The surname of WALSH was derived from the Gaelic Breatnach - the name for a foreigner - a Welshman, many of whom settled in Ireland, and it is now the fourth most numerous name in all Ireland as a result of this invasion. The first on record in Ireland is Haylen Brenach, alias Walsh, one of the invaders of 1172. Early records also include John la Walche, 1327 Ireland. Roger la Walesche, 1400 Ireland. In the latter part of the sixteenth century, an influx of settlers arrived under the patronage of Elizabeth I of England, and colonized the country beyond the 'Pale', the area around Dublin that was the only part firmly under English control. At the same time , groups of Presbyterian settlers were encouraged to migrate from Scotland to Ulster, thus establishing the distinctively Scottish surnames of Ulster. During the long centuries of English domination, Irish surnames were crudely Anglicized either phonetically or by translation. In the 19th century, political repression and famine combined to force many Irish people to seek other countries in which to live. Large numbers emigrated to the United States, where strong emotional ties to Ireland are still preserved in many families, while others found themselves transported, willingly or otherwise, to Australia, often after having first tried to make a living in England. Irish surnames are now very widely dispersed, and are common in England as well as in Ireland, the United States and Australia. The name appears in Scotland in 1360, when John Walshe was a juror on an inquest held at Roxburgh. John Walch was a tenant of the Earl of Douglas in the barony of Kylboulo in 1376. Sir Robert Vleche, a cleric, was the vicar of Tynron in 1548, and John Walcht was a witness in 1467. Robert Vleshe appears as the burgess of Dumfries in 1686. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
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