The Bodkin Family

Bodkin family crest

(Crest No. 33. Plate 66.)

THE Bodkins are an offshoot of the Fitzgeralds, and removed to the town of Galway between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, where they soon became one of the leading families.

After the defeat of the Danes at Clontarf by Brian Boru, in 1014, the people of Galway built a castle for the defense of that town, which, owing to its situation, was the most important point on the western coast, and was liable to be attacked by the Northmen, who were beaten off from the east. The erection of this stronghold excited the jealousy of the Munster kings, who twice demolished it, but each time it was rebuilt by the people of Connaught.

It was owned by Hugh O’Flagherty at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion, and was captured by De Burgo in 1232, who erected fortifications and instituted a municipal government. The security consequent on the strong rule of the De Burgos gave an impetus to enterprise, and during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries thirteen leading Anglo-Norman and Welsh families settled in Galway, where they engaged in commerce and secured lands. They were known as “The Thirteen Tribes,” and the City of Galway is called to the present day “The City of the Tribes.”

The Bodkins were one of these “tribes,” and like nearly all of these early settlers have maintained a prominent position in the County of Galway to the present day. Some of these “tribes” or families, however, were of Irish extraction, such as the Lynches, who were descended from the O’Loinsighs, mentioned in the “Annals of the Four Masters” in the tenth and eleventh centuries as Chiefs of Ulidia, now the County of Down, and the Bodkins, as already stated, were a branch of the Fitzgeralds.

One of the most eminent of this family was the Most Rev. Christopher Bodkin, Archbishop of Tuam, who died in the year 1672, and was interred at the family spot in Galway.

The name is still well known in Connaught, and there are many representatives of it in the United States. Among them may be mentioned Dr. Bodkin, of Brooklyn, N. Y., one of the most eminent members of his profession in that city, and a man whose intellectual and personal qualities command the esteem of all his fellow-citizens.