bfish-r.gif (267 bytes) 
| Traductions | Übersetzungen | Traduzioni | Traduções | Traducciones |
bfish.gif (370 bytes)

Home home_b1.jpg (1110 bytes)         link1.jpg (1232 bytes) Links

Opening Page (Origin of "Finnerty" name)


Annals of the Four Masters

(c) Did the Finnerty clan feature in any significant way in Irish history?

  • As mentioned earlier in section (b), the earliest reference we know of is to a "Fionn Sneachta" King of Ireland who reigned from 1277 to 1257 BC.
  • In more recent times, the Finnertys seem to appear in Irish history books as the direct descendants of Conway, who was the oldest son of King Muireadach Muilleathan. King Muireadach was head of several septs in the Province of Connacht, and he died in 701 A.D. On account of their association with the oldest son of Muireadach, the Finnertys were the most senior family in the group as far as privileges went. 
book1.jpg (32933 bytes) page1.jpg (21795 bytes)

The book shown above (written by Richard M. Finnerty)
is on display at Donamon Castle.

  • Seniority with regard to practical political power in the "Síol Muireadach" (Seed of Muireadach) group went to the descendants of a younger son of Muireadach: these descendants had the name of  "Ó Conchobhair" - or "O' Connor", or "Connor", as the name much later became know in the English language.

  • Two members of the O' Connor family later found themselves well known places in Irish history books.

    Top of page

    • Toirdelbach Ua Conchobhair is considered by many historians to have been one of the most outstanding High Kings that Ireland ever had; and his son "Ruaidrí Ó Conchobhair" had the unique distinction of being the very last High King of Ireland.  Ruaidrí died in 1198. The remains of both he and his father now rest in the ruins of the Cathedral at the ancient ecclesiastical site of Clonmacnoise - which, very appropriately it seems, is located right in the heart of Ireland, and literally just a stone's throw from Ireland's largest river: The Shannon.

    • During Ruaidrí's reign, a string of problems with a subordinate and apparently "difficult" provincial king (Diarmait Mac Murchada, King of Leinster), led directly to the Anglo Norman Invasion of Ireland: which in turn quickly gave rise to huge upheavals in Irish history - by far the biggest since the arrival of St Patrick 700 years or so earlier.

      • A big part of the problem with Diarmait was that he got himself involved in a very publicly conducted abduction controversy: because of a love affair between himself and the wife (Dervorgilla) of another provincial king (Tiernán O' Rourke of Breifne). Both of these men were battle hardened Celtic warrior kings, and it is not too difficult to imagine how they went about settling their differences.

      • There was a lot of trouble, and matters were not helped by the fact that a number of close observers on both sides believed the "abduction" was all very cleverly engineered by Dervorgilla herself. Under great pressure "to do something", High King Ruaidrí eventually decided to banish Diarmait from Ireland (a punishment not all that uncommon in those days, and one which a son of King Brian Boru - Donnchad, who died in Rome in 1064 - had earlier accepted). However, Diarmait could not, or would not, accept this judgement: and quickly went to see King Henry ll of England (who was really a Norman, and whose first language was French). Although King Henry was very interested in Diarmait's invitation to invade Ireland (at the small cost to him of reinstating Diarmait), he was too busy taking over other places elsewhere to get directly involved himself. Nevertheless, he gave Diarmait a very supportive letter which later enabled him to enlist the services of a Norman military leader in Wales named Strongbow. Shortly afterwards the Anglo Norman Invasion of Ireland got under way. This was a pivotal moment in Irish history, as the invasion was to have massive consequences for Ireland's future.

    Top of page

  • With their flair for political guile, the Norman invaders behaved differently from many others in that they were happy from the very beginning to mix socially with the indigenous Celtic people of Ireland. To set the pattern (which in all probability was the first step of a "divide and rule" policy), part of the agreement between Diarmait Mac Murchada and Strongbow was that Diarmuit's eldest daughter (Aoífe) would become Strongbow's wife. (Marriages of this kind, combined with superior Norman military technology - much of which the Irish Celts had never experienced before - appear to have been the main factors in the rapid Anglo Norman take-over of Ireland.)

  • Several others followed the lead set by Diarmait and Strongbow regarding marriage arrangements - but not all.  The Finnertys appear to have been amongst those who choose not to participate, and consequently they had most of their lands taken from them shortly after the Norman invasion. Without delay, the Normans set about building large, well fortified castles in the places they took over - making it extremely difficult for the dispossessed to ever regain control of the land which once was theirs. (Strong castles of the type in question - many still standing in places like Donamon, Athenry, etc., would have been completely new to the Celts of the time in Ireland.)

  • As might be expected, deep divisions arose amongst Irish Celts regarding the matter of (as some would see it) fraternising with the Anglo Norman enemy. In one bizarre incident (around 1307), it seems the "last Finnerty" in Donamon (already living in reduced circumstances), was murdered by his own wife: as part of a political deal involving marriage to a Norman Knight who wanted to get hold of the Clann Conway title (which he later took). The lady in question is now known in Irish history as:

Nuala na Miodoige

  • We have seen mention of a John Finnerty who was Bishop of Elphin around 1354, and after that the name Finnerty appears (to us) to have faded away from the history books for several centuries.

  • Following the severe social turbulence connected with the Anglo Norman invasion, it seems that many of the dispossessed members of the Finnerty family of Donamon moved away from the area and set up homes in several different parts of Ireland, including various places in Counties Galway (e.g. New Inn, which is just one hour's drive or so from Donamon), and Kerry.

  • There are numerous references to Father James Finnerty (AD 1614 to 1683) who seems to be the person that gave the place now called "Chaplefinnerty" its name.

  • We have seen references to a journalist named Peter Finnerty from Loughrea (1766 to 1822) - who, in 1798, when he was editor of a Dublin newspaper called "The Press", was imprisoned in connection with protests he wrote regarding the wrongful execution of William Orr. Later, he got into more trouble with the British authorities and was put on trial for libel on November 9th 1808 (against the Duke of York); and again on January 31st 1810 (against Lord Castlereagh - see under lines 57-59). There is reason to believe that "Barrack Street" in Loughrea was (for a time) called "Finnerty Street" in his memory: possibly because he was born on this street (?).

  • Many went overseas of course: Galway born John Frederick Finnerty founded "The Chicago Citizen" we understand, while his son Michael J. Finnerty (who died in 1908) was a United States soldier and politician.

  • Finally, and possibly a little irrelevant, we know of a young Finnerty descendant born in 1996 in Australia (whose name does not appear in any history books). Although his parents knew nothing at the time about the ancient link of long ago between the two families, they named him "Connor": and he is the first great grandson of the late W.T. Finnerty (of New Inn, Co. Galway). Was the choice of name coincidence? Or might it have been prompted by hidden memories of ancient events: transmitted in a genetic form which can survive many sequences of life and death? As far as we know, it is entirely possible that such information (or indeed any information which nature chooses) can be passed on through the chemical coding processes on which genetics depends.

Melbourne (Australia) 1996
connor2.gif (80793 bytes)
Siobhán Tara Finnerty and Connor

|  Top of page  |  Turoe Stone |

Father James Finnerty (1614 - 1683)

Other "Fionn-Sneachta" web page:
Albert T. Finnerty (California)

Other "Fionn-Sneachta" web sites:
Morris Fenerty (North America)

Finnerty (et al) Genealogy Site:

Search over 1 Billion names
goldenpages at! goldenpages

Telephone Directory (Ireland)

Suggestion: check time in Ireland before phoning. See link immediately below:
Click here for local time in the Republic of Ireland

International Yellow Pages

Local time in all other parts of the world:
|||  WorldTimeServer  |||  CNN  |||

More about Irish family names

|  Home home_b1.jpg (1110 bytes)  |   link1.jpg (1232 bytes) Links  |

Top of page

Home home_b1.jpg (1110 bytes)           Archives attic_sa.jpg (1001 bytes) Archives           link1.jpg (1232 bytes) Links

Copyright © 1999 to 2001 by William Patrick Finnerty.
  All rights reserved.

Except for normal Internet search engine purposes,
none of the material on this page may be used
in whole or in part without the written consent of
Mr W. P. Finnerty (contact information provided below).

It is of course entirely permissible for anybody
to print the address of this web site,
or to provide electronic links to this web site.

First placed on Internet: March 16th 2001
Most recent update: April 11th 2002
Original version of April 22nd 2000 (Easter Sunday)
Top of page
Web site design: William (Billy) Finnerty.
Internet www address:   
Normal Mail: "St Albans", New Inn, Ballinasloe, County Galway, Republic of Ireland.
Top of page     PHONE (from Republic of Ireland):  Ballinasloe (0905) 75825     Top of page
     FAX:  Ballinasloe (0905) 75853

PHONE (International):  00 353 905 75825  &  FAX:  00 353 905 75853  

SiteAddLogo.gif (7665 bytes)



 SiteAddLogo.gif (7665 bytes)

Home home_b1.jpg (1110 bytes)           Archives attic_sa.jpg (1001 bytes) Archives           link1.jpg (1232 bytes) Links