The Tierney Family

+˝ierney family crest

(Crest No. 85. Plate 51.)

THE Tierney 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 Tighearnain, signifying “A Lord.” The possessions of the sept were located in the present County of Armagh. The O’Tierneys were also Chiefs of Fearnmuigh, in Tyrone, and of Carra, in the County of Mayo, and in the County of Donegal. The name is now locally called Tiernan, and is still common in the barony of Carra.

George Tierney, the famous orator and Parliamentary colleague of Burke and Fox, was a descendant of the Irish O’Tierneys, his father having been a native of Limerick. In 1798 he challenged Pitt to a duel, which was fought on Putney Heath. A contemporary writer says of him: “As a speaker he was exceedingly original. From the moment he opened his mouth until he sat down, the attention of his hearers never flagged for one moment. In a style which never rose above the colloquial, the most cutting sarcasms, level to the most ordinary understanding, escaped from him as if he were himself unaware of their terrible effect. His sneer was withering. Of all the speakers, contemporaries of Mr. Tierney, no one was so much dreaded as he was.” He died in 1830.

Among those prosecuted with O’Connell by the Government in 1843 was Rev. Thomas Tierney, a notable patriot priest of that day. Father Tierney was parish priest of Clontibret, in the County Monaghan. He was an intimate friend of Terrence Bellew McManus. He was a man of great force of character, and wielded a powerful influence in his locality for many years. The name is numerous in Ireland still and in the United States. The Right Rev. Dr. Tierney, Bishop of Hartford, Conn., is a descendant of this family.