(O) Brennan (of Kilkenny)

Brennan is one of the 30 most common names in modern Ireland. It originated as the name of several unrelated septs. Most of these seem to have originally used the Irish form UaBhrainain or UaBraonain, which was later anglicized as O'Brennan and later simply, Brennan.
The Kilkenny UaBraonains, descendants of Braon, (sadness or sorrow), were chiefs of "Ui Duach (Idough) in the barony of Fassadinin and the lowlands of Glamoy and Crannagh adjoining the Noir. They were prominent at the end of the Middle Ages and, of all the Brennan families, these Kilkenny O'Brennans (or Brennan of Ossory) seem to have survived in the largest numbers and account for the ancestry of the majority of Brennans today.
The MacBranain of County Roscommon were the second most populous of the various septs, accounting for over a quarter of all the Brennans in Ireland. Unlike the other septs, they were not really O'Brennans at all. Alone among all the septs, they originally used the "Mac" instead of the "O." (Mac means son of. Branain is the diminutive for "Raven"). The spelling of the name varies in the annals between MacBranan and MacBranain. According to MacLysaght, the great authority on these things, the present day Brennans of Roscommon, Sligo, Mayo and Leitrim are nearly all originally MacBranans. The majority of the Brennans now living in Galway probably also originated as MacBranans in Roscommon.
The UaBraonain of Crevagh in County Westmeath was once a powerful clan. They were largely displaced after the Norman invasion of the twelfth century. The name is still common in the county of Westmeath today, though in the west of the county, many may be of MacBrennan of Roscommon stock.

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