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Family Crest Series

Family Crest Series

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Posted Sun 11 Aug 2019 4:49 PM
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Island of Ireland
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Next up, we have the Wilsons!
Derived from the personal name William, the name literally means ‘son of Will’. This surname began among Viking settlers in Scotland in the medieval era, and the name can be found in many medieval manuscripts in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Wilson was introduced to Ireland with the Plantation in Ulster, and while it is still most concentrated in the north of Ireland, the name is also common in Dublin and other Leinster counties. 


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Posted Sun 11 Aug 2019 4:51 PM
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One of the most popular surnames in Ireland, Brennan derives from two Irish language names: O’Braonáin, from ‘braon’ meaning sorrowful, and MacBranáin, from ‘bran’ meaning raven or one who delights in battle. The name arrived in in the 5th century when Braonan, the son of Cearbhall (king of the Vikings) settled in Kilkenny. The Brennan clan was the most powerful in the area until the arrival of the Normans. After centuries of battles with the Normans, they formed an alliance with the earls of Osmond to hold onto their land. However, in the 17th century their land was taken from them, resulting in many Brennans becoming notorious leaders of bands of outlaws. There is even a song about them, called ‘Brennan on the Moor’! The name remains most popular in Leinster to this day and on the loaf of bread. 😉

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Posted Mon 12 Aug 2019 10:48 AM
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The Irish name Casey was written as O’Cathasaigh, from the word ‘cathasach’ meaning vigilant or watchful.
It is believed this name was bestowed on warrior families, resulting in six unrelated Casey septs (clans) in early Ireland. The two most important septs were the lords of the Suaithini, in present-day Balrothery, County Dublin, and the erenagh (church steward) families of Devenish in County Fermanagh. Due to recording of names with little regard to spelling up until the mid 20th century, there are many derivatives of the name, including MacCasey and O’Casey. The name has widely scattered across the island, with it most prevalent today in southwest Munster and north Connacht.

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Posted Mon 12 Aug 2019 10:54 AM
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Have we any Clarkes here? The surname is believed to be derived from the Latin word clericus, meaning clergyman or scholar.
During the Middle Ages, the majority of people who were able to read and write were part of religious orders, and some of these minor orders were allowed to marry and have families – therefore the term ‘clerk’ or ‘clark’ came to mean any literate man.
In Irish this became cléireach, the root of the surname Mac an Cleireach meaning ‘son of the cleric/clerk’. This name was anglicised in two ways, phonetically as Cleary and by translation as Clerk or Clarke.
The name can be found all around the island of Ireland, but is by far most prevalent in Ulster, a reflection of the Scottish settlers of the17th century.

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Posted Tue 13 Aug 2019 7:55 AM
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Up next we have the Dalys!
The name Daly is an anglicised form of the old Gaelic name Ó Dálaigh, derived from dálachmeaning ‘one who is present at assemblies’. This comes from the root word Dáil, which means assembly and is the official title of the parliament in Ireland. Dalys claim descent from the legendary King Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish hero who reigned as High King of Ireland from 379-405 AD. The earlierÓ’Dálaigh family members belong to a learned Irish bardic family – the family have a continuous record of achievement in literature from the 12th to the 19th century, and many of the were hereditary poets to the Irish royal courts. The main Daly clan was in Westmeath, but they later branched out to Galway, Clare, and Cork where the majority of Daly descendants can still be found.

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Posted Tue 13 Aug 2019 7:56 AM
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The name Dunne is derived from the original Gaelic name ‘Ó Duinn’ meaning brown.
The Ó’Duinn andÓ’Doinn clans were based in Laois and Wicklow, with Dunne remaining the most popular name in County Laois to this day. The O’Duinns first came into prominence as lords of Tinnahinch in northern Laois and became one of the principal families of Leinster. The variant ‘Dunn’ usually means that the family came from Ulster and were possibly of Scottish descent.

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Posted Tue 13 Aug 2019 7:58 AM
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Fitz… Fitzpatricks!
The name Fitzpatrick is an anglicised form of the old Irish surname ‘Mac GiollaPadráig’ meaning son of or devotee of Patrick. The only native-Irish surname with the Norman-French prefix ‘fitz’ (the rest being Norman), the name was first found in the kingdom of Ossory in the tenth century, from the warlike chief named Giolla Pádraig who ruled over present-day Laois and Kilkenny. Although the surname can now be found throughout the island of Ireland, it remains very popular in County Laois.

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Posted Wed 14 Aug 2019 8:42 AM
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Do you call yourself Flanagan?
Originally written as ‘Ó Flannagain’ from the word ‘flann’ meaning red or ruddy, this name originated in the province of Connacht and remains prevalent there to this day. The name was first found in County Roscommon, where they claim descent from the O’Connors. The first Flanagan is said to have been of the same stock as the O’Connors and whose line held the hereditary post of steward to the Kings of Connacht.
There are many variations of the name that sprang up from this clan, and to this day these remain most popular in counties Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Clare.

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Posted Thu 12 Sep 2019 9:49 AM
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An ancient Irish surname, with many variations, Kavanagh came from ‘Caomhánach’, an adjective denoting association with St Caomhán. The first Kavanagh was Dónal, son of Dermot MacMurrough, a 12th century King of Leinster. Dónal was said to have been educated at the monastery of St Caomhán and assumed the name Caomhánach to distinguish himself from his brothers. Through Dónal, the Kavanaghs descended directly from the line of ancient Irish Kings in Leinster, and their territory was in counties Wexford and Carlow, where they were still landowners up until recent times.

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Posted Mon 30 Sep 2019 2:03 PM
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The name comes from the Irish 'MagUidhir', meaning ‘son of the brown-haired one’.
The clan originated in County Fermanagh, where for three centuries their chief was one of the most important men in Ulster. Their stronghold was on Lough Erne, where they were the Barons of Enniskillen. In the 14th and15th centuries they ruled County Fermanagh and were one of the most important families in Ulster until participation in rebellions resulted in the dispossession of their land.
Nevertheless, the clan remained intact and the name is still the most popular in Fermanagh today. The name also spread to Mayo and Roscommon, where the name is spelt McGuire and remains very prevalent.

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