Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
This study is no longer registered with the Guild,
but this profile page has been retained at the member's request. Please note that neither officers
nor members of the Guild are able to answer any questions about this study.
fThis is a study of the Irish sept. O'Ciardhubhain, Kirwan, Kerwan, Kirwin, Kerwin etc see variation below. I intend studying this name primarily in Ireland, Britain, Europe as well as the West Indies and other miscellaneous places ommitting the United States. I hope to encourage someone in the United States to undertake North America as this is a study in itself.
The word Ciardhubhain is composed of the elements Ciar = dark/jet + dubh= black + diminutive suffix –an. This surname commonly described the swarthy man, or black haired man. Ó Ciardhubháin means descendant of Cirdhubhan. The Sept are of the race of Heremon.
Sources: Irish families, Irish surnames, Irish names and surnames, Surnames in Ireland, A dictionary of surnames, Hardiman
Argent, a chevron gu (sable), between three cornish choughs sable, Crest. A Cornish chough as in the arms. Motto Mon Dieu, mon Roi et ma patrie (For my God, my King and my country)
Argent, a chevron gu (sable), between three shell drakes, sable, beaked, and legged gules. Crest. A shell drake close, sable, beaked, and legged gules. Motto Jaime mon Dieu, mon Roi et mon Pais some members of this family use the motto: God’s providence is our inheritance.
Argent a chevron sable between three coots ppr. Quartering Staunton crest a Coot as in the arms. Motto mon Dieu, mon Roi et ma patrie
Argent a chev between 3 coots sable quartering French and Stratford,
There is a Vol. mss on these Kirwan’s in the Office of Arms, now the GO Kildare Street.
Michael Kirwan of Martinique Argent a chevess situated between three coote proper Crest a coot as in the arms
According to Hardiman and to Andrew Kirwan of 79 Eccles Street, Dublin, Corovane/Ciorobane/Ciorrovan/Kirrovan son of Maoldabhreac/ Maoldhbharon, son of Fiobhrann/ Febhrann, son of Finghin/ Finglian is the founder or originator of the family name though Charles Lynigar alias O Lonen’s (1/11/1732) pedigree seems to disagree with this version as in O Lonen’s pedigree it is Ambrose O Kirwan son of Duchon (1st O Kirwan, brother of Doroughy 1st D’Arcy) who is the originator of the name.
The families of Cregg, Blindwell, Ballyhasna, Silane and Ballygaddy are lineally descended from the three sons of Donough (the elder) mentioned in O Lonen’s pedigree The Blindwell, Ballyhasna, Silane and Ballygaddy Kirwan’s are descended from either the eldest brother Donough (the younger) and/or the 2nd son (name unknown) while the Kirwan’s of Cregg, and all its sub branches are descended from William the youngest son of Donough (the elder), this William settled in Galway in 1488.
At the beginning of the eleventh century the O Ciardubhain family were hereditary proprietors of a wide-ranging district in Ulster (situated close to the Town of Derry) and held by them until they were expelled by the followers of John d'Coursey circa 1217. There were also recorded records of Kirwan’s as erenaghs in Co. Louth around this period. They fled to Connought where they were granted safe harbour, and settled at Doonagh na Ballinmore now know as Dunbally (where they erected a strong castle ‘Dunbally Castle’), situate a few miles from Dunmore Town.
According to family tradition they were seized of an extensive portion of the surrounding country, which passed from them by intermarriages to a number of other Irish families, to name a few the OKellys, OConnors, OHallorans, OMaddens, OFlaherties, &c. But while that might be there near the Town of Dunmore a Town land which still claims the name of Forín ní Ciorovane, which shows that the Kirwan’s were definitely land owners though to what extent is not now known, though it is likely to have been fairly extensive. As the family expanded, younger branches settled in other parts of the barony of Dunmore, to wit, Lavally, Ballyhasna, Ballygary, Loughcarrow, Ballymanagh, Ballynadangan. In consequence of a quarrel between the senior Branch of the Kirwan’s and the de Bermingham's of Dunmore, or AtHenry, O'Kelly of Athlegue and several other Irish and Anglo-Norman families, The Kirwan’s were obliged to surrender the greater part of their lands to the de Bermingham’s. They were not connected with Galway City until the fifteenth century when the youngest son of Donough, William O Ciorovane, was obliged to go to reside in Galway where he became one of the principle, influential men then in Galway.
The last two paragraphs are contested in a recent book by Ronan Lynch called 'The Kirwan's of CastleHacket Co Galway' published by the Four Courts Press in 2006. Lynch states that the Kirwan's a merchant family wanted to ennobled their family lineage when they became landowners and Protestants in the early eighteenth century and that much of their early pedigree was manufactured to that effect. I will leave it to individuals whether they wish to believe the pedigree before Donough (the elder) mentioned in O Lonen’s pedigree.
According to Hardiman Piers Kirwan fitzClement died 17/4/1618 seized the lands of Creffan, Lavally. Ballytrasny, Leighcarroroe, etc which he vested in Marcus Blake, Nicholas Lynch fitzJonakin, and John Ffrench fitzPeter of Galway merchants as trustees for his son Clement Kirwan.
The latter who was the great grand father of the late Richard Kirwan Esq. built in 1648, the Castle of Cregg: which was the last edifice of that description, erected for the purpose of defence in this part of Ireland. Though we will find that most other sources state that it was Patrick Kirwan the great grand son of Andrew bane O Ciorovane of Galway who built Cregg castle, as is often the case in genealogy, source can contradict each other.
In July of 1649 the plague reached Galway and lasted until April 1650. In 1651 Cromwell and his republicans laid siege to the Town. The tribes were stripped of their office, their houses and lands were confiscated, and many had to flee the Town.
Around a thousand were rounded up and shipped to Barbados as slaves. Many junior branches of the Tribes establish themselves as merchants in France and Spain in the 1700’s, where their descendants still live. Others founded plantations and estates in America and the West Indies. Many branches of the tribes still flourished in Ireland from the 18th to early 20th centuries, often as landlords, merchants and estate agents. At the time of James the 2nd the Kirwan’s were predominately Catholics, and pro-monarch, after that period several branches conformed to the established religion.
Sources Hardiman’s history of Galway. Page 18 –19 Kirwan, parchment pedigree made by Charles Lynigar alias O Lonen 1/11/1732,
Ballygaddy House, Ballygaddy Road, Tuam, barony of Dunmore, Ballyhasna, Blindwell (Tubberkeagh), Foxhall near Tuam Co Galway, Castlehackett near Tuam Co Galway, Cregg Castle near Corrundulla Baunmore Co Galway, Dalgin, Dunbally, Gardenfield (Baltrana Cairangary), Glan, Hillsbrook, Knock/Knockdromduagh,Lavally, Lioscananaun, Loughcarrow, Moyne Ballyglomin, Sandymount House Ougherard, Silane/Selane,Woodfield mostly situate in the Barony of Dunmore. Co. Galway but all in Co Galway. Bawnhouse Co Longford, Dalgan Park Shrule in the county of Mayo. Wellpark House Drumcondra Dublin
Cregg Castle was built by the Kirwan Family in 1645 and is said to be the last fortified mansion
built west of the Shannon. It is situated around four miles from Clare Galway near the Cregg river which flows into Lough Corrib. The house was enlarged at a later period. It is still inhabited and operates as a hotel in the wild, spectacular Barren County.
The old castle Castle Hacket was built by the Norman family Hacket in the mid 1500’s under the hill of Knock Ma five miles from Tuam, it was taken from them by Ulick Burke around 1570, who was afterwards expelled by Cromwell, and transplanted to Owen near Lough Corrib. CastleHacket was parcelled out to one of Cromwell’s officers: who disposed of his interest to Sir John Kirwan in the late 17th century. The building which now stands is a fine Georgian mansion built in 1703. It looks towards Croch Ma, the legendary mountain home of King Finbarre and his Connacht fairies and is also supposed to be the burial place of Maeve, the Warrior Queen of Connacht.
Sir John Kirwan. In 1686 he was the only Catholic to be made Mayor of Galway between 1554 and the Catholic emancipation of 1829. He amassed a great fortune in the Danish West Indies and had substantial trade with a cousin Saint Malo who in turn traded with La Rochelle. In Galway city he had built up the largest merchant house. Sir John is credited with the introduction of large panes of glass instead of the old leaden lattice into the windows of Galway’s great stone city houses. He is also meant to have preserved the first herd of racing cattle in the empire.
Sir John added gables and mullioned windows to the old castle, and it is probably his grandson John Kirwan who built the main part of the new Castle Hackett in the mid 18th century. This John’s son another John added two handsome pedimented wings to either side of the main block around twenty years after the original building had been built.
The new house is set in a fine park facing south and looking straight up at the wooded hill of knock Ma..
Source: Most of the description of Castle Hackett and its owners is taken from an article on Castle Hacket by the knight of Glin.
One of the last of the old “big houses” in Tuam district is the Kirwan residence at Gardenfield on the Clare River, a short distance from the town. A fine building, it stands in a secluded position in the centre of the wooded estate. The Kirwans were a very old Catholic family and lived in Gardenfield for generations. The present residence was built by the late Mr. Henry Kirwan about the year 1870. Previously they lived near the front gate of the demesne where the ruins of that house still remain. An engraving shows that it was a long two-storied thatched building. Prior to the draining of the river Clare about 1848, the river came very near the residence and in the winter overflowed to such an extent that the Gardenfield road from the Sugar Factory end was impassable for several months of the year. The ruins of the old house have an historic association with the landing of the French at Killala on August 22nd,1798. It was Gardenfield House that Lord Cornwallis commander of the English forces in Ireland made his headquarters when he landed with 20,000 men on September 2nd 1798, in preparation to march against General Humbert at Castlebar. Across the river in Ballygaddy House, General Lake had set up his headquarters after his ignoble exit from Castlebar. The two military commanders anxiously discussed the situation and proceeded to put their plan in to action. On September 3rd General Lake moved forward to Frenchpark with 14,000 troops and on the following day Lord Cornwallis left Tuam in the direction of Hollymount with 15,000 men. In the meantime, the Kirwan family had to leave their residence and for that period lived at Ballytrasna. The story is told that one of Lord Cornwallis’s soldiers was hung from a tree in the avenue for stealing, and his ghost was supposed to be seen on certain occasions. However it is stated that though the soldier was sentenced to be hung, the death penalty was not imposed, a reprieve being granted through the intervention of Mr. Kirwan. There still remains in the estate the traces of a fort with an open cave in the wood in front of the present residence. There were at least half a dozen forts on the demesne, and there is an example of a double fort, that is two joined together to form the figure 8. The souterrain in one of them consisted of two chambers, but the roof had given way in great part, and only about half the second chamber is still roofed. Mr. E. Kirwan, the present owner, cleared away the debris some years ago so that visitors could inspect the interior, especially those who did not care to undergo the ordeal of creeping into a sou-terrain. The entire cave can be inspected without trouble and the construction of the passage studied. Gardenfield demesne is one of the beauty spots of the locality and in the summer the path by the river bank is a favourite walk for the people of the district. The demesne has always been open to the public, and the Kirwan family were always held in the highest regard by the people. Source:”The Tuam Herald” newspaper.
A picturesque district on the northern shore of Lough Cutra, From an original document preserved in the archives of the College House library at Galway it states that a certain Peter Kirwan resided at Ballyturrin in 1681 and was then owner of some property in the district.
Ballyturrin was part of the extensive possessions of the Mac Redmond Burke's, then recently confiscated. And one of their many castles, which rose over the waters of the Ballyturrin lake, may still be seen, sadly wrecked near the site of the old residence of the Kirwan’s. Blake Forster informs us that Ballyturrin Castle was thrown down by Edmond Kirwan Esq. of Dalgan, who resided at Ballyturrin about the year 1780. Though holding only the position of obscure proprietors, they retained their property there till the early part of the 19th century. The beautifully situated residence which now crowns the summit of the hill and commands a superb view of Lough Cutra and the surrounding districts, was erected by John Lloyd Baffot of Ballymoe who married in 1843 Anna Georgina only daughter and heiress of Richard Kirwan of Balyturrin Castle Co Galway.
Source Information from a description page 343-4 in ‘The history and antiquities of the diocese of Kilmacduagh’
Variation on the name O'Ciardhubhain are:- Ciorobane, Ciorrovan, Carvin, Hyrvan, Keerawin, Keervan, Keravan, Kerevan, Kerivan, Kerovan, Kerowan, Kerravan, Kerrevan, Kerrowan, Kervan, Kervin, Kerwan, Kerwin, Kieravan, Kierevan, Kierewan, Kiervan, Kierwan, Kierwin, Kiorobane, Kirevane, Kirewann, Kirivan, Kirovani, Kirowan, Kirowane, Kirrane, Kirrovan, Kirrowan, Kirvan, Kirwan, Kirwen, Kirwin, Korowen, Kyran, Kyrewain, Kyrewan, Kyrvan, Kyrwan, O Ciorobane, O’Kerevan, O’Kerrywane, O’Kirwan, O'Ciardhubhain, O'Kerevan, O'Kerrywane, O'Kirwan, O'Quirivan, Quirovan,
Sources: Irish families, Irish surnames, Irish names and surnames, Surnames in Ireland, A dictionary of surnames, Hardiman, and mss papers mentioning Kirwan's. Morst common variations in red
The Irish Sept of Ciardhubhain was originally according to some sources found in County Louth, Ireland. But the Sept. was primarily found from 1400's onwards in Co. Galway Ireland spreading outwards from that county in the 16th hundreds.
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: