The Dorcy Family

Dorcy family crest

(Crest No. 194. Plate 5.)

THE Dorcy family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his fifth son, Ir, and belonged to the Clanna Rory tribe, founded by Heber Donn, son of Ir. The founders of the O’Dorcy family were Fergus, King of Connaught, and his consort Maude, Queen of Connaught, A. D. 60.

The ancient name was Dorcy, and signified “Doorkeeper.” The heads of this family were Chiefs of Partraighe, or Partry, an ancient territory in the Partry Mountains, in the County of Mayo. The present parish of Ballyovey, also called the parish of Partry, shows the situation of this ancient territory. According to some authorities the O’Dorcys also held possessions in the present County of Fermanagh.

The O’Dorceys—in Irish O’Dorchaidhe—were a distinguished clan, but many families of them in Mayo and Galway, having Anglicized the name to Darcy or D’Arcy, have been erroneously supposed to be some of the D’Arcys of Meath, who are of English descent.

The O’Dorcys were noted for their courage, and defended their territory against all intrusion with vigor and success as long as possible. After the Williamite wars many of them went to France, and in the Irish Brigade in the French service we find the name honorably represented.

A distinguished member was Count Patrick Darcy, Major-General in the king’s army, Chevalier of the Order of St. Louis, Commandant of the Order of St. Lazarus, and Pensionnaire Giometre of the Royal Academy of Sciences. He was a native of Galway, and died in France in 1779. He was an eminent mathematician and scientist, and while still a youth was received by the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris. Abandoning his scientific pursuits he entered the army, and served as captain in the Regiment of Conde in two campaigns in Germany and one in Flanders. He served as Colonel à la suite in Fitz-James’ Irish Regiment of Horse on the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War, and was made Brigadier-General and afterward Major-General for his services. He published many valuable works on scientific subjects.

He was offered the succession to the family estates in Ireland, but he refused to accept them under the conditions then imposed by English law. A French writer says of this soldier-scientist: “He always loved his countrymen. All the Irish who came to Paris visited him, and none of them ever left him without having received assistance in their needs and consolation in their troubles.” He became heir to the property of one of his uncles who had previously settled in France, and acquired position and wealth.