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Welsh, Welch, Brannagh
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Arms of Walsh of Kilkenny
and the various branches of the family descended
from Philip, who was called by the Irish, Brannagh (or the "Welshman")
Walsh of Dublin, Meath and Westmeath
Welch or Welsh of Ireland
three surnames (Murphy, Kelly and Sullivan) exceed Walsh in numerical
strength among the population of Ireland. It is found in every county
and is particularly strong in Mayo, where it has first place, and
also in Galway, Cork, Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny. The last area
is that most closely associated with the Walshes, where they have
given their name to the Walsh Mountains in Co. Kilkenny. This
territory was confiscated during the Cromwellian period and in the
reign of William III.; after which members of the elder branch
migrated to France, and Austria, and took military service in those
countries. In France, the title of "Count Serrant," was
conferred on the representative of the elder branch.
Ulster Walsh has also been made Welsh and Welch and occasionally
Wallace, though this last name is more usually imported from Scotland.
name originated as a result of the Anglo- or, more properly, the
Cambro-Norman, invasion, and simply means the Welshman, in Irish
Breathnach, which was sometimes anglicised phonetically as Brannagh -
not, however, as Brannock, a name of different though somewhat
similar origin. The first to be so called is said to have been Haylen
Brenach, alias Walsh, son of "Philip the Welshman", one of
the invaders of 1172.
many of the Anglo-Norman families such as Burke, Fitzgerald, Roche
etc., which have since become exclusively identified with Ireland,
the Walshes did not all spring from one or two known ancestors, but
the name was given independently to many of the newcomers and,
perhaps in consequence of this, no clearly defined Hiberno-Norman
sept of Walsh was formed on the Gaelic Irish model, as happened with
a number of those other families. Nevertheless the Walshes of the
south-eastern part of Ireland are mostly descended from Philip, who
was called by the Irish, Brannagh (or the "Welshman") and
from his brother David, and the leading members of this family
established themselves as landed gentry at Castlehowel (Co.
Kilkenny), at Ballykileavan (Co. Leix), at Ballyrichmore (Co.
Waterford) and also at Bray and Carrickmines near Dublin. In 1174,
Philip distinguished himself in a naval engagement against the Danes,
at Cork, by boarding the ship of their commander and slaying his son.
The son of Philip (by Eleanor, his wife, daughter of Sir Maurice De
Burgh,) was Hayle Walsh, who built the castle in the Walsh Mountains,
above mentioned, called after him "Castle Hayle," or
"Castlehoel." His wife was Catherine, daughter of Raymond
Le Gros, one of Strongbow's companions, and the ancestor of Grace.
to men of the name are very numerous in both national and local
records: they appear as sheriffs, judges, army officers etc., usually
on the side of the King (which of course meant attainder in the
seventeenth century) but not always - two for example were killed
"in rebellion against Queen Elizabeth".
1976, when land was no longer synonymous with gentry, one Walsh and
one Walshe were recorded in Burke's Irish Family Records. Many
articles on this extensive family were published in the Genealogist
magazine at the beginning of this century. Books and articles have
been published about the Walshes of Austria and France. In France
they are represented today by the Count de Serrant.
1588, Lawrence Walsh compiled a pedigree of the Mayo Walshes, showing
them to be descended from Walynus, who accompanied Maurice FitzGerald
to Ireland in 1169. Walynus had a brother, Barrett, from whom descend
the Barrett family of Mayo, where they were lords of the territory
known as Tirawley.
the Roches, who also came to Ireland via Wales, were essentially
businessmen, the Walshes consistently entered the Church. William
Walsh was appointed Bishop of Meath in 1554. When Queen Elizabeth I
asked him to conform to the Anglican rite, he refused and was
imprisoned. After a long time he managed to escape to France. The
Pope ordered him to return to Ireland but, finding his priestly
duties there untenable, he went to Spain where he became suffragan
Archbishop of Toledo and probably met the young painter El Greco. He
died in Spain in 1577.
Walsh, Bishop of Ossory, the son of the Protestant Bishop of
Waterford, was consecrated in 1567. He introduced Irish type so that
church services could be printed in Irish which, he believed,
"proved an instrument of conversion to many of the ignorant sort
of Papists". His translation of the New Testament was cut short
when he was stabbed to death by a man he had publicly accused of
adultery. He was buried in St Canice's Cathedral at Kilkenny.
very troubled times, Thomas Walsh (1580-1654), a Franciscan, was
Archbishop of Cashel in County Tipperary, once the seat of the
Walsh (1618-88) of County Kildare studied at Louvain. He returned to
Ireland having taken his vows as a Franciscan. He joined the Ormonds
(Butler) in opposing the Papal Nuncio, Rinuccini, and the Catholic
Confederates. He was expelled by the Franciscans when he published
his "Loyal Remonstrance", addressed to Charles II,
promising the allegiance of Irish Catholics to the English Crown and
repudiating papal infallibility. He argued that he was trying to
alleviate the suffering of the Catholics, but the Pope excommunicated
him. He went to London where he lived on the pension awarded him by
his friend, James Butler, Earl of Ormond and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Walsh of County Tipperary was Legal Adviser to Cromwell and Agent to
the Duke of Ormond. Not surprisingly, he was the only Walsh left
alive in Clonmel, County Tipperary, after the siege by Cromwell's
soldiers in 1650.
Walsh, born at Limerick in 1730, was a schoolteacher at the age of
18. At the time, Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was touring
Ireland on horseback. Thomas was inspired to join him and, following
his methods, developed into a rousing preacher in both English and
Irish. His excessive zeal wore him out and he died at the early age
Vincent Walsh (1703-65), son of a Waterford shipbuilder who had
emigrated to Saint-Malo in France, was in charge of the Doutelle, the
ship that landed Charles Stuart, the "Young Pretender", in
Scotland in 1745. He was knighted for this enterprise. He went to
Austria and became yet another Irishman to find favour with the
Empress Maria Theresa and was appointed her Chamberlain. It was the
eldest of Antoine's seven sons, Count Walsh de Serrant, who founded
the family that is still in France. The first Count was instrumental
in having him appointed Superior of the Irish College in Paris, which
had a bad time during the Revolution, especially as its superior was
a royalist appointment.
Oliver Walsh, the tenth and youngest son of John Walsh (1720-85) of
Ballymountain, County Kilkenny, served in the British navy and was at
the battles of Copenhagen, the Nile and Trafalgar. He was one of
Nelson's youngest officers. In 1813, when he was only 36, he died
from yellow fever.
Walsh (1772-1852) came from a distinguished County Waterford family.
A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he was both a clergyman and an
author. He was chaplain to the British Embassy at Constantinople (now
Istanbul), which inspired his many travel books. He travelled in
Turkey and further afield in Asia, as well as studying for a medical
degree. For a brief period he was a chaplain at St Petersburg.
Following a visit to Rio de Janeiro, he sat on a committee of the
Society for the Abolition of Slavery. He returned to Ireland and was
rector at Finglas vicarage in Dublin. He developed his interests as
historian, physician, botanist and antiquarian, and collaborated in
writing the book, History of the City of Dublin.
son, John Edward Walsh (1816-69), was also a writer, Attorney-General
for Ireland and Master of the Polls. Walter Hoyle Walsh (1812-92) of
Kilkenny, who was a professor at London University, was the first to
describe the condition known as floating kidney.
poet Edward Walsh, 1805-50, was born in Derry. He became something of
a cause celebre when he lost his job as a national school teacher for
writing for the Fenian newspaper The Nation. He then got a job as a
teacher in the detention centre on Spike Island, but lost this for
waving goodbye to the Fenian John Mitchel as he passed through Cork
harbour on a transportation ship. He ended his days teaching in Cork Workhouse.
the 1920s and 30s, one of the most popular Irish novelists was
Maurice Walsh (1879-1964). He was Kerry born and worked for twenty
years in the Customs and Excise service in the highlands of Scotland
and northern England. This experience provided him with a
connoisseur's palate for whiskey and a rich narrative source. With
the granting of self-government he transferred to the Irish service
and wrote a novel, which was first rejected and then accepted by
another publisher for £100. "The Key Above the Door"
sold hundreds of thousands of copies and was the beginning of a
stream of very popular novels, culminating in "The Quiet
Man", which was made into a successful film. Despite being
criticised as too stage-Irish, it helped promote tourism in the west
so many Irish families, the Famine in the 1840s drove the Walshes to
seek the hospitality and opportunities of America. Robert Walsh
(1784-1859) went earlier than most others. He was born in Baltimore,
County Cork, the son of an aristocratic family who, it is believed,
had connections with France. He read law and worked for a while in
journalism. In the War of Independence he fought on the Federalist
side. Afterwards he settled in Paris. He was a man of some wealth and
it was he who opened the first of the American literary salons there.
Walsh (1815-59) was born near Cork and was taken to America by his
parents. He worked as a reporter in New York City and attempted
unsuccessfully to publish his own newspaper. He got the working men
of New York city to join the Spartan Association, aiming to break the
hold of Tammany Hall by demonstrating the principles of democracy. He
was imprisoned twice for his anti-establishment oratory and wrote
bitingly of the squalor and poverty he saw in New York. He was
described as "a maverick Irish-American politician".
Walsh (1830-98), formerly of Mooncoin, County Kilkenny, went to
Toronto, Canada, where he was ordained and became its first Catholic
archbishop. He kept in close touch with Ireland and suggested holding
the Irish Race Convention in Dublin, with the idea of healing the
political rift caused by Parnell's liaison with Katherine O Shea.
John Walsh (1841-1921) was appointed Archbishop of Dublin in 1885. A
distinguished scholar, he was the first chancellor of the National
University of Ireland.
James Walsh (1859-1933), a Senator from Montana, was the son of
Irish parents. He followed a legal career and made his reputation in
Walsh (1871-1928), the son of gentry in County Longford, went to
Brooklyn. A man of many parts, he was an accomplished pianist,
painter, writer and lecturer. His main interest was literature,
particularly that of Spain. He could afford to be philanthropic and
he is esteemed for his enhancement of Catholic culture in America.
Walsh (1873-1915) was the daughter of an Irish saloon-keeper who was
also a Tammany Hall politician. She was one of the most popular
actresses of her time and played most of the leading roles in the
contemporary theatre including Little Billy in Trilby.
the 1940s, David L Walsh, a Boston man of Irish ancestry, was the
first Catholic Governor of Massachusetts.
Tom Walsh (d. 1988) was a scientist of international standing whose
work for the rural community led to his being described as "the
father of modern Irish agriculture".
T.J. Walsh of Wexford, who also died in 1988, graduated in medicine
but later followed a musical vocation. In 1951, he was one of the
founders of the Wexford Opera Festival, an annual event which has
gone on to achieve an excellent reputation in the musical world. A
fine scholar, Dr Walsh wrote a number of important books on the
history of opera.