Walsh References in the Early Irish Counties - Walsh Family History Series
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Walsh References in the Early Irish Counties
Walsh Family History Series

Walshs in:
Kilkenny - Dublin & Wicklow - Waterford - Laois - Wexford & Carlow - Kerry -
Tipperary - Cork - Mayo - Louth - Galway - Roscommon -
Limerick - Kildare & Meath - Westmeath - Offaly - Carlow - Sligo

Where does the surname Walsh rank by County?

All of Ireland - Walsh ranked as the #4 most common surname in Ireland according to Matheson's study which was based on the number of births in the 1890 Ireland census. Matheson went on to estimate a population of nearly 42,000 bearing the Walsh surname in 1890.
County Mayo - Walsh ranked #1 in 1890 according to Matheson.
County Kilkenny - Walsh ranked #2 in 1890 according to Matheson.
County Waterford - Walsh ranked #2 in 1890 according to Matheson.
County Wexford - Walsh ranked #3 in 1890 according to Matheson.
County Cork - Walsh ranked #6 in 1890 according to Matheson.
County Limerick - Walsh ranked #6 in 1890 according to Matheson, as well as in a Griffiths Valuation study for 1850-52.
County Sligo - Walsh ranked #7 in 1890 according to Matheson.
County Offaly - Walsh ranked #8 in 1890 according to Matheson.
County Westmeath - Walsh ranked #8 in 1890 according to Matheson.
County Kildare - Walsh ranks #9 based on the occurrence of the names in records entered to date in the Irish Genealogical Project database being complied at Kildare County Library.
County Tipperary - Walsh ranked #10 in 1890 according to Matheson.
County Carlow - Walsh ranked #11 in an analysis of the 1852 Griffiths Valuation of household surnames.
County Dublin - Walsh ranked #13 in 1890 according to Matheson.
County Kerry - Walsh ranked #14 in 1890 according to Matheson.

Walsh of County Kilkenny

Reference given by Reverend William Carrigan including Castlehale, Walsh of the Mountain, Walsh of Ballynacooly, Walsh of Owning, Walsh of Knockmoylan, Walsh of Kilcraggan, and of Grange Castle.

Walsh of County Dublin and Wicklow

Reference to Walsh of Carrickmines, of south Dublin. The townland of Walshestown is located in the northern portion of County Dublin, northwest of Lusk. The placenames of Walsh's Court and Walsh's Row are located within the city of Dublin. Of the Mayors of Dublin included John Walshe (1426-27) and Thomas Walshe (1459-60).

Walsh of County Waterford

A record which refers to a very early land grant to a Welshman in Waterford cites William Walensis, who in 1232 "makes with the King a fine of 60 marks to have confirmation of a fee called Glenocher in Dessya of the gift of Thomas Fitz Anthony." A William le Waleys (perhaps the same) is also known to have had early grants about this time in the Comeragh Mountains of Waterford, in particular in the barony of Glenahiry. A Sir Richard le Waleys held a caput (called Kilmanahan) of the lordship of Glenahiry in the early 14th century (also see Glenahiry). Others of similar descent were established at Piltown on the Waterford side of the River Blackwater, near Youghal (co. Cork), as well as across the Waterford border near Clonmel in county Tipperary.
Other early Welsh reference include David le Waleys who held 30a. at Rathmolan, Co., Waterford about 1284. (11 Edward I; in Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem). There is a record of a trial in Waterford as early as 1310, when the British law was still new to the nation, in which Robert le Waleys, a Briton, was charged with the murder of John, the son of Ivor MacGillemory.

One of the notable families in county Waterford included the Walshs of 'Piltown' manor, who held large estates in the county. This included Sir Nicholas Walsh, Chief Justice, and his son Sir Nicholas of Piltown and Ballykeroge. Their holdings are reflected in a 1670 record when their (already partially confiscated) lands included a total of 11,992 acres in the county at a rent of £112 8s. 6d. per annum. The lands cited were those of Piltowne, Monolerys, Rath, Knockbane, Kilgabrell, Lougtan, Clashmore, Currymore, Croskea, Ballykeroges, Ballnivoiges, Ballyvile, Island, Durren, Shanakeele, Knockdumlea, Milerstowe, Glandalgin (in the Barony of Deeses); and the lands of Coolroe, Kiljamis and Whitestowne (in the Barony of Upperthird).
The family also held land 1,573 acres in County Kilkenny at a rent of £19 10s. 10d. per annum, which included : Balyshea in the Barony of Knocktopher ; and Tiniskelly (Tiniscolly), Mongan, Tyreloyne (Tintine) and Cooleveheny (Coolreney) in the Barony of Ida, Igrin and Obercon.
One of the Walsh families of Waterford City had their country place at Ballygunner, an estate of near 2000 acres, a few miles southeast of the city. The townlands of Ballgunner More, Ballygunner Temple and Ballygunner Castle mark their location. Their castle is still there (in 1900), and is used as a residence. They were known as Walsh "of the Island," as having come originally from "the Great Island" in County Wexford, east of the Waterford City across the bay. There seems to have been a succession of Knights in the family beginning, perhaps, with Sir Patrick around 1550. There was a Sir Robert in 1614 and a Sir James, a member of Parliament, in 1634. James' son Robert was the last Walsh owner of the property at Ballygunner.

The first Sir Robert, grandfather of the last, was perhaps the one who made in 1629 a deed of gift to John Lea and Thomas Lumbard for the benefit of his wife, Bessie Lea, and his daughters Margaret and Mary; and a will which mirrors the patriarchal manners of the time and place. His son Sir James married the eldest daughter of Pierce Butler of Callan. James brother Pierce Walsh married Anne, daughter of Sir Justinian Isham of Glendon, Northhampton, England. Pierce was created a baronet by Charles I in 1645. Pierce had a daughter, Mary, who married Robert Walsh of Castehale and Clonassy, who was killed at the seige of Limerick.

In the next generation the signs of catastrophe appeared. James' son, Sir Robert (the younger), was created Baronet by Charles II and married Mary Sherlock, daughter of George. Sir Robert lost the property as an Irish Papist in Cromwell's time, but had it restored when Charles II came back. He had gone into exile with Charles in 1648 and in 1663 the Merry Monarch showed himself not ungrateful. Robert's property was stated at 2,857 acres in Waterford, Tipperary and Kilkenny. The estates were all confiscated in 1691.

Pierce, son of Robert (the younger), went to France where he married Henrietta Marie de Monozar, of the Court of Lorraine, and predeceased his father, leaving a daughter Mary who married Pierce Aylward.

Of other Walsh families of Waterford city included Henry Walsh who had a patent granted by Henry VIII on August 15, 1546 for establishment of Holy Ghost hospital at Greyfriars. Over the entrance of the Holy Ghost Hospital was a plaque stating that it was founded by Patrick Walsh in 1545.
A possible ancestor of this family is mentioned in a history of Waterford city, where in A.D. 1368, "Richard le Walshe, Master of the Hospital (that is to say the Knights Hospitallers of St. John),... were amongst the slain". Richard was also Justice of the Peace for the county.

The Walsh families were leading merchants in Waterford city. Throughout the 16th century the Walshes were the most powerful family in the merchant oligarchy that ran the city affairs. This is reflected in the list of mayors of Waterford city, including John (1407), Roger (1420), Richard (1451 & 1458), Richard (1521), Peter (1522), Patrick (1528 & 1532), James (1539 & 1547), David (1551), Robert (1555), Henry (1556), James (1562), Peter (1564 & 1569), James FitzRobert (1564 & 1574), Sir Patrick (1578), Robert (1601-02), James (1631), and Sir John (1648).
In the office of bailiff or sheriff of the city, the Walsh name appears on record in 1368, 1414, 1465, 1488, 1508, 1519, 1522, 1528, 1532, 1534, 1541, 1543, 1544, 1546, 1550, 1553, 1556, 1556, 1561, 1562, 1574, 1576, 1578, 1582, 1584, 1585, 1588, 1596, 1597, 1602, 1607, 1613, 1634, 1642, and 1646.

Also of note were those who served the church. The Annals of the Four Master records for the year 1208, "David Breathnach (Walsh), Bishop of Waterford, was slain by O'Faelan of the Desies". Patrick Walshe was Bishop of Waterford and Lismore from 1551 to 1579. His son the Rt. Reverend Nicholas Walsh of Waterford was Bishop of Ossory (died 1585) and is remembered as the man who introduced Irish type to the native printing press in connexion with his unfinished translation into Irish of the New Testament. Thomas Walsh, born circa 1588, son of Robert Walsh and Anastasia Strong of county Waterford, was nominated Archbishop of Cashel by Pope Urban VIII in 1624. In addition, the ecclesiastical records for Waterford county include many Walshes who were priests, deans, friars, abbots, &c.

Walsh of County Tipperary

The Walshs of Rathronan, near Clonmel, appear to have been there a very long time (also see Rathronan). Circa 1250 William Walensis was 'lord of Rathronan' [Ormond Deeds], about 1278 William le Waleys appears in the record of inquisitions held at Clonmel, and about 1281 is a reference to William le Waleys of Rathronan. In 1288 a Richard le Waleys was among those present at the extent of the lands of Thomas de Clare of the vill of Youghal (co. Cork). In inquisitions held in 1305 at Tristle Dermot is mention of a Richard le Waleys, "Knight of the County of Tipperary", and in 1318 a Sir Richard Waleys who lead an armed band against the Scots (at Louth, Skerries, &c.) seems to have been near Clonmel. In 1323 a Richard le Waleys was one of fourteen of the principal men of Ireland who were called upon by the King to apprehend Roger Mortimer if he went to Ireland.

Between 1285-1292, Adam le Waleys paid a fine (for attaint released) of 1 mark in Tipperary. The names Reginald le Waleys and Matthew le Waleys (the Welshman) are associated with Tipperary in the same timeframe. [Calendar of Documents Relating to Ireland: 1285-1292]

Circa 1290, William le Waleis was coroner of Carrik, co. Tipperary. [source: Calendar of Documents Relating to Ireland: 1285-1292]

In 1303, Sir Richard Walensis and Odo de Barry, knights, are listed at the extent of the manor of Nyncheaunlef (Inch, just northwest of Thurles, co. Tipperary. [source: Red Book of Ormond]

Hugonis Walensis was a juror at the extent of the manor of Thurles on May 18, 1303. He also witnessed, in the same month, the bond of J. Fitz Laurence, bailiff to Edmund le Botiller, taken at Thurles. [source: Red Book or Ormond]

In December 1305, Adam Waleys is among the 12 jurors at the extent of the manor of Athmail (Ardmayle, co. Tipperary). [Red Book of Ormond]

In a February 1308 inspection of the lands of Robert Purcell, son of Sir Robert, held of Edmund le Botiller, William Walensis held 12 acres of land in Villa Cormok. [Red Book of Ormond]

In 1308-09, among the 14 jurors regarding the rental of the barony of Knockgraffon, co. Tipperary was John Walshe. [source: Red Book of Ormond]

In the reign of Edward III (1327-1377), John, son of Richard, son of William Walsh had letters of pardon and protection issued at Clonmel.

In 1343 Thomas fitz David Walsh was involved in the matter of five messuages with their appurtences in Rathronan and Ballybathan [Patent Rolls].
In 1355 Thomas Waleys was one of about twenty in "the Cross of Tipperary," who selected Andrew Hackett as sheriff, "the Cross" being a section held by the King outside "the County." He was likely a principal landowner in the cross. Thomas is again mentioned in 1358. [Patent Rolls]
In 1359-59, Thomas Walshe of Rathronan is mentioned in a suit in the assizes taken at Clonmel, Tipperary. [Ormond Deeds, ii, p.40]
David son of Thomas Walsh was a juror at Clonmel between 1402-1404.
In 1421 John Walsh was 'of Rathronan' just back of Clonmel. [source: Walsh, 1170-1690]
In 1542 James Walsh 'of Rathronan' was one of the "gentlemen inheritors and freeholders" of Tipperary.
Receiving pardons in April 1548 included David Walsh, of Raronan (Rathronan), son of James Walshe, of the same.
From 1550 to 1570 there was a David Walsh 'of Rathronan', a significant land holder of the Manors of Knockgraffen and Kilshielan.
In 1642 the family was still there, for "Captain James Walsh, son and heir of Daniel Walsh of Rathronan, with James Tobin, son and heir to Thomas Tobin of Reylregannah, a captain among the rebels, and Pierce Butler of Banshagh, son and heir to Sir Richard Butler Knight, and three hundred horsemen," was accused by Judah Sherman, of Ballingarry, parish of Lismore, of driving away his cattle." Confiscation presumably followed the allegations, a sign of the times.

The notorius John Walsh was Legal Adviser to Cromwell and Agent to the Duke of Ormond. He was one of the only Walshs left alive in Clonmel, County Tipperary, after the siege by Cromwell's soldiers in 1650. His family is described [History of Clonmel] as one settled near Clonmel, probably from the time of King John ; the townlands "Mooretownswalsh," "Croanwalsh," and others record their territorial importance.

Circa 1650, David Walsh whose ancestors since the first conquest held Powerstown, was mercilessly slaughtered by Major Morgan on the road to Carrick. [source: History of Clonmel, by William P. Burke]

The 263 acre townland of Clonwalsh, in the parish of Kilgrant, barony of Iffa and Offa East, likely marks a territory of some of the earliest Walsh families in Tipperary. Clonwalsh guarded the mountain pass from Clonmel to Carrick-on-Suir. In 1335 we find Caterina Walche at Clonmel. In the 1358 please of assizes at Clonmel is listed Thomas and Robert Walshe, both 'filius Episcopi', sons of the bishop. In 1374 Henry Walsh is listed among the jurors at Conmel. In 1375 Thomas Braynok (Breatnach) is listed as sub-serjeant of Iffa. In the 1384 pleas of assizes at Conmel we find Richard Walsh on a plea of debt, and Philip Walsh paying a fine. Again at Clonmel in 1384 we find Richard Walsh, Treasurer of the Liberty of Tipperary. About 1403 David son of Thomas Walsh is among the jurors at an inquisition taken before William son of Peter le Botiller, seneschal. In 1404 Henry Bretnagh and Philip Walshe are jurors at Clonmel. In 1442 Henry son of Tancard Walsch is listed as a burgess of Clonmel.

In the extent of the manor of Thurles in May, 1303, Hugh Walensis is listed as a juror, and the following are noted as tenants: Ithel Walensi, Clemente Walensi, William Walensi, and Adam Walensi. In 1305, Adam Waleys was among the jurors at an inquisition outlining the extent of the manor of Ardmayle in co. Tipperary. In 1308-9, a John Walshe is listed as a juror at an inquisition concerning the rental of the barony of Knockgraffon, co. Tipperary.

Among the pardons (granted by the Crown) in the county of Tipperary, for the the year 1550, included the following: John Glasse Bretnaghe, Philip fitz Oliver Bretnagh, and Richard boy Bretnaghe.

In the surviving records from the 1664 Hearth Money Rolls for the barony of Iffa & Offa, Co. Tipperary, are the following, "Lewis Walsh at Curraghdobbin; Morris Walsh at Ballydine; Thomas Walsh at Newton Anner; Owen Walsh at Ballyboe; Oliver, Walter, James, and Jeffry Walsh at Killornry; James Walsh and William Welsh at Coolonan; Jeffry Walsh and Mary Welsh at Templny; James Walsh at Cahir Abbey; Thomas Welsh and Walter Wallice at Carrick; James Welsh in Ballynecloony; James and Thomas Welsh at Redmondstown [Clonmel]; David Welsh at Killmore; John Welch at Lisdobur [Lissodober]; none at Rathronan.

Lest we omit an alternate spelling of the Walsh name, Brenagh, in the same 1664 record, thes inclue the following:
Philip, Peter and Richard Brenagh of Carrick, William Brenagh of Moortown, Edmund Brenagh and William fitz James Brenagh of Ardfinan, Morris Brenagh of Newcastle, Laurence Brennagh of Cloghcully, Edmond Brennock of Ballygarrane.

In Petty's "1659 census" an Edmond Walsh, gent., is listed as 'tituladoe' at Cloyne in the parish of Corbally, Barony of Ikerrin, in northern Co. Tipperary, indicating that he was a major land-holder there.

Other Tipperary townlands include Walshpark in the parish of Dorrha, Lower Ormond, just west of Birr; as well as Walshsbog in the parish of Kiltinan, Middlethird, at the foot of the mountain just north of Clonwalsh, guarding the pass from Clonmel to Callan in co. Kilkenny. There were also the townlands of Croane (popularly called Croane-Walsh) and Moorstown (Baile na Mona, popularly called Moortown-Walsh). Walshsbog marks the western edge of the Walsh Mountains extending from Co. Kilkenny into County Tipperary.

Walsh of County Laois (Leix, Queens)

Ballykilcavan, located in Queens County (Laois), just east of Stadbally, is shown on the old maps as McEven, which is as near as the map makers got to many of the old names. After the destruction of the Kildares (the FitzGerald Earls of Kildare), the place seems to have passed to one Hartpole, whose possessions in Carlow and Queens were extensive. Oliver Walsh bought it of him in 1640. Whether it had been a Walsh possession before that, nothing appears to show. It is not far from several places where the Walshs were rather numerous.

A hundred years later the heirs of Hartpole tried and failed to get it away from the heirs of Oliver Walsh, who at that time (1738) was Colonel Hunt Walsh of Ballykilcavan, Esquire. It was members of this family who, thirty years later, participated in elaborating the "Note and Synopsis of the Genealogy of Walsh (and the Austrian Wallis')". This document alludes to an ancient link between the Ballykilcavan Walshs and the the Walsh of the Mountain in Kilkenny.

Walshs in Counties Wexford and Carlow

One of the earliest Cambro-Norman colonizations in Ireland following the initial campaigns in 1169 A.D. were made in the southern district of Wexford under grant to Harvey de Monte Marisco (Mount Morris or Montmorency), an uncle of Strongbow, who accompanied Robert FitzStephen to Ireland.

In 1247, Robert le Waleis held 1/4 knight's fee at Ballyranchan, perhaps Ballyrankin, parish of Kilrush, barony of Scarawalsh. The tenant was a member of the numerous families of Walsh (le Walies, Wallensis). They are next heard of here in 1286 when David Valens' (Valensis) rendered 10s. (i.e. for 1/4 fee) for the service of Balliattam (sic). There was an inquisition in 1306, at which Henry le Waleys was a juror, and at which it was found that Robert le Waleys held at Balitankan (Ballyrankin, Kilrush parish, Scarawalsh) for a quarter of one knight's fee. This fee was held by Robert le Waleys at Balytaucan, or Balytancan, according to the inquisition on Earl Roger Bigod's Irish estates taken at Carlow on Saturday after the close of Easter, 35 Edward I (April 8, 1307).

In Hore's History of Wexford there are records for "le Waleys," "Walens," "de Wallia," and finally "Walsh," beginning with 1277, when Henry and Robert le Waleys were jurors at an inquisition to ascertain the extent of the property of Roger Bygod, earl of Norfolk. In 1282 and for several years afterwards "Griffin Walens," son of Richard, was provost of the Manor of Old Ross, and some of his statements of account are still preserved, including one for the period "from the feast of St. Michael in the tenth year until the Saturday next after the feast of St. Augustine (May 26) in the eleventh year of King Edward I." Griffin was still Provost in 1287. In 1288, his son, Henry FitzGriffin, was Provost of the Burgh at New Ross. In 1311 John "de Wallia" was provost of New Ross. In 1331 this John was pardoned for his failure to make prompt payment "owing to the civil war imminent in those parts."

The area around Old Ross, in co. Wexford, has been associated with a family of 'Howels' who appear to have connection with Walsh of the Mountain in co. Kilkenny. This was at Courthoyle, on Carrickbyrne mountain. For more information on this family see Hoel of Carrickbyrne.

In 1358 Philip Walsh was a juror among those called to allot a dowry to Roesia Meyler. Roesia's lands in Wexford included Clonmine, Taghmon, and Duncormick, nearby Old Ross. In 1361, David Walsh was running ships capable of carrying twenty casks of wine from New Ross to the king at Liverpool and Chester. In 1368 Richard, Henry and David Walsh were in court in New Ross, and the jury found that "David did not insult Richard Neville on the Saturday next before the feast of St. John the Baptist."

James Walsh was a juror in the inquisition taken at Ross in 1411, where it was found that among those who were tenants of Thomas Mowbray was "Walsh of Polrankan". A feodary taken circa 1425 cites a knight's fee of 1/4 fee, the holder is unnamed but the place is cited as Pohanken, which has been interpreted as Polrankan [Pollrankin], parish of St. Michael's, barony of Forth, co. Wexford. In November 1549 is a record of Livery to Nicholas Walshe, of Little Polrankan, gent., son and heir of John Walshe, deceased. On 18 Sept 1551, an Inquisition was held regarding the lands of "Nicholas Walshey of Pulrangan", in Co. Wexford. In 1555-56, is a livery of the possessions of Nicholas Walshwe, late of Little Polrancane, to Thomas, his son and heir, for consideration of a fine of 3 pounds. About 1557 is a record of Livery to Thomas Walshe, of Wexford, merchant, son and heir of Nicholas Walshe, late of little Polrankan. Walshe of Polrankan numbered among the gentry of the county in 1598, according to Hogan's Description of Ireland in 1598. In 1636 John Walsh died, holding the vill of Polrankin with lands in Ballyknockan, also in the parish of St. Michael's, Forth, according to the Inquisitions of County Wexford, no. 112 of Charles I.

In 1422, "the King desired to grant to Edward Ferrers certain privileges at 12 pounds a year, out of which "Thomas Walleys, by color of a commission as receiver or appropriator, receives 10 marks (or 1/4 knight's fee) by the name of his fee," which must have been very annoying.

In 1518, before an inquisition at New Ross, Henry Walsh and others complained that Richard Walsh, junior, Patrick Walsh, Robert Walsh, (and many others) "came from Waterford with many Spaniards, Frenchman, Bretons and Irish, riotously, with a fleet of boats and ships, in piratical or warlike fashion, variously armed," on the 20th of May of that year, and did much damage.

By 1591, however, a different basis had been established, for among those using ships calling at New Ross were Robert Walsh of Waterford, with a consignment of shoes, etc.; Edmund Walsh of Waterford with a consignment of hardware; and Richard Walsh of New Ross with a load of furnishings. The good ship Ann Synott also brought for Judge Walsh (Sir Nicholas) a chest and a barrel, containing clothes for himself (six suits), cloth for his wife, "1.2 cwt. of cheese" and "12 cwt. of black sope."

The last entry in Hore is that of a pardon for Tibbot Walshe Fitz John of Kilgoban (Kilgibbon, Clonmore parish, Shelmalire), in 1602.

It was from these Walshs around old Ross, New Ross, the Great Island, (and perhaps the other Wexford places) that the great Waterford merchants derived the designation "Of the Island." The Great Island, indeed, while bigger than "the Little Island," is not too big to fit easily, as it does, into the harbor of Waterford. Griffin, son of Richard, of 1282, was a first class business man, so his Waterford descendants came honestly by the talents which they applied to their opportunities.

Placenames that indicate an early Walsh presence in Wexford include the barony of Scarawalsh, as well as the 496 acre townland of the same name and place which is located in the civil parish of Ballycarney, next to Kilrush, all within the barony of Scarawalsh in the northern part of Wexford. The Walshs of Balyrankin, just east of the Blackstairs Mountains, were there in the 13th century.

Just across the Wexford border into County Carlow, on the western slope of the Blackstairs Mountain, is the townland of Ballynabranagh, or Walshtown, another early indication of Walsh presence near Kilrush and Scarawalsh. Across the county in that part of northwestern County Carlow near the Kilkenny border are included the placenames of Ballinabranagh and Knocknabranagh, again referencing a possible early Walsh presence. Knocknabranagh is on the Kilkenny/Carlow border just west of Oldleighlin. Ballinabranagh is near the co. Laois border a few miles northeast of Oldleighlin.
In the Extent of Lands in Co. Carlow, 30 June, 1303, we find Thomas and John Walensi (le Waleys or Walsh) mentioned among the tenants. Thomas is cited with a carucate in le Corrauth, and John is mentioned in connection to le Cloweran.

In the south of Wexford in barony of Forth is the townland of Walsheslough, located in the civil parish of Rosslare. Walshestown is the name of a townland, located in the parish of Ishartmon and the parish of Rathmacknee. The above named townlands are just a few miles south from the home of the Walshs of Polrankin. In the neighboring barony of Bargy, the placename of Walshgraigue in the parish of Ambrosetown attests to the presence of Walsh families there, likely from an early period following the Cambro-Norman invasion of the late 12th century. Walshgraigue is a few miles south of the Walshs of Courthoyle, and in between Taghmon and Duncormick where Philip Walsh was a juror in 1358.

Walsh of County Kerry

In 1769 the 'Genealogy Notes and Synopsis of the Family of Walsh' was presented to Alexander Julius Caesar Walsh and Peter Augustus Alexander Walsh, two brothers who were born in Co. Kerry in 1740 and 1744. It was a document interpreting and confirming a statement of their pedigree, and was furnished by William Hawkins, Ulster King at arms. The two brothers came back to Ireland from Germany where they were officers in the army. In 1769 they and probably saw prospects of sharing the advancement attained by many of their countrymen, seeking documentary proof of their descent from the same stock as the already enobled Walshs (Wallis) of Austria.

In the Hawkins Synopsis it states that "The Walshs were called 'Waleys' (Welsh), and therefore the name is now written both 'Walsh' and 'Wallis'. The first of the name who settled in Ireland were David and Philip Walsh, brothers, barons of Cornwall in England (descended from the famous David, King of Wales) who with many of the principal nobles both in England and Wales, Followed, in 1171, Richard de Clare, Earl of Strongbow and their uncle. Henry II coming to Ireland in the year 1172 created David Walsh baron of Carrickmaine in Dublin, at Old Connaught in Wicklow, and Abington in Limerick. David married to Mary McCarthy, eldest daughter of Justin of Aglias and Sarah O'Sullivan, receiving with her from her father much land in Kerry, where he erected three castles which may still be seen [in 1769], called Castle Walsh of Alan, of Cusneen and of Murry, which castles are situated at the foot of Knockatee. From David was lineally descended Thomas John Reymund Walsh, of Carrickmaine in Dublin and John's Cross in Kerry, and dynast of Castle Walsh." The 'Synopsis' goes on to talk state that Alexander and Peter Walsh were descended from Thomas Walsh of Castle Walsh. The document itself is attested by, among others, two Bishops, two Lords, as well as Colonel Hunt Walsh, of the Ballykilcavan Walshes, and Colonel Robert Walsh.

The placenames mentioned in the 'Synopsis' include Knockatee ("the hill of the great house"), Kilcusnaun ("Cusnan's Church"), and Kilmurry ("Mary's Church"), all appearing on a parish map in (or near) Ballincuslane, [Barony of Trughanacmy], County Kerry, just east of Castleisland, near the foot of the mountains there. There is a tradition that it was by his marriage with Eleanor, daughter of a Sir William of Kilmurry, that Desmond (the FitzGerald Earl of Desmond) got his first lands in Kerry.

Besides the settlements effected by the sons of Philip Walsh (said brother of David mentioned above) to the west of the Killarney Lakes in 1207, there was another settlement near Castle Island, in the territory of Meyler Fitz-Henry. This is the area mentioned in the Hawkins 'Synopsis' as having been settled by the family of David Walsh. Gilbert Walsh of the other family was active in Kerry in 1281. There must have been a considerable development of the family towards Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and in the other direction into Limerick. Philip le Waleys was at Knockainy in Limerick in 1229, Canon Begley (the historian) mentions a Lisnebrannagh not far from the Kerry border, and then there was Caslane Brenagh near Owney. [Note: Brenagh, Brannagh and le Waleys being early forms of the surname Walsh.]

One of the earlier references to the Branaghs [or Walshes] of County Kerry comes from the "Annals of the Four Masters", where in the year 1366 it mentions, Conor O'Conor, Lord of Ciarraighe-Luachra, was slain by the Branaghs (Breathnach), The Gaelic version of the same quote from the annals is, Conchobhar Ua Concobair tighearna Ciarraighe Luachra do mharbhadh do Branachaibh. Another version goes, Connor, son of Dermod, was lord of Kerry Luachra, and was slain in his 58th year by the Walshes of Kerry.

Much later, after 1642, Nicholas Walsh of Tralee (co. Kerry) was mentioned in the Royal Declaration of Thanks, issued by Charles II after his Restoration, as having specially befriended the King. Nevertheless his lands (in the barony of Trughanacmy), which had been confiscated by the Cromwellians, were not restored. They went to Colonel Sankey. Of further note is a mention to 'Walsh of Ballinvoher' in the King James Army List of 1689, Ballinvoher cited in various placenames to the east and also to the north of Tralee.

At the time of the Cromwellian confiscations, John Walsh's lands at Cuillinaghmore (Kerry) went to Jane, Countess of Monmouth -- the wife of Charle's II natural son who led the English rebellion against his uncle, King James II. Other Cromwellian land confiscations included those of Gerrott Brennagh (now "Walsh") and Thomas Brenagh in the barony of Clanmaurice.

The townland of Ballybrannagh, near Ballymacelligott, and between Castleisland and Tralee, marks a spot just a few miles east of the Walshs of Knockatee, and would appear to have connections to an early Walsh family there.

In Petty's 1659 "census" the names Welsh and Brenagh are recorded among the prinicipal Irish names in the Barony of Trughanacmy, in which lie the parishes of Ballincuslane, Castleisland, Tralee, and part of Killorglin.

Walsh of County Cork

In 1199, when Meyler Fitz-Henry was Viceroy, there was a series of grants where Maurice Fitz Philip (son of the first Philip Walsh in Ireland?) was granted lands of the value of five knights' fees in the Cantred of Fontimel. This was in the territory near Kilmallock, a district afterwards known as Clangibbon, in Cork, Limerick and Tipperary, in which there were Walshs for the rest of the period. The "Gibbon" derives from Gilbert Fitzgerald, and there are two Gilbert Walshs in his time, all three so named out of compliment of Gilbert de Clare (of Strongbow's family), with whose family the Fitzgeralds (later Earls of Kildare) were allied by marriage, and whose fortunes both Fitzgerald and Walsh supported in the field.

In 1207 when Meyler Fitz-Henry was preparing to subdue Kerry, he himself claimed several cantreds including Eoghenacht Lochlein (Killarney) and Ackmikerry (Trughanacmy, or Aicme Ciarraighe). A grant was made to Maurice Aeneas (Eynon) Fitz-Philip, Henry Fitz-Philip and Audeonus (Owen) Fitz-Philip (all sons of Philip Walsh?). This grant was made in the cantred in which Dunlehoth is situated. It is probable that Dunlehoth was "Dun Loich" (Dunloe) in County Kerry where Meyler called the sons of his friend Philip. In that case the grant would have included the land from Dunloe toward Killorglin (now the barony of Dunkerron). This is likely since Dunloe Castle, near Killarney, was built in 1215, and the other Walsh castles, Kilmurry, Kilcusneen, etc., are in Meyler's lands in Ackmikerry (in County Kerry).
Notes: The Annals of Innisfallen cite 1207 as the date the castle of Dún Lóich was built. MacCarthaigh's Book cites for the year 1206, "the castle of Dún Lóich was built by the Galls", and again for the year 1214 "another castle [was built] by the son of Thomas [FitzGerald] at Dún Lóich, and one at Killorglin."

Le Waleys, Le Waleis, Walensis, Walens, etc. were common names in early county Cork, indicating a healthy Welsh population. By 1260 there were quite a few of the name in Co. Cork, judging by the Plea Rolls which mention Galifridus and Griffin le Waleis in Ballydownis (par. Templetrine), Lewelin Walens at Magnagar in Ross diocese, David le Waleis at Aghada, Erdodenil widow of Galfridus le Waleys (par. Kilaloda), Isolda widow of Robert le Waleys at Mourne Abbey, and Howel le Waleys in dispute with John le Waleys at Carobally.

Gilbert was a peronal name in frequent use among the early Walshes in County Cork. A Gilbertus Walensis was one of the Co. Cork knights who were jurors at an inquisition held in Cork ca. 1230. It may have been the de Clare family, all-powerful as they were in south Wales, who provided them with lands and from whom the name Gilbert originated.

In 1280, a Gilbert Walsh was evidently the head of a family in the mountains to which Desmond had been driven by the McCarthys. Gilbert was fighting against them, in company with the Barrys, in support of the FitzGeralds. And yet when the war was over and Donal Og McCarthy was in trouble Gilbert was bondsman for him. Gilbert, for his services to the Desmonds; was made sheriff of Cork, and there is at Walshtown and Ballybrannagh, near Midleton, the reminder of his having been owner of the large property of 'Rostellan'. In 1278 William le Waleys was bailiff (sheriff) of Gilbert de Clare in Somerset, and the lands of Gilbert Walsh near Midleton in Cork were held from Gilbert de Clare, as disclosed by the inquisition held after the death of his wife, Isabel de Clare. In 1288, Gilbert the Welshman (le Waleys, also called Walsh) held 3 knights' fees as a free tenant in lands at 'Roskelan', according to the extent of lands (of the vill of Youghal), the manor Thomas (son of Richard) de Clare. In the same year he was pad a fine by Jordan de Caunteton frmo nearby Corkbeg. Shortly after after he was knighted and appears as Sir Gilbert le Waleis (ca. 1290) in company with Sir William de Barry. In 1301, Gilbert and William le Waleys were among those requested by King Edward I to send military aid against the Scots. A list dated 1301 names a William le Waleys in Olethan (Barrymore). After having been a sheriff of Cork, Gilbert was still living, an old man in 1304. Sir Gilbert was named several times on juries in Co. Cork, the last reference to him being in 1313. In 1327 the heir of Gilbert le Waleys (also called Walens') held the three fees in 'Roskelan' (near Midleton in Cork), which were held in dower by Isabella, late wife of Gilbert de Clare.

Circa 1287-88, Richard le Waleys is listed as a witness at an inquisition of the extents of lands of Thomas de Clare, of the vill of Youghal. [Calendar of Documents Relating to Ireland: 1285-1292]

In a list of receipts and rents in 1298, John le Waleys is cited of farm of the city of Cork. [source: Calendar of Documents, Relating to Ireland: 1293-1301]

Circa 1304, John le Waleys of Traybolgan accounts for 62s. 8d. from the chattels of David Okek a fugitive. [source: Parliamentary papers, v. 58 - 1906]

The Pipe Roll of Cloyne (co. Cork; 14th century) mentions a Gilbert Walys (now Walsh) who holds in betage" over 60 acres in Ballycottyn. The same record mentions Master John Walsh and David Walsh for cottages in Kenelach (perhaps Ballykinealy).
Other references in the Pipe Roll, circa 1354, mention Gregorius Walens (perhaps later Walshe and Wallis), holds 4 carucates at Balygeany and Balyaregus for one-half of a knight's fee. He also held a carucate and one-half between Corboly and Loghan, near Slevyn by half a knight's fee.
David son of William de Waleys was a primary witness in the time of Edward III (1327-1377) regarding lands in Balyslagh, co. Cork. [source: Original Documents Relating to the County and City if Cork, The Gentleman's Magazine, v.213, 1862]
Burgesses of Clone mentioned circa 1402 included Willelmus Bretnagh, David oge Bretnagh, and Thomas Macdavid Walsh.

John, William, Simon and David le Waleys were at places near Nenagh (in co. Tipperary) in 12 Edward III (12th year of King Edward III's reign, ca. 1338). "Rathbregnath" (Castle Brenagh) is mentioned in the inquisitions of the same year.
(Source: Walsh 1170 - 1690)

In the time of Edward I., John de Barry, knight, had alienated lands in Kylnoryn to William fitzDavid de Barry and William Walsh. [source: Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society]
About 1358, William Walsh died seised of Killmorin in county Cork. David his son and heir succeeded. [source: Illustrations, historical and genealogical, of King James's Irish army list].
In April 1358 a writ of amoveas manus was granted to David, son of William Walshe, of Co. Cork, of lands in Kylmoryn, a parcel (two plouglands) of the lands of Othelan (later included in the 'de Barry' barony of Barrymore). (Source: The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Cork)

Tynte's Castle in Youghal, County Cork, is the only remaining fortified house within that town. What is known is that the castle was erected in the 15th century as a fortified residence of the Cambro-Norman Walshe family. It remained as part of the estate of this merchant family until they forfeited it in 1584 and acquired by the town Corporation. The Walshe's sided with the Earl of Desmond during his unsuccessful rebellion against English power in Munster in the mid 16th century. Subsequently the Castle passed to the Corporation of Youghal; who in turn leased it to Sir Robert Tynte of Somerset, England.
In 1537, a William Walsh was Mayor of Youghal. In 1543, a William Walshe, of Youghal, was granted the House of the house of the Friars Preachers Observant and in 1550 was again given a lease of the abbey. In 1581 the abbey, with six gardens within the liberties of Youghal were granted to William Walsh, who lost them to John Thickpenny, soldier, in 1584.
In 1540, the office of Warden of the College of the B. V. Mary, of Youghal, was vacant by the death of Peter Walshe.
John Walshe was M.P. for Youghal in 1559, and mayor of Youghal in 1565. He belonged to the family whose name appears among the members of the (Youghal) corporation since about 1400. City.
About 1394, a John Walsh was Dean of Cork. In 1402, Dominus Johannes Walsh was Vicar of Kilmaclenine. In 1514, a John Walshe was Dean of Cork. In 1592, a Henry Walsh is cited as the mayor of Cork

The village of Walshtown and the 4 townlands named Walshtown are located in the neighboring parishes of Templenacarriga and Ballyspillane and indicate an early area occupied by the Walshs. Ballynabrannagh, two townlands indicating the same Walsh connections, are in neighboring Ballycurrany parish, all of the above located in the hills just north of Midleton. Ballybranagh, in the parish of Cloyne, is just south of Midleton. Clangibbon (mentioned earlier) was just north of the Walshtown area. Two other townlands, named Walshestown, are located in the middle section of County Cork, one located in the north in the parish of Churchtown (immediately east of the village of Churchtown), and the other located just west of Cork city in the parish of Athnowen.

In the 16th century, the family of Peter (Pierce) Walsh, of the Co. Kilkenny family, came into possession of lands attached to Abbey Owney, now Abington. In 1596 his holdings included the tithes and appurtences of Karkenlyshe, Ballynelye (qy. Carrickparson), Riordan (Rathjordan) and Charelley (Caherelly). His son, Sir Edmund Walsh, and heirs are buried at the Abbey.
A Walsh family from England, barons Ormathwaite, had lands in County Cork (and Kerry) as recorded in the UK National Register of Archives.

Walsh of County Mayo

Using statistics abstracted from the civil records of birth for the year 1890 as published in 1909 by Sir Robert Matheson in his Special Report on Surnames in Ireland, the Walsh surname ranked #1 in the county with 134 births. Gallagher, with 92 births, was in 2nd place.

The surname Walsh (Bhailsech or Breathnach) seems to be first mentioned in Co. Mayo history by Dubhaltach MacFirbis in his Tribes and Customs of Hy Fiachrach called O'Dowda's County. Robert de Carew had joined the great enterprise of settling North Mayo, in the early 13th century. Being granted the cantred of Bac and Glen (now yje southern part of Tirawley), he sub-enfeoffed it among his Cork followers. O'Dowda, O'Hara, O'Gara of Gallen, and Sliabh Lugha, chieftains of Tireragh, and other Gaelic owners, were expelled, and a whole body of colonists settled in, the men-at-arms and lieutenants of De Burgo. Their descendants, sprung from the Barrets and their comrades, were known later to the Irish as "the Welshmen of Tirawley', as being derived from the British followers of Strongbow and the Geraldines. Their names, given by MacFibis, confirm the tradition, such as Barret, Howel (MacHale), Toimilin, Lynnot, Hosdy, Philbin, Merrick, Walsh.

In Hubert Knox's The history of the county of Mayo (1908), speculates that the Barretts seem to have thrown off a clan which adopted Breathnach as a surname, translated again into Welsh. He cites a Maurice Bared alias Brechnach, a priest of 1407, and then suggest there is evidence for a suspicion that the 'Carra' Branaghs of Rosslahan may have been Barretts.
Another article (JRSAI, v. 41-60 - 1933) suggests that it was from a man named Batin Barrett (late 13th century) that the chief of the the Barrets took the name MacBhaitin. The article also suggests that a Robert, son of Batin, succeeded his father in 1335 (in Tirawley), was seneschal of Connaught in 1356, and had descendants named Bretnach or Welsh.
Among the early genealogies of the Barretts, McFirbis makes An Failghech Breathnach (d. 1260) a brother of Batin Barrett, and a grandson of William Mor na Maighne, the head of the Barretts (who is also called William Breathhach, i.e William the Welshman). As suggested by various historians, McFirbis' authority on the subject is questionable.

Among the early references to a possible Walsh in the County Mayo records was following the 1281 battle in Tirawley, at Kilroe near Killala. Following the battle the lands of William Barrett and Adam Fleming (both killed as a result of the battle) were taken into the kings hands, and among those paying fines for lands include 'Adam Bretnath'. The terms Bretnath, Brechnach, and Breathnach are found in early Mayo records, and may simply suggest the person was a Welshmen, although some of these may have later taken the Branagh or Walsh surname. An early reference to the Walsh surname itself occurs about the year 1334 (7 Edward III), when William Walshe was among the twelve jurors at an inquisition taken at Athenry regarding the extent of lands and rents in the cantreds of Connaught. In the Divisions of Connaught, circa 1570, the Barony of Ross was said to contain the lands of the Joyes, Walshes and Patriches. Mayo County history for the Barony of Carra also mentions a family of Branaghs or Walshes of Rosslahan, near Welshpool, who were the only early colonists who survived as freeholders to the close of the sixteenth century.

A pedigree of the Walshes of Tirawley, County Mayo, "from whom most of the Walshes of Mayo seem to spring", was compiled in 1588 by one Lawrence Walsh. He claimed they were descended from one Walynus (a term closely resembling 'Walensis', i.e. the Welshman), a native of Wales who came to Ireland in 1169 (with Maurice FitzGerald) with his brother Barret from whom, he claims, the bearers of the surname Barrett (frequently found in Tirawley) descend. While the surname is widespread throughout the county the greatest concentrations are in the central plain in which the Normans settled. About ninety per cent of the bearers of the surname nowadays spell the surname as Walsh. A further nine presently use the form Walshe while an anglicised version of Breathnach — Brannick — is borne by some families in the parishes of Crossboyne, Kilmaine and Kilcommon. The pronunciation of the surname is more akin to ‘Welch’ (or 'Welsh') than ‘Walsh’ in the Mayo accent. (Source: Gerard M. Delaney.)
It should be noted that Lawrence Walsh made no attempt, as noted by Delaney, by Edward MacLysaght and others, to identify this Barret (brother of Walynus) as the eponymous ancestor of the Barretts of Connacht and Munster. Lawrence does mention that in the second (Walsh) generation "another man of them settled in Le-Irris Ilesor Oules", which would seem to translate into "the Owles of Erris." Owles is the area around the barony of Burrishoole on the northern and eastern shores of Clew Bay. The baronies of Tirawley and Carra lie to the east, and the "central plains of Mayo" are included in Carra. For more information on Lawrence Walsh's genealogy, see Descent from Walynus.

According to commentary associated with Samuel Ferguson's famous poem about The Welshmen of Tirawley, the Barretts drew their pedigree from Walynes, son of Guyndally, the Ard Maor, or High Steward of the Lordship of Camelot, and had their chief seats in the territory of the two Bacs, in the barony of Tirawley, and county of Mayo. The Two Bacs are said to comprise the civil parishes of Ballynahaglish and Kilbelfad, east of Lough Conn, in the barony of Tirawley, northeast-central County Mayo, anciently part of Tir-Amhalgaidh.

From the information provided above, the earliest Walsh families may have settled around the central portion of County Mayo. The only placename (today) appearing to have connections with the Walsh name is the 311 acre townland of Walshpool. This is located on the 'plains of Mayo' in the parish of Drum, Barony of Carra, and would seem to confirm an early Walsh presence in that part of south central County Mayo just east of Balla.

Although the Walsh name is spread throughout the parishes of county Mayo in the mid 19th century, Griffiths Valuation shows a strong concentration of the name on the plains of Mayo, and particularly in the civil parish of Killedan, near to Walshpool.

Walsh of County Louth

The 217 acre townland named Walshestown in the parish of Rathdrumin, Ferrard, near Grangebellow, would seem to indicate an early presence of a Welsh or a Walsh family in the southern part of County Louth north and east of Drogheda.
The Walsh Family of Castlebellingham, County Louth is recorded in the UK National Register of Archives.
The Walsh Family of Ardagh, County Louth is recorded in the UK National Register of Archives.
A record from the Limerick General Advertiser or Gazette date August 14, 1810 states, "On Tuesday last at St Margarets Church Westminster Lt Col Walsh of the 9th Regiment [married] to Mrs HOPKINS widow of Charles HOPKINS Esq and daughter of the late Col [John] Bellingham of Ardagh near Drogheda, [Co. Louth]."

Walsh of County Galway

It is believed the Walshes arrived in Galway some time after the initial arrival of the Normans, Welsh and Flemish in Ireland about 1172. It is likely they did not become established until after the de Burgo family was regranted "the whole kingdom of Connacht", taking effect about 1223 when Cathal O'Connor died. Richard de Burgo built a castle in what was to become Galway city between 1232 and 1236, opening the door for grants of territories to the other newcomers.

There are strong reasons to conclude that a colony from Wales settled in this part of Ireland about the end of the reign of Henry III (c. 1272), many original Welch names frequently occur in old records about, and long after, that period, viz. Brechnocke, Llewellyn, Howel, and several others (source: James Hardiman's The History of Galway). In the account of the County of Connaught, from 1279 to 1281, by Henry de Rupe (Roche,) then sheriff, it appears that the king's peace was granted to Howel, son of Crannow le Waleis (source: Rot. Pip. 9 B. T.)

The two tiny townlands in central County Galway named Walsh's Island, in the parishes of Annaghdown and Killeany respectively, would indicate a presence of a Welsh or Walsh family near there. A village named Ballyhale, a name connected to the Walshs of Co. Kilkenny, is located in this area near the eastern shore of Lough Corrib.
The small parish of Killoran in the southeastern section of Galway contains a townland named Walshtown, just south of the village of Killoran.

Walsh of County Roscommon

One of the earlier Walsh references for the county includes that of Meiler de Bermingham, 2nd Baron of Athenry and founder of the town of Athenry, who purchased land from Sir Robert Braynach (Breathnach, or Walsh) for 160 marks in 1241 and presented it to the Dominican friars together with another 160 marks. This became the site of the Dominican Priory of SS. Peter and Paul.

An Inquisition taken at Roscommon on Tuesday next after the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, in the 29th year of Edward I (c. 1300) by writ of the same by, among others Thomas Walsh (Walensis). (Source: Calendar of the Ormond Deeds 1173-1350 A.D.)

The Walshs of Crannagh, and of Mul Hussey, are one of the Walsh families with documented history in County Roscommon.

Walsh of County Limerick

The first mention of a possible Walsh in Limerick is the story of David the Welshman who was apparently granted lands in Abington in Limerick about the year 1172. Unfortunately there is no documenary information about the grant other than from later Walsh history [source: J.C. Walsh, Walsh 1170-1690]. The story of David Walensis' brave deed at the battle of Limerick, about the year 1175, is shared by a number of sources, beginning with Giraldus Cambrensis' account of the battle - see Carrickmines. In Giraldus's history he cites David as a nephew of Raymond le Gros, one of the of the early leaders of the initial Cambro-Norman incursions into Ireland in 1170.

There are a number of early Walsh references in the county and city of Limerick. We find a Nicholas Walsh listed as Sheriff of the city of Limerick in the year 1218. In 1229 there was a Philip le Waleys named to an important arbitration at Knockainey in Limerick. In 1251, a Richard Bretnagh paid a fine of ten marks for the townland of Coulkoyl, in the county of Limerick. A John Walsh is listed as Sheriff of Limerick in 1281 & 1282, a Henry le Waleis (Waleys) was Sheriff in 1290-1292, and again mentioned as sheiff in 1301with his wife Anastasia. A Nicholas Walsh is listed as Sheriff there in 1296. Another Nicholas Walsh was Sheriff there, off-and-on, from 1398 up to 1426. A William Wailsh was Mayor of Limerick in 1434.

1251 - Among the plea rolls in Birmingham-tower (Rot. Fin. Berm. tur de an. 35 Hen. III) there is an instance where Walter, prior of St. John's without Newgate [Dublin], recovered by fine against Richard Bretnagh, the lands of Coulkoyl in the county of Limerick, before the justices itinerant at Limerick in trinity term, 35 Hen. III., i.e. 1251. (note: Bretnagh cited as a possible early form of the surname Walsh)

Circa 1296, John Walsh (Johannes Brathnach) quit claimed his lands in Kilmurle and Kilfergus to the bishop of Limerick. [source: Black Book of Limerick] (note: perhaps the Kilfergus in the barony of Lower Connello?]

In 1307, John le Waleys is among those mentioned at an assize of novel disseisin of David de Barry's freehold in Drumdyf, co. Limerick. [source: Calendar of the justiciary rolls]

A 230 acre townland named Walshestown is located southwest quarter of county Limerick, near Newcastle, in the civil parish of Mahoonagh, barony of Glenquin.

Walsh of County Kildare and Meath

One of the earlier references to a Welshman settling in this area includes Henry Walensis, who in September, 1276, was let to farm, among 10 others, in the lordship of Sir Ralph Pippard. Sir Ralph's lands were in Kildare and Meath. [Ormond Deeds, I. p.83)

Circa 1280, the lands of Nicholas de Braynoc, near Balrodan [Rodanstown], in the lordship of Moyclare [Moyglare], co. Meath, are mentioned in the Christ Church Deeds [p.134; 220]. Among the witnesses included Nichola Braynock and William the Welshman. This was the area around Rodanstown in the lordship of Moyglare in the southernmost part of county Meath, on the co. Kildare border, not far from Dublin. Lands at or near here were inherited, through the Seys family, by John Walsh around the 1480's.

In 1282 "Henry fitz Rhys, son of Henry, Lord of Penkoyte, confirmed to Christ Church, Dublin, a grant made by his ancesters to Holy Trinity, of the advowsons of the chapel anciently called Kylengly, but after the arrival of the English and Welsh in Ireland called Penkoyte, belonging to Kylculen Church, the property of Holy Trinity."
The antiquarians who have written about Kilcullen [Co. Kildare], and who have identified it only with the Eustaces, are mystified by early references to Henricus filius Philipi de Castle Martyn (a castle on the Liffey near New Kilcullen) and Nicholas filius Nicholi de Castromartin." Richard FitzEustace was there in 1200. "Richard de Penkeston" and Geoffrey Fitz-Eustace were Sheriffs of Kildare in 1355. The Parliamentary Gazeteer says Kilcullen was known as Penkoyle. Brannockstown, Walshestown, Castle Walsh, Ballimore, Bally Three Castles and Walshtown in Wicklow are all close by, and have been associated with the name Walsh.
It is evident that the lords of Penkoyte kept alive the memory of Philip "Fitz-Rhys" at the same time as they were known as "Waleys". Mr. Curtis (Medieval Ireland) comments that "Fitz-Rhys" disappears from the records in the 14th century. No doubt this was because "Walsh" was by then generally established in Kildare.
in 1331, "William Waleis and his wife Mary, daughter and heir of Richard de Herford, were seised of all lands which belonged to her father in the lordship of Denbigh of the gift of Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln and lord of Denbigh." The author, Joseph C. Walsh, goes on to say this probably accounts for the Walsh posessions along the border of Kildare and Meath. "Rhys" (as in Philip, son of Rhys) was evidently the ancestor, and both families bore for arms the lion of "the Lord Rhys." [Source: Walsh 1170-1690; by J.C. Walsh]

Other evidence of Welshmen settling in Kildare includes comes from the 1304 extent of the manor of Cloncurry, (northern) Co. Kildare, where a Henrico Waleys is mentioned among many others, including Nicholas Braynok, Thoma Walensi, Johanne le Waleys, Thoma Howell, and Adam le Waleys. [Red Book of Ormond, p.30-34]

In 1588 Lawrence Walsh published a genealogy about his family who lived in the borders of counties Kildare, Meath and Offaly. His family included those who lived at Kilmurry and Moyvally in Co. Kildare, at Ticroghan in Co. Meath, and at Donghill in Co. Offaly. They had close ties with the Earls of Kildare, at least three in the family noted as Standard-Bearers to the Earl. For more information on Lawrence Walsh's genealogy, see Descent from Walynus.

Among the families who lost their estates in the time of Cromwell (mid-17th century) were the Walshs of Moortown. A memorial in the vicinity of Donaghcomper Church commemorates the Walsh family, one of whom died in 1711. This family, which once owned the Moortown area, was for long prominent in local affairs.

Of special note included Walter Walsh who as Dean of Kildare in 1610; Oliver Walsh (died 1621) of Newtown, Dorenore; Nicholas Walsh of Moortown; and Reverend John Walsh of Castledermot, Chancellor of the Diocese of Kildare, in 1624.

Peter Walsh, a supporter of the Ormondist party during the time of the Confederation of Kilkenny, was born between 1608 and 1618 in Moortown, County Kildare. He was educated and ordained a Franciscan priest in the celebrated Irish College of St. Anthony at Louvain. Peter took a leading part in the agitation against the validity of the censures fulminated by the nuncio, Rinuccini, and acted as chaplain to the Munster army till its final defeat by the Parliamentary forces.

Among the placenames in County Kildare include three townlands named Walshestown, two adjacent townlands just south-southwest of Naas, and the other southeast of Naas nearer to Kilcullen. One of these would seem to be mentioned in a 1276 inquisition concerning the extent of lands in Villa Walensis, the lands of Elias le Waleys. Also mentioned in the record is a David Walensis who yearly renders to the Castle of Balimor on pair of iron spurs at the value of 2 1/2 d. The church at Walshestown, also referred to as 'capella Villa Walensis' and 'chapel Villae Walensium', in the deanery of Ballymore, is mentioned in the tax rolls of Holy Trinity Church, Dublin, circa 1294, when the rents were "nothing but waste", indicating the area was then in control of the Irish. Brannockstown (perhaps Villa Walensis) and Ballymore are located just south of the two adjacent Walshetown townlands.

Walsh of County Offaly (King's County)

Ranking 8th among surnames in the county of Offaly, the early history of the Walsh name is obscure to this writer. There is however a 700 acre townland, named Walshisland, in the east-central portion of the county which would appear to mark an early presence. It is located southeast of Dangein, and east of Geashill.

Walsh of County Westmeath

Ranking 8th among surnames in the county of Westmeath, the early presence of the Walsh name is marked in two adjacent townlands, totally 1200 acres, and located in the central portion of the county. The townlands, named Walshestown North and Walshestown South, are located just west and northwest of Mullingar.

Walsh of County Sligo

Brenagh, an variant form of Walsh, is recorded in Petty's 1659 "census" as one of the principal Irish names in the parish of Achonry, Barony of Leyny.

Reference Dates: Kings of England
Henry III -   1216-1272
Edward I   - 1272-1307
Edward II  - 1307-1327
Edward III - 1327-1377
Richard II - 1377-1399 (deposed)
Henry IV - 1399-1413
Henry V - 1413-1422
Henry VI - 1422-1461, 1470-1471
Edward IV - 1461-1470, 1471-1483
Edward V - 1483
Richard III - 1483-1485
Henry VII - 1485-1509
Henry VIII - 1509-1547
Edward VI - 1547-1553

The preceding article was compiled by Dennis J. Walsh, © 2009

  • Walsh Surname - Origins of the Walsh Surname.
  • Ireland - Early Walsh Heritage in Ireland.
  • England - Early Walshs in England.
  • France - The French Connection.
  • Rev. Carrigan's history of the Kilkenny Walshs - from History of the Diocese of Ossory
  • Walsh Arms - Variations on Walsh Coats of Arms.
  • Wales - Exploring Walsh Connections in Wales.
  • Possible Pedigrees - of the family of Walsh in Ireland.
  • Biographies - Short Bio's on notable Walshs, plus links to online Bios.
  • Place Names - Historical place-names of the family of Walsh.
  • Griffiths Valuation - Walshs in this mid-nineteenth century land record.

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    Walsh in the Early Irish Counties

    Wednesday, 28-Oct-2009 20:41:57 MDT