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Curry or Corry


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The surname Curry is scattered in Ireland and of multiple origin

The Gaelic-Irish name is rightfully O'Curry. In the native language it is Ó Comhraidhe - the "h" aspirates the preceding consonant, so the anglicised form is not far from the pronunciation in Irish. It sometimes takes the form Corry or Corra, especially in the northern counties, where in the few early records in which the name is found the prefix ‘Mac’ is usually substituted for ‘O’. Corry, however, may also have other origins which will be mentioned later.

The most numerous and well-known sept of Ó Comhraidhe is that of Thomond with their centre in County Clare. There was a little known sept of O'Curry in the barony of Kerricurrehy in Co. Cork, where the name is now often found as Corry. This Cork sept may have been a branch of the main Thomond sept. They are recorded as a sept of Corca Laoighe and the name is found also in Kerry, presumably as a result of migration. In addition to the main sept of Ó Comhraidhe another of the same name was located in County Westmeath, where they were Chiefs of Moygoish. Curristown, to which they gave their name, (now known as Belmont) is testimony to their power and significance in that area.

In Ulster, many of the name Curry are of Scottish ancestry. There is a rule of thumb that says Currie is Scottish while Curry is Irish in origin, but the spellings have be so interchanged that the rule counts for little. In Scotland Currie can be a variant of Corrie but more usually it is from MacVurich, Gaelic MacMhuirich, 'son of Murdoch', a name of two distinct origins. The MacVurich sept were hereditary bards to MacDonald of Clanranald and claim descent from the thirteenth-century Irish poet Muireach Alhanach.Secondly, the Clan MacPherson are, in Gaelic, Clann Mhuirich after Muiriach or Murdoch, the fourteenth-century progenitor of the clan, and the clan name Mac Mhuirich was anglicised later as Currie and Murdoch.

In mid-nineteenth-century Antrim the main concentration of the name was found to he to the north of Ballymoney in the barony of Carey. In a final twist to the history of the name in Scotland, many Curries of Arran, Kintyre and the Isles were originally MacCurdys

The name Corry is usually Ó Corraidh (or Ó Corra) and in modern times is often abbreviated to Corr. However, when found in Clare, it is probably a variant form of Ó Comhraidhe - O'Curry and as we have seen already, Corry is a known variant of Curry in Cork.

In Ulster, the names Corr, Corry and Curry are numerous. There they can be of more than one origin. The majority no doubt are Ó Corra, descended from the sept of that name located in the Tyrone-Fermanagh country and numerous in central Ulster in the seventeenth century as the Hearth Money Rolls show.

Many of the Corrs of Tyrone and Derry are, however, descended from the Gilla Corr, mentioned in the Annals of Ulster (1186), whose son is perpetuated in the townland of Ballykilcurr, near Maghera. One of the anglicised forms of Mac Gothraidh - a branch of the MacGuires of Fermanagh, and most usually found as McCaffrey - is MacCorry, often without the prefix Mac; others are MacCorry and Godfrey. Mac Corra, too, has been noted in Ulster but this is possibly a modem form of Mac Gothraidh. Both O'Cor and MacCor occur in the Armagh Hearth Money Rolls, O'Cor being the more numerous there.

The prevalence of the name Corry in Counties Waterford and south Tipperary in the seventeenth century might suggest that some of the O'Currys of Thomond migrated but this theory is not borne out by numerous mediaeval records which show that people called Cor and Corre were established in Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny as early as 1270 (Richard Corre was Bishop of Lismore from 1279 to 1308): this may well be an unidentified Norman name unrelated to Curry, for migration from Thomond to Ormond was unusual, though not unknown, before the fourteenth century.

Dr. John Curry (1710-1780) of Dublin was notable as an eminent physician, as a historian and as the organizer of the first Catholic Committee during the Penal Code period. He was descended from the O'Corra family of Cavan, who lost their estates in 1641-1691. Two of his sons were officers in the Austrian service.


There are two distinct coats of arms recorded for the name Curry

Curry or Corry of Ulster: Sable on a chevron between three griffins' heads erased Or as many estoiles Gules. Crest: Out of a ducal coronet a griffin's head erased Or between two wings gold, semee of estoiles Sable.

Curry of Thomond: Azure a lion passant guardant Or. Crest: An arm in armour embowed holding a spear all proper.

No motto is recorded for either.