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Ryan's of Munster COA or 'three silver griffin heads upon a coat of arms' : some history of the Tipperary & Limerick 'Mulryans'

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posted by alias mikescottnz on Friday 6th of June 2008 05:23:47 AM

There are many different origins for Irish family names today but the vast majority can be broken down into either of three categories: Gaelic Irish, Cambro-Norman, and finally Anglo-Irish. Ryan or O'Mulriain or 'Riain has old native Gaelic origin. If you want to get some idea about the possible origin of a particular surname, a Surname Dictionary is a good place to start. There are several surname dictionaries that address the topic of Irish surnames, and perhaps the three most well-known are those of : Woulfe (1923), MacLysaght (Irish Families. Their Names, Arms and Origins. 1957 (fourth edition 1985) , and O'Hart (1892). A main source , MacLysaght, gives a brief account of the Ryan surname in his Surnames of Ireland (1957) and a much more detailed account in his Irish Families (IF), (1957). ---" (O) Ryan Ó Maoilriain is the correct form in the homeland of the great sept of Ryan, formerly Mulryan; but it is now usually abbreviated to O Riain, which is properly the name of a small Leinster sept. Ryan is by far the most numerous name in Co. Tipperary having almost four times the population of the next in order (O'Brien and Maher). For a note on the derivation of Ryan see introduction, pp. xvi-xvii. Bibl. (IF) Map Tipperary (Mulryan), Carlow (O'Ryan). See Ruane. (from Surnames of Ireland, p263)". The entry for Ryan in Irish Families is informative: "RYAN, O'Mulrian Ryan is amongst the ten most numerous surname in Ireland with an estimated population of 27,500. Only a very small proportion of these use the prefix O. Subject to one exception, to be noticed later in this section, it is safe to say that the great majority of the 27,500 Ryan’s are really O'Mulryans – this earlier form of the name is, however, now almost obsolete: even in the census of 1659 in Co. Limerick Ryan outnumbers Mulryan by about four to one, and today there is not one O'Mulryan or Mulryan in the telephone directory. The sept of Ó Maoilriain was located in Owney, formerly called Owney O'Mulryan, which forms two modern Baronies on the borders of Limerick and Tipperary, in which counties the Ryan’s are particularly numerous today. They do not appear in the records of this territory (formerly belonging to the O'Heffernans) until the 14th century, but after they settled there, they became very powerful. Nevertheless they did not produce any really outstanding figures in Irish history or literature, except the romantic character known as Eamonn a 'chnuic, or Ned of the hill, i.e. Edmund O'Ryan (c. 1680-1724), Gaelic poet, gentleman, soldier and finally rapparee, beloved of the people, though he met his death through the treachery of one of them. Two abbés called O'Ryan were executed during the French Revolution. Luke Ryan (c. 1750-1789) first an officer in the Irish Brigade, made a huge fortune as a privateer, was condemned to death and four times reprieved and having been cheated out of his money died in a debtor's prison. The Ryan's of Co. Carlow and other counties in that part of Leinster, are distinct from those dealt with above, though both are of the race of Cathaoir Mór, King of Leinster in the second century. These are Ó Riain, not Ó Maoilriain: the chief of this sept was lord of Ui Drone (whence the name of the barony of Idrone in Co. Carlow). (from Irish Families p145) " ** ** The first appearance of Ryan as we now spell it was in County Tipperary in the 13th century, Munster. (Ulster, Leinster, and Munster all share the ending “ster” which comes from Old Norse “stathir,” meaning “a place.”) Blazon of Arms "Gules. Three griffins' head erased or." When translated the blazon describes the original colours of the Ryan Arms and Crest as it appeared centuries ago: Red (shield). Three griffins with raised heads, gold. The Crest Above the shield and helmet is the Crest which is described as: "A griffin sergeant azure, holding a sword erect proper." Coat of Arms: Red with three silver griffins heads. Crest: A red griffin holding in the sinister claw, a dagger. Although heraldry is nearly 900 years old, it is still in use. Many cities and towns in Europe and around the world make use of arms. Personal heraldry, both legally protected and lawfully assumed, has continued to be used around the world. O'Maoilriain (O'Mulryan) . O'Maoilriain - anglicised as Mulryan or Ryan family coat of arms. (There is another original Ryan clan from Carlow, Leinster). Most (O) Ryans today are of Mulryan stock in Munster further west and some mistakenly call themselves Ó Riain, probably a derivative of rí "King" , thus the name perhaps means, either an administrator or, Little King? Derivations: Ó Riain, Mulryan, O’ Ryan, O’ Mulryan, Ruane ... Ryan possibly stems from the ancient Irish for 'illustrious'. The exact origin of the name "Ryan" has been lost to antiquity. Ryan — This name has various possible origins: from the Gaelic Ó Riagháin (grandson or descendant of Rían) or Ó Maoilriain* (grandson/descendant of Maoilriaghain) or Ó Ruaidhín (grandson/descendant of the little red one). Or it may be a anglo/simplification of the name Mulryan*. It means “little king.” So the origin of the name Ryan is problematic. Experts differ as to its origin. It may be derived from an old Irish word for water or it could mean a person who marshals or puts order on things. There are, however, two distinct branches of the Ryan Clan that now use the same spelling of the name. These are both descended from Cathaeir Mór, a third century King, who ruled all Ireland for three years from his seat in Leinster until his death in A.D 122. (MacLysaght) The Ryan Family is descended from the mythic 'Milesius, King of Spain through the line of Heremon, the eighth son of that monarch'. The founder of the family was Fiacha Baiceada, a son of Cathire More / Cathair Mór , the King of Ireland, for three years to approx A.D.144? Cathair Mór ("the great"), son of Fedlimid Fir Urglais, a descendant of Mug Corb, was, according to medieval Irish legend and historical tradition, a High King of Ireland. He took power after the death of Fedlimid Rechtmar. He is said to have had thirty sons, but only ten of them had children; several medieval dynasties of Leinster traced their ancestors to them.His daughter Cochrann was said to have been the mother of the fenian hero Diarmuid Ua Duibhne. ( Source: O'Hart's Surname Dictionary) He features in the saga Esnada Tige Buchet ("The Melody of the House of Buchet"). Cathair's daughter Eithne Tháebfhota is fostered by a hospitable Leinsterman named Buchet who has many herds of cattle, but Cathair's sons so exploit Buchet's hospitality that he is left with only one bull and seven cows, and the king, now old and enfeebled, is unable to restrain them. Buchet and his family, including Eithne, are reduced to living in a hut in the forest in Kells, County Meath. Later, when Cormac mac Airt is king, he marries Eithne and restores Buchet's fortunes (in other stories the king who marries Eithne is Cathair's successor Conn Cétchathach). In another saga, Fotha Catha Cnucha ("The Cause of the Battle of Cnucha"), Cathair gives the hill of Almu (Knockaulin, County Kildare) to the druid Nuada son of Aichi. This hill will later be famous as the home of Nuada's great grandson Fionn mac Cumhaill. Cathair ruled for three years, at the end of which he was killed by the Luaigne of Tara, led by Conn Cétchathach. The Lebor Gabála Érenn ,synchronises his reign with that of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (161–180). The chronology of Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éirinn dates his reign to 113–116, that of the Annals of the Four Masters to 119–122.[8] (Wikipedia). 'Cathair Mor' The ancient name of the family was Maobreann, signifying "Country Boy". Cathaeir Mór was slain by Conn and the people of Tara in that year. Cathaeir's great grandson Lavraid Laidach had two sons Enda and Drina; the latter was the ancestor of the Uí [BF1] Drona, O'Riains of Idrona Barony, (named after him in County Carlow). His brother, Prince Enda Kinsella, was the ancestor of the Uí Mhaolrians or O'Mulryans, who later dropped the prefix and now spell their name Ryan like their "cousins" from Idrone. The Chiefs of the Clan were styled Lords of Idrone and Owney, and their possessions were located in the present County of Carlow and throughout Leinster. This territory of the Ryans was subjected to the intrusion of the Anglo-Normans almost from the landing of the latter in Ireland in 1172. Ryans now principally remain in the Owney territory between Counties Limerick and Tipperary. We can only speculate as to why they left the Leinster area to settle in this locality, but the most likely theory is that they were driven by the invading Anglo-Norman's from the east bank of the river Barrow, (An Bhearú) where they had been settled for centuries. The first appearance of Ryan as we now spell it was in County Tipperary in the 13th century. While some sources say the family claim descent from the Heremon Kings of Ireland through the MacMurrough line, specifically Eoghan, who was ancestor of O’Righin, anglicized Mulraine, O’Ryan, Ryan, and Ryne, others insist that they were descended from Ó Maolriain, located in Owney, which forms two modern baronies on the borders of counties Limerick and Tipperary. Both authorities were chief heralds of Ireland in their own time, so regardless of which lineage study is more accurate, the family’s war cry motto of Malo mori quam fodari, “I would rather die than be disgraced,” is fitting. Late Bronze age to the Celtic Iron Age in Europe had river goddesses as guardians. In Irish mythology, Dian Cécht also known as Cainte,, was the God of healing to the Irish people. He was the healer for the Tuatha Dé Danann and the father of Cian, Cu, and Cethé. His other children were Miach, Airmed, Étan the poet, and Ochtriullach.Dian Cecht's healing powers were invoked in Ireland as late as the 8th century AD. Dian Cecht's 'boiling' of the River Barrow. LEGEND: It was Dian Cecht who once saved Ireland, and was indirectly the cause of the name of the River Barrow. The Morrígú, the heaven-god's fierce wife,( often a shape shifter goddess in a war cry with a raven or carrion crow form) had borne a son of such terrible aspect that the physician of the gods, foreseeing danger, counselled that he should be destroyed in his infancy.This was done; and Dian Cecht opened the infant's heart, and found within it three serpents, capable, when they grew to full size, of depopulating Ireland. He lost no time in destroying these serpents / snakes also, and burning them into ashes, to avoid the evil which even their dead bodies might do. More than this, he flung the ashes into the nearest river, for he feared that there might be danger even in them; and, indeed, so venomous were they that the river boiled up and slew every living creature in it, and therefore has been called the River Barrow, the ‘Boiling’ ever since. See a link to The GODS of the GAELS. {To be confirmed ? the other Mul-Ryan variations recorded maybe 'Mulrenan' including: Mulrine, Mulran, O' Mulroyan, Mulrenan and Mulrean. It is a developed form of the pre-10th century Old Gaelic O'Maoilriain. The prefix 'O' indicates 'male descendant of', whilst the second element is itself a compound of 'maol' meaning 'bald or tonsured ', plus 'rian', an obscure suffix so ancient that its meaning is obscure. However, it is believed to be from 'rian, the Old Irish word for water, so connecting the name with the cult of a water god! Literally the name translates as 'The descendant of a worshipper of (the water god) Rian'.}? So, if so, a blunt or 'tonsured' Christian saint could likely replace this? Gaelic-English dictionary... [maoidh] va. and vn. grudge, upbraid, threaten [maoilead] nm. g.v. -eid, baldness, bluntness. See maolad [maoim] nf. g.+e; pl.+ean, terror, alarm, consternation, panic, sudden burst or eruption, sudden attack, surprise attack [maoin] nf. g.+e; pl.+ean, wealth, property, goods and gear [maol] nf. g. maoile; d. maoil; pl.+an, cape, promontory [maol] a. bald, hornless, polled, blunt, pointless, edgeless, bare, easily deceived [maolad] nm. g. -aid, baldness, bluntness, bareness. See maoilead The Ryan name originated as Ó Maoilriaghain........... Ó Maoilriain, Gaelic-Irish surname, anglicised as Mulryan or Ryan. It is first documented as a surname in the 15th century in east Thomond /north Ormond, where the Ó Maoilriain's attacked and displaced the Ó hIfearnáin family. The territory they conquered became known as Barony of Owney and Arra. Owney derived its name from one Uaithne Ó Maoilriain. (NOT this slightly similar name in English ; some do have confusion with 'Reagan' maybe this is common , for its meaning is different ,‘descendant of a devotee of St. Riaghan’, The meaning of the name Regan is 'Descendent of Riagán' it has a three fishes (if not dolphins) crest instead. US based site -O'Reagan etc ; The other Irish Sept or surname Regan may come from the Gaelic name "O' Riagain". There were three main lines of the Regan clan; one from the Four Tribes of Tara in Meath , the nephew of Brian Boru, and the McCarthy clan from county Cork.). See a similar entry from 'Irelands Own' magazine from the 'Whats in your name' column by Hilary Murphy : Ryan................ "Historically the Ryans have been chiefly identified with counties Limerick, Tipperary and Carlow.The earliest form of the name was O'Mulryan an anglicisation of the Irish O'Maiolirian.This sept was located in Owney formerly called Owney O'Mulryan which corresponded to two modern baronies on the borders of Limerick and Tipperary which previously belonged to the O'Heffernans.The O'Mulryans gained control of this territory in the fourteenth century and became very powerful. Their most notable figure in Irish history was Edmund O'Ryan ( c 1680-1724) better known as Eamonn an Chnuic , or Ned of the Hill , Gaelic poet, gentleman , soldier and finally rapparee." The name first appeared in the barony of Owney, on the border of counties Limerick and Tipperary. "Many Ryans have distinguished themselves in the United States. Father Abram Joseph Ryan ( 1838-1886) of a Clonmel family was poet of the Confederates in the Civil War; another Tipperary man , Patrick John Ryan ( 1831-1911) , was Archbishop of Philadelphia and Stephen Vincent Ryan (1826-1896 from Clare was Bishop of Buffalo." NB ["The Ryans of Co Carlow and other counties in that part of Leinster are a distinct sept of the clan whose chief was lord of Ui Drone (whence the name of to the barony of Idrone in Co. Carlow ) .These are O'Riaine , not O'Maiolirian] .A branch of this sept settled in the the parishes of Glynn and Taghmon in Wexford and produced the prominent Fianna Fáil politician , Dr Jim Ryan , who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising and was elected a Sinn Féin M.P. in the 1918 general election and later became a Minister in Fianna Fáil goverments.Two of his sisters married the former President of Ireland ,Seán T. O'Kelly." Ryan is the eighth most numerous surname in Ireland, and is strongest in counties Tipperary and Limerick, although it is now widely dispersed across the country. Blazon: Gules three griffins' (perhaps from1000 BC an ancient mythic, western Scythian influence) heads erased argent. Crest: a griffin segreant gules holding in the sinister claw a dagger proper The Matrilineal line coat of arms from the Limerick-Tipperary border part of the Munster province.'Gules' (Red background associated with) : Warrior, Martyr, Military Strength .'Griffins' here three griffin heads and the one whole one above suggests: Valiant soldier - to the death, Vigilance. In Ireland the worship of the sun in pre-Christian times was often represented by the Griffin symbol as on the Iron Age Gundestrup cauldron's Celtic-Gallic pantheon . It later became a symbol of gold - 'yellow light'. A helmet suggests : Wise defence. The Latin motto is 'Malo More Quam Foedari', translated as 'I would Rather Die than be Disgraced'. (Rather death than disgrace) English: Death before dishonour : Irish Gaelic: Bás roimh easonóir (or ) Bás thar easonóir ....If you mean "over" in importance rather than roimh which implies 'time' 'I would rather die than be disgraced' : 'Ba mhaith liom bás seachas a bheith náirithe' 'Death over disgrace' : Bás níos mó ná náire. 'Death before dishonour' : Bás roimh easonóir. Ryan: O Maoilriain is the correct form in the homeland of the great sept of Ryan, formerly Mulryan; Ryan is the most numerous name in Co, Tipperary having almost four times the population of the next order (O'Brien and Maher). Family mottos are believed to have originated as battle cries in medieval times. A Motto was recorded with this Ryan Coat of Arms: "MALO MORI QUAM FOEDARI" -translated as: "I would rather die than be dishonoured" Individual surnames originated for the purpose of more specific identification. The four primary sources for second names were: occupation, location, father's name, or personal characteristics. The surname RYAN appears to be both patronymical and characteristic in origin, and is believed to be associated with the Irish meaning, "Grandson of Rian" or "little king". Different spellings of the same original surnames are a common occurrence. Dictionaries of surnames indicate probable spelling variations of Ryan to be Rian, Reyan, Rayan, Ryen Ryin, Ryon and Ryun, as well as all of these preceded by O' (as in O'Rian, etc.) The Ryan Family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain through the line of Heremon, eighth son of that monarch. The founder of the family was Fiacha Baiceada, son of Cathire More, King of Ireland, A.D.144. The ancient name of the family was Maobreann, signifying "Country Boy". The Chiefs of the Clan were styled Lords of Idrone and Owney, and their possessions were located in the present County of Carlow and throughout Leinster. This territory of the Ryans was subjected to the intrusion of the Anglo/Cambio-Normans almost from the landing of the latter in Ireland in 1172. ( ? Of Milesian origin, the family traces its descent from one Cormac, the younger son of Nathi or Nathach, King of Leinster about the year 484 A.D. Cormac was Lord or Prince of Idrone, County Carlow, Ireland, about the beginning of the sixth century. This Cormac was the father of Colom or Colman, who was the father of Ronan, father of St. Chronmaol, who had a son named Aodh or Hugh Roin. The last was the father of another Colman, who was father to Laignen, father of Cairbre, father of Hugh, father of Bruadar, father of Dubhghall, father of Righin, from whom the family took its name. Righin was the father of Cairbre, father of Teige, father of Donoch, father of Melachlin, father of Lucas, who had a son named Daithi or David. This David had a son named Neimheach, who was the father of Jeoffrey, father of Henry, who had issue, probably in the latter part of the eleventh century of Henry Mulrian, O'Ryan, or Ryan. A later O'Ryan, Prince of Idrone, was slain by Raymond le Gros in the year 1170.) ? Addit : One branch of this family was represented in the latter part of the fifteenth century by Darby O'Ryan, who was the father of Mahowne, father of Daniel, father of another Darby, father of Daniel, who had a son, William O'Mulryan, who died in 1637. He married Margaret, daughter of John Cantwell, of County Tipperary, about the beginning of the seventeenth century. They were the parents of five sons: Darby, Donoch or Denis, Henry, James, and John, of whom the first, Darby O'Mulryan, resided in County Limerick, Ireland, and married Kathleen Fitzmorice, by whom he left numerous issue.

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