The Dowd Family

Dowd family crest

(Crest No. 247. Plate 59.)

THE Dowd family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The name is variously written Dowd, Doud, Doude, Dowds, Dowde, Dowdy, and Doody. The ancient name was Dubha, signifying “The Dark.”

The title of the chiefs of the sept was Prince of Hy Fiachra, and their possessions were located in the present Counties of Mayo and Sligo.

The founder of the family was Earca, son of Olliol Molt, King of Ireland in the middle of the fifth century. This latter was the son of King Dathi, one of the most celebrated of the Irish monarchs, who carried his victorious arms into Gaul, where he was killed by a stroke of lightning, A. D. 429. Dathi was the last pagan monarch of Ireland.

The O’Dowds took their name from Dubdha, one of their ancient chiefs. Hugh O’Dowd, Lord of North Connaught, who died in the year 981, was the first person called Ua Dubhda, being the Ua, O, or grandson of Dubhda, the progenitor after whom the O’Dowds have taken their hereditary surname.

Their territory comprised nearly all of the two counties named, and they retained their possessions until the Cromwellian wars, when their estates were confiscated. They were inaugurated as Princes of Hy Fiachra, or North Connaught, at Carn Amalgaidh, or Carnawley, near Killala, supposed to be the hill of Mullaghcarn (where King Auley was buried), while, according to other accounts, they were inaugurated on the hill of Ardnaree, near Ballina.

The O’Dowds appear from history to have been a valiant race, and many of them even down to modern times were remarkable for their strength and stature, even among the clans of Sligo and Mayo that were noted for the size and strength of many of their men.