It seems impossible to determine whether families named Hurley, a surname found predominantly in County Cork, are descendants of members of the O'hUirthile sept of County Clare, who migrated southwards, or of the O'Muirthile sept which was located in East Carberry, County Cork where Ballynacarriga Castle was one of their strongholds. While Hurleys in that area would appear to be of the O'Muirthile stock this may not be true of the Hurleys in County Cork. The Hurley families in County Limerick, lying between the early homelands of the two septs, may in consequence descend from one or the other of them. 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. Early records of the name mention Baldinus filius Herluni, who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and Randolph de Hurleagh was recorded in the year 1273 in County Somerset. John de Hurlee was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Arms recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Registered in the Province of Munster. 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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