The Mulroy Family

Mulroy family crest

(Crest No. 227. Plate 49.)

THE Mulroy family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Fiacha Baiceda, son of Cathire More, King of Ireland, A. D. 144.

The ancient name was Maoilruadh and signifies “Red.” The possessions of the clan were located in the present County of Mayo. Mulroy was the Anglicized form of Muldory. At the period of the introduction of surnames into Ireland, the O’Muldorys (or Mulroys) were Princes of Tir-Connell. It was they who then had charge of the cathach (caha) or sacred reliquary of St. Columbkille, before it came into the possession of the O’Donells.

In the “Annals of the Four Masters,” under the year 960, the death of Ænghus Ua Maeldoraidh, Lord of Cinel-Conaill, is recorded. This is the first mention of O’Muldory or Mulroy in the Irish annals as hereditary surname. In fact, this Ænghus was the first who could have been so called, being the son of Maelbreasail, Prince of Tirconnell, who was slain A. D. 896, and the Ua, or O, nepos or grandson of Maeldoraidh, the progenitor after whom the hereditary surname was called. Maeldoraidh was the son of Ænghus, who was son of Maelbreasail, Prince of Tirconnell, who was slain in 817, who was the son of Murchadh, who was son of Flaithbheartach, monarch of Ireland from A. D. 727 to 734.

This family supplied many princes to Tirconnell, but on the death of Flaithbheartach O’Maeldoraidh, in 1197, the head of the O’Dohertys became Prince of Tirconnell; but being slain a fortnight after his inauguration by Sir John de Courcy, Eigneachon O’Donnell became Prince of Tirconnell and his descendants retained that dignity until the beginning of the seventeenth century.