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Arms: Checky, argent
and gules, on a chevron of the last, three etoiles.
Crest: A demi lion rampant.
Motto: Ductus non coactus.
The Athy family of Galway were an Anglo-Norman family,
credited with being the first to erect a stone building in
Galway city, in the 13th century.
They went on to become one of
the fourteen Tribes of Galway, and erected several castles
great houses over the centuries. Those include that at Rinville.
The family survived in Galway up the the middle of the 20th
One of the oldest families in Galway; tradition
relates that one of the name erected the first stone house
or castle within the town. They were from the earliest times
highly respectable. William de Athy was appointed treasurer
of Connaught in 1388, with an annual wage of 10 pounds. The name was also
some of consequence in other parts of
Ireland. John de Athy was sheriff of County Kerry,
The first of the line was Gerard de Athee, who was born in
France at Athee Sur Cher. Gerard became a
very well known Knight and military leader for Richard the
Lionhearted, King of England. He was the Castilion of
Chinone castle in France for King Richard. He and his
son Engelard of Cigogne are mentioned in the Magna Carta,
which was signed by King John in 1215. Engleard of Cigogne
adopted Athee as his surname. In the early 1300's his
descendants migrated to Ireland and Athee became Athy.
No records exist for Galway prior to the date of the
Anglo-Norman invasion; among the earliest preserved the name
Athy appears as a leading family in that city.
Nevertheless the first time
the name Athy comes into prominence in the history of the
city is (c. 1320) as a party to a series of deadly disputes
between the Blakes and the Athys in which the Athys were
worsted. The Athy's were never comparable in influence with the
more powerful of the Tribes, but several of them held
important posts in the area, e.g., William de Athy, Treasurer of
Connacht 1388. The surname Athy, now scarce, is a type which
is common in most countries but very rare in Ireland, being
formed from a place name. The Athys were of Norman stock,
settled at Athy, County Kildare (the Red Book of Ormond records
two tenants named de Athy in County Kildare in 1311) whence
they soon migrated to County Galway.
See History of other Tribes