The Families of County Galway, Ireland
Today at the Irish Roots Cafe, we will take a quick look at one
of the best know family groupings in Ireland, 'The Tribes of Galway'.
Most of these families had settled in Ireland and became wealthy and
powerful merchants. They were a power base of their own in
Western Ireland. (Note that Lynch, Martin, Darcy and Kirwan are also
forms of Irish names as translated into English. See individual surname
entries in the 'Families of County Galway' book.)
Who Named the 'Tribes'?
The Name was said to have been given to these families by Cromwell,
whose exploits broke the power of the 'families' in the 17th century.
With the coming of the Battle of the Boyne, things got worse for
these 'tribes of Galway'. Many would leave Ireland as part of the
flight of the 'Wild Geese' with the Fall of Limerick.
A List of the Tribes
The 14 Tribes were: Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, Deane, Darcy,
Lynch, Joyes (Joyce), Kirwan, Martin, Morris, Skerrett, Ffont and
Ffrench. Some lists omit 'Deane' and abbreviate the list to the '13
Tribes of Galway'. (see arms illustrated this section.) The names
were so well known that a little 'ditty' was often recited enumerating
the tribes by name.
Traits of the Tribes
Perhaps carrying things to extremes, in the 18th century certain traits
were given to each name. Let the reader use good judgment in that regard.
As recorded in Blake Family Records, these 'traits' were as follows:
Doubtless these traits may have changed depending upon who was reciting the attributes of the family!
To the names of the 14 tribes of Galway Town, may also be added the old and respectable families of Barrett, Bermingham, Burke, Butler, Crean, Fallon, Lambert, Nolan, Port, Quin and Tully. They are given by Hardiman as in alliance with the other noted 'tribes of Galway Town' over time.
The older Irish families should be noted as well. They were not the tribes of Galway town, but of Galway County. The O'Flahertys: O'Hallorans; Dalys; O'Kellys; O'Maddens; O'Naughtons; O'Fallons; O'Mullalys; O'Hynes, and others will be noted in the pages of The Families of County Galway, Ireland.
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