The majority of the families descended from the West Cork sept O'Driscoll (O hEidersceoil) had lost their prefix 'O' and at the end of the last century nine out of ten were called Driscoll. Widespread reassumption of the prefix in this century has resulted in a complete reversal of the proportions, those still called Driscoll being a very small minority and the O'Driscolls forming the majority. The families of the name are still found predominantly in County Cork. Early records mention Gilbert Eidirsceol, 1273, Ireland. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. They were a Sept possessed of Bearra, now the Barony of Beare, County Cork, from which they derived their surname from Eidersceoil, Chief of Bearra; thirteenth in descent from him was Sir Fingeen O'hEeidersceoil Mor, who founded the Franciscan Abbey on Iniskeen Island in 1460. The Four Masters record that O'Driscoll Mor was slain by the crew of a merchant vessel in Cork in 1414. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Many Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. People heard of the attractions of the New World, and many left Ireland to seek a better life sailing aboard the fleet of ships known as the 'White Sails', but much illness took its toll with the overcrowding of the ships which were pestilence ridden. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagons to the prairies, and many loyalists went to Canada about the year 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
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