A Letter from Ireland:
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Up the Deise of County Waterford

Ardmore Round Tower

The Deise, County Waterford.

Do we have any Whelans/Phelans/Hylands/Whalens out there?

Here’s a picture of the round Tower and cathedral at Ardmore, County Waterford. The Déisi were the main tribe and kings of this area from the 300s through to the late 1100s. During that time, Saint Declan founded an oratory at the site shown here in Ardmore, County Waterford – and is considered to be the first christian settlement in Ireland (pre-dating Saint Patrick).

Faelán mac Cormac is recorded as king of the Déisi in 966 and the first person referred to as “úa Faeláin” is his grandson Mothla úa Faeláin, who was king of the Déisi until his death at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. This name in turn became the surname “Ó Faoláin” – and over the years this name has been anglicised as Phelan, Whelan, Hyland, Whalen – many of whom you’ll still find today in the Waterford and Kilkenny areas.

To this day – if you go to a Waterford football team match – you’ll hear the shout “Up the Deise!”

  • Sharon Rice Phelan says:

    Only know that my family name was spelled Whelan

  • Jonny says:

    Nice post, I didn’t know about the Waterford shout. I think I’ll support Waterford in Ireland from now on.

    “Up the Deise!”

    Jonny ( A Phelan in S. Korea)

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