The Hurley or O’Hurley Family

Hurley or O’Hurley family crest

(Crest No. 118. Plate 19.)

THE Hurley family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of Heber, third son of that monarch. The founder of the family was Cormac Cas, son of Olliol Ollum, King of Munster, A. D. 177, and his consort Sabia, daughter of Con of the Hundred Battles, King of Ireland, A. D. 148.

The ancient name was Urlataidh, which signifies “The Active.” The possessions of the sept were located in the present Counties of Cork and Tipperary. The O’Hurleys were of the Dalcassian race, which tribe was also designated Clann Tail, a term which was applied to the Dalcassians. The O’Hurleys are thus mentioned by O’Heerin:

“O’Hurley of the tribe of Tail,

Near dwells Killaloe of St. Flannan;

Delightful are its woods and productive its plains,

And from thence westward to the Shannon.”

A branch of this family settled in Limerick, in the barony of Owney-beg, and in the parish of Knocklong, in the barony of Coshlea, County Limerick, where the ruins of their chief castle still remain. Other branches of the O’Hurleys were settled in Galway, and had large possessions in the baronies of Kilconnell, Killian, and Ballymore, of which family were Sir William and Sir John Hurley, baronets.

Of the O’Hurleys of Limerick was Dermod O’Hurley, a celebrated Archbishop of Cashel in the reign of Elizabeth. This prelate was put to death with the most refined cruelty for refusing to acknowledge “the Queen’s supremacy in matters of religion.” His feet were placed in tin boots, which were filled with oil, and then placed over a fire until all the flesh fell from the bones. He was then thrown into a dungeon, where he remained for some days in the most intense agony, and was finally hanged on a tree outside Dublin, June 19, 1584.

This name is numerous in the United States, and there are several towns and localities of that name in the Western States, showing that the O’Hurleys were among the earliest pioneers in that section of the country. Many of them have filled prominent positions, among whom may be mentioned the Hon. Denis Hurley, the well-known contractor, and present representative from Brooklyn, N. Y., in Congress.