The O’Boyle Family

O'Boyle Family crest

(Crest No. 125. Plate 14.)

THE O’Boyle or Boyle family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The founder of the family was Conal Gulban, ancestor of the Northern Hy Nials, and son of Nial of the Nine Hostages, King of Ireland, A. D. 379.

The ancient name was Buidhill O’Donnell, Buidhill signifying “Benign,” and O’Donnell “Destroyer.” The name was taken from Braoighill, or Buidhill, Chief of Boylagh.

The title of the chief was Lord of Boylagh, and the possessions of the sept were located in the present County of Donegal. The O’Boyles were Chiefs of Clan Chindfaoladh, of Tir Ainmireach and of Tir Boghaine—territories which comprised the present baronies of Boylagh and Banagh; Crioch Baoighilleach, or the country of the O’Boyles, gave name to the barony of Boylagh; Tir Boghaine was the barony of Banagh.

The site of the O’Boyles’ residence at Loughros Bay, situated between the baronies of Banagh and Boylagh, in the west of the County of Donegal, is yet pointed out by the people of the barony of Boylagh. The O’Boyles lost their possessions in the confiscations of Ulster in common with the other occupants of that province. Many of this family have attained distinction at home and abroad.

In the history of the United States we find the name mentioned with credit. One of the first and fiercest of the sea fights in the War of 1812 was the engagement between Captain Boyle’s ship, the “Comet,” carrying twelve guns and one hundred and twenty men, and three British warships, convoyed by a Portuguese man-of-war. The British vessels carried twenty guns, and the Portuguese ship twenty thirty-two pounders. By skillful maneuvering and superior seamanship Captain Boyle separated the three British ships, and then defeated them in detail. Two of these he carried as prizes into Pernambuco, and the other was so badly disabled that it foundered. The Portuguese vessel managed to escape during the night. Shortly afterward Captain Boyle captured the British ship “Aberdeen.” carrying eight guns, and two others of ten guns each. He then sailed for home, and managing to evade the British squadron in the Chesapeake, reached Baltimore.