The O'Brien's PDF Print


This is the most difficult task when doing family research.  Unfortunately it is made doubly difficult in relation to Irish history as so much has been destroyed or hidden. For most of our families there is little evidence dating before 1800, though there are certain family histories and circumstantial evidence to bring certain things together.

It seems to start with several O'Brien families living within the area called Rathwood, a small town-land designated on a number of maps from the early 1700's. This area was contained within the civil parish of Abington, a historical area built around an old and famous Abbey dating back to the 14th century.

The O'Brien's have obviously been in the area for about 300 years and given family tradition it would appear that the family descend from the Teighe O'Bryne (O'Brien) of The Parish of Towgh, a place better known these days as Towerhill.  Towerhill is now simply a small farming area, held and farmed by distant descendants of the Rathwood family, with an old cemetery, to which our family has used for burials for a long time. This relationship to Teighe would link the family back to the era of Brian Boru of 9th century fame,

During the evictions of the late 1800's it would seem that there may have been a falling out among the families.  We know for certain that all O'Brien's remaining in the original property at Rathwood were evicted.  Though the property is now held by a branch of that branch of the family, however this happened after the land reforms in the early 1900's.

The occupation of Rath, occurs with a young William, who seems to be related to the Rathwood clan, but of such fact little evidence survives. DNA is currently being gathered to try and confirm the relationship.  That William's father's name was Thomas is evidenced by the fact that three of his sons were named Thomas, a normal family practice in Ireland to honour the father.

The property at Rath may have been additional to the original Rathwood or may have been left to him from another clan of the family, maiden aunts or from adoption as a son by an older couple.  This was not an uncommon occurrence in Ireland.  We do know that William moved there and settled upon his marriage to Mary Conway.
The Murroe and district local community is criss-crossed with many interconnecting families, O'Brien's marrying into the Hayes, Blackwell's, O'Connell's. Ryan's and Noonan families plus many more making them tied to the O'Brien's over the generations.

This web site uses documentary evidence and general information, as well as family history.  There are over 2000 descendants in the data base many appearing in these pages.  There are still many gaps and despite four visits from 2001 to 2005. I believe there are about another thousand family members details missing.  We have recently joined the O'Brien DNA Project and hope this will lead to more answers.

One conclusion you can make is that no matter what the conditions these families found themselves in during the hard years, they seemed to be successful in ensuring the continuation of the family name and later prosperity.  Read the story "A day in the Bog" to get a feel for the life style in Ireland.

To assist with using the site, I have split the information into two clans, John O'Brien of Rathwood and William O'Brien of Rath. There is no doubt they were related and there may have been more within their generation, but at this time I can find no additional links.

It is from the Rathwood Clan that the families of Barrington Bridge, Ballymacrease, Hyslope and Cappamore come from.

The Rath clans are still in the Emly and Limerick area, plus Victoria and New South Wales in Australia.  I descend from this clan.


Last Updated on Sunday, 21 March 2010 07:15