawed after 1691. Many of the name spelled Forrestal are still found in the Kilkenny and Wexford area in the mid-19th century record. Spelled as Forestal it was mainly found in Mayo and Wexford in the mid-19th century. For an early account of the Forestalls, see The Forrestall Family
- Originally Norman, the name was de Freynes, from Latin fraxinus - an ash tree. The Freneys came to Ireland with the Strongbow invasion. A record of the late 12th century shows a Fulk fitz Warin, later to perhaps be surnamed Freyne, receiving a land grant in the medieval cantred of Odogh [Co. Kilkenny]. They were later noted with a castle at Freneystown in the parish of Tiscoffin. There is an Irish peerage of the de Freyne extant to-day. The spellings Freyne and Frayne were largely found in counties Mayo and Roscommon in the mid-19th century record. Spelled as Freney the name still has a stronger presence in the Kilkenny area than elsewhere in this record. For an early documented account of the Freynes, see The Freyne Family
Gaul or Gaule
- Reverend Carrigan in his History
cites the Gauls, or Burkes, of Gaulstown as descended from William de Burgo, son of Richard, son of Edmond, son of Richard, the Red Earl of Ulster (died 1326) ; and settled down in Gaulstown most probably in the 15th century. The great historian O'Donovan, whose great-great-great grandmother was a Gall (Gaul), states they were called Gall or Gall-Burke, Walter Gall de Burgo being M.P. for County Kilkenny in 1560; his son William became Count Gall von Bourckh of the Holy Roman (German) Empire, and other sons served in the Spanish and Austrian armies. In 1659 the surname Gale (variant of Gaul) is noted in Couny Kilkenny. In Griffiths Valuation the name is distinct to the Kilkenny area, and surrounding counties. In that record the spelling Gaule is noted in Waterford and Wexford. For early reference to the Galls, see The Gaul Family
- In the 12th century the territory of Callan in Ossory was home to the Ua Gloiairn (O'Gloiran, O'Gloerne) sept according to O'Haerin's Topographical Poem compiled circa 1420. Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of 1837 mentions that Callan was the ancient inheritance of the O'Glohernys and the O'Coillys or O'Callans. The early forms O'Gloerne, O'Gloiairn and Gloryn occur fairly often in mediaeval records relating to Co. Kilkenny. The first reference met is to one William O'Gloerne convicted as "a felon" in Co. Tipperary in 1292; eight years later several O'Gloernes ambushed an Englishman at Callan, Co. Kilkenny. Four Glory householders appeared in Griffith's contemporary Valuation of Co. Kilkenny and it is stated by the editors of the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries in 1853 that families of the name were then in Kilkenny city. A more phonetic anglicization is Glorney, which is still extant in Munster and in Dublin. John Glorney was one of the Jacobites whose outlawry was reversed on appeal in 1699. In Griffiths valuation the rare surname Glory is found only in Co. Kilkenny, and the spelling Glorney appears only in Dublin.
- The territory in which the 'la Gras' family acquired shortly after the Anglo-Norman invasion was in what is today County Kilkenny (it was called Grace's country). The medieval cantred of Shillelogher (in Kilkenny) was divided among the families of Grace (le Gras) of Tullaroan, among others, in the late 12th century. The head of the family was later known as Baron of Courtstown. In 1690 the extent of this property was 32,000 acres: the then owner, Robert Grace, was exempted from confiscation by an article of the Treaty of Limerick, but his son was dispossessed in 1701 on a technical legal point. The Graces remained Catholic and espoused the Jacobite cause. Col. John Grace raised and commanded one of the regiments in James 11's army, in which at least ten of the name served as officers. Col. Richard Grace (1620-1691) was one of the most notable personalities of seventeenth century Ireland: he was prominent in both the Cromwellian and the Willliamite wars, and was killed in action at the siege of Athlone at the age of 70. Up to the time of the Courtstown confiscation the Grace connexion was mainly, but by no means entirely, with Co. Kilkenny where the name is still quite numerous - in 1659 it was recorded as a principal Irish name in four baronies of Co. Kilkenny and also in the adjoining Tipperary barony of Eliogarty. A number of places in counties of Kilkenny, Carlow, Leix and Kildare have taken their names from the Grace family: Castle Grace, Grace Castle, Grace's Wood, Graceland, Grace's Court and Gracefield. The Ormond Deeds, the Justiciary Rolls and every mediaeval record which deals with that part of the country abound in references to the Grace family, who held many public administrative positions and were closely associated with the monastery of Jerpoint, of which two Graces were abbots. James Grace (fl. 1538), the annalist, was of Gracefield, the home of a branch of the Courtstown family. Another very notable member of the Gracefield branch was John Grace (1734-1811) who, while serving with the Austrian army, was detailed as the special escort of Marie Antoinette on her journey back to France; on retiring from foreign service he returned to Ireland and was the first Catholic since 1689 on the Grand Jury for Co. Roscommon. The mission of Father John Grace to the West Indies (1667-1669) is described in Analecta Hibernica, No. 4. For an early documented account of le Gras, see The Grace Family
- The surname Hackett is of Norman origin, Hacket being a common Norman personal name. The Hacketts came to Ireland at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion at the end of the twelfth century, and people of that name were soon after settled in several places in the area covered by the modern counties of Kilkenny, Carlow and Kildare. Hacktestown, in Co. Carlow, is called after them. The Fiants of Henry VIII and Edward VI indicate that there were in the sixteenth century Hacketstowns, alias Ballyhackett, also in Counties Dublin and Kildare. A branch of this family moved into Connacht where they in due course became hibernicized and, like other Norman families in that province, formed a distinct if small sept which was known as MacHackett, their seat being Castle Hackett, six miles south-east of Tuam; but there is little trace of the name Hackett in Connacht to-day. It is still strong, however, in and around Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny, as it has been through the centuries. Hacketts and Hakets appear in the lists of sheriffs of Counties Tipperary, Cross Tipperary and Waterford and as members of parliament for Fethard in 1560, 1585 and 1613. Peter Hackett was Archbishop of Cashel from 1385 to 1407 and David Hacket Bishop of Ossory from 1460 to 1479; and Rev.. John Baptist Hacket, O.P. (d. 1676), who was the intimate friend of Pope Clement X and a man of great influence in Rome, also came from that part of Ireland. Another Dominican, almost contemporary with him and also from Co. Tipperary, was Father Padraigin Hackett (c. 1600-1654), author of one of the best known poems in the Irish language "Muscail do mhisneach, a Bhanba". In the last century Thomas Hacket (1805-1876), secretary of the Astronomical Society, and in our own day, Rev. William P. Hackett, S.J. (1877-1949), and his brother Francis Hackett, the author, were Co. Kilkenny men of note
- Although the most famous sept cited under the surname Healy is noted in Connacht, the name is noted in the Co. Kilkenny 'census' of 1659 as a principal Irish name in the baronies of Gowran (Healy & c.); Crannagh (Healy); and Iverke (Haly & Healy). The name Healy is still noted in Griffith's Valuation for Co. Kilkenny, although in relatively smaller numbers compared to many of the other counties.
Philip de Hynteberge was lord of the manor of Rath, Co. Dublin, in 1250. Thence the family, later called Hanebry, migrated to Counties Kilkenny and Waterford. Philip de Hindeberg is recorded as a lay patron of Owning church circa 1300, in Co. Kilkenny. The Co. Kilkenny placename Ballyhenebry in the parish of Whitechurch (Iverk) marks their presence. They are chiefly found in Co. Waterford today, though the name is not common. Father Richard Henebry (1863-1916) was a foremost Gaelic scholar and collector of Irish music. In Griffiths Valuation of the mid-19th century the names Henebry and Heneberry are located mainly in Munster, particularly in Co. Waterford. Spelled as Henneberry in this record there is a large majority of the name in Co. Kilkenny. For an early documented account of the Heneberrys, see The Heneberry Family
- This name is found among the principle Irish names, in 1659, in the northern Co. Kilkenny baronies of Galmoy, Fassadinin and Crannagh. The Hickey name is cited by MacLysaght as closely identified with Co. Clare and northern Tipperary as a Dalcassian sept, physicians to the ruling O'Briens. The Hickeys of Co. Kilkenny represented a smaller proportion of the name as shown in Griffith's Valuation of the middle nineteenth century.
- The Irish form of the name is given by MacLysaght as Ó hUallacháin, and he cites the sept in Offaly and in Thomond. In Offaly the O'Holohans shared the leadership of the Clan Colgan with the O'Hennessys. This name was common in County Kilkenny as cited by the 1659 census. In this record it is noted as a principal Irish name in the baronies of Galmoy (Hologhane); Gowran (Hologhan & Halighan); Fassagh Deinin (Hologhon); Skillellogher (Hologhon); and Crannagh (Hologhon); as well as in the City and Liberties of Kilkenny (Hologhon). Spelled as Holohan, the name is common to the Kilkenny, Laois and Offaly area in Griffith's Valuation of the middle part of the 19th century, chiefly in that of Co. Kilkenny.
- At the time of the Cambro-Norman invasion of the late 12th century, a portion of Upper Ossory (Co. Laois) held the sept of the Ua hUrachan (O'Horahan) of Ui Fairchellain, a name later given to the parish of Offerlane in County Leix/Laois. There was a pardon of a David O'Horegane, a kern, of Lex (Leix or Laois) in 1551. As MacLysaght notes, "this however, is probably a misspelling of O'Horahan (or O'Hourihan) since a sept so called was located in Dunamase, Co. Leix. Spelled as Horahan in Griffiths 19th century valuation of Ireland the name is basically confined to counties Leix (Laois), Carlow and Kilkenny. As Hourahan it appears as mainly as a Co. Cork name.
Howlin and Holden
- Following the Anglo-Norman invasion at the end of the twelfth century a Welsh family of Houlyn established themselves in an area in the southern part of what is now Co. Kilkenny and in time became lords of Kilree and other places in the barony of Kells (Co. Kilkenny). There were many early variants of the name such as Holying, Houlyn and Howling, and these became standardized as Howlin. It appeared often in records such as the Ormond Deeds and Judiciary Rolls from 1306, when Richard and John Houlin were tenants of the manor of Gowran; and later in the Chancery Rolls in 1536 Edmond Holying, yeoman of Co. Waterford, was pardoned for murder. When the "census" of 1659 was compiled Howling was recorded as a principal Irish name both in the barony of Kells and in that of Knocktopher. They spread into Co. Wexford, where the name was entered as Howlin, and a place there was called Knockhowlin. Then some branches of the family began to be called Holden, particularly in the vicinity of the Walsh mountains on the border of these two counties. In the barony of Gowran the place called Howlingstown in the 1659 "census" has since become Holdenstown. Holdensrath, near Kilkenny, also named from them, but Holdenstown in Co. Wicklow, near Beltinglass, is given the alias Ballyhalton in a sixteenth century Fiant and has probably no relation to the surname. Holden was certainly in use as a synonym of Howlin before 1685 when the will of Thomas Holden of Bennett's Bridge was proved; a few years later we meet the will of Michael Holden of Waterford. Smoflet Holden (d. 1813), military music-master and instrument maker in Dublin, was the editor of several musical publications. His son Francis Holden, Mus. Doc., was associated with George Petrie in the collection of Irish airs. Holden is also an English surname and some Holdens now settled in Ireland are unconnected with those of Howlin origin. The name occurs among the seventeenth century Ulster Plantation settlers; and is also that of a family which came from Lancashire about 1850; in their case the name Holden is a contraction of Holedene. There was a remarkable character born in Tipperary called John "Plumper" Hoolan (1842-1911 ) an Australian pioneer and Labour politician who figures in many extravagant and parliamentary incidents in Queensland. In the mid-19th century record Howlin is quite distinct to County Wexford. Spelled as Holden in this record, the name has a strong Co. Kilkenny presence. For early references on the Howlins or Howlings, see The Howlin Family
- The O Caollaidhe (O'Queally, O'Kealy) sept was noted in the modern barony of Ida prior to the Cambro-Norman arrival in 1169. The O'Kealys of Ui Bercháin occupied an area in the old 'barony' of Ibercon, in the northern portion of what was to become the barony of Ida. They were also noted as important chiefs of Crioch O mBuidhe (barony of Ballyadams), north of Kilkenny in County Leix. In Griffiths Valuation Kealy is still prevalent to Co. Kilkenny, with a strong showing also in Carlow and Laois.
- The O'Kellys of Magh Mail (in the medieval cantred of Ogenty) occupied an area west of the Barrow, an area now in the barony of Gowran. The O'Kellys are also noted in northern Co. Kilkenny and southern Co. Laois immediately following the Norman invasion. The O'Kellys of Laois (& Kilkenny) were themselves divided into three branches; of Lea, Magh Druchtain and Galen. The Kellys, a prominent family in Gowran in the 17th century under the name Kealy, lived in Feathallagh House (named after the townland in Kilderry parish). In the 1659 'census' for Co. Kilkenny the name Kelly is found as a principal Irish name in all the baronies, as might be expected given the popularity of the name throughout Ireland. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 21 births in that year for the surname Kelly.
- The sept of the Ua Caibhdheanaigh (Keveney, Coveney, Gaffney?) of Magh Airbh and Clar Coill is noted in the southern section of the cantred of Galmoy (modern barony of Crannagh in Kilkenny) at the time of the Cambro-Norman invasion. Gaffney is one of those quite numerous Irish surnames about which much confusion arises. Not only is it used as the anglicized form of four distinct Gaelic names, but Gaffney itself has for some obscure reason become Caulfield in many places. It never appears to-day with either Mac or O as prefix: of the four patronymics referred to above two are O names and two are Mac. The principal sept in question was O Gamhna of Ossory, but there Caulfield is the normal modern form. In the same area Gaffney is sometimes found as the anglicized form of O Caibheanaigh, or perhaps Keveney in English. In the 19th century record, Coveney was basically a Co. Cork name; Keveny and Caveny were Connacht names; Gaffney and Caulfield largely existed outside of Co. Kilkenny (though not exclusively).
The surname Kevanagh is noted as a principal Irish name in various Co. Kilkenny baronies in the census of 1659, including Galmoy. In the mid-nineteenth century this name is found in Co. Kilkenny (among many other counties), likely under the spelling Kavanagh.
The surname Keefe is found as a principal Irish name in the Co. Kilkenny baronies of Gowran and Kells, in 1659. The placename Ballykeefe is in the barony of Crannagh.
- Orginally one of the seven septs of Co. Leix (Laois), they were located near the famous Rock of Dunamase, but were driven from this territory by the English invaders under Queen Elizabeth I. In Irish the name is given as O Leathlaobhair, with variant spellings of Lawlor, Lalor, and Lawler. In the 1659 Co. Kilkenny census the name is given as a principal Irish name in the baronies of Galmoy (Lawler); Gowran (Lallor); Fassadinin (Lallor & Lawlor); and in the City and Liberties of Kilkenny (Lalor). Spelled as Lalor the name has a strong Co. Laois presence, with a good representation in Co. Kilkenny, in the mid-19th century record. Spelled as Lawler the name is more widespread, with a strong presence in the province of Leinster (including some located in Co. Kilkenny). The spelling Lawlor has a much smaller presence in Co. Laois and is prevalent in both Leinster and Munster.
- Though the surname Lawless is formed from the Old English word laghles meaning an outlaw, it may, as far as Ireland is concerned, be regarded as falling in the Anglo Norman category. Outlawe was itself a not uncommon surname in Ireland in the middle ages, e.g. Roger Outlawe, prior of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in 1337, and Henry Outlawe, sovereign of Kilkenny in 1312. From soon after the invasion the name (written Laweles, Laghles, Lachles, Laules, etc). appears frequently in mediaeval records up to the end of the sixteenth century throughout Leinster and Munster, particularly in Co. Kilkenny. One branch settled in the city of Kilkenny in the fourteenth century: Walter Lawless was mayor of Dublin, his family being landowners at Cabra and elsewhere near the city. Petty's "census" of 1659 indicates that in the seventeenth century they were fairly numerous in Co. Kilkenny and the Dublin area. In that record the name Laules was a principal Irish name in the Kilkenny barony of Ida. They were nearly all staunch Jacobites and among the exiles after 1691 was Patrick Lawless who became Spanish Ambassador to London in 17136 and afterwards to Louis XIV of France. Walter Lawless was confiscated of his lands in Kilkenny about 1702 following the Williamite war. The name Lawless still appears in the Kilkenny record of the mid-19th century, although in much smaller proportions than the other counties it is noted in, particularly Dublin.
- The O Meachair (Maher) sept of Tipperary also spread into Kilkenny. Maher, also written Meagher, is in Irish O Meachair, derived from the word meachar, meaning hospitable - Maher is a word of two syllables, not pronounced Marr. Of the same stock as the O'Carrolls of Ely it belongs to the barony of Ikerrin in Co. Tipperary - in fact fifty per cent of the eight thousand people of the name come from Co. Tipperary. Maher territory was near Roscrea, at the foot of the famous Devil's Bit Mountain and , unlike some Gaelic septs, they were not ousted by Norman invaders but remained in possession side by side with the Ormond Butlers. Though this is a genuine Gaelic O name it is rarely, if ever, met with in its English form with the prefix. One of the adventurous and ill-starred rapparees of the seventeenth century was Capt. John Meagher, who was captured and hanged in 1690. Father Maher (1793-1874) was a distinguished ecclesiastic; and Thomas Francis Meagher (1823-1867), known as "Meagher of the Sword", was one of the most prominent of the Young Irelanders. He was later leader of the Irish Brigade in the Federal Army in the American Civil War. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 21 births in that year for the surname Maher. Maher is has its largest showing in Tipperary and Kilkenny (and surrounding areas) in the mid-19th century record. In the 1659 census of Co. Kilkenny the name, or a variant, may have come down as Mogher, which was a principal Irish surname in the baronies of Galmoy, Gowran, Iverke, Knocktopher, Fassagh Deinin, Kells, Skillellogher, Crannagh, the liberties of Callan, and the city and liberties of Kilkenny; a very widespread presence indeed. Mogher was also a principal Irish name in the Co. Waterford baronies in 1659.
- The O Murchadha (Murphy
) of Wexford later spread into Kilkenny and Carlow. Murphy is much the commonest surname in Ireland: birth registration statistics indicate that of, a population of 4 millions, no less than approximately 55,000 are Murphys. The name, with which the prefix O is never used nowadays, may be either O Murchadha or Mac Murchadha in Irish (See MacMurrough, below). It arose independently in several parts of Ireland. The 1659 census of Kilkenny spells the name as Morphey, Morphie, Morphy and Murphy, and its presence as a principal Irish name is cited in almost all the baronies there. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 35 births in that year for the surname Murphy.
- At least some of the Kilkenny O'Neills likely have a connection with the O'Neill sept located in the Decies and its present day representatives are found in Co.. Waterford and south Tipperary. The O'Neills of Uíbh Eoghan Fhinn are noted of south Co. Tipperary and Co. Kilkenny were perhaps of the same line. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 17 births in that year for the surname Neill.
- The O Faoileain (O'Phelan
) chiefs, of Waterford and Kilkenny, were Princes of the Decies. The name Whelan must be dealt with in conjunction with Phelan, as they are anglicized variants of the same Gaelic surname, viz. o Faolain, which itself has variant forms such as O Faoileain and O hAolain. Whelan is more numerous than Phelan: it alone stands seventy-ninth in the list of the hundred commonest names in Ireland; with Phelan added the name takes forty-forty place, with an estimated population of about twelve thousand persons. In the last year for which such statistics are available 214 births were registered for Whelan and 93 for Phelan. Eighty per cent of the latter belonged to Counties Waterford, Kilkenny and adjacent areas; while Whelans extended further into Wexford and Carlow. many, of course, were born in Dublin, but in considerations of this kind the metropolitan area can be disregarded. it is natural that the present day representatives of the sept of O Faolain should be found in the places mentioned, because their chiefs were Princes of the Decies before the Norman invasion, while a branch of the sept was settled a little further north in the south-west part of Co. Kilkenny. One of these, John Phelan, was Bishop of Ossory at the time of the Catholic resurgence under James II. The gentleman who styles himself "O'Phelan, Prince of the Decies" (a claim not allowed by the Genealogical office), was born Whelan; the well-known writer Sean O'Faolain is the son of Denis Whelan. Another distinguished Whelan was Leo Whelan, R.H.A. (1892-1956), the portrait painter. Of those using the form Phelan the best known are Edward Joseph Phelan, the Director-General of the International labour Office, of Co. Waterford, and Frederick Ross Phelan, a distinguished Canadian soldier. In the United States, Phelans have been prominent, notably James Phelan (1824-1892), Leix-born pioneer, and his son James Dubal Phelan (1861-1930), senator and mayor of San Francisco. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 18 births in that year for the surname Phelan.
- Colonel John Ponsonby was noted among the more prominent New English landed gentry following the Cromwellian confiscations of the 17th century. He received grants of land at Kildaton, co. Kilkenny, under the Act of Settlement, and renamed it Bessborough in honour of his 2nd wife, Elizabeth. Their son, William, was created Baron Bessborough (11 Sep 1721) and Viscount Duncannon (28 Feb 1722/3). His son, Brabazon, was created Earl of Bessborough (6 Oct 1739) and Baron Ponsonby of Sysnoby, co. Leicester (12 June 1749). All but Sysnoby were in the peerage of Ireland.
- Though not Gaelic in origin, power is one of that class of hibernicized names (like Burke and Walsh) which may be regarded as one hundred per cent Irish. The name, now one of the most numerous in Ireland- it is estimated that there are about eleven thousand Powers in the country to-day - came with the Normans in Strongbow's twelfth century invasion. It is derived from the old French word povre (Latin pauper, poor) and was first written le Poer, a form still retained by one or two families. The poverty implied was rather that of a voluntary vow than of destitution. The Norman Powers settled in Co. Waterford where they are still more numerous than anywhere else: in fact nearly half their total is in that county and Power heads the statistical list for Co. Waterford. The remainder, apart from the city of Dublin, which contains people from all the provinces, are for the most part in the counties which adjoin Waterford, viz Cork, Tipperary, Kilkenny and Wexford. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 17 births in that year for the surname Power.
- Purcell is usually regarded as an Irish name, though the most famous man so called, Henry Purcell, the composer, was an Englishman. Both English and Irish Purcells are of Norman descent, the latter being found mostly in the contiguous counties of Kilkenny and Tipperary. The picturesque ruined castle of Loughmoe, the seat of the head of the family, is a well-known landmark near Thurles, to be seen from a main line railway between Dublin and Cork. He was known as Baron of Loughmoe, a title conferred by the First Earl of Ormond as Lord of the Palatinate, but this title was not officially recognized by the Crown. The name is derived from the Norman-French word porcel, which in turn comes from the Latin porcus. Though Norman, the Purcells did not come to Ireland until some years after the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1172, when they became adherents of the great Butler (Ormond) family. In Irish the name is written Puirseil. the Purcells are a good example of the saying "hiberniores Hibernicis ipsis", for not only are they found as Bishops of Ferns and of Waterford and as Abbots of Holy Cross and St. John's Kilkenny, but also as staunch fighters in the Irish cause: one, Major-General Purcell, though unsuccessful as a military strategist in earlier engagements, was so prominent in the defence of Limerick in 1651 as to be excluded from the favourable terms granted to the defenders generally; and another, Col. Nicholas Purcell, was one of Patrick Sarsfield's right hand men. This Purcell was one of the negotiators of the Treaty of Limerick in 1691. Subsequent to this they were active as Wild Geese both in the regiment known as Purcell's Horse and in Clare's Dragoons etc. Other Purcells worthy of mention are Richard Purcell (c. 1720-1766), who in his day was a celebrated engraver, and John Baptist Purcell (1800-1883), Archbishop of Cincinnati, who was born at Mallow. In connexion with him may be recalled his brother Father Edward Purcell and the dramatic story of the failure of the "Purcell Bank". In 1641 the Purcell families had nearly 7,000 acres of land in Co. Kilkenny, the largest landowner being one Philip Purcell. By 1688 land confiscations had reduced this to 1,287 acres. Of the Purcells who were transplanted from Kilkenny to Connacht in the latter 17th century, there included Thomas Purcell of Foulksrath, Redmund of Roscanin, Elizabeth of Esker?, John of Lismaine, and Pierce Purcell. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 17 births in that year for the surname Purcell. For an early account of the Purcells in Co. Kilkenny, see The Purcell Family
- One of the families referred to as the "Ten Tribes of Kilkenny" the Raggets would have likely been a civic or merchant family in or near the city of Kilkenny in early times. Note the placename Ballyragget in County Kilkenny, a place where the Ragget family had a stronghold as far back as 1220. Richard Le Ragget held lands here in the early 13th century when the area was known as Tullabarry. Ballyragget castle, built in the late 15th century, is connected to the Mountgarret Butler rather than the Raggets. About 1639, a Patrick Ragget was commissioned by William Petty to undertake the mapping and surveying of North Kilkenny and Ormonde for the Down Survey "as he was already conversant with these parts." The surname Ragget appears unique to Co. Kilkenny in Griffiths valuation, a rare name appearing near Stonecarthy, Ennisnag and Jerpoint.
Roche and Rochfort
- Roche is French in origin - de la roche (of the rock) - and came to Ireland at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion in the twelfth century. Like Barry, Burke, Power and Walsh, which are in the same category it became one of the commonest names in Ireland, especially in Munster and Wexford, where most of the original Roche settlers were located. Henry de Roache (de Rupe) of the Rower, Co. Kilkenny is recorded as holding lands in 1319. The family is particularly associated with Co. Cork on account of the predominance of a powerful family of Roches in the neighbourhood of Fermoy where a large area of territory was long known as Roche's Country. The head of this family is Baron Fermoy. Roche of Rochesland is listed as one of the principal gentlemen of Co. Wexford in the sixteenth century. In the Irish language the name is de Roiste. The place-name Rochestown occurs six times in Co. Wexford, twice each in Counties Cork and Kilkenny and once each in Counties Limerick, Tipperary, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Dublin; in the last named there is also a Rocheshill. Roche, Rochford and Rochfort are relatively rare in Co. Kilkenny compared to other counties recorded in Griffiths mid-19th century Valuation.
- This name, now rather rare in Ireland but usually spelt Ruth, is on record here as early as the thirteenth century: but no family of the name became firmly established until about 1390, when the close association of the Rothes with Kilkenny began. By the end of the sixteenth century they had become one of the leading families of that city and county. Robert Rothe (1550-1622), M.P. and Mayor and Recorder of Kilkenny was an antiquary and historian; his descendant Rev. Bernard Rothe, S.J. (1693-1768) had a distinguished career in France after leaving Kilkenny; Most is remembered as an author of note as well as for his support of Rinnuccini at the Confederation of Kilkenny; while another Kilkenny-born Rothe, General Michael Rothe (1661-1741), served with great distinction first in King Jame's Army in Ireland and later as Commander of Rothe's Regiment of Cavalry in the Irish Brigade. The spelling Rothe is not found in Grifiths Valuation in the mid-19th century. The name Ruth, although small in overall numbers, has a strong presence in Wexford, Kilkenny and Laois.
- The O Riain (Ryan) of Carlow also settled in Kilkenny. The Ryans of Co. Carlow and other counties in that part of Leinster, are distinct from those found in Munster [e.g. Tipperary], though both are of the race of Cathaoir Mor King of Leinster in the second century. These are O Riain, not O Maoliriain: the chief to this sept was lord of Ui Drone (whence the name of the barony of Idrone in Co. Carlow on the border with Co. Kilkenny. Due to some of the old eastern Catholic parishes of County Kilkenny being contained in the diocese of Leighlin (rather than Ossory), the Ryans of Idrone may have had very early influence in this area. The Ryans are cited at Foulksrath Castle in Co. Kilkenny, built in the 16th century. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 34 births in that year for the surname Ryan.
- During William Marshall's land grants of the latter 12th century, the medieval cantred of Odogh was divided among the families of St. Leger, de Rochford, fitz Warin (later Freyne), and Devereux. The cantred of Shillelogher was divided among the families of St. Leger of Tullaghanbrogue, among others, and William de St. Leodegario was the first member of this family known in co. Kilkenny. Geoffrey St. Leger, bishop of Ossory from 1260-1286 was of this family. In the 1650's we find St. Leger families in Co. Kilkenny among those transplanted to Connacht during the Cromwellian land confiscations. For example, William St. Leger of Clonylane received a 70 acre grant in Roscommon and George St. Leger received 62 acres in Roscommon. Now a comparatively rare surname, spelled as St. Ledger the name appears on five lines of Griffiths valuation for Co. Kilkenny, and as St. Leger it appears once, most in the Inistioge area. For an early account of St. Leger, or de Sancto Leodegario, families in County Kilkenny, see The St. Leger Family
Shea and Shee
- The descendants of the O Seaghdha (Shea
) clan of south Kerry migrated into Kilkenny as early as the 15th century. O'Shea is included in the list of fifty most numerous surnames in Ireland with an estimated number of nearly twelve thousand persons so called, if we include Shea, Shee and O'Shee, (Variants of the same name) in the total. In Irish it is O Seaghdha, I.e. descendant of Seaghdha: this word means hawk-like and hence dauntless. The O'Sheas are primarily a Kerry sept. They were Lords of Iveragh but their power declined there from the twelfth century onwards, though not their numbers, for it is there that the great majority of O'Sheas are found even at the present day. Some of the lading members of the sept migrated to Co. Tipperary and we find Odoneus O'Shee recorded as Lord of Sheesland in Co. Tipperary in 1381. In the next century their sphere of influence moved to the adjoining county of Kilkenny: Robert Shee was Sovereign (i.e. Chief burgess) of the city of Kilkenny in 1499, and the well known family, now represented by the Poer O'Shees of Gardenmorris and Sheestown, Co. Kilkenny, come into prominence there about that time. Of the so-called Ten Tribes of Kilkenny the Shees (the only ones of Milesian blood), were the most influential; the Rothes and the Archers were next in importance (the others were Archdekin, Cowley, Knaresborough, Langton, Lawless, Ley and Ragget). The form Shee and O'Shee is based on the anglified pronunciation of Shea (cf. O'Dea and Dee) and is not met with often outside Co. Kilkenny. Sir William Shee (1804-1868), M.P. for Kilkenny was the first Catholic judge in Ireland since the Revolution of 1690. Capt. Robert O'Shea was a devoted follower of Prince Charlie and was with him at Culloden. He was an officer of the Irish Brigade in France. At least five others of the name (O'Shee in France) were distinguished officers. The son of one of them became a peer of France. Sir Martin Archer Shee (1769-1850) was the President of the Royal Irish Academy (London) for twenty years. Daniel Shee (1777-1836) was an orientalist who was expelled from Dublin University for refusing to give evidence against his friends among the United Irishmen. John Dawson Gilmary O'Shea (1824-1892) was an American historian of note, whose father, a leader in Irish-American affairs, went to the U.S.A. in 1815. The murder of the twelve year old boy Denis Shea in 1851 is a shocking commentary on the evils of landlordism at that period. The name O'Shea is of course intimately associated with the fall of Parnell. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 15 births in that year for the surname Shea. For early reference to the Shee families in County Kilkenny, see The Shee Family
- Woulfe says the Shortalls probably came to Ireland early in the reign of Edward I of England, or the late 13th century. However, a 'Schortal of Kells' (Kilkenny) is mentioned in the Gormanston Register of 1243. In 1326 a Robert Fitzjohn Shortall of Claragh is noted at Ballylarkin castle near Freshford, the seat of the Shortall family which for a long time was of great note in this county. Ballylarkin Abbey is believed to have been built around the middle of the 14th century by the principal branch of the Shortall family. The Shortals are cited to have built the 15th century tower-house known as Clara Castle; as well as the 16th century tower-house called Balief, near Tubbrid; and to be centered at Idough Castle as well as Ballylarkin (Ballylorcan); all in Co. Kilkenny. In a notarial statement dated 1532 we find James Sortals described as "captain of his nation" like any Gaelic-Irish chieftain. In 1537 an Inquisition jury reported that Lord Shortell, alias Sortall, "useth the same exactions" as the Earl of Ossory. The tomb of Shortalls, "Lord of Ballylorcan", was set up in St. Canice's Cathedral. Kilkenny, in 1507; and in 1552 James le Shortales is described in a Chancery Roll as Lord of Ballielorcan. In the list of Kilkenny landed gentry to have been transplanted in the 1650's include the names of Thomas, Leonard and Nicholas Shortall. In the 1659 'census' there were 16 families of Shortall cited in the barony of Gowran, six in the barony of Crannagh and six in Kilkenny city. Carrigan's History of the Diocese of Ossory gives much detailed information about the various Shortall families of Co. Kilkenny. Shortall has a strong showing in counties Kilkenny and Laois in Griffith's Valuation. For an early account of Shortall, or Schorthals in County Kilkenny, see The Shortall Family
Strang(e) and Strong(e)
- The name is said to be derived from the Norman name L'Estrange, Strange, or Strang. The family was a prominent merchant family in Waterford city. By 1400 the family is referenced in the Calendar of Ormond Deeds in connection with County Kilkenny. Thomas Strong, Bishop of Ossory in the late 16th century, was evidently a member of the Strange, or Strong, family of this area. In the 17th century, and before, the Strange family held the manor of Dromdowney from the Earl of Ormond, together with that of Dunkitt, both in County Kilkenny. In the middle 19th century, Strang is a rare name mainly appearing in counties Tipperary and Kilkenny in Griffith's Valuation. In the same record other variations on the surname are found throughout Ireland, including Strange in Antrim, Strong in northern Ireland, Stronge in Armagh, and Lestrange and L'Estrange in Westmeath and Offaly.
- An influential family in Co.. Kilkenny and very well known in recent generations on account of the numerous Sweetmans who have been prominent in Irish political and cultural activities. Of this family was Milo Sweetman, Archbishop of Armagh from 1362 to 1380, who was one of the most distinguished and influential medieval prelates. Families of the name in Ireland are sometimes given to be of Norse origins (albeit Anglo-Norman), arriving shortly after the 12th century Norman invasions. Sweteman is noted as a prominent family of Kilkenny from the 14th into the 17th centuries (if not before), and two of the name are found in the Irish Brigades in Spain in the Hibernia Regiment in the 18th century. The title 'Baron of Erley' was applied to one family of Sweetmans in Co. Kilkenny. Sweetman was a rare name in Co. Kilkenny, and was found with a stronger presence in Co. Dublin, in the mid-19th century Valuation. For an early account of Sweteman, Swetman, or Sweetman in County Kilkenny, see The Sweetman Family
- Originally of Aubyn in France, they were first called de St. Albino or St. Aubyn. They came to Ireland in the wake of the Norman invasion and by 1200 they were settled in Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny, whence they spread in course of time to the neighbouring counties of Waterford and Cork. The first of the name in co. Kilkenny was William de St. Albino, described at Lord of Stamacharty (Stonecarthy, barony of Kells) and whose descendants held 1/2 knight fee in Killamery in the 13th century and after. They soon acquired nearby Ballagh which became Ballytobin, and about the same time became lords of Cumsy (Cumsinagh) in co. Tipperary. While not really numerous compared with some others in the same category, such as Walsh, Roche and Power, they are still to be found to-day in considerable numbers in the counties mentioned above, but very few in any other part of the country. The Tobins became so influential in Co. Tipperary that in mediaeval times the head of the family was known as Baron of Coursey, though this was not an officially recognized title. Clyn in his Annals states that in the fourteenth century the Tobins were a turbulent sept more dreaded by the English settlers than the native Irish. No outstanding person of the name appears in the pages of Irish Political, military or cultural history, but James Tobin represented Fethard in the Parliament of 1689. Tobin appears frequently as a name in the Ormond archives and there have been also one or two minor poets in the family. Several Tobins were among the Wild Geese. A branch of the family, returning to the country of its origin, became established at Nantes where so many Irish emigrant families settled. The best known of this branch was Edmund, Marques de Tobin (1692-1747), who was killed in action in the War of Austrian Succession while in the service of Spain. Another branch of the Irish Tobins settled in Newfoundland and have prospered there. Into the mid-19th century, the Tobins continued to show a strong presence in the early counties mentioned above. For an early documented account of the de St. Albinos, see The Tobin Family
- The Irish form of this name is given as Ó Teimhneáin by MacLysaght, who cites variant spellings as Tinan, Tynnan, and the older forms of O'Teynane and O'Tyvnane. Tynan is clearly a name of strong presence in Co. Laois and Co. Kilkenny in the 16th century Fiants, in the 17th century Hearth Money Rolls and Petty's census, as well as the 19th century Griffith's Valuation. In the 1659 'census' for County Kilkenny the name Tenane & Tinane is given as a principal Irish name in the barony of Galmoy, bordering County Laois, as well as given as Tinan for the barony of Crannagh.
- The name Wall is found in considerable numbers in that part of Munster which lies between Limerick and Waterford, and in the counties of Leinster which adjoin this. Among the land grants of the medieval cantred of Shillelogher (Co. Kilkenny) of the 13th century, we find a de Valle of Ballybur and Castleinch. Gilbert de Valle and Stephen de Valle, sons of Rodbert de Valle, are noted in grants dating from about the year 1200. Common also in England, it is of Norman origin: its earliest form is du Val, I.e of the valley, hence the form de Bhal in Irish. The Walls have been in Ireland since the thirteenth century and when they first appear in Irish records they were called de Vale, alias Faltaigh; O'Donovan states that Faltagh was the usual English equivalent in his day - a hundred years ago. An alternative of de Vale was de Wale. Wale, which we would now pronounce Wayle, was, up to the end of the seventeenth century pronounced Wall, just as the verb to fall was often written fale, and thus the present from of the name came into general use (cf. Smale - Small, Sale - Saul). Though the name Wall is now rare in Connacht and Ulster, it should be mentioned that families of the name were well established in the western province in the sixteenth century and compilers of the "Composition Book of Connacht" treated them as an Irish sept, naming Walter Wale, alias the Fealtach, of Droughtie, Co. Galway as chief of the name. From the fourteenth century to the twentieth Irish Walls have made the name an honoured one. Three of them were bishops in the fourteenth century, notably Stephen de Wale, or Vale, Bishop of Limerick (1360-1369) and of Meath (1369-1379), and also Lord High Treasurer of Ireland. Richard Wall (1694-1778), Spanish war minister, son of Matthew Wall of Kilmallock, was a famous man in his adopted country; Joseph Wall (1737-1802), who was born in Co. Leix, achieved notoriety in India and was hanged for his cruel conduct while British governor there: Patrick Viscount Wall, one of the Carlow Walls, was a notable figure at the court of Louis XIV and was murdered in 1787. Four close relatives of his were outstanding officers in the Irish Brigade. At home, Edmund Wall (c. 1670-1755) was one of the Gaelic poets of the Jacobite period; Rev. Fr. Charles William Wall (1780-1862) was famous as a Hebrew scholar; Father Patrick Wall (c. 1780-1834) was the constant patron of the Co. Waterford Irish scribe Thomas O'Hickey; and more recently, Fr. Thomas Wall was a popular figure of the War of Independence on account of his defiance of Sir John Maxwell, commander-in-chief of the British forces, in which he had the full support of Dr. O'Dwyer, Bishop of Limerick. Both Father Tom Wall and Rev. Charles Wall, mentioned above, belong to Co. Limerick. Today Wall is found throughout southern Ireland with its strongest presence in the south-central counties. For an early documented account of the de Valles, see The de Valle Family
- Walsh is among the five most numerous surnames in Ireland, found throughout the country. There are concentrations of Walshes in Leinster in counties Kilkenny and Wexford, in Connacht in counties Mayo and Galway, and in Munster in counties Cork and Waterford. Walsh is a semi-translation of the Irish surname Breathnach, meaning 'Welsh' or 'Breton', also sometimes anglicised as 'Brannagh'. This alludes to a Cambro-Gaelic origin of the Walsh families. 'Philip of Wales', a hero in a naval battle of 1174, is thought to be an ancestor of the Walshs in the Mountains of south-central County Kilkenny. Lawrence Walsh compiled a genealogy in 1588 and claimed the Walshs of the Mountains, among other Walsh families, were descended from Walynus, a Welshman who came to Ireland with Maurice Fitzgerald in 1169. The leading members of this family established themselves as landed gentry at Castlehowel (Co. Kilkenny), at Ballykileavan (Co. Leix), at Ballyrichmore (Co. Waterford) and also at Bray and Carrickmines near Dublin. The many famous bearers of the name include Rev. Peter Walsh (1618-1688), pro-Ormond opponent of Rinnuccini and author of "The Loyal Romonstrance", for which he was excommunicated and expelled from the Franciscan Order; John Walsh who in 1604 wrote the beautiful Gaelic "Lament for Oliver Grace"; Edward Walsh (1805-1850), and John Walsh, (1835-1881), both National School teachers and poets; Most Rev. William John Walsh (1841-1921), one of the most distinguished of all the Archbishops of Dublin. The Churches have had many other Walshes of note: among them Most Rev. Thomas Walsh (1580-1654), the much persecuted Archbishop of Cashel whose active career occupies many pages of the Wadding (Franciscan) papers; and Most Rev. John Walsh (1830-1898), Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, who promoted the Irish Race Commission after the Parnell Split, as well as several Protestant bishops, notably the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Walsh of Waterford, who was murdered in 1585 by a man whom he had rebuked, and is remembered as the man who introduced Irish type to the native printing press in connexion with his unfinished translation into Irish of the New Testament. The Walsh family of St. Malo and Nantes has had a distinguished history in France since its establishment there at the end of the seventeenth century, many of its members being notable in war, politics and literature. The first emigrant was Philip Walsh (1666-1708), shipbuilder and privateer, his father being the James Walsh, of Ballynacooly in the Walsh Mountains, Co. Kilkenny, who commanded the ship which brought James II to France after the Battle of the Boyne. Judge John Edwards Walsh (1816-1869), was the author of a well-known book Ireland Sixty Years Ago, published in 1847. Many Irish American Walshes have also made their mark, of whom the best known were Blanche Walshe (1873-1915), actress, and Henry Collins Walsh (1863-1927), explorer. The ubiquity of the Walshes in Ireland is illustrated by the place names Walshtown, Walshpark etc., of which there are twenty-four in thirteen counties as far apart as Down , Mayo and Cork, while the name, in more Irish guise, as Ballybrannagh and Ballinabrannagh, appears in Counties Carlow, Down, Cork and Kerry. The 1890 census for Kilkenny noted 45 births in that year for the surname Walsh, the second highest birth count cited. For early history on the Walshs, see Walsh Family Genealogy and History
- The first of the family in Co. Kilkenny was Sir Christopher Wandesforde of Kirklington in Yorkshire who was the original undertaker and planter of the manor of Castlecomer about 1637. The Wandesforde estate, which centered in Brennan territory, covered much of the large parish of Castlecomer as well as parish of Dysart, and included the coalfields of Castlecomer. Sir Christopher was Lord Deputy of Ireland for a time, and his son and grandson,also named Christiopher, were members of parliament for Kilkenny. The Honorable Charles B. Wandesford appears as the only Wandesford in Griffiths Valution, with a large estate in Castlecomer [northeastern Co. Kilkenny].
Compiled and contributed by Dennis Walsh (copyright 2002).
Also see Barony Histories.
Return to County Kilkenny Surnames.
County Kilkenny Historical Reference
Kilkenny Past & Present
Early County Kilkenny
Old English Families
New English Families
County Kilkenny Timeline
1640 County Kilkenny Landowner Map
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