Ó Broin - Irish Names and Surnames

Rev Patrick Woulfe
1923

Ó BROIN—IO Birne, O'Byrne, Byrne, Byrnes, (Burns, Byron), &c.; 'descendant of Bran' (raven). This family derives its name and descent from Bran, son of Maolmórdha, King of Leinster, whose death at Cologne is recorded by the Four Masters under the year 1052. The original patrimony of the family was Ui Faolain, which comprised the northern half of the present Co. Kildare; but they were driven thence by the Anglo-Normans soon after the invasion, and forced to take refuge in the mountain fastnesses of Wicklow, where they became very powerful and were long the terror of the invaders of their ancestral homes. At the head of the Wicklow clans, they maintained for a period of three hundred years incessant warfare with the foreigners, whom they defeated in many a fierce engagement. Their country, which was called Crioch-Bhranach, comprised the entire of the barony of Newcastle and portions of those of Arklow and Ballinacor. This last belonged to the Gaval-Rannall, or Ranelagh, a junior branch of the family, which in time became very powerful and of which the celebrated Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne was chief in the reign of Elizabeth. The name is now very common in Leinster, and has spread into many other parts of Ireland.

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