A Letter from Ireland:
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County Kilkenny Surnames

We’ve many fans who consider County Kilkenny their ancestral home – names such as Breen, Brennan, Brien, Burns, Butler, Cantwell, Carroll, Delaney, Dowling, Dunne, Earley, Fitzpatrick, Gore, Grace, Holly, Howlin, Marshall, Murphy, Phelan, Plunkett, Power, Purcell, Rochford, Ryan, Shea, Shortall, Sweetman,  and Walsh.

This is a picture of Kilkenny Castle built originally by the invading Norman Knights in the 1200s. It was later taken over by a particular family who greatly extended the castle and the town – the Butlers, Earls of Ormond. By the time Cromwell arrived in the mid 1600s, the Normans had so well integrated with the native Irish – that they were often deemed to be “more Irish than the Irish themselves”.

In fact, it was in the City of Kilkenny that the Statutes of Kilkenny came into law in 1366 – their intention to prevent the further “Gaelicisation” of the Norman families. Needless to say – they did not succeed. The Irish women of the time (and today!) were just too good-looking and too charming ;)

  • Lisa Gradel says:

    Love researching my family’s history. My grandmother (Meaney) grew up in Kilkenny. My grandfather (Carroll) grew up in Waterford. They didn’t meet until they both landed in Philadelphia, Pa. ♥

  • […] Well, despite the threats of rebellion, Shaw’s family thrived in County Kilkenny and beyond over the coming generations – they were very much beneficiaries of the “Protestant Ascendency” in Ireland. Many surnames, such as Shaw, came into pockets of Ireland in this manner – maybe one of your surnames is among them? […]

  • […] Well, despite the threats of rebellion, Shaw‘s family thrived in County Kilkenny and beyond over the coming generations – they were very much beneficiaries of the “Protestant Ascendency” in Ireland. Many surnames, such as Shaw, came into pockets of Ireland in this manner – maybe one of your surnames is among them? […]

  • […] 500 years – not quite a “Pompeii”, but not far from it –  in the middle of the rolling hills of Kilkenny. The town grew in prominence during late-medieval times – and for one very particular reason. […]

  • […] surname is quite prevalent in that area. Just a few weeks back, we visited Bennettsbridge near the town of Kilkenny – a lovely village on the River […]

  • […] “The surname can be spelt both ways but it seems that different branches seemed to have taken one or the other! I would say that the spelling ‘Meagher’ is rarely found outside of Tipperary while the name Maher is plentiful in Tipperary but also found in Waterford and Kilkenny.” […]

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