The territory of the O'Duibhir sept, from which the Dwyers and O'Dwyers descend, was located in the baronies of Kilnamagh Upper and Lower in western county Tipperary. At the end of the last century Dwyer, without the prefix 'O' was six times as prevalent as O'Dwyer, but this is one of the surnames where the majority have reassumed the prefix. Members of the families are still to be found in numbers in County Tipperary, and have dispersed mainly to County Limerick and Cork and County Kilkenny. The inland Leinster county of Kilkenny is bounded on the north by county Leix, on the east by the counties of Carlow and Wexford, on the south by county Waterford and on the west by county Tipperary. The city of Kilkenny with its splendid Gothic cathedral on the hill, built of Kilkenny limestone, and its great castle on the Butlers, overlooking the River Nore, is the chief town of the county and of the towns of Leinster, second only to Dublin. In the 14th century King Edward III convened a parliament at Kilkenny and in the 17th century the city briefly enjoyed political importance when the Catholic Confederation met there in 1642. In the first half of the 16th century the 8th Earl of Ormonde and his countess brought Flemish master-weavers to Kilkenny to introduce the manufacture of tapestry, carpets and fine diaper. At first the surname was formed by prefixing Mac to the father's christian name or O to that of a grandfather. They were a Sept seated at Muintir-Duibhidhir, a district in the present Barony of Kilnamanagh, County Tipperary, deriving their name from Duibhidhir, Chief of the Sept. The Four Masters record that Thomas O'Dwyer, son of Conor, son of Thomas O'Dwyer of Ormonde, was slain by the O'Kennedy's in the year 1473. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered in Ireland.
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