Table of Family Names in Uibh Laoghaire over the Years.

-Numbers of Families living in the Parish of Uibh Laoire, (Inchigeela and Ballingeary, Co. Cork, Ireland

by Peter O'Leary



Family Names in Uibh Laoghaire.

The adjacent table shows a listing of the 25 most common Family names in our Parish in number order.  This has been analysed from Surveys which are available for the three years of 1767, 1852 and 1993. 

The 1767 figures are taken from the Parliamentary Return for the Parish in that year.
The 1852 figures are taken from the Griffiths Survey.
The 1993 figures are taken from the Electoral Roll in that year.

In each case, we are counting numbers of Families, not Population.  The Surveys differ slightly, but the Analysis gives a reasonable picture of the spread of the names at that time.

The general picture is one of continuity and little change from year to year.  Most of the names in common use today, were there in about the same proportions in 1767.  There are a few exceptions.  Family Groups like the Kellehers, Lucys, Creedons, Moynihans and Buckleys appear to have come into the Parish since 1767, and in that sense are relative newcomers.

Individual Family Names.

  1. (O)Leary.  These are the descendants of the original Chieftains and Landowners  of the Parish, and not surprisingly are still the most numerous.
  2. Cronin.  Like the O'Learys, the Cronins were from the Corcu Loigde tribe from South Carbery.  One large section of this tribe may well have moved into Uibh Laoghaire in the 12th.c. with the O'Learys, and have been here ever since.  They are reputed to have been Erenachs, and this could have been in relation to the Bishop's land in Gougan Barra.
  3. Kelleher.  These are a bit of a mystery to us.  Peadar O'Donovan states that they were Dal Cassian in origin, and came from Co.Clare into Co.Limerick at the period when the O'Briens were kings of Munster.
  4. Cotter.  Of Danish origin-the macOitirs.  The main families were very rich and influential in East Cork, and this branch may have come from the East.
  5. Lucy.   Again, little is known of their origins, but the name Lusaigh is clearly Gaelic.
  6. MacSweeney.  This Family were Scottish and came over to Donegal in the 13th.c. to offer their services as Gallowglas to Irish Chieftains.  One branch were recruited by McCarthy Muskerry of Blarney and Macroom, and were in his service from then on.  They were essential to the maintenance of the McCarthy overlordship, and were well rewarded with land and Tower houses locally.
  7. Twomey.  Another Corcu Loigde family who probably came to Uibh Laoghaire at the same time as the O'Learys.  It has even been suggested that they were a branch of the O'Learys which was formed during the period when they were in South Carbery.
  8. Murphy.  This is the most numerous name in Ireland, but is made up of many different and separate families who happened to choose the same surname. One such family was an important branch of the Muscraige tribe in Muskerry, North of Ballyvourney, who were dispossessed of their lands first by the Cogans, Barretts and other Normans, and later by the McCarthys,  Our Murphys are probably from this branch.
  9. (O)Sullivan.  Next to the McCarthys, the O'Sullivans were the most important branch of the Eoganacht tribe, who were kings of Munster for some 500 years.  One major branch of the O'Sullivan Beares were located at Carriganass Castle just beyond Kealkil, and it is not surprising to find some members of a branch of this family moving the few miles down the road to Uibh Laoghaire over the centuries.
  10. Creedon.  This family were Chieftains in Co.Antrim but were dispossessed and moved South.  Became traditional Harpists of note.  Mainly centred on Macroom and Ballyvourney now.  Some spell their name Creed.
  11. McCarthy.  The name of the most senior Clan in Munster.  The Overlord of Muskerry Barony, and therefore of the O'Learys, was a McCarthy, who was based on Blarney and Macroom Castles.  The McCarthys in our Parish are probably descended from one of the other local branches such as Tuath na Dromann, or Gleann an Chroim.  But there was a McCarthy occupying Greater Augheras who may be the ancestor of many of them.
  12. Lynch.  Many Lynches believe they descend from the Galway family of that name, or the Dal Cassian Lynches from Co.Clare.  But there was also a Lynch who was a member of the Corcu Loigde in South Carbery, and I would expect this to be the descent of our local Lynches.
  13. (O) Callaghan. Were one of the principal Eoganacht tribes, their main centre being Clonmeen on the River Blackwater.   
  14. Moynihan.  May have been a Muscraige tribe from the Western boundary of Muskerry, and living in Co.Kerry as well as Co.Cork.
  15. (O)Riordan.  These Riordans were probably from the Muscraige tribe.  They were numerous in Muskerry, and were often Captains of Soldiers for the McCarthys and other families.
  16. Buckley.  One of the few surnames which is not derived from an ancestors first name, but is simply from the Irish buachaill, a young man.  Believed to be from the Fir Maighe Feine, or people of Fermoy, this name is more frequent in East Cork than in the West. 
  17. Healey.  This family were of the Ui Eachach tribe, but became associated with Donoghmore where they were Erenachs.
  18. Dineen.  Our Dineens were probably of the Corcu Loigde, and came up to Uibh Laoghaire with or soon after the O'Learys.  There was another Dineen family in Fir Maighe Feine, and the two became somewhat intermingled.
  19. (O)Shea.  Probably  from the well known family in the Dingle area of West Kerry, but it is unclear as to how and when this branch finished up here.
  20. (O)Mahoney.  The main branch of the great Ui Eachach tribe, their kingdom centred in the Bandon area.  One of their offshoots, O Mahoney Ui Flainn Lua, was established in Kilmichael, and many of our Mahoneys come from this branch.
  21. Lehane/Lyons.  This was a large tribe in the Fermoy area, descended from a branch of the Corcu Loigde.  Later, having been forced from their lands by Norman knights, they were well known as Physicians, in which role they served McCarthys and others, and as a result became scattered over the County.
  22. (O)Connell.  Despite an obvious association with the famous O'Connells, this family were probably of the Corcu Loigde, and nothing to do with the former Derrynane family.
  23. Murray.  Generally believed to be an alternative form of Murphy, which is understandable when the two names are considered in their Irish form.
  24. (O)Crowley.  These were firmly established in the area to the North of Dunmanway, although they originated in Connacht.  Their Castle was in Ahakeera, and over the centuries there were numerous interchanges with the O'Learys, some friendly, others not.
  25. Galvin.  Probably the Gallivans from Co.Kerry who were followers of the Eoganacht kings, the O'Moriartys.

All these 25 families are seen to be Gaelic or Irish-Norse in origin, and most have some local association which explains their presence in Uibh Laoghaire.
The names which make up the majority of our population today in this Parish, are Gaelic in origin, and have strong local associations.  But all of us with a Gaelic name have to remind ourselves that our origins are not "pure" in any sense.  Over the years we have all had introductions from other cultures such as Cromwellian, English Planter, Protestant, Scottish, Huguenot, Palatinate or other stock.  There is no need for self delusion. Indeed such infusion of foreign blood is good for the stock line. In cattle terms, "there is nothing better for a pure Friesian herd than a good Hereford bull!" 

When we look at our Parish descent we are right in taking pride in the Gaelic nature of our forebears, but must also consider the other introductions of people from other places which have generally improved our characteristics.  In Uibh Laoghaire this can be evaluated by looking at the  minor names, ie. those with only a population of one or two, and this will be the subject of a second part of this article in the next Journal.