The Mullally or Lally Family

Mullally or Lally family crest

(Crest No. 303. Plate 24.)

THE Mullally family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Brian, son of Eocha Moy Veagon, King of Ireland, A. D. 350. The ancient name was Maollalla, signifying “Bald.” The possessions of the sept were located in the present County of Galway.

The title of the chief was Lord of Moenfoy, a territory which received its name from Moen, one of the sons of Ugani. This territory was an extensive plain, comprising a great part of the present baronies of Loughrea and Leitrim, in the County of Galway.

The O’Mullallys were driven from their original territory by the Burkes shortly after the period of the English invasion, when they settled at Tulach-na-dala, about four miles to the north of Tuam, in the barony of Dunmore and County of Galway, where they had a castle, and held sixteen quarters of land under the Lord Bermingham.

In the Cromwellian and Williamite wars, the Mullallys fought for the Stuarts, and suffered in consequence. At the outbreak of the revolution of 1688 there were five brothers of this family residing in Ireland, all of whom were men of mark. James, the eldest, sat in the Dublin Parliament in 1689 for the borough of Tuam. After the defeat of King James the Second his property was confiscated, and he himself outlawed. He went to France in 1690, and became Colonel Commandant in Dillon’s Regiment. He was killed at Montmelian the following year. His brother William was a Captain in the same regiment, and was slain at Barcelona in 1697. Mark was an officer in the same command, and Gerard rose to the rank of Brigadier-General. Michael left a son of the same name, who died a Brigadier-General in 1773.

The brave and unfortunate Count Lally Tolendal—a title taken from the family seat in Ireland, Tullach-na-Dala—was a son of the above-mentioned Gerard. He was born at Romans, France, where his father’s regiment was stationed. He joined that regiment when not quite eight years old, as his father wished that “he should smell powder in order to gain his first step in the service.” He was commissioned a Captain at that time, and four years later, when only twelve years of age, his father made him mount the trenches at Barcelona. At the disastrous battle of Dettingen he saved the French army from annihilation, and it was his strategy that won the famous victory of Fontenoy, in 1745. This was simple but effective. It was to open with a battery of cannon in front of the advancing column, and then attack it simultaneously with all the reserves, including the King’s Household Cavalry and the Irish Brigade. “It is said,” writes Thomas Carlyle, “that the Jacobite Irishman, Count Lally of the Irish Brigade, was prime author of this notion.”

In 1760 he was sent to India to command the French forces there, and he would have saved India to France had he received adequate support. His exposures of the peculation and rascality of the French officials there raised up a host of powerful enemies, and they finally caused his arrest on the trumped-up charge of tyranny and betraying the interests of the King. He was confined in the Bastile for fifteen months without any specific charge, and was finally executed. The Paris Parliament afterward passed a decree “rehabilitating” him, meaning, in other words, an acknowledgment that he was judicially murdered. A descendant of this family was created Marquis de Lally Tolendal and a Peer of France by Napoleon the First.

There are many of this name in the United States occupying honorable positions. Among them may be mentioned Mr. John Mullaly of New York, the well-known journalist and writer.