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Mcbrien Coat of Arms / Mcbrien Family Crest

Mcbrien Coat of Arms / Mcbrien Family Crest

McBRIEN ranks among the ten commonest names in Ireland, with over half the O'Brien families located in the province of Munster. The sept from which these families descend took its name from Brian Boru (Boroimhe) High King of Ireland in the 10th Century. Subsequently the great O'Briain sept then divided into several branches in County Clare, County Limerick, County Tipperary and County Waterford. Those families who have lost their prefix 'O', have for the most part, reassumed it so that Briens without the prefix are now very much in the minority. 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 definitive nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. An eminent member of the name was William O'Brien (1852-1928) the Irish journalist and nationalist born in Mallow, County Cork. A Catholic by birth, he was educated at the Protestant Cloyne Diocesan College, and Queens College, Cork. He became a journalist, founded the Land League journal, sat in parliament as a Nationalist and founded the agrarian United Irish League in 1898. He was nine times prosecuted and imprisoned for two years. He withdrew from politics in 1918, and wrote 'Recollections' in 1905, and published 'The Irish Revolution' in 1923. 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. 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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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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