The Molloy Family

Molloy family crest

(Crest No. 49. Plate 47.)

THE Molloy family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Fiacha, ancestor of the Southern Hy Nials and son of Nial of the Nine Hostages. The ancient name was Maolmhuadhs, signifying “The Proud,” and was taken from Maolmhuaidh, a chief, A. D. 1019.

The heads of this sept were styled Lords of Clan Malire and Chiefs of Fearcall. The possessions of the sept were located in Roscommon and Kings County. In the latter county the territory of the Molloys comprised the present baronies of Ballycowen, Ballyhoy, and Eglish or Fecall and formed originally a part of the ancient Kingdom of Meath.

In the year 1454 the Molloy territory was divided on the death of Hugh O’Molloy, Lord of Fercall. His son Cugory assumed his place but was opposed by Theobald O’Molloy, who sought to obtain the chieftainship for himself and seized on great spoils. Theobald and the grandson of Cosnamhach O’Molloy were then set as chiefs in opposition to each other. Six years after, Theobald was killed by O’Molloy of the Wood, after which the Molloy territory was ruled by one head.

Albin O’Molloy, Abbot of the Cistercians at Baltinglass and afterward Bishop of Ferns, preached a sermon at a synod in Christ Church, Dublin, in 1185, which gave great offense to the English clergy in Ireland, and especially to Geraldus Cambrensis, the lying Welsh clergyman who was sent over with the Anglo-Normans to libel the Irish. In this sermon, according to the Annals of Inisfallen, O’Molloy “proved satisfactorily before the Archbishop, John Cumin, and the whole convocation that the Welsh and the English clergy, by their vicious lives and bad examples, had corrupted the chaste and unspotted clergy of Ireland.”

Charles Molloy, born in Kings County in 1640, was the author of a work on maritime law that for a long period continued to be the standard English book on that subject.

Another Charles Molloy, born in Dublin in the beginning of the eighteenth century, was elected a fellow of Trinity College and was the author of a number of publications, political and dramatic.

Francis Molloy, Professor of Divinity in St. Isidore’s College, Rome, in the middle of the seventeenth century, was the author of an Irish grammar and several works in the Irish language.