The Lysaght Family

Lysaght family crest

(Crest No. 213. Plate 12.)

THE Lysaght family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heber. The founder of the family was Brian Boru, King of Ireland, A. D. 1002. The ancient name was O’Brien. The possessions of the sept were located in the present County of Clare. The name in Irish—MacGiolla Iosachta, signifying “Grandson of the Eloquent”—has been Anglicized to Lysaght. The Lysaghts are placed on the map of Ortelius in a district about Ennistymon in the above-named county.

A noted character of this name was Edward Lysaght, who was born in the County of Clare, 1763. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and Oxford, England, and was admitted to the English and the Irish Bar. He quit the English Bar, as he tells us, for three reasons: first, he did not know law enough for the King’s Bench; second, he was not dull enough for the Court of Chancery; and, third, before succeeding at the Old Bailey he should have had to shoot Garrow, who was the leading practitioner there. As a politician and a diner-out he was a success, however. According to Sir Jonah Barrington, the chief purpose of his life was “poetry and pistols, wine and women.” The last years of his life were largely spent within “the sanctuary” of Trinity College in order to escape arrest for debt. Some of his poems are still popular, notably “The Sprig of Shillelagh” and “The Man Who Led the Van of the Irish Volunteers.”