The Purcell Family

Purcell family crest

(Crest No. 27. Plate 68.)

THE Purcell family is of Norman origin and came to Ireland in the year 1171. Branches of this family settled in the present Counties of Cork, Clare, Limerick, Kilkenny, and Tipperary. In the last mentioned county the Purcells were Barons of Luachmhagh, now Loughmoe, a church giving name to a parish and village, in the barony of Eliogarty, and about five miles to the northeast of Thurles. Near this village are still to be seen the magnificent ruins of the ancient castle and more modern mansion house of Purcell, titular Baron of Loughmoe.

In 1240 a member of this family, Sir Hugo Purcell, founded a monastery in the town of Waterford. The Purcells of the County of Limerick had a castle in Ballycalhane, a townland in the parish of Kildimo, barony of Kenry. In the year 1581 David Oge Purcell and his people had a fierce encounter with a body of the soldiers of Adare, in which the latter were defeated with great slaughter. When the news was carried to Adare by the few survivors, Achin, the captain of that town, assembled the soldiers of Kilmallock, set out for Ballycalhane, and slew one hundred and fifty men, women, and children inside and in the vicinity of Purcell’s castle.

There are many of the name still in Ireland as also in the United States. The late Most Rev. John Baptist Purcell, Archbishop of Cincinnati, and William Purcell, the well-known journalist of Rochester, N. Y., are descended from this Norman-Irish family.