The 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 14 Tribes of Galway, and erected several castles &
great houses over the centuries, including that at Rinville.
The family survived in Galway up the the middle of the 20th
The Blake family were of British extraction, said to be
descended from one of the Knights of the round table. They
arrived in Ireland with Strongbow, and became a powerful
family in the area, with several important seats. These
included Menlo, Ardfry, Ballyglunin, Castlegrove and several
others. The family became another of the Tribes of Galway,
and are still well represented in the area.
The Bodkins of Galway, and the Earls of Desmond and Kildare,
were descended from the common ancestor, Maurice Fitzgerald,
Lord of Windsor, and one of the first invaders of Ireland,
His son, Thomas FitzMaurice, acquired ample possessions in
Munster, where his descendants became Earls of Desmond.
The Browne family arrived in Ireland in 1170 in Strongbow's
time, and were soon established in Galway and Mayo. They
leave several important seats such as Mounthazel, Moyne,
Rockville, Breaffy and Castlemacgarret. They are also one of
the Tribes of Galway, and are still well represented in
these two counties.
The d'Arcy family claim direct descent from a French family
derived from Charlamagne, named for Castle d'Arcie near
Paris. They travelled with William the Conqueror to England,
and were appointed to positions in Ireland in the 14th
century. Their seats were at Kiltullagh, Newforest, Gorteen
and Houndswood. One of the Tribes of Galway, they are not to
be confused with the Darcy families, who are of Gaelic
The first of this name, that settled in Galway, is said to
have been William Allen, or Den, who came hither from
Bristol in the reign of Henry VI. and was afterwards elected
Provost. Members of this family, were amongst the first
Mayors and chief Magistrates of the Town.
This family settled in Galway in the beginning of the
fifteenth century, they sprung from an ancient English
family of Leicestershire, and, are said, to have been
established in Athenry, as early as the reign of King John.
The name is now nearly extinct. Geoffry Ffont, who died near
Galway, in 1814, aged 105 years, is supposed to have been
the last survivor of the Galway branch of this family.
The French family, sometimes written ffrench in the old
manner, are one of the most distinguished of the Tribes of
Galway. The originally accompanied William the Conqueror to
England, and were amongst the first wave of Anglo-Norman
settlers in Ireland. They left fine seats at Castle French,
Monivea, Frenchgrove, Rahasane and Tyrone in Galway; as well
as several in Mayo & Roscommon as well. Very few of the
family left now.
The Joyce family were of English origin, arriving in Ireland
in the reign of Edward I, going on they seize large tracts
of land in the Barony of Ross; an area subsequently known as
Joyce Country. Another of the Tribes of Galway, they had
seats in Mervue, Woodquay as well as parts of Mayo.
The Kirwan were the only family amongst the Tribes of Galway
to establish an Irish origin, tracing a descent from the
second son of Milesius, one of the original Gaels. They left
many fine seats, including Cregg Castle, Castlehackett,
Gardenfield, Glan and Woodfield.
The Lynch family are so well known as to need little
introduction as one of the Tribes of Galway. They arrived in
Ireland with Hugh DeLacy, and were sufficiently well
established to supply the majority of the Mayors of Galway
during the 15, 16 and 17th centuries. Fine castles and seats
remain in Shop street, Newcastle, Barna, Drimcong, Lydican,
Moycullen, and Shannonbridge.
The Martin family arrived in Ireland with Strongbow, became
important merchants and one of the Tribes of Galway. They
subsequently moved into the County, leaving fine seats at
Ballinahinch, Dangan, Ross, Spiddal and Tulira.
The Morris family have been involved in the affairs of
Galway since 1485, and are one oof the Tribes of Galway by
virtue of having supplied numerous Mayors & Sheriffs to the
city. They had seats in Galway city and in Spiddal.
The Skerret family have been noted in the county since
1242, and were a well established member of the Tribes of
Galway. They had seats at Ballinduff, Drungriffin, and
Nutgrove, as well as properties in County Clare.
Other Famous Families of
The O'Flaherty get their name from a descendant of Murchada,
Flaithbhertaig Mac Ermin (Flaherty, son of Evin), a Prince
of Connaught. Flaithbhertaig was a popular name in Ireland
in the 10th century a.d. Today it is translated into "bright
The Bermingham family were of Anglo Norman origin, and were
responsible for the early castles of Athenry and Dunmore.
Their presence here long pre-dates the Galway Tribes, having
accompanied deBurgo into Connacht.
The Burke families owe their origins to Richard deBurgo, the
first Anglo-Norman conqueror of Connacht. He promptly set
about erecting numerous castles in the county to protect the
The O'Connors were amongst the foremost aristocracy of the
old Gaelic order, and provided not just kings of Connacht,
but also the last High-Kings of Ireland. The present
O'Connor Don has one of the longest recorded pedigrees in