About PetersPioneersY5058 Breassal Breac

By Peter Biggins

Mack Butler, David Carlisle, Maureen Lyons Carroll, Michael Patrick Carroll, Jeff Condra, Pádraig Ó Duibhir, Damien Dwyer, Richard Peter Dwyer, Wendi Dwyer, Barbara Schaefer Dhein, Eugene Ryan Fitzpartrick, Maurice Gleeson, Allan Grant, Nancy Carroll Holecek, Nancy Hudson, Dick Hulan, Frances James, James Kennedy, Sheila Carroll Krippner, Gordy McCarville, Michael McGrath, Kris Kurtz, James O'Shea, Sean MacGorman Powell, Thomas Gerard Ryan, Michael Walsh, Timothy Wilder, and Alex Williamson contributed to this study.

Ryan Blog      Descendants of Breassal Breac      Unabridged BIG Y SNP Tree      FTDNA Project      Home Page

Two Matching Sets of Seven Names

The identification of Breasal Breac DNA rests upon the similarity between a set of seven names in the ancient genealogy of Breasal Breac and a set of seven names among 87 (or 97) of 228 testers with R-Y5058 Y-DNA.

Surnames in the Ancient Genealogy of Breassal BreacFTDNA Testers as of October 2020. See: 67-Marker Genetic Distance
SNPSurname N87 (or 97) FTDNA Kit Numbers
O'Ryans, princes of Hy-Drona, extensive possessions in Tipperary, O'Hart 775M756Ryan46338080, B144574, 495701, 936969, 533718, 88455, 100422, 109971, 126191, 134422, 138763, 164048, 176286, 180452, 183230, 308148, 326943, 343929, 349432, 381830, 395274, 462988, 456863, 616705, 325245, 511276, 535728, 629088, 636560, 817129, 904148, B6503, B167367, B348225, B513196, B79146, B8280, IN36411, IN43338, IN72458, IN81973, N8564, N37009, N41376, N60097, xxxxx
O'Dwyer, O'Hart 431Y19125Dwyer20743776, 489156, 161570, 519899, 848393, 144981, 931335, 241170, 302601, 48197, 156550, 207314, 246291, IN17496, IN89515, 526569, 563592, 816282, 919421, IN29339
Cearbhall: son of Dermod; the 15th King of Ossory, anglicized Carroll, O'Hart 450FT79210Carroll6896169, 198624, 311942, 377968, 459971, MK65867
FT44669Carroll16746822, 126432, 830815, 429761, 471177, 746749, 927208, H1170, B4579, 79313, 148230, 172410, 79954, 72409, 72617, 75072
Gorman, in Leinster, then barony of Ibrickan, County Clare, O'Hart 655FT245906Gorman736491, 62545, 71740, 165032, 178685, IN78953, 852704
Keogh of Leinster, O'Hart 505, O'Hart 420, O'Hart 553PF727Keogh4B215769, 169776, 222316, 791179
O'Cosgrave, a chief of Cualan, O'Hart 837BY19118Cosgrove3556125, B52811, 331268
Faolin, 18th King of Leinster, died 734, O'Felan of Cualan, O'Hart 762M756Whelan1172748

There are two alternative groups of Carroll testers shown in the above table. It is not known which is the historical Carrolls.

Many people with Breassal Breac DNA do not have historical surnames. The major names are: Kennedy, Ellis, Sexton, Condry, Wilder. Breassal Breac DNA has not yet been found for some historical Breassal Breac names: Murphy, O'Byrne, O'Toole, Brennan, Fitzpatrick.

Abridged Breassal Breac Big Y SNP Tree

R-Y5058     100 AD
Y5061     500 AD
650 AD

FT44669     700 AD FGC22222
1750 AD

1650 AD


M756   950 AD BY61861
750 AD

1000 AD

1200 AD

1100 AD

950 AD

100 145 153 200 270 315 320 330 335
Unabridged Tree: The complete tree is at: Breassal Breac Big Y SNP Tree
SNPs: SNPs are single nucleotide polymorphisms, or mutations, found on the Y chromosome and shared by a group of testers. Major SNPs are shown in the top part of the table. The very roughly-estimated year in which a SNP was born is shown in parentheses. Click on a SNP to see detail on Family Tree DNA's Discover More.
Last row: Sequence on the Family Tree DNA public results page for the Breassal Breac project.
Surnames: Surnames with two or more testers are listed under the SNPs. Surnames in bold are said in ancient pedigrees to be descended from Breassal Breac. Many surnames in the ancient pedigrees are not here because they have not been tested, died out, or were included in a pedigree in error. Also, surnames have multiple origins, even within a clan. The two most populous names are Ryan and Dwyer.
Breassal Breac: Breassal Breac was King of Leinster around 200 or 100 BC.

DNA helix Y-chromosome DNA shared by men with names that match names in ancient pedigrees of men descended from Breassal Breac, King of Leinster around 200 or 100 BC.

All who have BIG Y test results share 43 unique SNPs, including Y5058 SNP. These SNPs are downstream of R-P312, DF27, and Z31644.

Most have two unique STR markers: 481=24 and 520=21.

Breassal Breac DNA. Recent Y-chromosome DNA tests at Family Tree DNA show a similarity in DNA between men with the surnames O'Dwyer and Ryan. A 17th century history of Ireland connects these two names genealogically in Munster and ultimately back to Leinster. People with other names have been found to have this DNA as well: Carroll/McCarvill, Lee/Leary, Kennedy/Cannady, Gorman, Keogh/Cahoo. People who have this DNA are invited to join the Breassal Breac Project at FTDNA.

Background. Edmond Carroll, great grandfather of my wife Marilyn Carroll Biggins, was born in 1835 in County Limerick. He was baptized on February 17 at St. Patrick's Church just outside Ballyneety, in Donoughmore Parish in the Diocese of Limerick. In 1861, Edmond Carroll married Catherine Higgins in Herbertstown, County Limerick. Edmond worked as a slater in Stonepark, County Limerick. In 1880, Edmond and Catherine emigrated with their seven children to Chicago, Illinois, USA.

In 2011, Edmond's great great grandson, Michael Patrick Carroll, had his Y-chromosome DNA tested by Family Tree DNA. His DNA did not match the more common Carrolls of Oriel, Ely Carroll, or Carrolls of Niall of the Nine Hostages. He did, however, match a small group of Carrolls, as well as people named Ryan, O'Dwyer, Lee/Leary, Kennedy/Cannady, Gorman, Keogh/Cahoo.

Ancient Genealogies

Ancient genealogies for Breassal Breac include the surnames O'Dwyer, Ryan, Gorman, Carroll, Lee/Leary, Keough, and Whelan. Y-DNA testers with these names have been found to share the Y-DNA mutation called Y5061. This mutation, or SNP, is roughly dated at 550 AD. There are other names that are historically connected to these names but none has been found to have the same DNA. This could be due to a mistake in the history or the small proportion of people who have had their DNA tested at 67 markers.

Ancient Laigin and Osraighe. Dennis Walsh reviews the history, geography, and genealogy of Ireland, with a special focus on ancient and medieval Irish tribes and septs. He covers two geographic areas in the ancient kingdom of Leinster where the ancestors of people with Breassal Breac DNA came from in Ireland:

  • Laigin. O'Dwyer, Ryan, Lee/Leary, Kennedy/Cannady, Gorman, Keogh/Cahoo come from this area.
  • Osraighe. O'Carroll of Ossory come from this area. Ossory is an anglicized form of the Irish name Osraighe.

John O'Hart. In his Irish Pedigrees; or, the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation, published in 1892 (fifth edition), Volume I, John O'Hart ties together the ancient genealogies of Ryan, O'Dwyer, Carroll/McCarvill, Lee/Leary, Kennedy/Cannady, Gorman, Keogh/Cahoo. The following table is in two parts. Under the title "Descendants of Breassal Breac," the table shows how these names stem from Breassal Breac, King of Leinster around 200 or 100 BC. Under the heading "Men with Y5058 DNA," the table lists the kit number and name of men who have what we call Breassal Breac DNA.

Descendants of Breassal Breac

76. Breassal Breac: son of Fiacha Fobrug. Had two sons—1. Lughaidh, 2. Conla, between whom he divided his territory: Leinster and Ossory. O'Hart 640.
77. Lughaidh (Luv): eldest son of Breassal Breac. Ancestor of the Kings, nobility, and gentry of Leinster, all the territories on the north side of the river Barrow, from Wicklow to Drogheda. O'Hart 640.

80. Fergus Fairge: son of Nuadhas Neacht; had a brother named Baoisgne, who was the father of Fionn, commonly called "Finn MacCoole," the illustrious general in the third century of the ancient Irish Militia known as the Fiana Eirionn, or "Fenians of Ireland." O'Hart 640.

85. Cu-Corb: son of Mogh Corb; King of Leinster. Had four sons—1. Niadh Corb. 2. Messincorb. 3. Cormac. 4. Cairbre Cluitheachar. O'Hart 641.
77. Conla: son of Breassal Breac. Ancestor of the Kings, nobility, and gentry of Ossory, he gave the south part, from the said river to the sea. O'Hart 640 and 449.

110. Cearbhall: son of Dermod; the 15th King of Ossory. Anglicized Carroll. Lived around the year 900 AD. O'Hart 450

111. Braonan: son of Cearbhall; a quo O'Braonain, anglicized O'Brenan, Brenan, and Brenon. O'Hart 450

114. Giolla - Padraig; a quo Mac-Giolla Padraig. O'Hart 450

119. Connor, who settled in Thomond, and who was the ancestor of Fitzpatrick, of Limerick and Clare. O'Hart 450
86. Niadh Corb. O'Hart 641.

89. Cathair Mor: son of Felim Fiorurglas; the 109th Monarch of Ireland, in the beginning of the second century. O'Hart 641.
86. Cairbre Cluitheachar: youngest son of Cucorb. This Cairbre went into Munster, where his grandfather Conair Mor, the 97th Monarch of Ireland, gave him the territory after him called Dal Cairbre, meaning "The lands of Carbery." O'Hart 430.

93. Ferruith: son of Inneach. O'Hart 431.
90. Daire: son of Cathair Mor. O'Hart 655.

104. Gorman. The Gormans were originally located in Leinster. After their expulsion from Leinster, shortly after the English invasion, they were granted by O'Brien, Prince of Thomond, a territory in the barony of Ibrickan, co. Clare, where they settled. O'Hart 655.
90. Fiacha Baicheda: youngest son of Cathair Mor. O'Hart 761 94. Finchadh: son of Ferruith. O'Hart 431.

96. Luighneach. O'Hart 431.
94. Armborah: son of Ferruith. O'Hart 515.

98. Macliagh (" mac:" Irish, bright; "liagh, a physician): son of Olchon. Anglicised MacLea and Lee. O'Hart 515. O'Hart does not mention it, but Leary and Leahy could be variants of Lee.
93. Dunlong: son of Enna Niadh. O'Hart 761

98. Eochaidh of Leinster, son of Muredach, was the ancestor of Keogh of Leinster. O'Hart 505, 420, 553

100. Seigne, son of Brandubh; was the ancestor of O'Muircatha; anglicized Murphy. O'Hart 761

108. Bran Fionn, son of Maolmordha; the 42nd King; a quo O'Brain, anglicized O'Byrne. O'Hart 612

108. Righin ("righin:" Irish, sluggish, dilatory): son of Dubhghall. Anglicised Mulrian, O'Ryan, Ryan, and Ryne. Lived around 900 AD. O'Hart 775, 761 and 553. The O'Ryans were styled princes of Hy-Drona, and were the stock of the O'Ryans who had extensive possessions in Tipperary. O'Hart 838.
93. Brian Leth-dearg a quo Ui Briuin Cualan (or O'Brien of Cualan). O'Hart 761.

O'Cosgraidh, or O'Cosgrave, was a chief of Cualan. O'Hart 837

103. Faolin, the 18th King of Leinster, who d. 734, and a quo Ui Faolain or O'Felan of Cualan. O'Hart 762

109. Tuathal, King of Liffe: son of Ugaire; a quo O'Tuathail, anglicized O'Toole; d. 956. O'Hart 763
97. Luchair. O'Hart 431.

103. O'Dwyer. O'Hart 431.

107. Padraic O'Dwyer, Lord of Kilnamanagh, county Tipperary. O'Hart 431.
97. Greallan. O'Hart 431.

105. O'Dwyer of Kilnamanagh. O'Hart 432.

Men with Y5058 DNA

36491 Gorman
62545 Gorman
71740 Gorman
165032 Gorman
178685 Gorman
852704 Gorman
169776 Cahoo
B215769 Keogh
222316 McKeogh
791179 McKeogh

338080 Ryan
B144574 Ryan

88455 Ryan
100422 Ryan
109971 Ryan
126191 Ryan
134422 Ryan
138763 Ryan
164048 Ryan
176286 Ryan
180452 Ryan
183230 Ryan
308148 Ryan
325245 Ryan
326943 Ryan
343929 Ryan
349432 Ryan
381830 Ryan
395274 Ryan
456863 Ryan
462988 Ryan
495701 Ryan
511276 Ryan
533718 Ryan
535728 Ryan
616705 Ryan
629088 Ryan
636560 Ryan
817129 Ryan
B8280 Ryan
B79146 Ryan
B167367 Ryan
B348225 Ryan
IN36411 Ryan
IN43338 Ryan
N37009 Ryan
N60097 Ryan

181477 Ryan
227570 Ryan
472126 Ryan
331268 Cosgrove
556125 Cosgrove
B52811 Cosgrove

172748 Whelan
48197 Dwyer
144981 Dwyer
156550 Dwyer
207314 Dwyer
246291 Dwyer
526569 Dwyer
563592 Dwyer
816282 Dwyer
IN29339 Dwyer
N88747 Dwyer
65918 O'Dwyer
117464 O'Dwyer
161570 O'Dwyer
489156 O'Dwyer
743776 O'Dwyer
192348 Lahy
113946 Lee
163727 Lee
N15953 Leary
133520 O'Leary
27273 Carrell
126432 Carroll
198624 Carroll
311942 Carroll
377968 Carroll
429761 Carroll
459971 Carroll
471177 Carrell
746749 Carroll
746822 Carroll
830815 Carroll
B4579 Carroll
H1170 Carroll
79313 McCarval
148230 McCarvell
72410 McCarvell
79954 McCarvill
72409 McCarville
72617 McCarville
75072 McCarville

Men with Z255 DNA

It is possible that Breassal Breac had Z255 DNA, dated 100 BC, instead of Y5058. The surnames below are supposed to be descended from Breassal Breac, but have Z255 DNA instead of Y5058. See Z255 Project. Z255 DNA has also been called Leinster DNA and Irish Sea DNA.

277859 Dunn

N100495 Gorman

N23750 O'Connor
B3564 Burns
226672 Burns
373390 Burns
B2837 Burns
N2871 Burns
5074 Byrne
31641 Byrne
196076 Byrne
232724 Byrne
246890 Byrne
325580 Byrne
54354 Byrnes

92117 Kavanaugh

32324 Murphy
185218 Murphy
312787 Murphy
B26702 Murphy

166226 Ryan

260225 Toole

195824 Whelan
141733 Whelan
85957 Whelan
118994 Carroll
236807 Carroll
252617 Carroll
261839 Carroll
261977 Carroll
263525 Carrell
28645 Carroll
B18161 Carroll

234182 Brennan
B1932 Brennan
184283 Brannin
128123 Brannin

91155 Fitzpatrick
146956 Fitzpatrick
151633 Fitzpatrick
362579 Fitzpatrick
H2172 Fitzpatrick
H2210 Fitzpatrick
H1868 Fitzpatrick

Men with FGC5494 DNA

It is possible that Breassal Breac had FGC5494 DNA instead of Y5058 or Z255. The surnames below are supposed to be descended from Breassal Breac, but have FGC5494 DNA instead of Y5058. FGC5494 was born in 2450 BC, long before Breassal Breac is supposed to have been born. See L21 Project. Brennan and Fitzpatrick, however, share the later A1506, which is dated at 700 AD.

Mike and Ian Fitzpatrick claim that O'Hart mistakenly relied on sources that associated Brennan and Fitzpatrick with Carroll in Ossory. He would not have made this mistake had he relied instead on Mac Firbis. See: "The Similar-Sounding Surnames of Haplogroup R-BY140757," by Dr Mike Fitzpatrick and Ian Fitzpatrick, The Journal of the Fitzpatrick Clan Society, 2, 1-41.

109733 Gorman 159345 Whalen
294561 Whalen
169898 Whalen
114211 Whalen
570411 Carroll

B1932 Brannon
167882 Brennan
35612 Brannan
83762 Brannan
187527 Brannen
59191 Brannon
360142 Branan
183756 Brannon
93853 Brannan
65270 Brannon
8630 Brenan
184283 Brannin
128123 Brannin

6539 Fitzpatrick
232012 Fitzpatrick
251442 Fitzpatrick
259589 Fitzpatrick
262717 Fitzpatrick
362840 Fitzpatrick
403759 Fitzpatrick
B3697 Fitzpatrick
H1109 Fitzpatrick
H1225 Fitzpatrick
H1324 Fitzpatrick
H1626 Fitzpatrick
H1631 Fitzpatrick
H1648 Fitzpatrick
H1770 Fitzpatrick
H1878 Fitzpatrick
H1890 Fitzpatrick
H1896 Fitzpatrick

Ryan DNA Project. Ryans of Breassal Breac are by far the largest group of Ryans in the Ryan DNA Project at Family Tree DNA. Maurice Gleeson, a Medical Doctor in London, is a genetic genealogist and runs the Ryan DNA Project. He also has a Ryan DNA Blog.

Ryan of Idrone and Owneybeg. Ryan is the most populous surname among Y-DNA testers who are descendants of Breassal Breac. And, about three out of four Ryans who have tested their Y-DNA are descendants of Breassal Breac. The Ryans of Breassal Breac are historically from the baronies of Owney in County Tipperary and Owneybeg in County Limerick. The central town is Newport in Co. Tipperary. The first mention in history of the O'Ryans is of the O'Ryans of Idrone about the year 1000. Idrone was a medieval barony in Leinster, in what is now County Carlow. The name Idrone derived from the old Gaelic Hy Drona. The chief of this tribe of O'Ryans was generally referred to as the Lord or King of Idrone.

Derek Ryan has a big interest in the Ryans in general and runs a Facebook page about the history of the O'Mulryan Clan of Owney & Owneybeg known as Owney O'Mulryan. See: Ryan Clan of Tipperary & Limerick.

Leinster Map
Excerpt from 1899 Map of Baronies of Ireland, showing where testers named Ryan, Dwyer, and Carroll were from.
Ryan: Owney and Owneybeg upper left and Idrone upper right. The early barony of Idrone was split into East and West in 1799, separated by the River Barrow. The River Barrow flows south from there, separates County Kilkenny and County Wexford, and empties into the Celtic Sea south of Waterford City.
Dwyer: Kilnamanagh, east of Owney and Owneybeg.
Carroll: Ossory/Osraige, which was roughly County kilkenny and County Laois (Queens). See: Carroll of Ossory.

Dwyer of Kilnamanagh. Dwyer is the second most populous surname among Y-DNA testers who are descendants of Breassal Breac. And, about half of the Dwyers who have tested their Y-DNA are descendants of Breassal Breac. In 1933, Sir Michael O'Dwyer published a book entitled The O'Dwyers of Kilnamanagh: The History of an Irish Sept. The book is a historical and genealogical treatise detailing the O'Dwyer (Ó Duibhir) noble family who had commanded the area around Thurles from the pre-Norman era until losing their castles and land during the Cromwellian confiscations of the 17th century. Chapter I covers the early history down to the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. Sir Michael O'Dwyer traced his ancestry back to the ancient genealogies of Geoffrey Keating and John O'Hart.

John O'Dwyer, kit 161570, has Y5058 Breassal Breac DNA and traces his ancestry back to Sir Michael O'Dwyer.

Murnane. In 2018, Ruth Murnane McKindles has her brother Mark Murnane, kit #847110, tested at FTDNA. He was found to have Breassal Breac DNA. In 1991, his cousin Edward D. Murnane wrote a book called It’s Not Such a Long Way to Tipperary: The Story of the Murnane Family of Cappauniac, County Tipperary. Edward was a journalist and traveled with President Reagan.

Geoffrey Keating. The names O'Dwyer and O'Ryan are connected genealogically on page 255 of the John Mahony translation of The History of Ireland, by Geoffrey Keating (1569-1644):

The reader must now be made aware, that all the true Lagenians, of the race of Erimhon, are the descendants of this Labraidh Loingsech, with the single exception of the clan of O'Nuallain, (or O'Nolan,) which is descended from Cobthach Cael Breagh. The following are the principal family names amongst the Lagenians, to wit, O'Connor Falghi, with the branches that have sprung therefrom; O'Cavanagh; O'Toohill (or Toole;) O'Brinn (or Byrne;) Mac Gilla-Patrick or Fitzpatrick; O'Dunn; O'Dimasaigh (or Dempsy;) O'Dwyer; O'Ryan; and all the Septs that trace their origin to any of these names. The chief part of the Leinster clans are descended from Cathaeir Mor, (Caheer Morr.) However, the clan of Mac Gilla-Patrick does not draw its origin from that king; for the race of Mac Gilla-Patrick branched off from the Lagenian stock at Bresal Brec, son of Fiacaidh Fobric, the fourteenth ancestor from Cathaeir upwards. This Bresal had two sons, namely, Lugaidh Lothfinn and Conla. The principality of Leinster was divided between these two, and what lies from the Barrow eastwards fell to Lugaidh and to his posterity, and the part that lies westward, from the Barrow to Slighe Dala (Shlee Dawla) fell to Conla. Of these sons, and of this division made between, these chiefs we find the following testimony in the duan which begins thus, "The blessed Story of the Saints of Fal:"
"Lugaidh and Conla, generous hearts,
Were the sons of mighty Bresal Brec;
From Conla of wounds the Osraide came,
And of Laighen, Lugaidh was the sire."
From Lugaidh descended the O'Dwyers also, who had branched off from the stock of Cathaeir Mor, in the fifth generation before him. Cathaeir Mor was the son of Feidlimidh Firurglas, son of Cormac Gelta-gaeth, son of Niacorb, son of Cucorb. Carbi Cluthecar, from whom the O'Dwyers are sprung, was the son of Cucorb, the last named of these. Again, it was from Nathi, son of Crimthann, son of Enna Kennselach, the seventh generation from Cathaeir downwards, that the O'Ryans sprang.
O'Dwyer and O'Ryan, who are said to be related in the first and last paragraphs, have what we call Breassal Breac DNA. But the other names mentioned in the first paragraph do not (that is, O'Connor, O'Cavanagh, O'Toole, O'Byrne, Fitzpatrick, O'Dunn, Dempsey). This could be due to a mistake in the history or the small proportion of people who have had their DNA tested.

Y-Chromosome DNA

What we call Breassal Breac DNA is Y-chromosome DNA. By testing the Y-chromosome DNA, one can determine the origin of a paternal line. Note that the Y-DNA strictly checks the paternal line, with no influence of any females along that line. Females do not receive the Y-chromosome, and therefore females cannot be tested for the paternal line. If you are a female and would like to know about your paternal line, you would need to have a brother or a male relative from that line to be tested. ((By testing the mtDNA, males and females can determine the origin of their maternal line. Note that the mtDNA strictly checks the maternal line, with no influence of any males along that line. Both males and females receive the mtDNA from the mother.)

Breassal Breac DNA is identified by mutations in the Y chromosome. There are two kinds of mutations: STRs and SNPs.

  • STR. Short Tandem Repeat. Markers 481 and 520 are key for Breassal Breac.
  • SNP. Single Nucleotide Polymorphism. Y5058 identifies Breassal Breac DNA.
For more on these mutation types, see DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy.

Predicting Breassal Breac DNA with STRs. There are two Y-chromosome STR markers that are fairly unique for Breassal Breac participants who have tested 67 markers.

  • Marker 481, the 58th marker, is 24, with a few at 23, 25, 26, and 27.
  • Marker 520, the 59th marker, is 21, with a few at 20 and 22.

SNPs. Some people in the database have been tested for Y-chromosome SNPs. A SNP is a "single nucleotide polymorphism," a mutation that occurs very infrequently.

Michael Sager of FTDNA maintans a Public Y-DNA Haplotree. Tester surnames are shown if two or more kits allow public project profile sharing and have the same surname spelling. Learn about the tree at: Public Y-DNA Haplotree

Most Breassal Breac who have tested any number of STRs are predicted by FTDNA to have the M269 SNP. All Breassal Breac Big Y testers have the Y5058 SNP and a number of SNPs between M269 and Y5058. The SNPs are shown below. Click on a SNP to see Family Tree DNA's Discover More..

  • M173     Kazakhstan     (20000 BC)     Branches to Viking
  • M343     Southern Russia     (17000 BC)
  • M269     Southern Russia     (4350 BC)
  • L23     Southern Russia     (4250 BC)
  • L51     Ukraine     (4000 BC)
  • P310     Ukraine     (3300 BC)
  • L151     Ukraine     (2950 BC)     Branches to Saxon
  • P312     Southern Germany     (2750 BC)     "Celtic"     Branches to L21
  • Z46516     Southern Germany     (2700 BC)
  • ZZ11     Southern Germany     (2700 BC)
  • DF27     Pyrenees     (2650 BC)
  • ZZ12     Pyrenees     (2550 BC)
  • FTT1     Pyrenees     (2500 BC)
  • FGC78762     Leinster     (2450 BC)
  • ZZ19     Leinster     (2400 BC)
  • Z31644     Leinster     (2350 BC)     Z31644 Project at FTDNA, has set up several categories for the Y5058 SNP
  • BY2285     Leinster     (2350 BC)
  • Y5075     Leinster     (2150 BC)
  • Y5077     Leinster     (1950 BC)
  • Y5058     Leinster     (100 AD)
  • Y5061     Leinster     (500 AD)

R1b-DF27 Descendant Tree
Excerpt from R-Z31644 Descendant Tree by Tiger Walsh. An overview of the early and major branches. Y5058, ancestor of Breassal Breac, is circled in red. See: Z31644 Project at FTDNA.

R-Y5058 Breassal Breac Big Y SNP Tree

The following pointers will help to navigate the Breassal Breac Big Y SNP Tree shown in the window below.

  1. SNPs. SNPs (e.g., Y5058) are single nucleotide polymorphisms, or mutations, found on the Y chromosome of male BIG Y testers. SNPs that are inherited by two or more testers allow the creation of tree branches with named SNPs.
  2. Discover More. Click on a SNP in the tree below to see Family Tree DNA's story of the SNP, including the estimated year that it was born.
  3. Testers. After each SNP are the names of Big Y testers whose DNA named the SNP.
  4. Subgroup. Click on the subgroup after a SNP to see the names of Big Y testers (y) and other members who are predicted to have the SNP. The subgroups are based on surname, genetic distance among group members, and unique STRs. Shown is a matrix of the the 67-STR genetic distances among the members based on the McGee Utility.
  5. Unique STRs. Shown after some SNPs are STRs (short tandem repeats) that are unique for that SNP.
  6. Public Results Index Number. The italicized three-digit number (e.g., 100) helps you find a tester's category on the FTDNA public results page for the Breassal Breac project. Click on the number to go to the public results page. Shown are tester last name, kit number, ancestor's name and country, haplogroup (SNP), and up to 111 STRs.

R-Y5058 Breassal Breac Big Y SNP Tree

(See also Abridged Tree.)

  • R-Y5058. 100 AD. STR 481=24, 520=21. Part of a large block of 24 SNPs. Downstream of R-M269, P312, DF27, and Z31644. Probably the SNP of Breassal Breac, who was King of Leinster around 200 or 100 BC

About the Tree. The tree shows Y-chromosome SNPs of Breassal Breac Big Y testers. Big Y is a Y-chromosome testing program offered by Family Tree DNA since 2014. It identifies a man's SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) and compares those SNPs with other men it has tested. The Breassal Breac Big Y SNP Tree includes the SNPs of all Breassal Breac members who have been tested under the Family Tree DNA Big Y program, which tests a large part of the Y-chromosome.

The tree is based on FTDNA's Big Y Block Tree, which is accessible by each Big Y tester from his homepage at FTDNA.

Michael Sager of FTDNA maintans a Public Y-DNA Haplotree. Tester surnames are shown if two or more kits allow public project profile sharing and have the same surname spelling. Learn about the tree at: Public Y-DNA Haplotree

For a summary of Big Y, see the FTDNA Big Y Q&A.

YFull has a SNP tree at R-A50. The tree is based on testers who submit their raw data. The cost is $50. As of March 2022, 13 testers had submitted data. SNP age estimates are made by YFull based on the Adamov et al 2015 study. These estimates are updated when new testers are added.

Rob Spencer's SNP Tracker provides a SNP progression list, estimated age, and map. SNPs are based on FTDNA Big Y data. Ages are based on YFull and interpolated.

SNPs are either named or unnamed.

  • Unnamed SNPs have a 7 or 8 digit number based on their position on the Build 37 human reference genome. The letters indicate the nature of the mutation, e.g. from C to T.
  • Named SNPs have been given a short name to make them easieer to remember. If you wave over them with your cursor, you will see the longer SNP designation. SNP names start with letters.
    • "A" SNPs were named by Thomas Krahn. See the YSEQ SNP Index.
    • "AM" or "AMM" SNPs were named by the Laboratory of Forensic Genetics and Molecular Archaeology, UZ Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
    • "BY" SNPs were found with Big Y at Family Tree DNA. See the BY SNP Index.
    • "CTS" SNPs were named by Chris Tyler-Smith of the The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, England.
    • "DF" SNPs were named by an anonymous researcher using publicly available full-genome-sequence data, including 1000 Genomes Project data; named in honor of the DNA-Forums.org genetic genealogy community.
    • "F" SNPs were named by Li Jin at Fudan University in China.
    • "FGC" SNPs were named by Full Genomes Corporation of Virginia and Maryland.
    • "FT," "FTA," and "FTB" SNPs were found with Big Y-700 at Family Tree DNA. See the FT SNP Index.
    • "L" SNPs were named by Thomas Krahn in honor of the late Leo Little.
    • "M" SNPs were named by Peter Underhill, Ph.D., of Stanford University.
    • "PF" SNPs were named by Paolo Francalacci at the Università di Sassari in Italy.
    • "S" SNPs were named at ScotlandsDNA by James F. Wilson, D.Phil, Edinburgh University.
    • "SK" SNPs were named by Mark Stoneking, Ph.D., Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
    • "V" SNPs were named by Rosaria Scozzari and Fulvio Cruciani, Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie “Charles Darwin,” Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy
    • "Y" SNPs were named by the YFull Team using data from the 1000 Genomes Project.
    • "Z" SNPs were assigned by the Community.
    • "ZZ" SNPs were named by Alex Williamson. Mutations in palindromic regions. Each ZZ prefix represents two possible SNP locations
A more complete list of letters for named SNPs can be found on the ISOGG tree.

Table of Contents     

Major Surname Projects

The FTDNA surname projects for the major historical surnames are as follows.

Evolutionary Tree

The tree below shows how the Breassal Breac members might have branched off from each other over time. It is a PHYLIP tree, prepared by Sean MacGorman Powell, administrator of the Gorman project at FTDNA. The tree is inferrred assuming that the branching occurred in a parsimonious way. The tree is just a very rough estimate of the actual branching points between the testees' lineages. We do not know how the branching actually did occur. The width of the tree is about 850 years, as indicated by the scale of 200 years. (My wife Marilyn's cousin, Michael Patrick Carroll, kit No. 198624, is 13th from the bottom.)

Irish Surnames: Ryan, O'Dwyer, Gorman, Lee/Leary, and Carroll

Sources for the table below:
Surname Woulfe MacLysaght Irish Times
Ryan, Raines

See also Maurice Gleeson's Ryan Blog
Ó MAOILRIAGHAIN, Ó MAOILRIAIN—I—O Mulrigan, O Mulryan, O Mulrean, Mulryan, Mulroyan, Mulryne, Mulrine, Mulrain, O'Ryan, Ryan; 'descendant of Maolriain' (follower of Riaghan or Rian); the name of a family of Leinster origin who settled in the 13th or 14th century in Uaithne-tire and Uaithne-cliach, now the baronies of Owney, in Co. Tipperary, and Owneybeg, in the east of Co. Limerick, where they became very numerous and powerful. In 1610, William Ryan surrendered to the. king all his landed property and all his rights of or in the barony of Owney O Mulrian, and received them back by letters patent. The family property was, however, lost in the confiscations of the 17th century. There are many very respectable families of the name in Tipperary and Limerick, and the name itself is very common in these counties. It is to be distinguished from Ó Riain, which see.
Ó RIAGHAIN, Ó RIAIN—I—O Rian, O'Ryan, Ryan: 'descendant of Riaghan,' or 'Rian'; the name of a Carlow family who were lords of Uí Dróna, the present barony of Idrone, and are now numerous through Leinster; to be distinguished from Ó Maoilriain of Munster and Ó Ruaidhín of Connacht, which are both now incorrectly anglicised O'Ryan or Ryan.
Ó RUAIDHÍN—I—O Ruyne, O Royn, O Roen, Rouine, Royan, Rowen, (Ruane, O'Ryan, Ryan); 'descendant of Ruaidhín' (diminutive of ruadh, red); the same as Ó Ruadháin, which see, both forms being used by the same family, and equally common in Connacht. Some of the name have been long settled in Leinster.
RYAN, O'Mulrian. Ryan is amongst the ten most numerous surnames in Ireland with an estimated population of twenty-seven thousand five hundred. Only a very small proportion of these use the prefix 0. Subject to one exception, to be noticed later in this section, it is safe to say that the great majority of the twenty-seven thousand five hundred Ryans are really O'Mulryans—this earlier form of the name is, however, now almost obsolete: even in the census of 1659 in Co. Limerick Ryan outnumbers Mulryan by about four to one, and to-day there is not one O'Mulryan or Mulryan in the Telephone Director. The sept of O Maoilriain was located in Owney, formerly called Owney O'Mulryan, which forms two modern baronies on the borders of Limerick and Tipperary, in which counties the Ryans are particularly numerous to-day. They do not appear in the records in this territory (formerly belonging to the O'Heffernans) until the fourteenth century, but after they settled there, they became very powerful. Nevertheless they did not produce any really outstanding figures in Irish history or literature, except the romantic character known as Eamonn a 'chnuic, or Ned of the Hill, i.e. Edmond O'Ryan (c. 1680-1724), Gaelic poet, gentleman, soldier and finally rapparee, beloved of the people, though he met his death through the treachery of one of them. Two abbes called O'Ryan were executed during the French Revolution. Luke Ryan (c. 1750-1789), first an officer in the Irish Brigade, made a huge fortune as a privateer, was condemned to death and four times reprieved, and having been cheated out of his money died in a debtor's prison. Many Ryans have distinguished themselves in the United States. Father Abram Joseph Ryan (1838-1886), of a Clonmel family, was poet of the Confederates in the Civil War; another Tipperary man, Patrick John Ryan (1831-1911), was Archbishop of Philadelphia, and Stephen Vincent Ryan (1825-1896) from Clare was Bishop of Buffalo. In other walks of life the most noteworthy Irish-American of this name was Thomas Fortune Ryan (1851-1928), a millionaire who began life as a penniless youth. The Ryans of Co. Carlow and other counties in that part of Leinster, are distinct from those dealt with above, though both are of the race of Cathaoir Mor, King of Leinster in the second century. These are O Riain, not 0 Maoilriain: the chief of this sept was lord of Ui Drona (whence the name of the barony of Idrone in Co. Carlow). Ryan. Ryan is today one of the commonest surnames in Ireland. The vast majority of Ryans today are descended from the family of Ó Maoilriagháin, meaning "descendant of a devotee of St. Riaghan". The anglicisation "Mulryan" began to fade as early as the seventeenth century, and is today virtually unknown apart from a few pockets in counties Galway and Leitrim, possibly derived from a different family. As Mulryan it has also been recorded in Spain, among the descendants of Irish émigrés. The surname first appears in the fourteenth century in the barony of Owney, (formerly Owney O’Mulryan) on the borders of counties Limerick and Tipperary, where the Ó Maoilriaghain displaced the O'Heffernans. Even today the surname is highly concentrated in this area. In Carlow and adjoining areas, Ryan may also derive from Ó Riagháin, sometimes confused with Regan. From their origin in the barony of Idrone in Carlow (they were chiefs of the Uí Drone) this family spread widely into the adjoining counties of Wexford and Kilkenny. Members of the Ryan family of Tomcoole in Wexford have been prominent in Irish politics for almost a century, over three generations. The surname was ranked 7th most common in 1890 and 6th in 1996. An educated guess at the total of Ryans in Ireland at present puts their number at something over 28,000. Patrick J. Ryan (1883-1964) emigrated to the U.S., won a gold medal for hammer-throwing for that country in the 1920 Olympics, and then returned to farming in Pallasgreen in Limerick. The record he set in 1913 stood for 25 years. Tony Ryan (1936 - ) has had mixed fortunes as one of Ireland’s leading businessmen. His aircraft leasing company Guinness Peat Aviation was one of the most successful in the world until its virtual collapse in 1992. With his sons, he now controls Ireland’s only independent airline, Ryanair. Richard Ryan (1946 - ) is a distinguished poet and currently Ireland’s ambassador to Korea. John Ryan (1925-1992) had a long and varied career as a broadcaster, painter, publisher and owner of the famous Bailey pub in Dublin, but will be remembered best for his association with Flann O’Brien, Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Behan.

See also The O'Dwyer Clan
Ó DUBHUIDHIR—I—O Duvire, O Duire, O'Dwyer, Dwyer, Dwire, &c.; 'descendant of Dubhodhar' (black Odhar); also written Ó Duibhidhir, which see; the name of a Tipperary family, of Leinster origin, who were chiefs of Coill na manach, now the barony of Kilnamanagh, in the west of that county. Philip O'Dwyer and Owen O'Dwyer were exempted from pardon for life and estate in the Cromwellian Act of 1652. Some of the name held high rank in the service of France, Austria and Russia. The name is now common in all the south of Ireland. Ó Duibhidhir is also a Donegal name, but whether or not the family is a branch of that of Tipperary, I am unable to say. O'DWYER. The O'Dwyers (in Irish Ó Duibhir, descendant of Duibhir) were an important sept in Co. Tipperary, though not comparable in power or extent of territory with the neighbouring great septs. Their lands were in Kilnamanagh, the mountainous area lying between the town of Thurles and the county Limerick. The O'Dwyers were always noted for their staunch resistance to English aggression and many are recorded in this connexion in mediaeval and early modern times. Coming down to 1798, Michael Dwyer (I771-1816) defied the English Government forces for five years: his end, after being sentenced to transportation following his voluntary surrender in 1803, was to become a policeman in Australia. In our own day, Most Rev. Edward O'Dwyer (1842-1917), the Bishop of Limerick, endeared himself to the people of Ireland by his manly stand on behalf of Sinn Fein and the men of 1916. In America Joseph O'Dwyer (1841-1898) was noted as a pioneer physician, particularly in regard to the treatment of diphtheria. William O'Dwyer (b. 1890) also had a remarkable career: starting as an emigrant labourer from Co. Mayo he became Mayor of New York and one of the most notable of United States ambassadors. A very full account of this sept is given in The O'Dwyers of Kilnamanagh by Sir Michael O'Dwyer. O'Dwyer. In Irish the surname is Ó Duibhir or Ó Dubhuidhir, made up of dubh, meaning "dark" or "black" and odhar, meaning "tawny" or "sallow". The resumption of the "O" prefix has now made "O'Dwyer" much the most common version. In 1890 less than 14% of births were recorded as "O’Dwyer", while in 1996 it had reached almost 65%. Their original homeland was in the mountains of west Tipperary, at Kilnamanagh between the modern town of Thurles and the Limerick border, where they held power and resisted the encroachments of the English down to modern times. The surname is still extremely common in this area, but Dwyers and O'Dwyers have now also spread into the neighbouring counties of Limerick, Cork and Kilkenny. There is also now a significant settlement of O’Dwyers in Co. Kerry, where the townland of Ballydwyer in Ballymacelligot parish records their influence. The book The O’Dwyers of Kilnamanagh (1933), the best history of the family, was written by Sir Michael O’Dwyer, prominent in the Indian civil service for many years. He was held politically responsible for the massacre of Amritsar in 1919 and was assassinated in London by an Indian nationalist in 1940. In 1890 the surname was the 101st most common in Ireland; today it is ranked 94th. Joseph O’Dwyer (1841-1898) was a doctor in the U.S., famed for his innovations in the treatment of Diphtheria. William O’Dwyer was another Irish-American, an emigrant labourer who went . on to become Mayor of New York and United States ambassador. The most famous bearer of the name in modern times was Michael Dwyer (1771-1825), who took part in the 1798 Rising against the English, and continued his resistance single-handed up to 1803. He was transported to New South Wales, and became High Constable of Sydney. Rev. Edward O’Dwyer (1842-1917) was a distinguished Roman Catholic Bishop of Limerick. Mick O’Dwyer (1936 - ) was Gaelic football’s most successful coach. After a career which brought him four All-Ireland medals, he went on as coach to lead Kerry to 8 All-Ireland championships between 1975 and 1986.
Gorman Mac GORMÁIN—IV—M'Gormane, M'Cormaine, MacGorman, Gorman, (O'Gorman); 'son of Gormán' (diminutive of gorm, blue); the name of a Leinster family who were formerly lords of Ui Bairche, in the barony of Slievemargy, in the south-east of the present Leix. Soon after the Anglo-Norman invasion, they were driven from this territory and settled, some in Monaghan, others in the barony of Ibrickan, in West Clare, where they became very numerous. The head of the Clare branch of the family was marshal of O'Brien's forces. Even before the end of the 16th century, the name had spread into the neighbouring counties of Galway, Tipperary and Limerick. O'Gorman has been adopted in modern times, but incorrectly, as the anglicised form by some of the name in Munster; but MacGorman, the more correct form, is still retained in the North. MAcGORMAN, O'GORMAN. This name is of particular interest philologically because although it is (with rare exceptions) really a Mac name it is almost always found to-day—when not plain Gorman—as O'Gorman. This can be accounted for by the fact that in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when the native Irish were in complete subjection, the Gaelic prefixes Mac and 0 were universally allowed to fall into disuse, particularly in the case of some names like Gorman; then, when the spirit of the nation revived, these prefixes were gradually restored, but so completely had the form MacGorman fallen into oblivion that its rightful bearers when resuming a prefix assumed the wrong one and became O'Gorman, with the result that MacGormans are hardly to be found at all in Ireland today except in Co. Monaghan. O'Gormans are found chiefly in Co. Clare, while plain Gorman is more usual in Co. Tipperary. The Irish form is Mac Gorma'in (derived from gorm, blue). Originally this sept inhabited the barony of Slievemargy in Co. Leix near the town of Carlow, of which their chief was lord, but they were driven out at the Norman invasion and settled in Ibrickan, West Clare, and in Co. Monaghan. In the former they attained considerable influence and the head of the sept became hereditary marshal to O'Brien of Thomond. The MacGormans of Ibrickan were noted especially in the fifteenth century for their wealth, hospitality and for their patronage of the Gaelic poets. Probably the man chiefly responsible for the substitution of O for Mac in the name was the celebrated gigantic Chevalier Thomas O'Gorman (1725-1808), exile vineyard owner in France, who, after being ruined by the French Revolution, became a constructor of Irish pedigrees. Several O'Gormans were prominently associated with Irish politics, notably Nicholas Purcell O'Gorman (1778-1857), secretary of of the Catholic Association, and Richard O'Gorman (1820-1895), the Young Irelander. The original name has a place in the roll of distinguished Irishmen, in the early days before the prefix was dropped, in the person of Finn MacGorman who was Bishop of Kildare 1148-1160 and is famous as the compiler of " The Book of Leinster." Gorman. Gorman is a relatively common name in England, where it is derived from the Middle English personal name Gormund, from gar, meaning "spear", and mund, meaning "protection". A few Irish Gormans may be of this connection, but in the vast majority of cases in Ireland, the surname comes from the original Irish Mac Gormain, from a diminutive of gorm, meaning "blue". The original homeland was in Co. Laois, in Slievmargy, but they were dispossessed by the Prestons, a Norman family, and removed to counties Clare and Monaghan. The Clare branch became well-known in later years for the extent of their wealth and hospitality, and for their patronage of poetry. From Clare they spread also into the adjoining county of Tipperary. When the native Irish began to resume the old Ó and Mac prefixes to their names in the nineteenth century, the Clare family mistakenly became "O'Gorman", probably following the error of the then best known bearer of the surname, Chevalier Thomas O'gorman (1725-1808), an Irish exile in France. In Tipperary, the name has generally remained "Gorman", while in Monaghan the original MacGorman still exists, along with the other two versions.
Leahy, Lee, Leary Ó LAOCHDHA—I—O Leaghy, O Leahy, Leahy, Leehy, &c.; 'descendant of Laochdha' (heroic); an old Munster surname; now very common in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary; to be distinguished from Ó Lathaigh, which is sometimes similarly anglicised.
Ó LAOIDHIGH—I—O Loye, O Lye, O Leye, O Lie, O'Lee, Lee; 'descendant of Laoidheach' (poetic); the name of a West Connacht family, who, according to MacFirbis, were chiefs of Ui Briuin Eola. They were also erenaghs of Annadown, and some of them were distinguished as ecclesiastics; but they are best known as a medical family, having been for many centuries hereditary physicians to the O'Flahertys. As early as the 15th century, a learned member of the family produced a most complete course of medicine, written in Latin and Irish. The family is now widely dispersed.
Mac LAOIDHIGH—IV—MacLea, MacLee, Lea, Lee, Leigh; 'son of Laoidheach' (poetic); the name of an old family in Leix.
O'LEE, MacAlee. Lee is a fairly widespread name in Ireland, but as it is also a very common indigenous surname in England it is impossible to say in the absence of a pedigree, or at least a well-established tradition, whether a family of the name in Ireland is Gaelic in origin or of planter stock. The latter were well established in Co. Tipperary and elsewhere at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Confining our attention to the former it may first be stated that there are four distinct septs to be considered, two O's and two Macs, so that in English we find occasional O'Lees and MacLees side by side with the simple form Lee. Ó Laidhigh is the Connacht form, centered in Co. Galway ; and Ó Laoidhigh the Munster, chiefly associated with Counties Cork and Limerick. MacLaoidhigh belongs to Leix and is written Lea in the census of 1659; and Mac an Leagha to Ulster, anglicized as Lee, MacAlee and MacAlea. Laoidhigh is the genitive case of laoidheach the adjective formed from laoidh (a poem).

The most important of these septs were the O'Lees of West Connacht, best known as a medical family, not only chiefs in their own right but also hereditary physicians to the powerful sept of O'Flaherty. The Lees, indeed, were traditionally doctors by profession, for in addition to the family just mentioned a number of mediaeval medical treatises in Irish and Latin were written by MacLees. The form MacLee was sometimes used by the O'Lees of Connacht, who were also erenaghs of Annaghdown: among the many ecclesiastics of this sept was John O'Lee, notable Dominican Bishop of Killala from 1253 to 1275. Another Father John Lee (b. c. 1560) was an Irish priest prominent in the educational sphere in Paris. He came from a leading family in Waterford, of which city another member of it was Sheriff from 1575 to 1580. Andrew Lee (1650-1734), colonel successively of Clare's and Mountcashel's Regiments, was one of the very greatest soldiers ever to fight for France in the Irish Brigade.
Lee. In appearance Lee is a common English name, used either for a person who lived near a pasture or meadow, from the Old English lea, or for a person from one of the many places so called, such as Lea in Shropshire, and many bearing the name in Ireland today will be descended from English settlers. In the majority of cases, however, Lee is the anglicised version of a number of original Irish names: Ó Laoidhigh, from laoidheach, meaning "poet" or "poetic", which arose separately in Connacht in west Galway, and in the south in the Cork/Limerick area, and Mac Laoidhigh, ("McLee") from the same stem, which is found in Co. Laois. In Ulster Mac an Leagha ("McAlee"), was also sometimes anglicised as Lee, as was, in Co. Monaghan, Mac an Giolla Eachaidh "(McCloy"). The most historically notable of the families were the O'Lees of Galway, powerful subchieftains under the O'Flahertys.
Carroll Ó CEARBHAILL—I—O Carrowill, O Carwell, O Carvill, O'Carroll, Carroll, Carvill; 'descendant of Cearbhall' (a very common Irish personal name). There are several distinct families so named, of which the following are the best known:
  1. Ó Cearbhaill of Eile, who derive their name and descent from Cearbhall, lord of Eile, who fought at Clontarf. The head of this family was originally lord of all Eile, which comprised the baronies of Clonlisk and Ballybritt, in the present Offaly, and Ikerrin and Eliogarty, in Co. Tipperary; but after the Anglo-Norman invasion, Ikerrin and Eliogarty became tributary to the Earl of Ormond, and only the portion of Eile subsequently called Ely O'Carroll, remained in possession of O'Carroll, who resided at Birr. This family is now very numerous.
  2. Ó Cearbhaill, of Oriel. This family is of the same stock as the MacMahons and Maguires, and were chiefs of Oriel until about the period of the Anglo-Norman invasion, when they disappear from history. They are still numerous in Monaghan and Louth.
  3. Ó Cearbhaill of Loch Lein, anciently chiefs of the Eoghanacht of Loch Lein, the district about Killarney, until dispossessed by the O'Donoghues.
  4. Ó Cearbhaill of Ossory who are descended from Cearbhall, a celebrated chieftain of Ossory at the middle of the 9th century.
  5. Ó Cearbhaill, of Tara, a branch of the southern Ui Neill. This family disappeared from history at an early period.
  6. Ó Cearbhaill of Calry, in Sligo and Leitrim.
The MacBradys of Cavan are said, but erroneously, to be a branch of this family.
Mac CEARBHAILL—IV—M'Carrowle, M'Carvell, M'Carwell, M'Kerwell, MacCarroll, MacCarvill, MacCarville, MacKervel, MacErvel, Carroll, Carvill, (Cardwell); 'son of Cearbhall'; a celebrated family of musicians in Ulster. In 1594, Ballym'Carroll, parcel of the lands of Gillekeaghe M'Carroll, of Ballymack-Carroll, was escheated. There was also a family of the name in Leix.
O'CARROLL, MAcCARROLL, MacCarvill. Prior to the Gaelic resurgence, at the end of the last century, under the influence of the Gaelic League, and later of the Rising of 1916, a minor result of which was the resumption of the prefixes 0 and Mac so widely discarded two or three centuries earlier, the simple form Carroll was almost universally used. As MacCarroll, an entirely distinct surname (a note on which appears at the end of this section), is also often shorn of its prefix Mac, confusion may well arise in the case of the name Carroll. However, undoubtedly, the great majority of people called Carroll are, in fact, O'Carrolls. Before the Anglo-Norman invasion there were six distinct septs of O'Carroll, the two most important of which were O'Carroll of Ely O'Carroll (Tipperary and Offaly) and O'Carroll of Oriel (Monaghan and Louth). The others disappeared, except as individuals, before the end of the thirteenth century and need not be considered here—O'Carroll of Oriel lost his status of chief and his sept disintegrated as a result of the Anglo-Norman invasion (they cease to appear in the Annals after 1193), but the clansmen themselves were not dispersed, and a fair number have remained in their territory to this day. The very large and well-known tobacco firm, Carrolls of Dundalk, have their factory in this area, though it may be mentioned that, curiously enough, the head of it has substantiated a claim to be descended from the O'Carrolls of Ely O'Carroll. That sept retained its Gaelic way of life and its distinct independence until the end of the sixteenth century, and its activities are frequently recorded throughout the Annals. They derive their name O Cearbhaill from Cearbhal, lord of Ely, who was one of the leaders of the victorious army at Clontarf (1014), and thus descend from King Oilioll Olum. Before the advent of the powerful Norman Butlers they possessed a very extensive territory in Co. Tipperary, but they were later restricted to the district around Birr, Co. Offaly. Carroll has a high position in the list of most numerous surnames in Ireland, taking twenty-second place with an estimated population at the present time of approximately 16,000, the majority of whom belong to the four counties stretching from Cork to Kilkenny. Many noteworthy O'Carrolls figure in the "Annals of the Four Masters." Maolsuthain O'Carroll (d. 1031), confessor of Brian Boru and contributor to the "Book of Armagh," was of the Kerry sept; Margaret O'Carroll (d. 1451), famous for hospitality, encouragement of learning, and as builder of churches, roads and bridges, belonged to the Ely O'Carroll sept, as did Charles Carroll (1737-1832), who is remembered as an Irish signatory of the American Declaration of Independence. It is with America rather than with the home country, that notable Carrolls have been associated during the past two centuries: the Dictionary of American Biography includes four others closely related to the Carrollton family, for so their place in Maryland was called (not to be confused with Carrollton, a town in Georgia, U.S.A.), the most distinguished of them being Most Rev. John Carroll (1735-1815), the first Catholic bishop in U.S.A., and the first Archbishop of Baltimore. Rev. Anthony Carroll, S.J. (1722-1794), who was robbed and murdered in a London street, was a brother of the Archbishop. Three members of the Ely O'Carroll sept distinguished themselves in the armies of James II and of France. The best known of these was Brigadier Daniel O'Carroll (d. 1712). As we have seen there is a distinct sept of MacCarroll: the Irish Mac Cearbhaill is now more usually anglicized as MacCarvill in Ulster where its mediaeval territory is indicated by the place name Ballymaccarroll. One of these, Donslevy MacCarroll (d. 1357), is described by the Four Masters as "a noble master of music and melody, the best of his time"; and another, Mulrory MacCarroll (d. 1328), was called Chief Minstrel of Ireland and Scotland: indeed the family was noted for its musicians. James MacCarroll (1814-1892), who emigrated to U.S.A. at the age of 17, was a well-known American poet, dramatist and inventor. A Bishop of Cork and three Archbishops of Cashel, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, were MacCarrolls, but these were probably of the Ely O'Carroll sept: it appears that its members sometimes used the prefix Mac instead of 0 during that period. The name Lewis Carroll, famous as the author of Alice in Wonderland, is a nom de plume and has no connexion with O'Carroll or MacCarroll. Carroll. One of the twenty-five most common Irish surnames, Carroll (or O’Carroll) comes, in the vast majority of cases from the Irish Ó Cearbhaill, meaning "grandson of Cearbhall", a very popular personal name thought to mean "fierce in battle". It is widespread today throughout the three southern provinces of Connacht, Leinster and Munster, reflecting the fact that it arose almost simultaneously as a separate surname in at least six different parts of Ireland. The most famous of the O Cearbhaill families were those based in Ely O'Carroll, an area covering modern Co. Offaly as well as parts of north Tipperary, and the O'Carroll, Princes of Oriel, a territory including most of the modern counties of Louth and Monaghan. Mac Cearbhaill, anglicised as MacCarroll and MacCarvill, was a separate surname based on the same root, and limited to Ulster. The lords of Ely O'Carroll derived their name from Cearball, King of Ely, one of the leaders of the victorious native Irish army at the battle of Clontarf in 1014. Although their power was much reduced over the centuries in the continuing conflict with the Norman Butlers, they held on their distinctive Gaelic customs and way of life until the start of the seventeenth century. The Oriel family lost most of their territory in the twelfth century, as a result of the Norman invasion, but remained powerful in Church affairs;. The O'Carroll arms are those of the Oriel family, and may derive from a canting pun on the name of the race from whom the O'Carrolls claimed mythical descent, the Laighin, in Latin Gallinga, whence dhá leon (two lions). Lions are in any case a very common heraldic symbol. The O'Carrolls were also reputed to possess a sword with magical powers of destruction. Hence, perhaps, the sword in the arms. The crest, a hawk, relates to the traditional war cry of the family's followers, An Seabhac Abú, "the hawk forever", referring to their ancestral nickname. As late as 1843, at the great monster meeting organised at Tara by Daniel O'Connell to demand Home Rule, it was being used as a rallying cry by the inhabitants of the lands which had traditionally been ruled by the O'Carrolls. . Donogh O'Carroll founded the first Cistercian monastery in Ireland at Mellifont, Co. Louth c. 1145, and the family provided no fewer than six abbots of nearby Louth Abbey before its dissolution in 1540. Charles Carroll (1737-1832), a signatory of the American Declaration of Independence, was one of the old Ely O’Carroll family. Dubliner Paul Vincent Carroll (1900-1968), playwright and sharp critic of the Irish clergy and Irish provincial life, was of the same stock. He won New York Dram Critics’ Circle Awards in 1938 and 1939 and, after emigrating to Scotland, was one of the founders of the Glasgow Citizen’s Theatre

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