There are two Barrett clans in Ireland which are believed to be completely unrelated.
The most common are the Munster Barretts of Co. Cork who are Norman in origin. The other is the Barrett clan of
Connacht, most numerous in the Mayo-Galway mountain region. This clan is Gaelic in origin although they came to
Ireland with the Norman invasion at the end of the twelfth century. They were hired mercinaries from Wales. To this
day the Barretts and the Barrys of Connacht are known as "the Welshmen of Tirawley". The similarity of the names of
the two Barrett clans is purely coincedental. The Barretts of Cork derived their name from the Norman-French
"Barratt" while the Barretts of Connacht derived their name from the gaelic name "Bairéad" which means quarrelsome
or warlike. In fact, many daughters and sons of the clan, living in Connacht, are still called Bairéad (or mac Bairéad,
as the case may be). In any case, both Barrett clans were fully assemilated into irish culture and married into many old
irish families, they are said to have become "more irish than the Irish themselves".
|This is one of the most widespread surnames in Ireland today. It originated
in four different counties:- Kilkenny, Galway, Westmeath and Kerry. Many
of the Brennan (or O Braonain or O Branain) families became the leaders
of outlaws after losing their land to the English . The O Branain name was
also translated into the English versions of Brannan and Branny.
|The surname Cullinan comes from the Gaelic O Cuileannain (which is probably derived from cuileann, holly). This family was a branch
of the Corca Laoidhe (i.e. based in south-west Cork). In Clare and Tipperary the spelling is Cullinane and sometimes Quillinane. Another sept in Donegal may have become Cullen.
The common definition of the O'Dalaigh surname today is, "deriving from
Dalach meaning 'one who is present at assemblies'; the root word is Dail, now the official title of the parliament of the Republic of Ireland". A
connection is also possible to the long tradition of scholarship and poetic achievement associated with those who bear it, since the ollamh of Gaelic Ireland had a place of honor at the tribal dail as a man of learning and a poet.
Other evidence points to an even older more significant meaning, based on the claim by the pre-Christian Irish that they were offspring of their gods. This evidence is found on several Ogham stones which contain the oldest known form of Irish writing.
||The surname Feeney is taken from the Gaelic O Fiannaidhe (soldier), earlier form O Feinneadha. This family was a sept of the Ui Fiachrach (a population group prominent in Counties Mayo and Sligo). The name Feeney is also in Galway where O Fidhne is used as the Gaelic form. This however may be a branch of the County Sligo sept. O'Feeny, of Ballyfeeny, Co. Roscommon, is called O Fighne in the 'Annals of Conacht'.|
|The name Galligan is found today mostly in County Cavan. Earlier it was O'Galligan and from the Irish O'Gealagain, the name of a sept of the Ui Fiachrach of County Sligo in Conacht Province. In Sligo many also spelled the name as O'Gilligan, not to be confused with MacGilligan of County Derry.
While researching this family I recieved the following from Eddie Geoghegan :
"There is no [crest] listing for Galligan as such in Cavan. However, in that area, the name is often anglicised as White (by translation of "geal" from the Irish form Ó Gealagáin). While White is also used as the anglicised form of other Irish names, almost all Whites from Cavan are really Galligans."
|Henry (MacHenry, MacEnery) has Scottish, Irish and Norman origins. The Irish version, Mac Innéirghe translates to mean 'abandonment'. There are also many Scottish versions of this name such as, Henderson, Hendry, McKendry and Hendron. This surname is today very widespread in Ireland with the highest concentration in the provinces of Connacht and Ulster.|
|The most numerous name in Ireland, Murphy is derived from Ó
Murchada or Ó Murchu, meaning sea warrior. There are
several septs, or clans, of Murphys. The most famous Murphy was
Dermot MacMurrough, who invited the Normans to Ireland in the
12th century. The present chief of the name is David O'Morchoe,
a farmer in Co. Wexford. The Irish version of Murphy was first
anglicised to O'Morchoe, in the 16th century, and David
O'Morchoe's grandfather changed his name to this version by deed
poll in 1895.
The achievements of the Murphy clan are numerous and wide ranging. Patrick Murphy, born in Co. Down in 1832, was the tallest man in Europe, standing at 8 ft. 1in. Another Murphy of repute was William Martin Murphy. He founded the Irish Independent newspaper in 1905, and was also the head of the company that ran the Dublin tramway system. He became notorious as the employers' leader in the great Dublin lockout of 1913.
|The O'Byrnes derive their ancestry from King Milesius, who
came from Spain to Ireland in 558 B.C., and his son
Heremon. The O'Byrne name itself is derived from bran, Irish for
raven. It has long been a leading sept in east Leinster and is now
one of the most numerous names in Ireland. Byrne is a derivative.
In Co. Wicklow, homeland of the O'Byrnes, the remains of Black Castle can be seen on the cliff edge at Wicklow town. This castle was a successor to that built in 1169 by Maurice Fitzgerald, an Anglo-Norman, to try and keep the O'Byrne chieftains at bay, because they were constantly raiding the town. One of the clan, Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne (1544-1597), then the clan chieftain, defeated an English army under Lord Gray at Glenmalure, near the great mountain of Lugnaquilla. The site of the battle can still be seen.
|The O'Keeffes and Keeffes are the descendants of the Irish sept of O'Caoimh, who were originally, located in
north east County Cork. The surname O'Keeffe originates from Caoimh, meaning 'Gentle'. The arrival of the
Normans meant a displacement, when the name moved to Duhallow, where they prospered up till the eighteenth
century. The stronghold of the name in the Duhallow region became known as Pobal O'Keeffe. The name was
displaced in the eighteenth century and established in France. The name today, is ranked as the ninety second
most numerous name in Ireland, with County Cork being the most favoured location, and then Munster in
|The O'Malleys are a very old Mayo family whose name is said to derive from the Celtic word for chief (maglios). For many centuries they were chieftains of the baronies of Burrishoole and Murrisk, where the sea was their chief occupation.
With the breakdown of the ancient chieftaincies the O'Malleys disappeared abroad.
The name O'Reilly comes from the Irish chieftain Ragheallach,
who lived at the time of Brian Boru and, like him, was killed
at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. He was a great-grandson of
Maomordha, a descendant of the O'Conors, kings of Connacht.
Today, it is one of the most numerous names in Ireland.
Co. Cavan is a particular stronghold of the name. Myles "The Slasher" O'Reilly was the heroic defender of the bridge at Finea in Co. Cavan in 1646 where he and a force of one hundred held out against a 1,000-strong Cromwellian army. O'Reilly is commemorated by a cross in the main street of Finea, a pretty village on the banks of the River Inny.
This name (also Roch, Roach) has Norman origins and derives from the
French roche meaning 'rock'. One of the first people to bear this name
was Richard Fitzgodebert who adopted this name in 1167 upon settling in
the southern county of Wexford. Today, a townland by the name of
Rochestown in Co. Wexford can still be found. The family later migrated
to the county of Cork and other regions in the province of Munster where
the name is most common today.|
|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 the
Cambro-Gaelic origin of the Walsh families. The name came into
use to describe the Welsh people who came to Ireland during the